Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lent Day 10: Band of brothers

I'm sitting in a coffee shop, across the room from a round table flanked by about ten men. They lift their drinks, sip slowly, and chat. They've been meeting for Saturday morning coffee for over a decade, some of them continuing friendships that go back 30 years. So they know each other pretty well.

We have an errand to run later this morning, so I walk in with my husband, give him a tea request, and find a chair in the opposite corner. Women are not welcome at the table. "You can't have a boy's club anywhere anymore," one of them quips with a smile as I walk in with my husband.

"No worries!" I'm not interested in interrupting, much less joining. Growing up with a pack of brothers gave me about all the guys-and-their-friends interaction I need for life. It's nice to know these guys have bonded and enjoy each others' company.

Jesus chose his band of brothers, but women often took care of their needs and listened in on Jesus' teaching. The famous Mary-Martha exchange took place when Jesus and his dozen or so guy friends dropped in on a household of one brother and two sisters. (Martha: "Jesus, please make my sister help me with meal prep! Why should she sit around while I'm dying in here, trying to get the food ready by myself?") In Jesus' circle, there was always movement towards knowing God better, including him in daily life in big and small ways.

Topics of conversation with Jesus ranged between mundane routines of living and spiritual instruction. ("What shall we eat? - wish the fig tree were fruiting. Who has money for taxes? - oh, go catch a fish and you'll find the right amount in its mouth.)

Who are you hanging around with today? Do they propel you toward a closer relationship to God? Or are they drawing you away with human philosophy and wisdom?

Read more:
*Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

*Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NIV

*No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:12-13

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lent Day 9: Spiritual thew

MW Word of the DAY: thew \THOO\ noun

1 a : muscular power or development b : strength, vitality
*2 : muscle, sinew — usually used in plural

Example Sentence: "Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big / assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit," retorts Falstaff to Justice Shallow in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2.

Sometimes it looks like human determination can get us through a pinch. We see a project, grit our teeth, and plunge ahead.

"Stop. Wait when you get to the open door. Do you feel like this is God's timing for you?" asked my friend. "Be respectful of God's leading."

We were talking about how God leads us, examining how we use the spaces in our homes as a metaphor for God's guidance in the immaterial world. The conversation was a strange juxtaposition with the spiritual disciplines I am reviewing as I write a paper on Church history and the disciplines.

Sometimes we think we must power through, when the discipline God asks of us is waiting in silence or solitude. In those quiet hours, we are developing fruit of the Spirit like patience and peace, resting before God while stretching our spiritual thews.

Read more:
*Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31 NIV

*Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lent Day 8: "Never again!"

"Never again: It is a wise person who can learn as much from failure as success. A Never Again folder on your computer might help you be more productive in the future."

This post caught my eye - what if we weren't doomed to repeat our mistakes? What if we actually learned from failure and could move on? What would I leave behind? These, for sure:
* saying an unkind word in the heat of the moment
* letting stuff that belongs elsewhere collect in my office
* telling private things to someone who has just told me another person's secret
* eating chocolate late at night

Okay, so I'm not going to tell you the rest of my list. It's apparent that we have patterns of failure if we are put in harm's way, and also fall down when we compromise our integrity.

Grace is wonderful. When we call on him, God picks us up, dusts us off, pours his sufficiency over us... and gives us a choice - repeat failure, or move on to do what is right.

Do we know God well enough to let him effect the changes we need to make? Are we immersing ourselves in scripture, rather than reading a verse here or there for 'devotions?' Are we spending time in prayer and other spiritual disciplines to put ourselves under the Spirit's guidance?

If we cooperate, we learn from our mistakes. On the other hand, it's scary to think that if we resist wisdom, most of our life may end in the "Never again!" file.

Read more:

*Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6 NIV

*Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV

*There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 NKJV

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lent Day 7: Illegitimate adoption

News headlines: "Argentine stolen at birth, now 32, learns identity." Apparently Alejandro was really Francisco... but was stolen from his mom at birth. He never really fit into his adopted family, a violent father, terrified mother, and several siblings who were nothing like him. He became a juggler in Europe, traveling to escape his past.

Then he returned to Argentina and found his true father, his birth father. When he found his dad, he heard that his father had searched for him all his life. It's a prodigal son story with a twist. Just like our own story of faith.

We know we don't fit into the world - it is filled with discomfort and violence, and opposes everything we aspire to be. We know we are born to love, extend kindness, live in forgiveness, and experience peace. Only when we return to our true Father do we find ourselves. Our true name is not "Small" or "Rejected one," but "Beloved in the Son." Our heritage includes companionship with our true Brother, Christ, who paid for our journey back to the Father. We can only respond to divine love by saying, "Teach me your ways, O God. Lead me in your truths." In this way, we find our heart's true home and join the Family we crave from spiritual infancy.

"Thank you God, for never ceasing to search for us until we find ourselves drawn back to you. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name." Amen.

Read more:
*Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:4-5 NIV

*Therefore, since we have been justified throughfaith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 NIV

*How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 NIV

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lent Day 6: Word fight! (logomachy)

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: logomachy \loh-GAH-muh-kee\ noun

Meaning: 1. a dispute over or about words; 2. a controversy marked by verbiage

Example Sentence: The surprising election results have opened the floodgates of logomachy in the political media outlets.

"That's true, except verse 3 says..."

"Well, yes, you could look at it that way. But like we just talked about in verse 1, where Paul clearly states that can't be the case, unless..."

"...though the exception might be..." Waldemar and his dad went round and round, exploring, handling, and examining scripture.

Mom K and I would shake our heads in frustration. "Stop fighting, you two!"

"What?" They would look up in surprise. "We're just having a good discussion." And they would smile at us and go back at the rabbinic scrabble. Part of W's ability to reason and use logic comes from his training with his father, a cup of coffee in one hand, a German pastry in the other.

Jesus warned that spending all our time quibbling about fine points of language without putting spiritual principles into practice misses the point. W teaches freshmen at the university about three categories: 1. dogma (what you have to believe to be a Christian); 2. doctrine (what you have to believe to be in your denomination); 3. opinion (what usually splits a congregation, like the best color of carpet 'to promote worship,' and other silly quarrels that become sacred cows.)

Today I want to listen to what I say. Including the fine-sounding arguments and rationalizations in my head. Am I handling the important concepts of faith and practice, or am I wasting time by playing with words and ideas that keep me from seeing the bigger picture? How about you?

Read more:
*Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:1-4 NIV

*We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him", but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NIV

*And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 5-6 NIV

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lent Day 5: Forgiving God

Kirsten is in the middle of a serious arthritis flare. And I went to bed disappointed and angry with God again. "What's the difference between having a God who is impotent and one who will not answer prayer?" I wrote in my journal last night. "Practically speaking, nothing! Oh God, where are you when my daughter needs your healing touch?"

This morning I woke up praying, asking for God's healing and help for those we love and his presence for the day. "No matter how upset we get, where would we go but to You? You have given us no choice or hope apart from Yourself."

In the process of forgiving myself for the outburst against God's loving care, I realized a few things. First, I ate beef yesterday. It was organic, lovingly prepared by our daughter-in-law Rebekah (who is an amazing cook!), and I didn't feel at the time that it affected me. But it took only about ten minutes at our subsequent appointment for me to feel anxious and have to "leave town!" for our next engagement. I slept a restless night after an unfocused evening. And oh yeah, the hot flashes after lunch were probably not from caffeinated tea, but from the meat. ('Animal food' sensitivity is the reasons I'm vegan.)

Second, how little we understand about God. "His ways are beyond human comprehension," said the prophet. Where we wish for a magic wand to wave over pain and suffering, God permits us to agonize for ourselves and others. My cousin Nancy is doing heroic care for her dad, who has cancer. She prepares the foods and surroundings that we pray will allow his body to heal. She's taught me so much about the enveloping, loving care of God for us. He puts in place systems to help us heal and grow, many of which we don't recognize or appreciate because they seem difficult or challenging.

Finally, when we don't understand, we have to let go. "Forgiving God" when he does not respond the way we want nurtures our finite ability to trust. The Creator and Sustainer of life knows what he is doing, even though we may not grasp how raw suffering can be used for good. Our hearts are opened to God's comfort as we carry the cross we bear with him. During Lent, we remind each other that he endured the cross for us so that we would not have to suffer alone.

Read more:
*Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20 NIV

*(Daniel prayed,)"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name." Daniel 9:17-19 NIV

*Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lent Day 4: Forgiven but not forgotten

[For the past four years, I've written a daily Lenten blog. One of my regular Lent readers reminded me that we're in Lent. Ok, I kinda zoned about that this year, so let start a few days late.]

God forgives us but doesn't forget us. Sometimes it's easy to write off someone whom we've forgiven. "I forgive them, but I'll never trust them again," says the little voice inside, our self-protect mode on full. "I'll just avoid them and the hurt (or grief or disappointment) they cause me."

Luckily, God's not like us. He not only forgives our sins, but he challenges us to do better. To live well, in harmony with his nature. He reminds us of the Ten Commandments: don't lie because I AM Truth. Don't steal because it all belongs to Me. Don't be unfaithful, because I AM Faithful. Don't envy because I AM Enough for all your needs.

He thinks well of us, through the lens of complete forgiveness in Christ. He invites us into relationship with himself, leaving behind our offenses and rebellion - though we may continue to hurt him daily.

Today, I'm going to think about good things in people I've forgiven. To consider ways they have blessed me, made me better and stronger, and how they are appreciated by others. I'm going to try to think about them the way God thinks about me. Who needs your forgiveness and kind consideration today?

Read more:
When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them by saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“Blessed are you when people11 insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. Matthew 5: 1-12 NET

*Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Tim. 2:11-13 NIV

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day

flexuous \FLEK-shuh-wus\ adjective

*1 : having curves, turns, or windings; 2 : lithe or fluid in action or movement

Example Sentence: The last leg of the trail is a flexuous path leading up the mountain to a spectacular panoramic view of the valley.

My reef tank is a parable of life, full of twists and turns. For months, water levels are stable and the live rock teems with brittle starfish, snails, and zooplankton. Seemingly overnight, little white spots appear on the glass and the coraline algae begins to disappear. Strands of hair algae and bubble algae start to grow, and a fish dies of unknown causes.

The tank is suddenly in crisis. Water chemistry tests normal but another fish dies, the algae erupts throughout the tank, and scum forms on the sides of the aquarium. No amount of scrubbing or water changes seems to help.

There's nothing to do but take the whole thing apart. Two deep buckets of salt water, aquarium brushes, gloves to avoid being stung or scraped on the hard rocks, and five hours of scrubbing. Then reassembly - bliss, clean. Within a week, the bubble algae is starting to come back and I'm pondering the next course of action.

Life seems smooth, things are under control, and a phone call comes. The next wind in the road is that Kirsten's legs are full of spots again. She is in the middle of another flare in her joints, and we are on opposite sides of the country. My stomach clenches, then earnest prayers resume. "Oh God help! Oh God heal! Oh God comfort our child!"

In the flex and flow of life, the path unfolds under his watchful eye and sufficient grace.

Read more:
*I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:145-147 NIV

*Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:25-26, 28 NKJV

*Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic attitude

The Olympians have devoted themselves to training, deprivation, and discipline. Fewer sports make up the Winter Olympics than the Summer games, and they are more weather-dependent. How does an athlete train for snowboarding or cross-country skiing in the deserts, summers, or in tropical temperatures? They raise money to travel to the snow and ice or use wheels on their boards and skis. Or they become inventive in solutions that let them work out. After all their work, the athletes now hope there will be enough snow for their events.

The athletic temperament includes the will to win, the willingness to endure hardship, and overcoming embarrassment and failure when your best is not good enough. To create a proper field of competition, there must be more losers than winners. I watched Wust from the Netherlands glide away from a 3000m rival in the speed skating trials, blade crossing blade, a minimum of wasted motion, and then his shoulders started to sway in fatigue as he dropped behind. German Anschutz pulled away to cross the finish line first… just before the next competitors began to circle around their warm-ups. Each athlete focused in a narrow band of concentration. Their moment. Years of training. Early morning work outs. One chance to get through the initial heat to the semi-finals, or a few seconds in the spotlight before elimination.

Years later, the “also-rans” are able to boast, “I was an Olympian for Canada! (or Russia, or Croatia.)” An aquaintance rowed for the USA in the 80s. She identifies herself as an Olympian and competes locally in various water events. She tries to remain worthy of that honor. “Winning isn’t everything. Being there counts, too,” she says.

What do we need to show up for today? How hard do we have to work, and what might it cost us while we set the course for the rest of our journey?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book for Valentines' desperation

Ok, here's a GREAT giveaway in time for Valentines. You made it through your wedding with all its fuss, planning, and details. The photos came back and they show you two blissfully happy. Now you're wondering where the romance went, along with "Just the Two of Us facing Life Together!" Just in time for Valentine's, here's

Love and War
by John and Stasi Eldredge

The WaterBrook Multnomah website offers different options where to can purchase the book online:

Struggling in your marriage, or just want to make it better? This book offers sound advice, stories, and biblical truth for solid and loving marriage relationships. Remember the Eldredge bestseller Wild at Heart for guys? LOVE & WAR sets out to do the same for married couples everywhere.

With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic.

They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through.

LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.

Have fun - let me know if you NEED a copy of this book or know someone who would benefit from it.

The book was sent by the publisher for review.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

HOME: (how do you spell relief?)

When the time is right, the path opens up. I'm back home, studying and thinking about the way God works in his Church. One of my highest values from growing up in a family of "can do"-ers is egalitarianism. We define this value as the Body of Christ in action: each gift is used to benefit the whole, without regarding one person above the other. A few of the gifts I'm examining as part of my current study of missionary wives are below:

People with gifts of mercy and service often occupy the lowest tier of hierarchies, but they are foundational components of love and action in every community. "Worker bees" run the planet, whether or not they are self-motivated or innovators. Mercy-givers care for the hurting, nurture the wounded, and give encouragement to the weak and strong alike.

Pastors love people, study them, and serve them. Teachers are fascinated by their subjects of interest - they learn and explore before passing on their excitement. Many of them pursue wide-ranging studies, accumulating information from many sources.

Prophets who understand the direction God is moving may be the least popular. One pastor, in a sermon series on spiritual gifts laughingly said, "Those are the ones we avoid, banished to the corner of the room shouting, 'Hey, everyone! Can't you see what God is doing? How much more obvious could it be?'"

Givers connect the flow of God's abundance to the needs of the Church. Whether they have much or little, they are a conduit for resources, "stuff," and money. Faithful givers can be trusted to accept God's provisions without greed or favoritism for where God directs it.

Administration is another gift of the Spirit, no less valuable than others. Functioning as intended, sound administration pulls a group together for a common purpose and creates systems where the lowest positions can serve the whole Body with the same honor as the highest. Unhealthy administration supports hierarchy and status at the expense of good ideas and blocks people "without rank." Power unchecked strangles the lively flow, so dysfunctional and crippled organisms evolve.

Home as my own boss, I'm strategizing how best to utilize the hours for the tasks ahead. How will I stay connected to the Body and remain part of the flux of gifted relationships? Without input from frank friends and prophets, it would be easy to cobble together a life that is unbalanced or one-sided. I do have spiritual giants and mature companions whom I entrust with my journey. I'll be visiting you over a cup of tea soon!

Read more:
*For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:3-10 NIV

*Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him... The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. James 1: 2-5, 9-11 NIV

*My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:1-10 NIV

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Word of the Day, February 2: evanescent\ev-uh-NESS-unt\ adjective
Meaning: tending to vanish like vapor

Example Sentence: "Dance is the most evanescent of the arts, evaporating into memory the instant it's completed." (Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald, November 13, 2008)

I like today's word. In a way, leaving an office is inviting evanescence. Out of sight, out of mind, goes the saying. And that's a good thing.

Any of us who think we are "it" or irreplaceable are mistaken. No work can be done that isn't built on the foundations of others. And no work will not be overtaken by the ideas of others... unless of course the accomplishments are so trivial, transitional, or worthless that they vaporize entirely.

I enjoy change and opportunities to grow. There's something very satisfying about gaining new skills, watching an organization expand, and serving others in new ways. But after we've done our best, we can take great pleasure in watching the next person disassemble parts of our work and reassemble them to build something new. Throughout history, when civilizations are over-run, the new occupants examine the remains for materials to erect their homes, barns, and churches. In the same way, I expect the person who sits in my office to glance here and there for building blocks that suit them, while tossing the rubble that no longer fits.

"Will you miss your work?" asked a coworker anxiously this week. "Will you regret quitting and wish you were back at your desk?"

I grinned at her and replied, "Probably not." I have enjoyed meeting so many people and been given such pleasure in my job that I can think of nothing to add to this season. As I dust off my hands to move to the next thing, I am filled with great anticipation. If this was so much fun, what is next?

"Whatever it is, it won't just be sitting and looking at books," said someone today, who knows me very well. "I can hardly imagine you without a few irons in the fire." We'll see. Whatever the future looks like, I can hardly wait!

Read more:
*Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:25, 26, 28 NKJV

*A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Is. 40:3-5

*After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" Revelation 7:9-12 NIV