Sunday, April 16, 2017

You only kill a king if he has a kingdom.

After Jesus' crucifixion some of the big shots who wanted him dead
became concerned about his followers. 
Should they hunt them down and kill them as well?
Acts 5:38-39

Kingdom Come!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Best Laid Plans

So, I started off 39 days ago with the
 intention to be
intentional
during Lent.

My hope was that by committing to writing
5 days a week 
throughout the season it would
help me maintain my
 focus on Christ.

And while I may not have taken pen to paper
or, actually, fingers to keyboard,
the entire time, I have maintained that focus.
I have spent time every day in some 
form pondering.
And for me, that's a win.

So here we are at 
Holy Week.
Jesus rides into town on a donkey.
Everybody is happy.
They are laying down a red carpet of green.

How quickly things changed.
Do change.
Are changing.

Monday, March 27, 2017

AI Scavenger Hunt

And here is the result of my 
Art Institute 
scavenger hunt.

This is Peter denying Christ as he is led away
in the background.
 This is Christ being taunted by the soldiers.
 This almost looks like a coloring book to me,
but look at the way the cloth is billowing in the wind.
And check out the little guy in the foreground.
This one kind of slams you in the gut.


I saw quite a few renditions of Christ on the cross.
Here is one that intrigued and troubled me, 
it's by Marc Chagall.
He painted it to draw a parallel between
 the crucifixion of Christ and 
the Nazi's killing the jews.
He was jewish and therefor saw Christ as a 
profit, or wise teacher.
Somehow this troubles me, 
but at the same time, 
it's causing me to think, 
and that IS the point of my whole exercise 
these 40 days.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mary And Her Son.....

OK, now to lighten the mood a bit.
I went down to The Art Institute yesterday
to check out Whistler's mom.

Afterwards I decided to go on a bit of a scavenger hunt
to see if I could make out the whole Easter story
through art.

I came across this piece, and while it's not 
 part of the Easter story, 
it's a good story.
Jesus' first miracle.

It's the wedding at Cana. 
That's the host on the right being amazed
at the wine. 

On the left are Jesus and his mother.
I can't help but see the look on Mary's face as, 
"come on son, take care of this."
And Jesus, 
"Mooooooom."
(with dramatic eye roll)

Jesus became human so he could know our suffering.

Here's the link if you want the deets on the painting.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Am Remade. Every Day.


There are a million ways that
I am not like Jesus.

But here's one of the biggies:
I'm a reactionary.
You hurt me and I will absolutely react.
I wish I wouldn't.
I wish I could stuff the hurt down and carry on.
I wish I could just pray for those who hurt me,
hold my head up, and move on.

My therapist tells me, you have to address these hurts.
Holding them in will fester and eat you up.
The problem is, there is one hurt little girl 
living inside me
and when she gets hurt, 
well, she reacts like a child that has
 been hurt and doesn't feel heard.
And she does it as a grown adult.
Not pretty. 

Well, that's enough self revelation for a public forum. 
I confess these tender parts to explain 
what Satan likes to do with my hurt.
He likes to turn me in on myself.
I think, look at Jesus on that cross.
He didn't lash out.
He didn't send down lightening bolts.
He didn't curse those who hurt him.

God has been speaking to me through song 
during this rough season of my life.
I was trying to explain to Mike the 
battle being waged inside me
and then a song by
Tenth Avenue North
came on.


I am more than the choices that I've made.
I am more than the sum of my past mistakes.
I am more than the problems I create.
I've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to.

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

Thank you, Tenth Avenue North.

Monday, March 20, 2017

And Then I Just Get Dizzy.....


Going down a rabbit hole.
Ever heard of that saying?
To me, it means a train of thought that 
just turns around and inside of itself.
That's what thinking about Judas does to me.

Christ had to die on the cross.
His betrayal was foretold in scripture.
Psalm 41:9
Someone had to put the wheels in motion.
If not Judas, then someone else, right?

So, I don't mean to try to give Judas a pass,
but I just wonder....

And here my rabbit hole begins.




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Life Is Messy



God has been speaking to me through song during
this difficult season of my life.

I sat down this morning to see where God was going 
to lead me today for my lenten devotion.

This song came on and 
it did me in. 

I am worn.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Enemy #1

Doubting Thomas
He comes a little later in the story
but he's there and there for a reason.

There were a lot of doubters all through the bible.
Abraham and Sarah laughed at God (yikes!)
The Israelites, but come on! 40!! years!!
John the Baptist even questioned if
 Jesus was indeed the messiah.

The opposite of faith is not
doubt
but rather, 
fear.
-Philip Yancey

Doubt can help me define my faith.
It helps me strengthen it, to own it.
Fear causes me to run from it.

The struggle between faith and fear
may be one of our hardest wrestling matches.

There is fear that produces worry
but there is also fear that keeps us from stepping out in faith.


What does stepping out mean?
Mission work?
easy answer.

Giving my time and talents?
no brainer.

Showing that person who is different from me love?
that could be uncomfortable.

Cultivating a servant's heart.
You mean, don't put myself first?
getting harder.

Witnessing?
getting scarrier.

Asking God to reveal His will for my life
and then following what He has answered?
There!

No, doubt is not the enemy,
it doesn't pull me away from God.
Fear.

Sneaky thing, that fear is.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Really.


Lord, I believe, help my unbelief
Mark 9:24

We are supposed to pray with confidence 
but sometimes I wonder, 
Really God? 
Will you really do this?
Really God?
Do you have time for this?
Really God? 
Do you care about this?
Really God?
Could this be your will?
Really God?
Could you make me want your will?

Really.
Mark 9:25



Monday, March 13, 2017

Just Pondering....

I have often wondered, 
who had/has it better,
the disciples or us?

Would it be easier to follow Jesus 
if he were right here with us,
or is it easier to follow him knowing how the 
story plays out?

Sometimes I am mystified by the disciples
 lack of understanding
but also am awed at their
commitment.

Jesus was not exactly what
most scholars at the time thought 
their savior would "look" like.
They weren't expecting a 
lamb.

And when Jesus comes again, 
will I recognize him?
He won't be the Jesus I've come to know. 
He'll be more like what the Pharisees
were expecting, 
the lion.

Just pondering.....





Friday, March 10, 2017

Cracked Vessel

"If you are only getting your spiritual food on 
Sunday mornings,
 then You are doing something wrong."

Very wise words spoken to me in love from a dear friend.
Carol said that to me many years ago and 
it is a comment/advice that I have
thought of often.

There's something else that has stuck with me since
the first time I heard it, 
The only way to keep a cracked vessel full
is to keep it under the faucet.

I have been looking through some old prayer journals
to just get a little inspiration for my lenten thoughts.

There are some pretty powerful 
thoughts and prayers in there!

I will admit my seasons
 of deliberate study and time in the word
ebb and flow, but this vessel
absolutely operates better 
when running on full!





Thursday, March 9, 2017

Peter, Do You Love Me?

Poor Peter.
To have your lowest moments in your life recorded for all history
in the best selling book in all of history.

But then again,  to have God's grace and love for you
recorded for all history....

I like Peter. 
By many accounts he was 
loud, 
boisterous, 
and prone to stick his foot in his mouth.

I like that God chose to use people I could relate to
to teach me.
Peter was far from perfect but God used him 
mightily.

God sees our weaknesses and waits to meet us 
there and restore us.

Peter denied Jesus three times, 
the risen Christ asked Peter
 three times if he loved him. 
That was no coincidence.

Here we go, I'm going to put me in the story.

Merry, do you love me?
Merry, do you love me?
Merry, do you love me?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Putting Myself In The Story


Yesterday I thought about Mary.
Today I am thinking about some low-lifes.
Barabbas
Criminal #1
Criminal #2

What ever happened to 
Barabbas?
Did he continue in his evil ways?
Was he struck by what happened?
Did he turn his life around and come to Christ?
He seems to have faded into obscurity so my
guess is he accomplished nothing great for God or devil.

Criminal #1.
(Being one of the 2 criminals 
meeting the same sentence as Jesus.)
He taunted Jesus to his dying breath.
Luke 23:39
Pretty sure he had a one way ticket to hell.

Criminal #2. 
He started out going along with the crowd.
He got a couple of barbs in as well.
Mttw 27:44
But this guy has a change of heart.
Luke 23:40
And whereas he held the same one way ticket as
criminal #1, he was able to see Jesus for 
who he truly was. 
Broken, bloodied, and near death,
he could still see Christ.

Broken, bloodied and near death, 
Christ still reached out to this sinner and assured him
he would see him in heaven. 

My breaks and my blood may not be visible
but I am one sinner near death who knows, 
I will see Jesus in paradise. 


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

That Sleeping Child You're Holding....

Christmas in March?
Yep, little bit.
I love Christmas music. 
I have been known to start listening to my Christmas CDs as early as the beginning  of November and carry on until New Years.
One of my favorites is
Mary Did You Know
I want to spend some time with Mary.
Mary, did you know?
Did you have any idea?
I'm sure the visit from the angel explaining 
Jesus' arrival helped, 
but did you think you were raising a 
warrior 
when actually you were raising the 
perfect lamb?

 Now, by posting this picture of my baby holding her baby 
I am in no way implying either of 
them have been sent here to save the world, 
but if I want to get close to Mary, 
I just need to draw close to the ones 
I would give my life for and just ponder, 
Mary did you know?


Monday, March 6, 2017

What Would You Change?

Dear Younger Me.
That's the title of a song by Mercy Me.
I really like it.
If I had the chance to tell the younger me the 
things that I know now, 
would I?

I've had some hard times in my life.
Most of them because of my own bad choices.

But I've had some amazing things result from those 
bad choices.
That makes me think of another song,
Blessings by Laura Story.
Sometimes blessings come through tears.

I don't think my bad choices are God's will, 
but I do think it is His will that I turn
to Him, seek Him.

God doesn't take you out of the storm, 
He walks through them with you.

The bible tells me that Jesus asked His Father
to take the cup from Him, 
please don't make me go to the cross.
(Luke 22:42)

Jesus felt abandoned by God, 
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
(Mttw 27:46)

Today I want to remember that Jesus, the best teacher
given to us, knows how hard it is to walk through
the hard times, and perfect as He was, 
He knows  what it is
to fear God's will and even 
search for Him.


PS, if I've done this correctly (LOL)
here are links to the two songs I mentioned.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Forgive Me

I thought about coming up with a theme, 
or direction for my posts to take during Lent. 
Sometimes it's easier to have a map of sorts. 
But for some reason, I have decided (?) 
to just wander and see where God leads me. 
I say decided (?) 
because I think God already knows 
where He means to lead me.
Today I'm thinking about my imperfections, 
and really that's a nice way of saying my failures. 
I know that if I go to God and ask forgiveness, 
he will give it lavishly, lovingly.
I think that I accept that gift, but do I really when
I can't seem to forgive myself?
And is it any wonder that people may not want to forgive me?
I think it's a human thing.
I think we are not natural, born "forgivers".
We can only learn it at the feet 
of the one who forgave us all.
Luke 23:34


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tradition, Old and New

Wow!

It's been so long since I did this that I was barely able to get here!
I re-read my last post, it was about traditions.
Lory and I skipped this tradition this year 
and it seems I skipped my grounding 
of what the season was all about.
Sadly, there was very little Christ in my 
Christmas this year.
Drama ensued and after a 
bit of time, 
and reflection, 
and God being God, 
He helped me see the lessons He had in store for me through my human failings.
God is pretty cool that way.
So, here we are at Lent.
Lent is not "biblical" but it is tradition.
And, whereas, the birth of The Christ Child is the start of the gift that God has for us, Easter is the completion of that gift.
Christ was a wonderful gift to us in and of himself, but the gift He ultimately gave us, on the cross, while messier than that sweet baby, was the sweetest gift of all.