Words, walls, and the winning way of Jesus

In the days after the November 3rd election, I scrolled through my Twitter and Facebook feeds, reading posts from people with crosses, fish symbols and scripture references in their taglines, that left me grieved.

They used words like, “go to hell,” held up their Bibles, guns, favored-candidate’s flag, and accused other Christians on social media of being “baby-killers” and “lost” because they pledged to pray for a pro-choice democrat if elected. In response I tweeted this question:

“Christian, if you’re cutting people off, calling them names, mocking and slandering them, how exactly are you loving your enemies?”

But simply sub-tweeting a pained reply to what I read on social media isn’t going to make the difference I long to see.

One of the writers I follow on Twitter, recently said:

It’s easier to write a book about a subject than to live the subject in a low, slow, & consistent way. If we think we’ll make a bigger difference in the world thru publishing our message than by simply living our message, God will (hopefully tenderly, softly, kindly) correct us.” – @lorewilbert

Social media and the internet make it easy for anyone to write anything. But as Lore points out, living the words we publish in a, “…low, slow & consistent way,” is the real world-changer. The incarnation of our words is a demonstration of power. To persuade a group of people to like what you say or repeat what you say is a kind of power. But to take the words you say and live them out changes lives.

It was easy for me to post my subtweet response on Facebook. It will be much harder, and much more an evidence of the power of Christ in me when I love the people who post such things, the same way Christ has loved me.

I’m convicted that Christians are called to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), do good to them (Luke 6:27), pray for them (Matthew 5:44), go above and beyond to show them unearned kindness (Matthew 5:40-42) give to them (Romans 12:10), speak words of grace (Collosians 4:6) and truth with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:14-16).

It feels weird to say it, but my “enemies” are people who use mean words on social media to demonize people they don’t agree with. Living out what I wrote, “low and slow” means praying for those people. Taking actual time out of my day to move my lips and complain to God, not social media, seeking mercy on their behalf just as I have been shown great mercy from Jesus. And if possible, meeting with them personally to humbly listen and share the truth and grace of Jesus.

Jesus is clear. The way he has prescribed and empowered us to follow him is from a humble, gentle, yet bold posture. A posture that doesn’t use words to tear people down or prop yourself up. The way commanded to us is a way of wisdom, self-control and gracious speech. But, is there a time for Christians to mock or use name calling?

In the Bible, Jesus called the religious leaders who tied heavy burdens on their followers and used them for financial gain a, “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23).

In the Bible, Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:27) in an ancient showdown.

These examples make us stand up and cheer! We latch on easily to the person with the wittiest comebacks and sharpest jabs. We hear meek Jesus put those Pharisees on blast, and Elijah drop the mic on the prophets of Baal, and we arm ourselves Biblical support for mocking and name calling.

I doubt that any of us can, with a pure heart, call another people group a degrading name, or make fun of another religion’s gods, in a way that fulfills Christ’s commission to make disciples. But even if there are times when such shocking words are spoken with humility and boldness, these biblical examples don’t prescribe a mode of operation for Christians.

If our mode of operation as Christians turns from the humble, bold way of Jesus, to the in-your-face, mocking, proud, name-calling way of the culture and wayward leaders, I fear we will offend our neighbors and enemies and wall ourselves in tight from all opposing views so well, we will lose the chance to win them to Christ.

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle. – Proverbs 18:19

Consistently inconsistent

Playin’ in the rain
Mud is fun!
They said they were making a trap door for a bobcat 🙂
Look mom!  I’m sinking!
Goof off
Jack.  Our new pet bearded dragon.

I know, writers write.  But, inconsistent bloggers, blog inconsistently.  Especially when they start working night shift.

It’s 1:25am on my day off and I’m trying to stay up so tomorrow I’ll sleep late in preparation for staying up all night at the hospital.

The first two shifts were interesting.  I remember why I didn’t miss hospital nursing.  I also recall what I love about caring for newborns and their mom’s and families.  It’s not all Leave It To Beaver out there.  In fact, I don’t think there’s a single Leave It To Beaver family having babies anymore.  But it’s great opportunity to teach, encourage, value life, and be a blessing.

I don’t want to be a complainer.  I want other people to leave working with me as a nurse feeling uplifted, and helped, not criticized and dumped on.  It’s a shame how many people come to work complaining about the work they have to do.

James has got most of the upstairs bathroom finished.  Just needs drywall, paint and a shower door.  Next project on the list is knocking out a wall separating the upstairs bedroom from the living room.  That will create a larger living room and reduce the house from being a 4 bedroom to being a 3 bedroom.

I read this today in a daily Bible reading plan I’m working through:

But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day. – Dueteronomy 2:30 (emphasis added by me)

It caught me.  God hardened him so that God could give him into his people’s hand.  God made it hard for his people, so that God could be the one who very obviously gave them victory over such hardness.

Hmmm.  Something to think about next time I wish someone or something wasn’t so hard.



Credo…I need to say it some more

I decided to post in the middle of the day today since I’ll be gone this evening and beginning tomorrow morning I’ll be out of town for the weekend.

Back to work on Monday morning. It’s part of the story. It’s where He has me. It’s part of my stewardship. Oh make me a light that shines in the darkness!

I’m a terrible runner. At least for long distance.  I’m not too bad at sprinting, but make me run more than 200 meters, 400 max, and I’m… Olive Oyl.  I have long legs.  You’d think that would be a strength for running, but for me it only comes in handy when I have to give it my all for a short distance.  When I set out to run a mile or two my long legs start turning themselves into big heavy things I have to drag along.  My shadow looks sort of like an uncoordinated giraffe.

I needed to revisit my credo.  Sometimes you just need to say it out loud.  Or blog it out loud.

I believe there is a Superman and unlike what Lois Lane said, the world does need Him.  I need Him.
I believe that the crumbs of grace still fall from the table.
I believe my life is not my own.
I believe in the pattern shewn.
I believe an entire new creation is coming out of Christ’s death and resurrection.
I believe I was bought at a price.
I believe I’ve been born twice.
I believe in the long obedience in the same direction spoken of here and here.
I believe nothing and no-one can snatch me out of God’s hand during my long obedience in the same direction.
I believe I’m being metamorphosed as it says here and here.
I believe evil will be destroyed by good.
I believe in my life for yours.
I believe every offense is a chance to die to myself.
I believe in the resurrection.
I believe if I hold tightly to my life I’ll loose it.
I believe if I loose my life for Christ’s sake, I’ll find it.
I believe life, wisdom and truth are all found in Christ.
I believe life is about God not about me.
I believe Christ will help my unbelief since I am mostly unbelieving.
I believe all my hope lies in the work of Christ on my behalf.
I believe I live what I really believe… and that scares me sometimes.
I believe I hunger and thirst to really live the righteousness I believe in… and therefore I have hope.
I believe mercy triumphs over judgment.
I believe good has a more violent impact on evil than vengeance.
I believe salvation comes by only one man.
If you don’t see His ways in me you can hit my brakes and stop my lights too.



Children and "elders"

19 year old “elders” always give me a chuckle. It was an interesting conversation last night in the driveway. Oh the many proud things that keep us from a humble and total trust in Christ.

19 and 21 year old Elder White Shirt and Tie came walking up to my open garage with smiles on, asking how we were doing.  We were doing a workout with our buds in our ears and sweat pouring down our faces, but we pulled the buds out and greeted the “elders”.

They made small talk with us, or we made small talk with them for awhile.  I asked where they were from, how long they were here for, if they went to the Mormon church down the road, etc.  James asked what they were doing.  They told us that they hoped to be invited into someone’s home to give them an opportunity to study the Book of Mormon with them.

James asked about their “prophet”- where he came from, who decided he was a prophet, etc.  I asked them what they believed about Christ.  They answered a very good rehearsed answer.

I told them I didn’t believe the Book of Mormon was the inspired word of God.  I prayed as they talked for what my Lord would have me say.  Those timely, comparable-to-precious-metal words (Proverbs 25:11). I went with what came to mind rather than a theological debate.

I asked them how they thought an unbelieving person, say a person raised in immorality or where the name of Christ or God was used as a curse, would perceive their message when they approach people in white shirts and ties with “elder” tags.  They said they didn’t want to misrepresent Christ.

Christ, the Christ who was accused of being a glutton and hanging around with sinners I asked?  They said, “Oh yes, there is definitely a place for service if that’s what you’re talking about.”

I confessed that I only knew that without Christ dying in my place I was hopeless before God and that my inability to love my neighbor who throws trash in my driveway, or my own spouse, or children, or the people that cut me off while I’m driving, prove to me everyday that I am in need of a Savior.  I told them I believed that the gospel of Christ was best spread by one’s everyday living and talking with people.  After all, I said, Christ said others would know we were His followers by our love for one another.

They had no rehearsed fodder for that discussion.  My dear husband did have a reply though.  He told them he agreed with his wife.  If someone was going to believe in Christ it would be through the believer showing by the way they lived around unbelievers that Christ was real.  I had nothing to say, but my heart was speaking in palpitations for that glimpse into a secret place.

The conversation ended with me wishing them a nice evening and them giving us their card.  The conversation between my husband and I continues…  Oh for the grace to open my mouth with wisdom and for the law of kindness to rule my lips!

If anyone wants to know I have stumbled upon a consequence for leaving lights on that seems to be working in my house… so far.   It’s a continual problem.  I walk into an empty boy’s bedroom and or bathroom from a hall all with lights on.  I informed my boys the other day that they would pay the price of sitting in their room in the dark for 15 minutes for every offense of bedroom, bathroom or hall light left on with no person using those rooms.  So far, the consequence has been put into effect twice.  I think it’s having an impact.

Consequences are important.  Consequences are.  Period.  You reap what you sow.  There’s a result to the choices you make.  Apparently in Delaware spankings can no longer be used as a consequence in parenting without the parent facing the consequence of jail time.  Connor said he wants to move to Deleware, which I thought was funny since he doesn’t really get spankings anymore- unless you call the attention-getting swat to the behind a spanking.

Spanking is a hot topic.  It seems to me the people who don’t believe in spankings don’t know what a healthy spanking is.  And unfortunately the people who physically abuse their children will get all up in arms about the people who are against spankings because they think when they beat their children they are spanking them.   And even worse, some will use the Bible as a reason for the physical abuse they deem a spanking.

I believe there’s a reason, place and time for a proper paddle to the behind of a child.  I also believe there are many other, just as effective and sometimes even more effective, forms of discipline when raising a child.  Spanking is not the only way to discipline a child. Whatever consequence (imposed or natural) a parent chooses to use when raising a child, if it is accompanied by cruelty from the parent, it becomes abusive and ineffective in training a child.  A parent can be just as abusive in words or the use of time-outs (isolation) as they can in spanking a child.  If you sow abuse into a child, you will reap the consequences!  If you sow loving discipline, you will reap the rewards!

He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. -Proverbs 22:8

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.- Mark 9: 42

 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.- Proverbs 13:24




Let the first grader talking begin!

So there I was, sitting on the ground on the sidelines of my 7 year old’s basketball practice, reading from my Kindle, glancing up to catch attempts at making baskets, when the most dreaded child on the team (who’s always fighting his own teammates for the ball) boldly trotted right up to me, leaned his squinty-eyed face forward and demanded, “Is that and ipad?!”

“Nope,” I answered, “It’s a Kindle Fire.”

More inquisitiveness. “Well, do you read books on it?!”


“What book are you reading now?”

“The Bible.”

“What’s that?!”

“Have you ever heard of the Bible?”

“No. I went to church once. Heard the Bible. But there’s nothing in it.”

“Oh, but there is something in it!”

“What’s it about then?”

“It’s about how God loves you.”

“God!? Who’s God??”

“He’s the One who made you.”

“Me?! What?!”

The sound of a loud whistle interrupted an eternally significant conversation with a rambunctious first grader. He ran off to his coach. I watched. Looked up in the black sky where bright, twinkling lights shone in a dark world.

Oh that we’d talk about God who loves us more. Simply. Not politically-correctly. Childlike. Not theologian-like.

More talking about God’s story and us in it and His love for us. Less grumbling and complaining and bickering and pointing fingers.

Oh that we would talk about God’s goodness and our brokenness and His marvelous plan to save us and make us new.

Let the talking begin!

“Well, what if so-and-so’s religion isn’t the same as yours?” my friend the critic asks.

So-and-so and I would have a much better relationship if we talked about God and our brokenness in a candid, first-grader way rather than trying to be all suit-and-tie, amendment-quoting, society-sterilizing and elephant-ignoring about the God whom without we would not exist. And even if so-and-so thinks we would exist without God, let’s talk. Let’s hear some elementary style questions like, “God who?” And some child-of-God like answers such as, “The God who made and loves you.”

Let the first grader God-talking begin!

Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. -Phil.2:14-16


I know I said goodbye for 2008 but…

I HAD to share this!

Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. -Proverbs 24:15-16

Feeling at the bottom of my seventh fall before 6am today, I turned to a steady source of truth and found this teaching that brought me trembling to my feet again. If you have time, please go here and click on the Recent Service, Sunday December 21st message in the sidebar. I’d rather you do that, than go on reading my ramble here. But if you’re still reading…

Maybe as 2008 is coming to a close, and your walk of faith with Christ has grown a year older, you find yourself even more accused than you were a year ago and see yourself as an even more wretched person than you were last year. Maybe not, but I do. It seems as this year has come to an end I’m overwhelmed by how many times I’ve fallen and how much damage has been caused to the reputation of the Lord in the eyes of those I love because of my sinful choices. It seems the wicked one (Satan) lays in wait against me daily… just waiting for me to fall, cause I will, so that He can spoil my resting place, the resting place of God’s mercy and grace.

This morning I saw a jaded attitude in me. I saw it coming out in the look on my face and the tone of my voice and I fell to my knees in the laundry room and prayed that the Lord would help me to know how to go forward because I was so overwhelmed at the destruction my life has caused. I faintly heard His Spirit stir my heart to let go; to not lean one bit on my performance in life, but wholly lean on Jesus’ redemption.

I’ve caused a lot of damage. I thought it was just consequential for me, not realizing that I was not only causing pain, offense and bitterness in others, but I was tearing down the reputation of our awesome God in their eyes. I hate it that I’ve done this!!! The very thing I’ve prayed, the very thing I’ve wanted- for the people in my life to know the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer and to worship Him- I’VE prevented by choices I’ve made. And oh how the enemy of my soul reminds me daily, especially as this year comes to a close, of the damage I’ve done. It hurts so much I nearly grow cold. But the Lord calls me to defy the enemy and rise up, standing solely on the mercy and grace shown in Christ at the cross.

He calls me to let all the weight I am still resting on my performance in life fall on Jesus. He calls me not only to rise up trusting that Christ’s righteousness is enough for me, but that it is also enough for those I love, and pray for, as I regret so deeply that I’ve left ruins in their path to knowing Christ through my witness.

I’m pressing forward into 2009 as though I’m walking across the Grand Canyon on an invisible bridge. I can’t lean any of my weight on my ability to get across, I can’t lean any of my weight on my ability to get others across, I have to rest completely in the invisible promise of salvation for every step, because He who began a good work in me is able to complete it.

And I think even beyond walking on that invisible bridge of faith, God calls me to clear away the stumbling stones and clutter that I’VE CAUSED. I don’t know how. I have no idea how to undo the damage I’ve done. I’ll have to walk on Jesus’ ability to make me a reconciler, restorer and rebuilder for that calling too.

Go through, go through the gates;prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. – Isaiah

Oh my Invisible Hope! Please strengthen my heart to trust You! Give me courage to defy the accusations of the enemy by growing in Your grace even more! Hallow Your Name in me so that in the eyes of those who’ve watched my life may find a witness of You they can trust too!

Redeeming the time