Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am...

I am Batman's wife.
I am The Boy's and The Girl's mom.
I am an EMT.
I am F-town's ambulance captain.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am a best friend.
I am an aunt.
I am a girlie-girl.
I am my Daddy's child - the Father's little girl, apple of His eye.

Why isn't that last one first? Of the myriad of things that I identify myself as, why isn't the most important first on the list? Here's a story I can relate to, and maybe you can as well....

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:38-42.

Martha spend so much time being a good hostess (another identifier I strive for) that she misses it, yet Mary sits at His feet. She laid everything else aside. God said that her time at His feet was NEEDED. It's not just something nice to do, it is a necessity. Priorities.

My heart wants to get it all lined up the right way, but my persistance to get it done? Well, that's not really my strong suit. I read Luke 11:9-13 - ask, SEEK, knock - then jumped up a couple verses and read. This is when I seemed to "get it" a little more. This clicked for some reason.

Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'

"Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." - Luke 11:5-10

I say to my friends, "call me anytime you need me - even if it's the middle of the night!!" And I do mean it. Really. But, in all reality, they will probably have to be pretty persistent about it. They'll have to call at least twice. My phone is in the living room - far far away from my sleeping head so my brain cells don't fry, but close enough to hear through a sleep induced fog. Probably. So, this little excerpt in Luke about Friend A going to Friend B's house at midnight grabbed me. That act in itself is pretty persistent. I can't picture myself showing up on your doorstep at midnight needing something. Eight or nine o'clock and needing a place to crash, you bet! Midnight, not so much. BUT, if I did get that far, I imagine that I'd keep banging on the door til I got my answer, just like Friend A did on Friend B's door. And, "I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs." ... Immdediately following that verse is God's instruction to ask - keep asking, SEEK, by all means, keep seeking! Keep knocking. Persistence may not be everything, but it sure is a lot.

Did you screw up or falter today? Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and keep seeking. He WILL be found. That much I do know.  I am The Father's daughter, and I will seek Him.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lesser Lovers

Recently, God has been speaking to us about our time, our hearts, and our affections. A dear friend was in town and cautioned us about having "lesser lovers." Lesser lovers?!?! What?!

Reading, surfing the net (Facebooking!) racing, keeping "house", etc. - there is nothing wrong with any of these activities, but when they become more important than my time and relationship with God, they are out of order - they are lesser loves. Not one of them is even remotely as worthy as God, but taking my time and attention and affection nonetheless. This morning I picked up my devotions and read this:


I've been reading through the book of judges - or rather, reading a chapter now and then as time and memory allow (you know how it goes) - and recently the opening line of chapter 13 got my attention: "Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight..." It was the again that jumped out at me. Obviously there was a pattern developing there, but I'd been reading the book so slowly that I'd lost track of the thematic thread.

So, I skimmed back through Judges from the beginning and realized what I'd been missing was a phrase that's used over and over to introduce each new episode - "Again the Israelites did evil" (see Judges 3:7, 12; 4:1-2; 6:1; 10:6-8; etc.) - always paired with this curios little phrase: "So the Lord handed them over to [insert enemy here]." This is significant. The point isn't just that the Israelites kept messing up. The point is that every time they did, they lost their freedom.

How many agains are to be encountered in our lives? We turn away, and God steps in and helps us - He brings people into our lives who tell us the truth, for example - and for awhile we repent and attempt to get ourselves on track. But then the material attractions of the world glitter before our eyes, or we receive the attentions of popular people, and before long we are no long interested in spiritual things but start chasing after the things of this world. Again is a lifestyle, an ongoing pattern of resistance to the living God. And it's not without consequences: Sooner or later He turns us over to the things we crave. He hands us over to other masters who do not love us - to what we thought we wanted.

Are material possessions what you're chasing after? Fine, God says - I'll hand you over to those things until you're a modern-day slave trapped in bondage to credit card debt. Is it sexual pleasure that you crave? Okay, God says - I'll hand you over to every indulgence until you can no longer feel anything at all. Or what about romance? Sure, God says - I'll hand you over to another human being until you experience how similar love can be to hatred in the end. Is it popularity you want? Go for it, God says. I'll hand you over to your heroes until you can no longer speak or breath without needing their permission.

And so on and so forth. How many agains are they re to be in my life before I recognize my worthless idols for what they are?

Judges 13:1
Hmm... What in my life is a lesser lover? What is keeping me from taking that time with my King? What is my "again"? Am I so consumed throughout the week with making my house what I feel it should be? Cleaning, or laundry, or dishes, or school work? Other peoples children? Recouping from the weekend for the first half of the week and preparing for the weekend for the second half? What am I allowing to take precedence over that quiet time with the Father? My time to worship, to listen, to feed, to pray, to draw near to His heart?

I don't want any lesser loves in my life. I want "again" to cease being a lifestyle.