Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Advent is here!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to pop in and let you know I am sharing a picture a day of things that bring me joy for the month of December.  Check it out on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter! Join in by posting your own joyful things and hashtag #yestodecemberjoy so I can find you!

I thought I’d share some advent thoughts and ideas and goodies with you as we enter into the season.

I just downloaded on the Kindle for Advent: “Preparing for Christmas” by Richard Rohr.  It’s a daily devotional and it’s about $6 on the Kindle.  It’s so good it’s hard for me to read just one a day! A little excerpt: “We can also use other a words for Advent: aware, alive, attentive, alert, awake are all appropriate. Advent is, above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness.” I love the way Rohr purposely writes to take us “beyond the sentimental understanding of Christmas to a more adult, mature message of the Incarnation of God in Christ”. Yes please, give us some meat.

Today we heard about John the Baptist. We learned about Zechariah and Elizabeth who so badly wanted a baby and could not get pregnant. Then finally, God said they will have a baby! YAY! Prayers answered, High fives all around! The Word says, “many will rejoice because of this birth for he will be great in the sight of the Lord”. It’s all really miraculous because he and Elizabeth were OLD. They thought their time to have a child had passed. But God…

What desires of your heart have you “given up on”? What are you no longer believing is possible?

There is so much to talk about in this story but I one thing our pastor said today is that “Whatever God has given you was not meant to stop with you”. Hmmm…

See, it turns out that Zechariah and Elizabeth’s dream was also part of God’s plan. It just had to happen in His time. And what was given to them wasn’t just for them, it was for all of us.

Which brings us to another question. What has God given you that maybe you have been hoarding? Keeping to yourself? Thinking was just for you?

Maybe you have a talent, a treasure, an idea, a child, a marriage, a relationship, an opportunity…that can lead others to Him. All we have and all we are is part of a bigger story. It is not meant to stop with you.

Makes you think, huh? What does God want me to do with all that He has given me? What will my legacy be?

Luke 1:68-79The Voice (VOICE)

Zacharias: May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed!
For God’s intervention has begun,
and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God.
And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us
from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David.
As was prophesied through the mouths of His holy prophets in ancient times:
God will liberate us from our enemies
and from the hand of our oppressors!
God will show mercy promised to our ancestors,
upholding the abiding covenant He made with them,
Remembering the original vow He swore to Abraham,
from whom we are all descended.
God will rescue us from the grasp of our enemies
so that we may serve Him without fear all our days
In holiness and justice, in the presence of the Lord.
And you, my son, will be called the prophet of the Most High.
For you will be the one to prepare the way for the Lord
So that the Lord’s people will receive knowledge of their freedom
through the forgiveness of their sins.
All this will flow from the kind and compassionate mercy of our God.
A new day is dawning:
the Sunrise from the heavens will break through in our darkness,
And those who huddle in night,
those who sit in the shadow of death,
Will be able to rise and walk in the light,
guided in the pathway of peace.

 

Being Human

grace abounds

 

“And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”  So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.    -John 1:19-23

This was the verse for today in the on-line Bible study I’m doing with IF:Equip.  Check it out and join in, you will be blessed.

Every time I’ve read this passage before it has been about John preparing the way for Jesus.  John wasn’t the point of the story to me.  Jesus was.  And of course, He still is but today for some reason, I was really feeling John.

They kept asking him, WHO ARE YOU?

It made me think of how we go around and ask people that all the time.  Maybe not out loud so blatantly but we try to figure out who people are so we can put them in a box.  We ask others about them, we gather information based on outward signs, we judge, we condemn, we categorize.  We want to know WHO ARE YOU?   But mostly, we want to glean a little more information about who we are by deciding definitively who “they” are.

I was listening to the interview with Kristin Armstrong from the IF:Gathering and I was so moved and inspired by her.  She was talking about her ex-husband (she calls him her “wasband”), Lance Armstrong.  She said that people tried to make him a hero and then they tried to make him a villain.  She explained that neither of those things are true.  He’s just a broken human being like you and me.

Amen.

Grace abounds.

I could go on an on about what a beautiful, graceful, forgiving, inspiring soul I found her to be.  But that would be putting her up on a pedestal.  That would be making her a hero.  I know she wouldn’t want that.  Her grace comes from her humility and her gratitude to God for His faithfulness.  She’s just pointing the way to Him.

We want to make people the hero or the villain because it makes us feel better.  But the truth is no one person is only one thing.  We can’t define people by one moment in time or one bad decision or even years of making bad decisions.  We are all works in progress.  Broken and in need of grace.

I’m going to work on not being attached to definitions of people, to not needing to place people in a box or on a pedestal.  To no longer dismissing or idolizing mere human beings.

Turns out we are all the same anyway.  Muddling through this world trying our best to show up and laugh and love people. It’s interesting how even when we make poor choices and get ourselves in some tough situations, God works with that, loving us through it and showing us the way.  He’s so good.

Grace abounds.

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

Who? Me?

drunk, dead

In church this week, the reading was about John the Baptist. The priest was talking about prophets.  He told us everyone is a prophet.

That’s right. Me and you. Prophets.

Do you believe it?

If not, change your mind today. Think of yourself as divinely inspired (you are) and filled with light (you are) and able to make a difference in the lives of people around you (you can).

He didn’t call on the most learned scholarly people to share the good news.  He doesn’t call people because they look perfect or act perfect or know everything.  That wild man in the desert pointed to the Great Light.  Don’t you think He can use a suburban mom or dad or a high school student or a teenager who feels lost?  Why wouldn’t He use a CEO or a teacher or a Doctor or a coach? Don’t you believe He can use you?

What do you hear Him saying to you?

How is your heart feeling tugged?

What do you know to be true about God and faith and Jesus and the Good News?

Share it.

Don’t believe the lie that you don’t have enough education.  Don’t believe the lie that you don’t fit the mold of what a prophet looks like.  There is no mold.  Jesus took all of that and threw it out the window.  He plucked people out of the margins and encouraged them to lead.  He will use you if you let him.

Let him.

The world needs your voice.  Your unique voice.  Even if it shakes.  Especially when it shakes.

You know in your heart if He is calling you.  You know the answer has always been and will always be, “Yes, Lord, use me”.  If you have yet to admit this out loud, do it today.  Don’t hesitate any longer.  Use your voice to lift up the Lord.  Be like John the Baptist and prepare the way.

Show people the light.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved, Image from Pinterest