Friday, November 26, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: 2 Kings

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
This has turned into my weekly blog post...once the Really Big Project at work is wrapped up, maybe I'll have time to do some real blogging again...

But, at least I've got a topic to keep me updating at least weekly. This week's book is 2 Kings...the decline and fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, followed by the decline and deportation of the southern kingdom of Judah 135ish years later.

They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do. - 2 Kings 17:15

A number of years ago, while we were still in our denominational church, the annual meeting of that denomination passed some resolutions concerning the roles of men and women in marriage. Typically, the press picked up part of the story and made a huge deal of the wording of the resolution as it pertained to women (they totally ignored the wording of the resolution as it pertained to men, instructing them to love their wives sacrificially as Christ loves the church). Taken out of context, it gave fodder to those who were looking for opportunities to be offended on behalf of modern women.

Despite the Biblical basis for the resolution, groups around the country decried it. Even evangelic Christians were offended, making statements to the effect of 'The world is different now; people should not be held to those standards."

Not taking any position on the wording of the resolution, because that's not my point, I was dumbfounded by the reaction of people who believed that the world sets the standard for the behavior of people who call themselves followers of Christ.

Imitating the people around them is what led to the downfall of the people God called His own; do we expect Him to allow His people to fall into that same pattern now?

Although our society is not quite as paganistic as the nations that surrounded Israel/Judah, there are certainly a number of things that vie for our time and attention and even our devotion.

Are we brave enough to confront the worthless idols that deceive us?

Am I brave enough to identify and confront the worthless idols that deceive me?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: 1 Kings

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Do you see the scene in your imagination? It's the time of the evening sacrifice; the people had been standing around all day watching the priests of Baal throw themselves into a frenzy around a hacked-up bull on a pile of wood, but the only thing that had fallen on the sacrifice was no doubt a cloud of flies.

Then Elijah steps out and rebuilds the ancient altar, each stone a representation of the people who stood in front of him. He lays the wood, cuts up the bull and arranges it, then does something truly unexpected...he digs a trench around the altar and calls for water.

It's amazing that they managed to find 12 large jars of water in that prolonged drought, but the water came from somewhere and the sacrifice, the wood, the altar, and the ground were all drenched and the trench was full. Then Elijah stepped forward and prayed.

Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The LORD, he is God! The LORD - he is God! - 1 Kings 18:38 - 39.

Would you have liked to have been there that day? I would've...every time I read one of the stories about God manifesting Himself to his people this way I get all chill bumpy. Can you imagine? Seeing something like that?

I've often wondered, 'God, why don't You manifest Yourself again to us? Show everyone that You're real?'

You know what the answer is?

He put *us* here to represent Him. To be the ones who manifest His presence everywhere we go.

What if everyone who calls him/herself a follower of Christ really and truly represented the heart of God on earth?

I honestly think it would be every bit as big a shock to the unbelieving world as the fire that incinerated Elijah's altar.
Imagine THAT...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Faitful Friday Faves: 2 Samuel

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Once again, I had a difficult time deciding which verse to choose. I think I just need to state it now: it's gonna be a hard choice each week.

This week's choice is pretty much because we just sang a song in choir that included a paraphrase of this verse:

'I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.' - 2 Sam 6:21b - 22a

We have somehow turned worship into a list of appropriate behaviors and attitudes; David's wild dance of celebration would be way out of place in most houses of worship today.

I think we tend to forget Who our audience really is...not our fellow churchgoers, but the One who created us.

We all know the story of David's words with his wife Michal over her opinion of his uninhibited worship...but somehow, in reading this in the past, I missed the part where he said, 'I will be humiliated in my own eyes'.

It's one thing to disregard others' opinions about one's own behavior...but to choose to do something personally humiliating as worship is a whole 'nuther level.

I'm not gonna try to make judgments about what real worship is; I'm just going to let this verse raise a couple of questions:

How predictable is my worship? How can I get out of the rut and let my spirit really respond to the true awesomeness of God?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Musings: TRON (1982)

Just did something with the family that I haven't done in I can't remember how long...we actually all sat down and watched a movie.

A pretty old video, actually, dating from many many moons ago when we actually were cable subscribers.

It was Disney's 1982 TRON. The Princess's Beau had never seen it.

I, on the other hand, well remember being dazzled in a theater by it.

But, you know, the Gospel is in that movie.

Leave Flynn's lack of plan aside for the moment and consider:

The Creator takes on the form of His Creation and leaves his place of power to interact with His Creation

Evil forces rampant in the Creation recognize him immediately and try to destroy him.

Ultimately, he sacrifices himself in order to defeat the evil and restore communication/communion between the creator and the creation.

Yeah, I know, it's a stretch.

But it's there.

I don't necessarily think the sequel coming out next month will continue that train of thought, but I've thought that was cool ever since I figured out the similarity about the same time the movie ran on the Disney Channel...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Faithful Faves: 1 Samuel

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

I had a difficult time picking out a scripture today. But one stirred up some old memories as I read it, so I thought I'd talk just a minute about it.

Who can lay a hand on the LORD's anointed and be guiltless? - 1 Sam. 26:9b

Let's just say we spent a looonnng time in one particular church. Like, 20 years long.

You don't stay that long in a church and not see stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff and sometimes truly awful stuff. People are people and sometimes we lose sight of what it's all about.

Sometimes it's the pastor that gets his priorities slightly off kilter; sometimes it's the church lay leadership. Sometimes it's both...or one leads to the other. Anyway.

Anybody who's ever been in a church meeting in which folks who have not attended the church in time out of mind come for the 'vote of confidence' in the current pastor will recognize where I'm coming from.

Now, I'm not here to excuse gross abuse of position. I'm talking about situations in which the pastor and the lay leadership find themselves at odds over procedures or processes or what color carpet to put in the sanctuary, and some well-meaning person who believes the Pastor is totally out of line feels it is their duty to the congregation to lead the charge to see the Pastor replaced.

Be careful. Proceed only by much prayer and seeking God, with honest evaluations of one's own motives, according to all scriptural (and denominational, if it applies) directives for handling such things.

And remember David's caution.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mysterious Ways...

So, early last week I walked into Publix and saw vacuum packed pork loins on sale for, like, $3.50/lb. I didn't have an immediate need for one, but thought I could make use of it before the 'sell by date'. Besides, I'd seen a recipe online for crock-pot pulled pork that I wanted to try. So I put a 6+ lb piece of meat in the cart and went about the rest of my shopping.

Fast forward to Monday. I needed something to cook for a church-staff carry in dinner yesterday and decided I could do the pork loin in the crock-pot overnight and it'd be ready to take. I was just gonna cook about half of it and stick the other half in the freezer, but My Sweet Baboo suggested I just cook all of it. I had to cut it into two pieces to get it to fit into the crock pot, but it fit. I woke up at about 3:30 yesterday morning and smelled it cooking all the way upstairs. Yum.

I pulled the pork before work, put half of it in the fridge and took the rest to church (in the crock pot). I was one of two folks who brought pulled pork, and mine was down the table a bit so the other one got mostly eaten. Mine mostly sat in the crock-pot (which was on). So I took it home and figured we'd eat a lot of pork this week.

But, no sooner had I gotten it into the fridge than I got a text message from The Actor. Rehearsal was running late; was there any way I could pick up pizzas or something so the cast/crew of the one act could eat?

Y'all, I had enough pulled pork already cooked to feed 'em. I put the leftovers back in the crock-pot, along with the first part I'd stuck in the fridge that morning, added a bit of water and put it on high while I went to Target and got a case of water (on sale), a couple bags of chips (on sale) and some cheese sticks and buns (on sale). By the time I got home, the meat was all heated through, so I unplugged the crock pot, set it in the car and headed to school.

I marveled all evening that I had food ready. And it was just exactly enough. I brought home an empty crock-pot.

That's the way God causes us to work a lot of the goosebumps, no visions or trumpet blasts...just, wow, He makes everything work out.

Even with pork. ;-)