Sunday, November 25, 2012

Childish Things

So I held my two year old grandson on my lap and began to sing-song the little ryhme while bouncing him slowly and then faster until he was giggling gleefully. As soon as my actions stopped he begged for a repeat.

His brother watched the DVD I had brought along, not once but several times. One viewing of talking cars and simple stories was enough for me.

The knee bounce lover also liked wedging himself between the wall and the sofa and coaxing Papa to cover the opening with  pillows so he could "hiding".  Of course Papa's stacking skills were employed a multitude of times.

Bedtime stories were the same ones every night and oatmeal for breakfast four days in a row was by popular choice.

Living for a week with my daughter and her family was such a treat!
Children thrive on consistency and predictibility. Bedtime routine, scheduled naps, mealtime, chores and favorite toys and games. It was fun to watch and be part of the action.

I did tire of doing the same thing over and over. When the visist ended I would be able to choose v-a-r-i-e-t-y! Yet how different do my activities look from day to day? Work doesn't change much. I like to play app games over and over or eat the same favorite snacks. Buy me the wrong toothpaste brand and watch my reaction! Even though I may get away with an erratic bedtime schedule for a day or two, I know I'm wiser to stay in a good sleep pattern.

Maybe that's reflective of being made in the Creator's image. He's not the author of confusion but a God of order. The days come and go consistently. Laws of nature are so predictable we are rarely conscience of them. I am thankful for the sameness in my life.

Yet we reflect a God who is also artist, beginner of newness, and giver of unexpected rewards and a Lover whose love is sure and constant , but also wild and crazy.

"He's not safe, but he's good". (C.S. Lewis about Aslan)

What's not to love then about this life he's called us to? Whether you're feeling stuck in the monotony of routine or longing for stability or wish you were more in charge of the seasons of your life, know that our God is good and as we trust him for all of life we will live free from boredom and fear of change.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

He is Greater!

Don't you love it when your every day programming is interrupted with a word from our Sponsor? The messages He gives remind me of who is running the show and a glimpse of what is happening behind scenes.  I had some reality shows interrupted in my world this week. I had no urge to mute these announcements; it was time to turn up the volume.

I first noticed the announcement playing during Post Election Day this week. After the campaign frenzy building up to the election and the anticipation that things might turn out the way I hoped, the morning after brought disappointment and a deep sense of loss. Hope for change and a different leader at the helm wouldn't happen. There were more Americans who wanted to continue in the direction we were headed, than wanted that change and that meant I was now a part of the minority. Did my vote really matter? How disheartening to go through all that expensive hoopla to have things stay almost the same.

Then I heard it. The reminder that someone greater than any president or governor was still in charge and there still is a Kingdom that cannot be shaken no matter who rules this piece of the planet. A Kingdom that I claim citizenship to and a King who has counted me worthy to serve Him. No matter what is happening on earth, the Kingdom of God is expanding and I get to work with Him to bring His justice, peace, and love to hearts of men that are open to knowing him. My King is greater. He still has a plan.

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ...

1 Peter 2:11
I beg you, as those whom I love, to live in this world as strangers and “temporary residents”...

Was I hoping for an election win that would restore trust in earthly government? My trust can only be in the Lord.
It was then that I found more motivation to pray for this country than I had before and during the election. Oh, Lord forgive our sins. Forgive our arrogance of thinking we're wonderful when we aren't. Of denying our neediness and failure to learn from the past. For taking for granted our freedom and comfort. For judging others. For looking to man's ways to bring Godliness. May we keep our hope upon you, and honor the president in office. May we be people of prayer, sharing your love to everyone the same, regardless of political beliefs.

I get an email from my financial adviser this week telling me what to expect since the election is over. I hear  the Sponser's message saying the greater investments are the ones laid up in heaven. Am I managing that account with the same watchfulness I have for stocks, bonds and annuities? The pay offs are guaranteed and last through eternity.

I enjoy the woman's retreat at church this weekend. During worship I imagine the Great One's strength surrounding me as a father encircles a child who is struggling with quivering effort to prove his muscles are somehow strong enough to break free from the stronger embrace. A game they like to play. Like the child, when I'm spent from the tussle I lean confidently into Him, relaxed and secure.  He tells me again that He is in charge and quite capable of protecting me.

Someone shares their story at a workshop during the retreat. She says that wanting to know God more is not the same as knowing him better. And I'm reminded that knowing comes from spending time in His presence, soaking in His goodness and love, listening to His words. Desires and intentions may make me feel like I'm getting closer to him, but if I never follow through to actually drawing aside to be with him, I am fooling myself. He is greater than anything else this world has to offer.

Thank you for sharing words of encouragement with me this week, Father. You are greater, more wonderful and mighty than any earthly power. I worship you. May you be exalted in your people.

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We Are Heard

Skipping towards home with anticipation, her long pigtails lilted energetically against the back of her madras paid blouse.  Arriving at the white, green-shuttered bungalow she quickly twisted open the door handle of the side entrance. Would it be tomato soup and grilled cheese today or peanut-butter and banana sandwiches?  She loved living close enough to school to be able to come home each day for lunch.
"Mom!", she called loudly, bouncing inside. "In the kitchen, sweetie", came the reassuring reply.

This time she sits by the window in the little alcove her dad has turned into a dressing room.  She's a teenager. The house is quiet. It's dark except for the moon's glow bathing her up-turned face. Tears trickle  along her nose into the tissue she holds over her mouth to muffle the crying.  Her prayers are intense.  The quiet assurance of the Father's presence slowly placates her distress.

Many years have passed and the same girl, now a young mother, stirs a pot of soup on the stove. Simultaneously, she reads the recipe for the pumpkin pie she plans to bake for dessert.
"Mommy?", a child's voice queries from the next room.
"What is it?".  No answer.
"I'm in here, my love".  No comment.
The mother peeks quietly past the door frame to observe the toddler.  Happily engrossed in her play, the little one is unaware of the mother's furtive glance. Momma smiles and returns to her cooking.

Another One offered up prayers with loud cries and tears to his Father who had the power to save him from death and he was heard.  But he still died. Died a cruel death. Died an undeserved death. But he was heard. His Father sent angels to attend to him.  He was reminded of the joy that awaited him when the plan would be completed. He must have heard again how much the Father loved him.

The toddler, the school girl, the teen and the Son all were heard and it was good, it was enough.

Isn't knowing the Father is there, loving us lavishly and listening to us intently, amazing? Whatever our circumstances are now, whatever the outcome of our requests will be, we have the incredible privilege of being the apple of his eye and the one his ear is tuned to.  He is close.

Psalm 116:1 (AMP)

I love the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications.

Proverbs 15:29 (NIV)

The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
1John 5:15 (NIV)
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 

He hears a nation in prayer before an election, the cries of a city ravaged by a hurricane and a world torn by war.  He knows when and how to answer and He is good all the time.

Take courage any fearful among us! Stop doubting, any who have lost hope! He does hear, He is answering. It will be good for those who love him.