And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Five

roemische_krippe_simeon_480

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Sarah Young writes in her book, Jesus Calling, as if Jesus was speaking to us:

Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby.  I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind.  I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.

When you sit quietly with Me, the process I went through is reversed in your experience.  As you identify with Me, heaven’s vistas open up before you—granting you glimpses of My Glory.  I became poor so that you might become rich.

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

The Word became flesh.  Amazing to think what God gave the world on that night.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . . Part Four

roemische_krippe_simeon_480

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

We love these words from C.S. Lewis:

The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.  They say that God became Man.  Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. . . .

In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity . . . down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created.

But He goes down to come up again and bring the ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.  C.S. Lewis

Stooping in order to lift.  That’s pretty amazing.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Three

roemische_krippe_simeon_480

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Frederick Buechner reflects on the Word made flesh in The Faces of Jesus:

The man on the cross was a man of flesh, but he was also the WORD made flesh, as John writes it in the great prologue to his Gospel, the Word that ‘became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.’ The Creator himself comes to dwell within his own creation, the Eternal within the temporal, the Invulnerable within the wound.

It is as if Shakespeare could somehow have entered the world of Hamlet, say, the dramatist descending from the infinite dimensions of reality into the dimensionlessness of his own drama, becoming a character in his own plot although he well knows the tragic denouement and submitting himself to all its limitations so that he can burst them asunder when the time comes and lead a tremendous exeunt by which his whole dramatis personae will become true persons at last.

Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

We love this idea.  God entering the world is like a playwright entering his own play. Even knowing the outcome and the pain He would suffer, God came to live among us.  Beautiful.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Two

roemische_krippe_simeon_480

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

We love this story by Philip Yancey:

I learned about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. . . You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only: fear. . .

To my fish I was deity. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts  of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing they viewed as destruction. To change their perceptions, I began to see, would require a form of incarnation. I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand.

A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. And yet according to the Gospels that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright a character within his own play. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.   Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

It is amazing that God would enter the world to show us His love!

That’s something to think about.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part One

roemische_krippe_simeon_480

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Lovely words in a free devotional series by Janet Denison:  

The “Word” is Jesus. . .   Just as an idea is expressed and made known through words, God is expressed and knowable through Jesus. Jesus had always been with God and he had always been God. Christmas Day is when God made himself visible to the world. And God wanted us to know him as a tiny, newborn infant.

The God of the universe could have presented himself to the world any way he chose. He chose to become a baby, born to a peasant couple in a stable. Jesus is not a “character” of the Christmas story; he authored the Christmas story to reveal his character.

Looking Forward to Christmas,  Janet Denison

We hope you will join us to reflect on Jesus as The Word as we prepare for Christmas this year.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Six

images

Six:  Gratitude deepens relationships.

 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers . . .  Philemon 1:4

We are made for relationships–with God and with other people. Relationships can’t happen unless we can come to each other with a humble spirit.  Gratitude for others opens in us humility and allows us to enter more deeply into our relationships.

“I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion we can ever know.”  Bill W.

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer

 Who are you thankful for today?

We are thankful for you!

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Five

images

Five:  Gratitude expands our options.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.  Psalm 28:7

When we are stuck in a problem we can only see the problem.  We are in fight or flight mode and our bodies trigger chemical reactions to narrow our mental focus to the perceived threat.  The problem seems huge and we can only see the negative.

Gratitude is an intentional act of focusing on the positive things in our lives. We force our minds to expand the view of the world and remember the positive and good events and people around us. When we focus on the small things around us that are good, we see new possibilities.  We can move forward.

Gratitude for small things opens our eyes and widens our view. It makes us aware of the options that God has provided for us.

 “Thanksgiving creates abundance.”  Ann Voskamp

“If we do little things, God will do the big things.  But we have to do the little things like they are the big things.”  Mark Batterson

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things.”  Oswald Chambers

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

What small things are you thankful for today? Maybe they are bigger than you think.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Four

images

Four:  Gratitude glorifies God.

 I will praise the name of God with a song;

I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

When David says, “I will magnify God with thanksgiving,” he does not mean: “I will make a small God look bigger than he is.” He means: “I will make a big God begin to look as big as he really is.” We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes. Christians are not called to be con-men who magnify their product out of all proportion to reality, when they know the competitor’s product is far superior. There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is. The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.

I Will Magnify God With Thanksgiving John Piper

Are you thankful to God?  Be a telescope.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Three

images

Three: Gratitude increases self-esteem.

Saying “Thank you” acknowledges that someone has done something for us.  If we acknowledge that someone has done something for us then it follows that they value us.

Every time we say “Thank you” to another person, we are admitting that we have value. And when we thank God for our blessings we become aware that He loves us.

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.  Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” Thomas Merton

Saying “Thank you” blesses us and reinforces our sense of self-esteem.  God esteems us greatly.

 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

Do you feel blessed when you say “Thank you”?

Thank you for reading this today!

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Six Ways That Gratitude Works: Part Two

Heem_Still_Life_with_a_Basket_of_Fruit

 Two: Gratitude lowers anxiety.

When we think too much about the future we worry. The “what ifs”  kick in and we can begin to become anxious. We can focus on what we think we will need in the future and miss the blessings that we have today.

What if we could just be thankful for today?

Do we have something to eat today?  Thank God.

Do we have on some clothes?  Thank God.

Are we breathing today?  Thank God.

God tells us his name is I Am – present tense.  He is the God of now.  Our gratitude for what we have today reminds us that God has provided for us and lowers our anxiety about the future.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

 Can we be thankful just for today?

Here dies another day

During which I have had eyes, ears, hands

And the great world around me;

And with tomorrow begins another.

Why am I allowed two?

G. K. Chesterton

What are you thankful for today?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

1 4 5 6 7 8 34