Friday, March 29, 2013

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. 
Words: Dallan Forgail (8th Century)

We sang these majestic, soul-stirring words yesterday in chapel at school. I sat looking at the students as they sang - their heads hanging down over the papers in their hands - the words printed on them. They appeared to be going through motions. Such wonderfully rich words .......... I couldn't let them pass so I began each class yesterday with a question about "High King of Heaven."
Not one single student had any clue what the words meant. I knew they all knew the land of Narnia so I started there.
Narnia - 
  • the land where it is always winter but never Christmas, the land frozen under the witch's spell 
  • the land where the Great Lion Aslan shakes his shaggy mane and begins his move across the land bringing the thaw of winter into spring and life to all its inhabitants
  • the land beyond the lamp post where the woodland creatures talk and live beside other wonderful mythological creatures
  • the land created by C.S. Lewis to enchant children and adults alike

Peter Pevensie is the oldest brother who shares his adventures in Narnia with Susan, Lucy and Edmond. Peter is eventually crowned High King of Narnia which gives him authority over all the other Kings and Queens that country will ever have.

Since the name Narnia probably comes from the Italian town Nami (or Narnia in Latin), it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the teachable moment to make the connection in my Latin classes yesterday.

Of course, Jesus is the High King of Heaven! He is our Treasure! He is our Victory won - the conquering, Risen Christ! He is the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords!
And, best of all, He is the Risen Christ who took all my sin and who made the awful trade giving me, His orphan daughter now adopted into the High King's forever family, His righteousness in return.
He gives me radical, astonishing, amazing grace! Just because He can!
HE is the High King of Heaven!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stony Path and Strong Shoes

Many years ago a friend cross-stitched a plaque which hung in my kitchen for a long time. It said:

May God be between you and all the empty places you walk!

It's an old Irish prayer. I love it because there are so many empty spaces and places in the walk through life and the best companion is the God of Heaven!

If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes!    - Irish Blessing

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Room for Messy Hearts??? You Betcha!!!

My heart is messy! I bet yours is too! That's not particularly good news but it's the true and a fact of life.

The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.   -- Paul Miller 

Does Jesus have room for messy hearts?  You betcha!!!  Should we have room in our time and energy for messy heart people like us?? YOU BETCHA!!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Criticism? Not So Much!

Criticism? I don't even like the word especially when it applies to me! BUT, that being said, I've been on the receiving end of plenty. I've spent my entire adult life as the wife of a pastor. Some people have loved me! Some people have criticized! I like the love; the criticism? Not so much!
Aristotle is right: There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
I have watched the rise of Dr. Benjamin Carson to popular national prominence with great interest! He already had international prominence due to his statue as a pediatric neurosurgeon and head of that department at Johns Hopkins. I already knew who he was prior to the National Prayer Breakfast. 
Here is a man of character and principle who doesn't give a fig for saying and doing the "popular" thing! In full view of POTUS (Barack Obama) and FLOTUS (Michelle Obama) sitting only a few short steps away from where Dr. Carson stood at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7, 2013 Dr. Carson confidently but winsomely stated:  
"The PC [Politically Correct] Police are out in force at all times ... We have to get over this sensitivity ... PC is dangerous, because you see, this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And it [PC] muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them."
It is incredibly refreshing to see character, leadership and intelligence fully displayed without apology speaking truth to power! 
Aristotle speaks from ancient times the same truth Dr. Carson speaks into our time! Thank you, Dr. Carson for your courage and leadership!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Blaze

God takes the broken and hurting and uses those people to blaze His name across the sky.
Pray for this family (five girls), Dad and Mom!
God is using Kristina from her hospital bed to reach thousands across the world. I wish that you all were here to understand the depth of this incredible outpouring. ...
I am now at Jackson Memorial in Miami with Kristina in the region's only Neuro ICU. Walking through the campus I saw signs everywhere that read "Where Miracles Happen" Her biggest challenge yet is ahead. We are unsure of the extent of the damage to the brain but will hopefully be able to understand soon. Please join me and lift her need for complete healing of the brain in a chorus that shakes the foundations of Heaven.
Finally, We were able to get some incredible Bonding time between Mommy and new baby Kristina Eaven Adkins.    --by Dad, Jeremy Adkins

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bitterness or Tenderness???

There are none so tender as those who have been skinned themselves. -- Spurgeon

And after the "skinning" there are two places to take your tender heart:
  • the Slough of Bitterness
  • the Path of Tenderness

Been there and done that! Even started down into the quicksand of the Slough of Bitterness until I turned back. The Slough of Bitterness is a dead end swamp!

The Path of Tenderness is not for cowards - but faithful obedience hand-in-hand with the One who was literally skinned by a cat-o-nine-tails and Who has the MOST tender heart of all - is the path to blessing!

Friday, March 1, 2013

In a Quiet Home on a Quiet Street .........

Breakfast Tuesday morning, February 19, 2013 in a quiet home on a quiet street - two people were sitting at their kitchen table - a little "old" man and a little "old" woman. Suddenly their mentally ill 26-year-old grandson appeared behind his grandmother and stabbed her with a Bowie knife leaving her dead. He said the Archangel Michael told him to do it.
That little "old" man and his little "old" wife happen to be friends of ours. We came to know them at a time of real crisis in life and ministry for us! They reached out with heart hugs and more! They truly cared!
That's one reason my friend - that little "old" lady - is in heaven today! They truly cared! They cared for a daughter and grandson who needed a live-in family. They cared for their larger family. They cared for the family in the church the little "old" man pastored. They cared for people - peers - like us who needed a friend to help bear a heavy burden! They are/were the REAL deal!
About a year ago I was teaching one morning and heard a voice going by in the hall. It sounded like my friend. As soon as class was over I went looking for her. I found her at the copy machine doing one of the things she did best - helping!
As we talked I discovered that one of the most adorable boys I've ever taught - who was then in one of my Latin classes - was another grandson - smart and "cute as a bug in a rug"! How cool is that?!
But, back to the other grandson........ also very, very smart (possibly brilliant) but very conflicted and tortured by forces that mentally and emotionally are destroying him from the inside out! He is a special needs individual with pretty huge issues - his life on a downhill spiral - and now caught, trapped by his own twisted mind into doing the unthinkable and irretrievable!
We live in a terribly broken world and we are ALL broken! Most of us don't manifest our brokenness like this young man. One of the tragedies of this story is that some things are never going to be fixed in this life - no matter how hard we try! It's that brokenness thing!
This little "old" man courageously went public in a television interview soon after this tragedy took place. He wants to raise awareness for special needs families! He wants to "make a difference" for other families and individuals impacted by special needs (disability)! So he and his daughter shared their pain!
It may well be too late for this grandson. It is definitely too late for this grandmother though she is now in a much better world where there are no more tears, no more pain, no more brokenness of any kind!
We never know what goes on in quiet homes on quiet streets - the tears, the pain, the brokenness! We can determine to make a difference - even if we only take baby steps - to reach out with heart hugs and more! That's what the world around us needs NOW while we wait for that day Jesus promised when He said, I am making all things new! (Rev. 21:5)