Jackson Five Friday: Two E’s

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Mine flew by and the clean laundry mountain that resides on the guest bed only gained breadth and elevation. I need to get on the simplifying bandwagon because clearly I ain’t folding it.

Of course I could make a better effort. Throwing my hands up in defeat is not the answer for laundry nor for life, and definitely not for faith. Yet that is a pretty common mindset: Christ did it all, there’s nothing to earn, so why put forth any effort? But as one of my pastors recently pointed out, the Christian faith is opposed to earning, not effort. Throwing in the towel on effort is always a big mistake but especially when it comes to living godly lives.

I am so convicted by Foster’s Celebration of Discipline because it lays out how important discipline is in the life of disciples. Still my slide back into cruise mode pervades.

This afternoon I read C.S. Lewis’s essay A Slip of the Tongue. It’s brief but packs a punch about being wholly devoted. Lewis quotes William Law who said, “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.” Lewis adds, “Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whisky or a seat in the Cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference that matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the only thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in the desert by which choice of route he missed the only well?”

Only Christ provides ultimate satisfaction. Yet I am so guilty of failing to give Him my whole life on a daily basis.

Again Lewis’s words are apt: “I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liability, this fatal reservation. Only God can…[yet]…the process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude…”

Where do you have a “fatal reservation”? In other words, where are you refusing to fully submit to God’s plan and authority? Can you allow God to work through you to root out this resistance? Even if it looks and feels like human effort?

Because it may seem like we are dragging ourselves to the well, but it is God who pours down the blessing. He does the work. We can’t earn anything. But it does not follow that we should just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. After all no one’s default destination is godliness!

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The end goal is love. God does the work. But we should make every effort.

May this weekend be one of full surrender, fervent pursuit and, if necessary, a smidge of folding.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: The Smell of New

Hey Friends,

I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve had an abundance of highlights this week– nothing super major, just lots of sweet moments to give thanks over.

But one tiny bummer is I think the new-car smell in my new car is officially gone. The culprit: leaky milk on the way home from Costco. It was just days before that one of the boys climbed in the car and declared with enthusiasm, “It still smells new! How long does it last?”

I naively answered, “A looonngg time, if you don’t take any road trips in it.” Jackson family road trips have irreparably stunk up four different minivans over the years, but my minivan days are over. Or maybe not. The truth is we desperately miss the leg room, and since that issue will only get worse over time, my resolve to be post-van may crumble.

Anywho, along with that new car smell, my 90-day free trial of XM will soon expire. This is actually good news. It means I’ll stop experiencing the following pitiful problem: every time I go under an overpass or drive by a really really big rock wall (numerous times daily), the XM signal fades out and I think I’m getting a phone call. It’s such a let down to realize I am not. And you’d think I’d learn. I mean it’s worrisome to me that after two months of this, I have not learned.

Now, some of you may say, “I thought you hated talking on the phone?” Perhaps I did once. But clearly this little XM issue has proven otherwise. I think it’s a stage of life thing. Plus, it’s really sad that the person I used to talk to daily no longer calls.

“Christina!” my mom would say, joyfully rolling the r. And no that’s not my name. I have no idea what first made her call me that. But for decades that was always her first word to me on the phone.

But the great news is that where my mom is all things are new. That new baby smell never fades. The new car, if there was one, would be ding-free and new smelling, forever. In heaven the milk doesn’t spill and there’s nothing that is ever disappointing or pitiful.

Meditate on these words from Revelation:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What a great way to kick off the weekend — with these true and trustworthy words.

Love to you,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Alignment is Vital

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. This is our first week back to real life in 2019, and with four basketball games and a swim meet, it’s quite a running start.

It wasn’t long ago that I was driving four teenage boys to Florida. Since it’s all of a ten-hour drive I did let my seventeen-year-old do a few shifts. But with precious cargo, two of whom aren’t even mine, it’s stressful. I had to tell him to slow down about five hundred times. And “Woah, give this guy more space!” also seemed to be on endless loop. At one point I was trying to have a deep phone conversation. The person was telling me about some serious things going on. They were even getting choked up. I think one of my strengths is being a good, attentive listener but this is a feat with a teenager at the wheel. At one point we were flying by semi-truck after semi-truck and seemingly inching closer to them all the time.

“Aww,” I said to my phone pal, while I frantically gestured to my son to stinking hug the left line on the road, instead of the precarious right. This we repeated about ten times. Then, by God’s grace, we needed gas or something and his shift ended.

Later in the trip, he took another shift and this time there was less traffic, so we mostly stayed in the right lane. Still, I felt like we were veering right, like we were going to go barreling into the grass at any moment.

“Dude, quit veering to the right!” I said. “What is your issue with drifting right?”

At this point a little audio snippet replayed in my mind. Not long ago, my husband said, nonchalantly, as if only passing, “I think my alignment is off.”

Yep, we were in his car. Yep, a seventeen year old hasn’t driven misaligned cars yet enough to know how to automatically compensate. The trip was much smoother when I explained that straight was probably a few degrees to the left.

Alignment really is rather important, isn’t it? Cars are one thing, but real life alignment is truly vital. What’s your plumb line? Is it your gut? Is it public opinion? Is it whatever your friends or spouse say? I hope not. I hope you align yourself with the enteral truth of God’s Word. I hope you feed yourself Scripture so much that you can automatically play some of it in your mind, that situations instantly bring certain applicable passages to mind.

Praying today that 2019 is a year where I commit more Scripture to memory. After all, this side of eternity none of us will ever graduate from needing to align ourselves to God’s Word.

With Love,

Kristie

Tune Therapy

Hi Friends,

When was the last time you sang Jesus Loves Me with a group of adults? I happen to experience it today at the brunch following the baptism of my grand nephew. The sweetness of it can hardly be overstated. In fact, at my church the congregation always sings Jesus Loves Me to close out baptisms. The pastor holds the baby and walks up and down the aisle as we sing. I’m not a terribly emotional person, but it always makes me want to cry happy, grateful tears.

Why do you think that is? I think it’s because we live in a world that is so marred by sin, so intent on stoking our sense of entitlement, our perceived mistreatment, our inclination to be less than satisfied. A new weapon of instilling malcontent is to feed –via smartphones–an ending stream of mostly meaningless information. And for whatever reason, this never-ending stream is highly addictive. Has anyone ever scrolled and scrolled and then thought, “Wow, that was great. I’m so so glad I scrolled”? I seriously doubt it. But the Prince of this world relentlessly tries to hide the truth, the truth that we are loved.

The simple children’s song Jesus Loves Me is so powerful because it’s true. And children may sing with angelic voices and believe every word, but adults singing it know how life-altering this truth truly is. The Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords loves me! Me! Sinful, forgetful, scrolling, ungrateful me!

“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:18-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The incredible news is that grace abounds all the more. Jesus loves you. I am praying today that you know that!

With Love,

Kristie