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Showing posts from August, 2011

Send Me

There's a bigger picture you can’t see. You don't have to change the world, just trust in me. 'Cause I am your creator, I am working out my plan, And through you I will show them, I Am. “I AM” Ginny Owens But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you; When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:11-12 In her song “I AM” Ginny Owens refers to Moses, David and the Virgin Mary. She gives their side of the story so to speak and to each God replies with the words above. When I read those accounts and others like them, Noah, Peter, Paul and so many others, I have the perspective of thousands of years later. Now these are Bible greats but they were just ordinary people when God called them. We used to sing an old hymn. “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” at Ba

Being Inperfect

Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 Every Sunday and some days in between, I see or think about our church logo. We are “the inperfect church for inperfect people.” Yes, the misspelling is intentional. There are very good reasons why our pastor needs to make that declaration, why he needs visitors to kind of “get” us before they even walk in the door. This doesn’t mean that we are some new age, anything goes type of place. To the contrary, we are an Anglican church with our roots in some very old, very deep beliefs and practices. As far as how our service looks there is a nice balance. We are presented with ancient teachings in a lighter, freer way. The real rules certainly apply. They not only apply but are revered. A lot of the man made trappings, however, are missing. That’s okay. We’ve sorted out the things that draw us to God from the things that separate us. It’s a lov

To See Clearly

To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy. What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim faithfulness? Hear O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord be my help. Psalm 30:8-10 The notes in my study Bible on these verses refer to David’s understanding of life after death. The “going down into the pit” is apparently referencing David’s death. Certainly the scholars who wrote those notes are smarter than I, so I am not questioning the validity of their explanation. I do, however, see it a bit differently. David begins the psalm talking about God having lifted him up, sparing him and being his joy. Then we have these verses about going into the pit, not being able to be faithful or to offer praise. Could this be about death? It could. To me it isn’t actual death. It’s more of the mini-death, if you will, of sinful behavior. It is the separation we experience when we distance ourselves from God by our own ch

Building Projects

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:22 Have you ever been on a construction site? They’re awful. It’s bad enough when it’s a new building. But when it’s an existing building being gutted and rebuilt it can be even worse. In either case, no one worries about cleanliness or litter. My husband is a painting contractor. He isn’t a slob. His office is often cluttered but the floor isn’t covered in empty diet Mt. Dew bottles, empty food wrappers or various other debris. Yet, when I go to see him on a site he may well be surrounded by all kinds of rubbish. Those things, those leavings of the people working there are only the beginning. At the same site there are bits and pieces of wood, metal, nails, screws, etc. There is dust and dirt everywhere. It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks it can go from looking like a landfill to looking like a beautiful home, office or church building. Maybe you are very forgi

A New Look at Some Ancient Words

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23: 4a, 6 The other night at Bible study the leader asked us to tell which Psalm was our favorite and why. He quickly amended, “But you can’t pick the twenty-third. That’s too easy.” I almost laughed out loud. I wouldn’t pick the twenty-third, even today. Psalm 91 is my favorite psalm. Although having a favorite is highly unusual for me. I find it hard to pick a favorite anything. The reason I found Sam’s remark so funny is that until about a year or so ago, Psalm 23 would be my last choice! I might pick twenty-five or one hundred three. I might pick Psalm 27 but not twenty-three. Anything but twenty-three! Psalm 23 used to be the death psalm to me. When do you hear it? At funerals! You know that’s true. Psalm 23 is on almost every funeral card I own. By that I mean the card

The Need of Christ

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” John 21:15 What could Christ possibly need from me? Isn’t everything I have from our Father through him? So I will repeat, what could Christ possibly need from me? Me, and my love. From you, he needs you and your love. He needs it. He also wants it but he does truly need it. We were created to love our God. If he doesn’t need us then our creation was pointless. My husband and I have four children and nine grandbabies. At the moment I have no physical need that they should be meeting. I can take care of myself, thank God. I don’t need money from them. I don’t need them to drive me anywhere or help me take care

By Their Fruit

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45 This verse came to my mind the other day as I was describing the attitude of someone very near and dear to me. This young man would be the first to tell you that isn’t where he should be in terms of his Christian walk. I would be one of the first people, if not the first person, to disagree, strongly disagree. My young friend has an interesting relationship with God. He loves God. He is mindful of God. He wants his children to love God but he does ignore God quite a bit, or at least he says he does. A couple of months ago another young man told me all about his close personal relationship with th

Hope

He has showed you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you?” Here in Micah the difficult answer is stated so simply and succinctly. We are required to act justly, mercifully and to stay close to God. When Jesus came to walk among us he put it in even simpler terms. Love your Lord and love your neighbor. It doesn’t get any easier to understand than that but it is very hard to do. What’s more, we are required to do it. So what’s the problem? It’s hard! To act justly… but what does that look like? How do I behave when I am acting justly? Is this the stuff of the golden rule? So if my brother or sister treats me with contempt should I assume that is how they would like to be treated? That doesn’t make sense. Justice is a tough call. Too many things have to be taken into consideration. Okay, I’ll get the rest going and come back to acting justly.

Brass Ring

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge every in kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. Galatians 4:18-19 Do you ever feel dissatisfied? Do you know people who constantly feel dissatisfied? The answer is right here in these verses. When we are separate from God nothing is ever enough. Anything we put in God’s place will have to be pursued constantly. Whether it’s cigarettes, food, money, the approval of others or anything else it doesn’t matter. The result will be the same. The fact that Paul is talking to the Galatians about “a continual lust for more” tells us this is not new to our generation. It may be more pronounced but that is only because there are more things to want. It goes back farther than the Galatians to the Israelites in Exodus. The manna pr

It’s Not Me

I am the Vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 There is a line used so often in movies, TV shows and real life that is has become not just a cliché but a joke. Although it may truly, seriously fit a situation, most of us would hesitate to use it due to its hackneyed state. The line is, “It’s not you: it’s me.” Just a few moments ago in prayer I realized a bit of growth in my life. I was very happy to see that change. To me that says I’m on the right path. As I noted it in my journal I wrote, “Praise God!” Why? Because it’s not me…. It’s Him! The changes may be taking place in my life but the truth is, I could never realize this improvement on my own. There is a lot more in it for me, in worldly terms, in the short run, if I stay where I’ve been. To be closer to God, to be a better witness, a better person, I need that change. The way I see it we are in the deepest sin when we

Living Your Dream

But the one who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Matthew 25:18 The verse above comes from the Parable of the Talents. That parable has been brought to my attention several times lately. I’m still not sure why but I thought about it again the other day while listening to a song on a “classic” rock radio station, the only station that I can get in my back yard. The singer of the song was bemoaning his fate, on the road, being misjudged, having to take the stage night after night. I’ve heard that song more times than I care to count. I sort of like the music but the lyrics make me crazy. Poor pitiful him! He has to live his dream. Doesn’t that just break your heart? Listening to him I thought about my own dream. I am much older now than that man was when he wrote that song and he had been singing and performing for quite awhile by the time that song was written. I wonder some days if I will ever be able to see my dream fulfi

Protective Gear

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11 The armor of God is an amazing gift that I believe is too often overlooked. A few weeks ago I was reading in 1 Samuel 18 about Jonathan and David. Jonathan is so committed to David that he removes his own clothing and gives it to David. Jonathan also gives David his sword, bow and belt. The words and the articles aren’t exactly the same but it reminded me of the armor of God. Jonathan did not go and buy new pieces for David. He didn’t say, “Oh gee, you need a sword too buddy.” He gave David his own things. That came from Jonathan’s heart. He wanted to protect David and to demonstrate his level of feeling for David. In providing us with an armor made of his best gifts God does the same for us. We are provided with a breastplate of righteousness. Many places in Scripture we read about righteous men. David is referred to

Choose Love

But God demonstrates his love for us in this; that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 How does this Scripture make you feel? Think about it for a minute. “While we were still sinners.” I don’t know about you, although I could go out on a limb and guess, but I am still a sinner. I’m not talking part time here either. There aren’t months, weeks or even days when I think, “well look at that, there’s no sin here.” I am a sinner and for years and years I have let the guilt of that bog me down. I bet you know that self-talk. Okay this time is going to be different. I am not going to do that, speak that way, act that way anymore. Tomorrow is going to be different. Then tomorrow shows up and it’s the same old story, same old song and dance. AUGH! Okay once more with feeling, tomorrow is going to be different! Unfortunately the feeling there is usually guilt. Read the Scripture again. It isn’t like our Abba thought we were just so adorable and well behaved that

Used by God or Just Used

Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly saying, “Go view the land especially Jericho.” So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. But the woman had taken the two spies and hidden them. She said "Yes the men came to me but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk when it was time to close the city gate the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them." (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.) Joshua 2:1, 4-5 Rahab, a prostitute and apparently a liar is first seen in the book of Joshua and then again in the book of Matthew. In Matthew 1:5a it reads "Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab." That little harlot married one of those spies. It sounds like a juicy crime novel from back in the ‘20’s doesn't it? In fact it is a great story that can give us