The tagline of this blog is “It’s always time for something…”
And it’s true. It is always time for something.
Right now it’s time for a little rant.
Not am angry rant. Probably more of an exasperated one. Exasperated because just when I get excited that folks around me are getting it, I discover that they’re not.
Jesus followers love to talk about revival. I’m wondering just how we’re all defining that word.
Lots of people meeting Jesus?
Lots of people repenting of destructive thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors?
Lots of people getting healed?
Miracles, signs, and/or wonders?
A visitation of the presence of God?
Whatever it is, it seems that plenty of people are waiting on God to move so these things will happen. Until then we have to keep begging Him for it, proving that we’re really serious about it.
You know…pray more.
Expand the list of things we don’t do.
Expand the list of worldly things we shun.
Do whatever it is that makes us more holy, more righteous.
As if we have to talk Him into showing up. As if we have to perform perfectly in order to get His attention.
Sometimes we seem to forget how eager He is to interact with His creation. We seem to forget how deeply and wildly He loves, and how willing He is to bend to kiss the heads of frail and faulty humans.
And we forget that when He put us in Christ, He also put Holy Spirit in us.
The power, the presence, the glory. It’s in us.
We don’t have to beg for it to come. It’s already there, waiting for us to make a draw on the deposit in us. We are not groveling on earth, hoping heaven shows up. We’re operating from heaven, where we’re already seated with Christ.
Do you understand that this means?
You are walking revival.
Everywhere you go you take the power of God. Release it.
Everywhere you go you take the presence of God. Release it.
Everywhere you go you take the glory of God. Release it.
And revival will come. It will come in Walmart and on the bleachers at soccer games. It will come in your workplace and in the grocery store. It will come in conversations with friends and strangers.
People will meet Jesus. They’ll fall in love with Him. Sin will become amazingly less enticing when confronted with outrageous love. People will get healed. Signs, miracles, and wonders will occur because the supernatural is God’s natural.
Revival isn’t coming. It’s here.
Rant over…for now.
Although the lights
were turned down low
I squinted and
ducked my head
at the brilliance of the room.
In another time
or another place
I might call this confusion
or perhaps even chaos
because I have no other words
for when shadows glow
and rivers burn
and whispers shake
I lifted my head
and opened my eyes
an amused face
studying me intently.
I choke out my query
hoping to discover
what map might contain
this freakshow of a landscape.
With a giggle
and kiss blown for good measure
the face melted
into the air
and all that was left
was my chair
in my living room
in my house
with the trembling floors.
Distractions come in the most surprising forms sometimes.
For example, I sat down to write a blog post, and even though I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write about, I had some creative energy flowing and was sure I’d come up with something.
I needed to clean out my email inbox first, and while doing so I ended up clicking on a couple of Facebook notifications. Just tidying up my corner of cyberspace, right?
Yes, right…if I’d just checked the notification, no scrolling around.
But of course, I scrolled.
And that’s when I ran across a couple of mutual friends having a bit of a quarrel. I read their public conversation and recognized a breakdown in communication. That breakdown led to an offense, and the offense led to harsh words, and the harsh words led to more offense…
You get the picture. Who amongst us hasn’t been on that the Communicative Offense Hamster Wheel at one point or another?
I didn’t interject any observations. It wasn’t my issue and it was none of my business. But that didn’t stop the situation from draining my creative energy down to the dregs in the bottom of my tank.
You’d think I’d learn by now. I know many artists find inspiration in their negative emotions, but I am generally not one of them. Anger, rage, fear, jealousy, anxiety, conflict—those things shut down my creative energy almost immediately, even for writing. That mess leaves me with nothing to say.
Tomorrow is another day. Here’s to writing before reading, eh?
Just some things I’ve noticed:
-oranges tastes like sunshine and happiness.
-squirrels have a death wish but it’s unclear if it’s towards themselves or us.
-sometimes children are ill-behaved because their adults need a nap.
-no dog actually smells GOOD without human intervention.
-“new and improved” often just means “smaller package with fancier lettering.”
-wasps are evil.
-few things are sadder than an empty mailbox.
-every spring I think this is the year I’m going to manage to get a tomato plant to flourish long enough to actually harvest ripe, healthy tomatoes.
-every autumn I say I’m never going to mess with tomato plants again.
While at work today I learned a lesson about generosity.
It’s not uncommon that I learn lessons while working at the da panty sto’. Some of them are inspirational; just as many are cautionary tales.
This one was a bit of both for me.
Men of the Sparky Nation, I apologize for the very feminine topic of this story and invite you to substitute “wader boots” or “duck calls” in the necessary places. You’ll probably totally lose the more serious point of the story, but don’t say I didn’t attempt to accommodate you.
Two women came into the store, a middle-aged one and one fairly young. The older asked that the younger one be fitted for a new bra because she was in her second trimester of pregnancy and only had one, and it fit poorly. The two women were relatives and the older wished to support the younger by seeing that she got some comfortable, well-made bras. Very sweet, and a wise thing to offer.
I fitted the young woman and we found several styles that worked beautifully for her. The first one she tried on was on sale. It fit nicely, but it wasn’t very pretty. She tried on a few more before she hit the jackpot. One of the most supportive bras in the store not only fit her beautifully, but it was very pretty, looked fabulous under her clothing, and even had the tiniest bit of extra room in all the right places to accommodate her expanding figure—but not so much as to make the bra fit poorly.
She fell in love. Understandably so.
The problem was that the older woman struggled with wanting to control what the younger woman chose. Because the first bra was on sale, she could afford to buy two of those. And in her mind, two suitable, functional bras were better than one awesome wow bra. And since she held the purse strings…
The younger woman was appreciative and quickly bowed to the older woman’s wishes. But she had clearly stated which bra she preferred. She was settling, and I could see the wistfulness in her eyes as she handed me back her first choice and instead chose a second sale bra.
It isn’t my intent or my heart to judge the older woman’s actions. I fully understand having a budget, even in the midst of being generous towards someone. And perhaps it would have been helpful to the younger woman if the older one has simply been up front about how much they could spend in the store. Nevertheless, the older woman’s generosity was an act of kindness and support, and I suspect the younger woman wasn’t getting a lot of support on any front, let alone her wardrobe needs.
The good news is that in the end I was able to work it out that she could have all three bras without overspending the older woman’s budget. And I’m glad I had some tricks up my sleeve to help in that manner. She needed those bras.
But I also had a personal take-away, a bit of on-the-spot Holy Spirit instruction. I was reminded that when I’m generous on my terms, I run the risk of short-changing the person to whom I wish to show generosity. And when I plan to be generous, I should do all I can to prepare to bestow outrageous generosity. If I can’t be outrageous, I should at least be clear about what I can offer, and then offer it with open hands and a willing heart that doesn’t judge how that generosity is received or used.
If you have no idea what in the world I’m really talking about because you got distracted reading this story subbing “duck calls” for “bras”, well…I guess I set myself up for that, eh?
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
A person with smoldering bones
should probably not
But any person with
knows that nothing else will do.
The burning is
hope and pain,
desire and surrender,
fire that screams
to be fought with fire
until all lesser loves flee
Refiner dances with joy
in the golden light.
I’m not interested in platitudes. I have no regard for clichés or pithy sayings.
I’m definitely disinterested in sweetly spoken hope-killing words that make excuses for why the reality of the kingdom of God so often doesn’t seem to be our reality. It’s useless to bother offering me “logical reasons” God doesn’t appear to be following through on His word.
I’m not buying a word of it.
It seems to be our nature to try to make all of life make sense. We want a reason so badly that we’re willing to accept a terrible one, a flat-out lie—one that accuses God of being a negligent Father who hurts His children in order to teach them a lesson, or a powerless Father who gets out-maneuvered by the devil at times. But when we swallow that bitter toxic pill, it warps our ability to ask the painful questions without our trust in Him hanging in the balance.
Why are the liars and cheaters prospering?
Why didn’t he get healed?
Why did we lose everything?
Why are good people suffering injustice?
Why was she left at the mercy of merciless people?
In our lack of understanding, with the acrid taste of disappointment in our mouths, we conclude that it must surely be that God doesn’t love us all that much…or that we don’t deserve His intervention…or that the enemy is just too powerful…
even though the scriptures clearly say
He is love and He sacrificed His best to bring us home…we are His dearly beloved children and He has no condemnation for His children…sin and death have been defeated and the enemy no longer has any authority over us…
and they say it over and over and over.
Sometimes the most honest answer to our painful questions is the hardest answer.
Sometimes the answer is simply “I don’t know.”
But “I don’t know” viewed through a lens of love and trust turns out a lot different from “I don’t know” viewed through a lens of distrust and unbelief.
The love problem is never on God’s end. Really. He loves, period. But when we demand answers, sometimes a serious love problem takes root on our end. We begin holding our hearts ransom from Him in exchange for answers, forgetting that He already paid a dreadfully high price for our hearts, our lives.
He loves us. He doesn’t love less because He permits the tension of hard questions and difficult circumstances. And a day will come when the hard questions and difficult circumstances fade away, and only love remains.
This is where I must park. I can’t afford any other position. Besides, where else would I go?
He’s the only one with the words of life.