Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In the Daylight

"Come to me," he beckons. "I will warm you when times are dark and cold. Come you beautiful moth to the light I offer. I will give you the good things you desire."

"I don't know...should my affections be tied to you? You are everywhere I go. You are also with everyone I see. Why do you desire me?"

"I am the vessel God will use to bless you. Stand close. If I were filthy would I smell so clean. Give me your hand. I have gifts that I will adorn your beautiful skin with. You are so soft. Does my touch feel uncaring? Do my words hurt you? Let me in. There are love songs I wish to sing to you, to tie you to me forever. Bring your children, I have gifts for them and together we will teach them of God."

So I went to him, bringing my children. How sweet his lips were- sweet as honey. We ate and sang. Oh, how he smelled! I curled up in his arms and breathed him in. What a sensual night! Under a green tree I laid with him and worshipped God.

"The pleasure you feel right now," he whispered close in my ear,"is really God's pleasure with you and I am what He has used to bless you." I was intoxicated. We gave gifts to my children and they were giddy with excitement. Through me he explained how these good gifts represent God's good gift of salvation. He carried me to bed that night exhausted in my pleasure.

As the light dawned, I awakened to find him gone. Deflated... I walked through the house remembering the beauty of the night before but looking at the filthy aftermath. I wondered where he went. Like a vapor he was gone. Thoughts of the sweetness of his mouth were interrupted by the bitter pain in my stomach. The children awoke and excitedly began playing with their gifts. I was missing him sorely so as my husband made breakfast I played his songs. In the dark of the cold night his melodies had lifted my spirit but now in the light of day they seemed flat and hollow. The bewitching lyrics just seemed simple. I went to my bedroom to adorn myself with his gifts. Clothes. Just clothes. I had hoped it would feel more like his arms. As I buttoned the soft sweater my children came in with commotion fighting over each other's gifts. The youngest came in crying because her toy had already broken. I exhaled and realized my sweater was missing a button.

"Breakfast!" my husband called.

We sat down and he prayed thanking God for the lovely gifts He gave to us the night before.

"Amen," we said.

"What's wrong?" he asked.
"My sweater is already missing a button," I mumbled.
"What! For the price I paid it should've lasted years!" he said with frustration.
"Yeah, and my toy won't work," whined the youngest.
"I wish I had his gift,"replied my son motioning to his brother's present.
"Well, it's mine," taunted my oldest.
"Just eat your breakfast!" stormed my husband. "I work hard for gifts fit for the trash..." he fumed under his breath.

We ate in silence.

The house was heavy so I escaped for a walk. My neighbors' trash called out that he had been with them. What did he tell them? Did they receive gifts like mine? Better ones? Worse? Why did my atheist neighbor's trash reflect his visit? He told me we were worshipping God. Why then did he visit them too?

"I visit whoever will receive me," hissed a voice from behind me. I turned to see an unattractive man clothed in rags, wearing chains of gold and silver around his neck. With his dirty nails and ringed fingers he grabbed my sweater where the button was missing and commented on the missing button. "Cheap," he smirked.

"You gave it to me," I retorted.

"No, dearie, your husband did! He used me to get it for you." He stepped closer and gripped my waist, trying to walk with me as a lover. "Tell me, are the children more grateful than you for the gifts I gave?" Wrapping his arms tightly around my waist, he whispered with sarcasm, "Do they understand the mystery of God's gift of salvation better today than yesterday?"

I shoved him away reeling from the stench of his breath and his mocking words.

"You're such a pretty little moth. You liked my light and came to me. You did not see my web. Oh, how you struggled. So I came and soothed your panic with my promises of pleasure... that to be in my web is to worship your God! And now you are wrapped in my chains and your children are following you! I will devour you like rust on iron, rot on food, fire on chaff! Who can save you from my clutches?"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nicholas

In the prophets, the angels that were the messengers of God did not allow the prophets to worship them, claiming to be fellow workers alongside man. All men who were righteous did not allow worship or following of themselves but pointed to God with their words and actions.

If old Nicholas was truly a lover of Jesus Christ, I would think that what has been done to the memory of him would horrify him. To recreate him as an all-knowing, eternal, equal to the Creator and Redeemer of the world in such a way as to share a day of worship would be completely disgusting to Nicholas the man.

If Nicholas were not repulsed at our current reality, then he is no saint at all. For a Christ follower, to share a day for the Son of God with this man - whether saint or sinner - is abhorrent.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Breath of Trees

To walk among the breath of trees
And hear the soft cymbal of their leaves.

The birds they sing not unto me
For they would sing even if alone in their tree.

The cicadas chatter while the frogs chirp
And I breath in deep their breath and smell of dirt.

The sweet fellowship I feel in trees
Is not with them but the Maker of them and me.

All the great cathedrals man has made
Seem all quite dead while in this place.

The living music and sustaining breath
Sooth my soul from the things of death.

The smell of exhaust is far from me
As they shield me from the stench and heat.

The incense of their breath rises continually
As a pleasant smell to Him and me.

To worship while in the breath of trees
And to hear the soft cymbal of their leaves.

Oh, the sanctuaries God has made
That rise to Him day after day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Conversation

"What cha got there?"

"Ha. This. This is my life."

"Really? It looks more like a burden."

"You said it would be, 'Take my burden upon you...'"

"So you're carrying this for me?"

"Well, yes...I gave my life to you."

"You don't look like it."

"WHAT! I can't believe you'd say that. This is the best I can do. If you think I'm doing so poorly you could help me here. Matter of fact, I've asked you many times to help. Where have you been?! This life you've given me is pushing me into the grave!"

"Are you talking about the burden you call mine?"

"Yes! This burden. Your burden! Why do you act so surprised? I guess you haven't been with me."

"No. I've been here. I've answered you but you're so full of straining and talking that you haven't heard me. So I decided to stand by you until you wear yourself out and get quiet. I see you have, so now we can talk."

"Talk? What about this burden that I carry? I need help."

"Let go of it."

"Let go? But I want to be helpful for you. I want to be used by you."

"You're clinging to a burden that is not mine."

"Yes it is."

"No. It isn't. Take it off your back and let's look through this bundle and see if it's mine."

"Ok...?"

"You've got a lot of stuff in here. Tell me what's mine because I don't recognize any of this."

"Who are you? This is your stuff! See? Here's church stuff...volunteer stuff... my ministry..."

"What's all these trinkets?"

"What trinkets?"

"Let's see... programs, technology, money- this stuff looks like ceasar's because I have not asked you to carry this."

"It's these programs, technology, and money that get people in the door to hear about you."

"So, I'm boring to you?"

"What?"

"When I walked in flesh on this soil I did not use curb appeal. Why are you? You're getting the wolves attention with all these bells and whistles and then you dress them in sheepskin and call them sheep. They like to be called sheep. It makes them feel nice, but watch out. They will devour you. This burden is not from me. My sheep hear my voice. Let's put this in the get rid of pile."

"But..."

"Now here's an interresting pile. You hold it close to you... pride, vanity, material gain, accolades, self esteem- hey! Here's something I gave you! Your family. You had it under a lot of junk. As for the rest of this stuff it's all going to burn up one day. You might as well get rid of it now. So here. Hold the one thing out of this bundle of burdens that I did give you and stand."

"Just this?"

"Is it still to heavy? Your burden?"

"No. It seems too light. What will others say? I mean, I was used to carrying such a heavy load that I don't feel like you are using my full potential."

"Stand up...stand up straight."

"I'm trying. This is as straight as I can go."

"You've had a strange way of walking. Your burdens have atrophied certain muscles I intended for you to have, like humility- because you are broken, confidence- because I redeemed you, patience- for my timing and progress, stillness and silence- while you wait for my word. When you're strong enough to stand with your family then I will place upon you my yoke, which is light. It is not a bag of burdens but a yoke. And when the task is too heavy I will tie you to others who have my yoke and you will pull and strain together- not for your own glory but for mine."

"What about all these people that are depending on me?"

"Were you pointing them to me or have you collected them for yourself? Are they mine or yours? And if they are mine why do you worry so? Do you think me cruel? Did I purchase men's souls with my very life to waste them now? I save and I keep. Now practice standing right. Don't pridefully hunch over with burden. Stand up tall and humble. Now practice walking to me and for only me, and when you are strong I'll wear you out!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas

I have kept Christmas for the past sixteen years. Last year we kept it halfway omitting the gift side of it. This year we have decided to pull out of it completely. I would like to share with all who will read, my reasons why. I have wrestled with doing this because many of my loved ones, who love God, are emotionally attached to this day. I share my thoughts because I do not believe in relative truth. Good intentions do not make something true or right.

I haven't met anyone yet that denies the pagan origins and symbols of Christmas, but most will argue that they do not celebrate the pagan part. (If you do not know the origins of Christmas simply Google "Origins of Christmas".) My questions are: Will God accept this form of worship? Can we rewrite history in order for a practice to please God? If I teach that the tree is a symbol of God's everlasting love for us instead of a pagan fertility symbol does that make the tree a good and pleasing object to express worship?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." I believe the Scripture Paul was referring to was the Old Testament because the New Testament was being written.

In Deuteronomy God warns his people through Moses to not worship Him in pagan ways.
"These are the statutes and judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their alters and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down their engraved images of their gods, and you shall obliterate their name form that place. You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God." Deut. 12:1-4
"When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying,'How do these nations serve their gods, that I may do likewise?' You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God..." Deut. 12:29-31

The Catholic church integrated the pagan practices of December 25th as a way to extend its empire. The Puritans opposed Christmas and kept it out of their American colonies. Christmas was not mainstreamed in America until the mid-late 1800's. These truths are greatly concerning.

Another alarming aspect is that non-Christians celebrate this day also. Why? How can fresh water and salt water come from the same fountain?

The trial every year is to "keep Christ in Christmas". To get the kids more excited about giving than getting, to desire the story of Jesus more than the gifts under the tree. Our efforts are as futile as me taking my husband to a nudey club (I know "nudey" sounds juvenile but I just can't call it a "gentleman's club") and telling him to look only at me. Christmas is tantalizing and appeals to all our senses while tickling our love of the world. Its practices set us up to sin while its ministers cry "Peace!Peace!" (Jeremiah 6:13-15, 7:1-11)

I fear Christmas seals the wrong emotional image of our Savior in our minds and in the minds of our children. The babiness of the Word made flesh may make us fell soft and cuddly inside but this is not the image the Bible capitalizes on nor leaves us with. When the prophets saw our Christ they became like dead men, undone, unable to eat for days, fearful and bowing uncontrollably. May our minds be sealed with the last image our Bible gives us of our Savior so that we may truly worship Him...

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh he has this name written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16
Revelation 22:12-21

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pursuing A Curse

Have you ever wondered why Christians can adamantly oppose the releasing of control over the womb to the sovereignty of God. The assumption is that because we know how to control it that we must control it. We pray for the blessings of God on our life- yet refuse even the possibility of receiving one of His blessings.

Have you ever wondered why we spend our life on acquiring that which hinders our journey through heaven's door?

We ask for God's blessings and then refuse them, so that we can chase that which keeps us from Him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Setting Affections

I went to the LeBonhuer Minor Med on Goodman a few weeks ago with my son (he broke his pinkie toe). Upon leaving, the manager of the clinic -who is the sweetest and most caring older woman I've ever known ;)- gave me a free parenting magazine. When I got home I was skimming the article titles. It had topics such as "How to get your kids to eat healthy" and "Ways to get your kids to exercise". A few of the suggestions were 1)parents set a good example of healthy eating habits, 2)ways to sneak fresh fruit and veggies in their food, 3) how to motivate them to try new food. As for exercising it was suggestions like "have friends over for them to play with". I chuckled and thought, "Other countries must think we're CRAZY!" The societies where food is limited if they were to read our articles, would find our efforts to make our children eat absurd. "Make your kids try new food? Let them get hungry." They would no doubt say. If our ancestors who worked hard on farms and factories from a young age were to see that our children are so lazy and/or emotionally or creatively handicapped that they cannot even muster up the strength to play outside, I'm sure they would be depressed at the "progress" of the future.

The problem with today's American culture is that we have set our children's affections on that which destroys them. The goals and indulgences that we place before them oppose a satisfying life. I think everyone has a comfort food or activity that they default to when stressed, depressed, or want to celebrate. For instance, the meal that brings the most feelings of happy and satisfying nostalgia is the summer vegetable dinner. We had a garden when I was a child. I loved it. I loved being in it, picking the vegetables, weeding with my mom, the smell and coolness of the dirt after my dad would till it... If you place before me fried okra, squash, sliced tomatoes, beans, corn bread, and deviled eggs and on top of that have the windows open and an attic fan pulling in the summer night air... Oh sweet comfort. Or if the wind blows just right, and the temperature is just so, and the sky is a certain color of blue, and the clouds are a specific type of fluffiness- you will find me laying in the grass (preferably a clover patch) not caring that the bugs are on me. My affections were set at a young age to cherish it and desire it more than any inside activity.

To program our children that "Kid's Meals" are an acceptable habit is to set them up for a very limited palate for pleasure that destroys their bodies. Eating healthy will feel like punishment and they will struggle with obesity, constipation, sickness, depression and fatigue- and then to feel comfort from these ailments they will eat the food they were programmed to like and worsen their condition. We cannot tie up their creativity with TV, video games,and toys with bells and whistles and then expect them to have the ability to imagine or create. Those things captivate in an unnatural way and that which contains no life at all holds their affection.

Dead food + dead activities = the death of the individual = the death of great societies.

I pray we rise up and choose life. Do not burden yourself with the pleas of your children to remain in a state of death. Love them better.