“Look at the birds of the air,
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Be Thou my vision, O lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, in the day and the night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
In a quiet house, worship music playing softly in my alone place, I began thinking about the things that took Him to the cross. Those things in all of us that caused the separation- the shut door.
Yet, because of His sacrifice, the doors were thrown open wide by the hands of grace.
Because He loved us so very much, because He so wanted that close-knit, that under-His-wing relationship once again. . .
Even now, nothing is over the top for Him. The extents He will go to in order to draw in a lost child, a wandering soul, is staggering. I’ve seen it with my own eyes time and again, and still must rub them in disbelief.
He hasn’t changed one bit.
I wish my words could express what my heart burst to say. But alas. . . they’re not enough. Not nearly enough.
Thank You! Thank You!!
May my life constantly reflect the grace you’ve shown me on the cross.
I have caved.
That’s right, I’ve began watching American Idol this season.
It’s been fascinating seeing exactly what the judges look for in a contestant’s performance. Some people think they are too harsh, cruel even. But if you’ve ever been in any kind of critique group, or submitted your work into a contest, then you know being able to listen to critiques is part of the process.
Last week, one of the contestants stood before the panel after his performance. Simon raved about his song, but said he didn’t have the confidence, or stage presence to make himself marketable. The young man looked somewhat confused at first, then realization hit him and his countenance changed. Simon went on to say he needed a “swagger” an attitude to make him stand out from the rest. He needed to be more conceited.
That’s when the young artist stopped nodding and shook his head in disagreement. Good for him.
Simon’s words bounced around my spirit for awhile and I began thinking about a book I’m reading for my church homegroup, titled “The Supernatural Ways of Royalty” by Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton. It discusses how we’ve forgotten as a church who we are in Christ, how we tend to cower instead of stand strong as a son or daughter of royality.
I began to wonder what kind of presence I present when I stand before the world’s audience. Do I slouch and hide? Do I walk around with a conceited swagger? Do I put on masks?
Wish I could shake my head no, but I’m not sure that’s such an honest answer.
What I hope… what I pray… is that I’ll stand as a child of the King. Lord help me to stand firm in you. Help me to be who you’ve made me to be without the stage make-up or costumes. Help me to live by your words and not what the world has scripted for me.
Help me to be real.
This Saturday, November 15th, a Rally is scheduled to take place in front of the Dallas City Hall. The gathering is a grass root effort that will also take place in many major cities across all 50 states at the same time. The topic of protest? California’s Proposition 8.
A similar proposition passed in Florida as well, along with a major ban on single parent foster care in Arkansas. Most might say the people have had their say, justice has been served and victory against evil’s influence in this country quenched. But there’s more at stake here and I wonder if my Jesus brothers and sisters have really thought this through or merely jumped on the moral majority band wagon.
I’m wondering how many of my Jesus brother and sisters would feel to find out the marriage vows they’d taken with their partner whom they deeply love suddenly became null and void based on the majority rule? How would they explain this change in the family system to their children? How would they comfort those innocent little ones who come home asking why they are not considered a “real” family?
This decision affects so many more people than we realize. I’ve heard the Religious Right’s argument for the need to protect the children. But who is protecting the children that belong to LGBT families? Back in 1999, it was estimated that six to 14 million children are raised by at least one gay parent. The numbers of the past 9 years have only grown. Yet what protection do these children have when their parents are not allowed to form legal unions where all are protected under the law as any other family? Who is standing up for them against the hate and strife this fight evokes in our country and cities?
God is pro-family and there is no denying that. The ten commandments tell us to honor our parents. It doesn’t list the criteria these parents must meet to be honored. If the Bible isn’t precise on this, who are we as a church to pass judgement on what is and isn’t a moral family? And I don’t see large gathering of religious protester or picketers saying an atheist can’t adopt children or form a foster family. This simply doesn’t balance out in my view of things.
All I see that we as a church are accomplishing is dividing and weakening the very family structure we are commissioned to protect. Yet our hateful stance on this issue causes parents to ostracize their very own children because they think it’s their Christian responsibility to not accept such sinful behavior. For myself, I didn’t speak to my mother for two years after she came out to me, believing the same falsehood. Finally, God got through to me that his commandments didn’t waver, no matter what lifestyle choices she made. Her decision was something that should have been left between Him and her in the first place.
I know there are many arguments both for and against this topic and both have valid points. But fact is fact. Religious judgement is tearing families apart and will continue to do so until the Church begins to walk in love like Jesus taught and not be like the Pharisees who he called a “generation of vipers.”
I keep thinking of the passage in the Bible where Jesus stands overlooking Jerusalem with yearning in his heart, wanting to gather them in like a hen gathers her chicks. There is such a large segment of this world that is turned away because of rejection and hate-filled words of those who need to be speaking in love. Jesus didn’t come to condemn, he came to give life. His whole time spent on earth was an example of this. Who are we to play God and say who are worthy and not worthy to enter the kingdom? We are to point the way into the gate, not block it.
I’m afraid that those who stand in front of the gate with fingers waving around need to take care lest they hear a resounding thud when the gate closes behind them.
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