Friday, October 14, 2011
Actually, no person owns anything. All belongs to God, but while man is on earth he has the God-given right of possession. To deny any man that right violates the very basis of God's creation.
"If any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thessalonians 3: 10).
(What denotes stealing:)
"What belongs to my neighbor belongs to me and I will take it."
...by the robber, the embezzler, and all the others.
Living beyond one's means. To go in debt without a reasonable probability of being able to pay back is stealing.
To fail to give an honest days work is also stealing.
We can also steal from another when we withhold from our fellows ... How can I give to God what is rightfully His? There is only one way; that is in service to others. So the positive meaning of "thou shalt not steal" is consecrated service, both of my material resources and of my life.
Notes from Mother: All that we have God has given in one way or another.
My Notes: Mother didn't write a lot in this section and I think I know why. Mother was a giver. She believed in tithing and offering, not just of her money (which was tithed to the penny) but also of her service.
When Mother retired, I thought I would now find her sitting before the television, knitting, enjoying her "shows." She watched The Young and the Restless from the day it first aired until the last day she physically sat before a television (her last few days were spent with me at Ridgecrest). She often said she didn't really care about it ... but she had to keep up, I guess.
Mother also enjoyed anything featuring The Gaithers. She had hours and hours of Gaither Homecoming shows recorded. She adored the "Love" movies which aired on The Hallmark Channel, made from the Jeanette Oak books. Just last night I saw a new one was airing. I was on the phone with my brother and I told him, "Here's one she never got to see."
"Gosh, she loved those movies," he said.
"Sometimes I'd walk in the house and she'd be sitting there watching one. I'd say, 'Don't you have that recorded and haven't you already seen it about a hundred times?' and she'd answer, 'Yeah, but I just love to watch them.'"
I'm on a rabbit trail. The point is ... Mother actually, honestly, rarely got to watch television. She was too busy volunteering. Helping others even younger than herself. When I called and got the answering machine, I'd leave a message that said, "Now where are you?"
The answer was that she was nearly always out helping someone else. Driving someone to a doctor's appointment. Picking peas or beans, shelling them, and taking them to someone who couldn't. She volunteered so many hours at the nursing home (where some of her friends lived), she was named Volunteer of the Year (she rode the float as such in the Livestock Parade just two months before her death), and a butterfly garden was dedicated to her after she died.
When Mother died, a lot of people said, "We sure are going to miss her." I knew what they meant, of course. But I also know they'll miss her service, which included her gift of giving financially, her smiles, her laughter, her willingness to play Bingo with the elderly or serve hot dogs during a picnic, to shell peas (probably while watching one of her shows!), and to drive those who no longer could wherever they needed to go. To listen. To give the best advice.
To just be there.
Mother was a giver. I want to be known as a giver, too.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Notes from the Book: Morris Wee teels that one day his theological professor said to the class, "About fifty percent of all human misery is caused by the violation of this commandment." That seems an extreme statement -- "about fifty percent ..." The students did not believe it, but after a score of years i the ministry, Dr. Wee says he now knows it is so. Sit with me in my study in a church on a main thoroughfare of a great city. Listen to my telephone, ready my mail, talk with many who come in person. You, too, will begin to believe the professor was right.
Adultery is violation of the marriage vow of faithfulness to each other.
It is wrong because God said it is wrong.
It is wrong because it brings further wrong. Sorrow is a wound.
[Jesus] hated the sin but never ceased to love the sinner.
[In John 8]: Now comes one of the grandest scenes in the Bible. The matchless Saviour is alone with the woman. Not one harsh word comes from His lips. Not even a look of rebuke. Instead, gently and tenderly He says, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."
Mother's Notes: SR (sexual relations) between married person and another not their spouse. Voluntary SR between unmarried.
Psalm 32 & 51
1 Co 6: Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
Cover of darkness
My Notes: I turned to this portion of the book with trepidation. My father, as much as I loved him, committed adultery against my mother (and, subsequently, his children). He--like the woman in John 8--made amends with God, but the damage was severe. My mother, living in a small community where she and Daddy reared us--was forced to hold her shoulders back and keep her chin forward in the midst of personal heartache and sorrow.
"Sorrow is a wound" the author wrote.
Mother circled the words. How well she knew. But her grace and dignity taught me more about the person of Jesus than a month of Sundays sitting on a hard pew. Her forgiveness taught me how to love more deeply.
And my father's sin taught me that, without Jesus, we are all sinners--the adulterer and the gossiper.
"We are all sinners," I heard a convict-turned-prisoner once say. "Some of us rob liquor stores and some of us tell little white lies. But we are all sinners."
When I die, I wonder, what will people remember about me? Mother was far from perfect (actually, she was pretty close to perfect ... but by my standards) but her imperfections are not what I remember. What I think of, when I remember her--which is constantly--is the faith by which she lived her life. My father, even after the divorce, called her "a fine lady."
Even when I think of Daddy, it's not of his mistake, but his work for the Lord as a repentant and saved man.
When I think of them both, I remember her sitting by his hospital bed during his last days. Quietly they watched an old movie while their children took a break from death and dying. Not a lot of words were spoken, she told me later, but not a lot of words were needed.
When my father died, Mother wrote a letter and slipped it into his suit coat pocket he wore to the grave. In it she wrote: While our marriage did not survive, I will always love you as the man who gave me the two greatest gifts of my life, my children.
When I die ... what people remember about me depends on what I do now. Not what I have done ... but what I do.
Photo: Bracker (1924) Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
art by M Leone Bracker (1885 - 1937)
Friday, September 23, 2011
Notes from the Book (God's Psychiatry): God made us to live with each other, and the very process of living requires certain rules. God laid down five rules for us to live with each other. The first one is: "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13).
This applies (first) to our own selves. We did not create our lives, and we do not have the authority to destroy our lives. The very fact of life carries with it an inescapable obligation to live.
Murder, too, is prohibited.
Also forbidden are the destructive emotions of men: fear, hate, jealousy, anger, envy, anxiety, excessive grief, and the others. To counteract them requires developing within our lives the healing and life-giving emotions such as faith, hope, laughter, creativeness, and love. Love, for example, is a process of giving.
Positively, it means to live and help live.
Mother's Notes in the Margins: Mother's mind was ablaze with questions, it seems. She wrote:
war & self-defense
mercy killing by doctor
kill by our words
God values life
My Notes: What stands out to me more than anything in this portion of the book is one word Mother circled: anxiety. My mother tended to be an anxious person. She worried about things ... try hard as she may not to. She knew God didn't want her to worry, but she did. Her worry came naturally. She worried about my father (who worked in law enforcement) when he was out working a case. She worried about her children (with good reason ... we tended to keep her knees calloused until the day she died). She worried about her grandchildren (who also kept her knees bent).
One thing I can know for sure, when Mother died, she left all her anxieties in this world for the joys of heaven. As my brother and I sat vigilant by her deathbed, two people called and told me the same story. Just recently, they said, Mother had expressed her desire to leave the worries of this life for the face-to-face presence of Jesus. She loved her Jesus. More than she loved us. And that's okay by me.
Still, for a year and a half I've struggled with Mother's death. Before I had two seconds to mourn her, another tragedy hit my family that has rocked me far more than losing Mother or Daddy. Their deaths make sense in the light of this. We live our lives and, if we are Christians, we die to gain our reward.
So, for a year and a half, I've been tossed like a ship on the Galilee during a storm. Then, about two weeks ago, I admitted something out loud that I'd only toyed with in my mind. "I don't want to die," I said to a friend. "I just don't want to live any more."
Just saying it out loud ... and the healing began. Don't ask me why. I don't know.
I do know enough to know that death by my own hand is not what God has in mind for me. His desire is that I lean into Him and trust Him with ... my life ... and my death, which will be at His command. Not mine.
Meanwhile, I have a life to live. I have a life to give.
Father God ... let the healing not only begin, but continue in the days, the weeks, and the months ahead.
"I am ready."
[photo by Eva Marie Everson]
Friday, August 26, 2011
Honor Thy Father and Mother
Friday, August 19, 2011
Remember the Sabbath to Keep it Holy
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."
The admonition found in Isaiah 30:15 wrapped itself around me like the sting of a father's belt. My salvation...my strength...was found not in working, but in repentance, rest, and quiet.
I knew the truth of this. I had taught it, for crying out loud. Many is the time I stood before a class or an auditorium filled with people and said, "Psalm 46:10 says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' The word still in Hebrew is raphah. It means to cease. Be still. Stop. Sink down and relax. Abide..."
Oh for the joy of just being with God! A whole day not worrying about working, but enjoying his gift of time. Of family. Of friends. Of the simple joys like watching the children play. Or taking a long walk. Or picnic-ing with loved ones. Watching that old movie.
And, of course, worship.
One thing I have noted. God said for us to "remember the 7th day" so that we "keep it holy." I believe we have confused what He commanded here. He did not tell us that nothing apart from God, worship, prayer, etc. should be enjoyed. He did not say, "If you lie on the couch and watch an old movie...or take your child to a matinee...or sit out by the lake and watch the ducks swim...you have broken my law." No...he said "remember"...
I do not worship God but one day a week. That is every day. He is with me constantly, praise Him! Even when I am at my worst, He stands by and says, "Get your hissy fit over with and then let's move on." And I praise Him for that!
Remember to rest. Remember to enjoy this precious gift God has given you. One day a week. One whole day. How marvelous is that?
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord They God in Vain
Monday, May 30, 2011
Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee any Graven Image
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever...
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
(Blogger's Note: I apologize that it has been a few weeks since my last post... bear with me as I walk through my own Vally of the Shadow...)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over...
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.