Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weird envy

I am so proud of my sisters at Teen Challenge who are hanging in there and doing the work that needs to be done in order to live sober in our pressure filled society. Yesterday I had a moment with them. A moment that was a weird envy. We started talking about where 'they' will be this year for the holidays. We addressed the obvious: not home (which can be good, bad, or both), not with family, not with familiar traditions etc. That can make us feel very homesick for either what we had, or what we wish we had, or what we think others have in our fantasy minds. But then we were all invited to a new thought...what IF...

we gave thanks for where God has us

we embraced His goodness to us in this difficult place and accepted the fact He has us here

we allowed Him to walk us through this time knowing He is with us for His purpose and glory...

and then it hit me...the weird envy, and I said to them, "this may be your purest Christmas yet. One where you truly worship the King Jesus. One without the distraction of what our culture has done to this most sacred gift."

We then engaged in God's Word where Gabriel shows up and speaks truth to Mary from Luke 1. Far beyond what she could comprehend (son of the Most High? Son of God?? the Holy Spirit will overshadow??? etc.!)...but not beyond what she could and would experience. She asks the obvious question: HOW? and she is given the only answer we can hold onto...'nothing is impossible with God.'

Have we become so arrogant to think we deserve an explanation for everything? That we have a right to comprehend all that God is doing and why? Am I willing to simply say, as Mary did, "I don't get it, but I'm yours, and I am willing to accept what You want (Luke 1:38 NLT)

Oh, to live in the mystery of the One who is beyond measure as the favored one, most blessed. Are you there?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It’s so frustrating to hit a train or a detour on a road when you are trying to get somewhere in a timely fashion. Last week I was late to Teen Challenge because of a train parked on the tracks. That train tried to frustrate me and steal all my joy. Wow. I gave that train a lot of power. My goal was to get to TC, and I did, but I sure let that silly train mess with my head. I almost decided I shouldn’t even go.

Do you ever let people block your way to Jesus and frustrate you so much that you never reach Him? How it must grieve Him when His children stop seeking Him because of the behavior of other “Christians.” Those intolerant, judgmental, hypocritical, back biting believers park right in front of us and block our view. Then we lump them all together where pretty soon the whole church is one big nasty train that is going nowhere fast and we want nothing to do with it. “Let’s just go home.”

Yep. I’ve been there. I’ve let sin sick sinners like me keep me from the beauty of Jesus far too often. My own behavior and the behavior of my brothers and sisters has robbed my joy and made me sour (even toxic) more times than I care to admit. But, I’m learning to wait, or go around and make sure I reach the goal of seeing Jesus…because He is not like me. I am seeing how God loves the stubborn trains, even the train wrecks, and how He heals us with His abundant goodness. The fruit of that seeking is so sweet. Jesus set His face like a flint; fixed on the Father. Can you imagine if he let the ‘religious people’ sidetrack Him?

“I wait quietly before God, for my salvation (daily!) comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62

Friday, November 19, 2010

Favorite Things!

Favorite Things

We had a sleepover with our grandsons the other night. At breakfast I asked Milo, “Do you know what my very favorite thing in all the world is?” And he said “what gg?” “Having a sleepover with you!” He smiled big and said, “me too.” Delightful.

Do you ever wonder what if feels like for God to delight in you as you delight in Him? I’m getting a taste and it is sweet.

I can’t imagine my grandsons running through the door and me saying, “okay, line up…here is the list of to-dos while you are here. Get to work!” Yes, we have disciplines we keep (eating, sleeping, cleaning up etc.), but those are not the basic disciplines of our relationship. Mainly we practice the discipline of celebration, rest, communion (talking to one another) and a few corrections of behavior along the way (my least favorite part).

I wonder how God enjoys my relationship with Him. He tells me He welcomes me as his special guest and anoints my head with oil. He prepares a feast for me and pursues me with goodness and unfailing love (Psalm 23). Wow. I hope I’m a grandma like Him. And, I hope I learn to delight in Him just like I see our grandsons delighting in time with us. My cup overflows!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The power of story: HIS story

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why God chose to reveal His love through so many stories in the Bible, His Word. Why didn’t He just send us a list of dos and don’ts? Why didn’t He just tell us what He did for us on the cross and leave it at that? As I’ve been spending my Tuesday mornings with my sweet sisters at Teen Challenge I am absorbing how powerful His Word is through story. We are practicing ‘living in the text.’ Picturing what it might have been like and whom we relate to in the story and in what way. It has been such a powerful time. We aren’t looking for lessons or applications necessarily (although those come), we are entering into the relationships we observe and we are relating more intimately with Jesus each time.

Today we lingered in Mark 8:22-26 when Jesus takes a blind man by the hand out of the village and heals him in private. You need to rest there a while with Jesus to capture the beauty of this encounter. I dare you to.

As we interacted with this story, it came alive! All of us could see ourselves as the receivers of GREAT mercy as Jesus took our hand, led us out of the village and gave us sight. We ended our time together in tears as we listened to and sang an amazing song by Brian Johnson called “Love Came Down” (google him).

God uses story, because those stories are us and we are the recipients of amazing grace that we see over and over in the stories we read. God uses the power of story because our lives are His expression of our story with Him.