Roman 12:1-2

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I lost my job in May. I would consider this a trial, wouldn't you?

In the beginning of June, my church started a weekend series in the book of James. It starts with how to react to trials and temptations: endure.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4

That in itself is encouraging, because endurance leads to perfection, completeness. There is a point to this struggle. And that brings hope. Hope does not disappoint (New American Standard), or put us to shame (New International). Why not? Becuase of the Holy Spirit in us.

Romans 5: 3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Those  verses have been flitting through my mind these past weeks, like the gentle touch of a butterfly landing on a flower. A butterfly never lands but it trades pollen and consumes nectar.  As God's Word lands gently on my spirit, I am left with something valuable, something that will be used in the creation of more beauty, for God's glory.

And then this morning I was typing notes for a gentleman in my church who will be teaching on the book of Revelation this fall. In chapter 2, Jesus speaks to the church at Ephesus and Smyna, telling both groups of believers to endure the trials they face. The gentleman's notes cross reference to Acts, and so I looked it up.

Acts 14:22 tells us we MUST go through trials, not just that we WILL.
"...strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,' they said."

And Hebrews 12:1-3:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I must not grow weary or lose heart. Christ Himself suffered for my salvation.  

So I can endure this for His glory.

And I wait with eager anticipation to see the flower -- or a whole garden! -- that will come from these gentle words of hope.

If you would like to hear the sermons on James (I think we are coming up on week 4), use the link below.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Heraclitus said, "Nothing is permanent except change."

(In case you have never heard of him, he was a Greek philosopher who lived circa 535-475 BC. His belief system was based on the idea that everything changes. The quote above is one of his more famous, although most people who quote it probably don't know who said it. Another famous one is: "A man never steps over the same river twice. It is not the same river. He is not the same man.")


I lost my job a few weeks ago. The school year came to an end, and the school board of the small Christian school where I taught for six years announced we would be closing. No one was surprised, really. And I think, although we are sad to say good-bye, no one on the staff or board is devastated by the news. God has been privately preparing all of us for whatever comes next.

For one of the teachers, that looks like it will be building a women's ministry, booking speaking engagements, perhaps writing a book. For another, it may include substitute teaching and tutoring. The business manager of the school wants to start her own business. I have put out some resumes, at the church I attend and in other schools.

But for two years now, as my arthritis has worsened, I have prayed about the wisdom of continuing to teach. Am I good at my job? Yes. Do my students learn content and godly character from me? Yes. Yet I cannot help but think, with me as a teacher, they are also missing out. Field trips are difficult for me. I am often tired, and that makes me irritable. They learn compassion as they interact with me and my disability, but does that counteract the other? I don't know. But having lost my teaching job, I am taking that as a signal that perhaps it is time to do something else.

But what? 

The position at my church is for a "care coordinator." In the large, multi-site church I attend, it is a full-time job to keep track of who is in the hospital, or home bound, or in crisis. Lining up people to make meals, clean house, etc. I'm sure there is more to the job than that. Encouraging people is one of my hallmark traits, and as a disabled person myself, I can empathize with those situations, maybe think of things that person needs that an able-bodied person would not think of.

But I have yet to hear from the church. And for the past six months, God has been pushing me to write more.  I was speaking to a dear friend yesterday, a woman who happens to be a marketing exec, and she had some ideas about how to promote my writing on-line. The more we talked, and as I thought more on it today, it sounds like a full time job: blogs and ads and social media of all stripes. Perhaps there will be no "job" forthcoming but God will open the doors for me to start a "business" with my writing.

But I don't know. 

I just don't know.

And that can be a scary place. No paycheck. No prospects. It almost sounds like a Jane Austen novel. 

And yet I am not afraid. 

"I know who I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day." 2 Timothy 1:12

How can I know that it is going to be OK? Whatever that ends up looking like?

Because Mr. Heraclitus is wrong.  There is something, other than change itself, that is permanent. His name is God, the Lord eternal, Jehovah Jireh and 

The Alpha and Omega --

The Beginning and the End.

God does not change. There are two songs that come to mind, one by Kristian Stanfill called "The Lord Our God," and the other by Casting Crowns called "Already There."

Stanfill's chorus:

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness
You will lead us 
And forever we will say 
You're the Lord our God 

 The first verse calls God a promise maker and a promise keeper: God cannot break His promises. 2 Timothy 2:13 says God is faithful, "for He cannot deny Himself." God cannot do something "out of character." His character IS faithful, therefore He WILL keep His promises.

Casting Crown's song,too, is a beautiful picture of God -- the same yesterday, today, and forever -- standing at the end of my life and already knowing where this little blip on the screen will lead me. I do not need to fear the fact that I can't see around the bend (like the mixed metaphors?), because God is already at the finish line. A little mind-blowing, really.

And yet there is peace.

Nothing permanent except change? Nope, God is as constant and permanent as the very change Mr. Heraclitus is talking about.