My heavenly body awaits!

Last night I had an overdue appointment with a box of Dark Brown #31.  Ironically, I used to tease (criticize?) my mom about trying to cover up her “crown of wisdom.” I might need to include an apology in her Mother’s Day card.  Now that I’m going a tad (okay, more than a tad …) gray, I understand.  I understand that we are all getting older and our bodies are all decaying, and there’s ultimately nothing we can do to stop that earthly process.  A bad headache yesterday just reinforced that I’m looking forward to my heavenly body. Do you ever feel that way?

Earthly Bodies:  groaning

But headaches and gray hair are small matters. Recent news from friends about degenerative arthritis, an unknown illness, and pancreatic cancer made me long for a heavenly body for them, along with an eternity of no pain or sorrow. After all, “for in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,” (2 Corinthians 5:2).  Our earthly bodies reveal the groan through headaches, gray hair, and disease.

Earthly bodies: changingHeavenly body

I am confident, though, that our bodies will change. We are both body and spirit, and though death separates the two, we will one day be reunited and changed. Our resurrection bodies will be the glorified form of our earthly bodies. When Jesus was resurrected, His physical wounds were visible, He ate, He talked, He walked, and He could be touched. He also passed through walls and suddenly appeared. The resurrected, glorified body of Jesus gives us a clue about the heavenly body we can look forward to. “We will be like him,” (1 John 3:2).

Glorious heavenly body

I hope God will give me Dark Brown #31 in heaven, but maybe I would like a heavenly gray. I can be sure, however, that God will change my “lowly body to be like His glorious body,” (Philippians 3:21).  For now, our earthly bodies “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly” (Romans 8:23) for the heavenly body to come.

Are you struggling with physical pain today? Are you groaning about growing older? Do you feel like your physical body is falling apart!?!?  It is.  You are.  But we won’t always be.  There is coming a day for the followers of Christ to be given a new and improved (how’s that for an understatement?), glorified body like Jesus!  Be encouraged today that a heavenly body is in your future.

 Please feel free to share in the comments or shoot me an email (Contact tab on top) to let me know if you have a physical need I can pray about with you.

By Julie Sanders

After Christmas instructions

The day after Christmas can feel like a “down” day for a lot of people. Reality sets back in as the distractions of parties, gift giving, visiting, and singing fade into normal things. You might find yourself hoping the new year, now less than week away, will be better than last year.After Christmas Instructions Just a week ago, Facebook was sprinkled with happy photos of decorations and gift swapping, Christmas programs and last minute Pinterest crafts.

The truth is, if Christmas meant anything real in my life or yours, we’ll know it on December 26th.

How do we live in light of Christmas all year? The answer lies in the Christmas story itself.  Just take a close look at “after Christmas” in the lives of Mary and Joseph. Jesus was no longer an infant, the couple was living in a house, and the wise men from the East had visited and just left for home.  Once the oriental worshipers departed Bethlehem, the Christmas story as we know it was officially over.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)

What happened after Christmas took place “to fulfill what the Lord had spoken.” God sent another angelic messenger, a lot like the pre-birth visitations, and gave the leader of the small family, Joseph, 4 instructions. We need to do these same 4 things if we want to live in light of Christmas. These 4 steps are the key to being blessed all year.

4 After Christmas instructions

  • RISE   ………  You’ve gotten comfortable here. Let go of your comfort.
  • TAKE ………. You are my servant.  Remember your job is to carry Jesus.
  • FLEE  ………. You have only begun. Follow Me obediently to hard places.
  • REMAIN ….. You have been obedient. Persist in trusting Me.

When the celebratory events of Jesus’ birth were done, the shepherds went home, the kings left, the gifts ceased, and daily routines began again. Maybe it felt like it was time to set “New Year’s resolutions” or goals for the year. Reality set it.  Just like it does for us, daily life took over. 

Like the young couple who held the Messiah in their arms, God wants us to let go of our comfort, keep on carrying Jesus, follow God’s ways when it’s hard, and trust in Him always. After we read the angelic directions, we read about Joseph, “And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there.”  He did exactly what he was told, right away (even though it was night!), and didn’t question God’s plans. Egypt wasn’t exactly a vacation destination; it was hard. What’s YOUR EGYPT right now on this day after Christmas? Obedience brings blessing and peace in the midst of our Egypt. If Christ’s coming matters, our response should be obedience flowing from our hearts as the only right worship due the Babe we just declared.

Christmas is over. If it meant anything at all, it should show today. It should show up in our goals for the new year and in our outlook for the days to come. If Christmas matters, it matters now.  Obedience is the key to living in light of Christmas.

May the new year be a year of obedience, when we follow God so truly that our worship carries on through each day we don’t call “Christmas.”

 

By Julie Sanders

Crockpot Brown Sugar French Toast

If you have lots of time to dip and fry individual pieces of french toast, or if you don’t like a sweet, holiday-ish french toast, this isn’t the recipe for you. BUT … if you could use a quick breakfast prep that feels like you’re serving up spoonfuls of the most wonderful time of the year … read on.
Crockpot Brown Sugar French Toast
Use a large crock pot for this recipe and you will have enough to serve breakfast for about 8 people. I like to spray the crock with cooking spray before I fill it, just to make for faster, easier clean up. (Says the girl who still doesn’t have her Christmas tree up!)

Crockpot Brown Sugar French Toast

  • 8 cups of cubed bread (I used a combo of not-premium homemade bread loaves & croissants I had frozen because they were in their last days. A combo makes it better!)Crockpot French toast
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Topping: (Use a pastry blender or 2 forks to combine into crumbs)

  • 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Fill the crock with half of your bread cubes. Sprinkle half of the crumbly, brown sugar topping evenly over the bread. (You could add nuts now, if you want to) Repeat these layers.Crockpot French Toast
Mix the eggs, milks, vanilla and cinnamon well and pour the mixture evenly over all of the bread.
Cook this on high for 2 1/2 hours. You might want to give it a slight stir when it’s done to see that the egg has combined completely. If you let it cook for another 30 minutes, you’ll have a little more crispy “cinnamon roll-like coating” on the bottom layer. Jeff said this reminded him of a bread pudding, but I think it’s just a distant cousin.

This makes a warm breakfast that smells so good. I actually assembled mine the night before, popped it in the fridge, then took it out when I first stirred in the morning. By the time everyone was ready to sit down, it was ready! Would work well for a brunch after church, too … or that morning you need to take something to a Sunday School group. It’s quite sweet, especially served with maple syrup, so you might want to add a protein and a fresh fruit to complete the holiday breakfast. And definitely make coffee!

As “comfort and joy” goes during this time of year, this recipe definitely goes in the comfort category!

By Julie Sanders