Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Growing Up

CJ and Ashlee, happy Mom, happy son
A dear friend of mine at work has a four year old boy.  She is as proud as a mother should be with each new development and skill, but the momma part of her is saddened her "baby" is growing up. (You can read my essay on my own experience of this here.)

This was especially evident the other day when she spoke of how he holds her hand differently now.  "He used to just put his hand in mine, but now he intertwines his fingers in mine."  That simple movement spoke volumes to her of his growing up and becoming more independent each day.

Of course, growing up is the normal and desired course during our children's lifetimes.  We expect our children to grow up, but not quite so fast, please.  We expect them to become independent of us, but be slow about it, okay?  And yes, it brings some pain to us when those ones we cared for from babies now pack up and move out of the house.  But in spite of the pain, it is as we would want it to be.

When we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are birthed into the family of God.  As do our earthly children, we begin as little babes who are capable of little.  But the Lord no more intends for us to stay that way than do we expect that of our own little bundles of joy.  In fact, the Apostle Paul admonished the Hebrew Christians for not having had more growth in their Christian lives. . .

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God;  and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."  (Hebrews 5:12.)

We should be able to look back along our lives and see our progress in the Christian faith.  Our knowledge of Christ should be greater with each step and our awareness of His working "in us to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13,) should be growing.  Let us be vigilant to respond to the Lord in a way that this is true of us this year, next year and every year until we join Him in heaven.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  
To Him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen."  
2 Peter 3:18

Monday, January 15, 2018

Who is Tua?

A week ago, Glen and I and our daughters watched the 2018 College Football National Championship at our daughter Marie's house.  She is a University of Alabama alumni for both undergraduate and law school and there was no way we were going to miss that game.

We might have wanted to change our minds during the first half  as the Georgia Bulldogs led the Alabama Crimson Tide by 13-0.

Then there was a line-up change for the second half.  

Little known Tuanigamanuolepola "Tua" Tagovailoa (TAHN-go-vai-LOW-a) replaced Jalen Hurts as quarterback for Alabama.  That is when the tide turned (pun intended.)

Tua led the Tide to a 26-23 victory by throwing three touchdown passes including the game-winning 41-yard pass in overtime.  He was named the Offensive MVP of the game.

While many have remarked about his precision-like passes and his remarkable ability to see and even "feel" the lay of the defense, that is not the most remarkable thing Tua did on that field. In every post-game interview I have seen, Tua pointedly deflected any glory from himself to His Lord. In one interview he stated, "First and foremost, I'd just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible. That's what happened tonight." 

In another, "First and foremost I'd like to thank my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. . . All glory goes to God. I can't describe what He has done for me and my family. Who would've ever thought I would have been here at this moment."

Following the twitter feed after the Alabama victory, my favorite "Tua" tweet I read was short 

and sweet:

"I don't know Tua Tagovailoa, but I know his Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ."

Is there anything better to know about Tua Tagovailoa? You can quote me statistics of his high school career, his stats from the Championship game, or even show me his MVP trophy.  None of that, in fact NOTHING can compare with the testimonies he gave after the game. He boldy pronounced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That game averaged 28.4 million viewers, most of whom would most likely watch the interviews immediately after the game. In those few moments, Tua was able to testify of his faith in Jesus to more people than most of us will meet in a lifetime. Who knows what influence those few sentences will have on the hearts and lives of some of those 28.4 million people.

Tua may play football for the Crimson Tide, but he has personal knowledge of another, most important, "crimson tide."

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sins
by Julia Johnston

  1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
    There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
  2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
  3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
    What can we do to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    Brighter than snow you may be today.
  4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    Freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see His face,
    Will you this moment His grace receive?

  5. Grace, grace, God’s grace,

    Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

    Grace, grace, God’s grace,

    Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Delighted by Love

Today while we were out walking we encountered a white lab puppy.  His owner had let him out for a bit and the puppy was bounding around the neighbor's yard.  It was obvious he had unlimited energy and probably more curiosity than is good for him.  

I was delighted to see him and immediately thought of Labradors I have known. . .Cairo, Sheba and Remi.  Each has been a delightful, friendly and loving dog.  And each gave as much love, devotion and attention to their families as they received as pets.  Some dogs, especially some breeds, just have a way bringing love with them.  

While some may say that it would be hard to determine if the owners or the pets loved the most, one has only to watch our Sparrow welcome us home to know how great her love is, and how loud!  I would post a video of it, but you would not be able to turn your speakers down fast enough!

While we often underestimate the degree of love our pets have for us, we tend to do that with God, too.  We tend to think of His love as equal to our own, flawed, human love.  But it is not.

His love is never selfish, it is never unseemly, it never rejoices in the pain of another.  His love never tries to promote Himself, but is centered totally on others.

The Apostle Paul described love (charity) this way:

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things; hopeth all things, endureth all things."  (ICorinthians 13:4-7.)
Let's look at it this way.  "Before the foundations of the world," as the Scriptures tell us, God the Father knew that if He created mankind it would eventually mean He would have to forsake His Son on the cross to be the "propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  He knew this, and created us anyway.  Why?  Because He loved us even before He created us.

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5.)

We should tuck that truth deep in our hearts and minds and contemplate it over and over again.  He knew and yet He created us still.

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, 
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
I John 4:10