ELIZABETH TURNAGE | CONTRIBUTOR Did Jesus wear diapers? Did Jesus learn to say “Abba”? Did Jesus need to take naps? To all three, if we have a biblical theology of Jesus and the body, we must answer “yes.” Often, we focus on Jesus’ spiritual nature, but we need to reclaim an understanding of Jesus’ body as well. When we pay attention to how Jesus lived in his human body, we better understand how to live in our bodies to enjoy and glorify the Lord. Our Savior Learned and Grew The Bible teaches that Jesus learned and grew. Yes, Jesus was sinless, no doubt, but in his humanity, he had to learn; he had to grow. Luke 2:52 tells us, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (NIV). Jesus didn’t emerge from Mary’s womb potty-trained. Jesus grew from a small baby into an average-sized Hebrew male before he began his earthly ministry. Jesus had to learn how to speak Aramaic and Hebrew, how to read Isaiah, and how to write his alphabet. Just as God designed Jesus to learn and grow, he designed us to learn and grow as well. We can learn new things, like how to play the piano or how to study Scripture. We grow physically, and even when our bodies are fully grown, we can and should continue to increase in “wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man,” by living in our bodies wisely, eating and drinking and exercising and touching and playing to the glory of God.
MARIA CURREY|GUEST “Why do you think God needs you to go and potentially be in harm’s way?” Even while blasting my question, in my mind, I heard myself saying, ‘This is what he has trained his entire life and career to do and be,’ yet, my protective and possessive instincts wanted to keep him home and away from any potential danger. My husband answered me, “I know this is what God wants me to do and the way He is directing me. How about if you go and get alone with Him? Pray, and listen for what He says to you.” A late spring day fifteen years ago that seems like yesterday, the impact no less powerful. I slipped away, my husband more than willing to watch the kids; I thought I was taking myself for a walk, when actually, God directed my steps to a nearby lakeside bench. I cried out audibly to God, “Father, I know in my mind that You called Craig and me to this Army life decades ago and that this is truly his calling— to be a man after your own heart serving in the military. You called me with him to be messengers of Your light and life on this military mission field. But why, at this later point in his career, does he need to go into a completely hot war zone? —when our kids are college bound, eighth grade and fifth grade? They really need their dad! Isn’t there another option?” A selfish, hot explosion of prayer flew into the air. “God, isn’t there another WAY?”
Join host Karen Hodge and gospel friend Kristie [...]
TASHA CHAPMAN | GUEST “…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8-10). “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11). On most days we have hard decisions to make and tough responses to give. Some are especially burdensome and can easily result in conflict. Negotiating a project with a co-worker. Saying “no” to a friend. Meeting with a child’s teacher. Building bridges with a neighbor. These challenges immediately raise our need for discernment. Throughout the Bible’s stories, God’s people have urgent needs for discernment. Early in his reign, when God visited King Solomon in a dream, Solomon’s one request of God was for discernment to govern the people rightly (1 Kings 3:9-11). The psalmists declare that they need God’s help to confess sin because God discerns our hearts better than we do ourselves (Ps. 19:12; 139:2). The prophet Isaiah exposes idolatry as a ridiculous lack of human discernment (Is. 44:18-20). We see the importance of discernment in the Apostle Paul’s command and prayer for the churches (noted above). How can we think more discerningly about our complicated decisions and challenging responses?
What comes to mind when you think about “home”? For some of us, we might think of the place we grew up— maybe the comfort of our parent’s living room or a grandparent's house. Maybe you think of your home now. Some of us may think of a quiet place of refuge, while others may think of the pitter patter of little feet and the clatter of puppy dog paws. Maybe your home is more empty than you wish. Or maybe your home doesn’t feel like home at all. Whatever your thoughts are of “home,” it is bound to illicit some powerful emotions. Home is so significant that we can trace its origins all the way back to the beginning of creation. God created a “home” for us in the Garden of Eden before He even created Adam and Eve, so I think it stands to reason that home is important to God. It is the place He created for us so that we could dwell in His presence. As much as I wonder what the Garden of Eden was like, I’m often reminded, it is the very place where everything fell apart— the infamous place where Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were banished forever. Fast forward several thousand years later to John 14 and Jesus is preparing the disciples’ hearts for His departure. They have spent roughly three years together doing ministry. The disciples have given up everything to follow Jesus. They have left their families, their jobs, and their homes to be with Him. They have seen Him do miracle after miracle. They have listened for hours on end to Him proclaim that He is indeed the Messiah. And then He tells them he is leaving, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms.”
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ABBY HUTTO | GUEST One summer while my children were in elementary school, I instituted a new prayer policy in our home. I could no longer take hearing the same prayer over and over again. Every single day, three times a day, they prayed, “Thank you, Jesus, for our food and please help us have a great day.” I finally had enough. I purchased a little chalkboard, downloaded a prayer guide with 31 names/attributes of God, and made a new rule: before we thank Jesus for our food, before we ask him to make every day a great day, we must first thank him for being himself. I declared that summer a season of adoration. Meditating on God’s Character My children were doing what comes instinctively to all of us. When we pray, it’s easy to thank God for the things he has done for us. We don’t have to search our minds for things we want to ask him for. If we’re truly spiritual, we confess our sins. But appreciating God for just being who he is doesn’t seem to come naturally to us. Adoration is not something modern American Christians spend a lot of time doing. Our culture, our schedules, and our overactive hearts don’t leave us time to slow down and meditate over who God is in his character and nature. We rarely separate who God is from what he does. At first glance, that may not seem like a big deal. After all, who God is in his character and nature is displayed in his acts of power as he works in our world to rescue and save his people. Thanksgiving and supplication are vital to our prayer lives. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts.” It is good and right to be moved by God’s intervention in our life. When he provides, comforts, rescues, it is right to be thankful for what he has done. But do we also adore him for who he is? Do we open our prayers as Jesus taught us, adoring our Father who is hallowed and enthroned in his heavenly kingdom?
E-119 Gospel Friends Roundtable Edition Carols of Christmas, with Vanessa Hawkins, Ronjanett Taylor, B.A. Snider, Robin Stevens, & Sherry Lanier
Christmas Carols offer us the invitation to renew [...]
SHARON ROCKWELL|GUEST A favorite in my book collection is one that has no words at all. Artist John S. Goodall’s Above and Below Stairs is a series of water-colored paintings portraying the lives of the privileged in England from the Middle Ages to the early 1900’s. The book must be held horizontally. Each picture covers two full pages, separated by a half page which meshes into the original painting, but when turned, changes the scene from what was happening to the elite to what was happening to the servants and working people in the same time period. The “upstairs” may show a lovely formal banquet, but when covered with the half page, the picture changes to depict the cooks and servants working “below the stairs.” Things have not changed much over the years. There are still some people who are born into luxury. They may live in massive houses with never a financial worry other than how to spend their money. Then there are those who live in modest homes and who sweat and toil to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. Finally, there are people who seem to encounter one significant set-back after another to the point where they wonder how much more they can take. These we may find in a homeless shelter, wondering where their next meal will come from.
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