Monday, March 26, 2012

The Color Purple

Purple is My Favorite Color!
In 1982 The Color Purple was a new novel. It dealt with being a black female in the South. This is where my discussion of the novel, film and subsequent musical ends!

HOWEVER, the color purple has always been my favorite color! It was my grandmother's favorite color and perhaps that is one reason purple first caught my attention as a color of choice but I have always loved the color! In my grammar school days I even had a room with purple walls - well, lavendar, I guess! The many colors available today just weren't then.
Today I was reading on Twitter and discovered what I may have known and let pass right on through my brain - or not known at all - that purple is the color for epilepsy awareness! Apparently today is International Purple Day (with a play off the color International orange - an attempt to raise awareness about epilepsy.
Several of my Twitter friends are urging everyone to wear purple March 26th to commemorate this international day to raise awareness about epilepsy. I probably will - because I usually wear purple in one shade or another just about every day! I am totally for raising awareness about epilepsy. I remember well the first time I ever witnessed a person having a seizure. It was in school. It was scary for everyone and very humiliating for the boy who had the seizure.
There are good and bad aspects to the openness of our culture in 2012. Mostly it is a good thing to talk openly,to understand better, to accept others who are different but sometimes not so much!
One summer Sunday morning in a small church in Virginia a missionary family (Mom, Dad and at least four kids) gave a presentation about their work and ministry in Africa. I have known many missionaries but their presentation was very refreshing, real and a different perspective than I had ever heard so it caught my attention. Actually it shifted my paradigm about cultural differences and many differences in general!
Each person in the family had a little memorized sentence and then the entire family quoted the "refrain" in unison. One said (something like), "In America we get hamburgers, cheeseburgers and french fries at McDonalds; In Africa we don't have McDonalds, hamburgers or french fries." Then they all said, "It's not better or worse; it's just different!" Then another person would make a comparison between life in America and life in Africa like "In America we wash our clothes in
a washing machine; in Africa we wash our clothes on the river bank." [I don't remember the specifics they gave so I'm making these up.] "It's not better or worse; It's just different!"
And THAT, my friend, is exactly how we should treat people we meet and know who are different for whatever reason or in whatever way! We should see them as not better or worse but just different! It goes a LONG way toward building bridges to connect us rather than
divide us!

The BIGGEST reason to build connecting bridges is the "two-year-old answer"! Do you know the "two-year-old answer"? It's the answer any self-respecting two-year-old gives his Sunday School teacher to any and every question asked: "Jesus!" Jesus was and is the biggest bridge builder ever! He spent all his time in ministry on earth building bridges. He built bridges between sinners and the Savior, between Jews and Gentiles through Himself and His cross. He built bridges between disability and ability and through His healing miracles actually made a way for some to walk across from disability to ability!
Because of the Gospel record we know that Jesus healed people with epilepsy. I won't go so far as to presume that Jesus would wear purple today, but I am absolutely certain that His heart of love reaches out to every person afflicted with the disease of epilepsy because He always cares about brokenness in all its forms. He came to redeem all the brokenness sin brought into our world - including epilepsy. The day when He makes all things new (still in the future) will be the day all brokenness is restored to wholeness but - in the meantime - He reaches out to all who are broken and burdened who come to Him! He even seeks all who are broken and burdened to bring His love and healing touch into their brokenness!
Part 2 of about Purple, Disability and Epilepsy tomorrow ............

Friday, March 23, 2012

Broken Can Be a Good Thing!

Christ is building His kingdom with earth's broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory.” --J.R. Miller

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Celebrate Vania!

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. It's one thing to acknowledge a special day for special people! BUT it's quite another thing to celebrate a particular person who is in your heart!
Here's to our Vania! We love you!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick and Ministry and Faithfulness

"I am Patrick, yes - a sinner and indeed untaught; yet I am established here in Ireland where I profess myself bishop. I am certain in my heart that "all that I am," I have received from God. So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God." --St. Patrick

He doesn't stand alone in the long line of saints stretching through the ages of history since time began. Others too have lived among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile FOR the love of God! The honor roll of the faithful in Hebrews 11 concludes with a description that includes many unnamed saints:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell ... who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received bck their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. --Hebrews 11:32-40

AND ALL will stand in a great throng before the throne and before the risen Lamb of God - all of these (and some of we) who have also been exiles and strangers for the love of God! It is quite a calling - not always easy, often misunderstood but with benefits that are both out-of-this-world and priceless!

Random for St. Paddy's Day!

Never iron a four-leaf clover. You never want to press your luck!

What do you call a leprechaun with a sore throat? A. a streprechaun!

And St. Patrick himself:

  • I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland. I am greatly God's debtor, because he granted me so much grace.

  • I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Christ beside me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ within me. Christ beneath me. Christ above me.

St. Patrick's Day is far more about a great Gospel than green beer. Green beer's fine (if you like the stuff), but Living Water is da finest!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tears and Words

Tears are words from the heart that are too deep for words! --Selected

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Benefit of TOGETHER for Worsip

Corporate worship is designed to wrench your hope away from the creation and place it firmly in the hands of your Creator Savior Lord!
--Paul Tripp

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The "Someone Done Me Totally Wrong" Song Ain't a Hill to Die On!

Singing the "someone done me totally wrong" song might be your or my reality today. Life isn't fair and life does not come with a guarantee against betrayal, loss and pain! Sometimes I feel like the perpetrators of the totally wrong stuff get off scott-free and "ride off into the sunset" to do their damage to another unsuspecting target.
It is true; it often seems that way! But that's not my call! I'm just responsible for my end. God promises to take care of the other side of this equation.
What's a gal (or guy) to do when there is seemingly no possibility of repentance and restoration or even closure? Staying stuck in wanting to "take out a contract" on the perpetrator is not a hill to die on. Moving on and asking God to work His restoring grace in my heart is the only path of health and sanity for my own heart!
Choosing the way of revenge or just-can't-forget-and-forgive does absolutely NO harm to the perpetrator but it does irreparable damage to my own heart! So making the terribly difficult but necessary step of forgiveness is actually the path of God's grace and mercy to me even if that grace and mercy seem severely won!
Just askin' ................... think about it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Walking into the Storm is Always Better with a Friend!

It's one of those blustery days for Pooh and Piglet! It is those special memories we make now - even when two friends walk together through a blustery day - that stay in our hearts! On blustery days, walking with a friend is always better!

Pinned Image

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Counts!

Corporate worship is designed to remind you that Jesus met every requirement so that you wouldn't live afraid of never measuring up. --Paul David Tripp
Now, THAT's a reall reason to get me going on a cold Sunday morning! The pressure is off. I don't have to be or do some real or imagined list of thinigs to check off in order to show up for worship, to be accepted by God! That's done and finished! That was Jesus' final cry from His cross, It is finished!
There are so many people struggling out of their beds this morning to get ready to go to church. Many of them are making the effort in a desperate attempt to measure up to some imaginary "yard stick" and it is all "sound and fury, signifying nothing"! (T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland)
What a terrible burden! What a colossal waste of time and energy! What a stupid exercise in futility!
Actually Galatians 5:6 says it best, "In Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumsion counts for anything! What counts is faith expressing itself in love." I really heard this wonderful truth with my heart from a pretty unimpressive pastor named Dr. Jack Miller.That is, Jack wasn't impressive until he started sharing his heart about God's awesome work in his life freeing him from the burden of working, worrying, trying, scratching and scrabbling to gain God's favor. Jack was well-known for quoting and teaching, In Christ neither _________ nor __________ counts for anything! What counts is faith expressing itself in love. You fill in the blank for you! I'll fill it in for myself, thank you very much! And I will live this day in the confidence that because Jesus poured out His love - as His life's blood dripped down a rugged Roman cross beside a well-traveled path outside Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago - I don't have to keep working and trying so hard to make the grade with God! It is done! WHEW! What a relief that is!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Post Birth Abortion??? NOT!!!!

Timing is everything! Sometimes it's breath-taking about the timing thing! Our women's Bible study sponsored by A Restoration Church is studying various ethical issues in light of God's truth. The last two weeks we've dealt with abortion. We have also tackled stem cell research, autism, self-image, violence and more.
Yesterday was Dr. Seuss' 108th birthday.
What in the world do abortion and Dr. Seuss have in common?
In its February 28, 2012 issue the Journal of Medical Ethics published and featured an article entitled "After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?" In any other world after birth and abortion would never remotely have anything to do with each other! This article is all about the birth of children who have previously "unexpected" disabilities and what to do about them. The article - in a medical ethics journal no less - suggests post-birth abortion is the option for parents. How can after-birth murder be the same label as pre-birth murder (abortion)? Part of the answer in the article is that newborn babies as well as in-utero babies neither one are real humans.
I looked but I could find NOTHING in God's Word of truth that remotely suports such an egregious travesty! But apart from that - it would seem to me that reason alone would cry "foul" on this one!
AND what does THAT have to do with Dr. Seuss? Well, among many other wise, pithy sayings, he wrote “A person's a person, no matter how small.”!
That's NOT Scripture but it is the truth and we better wrap our minds around it before as a nation we lose our ethical and moral souls forever!
What a opportunity to be salt in such a rotten world and light that pushes back darkness!