|This is the last post: Lent writings start tomorrow at www.peacefulones.blogspot.com|
For the first three days of the week, I’m among international companions. When I first began my doctoral studies, I became fascinated by the influence of world missionaries who teach on Christian college campuses. Since our denomination’s program hadn’t had a review in its thirty-year history, I wrote up my examination on how schools and individuals had worked together.
“That’s not what we want to do with the Missionary in Residence program,” said the director when he read the paper. “We are now looking for the best and brightest, not just anyone who needs a reason to be off the field for a year.” The culmination of our conversations and his department’s desire to revise their documents is this three-day conference, hosted by our university. “Go for it,” said my boss when I asked if we wanted to have the international educators come our way. “But you have to be the point person for it.” The head of the MIR program set the agenda and schedule but I had to pull event details together.
I had the flu all last week, but somehow things seem to work out. My exceptional student assistant and Indonesian daughter Kristi worked hard to bring details together. After the first long day of meetings, thirty-some came to our house for dinner. I scooted home two hours early to prepare the meal with the help of another lovely young woman, my daughter-in-law Melissa. We served three courses: an initial seating of salad and bread; then a move to sit with a new group for the main course of lasagna and two vegetable dishes; and a final seat scramble to enjoy cheesecake with peach slices and a maraschino cherry. (I ate vegan soup before they came since I couldn't eat much of what we served.)
Nearly everyone talked to everyone else. For fun, we sang a few rousing missionary recruitment hymns (oh oh, we’ve forgotten most of the words), and then each person prayed a short request or thanksgiving. They gathered around to lay hands on Paul, who asked to be a stand-in on behalf of our daughter. Passionate requests, fervent prayer… how we thank God for his grace and good friends.
Today, various classrooms benefited from guest lectures. University students had the chance to visit with the international professionals at dinner in the cafeteria. Tomorrow, we begin with a two-hour review, then take the missionaries to Seattle for lunch and a tour. It’s been valuable, both for the participants and the future of the program.
I’m so lucky to be part of it. To hear the stories. To broaden my network of global contacts to benefit the young generation. To watch history in the making. And I’ll probably be glad when another event is over.
*Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3 NIV
*Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. if you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. Proverbs 9:11–12 NKJV
*Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV
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I occasionally check out www.woot.com, a deal-a-day site for gadgets and electronics. Today they posted a practical garden item, an automatic hose reel that would solve several problems: keep me clean when I rewind the hose, keep the handle on our current hose reel from wrecking the benches nearby, and cover the ugly mess of the exposed hose on our front porch. (The plumbing was an ‘on-the-spot’ decision in our mostly thought-out home, so the main wall hose outlet is by the front door.)
We are looking for savings here and there, and an executive decision was made not to purchase (by the other executive). Our basement, garage, and attic are full of stuff that doesn’t work and/or has never been used. Still, I was ticked when the item sold out during discussion. Some people know a great idea as soon as they see it, I thought to myself.
Then I reconsidered. Adding to the jumble we already have doesn’t make life better. The old hose reel works: it would just expand existing clutter until we freecycle (www.freecycle.org). Since the other executive today officially became the new hose-reeler-in-er, we’ve protected our home from one more gadget. Now to guard from other incoming "goods" while we sort and shed the rest of the hoard...
*Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah's towns. So Asa's kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the LORD was giving him rest from his enemies.
Asa told the people of Judah, 'Let us build towns and fortify them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the LORD our God, and he has given us peace on every side.' So they went ahead with these projects and brought them to completion. 2 Chronicles 14:5–7 NIV
*Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you." Proverbs 9:7–8 NLT
* Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6 NIV
|Reminder: only a few posts left before this site ends. Lenten posts will only be available at www.peacefulones.blogspot.com.|
Cough cough. I’m grateful for remote computers so I can work from home. I have a nasty flu, complete with dry throat, coughing, runny nose, and headache. But I’m happy.
This week brought several bits of news to define the months ahead. Our daughter arranged knee replacement surgery in Seattle. Best of all, it’s scheduled less than two weeks after big brother Jeremy’s wedding to Rebekah. One flight this way and back. Kirsten can’t wait to show her surgeon that she’s gained weight and is otherwise doing fine – he’s seen her through four operations and always worried about her frail health. And we’re glad to be able to care for her at home during recovery.
The seminary coordinator wrote students yesterday that AGTS has received permission for a new PhD in Intercultural Studies. Those in the D. Miss program (study of missions) can upgrade to the new degree. Ah, if it hadn’t come through I would have finished my class work this summer, but this tacks on an extra year for a more useful degree. Because I haven’t spent my life in overseas missions or with a missions organization, there’s occasionally doubt that I belong in the company of intercultural professionals. All I know is what I hear when I read scripture and pray – and that is to keep moving ahead.
Good news, more planning for Monday’s national missions faculty conference… what a difference an ordinary day makes in the long run of life.
*For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me
with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
*[Jesus]"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10: 27-30 NLT
*And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. …Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else? Romans 8:28, 32 NLT
*God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3 NKJV
|******This blog moves to www.peacefulones.blogspot.com next Wednesday when Lent begins.******|
I really enjoyed the talk in church last Sunday. The visiting speaker completed a series on the Lord’s Prayer with, “For thine is the power and the glory…” He talked about God’s power, which sometimes becomes available to us as we move forward rather than while we are waiting in a safe place for God’s supernatural intervention. The presenter gave good examples: Moses was commanded to stretch his hand over the Red Sea and give the order to march. When he obeyed, the waters parted and Israelites escaped the Egyptian armies, walking through on dry land before the enemy soldiers and their horses drowned on the same course. Joshua also led the nation through the Jordan, which piled up its waters upstream in spite of being at flood stage. Again, the Israelites walked through without a splash.
It occurred to me that I’m tired of walking into the water and coming through soaked. Seems instead of the waters miraculously parting, I get handed a big towel to dry off on the other side after an exhausting swim of faith. Of course, my job is obedience. “The floodwaters will not overwhelm you,” said Isaiah the prophet.
Yeah, I guess there are times when the waters part, and times when a strong swim is in order. Depends on the journey rather than the water. The call to faith-filled obedience is the same. Swimming or striding.
*The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. Psalm 29:10 NIV
*If the LORD had not been on our side—let Israel say- if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124 NIV
*But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… Isaiah 43:1-3a NIV
*I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." Luke 7:47-49 NIV
|This morning I get stuck on a voicemail hold with a company that gives "free" trials for makeup products. I got tired of the barrage of ads for Raw Minerals so I decided to give them a try. The trial period was 30 days, except that Seattle snow delayed delivery by a week. Their due date to charge my credit card was 30 days from shipping. I actually had about two weeks to try their products, not 30 days. |
When I called the company for a return number because the powders were too drying, I was sent another package of moisturizer. This time I didn't have to pay $10 for postage of the 'freebie.' It doesn't suit my skin, so this morning I call again and wait ten minutes to talk to a live person. ("You are currently second in line, a representative will be with you shortly." Whatever.) After getting a return code, along with, "Did you open the box? Then you have to pay return postage," I get off the phone, toss the brochures I haven't looked at into recycling, empty the makeup contents into the garbage, toss away the packaging, and seal up the box of empty bottles for minimum freight.
One popular Canadian TV show is Style by Jury, where an unsuspecting 'ugly' woman or man is judged on first impressions. After a week of haircut, dental veneers, glamour makeup, a fashion shopping spree, business or bombshell coaching, and perhaps even psychological help, the person faces a second jury. The transformation is stunning and the first impression is "Wow!" not "Yuck!" (Hollywood stars had better look fabulous, with all the external manipulation available.)
All these miracle products and vitamins, all the annoying muzak to suffer through while buying or returning the trappings of attractiveness, all the vain attempts to look better, younger, and more eye-catching... I both amused and saddened by efforts of my generation to keep our youth. With the best mirrors available, we delude ourselves into thinking we can stay young and fresh. We're getting saggy, plump or skeletal, and wrinkly as our bodies slide through middle age to old age. That's the way the body is designed to work in every generation!
I'm glad God weighs the renewal of the heart, not the deterioration of our skin. This Valentines weekend, I'm privileged to enjoy the company of friends aging alongside me. My husband and I will sit across the tables of two big dinner groups. Ages will range from late 30s to 80s. Through the eyes of love, every face will glow with inner beauty, if not with eternal youth.
*God's way is perfect. All the LORD's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. …You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping." Psalm 18:30–32, 36 NLT
*My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:1-8 NIV
*Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26 NLT
*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26 NIV