Ed, great brownie loving dog.
by Josh Brown
Growing up, my family had a chihuahua rat terroir dog named Ed (named after the hyena in the Lion King film). This dog had an addiction that began accidentally. One day when Ed was a pup she got a piece of a brownie and quickly became hooked. From then on, Ed would do whatever it took to get a piece of brownie--even a crumb. This addiction was evident especially when brownies were baking. Ed would sit in front of the oven, whimpering, shivering, drooling, and waiting for these to finish baking--in hopes of a bite.
Ed came to mind recently while in a discussion on Romans 8:18-25. My friend, Brad Stout, pointed out the significance of the phrase, "eagerly waiting" within the passage. This phrase comes from the Greek word απέκδεχομια which carries the idea of leaning forward, or being on the edge of your seat. The apostle Paul uses this word seven times in the New Testament and of those seven times three are used in this passage.
Here, Paul is really stressing the idea of eagerly waiting. This generates the question, "What are we eagerly waiting for?" Believers and creation are eagerly waiting for God's redemption. This means we are waiting for God to make everything right. This looks like Rev 21:3-5:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 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.”
As believers this is our hope. The Apostle Paul's challenge for believers is that we will hope for God's redemptive plan with the same eagerness that my dog Ed hoped for brownies. (I know it's an odd parallel.)
As Jenn and I embark on our latest faith adventure, the theme of "eagerly waiting" surrounds us. We are eager to meet new friends, to see our new residence, to get involved in new ministries and to dive into life in Nevada. These thoughts are forefront and quickly become the central focus. In the midst of this, I am reminded of how much more Christ's redemptive plan needs to be forefront. Another passage comes to mind.
The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
Our westward venture has officially begun. We just crossed the Missouri stateline and have spent most of the day driving.This time, of course, has left lots of time for thinking and worrying. My mind is Goulash. Goulash was a dinner dish Josh's mom made often that contained whatever was available in the fridge. This image came to mind as I thought about how I am feeling right now. I am a mixed pot of excited, nervous, happy, sad, scared, curious, and eager. And I have a feeling that the mix of these emotions will change around lots in the next couple weeks.
This past weekend of packing and final goodbyes was exhausting yet so sweet. At least 25 people stopped by to help load, clean and whatever else we needed on Saturday. What an incredible picture of servanthood and friendship that we will carry with us to our next place of ministry, and hopefully model for others.
This past month, there have been many times we have thought, "Is this a good idea?" And now, here we are, on January 21, 2013, moving forward literally and figuratively in faith; we are eager to see what God has next. In the midst of our shaken confidences and uncertainty, we know our God is with us, each mile in this journey.
Even though the sign we own that displays Joshua 1:9 is on the moving truck that is traveling seperate from us, the truth of this verse is closer to us than our seatbelts!
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Today has been quite interesting. After three days of rain, old man winter finally showed up. It is currently snowing--lots!
The big flakes began to fall about two hours ago. Some friends came by for piano and to help pack and our car decided to slide backward in the snow and hit one of their cars (Sorry Bednars, not the best parting gift). Josh pulled the car up the drive again, got out, and the car started sliding backward AGAIN! As my friend was yelling "Don't hit my car!" I ran barefoot in the snow, jumped in the car, and hit the floor brakes, while Josh pretended to be superman and pushed the car forward! No damage to Josh or the other car, thankfully! Just a little extra stress all around. Overall, we had a little damage to our spare tire cover and the front of our friend's car is much more crooked. (Again sorry)
On a continued interesting moving note, The moving trailer is suppose to be delivered in the morning, not sure that will happen, as there is already four inches of snow on the ground.
The whole thing is quite entertaining. Almost comical. Seems like life is coming full circle as it snowed a bunch the day after we moved to Virginia--so it might as well snow a bunch the day before we pack up to leave, right?
I'm still thankful for the beauty of a winter wonderland, one more time in Virginia.
Although it is a tad inconvient.
Today, in Abingdon, it has rained non-stop all day. While I always enjoy an excuse to wear my cool galoshes, it has been a bit sad feeling. And really, most of the day I wanted to watch movies and drink coffee instead of dealing with the reality of there being a whole lot of boxes that need to be packed this week.
This is our last full week in Abingdon (that's where the tears come in). It is bittersweet to say goodbye and to hear words of encouragement from the people around us about our time in ministry here. Yesterday, my way-cool husband, Josh, preached his final sermon at Abingdon Bible. His focus was Mark 2 – a passage that has captured his heart for several weeks now. I believe he is working on his own blog post about this so I won't spoil what he wants to say too much, but I will say, it was an encouraging word full of questions like, "Do we really believe Jesus is the answer to our problem," "Do we try to reason away God's authority and make our own way," "Are we completely amazed or 'out-of our minds' (greek eksístēmi") by how awesome our God is?"
When trying to answer these questions, I wish I could say, "Yes, NEVER! and "TOTALLY! Yes!" But unfortunately, I tend to try and answer my own problems and quickly find myself wondering if God really knows what He is doing. Yes, I might be "out of my mind" with the details of packing, moving, and trying to spend as much time with friends as possible, but "out of my mind" in amazement by this God that I follow, hmmm?
As I type these words, it hits me . . . I should be. My God IS amazing. The reasons why He is amazing are extensive: He is faithful, unchanging, loving, powerful, forgiving, a Savior, and a constant source of comfort and truth in this world and in my life. That, my friends, is really more than partly sunny, that is a sunny day plus a rainbow. (Maybe I should change the blog title?)
In the mix of such hope and promise, my husband and I are embracing an interesting time in life. We are eager to meet new friends and see what God has next, yet sad to leave friends and a church body that has become dear to us. It seemed fitting yesterday to be part of the praise team that sang/played a "old-time mountain" praise song called "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." The words have echoed in my head throughout yesterday's "farewell fellowship" and while packing today. Here are a couple verses:
"Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand."
"Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling."
"Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand."
Well, it officially hit me yesterday that we are moving in two weeks. This became a reality after talking with the parent of one of my piano students and scheduling her last two lessons. Josh and I were on the way to dinner with some friends and I could feel the panic growing inside threatening to take me into a catatonic state! (I didn't go there completely, for the record).
This got me thinking about "worrying." It seems when people are worried someone always quotes Matthew 6:34, "Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." While I mostly understand the need for this passage, it is not tomorrow that has me spinning it is actually today (or yesterday – in referring to this blog post). The harder challenge for me is when I read
Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God."
Does He really mean anxious for nothing? But what about all those empty boxes that need packing, what about all those projects to finish, goodbyes to say, new jobs fears to consider, and tasks on my Virginia bucket list. etc. In the midst of reeling into a dramatic movie I start thinking, "What are we doing! AHHHHH" and it quickly spirals downward from there. In fact, if I stop to think about not being anxious, it actually makes me more anxious. Tricky thing! Even the spelling of anxious is stressful...A-N-X-I-O-U-S.
Okay taking a deep breath, and asking for guidance, "Lord, help me today." Let the next part of Philippians be my resting place. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" – Phil 4:7.
About the Writers
Typically posts on this page are written by Jennifer Brown and often include fun stories about Josh as well. Occasionally, Josh might post too (when he feels daring!)