Friday, April 22, 2011

The 10 Suggestions

1. Have no other gods before me...I know, the made up ones are much better suited for the desires of this generation...and everyone can pick their own! Just like Subway!
2. Have no idols...unless it's an American Idol, then I completely understand, those kids can really sing, and young people need role models, don't they?
3. Don't take the name of the Lord in vain...just bring film of other people doing it into your home and listen to it...for fun. And get rid of that fishy sticker on your bumper in case you need to exert a little road rage now and then.
4. Remember the Sabbath...while you are sleeping in, or finishing your list of things to do from last week.
5. Honor your very respectful as you tell them that they don't know what they are talking about and that you are going to do what is best for YOU.
6. Don't murder...but if you do, I'm sure there is some reasonable explanation for why it's not your fault.
7. Do not commit adultery...unless if feels long as you are happy.
8. Do not steal...unless you need it NOW.
9. Do not bear false witness...but if it will get you into more trouble, just use the white kind...they never hurt anyone...that's why they're white.
10. Do not covet...but the American Dream is different...reach for the stars! Have your best life now! You only live once Baby!

I have to remind myself once in awhile, who I belong to. I must remember who paid for my freedom. Good Friday does that very well for me. When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died...see, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life; house,
my car,
my kids,
my time,
my money,
my dreams,
my desires,
my happiness,
my all.

Can I really sing those words with Isaac Watts? Can I teach that way of thinking to my kids? The TV shows and commercials don't say that. The ten commandments are seen as suggestions to people. If I am a Christian, that means I am a follower of Christ...who died painfully for me...and gave me very clear commands on how to live my life. Really, it seems a small thing for me to do in return for taking the torture that was supposed to be mine.

Salvation in completely free for me, but cost Him everything. Using His commandments as suggestions just cheapens what He did on the cross. It makes light of His suffering, so that I can life comfortably here on Earth. It says that Jesus and any Christian martyr in history, died in vain, because all we had to do was just "tweek" the commandment and keep the peace. If God's Word is not authoritative, then anything goes and everyone is is red...sweet is our...light is long as you see it that way. That would be easy. Just not real.

Jesus suffered and died for truth. All He had to do was just tweek His words and Pilate would have let Him go. But He knew what non compromise meant. Pilate's final words to Jesus say it all: "What is truth?" Pilate did not want Jesus to die. He knew Jesus was not guilty and couldn't understand why He was so bent on keeping the truth. Pilate's fear of the people and not keeping the peace was more important to him than the truth about sin, God and our eternity.

To Jesus on that Friday, on that hill, on that old rugged cross, God's commandments were not a suggestion. He understood the truth, the price and the authority of His father. His love compels me to continue striving to have the same resolve He did on that day. I'm no where near it yet, but He has turned my feet in that direction. He walks with me, often carrying me, toward that end. What He asks of me isn't even close to what the cross required of Him, so I am thankful and treasure His commands. They are sweet to me, even when I mess them up. His grace is just as beautiful as His obedience. His forgiveness and restoration brings hope and joy, so much so that His commands are no longer a tiring list on the wall, but written on my heart as treasure to pursue. We all know what happens next. We can all know the power of the Resurrection and the Life...

Sunday is comin'...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

All Icing and No Cake

Many things in life change. I, personally, really like change. I love the glimmer of shiny new shoes, the freshness of each new season and the visual sigh I get from a fresh coat of paint or even changing the layout of my furniture. Taking an occasional, spontaneous play day from the rigors of school and summer holidays are good for my soul. I am aware, however, that too much changing is not good:

Proverbs 24:21 "Do not associate with those who are given to change."

Oh my. Sounds harsh. After my momentary panic upon reading this verse for the first time, my learned, Hebrew student of a husband assured me that he can still hang around with me. The verse is talking about people who are "given" to change. The principle is one of faithfulness versus unfaithfulness. I can like mixin' it up with colors, scents and activities as long as I don't become so addicted to change that I become unstable and undependable (is that a word?). He should know. He finally let me pass on his ever so thinning Gumby & Pokey T- shirt from his high school years...that would make the shirt about 30 years old...and notice, I had to "pass it on" NOT throw it out. He is as frugal as he is faithful. I'm so in love.

I think the point I want to make here is that although I like change, I am learning to appreciate sameness. Boring, awkward word...kind of reflects it's meaning I guess. I don't like boring. I get depressed with mundane routine. No time for the usual, I've got places to go, people to meet and things to do! BUT............God has a funny way of teaching me things. Once in awhile, more often than I like to admit, life gets tough. It is during these tough times that I really appreciate sameness, or as I prefer to call it...faithfulness. Sailing into the unknown under a blue sky, with the warm sun and a gentle breeze is a wonderful, exciting thing, but when the sky darkens and the waters rebel against your sturdy boat, the thing you appreciate most is likely your anchor. Life just isn't a fairy tale. Fairy tales don't need anchors, just wings. I have experienced the peace and assurance of faithful, unchanging factors in my life that I don't want to live without...that have carried me through difficult times. That makes me want to become more faithful for those around me.

Ever wonder why cake is mostly cake and a little icing?? No? either...but let's just think about that now. Even I think too much icing is sickening. Not when you are 7, but that's because your brain isn't fully developed at 7. If you prefer cake that is 3/4 icing at an age beyond 20, may I suggest you see a nutritionist...or take up Pilates to gain some balance in your sweet life. We need lots of cake to get us through the dredges of life. A little icing for the momentary episodes of calm and the grace of pleasure. Of course, we must have coffee to go with our cake. I can't think of any profound symbolism for the addition of coffee. I don't really need to justify my's just always there for me. See...faithfulness :)

I am very thankful for the dependable things in my life that anchor me through the gales: my husband, my family, my church, my friends. Especially strong are the things I take from childhood. The values I was taught, the life lessons learned from good and bad experiences, people who loved me and are no longer here. Most importantly and most treasured is my Jesus. How can someone so unseen to the naked eye be so powerful and real? That's what His deity provides. He is both unchanging and dynamic. Fully loves, both in mercy and discipline. He is truthful, no matter what the cost. He is patient with the slow and yet hastens to do His perfect will. He is perfect...and I'm pretty sure He likes cake. The Maker of all things beautiful and pure pleasure has perfect balance. That is how I want to Him. It's a long shot, but He holds the scope and is the captain of my ship.