Moving Truths

Mark 10:21-23 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

We had a moving sale over the weekend. While we had hoped to be down to much less furniture than when the weekend began, it seemed nobody was in the market for what we were selling. So our house is still furnished. Not exactly a bad thing- I was wondering how the whole “no kitchen table” thing was going to work, for three to four more weeks. As we went through the weekend, I thought a lot about the situations people find themselves in, that require them to sell much (or all) that they have.

I think of people who are forced to sell all they own, to pay for something unforeseen, or as a consequence of foolish financial choices. How hard that must be- to have it all taken away.

Then there are the saints among us, who willingly and completely shed all these material trappings, to go overseas, or work with those less privileged, devoting their entire lives and incomes to ministry.

I don’t think Jesus calls every one of us to do the latter, to get rid of everything. The above verses are challenging, nonetheless. We are combining households with Luke’s mom, so letting go of stuff we won’t be needing anyway isn’t going to be difficult. Putting out our furniture in a yard sale and skimming down on our material goods doesn’t make our family feel pinched in any way. We have “much wealth” as Americans. It is humbling to realize how little we do ever suffer, or lack anything. Mulling all this over last weekend has given me a renewed focus on keeping things simple, in case the call ever does come to strip down to barer bones. My hope is that I am never too surrounded by my wealth to hear Jesus’ plea in the poor around me. How truly pointless this life would be if I, like this man, “went away sad”.

The Fullness Of Time

Last week was rough for me physically. There were many occasions where I thought I was going into labor, but it only turned out to be gas pains, or abdominal muscle spasms. Hey, going through this five times before hasn’t helped me figure out one from the other- all my parts are pretty packed in there by now and it is hard for me to tell what is going on in the end (literally-har har). One particular episode was in the night, and as I felt a pain, I got really fearful, and thought to myself, I’m not ready.
Sure, I can gripe with the best of them about going past my due date (again), and how much I’d really like this baby to come. Deep down, though, I admit to being afraid at times of the next step. Labor’s no picnic, and I don’t look forward to it. But I was a bit surprised to find just how scared I was in the midst of these pains last week. I have been through labor before, and done fine- why the sudden feelings that I can’t do it, that I am not ready? I’m not sure. Since it turned out not to be real labor starting, I was more relieved than disappointed. Strange.
If I think back to my labors with most of the others, when true labor was underway, I actually wasn’t afraid. There was pain, but there wasn’t very much anxiety over the outcome. I knew it was time, I knew that I was ready to do this thing.
I think the same way about Jesus coming back- there have been times I hear some strange sound that I get to thinking could be that trumpet, but it only turns out to be a train whistle. Or, I will have a new and very real awareness that He is returning soon. And I will be afraid in that moment, thinking to myself, I’m not ready. These moments have left me scratching my head, just as my sudden fear of labor approaching. Why would I be afraid of either scenario? Both promise new life, a change from the old to the new, a beginning of a wonderful thing God has been planning and preparing for so long. Since I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is nothing to fear. Especially not in childbirth, and certainly not in eternity.
So, in keeping with what happens when it is time for me to give birth, I think when it comes time for Jesus to return for me, I will not be afraid then, either. When I look and see this Person, who has done so wonderfully much for me, approaching Earth and gathering me in His arms, I imagine I would feel nothing but absolute peace. Because He is the only One who can get me through labor and this life, I am ready.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son… Galatians 4:4

Weekend Thoughts

A gem from the EE Devotionals I received this week:

Recently I committed a sin of what seemed to me unpardonable thoughtlessness. For days I wanted to kick myself around the block. What is the matter with me? I thought. How could I have acted so? “Fret not thyself because of evildoers” came to mind. In this case the evildoer was myself, and I was fretting. My fretting, I discovered, was a subtle kind of pride. “I’m really not that sort of person,” I was saying. I did not want to be thought of as that sort of person. I was very sorry for what I had done, not primarily because I had failed someone I loved, but because my reputation would be smudged. When my reputation becomes my chief concern, my repentance has a hollow ring. No wonder Satan is called the deceiver. He has a thousand tricks, and we fall for them. Lord, I confess my sin of thoughtlessness and my sin of pride. I pray for a more loving and a purer heart, for Jesus’ sake.
~Elisabeth Elliot

Photo: Onesimus and Philemon

Read Any Good Books Lately?

It is raining- just the kind of day for a trip to the library. I’m wanting to get a few new (to me) books that I can have on hand during the early part of labor. Any suggestions? No, Charley and Sara, this is not the time for me to start Harry Potter. Yes, I should finish Heaven, but that book requires a bit too much deep thought, for a time like labor. Compelling fiction or feel-good-story non-fiction would do the trick.
Leave a comment or email me with a current favorite of yours.

Still Here

It is July 25th, and I am now entering a period I like to call, The Prepartum Paradox. During the next few days, I have to daily prepare for baby to come, while simultaneously trying not to think about how baby isn’t here yet. It is very difficult- kinda like juggling pickle jars in the dark.
Due dates are so overrated.
Photo: Yeah, that’s what I look like these days

Redeemed

We watched the movie Catch Me If You Can again last night. It is the true story of a teenage boy who manages to impersonate a pilot, doctor and lawyer, learning the art of making fake payroll checks. He is finally caught, and, after serving some of his prison time, is given a job working for the FBI in their check fraud division. I like this story, because it is gratifying to hear about someone turning something bad into something good. Redemption. Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, the book I am struggling to finish let’s face it, I am not going to finish I have read a good portion of, talks a lot about redemption. God is in the business of making all things new (Revelation 21:5). We often hear about how we as Christians will benefit from the new Heavens and new Earth, with new bodies and sin-free existence, but I don’t usually think about how this will apply to everything God has created, as Randy’s book states. Trees, animals, weather, oceans, all of it God created, and He intended it to be good. By the power of redemption, He intends it to be good once again. This is so fun to think about. What kinds of things will we find in Heaven that totally surprise us? Like guns, maybe? My husband thoroughly enjoys a good hunt. There is no reason I see that something like that wouldn’t be available in Heaven to pursue. Or makeup. We use it to “paint the barn”, but it still could have redeeming value after our barns are turned into beachfront condos.
What else do you think God will redeem? Do you think T.V. has a chance?

Weekend Thoughts

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:1-11

Sick Day

Apparently, the fever-and-a-sore-throat sickness was only a prelude to the runny-nose-and-coughing-so-much-I-can’t-sleep sickness. We’ll have to go out and get some coughing-aching-stuffy-nose-so-you-can-sleep medicine today. Any couch potatoes remember what product that commercial marketed?

For My Reading Pleasure

I’m finally getting to start a book recommended by Meredith, called Making The Most Of Every Move, by Garner Dodson. As you can see, it is a relic. Meredith quoted so many interesting things from it as she was reading it, though, that I am pretty certain I will enjoy it and it will be helpful in our upcoming move. It was on my ‘Spring Reading Thing’ list, but I knew I wouldn’t read it until I had a reason to do so.
A couple of tips totally unrelated to this post:
I cannot substantiate this with a web link, but Tim Horton’s is offering a free iced coffee today, July 19th. Get on out there and get your fix. While it is free.
To increase overall performance at your computer, and improve time management skills, make sure when you sit down to do your work, you have to use the restroom sorta bad. Works every time for me.

A Time To Rejoice

We just signed a contract; the house is on its way to being sold! I am cautiously excited, as we still have to get through the closing to have it be a done deal. Still, this is much further down the path than we were two days ago, and we are grateful. Please continue praying that this will all work out, to God’s glory.