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Archive for July, 2008

Manipulation

Heard first-hand a coach at a Christian School describe a hurtful conversation. A dad was upset that his daughter did not receive a sports award. He actually called the headmaster first instead of the coach. When he did call the coach, he accused the coach of playing favorites (this particular daughter was the captain of the team, so not sure where dad was coming from). He then said, "Well, don’t be surprised." Apparently, this girl has transferred schools.

Why do Christians try and intimidate or emotionally/mentally/spiritually manipulate each other? Why can’t we simply disagree and steer clear of intimidation and manipulation? Why can’t we just rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15) and not feel insulted if things go well for others?

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"I was senseless and ignorant;
       I was a brute beast before you."

I read this on Monday, July 28, 2008, at the B house. I had been belittled again and I finally found a moment of peace and saw a copy of Morning and Evening by C. Spurgeon. I had heard of this devotional and was only curious because it was on a table next to me in a nice leather binding. What are the odds of my picking up this classic devotional for the first time (Someone actually had given me a copy of one reading some years ago and I still have it), and it being the date which contains the above verse? This is the verse which helped my through my trials of 2003. It described me perfectly, was a clear indication that God was lovingly correcting me, and helped me get back on track and thinking correctly.

I’m telling ya, sometimes God goes beyond "flooring me" to the state of "paralyzingly awestruck."

It is interesting that the next verse says, "you hold me by my right hand." As a brute beast, I was, and can still be, all over the place, kicking and bucking and out of control. The KJV says, "So foolish was I." Still, God has never let go and he goes even further – "You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory." He doesn’t let go, he guides me in spite of my stubbornness, and he still has a place for me in his presence. I am speechless.

God, your adopted son is blown away at how specific and timely your attention is toward me.

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My First Day Back

Today we are home. Took my last day off so I could rest up from my vacation. It is 3:50 pm and I still haven’t read. That should have been the first thing, but I started laundry, ate and played a game. Then I checked the mail. Got a letter today from the IRS asking that we turn in three forms to verify some claims and the due date is today. I was irritated and laughing at the same time.

I know that things would’ve been the same even if I had read first thing this morning (or would they have been?). The notice was sent out 20 days ago. We made the error a few months ago. But, it was a reminder that God is not kidding. Our priorities are out of whack and we have become lazy and forgetful.

Since my mind was all discombobulated, I decided to write and get my mind back in gear. I couldn’t have read in my state of mind!

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Tuesday morning, b-fast with JA at King Street Deli – Covered lots of ground. Listening to him, it was like he attended a SonScape retreat like K and I did 5 years ago. He mentioned 1st Corinthians 15:10 – "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect." It seems to be his life verse and it is a reminder that part of our growth, perhaps a majority of our growing process, is being "comfortable in our own skin," that is, accepting God’s daily grace, accepting our adoption and our creation gifts and spirtual gifts, as well as his calling for us. I was also remindeded of 1st Thess. 2:8 – "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." The reason it hurts JA and I and other ministers so much when we get criticized is because ministry is not a job for us – it is who we are, it is who we were made to be. We don’t just speak to speak – we want to direct people to the Lord. If anything, we don’t want to be noticed! We want the Lord to be noticed! So, to criticize something we do or say, is to criticize us as people. This is why it is especially important for me and others like me to work hard at learning, remembering and applying what God says about us. That way, we can separate our identity from the criticism of things we do and say.

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Found out Monday that I didn’t know how to color, clean a grill or cook hot dogs. This time the remarks were by children (chronological children I mean). Do adults imitate children or do children imitate adults?

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So on the 25th, I found out that I don’t really qualify as an adult and I don’t know how to drive. I know, you’re thinking I’ve been hanging out with children, right? Nope.

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Been a rougher week than I could’ve imagined. Feel like I’ve been chopped away at like a tree by an axe. Feel like I’ve been pecked to near death like a cat in a bird sanctuary. I am hurting. Badly. Ashamed of who I am. Ashamed of what I do. Feel stupid. Feel torn down. Feel like a loser. Feel less respected than a criminal. Feel treated worse than a criminal.  My gut is twisted. I’d like to explode in violent anger. I’d like to run away. I’d just like to lie down and never get up except to eat and use the restroom. And I haven’t even been around non-Christians.

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