Thursday, March 26, 2009
"Scheduled outrage at 4:00PM PDT...".
Wow! That's weird, I thought. Is blogspot sponsoring a public demonstration of some sort?
Huh. Maybe that's what I need...a scheduled outrage. I never know what to do with my anger...
I looked again.
Oh. That makes a lot more sense.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I'm talking about a woman at rest.
She speaks truth and sees even the most difficult situations clearly.
She doesn't deny hardship or pain and allows emotions as they come.
She's not always quiet and demure but there's something in her demeanor which exudes peace.
She's not necessarily okay with who she is, but she's great with who God is and it shows.
No need to control, contrive or manage...God's got it.
No need to hang on to the past or worry about the future...God's got it.
She can live in the moment...good, bad or ugly... because God's got it.
She is a thing of beauty and a rarity.
There are many imitations in our world and churches, but few women who truly rest.
If you're privileged enough to know one, thank her today for making her world a better place.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
What strikes me about this verse that there is a distinction between "everything that hinders" and "the sin that...entangles". We tend to assume that whatever would hinder us from our Spiritual walk with God, or our "race" would be a sin...but that's not what it says.
On "The Amazing Race" Sunday night, team members had to strip down to their underwear and run over a mile through the streets of Moscow. One of the guys had huge boots on. There he was, sans clothing, but with huge bulky boots.
When I read this verse this morning, that picture came to mind. Those things that hinder us that are not sins are like those big, clunky army boots. They're not wrong or bad but they do nothing to help us run the race swiftly and with perserverence.
I know what's hindering me...expectations, too many commitments, dreams & wishes...
Talking to a friend the other day, we meandered into a conversation about kids activities and people choosing simple lives. I live in a tiny town where, frankly, there aren't always a lot of distractions. That's a blessing. But even here, in Mayberry, life can be hectic and it can be easy to strap on army boots and carry layers of unneccessary baggage while running the "race set out for me". Daily, it's an effort to seek God and willingly shed the extra stuff...to limit the kids participation in activities, to limit my own commitments (to good things), to rest and teach rest to my kids, to show hospitality without "entertaining", to let go of what I think are the "have to's" and sit at His feet...the list goes on...
The other verse that I read this morning that I think dovetails with Hebrews 12 is Psalm 46:10a..."Cease striving and know that I am God."
Monday, March 16, 2009
"I run from suffering people, I know I do" confessed my friend, tearfully.
My sweet, godly friend felt guilty about missed opportunities to reach out and share in someone else's life. We talked at length about offering ourselves to people. How we tend to think if we don't have something big to offer, we shouldn't offer at all. Or how satan tells us we have nothing to offer so we should stay away.
But Jesus didn't live that way. He offered himself to each person who crossed his path. He offered peace, healing, hope, love, and grace through His words, silence, actions, reactions, prayers and tears.
What do you have to offer the next person who crosses your path? A smile? Compliment? The Good News? Food? Clothing? Encouraging words? Wisdom? Or perhaps silence?
Willingly offer...willingly stay emtionally and physically with someone who's suffering and see how God works.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Aside from the obvious sadness at this news, and the tears, and desire to be close to all of them, the phrase "active process of dying" struck me.
We think of death as a state of stagnancy not a process of activity. And yet, in our spiritual life, death is all about an active process.
In Angela Morrow's artical The Journey Towards Death she states that "The dying process usually begins well before death actually occurs." If you're a Christian, the day you acknowledged that you needed a Savior and couldn't save yourself, is the day the active process of dying began.
We don't want to die. Even though it's inevitable, we don't like that we are going to die physically. But in the spiritual realm, it seems even harder. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, we love ourselves and we love our sin. We don't want to give up either. We (I) say I want to live life to the full. But I can't, truly live, until I daily die...daily give up my rights, my "glory", my agenda, for His.
It's tough...this active process of dying. But die we must.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Not an easy process, dying. Losing everything you hold dear...losing who you thought you were and who you expected to become...giving it all up and for what?
Jesus tell us in Revelation 3 "To him who overcomes, I will give the right ot sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne."
**I know that none of these thoughts are new and frankly it feels a little half done, but I'm still processing it. Maybe I'll write more later. By the way, if you want to read some more on irony in our Christian life, check out my friend Jennifers blog: "Getting Down With Jesus" and click on "Beautiful Irony"
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
2/25 "You are not here for you."
2/26 Driving back from Sioux City, listening to Catholic radio, the words were crystal clear to me. "You are not here for you." I started crying, realizing once again, that I live, most of the time, for me.
The guy on the radio (Ben somebody) was a "religion consultant" for the TV show Joan of Arcadia, which I loved for the brief time it aired. He (Ben) was talking about how Joan (the main character who had regular face to face encounters with God) never reaped the benefits of all her experiences with God...how she always struggled with self-sacrifice. That's the moment when the words "You are not here for you" rang loud and clear in my head and heart.
"You don't exist for yourself, Patty, I made you for others." God then proceeded to list all the "others" he'd made me for...among the list were people I struggle with, people I deeply love, people who are like me and individuals who are drastically different; friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers...
The phrase kept going through my head like it was on one of those electronic message boards..."you are not here for you...you exist for others...you are not here for you...you exist for others..." and on and on.
The idea of existing for others is hardly a new concept. Yet once again, I needed to know; I needed to remember why I spend time on this earth...
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do" Ephesians 2:10
2/27 Driving to Josh & MB's pops concert, listening to the radio, we stumbled on a song that I hadn't heard. As I listened, there was a phrase in the chorus that I was sure I wasn't hearing right. I asked the kids if they knew the song or phrase, they claimed they didn't know either.
If the lead singer was saying what I thought he was saying, I was shocked.
Then, today, home sick with the flu, I switched on the TV and saw these early 20-somethings singing the same song I'd heard on the radio. Again, I couldn't quite believe I was hearing the chorus correctly, so now, armed with the song name & group (America's Suiteheart by Fallout Boy), I googled.
I was right...the last phrase in the chorus is"I'm in love with my own sin".
Yep, that's what it says: "I'm in love with my own sin".
I haven't researched the group enough to know what they're all about...if it's satire, social commentary or just a bunch of kids looking for cool lyrics; but the Truth of the phrase hit me.
I am, in deed, in love with my own sin. And because I'm in love with my own sin, I have BIG problems when God tells me "You're not here for you".
Admit it, we love our sin. Maybe not all of it and probably not in theory; we know it's bad and that it hurts us and others, but on some fundamental level, we love our sin. We guard it, justify it, rationalize it, protect it, nurse it...we'd do just about anything to keep ourselves in control of our lives...which is THE sin. We want ourselves in the center and everything else, including God, as little satellites revolving around us.
"You are not here for you."
"For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do" Ephesians 2:10