Wednesday, May 15, 2013

At What Cost???

We are loved beyond our capacity to comprehend.

I saw that on the back of a cd I own recently, and it struck me that, that one little statement says so much. We ARE loved beyond our capacity to comprehend! John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Most people if they know one scripture, that’s the one. Yet it amazes me how people nonchalantly rattle off that scripture, not really thinking about what it says or how much that one act of our behalf cost God.

God gave His Son to save us! He loved us so much that He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sin. Can any one of us, myself included, honestly say that we would sacrifice one of our children for anyone? I can’t. I couldn’t. I look at my children and I KNOW that I would sacrifice myself before I let something happen to one of them. Yet God looked at it differently. He knew there was no way we could ever atone for our sin and be reconciled to Him without some action on His part.  Prior to Jesus’ coming, God had instituted a sacrificial system, where we could atone by sacrificing a lamb, or a bull, but that did not take away our sin.  While we were forgiven, we still carried the sin with us.

John 1:29 says ‘Look, behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.’  Jesus was God’s son and the perfect sacrifice. Have any of us really thought about what it cost God to save us? Those of us who are parents might be able to begin to think about what it would do to us to lose a child. Those who have lost a child most certainly know what that devastation is like. But I don’t think we will ever really know how much it hurt God to separate Himself from His Son. Nor do I think we can truly comprehend how it hurt Christ to see His Father turn His back on Him. 

Like so many other people I never really thought about it before. I knew God sent Jesus to save us, but it had never really sunk in what it cost God to do it.  Now that I have thought about it, I am just blown away that God did something I could never bring myself to do for anyone else. He LOVED US to the point of a death sentence for His Son.  If you haven’t thought it about it, take a few minutes now to think about the price your salvation cost God. If you do, I promise you won’t rattle off John 3:16 again without thinking about the price of your salvation.


In today’s world it seems we all have a million things to do everyday. Our kids are involved in almost every sport imaginable. They are involved in various clubs at school and the availability of activities to keep our kids occupied is endless. Throw into that work, a home to keep up and our never ending list of work, social, church and other commitments and it seems we don’t stop. When we wake up we have to hit the ground running to keep up with the schedule we set for ourselves.  Where in the break-neck pace, do we put God and our relationship with Him?

If we answer honestly, most of us will say last. We try to get to Him at the end of the day. I am no exception to that rule. My preferred time to visit with God is after everyone else has gone to bed.  And I succeed in visiting with Him about every third night. Why, you might ask if that is my preferred time to have my quiet time with Him do I fail at it so often? The answer is quite simple. I am exhausted by the end of the day.  I am a night owl by nature, but even I am exhausted after a day of chasing a three year old, running my daughter to and from school, cleaning the house, and doing the various other things that a wife and mother has to take care of. So a lot of times I fall asleep mid prayer. 

So that being the case begs the question of why don’t I just get up early to do my bible study, well to quote a t-shirt that a very dear friend of mine has, “Not a morning person, does not even begin to describe it”. I am not a morning person, never have been and never will be. So I have to find other times of the day to make up for those nights that I fall asleep mid-prayer.

I have learned that if you don’t make taking time for God a priority then you will never have time for God.  I have gone to taking time mid-day and reading, doing a bible study or just sitting and listening to God. (Now I know that surprises some of you that know me. Yes I can be quiet. I don’t have to talk God’s ear off.)  Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.”  Sometimes we just have to stop what we are doing and listen and remember that he is God. No matter how busy our day is, He is still God and if He really wants our attention He can get it.

He didn’t send His Son to die on the cross so that we could be slaves to our schedules and occasionally find time to spend with Him.  He did it to save us from sin and an eternity separated from Him. All He asks in return is that we love Him, ‘with all our heart and with all our soul, and with all our mind.’ Mt 22:37.  Seems like a pretty good trade off to me.  So where is God on your list of priorities?

In God We Trust

That phrase appears in our legal system and on our money, but most people know it from our money. It is engraved on every coin and every bill from the penny to the hundred dollar bill.  In 1973 the United States came off the gold standard; that meant the only thing that gave our currency its worth was our faith that a dollar was worth a dollar. It seems to me that people today have more faith in the money than in the God that phrase refers to.

Psalm 118:8 says ‘It is better to trust in the Lord, than to trust in man.’ I believe one can take that to include man made things such as money. Why do we have more faith in our money than in God? The answer is simple. Money is here. We can feel it, hold it, control it. It can give us many of the things we want. But most of all it gives us the illusory feeling of control over our lives. The more money we make or have the more control we think we have.  Control is the weapon that Satan uses in many cases to undermine faith. If we can’t control it, we don’t tend to have faith in it.

Obviously we can’t control God. Nor can we see God. So does that mean that God is not worthy of our trust and faith? Absolutely not! He is the only one worthy of our trust and faith! Even more so that anything we can see and touch!  1 John 2:17 says ‘The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.’ Why would we want to put our faith in something that is going to pass away? As in gone, ciao, sayonara,  hasta la vista, baby.  1 Corinthians 7:31 says ‘ …for this world in its present form is passing away.’

To me that sounds that like if we are putting our faith in something other than in God, we are in big trouble. Money is interchangeable with anything you like. It could be faith in your job, yourself, your family, other gods even!(which don’t exist by the way) The point is if we are putting our faith in things that are of this world, we don’t have just a small problem. This is a huge problem, BIG, GIGANTIC. Your salvation depends on where your faith is. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to God and into Heaven when this world passes away. If you do have faith in Christ but have mistakenly put a little more of your faith into something else then maybe you should think about why you trust things of this world more than God. He is the God of the Universe after all.  He did send His Son to save us from eternal separation from Him. After all Jeremiah 17:7 says ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.’ Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wife, Mom, Me?

As a wife and mother, I am familiar with the problem of losing one’s identity in your family relationships and responsibilities. When I meet people I am guilty of introducing myself as my husband’s wife, or my children’s mom or stepmother. Very rarely have I introduced myself as just Heather Tucker without some other description. Many moms with children at home find it difficult to maintain a sense of who they are when they are constantly taking care of other people’s needs.  So much so that we begin to determine our worth by how well we meet other people’s needs, especially the needs of our families. If our husband is not happy, then we feel like a failure as a wife and think we are not meeting his needs. If our children misbehave and are unruly on a constant basis we feel we are a failure as a mother and are not meeting our children’s needs.  We base our success or failure in life on whether or not our husbands and children are happy and successful.

Another trap that we fall for is we suddenly one day see our mothers in our reflections and determine that we are just like our mothers! Nothing could be further from the truth! We may have inherited a few things from our moms but we are not our mothers. Which I am praising God for at this very moment. I love my mom dearly but I am eternally grateful that I am not her all over again.  With everything that a mom and wife has to do, keeping house, laundry, groceries, doctors visits, school functions, etc, it is no wonder that many a wife and mom suddenly look in the  mirror one day and wonder ‘Who is that person looking back at me?’. Add to that that many of us are overwhelmed on a daily basis by this thing called mothering that when we react in a way we later wished we hadn’t we feel even worse.

I have been struggling for the last year to rediscover who I am, beyond the identity of Matt’s wife, and my children’s mother.  I am those things, but I am also a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a writer, a novice historian, and a sci-fi nut! But above all of those I am a child of God!  John 1:12 clearly shows this. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

If we have received Christ as our Lord and Savior then we have the additional and more important identity as a child of God. He does call us as wives and mothers to take care of our families but not to lose ourselves and our identities in those roles.

God created each and every one of as unique individuals. Jeremiah 1:5 states “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, says the Lord” He created us to be exactly who we are! He didn’t intend for us to consume ourselves with our families and our children and lose who He created us to be! First and foremost we are His child! There are many different roles in our lives for us to fill but we must never forget who we are or forget the other facets of our personalities that make us what we are. He gave those to us!!! We should enjoy them and use them to the best of our ability to serve Him. I know who I am, who are you?

Spring Reflections

Spring has sprung. Every year I am always excited to look out and see the trees budding, the flowers blooming and all nature is waking up after a long sleep through the cold winter. It is a season of new life and renewal. The Bible states that even nature testifies to the existence of God. Romans 1:20 (NIV) speaks to this fact. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."  

Spring is also a representation of the new life we gain when we accept Christ as our Savior. Before we come to know Christ, we are dead in our sins and our future is one of eternal separation from God. We essentially exist in a winter like world. After we accept Christ, we are a new creation just as it states in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, all things have become new.   

Before Christ, our world is cold and dead, after Christ, our world explodes with life and color! Just like the world around us does each spring. I believe it is not a coincidence that God chose this season of renewal and new life to be the season that his Son would go to the cross. God had everything planned out before he laid the foundation of creation. He knew how the dominos were going to fall. He knew that Adam and Eve would fall and introduce sin into the world. He knew that the Israelites would turn from Him many, many times. He knew that Mary would be his faithful servant and carry his Son and He planned the way to bring us back to fellowship with Him. He had every little detail planned out before he formed the heavens and the earth. What better way to remind us of the new life we can experience through Christ than having His death and resurrection happen in the spring. The very seasons we experience year round are a symbol of salvation and serve as reminder of what he has done for us.

This month as we celebrate the Easter holiday and the resurrection of Christ I urge everyone to look at the world around them. Look at the trees budding, the flowers blooming and take a moment to appreciate how the world around us testifies to the existence of God and the precious gift of eternal life that God has given us. The Scripture is correct when it says we have no excuse. Creation itself is evidence of our Creator. What more do we need?