Saturday, December 15, 2012

Morning Hour

Perhaps it's normal that we Christians react to the horrible killings in CT (and stabbings in China) by begging the Lord to come back and take us out of this rotten world. Naturally, we are scared for our children and grans to any longer navigate the mess Satan has made! "Please, come take us to heaven as we hold our kids tightly!" That's my first response too.

But you know, it isn't just about us. If he were to come back today, what would happen to those sucked down into this rotten mess?

Jesus grieves not only for the broken-hearted families, but also for the sick ones captured by Satan to coldbloodedly kill. These evildoers are reprehensible in our eyes; at the same time, we must remember that a merciful, tender Savior loves them (Rm 5:8)- with no apologies. And he has asked his own request of us: "Will you make time to introduce ME to those without hope? Will you look outside your own world, to reach out to those who may, without me, become murderers?"


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Morning Hour

Say the word "leadership" to most any Christian woman and she'll immediately croak, "Oh, no, not me - I could never stand up in from of a bunch of women and teach a Bible class!!"

That narrow definition of this word has caused many Christian sisters to hunker down in the pew and try to avoid being noticed, lest someone pressure them to be a "leader." What a shame!

As far as I'm concerned, leadership is going to happen whether we think it can or not. It's not a matter of furiously studying Scripture so one can be a scholar and refute false doctrine. A leader is not someone who appears to be perfect: serenely drifting through life with everything under control, spouting verses/visions at the rest of us.

Evie didn't pretend to be a scholar. Reared as a Catholic, she began questioning her parish priest about various teachings as she became more and more serious about the Lord. Dissatisfied with his non-answers, she and her husband sought other sources, hoping to clarify the muddy water. Soon they realized that the Word was where they needed to concentrate their energies - and in doing so they found Jesus Christ!

Evie evolved into a leader because of her determined pursuit of the Lord. She couldn't reel off scripture references like a personified concordance, nor did she pronounce all the Old Testament names correctly; as a matter of fact, she knew next to nothing about the "old book." She called first and second Timothy one Timothy, and two Timothy, and so on. But ... her joy bubbled over on all of us. She delighted in learning about God's word. She was so alive to Jesus! We wanted to be like her. We wanted her thirst for the living water. We wanted her pure, humble adoration for the Savior. We wanted her kindness, her non-judgmental attitude. We wanted to become like this ordinary woman who tried her best to be like the Son of God. I give thanks for Evie, the influencer, the leader.

Leadership sometimes consists of nudging others. Typically we define a leader as one who proclaims, "I know what I'm doing - just get behind me and step in my footprints." Producing clones is leadership? How boring (and unscriptural)! Surely the Creator of individuality must yawn at that definition! A genuine leader, because she loves her sisters, constantly nudges (sometimes even harasses) them to stretch beyond the safe zone, to reach for maturity in the Lord, to realize that leadership is demonstrated in many different ways because of the multi-faceted gifts given to Christian women.

I fondly remember an older lady who led - just quietly and unobtrusively. Left with several young children to raise by herself, she set about doing it, looking to God for every day's strength. She had to live frugally; she pinched every penny until it squawked, from necessity, not from stinginess. Each child graduated from college because of mom's determination and help. After her children were launched, all busy in the kingdom, this mother began traveling with mission groups, telling about her Savior. She continued to do so well into her 70s. She never, ever said, "I've done my time, let the younger ones ... (teach those kids, prepare that meal, seek the lost). Without question, this unassuming daughter of God led throughout her life just as powerfully as those whose names are known by all. God used her to lead.

Daughters of God: if you will kindle a passion for the Lord, if you determine to follow hard after him - wherever, if you choose to love him and other people sincerely, if you decide to obey him with all your might - God will use you as a light in this world - a leader. He is waiting.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

John 4 Jesus and the Samaritans

After the Samaritans saw with their own eyes this man claiming to be the Messiah, something incredible happened:

"They begged him to stay in their village."
A wonder among wonders!!! Samaritans inviting a Jew to live with them. For this is the implication of the word, "stay" - not just visit, but live with them! Did they fight over who got the honor of having him as a guest?

When I was a child our church families took turns hosting the current preacher and his family for Sunday dinner. I don't recall anyone ever fighting over who would get to entertain them most often. Rather, it seemed more a duty, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the deed was accomplished. The woman of the house felt pressured to spread an extra fine meal on the table, so she fried, baked and stewed right up until church time on Sunday morning. That didn't include the furious cleaning she and the children did for days.

The poor preachers were good fellows. They, their wives and kids were well-liked for the most part. They were perceived, however, to be larger than life. Men of the cloth appeared to be pretty much perfect, and blessed with a calling we could not aspire to. We viewed no minister as a "regular guy." I mean, they wore suits with white shirts and ties!! So, we weren't comfortable rubbing elbows with them. I suspect, unlike the Samaritans, we wouldn't have anticipated hosting the Lord any more than feeding the preacher, because our perception of him was likely skewed too.

I'm glad I don't view preachers now like I did as a child. I know they're regular guys. I know their calling from God doesn't make them out of touch with the rest of us - I realize they don't even have to wear suits and ties! I know they like to eat great food just as the rest of us do, but they'll also settle for a baloney sandwich. And they're just as pleasant to visit with as any ordinary person!

What I'm most glad about is my different view of the Savior. I can see myself chatting with him in my home. I can almost see his kind eyes, the love reaching out to me from his countenance. His easy, relaxed manner, his openness and honesty invite me to know him better. And above all, his offering me the bubbling spring of eternal life, just because he loves me, makes me bow in adoration. Praise his name! i>

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Morning Hour

John 4 The Samaritan Woman

25: "I know the Messiah is coming ..." the woman said to the man sitting beside Jacob's well.

26: "I Am the Messiah!" he declares.

At that moment Light and Truth dawned upon this woman of Samaria!
Once when Jim was studying with a friend of ours, he pointed out from Romans that salvation is a free gift to us from God, impossible for anyone to earn.
She sat there a moment, then said in a wondering voice, "Jim, that's too good to be true." He replied, "Now, you're catchin' on!!" And Light and Truth dawned yet again upon another woman, thousands of years later!

The woman must have turned to run to her village as the disciples arrived from town with food. Besides being shocked about the Lord speaking to her, did they wonder what he had said to cause her to leave her water jar and take off for home at such a fast clip?

If they had heard the tail-end of the conversation, were they wondering why in the world he would waste such wondrous information on a Samaritan, and a woman at that? Lacking the nerve to inquire, they ignored the weirdness and turned to satisfying their physical needs.

29: "The woman ... ran back to the village, telling everyone, 'Come and see ... this man told me everything I ever did.'"
She lived in darkness - perhaps keeping secrets from her neighbors to try and preserve some semblence of respect. Now she was so excited by this man's ability to see into her that awe overcame any resentment of being "outed" by him.

"Could this possibly be the Messiah?"
She surely must have convinced her neighbors - no one scoffed at her, and,
"The people came streaming from the village to see him."

Morning Hour

John 4

This woman at Jacob's well concludes this about the man with whom she's been conversing:
19: "Sir, you must be a prophet."
"I'll give you that much," she seems to be saying. So I have a question for you, prophet:

20: "Why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship?"
She trys to move from being on the defensive to the offensive by insinuating that Jesus and his kind were a tad legalistic about their religion. Since you're obviously more than any run-of-the-mill guy, explain that knotty problem, sir.

Jesus, with divine authority, spoke again with his charactertic frankness:
22: "You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship ..."
As our 2 year old granddaughter loudly exclaimed when the nurse stuck a needle in her leg, "OW-W-W!"

The Lord continued,
"We Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews."
Talk about one bitter pill after another. Jesus not only spoke truth lovingly, but he knew the appropriate time to reveal less palatable truths.
Sometimes we fail to get around to truth, even after speaking and speaking and speaking. Is it that we don't know what truth is, or don't love enough to learn about it and boldly speak it?

23: The time is coming - indeed it's here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way."
Gracious Lord Jesus! He did not say, "We true Jewish worshipers," but included whosoever will. The woman seemed to warm to the conversation with that comment -

25: "I know the Messiah is coming - the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everthing to us."
Light Bulb Moment is on its way!!

Jesus isn't finished with this wayward child.