Tag Archives: communion

Engage!

It was a few months before my graduation, a little over a year ago now.  I had just finished another one of those Mother-Daughter conversations that daughters can recite with astounding accuracy  – it’s practically scripted.  Truth be told, it has been for generations, but some mothers & daughters get an early escape from it.  We didn’t.

“If you were married, I wouldn’t worry so much.” Continue reading Engage!

Me First!

Me First!  I’m the stomach that will keep distracting your mind until you feed me…

Me First!  I’m the task you’ve been ignoring for weeks, and you can’t move forward until I’m done…

Me First!  I have a lag time, and the deadline’s looming…

Me First!  I’m the project you’ve postponed until the last minute, and that minute is now…

Me First!  I’m the store where you’ll get the supplies for tomorrow, and these things take time…

Me First!  I’m the commitment you made to someone else, and you haven’t tended to me today…

Me First!  I’m the bills, and it’s the end of the month…

Me First!  I’ll only take a moment or two, honest…  (how many times have I believed that one?)

Me First!  I’m that letter you need to turn in, today…

Me First!  I’m that new resume that you need to write so you can apply for jobs, so you can pay bills…

Me First!  I’m the stack of papers that might be hiding tax info, and taxes are due in two weeks…

Me First!  I’m the shower, and you need to spend time with me before you go out in public…

Me First!  I’m the Alpha and Omega, and I promised that if you would put Me first, I would work on your behalf for everything else you need.

Lord, continue to be gracious to me, a clock-dodger.

Happy Birthday, Love God

Chapel… I was present this time because I’m into supporting the people I care about, and a couple of them were involved in this morning’s service. Then, the speaker made a few pertinent comments…

Cronic health issues since HS, occurring on a 10 year cycle, living under the weight of concern, especially when approaching the next cycle, most recently approaching her 45th b’day… hmm…. this, of course, got my attention.

It’s my birthday, #45, and round ? of a recurring health issue. My cycle seems to be about 8 years, since my youth, and I’m on year 8 right now. I didn’t do the math until I started noticing familiar signals – I’m not that morbid!

Anyway…she went on with her presentation, about living upside down, Paul’s letter to the Phillipians, and particularly the section on having the mind of Christ in unity, preferring others above self. This is difficult when part of preferring the people you love is taking care of the person they love… do I really have the energy to serve someone else right now? Trust in God means saying ‘Yes’.

There’s a verse in Micah that I’ve been focused on for a few weeks, Micah 6:8…

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

This was her followup verse, after she presented what ‘preferring others’ looks like… the kinds of things that I’ve been at least attempting to do.

Now, I don’t have the energy to build a stone altar, dig a trench, and fill it with 12 buckets of water just to prove that God is real and interacts with His people, nor am I up for getting the required fire permits. He’s awesome – the fact that many of us are still vertical demonstrates that well enough. He knows our individual heart-languages, thoughts, concerns, and He has His ways of getting His point across. Today, it was:

      • I’m still in charge, of everything
      • I’m paying attention, to you
      • Keep trusting Me, I’ve got you
      • Happy 45th Birthday, Love God

Since chapel, the soundtrack in my head has been playing the song “I Lift My Hands”, by Chris Tomlin. (no, it wasn’t in the chapel service, I haven’t heard it since once Saturday)

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are FAITHFUL, God, FOREVER

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are fortress for the weak

An excellent bookend for the song I chose to start my day, By and By, Congolese version, presented by Selah and missionaries in their family:

By and by, when the morning comes
When the saints of God are gathered Home
We will tell the story of how we’ve overcome
and we’ll understand it better by and by

Which Book??

I don’t know about you (of course), but I’ve spent a fair bit of time pondering the situation I find myself in, adopted into God’s family, yet often forgetting to think like it, much less act the part.  Oh, I’m good at lecturing myself about my imperfections…too good…the joy and confidence and resulting motivation to please Him fall victim to my perfectionism – that superego (Freud’s word) that sits on my shoulder and points out all my errors in hopes that I’ll give up & go sit in my corner, attempting nothing.  Enough of that, back to the point…

James MacDonald (Walk in the Word) is currently doing a series on Revelation, today’s scripture is Rev 20.  I’ve often thought about the final judgement, and more specifically, how much I don’t want every wayward or frivolous expression brought out for everyone to see and perhaps comment on.  So many things I’ve done & said, when I fully knew better.  James’ presentation of the opening of the books struck me.  Each person in turn will be reviewed, first in the Book of Life, the list of names of those who have accepted Jesus as their atonement, savior, Lord.  If a name is not found there, it will be looked up in the other books, where every deed, thought, word, and rejected opportunity are listed.  (!REWIND!) If a name is not in the Book of Life, the biographical record will be examined.  Conversely, if a name is found in the Book of Life, “Next!” – there’s no call to look in the biographical record, whether it has a few sentences or a few chapters, it won’t even be entered into evidence – it’s irrelevant!  Wow…hmm…no need to worry about all the scribbles on the pages with my name, because the important scribble is my name in the priority one book.

So…on with the ‘Roller Coaster’ day…things to do, and all that.

I dashed through lunch to go be helpful, and I tossed off a little “hope You notice I’m doing something nice, here”, and instantly got the following reply:  

“Oh, did you want me to look in THAT Book?  Weren’t you just thanking Me for not looking there?”

Hmm… point taken…  yes, please, I’m very thankful that You won’t be looking in the Books of Dead Deeds, my name’s in the Book of Life, and that’s all the farther You’ll need to go.

In case you’re as slow as I can be on the uptake, any brownie points we think we’re earning are recorded in the same place as all our failures.  It’s the scales or the cross, the book of deeds or the Book of Life.  Choose wisely.

Meaningful Passage(s)

 “Select a meaningful passage and explain its importance to you.”

a”? As in, only one??  It might be easier to select from the few that aren’t necessarily meaningful, like quantities of animals in the herds of Lot.  Choosing one among those that are meaningful is a practically impossible task, but I can choose a theme.  There’s our uniqueness, the declaration that God has known us by name since before our births, that the length and course of each life was mapped out before it started, complete with objectives and opportunities to be equipped to meet them, that our God is a God of second chances, that our names are written in the palm of His hand, and that one day His very hand will wipe the tears of a lifetime from our eyes.

 Psalm 139:15-16 King James Version (KJV)

 15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Nothing was hidden from Him, when my character, impressions, and responses were formed in the secret places of my mind and soul.  When I learned isolation, empathy, injustice and mercy, He oversaw it all.  He arranged for me to meet people who couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, couldn’t think, couldn’t walk – the strong and the weak, the foreigner, the unusual, and those too apparently healthy to realize they were actually ill.  He walked with me when I walked beside them, and when I walked alone.  He made sure I could see at least a few instances when He arranged for my direct protection from unavoidable threats and otherwise hidden snares.  He has been careful to remind me that He knows me, more intimately than any parent, sibling, friend, spouse or child ever could.

More constant than the beauty of Heaven or the horror of Hell is the fact that the Divine Creator knows my language and chooses to use it to communicate with me.  More comforting than the platitudes about everyone having troubles of some kind or other is the knowledge that He who conducts the entire universe is very well aware of the score He’s written for each individual instrument.  He planned the harmonies and the dissonances, the rests and crescendos, the apparent battles between piccolos and tubas, on purpose, to form a dramatic symphonic masterpiece.  He knows when we get off key, out of tune, or completely lost in the pages – and He doesn’t stop the entire orchestra to point it out.  Rather, He deftly makes whatever adjustments are necessary to one or more scores, even a DS al Coda, to make it all come out right.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses, our backgrounds, influences, and every thought that shoots across our minds – thus He is not surprised, befuddled, or exasperated by either our successes or our failures.  He asks only that we keep a close watch on His eye and baton, following where He leads.  Someday, when the symphony is finished and the applause begins, He will wave a nail-scarred hand in our direction, that we may also bow.  Hearing the applause of God, all else will cease to matter, especially the missed & messed up notes of an individual instrument.