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Victorious

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"O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?"

 1 Corinthians 15:55

There was blood everywhere. The ground was covered with dark, red blood. You could see it staining the rubble, the broken pieces of what was once an Egyptian church. This was the news the day after Palm Sunday. Two churches bombed, 44 killed. I have no frame of reference for this, but I'm imagining a unbound fear runs freely. I've heard Easter services are cancelled.

And I wondered about this victory

A few months ago, a different bomb went off in the lives of a family I know. A phone call told me a young man I cared about had died, an overdose the cause. There was an overwhelming anguish in my spirit. And then memories; he knew Jesus, he was baptized, he was loved. I told myself, "He is safe now."  And while I know there is victory, it's hard to say it. It's too early to see it.

It can take a long time for our hearts to catch up with our heads to catch up with our souls. Graciously, God is patient with us. We know Jesus has won. He has utterly vanquished the sting and permanency of death forever. We know this, and yet, death hurts us deeply. It's violent separation can be unbearable. 

It is for this very reason, this separation from our loving Creator God, that Christ died, crushing the eternal sting of death, giving us the victory to live in this day. That's the victory - with Christ, there is no more separation, there is no more death for those who call on him as savior and friend.

So while our hearts catch up with our heads and catch up with our souls, we can cry out, stand up to our fears, and move on in our grief, because Jesus Christ won. He is our Victory!

 

Posted by Janna Lynas with 0 Comments

You Are What You Eat

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Which would you rather have – a glass of milk or Filet Mignon? As adults, we’d most likely prefer the steak, but as children we would probably answer this question much differently, as our needs change throughout our life. And they should.

We all know what infants need in the early days of life – milk. It provides all that we need for a time, but eventually (actually quite rapidly) we outgrow our desire for milk. Our bodies need something more and we are ready for that something more. We begin to taste and experience new flavors and textures. We begin to long for it and as we become more fully aware of ourselves, we find we crave particular forms of nourishment.

This is true of our spiritual life as well. We first encounter Christ and receive his spirit as our own, but we aren’t ready for the depths of the mind of God. We drink milk (short stories, illustrations and foundational scripture). It tastes good, and it gives us what we need to grow in those early days. But eventually, we need something with more substance. We need more to help us grow into a fuller spiritual person in Christ, a person of maturity.
What has your journey been like? How would you categorize yourself – a spiritual person who readily receives and values biblical truth or an infant in Christ, drinking bottle after bottle of watery milk?

The Spiritual person, eats full meals of steak and potatoes.  You recognize there is somethings missing, an emptiness that can only be filled with humble yet solid food.You are sinking deeply into the sweet aroma of a satisfying friendship with your Lord and Savior.

For the newly formed Spirit, you start at the beginning, yes, with milk. Embrace this time. It’s all new and you have lots of questions and it seems there is so much to know. But enjoy, it will prepare you for God’s plan for your growing up years.

But Paul points out rather vividly in 1 Corinthians 3 for the one who is downing glass after glass for years, arguing over selfish preferences with prideful hearts, following after men instead of the Creator, beware – this is dangerous business. We may think ourselves as righteous, but there is a drifting that occurs of which we may not be aware. John Piper cautions, “Don’t drift – the current of the world will carry you away.”

For those that are Spiritually mature, be patient, encouraging, and give others what they can swallow, sometimes with a little help.

I can only speak for myself, but I’d prefer rich, flavorful food over milk any day. The small pieces of scripture and stories I learned as a child just aren’t enough. There is so much more to this knowing about God and knowing myself. And I only get to know if I dare to open my mouth and taste.

There is a banquet set for us, loaded with the best, God’s best. There is bread and there is wine, the message of Christ, crucified. It is this table that prepares us for the crucified life that leads to the fullness of the most satisfying meal.

If you want, you can taste it now. Are you hungry?

(In reference to 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 and commentary by John Piper)

Posted by Janna Lynas with 0 Comments

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