Monday, May 20, 2013

Understanding One Flesh

It has occurred to me that I owe my dad an apology. In my youth my siblings and I urged our father to leave our mother after twenty-five years of marriage. Why you ask? Her depression and mental illness appeared to be negatively affecting him. But he rebuffed all of our arguments. One memory that stands out was his statement that "I could no more do that than cut off a part of my body."
Time has given me a different perspective on this. Over the past week the reality of being united as one flesh has gained new meaning. After thirty-two years of marriage we really are one!
Genesis 2:23-24; The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh' she shall be call 'woman' for she was taken out of man." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.Last week this reality came through a message by Stephen Davey about being a living sacrifice. The scripture:
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This first verse is telling us how we should live for God. Our lives are motivated by gratitude to God for all he has given us.
"The only fitting response to the gifts that God has given to us is to give the gift of ourselves back to God. In fact, not only is this the motivation for Christian living, it is the secret to Christian victory." Stephen Davey, More Than Skin and Bones Part 1
Through this battle with cancer our desire is to be a witness to Christian victory! "Being a living sacrifice is not about getting more from God, but giving our all to God." Stephen Davey
It is total surrender to God and that requires me to forfeit control of my sacrifice -- even if that's part of myself!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Resilient as defined by Merriam-Webster:
a : capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
b : tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

From Praying the Promises of God, by Cheri Fuller and Jennifer Kennedy Dean

May 2, Resilient by Design
The oft-repeated metaphor of God as our Father paints a portrait of God's love for us as protecting, providing, guiding, teaching. It's a love that is personal and intimate, tender and compassionate.
Your relationship to God as you Father can be the basis for restful living. Consider who your Father is. The fact that God is your Father is not just a lovely idea or a comforting thought. It has day-by-day, minute-by-minute practical effects in your life. He is your provider. He knows what you need and has already made arrangements to provide it. He's going to take care of you.
Jesus portrayed the Father-heart of God in showing us that God is attentive to us and watchful over us. He directed us to consider how the lilies grow. Effortlessly. Without strain or anxiety. They simply receive what they need...
If he created them so carefully, with resilience built in, surely his blueprint for us includes the ability to flourish under any circumstances. With God as our Father, we can live at peace. He will not lead us into disaster. He will not leave us on our own to wander into danger for which he has not planned our rescue. He always takes into account our frailty and puts his strength in its place. He carries us like a father carries his child. We are safe in his arms.

It's so comforting to see common threads through daily readings. Safe in the everlasting arms of our Father, God our protector, provider, who is tender, intimate and compassionate.

My desire for the quality of being resilient is contained in the second definition--adjust easily to misfortune (misfortune as defined by our culture). Being able to endure suffering with grace would be my new description of resilience.

We are equipped by God for everything we need for life and godliness. If we shift our focus from us to what God provides, would our view of life change?
Would it cause us to be more reflective and less judgmental?
It is this second thought that began percolating after an incident last Saturday. Backing out of a parking space a car came up behind and blew their horn. My interpretation was they were in a hurry and so I pulled back into the space only to watch them pull in to the spot across and behind me. I assumed they blew their horn to get me out of the way, but what if it was to warn me they were right there?
How many times do I presuppose an action rather than contemplating an alternative? It's something to ponder...

Quote of the Day: My silence may be misinterpreted but it can not be misquoted!

Scripture for the Day: 2 Peter 1:3-9, The Message
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day!

Growing up in NY, May day was a special event at the private school my sister attended. There was a "carnival" type atmosphere, complete with May poles and other "artsy" stuff. It resonated with my sister's spirit while my own was more the routine, planner type. But as my neon green toenails show -- I'm trying to change that image and be more daring...

Psalm 46:1&2  God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

It is easier to be more daring when you rely on the Lord to protect and guide you. The quote from yesterday's devotional is so true...

Love God, and he will dwell with you. Obey God, and he will reveal to you the truth of his deepest teachings. --Frederick William Robertson (English clergyman)

When we first went to the gastroenterologist about Vince's swallowing problem, the Lord had let each of us know that the problem was cancer. There's no explaining how we knew -- it was something the Lord revealed to us in our prayer time with Him. God has done that before -- the first time Vince had bladder cancer we knew before the biopsy had been sent off that it was cancer but that everything would be O.K. and it was.
Knowing and loving God who dwells within is only a part of my relationship with Him. Obedience to the Lord brings a deeper reliance which enables the "sense of knowing" even the hard things. In pondering these thoughts my view of the immensity of God grows even larger -- and yet the truth of his intimacy with just me makes my heart overflow!