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Saturday, January 31, 2015

 





 It was a sweet evening celebrating love, a love that has lasted.  Fifty years is a long time to cherish.  We are still on forty-one years, and I attest it is the best of life's joys.  However, as was pointed out in our friends' celebration, no life is exempt from its bittersweet moments, times of hardship that are fire in the forge where iron is pounded and bent.
  

For a pastor and wife, that means sometimes sheep in wool's clothing who turn on the shepherd in cruel and demeaning ways leaving lambs wounded.  Stories were told of dire poverty, living in the church when no parsonage was provided, having baths with buckets poured over the children standing on the toilet since there was no tub or shower, terribly bare cupboards.  One time, the daughter related, the children only had grits served three times a day while the parents pretended to enjoy eating bowls of water with spoons so they could sit down to a family dinner together of want.   A child is hardened to the kingdom because of these hurts.  Their parents' love is expressed in glowing terms while the ones who should have cared for them, provided for the parsonage family, is expressed in bitterness. 

Written in red...

"And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward."  Matthew 10:42 


"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink?  And when did we see You a strange, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?  And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'  And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'  Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me'...'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."  Matthew 25:35-46.

God sees.  God knows.  God remembers.  God will judged.  It is He who will carry those wounded lambs on His shoulders and seek to save those who are lost.  Woe to those who cause these little ones to stumble. 

The One who blessed this dear couple in their fifty years of marriage, is not done caring for them and theirs.  The story is still being written.  Our part is prayer.

 
 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We love it.  It's one of our favorite things to do.  Our kids never did it, so that's why we are so obsessed with it.  I don't think we'll ever get tired of watching it.  I'm talking about telling our dogs to go "night-night," and watching them trot off to their beds.  When it gets to be the dogs' bedtime, we get excited about the show!  It is absolutely amazing to us.  We giggle and say, "Are you ready to go watch them now?"  Our kids fought bedtime tooth and nail, so to see such happy obedience floors us.  We get giddy.  It's better than the circus!


Does God fall over when we obey?  Does He get giddy?  Is it one of His favorite things?  Does He love it?  Happy obedience is an amazing thing to watch, no matter if it's our dogs, our children, or God's children.  Hmm.


"Be silent and listen, O Israel! 
 This day you have become a people for the Lord your God.  
You shall therefore obey the Lord your God, and do His commandments..." 
Deuteronomy 27:9-10
 

"Happy is he who keeps the law."
Proverbs 29:18

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

 
I knew I had become a little unbalanced when I found myself kissing my blank calendar page.  It was not premeditated, just a spontaneous gesture.  Sigh...Ahh.  There were no doctor, dentist, school I.E.P.s, vet appointments, not even any runs to the pharmacy immediacies inked in.


"What a peaceful habitation!  What a quiet resting place!
Blessed quietness! Holy quietness!  What assurance in my soul!"
 

 
Yep, just as I suspected, a woman wrote that hymn.  But not any woman. Her name was Manie Payne Ferguson.  She and her husband were instrumental along with Phineas Bresee in setting up the interdenominational Peniel Mission with a 900 seat sanctuary in the inner city of Los Angeles before the turn of the century in a manner much like the Salvation Army.  Peniel means "the face of God."  Manie was not a shrinking violet.    Did she kiss her blank calendar pages?  I doubt it.  I think she just let God write in her appointment book.  The woman probably just wrote hymns in her spare down
time.
 
 
One winter trip to Colorado, we stopped in Austin, Nevada, to gas up in the middle of the night.  Nodding to another car, we silently stayed together across the vast whiteness, strangers in the white, needing each other as we crept along in a slow dance among the snowflakes on the highway.  On the way home that trip,we were stopped behind the snow plow in a white out in Eureka, Nevada.  Stop.  "No one may go further," said the snow plow driver. 

 
Alas, nothing to do but rest, take whatever motel room is left for weary travelers.  Sometimes we long for life to bring a little white out into our lives, if no where else but on the calendar.

 
I used to find much more significance in being busy.  Now, I revel in blank space, holy quietness.  When I used to tell my children "Be still," it was usually in church and whispered in urgency with a frown and a snap of fingers, or my style, a click of fingernails that they shudder to think about still today.  When God says, "Be still and know..." it is a blessing, a gift. 

 

"He leads me beside still waters"
(quiet waters, waters of rest)
Psalm 23:2
 
 
Sheep can't safely drink out of rushing currents.  They need still water.  If they fell into a fast moving stream, their wool would soak in the water until they sank like a stone.  That's still how God takes care of His sheep, leading them beside still waters.  So go ahead and kiss your clean calendar pages.

Pity Party.  Please RSVP.

Too much fun over the weekend, must be why Monday mornings are so hard for my boys.  Like I said, it's like peeling coffee beans to get them out of bed.  They've quit school, planned to become drop-outs before they roll over in bed.  One says things like, "This IS how I wake up" as he goes back to sleep.  Yet, they have the nerve to tell me how annoying I am!  They beg to be home-schooled, you know, the teacher-who-serves-them-school-in-bed-after-noon kind of home school.



The only threat that works is the allowance threat, the mother of END ALL ALLOWANCE threats.  If they miss their ride to school, the cost has just doubled to $10.  They know how the $5 price tag feels.  Money talks.  School is their job, and the Bible does say, "He who does not work, shall not eat."  Being without a working fridge right now means taking away their beloved "Cup a Soup," security-Styrofoam.
 

I'm afraid I need a whip and must learn to crack it.  An air-horn might do.  They've already been warned by the authorities, that a group home is where bad boys go who refuse to get up and obey their parents and go to school.  It's their bad now.  Consequences.  I'm calling the truant officer myself if it gets any worse and will check myself into jail for bad-mommy-of-lazy-boys.  Three hots and a cot doesn't sound too bad right now as long as they peel the coffee beans for me.

How was your morning?  Without a fridge, I'm learning to drink my coffee black, with no cream.  Six more days before the new fridge arrives!  I deserve a crown, and the dentist will put one back on for me in four days, I hope.


"Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent (and on facebook); and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.  So Moses said to the Lord, 'Why hast Thou been so hard on Thy servant?  ..that Thou hast laid the burden of all this people on me?  Was it I who conceived all this people?  (says the mother of the grumblers) Was it I who brought them forth, that Thou shouldest say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant......So if Thou are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once..."Numbers 11:10-15

 

God hates grumbling!  What about the grumblers about the grumblers: mothers against dumb grumbling?  In the words of Moses, "Just kill me now!"  Maybe I should rephrase that before fire comes down to consume me.  I think I just threw a pity party, invited God, and He stood me up.

That's what happens when heaven freezes over...

 
 
 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pants on fire...


God cannot lie:  Titus 1:2  The devil is the father of lies: John 8:44.  Hmm.  The apostle had even boldly claimed that the devil was their father.  It kinda takes the white out of the little white lie or fibbing.  Who's your daddy?


Have you ever been lied to, politicians aside?  It's not a happy moment when you see a "liar, liar, pants on fire," andyou don't care to put it out.  For example, I have gone into anaphylactic shock with a common anesthesia causing an out of control heart beat and hives sending me to the E.R.  My dentist had me tested even.  It was supposed to be written on my chart.  However, he gave me the shot of "no-no" sending me into another episode.  Fortunately, I had benedryl in my purse and self administered because he refused to take me across the street to the E.R. or even to call my husband.  He said I was just a "nervous patient."  Ever see a dentist in hot pants, pants on fire?  I was in no condition to walk out on my own and was held captive against my will.  Yes, I was a nervous patient, just not in the way he accused me of.


How about the sheriff who tells someone a crime is no big deal, they can't do anything about it?  This happened to me when a druggie mistook my son's car for a known dealer's car and pulled a gun on him in the early morning on his way to a before-school basketball practice.  I even looked it up in the book on the officer's desk and showed him.  Still he denied it.  This happened again recently to a family member who was threatened by a switchblade which is considered "assault with a deadly weapon."  You don't have to be dead for that charge to be applied.  Sorry, officer, you are on the hot seat and will be called into account.


Society has so many lies, it's enough to make your head spin.  Isn't there a commandment, thou shalt not lie?  Oh, we can't display that in schools or in the halls of justice anymore.  There is only one source of Truth.  It's in the Book.
 




Saturday, January 24, 2015

 
Curiosity or concern.  Christians must guard against curiosity that tries to wheedle secrets out of one another.  Think Samson and Delilah.  She had a meanness to her madness, to deliver over her beloved to the enemy, if only she could find out his secret.  He was no longer her passion, but finding out his secret was.

In my ancestry search, I came upon an honored man of I believe of Normandy descent in the conquest of  England.  It was no secret that he was very devout.  His enemies finally discovered his weakness though he had garnered a well deserved reputation on the battlefield of strength in epic proportions.  He was a legend in his own time.  The secret?  He never took his armor off, that is, unless he was praying in the sanctuary.  That is where he was captured after putting up a terrible battle.  It is said he found a beam and vanquished many before being taken captive in the holy place. 

The armor of God is to be put on and never to be taken off: the belt of truth is always necessary to gird up your "loins."  Don't take it off and hand it to another or you might be caught with your pants down at an inopportune moment!  "Put on the full armor of God (and don't take it off), that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore,  HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH...be on the alert with all perseverance."  Ephesians 6:11-14,18


Even in church the armor must stay on.  God knows our truth as He has given us His Truth.  You might say, He traded His belt of Truth for our puny knotted rope belt of truth that barely held us together. If God says don't go fishing in the sea of His forgetfulness, don't allow anyone to use your frayed belt of truth to do the fishing.  What is thrown in the sea of forgetfulness, stays in the sea of forgetfulness.
 
 

Your testimony must be authentic, but not necessarily a bare-all expose to be effective.  It is a truth that all have sinned.  This is not to be a sin-one-up-man-ship.  It is about exposing God's grace.

 
Be careful who you are transparent with, and even more, with the one you are intimate with. 

"Drink water from your own cistern,
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone..."
Proverbs 5:15-17


 
It is a sad state of our society where physical intimacy
without a protective committed soul intimacy of safety is the norm. 
The good news is that no matter what has been lost,
God can redeem.
He offers living water
that never shall run dry.
(Note: it was our Savior's business to tell the woman at the well
everything she had done, not anyone else's.)



 

Friday, January 23, 2015

 

 

 




 

 
Paper or plastic?  Paper, hardback or ebook?  My shelves are full.  I can't give them away fast enough.  I have, alas, resorted to ebooks.  However, I have discovered distinct drawbacks.  One, is that I can't share them as readily when it's a really, really good one.  Another is that they keep me up at night even after I put them down.

My boys' counselor and doctor warned about it, the blue screen that makes us sleep deprived: teens need to be off their personal hand-held devices an hour before bedtime.  I've read about it on the internet even.  Now, I too have been tainted by the blue.


You see, one of life's pleasures is to stay up and read when others have gone to bed.  I have the house to myself. Blessed quietness. It used to be that I knew when to go to bed: when I nodded off or polished off a really good book that kept me awake too long.  Now I no longer nod off.  I'm kept awake by the blue.  Even if I use great discipline to make myself quit reading and go to bed, I now stay awake the prescribed hour afterward until the blue wears off.  Oh, the problems we suffer from the age of electronics. 

 
How about you?  Have you become a blue light zombie too?
I stare off into the wild blue yawn-der.
 
 
 

God must be kept awake too.
He never slumbers or sleeps.
 He is the Word.
He is the Light.
He even said that we won't have bedtimes in heaven!
No night.
 
 
"...the knowledge of the truth,
which is according to godliness,
in the hope of eternal life,
which God, who cannot lie,
promised long ages ago,
but at the proper time
manifested, even His word..."
Titus 1:2-3
 
That's worth staying up for! 
I think I'll put new duct tape on my Bible this week.
 
 
 
 



Thursday, January 22, 2015

 





Happy are we when the check we just wrote is covered by the amount in the bank account... 
Happy are we when we taped our favorite show so as not to miss a minute of it...
Happy are we when our house is clean, laundry done, and dinner's in the oven-I can dream, can't I?...
Happy are we when we get 42 likes on something we posted on fb...
Happy are we when our kids remember to take out the trash and put the dirty clothes in the hamper...


You get the gist.  What makes you happy?

Psalm 32 strikes to the core of happiness bubble.

"How blessed (happy) is he
whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man
to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
When I kept silent abut my sin,
my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Thy hand
was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as
with the fever heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to Thee,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord';
And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin...
Thou art my hiding place...
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones,
And shout for joy,
all you who are upright in heart."
 
The reverse would leave us devastated.

 
"How wretched is he whose transgression is not forgiven, whose sin is not covered! How wretched is the man to whom the Lord imputes iniquity, and in whose spirit there is deceit! No wonder he feels wasted, groaning.  Hiding sin is a full time job.  Time to fess up.  Why be burdened down when we can become righteous ones, joyful, upright in heart?

 
Beth Moore points out in "Sacred Secrets," that there are three terms used: sin, transgression, and iniquity.  However God has a remedy: forgiven, covered, and not counted.  Forgiven means to be carried away (into the deepest sea).  Covered is in the great act of atonement for sin.  Not counted is when there is no sign of it in the record, when as she says, "God says, 'I have no idea what you are talking about.'"  What we uncover, (confess), He covers.

 
One more thing, this uncovering sin is a between you and God thing.  You don't have to put everything out there to be authentic.  She points out that we need to be authentic with all, transparent with most, but intimate with only some.  There are some sacred secrets only to be shared with Him. God took on our shame and guilt when He hung naked on the cross.  It was a horrific case of mistaken identity. It should have been us.  What love!  We don't have to expose all our shame and guilt to everyone in order to be honest.  Beth Moore warns against "Christian exhibitionists."  Aren't you glad!
 
Rest in His love.