Thursday, December 26, 2013

The sweetest letter from 2013

This year marked the second annual birthday lunch with my dear friend Allison. 

As I approach the end of this year, I look back on the letter she wrote me as one of the most precious parts of 2013. 

"Dearest Rebekah: Happy birthday! It's September, which means your birthstone is sapphire! Did you know?:

  • Sapphires are created from materials found in the deepest parts of the earth's crust (18 miles deep!).
  • Sapphires are created through compression and furnace - like temperatures of at least 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Brought to the surface of the river beds by what Christian geologists agree was the Biblical flood.
  • Is one of the hardest gemstones, second to diamonds.
  • Used to cut, polish, refine and shape gems of lesser strength.
  • Is more precious than diamonds in Scripture.
  • Used as the foundation to the New Jerusalem.
Is that not what God has done through you? Taken a lost soul from the deep, miry clay, called you, continues to burn away impurities through the fiery furnace of trials and catastrophic events, strengthened you to polish, refine and shape others. He calls you most precious and then uses you to help build his kingdom?!

Sapphires are treasures because of physical catastrophe. 

This year has been hard, but you are a more pure follower of Jesus because of it. You lost nothing in the furnace of this past year except what God wanted burned away in an effort to make you more pure and holy for Himself. 

So, when you look at this gift, know that seemingly dark insurmountable conditions are necessary in order to create a more holy and radiant child of Christ! I love you so much!

Revelation 21:19-20: "The foundations of the wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones [...] first foundation jasper, second sapphire."

Allison and her husband gave me a breathtaking ring covered in sapphires and rubies. It's gold and has an antique setting. I could go on and on describing how beautiful it is, but the fact is that one day this ring might be lost... a gem might fall out or it might get scratched or stolen. But one thing that will remain in my heart forever are my friend's precious and timely words. 

For now, I have the privilege of seeing it glisten in the sunshine, and remember these promises. God truly intends for all trials to bow to his gospel purposes in our lives (Gospel Primer). Trust him. Count on him. 

Thankful for 2013. Thankful for my 29th. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jesus: All for love's sake, becamest man

Merry Christmas!

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becomes poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Law vs. The Gospel

"The law repels, the Gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the Gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it."


Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't settle

A reminder:

"Can I say something to young ladies here? I'm trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we're working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don't settle, because it's better that you be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus."

Matt Chandler, pastoring his congregation in Dallas

He never forgets

"We cannot look too often upon that face which we love; we desire always to have our precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord Jesus. From all eternity 'His delights were with the sons of men' [...] the Son of Man visited His people. Because His soul delighted in them, He could not rest away from them, for His heart longed after them. Never were they absent from his heart, for he had written their names upon His hands, and graven them upon His side. [...]

We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but He never ceases to remember us. [...]

Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of thy Son."


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Puritan thought on real love

The Puritans used to say you got married in order to fall in love. They reasoned: How can a man and woman possibly hope to know the wonder, joy, and depth of real love - the kind where you are truly known and truly loved at the same time - without making those two lives into one thing?