jesus clears the temple

Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46; Isaiah 56:7

Those doing business in the temple courts provided a necessary service. Money needed to be exchanged so foreigners could pay the temple tax; people needed animals to make sacrifices to God. This was a reasonable business. They provided a service—they were helping people to worship God better. These services were provided in the court of the Gentiles. This was a special place at the temple God designated for those who were not Israel to come and worship Him.

In His mercy, He made a way for those who were not His chosen people to come near. They were still separate from the Jews, but God created a space for them. With the buying and selling, the rumble of voices, the shuffling of people, the sounds of bird’s wings flapping in cages, the clinking of coins, how many Gentiles were able to worship God authentically? They tried to come near, but the commerce distracted them.

Through Jesus we learn that God desires compassion more than sacrifice (Matthew 9:13, 12:7). He had compassion on the crowds; He had mercy on those who were blind, lepers, dead, possessed and unclean. How it must have enraged Him when He saw people making money off of those who were simply trying to come near to Him. In the shuffle and busyness of life those who were “in” forgot compassion. The very purpose of this house was to pray for the nations, to pray for those who were lost, to be a light in the darkness that pointed to God so that all the nations would come to know God as the LORD their God.

How much of this behavior is true for us? Have we neglected compassion in order to do more for God? Is our attitude on Sunday one that encourages worship and interaction with God; or are we more interested in making an appearance, thereby adding to the general noisiness? Are we too busy in our day-to-day lives that we forget to be the light? Jesus compared us to a city on a hill that shines its light to all around. No longer do we need to travel to Jerusalem and enter the court of the Gentiles to draw near to God. He lives in us. We are the body of Christ. One thing we are called to do, individually and corporately, is to pray for the nations—to pray for those who are lost. That must be the heartbeat of our lives, because it is His.

four month update

December 17: Started sleeping through the night pretty regularly

January 26: Rolled over three times (waited three weeks and started doing it again)

February 2: Acquired an uncle (the first of many, hopefully)

February 3: Found his feet

February 22: First attempts at a laugh

A few other highlights: He’s smiling, playing, grabbing for things. He loves standing up more than anything else. He’s getting better at sitting up. He can push himself up pretty far when he’s on his tummy. He is very excited about ice cream.

Things I’ve learned: don’t take a hard core stance on something too early on, unless it deals with character development and truth. Doug and I had a pretty hard-line stance about thumb sucking. When we realized thumb = sleeping through the night, we quickly relented.

At least once a week we try to spend a day outside. Usually we go rock climbing with daddy, but this past Saturday we went jet skiing at the lake. Matthew put his feet in the water, but it was too cold to do any swimming.

We’ve had lots of family time. Aunt Amy has been visiting for three weeks. We went and watched Auntie Anna swim at the state swim meet this past Saturday. And Aunt Lisa and Uncle Matt just moved here from Tyler, TX.

sacrifice

An intruder lives inside my body. He’s in my very personal space. He pushes on the things in his way and the bigger he gets the more he slows me down. I want my body back. I want it to be all mine again. I don’t want to share anymore.

But even if (when) he leaves, my body will never be mine alone again. For the next year it will be a source of food for him. Rather than carrying him inside of me I’ll hold in my arms. Every single part of me will be given over to the job of protecting, caring for and raising this little boy. I’m ready to have a baby, but I’m not ready to be a mom. It costs me too much.

I will spend my life pouring everything out for him. What I want takes third place now rather than second. My desires and wants come after his. All my time will be given over to him so that he can realize his dreams and I will fulfill his wants rather than my own.

I struggled with this early on. The idea of sacrificing so much for someone who will never know or appreciate it seems ridiculous. He should know how much it costs me. Everything I do will be for him and yet he will grow up, leave home and live in ignorance of what I gave up for him.

But God…He taught me about sacrifice. He showed me the beauty of sacrifice is that the one receiving the sacrifice never fully understands what the giver lays aside for the good of the person. It costs much but the burden of knowing how much it costs rests on only one person’s shoulders so the other can live in freedom. He reminded me that I am not alone in giving up so much of myself for the sake of someone else. Even before Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross Scripture tells us that “although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). A song by Chris Tomlin expresses it like this: Worthy Uncreated One from heaven to earth come down; You laid aside your royalty to wear the sinner’s crown.

Just as I will never fully know how much it cost my Jesus to set aside His royalty and wrap Himself in flesh, so my son will never know how much it will cost me to be his mother. The very reason for Christ’s sacrifice is so I can live in freedom, never experiencing separation from my God. If I reveal to my son how much loving him costs me it will hinder him and put a burden of guilt on his shoulders. He too must be able to live in freedom from that knowledge.

In light of Christ’s sacrifice everything I give up pales in comparison of what has already been done for me.

hiccups and other strange things

This child gets a case of the hiccups every couple days. Last night he had them twice while I read in bed. It is one of the strangest feelings, not to mention I hate it myself when I get the hiccups. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about being pregnant is it’s been six months since I’ve had the hiccups. There’s no room for my diaphragm to twitch.

Another strange thing: I hate when I’m eating and Matty decides it’s a good time to move around. This happens less often than you would think but when it does I stop eating until he calms down. The thought of putting more stuff into my stomach when there is something rolling around in my belly is just plain creepy.

Violet Lemmon was born August 3 and I got to hold her at a friend’s baby shower. (If I haven’t shared this with you before I’m surrounded by other pregnant women…there seems to be a constant rate of at least 15 women at the Stone who are expecting.) I sat down in a chair and rested her on my belly, which is now quiet a bulge. She got a case of the hiccups, shuddered and squirmed a little bit, all the while Matthew was moving around under her. That was weird.

Overall I’m having fun and if pregnancy continues to be this breezy over the next 4 1/2 weeks I could do this eight more times. And as I sign off at 10:35am just want you to know this child of mine has another case of the hiccups.

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