Friday, May 28, 2010

The Snowball Stand Man

This sweltering heat has forced us to the snowball stand a couple of times this week. On our last occasion, we brought Oscar, our dog. As we were enjoying our snowballs under a tree, a nice man in his 60's came over to talk to us. He had his grandson with him, who looked to be my oldest son's age. The man was friendly, not over the top, but then it happened. He explained that he lived next door and that his grandson was staying with him for the week and said how his wife would love to see Oscar. Normally I would not follow a man over to his house, but he seemed harmless. So off we went and we actually had a great time. The boys all played great together, they showed me pictures of their daughter, gave the boys capri sun's, and even offered to order a pizza! I pitched to the boys in the backyard while talking to his wife. For a moment I felt like I was back in time. His wife had grown up in Reserve her whole life and was still there. I imagined how life used to be - playing ball in the backyard while sipping on lemonade and enjoying conversation with your neighbors. Families raising their kids in the same neighborhoods and never moving away, just moving down the street. This could sound like a nightmare to some, but the thought of it is sweet.
It amazes me how people in our culture have become so detached from each other. I know things will never be like they used to be, but it makes me think about how I can bring this slowness of living to the culture around me by being more friendly with no agenda, having an open door to friends and neighbors, and for a moment, not caring about the clock. It may seem pointless, but I don't think I will ever forget "The Snowball Stand Man." He wasn't dynamic, just friendly. I would like to have an impact on people's lives around me like that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Generation to Generation

In my yearly reading plan, I'm in Exodus. I'm a little behind, but I'm not giving up. I may not read through the whole Bible in a year, but I will read it. So my goal has changed from reading it in one year to reading through the whole Bible in my lifetime. Perhaps I will even read it more than once. Oh how I long to be a seasoned woman of the Word in my 40's and even more as the decades go on.
It is amazing to me how the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart on purpose so that He could show his power and make his name famous in the land. Over and over again the Lord brought plagues upon the Egyptian people and utterly destroyed the land of Egypt. Can you imagine this happening in your city? Imagine all businesses burning to the ground in one night, frogs in your bed, so many locusts that the ground looks black, a city-wide blackout for three days, not a single tree or blade of grass left from a massive hail storm, all of your neighbor's firstborn sons dying? And that's not even all of the things that happened to them. The Bible says that there was not a home in Egypt without death. There was so much crying and wailing that it could be heard throughout the whole city. Imagine going outside in the middle of the night and all you hear is loud weeping and wailing. Then on top of that, none of this happening to the Christians in the same city. It would be all over CNN for months!
I don't get it, but God is God. His power displayed and his own fame being spread throughout the land was that important to Him. Then he wanted the Isrealites to fast and worship him on certain days every year on the day he delivered them and to do it from generation to generation. So not only did God want the people in those days to see his power and might, but he wanted them to pass it on for generations.
I'm wondering what our family could do each year so Aaron and I can tell our children and grandchildren how the Lord had mercy on us and delivered us out of our slavery. Then they can pass it on to their children and grandchildren. Lord make your name famous in our land by displaying your power and deliver our family members out of their slavery so that our generations may know you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spiritual Violence

Our pastor has been talking lately about the difference between natural zeal and spiritual violence. He came last night to talk to our youth and it was powerful!
Natural zeal is excitement about God as long as people are watching. It doesn't last or exist in your secret place with God. I'm guilty! I think most people, if they are really honest with themselves, would say the same thing. Obviously we don't consciously get excited about God because it makes us look good. The question is: Do we look, act, and talk the same in our quiet times with the Lord? Probably not. For me, when I pray in a corporate prayer meeting, I'm passionate! But I don't usually pray like that at home. No, in front of God I'm myself - boring. I talk in my normal tone of voice, and don't even try to put the right words together to make them sound deep and meaningful.
Spiritual violence, however, is excitement about certain things. Things that don't sound cool or make us look good. Spiritual violence is going after God with all that you are, choosing to deny your flesh and not caring about what you might be missing out on. It's being excited about self-denial. You fast, pray, sit in silence and solitude. You are alone, hungry, thirsty, desperate for the secret place. No one sees you. You do not get distracted. You are alone with God (Matt 6:6).
God is calling us into the deep with Him. I've settled for less than the intimacy I could have with God. I don't walk in the power He says I should be walking in. I'm missing out on something big.
How do you get it? Through suffering, you get hungry and then you get desperate. You hurt bad enough and get mad enough at Satan that you fight for it. I know I can't muster this up on my own or I would be back to natural zeal. God must do this work in me and I will be patient in letting him do so.
Lord, whatever it takes, make me hungry and desperate for deep intimacy with you. Cause me to burn for the secret place. May I only ever live for the audience of One.