Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Log in My Eye

As of late, we've been having many "discussions" (i.e. discipline) with our toddler daughter about obedience. She seems to think it's the greatest game in the world to run the opposite direction whenever mommy or daddy is calling her name. Part of what we are striving for her to understand is that even if she doesn't understand or agree with what we're asking her to do she needs to do it anyway for the sole reason of because mommy and daddy asked her to.

Well, we don't use those words so much. She is only 2 after all.

We've really been working hard on obedience this week and I'm so proud of the good choices she's beginning to make.

Wish I could say the same for myself.

I realized today that I had been dragging my feet on something the Lord was calling me to do. This had actually been going on for a month or so. When I had this realization, I took care of the matter and then prayed for forgiveness over my lack of obedience.


As in the same thing I've been trying to foster in my daughter - let's call her the "speck" - without a second thought to my own situation. You can call me the "log" now.

"And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?" Matthew 7:3 NLT

Sigh . . .God is so stinkin' ironic sometimes it gives me fits.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Asking the Wrong Question

Friday night, our little family trekked to our church for the Good Friday service. Our daughter hung out in the nursery (well, until the sleepiness took over and we were called back in to retrieve the poor girl, screaming and half-asleep) while hubby and I sat in the service.

Amazing. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching service.

Two readers went through excerpts from the Bible while scenes depicting each major event leading up to and including the crucifixion were illuminated on stage - using real stone-still people I might add. Gorgeously thought-provoking music between scenes and a dark, solemn, and quiet sanctuary provided the perfect environment to reflect on what Christ indeed endured for us. For me.

Every now and then I wrestle with certain "big" theological questions. One that I continually return to is, since God is sovereign and all-knowing - obviously knowing past, present and future, why did He bother with the whole Creation thing knowing that some of His creation would not choose Him and consequently be lost for eternity? Why create us at all knowing that some would spend eternity - albeit by their own free will - in hell?

I don't have an answer. But in the midst of the service on Friday, I gazed upon the depiction of Christ hanging on the cross. I heard the readers quoting verses from Mark 15 where soldiers are mocking Jesus, hitting him and asking him to prophesy who committed each offense. And my heart was filled with hurt and anger for Jesus knowing full well that he knew exactly who was hitting him. He created each of those hands. Knew how many hairs were on each head of the men that cast down insults. And yet he remained silent. For me.

And then the Spirit told me I was asking the wrong question. The new one that was given to me was, "Why would God, being sovereign and all-knowing - past, present and future, bother with the whole Creation thing knowing what it would cost Him?"

Our God breathed life into Adam and Eve, knowing their choice of disobedience was right around the corner. And He knew what that would mean for Him. For His Son. And He did it anyway.

That blows my mind.

And it sure is humbling to realize that while I know I don't have all the answers, I don't even have all the right questions.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The True Light Source

When I started this new blog it really wasn't my intention to write every post about darkness/night vs. light/morning. But I continue to "stumble" upon verse after verse and I just can't help myself!

It's approaching Spring and in Texas that means Texas-size thunderstorms. The electricity gets knocked out every now and then and, when that happens, inevitably what's the very first thing I do when I walk into a room? That's right - flip the light switch. Even though I know there is no power it's just ingrained in us to seek light wherever we're walking.

I think the same applies when we're walking in the midst of "night" in our lives. We look for light - something to remove the darkness that's surrounding us. But many of the things we seek are much like the light switch above. If there's no power behind it, well, it just isn't good for much besides a cool clicky noise.


-Maybe reading the latest self-help book will work . . .click
-Once (fill in the blank) happens, everything will be okay . . .click
-If I just ignore it, maybe it will go away . . .click
-If my friends, spouse, family, etc. would just do (blank) it would be better . . .click

I can only write the above examples because I've done every stinkin' last one of them and then some. And none of them are the solution! They can help, God can use them as a tool, but even with the best resources and best family and friends they are still human and will eventually tire, let you down, or just not quite totally meet our need. Not because they're not trying their darndest but because we weren't made to completely and perfectly fulfill each other's needs. We try our best but when it all comes down, there's only one perfect never-failing source of light and comfort.

Psalm 18:28 says:
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.

The Lord is the only light source that truly works in the dark times of our lives. He's not a lightswitch that just makes a cool clicky sound for a while. He's the power source. The generator. Unfailing and never tiring (Isaiah 40:28-31).

That's not to say that having the light means our problems are suddenly gone. It just means we're no longer groping in the dark. Understanding that difference is a difficult and ongoing lesson. During my own difficult season it's had to be a choice every day (sometimes every hour) to allow the Lord to be light to me instead of being swallowed in the darkness. And even then it's not because I'm strong enough to allow that but because He's gracious enough to keep reminding me.

Sometimes at night
I am afraid
I cover my eyes,
Cover my shame
So here in the dark
Broken apart
Come with your light
And fill up my heart

Oh great light of the world
Fill up my soul
I'm half a man here
So come make me whole
Oh great light of the world
Come to impart
The light of your grace
To fill up my heart

"Oh, Great Light of the World" by Bebo Norman

Friday, March 14, 2008

Star Gazing

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much
applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

It's been a while since I've thought about this poem by Whitman. I first stumbled upon it in high school and have returned to it various times through the years.

How often in life do we get weighed down by the minutiae, the measurements, the details? And how much good would it do us, like Whitman's subject, to leave the minutiae behind for a while (even if the world's applauding it) and just go stand in silence before the Lord for a bit?

Maybe in our quest for the Lord we're getting bogged down with "charts and diagrams" - books upon books, songs, speakers, seminars about the Lord when all we need sometimes is just to be with the Lord.

Isaiah 47:13a says:
All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!

If, like me, you find yourself searching and searching for the Lord's presence maybe we should take Whitman's advice and look "up in perfect silence at the stars." Or as it says in Psalm 46:10a,
"Be still and know that I am God."

I could use a little "star-gazing" these days. How about you?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

So I'm going to confess my inner nerd here (although some of you are already aware of the coming confession) and divulge that . . .I love Discovery Channel! We watch it quite a bit around here - yes, on purpose.

Not that long ago they produced and aired the most amazing series, Planet Earth. If you've never seen it, the footage is truly breathtaking and will make you fall on your knees in worship and praise to God for his creativity and vastness.

Well, they're at it again.

Anyone see the new Human Body series? I think it's airing mostly on Sunday evenings although I've seen reruns during the week. Each episode focuses on something specifically amazing about our bodies - Strength, Sight, Brain Power, etc. The show highlights real-life occurances (such as a policeman outrunning an explosion faster than thought humanly possible as a response to the danger) and then uses amazing computer imagery to show you exactly what's going on in our bodies while that's happening.

This stuff is fascinating to me. I am completely in awe of the intricacies and complexity of our bodies, yet God spoke them into existence seemingly without effort, though not without thought. What power, what intelligence, what artistry was put into every little detail. Things we are still trying to understand and probably never will. Truly "fearfully and wonderfully made".

But you know what really gets to me?? When the voiceover says things such as, "This response is due to our ancestors billions of years ago . . ." or "Evolution is responsible for . . ."

Who do they think wired our brains with the capability to know how to repair our bodies while we sleep? Who do they think designed us with a ready emergency energy supply that kicks into gear in life-or-death situations? Are they trying to tell us such complexities really are the result of millions of years of germs getting smarter and evolving?

I just don't buy it.

We live in the age of no absolute truth. Everyone's truth is "true" as long as it works for them. I'm okay, you're okay.

But there is a problem with that. There is truth. An absolute truth. Whether we choose to believe it or not does not change its truthfulness. I can tell you all day long that the sky is green with purple polka dots but that doesn't change the truth that it's really blue. Likewise is the truth of God.

It's not popular or even politcially correct to say but the truth is that God is God, that He made the Earth, and the He created us. Period.

However, that doesn't give us right or reason to hammer people over the head or be ugly about it. Remember the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, gentleness . . .

But I digress.

Watch the series and be in awe of what God has done. And remember Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Night Vision

This new blog has me thinking a lot about spiritual mornings - an awakening from whatever night or darkness that has been our dwelling place (whether by choice or not).

I read a fantastic quote today:
"Any fool can sing in the day. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight, but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by . . .Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of men." Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Wow - this quote really speaks to me from so many angles. It's HARD to sing in spiritual nighttime. You can't see anything, you can't feel anything . . .sometimes you doubt if anyone will hear your song if you did bother to squeak out a note. But Hosea 6:3 says
Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."

The sun will rise. God will appear. Morning will come.

But even with the promise of a coming morning we still struggle through the night because we don't always know when the morning will come. The night seems endless and often too quiet. However, I'm coming to learn that even in the darkest of darks that God is there. Even if we can't feel Him, He is there. He has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) So if we feel Him in the day we can be sure of His presence at night regardless of what our imperfect perceptions tell us.

And consider Psalm 139:12:
"Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you"

Catch that?

Even our darkest nights are bright as daylight to God. When we can't see an inch in front of our face, He sees eternity. God has the ultimate "night vision". How's that for encouraging???

Not that I have this waiting stuff all figured out. And not to say that it's still not difficult to wait upon the morning.

But knowing that God can see even when we can't is an amazing comfort during the night.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another First Post

Well, it seems kind of strange to be starting a completely new blog. I kind of feel like I'm starting a new school or something. The new kids don't know my story. Will they like me? Will they want to hang out with me?

But it's also very exciting to start on a new adventure. Well, okay. Writing is not so much an adventure to most of you, but to this yellow-bellied scaredy cat it qualifies.

I'm excited to take this blog in a new direction. Actually, I'm not even sure what direction I'm going but I know it's new and different. I also know Who is leading so I'm okay with not knowing. I'm slowly starting to learn that lesson although it tends to take a whack on the head rather than a gentle whisper with me as far as giving up control goes.

So . . .Seeking The Morning . . .

I really thought about the title for this new venture. The verses I started with, and eventually came back to, were Lamentations 3:22-24:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

If you're like me, the hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is now running endlessly through your head (there could be worse things).

Every morning starts new. The slate is wiped clean. His mercies begin again. And about 1 minute after I roll out of bed I have dirtied the slate yet again somehow. So I fall upon His mercy and grace and begin again. Morning is not always when the sun comes up. Sometimes morning is when the Son comes up in your heart and that is what I am seeking.

Another verse that comes to mind is Psalm 30:5
" . . .weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

We've all endured a time of night, of darkness, in our lives. We're blessed with eventual mornings - an end to the weeping, a lifting of the burdens. This is also what I'm seeking. A reminder to look for the mornings along the way and not get stuck in the darkness.

I actually didn't realize how many great verses there are regarding morning in the Bible. Maybe I'll do some literal seeking of those mornings and start poring through those scriptures soon.


This blog is about the journey. Getting through the night with our faith resting in the promise of morning, however it comes. It should be a good ride - glad you're here.