Friday, June 10, 2016

WHERE WERE YOU?


The city does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is it lamp. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. Revelation 21:23, 25

Another good thing about Heaven: nobody will ever be late—because there won’t be time anymore. That concept is beyond me.

But it’s fun to play with. 

I used to never be late, hate, hate, hated it. But my husband hates to waste that five minutes before we have to leave for somewhere. Yeah, you know what he uses it for. A ten minute task.

So I’m a little desensitized to it, but I still hate it.

What about waiting all day for someone who doesn’t show and doesn’t call to cut you loose to spend your day on something besides waiting, and you can’t get them on the phone? And what about waiting for computer repairs so you can post your blog on time? Or how about sitting forever on hold because it took too long to get to the (hopefully) right person and you can’t afford to hang up and start over?

Not so with You, Avi. When You say You’ll be here, You’re here. Anytime I call on You in prayer, You hear. And when it’s time to go home, I know You’ll be here, not one nanosecond late.

I can hardly wait.

In Your holy name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 30, 2016

LEGACY


Remember me with favor, O my God. Nehemiah 13:31 NIV

As my mother’s health failed, she worried that no one would long remember her, that no one would visit her grave. She was worried that, after a short time, we’d forget her.
 
No, she isn’t forgotten. Things remind us of her. We reread her poetry. We mention her more often than we visit her grave, but we get there, too.
 
But I believe the sight of our heavenly home blew that concern right out of her mind. Especially since she knew loved ones would be joining her there. I believe she laughs now at this earthly concern for the frequency of our memories and visits. And I believe she saw more clearly the greater responsibility we have to spend most of our time and energies on the living.  
 
Three times Nehemiah asked God to remember him.
 
What do you want God to remember you for?
 
What do I want Him to remember me for?
 
That I’ve believed Him and believed in Him. That I’ve trusted Him and sought His friendship, and been a friend to Him.

That I’ve honored Him and served Him faithfully. That I’ve fed, comforted and encouraged His sheep.
 
That I’ve been salt, light, and a voice whispering to those stumbling in darkness, “Here. This is the way. The Shepherd hasn’t forgotten you.”
 
Fruit matters, and I want to see bushels and bushels when I get home. But I want Him to remember me not so much for what I’ve done, but for what I’ve been. Not so much for what I’ve accomplished, but for who I am: His kid.
 
Avi, Your memory is long and strong, but Your forgetter is just as strong. Please remember the things in my life that have pleased you, and forgive me where I’ve sinned and fallen short. Remember that I am dust. Remember how much I want to please You. In Your holy name, Amen.

 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

JONAH

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV

My husband left me. For three days and two nights, alone in the belly of a whale. That’s in case anyone has been wondering where I was this week.

But the sun has come up this third day, and I’m beginning to see daylight.

When he told me his plans, I asked if he realized how very dangerous it is for him to leave me here unsupervised for that long. I know where the Good Will store is, and I have a truck, and I’m not afraid to use it.

But I didn’t have much time for collecting stuff for Good Will. Instead, I went through this house and collected every scrap of paper I own.

The paper storm is finally abating, y’all. The whale has found its way to shore and is about to spit me out. I’ve filed and organized, and have almost finished filling the third dog food bag with jetsam. Big bags, three dogs, packed tight. 

That ‘everyone’ in the verse above that I’m to live at peace with includes me—and I feel so much more peaceful. I’ve found things I’d forgotten about—short stories, ideas, letters, journal notes, study notes, insights. I’ve found things I’d wasted time and energy puzzling over and searching hopelessly for. I found my Jim Conway letter, the one he told me (in his book, Friendship) to write to myself from God telling me how much He loves me.

Somehow, that whale just doesn’t seem so big now.

Avi, You are the God of order, the God who makes things happen, the God who’s never at a loss because He can’t find what He needs to work with. Make me like You in this, too. Help me to reclaim my purpose. In Your holy name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN


…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.*” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; what can man do to me? **” Hebrews 13:5,6 NIV

Adventure!

Riding in the car. I was maybe 4 years old, maybe less. Small enough to stand behind the driver’s seat. My daddy was speeding down a narrow dirt road through a thick forest. I leaned forward to stare upward, chattering my wonder at the giant trees towering high against the overcast sky.

Too much for my mama. She turned and snarled, “If you don’t sit down and shut up, we’re going to stop this car and put you out and leave you here.” Just then the car skidded around a bend and slammed to a stop. A dark, wind-whipped lake stretched far and wide to the horizon.

Terror.

Fast forward. I’m 21, driving her somewhere, my 5 & 6 year old niece and nephew in the back seat. Déjà vu. She turned to them and said, “If y’all don’t sit down and shut up, Grace is going to stop the car and put y’all out.”

“No, I’m not.”

Stunned, she stared at me. I’d never in memory talked back to her. I said no more, nor did she.

Nothing is more terrifying to a vulnerable child than the threat of abandonment. And, once our eyes have been opened to the war raging around us, nothing could be more terrifying to a child of God than the threat of abandonment in the middle of this spiritual battlefield called Earth.
“But fear not,” He tells us. “It ain’t gonna happen. You know why? It’s because I love you, and I want you. It’s because I worked too hard to make you, came to far to save you, paid too much to redeem you. Add to that, I LOVE YOU!”
 
Avi, thank You for this promise, and thank You for teaching me how very much it’s worth. In Your holy name, Amen

* Joshua 1:5

** Psalm 118:6,7

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

THE PROXY

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram…                  Genesis 15:17, 18 NIV

One of my favorite scriptures. I’ll tell you why.

In Abram’s culture, the strongest covenants would be sealed by butchering sacrificial animals and laying the halves opposite each other on the ground. Then each party to the covenant would walk between the pieces. In effect, each was saying, “May what happened to these animals happen to me if I fail to keep this covenant.”

Serious god, serious covenant.

Notice something? Abram didn’t walk through the pieces. He slept through the whole thing, nothing worse than some pretty bad nightmares.

But God knew Abram, sinful like every one of us, could never keep that covenant—and the wages of sin is death.

So what did our loving God do? He took upon Himself both sides of the covenant, passed through the pieces in smoking firepot and blazing torch. He took Abram’s part—and ours—both responsibility and penalty, and carried it all the way to Calvary.
Avi, the darkness around us deepens every day, so much so that sometimes it feels like we’re living through Abram’s nightmares. It’s hard for weary pilgrims to keep on keeping on when the path is rough and the load grows too heavy. Remind us again, Avi: You are the Light of the world that darkness cannot overcome. You are the One within us who is greater than the prince of darkness who is in the world. You are the God who began Your good work in us, the God who will complete it.  In Your holy name, Amen.                                           

 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

ALL NEWS IS GOOD NEWS


The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 NIV

Been watching the news lately? Or, is it too discouraging for you?

Ted Cruz suspended his campaign Tuesday. Big disappointment after many disappointments.

Yesterday, John Kasich suspended. One left, the presumptive nominee.

We need strong leaders. We need fighters. But we need godly leaders. We need godly fighters with godly wisdom. Which is why I can’t understand why so many evangelicals are so on fire for Donald Trump. Can anyone explain that?

Sounds like bad news to me.

But you know what? Even this news is good news, even if it doesn't feel like it. God is in control, and will always be in control, and His purpose is the ultimate good of those who love Him. No matter how long that takes.

My comfort is that God not only has the king’s heart in His hand, He has yours and mine, and every heart that lives, that ever lived, that will ever live. Every politician, every statesman—and no, they’re not the same thing.

It really sticks in my craw to think of having to vote for Donald Trump—but God not only moves the hearts of our leaders, He chooses our leaders, too. And if this man is God’s pick for us—especially if the alternative is so much worse—well, that’s a no-brainer.

Avi, today is National Day of Prayer, and we really need it. I wonder how many people prayed. Me, I forgot until later in the day, but I’m praying now. Please help us, Avi. You still have a remnant here, and we need You. Please make it right. Real right, that will end with true healing for our nation. In Your holy name, Amen.

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A PATHWAY OF SONG


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and fasting, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.    Philippians 4:6,7 NIV
 
Our Sunday School teacher urged us to make time in our hectic mornings to give Jesus the first moments of our day. Wednesday night, he asked how it had gone. Well, if I go to bed after some quality time with Jesus, I wake up with Him on my mind, too. But, my morning still starts on the run with fixing breakfast while the morning souls on TV—not my choice—yell at me. And no, I can’t get up any earlier. Even if I could, I’m on automatic pilot, nothing much to give to anyone.  

This Sunday, the teacher gave us each a slip of paper. At the top was written, MY PRAYER; at the bottom, THE MASTER IS LISTENING. We’re to write in whatever’s most pressing to us, and post it in a prominent place.

A Wayne Watson song popped into my head: “Do you miss Me, child, when you’re running, the way that I miss you.” I wrote it down. Then a Faith and Melanie song: “Slow me down, Lord.” A praise chorus, “I will seek You in the morning.” A Michael Card song: “When the morning falls on the farthest hills…”

But I’m still tangled in the rush, no time for myself or for Jesus.

Found another song on my computer yesterday. I love, love, love Celtic music, so I had to check this one out. “I heard the voice of Jesus say, come unto me and rest…”

I’m about to wear my pocket tape recorder out on that one.

This morning I woke with that song in my head. Then, when I stepped outside, I realized I do have a few minutes most mornings. While my dogs sniff around the yard and take care of business, I’m just standing there looking for peace—and breathing in the new day the Lord has made. 

“Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.”

Avi, please fill my head with Your song again today, and give me rest in You even as I work. Give me words to tell this lonely world who You are. In Your holy name, Amen.