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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday, March 30

NOTE: There are several possible reasons for this post. Three of which I will accept and claim. Four that are pure. Five that are probably true. One that I pray that God will guard my heart against:
#1 I want to brag on myself.
#2 I want the flogging of the righteous.
#3 I want the counsel of the righteous.
#4 I want to remember this.
#5 I need help.

This morning, when I arrived on College Avenue the little, older escort (I think Carole told me her name was Marianne) and a younger (about early 30s) escort were sitting on the curb within the no-fly zone chatting. They looked up as I walked by and I smiled and waved. While I was doing it, I wondered if it would be more appropriate to shout some slogan; I had just walked past the Catholics wondering if I should be encouraging them to trust in the righteousness of Christ alone.

I have a Bible that I have had for about four months. It is to give away. I have had it too long. Pray that I will give it away soon.

I set it down by the telephone pole in the back corner of the parking lot and went and greeted Carole who was intent on someone, but glad for a hug. As I walked away a Friar who was talking to her returned to his soliloquy.

I stationed myself and opened my Bible. I was afraid this morning. I am always afraid, but this morning seemed more so, but it might be just because it was current. Then I noticed this new escort walking toward me. They never walk toward me. I just thought that was odd, and watched her as if she might do something else surprising or maybe she knew me. She walked up to me smiling and said that it was nice to see a friendly face, and quizzically asked if I was with... (making a gesture as if asking for an explanation of my purpose/association).

You have to know that I have talked to God very much about my countenance. My grandmother had a naturally stern-looking, down-turned mouth and she gave it to me along with her hair. My husband and kids are always misinterpreting my looks (well, sometimes;)) and it is because of this countenance. So when this woman said that it was nice to see someone with a friendly countenance, I thanked God inside.

I told her that I was here representing my Lord, Jesus Christ and that I would be happy to talk to her about Him. She backed up and spread her arms out and said that she is an Atheist and that she couldn't imagine that we have anything to talk about, and that He was a nice man, a really good man and all.... I told her that we have a lot to talk about, actually, but she walked away instead.

I thought later of many things I should have said...You know: Jesus could not have been a "good man" because he claimed to be God, so He either was, or he was a raving lunatic, which would make me a raving lunatic too.

That would be the primary one, I guess, but it just didn't come to mind. If you have anything that would be appropriate, please let me know.

There is a guard that I think has only been there for less than two months. He is young. He watches me. The escorts looked at me a lot today. They laughed at me, I think. I am a fool, and I know it.

I have thought that if I saw a woman out smoking a cigarette, maybe I could be brave enough to just suggest that she wait one week, and give her a Bible and my phone number. As I was leaving, though a woman was there but she was caught up in a conversation with a woman to whom I have talked on one occasion. She is a cloud without rain, but I just walked on by. I am pretty much a cloud without rain, myself. Any excuse is a good excuse to keep quiet.

From a comment under the post "All Other Ground is Sinking Sand" (February 23, 2006):

I do not want this cause to become an idol. It is God's word that we proclaim in it's marvelous fullness on Thursday mornings. Ours is not the gospel of pro-life, but the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has also called us to make disciples of all nations. Go, seek the lost. Tell them about Christ. Find them where you work, where you go to school, where you go to church. Find them on College Avenue on Thursday mornings.
Yes, God is sovereign in salvation, and He has chosen to use you to accomplish His good will.
I hope to be
together with you in His service
subject to His word,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Oil On My Head


Is anybody listening? Does anyone hear me? Does it matter?

I wonder sometimes if anyone reads this stuff. I know sometimes I have everything wrong, or at least perverted in some way. Very seldom am I subjected to rebuke or correction or even a good discussion.

Proverbs 26:3-5
3 A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools!

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

I have often quoted verse four and even saw it worked out by Nehemiah. Imagine my surprise to see verse five! Friends, I don't want to be wise in my own eyes! I desire the correction of the righteous.

Proverbs 17
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.

Well, shut my mouth! God sure has a way of getting to the point, eh?


Psalm 141:5 Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me, it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it.

Please be bold to correct me where I am wrong. Please, let us reason together.

Psalm 141

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,
to take part in wicked deeds
with men who are evildoers;
let me not eat of their delicacies.

5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;

6 their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.

7 They will say, "As one plows and breaks up the earth,
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave."

8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD;
in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
from the traps set by evildoers.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Righteous Lot

Sometimes, I read something in the Bible that shines a light on my disbelief. I read that I should love those who hate me and do good to them who despitefully use me. I read that I should love my neighbor and never return evil for evil, but return rather good for evil, and leave room for God's wrath. In my great wisdom, even while I say, "I believe God; His Word is True," I rationalize some things. Really, God must have meant to placate those who hate me, but never lose my dignity as a child of God over it. He must have meant don't do evil when evil is done to me, not actually to do GOOD to the one who deals with me despicably. Right? No, I cannot get that from Scripture.

When I despised God, and treated His good will as foolishness He loved me. He gave me life. He gave me day after day of sunshine and the common joy of life which is found in living and breathing and sharing this world that He created so beautifully with others whom He also created. Not only that, He LOVED me! He gave me a husband and children, when I had despised His plan for such. But that was not all, no sir! All the while I was mocking Him, He also turned my heart of stone to flesh and gave me repentance and faith and salvation! He gave me eternal life, according to His own good pleasure!

So He did not just fail to do evil to me when I did Him evil, but He did good as no one else can!

Everywhere I see, as He opens my eyes, that what He says in His word is true.

So when I read that Lot is Righteous, and I don't think he is, I must be wrong:

II Peter 2

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to
hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its
ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and
seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by
burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to
happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was
distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man,
living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by
the lawless deeds he saw and heard)
— 9 if this is so, then the Lord
knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous
for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This
is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful
nature and despise authority.

(Thanks Midge!)

Without Love

1 Corinthians 13
1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. 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 have not love, I am nothing. 3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8. 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. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10. but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11. 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 childish ways behind me. 12. Now we see but a poor 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.

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

Love, where does it come from. Is this not where we fail. Is the lack
of love not that which causes me to seek my own... to cling to and
fight for my own way and to heck with everyone else?

Listen to Church of the Good Shepherd sermon Fruit of the Spirit II from March 5, 2006

Of particular interest, is the idea that without love, giving my life to the flame is nothing. Without love, sharing the gospel is nothing! Where does this love come from? Should we not share the gospel or proclaim God's truth or give to the poor because we do not have love them? Should we stay away from our brothers, because we do not love them? Should we keep our mouths shut and cover our lamps because we do not love our enemies?

I John 3
Love one another
11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

So we know that love is an action, but these actions without love are nothing. It is with love, I see now, the same as it was with faith... Lord, I fail to love you, give me your perfect love. God, I don't love my enemy, give me love for them. Lord, I live to please myself, give me your love by which I will consider others more than myself.

Looking at myself through someone else's window

All in one week:

From Sufficiently Suffonsified:
So I went. I even got there early. As I arrived, I was glad that I had made the decision to go. When Bible study started, I felt out of place. I was the youngest lady there. Satan again, saw the window of opportunity in my heart, and tried to convince me that I shouldn't go, because it's for "old ladies". How depressing.

(To my shame, I teased this poor girl who was baring her heart for Jesus. How proud I am, and slow to seek wisdom. Why is it that I would cling to the illusion of youth, when age is so much better in a plethora of ways!)

From a conversation with my daughter:
Me: I just hit 1101 hits on my blog, and probably at least 100 of them are not me!
Daughter: I have been to your blog.
Me: How many times?
Daughter: was boring.

(Boring? Really! I had no idea!)

From my co-workers:
My husband nick-named me The Bully. I can live with that. It is a way for him... well, actually, I can just live with it. Someone needs to be the meanie, right? So, at work, while we were sitting around eating pizza one day, I joked that my husband nick-named me "The Bully." Nobody laughed.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ingrown Toenail

As soon as it is available, if you haven't heard it yet, go to The Church of the Good Shepherd's 2006 Sermons and listen to pastor Stephen Baker's Ingrown Toenail sermon (March 12, 2006).

This is a wake up call for us as followers of Christ, fishers of men, the salt of the earth and the light on a hill. As pastor Baker said, Jesus did not command us to be salt, just called us salt. He did not command us to be light, he called us light.

What He did was shame us if we are not salty salt. If we do not flavor, preserve and penetrate our world with the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are the same as the world around us, then we have lost our saltiness, our effectiveness. Did you ever think about the wish-washiness of unsalty Christians. The are inoffensive to be sure, but they also have nothing to say. There is no reason to listen to them.

He did command us to let our light shine before men. He said, as if it were to go without saying that you don't light a light and hide it, but you put it up high to shine for everyone to see and benefit from.

pastor Baker parodied our behavior as those holed up in a fort, lobbing unbelievable flaming messages of salvation to the savages outside the walls, but refusing to make actual contact with them; refusing to open the doors, and let their light so shine before them.

Was this, Pastor Baker asked, what our Lord did? No! He left the Purity of Heaven, so much purer than any environment we could create for ourselves in our little buildings, and plunged Himself into the muck of our existence. Are we to expect our path to be more pure than our Master's? Are we to refuse to get dirty, when Jesus Himself patiently fielded the foolish questions of the wise men of his day. He offered himself up for the sins of his enemies. He bled and sweat and cried for those so far lower than Himself that they cannot be compared to his holiness.

But, we refuse to listen to the foolish talk of the unsaved because it offends us. We won't befriend someone of a differing belief because they don't believe what we do. Jesus had twelve people very close to him, who usually did not understand things correctly, and one of them was a traitor! Jesus did not exclude Judas from the inner circle, and He know Judas from his mother's womb.

You don't know the end of the days of that person you won't befriend. Are you greater than your Master?

Oh, Father,
Forgive me for thinking I am too good to hear the foolishness of man. Forgive me for closing my heart to the dying people around me. How can they speak the language of Heaven, when they are bound to this earth and serve the prince of this world?
Send unbelievers into our lives, to live and move and have their being so closely that we will hear the desperation of their souls, and remember the egypt from which You have redeemed us. So burden our hearts for these people that to not speak would cause our mouthes to burn. Give us the love for You that will be revealed in our obedience; and for others that will be revealed in our countenance, our words, and our obedience to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ the Righteous Savior, Amen

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I Had A Dream...

Last Saturday a friend woke up sobbing. She had a dream...

She and her husband and daughter were going somewhere. It was a cool, overcast day. They arrived in a parking garage near a fast-moving river. They walked to the adjacent building, laughing and talking.

When they went in, they found in a waiting room, three chairs together and sat together still talking and laughing. The atmosphere in this office was jovial, carefree, fun. A young woman brought somthing out of the office and walked with it through the waiting room to a door that I had not noticed before. She was talking and laughing with people in the waiting room. In order to open the door and put this something in it, she had to push something out of the way that was on the floor. I had not noticed it before. There were a couple of plastic bags, like roasting bags tightly sealed on the floor. She moved them first with her foot, still laughing and talking, and then with the door she was opening. She said something about them, and continued with her task. When she opened the heavy door, there appeared on the other side, cubbies, like post office boxes. Most of them had these bags in them and she was trying to stuff another one into a cubby that was already full. She was still laughing and talking when one of the bags popped out on the other side of the wall, and dropped into the river. Then I looked at the ones on the floor that had been in the way, and I saw that they were babies. All of the cubbies held these bags that were filled with babies. There was one in a cubby close to the floor that was alive still, and gasping for breath.

My friend looked at her husband and daughter and asked what is this place, but by then she knew. She looked in the eyes of her daughter and realized that there was so much there that she didn't know. Even then she still loved her daughter. In her shame at her ignorance, and realizing that if she spoke, she would stand alone, she fled. She escaped to a dark corner of the cool, damp parking garage, and sobbed, while the rushing river drowned the sound of her torment.

She awoke, sobbing. She tried to get back to sleep and go back into the clinic and talk to her husband and her daughter, but she could not.

The sadness of this dream stayed with her for several days. It was only a dream. What could make her so sad?

She was sad because this dream was a reflection of her desire to go with the flow. She desires to be the one who talks and laughs with her husband and daughter, and not the one who stands alone against what is wrong.

She was sad because this dream revealed to her that her timidity is a sin. There are times when we must speak out. There are times when it is too late.

She was sad that she was that cowering simp in the corner of a parking garage sobbing, rather than the mother in there reasoning with her daughter and standing boldly and in love for the truth.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Be Strong and Courageous

I was reading my At the Well Conversations post below and whining because no one would give me any tips, and the God of the universe gave me one:

7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline.

8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his
prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of
God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of
anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This
grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but
it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ
Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald
and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet
I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced
that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
(I Timothy 1:7-12)


5 The LORD will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

Did God not say: Be my witness? Don't light a candle and hide it under a bushel? What is whispered in your ear, shout from the rooftops? If I wanted to find justification for witnessing to Christ in my world, I could find it in abundance. The only place that I can readily think of that tells me not to is: Don't throw your pearls before swine or they will trample them underfoot and then turn and devour you. I'm not sure we can recognize swine without help. I was very swinish back in the day.

So, I prayerfully go out into the field with my bag of seed. I want to sow bountifully. I will be speaking with abandon today. I will not abandon the gospel. I will not abandon truth. I will abandon my self, my self image. I would rather die than forsake my Lord.

Pray for me.