Tuesday, June 23, 2009
At cabin time four nights into the trip, he told his campers, “Ask me anything.” And these young men had the opportunity to ask the questions that no one has ever let them ask and no one has ever bothered to answer.
My friend T did not elaborate on his own ideas of spirituality, but fielded the questions with Scripture, flipping back and forth through the Word in answering vital life questions. And I need to point out that my friend is not a seminary graduate or ordained minister, but a man who daily digs deep into God’s Word.
Over and over, he heard, “The Bible says that?”
It reminds me of the section in Exodus when Moses exhorts God’s people to be ready. “And when your children ask you, “What do these things mean?” (Exodus 12.26 and others) Or your co-workers or neighbors or friends. What are you going to tell them? When the opportunity comes up, there is no time for cramming. How can I do that if I don’t know what the Word says?
When God infuses the Word into a situation, God infuses His Word into hearts and changes them forever. For these young men, they comprehended the reality and truth of the Bible. It is no ordinary book, but the very words of God. They saw the Truth – perhaps for the first time. And they will never be the same.
Read His Word every day. It is the daily-ness of reading and meditating on Scripture that makes the biggest difference. In your life and the lives of everyone around you.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a workman who has no need to be ashamed,
rightly handling the Word of truth.
2 Timothy 2.15
Friday, June 19, 2009
"Don't Miss Summer." Hope that you make the most of these summer months. They are an investment in your life and the lives of those around you. For the first installment, I have included a guest blogger, my husband Bill with some of his recent thoughts.
I had a nice 40 mile ride on Little River Rd. in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I was riding I saw families in and out of their cars taking pictures, fishing and playing in the river. Coming down out of Cades Cove, I caught up to a car and kept up with it for a mile or two at 35 miles per hour. Two boys stuck their heads out the windows, pointed and took pictures of me.
It reminded me of our own adventures with the girls when they were little; camping from Cades Cove in eastern Tennessee to Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. They got so dirty at times two baths weren’t enough and they made the Tide kids on the commercial look clean. We simply threw their clothes away on more than one occasion. They wore out their anoraks glissading down glaciers in the Rockies. They climbed trees, unconcerned with the rain that fell drenching them to the skin. They got way too close to poisonous snakes and skunks and bears and bison, but so did I. We fished in Yellowstone Lake until our fingers and toes could stand the cold no longer, and then we fished some more. We swam in the icy snowmelt waters of String Lake in the Tetons. We competed at roasting marshmallows even though we all knew Laura would have the best.
And we laughed and made stories for many trips to come.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I dislike the procedure of the eye exam. Which do you like better? One or two, two or three, three or four?
(Is this how he asks his kids what they want to eat? I wonder). Sometimes the difference between the choices is slim to none. I have to look very carefully to see the slightest variation in sharpness –are there fuzzy edges at all? Or is the choice very clear? Sometimes I don’t realize how poorly I have been seeing. What has become “normal” for me is really not how the world is.
That is where Biblical worldview comes in, discovering the reality of God in everything, big stuff and the tiniest details. What do I miss because my vision is off even a fraction?
Every day when you read God’s Word, He is refining your vision. It is not just how you see your world, but what you do about it.
“How should followers of Jesus respond? With action and hope,” says Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship.
How much do we miss in what God opens to us and what God wants to do in us and through us, just because we haven’t daily focused on Him through His Word? The reality of who God is will seep into every aspect of your life.
…one thing I know,
that though I was blind,
now I see…
Be Thou my vision…….
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"Love grows best in the soil of gratitude."
"It is only when God is in His rightful place in the center of our world... that we are able to love as He intended."
"Our failure is not a failure to love each other. It is a failure to love God."
"If you are God's child, you have been called to love."
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Several years ago when I began hiking with my husband Bill, he suggested that I get some hiking poles like his. I declined. I didn’t need them. And I always thought that hikers looked kind of silly using them, like something out of the Sound of Music. Ok, he said.
On one of the first extended hikes that we made with our friends Eddie and Becky, Bill offered me use of one of his poles. It was early spring. The trails were muddy and wet. No thanks, I replied. I don’t need it. Within about ten minutes of his offer, I slipped on a patch of black ice and skidded about twenty yards down the trail. I ended up with a bruise on my hip the size of
I then gladly took my husband’s sage advice and purchased a pair of poles.
The trails have grown longer and steeper. And I have found that the poles are very useful on the ascent, helping me to climb up the hills a little easier. But on the descents, the poles have become vital. Veteran mountaineer Ed Viesturs says that the hardest part of mountain climbing is the descent. That is when people get in trouble.
So on my last hike, while musing on a long quiet stretch up a hill, I thought about the poles and their spiritual connection. The two poles are like prayer and the Word. They keep me grounded. They help when my course is steep, but they keep me from falling when life starts going downhill fast. Prayer and the Word.
Keep grounded. Keep going.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121. 1-2
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Though really pretty short, it packs in story after story of author Mary Geegh's missions experiences in India. And every one of these stories contains remarkable evidence of God's hand on a situation as the individuals involved choose to follow God.
Sometimes the guidance was as simple as taking an egg to a neighbor. Other times it meant writing a letter. Or buying a train ticket. You get the idea. Small little steps, through which we can grow just a little bit closer to God. Take a paper and pen, remain silent, listen to God's guidance, and obey.
Seems simple enough.
And, aside from the paper and pen, incredibly reflective of the actions of numerous individuals in Scripture. When a situation didn't go their way, these individuals immediately turned to God.
"What did we do wrong?" they'd ask.
Followed, of course, by, "What should we do next?"
The victories and escapes and triumphs of Biblical times did not come simply because Moses or Joshua or David uttered a simple "please help me" before they went to bed. No, these men devoted themselves to seeking the truth. They chose to listen. And they chose to obey. Even in the little things. And that enabled God to use them in unfathomable ways.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We have loved the ride.
It was a time of great laughter and tears for no reason at all, late late nights and school mornings when the sun didn't even come up until after classes had begun, and a thousand movies (at least) on a television "with knobs and no remote." Beth would make two phone calls and the basement would be full of kids, and fun filtered up through the vents. We outfitted a large number of the girls' friends with gently worn prom dresses, and Kate created hair styles every year for many of them, hairspray and bobby pins all over the counter. We flexed with last minute plans. We endured unending swim meets, a hundred degrees inside and subzero Iowa weather when we emerged. We stopped counting the number of cross country races we attended with boxes of rice krispie treats on crisp Saturday mornings in Ohio and muggy Tuesday afternoons in Memphis. I miss sitting on the stairs after midnight talking about deep theology and how to survive the rest of the semester. The girls learned the questions and the answers: where are you going, what time will you be home, who are you going with, who is driving, and the ultimate question of all: are the parents home? The outfits were crazy at times, the haircuts frizzy, too straight, and sometimes really bad, and of course, we heard the ever-present cry of despair,"I have nothing to wear." We endured no friends and too many friends and how to avoid creepy guys. There were study groups at the kitchen table and high school football games in Iowa City when the entire town showed up. Young Life came through the door every Wednesday night for three years, an enormous pile of mismatched shoes at the door. There were times of pain and suffering that we didn't know what to do about but pray. There were moves from Kansas City to Iowa City to Cincinnati to Memphis, all during high school. College decisions at times seemed to take a backseat to what earrings to wear to prom. First things first. Hearts were broken. Hope endured. And sometimes it was really hard to "be the mom" and say no. We lived through four driver learning permits, and I held my breath and prayed over brand new drivers on debut errands. There were four long trips to drop off the girls at college for freshman year. We wept on the way home. Every time. We prayed a lot. It was fun, it was tragic, it was quite a ride. And I am going to miss it a lot.
Today we begin another adventure of having our girls all in their twenties and a sweet new baby girl on the way.
When our girls were babies, there were those who shook their heads and said, "Just wait until they are teenagers." And then there were our friends John and Leeba Curlin who said to look forward to those years. We are glad that we took the Curlin's advice.
I post this tribute to our girls, and the amazing fun we had with you. Time for me to graduate.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Last weekend, that little three year old -- twenty two years later-- marched up on stage and was given her diploma for completing medical school. She is now a doctor, headed to Vanderbilt for her residency, a dream realized, grasped initially on an ordinary day in the doctor’s office.
Let those annoying days be redeemed. Be thankful for everything. God has purpose for even such a time as this.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
As in any race, there is strategy and jockeying for position. And when you are flying by at 25-plus miles per hour on a bike, there are inherent dangers when you are only inches away from guys all around you. It is amazing how a slight tilting of one cyclist’s handlebars can turn into a massacre of bicycles and riders all over the road.
Bill’s coworkers often witnessed him limping into work on Monday mornings, sore and scraped up from a weekend race. We called it “road rash.” At least once, he had bicycle tire tracks across his back.
Sometimes the crashes happened at the end of the race when a crowd of racers focused on the finish line. But mostly, they happened in the middle of the race. If the bicycle was mangled enough, the rider was out. But if it was only the cyclist hurt, more often than not, he’d jump back in the race.
We used that lesson through the years, and it became known in our family, “When you fall, get back on the bike.” Don’t sit around. Jump back in right away. If you don’t, it is likely you won’t ever do it again.
As we near the halfway point in the year, there are many who have fallen off reading through the Bible this year. Get back on the bike. Get back in the Word. It is the daily-ness of your time with God that makes the difference, not an artificial schedule. Let a plan help you, not defeat you. And if it takes you until February or March next year -– or even beyond -- to read the Bible through, you will still have read through the Bible. The point is your daily fellowship with God, not checking something off a list.
Get back on the bike.
Fear not, for I am with you.
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.