Category Archives: Faith

Lent Musings 25

Matthew 13:47-50
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This passage caught my interest because I think each of us reads it thinking that we ourselves and those who think, act, look like us are the righteous and everyone else is the wicked.
If we look at this passage in conjunction with the next one it gets even more interesting:

Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We quote the first part of this passage often but we kind of ignore the second part. We talk about judge not lest ye be judged but that statement changes when you add the part about you will be judged with the same measure you used, I don’t know about you, but that part makes me a little nervous because in my head, I can get pretty judgy and if I stop and think about it, I seriously pray that God will be a little easier on me than I am on myself and others.

By the same token, when the net is lifted, I pray that I am one of the righteous (NOT self righteous!) And even if all this talk about judgement and separating the fish makes me uncomfortable, I also remember that God is the most patient of fishermen. 2 Peter 3:9 says The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Here is one thing I believe is true. If Jesus had judged us the way we judge each other, we might be looking at different ending. But He saw beyond our pettiness, he saw behind the eye that was covered up by the log, deeper than the superficial part of the heart that made the cruel judgement of a brother or sister to the child of God that is hiding behind all that stuff and that child, precious ones, is who He died for. We have within all of us, the ability to be either the worst or the best and during these troubled times there will be many opportunities to choose to be kingdom children.

Father, I pray for the ability to see beyond the outside. I pray to see beyond the outer shell, to see your child inside. I pray to better show the grace that you have extended to me. I ask that you remind me that when I am certain I understand you – that is the very time you will surprise me. Help me to stay open to those surprises and the joy that comes from staying near to you.

Lent Musings 24

“I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” (Psalm 31:7-8)
Maybe Something here will bless someone – Some music that helped me today:
Communion by Steffany Gretzinger and Brandon Lake
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91hHw1YPqxE
Aint No Grave Bethel Music & Molly Skaggs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGncW_ueyHA
God So Loved by We the Kingdom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq5URsXbKXs
Be Thou My Vision by Ginny Owens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faBLAC6a_Fs
Find Me In The River by Delirious
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpoxId5KGQ0
New Jerusalem by Michael Card
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emsKFfg4u-Y
Hills and Valleys By Tauren Wells
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4rRCjrAyCs
Hillsong Broken Vessels
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiyYoe678yI
Twyla Paris I Choose Grace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLGuIgZ4_FI

Lent Musings 23

Lent Musings 23

This is just some thoughts. We have the first confirmed case of covid 19 in our county. If we have one confirmed case, that number is going to multiply rapidly. I say that because if there is a confirmed case they could have had the virus for up to 20 days without being symptomatic. During that time they may have gone to church, ate at a restaurant, all without realizing that they were contagious.

I am afraid. I know the bible says “Do not fear” a kajillion times. And I wish I was better at obeying that particular biblical mandate. But because of Jesus, I know that my inability is where His grace meets me.

I have faith that God can heal the sick. I also have faith in Him even if He doesn’t. I know that I would like things to go my way, but I don’t have the whole picture, just a few threads right in front of my face. Personally, I’m not fond of suffering. I am not fond of pain. But I know that if you are alive, there will be suffering.

That being said, I don’t believe in suffering needlessly so, lets be careful. I am sharing a link to a video from TedTalks by Global Health expert Alanna Shaikh which does not dramatize or politicize but does explain how this virus works and why it is different than other’s we have seen in a way that even I could understand. https://www.ted.com/…/alanna_shaikh_coronavirus_is_our_futu…

Be safe precious people.

Lent Musings 22

the wind is fierce and waves are high
the way is dark and can’t be known
we each hold tight in little boats
and pray that we can stay afloat
in stormy seas that tug and pound
till we are frightened by the sound
but there’s an anchor safe and sure
that we forgot in calmer seas
it’s useless sitting in the boat
and it will only slide on sand
but catch it on the solid rock
so in the fiercest blow it holds
and Jesus who has saved our souls
can calm the storm and and make us whole

Lent Musings 21

In Exodus 17 the Israelites were on walkabout in the wilderness and their GPS (God’s positioning system) kept sending them in circles, without benefit of winnebago or Buccees. They were grousing, expecting Moses, the leader of their little caravan to scare up some BBQ and sweet tea. Moses was frustrated with the whole mess and before you know it, he finds himself between a rock and a hard place. God tells him to strike that rock with his staff and lo and behold, water flowed.

Moses obeyed, God sent water. It wasn’t BBQ and sweet tea but it kept them alive. They couldn’t fill their shopping carts and pantries so they had to continue to trust that God would provide what they needed.

Maybe the larger lesson is that God is present whether we have full pantries or just a few cans of soup, whether we are sick, whether we are healthy.

God isn’t the means to what we need. He IS what we need. Until we figure that out, we will continue to wander – thirsty and muddled.

Lent Musings 20

Perfect love casts out fear
so because you said so
I will try not to fear
and when I fail
I will lean on the author of
my faith
the One who walked
the road to the cross
on that walk
He loved me
so I will try to love as He loved
even if that love means
staying away from others
because He loved you too

Lent Musings 19

This morning
since church was canceled
due to virus concerns
I watched churches streaming online
my pastor posted the text of his message
and I read it
I “went to church”
more than I would have
if I had
well..went to church
maybe that is the answer
to a question
we don’t even know to ask
how to get through
this peculiar and unsettling time
read your bible
check on each other
talk to each other
pray for each other
because no matter the media
no matter the worry
drawing closer to God
and to each other
(though not in large groups please!)
is good.

Lent Musings 18

The Lectionary Readings for this week are

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95 (UMH 814)
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

Jesus was tired and thirsty, resting in the shade of the well
When she sashayed up to fill her jar
with no inkling that her life was about to turn upside down
Life was hard, but she managed.
She was still pretty and as long as her looks held
She would have a man to take care of her
There wasn’t supposed to be anyone here at noon
All the safely married ladies came for water
Before the heat became exhausting
Now here is this man and he is talking crazy
water that makes you never be thirsty again…
He tells her things about her life
That no stranger should know and sees past
who she has become to survive straight to the
heart that needs salvation
she sees who He is and through Him
she sees herself and something hard inside of her
dissolves and she can’t help but run back to town
and tell everyone to come see Who she has found
There was something different about her
a ring of truth
so they had their own come to Jesus experience
and they too came to the well of salvation
where the Giver of Life poured into them
living water and they were forever changed.

Lent Musings 17

Just a prayer for this unsettling day

Father, help us to show grace
as we have received grace from you
in abundance, unmerited
remind us that Peter stepped out of the boat
in faith, and in his moment of doubt
began to sink, but still Jesus lifted him
out of the deep
remind us that in the wilderness
the hungry Israelites were given
sufficient for each day
God provided
show us how to be
not to hoard
but to share as needed
not to blame
but to lift up and comfort
not to hide out of fear
but to care for those in need
not to shame ourselves
but to bring glory to you

Lent Musings 16

I am afraid fifteen didn’t amount to much. I have shingles and day before yesterday was the worst (I hope). If you have never had shingles and you are old enough to take the vaccination, I encourage you to do so. This stuff is painful.

So much is broken these days
Elijah lived in a broken time
He fled to the wilderness
and angels found him
They had a message from God
Elijah, you need a nap
the way is too long
They had another message
You need to eat, Elijah.
Elijah was in need of a sabbath
Maybe in broken times
we all need a sabbath
instead of buying up
toilet paper and
hand sanitizer
maybe we need to take a break
eat a little chocolate
have a nap
Practice a little self quarantine
It’s worth mentioning that after the nap
and a good meal
Elijah got up and took a trip
to a mountain where he would meet
God in a surprising way.
He thought God would arrive
with parades and trumpets
storms and drama
turns out the creator of the universe
doesn’t need fancy hats like a royal wedding
Just a quiet whisper
Elijah was so gobsmacked he hardly noticed
that nap time was over
and God gave him
his next assignment
something to keep in mind
After this mess, there will be work
for all of us.

Lent Musings 14

In the book of Mark
there is a story about a man
named Jairus
whose little daughter was sick
before he got to the house
people came to tell Jairus that
she was dead
Jesus went in the house
and people ridiculed Him
the bible says after He had
put them out
He took the child
by the hand
and she got up
sometimes some things
have to be put out
before you can get up

Lent Musings 13

It rained today
and brought a memory
a conversation with a friend
the bible says God sends rain on the just
and the unjust
I always saw it as
rain being a punishment
forgetting biblical geography
I try to remember
that perspective
affects my theology

Lent Musings 12

what it must have been like
when You lit the sun
with a word
just moments
before light breaks
a lone bird
is perched on the back porch
chirping the sun up
he worked so hard that
when it finally broke through
he hushed in awe
and I said a prayer
of thanks

Lent Musings 11

I smelled spring today
working in the yard
and I wondered
how You could have put
so much thought into creation
that the changing seasons
have their own smell
the light is different
the birds know
and plants start to poke up
tiny new shoots
a promise of new life
Your fingerprints are
everywhere

Lent Musings 10

You have a starmaker
living in your heart
the creator of the Pleiades and Orion
speaks to you, speaks FOR you!
cares about you, died on the cross
so that you could come home

you have music
living in your heart
the creator of songbirds
sings to you in wind
that whistles in trees
where those songbirds
make their nests

maker of stars,
singer of songs
make your home
in me
let my life
be your song

Lent Musings 9

your feet walked
in pastures I long to see
your breath gave
the gift of life to me

my sin grew
and darkness hid your face
still I hear your voice
a song of love and grace

a hungry lost child
I stumble through my days
help me find the path
please teach me your ways

interrupt our thoughts
wake us from this sleep
call us from this shallow faith
baptized in waters deep

to love how you would love
to see how you can see
not who we are left on our own
made new in you and free

complete what you began in us
we sing your praise like living stones
you breathe on us and change our hearts
you bring life to these dry bones

until your kingdom saturates
this ground of weeds and thorn
let us be salt, let us be light
til resurrection morn

Lent Musings 8

it’s crazy
at a deep level
we have a need to journey
back to you
we arrive so very vulnerable
and spend our lives trying to be
not that
we stack up the blocks
decide what rules
will make us feel safest
and crawl into our forts
strong, independent, adults
we say we need you
but the walls are thick,
the rules are comforting
and yet
you have ways to get
to us
if we pay attention