Where are the Mentors?

Now that we’ve seen something disturbing, what should we do about it?

Did the NFL offer help to Mr. Rice on previous occasions?

Is this an instance where one person’s life is going to be used as an example for others?

Where do our lives stand under the lens of our Almighty Father?

How would we handle this situation had we been the owner of the video clip?

Is there room for grace?

Has the situation already been forgiven?

We should be careful and pray for this man and his wife, lest there come a day we fall.

Where are the mentors these men are needing?

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Two Words to Live By

There’s a kidney-shaped blotch of glue residue on the left side of my brand new “Blanco” kitchen sink.  The plumber forgot to glue the sink in place when he mounted it the first time.  It was almost as if I knew something would happen when he came to finish the job the second time ’round.

Every time I play my black shiny “KAWAI” piano, given to me by my Father, I see the enamel chip on the right arm where the piano tuner dropped his tools, even after I asked him to keep his tool box on the floor.

There is a rather large set of scratches where someone I love, moved a chair across our cherry hardwood floor, that took some very dear friends of ours, along with our amateur help – one whole weekend to install.  Did I mention we saved over seven years for that floor?  Every time I vacuum and polish the floor I see the Grand Canyon.

Years ago, the mark on the sink would have sent my heart down the drain of despair – for weeks, possibly months!  The piano chip would have inspired a very loud “Anger Sonata”, or worse yet – the sound of silence!   And the grand canyon on my hardwood floor would have been hammered down on my friend’s floor, out of a need for retribution.

But lately, when I am reminded of the imperfections around me, my emotions don’t flinch about them, or the dear people who were unintentionally a part of them.  I flinch about my own flaws, every last one of them.  But only for a second, because God keeps his promises.  He is changing me.

Gone are the days of my rage over a broken vase, that my sister and mother spent hours to repair.  I’ve long since repented of that, and left behind my coat of shame.  And the grace that I should have shown then, is the grace that is shown to me every day,  and the grace I choose to live by.  The grace of God.  People make mistakes, I make mistakes.

There are two words to live by – forgiveness and grace.

 

 

Sounding the Alarm!

Recently a dear loved one fell.  Immediately when I read the charges I cried for them and for their family.  My thoughts did not gravitate towards condemnation but to the words “help us Lord!”  Every single one of us are in danger of crossing a line simply because we live on a fallen planet.  It isn’t enough anymore to recognize we are sinners and need Jesus – we must go further.  We must fight to stay awake, be alert, and aware of the the spiritual battle around us.  God was not kidding when he said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”, 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV).

We need to walk beside one another and cultivate accountability relationships with serious intention.  We must also live out grace, the kind our Lord Jesus grants us so mercifully.  Thankfully Christ’s sacrifice on the cross offers forgiveness for the repentant heart, healing and restoration, and a future!

In the meantime I have decided to embrace these tears and cry with our beloveds, to lift them up in prayer at every waking moment.  We have a bond that goes beyond flesh and blood, we are one in the spirit and when one of us makes a mistake the whole body hurts.

Last night I sat down after a long day and thought it might be nice to zone out by watching something on my computer.  Interesting how even at a time like this we dare entertain the thought of zoning out.  We are untrained and undisciplined and we have been found wanting!  I’ve told myself time and time again that I can be choosier about what I watch on my computer than with the selection that is available on television.  This is not the case anymore.  In fact, was it ever?

One could conclude by using a computer under our personal control, we have less of a chance at compromising our faith.  Sadly, browsing the internet to find some innocent cooking show has become like looking for groceries in an exotic night club.  You might think you are not interested in the “darkness”, but the vulgar pop-up images and ads can eventually dumb you down.

With our dear friend’s name still fresh on my heart, I began to peruse the television show titles on my computer and realized his situation was effecting my choices for the better, but never do we wish to learn important lessons at the expense of another.  A soft voice and pretty face advertisement for a new murder mystery entitled; “Motive”, kept playing in the background, flashing fictitious dead people’s faces to the beat of a ticker tape click as if death itself was merely art.   I scrolled down to read the title of another new show whose pilot was now available, entitled “The Following”.  After reading the synopsis I clicked “play”, thinking the serial killer content would be more mental analysis rather than graphic.  I was wrong and within seconds shut it down but not soon enough to prevent haunting images from sticking to the back of my eyelids.

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to list some of the show titles and their subtitles in order to make a convincing case for abandoning television altogether, but by making a list I bring attention to the very thing I hate.  By my own calculations forty percent of what was available on computer viewing last night was about murder or a death of some kind.  Twenty percent had strong sexual themes not to mention almost every television show today from murder mystery to comedy to talk show – begins or ends with some inappropriate sexual escapade.

In conclusion I would like to apologize to the Lord and to my children.  It is more evident now than it ever has been, that I could have been more diligent in their impressionable years especially with regards to warning them about our soul’s clever enemy.  However, nothing’s saying I can’t be more outspoken now.  Nothing’s keeping me from sounding the alarm!

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

My “New Year” Prayer

The New Year sky is draped in pink, with lower layers of twilight, a hue made from reflecting snow and sunset blue.  The silhouette of barren trees delicately balance the ribbons of color in their branches, waiting for the moon’s signal to bow and let the curtain fall.

And it will fall, time and again just as the sun will rise.  The seasons will continue to ebb and flow like the tide and the wrinkles will come and the newborns will cry.  And I continue to pray, like my Grandmother before me, for my children, and my future children’s children.

There is much to see here on planet earth, much to taste and hold and touch and learn about but nothing like the love of a Father who spoke the stars in place, one to shine on each of us.  He casts His light on this dark world and calls our name, warms our face.  We turn slowly as if surprised that someone beyond our universe could possibly be standing there, could possibly inhabit our hearts!

But He is and He can and as of late I wait and pray and plead with anticipation and expectation for the same sunset truth to flicker in my children’s souls, no matter where they are or what their burdens may be.  I look out my window and back in time to recall the stories of old where waves were drawn up and Seas were crossed, and walls fell down at a trumpet’s sound.  Nothing is impossible with my God, nothing is impossible for Him!  I remember angelic visits, visions and dreams and mouths of lions held shut, fires that could not burn the men inside the flame because of my God!

Then there is His mercy, that no man will ever comprehend or understand or equal.  Oh Lord, be merciful to my children and to me.  Adjust our eyes that we might see, our wills that we may follow you as a soldier plunges forward in the front-lines.  Give us courage to leave what ever our nets may be to run after you.  May we never forget forgiveness is but one word away, one nail away, one tombstone rolled away, and love covers a multitude of sin!