Friday, October 30, 2015

Whom shall we Serve?

Flip on the television to find painted faces passionately sharing and declaring….
     ISIS has done it again, heads rolling red on beaches in the Middle East…  Raping innocence and sewing it back together…. daughters and sisters and mothers for sale.
     Babies being torn from the warmth and protection of their mother, cut up, and shipped off for “research.”  Babies that can feel… babies developed and full of potential.. humans a unique destiny to fulfill in this world being dissected.
     Little boys, limp and lifeless riding the waves to find their rest on the beach.  Boats full of helpless and hopeless cries.  Souls searching for a refuge from pain and turmoil and chaos.
     Palestine and Israel trading flying fire that leaves blood running and empty seats at the supper table.
     Men and women and children made by the hand of the Master.  Skin tone appearing different to the eye, all beautiful and unique, Created with CARE and THOUGHT.  ….Feeling less. And Rioting. And fighting. And slaying with their tongue. And toppling the cars of their countries defenders.
     Little boys and little girls being raised with no concrete in the foundation of their lives and identities.  Filled with uncertainty.. not hearing from parents and teachers and peers that they are to walk in their GOD given femininity or masculinity.  Left wondering whether they want to be called Jim or Sally.
     Parents, tipping the bottle up to catch that last drop of slow death.. and desiring to create with the ones they created.. turning members that were meant to console into instruments of pain.. missing meals, plays, programs, and those important games because of the love of that elusive green. The two who created the little ones who fill their home, abandoning and forsaking.
Obama and Trump and Clinton and Carson and Jubilee and Cord.
Christians being killed. Jews being killed. Arabs being killed. 

 {  Famine. War. Starvation. Slavery. Injustice. }
But you know what I just read? 
I read of a people steeped in sin.  Completely given to themselves.  Legs flying fast, as they chase after satisfaction to stuff deep into the hole in their heart created for The Creator. 
And then I read of a vision of the throne and the elders and the four-living creatures… and there, in their midst, stands A LAMB, as if it had been slain. 
And beloved, is HAS been slain. 
It’s precious life flows red through all of time… beckoning us to come and be drenched in its depths and step out whiter than the snow that falls soft.
There is the sound of keys ringing through the corridors… and we rise from our position on the floor and drag our chains to the door… fingers, wet with filth, wrap themselves around the bars.. faces marked and marred by tears and pain and hopelessness, press tight to see who comes… ALL BRILLIANT He is.. and as he passes each cell, ears that have only heard whispered lies, hear the sound of doors long shut, flinging open.. and chains falling. 
Cries of triumph! Voices singing praise!!
And He is coming… and HAS come for you. 
An invitation and opportunity for a life in the LIGHT.

And will this just become another story?  Something that tickles our ears and causes us to nod our head as we turn back to the headlines?! 
Is WONDER and AWE and FEAR that used to be reserved for our Savior going to be given to another?
Will we allow ourselves to tremble at events that take place on this globe and forget and forsake the One who BREATHED galaxies.. and holds them in the hollow of His hands?

“The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.”  Psalm 46:6

The battle for affection and attention of heart, soul, and mind, is real.
flanking us on the left are soldiers clothed dark… eager to establish fleshly fear and anxiety… spreading doctrines of negativity and foreboding.  They have mouths full of words and minds full of ideas.. but execution and solution is nowhere to be found.
BUT FIX YOUR EYES AHEAD… see them coming, shining all glorious.  Their Leader with arms spread wide, revealing the love scars in His hands. Can you hear their unified invitation?? Promises of LIFE and liberty, wisdom and counsel.  Their ranks move in Holy fear…. And carry within their very beings, The solution.  Clothed, armed, strengthened, and filled, they follow their King… songs of victory already on their lips.

Satan is real, his demons actual, and their combined affect realized.
People are hurting and dying. 
They know his darkness in a very real way… we The Church will not be of any help by joining in his exaltation by discussing his work and focusing on his affects.
LIGHT expels darkness.. spiritually and physically.

God give me a heart that will beat faster for You.  A mind that will be consumed and distracted and obsessed with You.. and Your word.
May fear, and awe, and wonder be saved for Your worship.

And then..
with eyes fixed on You, a heart filled with love found in you, and a mind overtaken with Your truth..
 maybe THEN I can go to them.. ..and invite them to come, stand at the bars, and HEAR you coming down the corridor.. that they may experience that weight falling.. and step out into the Reality of Freedom in You.

let us Consider >>>> CHRIST JESUS.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For Dad

He was and is, simply the best.
Perfect? No. ..And willing to admit it. 
There were seasons in life where he was less appreciated than others… but looking back, I see all bliss. My memory reminds me of only his strengths.
It’s hard to even know where to start, or what to say. 
The impact that he had and continues to have on my life is monumental.  I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today is it wasn’t for the man that I call Dad being in my life. 
When we talk about top Dads… this guy is the tip of that top… He is the cream of the crop.  If dads were to be compared to deserts… he would be a molten chocolate cake with a scoop of ice-cream slowly melting on the side…  the warm, dark, chocolatey-goodness getting all mixed up with cool creamy vanilla… you know, the one that makes you take tiny bites so you can linger a little longer.
He is the kind of man that shapes his generations unknowingly, through years of words and actions and time-spent. 
A dad that always had a knee ready for the little girl that had fallen in play.  His work-roughened hand would dry the tears and he would tuck me in close, his beard was tickling my face, until the sobs subsided.  Someone who could come home from a hard day on the farm to wrestle with brothers on the dining room floor, or revive his tired bones to play a game of knock-out. 
I always anticipated the sound of his tires on the gravel! There was a certain security that always came with his presence.. A leap in my spirit at the thought of fun that was to be had. 
He had a routine… after taking his shoes off, his first agenda was to find his dearest wife (my mom) and give her a kiss.  I never remember a day when I did not see love between my parents, and it built a sure foundation in my life from a very young age.  Commitment and steadfast-staying love was exemplified, and I took a firm stand upon the belief that it would always be that way. 
There was never a doubt… and for a little girl.. That is HUGE!
Sure there were days when we saw tears run down her face.. And saw him busy himself in the garage.. But sooner or later I would look out the window to see them talking on the porch.  At night we would fall asleep to sound of laughter floating like music through the floorboards from downstairs. After God, my mom is first to him.  His best friend, his sounding board, his closest confidant.  There weren’t nights-out with the boys or weekend fishing trips.. Instead there were grocery trips with just the two of them.. And walks in the evening.. And discussions in the kitchen that kids weren’t invited to. 
He showed us that she mattered.. That she had priority.
Every night, everyone scrubbed from a day of play or work, we sat in the circle of chairs in the living room and listened to him read The Word.  Chapter by chapter, year after year, our minds created files about {who} beget {whom}, and blood flowing from bulls and goats.. And how that wasn’t sufficient so---Immanuel, God with us.   Then we would all kneel and listen as he talked to his God… sometimes the amen leaving mouths open with the sounds of sleep. 
There was always church on Sunday.  Lots of girls got to take paper and pens in their purses… but all I had was a hymn book and bible. I never thought it was fair.  But now I say thank-you for that discipline of soul.  Wisdom had taught him that little ears and eyes absorb far more than is accredited to them.  How blessed I was and am.. To not only hear of the Power of the Cross… but to see it lived out by the two in whose care I was entrusted.
He was always there, present, and participating in my young life. Supper was around a table.. Food and communication and love filling soul and stomach.  WE WERE TOGETHER.
And we laughed.. And we still laugh.  A lot! Life was not easy.. Finances were often tight.. And there was stress from work and life… but we learned to take it easy.  There were corny jokes… and handstands in the dining room.. And antics at Walmart.. And bananas in shoes. It kept life Alive.
He knew how to have a good time and how to discipline a soul that needed direction.  One thing I so appreciate about him is the commitment he had to helping us learn right from wrong.  There were consequences for actions.  We didn’t always get what we wanted, but we got what we needed!  And when there is a father that is disciplined enough to discipline… souls are saved from destruction.
My dad raised a family that loves Jesus, and serves Him with their lives… a daughter who knew what to wait for in a man, and sons who know how to love their wives.  He might not have bank accounts and houses and property to bequeath us when he leaves… he will leave an example.  Padded pockets have never changed generations.. But, purity of heart. 
He doesn’t take his place in the front of rooms and crowds… that has never been his thing. 
He doesn’t chase after recognition and prestige and worldly applause…
For he is far too busy chasing after his God.
He taught us that service is the greatest thing.
Instead of spending Saturdays at the stadium or office… he could be found in the yard… or garage.. or at Marsh, taking his two elderly aunties shopping.  In the winter we would all pile in the van and go shovel driveways and sidewalks, so that grandpas and grandmas could stay safe and warm. 

And that my friends…. Is what we need more of.
We need more fathers.  Dads committed to the discipline and discipleship of their children’s souls.  Dads who take time to pray and read The Word and discuss the things of God.
We need more fathers.  Men are committed to understanding what it is to learn and love and nurture and give from their God.

If we want strong churches.. We need strong families!

We need men who are committed to Christ-given masculinity.  Men of valor, courage, honor, and strength.
We need women who are seeking the fullness of their Christ-built femininity. Women who are gracious, and giving, and compassionate, and kind.
We need Husbands given to love; and wives committed to respect.
We need fathers who are willing to lay aside their suit of self and put time, and energy, and TIME into their families.
We need mothers who will sing praises to their God as they change dirty diapers and clean the floor and wash the dishes.
Households inspired and shaped and led by The Word and The Spirit.

Happy Early Birthday Dad!!  I couldn’t have asked for better.