"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Do You Have a Religious Preference?

I was going along just fine answering all the questions the sweet girl behind the computer screen was asking so I could have my pre-op lab work done. My name, my address, my social, and on and on.  No blink from either one of us.  She asked.  I answered. Until ...  

"Do you have a religious preference?"  

I have to admit, the quick response in my head was, "No."  After all, I don't think it really matters if you're United Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian or Church of God.  I've known some might fine Godly people in all those circuits and more.  But I quickly surmised that was not what she was asking.  Which led me to my next dilemma. What IS my religious preference? Well, I enjoy liturgical and contemporary, but I don't think that's what she meant either. Then there's the fact that I spent the first 40+ years in a United Methodist church, so I'm very "Wesleyan" in my doctrine, but I now belong to a non-denominational church yet spend every Sunday morning leading in worship at a Presbyterian church.  

I figured the girl behind the desk really didn't care about all that ... and so I just smile and said, "Christian." (Of course, I couldn't just leave it at that, I had to add Protestant Christian -- as opposed to Catholic.) She just smiled and said, "We've heard it all."  And I bet she has.

I don't know why that whole "religious preference" thing threw me so. If she had only asked if I had a Savior preference, then my answer would have been immediate and sure.  "Yes, Jesus Christ." 

Thank goodness she could just LOOK at me and see what "race" I belong to.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

Just an ordinary moment...

A Cup Overflowing, 861-880

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, 
and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High;
To tell of Your loving-kindness early in the morning 
and of Your faithfulness in the night season;
For as it was in the beginning, it is now and evermore shall be.
Psalm 92:1-2, Gloria

#861  homemade strawberry and cream pie

#862  fresh pears picked from a tree my grandfather planted decades ago

#863  fig season ... and bugs

#864  summer's last attempt with green sprigs

#865  rays of hope in difficult seasons

#866  rain streaks lit by the sun

#867  a spider's catch

#868  that God's grace is always enough and His power fulfilled

#869  for the consolation God brings through nature's waking -- the sun, the birds' songs, the cicadas, squirrels at play, the green of the trees

#870  a reuniting after a season apart

#871  a small sparrow's breakfast in the rain

#872  a beautifully woven spiderweb glistening in the sun just outside my window

#873  random outdoor church service under the shade of an oak

#874  living in a small town

#875  experiencing much needed community while standing in line at Subway

#876  morning light high in the pines

#877  that I said "Yes" 35 years ago

#878  hearing "G-Nan!" again after such a long span

#879  little boys at play

#880  sun peaking through


Friday, November 8, 2013

Upping my Fool Quotient at the Gym

Several weeks ago when I stepped on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness, I placed my bluetooth bud in my left ear and touched "start" on my Couch to 5K app and then placed another plug in my right ear to connect to the TV in front of me.  The Andy Griffeth Show is a wonderful way to pass those minutes of torture for me. But when I pressed the button, nothing happened, and so I called the manager Bob to come over and I asked him if there was anything wrong with the TV, and he confirmed that indeed there was and the repairman would be in later that week.  So I just replaced the bud in my right ear with the other bluetooth ear piece and cranked up my music.  I have an assortment of artists on my lists, but this particular morning Daniel Bashta was singing loud and clear.

Praise the Invisible, praise the Immortal One
Praise God Incarnate, praise Father, Spirit, Son
For He is God, for He is holy
For He holds the keys to the grave
And forever He will reign

We lift our hands up higher
We raise our voice louder
To the Only Wise, Eternal King...

About 20 minutes into my "run" (I walk faster than I run), the gentleman next to me got off his treadmill and motioned to me.  I unplugged my ear piece and he said, "I'm finished here if you want to get on this one.  The TV works."  I thanked him and said, "No, but thank you.  I'm okay."  And then he said, "I like to pray when I walk, too."  

I thought, "Dang it.  Have I been singing out loud?" for as loudly as I was singing in my head, I was SURE I was not singing with my voice.  Or was I?  I don't know.

Of course, I just had to laugh at myself and chalk up another one for looking foolish to those about me.  Or rather SOUNDING foolish.

But isn't that what the Word says we sojourners are going to look like to the world.  Spectacles?  Fools?  However, I don't think it's talking about singing or praying out loud on the treadmill. I think it's saying that God's way of thinking and doing is not the world's way. Like

  • loving your enemies
  • praying for those who persecute you
  • giving up your life in order to save it
  • being last in order to be first
  • forgiving someone who doesn't ask for forgiveness
  • being kind to someone who doesn't deserve it

Just try doing one of those things and I can promise, you will look foolish to the world. But here's the upswing, you will be mighty wise in the eyes of the Lord.

Oh, you can also just pop in your earbuds, crank up the music and sing your little heart out. It worked for me.

Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools.  
1 Corinthians 4:10

So what's your fool quotient?

Just an ordinary moment...

A Cup Overflowing, 841-860

Accept, O Lord, the willing tribute of my lips...
Psalm 119:108a

#841  reconnecting with Diane after 20+ years and being able to express my gratitude for the way she walked and cared for my firstborn when he was an infant in the church nursery

#842  seeing the little things through the eyes of Adrianne

#843  a gift in the mail from a daughter-in-love -- Bread and Wine -- and the sweet note inscribed

#844  evening sky set ablaze
#845  the way the female cardinal tosses her crested head back and forth as if to get attention

#846  the sound of early morning rain

#847  frozen yogurt -- for supper! but only when the men are out of town ...

#848  making it through week 3 on Couch to 5K

#849  that He wakes me early so we can take care of some unfinished business

#850  the buzz of the bee just outside my window

#851  a much needed ride on the water

#852  meeting Louis and his family at Johnny's Pizza and just visiting for awhile

#853  prayer resources

#854  a daughter leading in worship

#855  that God called me to a more disciplined prayer life BEFORE the waves broke over me

#856  morning Scripture that delivers hope

#857  the sound of approaching wind

#858  that moment of realizing that the song singing in my head is a Beatles classic: "We all live in a yellow submarine..." -- at 5:08 a.m.!!!  and just having to laugh

#859  little ones in church: worship can be wearing

#860  evening Mexican and morning Campesino spent with these two


Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Cup Overflowing, 821-840

"The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"
Henry Ward Beecher

#821  a rainbow after a rain

#822  safe passage of a middle child across an ocean

#823  a lit candle ushering in sacred space

#824  one feeder -- a dozen finches

#825  longing for the Way

#826  the smell of fresh green bell peppers being chopped

#827  a red-headed woodpecker on the pole and a red-bellied and downy woodpecker on the tree -- all foraging for insects

#828  peacock wall decor that brings me joy 

#829  a powerful foot-washing moment and a time of blessing with my "summer read" ladies

#830  that God reveals His presence in not one but TWO crosses
Can you see them?
#831  a mother and her toddler and infant in Kroger

#832  morning silhouette

#833  a good night's rest after nights of restlessness

#834  fresh revelations into prayer ... we are seated in the heavenlies

#835  God's amazing mercy

#836  fresh corn on the cob -- I'll have to admit to some disappointment if this one isn't included in the heavenly banquet

#837  "In the Garden" offertory and voices singing softly along

#838  10 banana spiders under the water oak -- one wearing a crown

#839  running into an old friend downtown and just connecting again

#840  a daddy safely home and the arms waiting on him

Thank You, God! Your mercy abounds...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Cup Overflowing, 801-820

If it's true that "the Kingdom of God is NOW," (and it is), then let's give thanks for this present moment ... for this is where God abides.

#801  interruptions that keep me from falling into sin

#802  the Carolina wren that allows itself to be heard and seen (normally they stay hidden in the brush, but this little fellow perched itself on an open space in the tree)

#803  a 2-year old singing

#804  an Elijah sermon -- "they worshiped" ... and giving it time to settle on me

#805  a hard Eucharisteo -- a friend calling to say she has cancer

#806  sitting with a friend in interior design shop, holding hands, and unburdening our hearts

#807  for lifelong companions on the Way

#808  God's protection through the storm

#809  for an unshakable Kingdom -- Rev. 1:9

#810  for remissions

#811  picking blueberries while an impending storm bears down

#812  growth charts

An old louvered door where my brothers and I were measured each year on our birthdays

#813  for the first breakthrough of the sun in days

#814  family genealogies -- and God's faithfulness

#815  the Eastern Phoebe that lit just outside my window this morning

#816  rocking my "baby" and the big eyes that look up at me ... and smile

#817  for the Kingdom that is above me, around me, within me

#818  for broken places -- because it's in the brokenness that the fragrance of God is released

#819  a granddaddy's sense of humor in dress code

#820  four little birds learning to fly

May you sense His presence with you today.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Cup Overflowing, 781-800

What will it be this season of Thanksgiving?  An attitude of grumbling or an attitude of gratitude?  It's your choice ... and mine.

#781  a song in the shower as sung by a husband

#782  a neighbor taking to her bike on a beautiful summer morning

#783  holding hands with Lynn

#784  summer solstice and a very full moon

#785  fields of healthy summer corn

#786  purple-grape sweet

#787  the lonely catbird that comes at mealtime

#788  faces that greet me on Sunday morning

#789 real Sabbath afternoon rest

#790  running through the rain with Marynan -- complete with squeals

#791  frozen yogurt and uncontrollable tears of laughter

#792  the sound of crickets after a rain

#793  a squirrel's acrobatics on a hummingbird feeder

#794  the break in morning quietude by the neighborhood red bloodhound ... Jethro

#795  that my daughter enjoys spending time with her mother

#796  first firefly of the season

#797  morning prayer

#798  the body known as Grace Church

#799  a phone call that says, "I love you"

#800  my parents