Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Survival Vs. Living

Are you surviving today?  Or are you living?  It's not a question of semantics but a deep down heart-felt question.  This weekend we went to see the Academy Award Best Picture "Twelve Years A Slave".  Heavy movie.  Be ready for heartache, deep issues of evil in the heart of man and ending with tears mixed with joy and sadness.  A statement made by the lead actor left an impression on my mind.  Solomon, a free man in the north (of USA) is kidnapped and sold into slavery (human trafficking is not new).  Early into this horrific journey he is about to face, he is challenged by another slave to be tough, keep his head down and "survive".  Solomon, in a state of bewilderment and shock at what has happened to him lifts his head and says, "I don't want to survive, I want to live."  Profound.

Egypt was a place of survival and death.  Egypt was where baby Moses was found floating in the Nile, placed there to escape the death sentence of all the male babies.  God then uses this same land as a place where baby Jesus and his parents found refuge the first years of Jesus' life.  A place of death became a place of survival, which led to life.   Interestingly, life changing ministries came out of this place from the lives of these two men.

Scholars differ but the general thinking is Jesus spent around two or three years of his early childhood in Egypt, before returning home after King Herod died (around 4 B.C.).  He and his family were surviving in Egypt.

During this period of "survival" Jesus most likely....

**learned how to walk
**learned to eat with a spoon by himself
**learned to talk
**began to recognize his earthly father and mother
**became attached to his earthy family and developed relationships with them....his early "community"

Places of survival can be places of learning and preparation.  And, they can be transformed into places of life.  Places meant for death can be transformed into life. 

Today, whatever season you or I are in, let's ask God to birth life out of it.  If you feel you are just surviving, barely able to keep your head above water, wondering how you got here in the first place when all you did was take steps of obedience,  let's trust God to bring life out of our Egypt.  Open our eyes to what God is doing in our Egypt - perhaps teaching us something valuable to use later on down the road.  We don't want to survive, we WANT TO LIVE! 

"Lord, in places that once meant death, or seem like death to us, we trust You to bring forth life.  Today, increase my faith in a place that seems to be dying, YOU will cause life to spring forth." 
(prayer from the devotional below)

(Some of my thoughts came from my devotional reading today; a wonderful Lent devotional that is free to download.  Even though Lent is the time period 40 days before Easter, this devotional has 17 days of devotions, so if you begin now or even miss a day or two, there is plenty of time to catch up before Easter.  Enjoy because this is powerful stuff!  Thanks to Ann Voskamp!


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