Saturday, May 22, 2010

People Who Pray

This morning in our prayer group, one friend mentioned that women often get sucked into wanting this or that previously-held male position, such as fire-fighting. Yet women who are hired in that role often find the job stressful and physically-exhausting. Some even find it necessary to quit or request desk jobs.

I have no problem with women wanting to break the glass ceiling that keeps certain positions out of reach. And I certainly have no qualms about expecting equal pay for equal work, especially since many women now are heads of single-parent households.

Yet, there's an even greater position that is open to all, regardless of gender--that of prayer warrior for family, country, and the world. Firefighters can save houses, possibly lives. Policemen can make our streets safer. Presidents can orchestrate a nation's policies. But:

Prayer warriors can work with God almighty to make a difference. 
Prayer warriors can save the world!

Let those who want to make a temporal difference squabble over jobs and pay scales, and let those who want to make an eternal difference meet together in prayer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

One of Many Reasons I Love Babies

Every good gift is from God--one of the greatest of which is the blessing of heritage. Babies are the means through which we obtain heritage. Without babies, mankind would disappear from the earth in one generation.

From a strictly humanistic point-of-view, babies are good for individuals as well as society: They bring out the best in men and women. Where their babies are concerned, those who tend to feel:
  • Timid become bold as mama bears protecting their young,
  • Useless find themselves needed in ways they never considered,
  • Selfish learn to be selfless providers for their infants,
  • Proud learn humility when caring for babies' changing needs,
  • Controlling learn flexibility (whether they like it or not!)
Sometimes babies bring out the worst in us. We get impatient and stressed and lose our tempers. And when that happens, we can rejoice at the opportunity to change for the better. The answer is not to get rid of baby, but to get rid of the traits that mar us as individuals (timidity, uselessness, selfishness, pride, control, etc.).

Individuals who are caring, useful, selfless, humble and flexible make for good citizens. Society is healthy when such people thrive. They make great parents and turn out great kids!

In our rush toward self-actualization, I fear our culture has lost sight of these basic truths. We seem to be replacing the general good with personal self-satisfaction. Sacrificing future generations for our present well-being is very short-sighted indeed. At the end of life, we leave nothing behind but a history of our own self-indulgence.

As a parent of two daughters and a grandparent of their four children, I love babies because they are cuddly and fun and needy and challenging and delightful. And those babies will grow up and continue God's gift of heritage.

I'd love to hear your opinions/thoughts on this.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

High School Mini-Reunions

Our class president is in town, so a bunch of us are getting together today for a high school mini-reunion. To say we've changed over the decades is an understatement. But beyond the extra pounds and thinning hair is an even greater change.

Since graduation many of us have come to faith, and God has transformed our hearts. He's given us an eternal perspective, and the things of earth have grown strangely pale by comparison. We care more about each other's souls than social status or profession, appearance or physical strength.

And it's a good thing, because many of our classmates are experiencing life-threatening illnesses. Fact is, some have already passed from this earth. As we face our mortality, there's only one pertinent question: Where will we go when this life is over?

My prayer is that our class will continue to have reunions throughout eternity--around the throne of Jesus Christ who is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Eternal Optimist

Years ago, I clipped a Punch cartoon out of the paper. My all-time favorite, it depicts a man crawling across a barren desert on his hands and knees. He looks up at the scorching sun and lifts his voice in song . . . "Blue skies shining on me, nothing but blue skies do I see." Now that's an optimist!

Thankfully, those of us who know the Lord can look heavenward, even in the midst of our fiercest trial, and have peace in our hearts. Why? Because the God of the universe is looking down on us, working all things together for our good. Even when evil assails us, like Joseph we can say:

"You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good."
~ Genesis 50:20

Sometimes cynics mock Christians for being eternal optimists. But that's okay. We know who saved us, transformed us, and transported us out of the kingdom of death into the kingdom of His dear Son. We know His promises are sure, proven, and trustworthy. I place my trust in the One who wrote the Book. How about you?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Choice Saul Made

In today's Our Daily Bread <> Marvin Williams records the battle between David and Goliath where the most unlikely shepherd boy slew the the mighty Goliath of Gath and claimed victory for the beleaguered Israelites.

King Saul was in a fix! He had no one "worthy or brave enough to fight." As I see it, he had three choices:
  1. Do nothing. This would cause further demoralization of his troops and Israel. Besides, continued inaction would further demonstrate their weakness and ensure their utter destruction.
  2. Fight the giant himself. To fight Goliath himself, Saul would need the same "unswerving faith in the Almighty God" that David had . . . which we know he did not. He had all the trappings of a king, size and beauty, that the people craved. But deep inside, where it counts, he was a coward. Scripture shows us that Saul's pattern was to disobey the living God, justifying his actions at every turn.
  3. Allow David to fight. Now this choice came fraught with its own risks. If David were unsuccessful, besides suffering humiliation, Israel would be enslaved by the Philistines. Yet, David's "unswerving faith in the Almighty God" impressed Saul. Whether mere bravado or not, David's faith represented the only hope Saul had of victory, and so he chose Door #3.
Sometimes we don't feel we have much of a choice in situations we face, that no matter which choice we make, we are doomed.  In times like these, we do well to follow David's example of unswerving faith in the Almighty God. Take what we have to the Lord--whether that's five smooth stones or five loaves and two fishes. He will take what little we have and multiply it to bring glory to Himself and provide for His people's needs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today marks my mother's 87th birthday, the last three of which she's spent in heavenly company! But those of us who remain earth-locked miss her.

Mom was one of the great ones, and I don't say that lightly or take it for granted. As I've counseled with women (many hundreds of them over the years), I realize that not everyone had the privilege of being mentored by a good women who loved her family above everything else on earth.

She was there with the listening ear and plate of cookies everyday after school.
She was there with the word of encouragement when I felt glum.
She was there to cheer me on when I was riding high.
She was there . . . always there.

And now she's not.

I thank God for the hope He gives us that there will be a blessed reunion in heaven, IN HIS PRESENCE, for those who belong to Him. What a glorious day that will be!

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant 
about those who fall asleep, 
or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again
and so we believe that God will bring
with Jesus
those who have fallen asleep in him."
~ I Thessalonians 4:13-14