Saturday, April 17, 2010

Run the River

Run the River 10K
We ran this one together--Cate's first 10K. Corinne and I finished in 64 minutes; Brian and Cate in 68. Beautiful day for some family fun!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Blessings Fall Like Rain

It rained today. After several days of pollen counts beyond extreme, the rain was welcome. After a wet winter, I certainly didn't think I'd be ready for rain again so quickly, but it was a beautiful thing this afternoon!

When the rain ended, the sky was brilliant blue rather than pollen haze. Of course, the sky is always brilliant, but there are days when it is hard to see it through the tiny particles that float through the air. Even though each speck of pollen is miniscule, the cumulative effect is enough to blot out the sky.

It's often the same in my relationship with God. God is always there--the same yesterday, today, and forever.  However, little particles of life sometimes obstruct my view of Him, especially when I focus on them instead of looking beyond. In the broad scope of eternity, the minutiae of my "problems" are nothing greater than a single grain of pollen--even less than that. Stress, finances, busyness--all these cloud my view of the Father in His brilliance.

And then He sends the rain. Sometimes it comes as a scripture lesson. Sometimes it is a song or an experience. And then there are the sweetest times when I hear His still, small, voice when I least expect it. Suddenly, the clouds clear away and all I can see is brilliant blue. Blessings falling like rain...and I am grateful.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I Am Not Condemned

"Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering....if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness....I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angel nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creations will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8: 1-3, 10, 38-39

Glorious freedom! No room for fear! More than conquerors! Saved! Justified! Sanctified! Hopeful! Joyful!


All because Jesus said,

It Is Finished.

Hallelujah and Amen!

Friday, April 02, 2010


Passion is one of those words that has lost its original meanings. We use "passion" to describe the things we like best or the way we feel about something (or someone.) But, in my musings this week it struck me: Why does the Church call this Passion Week? There's certainly nothing romantic about it, nor is there anything about it that we want to experience over and over again. So, I looked up the etymology of the word.

According to Merriam-Webster, "passion" comes from a Middle English noun that originally meant suffering. SUFFERING. Not extreme emotion, not physical delight, not even devotion to a cause--but suffering. And not just any suffering. The suffering meant by "passion" is at the hands of another. Being acted upon, rather than a random event or personal trial.
Suddenly the meaning of Passion Week is clear. The prophecies of the Old Testament met the barbarian cruelty of Rome and the result was Jesus' passion--in the original sense. He who knew no sin became sin for that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21) But why? Why would He take the entire burden of all the wrongs--public and private--of every person who ever lived on Himself? What kind of justice is that?

He was beaten to the point where he didn't even look human. He was ridiculed. He was spit at. He carried his own wooden beam on His back and shoulders, already shredded by the whips of the Romans. The religious leaders were the first to accuse, but the mob soon added fuel to the torturous fire. It was ugly. It was bloody. It was cruel beyond modern understanding. And yet, it wasn't because He deserved it; WE DID. I do.
Suffering, being acted upon by external agents--suffering, not because of His own wrongdoings--suffering because of mine.

As I write this, I am watching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. No matter what you think of Gibson and his failings, this movie is brilliant in its realism and its message. Reading the prophecies and the letters of the New Testament becomes even more profound when the movie visuals accompany them. How can I not be moved when I see this powerful portrayal as I read from Philippians:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who being in very nature God,
did not consider equality
 with God something to be grasped,
but made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled Himself
and became obedient to death--
even death on a cross..."

(Philippians 2:5-8)

That is PASSION.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

To Be Alone

He saw it coming. He knew He would be completely abandoned by those who claimed to love Him the dearest. He knew before the night was over, He would be alone.

I'm surrounded by people--family, friends, on-line friends, neighbors, even fictional people in books and on television. The few times I've been alone it's been restful...for a while. Then, when it's been quiet too long, I turn on music or television or something to fill the silence.

Jesus didn't have that option. When He was left alone, all He had for company were His thoughts-and the knowledge that the next hours would leave Him utterly alone, with the weight of the world on His shoulders.

Of course, the disciples never imagined that hours after the Passover supper they would be hiding in terror as their friend was abused, tormented, convicted (in illegal trials), and ultimately executed. Peter went as far as to insist that, no matter what, he would die with Jesus rather than leave Him. Big words...

The disciples couldn't see that their Lord was in emotional agony; when He asked them to pray, they fell asleep---three times. They were just clueless. It wasn't that Jesus had kept it a secret; He had told them He would die AND be resurrected only the day before. He told them that one of their group would betray Him. He told them He would meet them in Galilee after He had risen. If they had been listening (and Jesus told them countless times to listen) the events to come may not have been so completely unexpected.

It's easy to judge them for abandoning Jesus. They KNEW Him. They worked with Him for three years. They traveled together. They ate together. They had seen more miracles than anyone else. They had even told others that Jesus is the Christ. They, of all people, should have known. But, am I any different?

God speaks through His Word. The Bible is pretty clear about what God expects, desires, and gives. It should be second nature for believers to trust that God keeps His promises: we know about Noah and the rainbow, Gideon's fleece, Daniel's trip to the lion's den, Shadrach and his friends in Nebuchadnezzer's furnace, the countless times David escaped the wrath of Saul, and all the miracles and teachings of Jesus. It's all written down: God promises, God delivers.

Yet, when times are tough, I know I feel alone...and I have wondered what exactly God is doing. As I grow in my faith, I find it easier to trust Him, but there are days when I want to see Him in Galilee before the worst of trials are over. Perhaps the disciples, like me, decided to focus on the good things that Jesus said and pretend He didn't mean it when He said He would die and that they would disown Him. Perhaps the truth was so unimaginable that they thought it was a metaphor. Whatever they thought, the truth was far worse than any of them could have imagined; perhaps it was better for them in a way. Jesus knew, but they were protected from knowing.

It's important to know that, no matter how dire the situation, God will never forsake His children. We may not see beyond the moment, but HE sees the entire spectrum of events from beginning to end. He will never leave us alone. We just have to remember to stay awake and watch His plan unfold.