Friday, April 29, 2011

Royalty

Ah, the royal wedding...what pomp and pagentry and hoopla and media coverage.  It's been an ongoing joke really in our house as Katie can't understand why people care so much and Robbie is oppossed to all things that involve kissing; so it was interesting to turn on the TV this morning and watch the crowds assembling a Buckingham Palace and the coutdown clock in the corner of the screen until "the kiss".

There were hundreds of thousands in attendance there in London and an estimated two billion watched worldwide.Even if it wasn't high on my priority list, seeing a crowd like that, all in breathless anticipation, is impressive.

It all reminds me of  a bigger crowd that is soon to gather; one that I will most gladly be a part of it...

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:9-11

Now that is going to be some celebration!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When life is blurry

If you wear any type of  lenses  you'll know exactly what I mean when I say that today I've been attempting to operate in a very unusual world; one that is corrective lens free and consequently quite blurry.

Need proof? Check out the picture - this is how my computer screen looks at the moment and I am still squinting!

I couldn't find the backpacks or tell that it is raining outside. I had to hold the newspaper just a few inches from my nose to read what was being pointed out: because my sight is so limited my world is very very small.

I suspect you may know the feeling; when fine print blurs into an indistinguishable line as you "play trombone" adjusting your arm to find the right length to turn all that  blur into something understandable.

When you take your glasses off  you will find it is a great reminder of how limited our sight truly is; and I'm not speaking of corneas and retina length here but instead of the capabilities of our understanding.
Actually all of creation is seeing impaired.

We are not born with the ability to see life clearly; all of us are terminally nearsighted.
God's Word tells us to "live by faith, not by sight". (2 Corinthians 5:7) 

Why can't we live life by what we can see?

Because we don't see clearly.
Without the corrective lens of faith we wander in a world of shapes and shadows, unable to see the big picture or the fine details. Everything is fuzzy and it's impossible to determine the reason for things.

But, when we are walking by faith, when we have put on the lens of faith through the principles of God's Word and then, and only then, can we truly see. Now we can understand that there is a big picture and that is to make us more like Christ and to bring glory to the God who has loved and redeemed us. (Romans 8;28,29) Then also are we able to perceive the small details of how God is continually working in our lives to draw us closer to Him. (Psalm 37:23

What is indistinguishable becomes clear and what is far off becomes near when seen through the lens of faith.

So may our cry echo in the gospels - "Lord I believe, help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24

Are things a bit blurry today? Are you wondering if there is a big picture or are you having trouble making out the details? There is the lens of God's Word available to bring everything into focus.

"Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions." Psalm 119:18 so that I may truly "live by faith and not by sight"!

Monday, April 25, 2011

All the mornings after

It's the morning after Easter and there is scattered evidence of it...plastic egg halves, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and dress shoes in the middle of the floor.

I wonder what this morning looked like in Jerusalem two thousand years ago?
I imagine there were lots of conversations and excitement and repeated confirmation.
"Tell us again Mary, what happened when you reached the tomb?"
"When did you two know it was Jesus who was walking with you on your trip to Emmaus?"
"Are you sure it was Him? Could He really be alive?"

And then after the morning after, after many mornings after, I wonder if someone reviewing the story realized the four powerful words the angel had spoken after the pronouncement of "He is not here. He is risen just as He said." Matthew 28:6

Just as He said
Jesus had done what He had said He would do...

So now, two thousand years worth of morning after that glorious resurrection Sunday, we know that God does what He says; so what else has He said He will do?

I will never leave you. Hebrews 13:5
I will show you the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
I will make them children of God. John 1:12
I am with you always. Matthew 28:20
You will be my people and I will be your God. Jeremiah 30:32
You are mine. Isaiah 43:1
I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you will be also. John 14:3

These are the promises that we hold onto this morning after Easter for we are confident that, in all things, He will do just as He said

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When it is all boiled down...

I took a great class this weekend through Iris Reading and learned all kinds of tips for increasing my reading speed, comprehension, and retention.
One technique had to do with both retention and evaluation; before reading an article, chapter, or section of a book you turn to the beginning and read the  introduction and then flip to the end and read the conclusion - unless of course you're reading a mystery novel!

So I came home and did just that...

"In the beginning God created the heavens and earth...and God saw that it was good...The Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" Genesis 1: 1,9, 3:9

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires to drink freely from the water of life...The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen." Revelation 22: 12,17,20-21

So, to condense it - it's all about Almighty God saying "Come".
And to those of us who have read the pages inbetween we know that this message is repeated over and over to a myrid of people through many generations.

I think that pretty well sums it up, don't you?
And guess what? The message is the same for you today.

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.'
And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'". Psalm 27:8

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In good hands

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7


It's got to be a lot easier to trust in chariots and horses, don't you think? 
You can number the horses. 
You can line up all the chariots into an impressive display and feel both successful and unconquerable. 
You could look at your barns filled with plenty and think that you are set for years to come. (Luke 12:16-20) or a bankbook filled with digits and feel like life is going to be okay; it's just so much easier to trust in things we can see than the provision of an invisible God.
For while we are to be walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) I still find it easier to walk by sight...


I was dealing with a greedy heart and uncharacteristically had no one to discuss the situation with; this was an issue I just had to hammer out with God and in the end the answer was surrender.  I couldn't fix my desires to have more digits in the bankbook so I gave my greedy heart to Him and asked Him to take care of it and change it so that it would honor Him. 

The next day I was walking through a superstore carrying eggs and peeps and there it was, hanging on the clearance rack, the Easter dress made for me that I'd been browsing for,  for weeks,  priced less than a gallon of gas and even less than the groceries I was carrying.


"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!" Luke 12:27,28


Yep, that was me "of little faith" but with a new dress and a fresh realization that a heart given to God is in very good hands.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome! (not really)

Our favorite greeter met us with a big smile in the narthex. “Ah, it must be Spring as the Eppley’s are back!”


Indeed it was Spring – Spring Break according to the calendar although no one had told the weather that as yesterday it was snowing but, nevertheless it was spring and we were returning to our “summer” church a hundred miles from home.

The announcements had begun as we slipped down the side aisle to the only available space in the second row but no soon were we seated than we were shooed out of those seats as they were being reserved for the youth currently gathered in the vestibule with their palm fronds. So as we exited the sanctuary the same man joked “You don’t have to leave really, you can stay!” Little did he know how ready I was to do just that as this incident was just one more in a series of unwelcoming experiences.
But we reentered the sanctuary,up the opposite side aisle, again to the front and seated just in time to stand as the kids came in waving the palms.

For it was Palm Sunday – the day of welcome. So as the palms waved and my children kept “accidentally” hitting each other with their branches, and allergies kicked into high gear; I thought, “How welcome did Jesus feel that day?”

Sure, the people were shouting affirmation but He knew what they’d be shouting in a few days; now they cried “Hosanna” but soon it would be “Crucify”.

It wasn’t just his foreknowledge that made their welcome hollow, it was their history. He’d stood looking down on the city just previous to this applauded entrance and said “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”Matthew 23:37

For generations God had been extending the invitation to His people to know and worship only Him and while the people politely listened on the Sabbath and felt themselves to be quite holy; then they’d go out to the altars of the false gods in their yards and home to their foreign spouses.

They were saying “welcome” but living “not really”.

Do we do the same? Do we sincerely sing songs praising His lordship and then live like it’s all up to us?

Do we read words of promise as “Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress” (Psalms 71:3) and then let ourselves get beaten down by the circumstances?

Do we say in essence “Great seeing you today in church God; let’s be sure to get together sometime” but then when He comes knocking at our hearts door we’re too busy to invite Him in?

So on this day of welcome, and during this holy week may we say "Welcome" with our whole hearts and then live it out with our lives.
When God knocks at the door may we invite Him in; when He says "Come" may we gladly follow, and may our spoken Hosannas be lived out in lives that bring Him honor and praise.

Friday, April 1, 2011

There is a man named Don Casey

There was a man named Job.

He was a godly man
(...that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil - Job 1:1)

A careful man
(When the days of the feast had run their course Job would rise early...and offer burnt offerings...For Job said, 'It may be that my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts' Job 1:5)

A faithful man
 (...this Job did continually. Job 1: 5)

A man blessed by God.
(...this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. Job 1: 3)
but then, apparently, he wasn't.

His children were crushed when the house collapsed, enemies and fire destroyed all the animals and servants.
He was a man suddenly engulfed by calamity and inundated by infirmities; covered in boils from head to foot.

His wife told him to curse God and die.

His friends told him all he had done to deserve such judgement from God.

And Job wondered about it all and  asked God "Why?".

There is a man named Don Casey.

A godly man
who has faithfully prayed through his list of every girl he'd ever coached through decades of volleyball 

A careful man
who was juicing, taking vitamins and watching his health long before it became the popular thing to do- often at no small expense filling the team water bottles with juice because it was good for his girls.


A faithful man
who at every practice took time to pray and share God's Word. And who hasn't heard him quote numerous times the verse he emulated"Moreover it is required in a steward that a man be found faithful." I Corinthians 4:2


A man blessed by God
until apparently he is not.

A case of shingles that went long undiagnosed and then years in the healing, a blood clot, a hernia, stomach trouble causing an inability to eat without pain and this life long athlete and health advocate has suffered  a downward spiral of  physical abilities, mental focus, and fervent faith.

His wife has taken loving care of him.

And Don has wondered "Why?"
Why would God be letting this happen to one who has lived clean, served faithfully, and loved extensively?

And his friends...
His friends love him.
But his friend  need to beseech heaven now for him as he has for them, begging God to send healing and peace.

The giant of a man is now so frail my hug today nearly knocked him over and my heart broke to hear his anguish.

There is a man named Don Casey, an incredible man, a suffering man, who needs our prayer.