Archive | July 2012

Zombies? Really Lord? (Follow-up to Westboro Baptist Church post of 7-15-12)

Last Friday, July 27, according to KIRO-TV and the News Tribune in Washington Westboro Baptist Church met their protesting match outside the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in DuPont.  The counter-protestors outnumbered the W.B.C.’s protestors at a ratio of approximately 300 to 8.

Organizing the counter-protest event via Facebook Melissa Neace and three friends called for volunteers to peacefully counter W.B.C.’s protest dressed as flesh loving (and not to mention scary) zombies.  “I think that their (W.B.C.’s) message is very hateful, and Jesus was not a hateful person.  He loved everybody.” Counter-protestor Ashley Winslow told KIRO-TV.

The counter-protest worked.  W.B.C. left.  Defeated, at least one time, by people dressed as ZOMBIES!

I confess, the thought that someone stood up to this W.B.C.protestors and doing so well enough to at least send them home one time brought a smile to my face.  The counter-protest was peaceful, there was no hatred aimed at anyone.

When I first wrote about W.B.C.’s protest (July 15, Westboro Baptist Church, is being right enough?, fvbf.me) of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee I wrote, “What I also wish would have happened is that across Nashville pastors from every denomination of every church, large and small, would have asked their congregations to meet at Cross Point that morning.  While the ranks of WBC grow with people filled with hatred and malice it would be something to see the church, it’s yards, its parking lot, and it’s KIDZ WORLD – the entire block packed with Christians in support of their own.”  I still wish that had happened.

Nonetheless I’m grateful someone put their faith into action and found a method of countering the evil and hatred sown by W.B.C. with peacefulness and humor.  I truly never pictured these people to be dressed as zombies, but I’ve long learned not to box God in when it comes to how He chooses to provide to meet the need.  Doing so means we often miss the blessing because are looking for the provision to meet our “vision” of “how” God provides”.

I’ve also learned to heed Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (N.I.V.):

“Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him we will also live with him;

If we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

If we are faithless, he will remain faithful,

For he cannot disown himself.”

Right now, I’m going to thank God for His provision through people dressed as zombies.  People, who lived, endured, will reign and did not disown the Lord.  Who knew this moment of gratitude was coming?  God of course!

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The Girl, the Woman, the 30 Year Reunion-Going Home

Last night I got all dressed up for my 30th high school reunion.  I was nervous.  I’d skipped all the other reunions and now I was facing people I hadn’t seen, at least most of them, for 30 years and back then we were all young, healthy and had all our body parts.  Now I would face them minus an entire leg and from a wheelchair.

I hadn’t been able to face my Sunday School class at a swim party the weekend before and I see them usually once a week.  They had been with me every step of the way through the “before amputation” stages, the actual “amputation” stages and the “after amputation” stages as well.  What made me think I could face a room full of people who may as well now be strangers?  I just felt like I had to.

 

Like I have that “need” to do a tandem sky jump…

 

 

…to write…

 

 

…to push the envelope when it comes to my independence…

 

 

…to drive my husband crazy with my crazy ideas…

 

 

I’ve long loved this verse of scripture found in I Corinthians 15:10a; “But by the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect.”  I am what I am.  God’s grace makes me what I am and it has its effect in and on me.  Despite feeling awkward as I wheeled around the room last night, I kept repeating that portion of scripture to myself.

Later in the evening as I sat at the table with my high school best friend and my husband and was re-acquainted with old classmates I realized something else.  The girl I was in 1982, who wept at the thought of never seeing some of the very people I didn’t recognize last night had been desperate to feel part of these still slim and beautiful, successful people.

Sometimes in that quest I paid a high price.  Not just with stupid diet decisions but in bad decisions that shredded my self-esteem.  I gave away parts of myself to men who were not worthy of them and who in the end didn’t appreciate the gift at all.

In those high school years I was the girl sitting at home on prom nights because I wasn’t one of the cute girls or at least a thin one.  I imagined magical nights of dancing with a number of handsome boys I knew and danced with none of them, ever.

Last night the only wish I had been that “Mr. Cool & Cute” who was spinning the tunes would play one slow song so I could “dance” with my husband one time.  That one song, that lasted I’m sure no more than four minutes, meant a world of joy to me, so much I wept through most of it.

Those slim and beautiful girls from high school were, for the most part, still slim and beautiful.  Those cute guys were still visible beneath the 30 years of aging we’d done.  Oh, time had marched its way across all of us.  But for a bunch of folks in our later 40’s we all looked good.  Yes, we ALL looked good, even me.

Most of all, when I left last night, I felt like I loved the woman I am now, far more than I liked the girl I was then.  I also had more compassion for the girl I was then than I did then for I know her complete history and can freely acknowledge every bit of it.

Now the second part of I Corinthians 15:10 came to me, “No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was within me.” (N.I.V.)  My life hasn’t been any more traumatic or hurtful than anyone else’s, I dare not claim that, but I can also say I was one of those who had to allow God’s grace to work in me harder because I fell for the world’s version of what beautiful and successful was really hard.

Furthermore, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”  (I Timothy 1:15 N.I.V.)  One who enjoyed that one slow dance better than any other dance in my lifetime so far.

Furthermore, I have a sure assurance now that when this life, with all its issues, woes and sorrows is at last over, I am going home.  “Going home, I’ll meet you at the table.  Going home, I’ll meet you in the air…and you are never too young to think about it…I’ll be going home, I’ll be going home…” (CD “Conversations” song, “Going Home” as sung by Sara Groves.)

Thank You to the Man I Love

Saying “I love you” comes past my lips more often

And saying “thank you” when you do something for me is easily said too.

But do I say “thank you” for the really important things?

Like loving me when I’ve felt inadequate or angry?

Forgiving me when I’ve wanted my own way against your better judgment?

Do I remind you how grateful I am you are part of my life?

Or even more, how grateful I am you choose to love me?

You so often see the “not so pretty” side of me

The woman who would give up if not for your cheering

Who would hide away if not for your probing?

Have I ever said thank you for these gifts you give me?

Have I said it when you’ve asked, “Why are you crying?”

Or “we have to talk about us”

Or “when are you going to stop holding yourself back”?

I’ve long believed love often comes down to a choice

The choice to keep working at it or to cut loose;

The choice to put aside your own need to satisfy your partner’s;

The choice to act loving even if you aren’t feeling very loving at that time.

It’s not about chemistry, romance and rose petals

But about paying the power bill and eating popcorn for a week

Or holding hands when the doctor’s news isn’t too good.

So, because I know I fail to tell you often enough

And this is as public as I can get

I want to tell you now, that I thank you with all I have within me

For loving me, for encouraging me, for taking a chance with and on me

For forgiving me when I lash out in my own hurt and hurt you

For seeing that my panic comes from insecurity

But that my love for you comes from the center of my heart, soul & God.

Thank you for loving me.

I love you most.

Love,

Faye

An Interview with Eve

(While the Bible gives us some information on Eve, it doesn’t give us a lot.  So while some of this interview is based on scripture found in Genesis 2:1-5:5, a portion is also based on the author’s imagination.  For the story strictly from the Bible please read the scripture mentioned previously from whatever translation you are comfortable with.)

                       

Cleveland, AL –  Eve, wife of Adam, mother of Cain, Abel and Seth and others that are unnamed in the Bible.  Her name means, in Hebrew chavah, to breathe and chayah, to life or to give life.  Traditionally her name means living.  She is literally the mother of all mankind.  Eve was the first woman on earth.  Having her over for tea, conversation and fellowship presented an unusal opportunity so I was excited about meeting with Eve.

My first impression, as Eve walked into my kitchen dressed in a simple shift with her long white hair piled into a loose bun at the nape of her neck, fastened by what looked like carved twigs, was how confident she appeared.  (I made a mental note to ask her about her hair fastenings later.)  For some reason I thought Eve might be timid, the wallflower type but she quickly proved me wrong.

After offering her some coffee cake I baked using an old recipe of my mothers and laughing with her as we both choose coffee over tea we settled down comfortably at my kitchen table.  My ten-year-old daughter wandered through the kitchen asking if I had seen Charlie (her must have stuffed animal) and locating him (in the bathroom where she’d brushed her teeth) Eve and she engaged in a bit of conversation themselves.

EVE:  That’s quite the dog you have there.  I see he is well loved.

KIANA:  His name is Charlie.  Mama needs to do surgery on him again.  (She then proceeds to show Eve a tiny hole in the neck of Charlie at the seam.)

EVE:  I see that but he seems not to mind any of his other scars.  (Eve pointed out signs of Charlie’s other “surgeries”.)

KIANA:  Mama is a good fixer-upper.  Who are you?

EVE:  My name is Eve.

Kiana’s eyes grow large.

KIANA:  You’re the Eve out of the Bible?  The one who ate the fruit and all that Eve?

EVE:  (Smiling)Yes, that’s me.

KIANA:  Wow!  I’m going to see if Daddy needs some water.

Off Kiana went to take her Daddy some ice water as he mowed the lawn.

FVBF:  I hope Kiana didn’t bother you with her questions?

EVE:  No, she’s quite curious, I see that in her eyes.  Besides, you’re about to ask me questions aren’t you?

FVBF:  Too true.  The first one I’d like to ask you is where you got those lovely fasteners for your hair.  They are exquisite.

EVE:  Adam made them for me just before Seth was born.  They are one of my precious treasures.

FVBF:  I can see why. (Pause) Can we talk about the obvious first?  I don’t enjoy trying to talk around elephants in the room.

Eve looked around for an actual elephant and I had to quickly explain it was an expression we used in life today to describe an uncomfortable situation or issue that everyone knew about, wanted to discuss but was afraid to.  At that she laughed.  Her laughter was clear and musical.

EVE:  So this elephant, as you say, with me here is what?

FVBF:  Are you aware of how much blame people have assigned to you through the centuries as being the cause of the fall of mankind into sin?

EVE:  O yes.  God and I have talked about that many times.  I felt guilty about eating the fruit of that tree, about letting Satan trick me and about giving some of the fruit to Adam so he ate of it too.  But God forgave me.  He punished me and that punishment has filtered down to all women but I no longer feel guilty about it.

FVBF:  No?  (I expected her to say she would always feel guilty about it.)

EVE:  God forgave me.  To forget that, to wallow in guilt after He forgives is sin upon sin.

FVBF:  What about Adam?  How long did it take him to forgive you?

EVE:  Adam forgave me as I did him and the two of us forged a strong relationship as our years together went on.  People forget that after we lost the privilege of walking with God physically we had to rely on the same method people do today, you call it prayer.  That was the hardest part of our punishment and banishment from Eden.  Prayer became the sweetest treasure of my earthly life.

FVBF:  Does it ever bother you that God created you from one of Adam’s ribs instead of from the dust as He did Adam?

EVE:  No, God created me to be Adam’s help meet, to work with him in our day to day life.  While it’s true God said I would answer to Adam I have always believed that was because God would not be with us physically for me to answer to anymore.  Everyone answers to someone and ultimately to God, don’t they?

FVBF:  True.  How devasting was it when Cain took Abel’s life?

EVE:  Adam and I spent decades trying to figure out where we went wrong as Cain’s parents that he would do such a thing.  We’d encouraged both boys to work hard in the things they liked the best.  For Cain that was producing good crops from the ground.  It was hard work.  It was not easy but Cain had a knack at farming. It came so naturally to him.  Maybe too naturally.  Abel was always far more at home tending to animals, especially sheep.  It suited his personality.  His was thoughtful and strong.  He spent a great deal of time thinking and puzzling over life

FVBF:  Was there any indication of the differences your sons had of thinking about God?

EVE:  Abel seemed to always be more sensitive to what God wanted from us.  Cain was a less concerned with following God’s desires exactly.  Cain fell victim to the same scheme of Satan that I did. He cut corners and became enamored with the wrong things.  His banishment reminded Adam and I again of our own fall.  So we mourned the loss of them both.

FVBF:  That must have been very difficult for you.  Who did you turn to for advise?  It occurs to me you had no mother or mother-in-law to ask about what to do.

EVE:  Ask for advice?  God of course.  You’re right there were no other parents, our own or someone else’s to ask anything of.  And there were no internet to look things up “how-to” books at the library or Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million or Amazon.  At that time, not even the Bible you all have readily available today was available to us.

FVBF:  God gave you other children right?

EVE:  Yes, Seth was our third born son and God blessed us with other children too but none who ever took Cain or Abel’s place, but who were blessings nonetheless.

FVBF:  You were essentially the mother of all mankind.  How does that make you feel?

EVE:  Tired, very, very tired!

With our interview over I thought about what Eve said about the hardest part of her punishment being unable to walk physically with God anymore.  According to scripture Adam lived to be 930 years old.  Eve’s age was not recorded at her death.  No matter the number of years, it is always a long time to go without being physically in God’s presence especially once you’ve known that fellowship.

I thought about what Eve said about having to rely on prayer as their means of relating with God.  How dear that was to her and how callous so many of us treat prayer.  As an afterthought or a last resort! 

And finally I marveled at her ability to accept that people blamed her for the downfall of mankind and realize that God had forgiven her thus refusing to accept what is not her own to accept.  I had a new respect for Eve now and I intend to explain to my daughter that being referred to as a “daughter of Eve” doesn’t mean something negative.

It was also good to know that mothers have been tired, very tired since the beginning of time!

Woman Whacks Car Door as Sweaty Monkeys Scramble for Cover at Local Sam’s Club

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man” (or woman) “keeps himself (or herself), “under control.”  Proverbs 29:11 (N.I.V.)

Reporter on the scene Ima Knot Proudofthis for fvbf News brings us this report.

Trussville, AL :  “Eyewitnesses report that a grown woman was seen sitting inside a vehicle parked in front of the Sam’s Club here in Trussville, Alabama having what appeared to be a temper tantrum.  During her repeated whacking of her hand and arm on her car door sweaty monkeys were seen fleeing the vehicle.  Animal control has been trying to find the monkeys but so far they have eluded capture.

When we asked the man accompanying her, who identified himself as her husband, what happened he replied “All I know is I asked her for the receipt to these paper goods I purchased earlier and she couldn’t find it.  I mean, she’s been uptight a lot lately, but well, this shouldn’t surprise me I guess.”

There was one child in the car who was in no danger as the woman pounded on her car door but who did appear to be crying and wanting to know if her Mama was all right.  The woman calmed down enough to reassure the child.

Another witness, WhatIWas Thinking, told this reporter that as the woman hit the car door her thoughts ran with the sweaty monkeys like this…

                   WHACK  – depending on someone else to help do errands and other stuff

WHACK – ill designed businesses, furniture layouts, and poor configurations in public buildings

WHACK – schedules thrown off by someone else’s inability to back up their guarantees

WHACK – pouting children

WHACK – husbands who think they are being funny

WHACK – missed pool party

WHACK – upgrades that cause downtime with computer systems on a job where 99% of job depends on computer to be accomplished in this digital world

WHACK – for three weeks of the above

WHACK – staffing issues

WHACK – good friends needing more than is have available to be given

WHACK – double mortgages, tight budgets

WHACK – impossible deadlines

WHACK – unreasonable expectations

WHACK – mental health benefits change that have been inadequate to meet family needs

WHACK – thinning hair

WHACK – chronic illness with pain

WHACK – feeling inadequate as a woman, mother, wife, Christian

WHACK – WHACK – WHACK AND WHACK

As the woman continued to whack her door and the sweaty monkeys were still fleeing from the car other events inside the car were occurring too.

The keys fell out of the ignition.

The child was crying.

The husband calmly got back in the car.

Tears flooded down the woman’s face.

People walking past the car stared.

The woman’s hand hurt from clenching and whacking.

Somehow she scraped her elbow and it was burning.

Sweat is mixing with her tears.

This is a 48 year old woman having a temper tantrum folks.

The sweaty monkeys scrambled off to hide.

She found the receipt.

She was left alone in the car, still crying, people still staring and she appeared to be praying.

Proven spiritual immaturity, prime and perfect example given by a 48 year old woman in her car in front of a local Sam’s Club store – it wasn’t a pretty picture.” —

“Then he said to them all:  ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23 (N.I.V.)

That was me as yesterday I proved I have a lot of work to do on maturing in Christ.  Jesus got angry, yes, but it was justified righteous anger over God’s house being used to rip people off.  He overturned tables and chased people out of the temple courtyard. (John 2: 12-16) My anger didn’t fit the righteous anger criteria.

“In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (N.I.V.)

I was angry for reasons I could justify to you or myself but not to God.  My witness as a Believer was certainly damaged.  I didn’t model appropriate ways to channel your anger to my child.  I ignored how diligently my husband is to help me do what needs doing.  I didn’t turn to God before all the sweaty monkeys fell, or even when they fell, I did that after I whacked the car door.

At least I did turn to God afterwards and apologized to child, husband and God.

My elbow is still sore.  But my heart is open to my sins and the knowledge of what I need to work with God on about my spiritual life.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4: 31-32 (N.I.V.)

This is my life.  It is the only earthly life I have.  Yet I should take peace from knowing that this life is not the end – one day I will be going home.  Now to catch my spiritual maturity up to meet the standard a Believer who is physically 48 and spiritually should be 34 not 5!

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  “Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (N.I.V.)

Is it a Burden from God or from Man?

Tonight I’d like to pose a question and hope that some of you will respond with your comments.

How do you know if the pressure, the burden you’re feeling is of God or of mankind? 

As a Believer I often struggle with this issue.  Soaking up everyone’s tension around me and making it my own.   I’ve labeled this under “compassion” and “understanding”.  Tonight though I wonder…

Is it compassion or a lack of boundaries?   Am I being more spaghetti like than waffle like?  (There’s a book titled something like, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti.)

Is it understanding or a desire to “please” the other person?

Am I willing to carry someone’s burden an extra mile to show Christ or to prove myself a team player?

Your turn….

 

 

 

Westboro Baptist Church, is being right enough?

Sunday, July 15, 2012 there were seven churches in Tennessee or Kansas scheduled to be picketed by Westboro (Primitive) Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.  The pickets were scheduled to begin as early as 7:45 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m.  Westboro leads the pickets but those who join the picket lines are not all members of this apparently small congregation lead by Fred Phelps, Sr.  (It would be interesting to know how many actually are members of WBC.)

This congregation leads pickets all over the United States and is primarily known for picketing military funerals where signs such as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” are displayed.  They aren’t picketing the war.  They aren’t picketing violence.  They aren’t asking for militaries to lay down their arms, locally or globally.  Their main protest is homosexuality.  Google them and their website is entitled “GodHatesFags”.

They defend their picketing, and the Supreme Court has backed them up, under the First Amendment.  Their reasoning for picketing at military funerals as written by Margie Phelps, Fred Phelps Sr.’s daughter, “…is to use an available public platform, when the living contemplate death, to deliver the message that there is a consequence for sin.”  According to their web site all government policies support homosexuality so the use of military funerals is justified. Oh really?

Now they appear to be targeting churches and of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee; Westboro’s website reads that their picket’s purpose is “….to remind these so-called Bible Belt Christians that this nation was turned over to the fags on their watch.  They paid their preachers to lie to them and look the other way as they sinned.  Cross Point advertises itself as “friendly and relaxed” boasting about its “KIDZ WORLD” play area.  All this fluff and phony friendliness might make them feel comfortable temporarily, but it won’t by (buy) them a drop of water to cool their tongues in Hell.  Meanwhile, they ignore the concept of church discipline by allowing divorced and remarried members to the peril of their souls.”

Westboro goes on to charge Cross Point with a failure to speak out against homosexuality.  “While playing and socializing at Cross Point, the fags continue their march to control this land.  The members of Cross Point do nothing to speak out about what God has said about this abomination because they have no moral authority to do so.”

Westboro quotes Isaiah 66:24 as a basis for picketing Cross Point.  In fact, Westboro has a scriptural reference for nearly everything on their website from their website name pointing to the reference Leviticus 20:23 to Ephesians 5:20-27 used against Grace Point Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

They quote numbers to support God’s judgment on America for allowing homosexuality such as “6527 soldiers God has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 48,436 pickets by Westboro Baptist Church, 869 cities target by WBC, 1099 weeks of daily pickets, 2541 people who have died and gone to hell (in the time since I downloaded the page), and 0 nanoseconds of sleep that WBC’s members lose over your opinions and feeeeellllliiiiigs.”  (Numbers based on stat’s shown on website Sunday, July 15.)

Hate rolls off this website.  So much it makes me shudder.  So much it made me want to close the window and deny its existence.  To be in the presence of so much hate is frightening to me.

I understand that Cross Point’s pastor asked his church members not to stay away from church because WBC had announced their plans to picket.  News coverage on ABC News WKRN-TV of Nashville’s website reported by Karen Higbee recorded that Westboro Baptist Church’s picketers showed up for a few minutes during Cross Point’s second service but were gone before that service let out.  There were two comments on the news stations web page.

What I also wish would have happened is that across Nashville pastors from every denomination of every church, large and small, would have asked their congregations to meet at Cross Point that morning.  While the ranks of WBC grow with people filled with hatred and malice it would be something to see the church, it’s yards, its parking lot, and it’s KIDZ WORLD – the entire block packed with Christians in support of their own.  I wish the same thing would have happened at each of the churches targeted for Sunday’s pickets and continue until WBC goes home and stays.

Surely, if WBC boasts of nearly 50,000 picketers we can swell our ranks with multiples of that?  For you see, you can’t pick and choose your scripture to walk the Christian walk. True while WBC has scriptures to “support their agenda” they ignore those that do not support their way of presenting their agenda.

Matthew 7:1-3, 5:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 5:23-24:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 18:15-17

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

What of all the passages on love?  Grace?  Mercy?  Forgiveness?

I Corinthians 6:9-10,

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived:  Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters not adulterers not male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor the drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Those funerals Westboro protests are for men and women who have died DEFENDING everyone’s right to be free, to live and protest and speak out against their government, their religious leaders.  To use such a platform to protest against one sin, ignoring the multitude of other sins is wrong on so many levels.

What I think about homosexuality isn’t the issue. 

What Westboro and her members think about homosexuality shouldn’t be the issue. 

What God thinks and what God does, and how God chooses to one day judge is the issue.  God isn’t standing on those picket lines. 

Human beings whose thinking can be twisted and misguided are manning those picket lines.  Human beings whose lives would be hard pressed to stand up to the measurement they are using to measure others when you include ALL the sins of all the people.

Once in America’s history good Christian men and women called for “witches” to be burned at the stake citing that witchcraft was a sin.  They were right.  The problem turned out to be, the people they burned or drown weren’t witches.  At one time good Christian men and women misused scripture to support their right to own other human beings to be slaves.  The problem with that is God never approved of slavery; twist all the scripture you want.

Furthermore, what does Westboro accomplish with their protests?  Their repeated 15 seconds of fame where again Christians are seen as narrow minded, judgmental bigots?  Does any homosexual “wake up” and denounce their lifestyle?  I would sincerely doubt it.

Westboro’s actions just make me sad.  Jesus sums up it up quite nicely in John 8:1-11 when teachers of the law and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery and asked him to agree with them that she should be stoned.  By law, the teachers and Pharisees were right; adultery was a sin that earned a man or a woman the sentence of death by stoning.  Jesus however, knowing their hearts, replied to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  One by one the men dropped their stones, the oldest of them first and the younger following.  Jesus then asked the woman where the woman’s accusers were and when she told him no one remained, Jesus said to her, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

So should we all, leave our lives of sins while helping our fellow fallen brothers and sisters find their way to the light that is the love of Jesus Christ.  Does being right give anyone the right to judge, condemn and humiliate anyone else?  I just don’t think so.

This is my opinion.  Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t care about my opinion.  Frankly, neither should you.  The opinion that matters is God’s and your’s.  Are they in alignment?  Then what I think or what Westboro thinks isn’t important.  Is it?

Sometimes – You’ve got to be willing to take a Scratch or Two

“There is a time for everything; and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8 (N.I.V.)

Modern day, small town America, baseball, hotdogs and apple pie, county fairs, farms, trucks and John Deere tractors and one woman willing to take a risk.  In the courtroom that made up the county’s Family Court the judge asked the middle-aged woman who sat in the witness stand one final question, “Are you willing to have your heart broken if the biological parents decide to fight this adoption?  It could happen; you have to be aware of that fact, either parent could show up to claim their parental rights.”

Although he was a judge in Family Court he wasn’t asking the question to be mean, but to make sure the woman and her husband understood the risk they were taking in trying to adopt the child.  There was no hesitation as the woman answered, “Yes, yes I am.”  She’d asked herself the same question a thousand times over the last few months.

The only thing she knew for certain was that this little girl needed her in a way only she could fulfill for that moment in time.  The rest she was taking on faith.  That God wanted her and her husband to do this she was certain.  She was also certain she could not know the mind of God and she might discover that God was calling them to this role in this child’s life for only a season.  For now, that would have to be enough.

There had been miscarriages.  There had been many Mother’s Days when she had gone home from church with a token because she was a woman and to not have included her would have made her stand out even more.  There had been envious and hungry stares at little babies held in proud Mama and Daddy arms.  But she took the chance to mother this child, not out of desperation or a way to fill her own needs but a way to fill the needs of this child.

 

…”because she thought, “If I touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

In another time and on the crowded streets of Jerusalem a woman pushed her way through the crowd surrounding The Teacher.  She was a woman sick with an illness that caused her to bleed continuously and she had done so for twelve years.  Every penny she had she’d spent on doctors.  She did not get better, she got worse.  Because she was considered unclean by Jewish law she was not allowed to live with her family or enter the temple.  To society she was an outcast.

Someone told her about Jesus.  He was a Healer like no physician on earth.  He caused the blind to see and the deaf to hear.  At His word the lame walked and the demon possessed were freed.  “Surely,” she must have thought to herself, “surely such a Prophet can heal me!

The chance was great.  The risk was huge.  But somehow she believed that this Jesus was different.  “If I touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

So she put it all on the line and pushed her way near enough to just brush the hem of Jesus’ robe with her fingertips.  “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”  His disciples tried to tell him in the press of humanity around him anyone could have brushed against him but Jesus knew that this touch had been different.  In this touch there had been great need and great faith.  Jesus kept looking around for the one he knew existed.  Of course he could have pointed her out but he waited for her to step forward.  She did.

Terrified she fell at his feet and told him everything. “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.”

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Luke 12:22, 32, 34 (N.I.V.)

Again back in modern day America in the parking lot of a mid-size city in Alabama where we watch a white car park in a handicap parking space and turn off the car’s engine.  The woman inside opens the back driver’s side door and it is then we realize there is a wheelchair in the floorboard of the car, leaning against the back seat.  The chair’s back anti-tip wheels leave the car first, followed quickly by the rest of the wheelchair crashing to the ground.

Inside the car the woman behind the wheel grins and said to herself, “Sometimes you’ve got to be willing to take a few scratches if you’re going to get anything done.”

Before long she has gotten the chair off the ground and is pulling herself up the ramp into the building.  A new scratch added to the paint job of her car but a sense of gratitude that God gave her the ability to put the scratch on her car to start with in her heart.

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 (N.I.V.)

“Sometimes, you have got to be willing to take a scratch or two or create a scratch or two to have God fulfill His will in your life.”

God Can

Their needs aren’t impossible to meet.  It just seems as if they are.  They may be needs that one person alone can’t provide true enough.  They are not needs that GOD CAN’T PROVIDE.

One friend texted needing $800 dollars immediately, wanting me to loan it to them and I don’t have $800 to lend or give or spend.  I don’t want to offer him a platitude, or advise him to think twice about what he has done to get to this point or even what he is asking.  He is hurting.  He has a need for shelter and safety for himself and his son.  He needs God to show up in a mighty way.

Another’s daughter-in-law is at the end of her rope trying and waiting to get the assistance and help her child needs for their medical diagnosis.  We understand her frustration, her pain.  None of us can supply what she needs either for her or her child or most of all – hope and faith that God has something better in store for them.

Another friend needs a supportive fellowship of believers to surround her and her sick husband as they face a medical crisis that looks terminal for her husbandInstead, for whatever reasons, their church has chosen to believe gossip over truth and offer not support but condemnation.  They need to know God has not forsaken them though it appears people have.

What can I offer?  I could remind them of scripture, a dozen possibilities come to mind.  But in their needs would it come across as platitudes or band-aids for their gaping wounds instead of the healing they need?  God’s Word is not inadequate but my conveyance of it is.  My knowledge is limited while God’s wisdom is all knowing.  The word picture that comes to my mind is that they are physically hungry and before they can hear about God and His work and plan they need physical bread to quiet their rumbling tummies.

I can offer to pray for them, and I will, and that is the greatest method of meeting their needs I have to offer.  Yet I can’t control God’s will, His plan, His timing, His thinking or even His choice of meeting their needs even though it seems to me and them their needs are immediate ones, not ones that can “wait”.  God moves in His time, not ours.  God knows what we do not.

I can offer to be supportive – as supportive as texting and Facebook allow but I can’t travel hundreds of thousands of miles to physically meet their needs.  But God can.

For all of us, whatever our needs, GOD CAN and GOD WILL in our darkest hour, in our deepest hurt, in our scariest moments GOD SHOWS UP!

Where I can’t

God can

Where I lack

God has

Where you seek

God provides

Were evil reigns

God triumphs

Where you walk

God is beside

Where you seek

God resides

Where you reach out

God reaches down

Where you exhaust

God still stands,

Where you can’t

God can.

Interview with Mrs. Noah

(This is a work that is 99% fiction.  While it’s true that Noah was instructed by God to build an ark and that he and his family, along with each species of animal on the planet at that time were saved by God’s plan for the ark.  “Mrs. Noah” and daily life aboard the ark are not covered in the scriptures.  For an accurate recording of the story of Noah and the Ark please see Genesis 6:1-8:22 in the translation of the Bible of your choice.  All scripture quoted in this piece is from the New International Version of the Bible.)

On a hot summer day in July I sat down with Mrs. Noah for tea and conversation.  We made an odd pair, me in my modern red maxi-dress, short brown hair that is always slightly untidy and sitting in a power chair and she in her loose long dress nearly covered by the inner mantle both in shades of brown and her hair white as snow neatly braided and hanging down her back, seated in one of my mismatched dining room chairs.

This was my first interview of a “famous Biblical person” so I was a little nervous.  Mrs. Noah helped put me at ease by smiling and patting my hand.  “Go ahead dear, ask your questions.”

So the interview began:

FVBF:  How did you find out about Noah’s plan to build an ark?

Mrs. Noah:  Noah’s plan?  Where on earth did you get the idea it was Noah’s idea?

(Great I thought to myself, I’ve managed to start out asking a bad question!)

FVBF:  You’re right, how did you find out that God had given Noah the task of building an ark?

Mrs. Noah:  (Laughing dryly.)  Like every other woman finds out such things from their husbands.  He walked into the tent with our sons and they started making plans.

FVBF:  I suppose some things haven’t changed!  Was it difficult when the community didn’t support Noah’s building of an ark?

Mrs. Noah:  Truthfully that was the hardest part for me.  I prayed daily, several times a day in fact, for the strength to help Noah continue what he knew God wanted done when our other family and neighbors thought he had gone mad.  Some even suggested he had been possessed by a demon when he told them God had spoken to him.

FVBF:  Tell us what a typical day on the ark was like once the rains came and you began floating.

Mrs. Noah:  It wasn’t anything like your modern day cruises I can tell you that!  Once the rain started it was dark outside the ark so telling time, knowing the passing of time, was dependent upon the inner knowledge of the roosters who crowed at days start and our own body’s clocks to tell us when the day was drawing to a close. 

We met in the common room for prayer and while my daughter’s-in-law and I prepared food to break our fast the men began to tend to the animals.  Noah liked to walk through inspecting them all first so that was where they started.

After breaking our fast Noah, our three sons and their wives began the daily tasks of cleaning stalls and feeding the animals.  I usually stayed in the living quarters to tend to the daily housekeeping tasks, cleaning, food preparation, meal planning, and laundry – Oh the laundry!  At least there was plenty of water!  (Laughing at her own joke, she continued.) 

The mid-day meal was usually eaten in shifts but the evening meal was always eaten together.  Noah would lead us in worship and prayer and then we would separate to our own rooms to sleep.

Not a very glamorous way of life but blessed for certain.

FVBF:  Was it noisy on the ark?  Smelly?

Mrs. Noah:  Of course!  But the animals did very well considering they hadn’t floated around in an ark before either!  They settled into a routine much as we humans did in time.

FVBF:  Were you ever afraid?  Of all the rain?  Even the animals?

Mrs. Noah:  I can’t lie.  I’d like to say that no, my belief in God kept my fears at bay but that isn’t true.  Many times I was afraid.  When you start thinking that just feet below you are animals that could easily tear you to pieces or that there’s so much water outside it seems you will never have earth beneath your feet again – fear creeps in on you.

FVBF:  How did you overcome those times of fear?

Mrs. Noah:  Well the same way you do I hope!  I prayed.  I listened as Noah told us again and again the stories of God since the beginning of time.  I had to keep choosing to trust God and believe.  A walk of faith was no different then than it is now.

FVBF:  One last question, have you ever been offended that you weren’t mentioned more often in the scriptures, the oldest history book of mankind?

Mrs. Noah:  Offended?  Offended by whom?  Moses?  Noah for not telling more people about my small role in such a miracle?    God?  Goodness no!

God didn’t speak to me now did He?  He spoke to Noah.  He told Noah what to do and how to do it.  But you know what?  I’m mentioned.

I made the book.  Now, may I ask your readers a question?

FVBF:  Certainly.

Mrs. Noah:  Are they in the book?  The one John tells us about in Revelation, “Another book was opened, which is the book of life.” (Rev. 20:12b) “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15)  So dear Readers, have you made it into the book?