Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Diet of Worms

We watched the movie "Luther" for school yesterday. Tomorrow is Halloween or Reformation Day...whichever you prefer to call it. The timing for these things is pretty divine. 

As someone involved quite heavily with leadership in the church, or just part of the church body itself, it's interesting to see history repeat itself. In Luther's day, the church was selling "indulgences", which comforted the people. Certificates of passage into Heaven bought with money, relics to gaze upon to increase one's spirituality and prostitutes for the monks. Anything for the comfort of the people. Church people don't do those kinds of things anymore though...or do we? In his day, the people were denied having the scriptures to read for themselves. We have them, and people are not encouraged to study them...or they just don't want to. People burned at the stake in order to provide a readable Bible, we would rather burn at the stake then to have to sit down and read it.

The Word of God, the Bible, Jesus Himself at our fingertips. Something to celebrate this weekend.

"My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot, I will not recant. Here I stand, I can do on me God."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Check Your Crawl Space

Time to get down and dirty. Crawl in the place worm and spider dwell. Our foundation needs inspection. It's that base upon which you build, dress and show the stuff we see. Underneath our frame and style is something of eternal and critical significance. Because we don't see it much, it can go unnoticed...neglected...ignored. 

See our pretty house? Isn't it beautiful??

Little did I know it was sitting...being sustained upon...a very shaky foundation. Cracks, rot and asymmetry defined it's foundation. The house may look great, but it's walls were cracking, floors started sloping and eventually, it would have fallen completely. But it looks so fine! Just push a piece of furniture up against that wall crack to hide it. Avoid the crawl space and live in ignorance. Sometimes we avoid for fear of the truth. Sometimes because we don't know how to fix things or just because we are too tired and tormented to really care. Our hope is in fate. Roll the dice, follow your heart, que sera sera. Happy thoughts don't have that much power. Sometimes beautiful, happy people are resting on disaster waiting to happen. Don't let them fool you and don't fool yourself. Check out your own crawl space. 

When my husband told me how much it would cost us to fix replace our foundation, I admit, I had a little internal melt down. Not just that we weren't sure we had the money to do it, but that I didn't think it was going to be something fun, beautiful and life-changing for me. I would rather go an on dream vacation, buy a new car, a few thousand ice-cream cones or hire a maid. Big hunks of concrete, wood and labor aren't very exciting to me. But, I very maturely picked myself up off the floor, put on my big-girl pants and responsibly put a stroke through "beautiful jewelry" and "trip to Europe" from my wish list. All the while, looking at my pleasure addicted children with that "This is how you behave as a grown-up" demeanor. Inside, I looked just like them. Fortunately, my hidden temper tantrums are executed much more quickly than they used to be. I really hate that spoiled little girl inside of me. We finally deal with sin properly when we learn to hate it.

So then the new foundation building begins. It's not glamorous, but change, strength and obedience are actually very rewarding things. I love one of Max Lucado's book titles, "Jesus loves you just the way you are...but He doesn't want you to stay that way".  Love wants and allows pain sometimes. It's often a worthy price. Houses and people degenerate. They cannot stay static for long. Work must be done and if we wait too long to deal with things, the work is harder and more costly. Sometimes we wait a fatally long length of time, and the whole house is torn down and buried. A tragic personification. Regular deep maintenance and upkeep is a wiser course of action. No amount of surface beautification can hold your house up.

 "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble"
2 Peter 1:10

Dare to ask yourself the hard, foundational questions: Am I really saved or just "having a form of godliness but denying its power"? Does my lifestyle prove my love for Him...reflect His love? Am I willing to make radical changes to be true to the Word of God? Do I even study the Word of God to know the truth? Who am I really living for?

I have had to ask myself these questions and make difficult changes.Your eternity and present peace depend on how these questions are answered.
It takes humility to get down low and inspect your house. It's dirty, uncomfortable and dark, but that's where the grace is found. God reveals the cracks and rot there. Then He gives the power and resources to fix things. In life maintenance do you experience the fellowship of His suffering. Once that foundation is stable, you can live peacefully, with assurance, in the light of His house.

Inglorious work leads to stability, strength and satisfaction.

I promise to write a happier, lighter...lollipop type blog post soon. It's just been one of those "in the trenches" seasons lately :)