Friday, March 27, 2009

The Wishy-Washy King

As I read through the Old Testament it stands out that it was always noted whether a king did good or evil in the sight of the LORD*. More times than not they were doing evil. Idol worship, sorcery and offering up their children to demons were just some of their despicable practices. It all just makes me wonder why.

The life of King Rehoboam gave me a clue.

Now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel along with him. 2 Chron 12:1

He established a secure kingdom by preferring the advice of his friends over that of the elders (probably his first mistake!). He appointed priests for the high places**, demons and calf idols while forbidding the Levites to serve as priests in the house of the LORD. And, he was always at war with somebody!

One can't forsake something that isn't known. He knew the law of the LORD but his heart wasn't in it. He was a wishy-washy king!

And he did evil, BECAUSE he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chron 12:14

Matthew Henry comments that Rehoboam "never quite cast off God; and yet in this he did evil, that he prepared not, he engaged not, his heart to seek the LORD."

He didn't pray or seek wisdom. He didn't consult the word for direction. He just shrugged away the things of the LORD. What a tragedy for him and all of Israel.

Inevitably, because of their sin, God rose up a foreign king to come against Israel, to destroy them. As human nature would have it... they quickly humbled themselves and returned enough to the LORD for Him to grant them some deliverance. But not all...

Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of nations. 2 Chron 12:8

Because the LORD is the same today as He was then I'm bound to ask myself these questions:

When comfortably 'established' in my own little kingdom do I forsake the LORD?
Do I prefer the advise of friends over the council of the LORD?
Do I compromise the laws of the LORD in the culture wars of my time?
Am I sorrowful about my sin only when it becomes consequential?
Do I love the LORD with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?

One last thing... I may not take a whole nation with me as a result of my actions but I do influence those around me. We all do. There is no question about that!



* LORD = written with all caps refers to Yahweh himself.
** high places = sanctuaries of idolatrous worship.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spontaneous Grace

One of the gals I work with earned a 2-year detail in another office in a big city. It’s a great opportunity for her to advance her career. We all know she is sure to move onward from there. Since she probably won’t be coming back to our office we decided to throw her a little send-off party at a local restaurant.

This isn’t about the party. It’s about what happened as I was leaving. I got up, said goodbyes to those on my side of the table, walked around to the other side, set my purse down on the floor, hugged the guest of honor and then turned to go.

As I picked up my purse the gal sitting next to it said, “Sorry Lorrie, I dropped a bit of fish in your purse!” I laughed and said, “Oh boy, I hope not, I’m allergic to fish!” (I have an anaphylactic reaction).


Her face went pale and she grabbed my purse and started taking everything out as she hunted for this bit of fish. I tried and tried to reassure her that it was okay, not to worry about it, but she wouldn’t have any of it. She was horrified and probably embarrassed too.

Why in the world didn’t I just chuckle it off and not mention my allergy when she told me what happened? That would have been the graceful thing to do. My response was one of those things that just falls out of the mouth on it’s own… and is instantly regretted.

The incident was innocent enough but it caused me to wish that grace had been spontaneous on my part. My 2009 resolution was to forget myself. The more I work on it, the more I notice that I still automatically think of myself first. Bummer!


I look forward to the day when I realize, after some little something happens that I truly, and spontaneously responded with grace. But, then again, when that day comes will I even know it… if I truly have forgotten myself?

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Cor 8:7



GRACE; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): - acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries



I love the 'Island' graphic I found at DryIcons. It's full of biblical and natural symbolism that could be applied to this post.




Saturday, March 14, 2009

Voices

I recently read an article by a popular and respected evangelist who, unburdening himself, gave warning to Americans that we are in eminent danger of a catastrophic event. I've known of this man practically my whole life. He seems very sincere. I hope he is wrong though.

Sunday night, I watched a well-known preacher on TV expound on the tragic error many make by believing in a pre-tribulation rapture. He was very convincing. I really don't know much about him except that some say his doctrine is questionable. I love the worship music in his services. I am always sure of what I believe on this subject until I hear the "other side" give a really good argument. I just want to be ready no matter what!

This morning my local talk-radio guy was going on about having read that evangelicalism will be dead within 10 years. Evidently, the writer of this forecast is well known in his circles. Sadly, I feel that much of it has been dead for a while now.

All the voices today! It makes my head feel like one of those blurry high-speed traffic shots... smears of color and light. Stop!

It makes me want to be sure that I know God's voice all by myself. What if I were without TV, radio, books, my husband, my preacher or your blog. Could I, on my own, with confidence, discern God's voice? I do not want to be deceived!

Just as surely as these thoughts began to play in my mind, I heard this from within:

Be anxious for nothing... I am with you always... trust in Me with all your heart... I'll show you the way... I'll supply all your needs. Fear not.

Wow! You probably recognize bits and pieces of scripture verses in that string of words. That is how it came to my heart though... quick, commanding and comforting; the Shepherd's voice, a familiar staff lifting me out of my dumbness. What a relief.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

I'm so thankful that He knows us!


Thank you Lord, for your unfathomable love, grace and mercy. Give us an urgency to stockpile your word in our hearts. Give us wisdom.


Picture, Talking Mouths with permission.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Labor of Love

One of the greatest gifts God has given me is the big wonderful family that I have. My grandmother was born in Indian Territory (called Oklahoma now). She's a natural born storyteller and a wonderful cook. Both of these abilities have created memories that each family member cherishes. Over the years there have been multiple attempts to write things down, to tape record her stories... to somehow compile the treasure.

It finally dawned on me one day that I could use blog space for a website to transform this dream into reality. And so it began, a labor of love. So far, I've been working on her recipes and scanned images of handwritten scriptures.

Working with the scanned images can be so wearisome. It's very intensive. Scanning in the page from a little notebook, transferring it to a photo program, cropping, enhancing, erasing, flipping, uploading, editing, formatting, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Exhausting!

This project causes me to contemplate what a motivator love is. I don't consider quitting when I feel weary. I don't get careless and sloppy. No, I have a vision and a passion for the goal.

I wonder if the same goes for the things God has appointed me to do. Am I motivated by my love for Him to press onward every day in the things he has for me to accomplish? Does that love win out when my flesh whines over the tedious task at hand? Do I give it my utmost? I think the following verse provides an answer:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. I John 5:3

There is no burden when motivated by love.



Picture, Love Flowers by Dry Icons


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Give Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Peter 3:15

Until recently, when I read the above verse, I felt a certain amount of anxiety. I have never been one who could recall Bible passages and expound on them eloquently when confronted by those opposed to the truth. I've never been capable of a snappy retort in the natural, much less in spiritual matters!

I love the word of God but to always be ready to give a defense? It's quite intimidating to think that I could muster any level of apologetics worthy enough to be convincing.

Here is the definition for Christian apologetics: It is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views.

What if I were to say something wrong and lead someone astray? Terrifying!

The problem with all this is that I never got past the legal sounding "give a defense" part of the verse. I read that much and my mind clouded over with inadequacies.

The rest of the verse is simply saying that to everyone who asks us why we have the hope we do... to tell them! Basically, to give them our testimony. The man who was healed of blindness was no theologian. He just told what he knew. When questioned by the Pharisees he said..."One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25).

I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to wow anyone with my Christian-speak. I only have to be ready and willing to share my testimony; to give the marvelous Hope I have in Jesus to others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5