Get Up and Glow Pt. 3

Sometimes in the midst of very great trials we are tempted to take the stance of Rabbi Kushner in His book , When Bad Things Happen To Good People.   We want to say “God is good but there are some things He just can’t fix because He isn’t all-powerful.”

While that may seem to be an easy answer it is not Scriptural so it is not one we can accept. In fact it is heresy. It is one of the reasons that the church today is losing its power and influence in the world. Loved these two quotes I found at http://twominutesofgrace.wordpress.com/

Episcopal priest Robert Capon said: “We are in a war between dullness and astonishment.” The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good new, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing, Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into “nice people.” If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested. What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-down?

What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God? ~ Michael Yaconelli

What happened to them Mike? They bought the lie that God was no longer in charge of this world. Christians have bought the lie that the good news isn’t really good news. It’s just OK news.  Many have stopped fighting for the joy, peace and the freedom which is ours by right. We’ve contented ourselves with trying to control the behavior of others. We’ve  stopped fighting the battles of the Spirit. We’ve contented ourselves with making our lives more comfortable.  As J.S. Park says “we have let seasons of life determine our whole life.” We have let a season a situation turn us into someone we never wanted to be. Not realizing that our Redeemer has come we have given into our old sinful selves again and let the world system determine our mindsets. But I have news for you today Christian

“The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him…. In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD. “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” Isaiah 59:15,16,19,20

Get Up and Glow Pt.2

Almost 70 years ago Elie Wiesel was a fifteen-year old prisoner in the Nazi death camp at Buna. A cache of arms belonging to a Dutchman had been discovered at the camp. The man was promptly shipped to Auschwitz. But he had a young servant boy, a pipel as they were called, a child with a refined and beautiful face, unheard of in the camps. He had the face of a sad angel. The little servant, like his Dutch master, was cruelly tortured, but would not reveal any information. So the SS sentenced the child to death, along with two other prisoners who had been discovered with arms. Wiesel tells the story:

One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us; machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains–and one of them, the little servant, the sad- eyed angel. The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him. This time the Lagercapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him. The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses. “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults. But the child was silent. “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. “Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. “Cover your heads!” Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. but the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is–He is hanging here on this gallows..” That night the soup tasted corpses.

Elie Wiesel, Night, Bantam, 1982, p. 75-6, quoted in When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, p. 39-41.

 

This story like the first verses of our Scripture reading in Isaiah reminds us that in this world justice is a rare commodity. Life often seems to work against us. We rise only to get knocked down. Like the man walking behind Elie Wiesel we wonder “Where is God now?” It’s at such times we are tempted to take the stance of Rabbi Kushner in His book , When Bad Things Happen To Good People.   We want to say “God is good but there are some things He just can’t fix because He isn’t all-powerful.”

Have you ever felt that God didn’t have the power to help? 

Get Up and Glow Pt. 1

What follows are excerpts from Pastor Wrinkle’s sermon 7-29-12

Isa. 59:9-11/ 15-16/19-   

So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us…The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him…. In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD. “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” [fn]says the LORD.  “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Isaiah 60:1-2-

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.  NLT

Waiting For God

There is a rather bawdy British comedy that shows every once in a while on our local public broadcasting system here in the States called “Waiting For God”. Basically it’s the story of a group of people in a rest home waiting to die. It’s the English “Golden Girls” if you will. It came to mind as I was meditating on a portion of Habakkuk chapter 2 in preparation for a class I taught this week.

I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. Hab. 2:1 NLT

Habakkuk chapter one is a list of the complaints and questions the prophet has for the Lord. When Habakkuk finishes his litany of brain-teasers for God he basically says “Now then, I am just going to wait and see what God does with those humdingers!”

I wonder how long Habakkuk had to wait. We aren’t told, but knowing God a little bit I rather doubt He came right down from the throne of grace to answer Habakkuk the instant the questions fluttered from the prophet’s lips. The prophet’s book is rather short (3 chapters) so it may be that he waited all his life to get his answers to these questions.

It begs the question, how are you doing waiting for God to answer your burdens? Are you O.K. if He takes a while longer?

We after all are microwave people serving a crock pot God. Still I’d rather eat food out of a crock pot than out of the microwave any day!

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 104

 

Psalm chapter 1 says, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

 

I want to be that man of righteousness! That is one of the reasons I practice charting. It helps me to keep the word of God ever before my eyes. That helps me stay strong in a world that is decidedly working towards my undoing.

 

Here is what I see in the word of God today:

Joshua chapter 14 sermon topics/titles:

1. Letting God Choose For You: Josh:14:1-3

2. When Faithfulness Blesses Feet: Josh: 14:6-10

3. How To Be a Real Golden Oldy: Josh: 14:10-15

Joshua chapter 15 sermon topics/ titles:

1. Why Israel Should Not Give Up the West Bank: Josh 15:1-63

2. Seeking the Lord For Water: Josh 15:13-19

3. Those We Cannot Dislodge: Josh 15:63 

Tell me what you see in these chapters! 🙂

 

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 103

 

Psalm chapter 1 says, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

I want to be that man of righteousness! That is one of the reasons I practice charting. It helps me to keep the word of God ever before my eyes. That helps me stay strong in a world that is decidedly working towards my undoing.

Here is what I see in the word of God today:

Joshua chapter 12 sermon topics/titles:

1. Victory Means Possession! Josh 12: 6

2. The First Victories Are Foundational: Josh 12:1-6

3. Keeping a Win List: Josh 12: 7-24

Joshua chapter 13 sermon topics/titles:

1. What To Do When You Run Out Of Time: Josh 13:1-7

2. The Lord Himself Will Drive Them Out: Josh: 13:6

3. Just God: Josh. 13: 32,33

Now Tell me what you see in these chapters! 🙂

The Netherlands Pt 8: St. Bavo’s Haarlem

After touring the Ten Boom museum (which if you did not see go back to Netherlands Pt. 7 for a look-see) Brenda and I had lunch with Mona at one of the street-side cafes. Christian camaraderie is such a sweet gift from the Holy Spirit!

When at last we had to say good-bye or as they say it in Dutch “Dooey!” Brenda and I decided our time in Haarlem was not over. We wanted to tour Corrie’s home church, St.Bavo’s (pronounced Boffo’s).

St. Bavo’s sits in the center of Haarlem Square.

Admission to the church was 2 Euro as there was no service going on.

The sanctuary of St. Bavo’s

the facade of the pipe organ, Mozart played a service here…but not while we were visiting 🙂

The ceilings of St. Bavo’s

Ancient cathedral sanctuaries were built in the shape of crosses. This is the ceiling at the center of the cross.

A view along the North side of the sanctuary, St. Bavo’s. The floor is made of gravestones from the 1500’s. The inside of the church is also a cemetery.

A grave marker in the floor of St. Bavo’s

Brenda in the choir loft. St. Bavo’s

While Brenda was busy pretending to pray, I found this little cross- shaped hole in the wall.

Since the adjoining doors were bolted, I stuck my arm through the cross-shaped hole and snapped this picture. So glad my arm didn’t get stuck!

This window was given to St. Bavo’s by Queen Beatrix.

There is so much to see in this little city. After we left St. Bavo’s we walked through the square just enjoying the sights and sounds.

the statue outside of St. Bavo’s. Mona could only tell us it wasn’t St. Bavo.

Street cafe, Haarlem Square

Street performers, Haarlem Square

Haarlem truly is one of the most beautiful little cities I have been too. Don’t pass this little gem by if you are in the area!

Heaven Pt. 70

“And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God [was] there in those days,  And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand….But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them….So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these [were] men of valour.” Judges 20:27,28,40,41,46

Judges 20 marks one of the darkest moments in Israel’s early history. The men of Gibeah in Benjamin committed an unspeakable crime and the other tribes of Israel rose up against the city to bring punishment. But the men of Benjamin came to the defense of their brother city and opposed the will of the national leadership. Battle ensued. God took the side against Benjamin and brought punishment down upon the heads of not just Gibeah but the entire tribe.

In hindsight perhaps Benjamin realized they should have just stayed out of the way. What was it I wonder that made them rise to the defense of Gibeah: Pride, loyalty, misguided grace?

How many times have I gotten in the way of God’s work in someone else’s life  for one of these reasons? How many of life’s lumps came to me simply because I didn’t know enough to back off when  God was doing harder work in someone I cared about? I wonder.

Have you ever stepped in God’s way when He was trying to deal with someone else’s life?

Share Your World With Cee Cee Pt. 16

These are some fun questions this week Cee! A little break in the difficulty factor…I like it!

  1.  What type of pets do you have or want?
    I have two Maltese dogs: a boy Jacopo (yacahpoh) and a girl Mercedes.  
  2. Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures? Oh definitely take pictures.
  3. What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?
    I try not to say I hate anything because that makes it harder to do when I’ve gotta do it. I find it harder to do the ironing.  🙂
  4. What’s your least favorite mode of transportation? Hmm. I’m not a big fan of anything I have to pedal or push. Things that tip over easy or think for themselves as modes of transportation are also low on my choice list.