Monthly Archives: May 2016
Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.
I changed my password to”incorrect” so whenever I forget it the computer screen will say, “Your password is incorrect.”
If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
Never tell your problems to anyone, because 20 percent don’t care and the other 80 percent are glad you have them.
Hospitality is the art of making guests feel like they’re at home when you wish they were.
Television may insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer.
Every time someone comes up with a foolproof solution, along comes a more-talented fool.
Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.
If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you’ll have trouble putting on your pants.
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.
Women sometimes make fools of men, but most guys are the do-it-yourself type.
If tomatoes are technically a fruit, is ketchup a smoothie?
Last Sunday, a visiting minister spoke to us about the great awakenings in Christianity through the ages. I’m pretty sure most Christians would agree that we need another one right now. But great awakenings don’t just happen on their own. They begin within each of us. They happen when we take God deadly serious, they happen when God’s people seek God, when we search the Scriptures for guidance, and believe the Scriptures even when they seem unbelievable, when we beat on the door of heaven, and cry like hungry infants to God, when we not only believe in the unbelievable, but do not settle for less.
According to the Lectionary Scriptures for May 22, 2016, the first thing God created was wisdom. I swear I never heard that before. It gets weirder. This wisdom, that as hard as it is to believe, takes delight in the human race. When I focus on humanity’s track record, I find that pretty much impossible to believe. Then we are told that wisdom comes from knowledge of God. And the scriptures go on to say that knowledge of God only comes from fear of God. Fear of God…..that’s not a popular belief these days. What does fear of God mean. It means we take God seriously, more seriously than our success, our health issues, our love life, our bank accounts, even our children’s and grandchildren’s soccer games. It means we live like we might die today and would have to look Jesus in the eyes and see his broken heart because we missed the point of both His life and our own.
The scriptures today call this wisdom, the wisdom of infants. What in the world is that? It’s a heart knowledge that everything comes through God, our creator; health, wealth, love, joy, sickness, lack of money, loneliness, even heartbreak. Unless we believe that, we will be blind to the meaning and purpose in the whole of life. It is a wisdom that knows to cry out to its creator when in need, a wisdom that cries until it knows it has been heard, a wisdom that knows when that cry is heard to cling like an infant to the finger of God.
How can we possibly believe that the creator of all the wonders and mysteries of our gigantic Universe would care about us. We may feel important in our small personal world, but we’re way smaller than ants in the size of things. Okay, here comes more unbelievable stuff: Paul tells us today that God not only cares about us, but because of Jesus we can boast in our hope of sharing in the glory of God. (Seriously?) Boast?! About sharing the glory of God?! How scary is that! In fact, Scripture tells us that God made us just a little lower than Himself. That God actually calls us to be co-creators with Him of our world. Think about that for a minute. We’re like Junior Partners with God. Because of the love of Jesus, who was willing to be the partner of God in both suffering and salvation, we can hope in sharing the glory of God. Do notice the small print about being a partner with God in both suffering and salvation.
Good old Paul goes further. He says that because of Jesus, we can trust and even boast in our suffering because suffering produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope. A hope that trusts in the love of God poured into each of our hearts by the Spirit of God within us. And through that same Spirit the wisdom and knowledge that Jesus had, that got Him through suffering and even through death can also become ours. With that grace we will make it through many practice deaths and resurrections in our lives.
Let’s face it, these things are impossible to believe until we experience some of them personally. How do we do that? Take God seriously. Be so afraid of missing God’s call that you daily seek, pray, beat on heaven’s door for the wisdom of infants, the wisdom that is awareness of God in everything in your daily life. Pray for the grace to be a partner with God in shaping your world. Pray for endurance in suffering, so that you will develop the character that sees hope in everything. Pray constantly for awareness of the Spirit within you so that you may be open to the very same wisdom and knowledge that got Jesus through suffering and even death to resurrection.
Prov. 8:1-4,22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15
Okay…it mystifies me that we as Christians don’t seem to recognize that of all the “do nots,” the one Jesus was strongest on was “do not judge.” And obviously he didn’t mean “do not judge people for the good things they do.” He meant do not judge others for the sins they commit.
Why? Why give us rules and then say “do not judge” those breaking them?
#1 because no one is without sin or in secular terms: nobody is perfect.
#2 because the message of Jesus is that we are loved by God in our imperfect, broken, unfinished, “sinful’ humanity, and once we recognize that we are loved in spite of our selfishness and lack of love, it gives us the grace to begin growing in loving others as Jesus and God love us.
#3 because we do not know the “hand” anyone else was dealt. Only God does, so only God can judge them. And only God will know when they can accept His love enough to truly see themselves without condemnation and be freed to become more like Jesus in what ever way God is calling them to grow. (Not in whatever way we think they should be growing at any particular time.)
1. Nobody’s perfect.
2. When we recognize our brokenness and learn that we are loved as we are, we become free to change and grow more loving.
3.Only God knows if, when, and how He is calling and freeing someone to grow.
I’ve always been puzzled by the saying: “Only the good die young.” Now, I’ve decided that’s because old age is at least purgatory, if not hell.
Recently a friend’s husband, who has both a broken shoulder similar to mine before my surgery and loss of muscle in his legs like my husband has right now from being in the hospital, somehow slipped down between the bed and and a low, but heavy bedside chest of drawers and couldn’t get up. If you have the black humor most of us old guys have developed, her description of figuring out how to free him without hurting him would have you howling with laughter and wishing she had gotten a video for U tube.
If, however, you are twenty years younger, you would know that anyone under sixty would want to put their eyes out and run screaming from the sight of the video. Nobody wants to know about the ridiculous, humiliating and painful experiences of old age before they have to deal with their own.
The grace in all this is that these events give us our black humor and we laugh a whole lot, in fact pretty much all the time. The other good thing is, if your marriage lasts this long, you get over a hell of a lot of silly sparring and blaming. You have to become a team or you won’t survive. And since you both get turns being the one needing help, there’s a lot more empathy and tenderness that comes from the challenges.
So it seems to me that maybe old age is just a sort of refining purgatory. That would help make some sense out of it.