February 29, 2012
I’m just not getting along with the traffic enforcement in the Denver metro area. My last trip I was in an unfamiliar area of town which was under road construction. I made an improper lane change…which wouldn’t have been a problem if it wouldn’t have been for the police car behind me. Thankfully I was given only a warning ticket along with a smile and a courtesy compliment, “You look like a nice lady.” When I reflect on my early years as a believer I can see some similarities where I found myself in unfamiliar Scriptural territory and jumping lanes of Biblical thought. Thank goodness for all those warnings I received from the Sunday School and Bible Study Police.
February 28, 2012
I’m trying to wrap my head around being a fulltime online student. Right now my focus is on trying to get the right answer from the textbook, rather than taking in the big picture. It’s as though I really can’t enjoy personal ah-ha’s, because I know those things are not going to be on the final exam. I think something similar can happen in our Christian walk. We are so concerned with having the right answers for the final exam that we often miss the exciting things that the Spirit wants to show us in the Word.
February 27, 2012
My mother is in a nursing home and one of the fellow clients is a cantankerous elderly gent who appears to have some dementia. The resident bully has gotten physical with some of the patients so I purchased a sports whistle for mom to wear around her neck. I decided a shrill whistle would either bring help quickly, or at the very least it might scare the beggar away. I’m now thinking about my own spiritual whistle of choice and what I use in times of distress. I know many of us follow in Peter’s sinking footsteps and cry out, “Lord, save me!” (Matt 14:30 NIV) However, I’m wondering if we might be better served by remembering how Jesus responded in times of distress and being bullied, “It is written…”
February 24, 2012
Once when Bill went shopping for grape juice for Communion he compared labels and price and purchased the generic brand. There was a significant savings and he was quite proud of his bargain shopping skills. That Sunday when the Communion tray was passed the juice looked rather anemic. It tasted overly sweet, but yet watered down. We later inspected the juice label and read that it contained mostly apple juice, with a little grape juice added to the mix. Webster’s defines anemic as, ‘Lacking force, vitality, or spirit; lacking interest or savor’. I couldn’t help but wonder if sometimes when we partake of the emblems, we too may be guilty of watering down the blood of Christ. “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” (1 Cor 11:27-28 NIV)
February 23, 2012
Many of us bemoan that with the slate of candidates running for office we really don’t like either, or in some cases, any of the candidates. More and more we hear voters saying, ‘It’s going to boil down to the lesser of two evils’. As I look at this from God’s perspective, He disagrees. The person elected will be God’s candidate of choice and His decision won’t be based on degrees of evil. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” (1 Peter 2:13-14NIV)
February 22, 2012
Where I sit during worship service is one of the first places to get served communion. Because serving the congregation takes a little bit of time, I’m normally finished with my self-examination and prayers before everyone else has even been served. Usually I just sit quietly until the next segment of the worship service begins. However this last Sunday I really wanted to whisper in my neighbor’s ear…and my topic had nothing to do with worship. I can stop myself from doing something because I know it’s not the time or the place, but at this moment it came to me, ‘Just exactly how do you think you are going to feel after you whisper to you neighbor?’ Not that this situation was a sin, but it did cause me to pause. When I’m on the verge of sinning, maybe it should be crossing my mind how I might feel if I were to go ahead and sin. “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” (Ro 6:21 NIV)
February 21, 2012
Last Sunday in worship service one of the public prayers included, “Thank you God for the things we can’t give ourselves – life, hope and peace.” Although we know that everything comes from God, the non-believer would say that his job, his house and the food on his table comes from his own initiative. As I think about my normal prayers, I wonder if I put more emphasis on material things than I do on the things that can come only from His hand. “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 24-25 NIV)
February 20, 2012
Recently a fellow believer came to me asking for forgiveness for a situation that happened more than a year ago. She confessed to not only harboring resentment, but to also spreading malicious gossip and maligning my reputation. I gave her my forgiveness, however she just wouldn’t let it go. She continued to talk and rehashed the situation until the forgiveness was overshadowed by justification for her actions. Although we parted company with prayer, I couldn’t help but notice that the timing of her request coincided with the current political landscape. Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matt 5:23-24 NIV) I think I’ve just discovered another reason for us to reconcile with one another quickly…so that there is never any question of motives.
February 17, 2012
Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and I have an image of them hanging their heads, leaving the Garden and walking into the cruel world. I don’t think I’ve fully considered this as being a funeral march of sorts and God grieving over the spiritual death of His creation. While I know that God rejoices with every soul that is saved, I had never contemplated the grief He endures at every spiritual funeral that He must attend. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:14 NIV)
February 16, 2012
It’s interesting that even in Scripture, unless you are a well known figure, your job description is who you are – fisherman, tax collector, or priest. Jesus asked his disciples who the Son of Man was and they replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” I’m wondering if I do something similar when Jesus enters into my conversations with others. Descriptions like Lord, Savior and Redeemer slide comfortably off my tongue, because that’s who Jesus is to me. However in probing deeper Jesus asks us the same questions He asked Peter, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” The correct answer may not always be resting on the tip of my tongue. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:13-16 NIV)
February 15, 2012
I’m a member of a class that asks participants to fill out an evaluation form following each session. After one exceptional class I gave the instructors and the material presented very high marks. However in the comment section of, “What can we do better?” I noted that the instructor used a couple of swear words during his presentation, which were completely unnecessary. A couple weeks later I ran into one of the class organizers, so ask if they received and read the evaluations. Through our conversation and then a follow-up call I learned that the evaluations are indeed read. However the facilitator’s critiquing eye was focused on the good parts of the evaluation – the high marks and the positive feedback. My comments about the swear words simply didn’t register and were overlooked. Spiritually speaking I think many of us can relate. It’s easier to read the good news in Scripture and overlook the parts of correction. After all, if it registers with us we then have a responsibility to do something about it.
February 14, 2012
Recently a friend shared her frustration about not having a specific prayer answered. Feeling both dejected and rejected, she questioned whether or not God was even hearing her prayers. I couldn’t help but think of Zechariah and Elizabeth who were well along in years and still childless. As a priest Zechariah no doubt pounded the doors of heaven for years with his request to have an heir. One day an angel appeared to him and said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13 NIV) God’s timing is perfect and it gives me pause to think that my prayer request may be sitting in God’s in-basket just waiting for the right time.
February 13, 2012
Some of us think that the only thing we have to do to bring people to the Lord is simply invite them to church. If we can just get them in the door, then it’s up to the Spirit, the preacher and church fellowship to keep them engaged. When Paul spoke to the Athenians, he didn’t wait for Silas, Timothy or anyone else to make a case for Jesus. He was so acquainted with his subject and his supportive argument that even though some in his audience sneered, others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” (Acts 17:32 NIV) As mature believers we are all equipped with the Word of God, so we know our subject…and yet I wonder if any of us have been invited back to speak again.
February 10, 2012
According to Webster’s one of the definitions for rhetoric is, “the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion.” On the political landscape there are plenty of examples of rhetoric as candidates use their words to persuade voters. Preachers too are said to use rhetoric in their sermon as they present the Sunday message. I find these modern day examples interesting and in stark contrast to Paul’s manner of communication. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor 2:4-5 NIV)
February 09, 2012
In one of my on-line classes the Professor gave an audio instruction for her class. After one set of requirements I was put on notice when she said, “This is not a suggestion.” Although she spoke in a calm voice, her statement registered in Bold, CAPS and underlined. I’m wondering if many of us are lackadaisical when reading the words of Jesus and we simply take them as a suggestion. It’s entirely possible that those red-letter editions of the Bible are trying to tell us that the words of Jesus are not just a suggestion.
February 08, 2012
President Obama continues to want the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes. In a recent speech he asked the nation to think about the less fortunate, the middle class, and he brought Jesus into the issue saying, “What would Jesus do?” I had to laugh. Jesus didn’t make a class distinction when he was asked about paying taxes. He simply said, “…give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Luke 20:25b NIV)
February 07, 2012
In order to re-run for the upcoming City Council election I had to get 25 signatures on my petition. Naturally I asked many fellow believers to sign because they already know me personally. A friend of over 30 years half-jokingly said, “I don’t know if I want to sign your petition or not. I think you’ll understand this…what I really want is to have my friend back.” I do understand. Since getting into the political arena my area of influence has drastically changed. I no longer teach classes, attend multiple Bible studies or participate in women’s ministries and I do miss the former closeness of friends. I’m now thinking about the family and friends of Jesus as they watched Him leave his former life to begin His ministry. Even knowing Jesus was doing the will of the Father didn’t stop them from thinking, ‘We just want our friend back.’
February 06, 2012
I have a friend who is in enrolled in a business class and one of the requirements is learning to do a blog. “We're [supposed] to narrow it down to a directed group and have something that we are passionate about…I don't really consider myself qualified to give advice…on any particular subject.” It’s interesting that most of us feel unqualified and yet we have the Spirit of the living God within us who gives us our credentials. John the Baptist was simply a voice in the wilderness and yet he prepared the way and made straight paths for the Lord.
February 03, 2012
I hate it when I send out an email that, rather than going to the intended recipient, goes to someone else. Normally what I’ve written is not damaging, but once in awhile my tongue-in-cheek comments can feel more like foot-in-mouth. When I pray I sometimes wonder if I don’t inadvertently blind copy Satan. For instance if I tell the Lord about my financial worries is Satan privy to the prayer and does he think, ‘Well OK now…if she’s worried about finances let’s see what I can to help her add to those worries.’ Maybe I need to start using the caveat, CONFIDENTIAL – For the Lord’s Ears Only.
February 02, 2012
When I was in the metro area I took a couple of family members to dinner. Our waiter, who was of middle-eastern origin, wasn’t quite up to par as waiters go and it crossed my mind that he might be fairly new to America. To pay the bill I put cash in the card holder which was picked up by the waiter. However my cousin insisted on leaving the tip, which he placed on the table. It wasn’t long before the waiter returned and stiffly informed me that there was no tip in the card holder. I was a little taken back and pointed to the tip on the table, then picked it up and handed it to him. On the way out of the restaurant we did speak to the manager about the unprofessionalism of the waiter and hopefully the young man will be enlightened about the difference between wages and gratuity. “…The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Tim 5:18b NIV)
February 01, 2012
I will again be running for City Council in the April election. Yesterday the newspaper called me for an interview and the reporter wanted to know my thoughts on the current Council and how it has been observed that we don’t always get along well with one another. My response was, “We’re not elected to get along, but rather to set good policy and make good decisions.” Believers too are not immune from feeling we must get along with others at all costs. Jesus makes it clear where He stands, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34 NIV)