Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week

I have been silent most of this week. One reason for my little pause is simply because I had tricky wi-fi while on our week long vacay at the lake. But even as the wi-fi cooperated in spurts, a deep knot in my chest has kept my words bottled. I just can’t make myself share a tip about the best way to cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes when my mind and heart linger on bigger thoughts.

My friend won her battle with cancer today at 4:00 pm. By winning, I mean – she through Christ conquered the hold of death, the stench of disease and the pain of battling the enemy. She is free from cancer, full of energy & has no recollection of pain. 

We were headed home from a week blessed with family and lake fun. But my heart has been heavy for sweet friend Kelsey and family. We stopped for a lunch break on our long drive home. After several discussions of where to eat ((among 5 cars caravanning home)), we settled on following my brother & sis-in-law to wherever they chose to park. We had to park about 1/4 mi from Chick fil a ((due to towing boats)). On our walk back, I began singing aloud, “10,000 Reasons” while talking to God about the fact that I am okay even though He isn’t saying yes ((with regard to an earthly healing of my friend)). I began imagining what an entry into Heaven must be like – and on this windy day I looked down and saw the cross. For a moment God used two blades of grass to whisper why it’s okay even when it isn’t okay. I happened to be able to snap a quick picture and just as I did the grass blew away. 

One of the last things Kelsey shared was this bold statement “If you are going to wear the shirt, you better be prepared to tell people about Christ.” ((She designed a shirt & some of her friends set up a fundraiser by selling t-shirts to assist in the financial needs of her treatment))

I have pondered these words since I read them – how profound. She was, in part talking about a t-shirt. But I know her well enough to know she was referring to more than a piece of jersey knit.  She was also talking about this:

Galatians 3:23-29

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

–In other words, Christ’s coming changed the way the penalty of breaking the law ((sin)) works. The law is good only for pointing out our flaws – but Christ’s coming gives all people access to the promise…or should I say, “THE PROMISE” ((eternal life)). According to the scriptures, in order to have access to this promise, you must be clothed in Christ (baptized) through faith.

Faith is best defined as this:

Hebrews 11:1-3 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

But how do we acquire faith? 

Ephesians 2:4-10

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

— Faith is a gift of God through His grace — because of His great love for us – He clothed us in Christ when what we deserved was death in our sins. Grace comes through faith – the faith isn’t from within – but is gifted to us by God.

Do you feel as though you are lacking in faith? All you have to do is ask God to grow your faith – the Bible tells us:

1 John 5:13-14 

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

— When we ask according to His will, we can be confident that He hears us – and He will answer. So what does all this mean? What must you do to be saved – to take part in ‘THE PROMISE’?

Peter states so simply & clearly in Acts 2:36-39

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

This is the Good News! Christ made the way for us to experience victory over death. This is the truth my sweet friend spent her last days urging all who came into her hospital room to accept. This is the Good News sweet Kelsey is challenging those who have already been clothed – to boldly and effectively share with those who still need  a shirt.

And – for me, my last promise to Kelsey was to speak when she no longer could.

 2 Timothy 1:9-12 

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

Kelsey knows WHO she believes in and she was long ago persuaded that He is able to keep all of the promises He has made to her and she trusted Him to keep – all the way through 4:00 pm July 5, 2014.

“If you accept Christ’s clothing ((if you wear the shirt)), ((and gain access to THAT PROMISE)) you better be ready to tell others about Christ ((how to get the shirt)).” – Kelsey Kennedy  

Kelsey wants the world to know: C > c, Christ is greater than cancer. C > s, Christ is greater than sin. C > d, Christ is greater than death.

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ((Meaning – it’s okay even when it’s not okay.))