Friday, April 3, 2015

A different kind of list, Easter eggs, & grandchildren

Fitting in with Good Friday, I have a theme in my mind, that is possibly partially inspired by this Christian holiday. I want to tell you though, that I am a rebel when it comes to holidays. Paul became worried about the new Christians in the book of Galatians because, apparently they began to develop a list of "Holy" days that they ritualistically defended & adhered to. Paul basically told them he feared that they had strayed from the true faith...freedom in Jesus Christ, by faith, & that by grace only. I'm not a total rebel though, as I plan to hide those empty plastic eggs around the yard, as I emphasize that I purposely left them EMPTY as an object lesson for the grandchildren that the tomb is empty because JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD! PRAISE GOD! We will have a special cake to celebrate and skip the candy because of too much know!  So for a number of days now, I have been thinking of the verse where Jesus said, "If you want to follow me, you must daily take up your cross and deny yourself." ( I have been SPECIFICALLY praying to understand this better and apply it to my life. I was also praying about how to celebrate Easter with the grandchildren when the idea of hiding empty eggs came to mind. Last year I added candy which they didn't really like & their joy was in the game of finding as many eggs as they could!)  Back to "taking up the cross & denying" myself daily. In Christian bloggy world, it is so common to see "thanks lists", where people list the things they are thankful for. Maybe it's the rebel in me, but I have this strong impression to develop a "deny myself & take up my cross" list! I want to point out that Jesus said we MUST do this in order to follow Him. In thinking about this, I prayed for three things to share with you, that I believe I am obeying Jesus in this directive. The reason?...simply because if my faith is genuine, than I am obeying Jesus to a degree & I "have fruit in my life". All the glory & credit goes to God, because as Christians, we only boast in the work Jesus did on the cross & never our own works. However, powered by the Holy Spirit, by faith through grace, we carry out the good works "which God has prepared for us". Okay...#One. I have a mentally disabled son who turns 16 in a few days. I NEVER jump out of bed thinking I have the day to do whatever I want. Every moment of my day, I must see that this special young man is properly supervised & cared for. I have the choice to put Josh in school but I know that is not the best thing for him. I have the choice to put him in a home or institution if I didn't want to or wasn't able to care for him. There have been times in my life when I actually thought perhaps someone else would be able to better care for him than I (and that day may come). However, I could write pages & pages of how & why I believe God called me to make every sacrifice necessary to be home & care for him. Now, the funny thing is that I have so much JOY in my life, that I no longer look at my life as a sacrifice to care for Josh! It is a joy & a privilege & I cannot think of a single thing I would rather be doing with my life. "My yoke is easy & My burden is light." said Jesus. I don't even think of caring for Josh as "picking up my cross & denying myself daily" because there is so much joy & contentment in my life. But God is telling me that I am fulfilling His will in this way.  Well, I am going to save #two (food) for later and I don't even know what # three is yet! I encourage you to meditate on this command of Jesus & ask God what He'd like you to understand & apply.   Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

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