Choose Life

Pro-life and pro-choice camps, they seem mutually exclusive, except if you listen carefully they can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time.

Pro-life means ‘for life.’ Pro-choice means ‘for choice.’
I know pro-choice people that would rather call pro-life people anti-abortionists, and pro-lifers would say the opposition are pro-death.

Oh what’s in a name? Everything.

I am pro-life; most of my friends are pro-life. I am thankful my mother made a split second decision not to abort me. If only I knew that before I made my own decision. And many of my friends have chosen to adopt and foster those children that could have been aborted. Those same people also feed the poor, accept refugees and believe in education for all. I see that as pro-life.

But if “pro” life means “for” life, why are some pro-lifers out there complaining about wearing masks and closing businesses during COVID season? What I hear is “It steps on my rights.” What they mean is “My choice – my body.” Why are they ok with using violence (whether physically or rhetorically) to install a supposed Pro-Life candidate? See 1Jn 3:15, Mt 5:21-22; 43-45, James 3:9 .

The pro-choice camp it’s famous for saying “My choice – My body.” Yet most of my pro-choice friends are sacrificing their own comfort by wearing masks to help protect those around them as well as themselves. (Yes, I have many pro-choice friends who are Believers.)

As Christians we are called to Life. That should mean womb to tomb. Your rights and comfort don’t matter when you’re trying to save a life. I am thankful Jesus gave up His rights for me. See Phil 2:1-8

Instead of complaining that particular communities are fatherless. Be a father to the fatherless, feed the poor, clothe the naked, free the captives, welcome the stranger, help them on their way, wear a mask/follow COVID guidelines. Who cares what it costs you? This is a trust in ‘God’s Love’ issue. See Deu 10:18 & 27:19, Is 58:6-9, Ja 1:27.

If “Choose Life” were our guiding principle, all lives would be treated as precious, babies in the womb to the elderly, to every race and religious affiliation, to male or female or ?, to the foreigner who wishes to take part of our economy. Why are we still fighting flesh and blood? Remember who the real enemy is.

LOVE conquers a multitude…

You represent his Name for the sake of others, that they would see their Father in heaven loves them to Life. And THEN your Light will shine. See Is 58:9b-10.

Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the Lord ’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭17:8. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
‬ ‭

Nothing like the smell of compost in the morning

The gardener at the Miksh house in Salem keeps a compost pile. He also grows the most beautiful assortment of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. In fact, that garden is gorgeous.

I love taking the young students to see the gardens. The gardener enthusiastically shares his knowledge with the children. I also love to show the kiddos the compost pile.

Why? Because it’s cool to show them that there is a safe and natural way to fertilize the soil. Plus, kids love poop. In their world it’s a conversation stimulant.

If I were to dig through that pile – and I won’t- I’m guessing I would find the mess of dead things, past dinners, scraps and scattered feline deposits all stacked on top of each other. Garbage, really – but when all the messy past is piled up and sprinkled with Time it becomes the best fertilizer. And those gardens could not hold such beauty and nourishment if it weren’t for the dead and messy scraps of the past.

Fertile, the root word of fertilizer, duh, means to make fruitful. And boy is that garden full of fruit.

So the next time I lament over the ugly, messy, dead things in my past, I’ll think about compost. Without those leftovers, I would not be fruitful person I am today. All of that garbage actually prepped my heart for growth. Yup, it stunk to high heaven when I was wading through it, but Time and Holy Spirit changed the composition to fertilizer. He makes ALL things work together for good. Now the scent of life takes its place.

… God said unto them, BE FRUITFUL, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:27-31 KJV)

20140601-093056-34256634.jpg

The Gallery

I am a Canvas unfinished
Layers painted over with vibrant hues, tints and shades
Unfinished, yet hung in the Gallery

The Gallery opens tonight
This Gallery called the “Church”
Piece after Piece line the Gallery walls
Some finished, some works in progress
All unique in theme, texture and palette

Heavenly thrones empty
Unseen guests peruse each Piece
Dignitaries and Despots
Amazed and shocked as they read the Canvas stories

All Fall to their knees

For Trembling Powerless Despots
It is the dreaded writing on the wall
For Applauding Joyful Dignitaries
It is the fulfillment of their long awaited eager expectations

Nevertheless all react, all fall

The Mysterious Plan that the Creator kept secret
Now revealed in this Gallery of Art
Christ in us, the hope of glory

And I too, yet unfinished, am on display before the whole earth, as His masterpiece.

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:10, 11 NLT)

20140520-182758-66478664.jpg

What If…

20140515-102836.jpg
What if heart-pounding, breathless, tension life meant something?

What if tragic funeral lines, week after week sorrows, tears steaming meant something?

What if bleary-eyed, exhaustion, numb laying on the couch (I had no idea the ceiling had so many cracks) meant something?

A message in a bottle, screwed down tight, sealed with lead…

What…does…it…mean?

Through the glassy haze, in focus, no- out of focus, blurry I make out letters, words maybe, but cannot comprehend. I wrestle with the top, violently shake the bottle, yet it will not reveal its secrets.

Who is worthy to open this bottle and release this message!?

What if I am discovering myself and learning to get over myself?

Holy Spirit gently comes, place His hand over mine and pops the top off, no effort required. It flutters into my hand… RESTLESS.

…The culmination of “what ifs,”. I am restless because I was made for more. More relationship with my savior, more fulfillment of dreams, more power, more purpose… More, more, more than I can do by myself.

Therefore, work out your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).
Not in your own strength, for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:12, 13 AMP)

There is a map on the back of the message, the X is floating… I think I’m going on an adventure… Stay tuned…

Glory in My Weakness

Image

Being honest today… I have struggled with mental instability for a season.  Because of this, I often feel stuck in a volcanic flow of raging thoughts, precariously balanced on the one stone floating in the sea of fire.  Ministry to anyone and everyone requires me to leap over the flow and onto the next stone just ahead.  So, I leap, over and over.  Tired and ashamed of this contest, I often just want to give myself over to the flames that lick at my heels and end this game.

Yet  I don’t.  Today, while reading about Gideon, I realized that he too felt inadequate, having been defined by his family and community.  When the Lord asked him to take a leap of faith, he chose to hide, let the end come as it may.  But his very weakness, his own fears caused him to inquire of God.  Some may say his fleeces are a sin, but I see a man honest with himself and God.  Working only with the strength he had within him, which was quite small and faithless, he started his journey with an inquiry.  If questioning God is a sin, why didn’t God punish him?  Instead this Powerful Lord jumped through all of Gideon’s hoops in order to gain his trust, earn his faith.

Now it was Gideon’s turn to jump through some hoops.  With little to work with, 300 men against 10s of thousands, Judges 6:14 says, 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
The strength Gideon had, the strength I have, seems small, yet we start there.  So I leap over the swirling lava to the stone floating nearby, sense the searing heat as I pass over to land safely at my next assignment (which is mostly just life, no saving Midianites, just making a ministry out of dinner.)

It is in this leap of faith that the Lord then says in verse 34, 34” But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon WITH HIMSELF and took possession of him, and Gideon blew a trumpet, and the clan … was gathered to him.”  Only when I cross over my mental instability does God take over and do the ministry I could not just a minute ago.

Something Paul said comes to mind:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me:

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.  (The Message)

And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.  I used to have my own strength to carry me through;  I did not feel the need to drop to my knees for God’s help and favor.    Now, in this season, swirling thoughts of inadequacy, failures, unworthiness come, BUT I still trust God, I glory in my weakness because my moving forward in it is a sign of faith that His strength will be there.  I still walk in Faith, maybe more so because of the volcanic storm that weakens me.

No longer will shame be the mark of my weakness, but rather I glory in my weakness so Christ’s strength and power can take over!