Posts Tagged ‘patience’

Philippians 1:1-11

The beginning of a letter
Compared to something like “Dear Church,”
Paul & Timothy began their words
So the people would not have to search

The words of the whole letter
Should be read through this appeal
Filled with thanks, full of hope-
That they’d know Gods’ love is real.

That God would bring to completion
All work that He’s begun
That even something like imprisonment
Cannot hold back the Son

He spoke with such compassion
Even though they were apart
He affirmed his desire to be with them
And knew they held him in their heart

A pastoral letter
From a shepherd to his sheep
Only something like prison bars
Would be strong enough to keep

Yet here is a reminder
The bars could not hold back
The Love of God revealed in Words
Strengthening for any attack

It comes as a reminder
For those of us with loving Words
To keep them unshared is something
Really quite absurd.

Jeremiah 32:1-9, 36-41

There are some leaders
Who only want the good news.
As if their prophets had
The ability to choose.

King Zedekiah was
A very powerful man.
But he led God’s people
So far from God’s plan.

He sacrificed children
Upon altars of lies,
And God would use Babylon
To help them realize.

But God would regather
His people one day.
After an exile
They’d return to stay.

When they do return
They would be single minded,
Their hearts to Gods’
They will have binded.

God makes a covenant
To never stop doing good,
When their hearts and minds
Turn to Him as they should.

They will be firmly planted
In the land of what’s New,
Trusting in God
To guide all that they do.

(So if we’re not living
In unending good,
There’s a chance idols
Have more room than they should.)

Isaiah 42:14-21

When God moves, we tell each other
It blesses our hearts straight through
You can see people raise hands in worship
And know He’s starting something New

The quiet might get all revved up
The mute may shout “Amen!”
Then we will go home and wait
For God to show up again.

But Isaiah reminds us
When God is truly on the move
He will not hide the evidence
And there will be no need to prove

He lays waste to mountains
And dries up all the pools
He takes all human wisdom
And makes them look like fools

What used to seem like darkness
Becomes a light to guide
There will not be any secret place
That is safe enough to hide

Those who trust in man-made things
Or find their peace in self
Recognize how blind you are
And how pitiful – your wealth.

Compared to what God is doing
And invites us to join His song,
He’s given us His Spirit
And all Heaven sings along…

Exodus 16:27-35

Forty years, with one menu
As the Israelites waited on God
They wandered through wilderness desert
While God slowly removed their facade

The false self they had been presenting
Of shifting allegiance like sands
Giving their loyalty to who has the power
Even after receiving commands

When God seemed aware, they would worship
When He seemed silent, they too
It may seem cruel, but over time
They learned patterns of what they should do.

Work together as a people for six days
On the seventh, they were to rest.
To stay in their homes, and take a moment
To thank God for how they’d been blessed.

Not busy themselves with production
Or finding their worth in their work
Today we have the same struggle
And feel our duties we’d shirk

Surely we should still be useful
We should do things, and serve with our time
But God still invites us to sabbath
To step down from the mountains we climb

Which is why we relive the forty
In whatever ways we may choose
To rediscover the moments of His presence
Where we’re invited to remove our shoes.

Genesis 12:1-4a

I bought some eggs from the store
SO THAT we could bake a cake
We filled the piñata with candy
SO THAT at the party, it’d break

I put some soap in the water
SO THAT the garments would clean
We purchased some clothes for our children
SO THAT they wouldn’t be obscene

She wore a swimming suit to the poolside
SO THAT she could jump in the pool
He was given a glass of ice water
SO THAT in the heat, he’d stay cool.

We wash our hands in warm water
SO THAT we get rid of the germs
When we buy a car, we read the fine print
SO THAT we’re aware of the terms

We hold the hands of our loved ones
SO THAT they know we are near
We wrap our arms around children
SO THAT they know Love over fear

Abram received the Lords’ blessing
And through it sometimes so are we
But tragically we receive it
And are often content just to BE.

Next time you notice a blessing
(Slow down, you’ll see where it’s at.)
Be sure to look back to the source of it all
And ask what may be His “SO THAT”.

Grace, Love & Bunny Hills

A few days ago I took a group of all ages from our church on a “Family Ski Day” a few hours drive from home. I love to ski, but living in Illinois has only offered me opportunities nearby, and probably only about once every other year. Still, I look forward to it every chance I get – and dream of someday going down an actual long ski run. I don’t enjoy the “Black Diamond” hills as much as a long, side-to-side, “Blue Square”.

This trip was different, however, as I brought our oldest daughter along. I secretly hoped she’d be a prodigy so we could enjoy a bit of skiing on the biggest slopes the valley of Andalusia, IL could offer. I took a quick video of her first attempt on a bunny hill so I could capture & share the memory.img_0397

Fast forward 6 hours later – she was still bubbling over with delight as she cruised down the bunny hill, using her ski poles to increase speed on the way down. She loved it. There was a small part of me that wanted to see her experience a larger hill – for her own sake – but also so that we could share that experience together. But her cup of excitement was filled and flowing with joy as her eyes communicated that she was thrilled to be skiing down the hill and riding the “magic carpet” back up, over and over again. She granted me permission, more than once, to go enjoy some more extreme skiing for a bit. I took her up on that offer a few times, and each time returned expecting her to tell me she was growing weary and wanted a larger, steeper hill. Instead, I could see her smile still beaming from a football field away. She was in the zone and loving every bit of it. I’d gently ask her if she wanted to try something a little different, and explore a larger hill. “No thanks, dad! I’m loving this.”

I smiled, loving her. As her father, I wanted so much more for her – and knew someday she may enjoy cruising the larger slopes. But also as her father, I loved watching her gain confidence and grow in excitement over her abilities here – where things were a bit easier to stay in control.

There are moments in scripture where I hear the same kind of love Jesus has for his disciples. He came as God in flesh, to reveal a way of loving and living never before seen in humanity. He gathered a small group of followers and began taking them down the bunny hills of revealing God’s Love. They were thrilled.

He began pointing to some of the larger slopes, and inviting them to adventure…and they took a few tumbles. Peter asks Jesus how this new approach to forgiveness works in Matthew 18:21, and you can imagine Jesus nudging him along on new ground. The disciples begin to rebuke people who were bringing children to him, and Jesus reminds them to keep their knees bent, and body relaxed (ski talk for a grace-full approach) in Luke 19:14.

There’s a bit more exasperation in his love during other moments. Times like the disciples freaking out about the storm in Mark 4:38, or Peter using his sword in Matthew 26:51-52. You can imagine Jesus patiently wanting so much more for his followers, even as he understood they were limited and still maturing in their faith.  The smile coming over his face, as he closed his eyes to imagine the ways God’s Love was yet to be revealed by His followers in the years and millennia to come. Then perhaps a bit of sadness in the corner of one eye, as he understood humanity would also continue to stumble on such large slopes.

There is a moment, in Luke 24:36, where Jesus comes back to the bunny hill to check on his followers. He waits a bit, hearing their conversation and smiling to hear their excitement as they share stories of his resurrection. This group of random men – fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, all brought together and united by the stirring of God’s Love. He knew they were being prepared for so much more…and they would invite others into the mission as well. He finally spoke up, “Peace be with you.”
They couldn’t imagine the places He’d just returned from and were stunned to see his scars. But as he began to talk to them in those final moments, they realized the grand picture of what he’d always been inviting them to join. They were no doubt overwhelmed by the love of this Savior who’d spent so much time on the bunny hills with them. They believed His promise that a power was coming that would enable them to Love & Live as He had.

May we be newly aware of such grace and love, and see how the Spirit might guide us to reveal His Love in ways we never imagined on the bunny hills…

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

Reminder: Check out the adventure of faith our family is launching out into!

Leading Them To Water

Moses: Hello rock.

Rock: Hello Moses.

Moses: How are you today?

Rock: Oh, ya’ know, it pretty much rocks being me.

Moses: lol, always so witty.  Hey, do you think you could give us some water?  God said it was cool.

Rock: Well sure (transforms into giant office water tank).  Go ahead.

Moses: Wow, that’s a pretty nifty trick.

People: WHOO HOOO.  Hooray for the Lord, God of Moses! All of creation responds to His desires!

You may not recognize the above story from your time in scriptures.  That’s because it never got a chance to happen.  In Numbers 20:8, God directs Moses to relieve the thirst of the people and their animals by speaking to a rock “that it may yield its water.”  Who knows what they may have looked like?  Okay, probably not the situation above, I just had a bit of fun with it.

Instead, Moses was filled with anger and frustration at a whiny group of untrusting people.  Even after all they had been through, they were blaming God for their thirst, and asking if Moses had led them to this place to die.

I imagine a large group of kids in the back of a mini-van.  This trip has been much longer than they thought.  They’ve asked “Are we there yet?” about a hundred times, and now have escalated to the drama of “I’m going to die, I’m so IMG_9800thirsty!!”  Mom and dad are in the front, thirsty too, but driving through traffic jams in the middle of midwestern cornfields doesn’t offer many chances to stop.  Finally dad slams on the breaks and pulls over.  He’s had enough.  He turns around to look at his children and the main goal in that moment is to stop the whining.  He gets out of the car, and hits a rock.  The rock starts gushing water, and the need is met.

Now for a “bigger lens”…

As parents, we want to meet the needs of our children.  Just like Moses, we feel the burden of providing for our family.  There are ways to do it, that honor God and help turn the hearts of our children toward responding to their ultimate provider in worship.  There are other ways to do it, that simply (or luxuriously) put food on the table, but end in a result of our children being amazed at our abilities and filling their thirsts.

It’s difficult…sooo very difficult to spend time talking to rocks.  But in the end we recognize our children have a thirst that goes deeper than any material item in this world can quench.  More important than causing the water to flow, and meeting their every immediate need – is providing them a path on which they see and experience the love and provision of God, and are shaped to depend on Him.

The question then becomes – Where is the rock God is calling you, as a parent, to talk to?

 

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