The Fork

A Toasting Fork

A Toasting Fork

I’m cheating on this blog. I’m getting ready for finals and I haven’t written anything for November. Two years ago I promised myself I would write a blog every month. Well, I have slacked this month. So, I am going to copy one of my favorite stories (the kind that go around the internet) and share it with you. In fact I like this story so much I have it framed next to a toasting fork I imported from England.

Note: I first heard this story in 2005 at Celebrate Recovery. The woman who told it ended up being my sponsor in 2009.

Woman and a Fork 

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been told she had three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing,” she said. 

“What’s that?” the Pastor replied.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

The young woman explained “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork.” It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming – like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. It was always something wonderful!”

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them “Keep your fork – the best is yet to come.” ”

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and   they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?”

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

So today I say to you “bury me with a fork.”

Selah.


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Light in the Darkness

The Crystal

Today as I was meditating (yes meditating), I opened my eyes and began to concentrate on a crystal that I have on a shelf (I love rocks, even crystals, not for some magical purpose but because God made them and they are beautiful). As I did I noticed that as a car would pass by (even though my blinds were drawn) that flashes of light would hit it. God then showed me that we have to open our eyes to see the light.

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

But closing your eyes to the light also does the same. If you shut your eyes you are in darkness. I realized that as Christians we shut our eyes to the darkness because we want to be in our insular little world and don’t want to see the darkness around us. We pretend the world is whatever we think it is, and we hide. But by doing that we keep ourselves in the darkness. In Luke 11:35 Jesus warned us not to be in darkness: “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” By hiding from the darkness we can extinguish our light. Because when we hide we lose the light.

Right now close your eyes. What do you see? Darkness.

I remember once going to a church in Centerton, Arkansas, where the pastor asked those that were willing to go wherever God sent them to stand. I was amazed to see that less than half the people in the sanctuary stood. That has always astounded me and I now know that they were sitting in the dark with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears going “la, la, la, I can’t hear you.” Yes, they were blocking out the light.

Jesus is the light. John 12:46 says “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” But to be in His light, to be in fellowship with Him, we have to obey Him.

So the questions today is, are you doing what He would have you to do? Are you dwelling in the light or do you have your eyes closed?

Selah.

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Thank You Note to God

Dear God,

A couple of weeks ago I began praying for money to buy another dog gate from Amazon. It was $40. There were lots of other things I wanted, but I felt I needed another gate. So, I prayed. Then Thursday, on a whim, I entered a FB drawing. I didn’t know what it was for, I didn’t really care, it just took a moment. Well, God, thank you so much! You let me win a $500 Amazon Gift Certificate. That means I can buy a printer, a gate and heartworm medicine for the dogs. Yes, You knew I was worried about the heartworm medicine too, so you solved it all. You knew I had a laser printer on my list of things to buy in January. I mean, I am going to be opening a law practice this time next year. So you met my needs above and beyond.

Thank you,

Michelle

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Why Me Lord? Perspective.

We all have “why me Lord” things happen to us. I know I was going through one. I’ve had some light depression, some angst, and some ANGER! But God handled it this morning. Yes, I still care about what’s going on with this issue. But I now have it in perspective.

So first, before I explain how I got it into perspective, let’s have a short refresher on angst.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Okay, I’d say that’s clear. I’m not going to argue with something that basic and easy to understand. But that wasn’t what I was feeling. I had that teeth-clenching, gut-wrenching thing going on. And then, I found a FB page.  I found I Love Liam Lyon. Wow, this little boy is fighting for his life and he’s just a baby. Then I found the FB page of  Trusting God for Elisha Choate. Then tears came to my eyes. What is my problem in the light of these problems?

Thank you God for putting things into perspective for me today. Teach me and guide, and yes, I still want it resolved. But Lord, be with these precious children of Yours today. Help Elisha to have an easy time with his Chemo. Give Liam’s little body strength. Keep Liam’s and Elisha’s family in Your hand today, and give them hope and love. Make today a good memory for them Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Selah.

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Gays, Chick-fil-A, and Me

The first time I saw this picture, it was posted by my then pastor, Robb Ryerse, to FB. He thought it was creepy. I loved it, because I believe Jesus (and God) loved and love ALL of their creations, including dinosaurs and man.  Genesis 1:31(a) says “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

So I love this picture because it reminds me that we are beautiful in God’s eyes, whether we are a creepy dinosaur or whatever. Jesus loves us and commands us to love. Matthew 22:39(b) says “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” I know, about now you’re saying that loving your neighbor means loving those on your block, or at work, or just those you like. But no, not really. This is how Jesus describes a neighbor:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c]and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

I think that means that the whole world is our neighbor. But before you get to thinking that you can just like those like you, let me explain further. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews, they were an outcast group, like blacks during Jim Crow, or gays today. You know, the ones that everyone makes “other.”

Back-in-the-day, when I was in the midst of my addiction, I experienced “otherness.” I cried when I saw the picture above, because I can remember that feeling of being so incredibly alone. I think that’s one of the things that has plagued society throughout history, and I think Jesus saw it as a sin, or why else would He have used Samaritan’s in his example? Not only does “otherness” hurt the psyche of the person feeling the “otherness,” it hurts society. When a person feels separated from society, then they don’t respect the boundaries of that society. I just finished reading a book, about a woman who was homeless, and as she began to see herself as part of society, she quit shoplifting and conning. So, “othering” others, hurts us in ways we can never imagine.

When I looked up Samaritans and History I found the following:

It is impossible to write an accurate history of the Samaritans because their records are so scarce, and their references are sometimes contradictory. The name Samaritans appears only once in the Old Testament, in II Kings 17:29 where it is used for those colonist newcomers, planted by the Assyrians, who persisted in their pagan ways. However, the majority of the population consisted of Israelites who had not been deported and who continued in their Israelite faith. The beliefs brought by the newcomers did not survive and, from a Jewish standpoint, no paganism is found in later Samaritan theology.

The mixed population of Samaria was not accepted as Jewish by the Jews of the south. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian Exile and began to rebuild the Temple, the Samaritans offered to help but were rejected, and then they proceeded to prevent or delay the project (Ezra 4:1-6).

So from the time of Moses probably, Samaritans were “othered.” During the early part of our country blacks were “othered” as were the Chinese, the Native Americans, and now Hispanics and Gays. Yes, we just replace one Jim Crow for another. In Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 87 S. Ct. 1817, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1010 (1967) miscegenation laws(or the mixing of the races laws) were found to be illegal. Yes, prior to 1967, many states had laws outlawing interracial marriage. The laws not only included African-Americans, but in some states, people of Asian descent. Does that sound a tiny bit familiar?

In other words, being “othered” has been going on forever, we just keep changing the class and group. And Jesus didn’t like it. But now, I’m about to hear how homosexuality is a sin. I have no comment, because that’s not the issue. Let’s stick to the issue  (woo hoo, law school is paying off.) What is our job? To love as Jesus loved. He didn’t love just the lovable, He didn’t love those who looked like us, I mean, He loved prostitutes and tax collectors. The only people Jesus had a problem with were the Pharisees and Sadducees.  What is a Pharisee or Sadducee?

The Sadducees: During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They worked hard to keep the peace by agreeing with the decisions of Rome (Israel at this time was under Roman control), and they seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion. Because they were accommodating to Rome and were the wealthy upper class, they did not relate well to the common man, nor did the common man hold them in high opinion. The common man related better to those who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. Though the Sadducees held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin, history indicates that much of the time they had to go along with the ideas of the Pharisaic minority, because the Pharisees were popular with the masses.

The Pharisees: In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen, and therefore were in contact with the common man. The Pharisees were held in much higher esteem by the common man than the Sadducees. Though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision making of the Sanhedrin far more than the Sadducees did, again because they had the support of the people.

Though the Pharisees were rivals of the Sadducees, they managed to set aside their differences on one occasion—the trial of Christ. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death.

Wait a minute, these people, that Jesus weren’t too fond of, and who seem strikingly familiar today (do I hear politicians and businessmen?) put Jesus to death. Not the Jews, a segment of the Jews. People with money, people who “othered” people. Jesus didn’t hate people, except for the Pharisees and Sadducees and even then I would argue that He loved them and hated their actions. I am going to contend here, today, that what Chick-fil-A [CFA] did, by condemning others, was tantamount to being a Pharisee and/or Sadducee and was a violation of the Ten Commandments.

Why do I say that CFA violated the Ten Commandments? It is very clear in the Ten Commandments that a person is not to take the Lord’s name in vain. Exodus 20:7 says “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” The word for “take” is actually א nasa’ {naw-saw’} or נָסָא nacah and it literally means to carry or lift up. Let’s rephrase that then. “Thou shalt not carry the name of the Lord they God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” How do you carry something? Well, you carry a book, you carry a banner, you project it to the world. The Crusades were an example of carrying the Lord’s name in vain. Hating is another example of carrying the Lord’s name in vain. What is God? Love.  1 John 4:8 (NIV) says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Does love hate? No. Does love give to hate groups? No. Does love condemn? No. What is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8(a) says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

Somehow, I don’t think CFA or their supporters acted in love. However, just as if it’s not CFA’s executives right to judge others, so it’s not my right to judge CFA. Matthew 7:1-5 says, ”

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

I’m not judging CFA when I say I won’t eat there, because I don’t want MY money to be used to support hate organizations (which CFA has given to). Those are my choices. I also don’t buy P&G (for other reasons). But I’m not judging or condemning, just making sure that I don’t add to anymore “otherness.”

Selah.

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Trust In the Throes of Despair


Today has been an awful day. I had hoped for something for months and months and months, and today my hopes were dashed upon the rocks. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12. First of all, I can’t share with you what I’m talking about, because it’s not about me. Let’s just say, I am devastated. Which means someone else is even more devastated. I posted on Facebook that my heart hurt; it did; it does.

So I did what a normal person would do (I think). I called a friend or two (okay three, but who’s counting). I cooked (okay, that’s a woman thing, but I cooked a lot). I cried (more than once). I even had to pull my car over to the side of the road to cry once. I also cussed. And I asked God to curse my enemies. I reminded him of David in the Bible. Specifically Psalm 109:1-15

“My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.”

So can you say I was a wee bit angry. Yep, you can. I’m not denying. I was cursing my enemy. And that’s okay. For today. Maybe even for tomorrow. But I know that’s not where I’m going to stay. First of all, hatred only hurts me. Anger only hurts me. Let’s be real here. That is dumb. God has taught me way better than that. Psalm 37:8-9 says “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret —it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

So, if I dwell in my anger, I am being evil. If I return to hoping in the Lord, I will inherit the land. But what a minute, EVIL prevailed today. And sometimes it does for a long time. Sometimes there are many, many tears.

But God says to trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I am to submit to Him and He will work it out. But wait – we all know someone evil who has prevailed and someone righteous that has not. What happens when bad things happen to good people.

I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. What matters is the trust. God does not say to trust Him in the good times or the bad times or the so-so times. He says to trust. The LOVE chapter (1 Corinthians 13:40-8) says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

So, if I love God, I will trust Him. Hey wait a minute, I thought this is what God did for me, not the other way around. Isn’t God suppose to love me? Isn’t God suppose to – – – Whoops, no, I’m suppose to love God. I’m suppose to trust Him, that He loves me and those I love and it will work for the glory of God.  I also know that my suffering are nothing compared to His. Romans 8:18 says “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

In other words, our suffering is worth it. Well, it sure doesn’t feel like it today. But God promised in Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.” This will work for good. I don’t know how, but it will.

God reminded me today of how when one of my dearest hopes was dashed that He used it for my good. I am in law school today because He allowed a hope to be dashed. I thought I wanted something else, but this is so much better. I don’t know how or when God will rectify this travesty that took place today, but I KNOW HE WILL.

In Joel 2:25 God says “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Wait, He’s going to make it all work out. The lost years won’t really be lost, IF WE TRUST HIM. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.1Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Wait. Do you see the promise. If, when we are slaves to the world, to sin, IF we seek with our entire heart, He will bring us back from captivity. Okay, that means that instead of cursing my enemy, my job, AT THIS MOMENT, is to seek the face of God. Even if I’m angry, but I’m face-to-face with Him,  He will restore me and those years. I don’t know how this will play out, I only know I am to seek Him.

Selah.

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Taking Up Offenses

There are those that believe taking up offenses is a sin. I won’t belabor the issue, because I don’t feel that scripture in definitive on the issue.(http://pastorterrysblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/danger-of-taking-anothers-offense.html) I do think that taking up another’s offense can be harmful, because you can’t forgive for another. It would be extremely easy to hold anger in your heart your entire life if you took it up for another person. I do know that anger and hatred only poisons the person that is carrying them. I believe that we are to get angry and hurt for what has happened to us, then to work towards forgiveness. Ephesians 4:26-27 says  “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” We are to have compassion and empathy tempered with common sense and do what we can in out own sphere.

By allowing anyone to get under you skin and make you lose sight of Biblical teachings of love and mercy and charity, then you are being a victim. If you are angry you are a victim. Because you’re not free you’re bound up in hatred, one of the most self-destructive emotion out there. This is one of the tools in Satan’s arsenal. As long as you are bound up in hatred and anger, you’re not living in the freedom that Jesus intended for you. I’m not saying that TODAY you have to forgive, but I do believe you need to pray “God, I am angry. I am hurt. But I know Your Word says to forgive. But God, I’m not feeling it. But obedience isn’t an emotion it’s an action. So today God, I choose to believe You and to forgive. Lord, forgive ________, and Lord, I know I’m not feeling it, but bless ________. Lord, work on me. Lord, change me. Help me to not be a victim any longer, but Lord, teach me to see others through Your eyes. Teach me to be the woman You would have me to be. Heal my heart Lord. Pluck this anger and unforgiveness from my heart. I love You Lord. You have every right to be angry at me but yet You choose not. You died for my sins. What is my small, insignificant, little earthly pain compared to Your pain? You wore the nails and bore the cross for ME. You watch me in heaven and see how I fail, You see you I am not the woman You want me to be and You cry for me. If you can forgive me, I can forgive ______. Amen.”

Note: I wrote this today for someone who was posting on Facebook. She reminded me of me long ago. Just as naive, but angry for the world. This is so destructive. Don’t be angry. Be angry and sin not.

Selah.

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Choices

I am missing my grandchildren today. I realized how much I have missed for my dream. But, all-in-all, I’d do it again. I believe this is what God has called me to do. And my children and grandchildren will learn more from watching me go after my dream than they would if I’d stay’d by their side and watched them grow. Life is a series of choices. We make them everyday. Just make sure that the pros outweigh the cons.

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”” (Isaiah 6:8)

After I wrote this I thought about how people have sacrificed throughout time for their calling. Missionaries sacrifice home and comforts for seeking the lost.  I guess I am sacrificing home also for my calling. I knew when I drove from Fayetteville that day in August, 2010, I would never call Fayetteville home again. God had called me to be a voice for Him in people’s lives.

Have you ever wondered why I went to law school? I think I’m ready to share my journey to law school. A close member of my family was mentally ill and received a ticket for littering a banana peel in a small, Arkansas town. I went with this person to court and tried to explain that this person was mentally ill, and needed to have an attorney appointed. The judge said no, because it was a misdemeanor. I knew that to be wrong, but I wasn’t an attorney so I couldn’t be the voice for this person. I saw the prosecutor, who had been told the situation, and the judge, act like badly. They had this poor person so befuddled and upset and feeling small. That day, I left court vowing to be a voice for people like him.

Then I read an article about the children of undocumented workers, are held in a shelters until they are deported. They are entitled to an attorney if they can afford one, but very few have access to money. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6469224)

So, with all of this, I knew I was going to law school. I believed then, and believe now, that God had ordained my steps. But He wasn’t done making sure I knew it.

He sent me off to Oklahoma (when I saw my acceptance email I said ‘”God – Oklahoma! What are You thinking!” But I can see His hand in this. Close enough to run home to see my family, far enough away that they don’t get in the way of my studies. Perfect. But Oklahoma (no, I’m teasing, I have grown to love Oklahoma. Wherever God has directed me, that is home.)

But then I started my 1L year. I was like a deer in the headlights. Studying was awful. Classes were awful. The people were awful. I remember in November just crying out to God. I hated law school. I sat down with my Bible, let it fall where it would, and put my finger down. Whoops. I had my answer. My finger fell on Proverbs 31:8-9. Wait – this is the chapter on the virtuous woman. No, there are verses before that and they applied to me.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

I knew then, again, I was where I should be. I no longer hate law school. I embrace it and enjoy it, because it is a step on my journey to my calling. It’s not easy, but it is right.

I have also printed those words verses and have them in a frame on my desk. Whenever I question my calling, I remember the words God gave me. Yes, I miss my family. But I know I am in the center of God’s will for my life. That’s the very best place to be.

Selah.

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Owner, Steward or Guardian???

I recently was FB’d a video on being a “Guardian.” It’s a little wooshy for me, but it did drive home so salient points so I thought I’d share it and then discuss the Biblical truths and nuggets hidden within it.

I’m sure we’ve all heard we are to be stewards. But somehow, the word steward falls short. I mean, you have a wine steward. You have a ship steward who takes care of your cabin on a cruise ship. It somehow seems like a position and not a calling. It seems like employment. Employment by God. Who we all know is watching all the time, but somehow it’s easier to dis’ God than our boss. And we all know, as employees, we have all fallen short.

The Free Online Dictionary defines steward as: 1. One who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs.2. One who is in charge of the household affairs of a large estate, club, hotel, or resort. 3. A ship’s officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangements. 4. An attendant on a ship or airplane. 5. An official who supervises or helps to manage an event. 6. A shop steward. 7. A wine steward. stew·ard·edstew·ard·ingstew·ards  To serve as a steward or as the steward of.

That definition is somehow lacking in Godly intent. Hmm. So, if we were to be stewards of our money or our time or our bodies, we just work for God. I don’t think so. Doesn’t sound too Biblical to moi. Steward doesn’t work for me.

Okay, let’s move on. Am I the owner of my money or my body or my time? Once again I don’t think so. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Then of course there is the The Parable of the Talents. “14 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”

So, we are to take care of what God has given us. But somehow, in modern language, the word STEWARD just doesn’t do it for me.

What about guardian? The Free Dictionary defines guardian as “1. One that guards, watches over, or protects. 2. Law One who is legally responsible for the care and management of the person or property of an incompetent or a minor.3. A superior in a Franciscan monastery.”

That sounds a lot more like our duty to God. We are to be guardians of our bodies. We are to be guardians of our time. We are to be guardians of our finances.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking that I’m just arguing semantics. I am. But semantics often speaks to us emotionally. Say it out loud. I am the steward of my body vs. I am the guardian of my body. If you’re like me, the latter speaks to me viscerally, the former speaks to my mind. There is a difference.

I think if more people were to perceive our duty to God as a GUARDIAN there would be less overweight Christian woman. I think there would be less Christians in credit card or just stupid debt. I think there would be less Christians wasting their time playing “Farmville.” As long as we accept the watered down, modern day version of steward as our duty to God, we will continue to fail. Let’s ratchet our duty UP to Guardian.

Selah.

Posted in Guardian, Spiritual | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tears For The Little Girl

This morning I was taking a shower and I thought of my Mom. Lately I’ve thought of her a lot. I thought “my poor Mom,” because at the end of her life my sister dumped her in a nursing home and didn’t treat her as well as I would have liked. However, I can’t judge 100% on this because I wasn’t there. My sister and her husband refused to allow me to be there . So I DO  know my sister kept my inheritance and my mother from me. I was never told where my mother was so I could see her or talk to her for the last five years of her life.

Wait! That is not this blog, it belongs in another blog (maybe someday). So I was feeling sorry for my mother and then I had an epiphany. Why wasn’t I feeling sorry for myself? I remember one time I skipped school and Mom called me at home to let me know I’d been busted. So I took the 1″ thick wood paddle that Daddy had made to “spank” us with and threw it out the window (there was no screen) into the bushes beneath the window. Mom got the broomstick and started poking me with it and forced me to confess where the paddle was. So then she forced me to crawl into the holly bush (shall I say prickly leaves), all the while poking me with the broomstick saying “get down on your knees and crawl like the dog you are.” Then when I retrieved the paddle that was used on me.

Or the time she chased me with a broom, leaving 3 and 4 inch bruises all over my upper body. So the next day she took me to lunch as a way of apologizing. When I met her for lunch she was appalled that I hadn’t covered my bruises (it was hot and sticky summer and I had to walk to meet her). I asked her why should I, I had nothing to hide.

I can go on and on with all the stories. These are just two. Two normal stories in my childhood. So why wasn’t I crying for me? Why weren’t there tears for the little girl? Why was I feeling sorry for my Mom instead of for me?

Then I realized I did feel sorry for me. Every time I take in an abused dog, I am saving me. Every time I help a dog to heal, I am trying to heal myself. That is why I can have such empathy for the poor fur-babies, because they are just furry mini-me’s. So right now, I think I need the prayers of all of you. God is obviously doing a work in me regarding this, or I wouldn’t have had this insight this morning. But, as all healing and growth does, I think it’s going to hurt before it gets better. But Jesus didn’t just go to the cross to save us, but to heal us. So pray for me that I allow Him to work in me. And maybe, just pray that it doesn’t hurt too much.

Selah.

Posted in Abuse, Faith, Prayers, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments