February 2015 - Messiah Meditations for a New Year

Dear friends (who are hopefully staying warm in this seemingly endless frigid weather!!),

My thoughts as we begin a new year are on goals and hopes and 'resolutions,' things I am hoping to see improved in my life in the coming year.

And as a segway to that, I wanted to share about my 'Messiah' experience this December.  (I realize I have talked about this before, but every year for the past ten years or more, we have heard Handel's 'Messiah' around Christmas time, and is some ways, although a tradition, it is always new.)  I love the simplicity and profoundness of the work.  I love that every word is directly from scripture, and that it tells the story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, undergirded with some of the most powerful and moving and beautiful music ever written (in my opinion), that emphasizes and carries across the ideas and words musically.  And it seems each year there is a new section of the work that hits me where I am at, and moves me to tears.  One year I could barely keep myself from blubbering at the 'Worthy is the Lamb' section.  My gratefulness to the Lord for what He has done for us, for me, and my desire to give Him praise just welled up in me, and imagining seeing Him all glorified and powerful and mighty sitting on the throne; my Friend, my Teacher, my Savior, my Ruler and King, practically undid me. 

Well, this year, some different scriptures moved me, which I want to share with you.

Let me start off by saying, if you can't already tell through what I write, I often struggle.  Emotionally.  When I write, I am basically writing to myself in a way, counseling myself, speaking truth to my weak flesh.  And although I am sure not everyone can relate, I do hope that if you share my struggles, my words bring hope and peace to you.

So this year's 'Messiah' performance.  Three sections of the Messiah containing 6 scripture passages really stuck out to me.  And they actually all connected into one big admonition.

1. Matthew 11:28-29 — “Come unto Him all ye that labor, ye that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

*Which made me think, why do I often feel such a heavy yoke? My conclusion is that possibly I am carrying a yoke that is not His yoke for me, and I need to entrust my burdens to His care, and not try to shoulder and fix things myself.

2. Psalms 69:21 — “Thy rebuke hath broken His heart: He is full of heaviness. He Looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort Him.”

    Lamentations 1:12 — “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.”

*To contrast a bit with the first scripture, although His yoke is easy; Christ felt desperately grieved and sad as He faced the cross.  And even He looked for someone to have pity, but there was no one to comfort Him! So that leads me to think a light yoke does not necessarily mean we are happy and up all the time.  And amazingly He understands how we feel. He has felt those feelings himself, but for such larger and more unjust reasons than the things we feel and suffer, because He lived His life blamelessly without sin. The pain and wounds lie deeper than ours.

3. 1 Corinthians 15:57 — “But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Romans 8:31 — “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

    Romans 8:33-34 — “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?  It is God that justifieth; who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.”

*He gives us the victory, He is for us, HE MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US!!! (He prays for us!) So after these three ideas, fleshed out in the six scriptures above, I think, "Why do I still struggle? What is my problem?" Maybe because I am not remembering clearly all these things and allowing these truths to saturate my flesh and bring me peace and joy. Until we are in our new bodies and free from our flesh it is more difficult to realize and live in the truth that is the gospel. But not impossible!

So here are my main action points for 2015 -

1. Time in the Word: This is certainly the biggest help to accomplish the victory spoken of in the verse above. So once again this year I have started and am on track reading through the bible, inspired by Aaron and Christina who are planning to try to read through it out loud to Ezra this year.  And by the way, Ezra, 18 months, can say his first 'memory' verse, (when given a few words at a time to repeat)  "Children, obey, your-parents, in-the-Lord, for-this, is-right."  Well actually after Christina and Aaron say, 'your-parents,' he says 'in-the-Lord' rather than repeating as he really is getting to know the whole verse.  So cute!  How blessed I am with this amazing legacy.  Oh, and Josh and Kerin's girls made up a sweet Christmas play complete with costumes, which they performed Christmas Eve for us. :)  And we were blessed to have some old friends join our family Christmas Eve. Treasures.  I am a rich lady.

2. Dreaming and planning: A friend of my daughter recently showed my daughter and I a new planner that intrigued me.  Called a 'Day Designer,' it starts by helping you think about your core goals and dreams, then helps you design your days carefully and systematically to achieve them, rather then just attacking the next things that come your way that need to be done on your 'to do' list. I have gotten one and am using it this year to hopefully achieve more systematic progress towards some bigger long term goals.  In the words of it's designer, Whitney English, the 'Day Designer' is "part organizational, part motivational, and a way to stay organized day to day while focusing on overall mindfulness. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the details that it's easy to forget the big picture, but the Day Designer keeps those bigger pictures clearly in focus."  Each day in the planner has a space to write down something you are grateful for, because "gratitude produces joy in our lives."

So that is the big idea for me as I enter 2015; lots of details and specifics fall under those two top action points, of course!  But if I faithfully do those two things, be in God's Word daily, and incorporate movement towards big dreams and goals into my weekly plan and schedule, I hope 2015 to be a year filled with the fulfillment of God's promises and joy in my life!

To close, I also love this verse (also in Handel's 'Messiah') as we as grandparents are in a season enjoying a growing flock full of little 'grandchildBealls.' The verse (below), is a good reminder as I pray for my adult children and their spouses and families in the midst of their very busy season of life that can feel like a heavy "yoke" at times...although this season is also filled with the joy and wonder only small children can bring to our lives!

Isaiah 40:11 — “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

As you commence a new year may God be with you as you dream big and live your life to its fullest for His glory. May the Lord give you your best year yet, in 2015!

Linda for the Bealls

A thank-you to Kerin's sister, Katy Bloom for the sweet photos. :)