{ Paraphrased from Peter }

Surprised by suffering? 

Unless you caused it,

Fear not and be glad.

Fiery Trials? 

Embrace.

Rejoice.  Share

In Christ’s suffering.

Named as one of His followers, longing for heaven —

Glorifying God in it all.

—-

Easy to scrawl the words, harder to live out. All by God’s grace.” ~ Me

“Nobody likes 1 Peter 4:12-19!” — Pastor Troy Dobbs

“The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“When suffering, rise to the occasion. Do what the trial demands of you.” ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

“Why do you always have to cry?” ~ what my 12-year old son said to me after I listened to an uplifting sermon about suffering

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,

    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. — 1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV

Photo by Photo by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash

{ Dying Muscles}

People who love to exercise (and I’m guessing here) often start the day:

  • Running or Working Out
  • Hydrating
  • Eating protein for growth and power.
 bradley-wentzel-604970-unsplash
I am a Christian.
I’m fueling up and getting ready to exercise —
I’m going to exercise my “dying muscles.”
Today, I’m going to do what is harder than a marathon and more challenging than an Iron Woman race.
By the grace and power of God, I’m planning to die to myself.
This feat requires a morning run in prayer.
It takes Growth Food to give me power.
It takes starting every day reminding myself with the basics: “I am a Christian. This is what Christians do.”
It takes gumption and a whole lot of grace to exercise the dying muscles.
It’s easier to sit, veg, and morph into what is around me.
It requires supernatural strength to:
  • Die to myself and put others first.
  • Train my tongue muscles to obey me.
  • Keep running the Christian race.
  • Press on in my marriage.
  • Shun selfishness.
  • Look around and do unto others.
  • Love, love and love til it hurts.
I’m getting ready to die today to self-wishes and sin-centered choices.
Perhaps –like exercise– it gets easier the more I do it.
It won’t make me famous — only God will know.
Today, I’m going to do what is harder than a marathon and more challenging than an Iron Woman race.
In the grace and power of God, I’m going to exercise my dying muscles.
 
“I die every day!  What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus?  if the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning…”
I Corinthians 15:31-34
 
Photo credit:  Bradley Wentzel

{ What If ? }

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8,9

marc-olivier-jodoin-239619-unsplash

A baby boy was born into a loving family we know.  His first year was a roller coaster ride of surgeries and hospital stays. When he arrived home, each family member played a role in his everyday routine – and they served with joy.

This special~needs baby, with his explosive smile and simple cheerfulness drove any selfishness out of the home. What felt at first like an overwhelming challenge…had now become a blessing.

When unexpected circumstances surprise us, we often cringe and fuss. But what if we saw circumstances, events, and people – as God sees them?

  • What if the weakness of one child brings strength to the entire family?
  • What if, in serving an elderly parent, we have a taste of serving Jesus?
  • What if the most fragile members of the body of Christ show us God’s power?

We often see our loved ones, our neighbors, and other church members through our own limited eyes, and with our own sin-tainted, limited frame of reference. 

The way God works is far above our own plans.  His ways are higher.  His eyesight is better. 

“God sees hearts as we see faces.” –George Herbert

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. — 1 Samuel 16:7 

~~~

Photo by: https://unsplash.com/@marcojodoin

 

{ The Inscrutable, Intimate God }

“I want to know God’s thoughts — the rest are mere details.” 

–Albert Einstein

People of every generation have loved to learn, invent and explore, but it seems as if there is always more to discover.

Here are some quotes found in the recent news:

  • “The size of the universe is unknown.”
  • “Scientists have discovered 1,451 new species in our oceans this past year.”
  • “Until recently, no one knew that the smaller-than-microscopic pentaquark existed.”

When it comes to knowing God, He is deeper than we can imagine. His ways are inscrutable, meaning impossible to understand or interpret. When we think have God’s ways figured out, Isaiah 55:8 reminds us: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

And the paradox is this: the eternal, infinite, inscrutable God wants to be known!

James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

We discover who God is through the written word He has given; the Holy Bible.

We can never know the depth of God.  But in the search, we are changed forever.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?”
Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.” 
Romans 11:33-36

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photo credit:

unsplash-logoJeremy Bishop

{ Who Am I? }

I was ready for Black Friday this year. I bought the:

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.

instant pot

My tech-savvy son told me the most popular item throughout the cyber weekend zoo was the

DNA Ancestry Test Kit.

dna

With this kit, you can:

  • “Uncover your ethnic mix” and
  • “Connect with relatives you never knew you had.”   (Is that a positive thing?)

 So, people are curious about themselves and their background.

And the Bible is full of background.

It lists more than a few genealogies.

And the records don’t leave out the unsavory relatives. They inventory the kings, the scoundrels, and the heroes.

If church people today were given the task of writing Jesus’ background, we might be tempted to skip a few people on the list.

It doesn’t look holy to include:

  • Rahab the harlot
  • Tamar the schemer
  • Ruth the foreigner

Yet, there they are.

Jesus’ arrival turned everything upside down.

  • He didn’t come to earth in a golden chariot, he came as a helpless baby.
  • He wasn’t born in a palace, but in an animal barn.
  • He didn’t boldly grab power, he chose to give up his life.

 

The Bible tells me about my background.

It says:

  • I’m made in God’s image — Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image…
  • I’m a sinner by nature —  Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
  • He chose to redeem me — Ephesians 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace… 
  • He calls me His child — Galatians 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 

So, I don’t think I will purchase the DNA kit. Black Friday is over and besides….

…I already know I’m half Norwegian, a quarter German and a snippet of English, Irish and Scottish.

Deeper than that, I’m a redeemed image-bearer and a child of God.

© Lisa M. Luciano 🙂

Word Prompts:  snippet and zoo

{ Dubious?}

willian-west-324562People doubt Christianity.

But…what if it’s true?

Start with Jesus.

He can’t just be a good teacher, a respected healer, a wise prophet and only that.

He claimed to be God.

He’s either God… or a liar.  Or he’s crazy.

I recently viewed the 2017 true story film “The Case for Christ.”

The story: Lee Strobel  was a successful journalist who decided to examine the facts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christianity hinges on the Resurrection of Jesus.  If that’s debunked, everything else about this faith falls apart.

Strobel’s journey was personal.

His fact-digging was professional.

His goal was to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus and show that it was all a fairy tale or a cover-up.

After interviewing experts in fields of medicine, psychology, theology and archaeology, he was utterly convinced.

Lee Strobel became a believer; a follower of Jesus Christ.

Other famous people who examined the facts and found truth:

Are you doubtful?  Perhaps you think Christianity is a fairy tale?

Maybe you are searching for truth.

Possibly, you don’t care.

Insert joke here:

Q: Which is worse, ignorance or apathy?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

I would encourage you to examine the facts.  You may want to start your journey by watching the film or reading the book The Case for Christ.

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dubious/

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Photo credit: Willian West

{ Magnetic }

thom schultz
I didn’t get a free book or anything for writing this mini review ~just so you know. ☺

I just discovered a book I want to read: Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore…and How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic by Thom and Joani Schultz.

LOVE.  It is how the early Christians showed they were radically different. It’s still how we, as Christians in the 21st century, shine as “lights in the world.”

True agape love is rare & magnetic.

Agape [Greek word for love] says, “I will love you when you are unlovable.  I will love you still more when you don’t love me back. I will keep loving you no matter what.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I peeked…

The 4 acts of love are:

  • Radical Hospitality
  • Fearless Conversation
  • Genuine Humility
  • Divine Anticipation

Yep,  I’m gonna learn a lot from this book 🙂

“First John 4:9 says, “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him” (The Message). What does it mean to “live through” someone? Jesus is reliable and, once you get to know him, irresistible. His love never fails, and that’s the kind of power source that never runs out. His is the kind of light that never dims. Wouldn’t it be great if it were obvious to anyone who knew us that we were living through Jesus? It can be.” 
― Thom SchultzWhy Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic

Magnetic“>