Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Measuring Stick

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29 NIV)
One Christmas when our children were very young, their artisan granddad surprised our family with a six-sided, solid oak, measuring stick. One side serves as a seven-foot ruler while the remaining sides are dedicated to recording the growth of our five kids. Every year at Christmastime we take that stick from its resting place, and with all kinds of anticipation, the kids gather ‘round to see how they’ll measure up against the previous year’s mark. It’s usually an uproarious occasion because, more times than not, our kids are shocked and delighted by their growth.
 As we near the end of this year, and if we could hold a measuring stick up to the full height of our spiritual selves, like a child at Christmas, would we laugh with surprise at our growth? If we were able to hold a mirror up to our inner man, might we gasp in wonder to detect a tiny resemblance of the Savior?
When we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we are changed. We don’t know how it is, but it is!  Just lately, like me, have you begun to notice a deeper, heart-felt compassion for those you are interceding for?  As you’re led to confession, does your sin seem more offensive and God’s grace greater?  Are you quicker to turn complaint to praise and fear to trust?  Has a quiet, intimate, listening to The Word become an exercise you can’t imagine living without?
Jennifer Dean in her book, Live a Praying Life, puts it this way: “Through the ongoing discipline of prayer, we are brought into direct and intimate contact with the Father’s heart. As we continually behold His glory, we are changed into His image. Miraculously, our lives begin to reflect Him; our desires begin to mirror His desires. As He has constant access to us, He aligns our vision, recreates our desires, reproduces His heart.”
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the growth You are bringing about within us. Spending time with You is such a joy. Just being with You, listening, abiding in Your presence, has changed us.  We don’t know how that is, but it is! We know it’s true. Thank You for the invisible work You are doing within us, Your church.  Please continue the job until it’s complete so that we might be used for Your glory alone.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

- Dianna Lanser

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