Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

The Night Of Nights

The date of our Lord’s birth is unknown to us. It is highly unlikely that December 25th would be correct, and there are relatively few who actually believe it to be so. Once, in a Bible class I was conducting, we were discussing the “Christmas” traditions that many involve themselves in at this time of year. One dear brother spoke up and said, “Well, we don’t celebrate Christ’s birth!” I knew what he meant, and I responded as kindly as I could to him by saying that perhaps he did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but I did. He understood my meaning also and agreed with me. I do not limit my celebration of Jesus’ birth to one date on the calendar. I am grateful every day, and I regularly praise Him for His coming in the flesh to us and for us.

When Jesus was born, someone has said, it was like God came down the stairs holding His newborn Son, all wrapped in swaddling clothes, while heaven and earth looked on. There’s no Scripture that says the angels received any command to worship, but they did. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13f) As far as I can read when the Savior’s birth was announced on that same night of nights to the nearby shepherds, they received no command to go find the baby, nor to offer praise, nor to spread the news to others. But with hearts full of wonder and joy they did just that anyway! When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this ChildThe shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:17, 20) I can’t see in the Bible any command for those wise men to make their pilgrimage to Bethlehem when they saw the star announcing Jesus’ arrival, nor for them to bring gifts and worship Him, but so they did. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Matthew 2:11) It seems to me that if the angels, the shepherds and the wise men, without a specific command to do so, believed His birth to be worthy of worship…of singing…of joy…of gift-giving…and of sharing, then, perhaps, I may believe that too. The night of Jesus’ birth captures our imagination and inspires us to praise. With the birth of each of our children, Vicki and I decided to do what many other parents do. We decided to remember their birth dates and have an annual celebration for each of them. It was one of our ways of communicating to them how much we treasure them, and, yes, of saying to God, how grateful we were to Him for giving us our children. There is no command to do this. I wouldn’t force it upon anyone else. But it is right for us to do it! Now if I choose to say a special thank-you to God for sending us His only begotten Son, it’s alright for me to do so, on December 25th or on any other day of the year. On that night of nights, whatever date it was, God sent His Son, thus enabling Him to live, suffer, die and be raised for the redemption of us all. I praise Him for that. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so anytime, all the time, with our lives and our mouths. Glory to God!

 

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“Of His Fullness”

Someone said that bad religion explains everything. Good religion cherishes the mystery. Now that doesn’t mean that we are to condone ignorance of that which God has revealed. But it does mean that there is so much about God and His ways that we cannot fathom. And though this is true, we find that we are always blessed in our quest for God. And we do grow in our understanding and in our relationship with Him and our usefulness to others.

Here, for instance, is a marvelous mystery…the Eternal Word became flesh and, for a little while, lived among us. He was full of glory, grace and truth. John tells us that from this “fullness of grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16) Jesus possessed this particular fullness because of an emptying. Philippians 2:7 says that He “emptied Himself.” Bear in mind that when the text says Jesus emptied Himself, there had never been anything bad in Him. He readily relinquished rights that were His own. He surrendered His position in Heaven and the privileges of Godhood, in order to redeem us. As a result, there lived in Him all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (CoIossians 2:9)…the fullness of the Father, the fullness of the Spirit and His own fullness. He is the fountain of every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). His is the fullness of…goodness, faith, joy, hope, compassion, humility, patience, truth, grace, glory, gentleness, self-control, forbearance, forgiveness, and, most of all, love.

Humans…all humans…are invited to come to this Fount of every blessing and realize the fulfillment of their deepest needs—forgiveness, love, acceptance, worth, purpose, motivation and a wonderful destiny. John says, “we have all received.” We are all in the same needy condition. We have nothing to brag about, except Jesus. Whatever good is in us came from Him. And, the good news is…it keeps coming from Him…”one blessing after another.” He never tires of giving. Though we are beggars, He never treats us as such. He never discourages our coming. So make sure that you never tire of coming to Him.

How do we come? We come to Him, first of all, by being immersed, by faith, in water (baptism), a response of obedience, not an attempt to earn anything, in order to enter resurrection life with and because of Him without Whom we would be left hopeless (See Mark 16:15f; Acts 2:38, and Romans 6:1-7). Then we keep coming to Him in meditation, in prayer, in the reading, study and practice of His Word, in worship, in fellowship with the saints, and in service done in and to the glory of His Name. We get to live life in the context of His Great Story which includes the truth about His Presence being always with us to the extent that not even our sin, or weakness, or failures can cause Him to leave us. It’s only settled rebellion in us that drives us out of relationship with Him. Barring that, we keep on receiving one blessing after another from the fullness of Jesus Christ?

For Christians every day is replete with reasons to offer Father God our thanks. This is not to say that it is always easy to be thankful. When sorrows like sea billows roll in upon us… when storms of trial and pain burst above us…even then…maybe, particularly then…be thankful for such a Father Who has His way even in the whirlwind and Who sustains us with the fullness of Jesus Christ!

Living In The Superlative?!

I love the superlative language I’ve heard used by great preachers as they speak of God and devotion to Him. I know it’s legit! I know it’s called for, and that it’s Biblical (often). But when I hear of “radical” faith or “total” commitment and “complete” surrender…when I listen to the familiarity some speakers seem to have with God…so much so that one would think hardly a second goes by for them when they aren’t caught up into the third heaven with God…I must confess that I have not often trodden upon such heights. I know there are amazing mountain-top experiences recorded of God’s folks in the Bible. But my reading of it doesn’t lead me to believe the lives of any of those folks of faith were uninterrupted rapture. I do want to be inspired. And I am, very often, by the good earth and by the good people around me…by good worship and good sharing of the Good News of Jesus. I am thankful for good spiritual leaders and godly preachers and teachers, but maybe there’s  also a place for people who are not up to climbing the mountain and meeting there with the God Whose mighty voice shook the whole place and Whose presence made everything tremble and smoke. Such folks want to know God’s will too, but deem themselves unworthy or incapable of such a lofty encounter. What does God think of people like me? All I know is that Deuteronomy 5:23-28 gives me lots of hope. And, according to Romans 15:4, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. In the Deuteronomy passage, the people of Israel are speaking reverently to Moses as they request that he be their go-between God and them. They are overcome with the majesty of God and do not feel up to the continued experience of Mount Sinai with it’s terrible shaking, smoking and shining, along with the blast of the trumpet that grew increasingly loud. They feel that long and/or repeated exposure to such an overwhelming manifestation of God would be too much for them to handle. And God told Moses that the people’s response was good (verse 28). The truth is our God is great and is greatly to be praised (Psalm 145:3). And I want to be in the number of those that praise Him greatly, don’t you? The only way is to focus on Him, not on ourselves. But, honestly, sometimes I have trouble focusing. I don’t think God is surprised by that though others are, at times. I still think He is leading me to understand that He can get glory for Himself even with a cracked pot, like me. Don’t give up! And don’t ever quit! Not ever!!! I’m pulling for you. And I’ll gladly accept any pulling from you on my behalf. I am grateful for the mountain-top experiences God has graciously granted me in my life. But I also need, on a daily basis, the grace to always live in blessed relationship with my Father God which includes listening to Him and obeying what He says (Deuteronomy 5:27).

 

The Last Thing

As a part of that painful, gracious interview Jesus had with Peter following His resurrection, the Lord spoke troubling words about something that would happen to Peter when he was old. This is recorded in John’s gospel (21:18-19). John says that Jesus was indicating the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God in the future. This is at one and the same time a troubling and inspiring word. It is inspiring because Peter had very recently demonstrated his unwillingness to do anything of the sort for Jesus. He had deserted his Lord in His hour of need. But Jesus helps Peter understand that a change has come into his life. He would never be the same. Cowardly Peter was transformed into a disciple who will die for Jesus. This was accomplished through Jesus’ amazing resurrection and His amazing grace. It is a troubling word because it foreshadows not the quiet, dignified departure from this life for which we all might hope. Rather, we see Peter in the weakness of old age being forcibly taken to a violent death. It is a troubling word because it is about death…about a violent death in older age. And this had not escaped Jesus’ notice. He sees it clearly. He predicts it. He doesn’t intervene and deliver Peter from it. Instead He is explaining how Peter will glorify God by the manner of death he will experience. I don’t pretend to understand the Lord’s will in that matter. I could venture several guesses, but I won’t. I want us to see that we may so commit ourselves to the will of the Lord that even our very deaths bring glory to Him. The Christian is not to view death as indicative of Christ’s anger with him or her. It is not a judgment against one. Neither is it merely an accident. Dear fellow Christian, I do not know why death comes earlier to some of us than others. I don’t know why some of us have lingering deaths and others go quickly. I don’t have a clue why some of us endure much more pain than others. I have all the same questions as you. But I know this…you and I may…if we are willing…we may glorify our God in and by our death. Just as surely as we seek to bring Him honor and glory in our life, so we may in our death. One has somewhere said that “death is the last thing we can do for God, so do it well.” Now that’s the challenge isn’t it? We may tremble in the face of our Enemy Death. That is certainly understandable. Physical pain may force the tears from our eyes. The prospect of leaving our beloved behind may threaten to submerge us in a sea of sorrow. There may be confusion and frustration as we face aspects of death that are unknown to us. There may be despair as we struggle for the right words to say. And who can guess the flood of emotions and questions that may possess us at such a time? But this I know…we do not have to tremble or sorrow or suffer or question like those who have no hope in that hour. We who have tried to do our best to accept the will of God in life, will aim to do the same in death. The God Who began a good work (see Philippians 1:6) in the life of Peter carried it on to completion at his death and was glorified in him. He will do the same for us, if we are willing. Now I know what God is willing to do. The question is what am I willing to do. I know I can write these words in the comfort of my home, but can I live them on the day of my own departure? I close with a prayer…“Dear Father, May my steps be worship…may my thoughts be praise…may my words bring honor to Your Name. By my life or by my death, be glorified, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

 

Dream-Stealers

As a favored child growing up in his father’s home, he had big dreams. In his dreams, even his own family deferred to him. In his youthful inexperience he shared his dreams with his hostile, older brothers. They didn’t share his enthusiasm for such dreams. They registered their disapproval in violence, betrayal and deceit. Exile in a foreign land, life as a slave and then a prisoner, nearly choked the young man’s dreams to death. His own family proved to be dream-stealers.

Do you remember the day? The day when your dreams died. You began with such fervor. Then something happened. Some older “wise” one explained to you how it could never be as you hoped it would…how it was not for someone like you to accomplish such…that it was really silly to think so in the first place. Get your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds! Dream-stealers!

A third-grade boy followed his mom down the road. She was carrying a packed suitcase…said she was leaving her ungrateful family…had all she could take. He followed, pleading for her to come back home. She eventually did. But he was changed, haunted by insecurity, by the realization that at any moment his mother could choose to just walk out on him. Dream-stealers!

Paul Simon wrote, “I don’t know a soul that’s not been battered, I don’t have a friend who feels at ease. I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered or driven to its knees.” Maybe life has done it to you, too. Is the bounce gone from your step…the sparkle from your eye? Does the approaching dawn find you dreading its arrival? Have you succumbed to the notion that all that has been is all that can be? Have you traded in your sense of wonder for holy dullness? Is there nothing profound left in life for you?

Now it’s true that some dreams ought to be forgotten. At five feet, five inches tall, I longed to be able to soar up there and dunk a basketball. But I was no Spud Webb. The dream needed to go and, in time, it did. I came to it on my own. We don’t need “dream-stealers.” But they seem to swarm everywhere.

In the Bible, Joseph’s dreams must have seemed very far away while he was imprisoned in Egypt. His parents, his brothers, his life experiences challenged his dreams. But his dreams were God-given. He would not give up on them. Of course there is a difference between our dreams for ourselves and God’s dreams for us. It is vital for us to embrace God’s plans for our lives. We will never outgrow or outlive such dreams. In the day when God made His Holy Spirit available to all, it was said, “Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) I know that has to do with God’s communication of His truth in the first century. But it is still the spark that God provides that inspires the young and the old alike. In Jeremiah 29:11, He has this for us…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Have your dreams taken a beating? Jesus didn’t come to earth to wither the lives of people. He came to give real life…life that shines and sparkles and lasts forever. He came to give you THE DREAM…the one no one can steal from you, if you don’t let them…the one that lasts with ever-increasing joy and wonder forever…the dream of eternal life in the glorious presence of our loving Father God.

 

Coming? Or Going?

I know you’ve had those days when life was so busy that, as we say, you could hardly tell whether you were coming or going. You were so busy that it wouldn’t have surprised you to meet yourself on the way out. There are so many comings and goings in our lives that revolve around people. And some of these moments are absolutely life-shaking. They are so significant that after they occur nothing will ever be the same again. For example, think of the day you first met that special someone, and you somehow knew that this was the person you wanted to build a life with. What an amazing life-altering experience!

Now think back with me to the time when Jesus walked upon the earth. Think of the many comings and goings there were of people in His life. Think of the lonely, the guilty, the outcasts, the sick, the bereaved, the blind, the weary, and all the despairing people, the shepherd-less crowds, who came to Him. Think of the change that characterized them by the time they left Jesus’ presence. They came to Him sad but left glad.

However there is one encounter pointed out in Mark 10 which, unfortunately, has a different outcome. Sinners come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They could be as recognizable as temple-prostitutes, tax-collectors and drunkards, or they could come disguised as successful, young political-types. Just such a young man was so eager to see Jesus that he ran to meet Him and knelt before Him. In spite of his success and advantages in life, he seems obviously aware that something is missing. He asks Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” After agreeing on the law’s helpfulness to this end, the Master gives His insightful spiritual diagnosis. “Go, sell everything. Give all the proceeds to the poor. Then come and follow Me.”

He had run to Jesus in eagerness but departs in sadness. It seems clear that he didn’t expect the radical spiritual surgery Jesus prescribed.
Living as we do in rich America…and being in so many ways a rich American…this story troubles me. I want to believe that if Jesus required the same of me as He did of that young man, that I would do it. But would I? Would you? Jesus was not one to play with people’s minds or emotions. It was never His goal to make salvation more difficult for anyone. He requires this extreme action of the young man, because the young man was in extreme danger. Though he had come in eagerness, though he asked the right question, and though Jesus loved Him sincerely, he leaves the Lord’s presence in quiet sadness. So many others came to Jesus sad and left glad. But this one came to Jesus glad and left sad. He was unwilling to exchange his treasure on earth for treasure in heaven. He decided that he would keep doing life on those terms with which he was familiar. Jesus was fine and all that, but He would not be his Lord.

Listen, beloved, no matter what we get or have or keep in exchange for life, we end up going away from Jesus with chronic sadness. Don’t settle for that. Come with the sadness of your sins and leave glad that you have a new Lord. Come hungry and be filled. (Isaiah 55:1-2)

So…are you coming or going? Please come to Jesus!

 

Between His Shoulders

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long,

and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.

Deuteronomy 33:12

 

Such Scriptures surely speak tenderly to our hearts. There are so many, many people whose lives are one tough struggle from sun-up to sundown, week after weary weak just to keep soul and body together. Maybe it’s the fight for physical necessities…maybe it’s the war that rages within due to a troubled mind…maybe it’s the wounds they have received from another’s evil…maybe they’ve never been accepted and loved by those who were supposed to do this for them…maybe they suffer terribly from memories of irreversible errors they have made…maybe someone they care for deeply is hurting, and they can’t help them…maybe…well, you fill in the blank.

 

So many, many people…people Jesus saw as sheep having no loving shepherd who would watch over them, protect them, love them and feed them. Jesus’ heart for others wouldn’t permit Him to remain in Heaven. He came to His own though He knew His own wouldn’t receive Him. He came to seek and save the lost, though He knew the task was immense. He came to serve though He knew that many, far too many, wouldn’t allow Him to touch them. He came to suffer, because that’s how it is with holiness in our sin-cursed world. He came to die…offering those who had completely given up on themselves Someone who believed in them when they themselves no longer could.

 

And all those who turn aside to see this great wonder, a Man hanging on the cross for them, telling them…showing them in words written in blood…that He thought them well worth the trouble and that they mustn’t give up on themselves or settle for too little. In their hearts, chords that were broken begin to vibrate once more. They leave with a new song on their lips. Someone loves me after all. Someone thinks me worth all the trouble. Someone won’t give up on me. Someone wants me…welcomes me…accepts me. Someone Who is Worthy wants me!

 

     He makes room for me. Wonder of wonders! I am not just here to visit. He intends for me to stay! What is that strange feeling in my chest? I had thought it long since extinct. Love?! And I know I am secure. He sings me to my first untroubled rest in years with this song…“Nothing can come between us now…not death or life, not angels or principalities, not things present nor things to come, nor powers, not height nor depth…not anything comes between us now…ever.”

 

Can’t you hear Him telling you softly, “Go to sleep then, beloved. You are Mine. Nothing can harm you now! I’ve got you. It’s alright. Sleep on. Take your rest. It’s not a dream. I’ll be here when you wake.” So off to sleep we go, resting secure between His strong shoulders. Sleep well tonight, sisters and brothers. And live secure in His loving care tomorrow!

 

 

My Heroes

Once upon a time my heroes lived far away from me. They were great baseball players, and, without exception, they wore the red and white of the Cincinnati Reds…like Vada Pinson, Wally Post, or Frank Robinson. I only saw those men play once or twice in person. They were my heroes.

Then there came a day when a hero was defined for me by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ literary character of Tarzan. But, of course, Tarzan only existed in my imagination, and I moved on.

As I grew up in the church I saw that preachers commanded a lot of attention. Those who were particularly talented speakers rose to the level of hero for me. I only got to be near them at various lectureships, and they became my heroes.

However my ideas about heroes have changed as I have aged. I have discovered that it is my privilege to live among heroes. Oh no, the world does not acknowledge them as such. I used to be among that number. Not anymore.

Let me describe some of them to you. There was the widow lady who drove thirty miles alone, in all kinds of weather, day or night, to worship her Lord for as many years as physical health would permit. She is my hero.

Another was the frail old brother whose hands and legs were severely crippled and distorted by arthritis. Pain was his constant companion. Every night he lay down with it, and every morning he arose, slowly, with it. Yet he never lost his smile, nor his faith. He always asked me to read Scripture and lead prayer. He was the same until the day he went Home . Now he lives painfree. His portrait hangs in the hall of heroes in my heart.

Then let me tell you about the finest evangelist I ever knew personally. He is not a paid staff member. He is not a pro. He didn’t attend any schools except that of Jesus Christ. He always has a kind and loving eye out for others with whom to share the Story. He keeps the dream alive in me and many others. He is a hero to me.

Another story involves a once young mother, who brought her children regularly to church without the help of a believing spouse. In spite of all her efforts, prayers, and hopes, as the children grew, they didn’t share her faith. Now…alone…she still goes regularly to the house of worship. She won’t quit believing. She won’t quit hoping and praying for her family. She won’t quit being one of my heroes either.

Another case is that of a teenager who isn’t afraid to let others know, without a show, that he is a Christian. And that fact determines his behavior in and out of school. I see the courage of a hero in him.

My heroes, even though burdened with their own troubles, see to the needs of others…they pray without ceasing…they look with eyes of love, listen with ears of love and speak with tones of love. My heroes would be terribly embarrassed to have the word hero attached to them, but I can’t help it. You are my heroes, because your faith calls me onward toward our Lord.

 

Cold Righteousness

In Luke 18, Jesus has a word for some, who Luke tells us, were confident of their own righteousness. It seems there were two men praying in the temple. We are told first of the Pharisee. Now he either was standing by himself as he prayed, or he was praying about himself. The translations don’t seem to be real clear about that. It looks to me like the context would favor that he was standing by himself. As we listen to his prayer, his aloneness could be either that he preferred to be at a distance from people like the publican…or it could be that because of his attitude no one wanted to stand near him. His prayer is not about praising God. He didn’t ask God for anything for himself or for anyone else. He is very obviously enamored with himself. He proceeds to thank God for His wise work in producing one such as himself. He carefully lists his sterling character traits…“I am not a robber. I’m not unjust or an adulterer. And I’m very glad I’m nothing like this publican.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t accuse him of lying. He was telling the truth. He really wasn’t a thief or unjust or adulterous. And he was no tax collector either (his lips would have curled in disgust at the very mention of such a despised person). No…he was not like other men.

But let me ask you some questions, “Would you have wanted to meet this Pharisee? Would you want to spend time with him…maybe have a meal with him or invite him to your home to meet your family? If you were in some kind of trouble would you have called on him?” Me neither! Why? In a nutshell, he’s a liar. No, he didn’t lie about what he hadn’t done or about not being like the tax collector. That was true. But his whole life is a lie. He is a lie. He is a lie about what matters most. He is a lie about prayer. He is a lie about people. He is a lie about real relationship with God. He is a lie about salvation. And when he left the temple that day, he was still alone.

Now listen to the plea of the publican/tax collector. Don’t we tread lightly at this man’s prayer? Are you hushed into reverent meditation as you listen? “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And this man, far from being confident of his own righteousness, would not so much as lift his eyes heavenward, as he smites his own breast in penitence over his sins, which were many. This man’s prayer exalts God…the God of amazing grace Who abundantly pardons and devises ways for prodigals to come to their senses and return to Him. This man admits his sinfulness and his need to God. This man reveals his broken heart and his longing for better.

Now let me ask you, would you want to meet this man? Invite him home and spend time with him? Would you feel you could call on him if you needed help? Me too! Because his life is true. He has told the truth about God…the truth about his own sins…the truth about righteousness and salvation. He lights the way for other sinners who are willing to be honest also. When the tax collector left the temple that day, he wasn’t alone.

There is a form of “righteousness” that is very, very cold. It puts people off. It offers nothing warm…nothing helpful…nothing inviting. It builds walls, not bridges. It’s full of what one doesn’t do and empty of what one should do. In contrast to this, our Lord went about doing good (Acts 10:38a) and helping others. He was Light…not the glare of a spotlight, but the warmth of the candle in the window. May we go and do likewise in His Name and for His glory.

 

 

“…No Beauty…To Attract Us…” Isaiah 53:2

Do you remember about Whom the above words were written? Acts, chapter eight, makes crystal clear that they were written of Jesus. On this end of the story, I can’t imagine it being true. In every picture I saw of Him as I was growing up, He always stood out. He was central. Either His face was shining or there was a halo above His head. And for the last 55 years, I have worshiped Him as God’s only begotten Son. I have sung and led numerous hymns that praise His beauty and majesty…preached many a sermon about His loveliness. But as I think about Isaiah 53 again today…I wonder…if I had been there when the “unspectacular” Jesus was eking out His existence like a root out of dry ground…if I had passed this One Whose poverty and plainness was so apparent.. .could I have accepted Him as the Son of God?

He lived in the presence of God like other ordinary desert rabble. God didn’t grant Him special favors. He was not filled with charisma. By outward appearances He was just another Jew in the midst of many. And when it came to suffering, He shared in it like all the rest. He kept proclaiming that faith in God was the answer to all their troubles, but when trouble came, He suffered with the rest…more than the rest. God didn’t hide Him from grief. He was treated as no one special. The proof that He was just another dirty, little Jew (to foreigners) was the way they mistreated and mocked Him. And the proof that He was just another Jew (to Jews) was that He suffered with “all the other sinners.” So they esteemed Him not.

What of us? If we had been there, would we have given Him a chance? Or would we have written Him off in favor of some flashy, more successful looking rabbi who was respected by all the good, religious folks? I’m not at all sure I would have recognized Him then.

And, I wonder, if I recognize Him today. I am too enamored with the exciting to be bothered by the eternal. I am so preoccupied with success that I can’t even understand “surrender.” My heart is so filled with cares, there is no room for Christ. Unless, of course, He is willing to make Himself known to me dramatically…with flash and flair. But He doesn’t. He offers us a look at pierced hands and feet…the chance to see real BeautyHe provides us an opportunity to mourn our sins…to know His comfort…and to be like the unattractive Jesus.

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