Monthly Archives: December 2016

Eight Pounds of Lavish

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“Is there anything you need from the store?” John asked, as he put on his coat.
“Umm…yes…I need powdered sugar to frost these.” I said, eyeing the three dozen baked gingerbread cookies sitting on the counter. “A one-pound package will be more than enough.”

He came back with eight pounds of powdered sugar.

This is typical of my husband. We’ve been through this before:
“I’ll never use a pound of sage before it goes bad.”
“Five dozen eggs for the two of us, REALLY?!”
“What am I going to do with three pounds of butter?” (Make more cookies, of course.)

His “more is better” motto used to annoy me.
But then I started thinking, “Okay, maybe he’s not being practical, but he IS being lavish.” I’ve never heard him say, “Let me see your grocery receipt- you spent too much (even when I did).” And never, ever once has he said in forty-three years, “We can’t afford to pay tithe this month.” Even when there was no steady income, he’s given generously to the Lord and others, and I’ve been a happy recipient all these years, so why make a big deal over the pallet of toilet paper rolls?” It’s not like THAT will go unused.
Anyway, as I was looking for a place to put the seven pounds of extra powdered sugar, I started thinking about this lavish spending. Isn’t that what God has done for us? James 1 says God gives wisdom lavishly to those who ask for it- not eking it out according to I.Q. or our most recent performance. He gives generously, without finding fault.
And what about mercy? Jesus never says, “But I just gave you some yesterday.” No, “His mercies are new every morning” – fresh brewed, fragrant and ready upon our awakening.
In addition, the more we give out what He’s given, the more lavishly He gives as we’re told in Luke 6:38:
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
We are recipients of one lavish gift after another- just a quick study of creation tells us He didn’t scrimp on what He made, but made lavishly, colorfully, beautifully and tenderly.

Was there ANYTHING practical, anything BUT LAVISH about God coming in newborn-size to a barn, flanked by a bunch of filthy animals- and a few four-footed creatures as well.

The powdered sugar will eventually run out, but until then, it will be a reminder of God’s impractical and lavish love every time I see it next to the case of root beer stashed under my couch.
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If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

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A Christmas Song

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“Long lay the girl, in sin and error, pining…”
I’ve personalized this phrase from my favorite Christmas song, “Oh Holy Night”, because I’m quite familiar with sin and error. They cling to me like socks fresh from the dryer.
Sin- the bad things I do, and the good things I don’t do.
Error- the stuff I make up in my head, and decide is true, simply because I’m the one thinking it, and, well- because it’s easier than facing THE Truth- (see sin and error above).
“In sin and error, pining…”
Pining, according to the dictionary, is “the slow ebbing away of vitality, both physically and mentally, from grief, regret, or longing”.
My own experience of pining can be described as a sickening sense of inward ugliness. Like my soul eternally suffering P.M.S.
“…’Til He appeared.” The song is speaking of the birth of Jesus, but He appeared to me, too, or His Holy Spirit did. He was always there, but He wasn’t apparent until I acknowledged my utter lack of ability to do things right; or even sort-of do things like a normal person (which, by the way, is an urban legend. There is no “normal”. See “sin and error” above). It’s like I’d spent all my years hunched over a spilled box of assorted nuts, bolts, and mechanical parts, trying to piece together life, and discovering my screws weren’t loose, they were missing altogether. I needed help, I needed HIM. The other definition of “pining” is a yearning or longing. Like really, really wanting HIM-not as merely an assistant for putting together an “Easy To Assemble! No Tools Required! ” Life, but ALL HE IS. My life in exchange for His.
I still sin and I still err. But I no longer pine. He’s the package deal and when I took hold of Him, He took hold of me, and my “soul felt His worth.”
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Matt. 11:28-30
“Come to me, you who are weary and over-burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous-ness.

Rom. 10:9
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Mark 9:24
Jesus said to him, “All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”