From the Mouths of Children

Emmy has learned so much just since the end of August at her school. Each day begins with half an hour of chapel led by the pastor and ends with Closing where the children pray and go over their verses and what they are learning. They are taught not only the Christian faith but the language of faith in worship. The doctrine in the hymns alone is instructive. We are so grateful to have an ally in the raising of our child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Emmy recited what she had learned before dinner a couple of nights ago.

You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. ~ Psalm 8:2

 

“No Man Cares for My Soul”

This below was originally posted in August of 2013. My friend Teeky in the UK put up the attached video in conjunction with the Sanctuary Conference they held that year. I listened again to the audio of the pastor speaking, and all I can say is, yes. This is the entire root of our problems among Christians who are content to carry on without real love for anybody but themselves. This is it. Here’s the post from 2013:

Since posting on the subject of the love missing among Christians, I have heard from several people who are really hurting. One woman in our area has health problems that now keep her from her large, bustling Baptist church that she had been a part of for years. In the several months that have passed since she has had to stop attending church, not one on the large pastoral “team” has bothered to call on her. There is every program you can create at church, but no shepherd has visited and inquired how she is doing physically, let alone spiritually. This is the reality of institutional churches that have everything, but they lack the most important thing of all, the real Jesus.

This clip from Richard Owen Roberts (sent by my UK friend, Teeky,) really gripped me. We have to be the love or there won’t be any. We can’t look to spiritual leadership today, much of which is bankrupt and obsessed with programs and growth and image. We have to each be the love to each other. That’s all of our job in the body of Christ.

A Turkey Full of Blessings

turkeyofthanksEmmy came home from school with a poster board with a turkey on it. She is supposed to decorate the turkey with all the things she is thankful for. It’s sitting on our dining room table, and tonight we’re going to work on the project together.

My daughter-in-law, Laura, is helping me with Thanksgiving dinner this year, and today I went shopping for the things I’m going to make. I was standing in the aisle deliberating over an item when I was overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness for just being in the store, able to buy things for our family, let alone a nice dinner like we’re planning. It’s a blessed thing to be able to have anything with which to feed our families, isn’t it?

As important as material things are, life without friends and loved ones would be a sad thing. Our gratitude this year centers around the people in our lives who are a daily reminder of our deepest blessings. They give us hope and joy, as we hope we give them.

My son wrote this the other day, and I thought it was simple, yet profound.

“True heroism is found in small but consistent deeds of love to those closest to you. God’s view of things is often the exact opposite of our own. While we fawn over the big deeds, God is paying attention to the ones we deem insignificant. It is those “small things” that will be revealed before the throne of judgement. Above all, love is the ingredient that gives worth to all our deeds, big or little. Without love, it is so much straw that will be consumed.” ~ Sam

(Son Samuel and grandson, Max and my little grandson, Peter with his frog this summer.)

 

SamandMax
Froggy

For Today

I came across this music from Psalm 42 that I love so much, sung by the (German) Harmony Quartet. Their videos on YouTube, both in English and German, are a frequent enjoyment of mine. Here are the words to that Psalm, and then here is their truly lovely version of it. The spirit of the music lifts up the beauty and longing of the words and fills a heart with peace.

Psalm 42

For the choir director: A psalm[a] of the descendants of Korah.

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.

“O God my rock,” I cry,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!

Thoughts on Reconciliation

Last July, I recorded a few simple videos of my thoughts on Christians, love and reconciliation for my Facebook friends.  Our children need to see, we all  as Christians need to see the reality of Christ. The reality of Christ, at bottom, is not about being a social conservative, an opponent of this or a supporter of that, it’s about manifesting the traits of the One we claim to possess. I need to see this in my own experience. The God we proclaim can’t heal broken relationships? We expect our kids to believe God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing, yet He cannot repair broken families or relationships between fellow professing believers? I think we expect a bit much of others to believe in this invisible God when we as Christians live in abject brokenness, ugliness and dishonesty. Just sharing my heart here in this short video from last summer. (I’m sorry the video was a bit shaky, it was my phone in a Walmart parking lot!)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=670005949754368&l=2155628850460147508

On a Happy Note

Our Emmy who is in Kindergarten this year was a pink cowgirl at her school’s Harvest Hoedown last Thursday. She was won the vote for “Best Costume” and brought home a prize Monday. My daughter-in-law, Laura, made the vest out of some pink felt. The volunteers turned the school hall into a barn theme. It was a lot of work, but they made it a special night for everybody.

 

Emmy

Reconcile or Turn out the Lights

I don’t believe in prayers for revival on some big scale. Any spiritual awakening starts with individual hearts. If we can’t even love our neighbors and our own families, why in the world would some magical event take place where everybody overnight is just passionate for God? The one nobody has ever seen.

Quit your claims of praying and braying about moral issues, and call up the person you offended and apologize. Give back what you stole from them, and if it’s their good name, make a public statement retracting the slander.

That’s what revival will look like. That’s where Jesus will be, where love makes a showing, when sincere apologies get made and forgiveness extended. So turn off the lights at your Big Church or your Big Media Ministry if there are outstanding interpersonal issues. And don’t turn the lights back on until all has been reconciled. Otherwise you’re just plain noise.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ I Corinthians 13