but even if…

Cat-Poop Pies or Golden Nuggets?

When I was a kid, we had a giant sandbox. It was more of a sand pile, actually – leftover builder’s grade sand with lots of big pebbles in it. Some sparkled in the sun, which made for some pretty good treasure hunting. My little brother and I spent hours prospecting for gold with plastic sifters, sometimes instead finding mysterious squishy presents left behind by our cats – felines are such givers.

We soon learned that these moldable clumps made excellent mud pies. I’m not sure if I realized we were actually making cat-poop pies, or whether I would have cared. I was a barefoot, outdoor-loving, creek-tromping six-year-old who’d just moved from the city to the country. As long as I wasn’t eating the pies, all ingredients were fair game.

With this backstory in mind, you might understand why this C.S. Lewis quote has always struck a chord with me:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I steer clear of making mud pies out of anything that could be found in our cat’s litter box. But I do have to ask myself – what kind of mud pies am I making these days? What worldly distractions or fleshly desires tempt me? And what should I do about it?

Are You Broken or Bent?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about brokenness.

There was a pop song awhile back (by Pink & Nate Ruess) that contained the lyric “we’re not broken, just bent…” I found that idea so intriguing, but wasn’t sure what the Lord was saying to me through it.

Sometimes Christianese terms like “brokenness” start to feel trite after a while and it’s good to step back and reexamine. Typically, we tend to equate brokenness with being a mess of some sort – steeped in sin, beaten down by life, etc.

There are even some who have built churches around this theme… “Come, be broken with us.” Somehow this doesn’t sit quite right with me. Not that we can’t admit we’re messed up… I agree we need to recognize our need. But I feel that we get stuck there.

Perhaps our idea of brokenness is bent.

Heartsong

My source. My center.

Ours.

Father… Heart.

Pulsating, beating.

Jesus… Pathway.

Reaching, saving.

Spirit… Life.

Indwelling, flowing.

Together, in unison.

Renewing life. Delivering love.

To every extremity.

Back. Forth. Back.

For all. Through all.

A rhythm. A song. A dance.

His music flows through my veins. Our veins.

The very blood of God.

Poured out. Connecting. Sustaining.
Your Body. Your Bride.

Beckoning, “Come.”

I’m invited. We’re invited.

Father… Our Heart.

Jesus… Our Veins.

Spirit… Our Blood.

One heartbeat. One pulse.

Steady. True.

Am I listening? Are we listening?

Spiritual BBQ Sauce?

In Acts 4, the disciples pray that they might speak God’s Word with boldness. Sometimes I use timidity (shyness, fear, etc.) as an excuse to shrink back. I don’t feel confident, so I don’t act. Or if I do act (in spite of my lack of confidence) I still allow that feeling to get the best of me. These feelings are not of the Spirit. It’s me trying to act in my own strength instead of His. But God has not given us a spirit of timidity.

Boldness is better, right? Potentially. But untempered by the Spirit, boldness can be impulsive, arrogant, brash – more bravado than bravery (a good example of this is Peter’s behavior prior to receiving the Holy Spirit).

So what might speaking with true, Spirit-filled boldness might look like?

Before You Scratch That Itch…

This morning on the way to school, the kids asked me why God created poison ivy. Not so good at thinking on my feet, and since we were in the car and I couldn’t Google the answer, I fell back on the tried and true (or tired and presumably true) response to these sorts of questions. “Well, kids… it’s a fallen world,” I said, using the prescribed mix of sadness and acceptance in my voice.

The kids said little in response, probably unsatisfied by the stock answer, and I think we changed the subject. I wasn’t sure if I liked my answer, either. I mean, it just leaves you with sort of a slump. And, left incomplete, it doesn’t paint God as the hero He is, which is something I always want to help highlight for my kids.

So as I drove home and made my morning coffee, I asked God more about it. And that’s how I found out that God can speak through anything. Even poison ivy. (Spoiler alert: I don’t mean in the burning bush sense, so if you’re picturing a talking plant vine, it wasn’t quite like that.)

Genesis 1:2 – A surprising revelation

I am no scientist. While all of this is fascinating to me, it begins to hurt my brain a little. And this is when I pull back and ask God if it matters that I understand. Sometimes the only value in seeking these answers is that it shows a heart that wants to better know God and His ways. If we are trying to answer these questions merely to satisfy ourselves, it may be better to abort mission. To be honest, I’ve been considering doing just that with this study of Genesis. I’m feeling that I’m getting so bogged down in dissection, that I’m missing the bigger picture. There has to be a balance of the tension between truth and humble awe. I believe it is at the crux of the two that we experience revelation.

And so I sit at His feet and ask, “Lord, what do You want me to know about Genesis 1:2?” His answer is often the same when I pose a question like this. It somehow always comes as a surprise, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning…

Welcome to Genesis 1… the perfect place to start, don’t you think? I should say at the outset, this is the first written Bible study I’ve shared. I don’t have a theology degree or any human credentials to speak of, just a heart for God and extracting layers of truth from His Word. I fully acknowledge that I may not always get it right. But being as though brilliant Bible scholars and teachers through the years have often disagreed and no human mind can fully comprehend the ways of God and always be correct, I’d say we’re in fine company. So if you’re studying along, this is your study too. Don’t be shy… feel free to post ideas and thoughts; I welcome respectful critique, challenges, corrections and questions. I do ask, however, that we do so in a way that honors God and each other. :)

All that said… maps on our laps and away we go!

Genesis ::: An Overview

The Ultimate Map vs. Jenny Garmin

Call me old-school, but I miss maps. Maps are clear (assuming you can trust the designer). You can see where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go. Are they cumbersome and bulky? Yes. Do they possibly require you to pull over and take a moment to reconsider your route? Yes. But I’m willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience in the short run to save frustration in the long-run. Being lost sucks.

Enter, the GPS. We call ours Jenny Garmin (she just sounds like a Jenny somehow). I’m sure Jenny is a lovely gal and all, but she’s not so good at her job, kind of a slacker. She not only gets me lost, but I usually end up having several near-miss accidents when trying to navigate busy highways through cities. She understands in theory where I need to be, but doesn’t always pick the best way to get me there. She often doesn’t know about roadblocks and detours and doesn’t always communicate clearly. One way or another, I usually end up stressed out when I rely on her.

What do maps and Jenny Garmin have to with Genesis? I’m so glad you asked.

Le Pain & Whine Transformed… Part deux :)

I once waited tables at a fancy-pants restaurant that boasted on its wine cellar full of dusty bottles the elite could swirl and sip for about the same price-tag as three months of rent for me. During a wine-tasting training session I was offered a $50 swig. I enjoyed wine and was excited to sample this luxury, which in the end tasted a lot like licking a tree. “Mmmm, oakey.” So take the following treatise on wine for what it’s worth, coming from a girl who’s had more boxed wine than bottled. But before you write me off as completely uncouth, I do believe what you put the wine in does matter. My Man taught me that.