Monday, January 16, 2012

JESUS – MY PREFACE

I am an avid reader.

I read everything.

I've been this way as long as I can remember. In fact, in second grade my teacher thought I had a problem with reading, because I couldn't read out loud. She spoke to my parents, who promptly told my teacher the books I was reading at home(evidently "War and Peace" isn't "usual" 2nd grade reading material NO, I am totally kidding). Turns out it was wasn't so much a "reading" problem as much as it was a *shyness* problem…

I'm also in a neighborhood Book Club that meets once a month. We commit to reading a book each month that the group has voted on. (In case you're interested, we're reading "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters this month).

There is an unwritten rule that the book must be read. No, if you don't read the book you won't be kicked out of the group automatically. But, you will have to face the disdainfully disappointed faces that stare at you in contempt. (It's not unlike going to the dentist and the hygienist asks if you've been flossing every day – you hang your head and mumble guiltily, "No.")

So, I read.

One month I finished an entire book (well over 500 pages) in one 10-hour marathon. Yes, I fear the faces…

But it's also a lot more fun to participate in the lively discussion that ensues.

I'm also a book purist.

I do not read the last page.

I do not skip pages.

I read any foreword or preface.

I looked up those two words, by the way. Learned something new:

Preface – A preliminary statement or essay introducing a book that explains its scope, intention, or background and is usually written by the author.

Foreword – A preface or an introductory note, as for a book, especially by a person other than the author.

So, a foreword is usually written by someone else – a preface is usually written by the author.

A preface can give you some valuable information. It gives you a *feel* for the author, and for the direction they are going to be sending you. It gives you a *window* into their mindset when they wrote the book – and it often provides a hint of their writing style. They are quite often very entertaining in themselves.

I like reading them.

But today, I'm thinking about the actual wordpreface. Being Mrs. English Major, I'm looking at that word, and breaking it down into its parts.

PRE – FACE.

"Pre" is actually a prefix – (yes, some irony in that – pre is a PREfix…). It means:

Earlier than : prior to : before : preparatory or prerequisite to : in advance : beforehand : in front of

"Face" as in "to face something" is defined this way:

To confront with complete awareness : To overcome by confronting boldly or bravely.


Lots of introductory information here, dear readers. Consider it my preface to the blog post!

Here's what I'm thinking.

Jesus is my preface.

And here's all the reasons why.

He literally is the pre-beginning to all that there is. He is the Eternal One the one who precedes, predates everything.

In the Bible, He is also named the *firstfruits* of all believers.

"But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]."
(1 Corinthians 15:20, AMP)

Jesus is the first one to be raised from the dead into the new incorruptible body that we are all destined to inherit.

But, He is also something more.

Jesus is the One who PRE-FACES everything that happens in my life.

He is the One who has known every single day of my life since before I was born. There isn't a day on my calendar that surprises Him (rumor has it that He owns a heavenly Dayplanner all filled in!).

He's been there before, in advance, in preparation.

He goes into each moment knowing what's coming.

He's the best One to help me – because He will walk in front of me. Like the cloud of smoke by day, the pillar of fire by night.

And He will face it all with me.

He will confront my battles, my sufferings, my temptations, my fears with complete awareness. And it is only by His Spirit that I will be able to overcome these things with brave boldness.

I am daunted by many things – many feelings, many thoughts, many situations – in my life. But, the Lord is not intimidated by any of it. He holds the keys to Life and Death, after all. He has defeated the power of the Grave. He has firmly sealed my soul for eternity.

With Him on my side, what else should I fear?

(Note: The correct answer is pretty much NO ONE, NO THING…nothing)

Jesus is the preface to the story of my life.

He really is the ultimate "Been there, done that" guy.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude by the fact that I do not walk alone. I am so awed by His omniscient presence in my life. I am trying to be humble in my submission to the One who covers my every step with His loving providence.

I'm not sure how my story is going to end (remember, even if I could, I don't read the last page of ANY book!)

But Jesus does.

And I know Him.

So He can be my Preface – my PRE-FACE.

He's the Author of my story, after all.

I'll let Him determine the plot outcome!


What are you facing or fearing today that you need Jesus to go before you?


"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."
(Psalms 139:16)

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)


Linked today with:
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS


(A little disclaimer: I was exaggerating about the Book Club girls - they're really great!!)


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

17 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon,

    I guess the answer to your last question would be many things at the moment.

    However, although I am guilty of reading the last page of many books, before the beginning and I am what would perhaps be called an avid reader, I do want Jesus to be the author of my life/life story and for Him to have the final say and outcome.

    As I read the start of this blog, I become slightly irritated about the book club and the looks, this is something I find very hard to cope with and it puts me off of joining any group that practises it. However I am wrestling at the moment, with the notion that perhaps I need to see more the Tough Love of Jesus and apply it more to myself (or allow him to) and to others, than the over-sensitive, over justifying, sometimes sloppy attitude I take. I should perhaps stop making excuses for myself and others for our behaviour, attitudes etc, stop comparisons. Be more willing to accept rebuke from others and to rebuke them scripturally in the name of the lord, as and when He directs me, without fear of rejection, or hurting their feelings. I would Sharon, appreciate your prayers on this. - God Bless and thank you for sharing this

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  2. I tend to be a book purist too. I admit to times when I realize that I'm not really reading the book, though. I'm just reading the words. I'll be clicking along and suddenly realize that I can't remember a thing from the past several pages. I have to go back and reread it all.

    I think too many folks read the Word of God that way. They read the words but are just marking time. Me? I want to chew on every word.

    That's one of the reasons that I love this blog post (and many others) I love how you let a single word teach you. That's my favorite style.

    (Yes...That was more verbal meandering like my last comment, but since you gave such a lengthy intro, I thought I could too.)

    As to the teaching from that single word "preface", I love it. I loved the reminder that there isn't anything that He hasn't faced before me, and faced worse than I can imagine.

    Right now, I'm facing the discouragement of having someone made at me and overtly rejecting me. It's embarrassing and hurtful because I honestly didn't have the motive (Don't you love how I tied the fan the flame into this?) to anger them in any way. It's comforting to remember that He faced rejection from those He knew He would die to save.

    Great post. I'll think of it when I read the word "preface" now.

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    1. ohhh Debbie, I'm just like that also!!!

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  3. Amazing the things we have in common Sharon. I love to read and I have always been shy. But I had the annoying habit of reading out loud at home that family didn't enjoy. I love the idea of Jesus is my preface. Great job!

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  4. You read just like I do. And I always read aloud to my mother when I was young, well, and anyone else who would listen. I love how you think of things and give such heartwarming analogies. Jesus as my preface. That's one that will stay with me for awhile.
    I don't think I am afraid of anything at the moment and that's a great feeling. Just taking it all one day at a time.
    xo

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  5. I read lots and lots of books. However, the rebel in me would not like a book club who makes you feel guilty - sorry - had too much of that early on. I guess you'd say I was a purist too with the way I read books. Jesus is my prefix too. sandie

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    1. Yes, my sentiments too, don't like to be made to feel guilty, because I don't conform to what others think is right for me. I am a bit of a rebel too.

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  6. I knew you were "decorating" the book club with faces to make the point. Don't you think that those "looks" are all part of our guilty imagination? Yeah, I think so too. Ha!

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  7. Thank you for this post, so rich with truth and so encouraging. I have been dealing with a lot of life lately and it is a comfort to be reminded that there is nothing I have to face alone. Jesus is my Preface too!

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  8. Hi Sharon, following you over from "Brag on God Friday" I have to say you got my attention with "I am an avid reader. I read everything." at the beginning of this post! I love to read also and I love that Jesus is my preface and as you said here, "He goes into each moment knowing what's coming."
    Love your blog design, so rustic and I love all your pictures and scriptures. I look forward reading more. If you have time come by and visit my blogs.
    God bless :)

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  9. Love this one! And Hallelujah! I'm glad my surprises aren't His. I was always an avid reader in grade school, got to high school and college and I wasn't so much (unfortunately), and now I'm back on it again.

    I know *exactly* the faces you're talking about. Those goody-goodies. ;)

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  10. Ohhh Sharon, I lost the most wonderful comment to you by scrolling up and reading Debbie's and replying... it made my one to you disappear... I'm heart broken.

    Let me try again.(grrrrrrrr) (sigh)

    Blessing Sharon, What a wonderfully written and AWESOME lesson on Jesus as our Preface! I'm so thankful and blessed to be able to call Him this.

    You are not only a self proclaimed AVID reader, and a well educated English teacher but also an excellent WRITER... I daily look forward to reading whatever you write, wherever you write as you delightfully share God. I am always amazed! This one with the intro lesson on words... and the additional stories of your beginning early days as a reader to your harsh book club group with their pressure of judgmental looks... (ok our own guilt issues showing up here) Topped off with the most rich spiritual lesson of Jesus being our Preface.
    (ahhh) I clung on to every word... so beautifully written. I love this as I do almost every one you pen... and truthfully I need Jesus every day to go before me and with me... and not because of what I'm facing but because I depend on Him being there.

    I'd love for you to expand on how Jesus is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep? Because that word now stood out and I had to go back over and over to read the verse in context.
    I'm sure how you have written on Jesus being the author and finisher of our life stories; our alpha and omega, our preface... does show this but speak specifically on that verse from 1 Corinthians 15:20
    (that's what I scrolled back to read when I noticed what Debbie wrote cuz ya' know I can't stop and be influenced or swayed by others on my way to comment)... I loose it (but I did any ways, it lacks the luster the original comment had) which
    must have been my last ounce of anointing for the day... May God PREFACE every chapter of our books!

    Love and honored to be part of your personal book club fan... no faces from me... just (((0))) \0/
    Peggy

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  11. It is good to remember that God knows the whole story...the preface, the beginning, the middle and the end! He has a plan for it all and His plan is good!

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    1. Amen! Joan... that's the best assurance we have!
      Maybe it's best if we can't skip to the last page in this case... because the FINAL WORD is HIS and He's already written that in the Book of Life!

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  12. My husband and daughter are avid readers. I like to read too. I read the preface and anything written on the cover. I like the comment you made about Jesus knowing how it will end. We don't know, but we put our hand in his knowing that He knows exactly what he's doing and we can trust Him.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)