Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Deep Within...

When I was growing up, I loved scary movies. The scarier (and obviously more ridiculous) the more I liked the movie. I liked the suspense of being led up to the jumpy thriller. My heart racing, covering my eyes - sometimes- and doing whatever I could to keep watching to the gorry end. Makes me shiver just thinking about some of the crazy movies I watched. As I got older, I started veering away from those movies because of the constantly stupid woman. You know who I'm talking about....the single woman who is in 9 inch heals trying to run away from the killer...her!! And the more I didn't watch these movies, the more I realized that the places that the characters were going (like the dark basement with no lights or that one swinging light, the outside shed that is set back in the woods just far enough away from the safety of the house) the more I didn't like those thrillers.
I stopped watching scary movies about 14 years ago and then I wasn't sure why except that I could equiate the stupidity of the one about to be murdered to non-logical thinking. (Come one to some degree you agree with me, I'd have taken off those 9 inch heals and used them as a weapon.) Logically speaking that is a good reason to stop watching the movies but this morning, in dealing with something in my life, I realized that was not the only reason that I stoppped watching those movies. They scared me because the character, however courageous or stupid, took the steps to go into the dark places deep within the basement or woods. They would go 'hunting', for lack of another word, for the bad, scary guy. It was the hunt that truly turned me off of the movies, the actor walking into places that harbored the enemy in the dark, that's what truly turned my eyes. Why? I started wondering this just this week (I know it's only Tuesday) when Paul said in Romans 7:17 "so now no longer am I doing it but the sin that dwells in me". Now at 1st read, and 2nd and 3rd, this just meant to me that I was not able to always control the sin in my life. But this morning, I was reading this verse and some others in our Ryrie study bible and in the notes the authors detail this verse in saying that "Paul details the sin he is talkign about (previously) but here he speaks of sin as a disposition deep in a mans life that produces those sins." Interesting...don't you think.... sin..deep in. I don't know exactly why this struck me in relation to scary movies except that I think each of us, somewhere in our lives, are dealing with deep seeded sin, deep within our souls. And when we learn, know, and accept Christ, all is forgiven and washed away, but the "deep" is still there. Not because we aren't truly in Christ but because we have chosen not to go on the 'hunt'.
In every scary movie, the hero (or heroine) went hunting for the scary guy, to draw him out and expose him to either daylight, or an axe, or some sort of restitution for the death of many. In our lives, we have that same scary guy, lurking in the dark basement, outside shed, or just out of eye sight in the edge of the woods, and he waits for anything to bring us into the deep within darkness. So how do we get him out of the dark place, with light. I am not one to speak or relive my past or my skeletons, but I do know that deep within me is a dark place where sin has been sitting for a long time and I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ is urging me to go on the hunt for the scary guy to cause a sort of restitution, to get that scary guy out of my soul. Deep within us is a place just like on those scary movies, where the scary guy waits for us to be off alert, will you go on the hunt? I am reluctant, scared, worried, but I am slowly making my way downs those dark stairs, and I'm not alone this time Jesus is hunting with me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old McDonald...or Shortest Distance.. Not Sure

Do you remember the old children's song "Old McDonald"? I'm sure anyone with children know this song all to well. My kids loved the song because they got to be the animals, mooing, baaing, neighing, quacking, etc. But after a while and many road trips back and forth to Michigan or Virginia, the song like all things began to wear on my nerves. Old McDonald this, and Old McDonald this, and Mama wanted to know where Old McDonald kept all of his this and that and where in the world did he get tigers and bears???? Come on, you know what I'm talking about.

And now that they are older, all of mine are teenagers, I get to reflect and harbor those high school years of learning algebra and geometry...oh yea! And relearn how to do math I haven't done in what seems like hundreds of years. You know the old saying with ...humm I don't remember which math it is now...but what is the shortest distance between two points...a straight line.
Learn and relearn, teach and reteach, do and redo. That's kind of what my life has become over the years, something like Old McDonald's farm only without animals but with a pile, there a pile, everywhere a pile. And no matter how much you wash, it just keeps coming. And what is it about teenager (and chi
ldren) that they can't reuse the same glass??? When it seems like I've caught up on the laundry, the dishes and messy rooms start piling up. I can go through every room in the house, pick up all the dishes and when I go back through 5 - 10 mintues later....there are more. It's like magic, first you don't see it, then you do!! And it doesn't seem to stop there, when I go to work I walk into my small office and it seems as though the farm just followed me, or more like made it before I got there.....Here's a stack, there's a stack ...everywhere a stack, stack. It's just never ending, like the song, it just goes on and on and on, and more and more animals keep getting added to farm. Clutter, work, confusion, disorganization....when will the song end.
Then, this morning, doing a study book called Love to Pray, I found Old McDonald's farm once again. I know odd huh? That just when I thought I was getting a little peace from the farm it shows up again, only this time in God's word. It's amazing now to me to see that I related Paul's prayer life to Old McDonald's farm but truly it is exactly that way. From the time that Paul was converted, all the way through most of the new testament, Paul is constantly praying, offering prayer, saying he prayed, and on and on.. " my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times (Rom 1:9-10) -Here a Prayer. "We always thank god...when we pray for you...and we have not stopped praying for you" (Col 1:3,9) - There a Prayer. "I thank God...night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers (2 Tim 1:3) - Everywhere a Prayer Prayer. I actually have read these books, most of them letters from Paul to some group of people, but I never noticed that he starts, puts in the body, or ends with he prays. These are just a few of those places (and truth be told, I stole them from my study book Love to Pray - the author did this work for me but started me on a remembrance of Pauls prayers). It actually amazes me when I think of prayer as 'constant', 'always', 'continual', because it then becomes like my everyday life, like Old McDonald's farm....everywhere. And just like math in high school, when I try to find the shortest distance from where I am to where God wants me to be, I try to take the shortest route-the straight line (which never works). And somewhere between farms and 'point b' prayer steps in, prayer becomes the straight line between the two points!! So maybe that old song isn't so bad after all, maybe in some way it's just part of what I see in my life from a good and bad point of view. But in the end, it really only matters what I do with that farm, do I let it become a job and something that isn't something I love or do I embrace it and live it to get to God's ultimate destination for me? What part of your life has become like Old McDonald's farm? Have you started to work at figuring out the shortest distance between point A and B without God and on your own? I think most of us have and still do to some extent. Maybe Paul's letters of prayer were written over 2000 yrs ago, but still today someone is praying for us and thanking God for us daily, Jesus Christ is petitioning continually to God on our behalf. That farm isn't looking so bad now and the journey, well it might not be a straight line but I want to enjoy the scenary. How about you?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What Do We Have In Common?

I'm not sure why I like this title but lately (over the past couple of months) I have been feeling very driven by this question. I find myself looking at friends and wondering what it is we have in common that draws us together. My friends and I have different things in common, some things that are the same over and over, but generally we are all different with some very distinct things in common that keeps our friendship close together. My favorite subject by far is horses, always has been and probably always will be and I find that most of my close friends have that same factor in common with me. We can deviate and drift from subject to subject but at some point in time during our time together we are driven back to horses.
Like most things that 'we' like, horses for me have been a pleasure, desire, need (at some point), and a job that I hated. I wondered at one point, not to long ago, if I was really suppose to be involved in horses because I started to despise them. The one thing that I love to be around became a hated and despised part of my life. One day, when I was getting ready to go train for an endurance ride, I sat in my room and cried over the fact that I had to go out and ride my horse. How weird is that? You have to know me to know how much horses are a part of my life and how at one time in my life they defined who I was, they were how I was recognized in my family - the weird one who had to be with horses. And up until recently, they were still how I defined myself. I was on a mission to have horses and breed Arabians for show and endurance. And when I say mission, I mean mission at any and all costs. Then - something happened - I was working through a time when horses became a job instead of a pleasure and I felt as though I hit the bottom of the barrel. Right about that time, I was blackmailed to go to church.
Now horses are part of my life in a different way, horses are something that I have in common with other people but they don't define me. And over the last couple of months, I have been driven to ask other horse people what do we have in common? So I ask, can you name the animals that are named in the bible. For example, and probably the most popular one, is the similarity of Christ being compared to a lamb and a lion. So there are 2 of them, can you name any others that are specifically identified? I couldn't until recently when I noticed that the equine is the most recognized animal in the Bible, after the lamb. Go ahead look.....
Matt: 21:2 , 7Jesus sends his disciples into Bethphage and told them to "go to town and find a a donkey and a colt and to bring them to him....and brought the donkey and colt and laid their coats on them and He sat on the coats". Jesus was presented on the equines. Throughout the Book of Revelation, John sees the judgment book and as Christ opens each seal John sees angels riding a horse, Rev 6:2...a white horse and he who sat on it...went out conquering and to conquer. Rev 6:3....a red horse went out and to him who sat on it.....a great sword was given. Rev 6:5...a black horse and he who sat on it had a pair of scales. Rev ashen horse and he who sat on it had the name Death and Hades followed him.... First WOW!!! That's all I have to say. There was I thought a passage about Mary being carried on a donkey to Bethlehem before Jesus was born (altho I can't find it so maybe it's just a story) but what an amazing thing. God placed horses/equines in such a high stature. They carried Christ in the flesh to be announced as the Christ, and they are to carry the angels of judgment. What amazing comparisons. If you haven't been around a horse, you may not understand, but they take a charge over their owners when they are mounted. A charge of care that naturally born into them (altho people can take that out of them, they are born to it). I had wondered off and on what God's purpose is for me and worried about not knowing if I was on track with God's will and just running my own course but lately I realized that I have something in common with God. We had horses, they hold a charge in my life and in His plan, both past and future. It took me a long time to come to hear God's voice in this common ground but I'm glad I found something in common with my Savior and my God because our friendship is more important to me than anything else in my life.
What do we have in common? Are we friends for one reason or another? And how does that affect our relationship? Friendship is God's plan, even if we don't believe it. So I ask differently, what do you have in common with God?