Monday, August 26, 2013

Such Great Salvation

Dear Christa—
Think about it: one little act of disobedience. How could it seem so bad? How often have we done similar things? —left the classroom door unlocked, drove just five miles over the speed limit, didn’t do the one thing we were asked to do today—such a little thing. Could it really make such a difference—really?
Yes. Yes, it did.
Did it seem like a simple act? A bite? A little taste? And after her disobedience, Eve’s next step—in her newly gained knowledge—was to take Adam down with her. Then suddenly, nothing was simple any longer, and the whole human race came crashing down into what’s been coined as The Fall of Mankind.
After God laid down the judgment, and her children were conceived in passed down sin, not much else is mentioned about Eve in the Bible. But, Eve may have lived a long time outside that beautiful garden.
I wonder what she thought about as the sun beat down by day and the heat rose up by night? If anyone saw the immediate results of her sin, it surely was Eve.
And, though God had promised redemption, and it was certain to come, I wonder how long it took Eve to accept herself and move on? How often did those words of the serpent haunt her dreams? With every withered flower she touched, did she rue that moment? Did she look away from Adam in shame and whisper, “If only…?”
Sometimes our actions cause deep and terrible consequences. Yet, even though such a great price of redemption has been paid, Satan can paralyze us with “what could have beens” to gain a victory long lasting for himself.
Yes, we sin. Who has not disobeyed the Word of the Lord many times over? And, the significance of that disobedience is revealed in the remedy—the very death of God in the Person of His Son.
So, when we sin (for we all sin), we must focus—not on ourselves—but on the great act of redemption that saves us—not just from a fiery separation from God for all eternity—but also from ourselves, this day and everyday forward.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer's End

Dear Christa—
The fourth and last load of sheets hangs on the clothesline, vying with a couple of sleeping bags and a tarp for space. The first load of towels is in the washer and the extra table taken down and a few of the floors vacuumed—all in silence. There was a time when to clean in silence was a treat, but those days have passed.

What a wonderful summer it has been, culminating with all four of our kids and their families for two glorious weeks. As everyone was here, I noticed that the three pictures of Jay and me that hang in the main bathroom continued to grow more and more crooked each day. I thought about straightening them, but instead I left them crooked and silly because I thought they were funny. Each day was filled with laughing and crying and tattling. We consumed more food than anyone could imagine, took probably a gazillion pictures, and had a ton of fun—so much fun that I don’t know what I’d say was my favorite.
The last time all the families were together was at Joy’s wedding, when we only had two little grandchildren. And after the celebrating and the cleaning, Kim put her feet up and said, “I’m so glad that everyone is married, and now when we get together we can just have fun.” And so we did: six years later and with eight more grandchildren.
Not all those six years have been fun. Each of us has had our struggles. Each of us probably could have done better. But, each of us is still connected, and I think that has a way of strengthening us. We laugh with each other. We learn from each other. We carry each other’s burdens.  And we know we are never alone.
Sometimes we feel alone, but it is a lie.
And, in the family of Christ, we are never alone, ever.
We are a part, and we are a family.

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Dear Christa—
1 Chron. 15:29 states, “As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.” 2 Sam. 6:16 recounts the entrance of the ark to Jerusalem almost verbatim, except it adds the phrase “dancing before the Lord.”
There is a side to Michal that I can sympathize with. Did David ever really love her? I doubt it. She was a prize—purchased with the foreskins of 200 dead Philistines. Perhaps at one time she’d been infatuated by the strength and daring of her brother’s comrade who shared the king’s table, but no longer.
Eventually, as a piece of loose change, Saul pawned her off on another after David fled for his life, leaving her behind. And, it does seem intimated to me that in the house of Paltiel she’d known a man who’d truly loved her, for he walked behind her, weeping, when David vied for the throne and once more called for his prize, which was perhaps as much a political move to secure his position as anything else.
Michal, jaded and bitter, gazed down at her husband and king and despised him. I’m not sure I would have felt any differently. But, there is more revealed of Michal— more which speaks a warning.
Michal was a real live princess, raised in palace. Michal was the daughter of Saul, whose power had made him prideful and self-serving. And, as the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I think Michal may have felt too sophisticated and haughty to dance with the commoners. And she apparently was little impressed with the Lord’s ark and His blessings. After all, she was a princess—and not to be too judgmental of her—the Lord had rejected her father, and her brother who loved the Lord. It would have been a hard pill to swallow.
Jonathan had accepted God’s sovereign plan; Michal could not. It is so easy when one has felt wronged to turn a bitter stance. But, Michal’s bitterness did little for her. David himself chides her when he returns home, rubbing in God’s rejection of her family, and 2 Samuel 6:23 tells us that Michal had no children, ever—a grave disappointment to a Jewish woman.
Disappointments and wrongs happen in life, and when they do, it’s easy to turn to bitterness instead of trusting in the sovereign hand of God and believing that He is good. Michal’s life is a warning against that.