Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lost in wonder

I get so busy.  There are so many ways to be detracted :)  but when I am busy I don't have time to wonder.  Oh I always have questions rumbling around in my head, I mean the kind of wonder you can lose yourself in.  The awe of the stars on a crystal clear night,  The hush of a winter storm, the tiny fingers of a newborn babe.  All these things are full of wonder... wonderful!  I think that word has lost its meaning.

It is cold this time of year in the North.  It hasn't snowed at my house yet but the air is crisp outside and begging to be kissed with white glory.  I love the snow.  It is so beautiful. Sometimes it feels like grace.  It doesn't matter what I have left scattered in my yard, what is still undone, what I didn't manage to store before winter,  when it snows all will be perfect, clean, white and beautiful.

I want to be lost in wonder.  I want to take time to see what's worth looking at and to hear, smell, taste touch.  Psalms 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the  Lord is good."  Wow, that is a wake up call for me.  SLOW DOWN!  Experience Me! Yes, Lord.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do we hear Him?

I was reading in Ephesians yesterday. The sermon was going one way but my mind was going another.  Checkout Ephesians 4:20, "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:" Say what? This letter was sent first to the Ephesians, they were not Jews. They weren't taught but Jesus when He was on the earth.  But these are people who have learned Christ, heard Him and been taught by Him just the same.  They were taught through supernatural means.  That is awesome to me.  That means that I too can be taught by the greatest teacher ever known.  I don't have to worry about the message being misquoted as it is passed from generation to generation.  I can get it straight from the horses mouth.  (well you know what I mean)

I have heard warnings from many who fear listening because we might take as God what we want to hear instead of what He is saying.  It's true, we can.  It's right there in this passage. You have not so learned Christ.  I'm thinking they learned something else instead.  But the deal is, God is bigger.  He is bigger than my ability to get it wrong.  He can catch me when I fall down.  I can trust Him to protect me from myself.  He is there to teach me.  I can listen and learn.  How awesome is that!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day or prayer for the persecuted church

It was announced this morning in church that this is the international day of prayer for the persecuted Church worldwide.  We prayed a prayer of gratitude that we in America can worship without fear.  That we are even given a tax exemption as a church and we prayed for those in other countries who choose to risk everything rather than denounce Christ.  To tell you the truth... it seemed empty and cold. Here there is no real place for pain.  We take pills for everything from headaches to hot flashes.  Surely there is some kind of persecution prevention pill available isn't there? Oh Father open our eyes to really look at what is going on around us.

I don't in any way want to diminish the cost that is being paid by Christians all over the world.  But here, in America, there is a different persecution going on.  I am thinking of Daniel 8:25 where it says,

"Through his cunning
      He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
      And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
      He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
      He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
      But he shall be broken without human means."

The line that jumps out at me is, "He shall destroy many in their prosperity." It reminds me of Rome which fell partly because of it's successes.  People became complacent and passionless.They lost sight of that point of their government system.

I'm sure mine isn't the conventional way of understanding this passage but it says to me that prosperity isn't always a gift, much less from God.  As I look over the crowds of wealthy, overfed, under nourished religious people in this country I wonder if it is our prosperity that is destroying us.  I wonder if instead of thanking God for the lack of violence in this country towards Christians we might consider praying that His people here might be saved from the things that are killing us.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Sheep did not hear them

John 10:7-10 is an interesting passage "Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." I have read this passage many times but I never noticed that one line, "The sheep did not hear them"

The whole of John chapter 9 is fascinating to me.  There is so much in the story of that man that was born blind that Jesus heals by making mud smearing it in his eyes and telling him to go wash.  Because Jesus asks him to go and wash instead of healing him right there, this man can't identify Jesus by sight, yet he is convinced he is the LORD because he healed him. 

The rift comes when he stands up for Jesus amongst the Leaders of the synagog.  They can not intimidate the healed man or shut him up so they do the next best thing.  They kick him out of the synagog.  That is a much bigger thing than being kicked out of a church in that it eliminated his access not just to fellowship but also redemption. 

But Jesus knowing that he was cast out went to find him and then He says, I am the door.  Which I take to mean He is the one who can say, "You are in." and "You are out".  What a comforting thought but more than that it says whoever came before me are thieves and robbers... BUT... the sheep did not hear them. 

I'm thinking of all the out of order things that are done in the name of God.  Does that passage say that His sheep just blow off stuff that is out of order and not follow it?  Or is it saying that there are filters between His sheep's ears that keep them from hearing a foreign call.  Or is it that we come to know the voice of our true master and we are not distracted by the thieves.  Does this take practice or is it supernatural?

Knowing just what I have seen of God's protection of me over the years I tend to think that it is a supernatural protection.  Sweet!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning to serve, learning to look

I wonder about service and pain.  Somehow I think they are connected.  Service isn't possible unless you can see beyond yourself. On a good day that's hard to do but when I am in pain, well, that's much harder.  Why is that? (listening) Hmmm, pain stacks up for me.  I get overwhelmed with it.  So God, why does it stack up? (listening) Wow, the sense I have is that grieving takes time and that I am not taking it. I feel like I take time but to tell you the truth sometimes I waste my time on things that swallow up my mind but accomplish nothing.  Why is that? (listening) That feels like spiritual warfare.  I'm thinking of Ephesians 5:15-16 where it says, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

Hmmm, I wonder what "circumspectly" means. (googling) Webster says, "careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences" Wow.  See that you walk carefully considering the possible consequences, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time.  That takes a mind awake but for me I can choose to be awake if I am pushing away pain and avoiding dealing/feeling it through.  Ok, but sometimes it feels like the pain will overwhelm me.  What about that God? The sense I have is that it will if I try to do it by myself I will be overwhelmed.  The picture I have is of a faucet that turns on too fast for little hands but big hands can turn it more carefully.  Ok, I can do that.

Still, my burden today is about service.  The further away we get from each other in terms of connection the less we offer service to each other.  (though sometimes we offer service to another because it serves us somehow) In a family, we work as a team.  One gets breakfast started while another starts the laundry, helps with the kids or takes out the trash.  Service requires that we open our eyes to see the man standing on the street corner or the woman who is bruised and skittish. Sometimes it's seeing beyond the day to day even in our own families.

Seeing requires wisdom.  I once saw a man standing on a street corner holding a sign that read, "Need money for beer".  Not everyone is that honest and service to some is refusing to be used... or beaten.  But service is a mind set.  It is choosing to look beyond my pain and see the plight of others with a heart to help.

I once watched a movie called, "Pay it forward".  Today is a good day to start a trend. :)