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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our Hearts are Restless

"Our hearts are restless, because you have made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you." ~ Augustine

I am reading Confessions by Augustine. He is a man who seems to have everything and be "living the good life". Yet he struggles to understand the truth. Many things get in the way and he says that he has no peace until he rests in God.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Tree in Winter

Tree In Winter Photo by Petr Kratochvil

I really don't know why, but I have a fascination with trees. While driving to my son Matthew's game today in Albertville I was looking out at the trees devoid of all leaves I had a simple thought - Shouldn't I be something like this tree?

Tree in Winter by Jennifer Jensen

Rooted firmly,
In the Truth and
In my most vulnerable state -
Totally humble.

That the One
Who gives life will
Bring a change.

Waiting patiently,
Without doubt or fear
For a Spring
And Everlasting Life.

This Life exists now
But only in part
And as a Shadow.

In a True Hope,
Yet living
With this longing.

A Brighter Sun
That brings
A Glorious Day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Christian: The Fire of Rebellion

"Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!" - The Grinch Song

In Books-a-Million last night, I overheard a conversation about the Grinch. As two adults very eruditely explained Dr. Seuss’ portrayal of this character as all that is evil, I began wondering why we love redemption stories.

As a very engrossed reader, the resolution of a redemption story leaves me with a strong sense that nothing is impossible. Every person has a deeply held belief that all is not right. Hope is born of the idea that things will change. Our stories of redemption demonstrate this change in lives that are corrupted and who is more corrupt than the Grinch?

To say that I do not desire to view myself as the Grinch is an understatement. However, deep down I know that I am “The Grinch”. It is my very refusal to admit this truth in the midst of a battle with sin that keeps me from redemption. The very words of God convict me.

Where do I first go wrong? When does evil first show its ugly head? When I decide I don’t need to listen to God I have cut off the only supply of Goodness in my life.


Nadab and Abihu were two priests who had grown up learning the Law. They had been told over and over again what was required of them. Explanations of the process of burning incense and the consequences of not following specific instructions were given.

These two guys decided they had a better way of doing things. They decided they didn’t need to listen to God. They had been given the very special privilege of entering places in the temple that ordinary men could not go. They had been chosen for special service to God. Yet they did not honor the God who honored them. They chose to experiment. Instead of offering holy fire at the altar they chose to go their own way and offer “strange” fire. They defied God. In essence they were saying, “God’s not real. He doesn’t exist and we’re going to prove it.”

You might question me here. They most likely did not even think these thoughts. Their thoughts were more focused on doing what they wanted than what God had commanded. They did not fear God. In essence they did not believe in Him. God’s commands did not appear important to them.

If they had really known God, they would not have ignored Him. God created the universe. Nadab and Abihu only existed because of Him. God is all-powerful.

Nadab and Abihu have a far worse fate than the Grinches of the world. They somehow thought they were above God’s Law. The Grinch realized his soul was “an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!"

Nadab and Abihu could not obtain redemption because they refused to believe that what they were doing was wrong. They had convinced themselves that God would not really punish their rebellion.

Their story is not a story of redemption but of judgment and I have to admit that it does not appeal to me. I want God to give them another chance because I know that I am a lot like them.

God, keep my devious mind from blocking out your true nature. Don’t let me make a graven image to substitute for You. Help me to remember who You are and who I am.

Monday, May 18, 2009

One with Christ

As I woke up in the middle of the night, God turned my thoughts toward Him and I began to understand a fraction of what it means to be one with Christ. When I actually "connect" with Christ in His suffering for mankind my heart will ache for those who do not know Him. I will hurt as a mother in childbirth who pushes and pushes and then screams in agony as the child is birthed into the world. My groans will echo His and turn to a roar as the battle for new life is won.
When I am One with Christ my heart will mourn when Christ's Bride, the Church, turns away from Him and chooses other lovers. I will feel the pain, the suffering of seeing my Christ's Beloved turn aside from telling others about Him to telling others about a new love they have found. I will see the shame in that and will be heartbroken. Like Nehemiah I will weep and mourn over the broken relationship. My heart will be torn, ripped apart and I will feel the ache, the pain that Christ suffered for His Bride.
I will see Him turn to me and cry out for my very soul when I sin against Him, when I choose to follow other loves. I will recognize that His Love is so great that I will turn to Him in sorrow that I could ever forget Him and His compassion for me so easily. His everlasting Love for me is so Great that I will cry and weep over my foolishness and embrace Him even more closely. My thankfulness for His Grace will be so much more than mere words can describe that I will fall at His feet in awe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Honestly . . . and sometimes it hurts

I don't like chit-chat.

I don't like to shop (hate it, unless I'm looking for books).

I love learning about lots of things (even things I don't like on the face of things like Iron Maiden - lots of the lyrics are all about history.)

I'm not a very constant friend, but I love my friends for putting up with that.

I like things to be done my way - and I often yell when they are not.

I see how we (Christians) make up our own gospel all the time and that really hurts.

I love learning about other cultures through meeting people, reading books, watching movies, etc. Some of these cultures have some customs that seem very hard to follow and that hurts.

I loved reading My Name Is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev, The Chosen, Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and several of Yep Laurence's books. These books are very real and sometimes it hurts to read them.

The people who do not think I am real have never tried to get to know me - just ask my husband.

I don't do a lot of girly things like scrapbooking, beading, etc. I prefer to make things for the 2 and 3 year-olds in my Sunday School class - things that help them remember. I also love making things for my sons and husband or fixing things (or rigging them).

I love, love, love teaching my kids (and I hate it too, when I get angry and impatient). They are such smart guys and talented, although at least one of them thinks I turned him into geek.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Brokenness and Humility

My heart is being searched and I am seeing a great deal more of "why" I should be humble. All it took was for me to read 41 Evidences Of Pride.

I have been reading a great deal lately about spiritual revival and humility. It all seems so hard until you realize that what you have been living for is a lie.

Every time I get frustrated because things are not working out my way;
every time I get in an argument with my husband and won't let it go until he sees it my way;
every time my rush to get somewhere leads me to yell at my kids;
every time I get down because someone doesn't gush over something I said or did;
every time I feel hurt because someone pushes my ideas aside;
every time I interrupt a person who is talking to me; etc.
Each and every one of these times I have lived out the lie that I should be living for me.

In A Quest for More Tripp calls these moments "shadow glories". I was created to live for much, much more! In desiring to live for myself, I give up the transendence of living for Christ. Pride is obviously the culprit; my pride is evidenced in my answers to the questions I have linked to above.

There is a better way. Through repentance and humility I can gain a world that does not pass away and my Father and I can communicate. My Father's voice can be heard when I repent of my arrogance and acknowledge that his ways are much, much higher than my own. When I trust him and recognize his love, his sovereignty, his providence, his power, his righteousness, his holiness, his complete transendence of all, I can begin to see why living for myself is so utterly ridiculous (truly to be ridiculed)... and I fall in love with my Savior and he heals me.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wouldn't it be so much easier. . .

- if God told us that the slow car in front of us was timed to be there by Him so that something marvelous could happen?

- if the price check at the grocery store was explained to us in the morning by a personal visit from Christ?

- if the annoying sound of a whining child were revealed to us to be a critical time of ministry that would change his/her life?

- if the burned meal were an opportunity to see God's graciousness and providence?

And yet it is all marvelous because we have the most remarkable evidence that he is trustworthy and loving in Christ's death on the cross!