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building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Remembering the Past”

Many Rooms

One of my Mom’s favorite scriptures was John 14:1-3 – in my Father’s house are many rooms – He’s going to the Father’s house to prepare the rooms for His people. If He goes to prepare the rooms, He will come back. It was the assurance that Mom held onto until her last breath. I was reading the passage this morning in my quiet time and I recalled the past – my Mom, my Dad and my sisters and me – in our childhood home.

I remembered all the Christmases when we waited in anticipation to see what goodness we would receive because of our “goodness.” We would count down the days. The night before, it was a struggle to go to sleep. I was so hyped up; it took me forever to sleep. My parents waited patiently for sleep to claim me so the magic could begin. I was the youngest so that meant I was the first to bed, but bed didn’t always mean sleep until the lights were completely out.

As I read the Scripture this morning, I saw the words Jesus promised. Go to prepare the room so that He would return to receive us as His bride. It was the Jewish custom. The bridegroom would go prepare the place where he would take his bride to live. He went back to his father’s house and made room for his new bride. When the room was finished, the bridegroom went to get his bride. When the disciples heard the promise, they understood the meaning.

Sometimes when we hear the stories from the Bible, we lose the significance because we don’t know the traditions or the settings involved. They become words on a page instead of the true importance of the passage. I glance over many a story and miss the impact it should have, but this passage I finally get. Maybe because it was so significant for my Mom or maybe I just understand the context now. I do believe what Jesus promised – He’s coming back to get His bride, the church.

The bride always had to be ready to receive the bridegroom. She never knew when the room would be complete and he would make the journey. She eagerly anticipated that day when they would be together. It feels like the anticipation of a child waiting for Christmas to come. I don’t have that same anticipation for Christmas as I once did. The magic is gone. Things change. However, as a future bride, I should have that same anticipation for the coming of my bridegroom. Jesus is coming back one day. We just don’t know when.

As I contemplate this Christmas season, celebrating His first appearance, it reminds me to be like a small child in anticipation for the next appearance. He is preparing many rooms. I told my Mom when she was leaving this earthly home if she had any say so on my future room, please don’t suggest pink. I don’t know if she heard me or not, I guess I will find out when I get there.

My childhood home had three bed rooms. My Mom’s favorite color was pink – two of the bedrooms were pink and mine was green. I don’t remember requesting green, but I shared the room with one of my sisters, maybe it was her choice. I was just glad I didn’t have the pink room. It was truly PINK.

One Christmas morning, I was surprised to find a “banana” bike next to the Christmas tree. I was so excited to see it with the bright lights of the tree sparkling against the frame. To my dismay, when the light of day hit that frame, it was a pink bike. I guess girls’ bikes didn’t come in another color. It still was a bike though and I ignored the bright pink as much as I could. I rode that bike until I out grew it. I had many adventures on that bike, at times to my Mom’s dismay.

Even if my Mom didn’t understand my disdain for pink, Jesus knows how to prepare my room. Maybe I should be more concerned about the treasures I am sending rather than the color of the room. Jesus promised many things throughout His time on earth. The Old Testament foretold many times of Jesus’ first appearance – we celebrate it – but the Old Testament gives many more indications of His second coming.

If the first was fulfilled (and it was), how much more should we be anticipating the second? Like a child at Christmas – expecting, anticipating, eagerly, breathlessly – waiting for that day. The rooms are about complete. The timing is just a blink away. Do you anticipate it like you should? Is your room being prepared?

Believe the promise as a child of your good Father in heaven. Anticipate all He has prepared. Continue doing the good work until that Day. Keep looking up; the time is getting close!

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

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Traditions

Traditions for this day are varied. Thanksgiving holiday in the US has evolved into certain traditions for each family. Food, more food and family, friends, maybe someone significant meeting the family for the first time; but it’s all about tradition. Turkey or ham or both; cranberry sauce, yes, please; and few sides of casseroles, a green bean or two, corn pudding (not so much for me), then of course, dessert (which is “no thank you” for me this year since I didn’t bring my own – I am gluten-free forever more). The focus has been on the food and the relationships around the table for many of us for years. Of course, we give thanks to God above for all He has provided this year and all the blessings that we enjoy on a daily basis. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

After all, this isn’t a “religious” holiday in the traditional sense. It’s a holiday that Abraham Lincoln set aside in the middle of the civil war. It was a time of remembrance to give thanks to God. It began centuries ago when the settlers had a successful harvest for the very first time. Can you imagine the struggles they went through to live in such a land – a land where they actually had to prepare the ground, plant the seeds and harvest the crops? Many of them had no idea how to plant and harvest a crop. But they learned, thanks to the native people who helped them survive.

Our nation is far from the traditions laid down by our forefathers. We have evolved from agriculture, industrial to tech savvy people. No longer do we have to struggle to provide food for our families in the traditional sense. We don’t raise our food in a traditional way. We go to super stores and buy prepared food or plastic-wrapped produce shipped from hundreds of miles away. It’s just not the same as if we actually had to get our hands dirty and dig out those sweet potatoes from the earth.

We don’t have to do the hard labor the season before to get the food on the table today. It’s already done for us. We just go and pick out the best ingredients for a home cooked meal – or maybe head to the nearest Golden Corral for the buffet tradition that someone else prepared and will clean up. We just eat, pay and go. We’ve gotten so far away from the original thought of harvest blessing that the holiday has been lost to food, football and shopping. It’s the kickoff to the real holiday – Christmas and Santa Claus and ho, ho, ho to good girls and boys and lots of little toys.

I’m not saying that what we have today is bad. It’s just different from what it was intended so long ago. It has evolved into our own traditions. But hopefully somewhere along the way, we’ll remember to give thanks to God above for all the blessings of our own harvest season – whatever that hardship we are currently going through or have just come out of. God has seen us through many trials and tribulations through the years, and we have survived another year. God is good all the time! Even when it looks bad, and we don’t think we can survive; look how God has brought us through time and again.

Thanksgiving is about remembering. Remembering the past blessings and knowing God will see us through again. He is faithful. He is good. His love endures for us forever. We can look in the Bible to see how God sees His people through the tough times, but we could also see in our own lives those same things. We can look to the past in this country and see how God has seen this country through the dark times to bring us through. God’s love endures forever. He is faithful, and He is true to His nature.

Let’s remember today the ones who came before us so that we can have this time of food, family and football. We have it good. We have been blessed abundantly. Let’s remember it’s not by our hand that we have done these things. We were created as a people (the church), and as a nation to be a blessing to others because of what the Lord has done for us. It’s because of the forefathers’ forethought to put things in place by the hand of God to give us all that we have today. Let’s remember and give thanks. Celebrate with your traditions and remember to be a blessing to others today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:4-5 (NLT)

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