RSS Feed

Category Archives: Christian

Faith Friday – How Great Thou Art

Posted on

A man was walking home from church in Sweden and listening to the church bells ringing when he was amazed by an approaching storm. Living in Florida, I think I know a little how he felt. Even yesterday, I left my house under bright blue skies but within a few miles I was in the pouring rain. Not even ten minutes later, the sun was shining again.

This is how the night in Sweden was described

Nature was at its peak that radiant afternoon. Presently a thundercloud appeared on the horizon, and soon sharp lightning flashed across the sky. Strong winds swept over the meadows and billowing fields of grain. The thunder pealed in loud claps. Then rain came in cool fresh showers. In a little while the storm was over, and a rainbow appeared.

That beautiful scene inspired Carl Boberg to write the poem that eventually became the hymn “How Great Thou Art.”


.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
~ Luke 19:40

.

Faith Friday

Advertisements

Faith Friday – In the moment

Posted on

Do you replay conversations in your head as much as I do?

I am usually regretting all the things I didn’t say. Sometimes though, there are just conversations that make me smile or laugh because the memory is so good. Those times when someone truly listened to me, when me felt heard. Or even more so, those times when I read something or hear a message and I know it was meant just for me.

That feeling gives me a .0000001% perspective on what it must have felt like for the disciples when they realized they had spent hours traveling down a road with Jesus after his resurrection.

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
~ Luke 24:32

How many times do I miss the importance of the moments in front of me because I am so worried about what is coming next? This week my goal is to pay attention.

Faith Friday: Thank You

Posted on

Short, sweet, and to the point this Friday. I am so thankful for each of my friends and family across the country and (because of diabetes) even across the world.

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.”
~Philemon 1:4

Photo on 2010-10-01 at 23.53 #2
the adult Type 1 crew

Faith Friday: He is close

Posted on

As I was reading one of my favorite blogs about a family serving in Haiti a few weeks ago, I ran across a verse that I had not noticed before. It has been stuck in my head ever since so I thought it would be good to share.

The verse is from a book in the Old Testament book of Nahum. Nahum was known as a prophet and as you can tell, his writing style was very poetic.

The Lord is good,
a strong refuge when trouble comes.
He is close to those who trust in him.
~ Nahum 1:7

I think it is interesting that it says “when” trouble comes, not “if” trouble comes. I also really appreciate the reminder that God is always close – even in those difficult times.

Have a great weekend!

Faith Friday – strength of my heart

Posted on

A few of the comments yesterday in my Diabetes Art Day post mentioned that they had never heard the verse before that I involved in my artwork.

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
~Ecclesiastes 4:12

I have been going to church for as long as I can remember, and I think sometimes I take that for granted. When I was contemplating my art project I knew I had a bunch of extra pump tubing, and realized I could braid it. As I was working, that verse immediately came to mind.

I think it is a perfect example of the power of the diabetes online community. By ourselves we can feel defeated and alone, but together we are strong and “not quickly broken.”

My faith is central to who I am, and there are many other passages in the Bible that mean a lot to me. I am going to try to post one every Friday with a short explanation. Hopefully someone else will also find some encouragement in them.

****************************

The Psalms are mostly the work of a man named David. That man had a crazy life! He was a shepherd who fought a giant, had to escape and hide from a king who was trying to murder him, later became king of Israel, committed adultery and conspired to have the woman’s husband murdered, and had a son who rebelled against him and tried to kill him and take over his kingdom.

When I am happy, sad, frustrated, angry, or any emotion in between there is usually a Psalm expressing the same feelings.

My favorite chapter in Psalms is chapter 73. I have referred to it on my blog before but wanted to explain a little bit more of the story. The author is looking around and watching all these people who are doing evil things and continuing to prosper. They’re healthy, they are “always free of care,” and have all the money they could want. He is frustrated that while he tries to do the right thing “every morning brings new punishments.” Then he is reminded that eventually all will be made right and that God is there for him no matter what.

It is a reminder that I often need to see. When I was in Israel in 2005, I had (as much as they could fit of) the passage engraved in Hebrew on a ring. The ring and my medical ID are the two pieces of jewelry that I am never without.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
~Psalm 73:26

Psalm 73:26

The log in my eye

Posted on

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5

There’s been something wandering around my brain since my flight home last week. As I wrote previously, as part of being bumped, the gate agent had upgraded me to first class for my second flight. This was not something I had experienced for at least 15 years. I am certainly not a high class type of girl 😉

The man sitting next to me was working on his iPhone when I found my seat. He had what appeared to be a portfolio and a hardcover book on his lap as well. The book was a tan color and had a beautiful paisley pattern on it. It wasn’t until we had to put away our electronic devices that I found out what it actually was. The man was carrying an “old-school” hardcover Bible.

I complimented him on the Bible – it really was quite beautiful. He said something like “you have to carry it for those times when you can’t have your electronic devices out.” He was working on a Bible study so that pretty much ended our conversation.

After a short while, the man put his Bible away and opened his portfolio. Only it wasn’t actually a portfolio, it was his iPad. I tried not to spy on him too much (even in first class those seats are still close together) but I noticed that he was watching some videos of sermons from a church in our area. It is a church that would typically be referred to as a megachurch and often attracts famous authors and speakers. A few weeks ago I heard an ad on the radio from this church that guaranteed the return of your tithing money if you did find yourself blessed within three months.

And this is the part where it gets sticky. I found myself judging this man that I didn’t even know. How dare he sit in his expensive first class with all his fancy electronics and read his Bible?! Doesn’t he know there are hurting and hungry people all over world and even in his own backyard?

But wait – wasn’t I sitting right next to him – using my laptop, listening to music on my iPod. Maybe this was his first time in first class too, and maybe he was sitting there because he got bumped off a different flight.

I’m still not sure how to resolve the whole thing in my mind. What do you think?

What if we just don’t care?

Posted on

*** I started writing this post before the big announcement by Obama last night. By the time he finally spoke, I was too far into it, and I actually think the topic is somehow fitting ***

I’ve started reading a new book recently. When I was in Haiti, all the members of the organization we were working with were reading it and I took that as recommendation enough to pick it up when I got back.

The name of the book is “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself”. Not that I needed convincing, but there are astonishing statistics about the prevalence of poverty around the world. “While the average American lives on more than ninety dollars per day, approximately one billion people live on less than one dollar per day and 2.6 billion – 40 percent of the world’s population – live on less than two dollars per day” (p 42).

This isn’t a political issue. This isn’t a religious issue. This isn’t an issue that either the church or the government can solve on their own. Like I said, I’m only one chapter in but I’ve already learned a ton.

One of the first questions the book asks is why Jesus came to earth. The “Sunday school” answer I have always given is about forgiveness of sin. While that is true, even what Jesus shares at the beginning of his ministry indicates there is more to the story. He reads a passage from Isaiah that explains a larger purpose.

17And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:17-19)


There is additional evidence in the Old Testament that the laws given to God’s people were designed with address poverty as well. “The commands were so extensive that they were designed to achieve the ultimate goal of eradication poverty among God’s people” (pg 39, see Deut 15:4).

What frustrates me most at this point is that the issue of poverty and helping the poor has become less of a direct religious issue and one tied up in politics. In my opinion, the church has largely moved AWAY from the cause of poverty. In general, the church tends to align itself more with the Republican side of the political spectrum, while issues of social welfare tend to be causes on the Democratic side of the political spectrum.

I thought that was the reason why the church had abandoned issues of poverty. Apparently it is not as simple as that and the “Great Reversal” from the 1900s-1930s which was the “the evangelical church’s retreat from poverty alleviation was fundamentally due to shifts in theology and not – as many have asserted – to government programs that drove the church away from ministry to the poor” (p 45).

I don’t really understand yet how shifts in theology can explain abandoning a cause that was so close to the heart of Jesus. Being a Christian literally (in Greek) means being a “follower of Christ”. Shouldn’t I continue to follow the same ministry that Jesus declared at the beginning of His?

I was blessed to attend a concert this weekend by the artist Brooke Fraser.
Brooke Fraser at SunFest
I was even able to meet her briefly after to thank her for her music and ministry. Her song “Albertine” speaks to the same feelings I have in my heart after seeing poverty in my community and around the world.

Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

I will tell the world, I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine

As I’ve read and studied deeper, it has become more and more obvious that this is not an issue that money alone will fix. I have more thoughts about that topic than I could bear to include in this post. Maybe I’ll revisit that idea as I get further into this book (as they have obviously done more research than I have).

If you scrolled down to the end of this post to leave a comment or remarkable read the whole thing and found yourself here. Our Uncle Stephen Colbert summarized the issue himself back in December in a quote I have not forgotten since –

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition — and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

%d bloggers like this: