Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't move...yet

I'm still looking for the best spot for internet reception in the house. Out here on the lake, we have to use a USB card to get internet service, and it can make a big difference in the speed of downloads if you're sitting in the right spot. When I do find a place where I've got 3 of 4 bars–I've yet to find a spot that has all four–I don't move. I stay put. (So what if my left leg has to be on top of the refrigerator?)

But internet connection wasn't why I didn't move this morning. I don't know why, but clearly I wasn't supposed to follow my own agenda. I had a plan, but was preempted by distractions. What's funny is, I'm ok with it. Because these "distractions" have been in regard to eternal beings, not stuff to be checked off a to-do list. (Which, to be honest, can be a source of joy for me - I love marking things "done"!)

Nevertheless, my heart has been burdened this morning for people. People I care about deeply. Like Beth, who just last week was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors are saying it's inoperable because of the tumor's proximity to blood vessels and other vital organs. And people like Doug, Kathryn, Laura, Jeff and Kimberly who are so far from their homes in Texas, yet are redefining "home" for themselves as they seek to make Christ known in places where his name is unknown or used only for cursing and vanity. And other people like A and G, who are hurting over broken relationships, and precious friends J, S, A and S who are struggling with disappointment in life circumstances.

So, I haven't moved. Because the connection in prayer for these precious friends has been so sweet. I know it has everything to do with my heart's reception - I must have found a spot to run on all four bars - and I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that I've "be[en] still and [known] that He is God" (Psalm 46:10).

I'm so thankful He said its ok, even necessary, to be still. And I love the reassurances of the remainder of that verse: "I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth." His exaltation doesn't depend on my running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Certainly, we can't remain still forever. Jesus modeled the balance most perfectly. He knew he needed moments like I've had this morning as he prepared to deal with numerous eternal beings who had needs too many to count. And even when he'd hung out with Moses and Elijah on a high mountain, he knew he couldn't stay there and get accomplished the purpose for which he'd come. (By the way, I love Mark's commentary on that event (9:5-6): he says Peter suggests memorializing the place "because he didn’t really know what else to say." Since according to tradition, Mark wrote from Peter's recollections, I find it hilarious that Peter is essentially confessing: "I opened my big mouth like a idiot, 'cause I was scared snotless.")

But, I digress.

I'd forgotten intercessory prayer can be so rich, so meaningful. So often, I treat it like my "to do" lists: "ok, prayed for #1, #2, #3 and #4 - check, check, check, and done." Or I hand it off to God as if to say, "Do what you can about these, and I'll get back with You later to see how it's going."  He will be exalted in spite of me, I realize, but how much more blessed will I be to have been a part of seeing Him exalted through the lives of these I love as I lift them before the only One who can do anything and everything for them?

... the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him (Deut 4:7). Thanks for that. Be near, O God.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Sunday morning's Bible study lesson was on prayer. Specifically, praying for those who are sick. A difficult topic, since many in our group have lost loved ones to cancer and other cruel, debilitating illnesses.

We pondered the whys and why nots of God's methods of healing - complete recovery on this side of heaven, complete recovery on that side. Of course, we say this to spin it in such a way that God says, "Yes" to our request for healing. It makes it a little more comfortable, however placating, answer of hope for believers in Christ. But, the truth is, the latter is a "No" answer. And human nature being what it is, we don't like to hear, "No."

I've always heard that God answers every prayer: "Yes" "No" or "Wait." That may be true. While we make out like waiting is the hardest of the answers, I think we're only fooling ourselves. "No" is the answer we simply don't want, because it may not have rationale to follow. At least with "Wait" we can usually see why in hindsight or gain a glimpse of the steps that had to be taken to bring the circumstances to bear. But "No" is so final. So "because I said so." So uncontrollable.

It's the "No"s that trip us up. They cause us to question God's goodness of character, the depth of his love, his dependability and/or his rightful place as sovereign Lord. But a God who won't say "No" is no more authoritative than a parent or employer who won't, and a God who can't say "No" is not really in control to begin with, so why should we bother to ask him to work at all? God knows it's a risk to say "No" to us; we may reject him altogether. That's a risk he is (and many parents and employers should be) willing to take.

The thing that always bothered me was that Jesus didn't know what it was like. I mean, every time he prayed, the answer was "Yes." He prayed for people to be healed...boom...a blind man could see. He prayed for the dead to be raised...boom...a little girl sits up from her bed, hungry. He prayed for food to be multiplied...boom...5000+ people are eating fish sandwiches on a hillside. He prayed for the agony of the cross to pass from him (Mark 14:36)..............and it didn't.

The answer was "No." Jesus did get a "No" from God. And his "No" wasn't "for his own good." (That's a reason I hear all the time. "God said, 'No' because he knew you didn't need that; it wouldn't be good for you." Sometimes that's just baloney.) God's "No" to Jesus had nothing to do with him, personally. It certainly wasn't because there was sin in his life. (That's another reason I hear: "God said, 'No' because you need to suffer the consequences for something you did once." Thanks, that's so helpful.) God's "No" to Jesus' plea had eternal, world-wide ramifications. If he'd said "Yes" what hope would you or I have for salvation?

Now, I'm not implying that every "No" we hear from God will result in someone's salvation or change the course of history as we know it. But it is helpful to know he has a reason, even if we don't like it. And his reasons can't make him mean or uncaring, because to be unkind is impossible for him. He is defined by love, the very fruit of his Spirit's nature is joy, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness (to name a few).

So when God says "No" to healing on this side of heaven, it might make us feel better to believe he really said, "Yes" to healing over there, but it helps me more to know Jesus knows the pain of hearing "No," too. And I believe, in his humanity, he didn't like that answer any more than I do.

Later on Sunday, a woman privately asked me a difficult and unanswerable question: Since there is complete healing in heaven for those who have received Christ's atoning sacrifice in forgiveness of their sins (based on Rev. 21:4), does it necessarily follow that those who die from a debilitating disease and chose to reject Christ's atoning sacrifice will endure that suffering in hell for eternity? In other words, if a Christ-follower dies of cancer and is thereby healed in heaven, does a non-Christ-follower who dies from cancer endure its effects forever in hell?

I'm going to do everything I can to make sure no one has to find out first-hand.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The One Who Came Back

My devotional this morning led me to read Luke 17:11-19, where Jesus heals the 10 lepers and only one returns to express his gratitude. Of course, the point of the devotional was to be grateful for the things God has done in your life and I honestly went into it thinking, "I know: yada;yada"), but as only He can, God brought some other things to my attention this time.

Luke takes great pains to point out all ten lepers were healed as they walked away from Jesus toward the priests (v.14). Numerous sermons have been preached about the amount of faith these men had to turn away and begin walking before healing took place. I don't deny that's a great likelihood. But, I also wonder, as people in a position of great desperation, was He simply their last hope? I mean, what's the worst Jesus could say when they ask for mercy? "No"? They won't be any worse off than they are already. Instead, Jesus tells them to do something marginally ridiculous. He doesn't say hello, wish them God's grace, or even touch their decaying bodies. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests.

Now, they didn't say anything apparently (which is a credit to them, because I would have looked at Jesus like he was crazy, followed by a snide, "Seriously?"), but at least one of them had to have been thinking: "Um, Jesus, we know you're a nice guy and all, and seem to know a lot about God and stuff, but...we've already done that." The laws–see Leviticus 13 for full details–gave instruction to present oneself to the priest to be declared unclean. (I guess priests back then also went to med school?) Presumably, all ten of these men had done that. So, why, before they were healed, was Jesus sending them back to the priests? Jesus, of course, knew that Leviticus 14 instructs lepers who believe they've been healed to return to the priests for verification, sacrifices of offerings and reestablishment in the community. But you go to the priest for this confirmation after healing has occurred. Jesus is sending them before "doing" anything. He doesn't wave a magic wand or speak words of power over them. I wonder if they walked away, not in faithful assurance of healing, but rather in confusion, dejection, or even apathy, thinking: "It was a nice try. At least worth a shot." I wish Luke had recorded their real thoughts and the fervor with which they did or did not walk away from Christ.

He did, however, record an important fact: one of the lepers (the grateful one) was a Samaritan. Remember, these are the people Hebrews would walk miles to avoid. Funny how crisis draws enemies together. When they were all afflicted with leprosy, he was welcome in the unsightly family. But, now, following their healing, would he be welcome? Would the Jewish priests even look at him? Would the other nine still invite him to dine at their family tables, or would getting better make him an outcast once again?

Jesus says to him in verse 19, "Your faith has saved you." I think He's offering the former leper and Samaritan a place of belonging. He is saved. He is rescued. Not only from a terminal illness, but from isolation, loneliness and exclusion.

I suspicion that's why Luke alone tells this story and Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. He knew what it was like to be an outsider. According to tradition, Luke was of Greek heritage, not a Hebrew (like Matthew, Mark and John). He wrote so non-Jews might know there was hope for them in this Messiah, this Christ. Jesus offered promise for a future for all humanity who found faith in Him. I also suspect that as a doctor (which tradition also tells us he was), Luke had an interest in diseases–especially when they were healed!

Though he'd cried out from a distance as a diseased outcast (v.12), the Samaritan surrendered his pride in front of a Jewish rabbi and humbly and gratefully came back, came near, falling at the feet of the One who cleansed his life (v16). He didn't deny the truth or gravity of his previous condition like we sometimes do. Imagine if he'd said, "Thanks Jesus, but you know, my leprosy wasn't as bad as Bob's." ????? How ludicrous! Yet that's what we sound like when we delude ourselves into believing our sin wasn't that bad. "I'm a good person, overall." No, we're people in need of cleansing, even if only a little. And we are insufficient to cleanse ourselves. The Samaritan had already known he needed mercy (v.13), but he willingly received it. And, he recognized the power of God as the source for the change (v.15).

Jesus is clearly delighted by this man. I imagine a broad grin spread across His face as he looked down at the man and invited him to stand (v.19). Though he'd been humbled by mercy, Jesus reminds the Samaritan that his dignity is restored. He is not a "thing" to feared and run from any longer. He is whole. He is well. The one who came back now belongs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dan's Den

I was reading in Daniel 6 yesterday about Daniel being thrown into the lions den, and I found some things I'd never before considered.

v.2 - Daniel isn't just a prince of one of the 120 provinces, he's a supervisor of those princes, along with two others.
v.3 - Daniel is about to be the next Joseph of the Israelites. Joseph was placed 2nd in command only to Pharaoh, even though he is a foreigner in Egypt. Daniel is about to become 2nd only to Darius the Mede, even though he, too, is a foreigner in Persia. With his presumably extensive knowledge of Hebrew history, did he grasp that fact? Was it overwhelming?
v.4 - Daniel sounds like a boy scout: "faithful and honest and always responsible!"
v.5 - If people were to look at me, would the only chance they'd have of finding grounds for accusation be in regard to my faith and practice of my faith?
v.7 - These guys are effective liars. "We have 'unanimously' agreed...." Obviously they didn't consult one of the king's top three guys, or Daniel would have been a dissenting vote!
- I love how they limit this law of worship to only 30 days. Were they trying to be sure they didn't offend their own gods too much? More than a month, and they might risk making their own gods a bit jealous!?
- And why lions? Was hanging out of vogue? Beheading too bloody? I think they didn't want to have to watch the murder of an innocent victim. Closing him up with deadly animals salved their conscience a bit, I suspect.
v.10 - Nothing changed for Daniel. His routine was not about to be disturbed by man-made unctions. And he didn't suddenly make his worship private for his own protection. I admit; I would have closed my windows, just as a precaution.
v.13 - The guy has been an official of the empire since the days of Nebuchadnezzar. He's a resident. He's about to be their boss, and yet the accusers refer to him, identify him as a slave: "one of the captives from Judah." And greatest adversaries always remember who we were. Satan himself stands before the God day and night (Rev. 12:10) reminding Him of our past, not the new creations we've become.
v.14 - I'm glad there's someone else who gets angry with himself for doing something stupid.
v.20 - The king uses an interesting expression, referring to Daniel as the servant of "the living God." He hasn't heard Daniel reply yet, but he knows of the power of Holy God, and speaks in faith and hope!
v.24 - I wonder how many leaders the king lost that day. He knew he'd have to kill the family members as well, because they might seek revenge on him or Daniel in years to come.
v.25-27 - This hymn of praise is beautiful; I hope it came not only as a proclamation to the people, but as an expression of the king's heart of worship and submission to Almighty God. I guess we'll find out one day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Swimming with Turtles and Lightning Bugs

Well, not actually swimming with the lightning bugs, just the turtles.

Growing up as a little girl in the woods of southwest Louisiana, I sat for hours on summer nights watching out the window to see the lightning bugs flicker through the night sky. (I sat inside, because only liars or the overly nostalgic/forgetful say they sat outside - you'd be eaten alive and carried away by mosquitoes if you really sat outside for hours.) I sat mesmerized and amazed by their glow. Even as a child, those tiny creatures were one of the intricacies of creation that convinced me of an Intelligent Designer (who has a sense of humor and delight). Who else would think to make a bug that lights up? Surely God must giggle like I do and smile as each bug competes with the stars in the vast expanse of his creation! And on the scientific side of things, the fact that different species of fireflies have different flash patterns to attract their own kind is only another point of evidence for His master plan.

So moving out here to the lake has been a reminder of all those wonderful hours gazing at the glow of the lightning bugs. We have them in proliferation out here, and I'm delighted. So if you hear a giggle in the darkness - it's me.

Now, as for the turtles, I'm not as big a fan. Oh, they're cute...over there. Not right beside me as a I paddle through the water. We had turtles in south Louisiana, too, but I opted not to swim with them or the crawfish in the front ditch. (Although once I remember we had a big flood - @ 12 inches of rain - and as my sister and I waded through the front yard, an eel swam by. We screamed. And ran. Of course, we were sure it was a deadly serpent, but when my dad saw it, we got a science lesson...indoors, of course.) Anyway, one turtle just seemed to follow me today. I was only in the water for about 40 minutes, but he kept popping his head up right ahead of me. I don't know if my sunscreen was his favorite scent or what, but I'll be wearing something different tomorrow. As a matter of note - turtles are in the reptile family, and to this new-to-the-lake live-r, a turtle's head looks too much like a snake's. All that to say, if you hear a scream in the blazing light of day, it's probably me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coming to My Senses

My devotional reading this morning was Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son. A familiar story, I know. Yet the author of the devotional thought raised a theory I'd never heard, and I'm not sure I agree with. He said:
There were three kinds of servants in those days: day workers who were paid on a day-to-day basis; hired servants who worked long hours on the estate but lived in town with their independence intact; or bond servants who lived on the estate and gave all of themselves to serving the family.
When the prodigal son hit rock bottom, it's interesting that his planned apology involved asking if he could be like a hired servant [see Luke 15:17,19]. Why not a grateful bond servant? Perhaps he was trying to negotiate a deal--a way to get a paycheck and keep his independence as well.
While I can appreciate the author's point, and think it's certainly plausible, I tend to think there's another possibility. Perhaps because the younger son had finally come "to his senses" [v.17], he was so ashamed of his behavior and choices he didn't want to have to live (as a bond servant), moment-by-moment with the family. Perhaps he feared facing repercussions from family members: whispers behind his back as he left after serving at the dinner table, exasperation in their voices as they corrected his workmanship in the shed, mocking tones if he expressed an alternate point of view or suggestion about something in the field. (And apparently legitimately so, based upon the later responses of the older brother in v.28ff.) Maybe it wasn't independence he was seeking as much as it was shame he was escaping. To return home took amazing humility, coupled with determination to make life better. If the son asked to be the first kind of servant, a day-to-day worker, I'd buy the devotional author's argument about a search for independence. But his desire to have a steady job on the property (not just for harvest season or something like that) seems to indicate a new maturity. In that maturity, he knew he needed a place and opportunity to escape the ever-critical eyes. Not only will pride lead us to make certain choices; shame will as well.

But Jesus' continuation of the Father's welcoming arms assures the listener there is no reason to be afraid. As John later writes, "As we live in God, our love grows more perfect...Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love" (1 John 4:17-18). The younger son didn't need to allow shame to control his future. He was accepted with perfect love, with no fear of punishment. I suspicion if Jesus had continued the story, he might have explained there were consequences to the poor choices the son had made previously. The results of his decisions were not erased, but his hope and future were no longer determined by them. No longer dead, but alive; no longer lost, but found [v.32].

And we've been invited to experience the same, unconditional, ever-giving and forgiving kind of perfect love. Yet, too often, I look for ways to escape, believing God looks at me with critical eyes, ever-reminded of my failures. Oh, not that he'd be so unkind and ungentlemanly as to bring them up, but alert and aware, expecting me to fail again, waiting (in disdain and mere tolerance) for it to happen. If you struggle with this as I do, (let's come "to our senses" and) read aloud the following words from Psalm 103. Let them wash over your mind, heart, body and soul. In fact, I wonder if these words weren't in the back of Jesus' mind as he told his prodigal son parable nearly 2000 years ago:
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
On a side note, Jesus never describes the younger son as a "young" man. He merely describes him as being younger than the older brother. Which indicates to me that at any age people may lose their "senses"!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching in a Bible study class at church filled with people who are "more experienced" than myself. (It's the class my parents visit when they're in town.) The teachers graciously invited me to teach one of the lessons I'd written for BaptistWay published in this summer's curriculum. It was a lively discussion and very enjoyable for me. (I hope a majority of them felt the same!) The lesson was about Hospitality as a biblical mandate; and I'm happy to report the class showed me a great deal of it!

As I began the lesson, I showed Jerry two miniature pound cakes. One looked light and delicious; the other dark and unappetizing; both sprinkled with powdered sugar. I then asked him which one he'd like. Naturally, he pointed to the first. But my point was this: as the giver, I could choose to give him whichever I wanted, regardless of his preference. Hospitality, in the biblical sense, chooses to give the best, the preferred, to the other person, meeting his/her needs. We mentioned various examples of hospitality throughout Scripture: God's provision of everything they needed for Adam and Eve; God's offer to the Israelites of a land which flowed with milk and honey; God's law that provided for Ruth to glean in Boaz's field; Jesus' teachings and example of humble service; even God's provision for our eternity in heaven - everything we'll ever need in grand style! As I consider it now, the Gospel story itself and the act of sharing it with others are probably the two greatest hospitable demonstrations of all!

Writing that lesson, and now teaching it, have further challenged my perceptions of my own practices of hospitality. I've been "weighed in the balance and found wanting," to quote Daniel. I too often find excuses of finances, time or well-being to exert the energy and effort it takes to show hospitality - and I don't just mean throwing a party. Hospitality, first and foremost, is a state of mind - an attitude of welcome that communicates to those around you that they are valuable and desired. That's what God demonstrates through Jesus' sacrifice-his desire for us. It then manifests itself through action - striving to meet the greatest need of the person in your path: emotionally, physically or spiritually. When we express the message of saving hope to others, we express our desire for them to be with us for eternity! While I have moments of "success," in this area of hospitality, I still have so far to go.

The discussion branched off a couple of times into an examination of political law and practice, particularly regarding immigration issues, which, to be honest, I was totally unprepared for. In fact, in my naivete and general avoidance of politics, I didn't even see it coming. What I wish I'd said (you know, in those brilliant conversations you have on the way home in the car), to divert that road mine, was while political immigration issues are certainly of importance, our focus for the day was to be an examination of self - how I am practicing hospitality in daily life. Oh, well. Maybe someone, somewhere in the room grasped that concept!

The funniest moment of all came after the majority left the room. One sweet lady walked up to where I was standing with the mini-pound cakes and marveled at why Jerry had picked the one he did. After all, she'd "pick chocolate every time!" I laughed, and holding it up for her see, said, "It's not chocolate. It's burned." I think there may be a future devotional [or illustration] in that somewhere.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


67 in a 55. That's how fast I was going yesterday when a police officer pulled me over. The change to 70 mph was literally less than 75 yards ahead of me. I could see the sign. I could almost smell it, I was so close.

But, I wasn't there. I was still in the 55 zone going 12 mph faster than permitted. (Turns out, those signs aren't suggestions. Who knew?!)

When his flashing lights came on, I pulled over, slid my license out of my wallet, dug my insurance card out of the glove compartment, and waited. And waited. And waited. I still have temporary tags on my car (I get the real ones today), so I guess it takes a while to look up a vehicle like that to make sure it hasn't been stolen. At least, that's what I'm supposing. Either that, or he just wanted to make me sweat a little longer!

When he finally arrived beside my door, I handed him the paperwork, we had a conversation about my erroneous ways, and he told me...to slow down. No ticket; not even a written warning. Mercy flooded over me in a very real and practical way, soothing my heart and mind.

A vivid reminder of grace. What it looks like, how it feels, what it means. Believers have each been rescued by God's grace from various sinful behaviors. Galatians 5:19-21 has a long list of some of them (sexual immorality, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, drunkenness), that tempt and call back His beloved to their death-grip. Satan uses these to gain a foothold of destruction in lives so they will be rendered useless for the Kingdom of God, and personal relationships with the Heavenly Father will grow stale and meaningless.

Not listed in this passage, but in more than 60 other passages throughout the Bible is pride. Among many others, it's my greatest struggle. I get comfortable in doing the "right" things, or not doing the "wrong" things, comparing my actions or behaviors to other people, developing some kind of self-righteous attitude. And then something like yesterday occurs to shake me up. A reminder that I have done nothing worthy of praise. In fact, my righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No, I haven't murdered anyone, haven't used drugs as an addiction to fill empty places in my life, but none of the things that I do "right" are to my credit, either. They are because the Holy Spirit has been at work. As a human being, this side of Heaven, I am called to strive for perfection (1 Peter 1:15-16), but I will never achieve it with my own volition or effort. I may even be less than 75 yards away; able to see it, able to smell it, I may be so close. But I am still, nonetheless, guilty and convicted. And it is only grace that has spared me.

After Jonah preached to the Ninevites and they repented he had some serious self-righteousness issues. He even accused God of being too "gracious and compassionate...slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity" (Jonah 4:1-2). And after God asked him a question, Jonah gave Him the silent treatment!! (Which is typical of us self-righteous types, by-the-way: too holy to talk to or be seen talking to others, fooling no one but ourselves.) As it turns out, God let him sit in silence, and even provided a vine to grow up and give Jonah shade in the heat of the day. Jonah, naturally, received this act of mercy for himself. (After all, didn't he deserve it for being such a good person, especially since he acted in obedience even when he didn't agree with God?)

But Jonah broke his silence to complain - self-righteous folks are good at complaining - when God allowed a worm to eat that vine of shade. And it's a good picture of what happens inside prideful individuals. Self-righteousness eats them up within, leaving manure of bitterness that decomposes into the soul, rotting it rather than fertilizing it, rendering them (me) useless, and relationships with God, stagnant.

So I'm grateful to that officer for getting me out of my self-righteous, self-absorbed funk yesterday. God used him (and my lead foot) to remind me that I'm convicted, but covered with His amazing grace. And, oh boy, did I slow down.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Running Water

I'm grateful for running water. Until it's running from under the sink.

After I'd showered and dressed this morning, I went to the kitchen in my bare feet to fix myself a bowl of cereal. As I poured the milk, I noticed the rug in front of the sink was a little damp. "Huh," I thought to myself, "I wonder what that's about; I'll need to keep an eye on that." Shrugging it off for the moment, I took a few bites and realized my Honey Smacks tasted more like their cardboard box container than cereal should, so I returned to the sink to pour the staleness down the disposal. As I ran the water, I felt a tickling sensation on my foot. At first, I pulled back as though a bug had been running on it. Then, I saw the falls. Water pouring out from under the cabinet doors.

Panic set in immediately. Thoughts of plumbing bills began mentally ringing up in my head. Being the do-it-yourself-er I tend to think I can be, I figured I ought to at least examine the situation. Moving the rug and all the stuff under the sink so I could dry the area with towels, I then realized, quite simply, that the curvy-down part of the pipe had come disconnected from the straight-down part (those are the technical terms).

So, I fixed it. I hoisted the curvy-down part up on top of an old apple juice jar, which now holds it in place beautifully. The picture above shows my masterful handiwork. At least we can use the sink for now. I think a little glue and plumber's putty will be the necessary solutions, but I'll let Darin work on that while I'm at Super Summer next week. (Hee Hee!)

If someone can come up with a great spiritual truth in this experience, I'm open for suggestions. I'm just relieved the flood has stopped!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Miss Fussy Pants

I've sat down to write. What about, I'm not really sure. I just have this sense of urgency that I must write, or be disobedient.

I've delayed and deliberated for an hour or so, trying to think of something meaningful, clever or at the least, informative, but I've drawn a blank. So, I'll write about my morning:

Tracci arrived with Rylee (10 mo.) just after 7 AM. Thankfully, I'd set the alarm, so I was at least prepared for her arrival. Ok, "prepared" might be a little strong. I was "somewhat awake and decently dressed."

Rylee was tired and cranky - not a morning person any more than I am - so I rubbed her back until she fell asleep. For a few minutes. By that time, Darin was showered and ready for breakfast, so the three of us sat down to banana muffins, oatmeal and Lucky Charms. I won't bore you with who ate what. Nor will I tell you about the really gross diaper that followed.

After Darin left for the church, I finished my time "alone" with God, cleaned up the kitchen and sat down to read and play with Rylee. It didn't last long. She wanted to be held, nothing else would do. But then even that became insufficient. So, I let little miss fussy pants crawl around on the floor and holler for a while. She didn't cry a single tear, so I knew she wasn't upset, hurting or needy, just mad or missing her mom. Before long, I watched her pull a blanket onto the floor and curl up. Aha! Finally, tired enough to do something about it! Scooping her into my arms, we sat down on the couch and she fell asleep almost immediately.

She's still resting in a sweet peace.


I guess that's me sometimes, too. Wanting the comforting peace of God, yet unsettled in his arms. So, I crawl around and holler for a while - Little Miss Fussy Pants. Finally, I come to the end of my rope, emotionally exhausted, grab the nearest cozy blanket and curl up on a cold floor. And the gracious Comforter, who wanted to talk and play with me all along, scoops me into his arms, offering warmth, stillness and peace.

So far, I think that's what 2010 is going to be about for me. Learning to be content; receiving and welcoming the peace of God. Accepting life as it is, here and now, rolling with the punches (hopefully) a little better; I feel like I'm stiffening as I age rather than becoming more flexible. Now is the winter of our discontent

Shakespeare's opening lines in Richard III read:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York

His meaning (as I understand it - I wasn't a Lit major, ok?) is the time of unsettledness is soon to disappear; a new and glorious day is dawning. Unfortunately, Richard's planning a coup to take over the throne, destroy his brother and rule the nation with malevolence.

While that's not in my scheme (I don't have a brother!), I would like to think of any discontent or unsettledness in my life, heart and mind as the winter prologue to a glorious summer. Perhaps 2010's motto for me can read like this:
Then was the winter of my discontent
Now made glorious summer by this Son of God.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

God Must Be Laughing

It's cold here in East Texas. And not just "Cold For East Texas" Cold. We're talking "Temperatures Expected To Dip Into The Teens, And Windchills In Single Digits" Cold.

Monday afternoon I spent several hours in the pasture behind the house collecting sticks and small branches to use for kindling fires in the fireplace. I can't seem to find enough clothing to keep warm. (Typing with gloves may create misspellings - my apologies!) And I should probably take everything out of the extra refrigerator in the garage, because it's colder in the garage than in the refrigerator in the garage. (Did that make sense?) Meanwhile, Western New York is facing its coldest winter in 20 years and the UK is facing its coldest winter in 30 years!

But for decades now, we've heard humanity is destroying the earth through a process called "Global Warming" (more recently altered to "Climate Change" in light of the arctic temperatures). Mankind, we've been told, through aerosols, soot, pollutants, carbon footprints, greenhouse gasses, and population growth has been systematically destroying the Universe as we know it. While I certainly and thoroughly endorse responsible stewardship of creation through recycling and conservation, I think many individuals and governments have placed Creation as an idol of worship in place of her Creator. How supercilious we are to believe we can throw completely out of whack all God Omnipotent put into motion!

It reminds me of Romans 1:19-25,28 (paraphrased from NLT):
God has made the truth about himself obvious. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. But though they knew God, they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.
I think this sentiment was behind God's words to Job (38:2-6, 19, 21-24), too:
"Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone? Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced! Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind?"
Unanswerable questions for his arrogant creation. I suspicion he blew a little extra breath of cold this winter, just to remind us Who's in charge. Sitting on his throne in heaven, warmed by the roaring fire of his glory, God must be shaking his head and laughing.

Now, where's my earmuffs?