Thursday, September 29, 2005

Are you looking for Jesus of Nazareth? ...

"Joseph, of Arimathea, .... who was himself, waiting for the kingdom of God, daring the consequences, took courage and ventured to go to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus." ( Mark 15:43 amp)

It's amazing how the beating Christ took on the cross makes His rising so celebrateable in my heart. No matter how many times I read it ( Even just last week,) I find myself emotionally on the edge of my seat as if I don't know the ending, stomach turning from thinking of each detail he endured, and then shooting my hand into the sky with an internal "YESSS!" when the women arrive at his tomb.
"And they said to one another, Who will roll back the stone for us out of the door of the tomb? (16:3) WHO indeed!?!
Even as people pass the cross and 'wag their heads' at Jesus, even as they curse and say the ugliest things to this man, even as they mock His power, (at His last breath!), even in that ugly moment of our display of humanity in conflict with heaven, God , in an awesome display of mercy and grace rips open the curtain, signaling His invitation to us to come into His presence and be His.
I admit, I cannot even now fully comprehend the heart of our God. How I really long for my heart to be made like His.

How I long to be like Joseph.... daring the consequences... for what He was anticipating God to be faithful in.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't we all ?...........

Me - "Eli - can you do me a big favor and take this milk glass to the table?"

Eli - ( With much excitement) "Sure mom! - that's not a big favor. That is easy mom. But I really want to do you a big favor! Can I do something big for you? "

Me - " Wow Eli,.... Sure you can! Hmmm..... "

Eli - "Alright! Except not right now. I really like playtime, and playing. I like playing really a lot more than jobs. "

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Will the right faith in me please step forward?


"And he kept repeating, Do you not yet understand?"(Mark 8:21)

I can't believe all the different forms belief and faith take in
Mark 4-8! It is displayed at all different levels - from those who
didn't have any, and hence missed out on Jesus power, to the kind that demons had ( ironically confident enough to beg Him because of His power - making me wonder if sometimes my faith hasn't even been as confident as theirs.)
You see Herod, riding the fence with his belief,- both intrigued by what John the Baptist shared and yet non-committal, and so ends up having to kill the very man he was fascinated by. The Pharisees, confident faith in themselves, again, missed the boat. (I have to say I found my toes being stepped on more than I liked to admit in this passage. )
And even with the disciples, we see that although they witnessed so much, Jesus was worried that they weren't taking it all in and letting in make a difference in how they thought about life and problems. They were still befuddled about how to handle lifes problems despite Jesus having an amazing track record for them.
In my spiritual journey, I at some point have found myself at almost every place. ( Sometimes I feel I'm at different points in the same day. ) I love how these chapters end with Jesus drawing the disciples unto Himself to explain again what life is about.

"If anyone intends to come after me, let him deny himself, ( forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interest) and take up his cross and follow with Me (continually cleaving steadfastly to Me). For whoever wants to save his ( higher, spiritual, eternal) life will lose it, (the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth); and whoever gives up his life ( which is lived only on earth) for My sake and the Gospel's will save it ( his higher spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God). " Mark 8: 34-35 AMP

So I find that might be a good daily question to ask myself.
"Do I yet understand? "

And so it begins..........

Eli - "Mom - do you know what my favorite part of the day was?"
Me - "No. What?"
Eli - "When I was chasing around the girls today, and then they started chasing me. Then I fell, and see my owie right here? " (points to his knee. )
Me - "Oh yeah. I see."
Eli - "My favorite part of the day was that when I fell, the girls cared. They stopped playing and helped me up and asked if I was okay. That was my favorite part of the day."

Hmmmm.. I thought the "girls are yucky" stage would last longer.

Monday, September 26, 2005

No pushing or shoving please....

In reading the first four chapters of Mark this morning, I am struck by the differences in perception revealed by each author. (Compared to Matthew), Mark comes out "swinging" in his revelation of Jesus constant action towards people. I'm just struck by all the times Jesus is surrounded by people....the town is crowded at his door, ( when they figure out he is at Peter's house, .. he has to get a boat so the people don't crush him, he moves from city to city, and sometimes he even retreats to lonely desert places just to get a break. Chapter 3:20 says there were so many people around him he couldn't even eat, and his family thought he was out of his mind. Wow. He endured so much on our behalf. I can get grumpy when someone calls at dinnertime. (Like anyone can guess the 4 hour span in which we might eat dinner. ) Okay - I'll be honest. I just hate the phone anyways. (Jennie already knew it. )
When I ponder His endurance, it is easy to bow at His feet. That He would be tireless on my behalf. That He would be patient
and hungry and tired, and sleepy, and absolutely spent so that we would hear His invitation to us. And what an eternal and life changing invitation I'm reminded that is. Awesome.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

There's a doghouse in the backyard ... for one of us.

From Friday morning.

Me - ( as I come in emotionally slamming the door.) "Uhhhh! I am such a baby about stuff! I can't believe I am such a baby! Good grief! "

Jason - "Which thing?"

.....long pause....

Jason - " I mean..... uh..." "uh.. what do you mean?"

.....long pause..... knowing laughter.

Me - " I am so blogging that. "

My hopes are to put enough quotes up here that Jason feels like he should start his own blog. :) Danna - be forewarned, if you don't get started I may try the same tactic on you! Just kidding!

Unwelcome , Uninvited , Come on in anyways.

Do you ever have one of those times where you end up experiencing a lot more than you felt you signed up for?
We had a ladies retreat at Memorial this weekend. I'm sad to say, I hadn't prepared mentally or spiritually for participating. In fact, I was packing at 7:05. ( It began at 7:00 pm.) Thank goodness, many women had already committed themselves to praying over it and giving it into God's hands to be used for His glory. I really think it was.
It was fun, but as the day went on, it became very hard. I went for popcorn and laughter with others, and hopefully a good uplifting message.
I found myself being put on the potter's wheel, being stretched and squeezed and molded, again. Did I say I just came for the popcorn and laughter?
About a year or two ago, I had shared with some ladies my need for God to heal some heart issues in me - that I wanted to be able to cry and show emotion with and for others. For those of you who were there, I am certainly a "10:00 news" lady when it comes to sharing my life. After our morning session, Theresa (thanks for carrying that burden with me, friend, ) celebrated a small victory - saying "I'm so glad to see you crying!" . I thought it ironic that Adrienne, who had been my assigned partner, and who didn't know me well, might need to be educated on my normal non-emotional demeanor. What we got to experience in getting to know each other was anything but flat and non-emotional. I'm glad He chose her though - He's good at that.
And He is good about coming into areas of our heart, even if He wasn't invited that particular day, and doing what is best for us. I had my day somewhat planned, and deviating from it to take this emotional detour was right and good for Him to require of me. I was reluctant to open the door, even though I'd asked Him to drop in and do something about this area before. I'm glad He is pushy at the right time. I think I'm not alone in thinking that while I desire the outcome, I've never really got my hand waving furiously in the air to volunteer for the process of being broken.
I'm just always thankful He knows best, and is patient and persistent in bringing it about.
I went home with a headache and a freed up heart. And a doorprize. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Donuts Donuts Donuts

So I'm thinking about the little packaged donuts you can buy at the store. Bobby (youth minister) buys them every morning, 1 pkg. Of powdered, 1 pkg.of chocolate.

He offers me a donut ( thanks Bobby!) and I take a white one. So we have this discussion about the chocolate ones, which I don't like because they have a sort of "waxy" taste to them. This, however is the very thing he likes about them. I guess "waxy" is okay, if you are committed to the experience of waxy, but I myself go into a chocolate donut thinking nothing about wax.

However, I admit that I do always compromise my own stance in my eating the powdered donuts. They have some strange residual taste too. But at least it is not waxy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oh yeah.... titles.

I just figured out the title thing to this whole blogging effort.
After seeing all my recent posts, I knew someone would be excited for my progress!

Swallowed Up " that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

Julia - "Mommy, I promise I'll eat broccoli and cheese for you when I grow up."

In another note....

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. ( I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. ) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle ( meek) and humble ( lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ( relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet ) for your souls. For my yoke is wholesome ( useful, good- not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne." Mt. 11:28-30

Today I was struck at the constant diversity of Jesus' daily purpose. He walks through towns, healing and amazing people, drawing them in curiosity & appreciation unto Himself. At the same time, those who have been following Him for a little while now, He begins to educate on the true nature of being a disciple of His. And to the religious leaders of the day, He strongly reminds them of the true nature of the Father they claim to serve.

Twice in these 4 chapters, He says something that stuck out to me. "Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy ( that is, readiness to help those in trouble) and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims." (9:13) "And if you had only know what this saying means, ' I desire mercy, (readiness to help, to spare, to forgive) rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims', you would not have condemned the guiltless." (12:17)

I don't know why it caught my attention differently this morning, but those statements from Jesus, helped me understand why He can confidently invite us to Himself and promise that His burden is light. ( 11:28-30) One Who embodies mercy is a peace bringing friend. His gentleness and humility promise to not intimidate, but relieve. Which of us in the daily struggles of life doesn't need that!

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master."

I'm hoping to begin more and more to embody the same qualities that first invited me to Him, so that those who encounter me today also get the glimpse of Him that makes them wonder why this One they've met is so different from the world around them.

I need lots of prayers to make that happen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Swallowed Up " that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

I'm quickly learning that reading the New Testament at this pace is a different experience, but a valuable one. It was easy this morning to envision myself sitting on a hillside, listening to Jesus say one amazing and profound thing after another, and hardly being able to take it all in. Ironically, however, I think I was able to get the big picture of what He was saying more than I have in the past when I have tried to dissect each statement.

I had a new impression made on me this morning from the Amplified version of the Bible, and a look back at the Greek language for chapter 7:14. It reads "But the gate is narrow ( contracted by pressure) and the way is straightened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.""

Trying to take in all that Jesus shares in the sermon on the mount has most certainly at times left me feeling "contracted by pressure" or "straightened and compressed". Any time we battle our flesh to submit it to His Spirit, the wrestling that goes on there is uncomfortable! But just as a gate leads to a beautiful open pasture, "squeezing" through that process just releases us into a freedom of life in His Spirit that our flesh would have never fully satisfied us with. His truth is always amazing... and always requires us to step out on faith and sometimes into that uncomfortable zone before we get to experience it!

Have a blessed day - and be open to any "squeezing" He may bring your way! ;)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Swallowed Up " that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

Profound moments from 10 years of marriage.

Jason " You know, if you don't catch that cricket, we're not going to sleep tonight."

Me "What's wrong with your lazy behind?...."

(he laughs, and I laugh at him laughing.) i love that guy. he cracks me up.

Swallowed Up " that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

" ... for He seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly in the twinkling of an eye. He allows us to neglect what He would have us do, or to fail. Perhaps we do not fully realize the problem, so to call it, of enabling finite, free wills to co-exist with Omnipotence. It seems to involve every moment almost a sort of divine abdication." - C.S. Lewis

I love this quote. It puts so concisely what I have grappled with for years in my relationship with God - a desire to please perfectly, and a body and self will that don't keep in step with that desire.

I guess that is ultimately why I grow more and more in love with Him. His mercy inspires my own. And boy do I need it.

Julia's first haircut, nailpolish and lipgloss today. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed her enjoying those things!

Today was the first day in a commitment to read through the New Testament in the next 90 days with 34 other women. What a huge privilege! I'm excited to see what God will bring from it.

I'm realizing that I am going to have to be concise with this blogging thing. I feel like I'm trying to catch up on a long overdue letter to all my friends and family. Which is funny considering no one even knows I have one right now!

Okay - here's my first test to see if I can work this thing!