The Eve of Destruction

Today, I wonder about Eve. What must she have felt like? She started off well, right? She walked in the garden not just with her mate, but also with God. And as she walked with the God of all creation, she knew no shame. Because she was innocent. But, Eve made a mistake. A big one. And it was through her mistake that sin entered the garden. And I find it ironic that Eve, whose name means “life” or “living,” also became the mother of death. Because the wages of sin is death, right? Eve, who was the mother of all living, actually became the Eve of destruction when she made her error. How in the world did this this woman feel?

Did Eve realize as soon as her teeth broke the skin of the forbidden fruit that sin just walked in? Did she feel sick as the sweetness of the fruit slid down her throat? Or did she become soul-sick after she gave it to her husband to eat? Did she feel fear when she realized she did the one thing God told her not to do? Or did she fear later, when God came calling and she hid? Did shame introduce itself before or after she ate? Or did she feel its full impact as her husband said to God, “The woman that You gave to be with me – she gave me some [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12. Perhaps she didn’t feel the full gravity of her error in judgment until she answered God. She said that she had been deceived by the serpent… did God surprise her by the severity of His punishment? He said, “I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.” Not only that, God said to Adam, “The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

The Garden of Eden… that garden of delight… was no more. Because sin walked in. Because Eve did what she knew she shouldn’t, and because Adam followed her lead, it cost them dearly. Life as they knew it was changed forevermore. Eve was deceived by the serpent, and after being tempted, she found that what looked good was not. Because what looked good led to the fall of man… it led to the eve of destruction. And ever since that day, sin has abounded on the earth. Look around, and what do we see? The news is filled with story after story, one more heinous than the next. Today’s headlines shout, “Police arrest boy, 12, for stabbing his eight-year-old sister to death at home.” Sin gave birth to violence and destruction and it blazes an ever widening path. Did Eve have any idea what was to follow? Could she have known the impact of her mistake? She must have, because she gave birth to Cain and Abel. Her own son killed the other. Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground… and it hasn’t stopped. Blood spilled upon blood. Ever deepening.

I hope that Eve knew the truth. The other truth, that is. Oh, she knew the reality of violence. But I hope Eve realized her true worth and how much God really loved her. Because although she bit into the fruit, and gave way to sin, God didn’t love her less because of it. And despite her costly mistake, He still provided for her needs. And here’s the best part… God in fact said the woman would have pain in childbirth, but there is hope in simply that. The hope of childbirth. Despite her grievous sin, Eve, the first woman, got to have babies. And with each child, there is hope. It’s the woman who experiences a baby as he grows in her womb. It’s the woman who quickly forgets the agony of delivery, when she hears her newborn’s first cry. It’s the woman who knows the closeness of a babe at her breast, drinking in what only she can offer. It’s the woman who gets to be the mother. What great mercy God showed to Eve, the very first woman, in making her what she was… a mother.

This morning, I read, “For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth— A woman shall encompass a man.” Jeremiah 31:22. This intrigued me, as I have been contemplating God’s plan for women lately. I have felt downcast, and well, quite frankly feeling less than… if you know what I mean. So, I just had to know what this “new thing” is. What exactly does God mean by saying, “A woman shall encompass a man”? “Encompass” has several meanings, and with each version of the Bible, the verse reads differently… shelter, compass, surround, protect, guard, and return to, among others. So, what? A woman will shelter a man, protect a man… what was God saying here? And as I began to see, I just have to wonder if Eve, who lived so long ago, knew the promise of this statement.

It may be true that sin entered the world through the fall of man, via the mouth of a woman.  And though this stigma may trail after woman, it doesn’t have to be that way. Because the fact is, God chose women to have babies. That’s part of His plan. And because of God’s mercy and grace, it was through a woman that salvation made entrance into the world. By the hand of God, a virgin conceived. And the baby Jesus grew inside that young woman’s body. He was protected in her womb. See… Mary, the mother of Jesus, encompassed The Man. She surrounded Him… she sheltered Him… she guarded Him. And our Savior and Lord was delivered into this world through a woman. And it’s by Him that we will can all truly be delivered. Praise God for that.

Ironically, although Eve’s name means “life” or “living,” the dictionary gives the meaning as evening, night, sundown… basically darkness. And although the world looks that way now… dark and scary… there is hope. See, the dictionary also gives the meaning of “Eve” as: the evening or day before a special day, or the period immediately preceding. See, as dark the world seems right now, we are in fact living during a period immediately preceding something special. That something special is the Day of the Lord. And so we find… in more ways than we realize… we are truly living through the Eve of destruction. But we know the other truth… the real truth. We know the hope of a Child.

He who testifies of these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20

Happy Mother’s Day

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

I wrote something in October… for my mother. I wanted her to know what she means to me. I wanted her to know how I feel about her. And I believe it would be appropriate to share with every mother… because what my mom did for me is what we all do for our very own. We lay down our lives for our children. Because we love them that much… to death. May you be blessed by this, and may you be blessed this Mother’s Day…

My Mother –  A Depiction of Jesus Christ

            I’ve been on a quest the past couple of years.  My mission has been to know God, my Creator, in a way I had never experienced Him before.  I wanted to understand just what it is He expects and requires of me while I roam this earth.  I have been drawing nearer to God, in a way I never had before.

            This past year, I’ve come to realize that what God wants is quite simple.  He doesn’t ask a lot from me, but then again, He asks everything from me.  Quite a paradox.  At the basest level, God calls me to just a few things… I am to love the LORD above all else, believe what God says about His Son and be reconciled to Him through Jesus, and to love my neighbor like myself.  I am to be merciful and just, and walk humbly with God.

            Of course, I wanted to go deeper.  It wasn’t enough for me to know what He wanted… I also wanted to know just how to do these things.  And fortunately, He gave me a model to follow.  God gave me His Son, the perfect sacrifice, as an example of how I should live.  He is my road map for navigating this highway called life.  And Jesus shows me just what God expects of me… everything.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

            This is what Jesus did.  He laid down His life for all mankind.  And in contemplating how one lays down a life today, I was startled when I realized God had given me another example years ago.  My mother.

            My mother was a broken woman when I was growing up.  She had a hard life, and for quite some time she was bitter and worn out.  I know that at one point, she felt God hated her.  That must have been because she was so weary of the pain and constant struggle of which her life consisted.  She suffered.  But you know, Jesus felt just the same.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

            Jesus had to suffer for our sins upon a cross, so that we could have life.  At His darkest point, He felt that God abandoned Him.  In hindsight, I can see Jesus in my mother.  She must have felt the same… she suffered so as she laid down her life.  And she gave up hers so that my brother and I could have a life.  No greater love hath a woman than this.

            For my mother’s birthday, I want to give her the gift of this revelation. I want her to know what great purpose her life has held.  God has used her in a tremendous way.  Today, He has shown me what a great sacrifice my mother made.  She laid down her very own life, just for me.  Just like Jesus did.  I want her to know God pointedly revealed that to me today… And He wants me to do the same for my son.  I will follow her example, and lay down my life for my child.  Perhaps one day, my son will see Jesus in me, as I do in my mother.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall….

I love cartoons. And I think we’re all familiar with the infamous lines from Walt Disney’s movie, Snow White: “Mirror, mirror on the wall… who is the fairest one of all?” And as we look in our mirrors today, don’t we all want to see a pleasant face staring back at us? Don’t we all want to be the fairest one of all? Come on now… isn’t there a small vain streak in each one of us? Well, speaking as a forty year old woman, I can tell you that looking in a mirror today is not as fun as it used to be. In fact, I do not enjoy it one little bit, no, I do not. Because I don’t like what I see looking back. Frankly, age is beginning to make it’s appearance in the form of lines and sags and puffs that used to seem as far fetched as this fairy tail I’m referring to. Oh yes, mirror, mirror… it seems there’s no avoiding them. But fortunately, we can avert our eyes when we want to.

Surprisingly, however, I am finding reflections of me coming from another direction here lately. And you know, there’s no turning aside from this mirror image. No, when my little boy looks up at me, I cannot turn away. And in his small features, I’m beginning to see traces of me. And that makes me glad. BUT… I’m also seeing something else reflected back at me. And honestly, this doesn’t make me so glad. Because what I’m seeing is an ungrateful attitude and an unthankful heart. And you know, it’s not his fault. Because he’s just a child. And the sad truth is our children learn by example. The truth is our children are simply reflections of us and if we’re not careful, they may learn all the wrong things. Because no matter what you say to them, they are simply going to imitate what they see. And the ugly truth is… what I see in my son that I cannot abide by, is the very thing in me that God cannot abide by. And if I want to see changes in my son, well, it has to begin with me.

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:14-15

I’ve been memorizing Scripture for months now. And periodically I go through them all, hoping to keep them fresh in my heart and mind. And without fail when I get to the above verse, I forget the ending. I cannot remember, “and be thankful,” for the life of me. And when I contemplate this, I see that it’s not just the words I’m forgetting… it’s my whole being that’s forgetting it. Not only do I forget to say, “be thankful,” but I simply forget being thankful. In cultivating my heart, thankfulness has been left out. And this shouldn’t be. Not for me… and not for my son. And so, things will be changing around here. Today is the day I am purposing in my heart to be thankful. Because in reality, that’s all that God is concerned with… the heart. He doesn’t care what image the mirror on the wall casts back, but He does care about the image our lives reflect. And our daily walk will reveal the truth about what lies deep inside us.

Rejoice Always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The truth is, I haven’t been rejoicing much and my prayers have been isolated to the morning. And I surely haven’t been giving thanks in everything. The truth is, I’ve lived most of my life in complete opposition to what I’m told to do in 1st Thessalonians. Because I’ve lived so much of my life pining away for something I didn’t possess. At one time, it was a baby… later, it was Virginia… later, status and a name… and later still, a house… and then, another house. You see, I’ve always been a glass half-empty kind of girl or the grass is always greener. And that just shouldn’t be for a child of God. And when I look at my son, I see he’s turning into a glass half-empty kind of boy. He too, is beginning to pine for things thinking the grass will be greener when he gets there. And I’m the one who’s making him that way. He’s my mirror image…  What I see in him just shouldn’t be and it won’t be. Because it’s not too late.

This day, I choose to be thankful and grateful. Because God has blessed me abundantly. This day, I choose to open my eyes to the gifts – big and small – that God has graced me with. And there’s a lot. And sure enough, when my heart begins to change from one that pines for what it doesn’t have, to one that is blown away by the goodness of God… well, I’m going to see a change in my son. Because he’s going to imitate me. His little heart will resemble mine. And when my reflection shines back at me – through him – I’ll smile at what I see.

Mirror, mirror, little boy… may your heart and my heart reflect God’s joy.

The Persistent Son

You know, I feel that I’ve had the same conversation with my son at least 10 times now. One of those times occurred this morning, and our talk went something like this:

Son: “Can I take my Lego book to school today?”

Me: “No, you can’t! I’ve told you that before.”

Son: “But why?” followed by some sniffing and whining noises and a sad face…

Me: “Because it’s a nice book, you may rip the pages, it’s too big…” Then I remembered that I’m the mom, “Because I said so!”

Son: “Remember, I took that other big book.” more sniffling and whining noises accompanied by the sad face…

Me: “NO! Furthermore, if you ask me about that book one more time, I’m going to spank you!”

This ended the discussion. As my son completely soaked the end of his sleeve during his daily grooming session, I had to help him with changing it. See, all the discussion, whining and sniffling was slowing him down and it was time to go. And of course, my fingernail scratched his elbow. There was no mark by the way, and yet the grazing of my fingernail caused him to tear up. The reason for the tears was his external pain, right, and had absolutely nothing to do with my saying no to the Lego book. Right? Wrong. The tears were because he didn’t get to do something he wanted. And the aloof, cold good-bye I received this morning had everything to do with me not granting his wishes. And you know… this is such a picture of me and God!!

I’ve been going through my old journals, and I am so absorbed with the Summer of 2010. And I see from this time period that I cried out to God daily about me not being in my hometown. I wanted to go home so badly, my request made it into my prayer every day. I wonder what God heard… possibly something like this:

Me: “Can I go home to Virginia to live today?”

God: “No, you can’t… I’ve told you that before.”

Me: “But why?” followed by some sniffing and whining noises and a sad face…

God: “Because Virginia is too big for you right now… You just can’t handle it!”

Me: “Oh, God, please… I’m so sad. PLEEEEAAASSSSEEE can I go back now?” more sniffling and whining noises that soon escalated to wailing and thrashing. And of course, a sad face.

God: “NO! Furthermore, if you ask me about Virginia one more time, I’m going to spank you!”

Hmmm…. I just have to wonder about that. And so, this is what I’ve surmised. God wants me to ask for what I want. Because He is my heavenly Father. And furthermore, I believe with all my heart and soul that He wants me to be persistent with my requests. Because Scripture points to this. It’s in the eleventh chapter of Luke that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. And that He did as I believe we’re all familiar with the Lord’s prayer. But do you know that immediately following that model prayer, there is a parable about a persistent friend? Luke 11:5-10 says:

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;  for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;  and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

You know, God wants us to come to Him with our requests. Because He loves us. He wants to give us our heart’s desire. It’s just that sometimes the answer is, “No,” or “Not yet.” Because God can see the big picture and we can’t. Our heavenly Father knows what’s good for us, and what’s harmful. Just like us as parents. I would love to let my son take that book on the bus. But I know it’s very large and he’s very small. I know that the way he would have to hold it and turn the pages would cause damage to the book. And so I say no…. for now.

I’ve tried to explain it to him, but he’s too young to understand. See, he thinks he would be careful. He believes that he’s responsible enough to handle it… but as his mom, I know otherwise. I can see the big picture. However, I now see that what my son is doing is good. It’s biblical. Of course he comes to me full of faith and asks again and again. Because I’m his mother. He asks over and over, “Can I take the book,” because he believes that one day my answer will be different. And you know, I think that’s true. How dare I break his spirit and his faith by threatening a spanking. Because you know, one day he’ll be older. One day he’ll be bigger and more careful and more responsible. One day he’ll be able to handle what he’s asking for. And so, don’t stop, dear son. Ask and it will be given to you… seek and you will find… knock and it will be opened to you…

Be persistent, dear son. I say to you, ask again and again… because perhaps one day my answer will take you by surprise. Perhaps one day, you’ll hear “Yes.” For when you can handle it, why, it will be my pleasure to grant you your heart’s desire.

“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13 

The love of a mother…

You know, to be quite honest, there are times that I just don’t understand the love of God. I cannot fathom how much He loves me. I know what His word says… I know that He loves me so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die in my place. This is what I know to be true… in my head. But for the life of me, I just cannot get it! And I try to! I want to! I pray to God to reveal to me the love He has for me. Because I want to more than know it… I want to feel it. I want to feel love from Him and for Him. And I want to feel it for those He tells me to love… my neighbors. And yet, after all these years… I still don’t get it.

I’m learning so much about God, and who He is to me. Most apparent is that He is my Creator, King, Master, and Savior… but here recently, I’ve learned that He is also Husband to me (Isaiah 54:5). And I’ve found that He is friend to me (Exodus 33:11). More often than not though, I think of Him as Father. Because I am a child of God. But quite surprisingly, what I’m finding out this week is that He can also be Mother to me. And I think it’s through this role that I will know just how much He loves me. I think it is through mothering my own child that I will finally grasp the depth of His love for me. Because I know how I feel about my own son. I love him with a love that’s unending.

It was yesterday that my son had to be disciplined. He got in trouble two times at school for talking when he should have been quiet. So after school, I didn’t allow him access to his games or TV as normal. I let him know that we’d have to discuss it with Daddy that evening. Well, with doom on the horizon, He became pretty quiet and was just not himself. I found him laying in his bed under the covers. And so, rather than make him get up and accept the consequences of his actions, I did what any mother would have done. I laid down beside him as close as I could and peered into his eyes. As we snuggled, I told him to tell me the truth about what happened. And my heart ached as he talked, because I knew we would have to punish him for what he had done. For a short while, we snuggled… and it was later when he received his spanking from Daddy’s firm hand. Afterward, he just looked so sad and defeated with his downcast face. I squatted down to his level and pulled him to me. I cupped his cheeks and made him face me as I said, “No matter what you do… no matter if you’re in trouble… I will always love you. You will never lose my love.” It was moments later that a light kind of came on. I thought, “This is how God feels about me.” No matter what I do, He will love me unconditionally. And so, I realize that this is how I can begin to understand how God loves me. God can reveal His love for me through the love of a mother.

You know, there’s a passage of Scripture I have read many times including within the past week. And yet, it wasn’t until I read it this morning that I saw something I somehow overlooked in every other reading of it! In the tenth chapter of Mark we read about a rich young ruler who asked how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him what the commandments were, and the ruler answered that he observed them all from his youth. But alas, Jesus told him there was one thing missing. He said, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But, the young ruler was sad and went away grieved because he had great possessions. It was just too hard to walk away from all that he owned to follow Jesus. And you know, I think the disciples were disheartened by this because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” This may seem an unlikely passage of Scripture to reference here, but what I saw this morning caught my eye. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed it all these years. It’s in verse 21 that I find this nugget of truth: Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and told him to sell all he had.

Do you see? Jesus is all knowing and He knew beforehand what the young man would do. Jesus knew that rich young ruler would choose his riches rather than choose to do what Jesus said to do. And yet, Jesus loved him anyway. Just like I love my son. I know he will get into trouble again and again. And yet, I love him all the more. This is exactly how Jesus loves me. This is exactly how God loves me.

Later last night, my son was snuggled up on a cozy chair when he asked me for a drink. I’m trying to not do as much for him, as I feel he should take care of his own needs when he’s able to. But last night, there was something about the way he looked and the way he asked… or perhaps it was something about the way he had been disciplined earlier… or more simply… it was something about the love of a mother that caused me to sit beside him instead. I told him that although I would normally ask him to get his own water, I just wanted him to know how much I love him. And so, I gave him a kiss and was happy to get him his drink last night. And it’s this… this right here… this is just how much God loves me. As a mother loves her child. As a mother who wants to give her child a drink of water. As a mother who wants to offer comfort where she can. This is how much I love my son. And it’s amazing to think… God loves me just the same.

For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:12 

Let them eat cake…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly…” Micah 6:8

Justice shall go forth…

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.

BUT… no one calls out for justice, nor does any plead for truth. For they work iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. The way of peace, they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways. Therefore, justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us. We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but there is none… for salvation is far from us. For in transgressing and lying against the LORD… speaking oppression and revolt and uttering from the heart words of falsehood… justice is turned back! Righteousness stands afar off for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter, so truth fails.

The LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor…

Yes, He wondered that there was no intercessor. (condensed from Isaiah 59)

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” and You will not save. Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For there is strife and contention and the law is powerless. Justice never goes forth! Why, O LORD, why do you look on those who deal treacherously and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours those more righteous than he?

Yes, O LORD, why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?

And so, I will stand my watch. I will wait to see what He will say to me. This is the LORD’s reply:

Woe to him who increases what is not his. Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high that he may be delivered from the power of disaster. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establishes a city by iniquity. (condensed from the book of Habakkuk) And so, I have to ask myself, is this what I’ve done? Have I turned a blind eye to what’s happening around me, so that I could increase my own? Have I coveted evil in that I’ve worked to deliver me and my own from disaster and strife, regardless of who may perish at my own gain? And have I built up my own city through bloodshed… is my very own house built upon blood because I ignore the wars and the ravaging of human beings that take place every day… just not here… where I can see it. Is this what I’ve done?

And so, I pray to God. I ask Him to revive me… the work of His hands… in the midst of the days. For behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. Justice shall go forth…

poor-child

A big question today is, “Why?” If God is so loving, then why is His hand not saving those who are perishing in the world? And if God is just (and He is), then why does injustice seem to escalate? Why, oh why, are there starving, and homeless, and diseased, and addicted, and enslaved, and exploited, and murdered? Why do people have to suffer and die for what seems senseless? How is it that I have food overflowing, and there are kids who go home to empty pantries? Why would a loving God allow all this? Life just seems so unfair… and so we cry out to Him in prayer. We cling to Him and ask these tough questions. We cry out “Violence!” and at times feel helpless. And honestly, we sometimes feel like God’s hand is shortened that it cannot save… and that His ear is heavy, that it cannot hear. Because nothing seems to change.

But you see… God wonders that there is no intercessor. See, He’s waiting for that one who will be moved from complacent, yet uncomfortable, walls. He’s waiting for that one who is willing to wake up to His call of compassion. He’s waiting for us… His people who call themselves Christians… to do just what Jesus did. Because His people make up the body of Christ today. And as the body of Christ, we are His hands. May we not be shortened that we cannot save. We are His ears. May we not be heavy, that we cannot hear. We are the body of Christ, and as such, we need to do what Jesus did. And so, WWJD? What would Jesus do if He were still here today?

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 1:6

Jesus would preach the gospel to the poor and heal the brokenhearted. He would preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. He would set at liberty those who were oppressed and held captive. And all the while, he would meet real needs in real ways. Because when He walked the earth so long ago, He was moved by what He saw. When He saw a great multitude, He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14) And when He saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” (Luke 7:13). And when Jesus called His disciples to Him, He said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint away on the way.” (Matthew 15:32) Jesus had compassion… do we?

There’s a quotation attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, although there is no evidence to support that she ever said it. However, I think we’ve all heard the expression, “Let them eat cake.” Supposedly the Queen voiced this phrase when she was made aware that the people were suffering because of bread shortages. “Let them eat cake,” acquired great symbolic importance in later histories when people wanted to demonstrate the obliviousness and selfishness of upper-classes at that time (Wikipedia).  At any rate, it strikes a chord here. We can pray and plead with God, “Let them eat cake…” Or, we can be moved to action. Our hearts can start beating as one with His heart, and we can be moved to not only pray that they have cake, but that we also be so moved as to go out and give them the cake. See, He gave us arms and hands. We are His arms and hands… may God revive our hearts and open our eyes to see the need that surrounds us, so that we will use what He gave us. May we be what He created us to be… His limbs.

God is waiting for an intercessor today. Right now. Perhaps God is waiting for you and me.

May His justice go forth…

Complacent… but uncomfortable

If I will be so bold as to call myself a friend of God, then surely, what matters to God matters to me, right? That’s what friends are for… when one smiles, the other smiles, and when one cries, the other cries… see, a friend feels what the other feels. It’s as if they share one heart. Or at least it should be that way. Because if you have a friend whose heart is breaking, and you’re not moved by that… well, then you’re not really a friend at all, are you?

And so, to be called a friend of God, one must know what He cares about, right? One must know what lies on His heart. And it’s through the pages of Scripture that we find His heart’s message. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 says, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” So it’s clear, God cares about the fatherless and the widow… He loves the stranger. Further into the pages of God’s word, we find a sterner message, but essentially saying the same, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:26-27.

You know… in past days, I would have described myself as a religious person. And because of that fact alone I would have given myself the title, “friend of God.” Because I’m religious and hold fast to a set of external ceremonies with regard to worship of God. It’s a religious discipline that I cling to. So yes, this makes me a religious person; however, I find that this is not at all what makes me friend to God.

A true friend of God would listen to Him. A true friend of God would care for what He cares for. And now I’m seeing the truth… the closer I get to Him and His ways, the more I see that my heart and my ways are not exactly meshing. Because I find that my heart is not in sync with Him with regard to what matters the most. And what I’m seeing is that my outward worship is simply that. Outward. But today is the day, He’s calling me to something deeper. Something real. He’s calling me to what He considers pure and undefiled religion. And not just me… He’s callling us all to something more.

You know, I’ve been so uncomfortable lately. And the truth is, I believe I’m going to feel this discomfort until I move off my duff and do something… I think this unsettled feeling will follow me around until I really step up and follow the footsteps of Jesus like He told me to do. The truth? Three years of seeking God and trying to escape the rut of darkness, and forty-some blogs later have all led to this. I know in my heart of hearts that God is moving me beyond my complacency. And what that will look like, I really don’t know. All I do know is what Jesus did… and I know that I am to follow His footsteps. We all are.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

I can’t say it any better than the following video. This video is a picture of God’s heart. It should be our heart. May we all be so moved beyond our complacent… but uncomfortable… walls.