Pick Your Switch

As some of you may know, I have a thing for King David.

He lived an outrageously large life, didn’t he? If you want action and adventure, please, for me, read first and second Samuel. You won’t be disappointed. It’s no wonder that Abba adored him. He fought to the death and he loved with his whole being. He didn’t do anything half way. But the thing that I admire the most about him was how he trusted in his God.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2

He wasn’t just a lot of talk, either. He put that trust to the test, time and time again, and God always had his back.

When I look over the brief mist of my life, there is never a time that God has failed to love, to forgive, or to protect me. One of my favorite moments from David’s life is when he leans on God’s justice, even when it is coming down on his own head. Can you believe it? 2Samuel 24 says that God was mad at Israel so He incited David into counting the fighting men. What’s that about? This was a moment when it appears that David didn’t trust God, that he was figuring up his own strength. God had proved many times that man power didn’t make a difference one way or the other, when you came right down to it. When God said, ‘win’, you won and when God said, ‘lose’, you lost. After David did this wrong thing, he was feeling pretty bad about it so God sent a prophet named Gad, to give David three choices for his punishment. I guess it was kind of like picking out your switch. These are three of the worst choices, ever.

1. Three years of famine.

2. Three months of fleeing from your enemies.

3. Three days of plague.

Dig this:   David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”   2Samuel 24:14

That, my friends, is trust. A lot of people died, but in the end, David was right about God. Abba was merciful and couldn’t bear to finish the deed. He gave David an out.

Sometimes, David could be a real bonehead. I can relate to that. His heart was forever rushing in before his head could see where he was going. I can relate to that, too. The world is full of empty promises that I am more than liable, at any given moment, to embrace. But they all leave me a little worse than they found me, wondering where the hell I went wrong. That’s when God says, “Get up.” God is love, (1John 4:8), and love keeps no record of wrongs, (1Corinthians 13:5). He brushes off my pants, wipes away my tears and tells me it will be alright.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1John 1:9

Alright?

Advertisements

Where Did We Park?

My cousin posted a very cool vid promoting National Back To Church Sunday on September 18, 2011. This is the first I had heard of such a thing. He gave a brief disclaimer above it, recommending that “you need to be careful about which church you attend, because many churches would not fit well with the theology in this video”. I’d like to discuss this ‘theology’.

It talks about forgiveness and acceptance. It states that dress codes and money aren’t important. It promises that church is a place to make relationships where you will not be judged, but where you will be loved. Would somebody please tell me what ‘theology’ we’re talking about here?

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.   Luke 6:37

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Luke 12:34

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.   Matthew 6:28

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”    John 13:34,35

I know that I tend to oversimplify things, but come on, now. I didn’t see one thing in that video that was not supported overwhelmingly by the very words of Christ, Himself. Theology, schmeology. God’s way doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. We try to help Him jazz it up, a little. That’s called religion. If we pay money, we want a show. Money’s not important to Abba, everything belongs to Him, anyway. Clothes don’t matter to Him, either. His biggest supporters were either humbly dressed or naked, altogether. Look it up. Here’s how Jesus summed it all up.

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”   Luke 10:27

There it is. That should be our theology. Everything else is high maintenance fluff, smoke and mirrors. People aren’t stupid, they’re just hurting. They know when they’re getting handed a load of crap. Don’t we get enough of that out there, in the world? Jesus showed us how to do it. Love people. Talk to them, laugh with them, cry with them. Share a meal, tell a story, hold a child. That’s what church is about. Love God and love each other.

 

 

If you want to take a look at the video, visit my facebook page~I’d like to post it here on my blog, but they want money for that. Hmmm. I’ll have to talk to my special computer buddy about that one. Until then, just type in Connie Gazaway Holmes into a facebook search. If there’s another one with that name, I’m sure she’s worth checking out, too.

I Need A New Purse

Being a woman, these days, is a demanding and sometimes confusing job.

We are the eternal middle man in a world forever moving, forever changing. We offer our hands, our minds and our bodies to the needs of others. It is no wonder that some women are so selfish while others are giving to the point of personal ruin. I’m not taking away from the men, here. Neither am I blaming them. I’m not a man so I can scarcely comment on his condition. I am a woman and to this I am acquainted very well. We are required to be beautiful, but not too beautiful for our female peers. We are required to be smart, but not smarter than our mate. We are required to be ever prepared, ever frugal, ever resourceful. I guess that’s why we carry purses. We love to talk but are rarely listened to. I complained about this fact, once, to God. I think that I heard him say, “I know. Nobody listens to Me, either.” It must have been Him. I’m not that clever.

We are, for the most part, high maintenance, but what of it? We navigate the world through our emotions and so we are particularly vulnerable to love and fear. We are designed to be extra sensitive so that we can nurture children who are unable to communicate their needs with words. Having this ability can really mess you up. On the other hand, it is a tremendous blessing to share another’s heart, another’s joy, another’s pain. If we become demanding and whiny, if we are absent minded or tired, please do not judge us too harshly. We may or may not work as hard as the average male. We may or may not carry the concerns and worries that most men must bear. But women generally share the common desire to love, to feed, to comfort those who come to us for rest. We want to forgive. Sometimes it’s hard.

We are targeted by the media far more than men because we are the givers in our homes. These days, both men and women are the providers, but women distribute, women instruct, women influence. I realize that all of these observations are not one hundred percent accurate. There are very nurturing, intuitive men, just as there are very practical, goal oriented women. I’m talking in broad generalizations, here. As women, we must be cautious of what we pick up and carry. We must be vigilant in our minds and our emotions. We must be careful of what we hear and what we say. The world is watching.

Got a Light?

Please forgive the creative hiatus, public school resumed this week and there was much to do.  I’m back.

Let’s talk about offense.

No, not the thing that Tom Sawyer had to whitewash. Let’s talk about people who are supposed to love us, but hurt our feelings, instead. It is possible that church is one of the last bastions of true pretense left in western society. All in all, we are an angry world and we’re ready to tell somebody off in a heartbeat. I am usually a very nice, very patient person. Last week at a school function, though, I was on the verge of being ‘ugly’. For those of you north of I-40 and west of Texas, that means ‘rude’. It was over one hundred degrees outside, and hovering somewhere around ninety, inside. As usual, we were filling out forms, writing checks and standing in unbearably slow lines. If you ask me, the whole thing was ugly. But in church we take the good with the bad, smiling and saying, “That’s ok,” or, “just kidding”. Later on, we rip them to shreds with our spouse at the dinner table in front of the kiddies, or hang them out to dry at a candle party.

We won’t take any guff from the outside world, but in church, oh, we’ll take it and hand it out, too. My sons and I were looking at a website called something like, ‘angry car notes’. It was filled with pictures of notes left on car windshields by other drivers. Wow, the hostility. And also, I might add, the creativity. But if we really want to hurt someone in church, just try to infringe on what they consider to be their spot, or niche. Let the fur fly. Why are we so insecure in Abba’s house? Is God not big enough to hug everybody? Why do we feel the need to force others into doing or seeing things from our own selfish perspective? Is God not big enough to run the show? Why are we so intent on correcting everybody? We tell ourselves that it’s for their good and welfare. Whatever. Who’s welfare are we really worried about?

Jesus said to love. Love God and love each other. That’s all. That’s it. Trust me, He knows it’s hard. Do what you do for love or else what you do is dead. That doesn’t mean that you lose points on your star chart. It means that it will be barren and unproductive. There’s just no more time for that. Love produces. Love works. What we call love is sometimes just selfishness and insecurity in disguise.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.      1John 2:9-11

If someone hurts you, talk to them. Don’t stab them in the back, don’t accuse them before the brothers. Our enemy’s got that job covered. And for cripes sake, let’s stop taking things so personally. Abba is merciful and His children are like Him. We need to know where we are going. It’s time to turn on the Light.

Peas Give Me Gas

When I was a little girl, I was unrivaled in nursery rhyming. After all, Dr. Seuss taught me how to read.

Today I have the oddest thing playing over and over in my head. Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. I’m sure this has some reasonable origin or historic reference, I don’t know. It may not even be about peas porridge, whatever that is. It has a na-na, ring to it so I can only guess that it was perhaps meant to be some sort of taunt. Maybe the people who sustained themselves on this disgusting dish were poor, thus the nine-days-old part. Who knows?

I was talking about God’s banquet the other day and how we have the best available to us, anytime we want to reach for it. I doubt God serves up peas porridge at His table. Still, most of us seem content with gruel rather than make the effort to chew the steak. Why is that? I guess it’s all according to what one is used to. In other words, we just don’t know any better. Somewhere in time, in some church somewhere, we were told that this is what you get, make the best of it. And for goodness sakes, smile while you choke it down.

Lately, some of us have been smelling charcoal…….and barbeque sauce. I don’t know about you people, but I’m looking for a lawn chair and a beer. Look, porridge time is over. I’m not quite sure why we were satisfied with that in the first place. I smell blood and I like mine medium rare.

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot nine days old. Some of us may think that we’re cutting edge. Some of us may not want things to change at all. There’s still a few of us creeping around with the same songs and order of service that our grandparents observed. Whatever has been served up for the past 50 years or so is about to get thrown out completely. Hey, I love the old songs. I believe that there are some serious things that we could learn about prayer and the fear of God from the precious saints of the recent past, but there is nothing to be gained from holding on to dead religion. I didn’t say ‘a’ dead religion, I said dead religion as in going through the motions with your head while your heart is asleep.

So, who’s going to get in the steak line with me?

Pardon Me, But You’re Sitting In My Chair

Mocking is definitely in my repertoire.

Growing up around bullies will, often times, produce a mocker. We are usually passive aggressive people with an above average command of language. Most of us were relentlessly picked on by others who were bigger or smarter than we were. We were called names. We were smacked around a little. Instead of hitting back which was usually out of the question, we chose to mock.

Woody Allen is one of the great mockers. Can you imagine what his childhood was like? Here he was, a skinny little runt, Jewish, glasses, red hair, oi. Oh, the bullying. In the movie, ‘Antz’, Woody’s character, Z, responds to the General’s praise that he looked death in the face and laughed. Z responds,” Actually, I generally just make belittling comments and snicker behind death’s back.” And there it is. We’ve learned that open warfare rarely solves anything so we make cruel but humorous observations about our tormentor’s personal flaws or social situation.

We also mock ourselves. We’ve learned to get the jab in before anyone else does. And who better to mock me, than me? We insulate ourselves with laughter and hide behind our one-liners and, ta-da! Everybody likes us. Mockers are painfully insecure. You see, all that bullying that went on in the formative years didn’t just go away when we started making jokes. We like to tack a timely ‘jk’ at the end of our ‘funny’ remarks to each other, but we all know the truth, don’t we? Just kidding, but not really. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words destroy us completely.

Abba has a lot to say about mockers. Go to BibleGateway.com and type the word, ‘mock’, and see what you get. I knew of a few references, but wow. No, God is not happily anticipating visiting wrath upon the mockers of the world, but He knows that mockers harbor a prideful heart. Pride is a very dangerous thing. Pride separates us from the One who loves us. It causes us to hurt others in a deeply personal way. It is very, very destructive.

Knowing these things makes me realize that I could become that which wounded me so intimately as a child. Where does it end? At the cross.

Losing My Lunch

Lovely.

I’ve wallowed long enough. Remember my idiot day? It’s still with me but I’m feeling a might better.

I had a pastor, once, who used the expression, “He really ate my lunch”, to refer to the devil getting the best of him. I love that metaphor. That just sums it right up, doesn’t it? God has been talking a lot about how much He has for us and how we can have everything that He has in store. He lays out a veritable banquet of delights before us everyday with more on the way. We truly want for nothing. Why is it, then, that we allow the enemy to have a seat and start serving himself? He muscles up, like he owns the place, snatches our plate right out of our hands, and starts woofing down the garlic mashed potatoes. And we let him! What’s up with that?

I’m done with sitting in the corner waiting for the scraps. Give me the big chair and the big spoon. My friend Kim told me that she used to sit in her father’s lap and eat from his plate until she was ten? or twelve? years old. What a beautiful description of what Abba offers us. We can sit right in His lap and eat from His plate. There’s nothing second rate about that.

I’ve been letting the enemy of my soul devour everything from my life and I’m getting the indigestion. I’m not letting him have my lunch, anymore. I like my lunch, God packed it just for me. It’s mine.

I remember another story about someone giving up their lunch. A boy offered his humble meal of five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus and the disciples. (John 6:9) What happened next? The Word says that Jesus fed five thousand men, not counting women and children. That could have been well over ten thousand people. Not only is Abba interested in me and my needs, but He uses what I give Him to feed the world. I’d say that was a far better deal that anything my enemy can offer. Hmmmm, huddled, alone, in the corner eating crumbs or sitting in my Father’s lap enjoying His goodness with everyone. Hmm, let me think. What? Who needs to think?