A buried bulb

We are giving amaryllis bulbs for Easter this year.  I couldn’t help but notice the deep symbolism.

It sure doesn’t look like much.  In fact, it looks dead.  Kind of like us.

“Though outwardly we are wasting away” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

The planting instructions say to put it in lukewarm water for a few hours and then bury it up to its neck.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed” (John 12: 24).

Drowned in water and buried up to the neck.  That sounds familiar.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

But Jesus has been there before us.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5).

It was the submission of Jesus to the grave that won our eternal life.

“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 6:4).

Now Jesus is with us when we are drowned and buried.  We are not alone.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

And in the process we die.  We surrender our goals and dreams at the cross.  Our seed dies.

“But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).

And he takes our “wasting away” outward man, our trials and afflictions, our unmet needs, our surrendered dreams, and makes something beautiful.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

Will you surrender to him and let him do this work in you?

“Podded up”

World on Campus posts an article about the Millennial Generation, from a study done of incoming college freshman.  The study describes them as “more selfish, less interested in the well-being of others and less concerned about the environment than previously thought.”

As a high school teacher of only 12 years, and teaching kids who are so different culturally than myself, it’s difficult for me to say whether my experience confirms these findings.  I have taught some amazing students over the years, but am certainly in touch with the fact that they, like me, are sinners.

But this paragraph caught my attention:

Gordon, however, attributes the Millennial Generation’s lack of involvement to digital media, which many thought would make today’s youth the most broad-minded, thoughtful, intelligent generation ever. Instead, it has arrested their development, Gordon said: “When they are ‘podded up’ they do not hear adult conversations. When in a room with adults, they are texting other adolescents who are not present. They are stuck in childhood, because they have so little acquaintance with adults and adult concerns.”

The more experience I get, the more I am convinced that, next to a relationship with Jesus, contact with thoughtful adults is what kids and adolescents need most.  Occasionally when I discuss issues of family and parenting in my high school classes, I am repeatedly amazed by a certain dynamic.  This dynamic happens so frequently that it seems like there is a 100% correlation.  Here is is:

In most classes, there are typically a small group of students (2-6?) that just have something the others don’t.  It’s not necessarily intelligence.  It’s not simply social skills. It’s more than just relational awareness.  It includes politeness and good character.  It’s a bit hard to describe.  But I am drawn to them.  They are more confident and often have more leadership ability.  I trust them.  So already knowing who these students are, I often ask a question of the class: “Who has strict parents who are involved in your lives?”  (By “strict” I don’t mean angry or abusive, and I clarify that.)  Guess who almost always raises their hands?  You got it.  The correlation is striking.  The impact of time spent with thoughtful adults may be the most powerful dynamic I see in the high school classroom.

The WasteLand

In The Dream Giver, Bruce Wilkinson writes about the WasteLand: that time after you have pushed through fear and opposition and are ready to make your dream a reality, but failure or setbacks occur instead.

The WasteLand does not happen because God isn’t paying attention, or because he’s angry at us. It doesn’t happen because we have sinned (although we can lengthen our time there).

Instead, the WasteLand happens for a good and important reason: it is an invaluable season of preparation. It is the place where God transforms you into the person who can do your Dream.

Lord, give me the wisdom to invite you even into my failures. To know that failure does not mean loss in your kingdom economy, because you redeem everything. In Jesus’ name.

The Dream Giver

In The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, he writes about courage being not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of fear.

When you do act in courage, you discover that fear doesn’t have to stop you.  You see that what you thought were your limits are more like starting points. (p. 94).

Lord, may I have the courage to press through fear to the starting points of the next step in the dream you have given me! 

The Caleb Prayer for Hacienda Heights

O High King of heaven,
Have mercy on Hacienda Heights.
Revive your Church;
Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children.
May your kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus’ mighty name.
Amen

From Ffald-y-Brenin, a conference center in Wales, that has seen God’s amazing outpouring, as documented in The Grace Outpouring.  This prayer is being used around the globe to ask the Lord to bring revival.  The words are not magic, but God is faithful to answer the prayer of his beloved ones.  Would you pray this with me for Hacienda Heights?  For your community?

The Esther Call

Please pray for The Esther Call.    Pray for hope and healing for the victims of abortion.  Lord, bring repentance and healing to our nation!

Watch the video:

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Pray for the Esther Call Prayer Walk.

HT:  Conservative Educator

Strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:3-6:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

From the study notes of The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible:

Strongholds are first established in the mind; that is why we are to take every thought captive.  Behind a stronghold is also a lie—a place of personal bondage where God’s word has been subjugated to any unscriptural idea or personally confused belief that is held to be true.  Behind every lie is a fear, and behind every fear is an idol.  Idols are established where there exists a failure to trust in the provisions of God that are ours through Jesus Christ…

Here is an example:  If we make an idol of financial security, we have fears over not having enough money, and we believe the lie that we must abandon other priorities to earn as much as possible.

Or, if we make an idol of our spouse (believing they will meet our most significant needs), then we are afraid of being unhappy when they can’t/don’t meet our needs, so we believe lies like we have to manipulate them to get them to behave like we want them to.  Or we believe the lie that if they aren’t “making us happy” that we can never be happy, and believe that we face a choice of only divorce or unhappiness (as opposed to finding our joy in the Lord and his provision for us).

One of the greatest joys of doing deliverance ministry is forcing demons to tell their hosts what lies they have been feeding them over the years.  Watching the realization in the eyes of those being ministered to that they are not worthless, or it wasn’t their fault—that the tape recordings that have been playing in their minds all that time were lies of the enemy—is priceless.  To watch them get freedom and know they are loved by God is one of the greatest treasures in this life.  Thank you Jesus.

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