Sunday, July 15, 2018

Man enough to Marry the Girl. Woman enough to wait.

I have spent a lot of years in ministry serving women who have in some way been hurt.  Most are deeply lonely and longing for a "soul mate".  Digging deeper, many have explained to me of their yearning, desire for a man who loves and understands them and could meet their hunger to feel delighted in.

These same woman have often fallen for the lie that says the way to gain the love of a man,  is to have sex with him.   And so they travel from bed to bed brutalizing their vulnerabilities in hopes of being seen and loved.

My message to women is this:

If he is not man enough to keep his pants on, He is not man enough for you!  Look for a man that wants to protect you and not risk your life for one fleeting moment of passion.  Am I old fashion and unrealistic?... or smart?  It is you, oh woman, who has the most to loose in that moment of passion.  What exactly are you getting in exchange for your risk?

What do you think? Are you horrified? Do you think if you wait for a man who is man enough, no one will ever be interested you?  But, if you don't wait, what motivation do men have to honor you?    Turn to the LORD for your need to be delighted in and be woman enough to wait.

Marriage, succeeds when both people live, not to get their own needs met, but to meet the needs of one another.   It is intended to be a sanctuary for building holiness into each other.  Marriage is like an extremely difficult mountain trail.  Without the help of each other, reaching the top is impossible.  It is intended be a protection for all within it's shroud of commitment and trust.  But when marriage is perceived as a place to further cement someone into the role of meeting your needs, it is a trap... and literally hell on earth.  It is especially hurtful for the one most consumed.  No wonder so many have shunned marriage completely!  If you are not in it to serve, you are not in it at all.

My message to men is this:

I am sorry that this world treats men with contempt and disregard.  It grieves me to see men being defined only as selfish and carnal.  You are not an ogre simply because you are a man.  You sir, were never intended to live as a predator,  and you have complete control over your sexual urges.  You do not have to live a certain way simply because others perceive you as such.  Stand up!  Be different!  Live a life of honor!

Learn what it means to honor God with your body and help your woman do the same.  Stand and say no!  No, I am not here for sex, No, I am not here to get my needs met.  I am here to honor you and to get to know you. Yes, I am listening, I want to understand and delight in who God made you to be, but only God can meet your needs as only God can meet mine.

Do not just stop pressing when a woman says no, don't press for sex at all, period!  Press for relationship.  Seek a partner and a treasured friend.  And when you find her... be man enough to marry the girl!  

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Having done all to Stand, Stand"

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm" Eph 6:13-14a 

This week I was able to visit with a friend I have not seen in 39 years.  She is from New Zealand and neither she nor I have had the funds to make the trip until now.  She came over to dance and to reconnect with old friends.  

Dancing is a part of who God made her to be.  When I met her, she had been dancing for hmmm maybe 15 years? Add that to 39 and yes... she has been dancing for over fifty years!  I wondered what it would be like see her again.  Who could have ever dreamed that I would have the opportunity to see her dance again!  And what is it like to see an older woman dance?  Is dancing only for the young?

I did get the chance to see her dance this week and I was transfixed.  She has a gift that transcends time.  Oh, I wish I could explain how she calls out to you in her dance and points your face towards the heavens.  But she will be the first to tell you that it isn't her.  It is her precious Jesus!

Years ago her infectious connection to that Jesus of hers convicted me down to my toes.  I had a belief in Jesus.  But my jesus was lifeless, silent and in a tiny box I kept on my mantle.  Her Jesus was alive and vibrant and He gave her strength and boldness beyond her own.  Just watching her and her Jesus, drove me to dispose of mine and whole heartedly embrace hers!

Her Jesus continues to empower her to dance out deep messages of courage, wonder and passion.  Even though she has been through two terrible car accidents one that took her mother from her and left her in a coma for many days and one that took most of one knee.  She has had two hips replaced and her knee completely restructured.  "They said, she could never walk again.  God said, "I have called you to dance!"  

A woman asked her, after her dance this week, "why do you dance?"  Her answer was bold, yet simple.  She said, I am a very religious person.  Dancing is my way of praying.  I can assure you, it is that and much more!

It leaves me asking God, how can I pay it forward?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Climate change vrs climate change

Many years ago, I lived in the Pacific Northwest.  I loved it!  I came from the hot, dry desert and here I found water, and greenery and, something I can't well describe.  I found a people that loved the land more than the styles.  They were rugged, hardy and welcoming.  I was in love with both the land and it's people.  I felt like I had found home.

Much has happened since then.  But I find myself coming to what I once called home and grieving over the change in both the land and it's people.  Before, I loved taking the bus and being amongst people who were on their way to somewhere.  Taking the bus everyday together made us comrades and I enjoyed the many connections that I made there.  Now taking the bus feels dangerous and hostile.  Everyone curls up around their cell phones and ignore that fact that they are surrounded by faces.  Then it was a journey, now it feels like simply transportation.  I can't explain the difference.  It feels like everyone is in a bubble and can not be touched.  

Yes, the climate is different!  It was wetter than history remembers last winter.  This summer hardly saw even a drop of rain.  All that beautiful green has been swallowed up in fires and smoke.  Even without fires the land is brown and brittle.  I see a connection spiritually between the two.  Do you???

I went down town last month.  Something I once loved doing.  There are so many interesting people and so much to see.  This time, the people seemed hunkered down, curled up within their own worlds and thoughts.  Lots of people sitting on street corners with signs that read, "Please Help!" Who could address it all.  I also saw people openly selling what I knew they did not own.  Like whiskey, brand new levi's and who knows what else.

I can not make a huge difference with Climate change.  Oh, I compost, and recycle.  I take public transportation when I can.  I try to use less water and keep the heat to a minimum.  But, at the end of the day,  we have a much bigger problem.  We have lost our connection to humanity.

Before climate change can be addressed we must first begin again to look people in the eye and consider their plight above our own.  Yes, the man on my city's streets crying "Whisky!  Who needs Whisky!"  Is all kinds of out of order.  But what drove him to where he is?  And a better question is am I in some way a part of the problem? Why are so many so desperate?  How can we bring back a sense of community?  In community, you have an understanding of the ripples caused by your actions.  You see how your buying the last apple in the store might effect everyone else who is shopping for apples.

Perhaps the need for this kind of climate change is what Jesus was looking for when He said, "Go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations.  Jesus didn't make disciples in a day.  He lived and breathed 12 men for three years.  Making disciples was a lifetime occupation.  It takes time and connection and commitment.  But oh how He changed the lives of those 12 men.  Could we do the same?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Square Foot Gardening

Well, it's that time of year when those of us who are bit by the gardening bug start shopping seeds.  I have tried many a gardening hack but my biggest success has come from following the Square Foot Gardening plan.  If you have never tried to garden, or if you have tried and failed miserably, I suggest that you consider one more whack at it before you give up.

In a square foot garden you give up the concept of rows and garden in raised beds that are no more than 4 feet wide.  That gives ample room to reach everything that you are growing.  The biggest contributor to the SFG method's success is the dirt.  It consists of 1/3 peat moss 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost blend.  You can cram so much into a small space and you won't believe how such a tiny space can produce so much.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Grace and Truth

Grace and truth are poor bedfellows don't you think?  It seems like we are either good at one of the other.  We either tell it like it is... or are kind.  We either have a harsh word of truth or a  false word of comfort.  But imagine both together in front of you at the same time.  Absolute honesty, and exposure... without shame.  Imagine.  John 1:17 says, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  I can just imagine the relief to taste the freedom of true release from having to be right and do right.  The touch of acceptance instead of rejection.  And more than that.  Kindness.

I remember once being asked to tell my story.  The person I was having tea with had been a professor of mine when I went to college.  She was also one of the people on my disciplinary committee, one of a few people who asked the committee to show me mercy.  She said she saw something in me and didn't want to lose connection, not completely.  Fast forward a few years and I was a frightened young wife who was isolated and alone as many are who fear their husbands.  Every once in a while this professor came and knocked at my door just to see how I was doing.  I never let her in.

Fast forward again to this day,  and having tea.  It seemed like a good day to tell my story.  And so I recounted my years of pain and isolation and confusion.  I explained why I never let her in and my shame.  I carried such deep shame.  I finished my monolog and looked up,  perhaps for reassurance.  Maybe I had said too much or given too much information.

What I saw way a tiny tear coursing it's way down her cheek.  Grace, compassion, understanding, these are things I had never experienced before that day.  Before that day I don't think I really understood empathy, or that someone could have it for me.  It might seem like a very little thing.  But I walked away changed simply because someone actually cared!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Loneliness and Walking in the Light

I have been pondering lately how there seems to be so little time.  We are always reaching for more.  More of something.  I find myself caught again in the hamster wheel.  Running round and round but going nowhere and doing nothing that has much meaning.  So I fall on my knees and ask, “God, what is really going on, I feel lost…. sort of empty”  The answer back comes in a subtle whisper, “You are lonely”  

My immediate response is to run.  Switch on some music, any music… praise music!  Or search the web.  Not for anything in particular… just a distraction.  A distraction from what?  From facing that I have lost my humanness… again.  

Today I am back in the book of John.  I love John, he sees things the other disciples seemed to miss.  Perhaps the deeper back story.  John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them he gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:" Wow, the authority to become.  That’s all futuristic language… like I can, I have the authority, but also the choice.  I can, I have the authority to become a child… I can choose, I can sign the adoption papers… if I want to.  I can be the child of God… accepted into His family.  I can belong.  I am welcome to come in and dwell with Him.  if I want to.

What does it mean, “to those who believe in His name?”  It almost feels like a tag line.  I am a child of God to those…. but not to all???  Does that me I am a child of God to those who believe in Him.  Aren’t I a child of God whether you believe in His name or not?  Or is it just more of an explanation… that those who receive Him, believe in His name.  

I am thinking of 1John 1:7a But if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another.  There is a brotherhood, a sisterhood a connection deeper than friends when we walk together in the light.  I you receive Him and you receive Him, then we are related.  We matter to each other like brothers and sisters.  We are bother and sister in Him.  

That means a lot to me today :)

Friday, November 17, 2017

The hunger for more

I have a collection of music I listen to.  I've labeled it "breathe".  It is a series of worship songs that speak deeply to my heart.  They call me to cry out to the Lord with deep, deep longings.  Longings for fellowship and peace with the Creator and His creation.  Tonight, I am longing for quiet, sweet, sweet communion with the alpha and the omega.  The beginning and the end.  Come Lord Jesus! come!