Archive | December 2012

embracing new life

“We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:2-4

Many of us have an innate dislike of change in our lives – especially when not much is known about what is coming. We tend to prefer our familiar circumstances even when the change might lead to something much more wonderful so I’m still amazed when I recall how Adina wholeheartedly embraced her new life when we adopted her.
She was just 3 years old and had spent her entire life in a threadbare orphanage in a small town in Romania when we came to get her. The staff seemed to genuinely care for the multitude of small children under their care but there was no money for anything beyond basic needs. The little that they did have was entirely communal. Adina owned nothing she could call her own – not even a pair of shoes. As far as I could tell, her entire world up to the day we came for her existed within the walls and fenced yard of the orphanage. She spoke no English (and we spoke no Romanian) and she had never seen us before in her life. Despite all this, she met us on the steps outside with hugs and kisses as if she’d been waiting for us all her life. She happily gave us a tour of the facility but she clearly was ready to go. She cried when we asked her to pose for a picture on her little bed – she was afraid if she took a nap we’d leave without her. When the time came to leave, she went with us out the gate smiling and never looked back. She wouldn’t tell us the names of any of her friends from the orphanage except for a boy who was adopted at the same time she was. She refused even to speak the language when we got home and a lady in our town who spoke Romanian wanted to talk to her. She fully, completely, and forever left her old life behind and embraced the new life we’d given her.
Spiritually, we should all be like Adina in embracing our new lives in Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, we put to death our old, sinful self. When we put our old, sinful, selfish life to death, we should stop speaking the language of the world and living in accordance with the world’s standards. We should leave it behind as completely as Adina left her early life in Romania behind.
Devotional and photo bEmbracing New Lifey Bob McCoy

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fairest

lizfair
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown. Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing. Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heav’n can boast. All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me. Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine.

Hymn Fairest lord Jesus By Joseph A. Seiss, 1873
Photo by Elizabeth Pike

blessed

chrlblessed
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …
Deuteronomy 28:1

Photo by Cheryl Cook

soar

SoarBut those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

While driving near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee last winter we came across a fascinating chain saw carving business. The sculptures were some of the biggest I had ever seen. Many were carved and painted in trees on the property way above our heads. I spotted them out of the corner of my eye as we drove by and my husband lovingly did a U-turn so we could go back and investigate. It was a fun little detour in our day. My husband and I, camera in hand got out to get a closer look. Our son who is not real steady on his feet and unsure of himself in new surroundings opted to stay in the van. The shop was closed and we never saw the carver but we saw the fruits of his labor. There was a giant dragonfly, a hummingbird, huge flowers, bears and butterflies. My son has always been fascinated with Eagles and as we got back in the van he said, Pretty Eagle. I looked around and didn’t see any eagle carvings so I figured he was just wishing to see an eagle. As we were pulling away from the shop, on the other side of the road I saw the Eagle. It was near the entrance sign apart from the other carvings. I looked over at my husband and with a smile he made another U-turn and we turned back for a final photograph. Even in a carving the Eagle was stately and majestic.

Isaiah used the strength and stamina of eagles to explain how we can receive strength from God in Isaiah 40: 29-31. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”. The key to having the strength and stamina of an eagle is placing your hope in the Lord. Hope in God is not based on our situation; it shouldn’t change with our circumstances and is much more than wishful thinking. In our ever changing and unpredictable world God’s hope is certain and secure. Make God your hope and begin to soar like an eagle.

Lord, I put my hope in you. I trust you to strengthen and renew me. Thank you for supplying all my needs. Amen.

Devotional and photo by Marge McCoy