Archive from March, 2013
Mar 30, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

Easter Saturday?

I love books.

Just one visit to my house will confirm that fact. I love re-reading and re-living a beloved novel. I love the pages which have become wrinkled with interest and vigorous page-turning. I love the crease in the spine which allows the book to lay flat, opened to my favorite scene. I love knowing how the story will end.

I’ve found that as much as I enjoy experiencing books for the second or third or fourth times – there is something special about a new novel. I read it differently because I cannot anticipate the ending. When I don’t know the ending, I live the highs and lows of the characters a little bit deeper. When I can see the finish line so clearly, I read a little bit faster to get to the “happily ever after.”

I do the same thing with the Bible.

I think we all do. When we’re familiar with the stories, we can skim past the painful times of waiting to get to the good parts, the periods of resolution, celebration, and praise. The intention is good, but I think we miss out of the fullness of the story and all the emotions when we skip to the end.

As I thought about this tendency, I remembered a Max Lucado book that I read a few years ago. He discussed the crucifixion and resurrection and how we celebrate them today. We have Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services to focus our hearts and soak in the mourning and darkness of the death of Christ. But then, reading the Scriptures like a well-loved and well-known novel, we jump straight to Sunday and celebrating the resurrection.

orlando grace church easter2007 Good Friday. Resurrection Sunday. But What About Saturday?

But what about Saturday?

We have to stop and think about the familiar story, not just skip to “He is Risen!” (As amazing as that knowledge is!) What did the disciples feel on Saturday? Sorrow? Numbness? Disbelief? Hope? Did they intuitively know of the grandeur coming on Sunday? Did they think the past three years of their lives were a loss? Did they yearn for a miracle? I think there is something healthy to think of Saturday- to know of the sorrow and the disappointment and, above all, the waiting.

For in a larger way, we live in Saturday.

We have experienced the mourning and the grief of the brokenness of the world in many ways and we know that God wins in the end! We have an amazing hope beyond all that we can think or imagine (Eph 3:20). But today, in many ways, we are waiting for the miracle, waiting for the resolution, waiting to see and understand the larger story. In this life we get glimpses of heaven and glimpses of life without God as well. This is our Saturday as we live in constant sadness for the state of the world and hope that it is not going to remain in such a state!  We are challenged and refined on Saturday in the midst of the waiting. It contains truth and encourages me in the midst of my Saturdays to continue to wait on the Lord who is constantly at work!  May you too experience an ever-present hope of the coming Sunday, the eternal Sabbath, as you wait in the Saturday circumstances of you life today.

“Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!”
Psalm 27:14

Wishing everyone a very happy, and hopeful, Resurrection Sunday.

Mar 25, 2013 - Devotional, Exegesis    No Comments

Before I Give Sleep to my Eyes…

“I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Psalm 132:4-5

Whoa.

I’ve continued on my trek through the Psalms each month and this one caught my eye in a big way. First of all, I love sleep. I’ve had a cold last week and slept for fifteen hours – consecutively. That’s right, I went to bed at 9 pm and woke up at noon the next day. (You can be jealous.)I am a champion sleeper. If sleeping was an Olympic sport, watch out Michael Phelps, I might just dethrone you in medals earned!

So, I love sleep. I love feeling refreshed. I love starting a new day. I love to “give sleep to my eyes and slumber to my eyelids.”

sleeping-girl

So these verses caught my attention. Finding a place for the Lord is more important than sleep. If I had to guess, since this is a Psalm of Ascent (one Psalm per step was said whilst walking up the stairs to the Temple), the author of this Psalm was talking about finding a literal, earthly dwelling place for the Lord in the Temple. But I think we can apply it to our lives today. That is, “I will not sleep until I have had time to pray, read the Word, or in some way spend time with the Lord.” This application works because the Lord dwells within His Beloved, His new covenant Temple (See I Corinthians 3:16).

So I want to go to bed the right way, having enjoyed my time with Jesus, so that I can readily give sleep to my eyes, and sleep well knowing that He is in control.

Good Night!

 

Mar 24, 2013 - Devotional, My Story    2 Comments

Lonely Sundays

I have attacks of loneliness.

They almost always happen on Sundays.

I am not sure why. I love and am loved by my church body. I can sit with many different friends and families. It looks as if I’m included. But I often have this fear when entering the worship center. My eyes dart wildly, looking for someone who will want me. Looking for an open seat. Looking for a home.

It’s like I’m back in middle school, just exiting the lunch line with my tray, scanning the cafeteria and looking for a spot. Each table is full or seems unwelcoming. Everyone already has their friends, their home, their belonging. I begin to panic.

I say these things NOT to get my congregation to fight over each other to have me sit with them, but because I’ve realized I’m not alone in this feeling. A few weeks ago I entered late and asked to sit next to a friend. After the service she thanked me for sitting with her and confessed that she had been tearful throughout the first part of the service because she felt so lonely. When I shared my experience and feelings, she was shocked! It appeared to her that I always had a home. And I would have said the same about her.

I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.

I’m determined to fight these feelings. Instead of being focused on who will fight over me or where I should call home each Sunday. I choose to focus on who I can move toward. Whose loneliness I can alleviate, if even just for an hour.

Maybe then my own attacks of loneliness will cease.

Mar 22, 2013 - Quotes    2 Comments

Gospel Humility

I’m still mulling over this short, but jam-packed-with-truth-book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness

Here’s another tantalizing excerpt:

I can start to enjoy things that are not about me, my romance is not about me, my dating is not about me. I can actually enjoy things for what they are. They are not just for my resume. They are not just to look good on my college or job application. They are not just a way of filling up the emptiness. Wouldn’t you want that? This is off our map. This is gospel-humility, blessed self-forgetfulness. Not thinking more of myself as in modern cultures, or less of myself as in traditional cultures. Simply thinking of myself less. (pg. 36, emphasis mine).

Mar 21, 2013 - Health, Humor, My Story    No Comments

My Kamikaze Crown — UPDATE!

For those of you who missed it, my tooth fell out last week.

You can read the full story here.

This morning I phoned my dentist again and asked him to adjust the mouthguard or crown or something. You see since my crown literally leaped out of its home, I’ve been unable to wear my mouthguard for fear that I would repeat the same debacle.

Tooth glue Crown

But at night I apparently act out my dreams by clenching my teeth. So I’ve had a lot of dreams where my teeth fall out or glass breaks, or last night I dreamed that I had four flat tires. My mind plays weird tricks on me.

Anyway, I went to the dentist this morning and explained the problem. He donned the paper napkin on a chain and tilted me back in the chair. He then set to work checking the security of my “patch job.”

He Wiggled. Tugged. Rocked. Strained.

But the crown didn’t budge.

He exclaimed, “Wow! Good job. It’s in there really securely so I’m not going to mess with it until we put the permanent on. What did you use to glue it?”

I beamed. MacGyver skills score! It’s nice finding out you have talents you didn’t know you had!

Everything was filed down as needed and I hopefully won’t have any flat tire dreams for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for asking for an update, friends!

 

 

Mar 19, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

The Courtroom of Comparison

No one wins in the courtroom of comparison.

We women are terrible at this. We constantly compare, weight, size, fashion, prestige, money, kids, houses, on and on, ad nauseum. I suppose men are guilty of comparison too, I just don’t see it as easily.

But no one wins. I might win one battle against one woman — because I dropped some cash on the latest fashion trend– but I always lose the war. In every category there will be people better and worse than you.

So I’m happy to know that the verdict has already be settled, I can exit the courtroom of comparison. Consider this excerpt from The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller

The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness

Some days we feel we are winning the trial and other days we feel we are losing it. But Paul says that he has found the secret. The trial is over for him. He is out of the courtroom. It is gone. It is over. Because the ultimate verdict is in… He says that it is the Lord who judges him. It is only His opinion that counts. (p. 38-39)

So get out of the courtroom where you are constantly on trial with yourself and others. The trial is over. In Jesus, the prosecution rests.

Mar 17, 2013 - My Story    2 Comments

In Christ Alone

Music is powerful.

It can bring me to tears — both wounded and joyful — with just a few measures of melody.

That happened this morning. A big-time, official, recording artist, Kristian Stanfill, had a special link with my local church as his in-laws are members there. So he and his family were in attendance this morning and led us in a special song during the offering.

Kristian is involved with Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA and is one of the worship leaders at the Passion conferences. To give you an idea of what that means, here was the scene the last time I saw Kristian:

Passion Kristian Stanfill

Lights, trinitrons, production, watts, decibels — all portraying the power of the message. He sang In Christ Alone. Not a new song, I believe it’s been around for several decades, but it was an incredibly powerful version. It was beautiful in how it buttressed the message of the conference. Passion is not about the lights or the production, it’s about Jesus.

I got to hear the same song, with the same artist this morning with very different surroundings:

Kristian Stanfill at OGC

Just one guy and his guitar.

For a moment, I closed my eyes and re-imagined the Georgia Dome and the bigness of Passion. The power that that singing with 70,000 other strangers sounds like. Then I opened my eyes and saw the faces of friends. The people who I cooked a meal for after their baby was born. The women who have prayed with me as I make decisions in life. My church family. Both experiences are majestic. Both are beautiful.

But the most beautiful part to me was that the message was the same. In Christ Alone my hope is found. I appreciate that Kristian knows this truth and that he gives the same focus and effort singing for a few hundred people as singing for many thousands. There is power in his message, in his music, and in this song.

Like I said, music is powerful.

Mar 15, 2013 - Health, Humor, My Story    3 Comments

My Kamikaze Crown

My tooth fell out this morning.

Not kidding.

I’m in my thirties, well past the time when such occurrences should be common place. I’ve had a tooth that has given me loads of trouble over the past year. After a filling, a crown and a root canal (and several thousand dollars), it still isn’t fixed. I returned to the dentist this week to get the crown replaced. So I’m currently sporting a temporary crown on T3… complete with temporary cement.

Apparently, it just couldn’t hang on anymore and leap right off my tooth. My kamikaze crown.

So this morning when I  woke up and took out my mouthguard (another dental nightmare!) – my temporary crown came out wedged in the molding.

(panic)

I immediately called the dentist and said he’d need to re-cement it. Only he wasn’t in today since he had a continuing education course… and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. I felt the small remnant with my tongue — a puny plateau of a tooth — and knew this couldn’t wait until Tuesday.

MacGyver to the rescue!

I went to Walgreens and obtained over the counter tooth cement — who knew such a thing existed?! Perhaps I am not the only one who struggles with kamikaze crowns.

I pulled together my tools and placed them on a clean towel — so at least it somewhat resembled a sterile field! Toothpicks, Floss, hot water, ice water, and tooth glue.

Tooth glue Crown

First I had to exonerate the crown from it’s mouthguard casing. It was wedged tightly. So I alternated soaking it in warm water and then ice water until I could pop the crown loose. (I knew watching all that TV would be good for something!!) Then I got all of the old glue off that I could muster with floss and toothpicks. Brushed my teeth — very gingerly!– and put the Recapit to the test. Hours later the crown is still holding tight.

Here’s what I learned from this experience: I can’t prepare for everything! I want to think of all the possibilities, plan ahead, and not be caught off guard. But in dental work, as in life, that’s just not possible. I was thankful today that I was able to deal with a problem, and laugh at it at the same time. I am thankful with my planning gene doesn’t completely obliterate my “roll with it” gene and I can truly take life one crazy moment at a time, kamikaze crown and all.

How about you? Have you had any unexpected self-surgeries lately?

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