Category Archives: Only Jesus!

Saying Yes to Christ’s Return

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I’m feeling incredibly frustrated because I’m doing all these crazy things, and I don’t understand why I’m doing them, but I don’t seem to be able to stop. If I could understand why, then maybe I could make myself stop doing it. At least that’s how it feels anyway.

So what am I doing that feels so crazy? Well, for one thing, I can’t seem to make myself go to bed before 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning, and sometimes even later. And I’ve become obsessed with this TV show called Say Yes to the Dress on The Learning Channel (TLC). It’s a show devoted to women who are engaged to be married, and their search for the perfect wedding dress. The whole show takes place at Kleinfeld Bridal, a store located in New York City.

The reason my obsession with this TV show feels crazy is because I’m not engaged, nor am I dating anyone. I have no interest in getting married, and I have no desire to find someone to date so I can marry him. Marriage is the farthest thing from my mind. It always has been and probably always will be.

So why do I feel compelled to watch this show when I have no one to wear a wedding dress for?

I’ve been preoccupied with why just as obsessively as I’ve been fixated on watching the show, and I can think of a couple of different reasons. For one thing, when a bride comes to Kleinfeld, she always brings an entourage of people to help her find her perfect dress. And the entourage for each bride is different depending on who she is, and the kinds of people she surrounds herself with.

Almost everyone brings one or both parents, plus various and assorted sisters and sisters-in-law, along with ~ sometimes ~ brothers and/or brothers-in-law, and every once in awhile, a fiancé or two. The show is a great example of interpersonal and family dynamics in action. It brings out the best, and in many cases, the worst in relationships between the bride and her friends and/or family.

This show also brings out the worst in me, because I spend a LOT of time yelling at the friends and families of the brides that come to Kleinfeld when they’re on Say Yes to the Dress, as I mentioned that I do in a previous post (I Yell At My Television Set). The reason is that many times the bride becomes dependent on their opinions, to the point that she won’t make a decision unless they approve of her choice. And oftentimes she’s expressed a preference for the particular style of dress she likes, yet her entourage will tell her that what she likes is ugly or stupid, and they’ll then go and find dresses in styles that are completely opposite from her stated preferences. And they’ll tell her that what they’ve picked out for her is what she should be wearing. If she says she doesn’t like their choices, they’ll tell her that she’s wrong, and her “taste sucks,” and other equally derogatory remarks.

My problem with these interactions is that these people who are bossing the bride around act like they’re the ones who will be wearing the dress, but they aren’t. If they were going to be wearing the dress, then it might be appropriate for them to be voicing such strong opinions. As it is, ofttimes they treat the bride like what she wants and needs is irrelevant, when in actuality she’s the most important person there. So I spend a lot of time yelling at them, telling them to stop being so rude to the bride, and telling them that they don’t have to wear the dress so their opinion really doesn’t matter.

 Another possible reason for my interest in Say Yes to the Dress could be that the Bible talks about the church ~ and by inference, its members ~ as being the bride of Christ. Paul, the Apostle mentions it rather clearly in 2 Corinthians,

For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:2, NLT.

Other translations render the word “pure bride” as “pure virgin”,

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2, NET.

In thinking about this, I don’t see myself as being married to Christ like a Catholic nun, but rather, in terms of anticipating the return of Jesus. Christ told us to watch and be ready for His return in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew 25,

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 

At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 

‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 

Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 

But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. ~ Matthew 25:1-13, NIV.

So I’m to eagerly await the soon return of my Lord. I tell you, I can hardly wait, and my anticipation grows stronger every day. And if that’s why I’m compelled to watch this show, then I say, bring it on!!

E’en so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!! ~ Revelation 22:20.

2020 Vision In 2020

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It’s New Year’s Eve, December 31st, and it was pointed out to me earlier this morning that the New Year, which begins tomorrow, and perfect vision have the same numbers ~ 2020.

2020. How cool is that!

Now you’d think I would’ve caught it on my own, because I love little details like that, but I didn’t. Someone pointed it out to me. But it doesn’t matter how I figured it out. The point is that the two are the same, and it seems to me that God wants to make something of that. He wants to bring things into focus, and I’m all for that.

Yup. I’m all for God’s wisdom more in focus in me, and increased knowledge of His Word, and greater understanding of who He is in my life. And if that means a greater awareness of my sin, so that it can be eradicated, then so be it.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NKJV.

Some translations say, “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (the ESV, NET, and RSV), and the NIV says, “being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,“.

The point is that as we continue to feast on God’s Word, which would cause us to increase in His wisdom and also to know Him better and more deeply, we will be transformed and become more like Jesus, who IS the Word,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:1, 14, NKJV.

Becoming more like Jesus. That sounds pretty good to me!

You are My Everlasting God and Constant Hope

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I’ve been trying to get a post written for almost two weeks, without success. I just can’t seem to get focused enough to write coherently. It’s extremely frustrating. Hopefully by the end of this post, all that will change.

So I think I’ll just start writing. About anything and everything. But thus far it’s not going very well, mostly because I’m trying to do too many things at once. Things like watching TV and writing, or playing games and writing, or looking at my mail and writing. Obviously if I combine any of those activities with writing, I’m not going to produce anything but a blank page. So I have to turn off the TV, put down my iPad, and get rid of the mail ~ and focus on the WordPress app on my laptop! Which is what I’m doing now, and why these sentences are finally being written.

PHEW!!

What a relief!!

I’m actually writing something down! Of course now, when I’m actually making progress, is when Lily decides she should come and sit in my lap, and lick my hand.

Looks like she changed her mind. Another sigh of relief. I mean, I love her dearly, but there are times when it’s better for her to leave me alone, because I can’t get anything done if she’s perched in my lap, other than pet and stroke her ~ which I’m sure is exactly what she wants. She loves being the center of attention!

As this is turning out to be a stream-of-consciousness post, I’ll continue to write about whatever comes to mind, and what I’m thinking about at the moment is that Reinhard Bonnke died earlier this week, on December 7th. For those of you who don’t know, Reinhard Bonnke was an evangelist to Africa who regularly had over a million people attend his crusades. He was called “the Billy Graham of Africa” by some because of his record-setting crusades.

The reason I’m writing about Reinhard Bonnke is because his death hit a good friend of mine particularly hard when she heard about it on Monday. In fact she was so upset by the news of his death that she texted me about it at 5 a.m. Monday morning. This friend is a solid Christian, and she knows that Bonnke is with Jesus in Heaven. She was hard-hit with his death because she’s been following his ministry, Christ for All Nations, for quite awhile. When Reinhard Bonnke retired in 2017, he appointed Daniel Kolenda to take his place as head of CfaN, and Karen has been following him as well.

When a Christian dies, I find myself thinking more about the idea that they’ve gone to Heaven than about the fact of their physical death. My reasoning is that when a Christian dies and goes to Heaven they get to see Jesus face to face,

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12, NKJV.

I can’t think of anything more amazing, marvelous, or beautiful than being able to see Jesus face to face, and knowing Him as He knows me now. Can you imagine that, how wonderful that will be? It’s beyond my wildest and best dreams, and the thing I hope for more than anything else,

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. ~ Philippians 1:20-21, NLT.

Before he died Billy Graham used to say,

“Some day you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” ~ Billy Graham Quotes

I love that perspective, and that’s exactly how I feel. I used to be terrified of dying, but not anymore, because I’m fully assured of my place before my Father and my God. I know He loves me, and I know that will never, ever change, because I know He’s always been with me, keeping me safe, protecting me from the worst of the abuse, and saving my life when it was necessary.

I never thought I’d be able to say, and mean, that God loves me, and here I am saying it with great peace and joy! I’m amazed and gobsmacked at everything God has done in my heart to heal me.

And He’s not through with me yet!

I can’t wait to see what He’ll do next…

The Gospel Without Jargon

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Jargon is defined as special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group that are difficult for others to understand. This phenomenon is common in Christian circles, and is known as Christianese (in legal circles it’s called legalese, for example).

One of the common Christianese phrases I’ve heard, but never understood, is, “more of Him, and less of me.” What does that mean? The picture that comes to mind when I think about it is one of me turning into a round mass of jello on the floor when I become less and Jesus becomes more, kind of like someone who has no muscles, so they turn into a ball of flesh and become completely ineffectual.

I can’t figure out if it means I’m supposed to become invisible, or just what it means. If I’m invisible, then how can I, or God for that matter, anything get done ~ like witnessing, for example? Jesus isn’t going to come and do it Himself. He told us to do it. It’s called the Great Commission,

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20, NLT.

It doesn’t say that Jesus will go out and make disciples, and take us with Him as He does it. It says that we are to go out and make disciples, and He will go with us. And if I’m invisible, I doubt that anyone will want to listen to anything I have to say, because they’ll be too busy running from me in terror because they’ll think I’m a ghost.

Then recently, one of my favorite Christian artists, Casting Crowns, came out with a new song, called Only Jesus, that showed me the answer to my problem. Below is one of the verses from the song that sorts it out for me:

Did I live the truth to the ones I love? // Was my life the proof that there is only one? // Whose name will last forever // Only Jesus.

And the chorus from the song reminds me of what’s most important:

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy // I don’t care if they remember me // Only Jesus.

In other words, and this is where less of me and more of Him comes in, I want people to remember Jesus when they think of me now, and after I’m gone, as well. I can’t save anyone, or heal anyone, but Jesus can, and His name will last forever, while nothing I say or do will last beyond the minute I’ve said or done it. Jesus is the One to remember, not me.

ONLY JESUS!!