Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: tension

Injustice

The word prompt for day four of blogging through Lent is INJUSTICE.

It’s not fair!

My life was a mess. I had a tough childhood, things were done to me, and as I got older, I reacted. I got into stuff I shouldn’t have. Nice people didn’t want anything to do with me. I couldn’t blame them. The presence of evil clung to me wherever I went. I hated being alone, my thoughts would race round in circles until I thought I was going mad. The nights were the worst. Dark presences in the bedroom that made me cower on my bed and wish I was dead. Nightmares that were frighteningly real whenever I did get to sleep. I hated my life.

And then He came.

He saw me, the real me. He was patient. He gave me time. He made me feel safe. And He wanted nothing from me. One scorching afternoon under the vines while His friends were resting, I found the courage to tell Him about my nightmares and my past. He listened. And then He asked what I wanted.

‘I want to be free.’

I wanted peace, to lie on my bed at night and feel safe, to be happy, to be free.

He smiled and placed a hand on my shoulder.

‘Be free.’

Immediately the dark, evil presences left. I felt lighter and oh what was that I felt? Joy. That was it. I broke into delighted laughter and He laughed with me. I’ve never heard a more joyful noise.

Life hasn’t been the same since. Jesus gave me peace in place of tension and joy in place of despair. I’ve had no fear going to bed since then. I’m no longer troubled by evil presences or nightmares.

And now He is being dragged through the streets as the worst type of criminal. They are going to crucify Him. It’s not fair. He doesn’t deserve this. He’s perfect.

That’s it. They’ve killed Him. This man of peace who does good and rescues people from oppression and a life of hell. He’s dead. Why? Oh God, why?

 

 

 

Featured image used with permission courtesy of Free Digital Photos and Stuart Miles.

One Of Us

‘The Word became flesh and lived among us’ – what does that actually mean?

Jesus became human and moved onto the estate.

Jesus was once the single cell of a fertilised egg – fully God and fully human.

As an embryo, Jesus didn’t just take up space in Mary’s womb, He was her Son.

Jesus was a real baby, born into the human race, with grandparents and a family tree. Just like me.

But Jesus is 100% God. Not like me.

Imagine God breathing air with lungs He had created….

One of His most precious names is Emmanuel – God with us. This is what we celebrate at Christmas, it’s all about Jesus and the wonder of God becoming man and walking among us. Jesus had friends and people who didn’t like Him; He was a son, a big brother, a cousin, an uncle.

Christmas can be so stressful – squeezing in time to write cards, buy and wrap presents, going out for Christmas dinners and drinks with work colleagues, friends and family, trying to keep an eye on the budget and seeing how far you can stretch your finances – by the time you get to the day itself you can end up feeling a bit frazzled. For many people, it’s fun to spend time with family. For others, there are family tensions to contend with, or loneliness, or worse.

Jesus knew all about family life. He was part of Mary and Joseph’s family. He had siblings. And it wasn’t all plain sailing. His family disbelieved and rejected Him, they thought He had mental issues, and they tried to manipulate and control Him.

But Jesus knew who He was. He was more than Mary’s son. He was more than the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon.

Jesus was the Son of God. And He had a purpose in life. He was headed for the cross so that He could defeat death and set us free from the fear of death. Jesus knew who He was and so He was able to be Himself and do what He was meant to do.

He offers that same assurance to us if we trust Him. For me, knowing who I am in Christ has literally changed my life. I am secure in knowing that I am loved and accepted. I love that Jesus was born into a human family so that I could be adopted into His Family. Amazing! There is confidence, peace and joy in knowing who you are.

When life kicks off, as it does from time-to-time, and I have a wobble, feeling rejected and worthless, I now repeat these five truths aloud to myself:

I believe that God is who He says He is.
I believe that God can do what He says He can do.
I believe that I am who God says I am.
I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I believe that God’s Word is alive and active in me.

Let’s celebrate JESUS this Christmas – He is so much more exciting than Santa and reindeer and tinsel and turkey and smellies. He is Son of God and Son of Man, willing to be our Emmanuel.

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