I walk humbly

Christ our Passover.....

No matter what we feel about things that happen down here, the best way to receive justice for ourselves,

in fact the only way……….is to get to know Justice Himself.

A true balm for the soul on days where you feel that your particular brand of justice has not been done.

Today, no matter what you feel about “the verdict” right or wrong, know that in His hands

is the only true justice there will ever be.

As long as justice is balanced in the imperfect hands of humanity

As long as politics…….race……other things are stirred up into the mix until we can no longer see the light of day.

Justice will never be done.

That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for it.

But we need to remember the true fight has already been won.

By One hanging on a cross.

It’s Him we remember this day.

When He said, “It is finished.”

He meant it.

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.  The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!  The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man;  from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,  he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. Psalm 5-15

Prayer for a missing child

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AMBER Alert (missing child) for Arizona
Currently active
Posted 5 minutes ago
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Javidson Mosley (21 months-old)

Last seen Jul 11, 2013 in Tempe, AZ

Vehicle:
1994 Lexus, Maroon, 4 door
Arizona license plate #BCD4654

It came in last night just before we got off work and I was thinking of that again as I left the house this morning. I have said before, I can’t imagine anything worse than knowing your child was out there somewhere in danger. I don’t know how you would focus, act normal, go to work, do anything of any value while they were still out there.

And yet, people go through this reality everyday. They have to get up, go through the motions and in cases where they have more children, they have to look after them, do for them. All the while, thinking of that missing one.

As I left the house I patted Briggs who was sitting on his cat condo, very content after his morning meal. I am always careful about leaving in the dark. They never dart out, but just the same I like to know where they are before I go out that door. I think about the good feeling that gives me, that they are fed, safe, cared for.

Magnify that a gazillion times for kids. And yet, I see them every day in the store, Mom or Dad two aisles over maybe not even wondering where they are. I know, it happens. You get distracted by the others. But it only takes about 30 seconds and the wrong person at the right time.

I wish these parents knew the treasure they had. Little eternal souls they are responsible for. I see parents pick their kids up by jerking them up by the arm and it makes me crazy. Hold them.

Every kid deserves to have loving arms wrapped around them.

I feel for parents today. It’s not an easy world to raise kids in. The world has changed since I was growing up in the sixties. You can argue with me if you want, but I know. I was there. We rode our bikes and walked all over town. My brother and I rode our bikes to school or walked from the time we were in first grade. Other adults looked out for us when our parents weren’t there.

Teachers, principals, crossing guards, and bus drivers were allowed to give hugs. Not any more.

Rules layed down because of sick and twisted people. The new law of our land is fear, not freedom and it makes me sad.

But one thing I know to be true. God knows where that missing child is even if you don’t. Your prayers can reach them and I know another thing. God is always near to the broken-hearted. He will never turn away from a cry for help.

I know, bad things happen everyday. And everyday for the 10 happy endings, there are 20 unhappy ones.

And God is crying too. And there is no sorrow too big for Him to soothe. He lost a boy too once. He knows.

The Bible says that this world will get worse before it gets better. But don’t believe me, look around for yourself. But that doesn’t mean we have to be helpless. That doesn’t mean the fear has to win. Sometimes there comes a time we have to stand together to beat it back.

Darkness always shrinks back from the Light. That’s a law that God put in place and it rules the universe.

That is one thing that will never change.

Lord, I pray today for those whose children are missing. I pray for little Javidson Moseley and whomever is left behind, searching frantically. I pray for all the officers involved, and for a happy resolution. I pray for the grieving and paralyzed heart, the one who is feeling so much pain right now that it hurts to put one foot in front of the other. I pray for anger and thoughts of revenge to be held back and for clear thoughts. Hold them in Your hands today Lord, give them comfort today. Amen.

Photo credit: flickr.com some rights reserved

Walt Stoneburner

When “picking up your cross” consists of just getting up again.

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I squeezed my eyes shut against the morning. I would have given anything if I could have stayed there all day. The cats, almost sensing this,  both came up and settled close. One on my pillow, one tucked into my side, chin resting on my arm. I heard stereo purrs. I groaned, got up and pushed the coffee button and burrowed back under the covers until it was ready.

Tears flowed freely again as I poured a cup. I turned the party lights on because I believe that despite how I feel, there is always something to celebrate. Then I cried about that.

I know what this is. It’s a returning occurance and that comforted me only a little as I furiously punched the down arrow that regulated the air conditioner. It was only 77 in the house. It wasn’t hot it was me. It’s too painful to actually write the whole word down so I will do a partial word, like the Hebrews do when they write G-d. Hereafter it will be referred to as M-n-pa-se. Or one I like better, a Harry Potterish term, “She who must not be named.” You see, I am much too young for this.

I sat in the soft glow of those lights and for some reason I thought of Jesus words when He grabbed Peter up, sputtering and clinging out of the water that he had only moments before been walking on. “Why did you doubt?” I feel like he must have said it softly, sadly. Not accusatory.

It all started going downhill yesterday when I couldn’t remember the code to the RV gate. My brain locked up. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to remember it on my own. It never came.

Then  last night I froze at the keyboard trying to order a print from Costco. Then I started crying because of the picture of Sydney……and he……is…..getting……old and he will die and I don’t know how I will deal with that sweet cat dying. I scared Elaine.

And this morning I sat there in the glow of the lights descrambling my brain……what was that code? I ran through the numbers, 2030, 20103, 23103……Then thankfully, finally the right number dropped into the empty space. Thank you God, maybe I am not going insane after all.

I read the study that was just done, that they have proven that M-n-pa-se brain fog is real. I could have told them that.

And right then I realized I was dealing with pure and simple fear. If I can’t remember things, how can I be depended on? And if I can’t be depended on, what value am I? Then I thought of the other verse, that one that never fails to comfort me.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Sometimes, picking up your cross consists of getting up and doing it all over again no matter how you feel.

I really don’t want to be insane. And giving up is not an option. When people are counting on you, the way you honor them is by getting up again; by placing your hope in the One who has brought you through time after time. And while most of us could think of plenty of reasons why going back to bed seems like the best option, most of the time we don’t.

As the door slides open and I scan my badge going in to work the thought comes:  “If they knew the state of my mind right now they would never trust me to do this job.”

But I believe if God gives you a task, He will give you what you need to complete it. And this morning I am thankful despite how I feel, because I have a support system and some have nobody. And when I stop to think about it? All this speculation and rumination about how I feel is a luxury in itself.

Some people just want enough food and water, a chance for their children to  live another day. Maybe helping some of them is the best way we can help ourselves.

 A couple ways you can help:

Help One Now

World Vision

How we carry the church wherever we go

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The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
    they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
    the Lord at their head.” Micah 2:13

I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to buy yet another book that chronicled the failings of the American church. Maybe I am tired of being scolded. On my shelf I have Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Confronting Casual Christianity by Charles Stanley, Radical by David Platt, Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns, and Classic Christianity by Bob George. The ones I read had some very good points which I couldn’t argue with. Sometimes the truth hurts.

I recently picked up Follow Me, another by David Platt. I have yet to crack the cover, but I am going to do so this week.

There is a reason these books resonate, have rocketed to the best seller charts. In every generation, God brings voices out of the wilderness. To challenge. To wake up. To engage. I have been reading Amos and Micah and I have been moved with their words, their anguish for a lost people. We need people to help us find our way back. There is a reason African missionaries are training to come over here.

Whom God loves, he chastens. God loves His church because He loves us.

The church is not a building. The church is living and breathing in you and me and everywhere we go we carry it with us. Yesterday we went to downtown Phoenix and on the way, on the lightrail, we went through areas where the poorest of the poor live. I pointed out the window and told Elaine, “That’s where the church should be, that’s where Jesus would be if he were here.”

Outside the window there was a man wearing a very offensive T-shirt. I said, “Isn’t that against some kind of law?” She said, “No, not anymore.” I won’t even repeat what it said. It was disgusting. And then I said, “God loves him too.” A part of me, a really big part of me, wanted a huge guy to approach him and confront him about his shirt, put him in his place. Tell him that he shouldn’t wear that around women and children. It’s hard to love people like that. But love is what we are called to do.

I will crack the cover of this book and I will be open to the message, be open to the truth, even if it hurts because it is probably something I need to hear.

All over the world and right here in America too, the Holy Spirit is moving. The church is moving, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. God said that.

Just last night we sat at an outdoor cafe. There on the sidewalk about 10 yards away stood a young homeless man with his dog. He was dirty with matted hair, and skinny. As we ate our food he kept convicting us. I thought, how could someone so young end up like that? A woman pulled up in a car as we watched and began unloading things from her trunk. She gave the dog some food, and him a sandwich. Elaine said, “Bless her heart.” She got up and approached the woman with some money to help out. She said, “Give it to him.” So she did.

There might be a chance that they are a team, working together. Unfortunately there are many scams artists around. But it really doesn’t matter.

You give when the Spirit directs and after that, He does the blessing.

I will keep listening to Micah and Amos, because we still need their wisdom and warning. They voices work just as well today.

Not just for picnics

 

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I’m a sucker for anything military. Let me hear a few strains of Stars and Stripes Forever played by a really good marching band and it’s an instant lump in my throat. Present the colors while playing taps and that’s it, kleenex time. The fact that someone would willingly put their life on the line for my freedom and not even hesitate to do so instills in me a sense of gratitude I can never properly express.

My Mom and Dad had a part that. She told me stories of when she was a young girl during WWII and my Uncle enlisted. She told me how they had always bickered and fought just like any siblings growing up, but when he got on the train to leave for boot camp and they thought they might never see him again it was a whole other story.  Everyone was crying their eyes out. She never forgot that. Thankfully, he did come back.

She told me when the young soldiers came through town on the train, she and my Aunt would go out behind the shoe store where they worked and wave to all the boys. Their boss never minded. During shoe rationing time you could only get shoes on Thursdays. My Mom says every week they ran out of certain sizes and they had to dodge flying shoes from irate customers.

Elaine had an Uncle who was shot down and spent time in a concentration camp for years. When he came back, she said he could never seem to get enough food. To watch him eat was to watch someone with a true appreciation for it. He never forgot starving.

It is never very far from my mind that each day there are young men and women, vets who are coming home without arms, legs, hands, feet. For me and my freedom. And they do this without hesitation. How can I ever thank them enough for that?

Tomorrow the first part of my day will be spent in church, thanking God for His ultimate sacrifice, of another Son who went willingly to give His life for the freedom of my soul.

The second part will be spent at the Ballpark where I will help Elaine celebrate her Birthday watching the Diamondbacks play ball and eat a hotdog. I will take part in an American tradition that goes back a long ways. The flag will be waving, and someone will throw out the first pitch, and there may even be a fly over.

I will sing God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and I will feel like a true American. And I will tear up sometime during all that.

In my heart I will give thanks for those who serve in all areas, military, missions, outreach. Committing themselves to the cause of freedom while they lose theirs.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39

 

Good news for the common man

 Sheep watching

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying:

“‘Jeroboam will die by the sword,
    and Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.’”

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Israel basically told Amos to get outta dodge. To go back where he came from and continue herding sheep and growing fig trees. They were bloated on their power, in love with their wealth and comforts,  and they were talking advantage of the poor and needy. That never sits very well with God.

At first Amos held the spotlight on Israel’s neighbors and that was all good with them. But when Amos started listing all their sins on the town marquee it got ugly. They wanted him out of there.

I like the fact that God roots for the underdogs of the world. It is easy to convince myself that I am one. But the lessons of the Israelites can be equally applied to me. And it stings. In reading these Chapters I need to ask myself the hard questions.

Am I getting complacent? Am I quick to point fingers of blame at someone else, when I need to be looking inwardly at myself? Am I getting lazy? Am I putting myself above others when I don’t reach out because it’s too uncomfortable?

Amos reminds me that though God loves the underdog, the common working class, he also loves the people drunk on their own self-importance who don’t think they need him at all. He loves them enough to warn them. 

I remember all the times in my life when he gave me second and third chances. I am bowled over by his compassion, by his mercy that never seems to run dry.

There are so many things in this life that scream for justice, and it seems to be getting worse. It’s so easy for me to jump up and down and scream, “Yeah God, get them, get them!” 

Get those people who are doing unspeakable things to children.

Get the those politicians in Washington who couldn’t care less about us hard-working folks, who have their pensions and their pockets stuffed with bribes.

Get the addicted mother who has 6 kids she doesn’t even care about running wild raising themselves, while she sits on the couch sucking on cigarettes as well as the system. (I know this to be true)

But God never told me to be concerned with them, but with my own heart.

I am thinking of a scene, that breakfast meeting on the beach where Jesus met the disciples after his resurrection.  Peter asked him a question concerning John. I love what Jesus says, and I can imagine him saying it with a measure of remonstration in his voice and love radiating out of his eyes at the same time.

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Yes, Lord. I get it. Point taken.

They made me want to go

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Every now and then, something you read trickles down to your actual life and it changes the way you think, even the way you live. Something stirs in your soul and reawakens you to something you believed all along.

Good words capture the power behind the action and get it right.

They open you up to new possibilities and remind you that one person can indeed make a great difference in the world, and a few can do even more. Like all great dreams, this one started in the heart of one person, Chris Marlow and like a tumbleweed on fire, that one dream spread to others and they made it their dream too.

And I would never have known about any of this without my friend and fellow blogger, Duane Scott. He was a member of the blogger team that was going there. Oh, I knew about Haiti and the terrible earthquake that happened but like everything else we hear about in the news, it gets sandwiched, stacked on top of every other catastrophe until they all get lost in the big stack of awful stuff.

It all leaves you feeling kind of helpless and like it’s all too big, too futile.

I followed the chronicles of the Haiti blogger team eagerly. When they all boarded the plane, I almost felt like I was going with them. Then, as I read the stories, my tears splashed on the page along with theirs. It was all so much, all too big, the need too great.

I read about the Pastor and his wife who slept out in the open between the children and the child rape and the food that was never enough. And I also read about their great faith and their big smiles and I heard about the church services that went on forever because the people just couldn’t stop praising God. Hello? Something is wrong here.

Then I heard about the school they wanted to build and I learned how my little dollars could make a difference by joining Pure Charity and backing the project. When I figured out that even ten dollars can make a difference over there, I started to change how I spent here.

And now I can’t stop thinking about that school, that playground, and those kids out there playing in the bright Haitian sun.  I think of how my niece doesn’t have any kids to play with after school and I think of how much all those children would love to play with her and she with them.

And I can’t get that particular vision out of my head. Why are things so uneven? My niece is special needs and sometimes other kids aren’t sure how to play with her, but I know those kids would because they have special needs of their own…..which one of us doesn’t?

I was raised to be grateful for what I have, and I am a person who has always been mindful about the plight of the poor. I send a check each month to my sponsored child through World Vision along with my prayers, which can never do enough.

And I never lay my head on my pillow at night without thanking God for my bed. I ask myself why they were born there and me here, with so much. And I know that just thanking God is not enough.

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Help join me in making dreams a reality for these kids, and for your own neighborhood kids as well. Join Pure Charity and back a project today.

You won’t be sorry you did.

And to think it all started with the Haiti bloggers and their stories, and how they almost made this hobbit-like, comfort loving, safety-concious barely leaving my continent homebody want to go there.

Somebody is waiting

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Last night I wanted to go home, fast. It was a stressful day and I had things to do before I went to bed. I thought of checking on our resident Intel cat, Mrs. Howell, but my feet were going fast forward toward my car. The sunset was unfolding in a myriad of colors and along with the scattered clouds it was a stop and stare moment.

I threw my backpack and carry all bag in their prospective spots in the adjacent seat and sat down and drew a deep breath. I made it. Another day done. But then I thought of how the weather was changing, and how cold Mrs. Howell might get, and I couldn’t take not knowing if her food dish was empty or not.

I drove over to the neighboring building and went inside and then out again……out the doors that led to the back patio where she resides. She met me in her usual spot, unsure at first whether I was a friend or foe. When she figured out it was me, she ran to her dish and started eating…..she loves for us to watch her eat. Then she was meowing, and purring, and rubbing her head and drooling on my feet.

I was treated to a marvelous light show in the sky and I thought, I needed this, just this little space at the end of my tough day.

Sometimes it makes you feel better knowing you’re needed, even if only by a little critter.

I made sure her bowls were topped off and then I went to leave and she tried to trip me as she usually does by scissoring in and out of my feet. Then she meowed and grabbed my ankle……her little way of trying to get me to stay longer. She followed me all the way up to the door of the building which was very unusual. She is usually too timid to get that close.

I told her I would see her later. When I left she was sitting dejected by the door looking through. Not for the first time I thought, all over the world, people……animals……children……orphans…….are peering through the glass, through doors, through windows, through bars.

Waiting for someone to come.

Waiting for someone to be their Jesus.