Killing T-Rex

Surrender – To give up or abandon

Sacrifice – a surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil.

Today we talked about the day of Pentecost in my class. All but one child said that Jesus lived in their heart, and when I asked the child if he would like to ask Jesus to come live in his heart the reply cracked me up. “No”, he said, ” if he comes there I won’t have room for my four wheeler that kills the t-rex’s.” I tried very hard to explain to him what I meant, and that Jesus really wouldn’t take up any room, but it was useless. He NEEDED that four wheeler and nothing was going to change his mind.

Later on, I started thinking. That four wheeler was important to him. Even though we know that his reply was silly, it was serious to him. He couldn’t live without it. It was useful for him and his life would be difficult if he did not have it.

Thoughts of the previous weekend flooded into my heart. I had been quite stubborn about a situation. Actually, I was heartbroken over something I am very passionate about and I could not shake the frustration that crept in. This “item” is something I could not live without. Okay, I could, but knowing it the way I do, it would be difficult to give it up now. If I had never had it to begin with, maybe it would be easy – maybe. Back to my point . . .

Was I letting this take up room in my heart? Surely not! I use this to get closer to God. I find him in this!

Ah, but would I surrender it? Would I sacrifice my joy in it, for the greater good?

Hmmmmm. Now, I was struggling. Honestly, my answer was no. I could not say that I would just lay it down. I needed it.

But, I NEED my savior. I NEED his peace. I NEED his joy. I NEED his love.  All these things can happen without my “item”.

I vow to no longer be an “item” hoarder. I will share my “item” in any way the Lord wants me to. I will use it to glorify him, even when I don’t understand why it’s being used in the manner that it is.

Christ did this very same thing when he died on the cross, was placed in a tomb and rose from the grave. He did not hoard his love for us. He did not hoard his blessings. Even though he struggled with how it had to happen, he let us “borrow” his body and blood. He is the living sacrifice!

And one day, I hope my little friend will let me borrow his four wheeler, so I can kill some t-rex’s of my own!

Romans 5:1-2By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3-5There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9-11Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Exclusive

“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living . . .”

In my case, today was 8:30 t0 5:30.  Still, what a way to make a living.

I am grateful for my job. I adore the kids I teach. I love watching them grow, not only physically, but mentally also. If I could capture the look on their face when they finally get it, or when they know they are doing a good job, I could sell it as sunshine.  Listening to them pray, retell Bible stories, and sing worship is enough to make a grown woman cry – which I do, often.

Long days like today usually end the same, with my son Judah climbing into my lap late at night, wanting some attention. Zeb and Anna have normally rattled off about their day and taken the majority of my attention from the time I got home until they went to bed. Sometimes I wonder if they miss me more than they say    . . .

Judah, however, doesn’t let me wonder. His little feet tap through the hallway quickly, finding my whereabouts easily. “Mommy”, he says in his pitiful voice, “I haven’t got to see you all day. Can I sit with you?”

Honestly, when this first started, I would say “No, go back to your bed. I love you, goodnight” and send him back to his bedroom. But, he would always come back and it would turn into a war of the wills.

Lately, however, I have realized this is merely a cry for some “mommy time”. So, I scoot over, arrange the pillow, and let him crawl up beside me. His little hands reach to find my arm, and he grabs on, snuggling closer and closer. Am I a sucker? No. I recognized this “need”. I enjoy our little routine. Sometimes sleep comes quickly, and other times it takes a little while. I get to hear about his day or what he wants to dream about. Either way, it’s our time. Exclusive.

Tonight, when Judah made his way into the living room, and said his “magic words”, my heart twinged.  I heard a voice say “That’s me. I haven’t got to see you all day. Can I sit with you?”

It had been a busy day. I had not spent real time with my Abba Father. I had read his word to my class, I had sung his praises while they napped, I had thought of his goodness and blessings, but I had not spent any time with Him. In his eyes, our time is one on one, exclusive. Now, his big hand is reaching for my small hand, waiting for me to enjoy him and his peace, joy and abundant life.

As Easter draws near, and many people’s hearts are turned towards thoughts of our Saviour, I do not want to be so busy that I forget to spend time with him. I do not want him to be familiar, I do not want him to be thought.

We fight so hard to make Easter re-known as the day our Saviour rose from the grave, that sometimes we forget to spend time with him. We celebrate and rejoice his death and resurrection, but do we stop to rejoice in sitting with him and celebrate talking with him?

I challenge you this holiday, to remember “the reason for the season”:

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (Romans 6:11 MSG.)

My final thought?

1 Timothy 6 – “I’m charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn’t give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don’t slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He’ll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.17-19Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.20-21And oh, my dear [insert your name here] guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.Overwhelming grace keep you! (13 – 21)


Hi, My Name is Jenni, and I Was A Puddle Jumper

My favorite subject in school was English. Surprise, surprise. I ADORE reading. I love it. I wish I could do it more. But, vocab was a big rival to the reading part. I was enthralled to learn words that made ordinary sentences come alive. By far one of my favorite vocab words was “aesthetic” . I guess because to me, that’s what words were, a way to make ordinary stories or thoughts ornate and beautiful. A lot of times you will see me list definitions to words that I use when I’m writing. I do this to help you have a mental image, an enhanced perception of what I’m trying to portray. So, with that being said, here’s to the love of vocab!

To dream – to have a cherished desire.

Puddle – a small body of standing water

Ocean – a large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere

These three ordinary, yet artistic words, are my life right now. I feel as if I live in a constant state of dreaming. Although that is not completely unpleasant, it is becoming inadequate. I find myself saying “when this happens” or “as soon as we can do this” or “someday we can” , more than I find myself accomplishing any of my dreams. As we saw before, a dream is not necessarily unobtainable. Quite contrary, it is very obtainable when it is simply a “cherished desire”.  In Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah and the Jews were rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. This was a cherished desire for them. They worked hard and tirelessly, keeping the end result in their thoughts. There were officials who did not want the wall rebuilt, and they did their best to discourage, to scare, and to flat-out threaten the workers. Nehemiah, still believing in his dream, prayed to God and then stationed guards and armed his workers. They had a dream, and they were not going to be discouraged by those who did not share the same desire.

Though I dream, a lot, I am discouraged at the rate of accomplishment. That is where the puddle comes in. As a kid, I loved puddles. Now, I watch my kids jump whole heartedly into any and every puddle available. But in my parallel, puddles are unacceptable. They are tiny little bodies of water that are not going anywhere, except evaporating back into the sky. They fulfill nothing. They are a whisper, a leftover, a small reflection of what once was. I’m tired of jumping into puddles. I am not satisfied with puddles.

Which brings me to oceans. Anyone who has ever been to the beach cannot ignore the greatness of this body of water. The wonder of its vastness is overwhelming. I question what is in it? What mysteries does it hold? Where has this particular wave come from and where will it go from here? I know who made it, I know who controls it. THAT is what I want in my life. I want to dive into an ocean of possibilities, an ocean of accomplishments, an ocean of adventure.

I feel surrounded by those who, like the officials in Nehemiah’s grand dream, threaten and discourage my dreams. They see only my current place, maybe even my past, and they have tried to halt my dream. They want me to be satisfied with the puddles they provide, instead of the oceans that I know are available.

So, I will go to sleep tonight, dead set on diving into an ocean. No more dreaming of oceans while jumping in puddles (from the song “Pretend”). I will station guards around my heart, and I will shout to those who are furiously withholding my progress, “I won’t be afraid of you! I will put my mind on the Master, great and awesome!”

Out of the Coffin

“I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life

Pre-Chorus:
All I am,
I surrender

Chorus:
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life” (Give Me Faith)

Why is it so hard to trust when everything around you is failing? I’ll have to admit I’ve had a pretty cruddy week. It just seems like everything I enjoy, everything I hope for and everything my heart yearns for is farther away than ever.

My heart is so heavy. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve went to sleep either crying or worrying. The bad part is, I could preach to myself about this. I know better! But, good golly, it is so hard to stand sometimes. I just wanna yell out “Okay! I’m done!”.  I can’t give up, I can’t back down. At the same time I have no strength to fight, no will power to last. I know my God is in control, he has a plan, he has it all laid out. I know to put my trust in him, to rely on him, to relax in his promises.

All of that does not negate my mind and the realness of the hurt, disappointment and fear that envelopes my life right now.

(I know most of you are probably going “She must be REAL bad, she never writes like this!”)

I need the strength of my daddy, the steel thinking of my mom, the wisdom of my grandmother, and the peace of my Abba Father. All I need is already here, within me, I guess it’s just time to dig my heels in and come out swinging!

Ephesians 8-10You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.11-16Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. (The Message)

Meet Me

I’ve never needed you more than I need you right now. Broken hearted my spirit torn, my soul cries out for you. I know you will surround me with your presence and drench me with your grace, knowing you only see your beloved – not all my mistakes. My soul cries out for you.

Meet me in the garden, walk with me all day.f Listen to my ramblings wipe my tears away. All the love I’ve ever needed, ever wanted, ever craved, you laid upon my life the day you gave your life away.

This darkness that surrounds me is darker than any night. The fear and uncertainty are all that’s in sight, yet my soul cries out for you. With arms reaching with more fervency than ever before, I know I’ll  find you waiting once more, so my soul cries out for you.

Meet me in the garden, walk with me all day. Listen to my ramblings, wipe my tears away. All the love I’ve ever needed, ever wanted, ever craved; you laid upon my life the day you gave your life away.

Original: Jenni Dayton