He is ALWAYS there

There is a new song by Colton Dixon called “Through All of It”, it is about God and how He is always there no matter what. It doesn’t matter how far we fall or how many times we stumble. Now that can sometimes be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, because humans, frankly, are not always awesome. We lie, cheat, we’re selfish, we say/do things that we shouldn’t have, and can hurt our fellow man. Yet, God never leaves. How do we know this? Because the very instant, we realize our faults and ask for forgiveness, God’s love, grace and mercy are there to greet us every time. And let’s be honest, this scenario has and will play itself out more than once in one’s life time.

In a previous post I wrote about grace and how it’s enough for Darth Vader and then some. In that post I quoted John 1:16 which reads, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” This means that God gives us ALL grace, and then some more, and then some. And thankfully so, because we humans need it.

This morning my kids and I watched “Return of the Jedi” because tomorrow is Star Wars Day. (May the 4th be with you!) While watching Darth Vader continue to do his well, Vader stuff, it got me thinking about the light side of the force, and how it stayed with Anakin the whole time he was following the dark side. Many, to include Yoda and Obi Wan, felt that Anakin was a lost cause, that turning to the dark side was something that he could not turn back from. This may seem a little harsh, but these two saw first hand Anakin’s initial actions as Darth Vader, and Obi Wan had to fight Darth Vader. He certainly felt his anger. So you can’t really blame them for seeing Anakin in this light. But because they felt this so strongly, they refused to acknowledge someone else’s, hint Luke’s, feelings about Anakin. After all Luke was Anakin’s son, and had a much different connection to him, then Obi Wan or Yoda. Of course in the end, Luke was right because Anakin managed to fight his way back from dark side.

The closing scene, or next to the closing scene, shows Anakin reunited not only with Yoda and Obi Wan, but also with the light side of the force. Now how could this have happened so quickly? Because the light side never left him. Through all of his Vader foolishness, the light side never once left his side.

In the same way God, with His grace, His love, His mercy, and His blessings, are there to greet us as soon as we turn back and return to who we were created to be. Amazing isn’t? To have a God who loves us in this fashion, is an incredible blessing. He is our rock, and He will never give up. A love like this deserves every praise we can muster, and He accepts them no matter where it is we just returned from.

His grace will catch you every time you fall, it’s enough for Darth Vader and then some.


The Color Red

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is being able to listen to Christmas music. I start listening to it the second that Thanksgiving is over, even before any Christmas decorations have gone up. I might also cheat a little bit and listen to some in October, mainly because I am not a huge fan of Halloween. This year among the Christmas classics like, “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night”, I heard a new song called “Red” by a Christian group called Shine Bright Baby (they’re all girls). The song is about the colors seen at Christmas time like silver and gold, or the different lights on a Christmas tree like yellow or green. The chorus is about the color that means the most, the color red.

The song describes the color has being the color of love, the promise of the blood (Jesus’ blood) and declaring the message that, “..heaven’s son is here to save.” The song speaks about focusing on Jesus’ birth as being the true meaning and the most important part of Christmas. “Red” should be the most important color, the one our eyes should be fixed on. The birth of Jesus is a source of great joy for those who believe. The Biblical story of the birth of Jesus is outlined in the book of Luke in chapter 2, one important element is the angels that come from heaven to deliver the good news to shepherds who were near by, Luke 2:10 says, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people.” So Jesus equals joy.

The message of this song meant a great deal to the type of Christmas our family had this year, it was not necessarily a bad Christmas, just not a great one. We were visited by a lovely flu-like cold that caused our daughter to miss last couple of days of school before Christmas break. The sickness hit me pretty hard as well, messing up my plans to bake more than one type of cookie and do a craft a day with the kids to count down to Christmas. Our son got hit not once but twice, the second time hit on Christmas Eve and he coughed pretty much all night. This left him with little to no excitement on Christmas morning and asleep (yet still coughing) by Christmas afternoon. We had cancel our plans to have dinner with “Daddy’s work friends” as our daughter says and had Spinach Dip for Christmas dinner. Add to that a dash of homesickness and it was not the perfect Christmas most people imagine they will have on December 1st.

Thankfully, as the song displays, Christmas can not be ruined by sickness or missed dinners. Jesus was still born, we (my husband, daughter and son) were together, we may not have been healthy but, we were together. We got to play in the snow two days after Christmas, we watched all movies on our Christmas movie list and, read “The Night before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. We have a home, we had a tree and it had presents underneath. Plus another awesome thing about this time of year, the promise of a New Year. We rang in 2015, surrounded by friends and fireworks. When one looks at everything that went right and the absolute joy of Jesus, it was pretty awesome Christmas after all.

This also made me think more about the color red and what that might mean to Anakin. It was the color of his lightsaber when he was Darth Vader, and while that may not seem like a good thing, it meant very simply that he was alive. Anakin Skywalker could have died any number of ways, Palpatine could have killed him when he first arrived at the Jedi Temple as a little boy. He could died in any of the battles during the Clone Wars or Palpatine could have thrown him out of the same window that Mace Windu had just thrown through. Of course he very easily could have died during his battle with Obi-Wan on Mustafar, but he didn’t. Red was Anakin’s second chance, he was still alive to make a change, to finally live out his amazing calling. Anakin’s life was for certain not perfect, but there were many elements that worked together to create something pretty amazing in the end.

Red stands for promise, in the colors of Christmas it is Jesus coming into the world and becoming the least of these, to grant us a second chance (and third chance and forth chance).

Red is our saving grace.

Significant Calling

While Anakin Skywalker is not the “poster child” for good decision making, he does give us plenty of mistakes from which we can learn. As has been discussed he was impatient and prideful, yet talented beyond measure, and blessed with an incredible gift with which he was to benefit many, many people. But he stumbled and as we know he fell from grace. The one pulling Anakin’s strings and encouraging his slow fade into the dark side of the force was Palpatine who was to become the evil Emperor. There are many things that were said to Anakin during the time that he was working on him but a few statements rise up above the rest. During the conversation in Episode III when Anakin discovers who Palpatine really is, he tells Anakin that he feels like he has always been looking for a life of significance outside of being an ordinary Jedi. Two things bother me about that statement, both of which of course are a part of Palpatine’s lies.

First, think of all the people that inhabit the Star Wars galaxy, billions and billions. How many of those people at one time are Jedi? Maybe a couple thousand at the most. Jedi Knights are not a common thing, it is a very rare talent to have, so that alone is significant just by itself.

Second, Anakin was not called to be just an ordinary Jedi, he was to be one of the most important Jedi ever. That seems awfully significant. But Palpatine played down this calling and his duty as a Jedi, wanting to deliver the promise of greater power and recognition else where, something that would bring respect and “show up” those who Anakin thought where out to devalue him.

The enemy often engages in this same kind of tactic, down playing a good work that you are called to do or the career that you are meant to have, especially if God is to receive all the glory from your actions. Proverbs 21:21 says, “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” The best way to receive the abundance of blessings that God has in store for our lives is to stay on track with His will, His perfect will. We may have to wait longer than we may think is necessary, but trusting in God’s timing is key.

A few days ago there was news of a shooting in California, the young man who was responsible for this crime was bitter and disgruntled with life. He felt that he was not getting enough recognition or attention, especially from girls, his plan was to prove to those around him just how much power he really had and what he was capable of; therefore hoping to gain…something. Much like Anakin he was impatient, much like Anakin he had lost faith in those around him and just like Anakin he lost everything. Sadly however, this young man died as his Darth Vader. God only knows what sort of Kingdom potential was within him, yet he was talked into tearing it all down in the pursuit of fruitless gains and he even more sadly, took some innocent people with him.

Anakin found himself in a similar position, he tore down everything that he was called to be and took a great deal of people down with him. He lost everything; his wife, his children, his friends, his hope, and his passion. Well he almost lost everything, his calling stayed with him. His calling that was so good and so significant, that it managed to stay alive within what little was left of Anakin Skywalker after he turned into Darth Vader. Anakin was reminded of who he was meant be and gained more in that one revelation than in all his years as Darth Vader. Luke had faith in his father’s goodness (the goodness that both him and Padame knew was still there), more importantly he had faith in the source from which that goodness came from and it brought Anakin back.

The calling that God has in store for your life whether big or small is significant, more than you may ever know. God will reveal His plans in His time, have faith and trust Him. There is nothing that can be gained from following the urgings of the enemy, don’t allow him to minimize God’s plans. Have faith the goodness that flows through you, for it comes from a source that never fails.