Monday, March 29, 2010

Pictures from the Road Trip and an Easter Break

Thought that I would share some of my road trip with you today...

These are some of my traveling companions, aren't they precious?

And goofy?

I was able to visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac with some of my church girl friends. We had so much fun. Look at these...amazing!

As it is Holy Week, I am going to take this time away from my blog to soak in the incredible season. I am so excited that the celebration of the resurrection is at hand. I will be visiting around your blogs, so if you have anything wonderful to share please leave me a comment, I would love to visit you.

I hope that you have a wonderful week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

CR: When A Woman Takes a Road Trip

Double checked everything...again, check.

Kiss sad looking dogs...check.

Gas pump cutting off prematurely...check. Too excited to wait, so just hope you don’t run out before you get there...check.


-Road trip playlist. This could be the most important element of the trip. You never know when you need to rock down to electric avenue, or come to Steve Perry with open arms. You might feel a bit like a redneck girl, especially if you are wearing your boots.

-I would never assume your style of worship, but these favorites are essential to any road trip. God likes a good road trip. You can get a lot of spiritual business done in a car.

-You can also listen to episodes from The Office. This revolutionizes the road trip.

Other unhappy drivers bent on ruining road trips, check...

-Don’t pay attention to the weavers. These are the ones that speed and want to move from the left to the right lane between each vehicle.

-Don’t pay attention to the speeders and breakers. They speed one minute and break the next. Also, don’t follow too close behind them.

-Ooh, what about the ones that speed up every you try to pass them?

One snack minimum...check. HUGE bag of almonds that 10 people could share. What if I got lost?

Large bottle of water...check. It cannot possibly fit in a cup holder. Maybe we need one XL cup holder per car.

Camera...check. Always take a camera!

Directions to the destination...check. This can be easily forgotten in the excitement, but it is essential. They can also be used as a lipstick blotter.

Learn a lot about women’s leadership teams and women’s ministries...check, check, check. Dwelling and resting, friends, DWELLING AND RESTING.

Need help finding my room...check. Someone had to lead me to it, but she had trouble finding it too!

Giggle with my girlfriends who I happen to serve with...check.

Text hubby all day with updates...check.

Text hubby pictures from dinner and make him guess where I ate...check.

Text hubby pictures of hotel room...check.

Call hubby twice to tell him goodnight...check.

I love road trips!

For more Caffeinated Randomness on a Friday, go to Under Grace and Over Coffee with Andrea.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking Beyond Strife and Toward Life In The Lord {at Exemplify}

Today I am headed to a Beth Moore event with some ladies from my church. As you can imagine I am pretty excited. I got my mani/pedi. I shopped for some new clothes. It is like a mini-vacation for me. Most importantly, I got a new pen so I can write with the speed of light.

This means that I will be blogging from the road, tomorrow. I love blogging from the road. It feels like I am a foreign correspondent.

Today I am over at Exemplify. This is kind of a sad post because it will be my last post as a regular devotional channel writer. I am going to be writing for Exemplify's online magazine starting in April. If you have not had a chance to read the magazine, it is a must for any real Christian woman.

So the teaser for my last devotional post goes something like this,

...This makes me think of the spider that lives outside my kitchen window. He impressively weaves the web of his home across one corner. As I do dishes, I see his new conquests and wonder if I should tear His operation down, just to save the life of one more, unwanted by both of us.

The temptation that must exist in that net! They come one after the last, straight in peril’s way, each one demonstrating the first act of realized captivity, flight.

Intuitively, we fight the predator in this way. When I am bound in the net, I fight with everything in me. The net seduces my fleshly rights. The more that I fight, the quicker my feet slip through the gaps, and the rope wraps itself in knots around my limbs...

To read more, click here and go to Exemplify's Devotional Channel.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting Out of Your Rut By Expecting Big GOD

Apparently, I do not need one lesson or even two. This is now a completely unintentional series. Enter post number three on the burden of a normal life.

I was cleaning the house the other day and did something that I rarely do, I turned on the TV. I navigated to a religious channel, which is another thing that I rarely do. That Kirk Cameron has really come a long way! Now you can think, “Wow, she really is out of the loop.” He did a lovely job of witnessing to people as I dusted every book in the den. Every. Book.

Another man followed Kirk, briefly touching on the story in Mark about the doubting father. Well, really it is about the boy that needed to be exorcised, but the father is the one with the crisis of faith. He says the words that I love, “If you are able”.

It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:22 & 23, NRSV

The man on the TV then flipped this passage on me. This is not textually represented, mind you, so this would not hold water in seminary; but I already have my degree, so what are they going to do to me? What if the intent of that statement was - I believe that you can do this, but I doubt that you will do it for me.

Well, I nearly dropped my duster.

My rut has given me foggy spectacles. I am unable to see the spectacular for the filter that covers my heart. I am less likely to think of GOD, and more likely to think of GOD. I know what He has done. I read that. I pray that He will be GOD for those people in my life; but truth be told, I am only expecting GOD to show up in mine.

My litmus test is what we have talked about for two days. When laundry and a smile become insurmountable, I think that I need to get honest about my doubts. I believe He can do anything in the whole world including healing and rescuing, because He has done this for me. He has parted seas and made donkeys talk. He has managed a virgin birth and conquered death. Yep, He is the real deal.

But, in this frame of mind I am not expecting spectacular. I am not expecting favor. I am expecting more of the same. I believe that He can do it, I just doubt that He is going to do it for me.

Can’t you just see Jesus’ face as I state that out loud?

If you are able...

He is able, He will, He can...

And because of this...We are able, We will, We can.

So, let’s do it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beating Complacency With One Word

Yesterday, we talked about the burden of a normal life. Click here if you did not get a chance to read it. This must be a lesson that God is driving home to me, and I know why. I am beginning to crawl from under that rock, that place where life can be overwhelming. Simple acts have become daunting and I, alone, cannot bring my will into line.

I was reading Deuteronomy 4:25, this morning,

“When you have had children and children’s children, and become complacent in the land, if you act corruptly by making an idol in the form of anything, thus doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, and provoking him to anger,”

I like the fact that this verse does not say, “If you happen to ever find yourself slipping a little into a tiny bit of a rut, then maybe, you might have a problem.” Nope, it says WHEN you have been attending to life as normal and you become complacent, you are going to rebel.


A feeling of uncritical satisfaction with oneself.

You might say to yourself, “Well I definitely don’t feel satisfied.” Me neither. I do find that instead of trying to act my way through these times, I resign to do nothing about my lack of inspiration. When I say that my housework can wait, or writing that article can wait, or even that someone else can volunteer for a while, I am choosing a certain level of satisfaction for the moment. I am not doing the right thing, but I am doing what is comfortable and that is satisfying me in some regard.

The worst part is that my idol was me. In these times, there is no end to the ways that my life wants to destroy me. I am the center, and the center doesn’t feel like it. We discussed, yesterday how laundry becomes this monster that continues to gain strength as we struggle through each load. What about dinner time? That means that I have to figure out food, I cook, I put it on plates, AND I clean it up. Note the word “I”.

Is dinner in itself the enemy? Or, is the context of my responsibilities the problem?

Sea of Galilee

Dinner is simply a boat on a lake. Laundry is another boat off in the distance. Telephone calls to friends are a kayak that meanders by once and a while. The lake is the context of these responsibilities. This lake can be stormy or it can be still.

I am not sure what the water looks like in these burdensome times, perhaps sludgy. That is certainly how I feel on the outside. On the inside it is active, though. My heart is in turmoil. That is the ravenous storm on my lake. The water will not be still because I am choosing this momentary uncritical satisfaction over the work of the Father.

Then I remember what Jesus did to the sea. He calmed it with a word, and not only did he calm it but he rebuked it. Rebuke here is the same word used for rebuking demons. Think about that for a minute. Jesus has complete control, and if invited He can still this water. What I am unable to accomplish with my will and emotions, He can restore with one word.

No more rocking, capsizing boats or kayaks. The lake is still and the context of life regains His peace. We have taken His burden. This burden is light. We move like lightening under it. All things are accomplished that need our attention each day, and He works out the unfinished for our good.

I am so grateful for the honest hearts that I saw here, yesterday. I am so glad to know that I am not alone! Thank you for fighting this fight with me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Normal Life Becomes A Burden

“But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk,” - Luke 12:45, NRSV

No, this is not a whole thought, but I like the idea.

Sometimes, normal life can become burdensome. The act of doing a load of laundry can become equivalent to running a 5k. In these times, I have walked to the washer, stood in front of it staring it down, and turned around in defeat. It was just too much.

On my way back to the rock that I was planning to crawl back under, I passed the dishes that peaked out over the sink. They can be more dangerous than they look. Better leave it for a stronger moment.

Then, there is the weight of relationships. Perhaps, our friends would understand if we don’t want to call them right now, or next week. Being on the phone might waste time and energy. Apparently, I need all the energy that I can salvage if I am going to continue in a battle of will with household appliances. Don’t get me started about the grocery store, the bills, the taxes. These are further evidence of dangerous domestic forces.

And, the poor husband, I could just post a wedding picture and let him think of better days until I get my feet back under me.

This is what the slave in Luke 12:45 teaches me...when our eyes cannot find something more, something bigger, something God, we flounder. In this verse, it is eternal perspective. When we forget that we were built for eternity, minutia can take over our lives. The five minute chore becomes the two hour chore. Our prayers become unintelligible sputters and distracted niceties.

I know, I have been here.

I find it interesting that this slave gives two behavioral options when he loses sight of Christ’s return. He recklessly inflicts harm on others and he inflicts careless negligence on himself. This slave knows of the master. He is directed by a prudent manager and has been given everything he needs to do his work.

Still, this is his struggle. This is my struggle. I take my eye off of Christ and my world starts to swell up. Like inflatable pool toys, the washer becomes a stronghold. Who knows what could happen if I open that lid? Should I be trusted to pour the right amount of detergent onto those clothes?

The growing intensity of the unaccomplished can take over our lives.

I believe careless negligence starts from losing eternal perspective. We have work to do, and it does not belong to us. It is the work of the Father. It is valuable. It does not look like other people’s occupations. He might ask you to do less, but increase the intensity of your tasks. He might ask you to do more, forcing you to rely on those new mercies every morning to accomplish half of what your day needs to produce.

At the point which we neglect ourselves, like dominoes the things around us fall. One day we are kissing exercise good-bye, and the next we are piling newspapers next to the door hoping to take them to the recycling bin...someday. We are becoming reckless and soon we don’t feel like making coffee dates or laughing at our husbands’ jokes. Harm sets in and things start to fall off.

There are only two solutions that I have found. First, I have to come to God in prayer willing to be refreshed. I have to lay myself out in repentance. He delights in teaching me a new perspective, and gently restores eternity in my heart and in my head.

The second tool that I use for motivation is to talk to the woman I want to be. I stand in front of the washer and say, “What would she do?” She would fold the sheets when they came out of the dryer so I wouldn’t be looking at them next week. She would make that appointment now, so we don’t have to have the same conversation, again.

She would be more proactive, and rebuke this negligence with scripture. She would sit at the Father’s feet until He told her to get up. This internal guide works because the Spirit desires to grow us, sees our potential and delights in teaching us.

The choice becomes: I can slowly fall apart or I can be about the Father’s work.

I think that I will go do some laundry.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Me and My Boots

These are my favorite boots, my favorite color, my favorite.

I don’t wear them much, and when I do they are tucked away under jeans. I don’t let the world in on my secret.

I am a conservative, God-fearing, introvert, wearing orange boots.

Some people gallivant in their bright clothes and flashy plastic accessories, and they are not secretive. They have nothing surprising or remarkable to reveal. That is what they do, they are, they want to be.

I am surprising. The world says that I am just a church-goer, a housewife all too fond of her husband, boring.

I say, “You have no idea...", while I strut, undetected, in my boots.

Their very nature is unpredictable. My sweetie knows that when I have my boots on I might be a little bit sassy or a little bit homesick. He does know to put on his seat belt.

What the world doesn’t know about me is a lot, me and my orange boots.

For more Caffeinated Randomness, go over to Andrea, at Under Grace and Over Coffee, every Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Putting the Word In Lock Down

“The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” - Luke 8:12, NRSV

You have to give credit where credit is due.

A woman came up to me in the grocery store the other day, warning me about my purse which I had left in the baby seat of the cart. She told me that she had done the exact some thing a few weeks before, in that same store, and someone had taken it. By the time she finished her tale, I was certain that she was creating a ploy to steal my purse by gaining my trust. I watch crime shows.

Lots of things get taken in the city. Someone stole all of the center caps off of our truck, maybe while it was parked in front of our house. We are not sure. These types of things send you into safety mode. Lock down the portals and latch the gates. There are creepers amongst us and they do not care what belongs to them, or not.

These people can touch my purse, our car, our home and our bank accounts...but none of them can steal my thoughts, alter my feelings, or touch the word of God in my life. There is someone who desires that power, though.

Even after we confess the name Jesus Christ with our tongue and believe that he was raised from the dead in our hearts, and even after we have this hope of salvation in our lives, we are objects of prey. The devil wants to empty the word of God from us.

This means that he will encourage us to obsess over schedules. He will create diversions as we look at people we should mimic, or look like. He will make Self-Pity our companion when we are tired. It only seems natural to expect our husbands to understand how hard we have it, right? We will doubt our callings and struggle under the weight of our gifts.

The word is what he is after, and only the devil would ever try to accomplish this. I will give him credit for that.

The reason? It is our lifeline. The word stands between this woman and the darkest powers that I can imagine. This word even tells me how to pray. It needs to be spoken back, shouted back, and sung back simply to live.

“But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.” - Luke 8:15, NRSV

For life, we must hear the word. Not just saying words but hear it like we were being told the biggest secret of all time. It is the juiciest morsel of word goodness ever produced. Once we hear it, we have to hold it like a purse, downtown, in the middle of the park, at night. We have to keep it for ourselves, never letting one syllable carelessly drop to the ground. We need to lock it down.

So, I will give him credit for his big ideas, but I know this...he can turn our heads, but he cannot turn our hearts. Amen.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

He Said I Am Like A Toddler, Not Good

I was just listening to A Woman Inspired - Get Revived 2010. Andrea, at Under Grace and Over Coffee, gave an amazing talk that frankly every woman needs to hear. There are still 2 days left in the conference, if you want to get in on the wonderful encouragement. You can also buy all of the talks later. Andrea was encouraging transparency. So here is some.

Today gave me the following images of myself...

I currently am a...

standing on a...

Seriously, the other day, I was given the image of a toddler refusing to potty train. That is apparently where I am spiritually. Not flattering. I think that might point to some control issues. What do you think?

There comes a time when you just have to be real with yourself. I have been ignoring some little voices and I now I am hearing a big message concerning...control, which stems from fear. My solution? Lisa Shaw talked about pursuing Jesus hard, and this is exactly what I cannot wait to do, right now.

Like I cannot wait to finish this post.

So, I can look like this...

Does anyone else feel ecstatic about that?

I am so grateful to hear these words today from my sisters. I hope that you are finding encouragement where you are.


Monday, March 15, 2010

To Live Life As One, Inside Out

Living in the Southwest is a little different. I grew up in Texas, but it is still green in Texas. Here we live in dessert.

There is so much beauty hidden around here. We have a lot of succulents, these cactus type plants that thrive here. I found this amazing new center plant for my outside table this weekend.

It is comforting to me to know that there are so many kinds of beauty. I am not the most faithful, most prayerful, most talented or most eloquent. I am one. For every woman there is a different kind of beautiful. I know this because God made each one, wove each one, breathed life into each one.

I have no problem looking out and seeing all of the other kinds of beauty, but sometimes it is hard to find it in this one, my one. What can He possibly see in this daughter?

I want to cry out, just like Peter, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8b). The more that I shout this out, the more God tells me who I am, and who He is. I am small, but He is big. I am incapable, but He is endless. I am sinful, but He is holy. I am ugly at heart, but He makes all things new.

I am not the kind of beauty that flowers or explodes once a year. I am a succulent that has survived the droughts. I have grown even though it appears slow. I am not desired for my aroma or my worldly beauty, but I am consistent. I steadily plug forward even when I don’t feel Him. I have been tested and I try.

The question that I seem to be asking myself is, am I willing to be this kind?

I would love to be a peony or a rununcula. That is not what I am, though, from the inside out. Am I willing to be unremarkable, or will I try to paste the petals of flowers on my slick frame to make myself more tolerable for me?

To be true to myself and to weather this life as one. One kind of beauty, created, woven and breathed. To represent Him as I was made to be. What a challenge, this one.

Is this “one” a challenge for you?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Apology Letter to All The Men In Numbers 13

Dear...From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi son of Susi; from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi; from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Machi. (see Numbers 13 for more details),

I feel that it is only right to tell you how sorry I am for my behavior. You are located at the end of the laws and the beginning of the juicy story. This means that I have read about the layout of the tabernacle, the rules on sleeping together, who is dirty and who is clean, and the oodles of sacrifices. Oh, the list goes on. Honestly, I am ready for a little action.

It is in this spirit that I tell you, in the bible you are geographically unfortunate. I found myself skimming over each one of you today, without a care. I understand the importance of your mission and the death that most of you suffered. I understand that you had fathers and families. It is my will that is weak. I saw the genealogy coming and immediately searched for the end of the list. I was more interested in your expedition to Canaan than your identity.

Please don’t feel singled out. Let’s just say, it happens sometimes. Other times I try to pronounce every name so the characters become more real to me. I just had an impatient morning. You are very important to me, and I appreciate your bravery. Forgive my rudeness. I meant no disrespect.

In God our Father,


Please tell me I am not alone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jesus.Woman.Words' 1st Birthday and News

One year ago, I was sitting on my back porch, bundled up in my robe, praying for direction. I had graduated from seminary and was teaching a little here and there, but on this day I realized that there was something else that I was being asked to do.

I knew that I needed to write down what the Spirit was teaching me. He was asking me to discipline myself through committed times of writing. I assured Him that this was an uninformed idea, although I was willing. My writing had been limited to research papers and silly creative writing awards when I was a kid. In spite of my disappointing resume, I said yes.

This was a moment that I will remember. Sometimes you know when you are stepping into a gateway ministry. It is a stepping stone to the next part of ministry. I knew this to be true that morning. I was beginning a journey.

I was drawn to blogging. I was drawn to it out of daily discipline and community. There is a permanence to blogging that does not exist in the journals tucked away in my cabinet. I knew that my commitment could be tenuous considering I had spurned our family blog. Sorry, Babe.

I knew that my primary function on a blog would be retelling the lessons that I learn in my time alone with Him. In my mind, He is the only thing worth writing about. I am not that interesting. Really.

This was my very first post, written one year ago today. My husband did the artwork for the first few posts. How precious is that! He is so supportive.

At first I blogged like it was a part-time job. I had to post six days a week or I was not being disciplined. Clearly, I have gotten over that. I am so grateful that I have. Blogging can take over like a virus. Balance and stretching are crucial to this sport.

Here is some trivia for you,

Initially, this blog was called “Bridling”. As I said, the need for direction was heavy on me. Someone came up to me one day and asked, what does that mean?


What in the world does that mean? That is when I changed the name. The one thing that is consistent here is Jesus, one Woman, and the Words that tell the story of this life together.

I used to see this blog as a billboard for my writings. I now see it as a living room. People drop in, say fun things, I go over to their house and say fun things back. It is a comfy dwelling for this part of my life.

I would have all of you over to my living room if it were possible, so this is the next best thing.

This year has brought so many changes that it is time to rearrange the furniture. Just like I am not the same, this blog is not the same. Darcy, from Graphically Designed and Life With My 3 Boybarians, and I are going to give her a remodel in May. I am really looking forward to this. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I will.

Also, April will bring my first column in Exemplify Online’s Magazine. I was thrilled when Kristen asked me to join the team. This does mean that this will be my last month on Exemplify Online's Devotional Channel. I am so privileged to work with this group of women. They are set on bringing glory to the Father, and that makes me giddy. The March issue is out so you will want to see that.

Thank you for reading this on any day. I hope that it has encouraged you. Please continue to come over and say fun things.

Happy 1st Birthday, Jesus.Woman.Words!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Tale of A Dopey Engagement

I remember it like it was yesterday, sort of. To say that about myself means that I have a foggy, out of order recollection with a strong emotional attachment to the event. My memory might not work right but, yesterday, as I celebrated the day that I was engaged to my sweetheart four years ago, I gathered every precious detail I could recall.

Post-engagement trip to Maui with my family

I had dental work that morning, which required pre-medication. By the time that DK (my now husband) showed up to take me to the dentist, I was dopey girl. I remember that he had a sport jacket on and he kept patting his pocket. I found out that he was patting the money that he had saved for my ring.

Mind you, this was March 7th, and he asked my dad in January. There was a little wait time involved. I won’t lie, I thought about it occasionally.

He kissed me good-bye at the doctor’s office. This was no little appointment. If I remember correctly, I was there for five hours, so DK had plenty of time on his own.

I have to fast forward because any details from the procedure are painful and inconsequential. I do remember that upon waking up everyone was super chipper. They told me that DK was there, and how great he looked. It was a little over the top, even in my stupor.

I didn’t know that DK had been showing them the ring that he just got me. That’s right, my dentist knew first. DK was also bragging about his romantic plans for a proposal. No wonder they were so excited. I felt like I was being left out of a joke by the time I reached the lobby. They told me to get some sugar in my system and, gratefully, I slid to the car.

Upon reaching it, DK opened the back door of the drivers side to reveal a jewelry bag. I remember talk about said jewelry bag and what he had been up to, but those details are fuzzy. I was slowly waking up.

We got to the gelato parking lot (this was my interpretation of the prescribed sugar), and I had to know what was in the bag. Not fair to tease about jewelry, am I right? He was all too ready, and I practically begged him to ask me. He took it out, and in the front seat of my car, he proposed. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Would you be my wife?”


This would be a good time to explain my response. I had just had five hours of dental work, meds, gas and shots...lots of shots. Nothing in a six inch radius of my mouth was working. I looked like I had mono. It wasn’t pretty.

So, when my handsome boyfriend looked in my eyes and said those magic words, I simply grunted, “Eth”. How romantic. I had my proposal and I said, “Eth”. I shook my head to make sure there was no confusion.

So, it wasn’t what we had dreamed of but it did the job. I love that he just couldn’t wait. That is sweetly romantic. I do love that man!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making Distinctions to See God Everywhere

Last week, in Sunday School, we talked about the final verses of Jonah. My friend’s husband (Hi Sonya!) who happens to be in a profession where talking well is the norm, is teaching us. I say this because he has asked me to join in teaching 1 Peter, in a couple of weeks.

He, the professional talker, is very good at what he does. He uses words so well, that he could stop talking about the bible, start talking about bicycles, and I might not get the transition until minutes after. I am not built like that. Words are the steps that I stumble down.

I start talking and there comes the first step, looming...

Has it been raining?

Have we seen snow lately?

Exactly how slippery will that step be?

Or, will it be like the steps last night with the high school girls? Will I just start hopping right down, unknowingly, only to turn around and say, “Why, I didn’t travel those steps at all, it must have been the Spirit”?

God, please, let it be the later.

And, so we will begin, I will think about the top step of 1 Peter, and he will be at the bottom of the staircase, gazing logically at all the steps. Either way, I think that it will be a fun experience together.

He made a great point, last week, about Jonah 4:10, 11, NRSV,

10 Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

These are the final words of Jonah; this is it. We are left with a question.

My future co-teacher suggested that the question of Jonah really becomes, what kind of God are you going to serve? This is an invitation to participate with this God. He is outlining who He is, and where His concerns lie. In application, this is our choice.

I have pondered this little ditty during my MOST (moments of studying theology. I am still trying to find a substitution for “quiet time”). This scripture from Leviticus fits into the puzzle for me,

But I have said to you: You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God; I have separated you from the peoples. 25 You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine. - Leviticus 20:22-26, NRSV

God tells us who He is. He tells us what He has done. He has made the choice to separate the Israelites. They belong to the Lord, and their job is to make distinctions.

In Jonah the distinction that the Ninevites could not make was between their left and right hand. They could not distinguish between elemental concepts, between the events of the day. The sacred and profane were beyond their conception. Jonah was presented with the burden of pointing the people of Nineveh to repentance, requiring acknowledgment of the sacred.

The Israelites were trusted with the same mission. God had separated them, and they were given the task of making distinctions between the sacred and the profane.

I walk away with this...when this is the focal point, God is everywhere.

God shows the sacred in our lives when we slow down to make distinctions. We see that we are holy to Him, and that He is holy. We see that we have been separated and that we belong to Him.

My days draw me away from this knowledge. When distractions are introduced, I lose the sacred, the holy. They get lost in the mix. My left and my right hand become interchangeable.

I am His, and to keep this in the forefront of my mind, I need to make distinctions between God and everything else, what matters and everything else, what is holy and everything else, what is really my job and everything else.

My job is to sort out these distinctions so that I can see God everywhere. My job is to work out my salvation, and help others interpret the elemental.

It is simply knowing your right hand from your left.


Check out the March edition of Exemplify Magazine. I saw it this morning...AWESOME!

Monday, March 1, 2010

What do you want? Answer the question.

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. - Mark 10:47-52, NRSV

These verses stop me every time I read them. I have sat and thought of myself as the one by the road, instead of Bartimaeus. I have played it over and over in my head. The truth is that Bartimaeus happens to be blind. I happen to be a sinner. We all happen to be something.

As soon as he realizes who stands before him, Bartimaeus asks for mercy. At this demonstration, voices dismiss him. Jesus wouldn’t be interested in someone like you. Contrary to their purpose, his pleadings became louder.

Have you heard voices of impolite dismissal in light of your faith?

The voices do not understand the heart. Jesus sees mine. He silences the crowd, the intolerant, the doubters, those who create the models of Christianity. There is only one thing left to do. Go.

Bartimaeus sprang up to stand before the voice of One.

What do you want me to do for you?

This question has a grip on my heart.

It is a question for me, about me, to me.

It asks of my faith, how big do you believe I can be?

How far do I reach?

How complete is your word “sovereign”?

My answer is a photograph of everything I understand about love.

It is the question for every believer who cries out for mercy.

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

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