Teams

I’m thankful for the 2016 Presidential election. It exposed a lot of illusions I had been believing about the political party I once aligned with, and has helped me at least begin becoming more Kingdom of God focused versus focused on the kingdoms our politicians promise.

It has been an incredibly clarifying year. I find myself outside of Team Red/Team Blue for the first time in my adult life.

I’m incredibly concerned about what happens next. But I’m also incredibly glad I have pushed away (or at least am pushing away) from putting my trust in “chariots and horses”. What was I thinking?

Talks

Lord grant wisdom.

Be the bringer of light,  the path-builder,  the One who brings clarity.

Ease our fears.  Bring perspective.  Heal wounded minds. May we be filled with the energy only you supply.

I love you, Lord. Imperfectly, hesitantly. But where would I go without you? You have the words of life.

We’ve been saved from great tragedy and loss. But we bear the cuts and bruises from our terrifying fall and look to you for healing and more wisdom and light as we look along the path and recognize some of the same dark places we’ve been to before.

Lord have mercy,  Christ have mercy.

Amen.

How has he loved us?

The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!”

– Malachi 1:1-5 (ESV)

“How have you loved us?” The answer to this question is an interesting one. God doesn’t answer by listing all the ways he has loved his people. He doesn’t talk about preserving Jacob’s family in the famine, or making Israel into a nation in Egypt, or freeing them from slavery, or giving them a land, or freeing them from Babylon. Instead, he compares them to their brother Esau. “I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated.”

What is he saying here?

Here’s what he isn’t saying: he isn’t saying that Esau is somehow worse than Jacob. Edom is not worse than Israel. But upon Israel the favor and love of the Lord has rested. “How have you loved us?” His wrath has fallen upon those outside the covenant, those outside the family. The same wrath we all deserved has not fallen upon us. There’s a bright contrast. A love so bright everything else looks like hate.

As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”

“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

– Romans 9:25-29 ESV

This is amazing love. Questioning it, as the questioner in Malachi has done, and as we so often do, is just a symptom of our spiritual blindness.

How has he loved us? He has loved like one who has given his life to save the life of his enemy. He has loved us like one who rushes into a burning building to save those in danger from the fire, and lets the building fall on top of him. He loves us the way a King does who adopts a poor, unlovely child no one else wants and raises her with honor and love and the rights of full inheritance.

How he has loved us!

Grateful

Yesterday my daughter, pregnant with twins, fainted in a Target (or nearly-fainted – if someone hadn’t caught her she would have hit the floor).

This was all we knew from the hurried call we received from her husband Joey. I expected to see ambulance lights when we arrived. Instead, we found her sitting with Joey and the littles, a little bit shaky but no worse for wear.

Flooded with relief. Thank you Lord.

Twitter

I’ve had a twitter account for years, but didn’t really start getting into Twitter until a couple of years ago.

Recently, twitter has become toxic to me. Tonight I took a small step – I unfollowed a number of people (none of who are friends and/or someone who is following me). It cleaned things up quite a bit.

In a coincidental move, when I was done I noticed my followers exactly matched the number of people I am following.

I need to go way further on detoxing. But this is a start.

Happy new year!

This was a hard year
We faced death
We went to the brink
Yet the Lord was gracious; I don’t know why
Others have suffered and lost far, far more
Before going over the edge,
He pulled us back to safety

We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas
In ways I could only dream of
Dreams do come true
There was no empty chair at the table

Plates are still spinning
We’re in God’s hands
May we be faithful
That’s really all we can do

I know the change in year is artificial
Tomorrow won’t be any different than today
or if so, it won’t be because a digit has flipped
But these rhythms and cycles are good for us
It’s good to reset, if only emotionally
Nothing bad has yet happened in 2017

I’m face down.

Happy new year!

Behold, your king is coming to you

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9 ESV

I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing about current events. These things may be important, in a way, but they are temporal and will quickly pass.

I may lose some sleep over who will be the next president of the country I live in, and I’m not saying that doesn’t have weight and import and historical ramifications. But our true King has already come, and is coming again. In contrast to our politicians, and every politician who ever stumped a speech anywhere, our King is completely righteous. Our political leaders and systems won’t save us, ultimately. Only he comes bringing salvation. And in contrast to every blowhard who ever beat his or her chest from a podium, our King is humble. He humbled himself for us all the way to the cross, and he now has been exalted by his Father to the highest place imaginable and even beyond our imagination; every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord!

Thank you Lord Jesus for your indescribable gift!