How He Came.

Through the labor cry of a teenage girl, this is how He came. Tiny babe, red fingers curled, this is how He came. In stillness of a lonely night, this is how He came. Under only candlelight, this i…

Source: How He Came.

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How He Came.

baby-jesus-sleepingThrough the labor cry of a teenage girl, this is how He came.
Tiny babe, red fingers curled, this is how He came.

In stillness of a lonely night, this is how He came.
Under only candlelight, this is how He came.

No throne, no royal story, this is how He came.
No nursemaid, no earthly glory, this is how He came.

Angelic choir, shepherds’ joy, this is how He came.
God Creator, fragile boy, this is how He came.

How He came!
How He came!
Let the whole earth see how He came!

History changer, heart transformer, this is how He came.
Dismissing wealthy and political charmers, this is how He came.

Kings question his royalty, this is how He came?
Pharisees question His deity, this is how He came?

Wise men sought the Story, this IS how He came!
Faithful men see Him in glory, this is how He came.

Knight without armor, His word a sword, this is how He came.
Humble status but still The LORD, this is how He came.

How He came!
How He came!
Let the whole earth see how He came!

Today

I thought I could come back to Facebook today …

I have gay friends whom I love.
I have family who voted for Trump.
I have family who voted for Hillary.
I have pro-life friends and pro-choice friends.
I have atheist family and Christian family.
I have Muslim and Buddhist friends.
I have Hispanic loved ones, some who are undocumented members of this society with American children.
I have friends of all colors and some who dye their hair green.
I have military men and women in my family.
I have pacifists in my family.

Today. Today I feel torn in half.

I feel and see pain everywhere.
I read words that should never be written.
I see sights that I’ll hide from my children.
I hear good people saying hate-filled things.
in their rage,
in their mourning,
in their triumph,
in their pride.

Today. Today feels like my parents are divorcing and I must choose sides.

And I won’t. Because I love you all.

At any given moment some of you would hate me, it would seem, because of my associations. Hate me for not choosing a side. Hate me because I’m a believer. Hate me for having certain friends. Hate me for not picking a team.

And I won’t. Because I love you all.

As always, the only side I stand on is love. The only theme of my life that I want to wear is love. The only association, the only fraternity, the only pledge, the only offering I have is to love. Love you all.

Today if you are emboldened to hate. You have already lost the battle.

Today if you are paralyzed by fear and hopelessness, you are turning your back on the great provider and His plan.

Today if you are sad, I understand.
Today if you are rejoicing, I get it.

Please don’t forget. Your actions today, your words today, impact tomorrow. And there will be a tomorrow.

Don’t let today wound tomorrow.

Let love be in your words even in your pain. Let love be in your actions… always.

Let your love today start the process of healing.

Pouring Out My Heart to you, God.

rain-and-fruitHas your bible ever fallen open to just the right words speaking just the right truth… at just the right moment? Thank you, Spirit. Thank you for your comfort and guidance.

When I started meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit a few weeks ago, I never realized the places it would take me. I confess, my earliest thoughts on the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 was that of spiritual warm fuzzies. However, when you take a look at the context of the verse and where it lies in Paul’s letter, you find that the Fruit of the Spirit are the other option in life. Spiritual Fruits are produced only when you nail the desires of your sinful nature to the cross, when you actively choose to walk away from your natural inclinations to sin. Paul paints the picture that one can indeed nail that old life of sin to the cross. We can choose to walk away and start producing something beautiful with our lives (See Gal. 5: 16-25).

But those fruits don’t always grow easily. It takes work and effort to maintain them. They are very action oriented, not passive. You can’t buy these fruits in the grocery store, you must till the soil and grow them yourself. Unlike the sinful desires, there is no law against working toward the love of others, joyfully facing the pain of life, fighting for peace in the middle of a storm, being patient while screaming inside, showing kindness when you don’t really want to, saying no and being good, remaining faithful, being the only gentle soul in the room, and exhibiting self control when you really want to punch someone in the jaw when they clearly deserve it. Don’t ever believe for one second that Christianity is the easy road. Sometimes people deserve a swift kick in the pants, and the advice from our Savior is to turn and walk. I am glad though, because most of the time it’s me who deserves the kick.

I realize it is not a popular teaching today to expect change out of people. We seem to be very uncomfortable requiring anything of ourselves and others. We are so grateful for grace, that we revel in it neglecting to mention our response to that grace. Grace is the gift. Obedience is the thank you.

I’m mourning the loss of transformation in our lives. I’m mourning that loss in our communities, our churches, our countries. We’ve made an idol out of keeping peace, avoiding hurt feelings, and never offending. We’ve made an idol out of our comforts. We’ve made an idol of the easy road. Well, friends, if you don’t want to be offended, I recommend never picking up a bible again. Because it is all there…our sin, our yuck, laid bare for all to see are our wrongs. And yet, He came. The most offensive part of all, you see, is that HE, the perfect, came and was stripped bare for our mess, our continuing mess. And lately I fear, our response to that sacrifice is to play in the manure and celebrate grace rather than to pick up, wash up, and change for Christ’s sake because of grace.

Tonight I opened my bible and Lamentations caught my eye. “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour our your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children for in every street they are faint with hunger.” Lamentations 2:19

I plead for our children. For they need to see our goodness. They need to see our kindness. They need to witness our transformation. They need to see that we, the church, are more than simply gay hating, missionary skimping, political ranting, in-fighting, crazies. They must see our fruits in order to see Jesus. God help us. Christ left us here to spread the gospel. What message is our life spreading? What message is my life spreading? Is it one of joy, peace, self-control?

Tomorrow, I’ll attempt to write on faithfulness. Though tonight I’m cynical and sad, and I wonder who I am faithful to, and if I’m faithful at all. I love you, God. Being Faithful to my loving Father is not difficult. I love you, my Savior. Being faithful to you is humbling. Your bride, though, Lord. She disappoints. Your bride is often lacking, and I’m part of the problem.

The Woman in the Mirror

mirrorA middle-aged woman stood in front of her mirror one evening before bed. She was saddened by her reflection and thought back to her younger days. Suddenly, in the mirror she could see her Lord standing behind her, yet when she turned around she could not see him. They began to talk. Looking at her reflection she sighed and said,

“I’m getting wrinkles, Lord.”
He replied, “You are growing in wisdom.

“I’m so tired.”
In me you will find rest.

“I’m not as pretty as I once was.”
To me, you are my perfect work of art. You are special and one of a kind.

“I’ve gained weight.”
I’ve always provided.”

“I lost my job today.”
I won’t stop providing.

“People confuse me, and I’ve lost a lot of friendships over the years.”
I’ll never leave you. My commitment is unending.

“I’m not sure my children even love me.”
I’m not sure my children love me either. I love you.

“I’m scared sometimes when I’m alone.”
You are never alone. I’m here.”

“You are good, Lord.”
Thanks, for saying so.

With that, the woman smiled at her reflection, took a deep breath, and went to bed.

-CB

Focused Fruit Prayer

fruitGracious Father, we want everyone to join you above;
Help us demonstrate to all your enduring love.
In good times and bad, whatever life employs,
Ignite us to light this dark world with constant joy.
Lord, give us the courage to be your mouthpiece.
Let us wage wars with love and aim only for peace.
Seeing each person as your precious creation,
We strive to respond to all with long-suffering and patience.
Sadly, we often suffer from selective blindness.
Guide us to those who desperately need our kindness.
The world examines us searching for contented fullness.
Let our lives and homes be solely adorned with goodness.
Even on days when our sins must be confessed,
Grant us perseverance to live a life of faithfulness.
The world be it broken and its people tremulous.
Allow us to reach them with truth and gentleness.
And finally, Lord, because we owe you our souls,
We willingly sacrifice ourselves and instead be self-controlled.

in Jesus name,

Amen.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. –Galatians 5:22-23

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/darren-williams/3668135143

 

 

Monsters Up your Nose and Mine

A dark restless evil lurks
waiting to destroy.
It will obliterate and maim
every good girl and boy.
It attacks so gently
like pink flowers at spring.
Yet wields a weapon so great
twill make your ears ring.
You plead for mercy.
You put up a good fight.
You cling to your tissues,
and beg for your life.
But the tiny little monster
has you drowning in snot.
And you can’t breathe.
You can’t see,
you simply cannot.
Your nose runs red;
Your ears full of cotton.
Your lashes mat together.
All joy is forgotten.
Just when you’re sure
you’re done for and dead.
The vicious fiend comes back
to take your entire head.
“Pollen, you kill-joy,
you evil foul beast!
You can’t have my last breath,
I’m not done in the least!
I’ll fight you with Mucinex
and Flonase and such.
You can’t win this Rx battle
when I take THIS much!”
Finally, though it feels like
I’m drunk under water.
At last I can breathe
and see the effects of the slaughter.
“Pollen, you menace,
you nearly took me out!
But I triumphed in the end
with an antihistamine stout.”
Then slithering off
like a rascal, a coward.
Pollen turned back, waved,
and simply glowered.
“I’ll see you again,”
it said with a snicker.
“We’ve got a date
the season after next winter.”