Friday, March 26, 2010

Sometimes, something happens during the course of my day the bears the marks of worthy blog fodder. Sometimes I sit down and tell you about these things, sometimes I get caught up in life and let them slip by, unrecorded.

Sometimes, though, I sit here and stare at a blank publishing tool, wondering what on earth I might tell you that would encourage, enlighten, entertain or otherwise make a mark on your life. Many times I have no idea what that is.

Like now.

I guess this is life. Sometimes it is altogether uninspiring. Sometimes it is so bad that altogether uninspiring would be an improvement. Those are the days I find it impossible to write. Today, though, is just a dreary, rainy day, one with too long a (procrastinated) task list and too little opportunity for fun.

So maybe that's the point. We are meant to "run the race," even on days when the race course is uphill. On days when it's muddy, or the terrain is rocky. On days when the view is boring or bleak or just a repetition of yesterday's boring or bleak view. On days where the run is really nothing more than placing one foot in front of the other and making forward progress of some sort.

Consider Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

JOY was set before Jesus. If there was JOY at the end of His race (and you know ours will never, ever compare to His), surely there is JOY at the end of ours.

Surely there is joy during the race, but sometimes I need to focus on the end, on tearing through that ribbon, on claiming my prize. Some days I have to look past the current, earthly landscape and focus on the coming glory.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Daily Bible

So I've been reading my husband's daily bible. I'm now up to January 25, which tells you something (but not everything) about me.

The thing I've noticed this week is that the Old Testament is coming ALIVE for me. Seriously, I have never experienced this before. I used to look out over the dry, dusty deserts of Moses and his stubborn people and yawn. Now though, I find myself reading straight through two or three days worth of Old Testament goodness, thinking the stories are every bit as exciting as the last novel I stayed up way too late for (Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes), and dreaming about the next installment like I dream about my morning cup 'o joe.

So what is the difference between now and the previous decades of my bible-reading life? Maybe this: when I do sit down to read, I've been asking God to spend some time with me, to teach me something, to plant His word in my heart and let it make a difference in me. Maybe the difference is getting excited about His Word, His Wondrous Works, His Person. I don't know for sure, but it's a cool enough phenomenon that I'm going to encourage you to ask Him for a little help in this area. Try it, and let me know what happens.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taking a lesson from Father Tim

I subbed an easy, breezy half day today--three periods, two of which with the help of another teacher and an aide. I began my day with Father Tim's prayer, "Lord, make me a blessing to someone today," because in regard to subbing it is always wise to take yourself out of the equation.

Subbing is a funny thing. There is nothing quite like a situation in which the person in charge has no clue. Fortunately, I've long mastered the art of faking it, so that's what I do.

The periods with the extra teacher and aide were because the students were part of an inclusion class, where a portion of their population requires extra help. I had some time on my hands during those classes, and as I stood around trying not to look completely extraneous, I noticed a few things.

I noticed that the children (8th graders) were not as well kempt as students in other classes I have taught.
I noticed that very few of them could look me, or each other, in the eye.
I noticed that many of them had nervous habits of some sort.
I noticed one girl in a wheelchair and two boys with their desks permanently placed facing the side wall of the classroom. I noticed that no teacher spoke to them, and that they didn't do any work. I noticed that nobody seemed to care.

I wondered if they felt segregated. They sure looked that way. It was pretty easy for me to imagine these as marginalized children, those who, according to Webster, are in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power.

My heart was sad for them, and it occurred to me that these were the people Jesus sought out while on this earth. He hung out with the poor, the wicked, the hopeless sinners, the sick, the downtrodden. The marginalized.

It was then that I realized I wasn't extraneous. I walked around the classroom and prayed for them. I asked the God Who loves them to cover them with His Son's blood, to save their souls and redeem their lives. I asked for peace, and joy, and success in their endeavors. I asked that they would know Love.

I believe God answers my prayers. I do! I probably won't know just how until I get to Heaven, but man, won't it be great? And what a great lesson--Make me a blessing to someone today.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rockin' the gear.

I've been thinking of this all week:

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Let me get it straight. God created Adam and Eve. He loved them. He actually came down to the garden to hang out with them. (How cool is that?) They disobeyed Him, brazenly, directly, tragically. They actually knew God and still did the one thing He told them not to do. I can't imagine that, although I know in my heart of hearts that if the human race had made it successfully, sinlessly from the dawn of time to 1970, I would have been the one to bring Paradise crashing down.

So I'm imagining how I feel when someone I created (you know) blatantly disobeys me. I'm mad. Depending on the circumstance, I could also be hurt. Bewildered. Indignant. Offended. Aggrieved.

I'm sure not about to go out of my way for this person, who, if he has any sense, will stay out of my line of vision until I've cooled down.

So what does God do?

God, Who created the animals on the sixth day, declared them very good. With my limited imagination I imagine that He, with His infinite capacity for love, loved them all even more than I love Molly. I love Molly a lot.

So what does God do?

He takes his very good creation, and sacrifices it to make clothing for brazenly, directly, tragically sinful man.

Do you know this Love? Grab hold of it today and live like you've been sacrificed for. If you know this Love, that sacrifice has clothed you in righteousness.

I'm rockin' the gear, people. Join me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I wonder if there is proper blog etiquette for returning after a prolonged absence.

I have no idea, so I'll just jump right in and hope you'll forget that I started this with the intent of writing about my experiences with God, with hopes of honoring Him with my writing. Nothing like putting a little pressure on one's self, eh? Nothing like determining to write (repeatedly) something profound, only to end up with a Gibraltar-sized writer's block. Nothing like making it all about me...

Heh. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's making it all about me.

I just sat here for ten (okay, maybe five) minutes, trying to figure out how to tell you this without making it about me. Can't.Doit.

So. Here is what I am currently learning, courtesy of Beth Moore's Believing God study.

I am learning that it's time to act like I am the daughter of the Creator of the Universe. It's time to grasp hold of and BELIEVE that God has great things for me.

(Please don't think for a second that I'm talking about wealth or material possessions or having hair like Mrs. Osteen. I'm talking about fulfilling the destiny God set out for me before He created the foundations of the earth)

This verse grabbed me (written in regard to the Hebrews wandering aimlessly, pathetically through the desert):

So we see that they were not able to enter [the Promised Land], because of their unbelief. Heb 3:19

It struck me that unbelief is vastly different than disbelief. I don't dis-believe in God, but I do often suffer unbelief in regard to His plans for me, the abilities He has given me, the things He has for me to do with this life. This unbelief is paralyzing. I think I need to say that again. This unbelief is paralyzing. Do you know this feeling?

If you do, please join me. Today I am asking God, like the man in the book of Mark,

"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

Only my request looks more like this: