Saturday, April 30, 2011
I'll love you foreverAnd I'll like you for alwaysAs long as I'm livingMy baby you'll be
The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceasesHis mercies never come to an endThey are new every morningNew every morningGreat is thy faithfulness O LordGreat is they faithfulness
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
I Peter 3, The Message
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
That there’s a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it. But the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty, is genius. And brings me to my knees, literally.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
As a sensitive little boy...
I accepted in good faith
the word of camp counselors
who described the fate of the
lost as we stoked orange
coals during late night
What about the unchurched
cousins I loved so dearly?
God loved them, but if they
didn’t love him back, he would
skewer them on an everlasting
rotisserie—just like the stick I
used for roasting my
marshmallows.And appreciate this excerpt:
That said, the data summarized
herein did lead me to four conclusions,
which you may or may not
share after all is said and done:
1. We cannot presume to know
that all will be saved or that any
will not be saved.
2. The revelation of God in
Christ includes real warnings about
the possibility of damnation for
some and also the real possibility
that redemption may extend to all.
3. We not only dare hope and
pray that God’s mercy would finally
triumph over judgment; the love
of God obligates us to such hope
4. Revelation 21–22 provides a
test case for a biblical theology of
Monday, April 25, 2011
We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.~Colossians 1, The Message
He asked, "What's this you're discussing so intently as you walk along?"
They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard what's happened during the last few days?"
He said, "What has happened?"
They said, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn't find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn't see Jesus."
Then he said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.
They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.
Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"
They didn't waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: "It's really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!"
Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.
While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, "Peace be with you." They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, "Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it's really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn't have muscle and bone like this." As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.
He asked, "Do you have any food here?" They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.
Then he said, "Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled."
He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, "You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high."
He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.
And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Scot McKnight shared this quote and hooked me:
Monotheism is inherently inclusive because if there is one God then that one God is for all people.
Sounds like much to ponder.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Father, forgive us. Raise us back to life. Make us new.
Today is also Earth Day. How beautiful that both fall on the same day this year!
As the kids watch a bit of Nickelodeon this morning, I keep hearing,
"Save the planet"
"Turn something old into something new"
"We're all responsible for one another"
oh how theological these statements are, if you have ears to hear and eyes to see...
Father open our eyes and our ears and our hearts.
MAKE ALL THINGS NEW
Gungor says it best in their song Dry Bones:
Jesusof course, one can't help but sing Gungor songs and think God-thoughts while spending spring break here...
You're the one who saves us
Constantly creates us
Into something new
Surely You will find us
Surely our Messiah
Will make all things new
You make all things new
Monday, April 18, 2011
The initial drive from Charlotte to Knoxville was about 4 hours. Once there, we met up with my husband's aunt at a Cracker Barrel. She, the waitor, and random customers who just happened to be nearby all repeatedly commented on how well behaved and sweet our children are. With four of them so close in age, we draw a lot of attention. I genuinely appreciated their observing that the children are polite, well mannered, happy, and just good natured in general. Our kids are not "typical" so these heart-felt compliments mean a lot - it's lovely when others enjoy your children as much as you do.
By the time we got to Nashville, that same evening, we'd driven for over 8 hours in severe storms. The same kids who'd received so much praise in Cracker Barrel at lunch were now drawing glares and stares in Jason's Deli at dinner. They weren't being BAD, really, they just couldn't have been still if their lives had depended on it. Sitting in the booth, they might as well have been on those bouncy-balls-with-handles ... you know the ones you sit on and hop like mad? That was them in the booth. People literally got up and moved away from us. I could only shake my head and smile to myself as we encouraged them to exercise self control. Because this, too, is reality.
Approval and praise one hour.
Glares and stares the next.
"What amazing parents you are!"
"Why don't they make those kids behave???"
Aren't we glad we don't live under a performance oriented reality? Aren't we thankful for grace? Oh, the beauty of knowing that my identity is not tied into how I (or my kids) impress others.
Thank You Father. Because of You and Your love, I know better.
(and for the record, we've now made it as far as New Orleans and they are doing A-W-E-S-O-M-E)
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(he didn't write the words "sinful prideful stubborn free will" in there exactly but I've got a feeling they're included in the words NOR ANYTHING ELSE IN ALL CREATION)
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
One of my sons played THE Wizard of Oz in the school play before a packed crowd Friday night. He was 100% in his element and rightly proud of himself. It makes me happy to see him finding his niche.
My other son, our oldest who has Asperger's Syndrome, shared his testimony before our entire church body THREE TIMES today, and was baptized. I am still realizing all the prayers that have been answered through this.
Both sets of grandparents were there. As I listened to others share their stories, I realized how incredibly blessed we are, that both of our parents are 1) together, 2) healthy, 3) nearby, and 4) invested in our lives. Our parents are all these things and more.
I have so much to say about Luke's sharing of the gospel today, hopefully I will get the chance to write more later this week. For now though you can watch/listen here if you haven't already on the other blog. ;)
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
First, the sweet heavy smell grew very much less. For though the whole fire had not been put out, a good bit of it had, and what remained smelled very largely of burnt Marshwiggle, which is not at all an enchanting smell. This instantly made everyone's brain far clearer. The Prince and the children held up their heads again and opened their eyes.
Secondly, the Witch, in a loud, terrible voice, utterly different from all the sweet tones she had been using up till now, called out, "What are you doing? Dare to touch my fire again, mud-filth, and I'll turn the blood to fire inside your veins."
Thirdly, the pain itself made Puddleglum's head for a moment perfectly clear and he knew exactly what he really thought. There is nothing like a good shock of pain for dissolving certain kinds of magic. "One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."
~C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, Chapter 12: The Queen of Underland
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I wrote this for my Oasis group, as we wrap up our Breaking Free study tomorrow. We will split off individually to pray and journal and mediate, reflecting on what God has shown us in His Word. Here are a few key passages, rewritten into prayers.
You set me free
You forsook Your own freedom
And took on bondage
Your forsook Your own glory
And took on shame
Give me strength
Give me faith
Give me assurance, then
To refuse to ever again accept a yoke of slavery placed upon me
I am yours and yours alone
Because of You
I am free
I confess that I have run back to the comfort of shackles
I confess that out of fear I cling to what is familiar
I confess that I have cared more what others think than what You say
I choose You
I choose freedom
Keep me, Lord.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on You
the LORD has anointed You
to proclaim good news to the poor
(reveal to me where I am poor)
He has sent You to bind up the brokenhearted
(reveal to me where I am brokenhearted)
to proclaim freedom for the captives
(reveal to me where I am captive)
and release from darkness for the blind
(reveal to me where I am blind)
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
(reveal to me Your favor)
and the day of vengeance of our God
(reveal to me where I seek my own vengeance)
to comfort all who mourn
and provide for those who grieve
(comfort me Lord)
to bestow on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes
(I offer up my ashes; I accept the crown of beauty You bestow)
the oil of joy instead of mourning
(I choose joy in the midst of mourning because I choose You)
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
(I reject hopelessness and I stand in worship!)
I will be called an oak of righteousness,
a planting of Yours
for the display of Your splendor.
(I believe this)
We will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; we will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
(Jesus do this work in and through me. Break generational cycles. Restore Your grace. Bless my family.)
You said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
(fulfill this scripture TODAY, in ME)
pray Isaiah 64 and I Corinthians 2
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides You,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
You have written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived
are the things You have prepared for those of us who love You—
these are the things You have revealed to me by Your Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of You, God.
What I have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from You, so that I may understand what You have freely given me.
For I have the mind of Christ.
I choose to surrender to the Spirit
to the mind of Christ
to the will of the Father
I accept all that You freely offer
I am yours.
Keep me Lord.
Keep me strong in my mind.
Renew my mind.
I reject lies and cling to truth.
I confess that I have been lazy in my thoughts.
I confess that I have made agreeents with the evil one
I confess that I have believed less of You
and less of myself
I have the mind of Christ.
No longer do I live, but Christ lives in me.
Breath by breath.
I choose to abide in You.
pray Isaiah 43
I will not fear, for You have redeemed me;
You have summoned me by name; I am Yours.
When I pass through the waters,
You will be with me;
and when I pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over me.
When I walk through the fire,
I will not be burned;
the flames will not set me ablaze.
For You am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, my Savior;
Since I am precious and honored in Your sight,
and because You love me,
I will not be afraid, for You are with me;
I am your witnesses and your servant whom You have chosen,
so that I may know and believe You and understand that You are God.
Before You no god was formed,
nor will there be one after You.
You, even You, are the LORD,
and apart from You there is no savior.
You have revealed and saved and proclaimed.
I am your witness that You are God.
Yes, and from ancient days You are God.
No one can deliver out of Your hand.
When You act, who can reverse it?”
I forget the former things; I do not dwell on the past.
You are doing a new thing! Now it springs up; make me to perceive it.
You are making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
You, even You, are He who blots out my transgressions, for Your own sake,
and remembers my sins no more.
pray Isaiah 48 and Psalm 42
You teach me how to live right and well.
You show me what to do, where to go.
If I had listen to what You tell me,
my life will flow full like a river,
blessings rolling in like waves from the sea.
I believe You, Lord.
A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink You, deep draughts of You.
I'm thirsty for You.
I wonder, "Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in Your presence?"
I'm on a diet of tears— tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long people knock at my door,
Pestering, "Where is this God of yours?"
These are the things I go over and over,
emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
right out in front,
Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
celebrating, all of us, Your feast!
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why am I crying the blues?
I fix my eyes on You God—
soon I'll be praising again.
You put a smile on my face.
You are my God.
When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then You promise to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is Your prayer.
Why am I crying the blues?
I will fix my eyes on God—
soon I'll be praising again.
You put a smile on my face.
You are my God.