Monday, November 29, 2010

unpacking. . . and repacking

We just returned from a whirlwind road trip-almost 3,000 miles on new tires (says my dear husband). . .to Indiana and home to Texas with Memphis and Dallas sandwitched in. . .
hmmm, Thanksgiving with Brett and Rachel. . .and November in Indiana-I need to modify my camera techiniques (or finish knitting up those fingerless gloves!)
Rachel and I divided up the meal prep, soberly critiqued our pie crusts. . .
And as always, we ate left over pie for breakfast the next morning-pie for breakfast in Indiana!

And now I'm unpacking, washing, sorting, repacking; in 2 days I'll be off again, to California, for awhile. Part of me wants to hunker down here at home, in my own bed, my own kitchen, with my church-here.
California-God has opportunities for me there, and people for me there.
And it will be good. . .it all depends on my perspective, you know.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepaed beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-7 (Parable)

Sometimes I read a portion of Scripture and it's asthough God is saying, "This part here, belongs especially to you!"
The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18: 23-35 is for me. . .I think.
The context of the parable is Peter's question to Jesus, "How often should I forgive when my brother sins against me?"
And then Jesus tells the parable. . .Remember how the gracious king forgave the first servant zillions, then the same servant forgot the kings great mercy to him; he was harsh , demanding, unmerciful to the second servant who owed him peanuts. Shocking! Who could ever behave that way? we ask.
Wicked Servant!
This parable is so powerful for me-it's about me, about you. I owe zillions to my great King, and He tells me to forgive peanuts. . .
Why is forgiveness so hard?
It's hard. . .because I forget the parable-forget that it's so personal.
Remember, Soul, no one has sinned against me to the extent that I have sinned against the Saviour.
So-read the parable, apply it personally, and notice. . .God will not overlook an unforgiving spirit (vs 35).

(for yet another post-Pitfalls and Provisions)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-6 (Price)

Problem continued. . .
God's instruction is clear; I keep putting it before me, "forgive one another as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13)
Soul, Why is it so hard?
"For God to forgive is something great; for us to forgive, though some think it great, should be regarded as a very small thing." (said a wise person)
Forgiveness costs us something-it's hard because I think the price is too great!
we know saving grace is free, lavish-but down in our hearts, we want eye for eye justice; we're hard wired that way-forgiveness offends our sense of justice! (have you ever noticed?)
So, forgiveness God's way requires me to accept with grace the wrongs others commit against me-and not demand what I think is my just due.
Ah, how quickly my wandering heart forgets that it cost God to forgive me-it cost Him the death of his son. . .so-when the price seems too great, remind yourself, "God did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all" (Rom 8:32)
Remember Soul, for me to forgive should be regarded as a very small matter. . .
(for another post-more about the Problem in a Parable)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-5 (Problem)

". . .forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13)

So-I shouldn't be confused, God says: Forgive! here's your model in the flesh-Jesus!
and here's my grace- sufficient! (2 Cor 9:8)
Then why is it so hard?
We live in a sinned cursed world with sinners; when we are treated wrongfully, it hurts. . .the problem is real.
There's Pain
"The whole law is fulfilled in one Word, Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not comsumed by one another" (Gal 5:14,15)
Yikes! What a warning. . .in this life our relationships are mixed up and painful; we grow weary under the burden. But Jesus inivites us to unload the weight of the burden, "Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble and you shall find rest for your souls." (Matt 11:28-29)
And right here I must staple the Gospel to my pain; I remind myself, "No one has sinned against me to the extent that I have sinned against the Savior."

So, what if I grant forgiveness but the painful, hurt feelings linger, linger. . . ?
Remember- forgiveness involves a deliberate choice that goes contrary to our feelings. The moment those feelings surface, I must choose to put off the hurt feelings, choose to set aside the offense and desire the best for the offender, choose to discipline my mind, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Phil 4:8)
Keep acting on the truth and trusting that my emotions will follow.
And there's more. . .more, best saved for another post.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-4 (Promise)

Did you know that God's Pattern of forgiveness includes a promise?
"I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. . .I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25, Jer 31:34)
"He casts all our sins behind his back." (Isaiah 38:17)
"As far as the east is from the west He removes our transgressions from us." (Ps 103:12)
In thoughts, attitudes, actions we sin daily against our God-infact every sin I commit is an assault against God's infinite glory!
But God has gone on record: I choose not to remember your sins-so we must go on record. Have you ever noticed that forgiveness is an emotionally charge subject??
But forgiveness is a promise, not a feeling-"When God forgives he doesn't just sit in heaven and emote." (says Jay Adams!)
God chooses not to remember, "I will not bring up these matters to you or to others in the future; I will never use these sins against you."

How might this look for you and me?
So, welcome to my imaginary house- Mr. Hardworking Husband and his Dear Wife live here. . . ( anybody-me, you, friend, neighbor)
Mr. Hardworker is a good man, he loves and serves his family; one day rain beats down on the old house, leaking through the window, dripping down the wall.
And Mr. Hardworker tells Dear Wife, "Darling, assuredly, I will fix that window leak this weekend!"
However, Mr. Hardworker forgets and the rain batters that leaky window-again.
"Dear Wife, forgive me-assuredly, I'll do the job this weekend."
"I forgive you", she says.
Now then, Mr. Hardworker works hard and he plays hard- the sun shines all weekend, he plays frisbee golf with friends (or just maybe he's out on his bicycle?)
Again he delays the job, again the rain washes through, again he humbly asks his dear wife's forgivness.
"I forgive you," she says. . . "but-I knew this would happen, just like last year. . ."
Remember Soul, God has gone on record, I choose not to remember your sins-and so you and I must go on record. . .
(more "P's" to follow)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

winding yarn and a little project

So- many big things are invading my life these days, but today I'm taking pleasure in a few small things-like I bought a red watch band for my very old watch and I'm winding yarn by hand-
The spinner at the yarn shop winds nice flat "yarn cakes" - when dropped they don't roll under the furniture. . .but today- the repetitive motion, winding, winding, creating this cushy soft ball of yarn-hmmm, nice.
And this yarn is so lovely, Cascade 220 superwash wool-and such a good deal.
I'm planning a little girl hat for a baby soon to be born, to be named Thora. A wool hat for a Texas baby? Really, Texas has some cold winter days- besides, a girl named Thora must have roots in the northland. . .
When she visits her grandmother up north, she will wear this hat
. . .I imagine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-3 (Pattern)

Week after week I studied biblical forgiveness. . .and I was confronted over and over with my lovely Saviour, Jesus-the perfect Pattern of forgiveness (hmmm, God knew I needed instructions and a pattern).
So-if you want to know how to forgive. . . Look at Jesus.
Among many, here's 4 pieces to the pattern:
Motive-God's motive in forgiveness is love- lavish undeserving love.
"for you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you" (Ps 86:5)
"If God so loved us, we also ought to love oneanother" (1 Jn 4:11)
When I struggle to forgive, I lack love; "Let love be genuine" (Rom12:9)
God, help me to grow in love!
Attitude-Jesus is kind, tenderhearted (Eph 4:32), humble (not aloof), bearing with us patiently. When someone asks my forgiveness, I'm tempted to think, Does she really mean it? or I will forgive when I see fruit. But Jesus is never suspicious of motives.
Amount-Peter asked Jesus a question about amount in Matt 18:21, "Jesus, how many times do I forgive my brother?" But the pattern of Jesus in forgiveness is not about measuring amount, rather His divine pattern is habitual forgiveness without limit (1 Jn 1:9). Soul, How many times a day does Jesus forgive me? How about repeat offenders? Remember, we are all repeat offenders against God!
Rebuild-Jesus demonstrates a pattern of forgiveness followed by reconciliation. Our Saviour is tenderhearted to repentant sinners-He forgives and reconciles us to Himself. Now then, I'm tempted to forgive and then move on to form a new friendship; but with Jesus it's not forgive and forget that person. Jesus forgives, draws us close, and rebuilds. (what about me?)
Look hard at Jesus, our amazing pattern.
(and for next time. . .yet another "P"!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-2 (Purpose)

Regular heart examination is good for my soul, so-
Soul, What should be my purpose (or motive) in granting forgiveness?
Well, it's not to feel good about myself.

not so that others may like me
not so that I'll sleep at night
not so that others will whisper about me, "Ah, what a good woman!"
But I'm a Christ follower, and God commands me to forgive, "even as Christ forgave so you must do" (Colossians 3:13 NKJ)
And when I obey God's commandment to forgive, then I honor and please the Lord who loved me enough to die for me-pleasing the Lord, that's what my life is all about, right? (2 Cor 5:9)
By granting forgiveness I do good to another-I lift the burden and actively love my neighbor as myself-and my own heart is affected; have you ever noticed how granting forgiveness humbles our proud hearts-truly humble. . .that's a good place to be.
Finally, by granting forgiveness I adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour (Titus 2:10)
hmmm, to display the beauty of the Gospel. . .a worthy purpose and pursuit, indeed.
(And of course, there's more!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness (1)

Last month I had a teaching opportunity for a women's gathering-I spoke about forgiveness.
Aye-the topic is vast, like the mighty ocean; but I was happy to be there. . . teaching my own heart.
So, forgiveness is about the resolution of conflict-
I often pass a highway billboard which displays a company of steadfast, purposeful men, arms folded, men in white shirts, urging me to call about accidents, injuries, wrongfulness. (is that really a word??) These billboard men claim to have the answers to resolving my conflicts. . .but they don't.
the answer is here:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:32)
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you. . .(Col 3:13)
If anyone has a complaint (do you ever have a complaint?) forgive (how?) as God in Christ forgave . . .
Really, how we live out forgiveness rests on what we believe about God (Ps 130: 34)
And the answer lies in the Gospel of forgiveness-Ah, yes, the Gospel!. . .on the cross Jesus spilled the blood of God to appease the wrath of God; He was shamed, tortured, abandoned by God the Father; He suffered, bled, died. And then Jesus conquered death; he rose from the grave that people (you and me) may have peace with God through the blood of the cross.
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col 1:13-14)
And that's how Jesus forgives: lavish, gracious, abounding, unexplainable
I'm thinking. . .Really-how God forgives is the most important truth any human considers. . .
(and there's more!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

"tieso como viejo. . ."

Autumn arrived, daylight savings ended-and light casts new shadows on the wood floors at my house (how I love the windows!)
John meets with 2 young men on Monday mornings -5:30 AM; they're reading The Trellis and the Vine (C. Marshall, T. Payne)
Sunday nights I pull the coffee maker out of the closet, measure the coffee and water; in the morning my husband, a non coffee drinker, just presses the button.
This morning I sat in my room reading Psalm 37. . ."The steps of a man are established by the Lord. . .when he falls he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand."
And I was enjoying the low rumble of masculine voices, an occasional hearty laugh (my husband!) I can tell, John is loving this opportunity to be with the young men-to pursue the gospel, ministry, communty. . .
At 7 AM he bent to kiss me before leaving for school, "How are you?" I asked.
"tieso como viejo" (stiff like and old man), he answered
"Me too. . .tiesa como vieja", I told him.
hmmm, I'm remembering the pattern of life with our good King, "I have been young and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken" (Ps 37:25)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mr. & Mrs. Tippey cook. . . and invite

Yesterday Brett and Rachel moved to Indiana-
just 4 months ago, in the heat of summer, they each moved from Spain to make Texas home for awhile.
for Rachel- home was with Luke and Gabrielle and the kids.
for Brett- home was here at 2305 with John and me.
they've blessed our lives. . . and now home is with each other.

Brett cooked for us on Saturday-Chicken Carbonara, yu-ummm!
Raul, our banker, joined us for dinner-the Tippeys invited him.
I'm so glad they did- it was a great evening.
And Brett and Rachel cooked for John and me on Tuesday.
in the afternoon our neighbor, Julia, dropped by with a wedding gift for the Tippeys-they invited Julia for dinner; I'm so glad they did-it was a great evening.
God speed, Mr. & Mrs. Tippey-have a good life.
We will miss you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

washing up. . .and notes on hospitality

After the pleasure of house guests, there's plenty of washing up-sheets, towels, pie plates, cake pans, coffee pots (mmm, can a woman have too many coffee pots?), but you know, I like laundry, and it's good to be home, working.Sometimes I think my hospitality efforts are a bit clumsy-(or maybe I just compare what I have to offer with another woman whose home is better equipped for gracious entertaining??) Clumsy or not, I love the opportunity- besides, God tells me, Be hospitable!
So-here's what I do:

1. I invite lots of folks over during the fall and spring when it's neither scorching or freezing at 2305; I serve soup in the winter and salad and ice cream in the summer.

2. I put guests to work- "Slice the tomatoes or wash the dishes however you choose", I tell them.
Recently I came home from a round of errands and discovered our new friend, Sara, in the kitchen stirring a pot of chocolate ganache for the wedding cake. Good! Naomi and Jamey gave Sara a job-stirring, not too hard, one can talk and stir. . . such a nice wedding week memory.

3. I'm okay with what falls through the cracks-"Mom, that's what makes your hospitality work!"
I'm grateful for my girl's assurance. . .