Sunday, December 6, 2009

Love is...

Tonight was beautiful. Tonight we shared a meal with our brothers and sisters at Holly Hills. It's cold here in Denver. It was so very fun to pile into the van and drive through the winter weather listening to the 24 hr Christmas music station and park our car in the church parking lot. We all shuffled in and played a game with the group. The kids played together in the Sunday School rooms and someone was kind enough to bring some folks along who were willing to watch the kids so the parents could have the evening to talk with grown-ups.
One generous family catered the party beautifully. The food was delicious and it was just so quaint. The tables were arranged beautifully and there was nice silverware and linen napkins. Delicious foods and cheesecake for desert. It smelled of family. Laughter and love filled the air. After a game and dinner we had a message from one of the beloved brothers of our congregation. He is such a wonderful teacher and we were so very blessed to be able to behold the Lord through Randy's teaching. Who could think that the "hypostatic union" (the doctrine that teaches Christ's simultaneous deity and humanity) could be so practical, and wonderful. We sang some Christmas songs and had a "white elephant" gift exchange.
Generally, I find gift exchanges to be painful and long. Given the fact that there were more than 60 people there I was concerns. There was so much laughter, so many jokes told. So many great stories shared. Gifts that kept coming back for year after year of "re-gifting" seemed to take on a life of their own. I also never thought I would see so many people so excited over a rubber chicken. But then, that's what makes it so silly and fun. One more song and off we went home. What a blessing.
The kids were pooped so we hustled off home and put them to bed. Cadence needed some extra snuggling and I was happy to give it. Truthfully, I love the long bedtime procedure we have put together and I love rocking and snuggling, cuddling, book reading and seeing her sweet self drift off into a careless sleep. I love doing things and spending time with people that make me want to love my family more. Things that fill, things that replenish, things that bless, things that point us towards Jesus.
Perhaps a meandering account, but even still...a beautiful evening!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

From the Book of Common Prayer:

A General Thanksgiving

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

For the Saints and the Faithful Departed:

We give thanks to you, O Lord our God, for all your servants and witnesses of time past: for Abraham, the father of believers, and Sarah his wife; for Moses, the lawgiver, and Aaron, the priest; for Miriam and Joshua, Deborah and Gideon, and Samuel with Hannah his mother; for Isaiah and all the prophets; for Mary, the mother of our Lord; for Peter and Paul and all the apostles; for Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene; for Stephen, the first martyr, and all the martyrs and saints in every age and in every land. In your mercy, O Lord our God, give us, as you gave to them, the hope of salvation and the promise of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the first-born of many from the dead. Amen.

For Samantha Rose Campbell

Heavenly Father, you sent; your own Son into this world. We thank you for the life of this child, Samantha, entrusted to our care. Help us to remember that we are all your children, and so to love and nurture her, that she may attain to that full stature intended for her in your eternal kingdom; for the sake of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God our Help in Ages Past

O God, our help in ages past,  
our hope for years to come,  
our shelter from the stormy blast,  
and our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne,  
still may we dwell secure;  
sufficient is thine arm alone,  
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,  
or earth received her frame,  
from everlasting, thou art God,  
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages, in thy sight,  
are like an evening gone;  
short as the watch that ends the night,  
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,  
bears all who breathe away;  
they fly forgotten, as a dream  
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,  
our hope for years to come;  
be thou our guide while life shall last,  
and our eternal home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Take a moment

turn up your speakers and sit still for the next 11 minutes
enjoy something beautiful today

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Of Peace and Paper Airplanes

that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, ~1 Thess. 4:11

Easily one of the greatest days ever. Today we all started the day by bundling into the car for the first Christmas pageant rehearsal. It was lovely and sweet. It is going to be quite a year for the Holly Hills Christmas Production Company, I assure you! After that home for lunch and naps. Everyone got naps. This was excellent!
After naps we watched a movie together (Tinkerbelle 2) and had a great deal of fun answering Cadences endless questions about the characters the events and what was going to happen. Soon after this we had a lovely dinner of lasagna (thank you so much MomPom!) and laughed a great deal over dinner. Cadence ate so well. Dinner is not her favorite meal, but she must like lasagna and I think she is coming up on a growth spurt as her diet has markedly grown this past week.
Finn was, as always, all smiles and giggles. And cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. We spread a blanket out on the ground and made paper airplanes and threw them back and forth (this mystified Cadence) and laughed when they crashed into things (and often people). Pugsley tried earnestly to sleep through a small barrage of paper airplanes that could not seem to fall anywhere else but onto him.
Before heading up to bed a family cuddle session on the blanket that at times more resembled a "battle royal" wrestling match and tickle torture ring occurred. Everyone went to bed happy. Finn dropped off quickly and Cadence wanted to be read the Little Bear treasury in it's entirety. This is one of my soft spots as a parent, if they want to read more they will probably be up all night. Please do not tell them about this as they haven't figured it out just yet! After a snuggle and a good night kiss I left Cadence to fall asleep, but she came out of her room to ask me if I would pray for her so that the monsters wouldn't scare her. So I did, and evidently God came through again and Cadence fell immediately to sleep.
It's fun to pray for Cadence. I don't really like the idea of telling kids that there are no monsters. I don't feel like I can confirm that, and what kid ever said "Oh, really? No monsters? Okay, I'm off to sleep then!" So it has been more fun for me to tell Cadence that there may be monsters but she doesn't need to be afraid of them because God can protect her and loves her too much to see her come to any harm at the hands of the monsters that may or may not reside in her room.
This may seem cruel, but I don't think so. I spend too much of my time fearing imaginary monsters. Possible scenarios of the future that may not even be likely to occur. I get all bent out of shape about the future and the present and all of the other silly things that are simply distractions. As I enjoyed my pipe on the back porch and watched the snowfall I realized...the monsters really are there, but what can they do to a sheep in the care of the good shepherd?

Big day tomorrow of fellowship, worship, teaching the word and more. This one was a very good day! Thank you for this one, Lord!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blessings of The Body

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

April and I were blessed to get to join Fort Collins Bible Church for a service this morning and spend some time studying the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) together. This genuine, sweet group of brothers and sisters in the Lord were so gentle and unassuming. We were blessed by their sincerity and deep love for one another as well as their great love for us (whom none but the pastor-teacher and his wonderful bride had ever met). It wasn't a good match to what church is "supposed to be" by our modern american standards. People seemed humble and kind, it was like being at home. I knew this feeling because I feel it each Sunday at our home church (Holly Hills Bible Church). The same gracious love was there. The same warm feeling and kind handshakes. The same moments of compassion and care.
The modern version (as I seem to see it in popular Christian culture) is to put all of the emphasis on the "GO" as if this were the command. It appeals to the worker bee in us, do do do it yourself. It reminds me of a t-shirt I once saw that read "Jesus is coming...LOOK BUSY!" Then, in our culture, I believe we have changed the word "disciple" to "convert." Converts are easy, they may take as little as a few moments. Disciples take years to make. We seem to find the bigger numbers of "converts" more attractive. Baptism is a magical ceremony that people will live and die for rather than a simple expression of the amazing truth of what God has graciously done in saving us...identifying us with His Son. I could go on, but it wouldn't edify.
Looking at the original language and culture I see these verses crying out to the intimate and full beauty that is to be found in the body of Christ. The word "go" here is actually a participle. This means that it is given the "-ing" ending and is not the main command of the sentence. The idea may be better put "as you are going..." because the going is assumed, what we do as we go is what is special.
Discipleship was a life on life, day by day, process of sharing good times and bad, hard times and easy, teaching, thoughts and service. The kind of discipleship Jesus practices was radical even in the day because he served those whom were His disciples (a practice that would have shocked people constantly!). The intimacy Jesus has given us is a deep and rich intimacy of love, devotion and service, not just sharing an hour or two a week, but being involved in each others lives day by day. It is messy, it is painful and it is beautiful. It doesn't look great on a pamphlet and it won't sell a million copies, but it is what Christ had in mind.
Baptism was a practice of identification. We are Baptized into the SINGULAR NAME of the triune God. We are being invited into the perfect community of the Godhead. We are welcomed into the real circle of unending, and perfect love. This is not a formula that we must follow when we baptize or else, it is a promise that each of the three persons of our triune God is invested and involved in our salvation. We have an intimate relationship with the God of the Universe be cause He has called us into this intimacy. That is our identification. Cool stuff!
Teaching is to be the method in which truth is communicated. Teaching is the process by which we in the Church get to behold the Lord together. The teaching isn't the cold, western classroom version that we may think of in modern times (most teaching wasn't done that way) the "teaching" here is connected to the main verb and command: discipleship! So the discipleship process includes teaching to observe.
Why observe and not obey? I have an idea about this. Obey is a law thing. You can only obey a rule or law you know and once you have obeyed it you are in the clear. Observance is a far deeper, more full life expression of something. Obedience stops when the laws stop, observance is carried out into every aspect of a person's life. The life of Christ in us is to be a full life expression. We aren't just to follow a few hollow rules and be smug, we are rest in Christ and let His life and love flow out of us at every moment.
"Commanded" is another hard one to bring into English. This sounds like the simple past tense, but that won't cut it. Actually, it is the tense of no time. Jesus had yet more commandments to give. The whole New Testament was yet to be written and Christ had more to say. So the Apostles would have understood that there could be more that Christ was going to teach them (and there turned out to be a great deal more - vis. Acts through Revelation).
"Lo" is an attention getter here, I would say, "Listen up" may be a nice modern idiom. In the Greek here we get a reiterative 1st person pronoun. In other words, Jesus is saying "I, MYSELF, ME PERSONALLY, will be with you." It is a promise of His continued ministry by indwelling every single believer. How often? Always! Never is Christ not with you. Christ never misses a beat on our lives. He sees every moment, and is right here with us. Intimate, complete, fully knowing and fully loving us. And this will last all the way back to His return, when He sets His feet on Terra Firma and begins His Reign here on Earth.

So, I would expand (or paraphrase) these verses as follows:

"As you are going, be investing deeply in each others lives, and in the lives of the unsaved, so as to point others the towards Me (Jesus), when people understand and put their faith in Me do this ritual of identification that you all understand as an outward commitment to something or someone, and do it in such a way that they will know that the whole power of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit): the perfect community of the Godhead is the basis for their salvation and intimacy with Me and with each other. As a part of your investments in each others' lives teach people to live out My life and commands every day. If they ask how they can do this, or if you ever wonder how you could do it, remember I, myself, the Son of God, am always with you...even to till I wrap up this whole Church age."

Then I realized, that these people were already at it. What a blessed day.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Beautiful and Intelligent Wife


I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I do know that I couldn't mention it enough. Aside from having been given the spiritual gift of being able to put up with me, my wife has other supernatural powers. Those of you who know us may know that we are struggling to keep afloat. Working a number of odd jobs to try to make a living and hoping (eventually) to break into full time vocational ministry. This process has been one of endless challenge and difficulty. So it has been incredible for us! This process of breaking, fighting, failure and rejection has been very difficult and has conformed us to Christ's image more than any other phase.
We have, at some level, hung our hopes on the possibility of serving at a church in Ft. Collins and flirted with the opportunity to try to plant a church in Prague. Quite a handful of things to consider and pray for. The Lord has brought us to the point where we feel like something HAS to happen soon or we will be in a heap of trouble that we wouldn't want. This has caused me to look even more despairingly at the small remaining possibilities and hope and pray that one of them may come through. While reason would say not to put all of our eggs in a basket that is by no means a sure thing, it is difficult for me not to.
In a conversation a week ago April had a breakthrough. She realized that it is no good hanging our hopes upon the possibility of this job or that, as if there was a pot of gold at the end of one of those rainbows that we are waiting for. The reality is the Christ is our hope and The Father has already given Him! Why do we need to go hoping on the chance occurrence of this or that when the reality is that our hope is in Heaven with Christ and the things promised to us here is tribulation and difficulty. Furthermore, we are promised that difficulty keeps us more and more pointed towards our real hope and home, and it ensures we will not become too wedded t this earthly prison that we are currently attached to.
It has been said by people much smarter than myself, but it bares repeating. I just need to look at Jesus today. Trust the Lord for the future. Not because "it will surely get better" and not because "there are better days ahead" there is no such promise I've found in Scripture (regarding our earthly walk - there are better days ahead once we are done with this planet and Home with the Lord) but because no matter what happens He will still be with us. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, so I know that I will have the comfort that I need, not the necessarily the situation that I want. Reminds me of the well known verse:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. ~Lemmel

That's good news. Right focus is everything. I was listening to the Screwtape Letters again and was once again struck by the enemies tactics at getting our eyes of Christ and off the present moment in favor of worrying our heads about things that have nothing to do with what we should be about at the present moment.

I have a smart wife. Thankful.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is that the way Daddy wants it?

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
Ephesians 4:15

Today I was honored to get into a deep (albeit unoriginal and boring) theological debate with a brother. I am tempted here, of course, to reveal the topic of the debate and turn my brother in the Lord into a perfect "straw man" which I can set up and knock down easily to show that I was right then, I am right now, and here are all of the people who agree with me. But what good would that do? I am convinced that until Jesus comes back we will (as his Body here on earth) have disagreements about His word. I have had this specific debate hundreds of times with many different people and as would be expected we trod the old path realizing that our core disagreements and assumptions would not be reconciled in the space of 15 minutes, if ever. The "I said, he said" part is immaterial to the purposes of this article. The main thing that had me perplexed was that as the discussion continued and my brother in the Lord (who is at least 15 years my senior) got increasingly agitated, and frustrated to find that his "ex cathedra" arguments were not given any weight he became angry, raised his voice, and began to use crude insults.
Of course it would be a logical fallacy for me to claim that because he was losing the argument and became emotional that I have more reason to believe his argument false and his intentions bad, but the question that faces me is this: How must our Father in Heaven feel when He sees us willing to slash each other to the ground and nearly go to blows over something that we can only get the most basic understanding of from His word? It must be comical on one hand to see two little specks of earth filled with the divine breath arguing about something way out of their depth and ability. Almost like two bugs arguing passionately over whether humans have different color eyes or not (when they themselves can't even see in color). I don't know if bugs see color or not, but it makes a better analogy if they don't. We argue and only achieve displaying our own silliness to ourselves (if we are honest enough to see it).
On the other hand it must be all the more tragic for the Father who wants us to be united in sharing Christs love with one another. What a plague it is to have to be right all the time! These realizations in my life made the discussion somewhat unemotional for me. However, I was struck by angry and sad this fellow became as his paper mache arguments that he had repeated over and over to himself (and now to me) fell apart before him as crumbling messes of presupposition and pomp. I was disturbed by his insults and angry words, and especially disturbed by the fact that I often am reduced to the same emotional state when fighting for something that I want to be right about. He felt that he was defending the truth, but he could not speak it in love. I think the best thing to do, when we find that we are no longer speaking the truth IN LOVE is to stop speaking. (Exegetical note - "speaking the truth in love" here is a tough one to translate because in Greek "truth" has a verb form. Literally the verse would be "truthing in love" meaning more than our words but how every aspect of our lives is conducted. Cool stuff.) I pray for my brother in the Lord. He is hurting a great many feelings and then wonders why he is isolated and why he can't find any fellowship at out church. His "backpack" full of anger, hurt, resentment, bitterness, pride and so forth keep him from experiencing and enjoying the love of the saints, and presumably the love of God as well. Certainly a keen reminder to me when I feel like I am not experiencing those things. What blessing am I missing because of a full "backpack"?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Feelings Trap


Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5

I am more than a bit perplexed about the whole emotions debacle. It may seem overly simplistic but the reality is that emotions usually don't seem to be helpful. God gave us emotions, and undoubtedly for a reason, yet they seem to be the thing that keep us from steadily gazing at Jesus more often than not. I'm not sure how to reconcile this. I suppose it's back to basics. Fact, faith and feelings. Facts are the engine, faith is the car, and feelings are the caboose. It seems like the message that my generation (and those after me) have received is a message that the feelings are an instrument to judge truth, fact or reality. Thus, statements such as "I just don't feel like that's true" are actually seriously considered in certain discussions. Using our feelings to evaluate truth is like using a plastic ruler to determine the temperature of the sun. I suppose you could figure out that the sun is hot enough to melt the ruler, but that wouldn't be much information towards finding out how many degrees the sun is. That's not what feelings are for.
Thus, when David confronts his depression he quickly goes back to the place where he can put his faith in the facts and let that dictate his actions, not allowing the emotional highs and lows run the show. There are things that I notice that can always affect my feelings making them extremely unreliable: enough sleep, enough food, enough rest, enough quiet time, offhanded comments, the entertainment I take in, the situations of my loved ones, my general health at the moment, and a hoard of other things that make me think that my feelings are nearly useless if I want to use them to determine my perception of reality (much as my laptop would be useless for driving in nails). But when I look at Jesus my emotions fall into line. I am thankful again, I am full again. I see the emotions that are uplifting and true. Through this view (Facts, Faith leading the act) emotions suddenly snap into line and become valuable, wonderful and profitable. Not to say that they are always happy and cheerful at this point, but the sorrow that is felt does not overcome, and the compassion felt is not hopeless and the joy felt is not the fleeting "sugar high" feeling of the moments of happy emotional states brought about by pleasant earthly circumstances. Things are more real on this level. And I am calm again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Be Still

Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

How many problems are solved as I obey this simple command. Verses like John 3:16, Romans 5:8 and others so clearly capture the truth of our faith. Verses that point us towards Christ. Yet this verse always draws at me. I first encountered it in High School choir in a beautiful arrangement wherein the words were repeated in a wonderful, high choral fashion. That song still rings in my head (Thank you Ms. Sorenson!) and reminds me that He is in control.
I had a few opportunities to be still today. A quiet walk, a quiet sit while the children were napping. In the stillness and surrender I remembered how very small I am, how very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It seems odd to think that an ant would worry about his place in the world, nothing the ant could do will bring the world crashing down around us (If ants do have this power unbeknown to us, let us hope they continue to use their self control wisely and continue diligently about their work!). And given the revelation of my own sub-microscopic size in view of things I should only be more and more amazed that God saw fit to care for me. Sees fit to guide me, because the important things is was and always will be: Him and the fact that He is God. It was a nice day, as a result, not being so consumed with my own burden of importance and resting in the freedom of letting Him be the important one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This cross can be found in the little chapel on the oval at the Colorado State University campus. It has one line of pews that goes all the way to the back and a wall of little square windows to the right. It is incredibly dated and a bit cold in the winter but it is beautiful. Just to the side of this building there is a walled in area that is something like a garden, though I never recall seeing flowers there. There are some trees and it feels like a private British garden where you can go and feel secluded in the middle of the day.
Of course, the student lifestyle is magical by itself. A class here and there, some time to study, a nap, some time to pray. It is a good time in life, and like any good time very few people appreciate it until it is long since past. Nevertheless, I never took this small, sanctified space for granted. I remember sitting between classes in the pews praying, in the garden resting and thinking how amazing that a "public institution" once honored God enough to put a chapel on the center circle of their campus. It was a precious place. I snuck in a few times to find other students praying or studying the Bible. Most often it was someone I knew, and we would pray together. I wish there were more sanctified places like that in the world. Little humble buildings with a cross on the wall and nothing to steal. Immediately all of the horrible things that would happen to that building spring to mind. Perhaps so. It doesn't make me want that any less.
There are people that are like that precious building, and while this small structure will always be the truest archetype of the word "chapel" for me, there have been a number of people with whom I can always rely on to accompany me to that sacred place. People who point my gaze at Jesus and hold it there steadily. I'm thankful for those people. Deeply. The Bible tells us that we are a God's Temple. 1 Corinthians and Ephesians give us this clear picture. In the KJV Ephesians uses the words "fitly framed." I love this picture. My head wants to build more little buildings. My heart knows that I must trust in Him and be part of the building that He is creating.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Be a friend, be a fan, be a brother...

Romans 14:13

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Let us NOT judge one another…

Now, how does this work? How does this fit in with the greater sweep of Scripture? Are we to be judging yet also not judging simultaneously? The first, and most important issue that we consider when interpreting a Bible verse is the context. The context of this verse is the argument and the situation between “weaker” and “stronger” brothers in the Lord. The issues that are being discussed are non-moral issues, or issues that don’t have a clear Biblical ruling. There is an issue of the heart here.

Often times, as humans, we are jealous of others who do what we do. This can apply to work situations where two people who do the same job at a company dislike each other because of the sneaking suspicion that the other fellow may be better at it. Another example of this is why friendships among the “pretty” and the “popular” are often quite shallow: they are burdened with jealousy. Sadly, because of our active Sin Nature we can very easily see this pop up in our hearts towards other believers. Other people with our same spiritual gifts, or even simply just others who seem to have a special walk with the Lord, may offend our delicate sensibilities right at the point of the depths of our insecurity, causing us to dislike, reject, or judge them. We may even try to make things more difficult for them, and we may use the most pious and self-righteous fa├žade to do it. How many “prayer requests” are used as a platform to share slanderous gossip? Obviously one is too many.

Be a Friend, be a Fan, be a Brother

This gives us a new and beautiful picture of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to be rooting for them, helping them and moving them along. Thus we find that where are heart is, and how well the person is known can dictate the right action. Think of the dearest and closest person to you in a relational sense. If you found out that that person was doing something that hurt them would it not be the loving thing to act, and then help to restore? If the person, however, really liked a food that you found disgusting you would say nothing (nothing seriously, anyway) because you love them so much that the petty, non-moral issues look like nothing in the eyes of your love for them. You are rooting for them and welcome their idiosyncrasies. The person you hate offends you by breathing. The person you don’t know offends you with their horrible taste in music. But with the person you love you will sit through a whole movie that you would otherwise have hated, just because they love it and you love them. If we loved our brothers and sisters in Christ as we ought to, would we even bother trying to judge them about the peripheral issues? If jealousy and pride weren’t ruling our heart would we care that they weren’t keeping our set of extra-scriptural rules? If smugness weren’t the dominating factor in our personality would we need to show them how stupid their extra-biblical rules are? Or would we all just be so consumed with spurring one another on towards Christ that we may not even notice?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Danse Macabre


She was born onto bony knees. Though from a perspective she was caught by a professional whose function was to catch babies, she was actually born onto bony knees catching her. To be born upon that lap was to be claimed by its owner, as all of her kind were. The same bony kneed personage whipped the girl’s mother and brought a cruel kiss of fleshy lips to hard and crooked teeth. The kiss was bitter but the transition sweet. Sad to end the Dance, but glad to see Reality.

The girl was cradled by the bony kneed specter, so pretty and so soft, he nearly kissed her there and then, and let her only memory of the Dance be the dance of the rocking arms of people who had Danced for many years. But the time was not right, and he was not allowed.

Through the years where the gifts of locomotion and loquacity are acquired the Dance continued. Haltingly, stumbling, many times she pitched forward and nearly crashed her lips to his by accident. But more than chance commanded the Music to continue.

Moving to the three beats of the Music she learned to step, to step, to step and to follow the lead and avoid the kiss. She learned to fear the kiss and love the Dance. Sometimes she wondered if the fear of the kiss drove the dance altogether, because the kiss was the only way out of the dance. It must not drive the dance. There is no nobility in denying the kiss, no beauty in dancing from the place of fear. So she danced on, seeking to dance beautifully.

The tempo advanced and increased in is speed and intensity. The dance became rough and her partner abusive. Whipping her around spins and turns, wrenching her arms and legs, leaving her sore and gasping, begging for respite. The rough dance left her wondering if she could not learn to love the kiss, wondering if it were wrong to ask the Choreographer to pencil the kiss in a little sooner in the score. The dance would go on, after all. But just as the steps seemed unbearable and she was about to tumble from her feet to the ground, the music slowed and the tempo changed again.

Wondering why she must Dance with this hideous partner she looked to the Composer. As she danced along He showed her the Sheets that preceded her page. There were many. As she studied the ancient music she saw that the Composer, Choreographer and Musician had planned a perfect Dance with music that would never end, but not static and unchanging, rather it was ever increasing. The Music would grow louder and louder, climb higher and higher without end.

However, one of the butlers wanted a chance to compose. He wrote his twisted tunes and raunchy melodies and offered them to the original Dancers. If they Danced to His melody, they would soon be able to write their own. They did. His melody came with a partner. The slender partner looked beautiful for a moment and then faded into the gaunt figure that the girl recognized as the man who caught her on the day of her birth.

The Composer was heartbroken as his beloved Dancers chose another melody to dance to. And the Choreographer prepared to dance with the gaunt man and swallow his bitter kiss, drinking it to the dregs. The Composer wrote the music for Dancers to once again transition back to the dance for which He had made them. All they had to do is trust the Choreographer in his claim have Danced, and take the Steps He would have.

Why, if this ghoul had been drained of his power could she not simply dance with the Choreographer? The grasp of the fiend that held tight to her hand, though he had no power, could not be removed from her body without the kiss. The consequence remained, though the penalty was paid. But there was no longer any reason to fear the kiss, it meant only that the dance with the specter was over and the dance with the choreographer begun. The haunting image of her born partner seemed to fade and she saw only the loving Choreographer and Composer as she once again danced to the Music. Meanwhile, her partner continued to try to return to the waltz that he had written, but he could only make her dance to his beats when she stopped reading the Score, stopped Listening to the Music, and stopped watching the Choreographer. So the Dance went on.

Another danced near her. The Choreographer had clearly planned for them to Dance together. They danced near each other. They danced and danced. The kiss again became something to fear. As they continued to dance closer and closer in the circles of the Choreographer the composer added new notes and soon there were new dancers. Each of them was dancing with the same gaunt partner in their tight circles. Sometimes closer and sometimes farther. The Choreographer was pleased and gave notice to the Composer that the crescendo was near.

The Music took on dissonant tones. Screeches and shrieks that could hardly be borne by the ear. Like the sound of crushing metal, and screeching brakes. Her unwanted partner whipped and tore at her, but she saw only the Choreographer walking out onto the dance floor. As the fiend tore her body and finally curled her into his arms and smashed her fleshy lips into his cruel grin. She passed through him to the Choreographer’s hand. She was spun to a dip and raised. He bowed and she curtsied to the thunderous applause of the countless onlookers who were, until this moment, quite invisible to her eyes. She considered the old Dance, she saw the purpose of every strain, how every attempt to destroy it had been used to propel it. And she gazed lovingly at the Choreographer who smiled and nodded to the conductor. And the Dance went on.

Award and Sharing

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I am honored to recieve this wonderful award! Even though is is mis-spelled (that is to say, unless it was started in Germany.) Many of my favorite blogs are in the same web of blogs that Mom is connected too - nevertheless, here we go:
1 - The Nexus Vivus blog...will totally understand if this isn't quite up his alley, but it is a creative and fun blog that encourages my soul each time I go to it.
2 - The Doan Currant - a good friend and brother in the Lord. Always witty, fun to read and well informed. Also, some really beautiful photography, great stuff.
3 - The Creative Output - My wife's blog of her knitting creations. I simply love to read and see all of what she is doing here, cool stuff.
4 - The Briar Files - This fellow has a fun view of pipes, pipe smoking, and life. The author just seems to have a rather poetic view of life, which I enjoy.
5 - The Campbells Possibilities - My sister has a fun way of viewing her life and times. She hasn't updated in a while, but she has a fun tone and a sweetness to her writing that is entertaining.
6 - Blogspensational - This is my friend and brother Randy Peterman's blog. It is very fun to read and informative. A worthwhile discussion on theological matters and thoughtful replies to comments made by the general public.
7 - A Bit of Peace within the Chaos - It doesn't update as much as I would like, but it is fun and interesting as an intimate look at the innerworkings of a family that is deeply in love with Jesus.

Now, seven random facts about myself.
1 - I love quiet moments.
2 - I like writing poetry.
3 - I am addicted to books.
4 - I love spending time with my kids when my head is clear enough to see how very imporatant they are.
5 - I have the most amazing wife. Really.
6 - I am richely blessed by Christ.
7 - I am excited for the adventure ahead!

Thanks for reading. Big love.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The World is a System, Neo




This clip always brings into sharp relief what is really going on all aroud us. We wonder why people are so hostile and against hearing about the truth, about the Lord. They are too deeplycontrolled by the system. A person who is unsaved is plugged into the stystem and will fight for it because it is the system that they have always known. It is strange to think that the people we love and that we would love to come to faith in Jesus are born into this anti-God system that prevents them from seeing His love and believing that He is who He says. The World has turned the idea of sharing the Good News into a shameful thing, it has fought to defend itself at every turn. People twist, turn, and writhe to escape looking into the eyes of love. They would rather gouge out their own eyes than to gaze at Jesus Christ and admit their own imperfection and inability. This has always been a shocking picture, but a realistic picture, of evangelism.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, - Colossians 1:13

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Eph. 6:10-11

Monday, September 7, 2009


I have been told that I was born some year too late. Is it a sin to wish you lived in a different time? I suppose it depends how hard you wish, how much it distracts you from enjoying the days that you have been given. Yet I can't help this special little envy. I want to live in a time before all of the technological advances. I want to live in a time when I could smoke my pipe in-doors. I want to live in a world where books, music and thought can be discussed over glasses of dark glasses of beer and when there were places for men that women respected, and places for women that men respected. I think there is a beauty to the separation between the sexes, the mystery grows, we can't harbor the modern illusion that we are all the same. What stupidity. Of course we are the same in many ways, two halves of a whole, but if the two halves of your body tried to act like eachother you wouldn't so much as be able to walk.
I love the idea of cold weather and handwritten letters. I love the idea of answered mail. I love the ideas of days filled with words, read and written, and not filled with wood. I'm thankful for the jobs that I have. Thankful for the gifts that have been put in my life. But if I could pick up the relationships and tuck them away in the images of the movies I've seen about britian in the 1950's I don't imagine that I would hesitate. I'm sick of seeing so much to buy, so much to want, so much to earn. I'm rather ready for a change of pace, and I would give up every single advance that has come since then to get it. But alas, it's the cruelty of the world, just like life. You can't go back to grade school, college, the years when the children were young, or the years when the economy was good.
In just the same way we can't go back to a simpler life, I suppose we can only appreciate the moment that we are in now. Somone will lookback in 60 years and say that they long to live in the world we do. It insults God to look back and wish. The moment I have is never good enough, I always wish for a cleaner one, a fresher one, a simpler one. Those aren't my moments. THESE are my moments.
These are the moments He selecte
d for me. Like two children, each given a special gift by their father, the gifts have been especially selected based on the character and interest of each child. The foolish child looks past the thoughtful gift, and his father's careful love, knowledge and understanding of him personally and wants the other childs gift. Strange isn't it? I still want to smoke my pipe indoors, though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Voltron



I feel it is my personal duty to alert everyone to the fact that the entire first season of Voltron is available on YouTube. Which is your favorite lion? I always liked the red lion. I thought it was cool to think of that lion sleeping beneath a great lake of lava. For some reason now I find myself liking the blue and green lions more. The green lion is, of course, piloted by the nimble and agile man-boy Pidge. I like his attitude, and find him to be irresistibly funny and honest about both his strengths and some short comings. I think I like the green lion for resting beneath a tree. I love the idea of walking through a forest and coming across a large metal lion that would use all of it's powers for good instead of evil.
The blue lion is also great. The idea of breathing under water, much less sleeping, has always been rather appealing. And water just looks so cool when you burst out of it. Piloted by Lance, who is clearly the stylish and sarcastic one of the group, you always know he's got something witty to say (by 1980's cartoons standards). Though on more recent viewings Lance is found to be a tad whiny and is to be preferred to the cool head of Sven who died and was replaced by the princess in the piloting of the blue lion. I don't know why they didn't then paint the lion pink to match her outfit. They probably didn't want Voltron to look like a pansy just because the pilot of the blue lion preferred pink. I'm inclined to agree with them on this issue.
So I hope you make time to take in some Vultron sometime this week. It probably won't get you through life any better, nor will it reveal anything deep and important about yourself. You don't even get to see the lions until well into the third episode! Even still, I'm interested to hear which lion you do identify with. Which Ninja Turtle, while we are at it?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It doesn't depend...

I love how the Fruit of the Spirit doesn't depend, in any way, on circumstance. We always think of the conditions under which we would be happy, the things that would make us happier.

"If we only had this..."

"If I didn't have to do that!"

"If only this or that person weren't so difficult!"

In distinction to this the Fruit of the Spirit is offered to us in spite of all difficulty, all trouble and all annoyances. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) and none of them are dependant upon how well our lives are going (by our perspective), or the things or people we would would change, they are completely independent of all of those circumstances.

What the fruit of the Spirit does depend on is what any fruit depends on: The branch on which fruit would grow MUST be attached to the vine. No fruit will grow on a branch that is disconnected. Yet, to the one who is connected to the vine there is no circumstance that can touch, change or agitate our enjoyment of the fruit, and that is the goal of our threefold enemy (the World; the Flesh and the Devil) in every situation, to get our eyes off of Jesus. Let us fix our eyes on Him for He is not only the author, but also the perfecter of our faith! (Hebrews 12:2)


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Grass Withers


The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

It is important to make good investments. Every day we get to choose to invest in one thing or another. We invest our time, invest our money, invest our thoughts. We can build our own empires, or at least we can try. We can also invest our time somewhere else. It's odd to think that every material thing that we know on this planet will be wiped away. The decay and slide of our bodies into old age seems to happen just slow enough that we can remain blind to it. The ridiculousness of our work to our own glory only comes into view as we get a real perspective, an eternal perspective. I would like to do a better job of keeping my eyes on what stands forever.
It is funny to me the amount of time and energy I spend to become an expert at something that is only going to last for some of this lifetime. It seems that it is necessary to a certain degree. But how to do it in a way that really makes it an eternal investment? I believe that it is possible to do. Somehow while we make the earthly investments we are privileged to be able to make we can also be making an eternal investment to. I may have to go to work, but I get to choose whether I do so and realize that the Lord is shaping me and molding me; or I can choose to lose the ball in the weeds and dream about Friday afternoon.
But God gave me today! I'm looking for a deeper realization of the joy of every moment, the peace of resting in Christ every second, unbroken fellowship with Him. I feel like I see shadows of it, hints and whispers, but then I lose it to my own fleshliness. God is so good, He receives me back, dusts me off and lets me walk again. Everyday is another opportunity to have communion and fellowship with Him, every trial a chance to rely on Him, every moment could be filled with the true life that comes from knowing God through Christ, or it could be just another second.
When I was young I got really excited in getting ready to go anywhere. I think I would vomit before many family trips. I'm certain I didn't sleep a single Christmas eve until I was at least 18 years old. The next days events were just too exciting. How could you sleep with Christmas morning finally here? I want that back. Not about Christmas (though I expect I will because I seem to be regressing and experiencing everything again as my kids see them for the first time), but about the realization that the moment by moment walk with Jesus is more exciting than going to a theme park, more fulfilling than any number of gifts, and more real than any of my greatest expectations could be.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rejoice!


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Phil. 4:4 (NASB)

It's funny, we get all bent out of shape about certain things and not others. Legalistic Christians will get their rope in a knot about dancing, rock music, drinking alcohol, tobacco, and a variety of other things. The funny thing about those things is that the Bible doesn't say anything forbidding a single one of them! (For sure, alcohol not in excess is in there, but there is no word against responsible drinking for those who are of age) It has always felt a bit strange to me, for sure. But I think it's funny that the actual commands of scripture are so often overlooked. When did one Christian ever say to another, "I'd like to talk to you about your sin issue. You simply are not rejoicing in the Lord at the moment, and Philippians says that we should be rejoicing ALWAYS!" I have never heard that comment uttered between two Christians, but I wish that I had.
It seems the usual conversation that comes from a rebuke about some non-biblical issue (such as dancing or listening to rock and roll) is followed by a long boring diatribe that is completely free from any grace or joy addressing why a certain behavior should be avoided. However, how would the rebuke over rejoicing have to go? I can imagine a number of different ways it could be done, but it would seem that the "rebuking" party would have to make a serious effort to explain to the party who is a down in the mouth why they should be rejoicing. Telling about how good the Lord is and how rich His blessings are. That's a conversation I would like to hear.
I love that the Lord's desire for us is that we should be rejoicing. All that He is makes us able to rejoice. There is no aspect of His character that we cannot be encouraged by. The Lord is so good to us, and we should be rejoicing each and every day. I think, though I am not sure, that if we are not rejoicing it is for one of two reasons (or both):

1) We don't understand/know.

2) We don't believe.

Either we don't understand the great love He has for us or we don't believe it. We don't understand what He has done for us and what He is doing in us, or the good news is simply too good to be true. In my life it can also come from forgetting or losing sight, but that (I think) is closely akin to our not understanding/knowing. So I would say I'm pretty well split between 1 and 2 most of the time. What brings you back to rejoicing?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pitch a Tent


For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor. 5:1

There is so much in the way of things to make this body better. Things to make it look better, things to make it feel better, things to make it work better. Some good, some bad. From the Lord's perspective our bodies are only tents. Temporary structures that are erected with the purpose of being mobile. There is so great a temptation to view the tent as a building, something that may just last forever. That's not something that these little tents are not capable of. I suppose we wouldn't get wrapped around the axle so often if we saw things for what they were. Our bodies aren't only referred to as tents in Scripture, but also earthen vessels. They can only be made valuable by the treasure that someone has placed inside them.
The physical world is beautiful, and it shows God's glory and artistry, but when the time comes to fold up this tent and move into my real Home, you won't hear me complaining. I love the feeling of a nights sleep in a nice comfortable bed after a few nights of sleeping on the ground. I love the feeling of soft sheets again, the feeling of not sliding down hill. I love camping, but it also makes me love home. How much greater the comparison when this "tent" goes down and we get to rest in the warm and comfortable Home that is prepared for us there? I am sure we will all look back and share stories about all we learned when we pitched tent in the Shadowlands, but I don't think one of us will want to give up the comfort of our home to do it again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My peace I leave with you...


Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 (NKJV)

I can't seem to move away from John 14-17 in my Bible reading. I don't know precisely why. It hasn't been that I cannot look elsewhere in Bible reading and study, because I have been all over, but for some reason I continually return to these chapters of comfort and assurance constantly over the past six months. There are so many nuggets of joy, of peace, or assurance. It feels so very intimate. Jesus talking to His friends just before He leaves them. Giving them all of these wonderful promises and gifts that they don't even understand why they will need. But I need them. There is so much deep intimacy and love to be had as we seek after Christ. The peace of Christ is given to us, not as the world gives. The world always seems to want something back, something in return, some favor for future redemption. Peace, as the world can provide, has a cost, is merely a delay of oncoming conflict. Christ's peace is deeper, rooted in who He is and who we are to Him.
I love the promise of a Comforter. I don't allow the Holy Spirit to comfort me. I don't allow myself to see Him as such. First as a Person and second as a Person who sees what goes on inside and out and wants me to realize that my sole and entire need is for Him. There is a sort of self-forgetfulness about peace, realizing that the peace is rooted in Christ forces me to look at where I am in order to receive and live in that peace. What a comforting statement Christ makes upon discussion of the ruler of this world: "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me." (John 14:30) Then I realize that I am in Him. The place that God has put me in Christ is a place where no evil can touch me because our enemy has nothing in Christ and that is where I am. (John 17:20-23; Eph. 1:3-14) What a blessing! These words wash over my mind and enrich every moment of my life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beautiful Identity


Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Identified

Imagine I took a twenty dollar bill and then put it into a book. What would happen if I burned the book? The bill would burn up as well wouldn’t it? If I threw the book in the lake then the bill would become soaked. Once the bill is placed in the book its destiny becomes instantly and personally tied up with the destiny of the book. That’s what Paul is saying happened to you here. You were placed into Christ just as a bill can be placed in a book. What happened to Jesus happened to you. From God’s perspective you were crucified with Christ. You died to your body of sin, you died to the power of your sin nature. This is a wild truth and it takes eyes of faith to understand what it means. It means that the moment you believed you were placed into Christ. When you read through the accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection you are reading a part of your own personal history.

Significance

What is the importance of this? You have been identified with Christ in his crucifixion and his burial and his resurrection, so what? You can remember it happening? You were there in the spiritual sense (which is the real sense) but as far as your day to day life what difference could this possibly make? Here is the point. Before you believed in Christ your body was capable of one thing: Sin. You may have done something that seemed nice, but the fact is that it was coming from a wrecked source. Imagine a stream that looks beautiful and clean, you might think that because it looks clean that you can take a drink, however if there were a poisonous snake that had died in the pool right above the stream a single drink would kill you. The stream looks clean but the water is poisonous. That is what our lives are like apart from Christ. Ever since the fall we are ruined creatures, unable of making anything good because we are separated from God, and God alone is good. However, in Christ we are able to be useful to God once again.

Separation and Unity

In The Bible the word “death” is used to mean separation from God and life is used to mean knowing, or being united to God (John 17:3). Before a person comes to Christ they are united to their sin nature. The picture of marriage is a great example. While a woman is married to one man she cannot also be married to another. In order for her to be married to the second person her first husband must die. While this is not a perfect illustration it gives us a picture of the situation that we were in. In order for us to be freed from that dark slave master of Sin who owned us we had to be freed by our own death. When a person puts his faith in Christ he is regarded by God as having died and we were freed from Sin. This means that believers are now able to walk in newness of life, and exist in joy and peace as we were made to be by God.

Application

Notice, there is nothing for you to do here. The application here isn’t to crucify yourself with Christ, or remember to crucify your desires each day. The real application here is found in the last verse: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11). The word “consider” has an element of the concept of belief. If you want power over sin and to know the power of the life of Christ in You the secret is believing and trusting in what He has done. Believing that you are freed from Sin and you never have to fulfill the awful demands of your Sin nature ever again by having faith in the work of Jesus is how God wants us to live. We were saved by believing that Jesus died on the Cross, paying the price for our sins, trusting Him for what we are unable to do: Pay the price for our own sinfulness. We continue our lives in the same way: Believing in Him and trusting Him to do what we are unable to do: live out our daily lives out for us, in us and through us as we trust in Him.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Every Trial, Every Trial, Every Trial


"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." James 1:2-3 (NASB)

The Passage
A couple of interesting little insights about this passage:
1) Consider - This word has two primary meanings. One is to lead, rule or dominate. The second is to consider, reckon, account or credit. Obviously the second is the meaning that is meant here. But the two are not totally unrelated are they? Both suggest a level of authority. This is one of those "impossible verses." We must be resting in Christ, but the fact that this is given to us as a command in scripture tells us that it is within the power of the believer who is resting in Christ to view his or her trials, difficulties, failures, annoyances and problems as joy.

2)All joy - Other teachers have brought this "all joy" as "perfect joy" or even "ultimate joy." Ultimate joys in our lives may be a wedding, the birth of a child, a graduation, the day we got a job we wanted, or got a raise because of how our performance was noticed. But none of these things are being discussed - trials are.

3)Trials of Many Kinds - Many here is the Greek word that we get the word polka dots from. Polka dots are a bunch of dots of various sizes. Big dots, little dots, medium dots and everything in between. Great stuff. These are the trials that James is talking about about here. The little trial when you stub your toe or your car doesn't start the first time, and the big trial when you lose a job, have a major health problem, or lose a loved one. All of those trials (shockingly) are reasons for pure joy.

Application
It would be a misapplication of this verse to say that you cannot be joyful and morn. You cannot be joyful and weep. That is confusing "joy" with happiness. True joy, God's joy, goes far deeper than circumstance and far deeper than emotion. It is rooted in neither of those things. So you are not violating the spirit of this verse when you mourn your loss at a funeral, when you are sad to lose a job you love, or when things don't go your way. What this is talking about is that we are never left to the complete darkness of it. When we step back from those emotions and the pain we are able to rejoice on the deeper level of knowing that we are being moved closer to our Lord, being cradled and held by our Savior, being watched over and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

Appropriation
Believe it or not I got a chance to see this one very much not in action tonight...by me! Our two kids are in the same room now. Cadence is on about a two week cycle of "I stay in bed and go to sleep when I'm put to bed" and then two weeks of "I get out of bed like my electric blanket is plugged into the toaster!" You can imagine this is frustrating. But Finn is also having trouble accepting the loving hand of Sleep when she comes to caress him with the sweet oblivion of careless infant rest. Thus, once he's down we get agitated by anything that may wake him...like a klutzy two year old plowing jumping off her bed and plowing across the room to swing the door open and run down the stairs for no reason whatsoever.
This all came to something of a head this evening when Cadence had been up 3 times and woke Finn on the 4th. Tempers were lost, punishments were given. I rocked Finn; April rocked Finn. Cadence got up again. Nobody slept. Tempers were lost. It is hard in retrospect not to see the humor in the situation. Two children, one of whom feels it is her personal mission to do ninja flips out of her bed each night and see if she can set a personal record for how many times she can be out of bed before absolute exhaustion takes her and causes her to drink her portion of calm and surrender to the demands of sleep. And another child of less than a year whom the God who created the universe also happened to install a secret button on the back of his head that causes his eyes to fly open whenever he is placed on his back to sleep. It is clear that the Lord and I will have a good laugh about this when I get to see Him face to face (sooner than later if the kids keep this up), yet my lack of perspective will not be the good part of the joke.
My prayer is to be able to hold the children, discipline as is necessary and glorifies the Lord, and dance through these trials that will only be remembered with fondness. I'm sure there will be a time when rocking my troubled children to sleep is far more complicated than simply holding them, swaying, and humming softly. I know I will wish for the time when hurts could be kissed away and hurt feelings can be mended by a nickel bag of gummy treats. But how can I hope to rest in Christ and consider those upcoming trials pure joy, if I can't consider these trials pure joy?