Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Easter?

I am not the person I used to be.   

Praise God.  He is the reason I can make that statement.  If it were not for Christ's sanctifying blood, and the Holy Spirit mercifully working in my life day after day, bitter moment after bitter moment, I would still be damaged, lonely, angry, fearful, judgmental, and painfully lost.  That’s not to say I don’t have these moments today, but they are fewer and farther between.  I no longer call myself by any of these things.  Today I am redeemed, hopeful, at peace, full of joy, made new, learning to love.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (English Standard Version)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Writes This Stuff?

I am a pathetic author!  The style, the vocabulary, even the dramatic composition are all there; it's the imagination I lack.  I am a realist, or at least I try to be.  That may be my undoing.  When I look at our bank account and see sixteen dollars and seventy-four cents, I know we are not getting thirty dollars worth of gas in Jersey, stopping for coffees, and getting back over the bridge.  Scott, the creative one, believes we are. 
God does not seem to be a realist either -- at least not from a finite, empirical perspective.  But, I only have to look at the faces around me, the morning sky, the colors of the autumn landscape, or fifteen minutes of Mutant Planet, to know that God has an imagination beyond anything I could -- well, imagine.  

Check this one out:  2 Kings 6:8 - 23.  The Israelites are pursued by the Arameans, but God tells Elisha the King of Aram's every move, and Elisha tells his people.  The King of Aram is so bugged by the accuracy of Israel's intel, he thinks he has a spy; his men finger Elisha.  The King of Aram sends men out to capture him.  When Elisha and his servant awaken the next morning, they are surrounded by Arameans.  Elisha calms his panicked servant, saying -- and I gotta be honest, his words give me goosebumps -- "Those who are with us, are more than those who are with them."  And just so there's no doubt what he meant, Elisha prays for God to "open the eyes" of the servant.  Suddenly, the servant "sees" for the first time, an entire legion of fiery horses and flaming chariots lining the hills around the city.  Whoa!  (No pun intended)  Not townspeople or Israelites to the rescue -- God's army.  As the Arameans approach, God blinds them, Elisha deceives them, and the army of Aram finds itself smack dab in the clutches of Israel.  They are not harmed -- they are a better testimony alive, well fed, and sent back to the King of Aram with an incredible tale to tell -- or not; perhaps marching right into enemy territory would be kinda tough to explain.

Wow!  I mean, story telling -- story writing -- aside.  What does that say about faith?  Imagine the faith of Elisha.  Imagine what God could do with some of the simple things I refuse to give him; things I would rather worry about or try to fix myself; I can't imagine what God could do with some of the really messed up things I get myself into.  Imagine a blazing army standing around me when I am most afraid, or a figure in white sitting beside me, speaking the words I write.  His imagination and might are limitless!  He is not bound by science, or physics.  He does not work within parameters we determine.  He sets the standard, He is the standard, and our faith in Him gives us access to it all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Have You Gone Green?

Once again, something from Spurgeon I had to share:

"If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"—Luke 23:31.

Among other interpretations of this suggestive question, the following is full of teaching: "If the innocent substitute for sinners, suffer thus, what will be done when the sinner himself—the dry tree—shall fall into the hands of an angry God?" When God saw Jesus in the sinner's place, He did not spare Him; and when He finds the unregenerate without Christ, He will not spare them. O sinner, Jesus was led away by His enemies: so shall you be dragged away by fiends to the place appointed for you. Jesus was deserted of God; and if He, who was only imputedly a sinner, was deserted, how much more shall you be? "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" what an awful shriek! But what shall be your cry when you shall say, "O God! O God! why hast Thou forsaken me?" and the answer shall come back, "Because ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." If God spared not His own Son, how much less will He spare you! What whips of burning wire will be yours when conscience shall smite you with all its terrors. Ye richest, ye merriest, ye most self-righteous sinners—who would stand in your place when God shall say, "Awake, O sword, against the man that rejected Me; smite him, and let him feel the smart for ever"? Jesus was spit upon: sinner, what shame will be yours! We cannot sum up in one word all the mass of sorrows which met upon the head of Jesus who died for us, therefore it is impossible for us to tell you what streams, what oceans of grief must roll over your spirit if you die as you now are. You may die so, you may die now. By the agonies of Christ, by His wounds and by His blood, do not bring upon yourselves the wrath to come! Trust in the Son of God, and you shall never die.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crab Fries!

Baseball.  The great American pastime, right?  Well, I'm just not a baseball kinda gal.  Admitting it almost makes me sound un-American, doesn't it?  Truth is, I just don't understand its audience appeal, and I'm not really sure why you'd want to play.  Nine innings sounds like an awful lot to me, and there's so much "quiet."  I mean, I accept that in golf -- the concentration, the individuality, but where is there a team sport with so much quiet, besides baseball?  It's the atmosphere that makes baseball what it is.  And good thing for me, Madison asked me to take her to a game the other day -- 'cause it was priceless!

First of all, we couldn't have been given a better day.  The weather was gorgeous, a lazy Sunday afternoon, plenty of time to get there, all day to bask in it.  Our seats?  Near perfect -- not myopic, not nosebleed.  The folks around us were there to enjoy the game -- no wasted, loud-mouth critics.  And it was the Phanatic's birthday, so Maddy got a free shirt right from the gate!

But it was the atmosphere -- something I still don't quite understand, but fun nonetheless.  The thumps and chants that seem to bubble up from the floors of the park, and erupt into a cacophony of whistles and hoots just so the pitcher will strike a guy out.  And the pitcher?  I can't even imagine throwing something at 93 miles an hour, much less actually getting it where I want it!  The militant pist-aaaaa-chio girl, waving her arms as if in flight.  The spontaneous fist-bumps between husband and wife that stretch across their brood and land perfectly, with both of them smiling sort of weirdly.  (When was the last time I fist-bumped my spouse?  You don't think there's something missing in our relationship, do you?)  And organ music!  (Where else but church, and a roller skating rink in some creepy horror flick, can you find organ music? And people don't hold their ears, foam at the mouth, or lapse into catatonia when they hear it!)  The sea of hats, jerseys and foam fingers; folks dressed as if they have some sort of stake in the outcome or, perhaps, might be called in at any moment to play first base.  (I have one shirt with writing on it.  It says, "I shook my tail at the knob," and it's from Punxsutawney -- Groundhog Day circa 2002.  Once again, just not a concert T, sports gear kinda gal.)  The line for Chickie & Pete's crab fries that is insanely long, but moves just as insanely quickly.  (Looking at that line makes me want to be a cardiologist!)  The overpriced hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks that celebrate what it means to be American, and enjoy its favorite sport.  The National Anthem, that gets everyone on their feet, every eye fixed on the Stars and Stripes and every voice in the stands silenced; most of us holding our breath, overcome by what it means to be free and standing on American soil that has been blessed through the ages by the God on Whom this country was established.

Maybe baseball isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Uh, no. That's with a Capital 'G'

On what are you basing your confidence?

I just watched a video of Christine Caine at The Global Leadership Conference 2010.  Throughout her presentation she reminds us we are on the winning side; we operate from a lineage, a platform, a promise of victory.  How often do we think of it that way?

Hezekiah knew.  Without the NIV, without the "Left Behind" series, without Christian radio -- Hezekiah knew.  Yet here we are, with "Christianity" permeating our lives if we so choose, and we can't see beyond the rent is due.

He's God.  Step out.  Risks aren't risks when God is in charge!  Claim that power, claim that energy, claim that courage and promise.  He's God -- and He is the winning side!