Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Big Enough? March 30, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,Easter,life — tlmiller82 @ 2:24 pm

          “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  Who could forget this infamous line from the movie Jaws?  As the lead character gets his first real look at the large shark he is trying to capture/kill, he comes to a quick conclusion that they are less than adequately prepared to take on the oversized Great White.  

  His need was bigger than his boat.

          I drive a VW Bug.  Although the rest of my family does not think my car is cool, I love my Bug!  The only problem I have with my Bug is a lack of sufficient trunk space.  It does have a surprisingly roomy little trunk, but it is definitely not intended to hold two week’s worth of groceries.   There have been several occasions upon which I found myself in the grocery store to, “pick up a few things” only to get caught up in a sort of buying frenzy.    After spending a significant amount of time in the store, I totally forgot which vehicle I had driven.   When I rolled my overflowing grocery cart out to the parking lot it became obvious that I was not adequately prepared.  I could almost hear the line in the back of mind…”We’re gonna need a bigger trunk.” 

My need was bigger than my Bug.

          The other night as I was leaving the church I encountered an elderly woman in the foyer.   It was pouring rain and she commented that she had left her umbrella in her car on the other side of the parking lot.  I offered to walk her to her car and share my umbrella.  She graciously accepted my offer.   As we exited the church arm in arm I popped opened my umbrella and discovered that I had forgotten which umbrella I had with me.  I have several tote size umbrellas at home, but apparently I placed the extremely miniature version in my purse that night.  The circumference of the umbrella was barely large enough to cover one person.  I held it over her as best I could, but as we hurried across the parking lot it seemed only to funnel large amounts of water down our backs. 

 My need was bigger than my umbrella.

          There will continue to be times in all our lives when our needs may be bigger than what we have at hand…but my earthly needs pale in comparison to my spiritual need.

          This week I am reminded, again, of my need for forgiveness and grace.   In his Passover sermon our pastor went so far as to proclaim what “great sinners” we all were.  OUCH!  I wanted to be offended, but the reality was that not only was he speaking the truth, he was actually understating it.  I know my heart, my struggles, my faith, my temptations and my falling downs.  I know that even in an attempt to live a life that is pleasing to God, I still struggle in my flesh.  I know that I am not alone… “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 

          Easter is the time of year when Christians celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Christ.  It is because of His sacrifice, His defeat over death, and His resurrection that we can ask to be forgiven of our sins. “For if while we were yet sinners, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10

This Easter I celebrate the sufficient covering of my sins by a God whose love, forgiveness and grace is “big enough”!

My need is NOT bigger than my God!

“…if anyone sins, we have this Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the world.” 1 John 2:1-2

 

Hosanna March 23, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,Easter — tlmiller82 @ 11:09 am

          Woohooo! We have daffodils!   Yes indeed, SPRING is trying desperately to reclaim my yard.  The emergence of these bright yellow flowers, amid the muddy mush of a lawn hit hard by long lasting snow piles and rain, gives me hope.  I love this time of year.

           Palm Sunday is around the corner.  I don’t know about you, but I have very vivid images in my head of this particular Sunday.  As a young girl I remember being given a palm branch to hold and wave as the story was told in Sunday school.  I cannot count the number of times I fashioned palm branches from construction paper as part of a craft during this time of year, first as a child then as a Sunday school teacher myself.  Even now Sunday school teachers around the United States are no doubt planning to incorporate this bright green leaf into some aspect of their lesson.

           As a Christian this is a very exciting time of celebration and remembrance.  It marks the beginning of the end and then the beginning again.  Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the end of His earthly ministry.  Crowds gathered and laid coats and palms on the ground before Him as He rode past on the back of a donkey. 

  “…Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10

                  In a few days this same crowd would cry out  “Crucify Him!”.

         In all my years of observing Sunday school posters and Easter plays the scene is always the same…celebratory, exciting and exuberant.    According to every visual image I have ever seen of this event, Christ smiles and waves like someone in a parade, perhaps enjoying what He knows to be His final moment of popularity.  But now this image has changed for me.

          Oddly, though I had heard this story throughout my entire life, it was not until I was well into my twenties that I discovered a small tidbit of information that changed how I forever recall this pivotal event in the life of my Christ.

         I had sung “Hosanna” in numerous songs in church and even yelled it out as part of Palm Sunday reenactments for plays…but here is the life impacting tidbit I learned…Hosanna is not a term of praise or glorification, which I think I always believed.  Hosanna translates to “save now” or “save us”. 

          That, my friends, changes everything. 

          The crowd that gathered that day to greet our Christ and usher Him into their city did not hail Him for WHO He was, but rather for who they hoped He was and what He would do.

          Picture the scene now…..The reputation of Jesus went before Him.  The streets were filled with people longing for a leader who would come and make everything perfect in their city, their families, and their lives.  People who suffered, grieved, ached for someone to rescue them, called out to Him in desparation…each having a personal expectation for how this “Jesus” would help them. “Hosanna!…Save now!”

                  I cannot fathom the depth of sorrow Christ endured on this day.  The voices crying out, “save us, save now…Hosanna!” filling His ears and breaking His heart.  With each agonizing step His donkey took past the throng of people the weight of their disparity heaped on His shoulders.  With all their expectations as they cried out “Hosanna”, asking to be saved…asking for salvation…they failed to realize the cost of such a request. 

 Jesus knew. 

          As the palm branches are waved, songs are sung and “Hosanna” echoes through our churches, let us remember that the expression of Christ’s love for us did not begin with the weight of the cross…it began with the weight of the cries of Hosanna…the cries of a people in need of salvation…the cry of our hearts today…HOSANNA! HOSANNA! HOSANNA!

 

 

How Abigail Changed My Easters(sorry, this one is long) April 7, 2009

Filed under: devotionals,Easter,Uncategorized — tlmiller82 @ 9:58 am

I’ve lost track of how many years ago it was, yet each Spring I can’t help but recall my introduction to Abigail.  I was a high school science/Bible teacher for a small Christian school at the time. One of my students was a football sized young man named Nick.  He worked for a local farmer who had offered him a young lamb to take home.  Nick’s mom, apparently destined for sainthood, not only allowed him to bring the lamb home, but he got to keep it in his room!  Early that Spring Nick brought photos to share.  To my amazement, there, wedged beside his bed and amid typical teenage squalor, was a carefully built pen, complete with wood rails, chicken wire and hay.  Abigail the lamb had found a perfect home.  Over the next few weeks Nick would have numerous stories to tell of Abigail’s antics.  I couldn’t wait to see her for myself, so I invited Nick to bring her to school one morning.

I ushered my entire class outside and we waited like giddy preschoolers for Abigail’s arrival.  I am certain I will never be able to adequately describe what I saw that day.  I will do my best.  We watched as Nick emerged from his vehicle with Abigail cradled in his big burly arms.  We stood transfixed by the sight of what can only be inadequately referred to as precious”.  Her pure, white coat seemed almost translucent, radiating light under the bright blue, cloudless sky.   Her tiny nose was a perfect, pink velvet triangle perched just above her little pink mouth.    As I placed my hand on her sweet little head she looked at me.  I found myself staring into the depths of clear, brilliant blue eyes.  I realized I had been holding my breath in awe.  We were expecting to see a cute lamb, somewhat off white in color.  I had not considered that, unlike the lambs at the local petting zoo, Abigail had been living in a clean, loving, environment.  After everyone had made Abigail’s acquaintance, Nick left to return her home and we settled back into Bible class.

We soon realized the relevance of Abigail’s visit as we continued our study of Passover.  The original Passover took place when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  God instructed them to mark their door post with the blood of a male lamb.  This was to protect them from the final plague which was the death of all first born in any home not so protected. (Exodus 11&12)  The yearly commemoration of this event required the father to select the best, blemish free lamb and set it apart for the Passover…four days prior to the celebration.  My students and I began to consider something quite startling.  There was a good chance that the lamb would have been brought into the house or yard during that time.  This perfect little lamb, probably as precious and sweet as our Abigail, may have clamored under their feet while they did chores, fed out of their hands and shared a living area.  After four days, this lamb, which by now had become even more precious to the family, was to be sacrificed.   Suddenly one can imagine the cries of the children, the quite sob of their mother, the sorrow in the eyes of the father who knows a blood sacrifice is required.   For the first time, since meeting Abigail, we could truly envision the “sacrificial lamb” of the Scriptures.

The continued observance of Passover was a powerful object lesson for generations of Israelites.  Every family member would be reminded not only of God’s protection and provision when He freed them from slavery, but also of the cost…the blood of their most precious lamb.  This Easter we consider the final sacrifice.  Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, perfect and precious beyond description, was sacrificed for our sin.  Many movies and videos have stirred the heart of man as they depict the brutal crucifixion of our Christ, yet none can compare to the vision of Abigail.  As we celebrate our freedom from sin and death through the resurrection of our Lord, let’s never forget the cost.  Praise God His love and grace make us worthy of such a sacrifice!

1 Peter 1:18-19  “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious blood, as a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”