To Know

If there was a book by whose reading we would come upon beauty and candor, and know of brave deeds of nerve and audacity, and of covenants–covenants bearing on us–would we not with eager hand press to the next page, and then to another, and finally to the end?

If there was a plan to engage us in virtue and in blessing, and cause us to perceive the source of all that is good, and to know His name is Jesus, would that be something to neglect? If we would come to know of the holy and of the righteous, would those be themes to brush aside? ………..and in place take up tatters and ruin?

Footwashing Rebellion

Then cometh He (Jesus) to Simon Peter . . .. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.

St. John 18 7-8 (portions)

Not sure I’ve ever told anyone before, but frankly, I’ve never cared too much for foot washing services in our church. (She says, shielding her head as she runs!) Do you? Or do you even have such ordinances in your church? We do in ours, as we follow the example Jesus left for us. And, of course, when the opportunity is offered I dunk my feet (that I’ve scrubbed at home to be sure they were clean–imagine that!) as do my sisters who are lined up on chairs, feet bared, with basins spread before us.

I’ve considered the matter, and have concluded an issue of pride to be involved. A kind of reverse pride than what you may be thinking, for it does not trouble me to wash the feet of the others. Rather, the edgy part is when my feet are dipped into the water, and a person is kneeling before me, and lovingly bathing my feet. Makes me uncomfortable. You see, I know myself rather well. I’m aware of my shortcomings, my sins; my far less than perfect ways. I feel unworthy, so lacking, so undeserving.

Can you imagine Peter, that roughshod, loose-mouthed fisherman as Jesus approaches from across the room and says, “Peter I want to wash your feet.”

Can you imagine it?

Jesus wanting to kneel before Peter who would in a short time say he didn’t even know Jesus. Wash his feet! Jesus kneeling at your place, saying, I want to wash your feet. “Oh, Jesus, no! You cannot wash my feet.”

So in reckoning with this issue, I’ve decided I lack in humility. People do so much for Jerry and me, and I try to be gracious and grateful and appreciative. But I see that I want to push back a bit. I’m not totally comfortable with appearing–actually being–needy. I find it challenging to be more on the receiving side of things than on the giving. I’m understanding that I prefer to feel capable and effective.

Like yesterday when Winston started barking loudly–as he is much too prone to do–and I peered out the front deck window and there was Brother Patrick Garrett going about the business of shoveling off snow and ice remnants. He had removed the covers from our two wood racks that were nearly empty of wood. “What are you doing here?”

Then at the end of the deck popped up the grinning head of Brother Andrew Chavez.

“What’s going on?” And then I saw that a pickup truck was parked at the end of the deck, and those two men, and two little Chavez boys were pitching up and stacking firewood.

Also, Andrew, my youngest son, a couple of days before had called to check on us when he learned of our furnace problem. A few weeks ago he had taken my camera that needed repairs to a shop in San Diego, and when we talked he told me it was ready to be picked up. I wanted to know the charge, and we got into a little wrangle about it, for he wanted to pay, and I didn’t want him to.

“Mom, you’re being rude.”

“Rude?”

“Yes, you’re rude to God when someone wants to do something for you, and you resist.” I said no more.

Look at these people, these dear people. I feel hypocritical, for I know that surely I am not worthy of such sacrifice, such love.

And so I said thanks and cried and offered up. Two cups of hot chocolate. Two cups of coffee–one black, one with cream and sugar. That’s it.

My feet were washed. Lovingly. Undeserved. Unmerited. Cleansed.

Nobility of Repentance

How rich the words on the tongue, “I was wrong.”

Apologize to the one or many you may have hurt.

Regret.

Despair.

The absolute end. The bottom.

It may be we had to sink into an inky cave of sorrow and distress before we could do it. Our tongue thickened when we thought of it, our mouth dried into an autumn thorny residue when we set to scrabble out the words: “It is I. I deserve the blame. I am responsible. I am sorry.” Our lives never exist alone; we cannot say, “leave my children out of this, hold your hand over their eyes, stop up their ears–or my parents, or my siblings. Not my husband. Not my wife.” No matter how close or how distant, our blood couples us . . .and our vows. How bitter the conscience of one who knows he fueled the turmoil. How rich the words on his tongue, “I was wrong.”

What a righteous role model is David of the Old Testament. When the prophet Nathan famously told him of the rich man and of the one ewe lamb David thought he was only hearing the account of an arrogant, ill-mannered individual. He was angered, and spoke of punishment for the man. No doubt Nathan’s eyes reflected the pity in his heart for this righteous man who incredibly had fallen into sexual sin, and whose hands were dirtied with murderous blood. Nevertheless, he looked directly at David and spoke the harrowing words, “Thou art the man.”  

Nathan then listed David’s sins, and immediately, offering no excuses, nor blame on others, with nothing but a repentant attitude, David affirmed, “I have sinned against God.”  Indeed, he was the man.

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. II Samuel 12:7

Bible KJV

When that blessed moment comes–the minute God helps us to recognize our wrongdoing–let us not hesitate to say Yes to His call, Yes to His love, Yes to repentance–noble, majestic repentance.

My other blog is here.

To Lead a Child

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Should one have perused the most exhaustive library known to man, scanned the shelves of each bookstore in existence,or “googled” every computer in the world, no more profound guidelines for rearing children would be found than these ancient, magnificent words God spoke to His own children. A most gripping passage of scripture, and one about which I have written before is in Deuteronomy 6:7.

And thou shalt teach them (God’s word) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest in the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou riseth up.

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A few days ago, we met our 10th great-grandchild, whose name is Robert Frances Beeso, but who will be called Franky. I watched Jerry bend down to look at the tiny little fella. I saw their eyes meet, and their fingers intertwine. and I was stricken with sadness as I thought of all Franky will face during his lifetime. Born into a floundering, imploding society, his only hope is that his parents, his grandparents, and those others about him, will take his hand–his tiny, trusting hand–and lead him into the paths of righteousness. May he ever have the words of God whispered into his ears, and the name of Jesus brushed over his lips.

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Does Form Matter?

A few hours ago, I had a provocative talk with a young man who just attended a major youth meeting of an Apostolic group. He was very disturbed to observe that on the platform where sat many ministers, only one person had a bible. They had phones that had bible programs on them, and the scriptures being discussed were projected onto a large screen. So, in one sense they possessed bibles. From the platform, one minister actually read scripture aloud from his phone screen. Anything wrong with that?

Does it matter the form? Is there anything significant about holding in our hands a book that says Holy Bible as opposed to reading the same text on a computer screen, a telephone screen, or a projection screen?

I’m very interested in your opinion.
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It greatly pleases me that this photograph I took last year has been viewed more than 6000 times. There are still many people who cherish and value the Holy Bible.

The Worst Church in Town

Raging, the man looked at the few persons gathered for prayer.

“This is the worst church in town.” His flaming eyes swept across the stunned group. “Oh, not you.” He flailed his arms toward the leaders. “Not you. You’re good. . . but this church,” he continued. “It’s the worst in town. The scum, the lowdown, can’t trust anybody . . .”

As though a physical punch had knocked out her breath, the pastor’s wife trembled and caught for air. Her first impulse to shout “How could you say that about our dear church?” was repressed. She said nothing; hurt, defensive, shaking, a leaf in gathering storm.

Later, she came to understand. The man was right. It was the worst church in town– filled with lowly people, the pitiful, the addict, the undependable, the poor, the weeping, liars, and thieves. The beat up; the beat down.

She came to regard the man’s remarks as compliment. For had she not asked to be like Jesus, to take on His attributes, to enter into His mind? Had she not? Had not the leaders of the church proclaimed their wanting to be like Jesus? She remembered: Jesus once sat at a well with a prostitute; Jesus mingled with drunks; Jesus taught compassion and bandages for those who lie in bloody gutters; He held sticky messy children on His lap. He lived among the homeless. His group could not claim so much as a storefront, but a hillside must do for the church service some days. A small boat creaking in the water was the church platform more than once. Though He taught there every day, Jesus disdained lofty religiosity and once He went prowling about the elaborate temple where He ministered, and not liking what He saw, he silently plaited leather strips into a whip, then flying into the mess Jesus kicked over the tables, expelled the people and charged that His house should be called one of prayer. Jesus gathered an unlikely ragged group to work with Him and the lunatics followed along and the blind and the wretched.

Ours? The worst church in town? Could be.

An Abundant Utterance

They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness. Psalm 145:7

As I read in Genesis this morning, it struck me anew how amazing it is that God created everything! With His words and with His thoughts and with His hands (?) He structured all.

Verse 26 of Genesis says, ” . . . Let us make man in our image, . . . ”

and as I read there, I saw that in a previous reading of this portion of Scripture I had noted Ephesians 1:11. I turned there to read.

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

So, then, not confusing are the words let us. God took counsel with Himself! Job confirms this understanding when he points out that God alone was the creator.

He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. Job 9.8 NIV

What a stunning world we inhabit. On New Year’s eve, Jerry and I walked beside the creek pictured above that feeds into Lake Gregory. The weather was mild, the beautiful tree pictured below was perfectly lighted; God’s creation was magnificent. I so want to always speak of His wonder, His goodness, His love.

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I have been writing this blog for several years now, and it astounds me that my blogs have been viewed more than one million times. I’m humbled and grateful for your interest.

In recent months, though, there have been substantially less visits here, and very little interaction–few comments. I’m thinking a couple of reasons account for this: First, I have been posting less here and more frequently on Facebook, often with a link to a post here. I like Facebook, quickly hear what my friends are doing some days, and have made connection with people I hadn’t heard from in years. That’s all nice, but there is a lack of depth to Facebook, and not frequently do persons engage in thoughtful and a bit deeper conversations. Also, when comments are made on Facebook about a blog post here, they feel “lost” to me. They are not posted with the article in question, and take lots of scrolling around to find them.

So, because I enjoy writing, and because I especially enjoy your interaction, I’ve decided to no longer routinely link my articles to Facebook, and am hoping to increase traffic here. I may pop over to your place with a link every now and then as an invitation to come visit me here. Remember that you can subscribe to this blog so that you will be notified when I make a new post.

I want to hear from you. Please comment when you have interest about something I’ve written.

Blessings always…and a wonderful new year!

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Recognition of His Place

He was alone. The night hours arrived; the man looked about for a spot to rest, saw a likely place, and stretched himself on the ground. He would spend the night here. Quickly he fell asleep, and then began the dream.  It was a majestic dream, one that would forever change the life of the young man. A tall ladder set in the earth extended into the heavens with angels flitting up and down. At the very top stood the Lord who spoke to Jacob, “…I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac…”

It was a strange place for such an encounter, an unusual setting, and when Jacob had settled himself onto his stone pillow that black night, it is unlikely that he was anticipating a remarkable visit with God Almighty. Indeed his later words in the text indicate his surprise at such an occurrence. For in that solitary wilderness on the road to Padanaram as he made the trek to find a wife, God shook Jacob’s world with the startling words:

“And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”

Genesis 28: 14-15

No doubt with a jerk and with a pounding heart, Jacob woke from his sleep, the vivid dream reverberating in his head: He sat upright to declare, “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”  I didn’t know God would be here, had no idea. He looked about at this most unlikely of places, where little thought or idea of God’s spectacular presence would be anticipated, stunned at the vision, at the promise.

What a lesson is ours today. It may be in a youth service with a tender-faced boy who struggles through his first sermon or in a Sunday school class or around a dinner table or on our couch in a dark hour before dawn or in a hospital waiting room or in a mid-week Bible study group that doesn’t seem at all spectacular—it may be in any of these simple places where God will visit us, where He will draw us aside, and where He will whisper into our ears the Promise, the Plan.

Let us be aware. Let us listen…for we too may walk away and say with Jacob, “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”