Monthly Archives: August 2007

Am I Scandalized or Humbled When My Expectations Are Off?

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Wednesday the 29th was the feast day for the beheading of John the Baptist. I wrote about the Baptist on that same day in my blog. (Until tonight I had never heard of such a feast).

Soulgardner wrote about John on the same day because of the feast day and talked about the same Luke passage I did.

Soulgardner wrote some great points. I will leave you with a bit of what was written. Go here for the whole post.

Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”” (Luke 7:23, NIV)

The Greek word for ‘fall away’ is skandalizo where we get our word scandalized from. Happy are those who are not scandalized when Jesus doesn’t act according to our expectations.

John had the expectation that the REAL Messiah would not have left him lanquising in prison. After all, he had been doing Kingdom work! Why was he suffering for doing right?

I have certain expectations about Jesus too. At times I find they counter who Jesus really is. So at these times I have to answer the same question Soulgardener raised.

 The question is whether John would accept Jesus as His Messiah even though his expectancies towards Jesus were totally smashed? Would you? Would I?

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Living Life With Too Much Caution Tape

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I’ve been thinking about caution and doodah’s dance moves and what makes me cautious.

Basically, I think I’m too cautious.

  • Maybe it’s that first born thing.
  • Maybe it’s because I am sooo clumsy and if I wasn’t cautious I’d be dead or seriously maimed in other places than my behind.
  • Maybe it’s my nature.

But I’ve been thinking. What would happen if I removed those caution tapes that border me into a lovely, but confined and safe area?

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  • I probably won’t run into the street into oncoming traffic. But I might ride a bike between Santa Cruz and San Francisco sharing that little lane with meniacal cars.
  • I probably won’t let each and every man I see lead me into sin. But I might take a dance class and let him lead. Or at least try to let him lead.  🙂
  • I probably won’t eat and eat and eat and eat. But I might be uncomfortable (at times)until I learn to freely accept my body’s yearnings as ok.
  • I probably will never be able to make my living as an artist. But I can beautify my life by living as an artist.

I will give this idea of “living life with too much caution tape” some more thought. I’ll let you know when I come up with my list.

Where does your caution tape needlessly keep you confined?

Where would you like to throw caution to the wind?

Thursday Challenge – Yellow

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If you know where to stop and stop there, you will never be disgraced.  Chinese proverb

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This is my first ever submitted photo. I think sista and Theresa are rubbing off on me.

Go here to see more entries in today’s Thursday Challenge.

Here are my 9 favorite photos – in no particular order. #10 is my first choice pick.

  1. Onion Taster – a surprising combination.
  2. Field of Sunshine – I’d love to be having a picnic on this hill.
  3. Sunflower head – Some closeups of heads are awesome. This is one of them.
  4. Biplane – This would be cool to ride in. Makes me think of Lynette and her plane stories.
  5. Hibiscus – Hawaii here I come – at least in my mind and nostrils. Can’t you just smell that fragrance?
  6. Incense – Photos from other cultures always make me think – especially ones that suggest a story. This one is very suggestive.
  7. Black-eyed Susans – Gotta love this one. It’s my namesake!
  8. Great Wall in Hong Kong – What a wall of yellow! Makes me wonder what story is inside each one of these lockers.
  9. Rest Area Hydrant – this made me laugh to see a hydrant here.
  10. Babies – sooooo cute.

How To Deal With Evil, Part 2

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In the book Facing Messy Stuff in the Church by Kenneth Swetland, the author writes how a pastor found a way to deal with his questions.

At one of his low moments, [Pastor] Drew was reading from the gospel of Luke. When he came to Luke 7:20, where John the Baptist sends word from prison asking Jesus, “Are you the One who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Drew admitted that he’d been asking God a similar question:

  • Are You the One?
  • Are You really with us in every circumstance?
  • Can we really trust You?  

 The answer was in Jesus’ reply to John’s question:

  • Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard:
  • The blind receive sight,
  • the lame walk,
  • those who have leprosy are cured,
  • the deaf hear,
  • the dead are raised,
  • and the good news is preached to the poor.
  • Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me. (Luke 7:22-23)

 God used this passage to put things in perspective for Drew. He emerged from his doubts with a firm but humble conviction that God would never abandon His people no matter how bleak things seem. His theology of the sovereignty of God was renewed, and this gave a peace that was beyond description. As the same time, however, he was aware of, as never before, the reality of evil. (pp 189-190)

God is sovereign. Sovereignty of God [means] His absolute right to do all things according to His own good pleasure (Dan. 4:25, 35; Rom. 9:15-23; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 4:11). “sovereignty.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. 28 Aug. 2007.

Recognizing and accepting the sovereignty of God as described in Disappointment with God and the book of Job helped me with similar questions. I still have hurdles and hurts when coming in contact with evil. I still get angry and confused and question God. At times I am truly dismayed at what God has allowed. 

Sometimes I feel this way for awhile.

But I have a plan. My plan is to accept and depend on the truth that God has a plan.

What have you found to be helpful?

How To Deal With Evil, Part 1

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How can you prevent tragedy (whether manmade, natural or demon led) from forever shipwecking your faith?

It takes more than the simple declarative sentence:

  • My feelings will not dictate my thoughtfully chosen actions.
  • God has a reason for letting this happen, so suck it up.
  • Good will come out of this situation-wait for it.
  • Faith is enough to counteract my feelings of despair.
  • Put your myth here.

Focus on the Who rather than the what.

The Who is God. And while focusing on God won’t (necessarily)give me any answers, it does give me peace and confidence that He has answers and IS working out a plan I cannot understand now.

A book that helped me was Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey. I wrote the following in this post about this topic.

“I don’t really know why this book touched me in a way other things hadn’t. I don’t remember getting any answers about why God doesn’t always use His power to protect innocent children.”

“I didn’t experience anything dramatic…see any burning bushes…converse with an angel…feel the touch of God’s finger.”

“But I do remember seeing more clearly, than I had in a long time, just who God is.”

And that was a sufficient answer, finally after all those tears and years of searching for peace.

How have you prevented tragedy from forever shipwecking your faith?

Mother Teresa’s Faith Crisis: Similar to Mine?

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“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.” Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979

Letters Mother Teresa wrote to her spiritual counselors and confessors are the basis of a posthumous autobiography: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.

It reveals that she had a “Dry, dark and lonely spiritual” life that lasted nearly 50 years.

This doesn’t surprise me. “There are two things, it has often been said, that human beings cannot gaze at directly without going mad-the glory of God and the darkness of human evil” (Os Guinness). I’m not saying that the good Mother was mad.

But I do see how constantly caring for Calcutta’s overwhelming and never-ending supply of poverty- and disease-stricken human beings could lead to deep doubts.

What happens when I’m exposed to evil? Like . . .

  • Divorce after almost 20 years of marriage and a settlement that devalued and negated who I was as a partner and parent.
  • Devastating end to my mother’s life where there was no dignity and even less pain-control given by the medical establishment despite our efforts.
  • Friends having repeated miscarriages when some get easily pregnant and just as easily abort the baby.
  • Senseless deaths of toddlers whether accidental or purposeful.
  • Senseless murders that the WTC tragedy exemplifies.
  • Rape, molestation, abuse of any kind inflicted on children.
  • Your personal list could rival these I’m sure.

These events and others like them have caused me to doubt God and His intent in my life and in the world. You too?

Usually I don’t experience such an event multiple times a day or even only once a day. But Mother Theresa did. I don’t think it made a theological or spiritual difference that she willingly placed herself into this ever-swelling midst of evil and suffering.

But even with this sister’s crisis of faith, it did not keep her from the work God gave her to do. I look to Mother Teresa as a hero. . . as one whose love-in-action carried on despite the mountain of personal pain, doubt, and soul-weariness.

I pray that is my response as well. I don’t want my feelings to dictate my actions. There are things I will never know or understand. Evil is one of them.

But I do know that God is good. That He is powerful. That He loves me. And that it is okay to question.