Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My brain surprises me sometimes!!

This is awesome. A friend was pondering the question..."Why do I refuse to let go of things that I KNOW are not best, when I know God has promised something better for me?" My answer has to do with synaptic clefts. OBVIOUSLY!!

Here is how nerves work. They are not continuous stands of nerve cells that run from the source of stimuli to the receptor site that will carry out a response. Oh no. A nerve cell is just so long, it ends, then another, separate cell starts. There is a gap in between called a synaptic cleft. I know you were on the edge of your seats waiting for me to say that. Okay...synaptic cleft, synaptic cleft, synaptic cleft...that should hold you over until my next VERY interesting factoid. So...a nerve impulse (which involves Ca+ gates and such, really boring, I'll spare you) travels down a nerve cell till it gets to the end...WAIT!! There is literally a space that has to be bridged. How will this nerve impulse "jump the shark??" Neurotransmitters that's how. OBVIOUSLY. Welcome the hero of our little story, acetylcholine. My brain remembered ALL of this which in and of itself proves our God is amazing!! But I digress... When the nerve impulse reaches the end of the nerve cell, our bodies are so amazing that acetylcholine is released and literally ferries the nerve impulse to the awaiting nerve cell. And so on and so on until the nerve impulse reaches the appropriate receptor site (the brain, muscles, etc.) Pretty unbelievably cool, right??

The body just works how it was designed...Now back to the question. You thought I forgot because I saw something shiny, didn't you?? Well I DIDN'T!! We were designed to depend on God. He is sufficient, He will provide according to HIS riches in glory. Nerve impulses don't worry whether that neurotransmitter will be released. Nerves take care of the business of nerves. We can take a lesson. Release our grip, that is OUR business. God's business is to sustain us. He will. He promises!!! I think we just try to step in and out think God. Guess what? We can't 'cuz...well...HE'S GOD!!!

Here is your verse for the day. Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." Far more than we can ask or think. That's a lot.

Just let go. When you see that synaptic cleft. The cross takes you to the other side.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is This Love That We're Feelin'??

Remember that Whitesnake song?? That mega power ballad of 1988?? I see you, acting like you didn't love it...well I still wear my hair proudly coiffed like Tawny Kitaen's so I am stating boldly that I was a Whitesnake fan. I can also say definitively this is not the biggest mistake I made in the late 80's....But admit it girls, we all wished we could do cartwheels over the hood of a Jaguar, Yeah, I didn't either.

The point that is so slow in appearing is this notion of "love." I have a HUGE pet peeve. It seems strange to talk about starting a fight with someone over saying "I love you", but this is the truth about me...Is it just me??

How many times in church do you have a marginally familiar acquaintance strike up a conversation with you in the lobby, or demilitarized zone of your crazy cool church. You talk about this and that and realize it is time to move on to the next coffee induced exchange. You swoop in for the Christian side hug and they say, "love you"......WHAT do you do?? Do you leave them that girlfriend/boyfriend that is a little too anxious is barfing out the L word. You know in your heart that you don't actually LOVE just KNOW them from church.

Enter my pet peeve. You know what God said...that he so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, John 3:16. You cannot be anywhere but under a rock in this country and not know what that verse is. THAT is love!!! Not, "hey, you go to my church. I love you." We throw that word around so much that it becomes MEANINGLESS!!! Love is a big deal. How many people have said that to me casually, with good intentions, that I don't even have their phone number to invite them over to dinner???

Love sacrifices, love endures, love hurts alongside you, love protects and love does a whole lot of other stuff too. All I want to say is be careful with such an important word. Love is a big deal not how we feel about a really tasty chili dog. Let's not cheapen the word by attaching it to things that are really meaningless.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I love the way C.S. Lewis communicates. I would say that I wish I could write like him but I know that God uniquely wired me up to be me, not C.S. Lewis. But I ran across something in "The Screwtape Letters" that inspired me this morning. I'll let Lewis tell it his way, "He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs–to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

He is pleased even with their stumbles. I like this...alot. If you don't believe this, read the book of Job. The cosmic wager that Satan initiated with God. The arrogance and assurance with which Satan proposed man was only loyal to God because of what God can do for us. Then God says one of my favorite things, "Have you considered my servant Job?" Do you think God was surprised that Job remained faithful?? Do you think God was surprised that Job questioned and wrestled with God?? God knew Job's heart. Even though Job was the most righteous man on the Earth it was not his piety that God loved. It was Job's heart. Job makes this so clear when he says, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him." Job suffered dearly, but that isn't the point. Job trusted God over anything he felt or experienced.

Take this with you today. Job had lots of questions and was confused about a lot of things. BUT. Job didn't have the benefit of the behind the scenes drama like we do. From the very beginning, before Job lost everything, God had faith in Job too. God knew that Job would come through. God believes in me and he believes in you. He wouldn't have wasted His Son on an unworthy cause.

So to use C.S. Lewis again, God is not so much concerned with the stumbling. It is in the reaching up for Him that matters.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Randomness and Grace

Alright people. I started writing about grace. Which led me to worship and my gratitude for being saved from the wrath that I deserve as a sin-filled person. Then I remembered a question that I posed on my facebook page. Just in case you missed that brilliance: "Would you rather have a ketchup-dispensing navel or a pencil sharpening nostril?" Seriously. What kind of brain could in one second ponder God's wrath on sin and in the next, make a legitimate case for why it would be beneficial to have ketchuppy goodness dispensing at will from my belly button. Now I'm off to the next hair brained train of thought....

Here is my verse for the day, "For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (This is the point where I say a hearty "AMEN") But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Anybody feel foolish? God chose you. Anybody feel weak? God chooses to use His power mightily in you. Have you ever felt low?? or despised in the world?? Jesus Christ was despised more than all of us....and he was blameless. He understands how it feels to take the blame for something that was not His fault. I'm not going to go into some rant about not having to be perfect and God accepting you for what you are. I'm gonna go here instead...

Grace. Pure undeserved grace. You know what the truth about me is?? As weak, and low and wretched as I am...I'm so much worse than I even know. Grace protects me from seeing the full heinous, ugliness of my sin, of your sin. We couldn't stand the shame of knowing the fullness of it. Amazing, beautiful grace. When I am standing in front of Jesus in all His glory, one of the reasons I will sing praises to Him forever is because then I will know. I will see His holiness and I will know what Christ spared me from. I'll know what my fate would have been had He not chosen the weak and imperfect.

I'll probably even forget all about the regret I have for not choosing the pencil sharpening nostril.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Great Big God

I just had a conversation where the story behind the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" was explained to me. There are some theological questions that I won't address but the facts of what happened are undisputed. Don Piper was pronounced dead at the scene of a horrific accident, having been hit head on in his Ford Escort by a semi-tractor trailer. The extent of his injuries are brutally graphic. He has just left a pastor's conference. The paramedics worked on him to no avail and declared him to be dead. 90 minutes later a pastor who had been at the conference came upon the scene, got out and asked if there was anyone there he could pray for. The attendants told him no, they had one fatality. He then heard an audible voice telling him to pray for the man in the car. He then squeezed his way into the backseat of the mangled vehicle and laid his hand on the only appendage that was attached to the dead man. He prayed then started singing the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." After a few minutes, the dead man, Don Piper, started singing along. Ummm...this "dead" guy isn't dead anymore!!!

Okay. Truth time. Do we stop praying sometimes because we resign ourselves to "God's will"? Is that it? Or do we give up because we don't trust Him enough? It would require us to be vulnerable, to keep praying when we feel like it's a done deal. Well, you can't get more done than DEAD!!!

God does POWERFUL things when we pray. Check out James 5:17-18 "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore it's fruit." That is supernatural. Here is some homework for 1 John 5:14-15, Philippians 4:6-7, James 5:16, Romans 8:26, Matthew 17:15. Just for starters.

You know why I think David was a man after God's heart?? Think about it. He was a young shepherd, the youngest son of King Saul, his oldest brother Eliab was the general of Saul's army. There was David, a KID!! But he was indignant that any giant would cast dispersions on the God of Israel!! He refused Saul's armor and walked up to Goliath with a rock and CRACK. GRAVE YARD DEAD, as Jerry Clower would say....David knew his God. David knew what God could do. David knew that God would get the glory because the battle belonged to God ALONE!!

When we give it up to God and lean on His power all we have to do is ask. God knows that our greatest joy, our greatest satisfaction will come when God alone is glorified in us. So let's just pray and allow God to be our Giant killer!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

On Being a Mom

I always wanted to be a mom. I made some pretty stupid choices in my haste to make that happen. But God being what He is, redeemed my stupidity. I got pregnant easily. I have such deep empathy for those for whom that is not the case....I did not deserve the gift that God would slip inside my young and naive womb. I lost two before I would know the joy that would come with holding my son. I was literally terrified I would have a daughter, the result of a very difficult relationship with my own mother. I will save this for future blogs.....We named him Nathaniel which means "gift from God." How appropriate, he is just that.

I know that I would not have experienced the character growth that I have if I had not gone through the sacrificial experience of motherhood. I was a selfish, immature child. My son was born and it wasn't about me anymore. God provided me the profound opportunity to be what I always thought a mom should be. I have failed time and time again, but my children love me anyway. How much more like Christ are they? How much easier do they forgive and wipe my slate clean? I have learned a lot from my boys. I have been sanctified through my children.

I was thinking about Eve and the fall. There were consequences for her choices, for all of us. Can you imagine how Eve must have felt? I can only image, but she must have felt a lot of guilt. That would be a pretty heavy burden to bear, don't you think? But God LOVED her. He loved her enough to die for her. There would come a day when God would use another women, in another time, to redeem EVERYTHING!! Just one young woman and God. A woman, Eve, made a choice and turn from a perfect relationship with God. But God would use one woman, Mary, to bring us a Savior and make restoration of that perfect relationship possible.

Redemption is hard. Jesus knows.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I led worship at a women's conference last year. The speaker was great, inspirational and all that you would expect from that type of event. But on her resume was Christian college, pastor husband, kids that had troubles but had overcome them, etc. I certainly don't want to diminish a person's struggles or cheapen their victory over them. But you know what I was saying in my own head as I listened....Yeah, but.....

Yeah, but. It's the doubt that God can really forgive ME. Sure He can forgive all you, but ME?? Sure Conference Speaker Lady, you called on the God of second chances and He came through for you. Yeah, but me? I need the God of fifteen chances. I had great intentions every time I stood back up after a fall, but I KEEP FALLING!!! God, surely one of these times you will say to me, "Forgiveness DENIED."

This is why I love Josh don't have to be a sports fan to love the heart of this story. He IS a phenom. Amazing athlete. Watch the video to get a little background. But guess what...He fell again. He gave into temptation, again....after all his "God rescued me from it all" He fell. Now THAT is something to which I can relate.

The scripture Josh referred to is James 4:7. Crack out your bible and read it...and keep going. More on that in a second...I don't know of anything more humbling than standing in front of the WORLD and admitting your failings. This is what Josh chose to do, he relapsed and he confessed.... AND his teammates rallied around him. The David vs. Goliath nature of his team the Rangers battling against the Yankees just adds to the drama!! The Rangers hired someone to keep Josh accountable, to be with him, to help him. Out of respect for Josh, the team replace the traditional champagne celebration with Ginger Ale. They love Josh and don't want him to fail.

You know what that's called? Love. That's what love does. Since you had your bible out anyway go to 1 Corinthians 13 and read what love looks like. Does Josh's story move you on some really deep level like it does me?? Here is what I think the reason is. We all know it's just a matter of time before our veneer wears out, our imperfection will be shown, we make a mess out of everything. We need a love that will not fail us, that will be there and not judge us. I need a love that knows EVERYTHING about me and still smiles when it sees me. God invented love and he made the rules. This is how love is.

So we read about humility, this is just being honest about who we are. God goes on to tell us in James
4:8-10, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." If we are just honest, God gives us His promise that He will draw near to us and exalt us. Like the ultimate drill sergeant, we get broken down so God can build us back up into what He created us to be. He builds us back up into a closer likeness of His son, Jesus.

That is a cause for celebration. Somebody break out the Ginger Ale!!