Showing posts with label Mary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

God is the Creator of Differences

In our backyard, we planted five rose bushes. We love roses. A rose is a rose, is a rose. Right?

No. All five of ours are different.

Roses got me thinking about people, and people got me comparing ourselves with Biblical characters. The people in God's Word were human like us with lots of different personalities. Look around at your family and friends. Not a one alike, are they?

So, let me introduce you to our rose bushes.



Our yellow rose bush reminds me of Elijah.

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree, and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
                    1 Kings 19:4
Sickly.. Smells wonderful. At the edge of a raised bed
 
Our yellow rose bush is sick, weak, handicapped. Despite its lack of leaves, it produces a few delightful blooms, and they give us the best fragrance of all our plants.

Depression held Elijah captive. Though he was weak and handicapped, God used Elijah to highlight a few fantastic miracles; Withholding rain and bringing it when it was time, sending fire to lap up the sacrifice on Mount Carmel; feeding the widow and her son when there was only a small amount of meal and oil.



Our dark pink bush near the house makes me think of Jesus' disciple John.

And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
                                                          Mark 3: 17

big thorns

big blooms


We planted our dark pink rose bush close to the patio when we first moved here. Thick stalks and big thorns made it look strong and indestructible.
It doesn't have a lot of blooms, but they're huge with a slight fragrance. The mark of this bush is its faithfulness. During the course of its life, other roses buses have died, but this one lives on and is still strong. Now, at seventeen years old, I spot extra shoots coming from the main bush with blooms of their own.

When Jesus called John, he named him and his brother "sons of thunder." They were fiery and ambitious, strong and opinionated. Throughout Jesus' earthly ministry, and until John's death probably in his nineties, John remained strong in his faith, despite others falling away. His loyalty and faithfulness influenced many. His words challenge Christians of today and give us a glimpse into the future.



In our white rose bush, I see the apostle, Paul


Be not afraid. These were the words of Paul in Acts 18:9
pushy and gives groups of blooms together

Not always the most liked or agreeable person, still Paul accomplished more than them all in the early church. He was persistent and courageous. He was never bashful but would spread his wings and preach the Gospel to sometimes large, angry mobs. He pushed his message whether it was wanted or not, and in doing so, brought about the salvation of throngs of people.

Our white rose has no fragrance. It spreads its branches wide and tall, intruding on other bushes that can't withstand it's power. Never will you find a single white rose. Blooms always burst forth in clusters.


We have one real red rose bush. It reminds me of King Saul.

And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
                                                                               1 Samuel 9:2

1 rose on a tall, full plant

Saul wowed all Israel. They chose him as king. He was taller and more physically attractive than all others. In their view, he would be the best specimen to lead their nation. But, Saul had few victories. His heart turned against God. So enthralled with himself, he forgot where his true strength lay.

Our red rose bush stands taller than any of the others with full, rich greenery. At first glance, we would believe it to be the healthiest, most vibrant rose, but it gives few blossoms and very little fragrance.

                                               


Last but not least, we have a lovely pink rose. In it, I see Mary, the mother of Jesus.


For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
                                                                      Luke 1:48
Many buds promise more and more blooms

Mary was a young teenager, insignificant in the eyes of the world, but God chose her to bring His Son into the world in human form. Because she was willing, God blessed her beyond hope or expectation.

Our pink rose bush is the shortest of them all. Its fragrance is slight. That insignificant-looking plant produces more blooms than all the rest, continuing several times a year to give us color and beauty.


From the lesson given by five rose bushes in our backyard, I learn how God made us all different but valuable.

God creates differences for a reason.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

RESENTMENT

I've struggled with resentment over the years. Anger hoarded and hidden becomes resentment. Our emotion may not even be recognized by us. Resentment may drive us to overeating, overdrinking, overspending or many other addictions without us understanding the root cause.

     Anger directed outward, we call conventional anger, which leads patients to shake their fists at God, hit their spouses, or yell at their bosses.
      Anger directed inward, we call depression.
                                                               "Love Hunger" by Minirth, Meir, Hemfelt, and Sneed 

When I was younger, I suffered depression though I never realized it until my children were grown, and God healed me. God urged me to make amends to my children for all the yelling, and emotional outbursts they suffered during their growing-up years.

      My oldest daughter caught the brunt of my inward-aimed, yet outward-driven anger. In her typical analytical view of things, she told me, "If that had been now, the psychiatrist would've put you on anti-depressants."

That's true, but back then, we didn't discuss mental illness in the same manner that we do today. Also, I must remember the definition for depression according to the book above.

 I was an angry person.

 I resented my sister-in-law that had the favor of my husband's mother. I was left out of family plans. I got angry, or as I preferred to call it, "got my feelings hurt" whenever I sensed my children, my husband or myself was slighted at church or in the community. I hated myself because I was fat.

The cause for our resentment isn't significant. God gives examples in the Bible where resentment can be understood, but still not approved. Think of Jacob's ten older sons who worked hard and longed for their father's love. Yet, the scrawny younger boy received that love, that favor. Look at the telling verse below:
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours     Genesis 37:3 
Joseph's older brothers deserved better. The father did them wrong. Yet, God refused to bless the ten because they allowed resentment to turn them into hard, angry men.

Look at the story of Mary and Martha. Martha worked away in the kitchen to serve Jesus and His disciples. The more tired she became, the more resentment tainted her thoughts. Finally, she let that anger explode to the Master. Look at this verse:

        But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not
        care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Luke 10:40

The devil may find it harder to tempt a strong Christian to murder or steal, but he has way too much success weaving resentment into our hearts, and with that, he destroys our witness and perhaps even our souls.

In my inspirational YA, Victoria and the Ghost, Victoria faces her mother's rejection and her father's favoritism. Can she learn to allow God to change her resentment into love?

Have you ever suffered resentment? Why? Did you allow God to heal it?