a simple prayer

2 Corinthians 12:9 - "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

This is a truth for which I am grateful tonight.

God, grant me the grace I need to be faithful and true to Your will and Your way.


conversations that may imply some things

although i'm not quite sure what...

Conversation #1 - between me and Thoughtful Kindergarten Boy:

TKB - (singing an... interesting, but catchy song about a moon)
"I really like this song."

me - Do you really? I think it's kind of a silly song. The moon can't take care of you.

TKB - (laughs) No, that's God.

me - Yes, TKB. God takes care of you.

(thoughtful pause on the part of TKB)

TKB - Maybe the moon tells Santa Claus when all of everybody is asleep on Christmas Eve.

Conversation #2 - between me and Potty-Training Over-Tired Toddler

PTOTT - (incoherent meltdown while sitting on the potty just before nap - something about her nose being red...?)

me - What's the matter?!

PTOTT - (more incoherency, accompanied by trembling lower lip and gigantic crocodile tears puddling and spilling over in heart-wrenchingly sad eyes)

me - Here... come wash your hands, and then you can have a potty treat. Chocolate makes everything better. Chocolate and Jesus; that's all you need. Well... Jesus first, then chocolate.

PTOTT - (washes hands and smiles through tears)

At which point I fed her chocolate and then read her a Bible story....

trust and obey

Yet another hymn from the walking jukebox of my head, with lyrical recollection help from cyberhymnal.org:

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.*

*Trust and Obey words by John H. Sammis, music by Daniel B. Towner

I've had that refrain going over and over in my head for hours... "trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey..." It's true; I know it's true. It's just tough sometimes. But difficulty is not an excuse. He never said this was going to be easy. I only hoped it would be.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I do believe! Help my unbelief, I pray... Mark 9:23-24

friendship with God

I've been thinking (among other things) about friendship, and what it really means, and the differences between friendship and acquaintanceship and everything in between - and last night, in mad association, my jukebox of a brain began playing an old hymn. Of course, in my head I was hearing the horrible "jazzed up" version from a badly done praise record someone had given me in college, that I used to play for fun to annoy my roommate. :) (Remember this one, Sara?) Horrible as the arrangement was, I have always loved the words to this song:

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
by Joseph Scriven and Charles C. Converse

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge,
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.


To which I can only say:

I love you, O LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

(Psalm 18:1-2)

Thank You, Jesus

(HT: ASBO Jesus)

But the good news is eventually these pieces will all fit together. Thank You, Jesus.

unChristian meme

Heather has tagged me in a meme - based on a book entitled unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters. I haven't read the book yet, tho Chris and I saw it on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble not too long ago, and he commented (without having read it either) that it was the kind of book that by time you finished reading it, all the information would probably be outdated because the pattern of thought in our culture changes so quickly. I haven't read the book, so I have no informed opinion on either the book or Chris' comment - but I have at least two cents worth of something to say on the topic in general. :)

(btw, if you don't know what a meme is, the definition is here - i had to look it up. i learned three new words yesterday!) :)

Here's the task for the meme: name 3 negative perceptions about Christians, and 1 positive thing Christians should be known for.

side note: (tongue-in-cheek) I think Christians should be known for being more positive. I mean, really - 3 negative things to one positive? And we wonder why people don't like us... but i didn't start this one, so i'll just do the homework...

I would like to state the obvious, tho, and say that my thoughts here only apply to the church as I've experienced it here in the United States. I suspect that a lot of this might not hold up in 3rd world churches, and as such, this is simply a bit of solicited commentary on the church in my corner of the world, and not on the Church universal - the Church, of course, being comprised of Christians.

negative perception #1: Christians are all a bunch of hypocrites.

Yep. Pretty much. We say one thing, but do another; we spout a lot of ideals, but we all pretty much fail miserably at attaining to any of them.

negative perception #2: Christians are snobs.

Yep. We can be.

negative perception #3: Christians are isolationists. (If you're not one of them, you don't belong.)

Again, guilty as charged. We have a tendency, especially in the West, to cloister in our buildings and stick with our small groups and a few friends, and call it good, in the name of stewarding our time well.

What Christians should be known for: in a word - love. But not the frilly, fancy, red paper hearts, sappy valentine type love that doesn't mean anything. Real love. Tough love.

Love that is patient when it could be easily frustrated.

Love that is kind when it could have chosen to be cruel.

Love that isn't envious of the blessings of others even in the absence of blessing to itself.

Love that is humble and quiet, not boastful and self-centered.

Love that chooses to forget the wrongs done to it; love that refuses to stay angry, even though it has every right to be upset.

Love that rejoices with everything that is good and true and right in the world, and weeps over that which is not.

Love that protects fiercely, that trusts unyieldingly even when it doesn't understand, that hopes unswervingly against all odds, and that perseveres no matter what.

Love that refuses to fail.

Love that embraces grace, that extends it, that doesn't give up.

Love that recognizes it can't be earned.

Love that mourns sin and celebrates repentance.

Love that is meek enough - gentle enough - to both hear and tell the truth.

Love that hungers for righteousness.

Love that extends mercy.

Love that is pure in heart.

Love that seeks peace, at great cost to itself.

Love that will not shy away from persecution of any kind, because its purpose is greater than any temporary pain.

Love that is...Love.*

(He is also known as Jesus.)

Christian is a word that means "little Christ." We should be known for being like Him.

But as Christians, we live between two worlds - the world we're leaving and the world we're going to. We are people on a journey, who are experiencing a fundamental shift from who we once were to who we really are but haven't quite become yet. Hence the stereotypes and negative opinions and caricatures that abound in the world among those for whom Love died and rose again, who are either blinded by or haven't seen the Light yet. They don't see who we're becoming. Heck, we don't even see it all the time. But God does, and as we continue to grow, our eyesight adjusts and we begin to see even more clearly than we once did. (1 Corinthians 13:12) And Christ said that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-15) - so it is our responsibility to help people stop seeing spots and start seeing the world around them by His light. Maybe it's our fault that people can't see properly - or maybe God just hasn't allowed their eyes to adjust properly yet to the Light in the darkness around them - but the Light does shine in the darkness, tho the darkness has not understood it - and the darkness will not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

So then, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

* 1 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 5: 1-12

So, in love, I tag:
1. Chris
2. Amy
3. faintnot
4. Rob
5. Jemila

Happy writing, my friends. :)

prayer at the end of a day in which (honestly) i was not the best version of myself...

Thank you, God
for these 15 seconds of peace
and quiet
in which I can notice
that I am - in fact -
still breathing in and out
that birds are still chirping
and that You
are still here.
for the absence of kids screaming
about one thing or another
and for the quieting
of my angst-ridden heart.

This hasn't been the best day in the world
and I've been a lousy witness to You and Your glory.
Forgive me -
and thank you again -
for grace, mercy, chocolate, and coffee
and for understanding about sleep-deprivation
and PMS
and really not wanting to move.