Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The First Evangelists

"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?' And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, 'Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." Mark 16:1-8

When Jesus started his ministry, he chose twelve men to disciple. Jesus spent three years living with these men; teaching them his ways. Others joined the group of followers; especially women, and therein lies the distinction. The twelve disciples were chosen by God, but these women chose God. It was their decision to follow him. So too, while the disciples cowered far away from the crucifixation and for days afterward, these women marched forward in courage once again, to anoint the body of their Teacher.

Jesus did not forget the courage and faith of these women, and he rewarded them well. It was the women who witnessed the miracle of the resurrection. The angel told the women to tell Peter that Jesus was going before them. Jesus was going before the women, and it was those bold women that the angel commanded to "Go Tell." The women became the first evangelists.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving - a day set aside to give thanks, but to whom are we giving thanks? This morning during my daily devotions, I wondered whether past societies had a time of thanksgiving as well. A quick internet search provided a plethora of information on harvest celebrations and days of thanksgiving where copious amounts of food are consumed with families and friends.

There is one realization universally shared by all. We are all aware of our mortality. Christians, Hebrews, Muslims, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus and even Atheists share one truth about life. We all live to die. So we set aside a time of thanksgiving, but to whom?

For instance, does the Pagan thank the turkey for his life? Does the New Age believer thank those from distant planets for our existence? Does the Agnostic thank both God and the sweet potatoes? And please, on this day of Thanksgiving - who does the Atheist thank - himself? No, that cannot be right. Thanking himself would place him as the godhead and the Atheist does not believe in any God.

For me, I thank God - the one and true God; God the father of Abraham and Jesus. I thank him for my salvation. I thank God for my family, home, job, health, and all the other blessings that keep me alive, loved and productive, and if I may - I would like to thank a few people on behalf of God.
  • Thank you to the terrorists for reminding my people to call on me in times of trouble.
  • Thank you to the Atheists for keeping my name in the press as you wrangle to remove my commandments from your courthouses.
  • Thank you to the newspapers for the free press as you report on the efforts to remove my name from your Pledge of allegiance.
  • Thank you to the liberals for reminding us of our custodial obligations to the earth.
  • Thank you to those who have stirred the controversy about Intelligent Design. You have provided your children a glimpse into an alternative to evolution.
  • Thank you to the scientists for outlining the complexity of the universe, and providing a glaring discrepancy with "The Big Bang Theory".
  • An finally, thank you to those who created the red and blue map of the United States. You have shown us all that America is still a country that honors ME.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Even a wise man's anger will cause him to act foolishly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The People Catalogue

"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? " Matthew 13:55 RSV

Do you remember the fat and clumsy child on the playground at recess? Do you remember the nerd? At work is there one person who just doesn't fit in? Did you know that Einstein was classified as mentally retarded because he could not speak by the age of four? Isaac Newton was classified as an occultist because of his theories on a force that could not been seen - gravity.

We all do it. We catalogue people to store them away in the proper place in our minds. When these people jump out of the box where we have placed them, or when their actions and personalities become clear to us in a way that challenges our catalogue process, we still will not let go of our judgments. In fact we become angry because they cause us to question our paradigm. We have closed our mind to their possibilities.

This is exactly what God meant when he said "Judge not lest you be judged." When we catalogue people, we may miss their wisdom, their kindness, their playfulness, their genius or even their plan of salvation.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Quiet Desperation

It seems as though many people live lives of quiet desperation. As I move from one stage to another, I am so saddened by the lack of joy in people's lives. I try to live a life of simplicity because I would rather have God than family, friends, a house or vacations. As a single mom, I work seven days a week balancing time between my employer, my children and household chores. Yet, I am happy most of the time.

Turning your life over to God is a sweet surrender. Suddenly the day to day striving is placed in the hands of someone else. And, who better to be in charge of your life but the creator of everything? It is the difference between treading water to keep from drowning and floating peacefully. It is the difference between driving like a maniac to get to work on time and a Sunday drive to check out the scenery.

When we surrender our lives to God, he immediately pushes up his sleeves and says, "OK now! You will see what I can do with your life. By choosing my will, you have released all the blessings I have held here for you. I promise that you will be dazzled! I will fill your life with peace and joy. Get ready for the ride of your life!"

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 RSV

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From My Prayer Journal

Dear Father -

I am loved by the most powerful force in the universe, and when I contemplate that great force taking notice of my insignificance, I am comforted under the shelter of your hand. I pray for your people. Fill them with your greatness - lend them your boldness - gird them with your possibilities. We are not your audience, passively watching your parade of great deeds. We are your soldiers fighting the good fight against evils that we cannot see or hear in the natural. We must take the next hill - the next mountain - and the land from your enemy.

The enemy has many faces - anger, hatred, pride, fear, insolence, sloth, vanity and more that remain clothed in secrecy. These faces are painted over like a clown's face so without your discernment we a lulled into believing that they do not exist. Please Father, rain your discernment over your seedlings so they may grow strong.

I am ready. Give me my marching orders. In Jesus' name. Jerusalem

Ezekiel 21

Sunday, November 06, 2005

What is God's Purpose for My Life?

All Christians struggle with this question, "What is God's purpose for my life?" This is a normal process for when you realize that Jesus has given you a guarantee of eternal bliss, you want to give something back. We know that our salvation is not based on our works, therefore, we cannot earn this guarantee of eternal bliss. No, salvation is instead based on choice; a decision. However, God made us a reciprocal being ( in his image), so naturally, we ask, "What is God's purpose for my life?"

Now history has shown that God has called some to leave their homes and families to seed a new land - Abraham. He has called some to challenge the prevailing authority to free mankind - Moses. To others he asked that they fight - David, and still others to set up a kingdom in peace - Solomon. He has called prophets - Deborah, and queens - Esther. He calls many to specific duties depending on his design. But dear Christian, there is something that he calls on us all to do.

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" Matthew 22:36-37 RSV
We are to have communion with God. Communion means talking to him, spending silent time with him, studying his word either through the Bible of through our spiritual leaders. Get to know God. Do you know why God loves us so much? Because he knows everything about us. We should strive to know God in the same way.

"And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39 RSV
God's direct commandment to us is to love our neighbor. We can love our neighbor by getting to know them and allowing them to know us. You cannot fill the needs of someone's until you know their hardships. Perhaps the person sitting next to you needs some exhortation - just knowing that someone cares. Perhaps they are hurting and need a kind word. Perhaps the person you see everyday has not been touched by a human being in months, and a hug will be remembered forever. We can feed, clothe and support the poor. We can give a single mother an evening to herself. There are many things we can do to foster love for our neighbor.

" But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama'ria and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8 RSV
Jesus commissioned us to spread his message of salvation to the world. This commission was declared over each and every Christian - that mean us. His seed lives in us, and like the good and faithful servant, we are to spread that seed to the rest of the world. Every soul we encounter has only one of two outcomes - heaven or hell. The next time you are standing in line in the grocery store, look at the person behind you; study their face. Will you see that face in heaven for eternity, or will that face spend eternity in eternal agony?

CCC - these are the purpose that God has laid out for our lives. He may never call us to any more than these three things, or he may charge us with more. But know dear Christian, that if you fulfill the three CCC's, you have completed God's purpose for your life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Parable

"To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God;" Luke 8:9 RSV

Chicago is my home town. When I was little, our family vacations were spent at a cabin hidden deep in the forests of the upper peninsula of Michigan. This cabin had no electricity, an outhouse and the only running water came from a pump. After our long drive from Chicago, my grandparents would greet us. They usually arrived a few days before our brood to clean and ready the cabin for our arrival, or perhaps, they just wanted a few days of quiet and solitude before our noisy bunch descended on them.

Presently, my grandmother would again lay out the rules about the red pump at the kitchen sink. "Keep the handle down after using the pump. If you leave the handle up, the pump will dry up and need to be primed again." Inevitably, one of us children would forget to leave the handle down, and when the next person wanted water nothing would come forth appearing as though the well beneath the pump had gone dry. In shame and trepidation, we would call Gramma to tell her that we had dried up the pump.

My Gramma was a sharp woman. Knowing that children will often forget the rules, she kept a pot of water on the back of the stove so she could 'prime' the pump once again. "Don't worry, the well is not dry. The pump just needs to be primed.", she would say. Then she would pour the water from the pot into the top of the pump while we vigourously pumped the handle up and down. Priming the pump took some time and quite a bit of effort, but she would always get it working again.

Today as I read Luke 8:9, I was reminded of this scene. Just like the pump, God's well of the Holy Spirit never dries up; it is always there deep within us waiting to be pumped out into the world. But to access that well, we need to be kept in the 'down' position after each use. We need to be on our knees in prayer, supplication and studying the Word of God so the Spirit will flow readily when it is needed by the world. If our spiritual handle is kept in the 'up' position - beliving in our own abilities instead of God's spirit - eventually it will appear that the well has gone dry. We will need to be primed once again, perhaps missing his perfect timing for the flow of His Spirit to the world.

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