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Showing posts from May, 2016

linger not

“‘He lingered.’ (Genesis 19:16) Do not be a lingering soul.

Would you know what the times demand?—The shaking of nations,—the uprooting of ancient things,—the overturning of kingdoms,—the stir and restlessness of men’s minds—what do they say? They all cry aloud,—Christian! do not linger!

Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing,—your loins girded,—your lamp burning. yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy much sensible comfort in your religion,—feel the witness of the Spirit within you,—know whom you have believed,—and not be a gloomy, complaining, sour, downcast, and melancholy Christian? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy strong assurance of your own salvation, in the day of sickness, and on the bed of death?—Would you see with the eye of faith heaven opening, and Jesus rising to receive you? Then do not linger!

Would you leave great broad evidences behind you when you are gone?—Would you like us to lay you in the gra…

twenty-three

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I can see two pilgrims treating the highway of life together, hand in hand -- heart linked to heart. True, they have had rivers to ford, mountains to cross, fierce enemies to fight and many dangers to go through. But their Guide was watchful, their Deliverer unfailing, and of them it might truly be said, "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and he bare them and carried them all the days of old."
- Susannah Spurgeon (source)


As of this coming Sunday, the earth will have orbited the sun 23 times since we said "I Do". It's been a lifetime of long days and short years, seasons of plenty and of want. Our life together is etched upon our hands. When we join them, the olive of his skin stands in sharp contrast to the fairness of mine.

We have seen sleepless nights and better mornings. We have witnessed the miracle of birth and the sorrow of death. We have forgiven, and we h…

leaving the drum line

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I was part of the flag corps in high school. Each year we traveled with the band to participate in a large parade. Our band was exceptional, but crowd always came alive when the drum line kicked into high gear. The onlookers didn't understand that the drum line's primary function wasn't to perform flashy solos - which always garnered a great deal of attention and applause - but to keep us in time while we marched.

I have to admit it.  I loved it when the drummers showed off. All these years later, I still remember how much I envied their talent.

It seems that drum-bangers are everywhere these days. Political, social, theological - there's a drum line for any cause out there. I've been quick to join them, pounding away as loudly as I could. Begging to be heard. Drowning out those around me. Trying to force them to follow my beat.


Lately I've been wondering if my banging has made me deaf to the cries of those around me. I have been content to debate, to look as …

truth, laid bare

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It's a terrible thing

to realize you're not who you've always thought you were.

to live under the threat of a flood of tears that will
melt away the mask
and expose you.

to see the spindly cracks in the facade
ready to split wide
and leave you open.

to feel the heat of the impending derision and scorn

and wonder if there is enough grace
   to heal your hurt
   to cover your weaknesses
   to forgive your sins.
~~~~~~~~
Joe Fox asked the question, Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts – your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open? Yes I feel it, down to the depths of my dark heart.
Today the Pharisee in me - the one who grumbles that Jesus "receives sinners" (Luke 15:2) -  has gone quiet. For I can no longer escape the plight of my soul; I am a sinner. Yet, in nothing short of a miracle, Jesus has received me. And he has loved me to the end (John 13:1).

King David …

rejoicing will come

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“Be not cast down in heart to hear that the world barketh at Christ’s strangers, both in Ireland and in this land; they do it because their Lord hath chosen them out of this world.

And this is one of our Lord’s reproaches, to be hated and ill-entreated by men. The silly stranger, in an uncouth country, must put up with a smoky inn and coarse cheer, a hard bed, and a barking, ill-tongued host.

It is not long to the day, and he will continue his journey upon the morrow, and leave them all. Indeed our fair morning is at hand, the day-star is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home.

What does it matter if we are mistreated in the smoky inns of this miserable life? We are not to stay here, and we will be dearly welcomed by Him to whom we go.

And I hope, when I shall see you clothed in white raiment, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and shall see you even at the elbow of your dearest Lord and Redeemer, and a crown upon your head, and following our Lamb and lovely Lo…

morning commute

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Underneath a canopy of steely gray, I leave the safety of home. My heart lingers for a moment, begins to count the moments until my family is reunited here once more.

The road ahead of me is too familiar. Years of travel have veiled its beauty - the deep greens of the grass, the new herd of ewes, the stately houses that have been standing longer than I have been.

The steady rain nourishes the crops, recently planted. Sprigs of life have escaped the dark soil, drinking deeply. I breathe in rhythm with the windshield wipers.

The aroma of coffee permeates the air. I reach down to feel its warmth against the cool dampness of the morning.

I arrive twelve minutes later. I cannot will myself to quiet the engine. Soon enough I will be lost in a sea of fluorescent lights, constant rings, and unfamiliar voices.

I pause. Strengthened by the soft staccato of raindrops and piano keys, I brace myself for the coming tide.

sticky

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It started with the desire to be acknowledged. Swat.

But acknowledgment wasn't enough. I wanted to be right. Swat.

Then I wanted to be acknowledged as being right. Pounce.

Before I knew it, I was tangled up in the stench and mess. The harder I wrestled, the filthier and stickier I got. Meanwhile, the enemy was rolling in laughter just as Brer Fox did.

By God's grace I'm learning that even though the tar baby might often appear friendly and harmless, sometimes the best thing to do is walk away and leave it to melt in the hot summer sun.

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him...But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness...
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
- 2 Timothy 2:4,16,23 (ESV)



from the past

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Papa's cool gaze catches my eye. He is thinner than I ever knew him to be. I look at that half smile, the one I saw so often, and tears play at the corners of my eyes. It's been almost three decades since I heard him tell me how much he loved me.

Mema is a beauty with that smart dress and jet black hair. Her eyes are as sparkly as the ornaments on the Christmas tree. She has been gone for 10 years now, but a quilt she stitched still warms me on cool winter nights.

The boy in the striped shirt and the girl in the lace collar are less familiar to me. I recognize them as second cousins I saw infrequently during my childhood.

It is the girl on the end - in a dress I imagine to be an emerald green that would have perfectly matched her eyes - who captures me. Those eyes pierce my heart. She looks unhappy, and my heart aches just a little. Did she dislike having her picture taken even then? What did she ask for that Christmas? What were her hopes and dreams?

If I had seen this pictu…

on the front porch

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A news story about cicada bugs, and childhood memories come rushing. They are so strong that I can smell Mema's White Shoulders perfume, feel the crinkle of her favorite housecoat (a robe would have been much too fancy for her). I've long since forgotten the granny square crochet pattern she taught me, but I still remember how accomplished I felt when I completed my first - and only - square. My summer visits with her and Papa meant simple Southern cooking, "coffee-milk", car rides to nowhere, and trips to the Tastee Freez for ice cream sundaes.

My favorite time of day came after dinner was finished and the dishes were washed and put away. Mema and I would walk next door and join Mrs. Ruth on her porch. Most often it was just the three of us, but sometimes another neighbor would saunter over from across the street. The cicada bugs provided the background melody to their voices graveled by years of smoke. Lightning bugs sparkled in the air as I listened to tales carve…