Monday, February 16
Tuesday, January 13
“…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5.25b-27 (NIV)
The other day some friends & I were discussing the seemingly mundane tasks of life. Inevitably, the subject of laundry came up. The dirtying, the loading, the unloading, the wearing, the dirtying … a never-ending spin cycle, if you will. I often wonder if my nine-year-old son and I are in some sort of contest to see who can do his part faster. He usually wins, and I find myself lagging behind as I carry yet another basket of his jeans to the washer. He doesn’t intentionally get his clothes …well, filthy… he’s just being a boy.
The biblical Old Testament system of worship included a bronze laver used by the priests to wash themselves. The placement of the laver provides great spiritual insight, even for believers today. (The Tabernacle/Temple is so rich in its symbolism that we cannot possibly discuss every aspect in one blog any more than we can fit the buffet line at The Golden Corral into one to-go box! It just ain’t happenin’!) The laver was a giant bronze bowl filled with water placed in between the brazen altar (where animal sacrifices were made) and the Holy Place (where priests would meet with God). In my mind the significance of the placement of the laver is profound. It lay … on the journey, so to speak … in between forgiveness and utter holiness. It was a place of reflection for those who were washing, those who already had been forgiven (via the sacrifice) and were on their way toward wholeness. It represented a daily cleansing, an on-going purification for the Old Testament chosen people- Israel. For those of us chosen under the New Testament, our “laver” is the Word, the Bible. It is by being “washed through the Word” that we experience daily cleansing and purification on our journey toward ultimate perfected holiness. Just like I wash the dirt (and who knows what else!) from my son’s jeans, the Word washes away the grime of the day – both on and in me. As I daily spend time in the “water” of God’s Word, His Spirit scrubs my thoughts, my actions, my words until they meet His standard of clean… now or eventually. (Sometimes He uses the gentle cycle, or He just lets me soak for a while. At other times, it would seem He uses my granny’s lye soap; harsh and abrasive, it gets out even the most stubborn of stains.) The end goal is for me to be radiantly clean as I stand before Him, without any “stain or wrinkle” … something I may never be able to say about Sam’s jeans.
Thursday, January 8
When my maternal grandmother was 14 years old, she was married. Thankfully, no one any younger can legally marry ... even in Alabama. While she may not have been very prepared for being a wife, she was well prepared to run a household. She could plant a garden and cook or can everything it produced. Having 8 siblings, she knew a little something about the demands of a busy home. She could sew a dress from a flour sack and wash it by hand in the creek a half-mile away ... even in winter... with handmade lye soap. She later gave birth to twins at home and then, as the story goes, mopped the bedroom floor. She worked hard her whole life; she was a producer ... which allowed her to also be a giver. She gave away handmade quilts and jam made from strawberries grown in her sideyard. Every memory I have of my granny ends with a happy heart and a full tummy. All this reminiscing leads me to a question: When did we become a consumer culture?
Sunday, January 4
"Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" Luke 12.24
Friday, December 19
Last Sunday as we headed to Chapel, the wind was blowing like crazy ... at about 50 mph. Driving along the desert Highway 10 proved quite a challenge. Thankfully, my little PT Cruiser comes with a compass, so I don't get lost when the windblown dust makes it almost impossible to see. Then comes the hard part... getting out of the car. Walking into the Chapel in these extreme conditions should qualify as an Olympic sport! I held Annabelle's hand as we fought our way across the parking lot, and I wondered why I had bothered to fix my hair. I mean, there's not enough hairspray in the Lone Star State to withstand this kind of abuse! But as soon as we stepped inside the doors of the Chapel, there was an immediate calm. No more wind undoing my do; no more dust in my eyes, no more flashbacks to a scene in The Wizard of Oz. There was only a sense of peacefulness and warmth. As we took our seats near the back, the light of the sun filtered in through the stained glass windows to illuminate the beauty of the small sanctuary. The Chaplain had us open our Bibles, and that's when it occurred to me. When the circumstances of life overwhelm me, when strong winds blow... as they will... there is indeed a place where I can find peace and warmth and protection. The Word of God is that place. By sitting down and opening His Word, I can find a sense of peace even though the winds are raging wildly just outside the door. I can get my bearings once again and the strength to go back out into the wind.
Friday, December 5
Sunday, November 30
John Chapter 2 tells a story familiar to many. It seemed rather familiar to me, too, until this morning. That is one thing I love about God's word; it is living and active... and teaching me new lessons if I am willing to learn.
Wednesday, November 26
Russ and I are involved with the Navigators ministry here in Texas. This organization, which can be found on many military installations across the country, places their focus on helping and training soldiers in their walk with Christ. The Navs we've known through the years often use illustrations when explaining spiritual truths… using anything from a whiteboard to a ripe banana. Somehow I think John the Baptist would fit right in.
In John 1, we see John define himself as “one calling in the desert, make the way straight for the Lord…”. He states unequivocally that he is not the Messiah but rather he is merely the messenger, further laying the ground work for the One who is to come. John’s words proclaim Christ. In verse 31, Johns says “…the reason I came baptizing with water was that he (Jesus) might be revealed to Israel.” John’s life serves as the illustration of the Christ to come. Perhaps for a revelation of this magnitude a dry erase board just wouldn’t do.
Tuesday, November 25
Monday, November 24
Saturday, November 22
Thursday, November 6
Wednesday, November 5
Tuesday, November 4
"Test everything. Hold on to the good." 1 Thessalonians 5.21