Friday, October 27, 2017

Hard Times Ahead

What is it about that next curve? It comes a little faster, bends a little harder. The next unpleasant surprise shakes us as if we never faced a challenge before. We spin away like a mote of dust, grasping for and not finding an anchor that was there just a minute ago. Spiritual cliches run through our minds: God hasn't given us anything we can't handle, Jesus is with us, reach deeper for your salvation. Old pathways open to us and not the good kind. Anger, escape, despair work their time worn magic. Where did that faithful man or woman disappear to?

Is there such a mindset, a state of being, a course of travel that would have us meet that next wave without faltering?

I'm not sure about the "faltering" solution because it might be part of the journey. However, I do suggest that love is, indeed, the answer to the next wave.

At the core of our being is the need to be loved. When our heart light is dim our ability to love is purely low wattage. We may know we should love, trust, obey, fight for goodness, be diligent, enter God's rest but low powered as we are, find ourselves shrinking back. Where did our confidence in God's love for us go? Perhaps we became too confident in the smooth running life we were living? Maybe we've faced one crisis too many for our present "love" capacity. God, who knows us so well,  prunes and grows us to expand our horizons. He wants to help us put the nix on our personal resources. We must decrease, He must increase.

I'm not sure if this maps your fall into mediocrity or crisis. It's the closest I can find at present to make sense of mine. I'm pretty good at attacking a crisis with either activity or escape. Asking myself if I feel loved is a little counter intuitive. God loves me. Do I believe it? Or do I shrink back. It's a faith question. Once resolved is not always resolved. Next curve, next chapter -- time for a new inventory. Is your love tank full?

Once full, there's some other activity you can participate in:

Take root downward, bear fruit upward
Be anxious for nothing but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God
Cast your care on Him for He cares for you
Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Hide yourself in Him
Fear not
Set your minds on things above
Fix your eyes on Jesus
Wisdom calls in the streets, you don't have to look far

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Weapons of our Warfare

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:6

"But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, 'God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:6-7

One of the most unusual weapons we have been given in this upside down kingdom we live in is the weapon of humility.  Sometimes in the midst of our greatest crisis pride rises up to finish our destruction.  When we need to reach for life, we reach for pride instead.  God knows of this deadly flaw and has prepared a weapon to restore our strength and hope.  This is such an awesome tool!

Consider the moment the earth shakes us and all our dreams and hopes come crashing down.  Instead of embracing the Life of Jesus, the pride of life threatens to bring even greater destruction by causing us to reel under the shock, lash out and hurt others in return.  Ephesians 6 says that we don't struggle "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." (Eph 6:12)  In times of trouble, fight through your old instincts and see the battle for what it is--a struggle against the powers of our old enemy, the devil.

There are times to run in this journey we are on (flee youthful lusts, for example), but this is not one of them.  God has given us the weapon of humility so that we can resist the devil.  In the face of devastation, lift up the name of Jesus.  Put aside any fear of your loss of stature, personal gain, or other such distractions and embrace your new role as bottom of the heap.  Be jealous, instead,  for the Lord's reputation. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  This new order of things--these fears and losses--allow us to draw this great weapon of humility and fight back in the Lord.  Proverbs says that wisdom calls to us from out in the open.  Our pride has blinded us from seeing even the most simple solutions to our need.  Stop fighting for yourself and fight for the Lord and He will open your eyes to wisdom and life. The enemy intended this crisis for evil but the Lord for good. Embrace the life that Jesus has for you!

 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Family is full of Super Heroes

"Super" DNA runs in my blood.  Just look at the characters that walk through my home everyday.  Powerful forces descend on our kitchen, den, and dining room daily.  Miraculous meals are prepared. Tremendous messes are created.  Perfectly good china is shattered beyond repair.  And the noise...  Well, there are remarkable conversations, exclamations, shoutings and percussions on display regularly. Frankly, super runs both directions.  You can find super disasters here as well as super accomplishments.  By the grace of God, I am thankful for both!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

6 Year Old Logic

3 year old Zachariah climbs in my lap, turns around and hangs upside down with his head on the floor.
Havilah: "Dad, can you tell him to move so I can do that?" (He has a good idea and I want to do it)
Dad: "But He just got here."
Havilah: "I want a turn." (It doesn't matter, I'm older and a girl and I should be there anyway)
Zachariah: "Hava, look at me." (Neaner, neaner--I'm under Dad's protection)
Havilah (scooting halfway into my lap): "Make room for me, Zach!" (I'm going to be close to Dad, anyway I can)
Dad: "Don't sit on his leg!  Here both of you come into my lap." (Pulling Zach back up).
Zach (taking up most of my lap): "Hi Hava!"
Havilah: "Dad said you have to go to bed!" (referring to something I told both of them to do earlier)
Zach: "No!"
Dad (using the tickle attack weapon): "Right now I need to love both of you!  And then you can both go to bed."
Havilah: "See, you have to go to bed!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Devastating Peace

In my God, I find a terrible hope--a devastating peace.

How so?

It has to do with how invested I am in this life.  As a child I could run to God... "Help me, help me!" Ah the comfort a child finds in his parents arms and oh so quickly, no longer needs them.  Time to run, time to jump, time to play--uh oh, thorn bush, back to Mom!

Ahh...but now I am adult.  My life entwines with so many valuable treasures.  My heart embraces fading hopes without number.  Then I need God.  Yes, reader, I am really this simple, this immature!  I need God and I run to Him and I remember.  Throwing my arms around my creator exposes all my little treasures, all the broken toys I cling to.  Suddenly I am vulnerable, suddenly all that clutter announces itself.  "So who needs it?" you say!  Well, you go ahead and toss your stuff.  Mine is a part of me.  But, of course, in time--when the pain level overwhelms my need to be adult, I cave.  I come.  I surrender.  And, you know, being a kid again is not so bad.

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation."
Psalm 68:19

Monday, August 3, 2009

Havilah's Wisdom

On Sleeping:
"Sleeping is a 'portant thing cause it makes you more muscler...and stronger."

On Shopping:
(Nanci went to Costco on day and was checking out with only 2 things...)
"Mom, we didn't do it right. Go back and put more stuff in!"

On Fashion:
1. (with grandma at Pennys, passing large men's shoes)
"those shoes are adorable--yea, like for my daddy"
2. (Havilah's shoes gave her a blister. Nanci checked inside to see the size. she responded...)
"does it say 'too small?'

On airport safety:
(Driving at night we see the tall red lights/towers)
"Mom, they are there so the planes don't skid into the hills."

On Curfews:
"When it's all the way dark and we're done being there, we go home?"

On Playing Volleyball:
"Mom, I'm going to be on your team so you won't lose."

On group participation
"Mack, come roll down the hill with me." (Mack ignores the invitation) "O.K. miss the party!"

We now return you to your local stations...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Story Time (TJ part 2)

     The next day awaited her with mischief as devious as Puck himself.

     She slept in late, waking flustered as she pulled on her robe and stepped into her galoshes that stood on the porch. The paper hit her on the rear as she bent to grab her watering can, and she let out a squeak, sounding like a four-year-old instead of a grown forty-year-old; and three months.
     The watering took twice as long as usual, and her tea kettle whistled early, throwing her off-balance. She dashed into the house, her robe flapping - horribly reducing her dignity - and three long blasts of one of those dreadful automobiles sounded outside as she snatched the kettle off the stove.
     She raced outside, waving her arms and yelling at the taxicab as it sped away, honking infernally and leaving a cloud of dust behind.
     The figure of two suitcases with a small figure sitting on them halted her. Constance dropped her arms as the girl stared at her.
     She must look a sight. Her hair was disheveled; the robe slipped halfway down her shoulder as she held the steaming kettle in one hand with mud splattered across her boots.
     “Oh!” She squeaked.
     The girl didn’t move, gazing unwaveringly at the woman, studying her.
     “Hello, Aunt.”
     Constance stood, unsure of what to do. Her poppies were trampled, and the morning’s paper lay in the mud along with her watering can, and the white fence drooped even lower.
She looked down at the tea kettle in her hand.
     “Uh... Tea?”
     The girl stayed stiller than ever, considering. “Inside?”
     Constance nodded, not knowing what else to do.
     “Sure.” The girl promptly hopped up and hoisted her bags up the steps.
     With a sinking feeling Constance heard the screen door slam. To think, that her screen door was slammed. God save them all.