Friday, February 19, 2010

Caught between...

the unconditional love of God and the wrath of God.

This is one of the most difficult tensions for me. It recently came up again in a practical life issues discussion with a friend. It also came up in a sermon last weekend, Joshua 7. (Thanks Mike for teaching through this passage and bringing the reality of the tension back into focus for me.)

What we believe about these two aspects of God matters SO MUCH! I don't feel equipped to do it justice here. So, if this is a topic that matters to you, I highly recommend this book: The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. I have decided to not retype the entire chapter here. :)

It is worth the price of the book to read Chapter 6. The book affirmed some conclusions I have been reaching. It explained well some of the reasons we get confused about these truths. He defines both love and wrath within the context of each other.

When people want the wrath of God without the love of God, they have missed it. When they want the love of God with out the wrath of God, they have missed it. If you struggle holding the two together, please do not give up on the struggle.

In future related conversations with people, I will be asking God to help me hold both together.

My other reaction to this: Come Lord Jesus Come!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Praying for Teens

I was given a prayer journal for the Lent season a few months back. I didn't think to pick it up yesterday. But I noticed it on my desk this afternoon.

I enjoyed reading the verses presented and the devotional thoughts. I prayed about the suggested items at the bottom of the page. But it was the right hand column that really stood out to me.

"Let your sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace... How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! Psalm 144:12,15

For people in their teens to radically commit their lives to Christ; to make wise choices; for older mentors; for solid friendships with their peers who are following Jesus; for open communication with parents; for God's intentions for their generation to come forth in fullest measure.

Pray for people in their teens. Envision them following Christ five or ten years from now." pg. 7 - Seek God for the City 2010

I especially liked envisioning our son 5 and 10 years down the road. 22 and 27 - Oh my! We've been amazed so far by the grace that God has poured into Matt's life and the amount of it that has been received and not rejected.

It's not difficult to think of a long list of other students to pray for too. You know who you are! A joy to pray for them.

If you haven't ever read Matt's blog or haven't "stopped by" lately I think it will be an encouragement to you. Click on the link called Mr. Matt. It's on the right side of my blog.

If you've prayed for our boy, mentored him, told him a Bible story or shared with him why your confident in God... You are one of my favorite people on the planet!!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Good Morning,

Yesterday, I received more than a few encouraging things from the Lord through his people. But one thing has been wonderful to think about.

A friend called last night. We needed to talk about when we're going to get together next. We got all that worked out and then she said she had something she wanted to read me. It was a prayer of mine that she's had around for at least seven years, maybe even longer than that.

Key words in the prayer: my desires, the will of God and trust.

I understood all those years ago that my desires did not match up with God's will or design for my life very often. I really wanted them to. I was confused. I was hurting. For what ever reason (God), I never gave up believing that there must be a way for that to happen.

At the time, the word trust came up because I was wrestling through whether or not I was supposed to go to seminary. Was it simply my choice? Was God leading me there? Or was I going there just because I wanted to? Did it make any sense to go there? Would others around me accept my decision? I didn't have a lot of experience with trusting God's leadership at that point in my life. I kept doing the leading.

There is no doubt in my mind that a prayerful life, a paying attention to God throughout the day life, has been what has lead me to trust submitting my will to His. In times of prayer I have known acceptance, love, filling, strength, courage, hope, perseverance and all of that has led to willingness. I am willing, dare I say, even like following. Trust is a big honking deal! Trust happens in meaningful relationship. Meaningful relationship for me, with the Lord, has been developed first through the study of his Word. It's extremely important to get to know who the Lord is. Study has continued, but prayer has been the focus of the relationship development.

I pray when I walk. I pray when I drive. I pray when I sing. I pray when I'm in conversation with other people. I pray before I meet people. I often pray after I leave people. I pray when I get an email. I pray when I'm confused. I pray when I'm joyful. I pray when my kid walks out the door. I pray when he returns. I pray for Dave's big meeting. Or, for a friends concern. I pray while I read books. I pray while I read scripture. I pray when my heart is troubled personally or for a friend. I pray in groups of women. Sometimes, many times I forget to pray.

So to my friend who hung on to that prayer. Prayed for me. Then bothered to say, hey I've got something I want to read to you. Thank you. You've made a difference in my life all these years. I'm sure your love for me will continue to make a difference. I love you.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Daring to Dream

I was in a conversation the other day. A friend of mine was about ready to tell me about some circumstances that have happened in the last ten days or so. Its the kind of circumstances where if it keeps moving forward, something we've been dreaming about for some kids in Ft. Worth could happen. He stopped himself from speaking. I said, "What?". He said honestly, "I'm afraid to say it out loud because I might jinx it." I gave him a look. The look meant, don't think that way. He knew it. And then he braved telling me the story of what has been happening. He wanted me to know how I could pray for the people and the circumstances.

Then I admitted to my friend, that I gave him that look because I'm tempted to be controlled by that fear too. Why is it, that we believe that if we speak the words that somehow God's intervention might end? The other fear that I deal with is that if I name it, I might start to demand that God do it. If He doesn't do it then I'll be shamed and look foolish.

Is there any part of life where there isn't tons to learn about???!!!

In a show of solidarity with my friend/brother in Christ, who risked sharing the progression of a dream with me this week, I'm going to put out there a dream of mine. I'm asking God to keep me from having a demanding attitude about it all. I'm asking God to help me trust Him with it. I really have no idea if this place will ever exist.

If you want to, after I describe it you can send me some suggestions for a name. I'd like for this place I'm dreaming about to have a name.

Okay, here it is. It's a book store. Or at least it looks like a bookstore to the average person walking by. (It's really a non profit ministry in disguise). It's full of great literature for sale. There are books on history, philosophy and Christianity in there too. It has homey places to sit read and have conversation. You can buy a great cup of tea and a great cup of coffee in this place. Some wonderful cooking friend of mine in the area, will want to get a business going out of her home and he/she will bake yummy things for people to eat with their coffee or tea. In the back will be a room. It will look like a library room in a large/old fashioned home. It will have a fireplace. It will be the perfect spot for a one on one conversation that just wouldn't be a good idea to have out in front with everyone else. Also in the room or maybe even another one, it will have a great big table made of big logs or something substantial. Around that table I can lead or simply participate in books discussions. Or, lead small groups through these Listen To My Life materials I'm so excited about.

This one only happens if it falls into the category, "Thy will be done". I can't make this one happen. I have no desire at this point in my life to make anything happen that doesn't match up with the Lord anyway.

It is a work of grace that I sit here at the end of what I've written unafraid, hopeful but not demanding and ready to trust God with the dream. What a great journal entry to run across 20 years from now.

What are you dreaming about?