Monthly Archives: January 2012

Soft-scrambled

(juicy, tasty, not well done…)

-Sometimes being with your children is like eating your vegetables. Sometimes it is like a truffle, a split second of richness gone before you can grab it. But a lot of times it’s like a giant bowl of spinach with nary a bacon bit in sight: you do it because you know it’s tremendously good for everyone involved but endurance is required. Most of today was spinach, but there was one truffle… Clive’s lunchtime announcement: “I don’t often use my original voice.” Funny, but also, upon reflection, oddly true.

-In Acts 15, Peter calls legalism “testing God.” Usually I think of the sin and consequences of legalism as it relates to the other person (i.e., who I’m judging), but not as often to God. But, as Peter explained to his fellow apostles and elders, how obnoxious is it to determine the grace of God insufficient? To refuse to trust another’s Creator with the details of their salvation? To hold God accountable as though He doesn’t know His own promises and standards?

-There are a lot of days where I’m more than a wee bit tired with deputation. This timeline helps: God first tells Abraham to leave his country and family. Abraham gets to Canaan and it’s ten years before he sort of throws in the towel with the whole Hagar-Ishmael thing. Then it’s another thirteen years before God comes to meet him and promise him that the child will be born within a year. Then a year later Isaac is born. Ten years plus thirteen years. Ironically, it wouldn’t have been that surprising if Isaac had been born at the beginning of that timeline, when Abraham was more like 77 years old rather than 100—Abraham’s father, Terah, was 70 when Abraham was born. The point being that God intentionally waited for it to reach the point of impossible. I don’t have a specific promise like Abraham and Sarah regarding deputation, but I do want their faith. And I want to enjoy the character of our God who loves showing us the impossible, even absurd. When Isaac was born Sarah said “God has brought me laughter.” I’m sure that reflects a lot of the joy of a barren woman holding her only child, but I also can’t help but suspect an element of irony from the woman who previously gave a knowing snicker to God’s promise. I hope to be with Sarah someday, laughing at my own faithless skepticism and God’s unexpected designs.

-The “comfortable” life in America just goes to prove that you can’t get away from sin. No amount of physical comforts, labor-saving devices and everyday luxuries can make us happy. It only shifts the problem—we may not be hungry or reduced to tribal warfare but we still find plenty of ways to hate and hurt others and we’re haunted by things like depression and sleeplessness. So when people talk about how good we have it here I understand what they mean and the imperative of gratitude, but I also think that our greatest blessing is never being an American or having a healthy family or a beautiful home but always and only Jesus.

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Cannot

Blog post from November 2010

Cannot

Is a strong word. It kicked my tail this morning. See, for a couple weeks now I’ve been wallowing in a plague of selfish laziness. It’s been a rough fall, what with a newborn who doesn’t like to sleep, a three year old who can run circles around me and push me to my limits every day, a very busy husband and far too much travelling with far too little sleep and a lot of germs. As silly as it sounds (which sin always does once I reach the point of thinking rationally and biblically), I just wasn’t having any fun. A few days ago I told my husband that it was hard to get out of bed in the morning because all I had to look forward to was hard work every minute of every day: correcting, training, feeding, cleaning, etc. I know, poor me, with my lovely home and family, all my needs met and wonderful, loving friends. Yes, very silly but also treacherous. Both unbelieving and believing scholars talk all the time about Jesus’ ability to be both simple and harsh in his statements. So Jesus let my husband be nice to me and baby me for a day or two and then He got up in my face this morning as the Spirit brought these words to mind: Whoever doesn’t carry her cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. I tend to overcomplicate things, and I had all my excuses, but they just don’t hold water with the One who came from heaven to suffer and die for you.

It’s your privilege your life to give
Stand firm and be relentless!

Tedashii

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his 1life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone 1serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Jn 12.23-26

 

 

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Your Kingdom Come

–Repost from June 2011

Your Kingdom Come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Today I want the bright and sparkly, the deeply pure and right. I am groaning to be comforted, to hold my inheritance and to taste satisfaction. I want to see God.

What I have is friends who came and packed for me when I only felt like crying into empty boxes. And a friend who is bringing me dinner not because it is easy or she has nothing else to do, but because of Love. And a little tiny person who goes into full-body convulsions of joy upon seeing me. And a slightly bigger one who still thinks that the Bad Guy can be fought with punches. This is the kingdom coming from afar. Some days I can see it so clearly and some days my mind casts a dense fog.

For Thine is the kingdom
And the power
And the gloryForever and ever.
Amen.

The heat of obedience is that we are trying to feel, see and bring the rule of God to earth precisely because it isn’t here. This absence sends me reeling almost every day. So if we pray as Jesus taught us we will be reminded that it isn’t ours to bring, only to ask for and watch for. I once read a commentary on the book of Job that had as its subtitle the phrase, “the triumph of impotence.” Throughout the book we hear a righteous and upright man beg for an audience with God, complain that God’s had is heavy on him, chase after a glimpse of God and refuse to buy into the small but tempting explanations of those around him. Strahan said that, “It is the chief distinction between Job and his friends that he desires to meet God and they do not.” The end of this story is that he does meet God and find contentment in the dust and ashes of the human condition. He finds triumph in impotence, in quietly trusting the God he’s been busy chasing the whole time. He doesn’t get answers; he gets God.

I have so many questions for God, mostly about what He isn’t doing, about why his will and rule seem landlocked in heaven. About why nothing we’re doing seems to work, about why obedience is so hard and we feel so powerless, so impotent.

For this impotence to display the triumph of God, I must keep going to God with the questions, with both the beginning and the ending of Jesus’ prayer. Chapter 23 is one of my favorite passages in the book of Job as he puts his foot down declaring that the darkness will not silent him—only God is worthy of the response of fear. When we crumble under life’s weight, we must fall to a bow.

Today also my complaint is bitter…
            Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
                        that I might come even to his seat!
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,                        and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
                        he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
                        when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps;
                        I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
                        I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
                        What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
                        and many such things are in his mind.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
                        when I consider, I am in dread of him.
God has made my heart faint;
                        the Almighty has terrified me;
yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
                        nor because thick darkness covers my face.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s better to know God than to know everything else.

 I say, “My endurance has perished;
                        so has my hope from the LORD.”…
            But this I call to mind,
                        and therefore I have hope:
            The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
                        his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
                        great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
                        “therefore I will hope in him.”
            The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
                        to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
                        for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good to wait for the kingdom to come because it is his and he cannot fail to bring it. I wish it was today, but as Paul would tell me (and does)… what would be the point of hope then? It is good to wait.

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On why I decided to come here and write words

I spend almost all day every day with a three year old. I miss paragraphs. Especially paragraphs on topics besides trucks, why we can’t eat cookies for dinner, firefighters and their trucks, construction workers and their trucks, and trucks.

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