He Is PATIENT!

June 28, 2018

He isn’t really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.

2 Peter 3:9

As achild I was taught “God is great – God is good,” then I grew up and too often have prayed “where ARE you?”  You know what?  Both prayers are alright!  He desires a relationship!  DON’T FORGET TO LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

 

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The Missing Hallelujah

February 13, 2013

 stock-photo-holy-week-95212840

It is Lent, a season in the liturgical Christian year in which we walk with Christ in the final days of His ministry in His human form.  It is a season of 40 days duration, not counting Sundays and as it closes we celebrate Easter.  During this time the eruptions of Hallelujah are laid aside as we fast and devote ourselves to other spiritual disciplines.

It has always seemed a sad, gray, lifeless time to me.  The hymns sung at church are “low” both in spirit and in note to this soprano, or so it has seemed.  I miss my shouts of hallelujah and the many joyful and lively hymns as we, it has always seemed, focus on “from dust thou art.”  It has always seemed to me that to focus on death, which has always appeared to me to be the theme of Lent, is just wrong.

Is not the Kingdom of God at hand?

Has Christ not already won for me Eternal Life?

Yes, those two things are true.  Why then lament and focus on not life but death?  As I walk my path with Jesus everyday and as I sometimes climb the mountain with Him, His joy is always within me even on those days I cannot feel my joy.  My faith tells me it is within me.  His peace and His joy are a gift and I own them but like other sorts of gifts . . . the forgotten sweater . . . what has been given to me sometimes slips from focus temporarily.  Am I in Lent being encouraged to look at death and not at life?

As I sat, knelt, and stood in church today for our Ash Wednesday Eucharist, I realized that I didn’t feel low.  There was no music, lively or low-key.  There were no excited shouts of acclamation, and the “h” word wasn’t spoken.  I, though, was not feeling low, gray, and down in spirit.  It seemed to me that rather than flooded with guilt at my human failures, and rather than missing the emotional high of a view from the mountaintop, I felt REALLY GOOD.  How is this possible?  What has changed in me?

I have recently, after a long time of searching, found a part-time job.  No, it’s not the full-time one my unpaid bills require, and no it’s not fancy and of a sort which magazine covers rave about.  It is, however, a new start and a part of the Lord’s plan for my life even if I cannot see how.  My heart and soul know this.  Today, my day off, though is not a day of wallowing in all the job is not.  It is not a day to waste thinking of “I should be working today.”  It is a day of focusing on other things which are also valuable to my life in Christ.  It is a day of more restful things as well.  It is a day in which my aching feet are rested and revitalized for days soon to be upon when I am again running about on hard cement floors for hours doing physical work with a smile even if my feet begin to hurt, and even if I burn my fingers taking out a hot baking sheet of cookies . . . today is a restful day.  Not a day for napping, but a day to refocus and recharge.  These things are as necessary and all the running around the kitchen and dining room at my job.  I will be better able to do what is to come later if I prepare now!

Ultimately, isn’t that what Lent can be said to be all about?  Is it not a time to reflect on my humanness and His love and mercy?  Is it not a time rest . . . carry the cross with Him, yes, but also to curl up at His feet and realize His amazing love as fully revealed to us as He, bloodied and beaten, carried a heavy cross on which He knew He’d be crucified?  Was He showing anger?  Was He calling upon Father God to “get me out of this mess” and going after those who did this to Him?  No, He did not.  As He bled for them and for us, He spoke love and forgiveness.  So, during this quieter time in the Liturgical year, in terms of shouts of hallelujah and singing lively music, I will rest from those things as I curl up with my Jesus and listen to Him.  I will learn how I shall find the strength to carry my cross.  I will learn how I am to love my enemies as He did.  I will learn what He has next for me to do to reflect His love on others.  It will be a different season from the last, but I will feel His love and I will learn to love Him even more.  Join me, won’t you?  Amen.


Community Versus the Body of Christ

January 26, 2012

Community – a body of individuals drawn together by a common thread.  Hmmmm . . . same thing as the body of Christ or in OT terms, our Lord God’s body in the world?  Not necessarily the same thing.  Let’s look at a couple of well known passages . . .

Genesis 6:13

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.[b]

Jonah 3:1-5

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

Jonah 3

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

 1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Now, in these familiar passages we see two communities and in both cases sin and evil doing prevailed. The evil doers who angered God in Genesis were a community.  Noah was not a part of this community.  God revealed Himself to Noah in the familiar story of the building of the ark and plan to destroy the sinful.  Jonah as well found favor when the peoples of Nineveh angered God.  They too were a community.  Comparing the two, what do we see?  In the second passage, we read of people who were awakened by the message from God, who pulled together, and who seeked to turn from their evil ways and repent. 

 In 1 Corinthians we are reminded of the Lord’s definition of community and our call to action as His body.  Our common thread is Christ and our uniqueness is what makes the body strong for Him.  Our uniqueness WITH our commonality as the Body of Christ is vital and through this He enables us to go into the world and win hearts and souls for Him. 

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 12 For even (A)as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, (B)so also is Christ. 13 For [a](C)by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether (D)Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to (E)drink of one Spirit.

 

I am so blessed to belong to a group of believers who seek to be the body of Christ in this world.  It was being a part of this close and supportive community which inspired my poem published in a prior blog post.  The poem is entitled One Flickering Flame and click on the title if you’d like to be brought to that post.  Blessings to all of you!


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