Tag: Jesus

Batman and Jesus

Mother Teresa. Corrie ten Boom. Eric Liddell.

Parents, first responders, Sunday School teachers.

These names come to mind when I consider the question,“Who is your hero?

When my sponsored child from Mexico responded to the same question, I couldn’t help but smile. Angel’s response? Batman and Jesus. What a great answer! I love the honesty of this precious 8-year-old boy.

Batman and Jesus are the ultimate dynamic duo. I understand the connection in Angel’s mind. Both are good guys; both battle evil.

When I was 8-years-old, Batman and Robin were my heroes. I grew up watching the original Batman TV series that debuted in 1966. My still-treasured Robin mug is evidence of a slight crush on Batman’s sidekick. Together they battled crime and defended Gotham City from the villains. Good always prevailed over evil in each weekly episode.

I discovered the other half of this dynamic duo on my knees in a college dorm room. I recognized my need to be rescued by the True and Holy Hero.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Psalm 51; 3, 4 (NIV)

Today’s headlines cause me to believe evil is winning the battle. But in His Word, I am reminded my Hero holds evil’s short leash.

It is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. Romans 14:11 (NIV)

In the end, Good wins. My Hero, Jesus, says so. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess.

In January, I travel to meet Angel in Mexico. I’ll kneel beside his wheelchair and surprise him with a Batman t-shirt and a Spanish Bible. Gifts to honor his heroes: Batman and Jesus.

Much of what happens in our world is evil and bad, but God specializes in bringing good out of it. ~Rick Warren

Jesus in a box

Maria and Carlos and their two children live on a hillside outside Santiago, Dominican Republic. Their home is pieced together with thin boards. Wide gaps allow sunbeams as well as thunderstorms to enter. This family of four share a bed under a simple tin roof.

Samuel lives with his sick grandmother in a Maasai village near Arusha, Tanzania. My eyes worked to adjust to the darkness inside their hut. The guide asked if I would pray for this woman as we knelt beside her bed. How soon would Samuel be alone in this world?

Home visits are the heartbeat of Compassion trips. Stepping into homes, shrinks my world and humbles my soul. I observe the challenging living conditions of children and I am forever changed.

At the end of each home visit, a box is presented to the family containing staples such as rice, beans, and cooking oil. Items to fill their shelves and their stomachs.

Following a home visit in Tanzania, I walked to the bus with Pastor Joseph. I chattered about the box and how it blessed the family. He responded it wasn’t about the contents of the box, but the love behind the box. The box reminds the family they are loved. The box is a love gift: Jesus in a box.

Jesus visited people’s homes. He sat, ate, and loved people in their familiar surroundings. The Christ-centeredness of Compassion is demonstrated with every box presented. Jesus in a box exemplifies Compassion’s mission: Food to fill their stomach given with love in Jesus’ Name provides hope for their soul.

When they unwrap Jesus in cardboard, families experience love and blessings. They see Jesus. I witnessed this Spirit-fueled phenomena with Maria and Carlos. In the presence of their two children, they prayed to receive Jesus into their hearts.

Jesus came out of the box and entered their hearts.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

 

dirty hands

I spent most of my childhood years dirty. My childhood farm offered many opportunities for play and work.

In the summertime, my sisters and I spent hours creating play houses in the cows’ pasture. We used shovels and rakes to assist with construction. The limestone rock outcroppings functioned as the foundation and we added misshapen tree branches or rocks as furniture. A flat rock served as a table or chair. A tree branch doubled as a coat rack. Our imaginations knew no limit.

Summertime also involved plenty of work. The sweet corn and potato fields required weeding and hoeing. The rows seemed to go on forever. Baling hay,  feeding cows, and picking vegetables kept us busy and dirty too.

Saturday evenings promised bath time. Time to get clean for Sunday church. The dirt from playing and working washed away leaving a brown ring around our cast iron bath tub. Washing allowed the clean to shine through.

Jesus, Creator of the Universe,  rolled up His sleeves and got His hands dirty too.

 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. John 9:6 NIV

Dirt plus spit equals mud. Messy and dirty mud. Jesus knew opening eyes and changing lives sometimes required dirt and spit.

Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. John 9:7 NIV

Washing removed the dirt allowing the True Light to shine through.

 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. John 9:38 NIV

Jesus’ dirty hands along with His bloodstained hands on the cross granted the man sight and eternal life. Eyes opened and sins forgiven.

My Saturday night bath began a 24-hour window of temporary cleanliness. A new adventure loomed for me on Monday morning. But this man found eternal cleanliness by uttering three words, “Lord, I believe.” 

All because Jesus loved and got His hands dirty.

 

 

 

 

 

just a touch

She knew it would only take a touch, just a quick one. She was determined and she was desperate. Who wouldn’t be desperate? Enduring a bleeding disease for 12 long years would test my patience and my sanity.

How do you describe the feeling of  ‘beyond hopeless’? What does life look like when you are standing on the brink of complete despair?  Shyam Balami lost his house in Nuwakot, a village at the foothills of the Himalayas, during the ‘Great Quake’ in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Shyam thought he had nothing left to lose. But he was wrong. A powerful aftershock, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2015, struck and destroyed the temporary shack he had built out of salvaged materials to provide some sort of basic shelter for his wife and two children. It collapsed around him, shattering his right leg. “I don’t feel scared any more. I have nothing left to lose.”

Maybe that was the bleeding woman’s mindset too. “I am not scared because I have nothing left to lose.” So she waited.  The rumor was that Jesus was coming this direction. He healed people and she needed healing. Just a touch. Undaunted, she pushed and shoved her way through the male-dominated crowd. The nasty, degrading remarks didn’t faze her.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The crowd noise began to crescendo. He was here! But she quickly lost sight of Jesus as He was swallowed up by the swarm. Everyone wanted something from Him; her included. A look, a word, or a touch.

She was on a healing mission and she would not be denied. So she maneuvered her way towards Him; straining, stretching, and struggling. Three steps forward; five steps backward. She reminded herself, “I have nothing left to lose.” Low on energy due to her condition, she fought her way into the mass of humanity. Just a touch. “I don’t need to touch Him. Just a brief touch of His clothing will do. Quickly and no one will notice.”

But He noticed. Jesus knew the instant she touched His clothing. Her game plan didn’t include getting caught or being noticed or getting called out by Jesus. But I doubt that she cared because she had been healed! Instantaneously and miraculously. She experienced a feeling that she hadn’t felt for 12 long and agonizing years: wholeness.  Falling at His feet, she confessed. “It was me.” And Jesus was very pleased. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

She was healed and she was praised in front of those who had treated her as a sickly nobody.  Her simple but brave faith was recognized before the crowd by none other than the King of Kings. I imagine her feet never touched the ground on her way home following this Holy encounter.

Don’t all of us just need a daily touch from Jesus? I know I do. Some days it is a touch for physical healing. Some days it is a touch for mental peace. “Calm me down, Lord.” Many days my marriage needs a touch. Other days, my finances or my family. Many parts of me needing many touches from Him.

Some days are answered with His gentle healing touch. Other days, He leans in and whispers, “My grace is sufficient for you, Krista. For My power is made perfect in weakness.” Now go in peace, my beloved daughter.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

Photo credit: Mural from Encounter Church

 

fixer upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines are remodeling pros on the TV show, “Fixer Upper”. They save homes that look hopeless by renovating the imperfections. In the end, they reveal the home as  it always intended to be: beautiful.

I was a self-anointed “fixer upper”.  I identified people, usually those closest to me, who were in desperate need of help; my help, my fixing-up.  As project manager,  I had identified what needed to be renovated. Let’s gut this and get rid of all of that!image

I scribbled lots of remodeling notes for all my “projects” during the messages at church. My always-critical mind was at work. Yes, ________ would benefit from this.  Yes, this would really help __________.   Yes, this will finally get through to _________. Praise, Jesus!

But when I excitedly arrived at the job site with the must-do renovations, I was met with resistance and anger and tears. Again and again. Over and over. Something’s not working. Why isn’t this working? Why won’t they listen to me? I am sharing because I care. I am nagging because I care. I am talking very loudly and demonstratively because I care. Dang it! Can’t they tell how much I care?

It all seemed so clear to me.  If they would  just listen to my remodeling suggestions and fix the obvious problems, then life would be better. Isn’t that what we all want? The better life of rainbows and puppies down on easy street. What was broken; would now be fixed. What was outdated; would now be new. Everything would be better, at least from my perspective. This seemed like a very Jesus-like thing to do; helping others to a better life. Didn’t Jesus want me to help others?

Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. According to his definition, I qualify for the insanity diagnosis. I have been doing the “fixer upper” thing over and over again with no new results. Just the same strained, awkward, and broken relationships and a large bump on my head from beating it against a wall.

Not only were my “projects” in misery, so was I. Peace was nowhere to be found but weariness was everywhere. I needed “self-renovation”. I needed a DIY on myself. The nearest, dearest people around me had become projects to be managed; instead of people to be loved.

Thankfully, God provided His perfect blueprint.  He reminded me of our roles. My job was not as a fixer upper; my job was to love and keep on loving. Simply love others as He loves me.  I can’t change or fix people; only He can. That’s His job; He’s the foreman.

Jesus just loved people. He was always loving. He loved while walking and talking to people. He loved while hanging on the cross.

So I am putting away my tool belt.  There are apologies that need to be said and love that needs to be given. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus and the only renovating project I see is the one reflected in His Loving Eyes: me.

We can’t tell people to come as they are, but insist they change before they arrive. People grow where they are loved. Bob Goff

 

Let’s Walk Worthy!

Photo credit: maxwellinterior.com

 

 

walking the line

“I Walk the Line” was a song written and recorded in 1956 by Johnny Cash. It became his first number one hit on the Billboard charts. Cash was newly married at the time, and the song was meant to be a pledge of devotion to his first wife, Vivian.

I am walking a line.  I think each of us are walking a line of some kind, whether we realize it or not; whether we want to admit it or not. I want the line that I walk everyday to be representative of my pledge of devotion to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. An invisible line is a difficult line to walk; it’s hard to follow something that you can’t see. Most days I proceed ever so cautiously; teetering and hesitating like trying to traverse a high wire in bulky boots without a net.

What is my line? It’s a line attempting to be “in” the world but not be “of” the world.

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19 (NIV)

Later in John 17:16 when Jesus is praying for His disciples prior to His arrest, He says, “They are not part of this world any more than I am.” (TLB)

But how does that play out in real life? How do I put skin on that? I think it means, at least for me, to do more helping and less harping. More loving and less lecturing. Putting my arms around people more and  pointing my finger at them less.image

Jesus walked the line perfectly. God, Three-In-One, walked the line to the manger, He walked the line while living on  this imperfect earth for 33 years and then He walked the line to the Cross. Totally blameless and sinless, He walked the line.

He was all Holy and God. He loved everyone.  He loves everyone, present tense.  He doesn’t love all my thoughts and actions; but He loves me. I want the people who cross my line throughout the day to see God’s Amazing Grace and Love in me.

My line just gets blurry at times. When the conversations at the hair salon turn to gossip, can I stay on my line?  When my Lord’s precious Name is used in vain, where is my line then? When no one is looking, am I navigating my line so that my thoughts and actions are total honoring God? Lots to work on here for me.

You’ve got a way to keep me on your side. You give me cause for love that I can’t hide. For you know I’d even try to turn the tide. Because you’re mine, I walk the line. ~ Johnny Cash 

I’ll keep walking my line and hope you will join me!

Have a Blessed Easter!

Let’s Walk Worthy!

 

March Gladness

Charles Dickens said it best about March’s changeable weather.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” used to describe the beginning and end of this unpredictable month. Besides the whimsical weather-related sayings associated with this month, March has a lot going on throughout its 31 days.

If you are into astronomy, you aware that the March equinox on the 20th is the astronomical beginning of SPRING in the northern hemisphere. If your strong suit is health awareness, you may be excited about bringing awareness to the American Red Cross and Multiple Sclerosis throughout March. Don’t forget about World Kidney Day on the second Thursday! If you are Irish, March 17th is your day to shine green! Erin go Bragh!

There are some very famous March babies too:  Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Dr. Seuss, Albert Einstein, and Alexander Graham Bell.

If you follow college basketball, this is YOUR MONTH. Whether you spend hours upon hours researching facts and figures to complete your bracket, or you take a more light-hearted approach and make your picks based on the cuteness-factor of the mascot or the color of a team’s uniform; it is all part of the Madness. March Madness. That term was first used in 1939 by Henry V. Porter, a high school basketball coach in Illinois. Boy, if Henry had a nickel for every time that phrase was used today!

The whittled-down Sweet Sixteen teams will play on March 24 and 25. Then the Elite Eight will follow on March 26 and 27. By this time, your bracket will have been tossed in the trash or your homework will have paid off and your team will still be alive and dribbling. Some will be glad; many will be mad. Again, all part of the Madness.

But on the weekend of March 25-27, I invite you to join me in celebrating March Gladness. No matter how your team has fared in the Madness, circle this weekend for some celebratory March Gladness!

My gladness has nothing to do with a bracket or wins/losses or who’s in/who’s out. My March Gladness is because my best friend willingly died on the cross for me. He did that because He is so in love with me. He died for you too! Yeah, He loves us that much. That is Holy Madness!

That jagged, wooden cross caused Him unimaginable pain and a horribly brutal death.  He suffered for what I did yesterday, and what I did today, and all that I will do tomorrow and for all my remaining days. He allowed His Blood to flow from that ugly cross down onto the ground to cover all the crap in my life. I am not glad that He had to suffer so deeply for me; but I am very glad that I serve a SaviorthH92HM729 who was willing to suffer for me.

My Gladness for His willingness to free me through His Pain should shine through my life every single day that I have breath in my lungs. My gladness for being stamped “Debt Paid” should resonate by the way I interact with people and how I live my life.

No, I am not glad about His Pain. But I am very glad that by His Pain I have been set Free. That is my March Gladness.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

Photo Credit: youthdownsouth.org

 

 

A Pretty Big But

What’s that? nemo
I know what that is. Sandy Plankton saw one. He called it… uh… he said it was called a “butt”.
That’s a pretty big butt. 

 

 

When you are driving alone for 8 hours, you have a lot of time to think and to listen to music. My CD player was locked and loaded.

Newsboys (my preference is “old” with Peter Furler), Abba ( 2 words: Dancing Queen), Fleetwood Mac (no explanation needed), Bee Gees (sometimes you just need to hear some falsetto), Downhere (can’t beat Marc Martel’s uncanny vocal resemble to Queen’s Freddie Mercury), and Sidewalk Prophets (recently saw them in concert).  On standby was ELO and Celine Dion. Eclectic mix but I stayed awake!

That is a pretty big BUT.  “I am the sweat from your brow, BUT You love me anyway.” A really gigantic BUT. There’s more…..

IMG_6470

Everyday I screw up and everyday Jesus’ response is, “BUT I love you, Krista, anyway.” Did I already stain my 2016 clean slate?  Yes! Did I already allow unwholesome words to come out of my mouth (see previous post, “Build”)? Yes!  BUT He loves me anyway.

“I ( Krista) am the nail in your wrist, BUT You love me anyway.”  I caused Him pain, I betrayed Him,  and I nailed Him to the cross. His response? BUT He Loves me anyway!

That is a pretty  (insert all the synonyms for “big”) colossal, hefty, immense, huge, gigantic, mammoth, jumbo, oversize, whopping………..  BUT.

On this fresh, New Year, there is great Freedom and amazing Grace in knowing  when I  ____________________; But He loves me anyway.

It cost Jesus His life to be able to offer this to you and to me. This is serious. I am very grateful and deeply humbled by these words replaying in my head. I will keep hitting rewind.  I need to be reminded everyday of His Ultimate Sacrifice and the pretty big BUT.

Photo Credit: Disney’s, “Finding Nemo