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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

taking care...

 Be shepherds of Gods flock that is under your care, watching over themnot because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
   God opposes the proud 
   but shows favor to the humble
 Humble yourselves, therefore, under Gods mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:2-6 (N IV)

My beloved’s idea of a joke.
Like anybody believes he kisses my feet
...with lipstick???
My husband and I were discussing The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman this weekend.  As an “acts of service” guy, praying on this 24th consecutive day that he would grow in humility, be a good shepherd and a good steward is easy.  Remember, he was born with a mustache, and has a natural affinity for taking care.  And no, he doesn’t need an S on his chest…he expects to do (well) what he does. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deceived into unbelief? Not likely…

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
   “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding
   you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
 For this people
s heart has become calloused
   they hardly hear with their ears,
   and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
   hear with their ears,
   understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them
Matthew 13:14-15

My husband has read the bible (Genesis to Revelation and the Apocrypha) at least twice, maybe 3 times?? He’s at it again.  I may be one of the few people on the planet who knows.  He’d never talk about it; it’s nobody’s business.  He’s just making certain to know what he knows…that’s who he is.  Like my husband, I know what I know; Monday will follow Sunday, the Sun does NOT revolve around the Earth (though a 1999 Gallup poll reveals that 20% of Americans still think it does), and after 23 days of praying for my husband and nearly 19 years of wedded bliss, he is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to be deceived into unbelief. 

I would not describe my husband as a skeptic.  Wikipedia defines skepticism as “an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object.  Nope.  He is certainly not a cynic, whom Dictionary.com defines as "a person who believes only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.  Nope, not him either.  He's a man of faith, reason, and logic, and because he is not easily deceived, nobody, not even someone well meaning but poorly grounded, is likely to get very far.  Not even me. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Like getting an orchid to bloom...

if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:8-10

Been trying for years...finally got
my orchid to bloom.
So the inevitable question arises, how to trigger new orchid bloom? And the answer is both simple and complex because coaxing orchids to produce flowers requires a measure of patience and a number of meticulous steps…”

This morning I prayed that my husband would continue to love me as God commands.  I often say, “I love that man.” I don’t say often enough “that man really knows how to love me.”  And I am not easy.

Sometimes my life feels like Harlem after the snowstorm in The Wiz.  I’ve accomplished much professionally, but find myself in a new place, and challenged to figure it out through Grace and Faith.  Some women desire a traditional life, home to guard kith and kin.  I have friends who prayed for nothing more.  This was never my dream. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

sweet and sour, like grapefruit cupcakes....

Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
   How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them, 
   they would outnumber the grains of sand
   when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalms 139:16-18

National Honey Board/AP Photo
If your self-image is a little sweet and a little sour, you'd love my 
pink grapefruit cupcakes.  They were delightful.  
Today marks three weeks of sacrificial prayer for my husband. Today’s prayer is that my husband’s self-image would be a reflection of the Lord’s thoughts toward him.  If you’ve ever mothered a child, this concept is simple…remember how you loved everything about that little person long before you ever held them that first time? 

Today’s challenge for all of us is to see, to love ourselves and one another the way we are loved by God…that we might see our beauty, our potential, our unlimited opportunities through Grace.  What’s your self-image? Is it Divinely inspired? If it’s not, you’ve got some work to do, and all the inspiration you might need is in The Book. 

The Book...an undeniably reliable resource….a very good thing…and the 21st day’s assurance that God is good.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

strange women and evil men...

He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
 A good man leaves an inheritance to his childrens children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:20, 22

Three weeks tomorrow of sacrificial praying for my husband…I might just have a future as an intercessor….this experience has been such a blessing to me.  Today’s charge--that my beloved be kept safe from “strange women and evil men.” We’ve been laughing about THAT one ALL day. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

home church, technology, and fried shark*...(shark is on the endangered list...we eat swordfish)

Listen, my son, accept what I say, 
   and the years of your life will be many. 
 I instruct you in the way of wisdom 
   and lead you along straight paths. 
 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered
   when you run, you will not stumble
Proverbs 4:10-12 (NIV)

This one’s easy.  On the 19th day of sacrificial praying for my husband, I pray God will continue blessing my husband’s leadership of our family in spiritual growth, worship, and corporate prayer.  We call it “home church.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The quiet teacher...

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

In “Walk this way,” I wrote about my husband, who learned by observing his father.  And so he teaches our son.   Today’s prayer, on the 18th day, is that my husband will fulfill the Great Commission.  My husband instructs in silence.  He is the quiet teacher. 

When our son was little, we dressed him for church in comfortable clothes; khakis, button downs, polo shirts and sweaters.  He looked smart, a little preppy, but relaxed and put together.  Once he was old enough to develop a voice and a perspective on fashion, he insisted on wearing ties to church.  Why? Because that’s how daddy dresses.  By observation he learned what was appropriate. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Like getting your coffee with an espresso shot…

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Ephesians 3:16-17

17 consecutive days of intercessory prayer makes (this) one ravenous.  I have done more seeking, studying, and praying about intercession since I started… that is its own blessing. 

my second and last morning cuppa
Today’s scripture and prayer for my husband is that his strength might be renewed despite busyness and over scheduling, unreasonable expectations and never enough time…and that the infusion might come directly from The Father.  Hmmm…being tapped in to an unlimited source--like getting your coffee with an espresso shot. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

blog in the form of a dream...really

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)

Today’s blog came in the form of a dream…really.  I think I scared the (not expletive deleted, but something deleted) out of my husband when I ninja kicked off all the sheets and our denim comforter (shipping weight 12.7 pounds). Okay, so let me start at the beginning, sort of.  Usually, in the 15 preceding days that I’ve prayed for my husband, I started the blog with the subject of the daily prayer…hold on, we’ll get to that in time, and in another stunning reversal…I’m going to start this blog with the line usually reserved for the ending…God is good.

Ailey American Dance Theater's Linda Celeste Sims.
Photo by Andrew Eccles.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clear about his provision….

Who were the people that made God angry for forty years? Weren't they the ones that sinned and died in the desert? And who did God say would never enter his place of rest? Weren't they the ones that disobeyed him? We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith.
Hebrews 3:17-19 (CEV)

Today’s prayer is that my husband would be clear about from whence his blessings come.  He is…of this I am certain.  I hear it in our son, who is so much like his dad.  I hear it in the confidence with which he reassures me…when I’m usually the one seeing all the glasses half full.  He is clear.  He always has been. 

I thank God that when I am anxious, he is clear.  I thank God that when I worry, he is calm.  I thank God that when I am sad, he lifts my spirits sharing the Blessed Assurance it is clear he has. 

Yes, I’m a girl in love.  I’m a girl still in love with the man I’ve been loving for nearly 35 years.  And love, enriched and inhabited by the Grace of God is the best reminder I find that God is good.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

keys lost and found, an iPod lost and found, and the love of a husband...

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 
Ephesians 5:22-28 (NIV)

Day 14…all about me.  This isn’t easy, so I’m just diving in.  This is my testimony, not a sermon.  Day 14 means submitting to my husband, and praying that he is worthy of my yielding.  Submission is no easy topic, but if you’ll stay with me, hopefully, you’ll see what I learned, from the perspective of faith. 

Yesterday, my daughter and I were heading out the door.  I stalled when I couldn’t find my keys.  (Legendary loser-of-things, I do not play hide and seek.  Rather, I border on obsessive-compulsion ONLY about putting certain things in their place.  Every member of our household knows where my keys live; whether I move them or not, they should be in their place. ) I simply couldn’t find them, until I remembered my husband taking my car, and wondering… 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How you fit "born with a mustache," night blooming jasmine, and late night kung fu in one blog...

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11(NKJV)

I am not superstitious.  The fact that this is day 13 of prayer means nothing at all to me, except that it falls between days 12 and 14.  On this day, my prayer is that my beloved might continue to grow spiritually; being done with childish things, that he would continually cultivate, understand, and press toward the likeness of Christ.  It is a prayer that he would grow up.  On this day, mine is a prayer of thanksgiving…I have never had any such concerns about my husband.  According to my father-in-law, he was born with a mustache.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Put it on...

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

My husband wears hand tied bow ties; not exclusively, but often enough that they belong to him…are part of his signature style.  I find few things more intoxicating than watching him get dressed…( I really love this man).  As I prayed for him today, praying that he would remain strong in his faith, facing adversity with peace, confident in his covering of everlasting Grace, I imagined his morning rituals as I read the scripture…
So far, I’ve devoted 12 consecutive days to sacrificial prayer for my husband.  Here’s today’s lesson…while most of us regularly pray Stormie Ormartian favorite prayer according to her book, The Power of a Praying Wife, “Change him, Lord,” I am reaping the blessings of God’s favorite prayer…Lord, change me…and He is listening. That He hears reminds me that God is good.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Peace and prayer...

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

For the first 10 years of our marriage, we worshipped in the Anglican Church.  It is where we met, it is the fellowship into which my husband’s family entered as émigrés, where the parish priest christened our children and blessed our home.  Each Sunday, after readings from the Old Testament and the Gospels, we Passed the Peace…proclaiming our faith and declaring our peace with God and with one another.  Today, joyfully, I pray my husband’s continued peace.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Called, not driven…

Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)

10 days, and nearly a third of the way into my commitment of sacrificial prayer for my husband.  Each day I tell him what I’m praying about...we talk about the day ahead, what’s planned, or in the evenings what transpired.  This may not be the kind of conversation occurring between spouses everywhere, but as for me and my house…
Today I thank God that my husband is called, not driven. 

Being driven gets a bad rap.  According to Mark Oestreicher, youth minister and partner in an organization called The Youth Cartel

“being driven coerces us. Passion (I’m defining passion as a calling for purposes of this discussion…)seduces us; being driven guilts us. Passion is invitational; being driven is prescriptive. Passion is inquisitive; being driven is punitive. Passion is full of emotion; being driven is cold and calculating.

This morning I thanked God that the man I know has been called; has passion about what he does.  He knew what he wanted to become in life as a child (thankfully, our children are that way…unike their dreamer of a mom), and accomplished it.  He has pursued his calling professionally, uses that talent for family and friends, and has occasionally been called upon (I didn’t write that on purpose, I promise) to use his talents for our church.  He lives his passion, and enjoys what he does. I think that is exceptional, and while I was talking to God, I thanked Him for that too.

Speaking of talking, I found a quote that ended up on FB as my status update…Diana Robinson said, “Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen...“ I like that…and I think I’ve talked enough for one day. So, I’m off to run my errands, and then back to clean my house.  And warm leftovers, including the macaroni pie I made for Sunday dinner (Macaroni Pie is NOT the same as Mac and Cheese, though it is very good, and yes, there is a recipe coming…)

Lord, I’m listening now, and knowing that I will hear Your Voice, knowing that You love me enough to talk to me, is my blessing.  My daily reminder that God is good. 

Today’s Feast: Macaroni Pie 

Backstory~ Macaroni Pie is NOT Mac and Cheese.  Macaroni Pie is the Caribbean cousin on steroids, so dense that bubbling right out of the oven, it must be cut into squares.  Every family makes it theirs, using a particularly shaped pasta, adding minced garlic, onion, pepper, and/or a blend of cheeses.  We eat both my mother’s Mac and Cheese, and the Macaroni Pie I have come to love.  I usually riff my own recipes, but this one you gotta get right, so I am borrowing this from the Naparima Girls School Cookbook.

I package (8 oz) macaroni (any shape you have will do)
2 eggs
2 C cheese (I mix yellow and white cheddar, add some shaved parmesan, and always go liberal in the measure)
1 can evaporated milk
Dash of salt
¼ t white pepper
Dash of garlic powder

Cook and drain the pasta.  Beat the eggs until they are fluffy and add remaining ingredients, reserving about ¼ C of cheese.  Preheat oven to 350, and bake until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy, particularly with brown stewed chicken and a watercress and arugula salad (ooh, don’t get me started!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Mirror Test

May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing other's sawdust.
Matthew 7

Chauffeured my husband to the train station this morning…generally I don’t, but with one home sick and it being Valentine’s Day, he asked--I happily obliged.  We sneaked in an early date, exchanging cards and sharing croissants and coffee from the bakery.  Just as he sauntered toward the train and away from the car, I kissed him and said, “may my love and prayers cover you all day today.” My husband passes the Mirror Test. 

Today’s prayer for him is that that he would remain self-aware, noticing and working prayerfully, on his faults.  My husband is a master of self-awareness, something I both admire and to which I aspire.  My husband passes the Mirror Test. 

yes, it is Valentine’s Day.  
This is the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.  
No, I did not make this one…
The Mirror Test, according to Wikipedia, “is a measure of self-awareness, as animals either possess or lack the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror.” Every day, each of us has the opportunity to both be the mirror, and see ourselves reflected in others.  When you take a moment…how do you look?

I have learned that people whom I find most challenging are generally those dealing with things I need to change in me.  That’s why I find them so frustrating.  If I don’t like my habit or behavior, I certainly don’t like it reflected, when, whether or not I am sufficiently self-aware at that moment, I am aware that “it’s not a good look.”  If I don’t like what I see in the mirror…now what?

Lessons come from the most unlikely places.  Today’s lesson comes courtesy of Michael Jackson from the album Bad, released nearly a quarter century ago.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer,
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

There you have it, my sermon on Matthew 7:3 via the pop charts.  Surprised? Don’t be, because when He needs to get your attention, He does.  And that kind of love, that personalized, laser-focused, yeah I’m whispering just to you in this big ol’ crowd, has got to be sufficient evidence, on this day, that God is good.

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