Sunday, April 29, 2012

God Is Not A Man That He Should Lie

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. "Look at you now!" they yelled at him. "You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!" The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. "He saved others," they scoffed, "but he can't save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!" Matthew 27:39-42(NLT)

Sometimes a lie is louder than the truth...but it is still a lie.

There on the cross hung the bloodied Son of God. Hands nailed, He could not throw a punch. Feet fixed to the wood, He could not kick them away. Tongue stuck to the roof of His mouth, He could barely speak to their insults. Humbled, yes, but powerless? Only if you consider Him to be impotent, who by His thoughts alone birthed the heavens and created a nuclear furnace to fuel the sun.

This ravaged form contained the force that separated light from darkness, pushed mountains up from the sea bed, poured wrath as unremitting rain upon the entire surface of the Earth for forty days, humbled Egypt, brought down the walls of Jericho, cast out demons and raised the dead. Wise men would have a care for their safety in His presence even now. Love was binding Him fast to this fate not the iron nails made by the puny hands of men.

So the lie grew louder and more voices took it up...but it remained a lie. It remained a taunt intended to call God's power and goodness into question.

I have been lied to. There were times when I believed a lie. I am betting that you have as well. We don't have to.

When I read this passage, especially about the mockery and contempt of the priests, it reminded me of when the devil taunts us. "If God loved you, you wouldn't have cancer." "You call yourself a good mother? If you were a good mother your kids would be serving God." It is that same kind of lying, hope-sucking spirit.

I have had a dangerously disobedient child who told me he was going his own way and there was nothing I could do about it. It was a lie. I had a prayer life. If I would have had some failures in the area of mothering, that would not have been sufficient reason to listen to the taunts and stop praying. Grace is a good prayer-buddy.

That same son went into combat in a hell-hole of a country and the odds were not in his favor that he would return or return with all his limbs or his right mind. His being beyond God's protection was a lie. I had a prayer life and many, many prayer partners proclaiming truth, spitting it like bullets into the dark night of war. My son came home, married, made a son and dedicated him to the Lord.

I had a terrible illness and the devil tried to take my health, my life and my peace. It was a lie. I am writing this blog to say so. If I had not been healed, then I was leaving this life believing in God's unfailing goodness and sovereignty. I am still here.

There was a time when hell told me it was going to swallow my marriage whole. Lie! Lie! Lie! Christ is not just a third of the Godhead, He is one third of my marriage covenant. Still here. Still in love.

The lies the world, the devil and our false selves tell us will never be anything else unless we come into agreement with them.

"You will never amount to anything, you can't finish school, you will never be able to support your family, you will never live a normal life, your kids will never mind you, your family will not make it to Heaven, you will never be good enough for God to love you, you don't get a second chance, you are not pretty, you are stupid, you are weak, you are not loved, you can't preach, can't teach, can't write, can't sing, can't marry, can't be a good parent, you are a loser, a drunk, a liar, a cheat, you can't change, can't, can't, can't...

Those lies become mute in the face of the truth of God's word.

Philippians 4:13...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

James 1:4...But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Mark 9:23...If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.

I John 5:14...This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Phil 1:6...Be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:37...In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Ezekiel 36:26-27...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Hebrews 13:20-21...Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.

Psalm 138:8...The LORD will bring to perfection that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: do not abandon the works of your own hands.

Psalm 23:6...Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

How about that last one? Goodness and unfailing love (mercy) pursuing us, following hard after us, hunting us down, searching us out for divine recognition and blessing, for good and not evil. That is the truth shouting down the lie if I ever heard the truth say a word.

Hold on to the truth. Hold on and don't let it go. Hold on like Jacob who refused to release the angel he wrestled with until he had received a blessing. No matter what we face, God's pure, honest and sincere word says His plan is to do us good and not harm, to give us a hope filled future.

The next time a lie tries to shout you down, humiliate you, make you feel ashamed, weak, hopeless, alone or unloved; no matter how loud it yells or in how many languages, no matter who else has joined the chorus; remember Christ is still commanding, "Peace! Be Still!"

May His precious Shalom surround you, fill you, defend you, elevate you.

The man on the Cross was for all their mocking, still the One, True, Holy God; who has come down and has risen up and has brought us with Him into the glorious possibility of all things!


Numbers 23:19...God is not a man, that He should lie. Has He said, and will He not do it?

P.S. Buy the truth and sell it not. Proverbs 23:3


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Woman Of Valor

A year older
A year stronger
Mercy triumphs
Health indued
What her hand holds
It shall prosper
In the strength
Of Christ renewed

Today is the birthday of a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer and has had surgery, complications and restorations. As a nurse I understand it from the clinical side but my friend has a wisdom hard won from looking cancer in the face, while holding tightly to the promises of God and saying like Jacob said to the angel he wrestled, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

She girds her loins in strength, and makes her arms strong.
Proverbs 31

It seems to me that with Kelly, cancer was something she met and overcame along the way. Cancer was never the road itself. For my brave friend Jesus was The Way long before her diagnosis. He was her life experience, her journey, the high road of her travels and He remains so today.

I applaud her walk and her victory. I salute the evidence of grace in her life. Happy Birthday, Kelly, Eshet Chayil (Woman of Valor).

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her at the dawn of the morning. Psalm 46:5 (DBT)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Will Love You Again

If my misery could be weighed,
if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales,
It would be heavier than all the sand of the sea!...
Where's the strength to keep my hopes up?
What future do I have to keep me going?
Do you think I have nerves of steel?
Do you think I'm made of iron?
Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?
Why, I don't even have any boots!
Job 6:1-7 (Message)

Grief is a battered boat on a pain-ocean. Its occupants often find their primary grief a magnet for other secondary griefs and heartaches. These intrude to form a constellation of sorrows. It is an earthquake complete with aftershocks that forever changes your emotional geography; bootless bare feet numb to the pain of broken glass underfoot, unending night where the darkness remains whether eyes are open or closed.

It comes to us for so many different reasons. It can come through death or illness, injury or betrayal, calamitous choices or injustice. It brings pain, sorrow, fear, anger, hopelessness, isolation and more. It is the boot thief Job lamented. The future not there anymore. The event that strips down to the bone not just down to bare feet and it makes life ugly and unwanted.

I once knew of a woman whose young son fell ill and never completely recovered. She became his round the clock caregiver. She performed tasks that would have worn me out in eight hours in the hospital but she did them around the clock day in and day out. Several years into this her firefighter husband was burned in a fire an died in a burn center miles from home.

There were parents of a friend I had, a friend who survived a terrible disfiguring car accident in high school only to die when a drunk driver killed her, head on, two weeks after her parents watched us graduate from nursing school.

I have a friend I had to pick up off the floor of her hallway where she was beating her head against a wall to obliterate the images of her husband's infidelity, discovered about the time her child was diagnosed with a crippling medical condition.

There was a church friend who cut herself to release the pain of years of childhood sexual abuse.

I have several friends who have lost their only sons or only children.

The alcoholic family system I came from took part of my own childhood away and influenced my adult life in unhealthy ways that brought sorrow and loss.

We all know someone. Some of us have been that someone. Some of us were doing all the right things when sorrow and loss overtook us. Some of us called to it by name by the bad choices we made. Some of us had our boots yanked off. Some of us pawned them and grief walked on bare feet.

Whatever form grief took and however long it lasted, the remedy I have known was God and time. (It also helps to acknowledge that my grief does not make me an expert on someone else's.)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

We are not unfamiliar with this scripture, spoken to the exiled Jews carried away to Babylon, and penned by Jeremiah under divine inspiration to give them hope in loss. If we were to read the chapter this is taken from, we would see that God's instructions to those who had lost possessions, home, family, country, and social standing was to build, to plant and to live. (You will see more if your read the chapter).

Those are three things we couldn't care less about when we are grieving. Three things we do not have the strength or ambition to attempt when it hurts to open our eyes. Three things it would not occur to us to do in our struggle to believe God was still good.

God's encouragement remains, "Plant a garden." Plant it in the soil so dry it hurts. Plant where it is strange. Plant it and call to the life that will be restored. Plant the future. I cannot imagine a more joyless and unwelcome task. I could not imagine it even as my hands obeyed.

I was fortunate in that I had family and friends who brought seed and planted along side me but that first seed to drop was one I held in my own cupped hands and whispered to it, "Live."

If your life has a wound let me say how sorry I am for your suffering. Maybe all you can do now is consider the idea that there is a future. That there might be a garden. That there could be seed. Tomorrow or a week from now or a year from now may you have the strength to stride out bootless into a waiting garden with a God-promised future.

You are loved.

I close with the thought provoking words of a survivor of childhood abuse who journeyed from abuse to fruit:

To love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
― Ellen Bass

-Kat, loving again, planting in hope

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NCV)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Until I Have Done Everything

"I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you." Genesis 28:15 (Message)

This was a promise made to Jacob by the Lord. It is also a promise I have embroidered on my soul in violet. Take a long, hard, encouraging look at this meaningful word. In some translations it has the Lord swearing (which He can only do by Himself as there is nothing higher or more sacred) that He will stand by us until He has accomplished everything He has promised.

That makes the bottoms of my feet tingle. It make my mind spin. It makes a shout work its way up from a deep place. God swears to always be fully present until everything He has promised He has performed. Not until we pull it off under our own steam but until it is accomplished by His limitless ability to speak to what is not and make it reality.

The scriptures are full of His sweeping promises to the body. My life is also overflowing with personal promises made to me. Not fanciful, shallow promises but promises to bring the Kingdom into my life, my family and my world. God is present and powerful and producing responses to my faith in His word.

As you know, I have a son who was in a war. I prayed and God promised me things. That was almost ten years ago. On a recent trip to visit my son and his family, I was coming up the stairs into the living room when God tapped me on the shoulder. John David was at the table working on care plans, his wife and my grandson were downstairs playing, I had just been explaining about how Jesus loved us as His own treasure to a little boy I had taken on a treasure hunt. As my foot reached the top step there came a familiar voice, "Kathy, this is what you were praying for when John David was in Iraq. This is what I promised." And it was.

Some promises take forever it seems but although it seems to drag, wait for it, it is coming. God never forgets, or despairs or abandons the plan. We sometimes feel all the burden to accomplish a thing is on our shoulders. Look again at what He has said, "...until I've done everything..." I think that is part of the " My yoke is easy and My burden is light.." observation. (Kim Lorentzen recently shared some wisdom with me about this that I hope she will develop into a post.)

Jacob saw the patient, forceful, miraculous truth of those words. I am seeing it too. I am taking the Lord at His word, the stripped down to fighting-weight-word. He will yet do what He has promised me. He who is faithful will show up on my behalf and Hell will not get to carry the ball. I am looking to God and God will not be absent.

Some friends took me to tea at a local greenhouse-gift shop for my birthday. All day I had been delighting myself with that scripture. "I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you." There was a lovely African Violet in full bloom and I purchased it as a particular thank you for God. It may be sitting in my front room but it is His and more than the violet is blooming, I am blooming...until.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son... And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. Romans 8:29-30 The Message

(Thank you to Jan, Elizabeth and Cheryl for tea and friendship.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Living Kiss

Into the nursery and
gently over the cradle
God gave me a kiss
a living kiss

My baby soul stirred
raised hungry lips
to the kissed baby skin
and drank a river
patient and deep

I have been His
for the keeping-
-for in all these
many changing years
the world has never
kissed me so

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6 (NIV)

Poem written on April 5th of this year as my present to the Lord on my birthday. He has loved me so well on my journey.

April is National Poetry Month. Is there a verse in your heart?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Love-Mind

“Hope is the dream of a soul awake.” French Proverb

I have a friend who told me she dreams in Technicolor and only sometimes in black and white. I have one friend who does not dream at all, she claims. Another friend can't seem to tell the difference between what happens when the lights are on verses when they are off (Her paintings mirror her confusion). If I dream I want to dream in God. If I am awake I want to move in God. Awake, asleep, in motion, inert- in God.

When we are living in God the most amazing things happen to our senses, to our outlook, to our abilities. We see things and know things that are impossible by conventional methods of study and observation. I confess to really liking this part most of the time. Sometimes it is hard.

I covet the ability to look for and discern God's hand in Creation and not just to see the planning and the order but to see the One. To see God's thoughts and character in a scripture you have read a hundred times but one day the truth of it pours into your soul. To see His light shining on the path. To feel His pleasure. To hear His voice. To see sacred possibilities in an utter wreck of a person. To see wholeness replace brokenness. To embrace all things as possible, really possible. To believe that we are still composing the book of Acts.

Bill Johnson from Bethel says, "You know your mind is renewed when the impossible looks logical." Walking on water seemed like a reasonable means of transportation to Peter. I want that God-logic. I want that renewal. I want it every moment that clamors for bread or peace or healing in the face of want and wrath and disease. I want to be in God. I want to do God-things. I want the empty tomb and a life full of Resurrection possibilities. I want to be done with excuses.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:7

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

My mind and my heart keep wanting to link these scriptures. It seems to me that a renewed mind is a love mind and only the love-minded are capable of the bearing, believing, hoping and enduring which are requisite to proving the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Only the love-minded can see the clean man behind the leper's rags, the deacon in the drunk or the church walls erected in a field of rubble.

I am praying for a daily renewable, fully operational, impossibility believing, miracle perceiving, wide-awake-to-every-stirring-of-grace, love-mind. What might such a mind become? How would it influence the world around it? How would it be known? What limitations would it exceed? What could Heaven do with such a mind?

I pray my life will answer those questions.

How about yours?

May God not be ashamed to be called our God.(Hebrews 11:16)


Paradise from Dante by Gustav Dore

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hope Is Our Song

Emily Dickinson tells us that:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune
without the words,
And never stops at all...

Peter the former cuss bucket, the once cowardly disciple, the distant disavower- now Peter the forgiven much and much-loving friend and faithful follower says it even more beautifully:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

Everything about Jesus is all about life. Born again to a living hope. Is there really any other kind? Cells that are alive reproduce and multiply. Hope falls into that category.

A few years ago on a sunny June morning our lovely old dog, Jazz, took a last roll in the summer grass and departed this life to wherever truly wonderful dogs go. Her loss was deeply felt. She was a great friend. Also a great shedder as evidenced by the large amount of dog hair on the lawn even a week later. John, the old softie, just could not bring himself to cut the grass and erase all evidence of her last happy moments.

But God has built hope into the Creation and it is everywhere for the looking. That sad summer I was looking. What I saw filed me with gasping, giggling, delicious hope. From the top step of my front porch I saw wave after wave of songbirds salvaging the last of Jazz and flying off to tuck her soft velvet fur into their newly constructed nests.

Jazz, bird lover that she was, would have approved. Life was carrying on and providing a soft landing for hope filled eggs. I hugged God in my heart at that moment. I wonder how many baby birds were born that summer who thought home smelled like dog.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, "If you keep a green bough in your heart a singing bird will come."

Hope is both bough and bird...and sometimes bird dog.

Hope is our song.


Pastel bird nest (Hope Comes In Threes) is a gift from
Rebecca Steel Jeter

Friday, April 13, 2012

Come Out Dancing

by William Wordsworth

...I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world...

It is past Easter but can such a thing as Resurrection pass? I think it can not. It must hold us in its solitary wonder, amazed. Not as those who merely look into the empty tomb but as followers who have entered on soft feet, breath held, to come out again with dancing and a congratulatory shout.

This is a moment when the Earth yielded, Death tapped out and the One in whom all things have their being came back to us with new life brimming over into all the mighty world.

How is such a One, such and event, confined to any one day or season? The Easter blessing has broken free of our liturgical calender. Bright Easter's life has reclaimed our dead-land and planted in vast wastelands, hope. Has given us eyes to see the Spirit whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air...and us!

Christ occupies the minutes of our lives and infuses them with His own life and goodness. His own obedience and glory. His purpose. His ways. His Spring. If Resurrection is holding us then let us hold fast to it as well through all the death producing, downcast, troubling moments and seasons. Let the promise of a second Spring disturb our hopeless thoughts and incite them to riotous joy! He lives! He lives!

Resurrection is not a day. Resurrection is a person. Resurrection is Jesus and Jesus is ours. The living, breathing, intercessing Son of God is ours. In the piercing light of His love and grace there are no unyielding stones and every moment is that unparalleled Third Day.

The sun will not set on such a day.
Its power-ability to transform our lives will not abate.
His mighty heart is in all things.
It is time to come out dancing!

I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

Picture link:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Willingness To Hope

Today’s Reflection

JOHN THE BAPTIST is (an) adventurer, stalking through the wilderness of his time on the trail of the Messiah. He’s the original hellfire-and-brimstone preacher, but he also offers hope to the community he rakes over the coals.

A willingness to hope is a willingness to enter the wilderness. Hope is not a domesticated state of mind. It seems to camp out in odd places, crops up at the worst possible times.

Just as we resign ourselves to the minimum wages of life with no benefits, hope whispers that we shouldn't settle for despair’s bottom line. Hope thrives in the barren places of our lives.

- Heather Murray Elkins
From page 360 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2006: A Book of Daily Devotions.

I am enraptured by hope. Hope's got me at "Hello." It is like Type O blood. The universal donor type. It is what everyone can use any time and I can use all the time. Hope is stuffed with what Kim at Ambushed by God calls "wonderfullness."

Anything you have plus hope is a game changer. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

I have a few friends who are about to see hope roll up its sleeves. I am already getting the banners and balloons ready for the finish line and juice in little cups as they run through the wilderness toward it. Hope is calling to the resources God prepared in advance to snap to attention. Water producing rocks, angel food, angels-big ones!

Hope draws our faint hearts like a magnet. It is a miracle producing alliance that hooks up with faith and boasts facts not in evidence. What a thing! Who but God could come up with such a wonder? Just when you think you only have a mite-size version, faith and hope come along and super-size it. What an economy!

Hope understands Hard. It just refuses to be bullied by it.

To my family, friends and readers who need it, hope is calling you by name. Hope has packed your suitcase for the journey and paid for your ticket. When you think you cannot go another step, hope will see that you get there. Hope has filled the bleachers with a cheering section just for you. I will be happily among them. You will do the same for me.

How can we fail?
Look who loves us!
We worship the God who is Hope!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

That Glory May Rise

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down." Matthew 4:5-6

The highest point of the temple overlooked the Kidron Valley with a dizzying drop that had once caused the Jebusites to feel completely secure from their enemies. It was also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2) where God would judge the nations of this world. Atop its pinnacle now stands a young carpenter in the middle of a test. "Throw yourself down." We know He does not. Not yet.

Fast forward three miracle filled years and that same carpenter is in the same valley in a dark night of the soul, faced with the terrifying will of the Father to throw Himself down for real where no angels would be summoned to His rescue. We know He does.

With out raising a hand or a word in His own defense, the One who made murderous waves smooth sailing, skin eaten to the bone new and supple and who turned four days dead in the Bethany heat back into Lazarus; that Blessed One laid down on the ground of Calvary and was crucified for us, died and was buried. We also know that 'He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.'

We know that after His Resurrection He meets several of His close friends who do not recognize Him. There are many reasons why that could occur but the one that keeps coming to me is that obedience is transforming. Jesus was obedient as no one has ever been. 'Obedient to the death of the cross.' He threw it all down. Absolutely every shred, every vestige of His own life and will, Christ threw down and down and down. There was nothing left to surrender. He was absolutely empty with not one self willed thought left to speak up. No wonder He was unrecognizable.

Obedience transforms us. It releases us from the clutches of other influential forces that age us and make us unloving and petty, self protective, ineffective and unchristlike.

Obedience transforms us so that we can transform the world around us. Obedience makes room for the unrestricted, unhindered plan of God. Obedience stands on the shoulders of faith and calls to grace. Obedience makes everything different in ways that need to be different. It doesn't always make everything easy.

It is Easter Sunday and the day is a celebration of the power of God to transform death into life, to change obedience into the miraculous. The One who was thrown down has risen up!

The power to transform us is here every day not just this day but because of this day. Obedience transforms. It makes the old- new, the useless- productive, the bitter- sweet and out of death it makes life, all for the sake of love.

Christ loved us and He loved the Father. Obedience without love is tyranny. Obedience with love will not leave a vain thing standing.

As we move into a new week let's consider Paul's encouragement to grow up in obedience. To throw down what wants its own way in opposition to Christ.

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Cor 10:3-6

If you ever wanted to change your appearance now is the time.

Obedient love transforms and beautifies the transformed.

What do you need to throw down so glory can rise?

I answer for myself:



Picture from a card Jan Collins gave me of Deborah Gone To War

You might also enjoy this:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Peter's Tomb

You crossed the brook Kidron
running with the blood
of Passover lambs
dark waters whispering
of greater darkness to come
and it had come, Jesus,
the cup full of storm
all bitter water
uncommanded to be still
It is still now
A different darkness holds you
in silent stone
unspiced air dry and soft
the last of life
like frozen rivers in the cloth
Other rivers live tonight
Grief like winter melting
overflowing riverbank
Can you hear him?
Heart heavier than
your burial stone
Cephas is interred
here with you
refusing comfort
Curses, self-loathing,
cut like knives
His sorry soul
bleeds repentance
You will lay
a tender hand to that
when this darkness passes
and love is

Is there something you need to grieve and let love touch?
Open your heart, close your eyes and as you listen to this
beautiful piece below- surrender it.
If not, listen with thanks for the unrestrained love
that spoke your name.

Friday, April 6, 2012

He Will Rise And Come Looking For Us

STATION III - Weights and Measures
by Kevin Rolly

So soon…
(It wasn’t to be this soon)

He barely made the first hill
(I thought I could)

Messiah will overthrow the nations
Messiah will put our enemies to the sword
and give us our own kingdom
You cannot even walk

You are a liar…
and make a mockery of our hopes
Your followers will return to fishing
and your name forgotten by winter

Your kingdom will be in the beaks
of those that circle even now
on carrion wings

King, you tremble
(I am afraid)
King, you weep
(I am alone)

Why is this?

Or did God at last
create the rock
he could not lift?

Has God ever seemed to fall short of being the god you needed? The god you were expecting? You are not alone. The Christ of the Cross must have seemed anything but The Anointed, The Messiah, The One who would put Israel back on top and grind Rome to dust. Isaiah says, "We esteemed Him not."

Covered in open wounds it might have been easy to miss the power. Onlookers might be forgiven for thinking the nails were what was holding Him to the Cross. Sometimes I miss the point too. Sometimes I don't see Him for who He really is.

But this Jesus is not a god who stays where you put Him. He doesn't conform to our opinion of Him. This Jesus-God washes feet and feeds strangers. He touches lepers and menstrual women and dead sons and He is OK with them touching Him back.

This Jesus is the water-walker, the storm-silencer, the fish-finder, the wine-whisperer. Soldiers understand Him. Priests plot against Him. His heart belongs to Jerusalem. His lap belongs to children.

If you are confused or full of questions, if you come to Him in secret because, "What will people think?" you will not find a rebuke waiting. He might, rather, tell you a story or share a metaphor.

Sometimes we take His measure all wrong. Sometimes we miss the meaning. Sometimes we are the ones saying,"Well if you had just come sooner my brother wouldn't be dead."

No matter.

This crucified God is still God and on the third day He will rise just as He said. If we have minimized Christ, if we have measured Him all wrong, He will still rise. He will rise and come looking for us. He will deal with our sin and our difficulties in ways that are unexpected.

This is a God who made the enormous trip from unconfined divinity to God-in-the-flesh, human mortality to set thing right again, to show us the Father, to deliver us utterly and openly- so look long. Look closely. See Him for who He is. Ask the Spirit, who is our Teacher, to show you the real Jesus. The Jesus with a love that leashed Hell and opened Heaven. The Jesus that promised to be with us to the end of the age. The Jesus who holds tightly to those given to Him by the Father. To us.

This is the God who is present and accounted for every moment of our lives. The God who delights to be known. The God-mystery who is revealing Himself in the person of Christ whose Resurrection will eclipse our puny god thoughts. He has all the power He needs to keep us. Christ is always more than we think He is.

It is His delight to show us how much more.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling 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 1:24-25

Purple Berries and Sunflowers, colored pencil on dark paper for Jackie's birthday

Do You Need An Earthquake?

Matthew 27:51-52 - At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. (NIV)

Are you ready for an earthquake in your life? Are you ready to have stubborn things, unmovable circumstances, deeply entrenched sin or disappointment rearranged by a supernatural and uncontrollable love quake? Me too. I had to think before I answered. It is that uncontrollable part.

Remember at supper when He identified Himself as the vine, us as its branches? Well, it is Good Friday and the vine is about to undergo a fierce, cataclysmic change. We are going to change if we remain connected. It can be no other way.

Come closer. Open your eyes and your heart and prepare for the shattering when that quake comes. What needs to be moved? What needs to die in your life? What needs to be finished? Today is the day it gives up the ghost.

Today love whispers and cries out and saves you.

Come to the Cross:

Sherry's Berries, Pencil and ink, drawn for my sister's birthday card -Kat

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Burden Bearer-Ask The Animals Sundays

Who could confront me and get by with it?
I'm in charge of all this—I run this universe!
-God Speaking to Job, Job 41:11 MSG

Today is Palm Sunday, and also Passion Sunday: today’s little parade is fanfare, prelude, signaling the arrival of the unholy circus we call Holy Week — whose climax is not three rings but three Roman crosses, stabbed in bloody relief against Jerusalem’s skyline, an eclipse of justice so cosmic as to be mirrored in the heavens on a festival Friday afternoon.

With populist fanfare Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives into the valley of the shadows of his death. And we too, following, make our own sharp descent into the maelstrom of the week’s intrigue.

It is hard work, the work before us this week. If Jesus’ first followers found themselves wishing to go back to the good days before the unpleasantness began or, like us, jumping ahead to the glory they might have imagined lay ahead, like them we have to remain here for a while. For this hour, to this place, this coming trouble — this is where Jesus journeys, and all his disciples, like it or not, must journey with him.

- Thomas R. Steagald

From pages 122-124 of Shadows, Darkness, and Dawn: A Lenten Journey with Jesus

In about the time it took to create the world Jesus would destroy "this" temple and rebuild it, death would be defeated, Heaven opened and mankind would be reconciled to God. Today begins the last leg of His journey that began with Mary's, "Be it done to me as you have said."

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on an unbroken donkey that has never yielded to the weight of a man. A donkey, who like the man riding it was found at the crossroad of two different ways. Like Jesus, the donkey yields and allows the weight to be laid upon its back. I often wondered if Jesus, the sin-bearer, grew heavier the closer He got to the city.

It was all "Hosanna" today but soon it would be treasonous betrayal, the cursing of a friend, the lash, the thorns and the nails. I think I just answered my own question. Much, much heavier. Didn't He even say as much later when sorrow overwhelmed Him? Still the little donkey keeps faith with Him just as the one did that carried Mary, great and swollen with child, so long ago.

As I was reading the Palm Sunday message in John 12:12-19 and the other gospels, I was struck by the thought that I do not lend such easy obedience to the plan of God. There are moments when that donkey shames my fickle profession. Times when God has needed to confront me with, "I run this universe!"

If I follow Christ to Jerusalem and ultimately to the Cross, if I allow myself to remember that the Creator of the Universe, the in-charge One, humbled Himself for us; if I consider His sacrifice and gift, His perfect obedience, then my shouted, "Save Now" means something. I desperately need it to.

So lead on little friend. Carry my Savior and carry my hopes. Carry us into Holy Week and a place of remembrance. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She has join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays for Lent.)