Sometimes it’s good to look stupid


I'm telling y'all: this sign guy is up to something…

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“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul loked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart…And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord — and I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes.”
2 Samuel 6:14, 16, 20-22.

[W[e preach Christ crucified, a stumbling blog to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:23-25

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

And the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Romans 1:21-23

Heir of the Universe


Sunday evening, KJ said something that’s had me thinking all week.  He said, “Remember, you will inherit the universe.  Live like it.”

The context is a sermon based on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.  His first point is “Paul prays that God will count us worthy of His calling.  What does he mean?” Drawing from what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, KJ explained what it means to walk worthy of God’s calling.

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Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

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I spent some time looking up other scriptures and comments that reference our inheritance as children of God and how we are to live in light of said inheritance. Here are a couple of things:

Colossians 1:11-14

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

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Matthew Henry’s concise commentary on Galatians 4:1-7 has this to say about our adoption and inheritance: “May the temper and conduct of sons ever show our adoption; and may the Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children and heirs of God.”

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Hebrews 11:32-38

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy — wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

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As a day wears on, I am so prone to forget wonderful truths like this one: I will inherit God’s kingdom.  It is so easy to respond to circumstances from a place of poverty and helplessness and frustration and woe-is-me. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating responding from a place of self-confidence or sufficiency or pride, nor am I entertaining a name-it-and-claim-it kind of faith. I am reminding myself, rather, to respond from the truth that my Father holds all things in his hands and he does whatever pleases him.  I know it pleases him to provide for his people when they call on him. I need to keep reminding myself (until I’ve trained myself to respond this way automatically) that the universe is coming to me, that all things are mine and I am Christ’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). I want my “temper and conduct” to demonstrate that I believe that I am Christ’s and He has secured the universe for my inheritance.

How does that look? Well, for one it wears a smile. It laughs. It bubbles with joy regardless of circumstances. It responds with faith and patience and endurance to trials and difficulties because it knows that God is working all things together for His glory and the good of His people. It gives thanks for ALL things, even the little things that threaten to undo drip by drip. It feels everything, but it feels a deep-seated joy and confidence over all.

Second, I think it asks BIG things of God. I’m not talking about material things. I’m primarily thinking about spiritual things, taking risks…living life in such a way that the world knows it isn’t worthy of that life…that that life was created for something much greater, namely, a kingdom…the universe.

An amusing sidenote that I’d rather not forget: before KJ began preaching he made a comment about how short the sermon was going to be. The shortness of his sermon didn’t discourage him regarding the impact it could have because he “understands that people do not remember sermons, they remember sentences.” He explained that, oftentimes, it is one sentence that changes a person’s life.  Though I took a page full of notes, “Remember, you will inherit the universe,” was my sentence.

I’m just thinking out loud here, so I welcome your comments and insight on this subject to help me refine and clarify what I’m thinking.

A fast for the LORD


The weekend didn’t turn out anything like I had planned, but everything happened just like it was supposed to happen.


I had been looking forward to this past weekend all month. We had scheduled a dinner party, a birthday party, a reunion with some old friends, and tickets to an Eric Clapton concert. I was all set to get my socialization cup filled.

But late Thursday I started to feel sick with a headache, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes. A cold, basically. We scrambled Friday to change the plans so that I could spend the weekend in bed while Karl and the kids still participated in all their fun activities.

Let’s hear it for GRANDPARENTS!

Saturday: My children and their cousins sweded Braveheart:

Me? I didn’t move much Saturday. I slept and drank lots of water. That’s it.

Our worship services Sunday morning and evening were such blessings to me. I am so thankful for our church. I had to miss the concert, but my Father knew I needed to hear the sermon from Isaiah 58 more.

The weekend didn’t turn out anything like I had planned, but everything happened just like it was supposed to happen.

Isaiah 58

“Cry aloud; do not hold back
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such a fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoike?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall rasie up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Reason to Rejoice


I hope you and yours have had a very merry Christmas morning.

I did something new this morning: I heated a crockpot full of water so that Karl and the kids could make cocoa or tea. It’s going to stay hot for them all day. All I have to do is replenish the water. I brewed coffee for myself. I cooked a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast.

As usual on Christmas morning, Dad came over to visit and watch the kids open their gifts. We had a good time together. I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father saw fit to restore my relationship with my earthly father.

My relationship with my mother is still distant, however. I have not been able to get in touch with my mother all morning. In fact, I haven’t spoken to her since Thanksgiving (she came over to eat with us and we haven’t heard from her since). I hate it when she does this (doesn’t answer her phone). I don’t know if she’s upset about something or if she just wants to be alone or if something else is wrong. And then I wonder, why doesn’t she call us? Why doesn’t she want to have anything to do with her grandchildren? Why does she enjoy robbing herself of relationships that will fill her life with joy? I don’t know what is going on with her; she won’t open up to anyone.

I hesitate to mention this aspect of my Christmas Day, but then I remembered a couple of important truths. First, my family of origin is a very prideful one. One of the spoken family rules was, “What happens in our house, stays in our house.” We didn’t mention our needs to anyone else and we certainly didn’t talk about our problems. It’s a very unhealthy way to live, and I’m not the secret-keeper anymore (praise Jesus!). Second, I thought of you. You may have a strained relationship with a parent. It may be helpful to share how I cope with my feelings about my relationship with my mom.

First of all, I stop asking questions like the ones above. I stop trying to figure her out; I’m her daughter, not her counselor.

Instead of the emotional questions, I consider what God may be trying to teach me (again). I consider how I can be a good daughter to her today, even though I won’t see her and I probably won’t be able to contact her.

  • I can pray for her.  I pray that she will find great joy in Jesus.  I pray that she will taste and see that God is good and full of mercy, that His grace is new every morning, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and that forgiveness and reconciliation with God and men are possible for her.  I pray for her regarding her constant physical pain that impacts everything she does.  I pray that one day she will be able to abandon at the cross all her bitterness and anger and disappointment.
  • I can pray for my family. I must pray that we be ready to accept her when she is ready to be near us again. I have to pray that my frustrations with her aren’t absorbed by my children. I have to pray that we don’t hold any grudges against her. She promised the kids some specific Christmas presents and they aren’t likely to forget. I have to prepare them to love her anyway and not put their hope in man, but in God alone.
  • I can pray for myself to remember that I’ve put all my hope and expectation in God. My life is hidden with Christ in Him. I no longer live. She cannot do anything to me that God cannot take and make it good for me.

Give thanks in all things. I can think of many things to be thankful for that do not have anything to do with my relationship with my mother. The tricky part is giving thanks for her, but I can do it. And I can thank God for another opportunity to magnify Jesus in a hurtful situation.

I need to remember that this situation is another reminder of the what and why of our celebrations today.  God became a man and dwelt among us, to die for us, to save us from our sin. I stand in need of God’s grace just as much as my mom. I do not want to be like the Pharisees, proud that I am spending my Christmas day better than she is. I will be surrounded by family while she will be alone. Even if it is a solitude of her own choosing, I do not believe she is happy about it. I think she is succumbing to self-pity and that deep down she is miserable. I need to pray for Christ to draw near to my mom today, that He will open her eyes to the wonders of Himself. Then, and only then, will she and I experience true fellowship.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… Colossians 1:19

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Feeling my hurt reminds me that many people are hurting on this Christmas Day. Whether it’s because of death or a broken relationship or the lack of a relationship that one desires…people are hurting. If that’s you, too, I pray that this Christmas we will find a time of refreshing in God’s word and that we will realize, even a little bit more, all that God is for us in Christ Jesus.