Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretty Weird To Me

Today I was reading Exodus 4:24 - Sometimes it seems I don't get it ... God is so different from me and my understanding. I read things and wonder ... what in the world is He thinking?
Exodus 4:24 Here Moses and his family on their way to Egypt to set God's people free, to confront the Pharaoh.

At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him death.
Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it and said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!"
So he (God) let him alone. It was then that she said, "A bridegroom of blood," because of the circumcision.

That was shocking to me. Here one minute God and Moses are great friends going on this awesome mission and then the next moment God is going to kill him because Moses son is not circumcised. 
It seems like his wife, Zipporah is really mad at the situation and is saving her husband's life by circumcising their son, she seems to be disgusted by the sign of the covenant. John MacAurthur mentioned that it was a job Moses should have performed previously but neglected because Moses was comforting his wife rather then listening to God. Now Zipporah's hand was forced to save her husbands life and she was mad. Wow! Now there is some family drama.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Your rod and your staff they comfort me

I have read Psalm 23 all my life and I never really understood "Your rod and your staff they comfort me" I'm seeing a long strong stick as the rod and the staff a shepherds hook.That doesn't seem very comforting.
Today as I was reading Psalm 23 - yet again - it came to me.
This last year has been gut wrenching for me. I have had enormous amounts of mental and spiritual battles I have been fighting. I have had to fight myself and my inclinations, desires and instincts. That's where the rod and the staff came in. As I was being tossed all over by the winds and waves of worry, anger, fear I held on the the rod. It was strong and stable. I loved the rod. The rod was the Word of God. Through His Word the Lord steadied me, gave me a firm grasp of His strength and His long term vision. The rod was like a lifesaver. Though I could not see the sun and the sky I had His rod to hold onto until finally the waves and the wind died down and the peace returned. The rod, His Word whispered constancy and steadfastness to my mind. God's Word said for me to love and that was my job during all the chaos, that's how I was to hold onto the rod.God gave me a strength and it was through His command of loving and forgiving that I was rescued during my own dark time.
All my storms aren't over, I still have storms but after having gone through that really big one with God He has shown me that He is able to be my strength.
I have to give one more thought to the process of making it through that storm. The Lord held me up with His rod and his staff and another one of the ways He did it was through my wonderful family. God used the loving hearts of my family to be like a salve to me. Even when in their own hearts they were hurting they were kind and attentive to me. I am so grateful to them.
The Lord used the body of Christ to be an encouragement also. No one could go through my portion of my storm but me but I will always love the body for caring, encouraging and helping me through all of it. For supporting our family through it all.
So, the rod and they staff they shall comfort me. They did, they do and I will praise our loving Shepherd for ever.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Find out what the Lord is doing and join Him.

I have had the opportunity to meet some young people. I don't know their life stories but if appearances are a clue it seems like they have many things to overcome. I can imagine their difficulties. Probably full time working parent, lots of MTV, hanging with the friends of the neighborhood and public school.

There is a group of folks in Caswell County that are caring about those young souls. Every Sunday evening those folks give up their warm family dinner of roast beef, choose to miss the latest, coolest football game and instead open up the doors to the gym.
The caring people have gone to the expense to provide a large van, filled it with gas and go around different neighborhoods looking for any kids that want to come play, learn about Jesus and have some dinner. The caring folks will have already prepared the gym. It's warm, clean and full of play equipment. They have chairs set out, upbeat Christian music. There are plates of food, cups for drinks and napkins and paper towels for the inevitable spills.
I think those caring people love Jesus. I think they are loving who Jesus loves.

Their prepared lessons are presented patiently, looking past the little noisy distractions and faithfully speaking the Word of God.
The children run into the gym with big smiles, receiving the warm reception they expect. And at the end, after many games of basketball, ping pong and four square, and most importantly, stories about Jesus, they pack up those same smiles and head to the van taking a bit of sunshine with them into the rest of their week. Looking forward to next Sunday evening when ... the gym doors will be opened.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I know her heart meant well

I'm remembering a letter I got from an aunt with good intentions.
I renewed acquaintance with her at a wedding. She was wearing a gold pin on her jacket, I mentioned that it looked like Johnathan Living Seagull. He was the character in a book I was reading at the time. She let me know that their gold seagull was actually a dove and it represented the Holy Spirit. Happily, we chatted about God and our faiths. I was Catholic at the time. (Which by the way is worth a whole post by
itself cause I still love the Catholic church even though I do recognize it's error.)
She was not catholic. She believed that Catholics were unbelievers and
doomed to hell. Typical protestant response.
The point of this blog post is that after leaving the wedding in Pennsylvania, I traveled back to my home in Maryland and received a letter from my aunt. I must have been encouraged by the letter cause as a 17 year old young lady I took the time to write them back, explaining my spiritual journey. I talked about how it seems my path is dark and Jesus guides me but I feel alone and don't always know the way to go. In their zeal to be true to God's Word,  they referenced 1 John 1:5-10

 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

I agree with God's Word cause I know it's true but the aunt was so busy being right that she missed the chance to love a confused and struggling young woman.
She gave me the letter of the law - yes, it was the truth but there was no love sent with it. It was condemnation rather then restoration. All I got from that letter was that I was a liar and basically going to hell. I completely shut down and never had any contact with her again.
What if ... what if instead of giving me a huge nugget of truth that basically killed me off, what if she started with milk. Something like .. The Lord is your Shepherd and He loves you and will not abandon you. His Word is a light to your feet, light unto my path. And maybe some helpful verses to hold on to. To direct me toward the Lord and His Word.
My hope in writing this is that others can learn from my experience and as we spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus we do it like He did. Jesus has compassion for the lost, He said He didn't come to condemn but to save. That's what I believe. To maybe build relationships and then within that parameter speak His Word. I truly believe people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. My aunt should have taken the time to develop a relationship that could stand a harsh rebuke, instead the harsh rebuke came with very little relationship.
I am not at upset with my aunt. As an adult I have full understanding of her desire to do what was right, she didn't mean to hurt my feelings. She probably thought she was going to use the Word to convict me of my sin and lead me to eternal life. Her heart was in the right place she just was missing tact and grace. But, I can tell you, almost 30 years later, every time I read that passage I think about that aunt, but this morning as I read that Bible selection, it occurred to me to write this post, maybe it will be an encouragement to someone to avoid making the same mistake she made.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Speaks to my heart

Ramblings of an ole grandma ...
You might wonder why I post a picture of a cardboard box of toys, I'll tell you why. There is over 30 years of memories in that box. Toys from Aunt Donna's. Tracy, Stephanie and Jennifer played with the Playschool People and then Kimberly and Erin, played with those same toys and then followed by Benjamin and Elisa, Brandi maybe Bonnie and Kris might recognize them and now they are played with by our precious grandchildren. There is Ethan's tiger in there and his wooden gun. Zackary loved setting up the town with the airport. Henry and Maggie will play with them and I'm sure Aubrey, being a wonderful big sister will play with those with her new baby sister. I am decluttering, someone might say that those toys are just something the kids played with long ago and they need to go, but to me, those toys are evidence of lives lived. On the movie UP, the guy kept holding onto his stuff. I never understood that before now in my life. That stuff is evidence of a life lived. It's tangible artifacts of time passed. In the end of his movie he had to get rid of his stuff in order to continue on with life but here in our home, we don't have any movie climax plot that has to be resolved, we still have room to store those old toys even though they are only played with occasionally.I love those toys. I know they are just things but I love them. So, for now, we will keep them.
I see from a human stand point