Saturday, June 23, 2012

#1215-#1234




1215. Bed time banter and laughs with the kids.





1216. Opportunities to share our farm with others.

1217. A day at the beach with a wise friend I don't get to see too often.

1218. End of the year gathering with my "Class of '14" girls.  I've watched most of them grow from 3 and adorable to 16 and gorgeous.

1219.  One day with no commitments.

1220. Family sight-seeing trip to IKEA.

1221. Big black seeds saved from the melons.

1222. Cowboy and I arriving at the same conclusion about the melons--the joy of watching them grow from seeds to fruit  is a greater motivation than profit.

1223. Yearlings on the driveway.

1224. New runners for the kids.

1225. A big check to pay for training and tide us over.

1226. Not needing my parents generous offer to help Katie with college because God already provided.

1227. Marsha's love and mentorship of the new 9th grade girls.

1228. Going through "Daily Prayers for Your Husband" and marveling that so many of the character qualities the list instructs me to pray God would cultivate in my man, He already has!  What a great God (and good man) I have!







1229. God moving in the heart of a teenager about a mission trip--the beautiful miracle of a follower who is willing to be interrupted.

1230. 8th graders off to Word Changers camp!



1231. Four red tomatoes.

1232. Pump problems to remind me of the luxury in which I live.

1233. Pump parts that have the decency to break while still under warranty!

1234. The farm after a rain looking extra, extra green.





Friday, June 15, 2012

Missed Opportunities.

#309 Another chance to have an eternal conversation.

I read it as I review my list of 1000 gifts, and it haunts me.

Because I missed that chance.

Trips back "home" to Montana from Florida are very infrequent because of the expense--maybe once every three years or so--yet this year I was able to go twice.

Once for a 50th anniversary, once for a wedding. Happy occasions.

During both trips, my sweet mother encouraged me to get together with my much-loved advisor from college.  He was more than a teacher to me, he was truly a mentor.  The first person to get it through my thick skull that I was rather smart, but regrettably lazy when it came to academics,  he challenged me to live up to my potential.  He had a wonderful way of challenging without pushing.  Imagine a really intense cheerleader.

"He's been sick.  This may be your last chance to see him."

I believed her--but I didn't.  This man was a physical and intellectual powerhouse; my mind could not fathom that he would let even cancer defeat him.

Still, I tried.

I was fairly certain he was an atheist, so if he was indeed that sick, there was a conversation we needed to have.  Knowing him as I did, I was doubtful that he would have ears to hear of things eternal and supernatural, but I also knew that my responsibility was simply to speak and trust the Holy Spirit to do what He would with it.

I called and was shocked at the defeated, feeble voice on the other end.  He was happy to hear from me, but lacked the energy even to pretend to sound cheerful.  He was having some medical tests the next morning, but he and his wife (another favorite of mine) both wanted to get together and talk. We set up a time for the next afternoon.

The time of our appointment came and went, and I received a call that the tests had led to further tests. They would be at the hospital very late.  He would call me the next day--which was my last day in town.

He didn't call.  Mother said they had likely gotten very bad news and it would be best to leave them alone.

Well, I had tried.

I still could not wrap my mind around the reality that he wouldn't live to a ripe old age, like every good Kansan that I know. Also, in the back of my mind I assumed there would be another chance.

There was.

Three months later a dear friend from high school was getting married and we flew back to Montana again just for the weekend.

Another chance to have an eternal conversation. 


We were busy that weekend visiting with other transplanted Big Sky natives who were in town for the festivities.  Not so busy, however, that I couldn't have squeezed in a phone call or visit--and an eternal conversation.  Just busy enough that I could avoid thinking about it.

 I think I was a bit afraid.  How do you start that conversation?  "So, I hear you're dying...." 

What would I say to impress the importance of saving faith on a man who didn't believe in eternity? So much uncertainty, which I dealt with by procrastinating.

The weekend came and went, and I never called.

Three days later he died.  There would not be another chance.

Shortly after he died, my good friend shared a video with me of Penn Jillette of "Penn and Teller" fame.  In it, the very passionate atheist tells a story of a man who came to his show, waited in line, praised his performance, and then very humbly and intelligently offered to share the Gospel with him.

The comedian would have none of it, but in the video it was obvious that the man had stirred something in him because the Christian stranger had cared enough to share with him.

At one point Jillette looked dead at the camera and challenged professing Christians, "If you really believe that I will spend eternity in hell if I don't follow your Jesus-- if you really believe that-- how much do you have to hate a person not to share your faith with them?"

Did I hate my beloved professor?  NO!  But when it came right down to it, I loved my comfort more.

Oh, Father in Heaven, forgive me.  Help me to love others in way that matters eternally.  Help me to love them enough to be rejected by them and thought foolish. Over and over in Your Word, You tell Your people to go and proclaim--and to trust You to give them the right words at the right moment. Father, forgive me for forgetting and for not trusting You.  Help me to never miss another opportunity to have an eternal conversation.  



Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sin of Sodom

"Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony and laziness while the poor and needy suffered outside her door."  Ezekiel 16:49

Well now, that was a surprise!

When I hear the name of Sodom, I think of a place of great sin, but like most people, I tend to think of the sexual sin that was so rampant in that city.  I would even venture to say that the name of Sodom elicits an association with not just sexual sin, but specifically homosexuality.

Consequently, I have always assumed that Sodom was destroyed primarily because of rampant sexual sin and depravity.  I don't think I'm alone in this misconception.  I have heard many believers teach that God poured out His wrath on Sodom because of her sexual perversion.

Ezekiel tells me otherwise.  The sexual sins of Sodom were despicable in God's eyes; I don't excuse them at all. However, what God seems to be saying here is that those sins, which we in the church consider so horrific, weren't the worst ones.

God wiped out the city of Sodom NOT because of homosexuality, but because of PRIDE, GLUTTONY, and LAZINESS WHILE THE POOR AND NEEDY SUFFERED.  


How then, does He feel when we shout our indignation over a pro-homosexual agenda in our society, but then joke and make light of our lack of control at the buffet?

When we boycott stores because of pro-gay policies, and then laugh about our minimal effort at work, school or the gym?

When we refuse to watch Ellen because of her sexual preference, and then feel smug about our moral superiority?

When we spend huge amounts of energy and effort raging about the sexual perversion of our culture, but turn a blind eye to the staggering needs of the orphaned and abandoned children in the foster care system who are just outside our doors?

We are focusing on "thou shalt nots," when He wants us to glorify Him by letting our light shine before men through our selflessness and charity.


I suspect that we would have a lot more success in cleaning up culture if we humbled ourselves and washed some feet. 


Ezekiel would suggest that in condemning the one and making light of the other, we are committing, or at least excusing, the very sins for which Sodom was obliterated by God's wrath.

Kind of makes me want to duck to avoid lightning bolts from above.

Father, protect me from the pride that would cause me to minimize sins that you find maximum.  The truth is, without Your Spirit I am very prone to every sin for which Sodom was destroyed.  Let this knowledge lead me daily to the cross, overwhelmed by the mercy You have shown me and the power Your Spirit gives me to have victory over them.  I know I cannot have victory over sins I don't recognize, so thank You, Lord, for Your Word, which shows me Your heart.  Shift my desires from fleshly appetites to a hunger for Your presence.  Let me never be comfortable being full while others are hungry, either for food or for the Bread of Life.  Amen

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

#1196-#1214


1196. Shared stories of God working in the life of those willing to take risks for him.

1197. e-mail updates from two young friends serving and learning in different parts of Africa.

1198. Two yellow cats following along with me on my jog around the farm.





1199. Sweet potato fries.

1200. Hard physical work, many hands making it light.

1201. Grace for 3 days before she goes to Korea
for the summer.






 1202. Happy Girl's Diamond Jubilee Tea Party.








1203. Reed and a pocket full of cash--a family gift.

1204. Boys learning to be men through real responsibility.









1205. Dragging the fields with the cowboy, breaking up poop and re-seeding.

1206. Reed's enthusiasm for teaching VBS.

1207. Two days of "drive time" with my boy/man: good conversations.

1208. Good summer reads.

1209. Making new acquaintances.

1210. Happy Girl's movie remake idea: "Dorky Dancing"

1211. Reed's idea for a comic book series: "Captain Botox" (and his evil nemesis, Flabby Face.)

1212. Summer rest.

1213. Evening breezes.






1214. Swimming--so good for my body, so easy for my joints.

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