Monday, March 31, 2014

Irony of Obedience

Due to persecution, Dimitri's children were growing up without a church family.  The nearest church was a three days journey.  Dimitri answered the call to pastor his children in their home.  He told bible stories and sang songs and prayed.  Others in the neighborhood joined.  The gathering grew until it caught the government's attention and the persecution began.  Dimitri's response to being called a church is below!  How ironic!
“How can you say that?” he argued. “I have no religious training.  I am not a pastor.  This is not a church building.  We are just a group of family and friends getting together.  All we are doing is reading and talking about the Bible, singing, praying and sometimes sharing what money we have to help out a poor neighbor.  How can you call that a church?” Dimitri, The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken
Read the book!

Flight 370

I was so encouraged this week by the testimony of James Woods.  His brother, Phillip, is among the missing in this tragedy over the Indian Ocean.  When asked by reporters how they are handling the tragedy, he shared a family verse that is bringing them much peace and comfort. “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.  James shared, “That is difficult to do right now.  But I don’t want to be cliché about our faith.  We are not just saying we will get through this by our faith.  But quite frankly, I believe in heaven and so I have a deep abiding hope and I believe God is sovereign.  Regardless of how this turns out, He is still God and He will get us through it.”  His love for his sister and brothers gripped me because I too love my brother and sister so very much.  I can only imagine the pain and agony of the heart for all the Woods family.  I love when faith shines though, don’t you? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Victory Dance

Satan and the powers of darkness hate truth and are opposed to good.  Lies are told and doubts are sown.  Sickness impedes and discourages.  Whispers from the enemy huddle in our minds and cause all kinds of stinking thinking.  Rumors are told or imagined to be told.  Misperceptions are written on our hearts as fact. Rights are claimed that stand in direct opposition to Christ’s command for us to die to self and love one another. I remind you that Jesus is the victor.  Satan is vanquished.  These are only temporary delays in the eternal victory dance.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Three Drives

In Wild at Heart, John Eldridge indicated three core desires in the flight to manhood:

  • A battle to fight
  • An adventure to live
  • A beauty to rescue
Several ideas to rescue your beauty:
Anticipate her needs (She doesn't like having to ask)
Listen when she is speaking to you (Put the phone/newspaper/remote away) and look at her and respond
God gave her to you as your helper—stop excusing yourself and being defensive
Love her and show it
Surprise her
Make this beauty to rescue equally pursued as the battle to fight and adventure to win

Just Ten Minutes

An old country song I often recount is “If You’ve Got Ten Minutes” by Joe Stampley.  The song centers on the hope that with just ten minutes we could fall in love. In ten minutes:

  • You can read the book of James in the Bible in ten minutes
  • You can write a brief note to someone, address and stamp it and place in a mailbox in ten minutes
  • You can call an old friend just to say, “I was thinking about you.”
  • You can stop by an assisted living home and visit a resident—that might be your mother—for ten minutes
  • You really can scrape ice off of a friend’s sidewalk in ten minutes—I promise
  • You can scrape off the ice on the windows of your wife’s or children’s car in ten minutes
  • You can stop and pray with a co-worker in ten minutes
  • You can share the gospel message in ten minutes
  • There are some jobs around the house that your wife has been asking you to do for six months that actually only take ten minutes
  • You can unload and load the dishwasher in ten minutes
  • You can make your husband’s day with a surprise snack bag and a note in his briefcase or backpack that says, “If you’ve got ten minutes, let’s fall in love!” and don’t forget the perfume
  • You can send your spouse that favorite song from when you first started dating in a link with a special note that lists several reasons why you still would say ‘yes’ all over again
  • You can make up your bed and pick up the clothes in your room without being asked

Bitter Roots and Ice Storms

While walking across the front of our church yard, I studied more closely why one of our own live oak trees lost a quarter of its shape.  To my amazement, right there in the origin of the split was a mass of roots high in the canopy but within the trunk.  Where moisture had collected in the V of that tree, I thought maybe a bird had sown a destructive seed.  Hours later, I walked out there again with a theory that maybe an acorn fell in the crevice.  Sure enough, there was evidence in other trees that given the right conditions, an acorn could get lodged there from the parent tree and sprout another sapling. Over the years, down through the trunk where that limb met, roots were doing their divisive work to compromise the strength of a mighty tree.  What just a week ago was a beautifully shaped tree now has the scar of that bitter root!
“See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:15