Last one

Well, this will be the last post on this site. I’ve learned a lot but it’s time for the final switch. Come on over and join me on the journey at susansage.com Love to see you there. God bless.

New Site

Well, it has finally happened. I have a new web page/blog site. I can now be found at susansage.com Come on over and check it out. I hope you decide to follow me on the new site. There is a place there for you to follow. See you there.

News, news, news

I am in the process of building a new website/blog. As soon as it is up and running I will let you know so you can join me and follow at the new site. Thanks for your patience. God bless

The Magnitude of Sin, the Magnitude of Love

Recently, a friend and I were talking about a passage of Scripture that she had been reading.  It was the passage from Luke 7 where Jesus was in the home of Simon, the Pharisee, and a woman was there who had washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  She didn’t stop kissing His feet.  She poured perfume on His feet. 

Simon questioned why Jesus would allow this woman to do all of this because she was known as a woman who had lived a sinful life.  Jesus told Simon a parable about forgiveness and then He reminded Simon of all this woman had done to show her love for Him since He came into the home. 

He then went on to say, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 

Sometimes we as believers, or Christians, or Christ followers, or by whatever name you identify with Christ, have a tendency to rate sin.  We think that certain sins are “bigger” or “worse” or “more serious”.  We think that murder outweighs lying, or maybe infidelity outweighs gossip, or who knows, maybe slander outweighs dishonesty.  But, James 2 says that a person who doesn’t keep the whole law is guilty of breaking all of the law.  In other words, there is no innocence just because I broke a “little” law rather than a “big” law…there is no difference. 

I don’t think Jesus was saying that I can’t love until I’ve sinned “big time”.  I think what He was saying was that until I grasp the magnitude of my sin and what even one of my sins caused Jesus to do, I cannot grasp the magnitude of God’s love for me and thus I cannot fully love Him for all He did.  

“Dear Lord, God, for Your great love may I always be massively thankful.  Thank-You for Your great forgiveness.  May I live in it and walk in the power of it today.  May I love as You would love, what more can I do, Father.  To You be all glory.”

When God Doesn’t Do…

There are a lot of things for which I am thankful.  There are a lot of words to describe God…though I don’t believe any of them do Him justice and though there are words like “logical” that just don’t describe God, in my opinion.    I am thankful for so many of His characteristics.  I am thankful for so many things that He has done.  I am thankful for the things that He will find pleasure in doing.

But, I wonder, am I thankful for what He will not do?  I heard a pastor speak on this once some time ago but had forgotten until I was reading in Matthew 11 this morning.  Verse 6 says, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”  Jesus was going place to place, and in His words, giving the blind their sight, causing the lame to walk, curing those with leprosy, bringing hearing back to the deaf, raising the dead, and preaching the good news to the poor.  These people were delighted because of what Jesus did.  But He’s saying here, basically, those who don’t fall away because of what He doesn’t do are blessed.

He didn’t get John out of prison, and later he was beheaded.  He sent His disciples into a storm, He didn’t keep them from it.  He didn’t turn the stones into bread when He was tempted nor did He cause the nails to slip through His body without pain.  There are things He doesn’t do.

It’s when He doesn’t heal, or doesn’t rescue, or doesn’t “fix it”, or doesn’t answer the prayer just as we think He “should”, or doesn’t do whatever we think He “should” do, and we continue to walk with Him and praise Him, then there is a blessing to be received.  One of my sisters once told me that though it took faith to be healed, sometimes it took more faith to walk through the illness, pain, suffering, difficult times, and keep trusting.  Maybe she had read this verse : )

I am blessed in so many ways because I know He is carrying me through, because I trust His sovereignty, because when nothing looks right, or seems logical, that’s when peace moves in, because I believe that one day, if it still matters, He’ll tell me or show me why He didn’t do what He didn’t do.

“Today, dear Father, may I be blessed in however You do or don’t do.  When fear arises, please cover it with Your peace, when the storm is raging, calm me with the reminder of Your everlasting presence, when the night is dark and the pain is long, show me those brilliant stars that You created that can only be seen in the darkest night, and wrap me in the strength of Your love.  I love You, Lord.”

When God is in Charge

We all have them.  Days of happiness, days of joy, days of excitement, days of wonder, days of laughter, days of pleasure, days of wonderful memories.  And then there are other days.  Days of sadness, days of pain, days of disappointment, days of bewilderment, days of heartache, days of frustration or discouragement.  We’ve all had both of those days.  If you live in this world, and if you’re reading this, you do, then there will be good days and there will be hard days.

But, what do we do with them?

Let’s face it.  God is always in charge.  But, when we don’t allow Him to be in charge things just seem to go on the “hard day” side more often.  When we don’t allow Him to be in charge in our lives, then what’s good does not have the “extra” behind it to make it great.  When we understand what it means to let God be in charge, then there is an extra thankfulness behind the good memories, there is a depth to the happiness and joy that isn’t there otherwise.  Excitement and wonder become even greater when we see things through the eyes and hands of the Creator. 

But, when we fail to give God His rightful place-what is difficult is even moreso. 

Days of sadness can be turned into counting my blessings, when God is in charge.

Days of pain can be turned into days of prayer for others who are in pain, when God is in charge.

Days of disappointment can become days of earnest prayer for the one who caused the disappointment, when God is in charge.

Days of heartache and discouragement and frustration and bewilderment can become times of seeking new direction and purpose and focus when God is in charge.

When God is in charge, I admit that I am not.  I can’t change anyone.  I can’t really even change myself.  Only God can bring timely long lasting change.  When God is in charge, there is always reason to have hope.  There is always reason to be patient for His work in His time.  There is always the peace that He’s not finished with any of us yet and He will continue to accomplish all He set out to do. (Philippians 1:6).

“Dear God, Even on the toughest day, help me “let” You be in charge in my life.  Even on the days when I feel like I’m at the end of  my rope, help me remember that You are on the other end and are not going to let go.  When things seem to go awry, help me not to take over and try to “fix” things but to pray and wait on You to do what only You can do.  That way, You receive the glory and that’s my deepest desire.  Work in me I pray.”

 

It All Changed One Night

In Luke 2, I read that there was a census called for by Caesar Augustus.  As I read this the thought struck me that he was a part of God’s sovereignty.  Oh, he had his “own” reasons for calling for this census…he wanted money. He wanted prominence and status to know how many people were under his rule.  He wanted to know how many people “owed him”. But, the fact is that God used this non-believing, at times self-centered individual, to fulfill prophecy from Micah 5:1-2.  God’s sovereignty reigned then as it reigns now.

Then I read of Joseph.   I love Joseph.   This man was obviously a law-abiding citizen because when the census was called, he did what was expected of him and took his pledged wife with him to be registered in Bethlehem.   According to research, not everyone did.   Joseph had already “accepted” Mary to be his wife, according to Matthew 1:24, but they weren’t brought together as husband and wife until after the birth of Jesus so lawfully, she didn’t even have to go with him.  But, she went.   Joseph was not only, a law-abiding citizen but a God-fearing man.  We read in Matthew 1 that once he found out that Mary was expecting a child, he was willing to quietly end the betrothal but not have her stoned.  Then the angel intervened in a dream and gave him the news that would change his life forever.  This baby that Mary was carrying the One who would be the Savior of the world.  He would be the earthly father of the anticipated Messiah.  He would raise this child until the Child would raise him.  Joseph did what God called him to do.

Then I read of the angel and then angels who declared God’s glory.  First was the one all alone.  Then came the others to share in the news.  Isn’t this how it is with us at times.  There are times it feels like we are all alone.  No one else sees what we see.  We’ve learned something and we wonder if in sharing it with another, they will see and understand.  But, we declare it…what God has done…what He is doing.  And suddenly, we are not alone.

The rest of the angels showed up!  They were proclaiming the glory of God to the highest.  They declared the peace of God on those on “whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).  This idea of God’s favor resting on someone is very similar to the idea of those on whom He takes delight.  This is the same idea that we find in I Samuel 15:22 where we are told the LORD delights in obedience over sacrifice.  God’s peace comes to those who are obedient to Him and delight in doing as He desires for them. 

I think the angels understood this idea.  Some time before, there had been a battle in the heavens. At that time Satan and his followers were thrown out of heaven because they would not follow God.  Those who stayed were those who understood that following God was what would bring true peace.  Now, they declared this to these normal, everyday shepherds who were in the fields.  They understood the enormity of what Jesus was doing and the peace it would bring to mankind.

As I read about the shepherds the wonder and amazement they must have felt brings a smile to my face and a depth of envy to my heart.  They left their “normal” life and went where they would not “normally” have gone…to see a newborn baby…but not just ANY baby,  They were to be the first to see the long awaited Christ-child.  I wonder what it was like for these smelly, dirty, tired men to come into this dwelling of new life.  They were the first, outside of the baby’s parents, to see this precious little One.  Do you suppose they fell on their faces?  Do you suppose they knelt?  Do you suppose they pushed at each other to get a closer look?  Do you suppose they dared to ask to hold this gift of God? 

I don’t know that I could have asked to hold Him.  Oh, I love holding babies but THIS child I would have felt too unworthy to hold.  Yet it is because of Him…He made me worthy to be held by Him.  Because of this baby I can now kneal before HIm.  The shepherds then left “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” (Luke 2:20

And then, there is Mary.

Mary, who was called “favored” (Luke 1:30) by God. Mary, who willingly obeyed what she could not understand because she trusted the One who spoke.  Mary, who selflessly gave herself to care for the One who would care for the world.  Mary, who humbly said “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)  Mary, who “treasured” what had happened around her and “pondered” those things in her heart.

This year I saw anew the gifts God gave to those who were wiling to follow His lead. 

“Dear Lord, God, Thank-You for opening my eyes anew to the amazing, incredibly things that happened in and to our world so many nights ago.  May I never lose sight of what You did and who You gave.  May I forever treasure and ponder Your great love and Your mighty works.    May I always be willing to obey, proclaim, share, follow, glorify and to praise You.  You are the best gift I have ever received and will ever know.  Merry Christmas, Father.”

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