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.

Two Kids in the Bible

Thinking about two kids in the Bible this morning: One was little Jesus who played about stacks of boards, and who let sawdust filter through His fingers in His dad’s shop. The other kid handed over his lunch of “sardines and crackers” and that One from the carpenter’s shop, big now, with His own hands, blessed that food and, miraculously, it multiplied. And they sat down and had lunch.

Oh, by the way, there were 5000 of those who munched from that one order. And one more thing: There were 12 baskets full of “sardines and crackers” left over when they were all filled. Amazing. Impossible. True. (Wonder if that little boy took home any of the leftovers? Wonder what his mom said?)

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Enough light has slanted our way–I can see its pink edge over the eastern ridge– so that the dark night has been pushed aside, and from my dining room window I can see the form of wind-whipped trees as they bend from the power of the approaching storm. More at this link here.

The Essence of Harvest

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

What a practical elegant lesson is here for us Christians. The job Jesus left for His followers is direct and simple; sow seeds. Spread the Good News, make disciples. Sow seeds. Physical laws are inescapable, binding us to certain expectations and conclusions that challenged or ignored inevitably result in disappointment, or even danger, as can be exhibited when one purposely or inadvertently steps off a two story building. In His astounding teachings, Jesus often told stories around these natural, well-understood laws. Perhaps one of His most repeated parables is that of the sower who went forth to sow. Read those accounts in Mark 4 and Luke 8.

Later, in a couple of places, Paul takes up the call,  shouts a warning concerning this law of God’s:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap.” Galatians 6:7

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Cor. 9:6

So, today, my friend, recall that control you have over harvest is small. Small, you say? Yes, small; small, but absolutely sure. Plant seeds. Dig into dirt, poke in bulbs and corms; harvest will come. Plant few seeds; harvest will be skimpy. I suggest the planting of many seeds. Fling wide and often your precious kernel. A bountiful harvest will result.

If you look about today and you’re in a spacious field of harvest, get out your scythe and your combine. Rejoice. More likely you will find yourself with a handful of seeds and a long row of dirt. Rejoice…and at the end of the day, judge yourself as suggested by Jesus, Paul and Robert Louis Stevenson

The Heavy Price of Following Jesus

At the conference Jerry and I attended in Tucson last week, I was reminded again of the pain and suffering that is often always required of those who sincerely and fully commit their lives to God and to His work. The price exacted from ministers and their families prostrate_in_worship_sm6674053_stdis extensive and if truth be known, there has not been a church staked, but what a woeful, sometimes frightening charge has been levied. Blood streaks the foundation stones. The salt of tears muddles on altars, and to the discerning who walks about in the now beautiful, filled to capacity, auditorium (or the frankly faltering, half-empty shell of a church) may be seen shifting shadows of death and may be heard the faint din of despair.

A heavy price must be paid to follow Jesus. Unfair of me, though, to suggest that only ministry pays such price, for did not Jesus say in Mark 8:34:

“…whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Deny myself? What does that mean, Jesus? Take up my cross? How? I thought living for God was the good life, the abundant life, viewed through rosy pray_2_3glasses that reveal only joyful and happy days. What about the power, the miracles, the healings? I thought I was getting into that, Jesus.

You are getting into that, Jesus says, for in verse 1 of Matthew 10, He speaks:

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

But the price. The heavy price.

“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…” vs. 16

“But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues:” vs. 17

“And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death…” vs. 21

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:” vs. 22

Expect suffering, Paul said in Romans 8:18

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The disciples rejoiced in their suffering. Acts 5:40-41

“…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

And they (apostles) departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

And so I have this word for you…and for me…today. Let us willingly pay the heavy price; the only price by which we are admitted into the fellowship of the suffering of Jesus, that lets us share His shame, His exhaustion, His disappointment, His cross.

Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”                                            11“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:1-11 NIV

One of my blogging friends, whose identity I do not know since he posts under a pseudonym, has written a profound column today concerning this passage of Scripture. He identifies himself as Renaissance Guy. Please go over and read his powerful words concerning Jesus, judgment and compassion.

(Rembrandt Painting image)

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Of Child and Tree

A most crucial scripture is found in Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The face of tree is set by its planting; slender sapling, flexible and learning, its limbs told by early wind and fix of stake and rope.

The face of child is set in romper; malleable and bending, his soul cast by whispered truth and fix of passionate direction.

(video removed because of technical difficulties)
Hat tip to Jacques-Scribbles.
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My other blog is here.

A Ponder of Purpose

“Great minds have purposes, little minds have wishes.”
Irving Washington

Not a few times have I said, “I wish I could speak Spanish.” Having lived in California most of my adult life, I recognize that such skill has real advantage in this area of the world. But wishing into my mind the full grasp of that beautiful language has done little (more truthfully–nothing) to propel me down the Spanish Language Conquering Road. I concur with Irving Washington that “little minds have wishes.”

To redeem myself, though, I make the gargantuan leap to append myself to the first part of Washington’s post, for although I lay no claim to having a great mind, in one area, I qualify: I have purpose. I understand why I’m here on this earth, and I know what is my assignment.

My purpose and your purpose are the same. Oh, they will call for differences in working out the life details, but our base purpose is the same: we’re here to know Jesus and to tell others of His saving love.

“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: That we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ.” Ephesians 1:11-12

Listen in as God speaks to Jacob–and to us, His people.

” Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee:…”

Let us ponder these things today. As we walk through our world, may we understand our purpose, our calling, our reason for being here. Jesus is the reason…for every season.
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My other blog is here.

Jesus Is For Losers

I don’t know who Stephen Jones is, but he is reputed in a great post on Half Write to have originated this title. In a comment there Gary reminded me of this scripture.

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39

Perused strictly from a carnal understanding, this portion of scripture makes no sense at all, but when spiritually understood, it is a Christian’s promise of the most glorious assurance. It is a spectacular announcement that goes to the heart of Hope and entangles itself with the eternal, extending into that not comprehended by mere mortal thinking.

It’s one of God’s gleaming principles: lose your life and you will find it! So, yes, Jesus is for losers. We give up the “pleasures of sin,” and gain instead splendor and glory–not only in Heaven, but in a life lived on this earth in a godly, righteous, fulfilling manner.

Along the way we lose other things. Love it!

We lose drunkenness and carousing. We lose wretched morning after hangovers. We lose brawls in our homes and sleepless nights and hiding in the dark. We lose the fear of passing a police car on the street, of hearing the dreaded knock of authorities on our door, of the lack of peace when we slip into our beds at night. We lose the horrific thought of standing before God, unprepared. We lose drug-induced comas and vomiting into the midnight gutter. We lose homelessness, and friendlessness. We lose too the posibility of hearing the words, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”

We’re losers, alright, happy, joyful, Heaven-bound losers.

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My other blog is here.