Friday, April 1, 2011

Jesus - God's Plan for Man

Mountain View
“A mountain view can literally take your breath away. Getting a clearer view of God can do the same. Here at the Warming House, you’ll find truth that will help you know and understand who God is and how He feels about you. What you find here may cause you to live your life a little differently.

How are things in your life today? Are you doing well or are you struggling? How are your finances? Have you been betrayed, failed a test, gotten divorced, lost your job or even your home? Has your normal turned upside down? Do you feel that God has a plan for your life? Does He care about your needs? Is He even in control?

There is a story in the Bible about a widow who experienced unbelievable hardship. She lived in a town called Nain. After her husband’s death, this woman’s son had been taking care of her. Unfortunately, her son soon died as well. With the unthinkable loss of two people who were so important to her, her grief was complicated by the fact that she now had no one to provide for her. In Bible times, widows had no inheritance rights. Her future looked very grim on many fronts.

Basically, her daily life had moved abruptly from a place of complete security with people she dearly loved and a husband who provided for her to a place of destitution, grief, and loneliness. She had experienced purpose as a wife and mother, but that had been lost as well. I wonder if she ever thought to herself, “God, where are you in all of this?”


At that time, Jesus had been traveling from town to town teaching, preaching and healing sicknesses and diseases among the people. He came into this woman’s life literally during her son's funeral procession. Lucky for her, because her encounter with Christ changed her life dramatically.

Take a minute to read her story in Luke 7:11-17 then go back and drink in Jesus’ words in verse 13.

"When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."  

His words just melt my heart. They show me His compassion. Do you remember the definition of compassion from a previous blog? It's “an inner feeling of distress regarding the ills of others that causes us to suffer with another”. Jesus is deeply and genuinely concerned about our struggles. He feels our pain. We don't suffer alone. When I'm hurting, it means so much to know that someone recognizes my pain and cares.


Notice what Jesus did next.  “Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” Did anyone ask for His help? Do you hear any requests for a miracle? Why did Jesus help her? What motivated Him? Could it be that He was motivated by His love for people and His compassion to help those who cannot help themselves? Truly, death is something we cannot save ourselves from.     
      
In Luke 7:15  “the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”  Wow! Imagine her joy! Jesus made the widow’s problem His own, and He voluntarily did something about it. He didn't do this because of something good in her or because she deserved it. He did it because of the sweet goodness in Him. Bringing this boy back to life was not only an act of compassion, it was an incredible display of the power of God present in Christ. This same power was demonstrated when Jesus rose from death after His crucifixion on the cross.




 
In verse 16, the people in the crowd recognized how Christ had responded to this woman’s needs and said, “God has come to help His people.”  They were exactly right. Through Jesus, God had come to help His people in more ways than they could imagine.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Colossians 4:19

At the beginning of time, mankind had perfect fellowship with God. There was no suffering and no death because suffering and death were not God’s natural plan for man. Perfect relationship was His plan, but the serpent deceived Eve with his poisonous words. She – and Adam fell for Satan’s lies. They ate fruit from a tree God had forbidden them to eat from. As they rebelled, sin entered the world. Their disobedience broke the perfect fellowship they had with their Creator and brought great consequences. Mankind's rebellion is the reason suffering and death exist in our world today. 

While the apple was still sweet on their tongues, God had already put a plan in place that would meet mankind’s biggest need (Gen. 3:15).  His plan involved a Savior who would crush the “head” of the kingdom of darkness (Satan).  Satan and all his evil intentions would be crushed through Christ’s death on the cross as He paid the penalty for our rebellion. (God is a just God and a price has to be paid.) Through this act, Jesus the Messiah would win a great victory over Satan by restoring what Satan had destroyed – man’s intimate fellowship with God. His sacrifice and His resurrection from the grave made a way for man to gain freedom from the consequence of sin which is death.



“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious life God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3 (The Message Bible)

God was intentional. He saw our need for a Savior and desired to fill that need - not because we deserve it, but because of the goodness in Him. Motivated by love and compassion for those who cannot help themselves, He developed a plan that would meet our greatest need - without being asked. That plan’s name is Jesus.

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
Ephesians 1:5 (The Living Bible)

So what does this mean for you? It means you're not living some random, haphazard existence in a crazy, chaotic world that seems to have gone out of control. There's a God who's in control. He cares about your struggles and wants desperately to meet your needs. His plan for you is good. His plan will save you from the destruction that sin causes. His plan makes it possible for you to have a place in His family where you can experience a forever kind of relationship with Him. His plan opens the door for you to live forever in a perfect place called heaven. His plan is and always has been Jesus Christ. 


Fireside
Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.



My son will be graduating from high school this year. It’s impossible to believe that time has passed this quickly. As our son leaves our home, we want to make sure he’s prepared for life. In light of that, I recently bought him a book titled “Fathered by God – Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You.” The author, John Eldredge, calls men back to a simple and reassuring truth: God is our Father. It talks about how God initiates boys and men through the stages of manhood in life’s trials and triumphs. Wasn’t sure our son would actually read this book. Recently found out that he has made a point to read it every night before he goes to sleep and has indicated an interest in getting the accompanying workbook.



Link:
Because equipping our son is so important, I also bought a book called “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” by Robert Lewis. I am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and am intrigued by kings, kingdoms, knighthood, noble character, and people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a greater cause.

“Raising a Modern-Day Knight” helps Dads “confidently guide their sons to the kind of authentic, biblical manhood that can change our world.” This book talks about a vision for manhood, an uncompromising code of conduct, and the importance of a noble cause they can invest their lives in. Of course, in our home the code of conduct for authentic manhood includes cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Not sure that's a Biblical code of conduct though!


The men in my life.


As I read this book, I'm learning how desperately boys need a definition of manhood. They drift and flounder when they don’t have a masculine anchor and knowledge of what it means to be a “man”. In our culture in America, this definition isn’t being communicated to boys. Many of our grown men never learned it from their dads either. There is a desperate need for what this book teaches.

If your child’s father is not open to teaching your son about authentic biblical manhood, find another male mentor who will – maybe a grandfather or uncle. If this isn’t an option either, do what you have to do mommas. This message is extremely important and your sons deserve the training so buy the book and teach them yourselves. The information they receive from you will anchor them and prepare them for life.

I've typed up a teaching outline for my husband to use with our boys. If you’re short on time, I’d be more than happy to share it with you; however, you’ll still need to buy the book for reference. Just email me at thewarminghouse@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you.


Pinecones and Twigs:
Just like gathering nature’s treasures on a hike through the woods, you never know what you’ll find here – a great read, an inspiring photo of nature, or maybe the latest bargain. Check out this spot at The Warming House for something fun.


Early this winter, a starving kitten showed up at our back door. She was literally a walking skeleton and near death. My allergies to cats would not allow us to take her into our home. We certainly couldn't let her die, so we fed her. Once she discovered her food source, she adopted us - as we knew she would. We named her Viva Nueve. I think those are Spanish and Italian words that mean “live nine”.  People often say cats have nine lives. Because she had been so close to death, we felt she’d gone through all nine. We tried to find some foreign words that meant "nine lives", but Viva Nueve was the best we could come up with!

Viva scored a bed in our garage, and we eventually made an appointment to have her spayed. However, (and that's a big however), a male cat in the wild got to her first. Yesterday, she had her kittens. In about six weeks, we’ll have “Kittens – Free to Good Home”.

Here’s Viva's happy family. Very cute!




A Steaming Hot Mug

Stories of Compassion to Warm your Soul from the Inside Out


Submit your stories (150 word maximum) to thewarminghouse@gmail.com for publication to this blog. Your stories must fall into one of the following three categories: 1) Stories of a time when you experienced God’s compassion directly or through the actions of another person; 2) Specific things you’ve done to teach your children compassion; or 3) How your church or someone you know has demonstrated the compassion of Christ. Can’t wait to hear (and share) your stories here at the Warming House!

Just a reminder: If you are the head of a ministry, nominate your favorite single mom for a massage gift certificate. (We'll be giving away several!) All you have to do is submit her name, a brief description of why she deserves a massage, and your name and contact info to thewarminghouse@gmail.com.

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I know things are crazy out there. I will never sugarcoat that fact at all. I hope that The Warming House is a safe place where you can find compassion, rest, and reassuring truth. No matter what, know that you're not alone. God cares for you and so do I.

Stay Warm and Cozy,

Lisa

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