Throughout the Bible, we see that God’s greatest gift, His greatest blessing for His children, has always been His very presence…This is the true meaning of Christmas, Immanuel, God with us – He with us, and us with Him.
The promised land is supposed to flow with milk, honey, and have table grapes the size of small children. It is supposed to afford me rest after my slavery, exodus, and wandering. If THIS is my promised land, I have to be honest and tell you I want to go back to Egypt.
My problem wasn’t my litany of mom-fails; my problem was my misplaced identity. I’d been measuring my worth on a scale of everything but Jesus. Pinterest, Martha Stewart, the gluten-free Joneses…I was speeding on the expressway to fruitless living.
Our church recently finished reading Judges and what we saw over and over, and what is even said at the end of the book, was that “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25 NASB). When I read that, it seems eerily familiar. Familiar because that is true of the culture and mindset that we live in today. “Should I sleep with my boyfriend? Well, it seems like the right decision and he might dump me if I don’t, so sure.” “Should I say a crude joke to hang with the homies? I mean, it will make them laugh, and they’ll accept me and of course I want to be accepted, so I think I’ll do it.” “Do I gossip with my girlfriends about Jenny? Pointing out her flaws make me feel better about myself. But I make sure to end it with “bless her heart.” That totally makes it okay.” And the cycle continues. We do what is right in our eyes. We take matters into our own hands and don’t seek our All-Knowing Father for guidance.
While planning this 1 year “birthday celebration” we really wanted to bless you guys with something incredibly valuable, not only to help guide you through your own battles, but also to simply say thank you for blessing us in tremendous ways! In an effort to do so, over the last several months we have spent some serious time and energy preparing a fabulous gift for you. Consider this a labor of love and sincere thanks for your gracious support.
We are limited, finite people and when we get ensnared in the enemy’s falsehood that we are self-sufficient and self-sustaining we live as if we are all we need and do what we want to do. This autonomous mentality robs us of knowing the Sufficient One and His intended way of life. Our self-sustaining efforts hinder us from truly breathing life with gratitude and acknowledgment for the One who sustains us.
I’ll never forget the first time I performed a Christian fast as a new believer. I was on a mission trip in England and the leader called our team to fast together. Although I was a stranger to any sort of spiritual discipline, I was no stranger to going without food for a period of time. I was recently saved from a worldly lifestyle where I invested much time in my looks.
Running late, pressed to respond to texts, getting kids to and from practices and school, working, head in my phone, saying “uh-huh” to my family when I don’t event know what they’ve asked or said – much to my chagrin, this had become the norm. Even my sweet family’s subtleties in trying to explain this to me had not gotten through to my heart. Defensiveness, excuses, justification, and even laughing it off had been a way for me to escape admitting something needed to change. Until…