Thursday, March 11, 2010

A V8, anyone?

It's denser than osmium. It's denser than solid hydrogen. It's denser than whatever may be at the core of the most ginormous black hole. It's... the disciples on a bad day! And I am just such a disciple. I so often can't perceive the obvious. (Or odvious, as Peter mispronounces for my amusement :-)

John 13:
1- Jesus, having loved his own... loved them to the end
4- He riseth from supper and
5-began to wash the disciples' feet

Jesus get's a basin and a towel and kneels down, much to Peter's horror!!! >:-0
Jesus was the Master, Rabbi, Healer, Recipient of God's audible praise- shining with glory...
He was not a washer of feet. He was esteemed, a powerful rabbi, probably the next king of Israel.

Peter: Lord, are you going to wash my feet?
Jesus: Don't worry. You'll understand later. (Peter never waits for later. Neither do I.)
Peter: You will NEVER wash MY feet!
Jesus: If I don't wash you, you will have no part with me.
Peter, now alarmed, speaks forcefully and without understanding. Just like me.
Peter: Then Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and my head...
Jesus surely must have smiled... even laughed..
Jesus: Peter, if you have bathed you need only to wash your feet to be completely clean.

Now comes the first clue... "Ye are not all clean." He said this of the one among them who would betray Jesus. Subtle clue, I'll give them that.

At diner, Jesus confides to those gathered there that 'He knows who He chose', and one of them will betray Him. (Clue 2)

Alarm!!! Look across the table. Is it him? Or him?!!! They never suspected Judas. He, evidently didn't wear the traditional black keffiyeh with the skull and crossbones, typical of the middle eastern bad guy.

Peter, unable to stand the suspense tells John, who is reclining next to Jesus, "Ask Him who it is." I guess Peter felt he'd said enough for one day. I can just imagine the exaggerated enunciation that accompanied the stage whisper, and the gesturing finger- pointing to Jesus...

When John asks the question, Jesus ANSWERS (third clue): "He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it."

Jesus then dips a sop and hands it to Judas. The idea had already entered Judas's mind. He thought his trip to make a deal with the authorities had been completely secret. Imagine how his heart raced as Jesus looks him in the face and yanks the cloak off his scheme. 'Does He really know?' He takes the sop and Satan himself enters into him.

Jesus tells him, "Do it quickly."

The disciples don't get that clue either, forgetting immediately what Jesus had said. They figured that giving a sop was the new signal for Judas to go to the grocery store or give alms to the poor.

Were they really THAT dense? It's a comfort to me. I regularly can't perceive something that is plainly before me. I gather all known facts and deftly arrive at an unrelated conclusion.

Judas was the only one with a clue. The very Lord whom he planned to betray had only ever loved him, chosen him, befriended him, and tonight, washed his feet. He'd already agreed to betray his friend for a price. He thought it was a secret. I can only imagine the shock as Jesus exposed him.

Do it quickly. He took the sop. Satan entered his heart. He immediately went out.
Verse 30 says, "and it was night."
What a miserable verse.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


So anyways...
We had a kickathon at the karate school on Friday. I gave a flat donation and was told earlier that I wouldn't have to kick. Everything is subject to change in that place. It's good for me, I need to be more flexible.

So anyways...
When I got there, all the little white and purple belts were seated on the floor~ like ants seated at a picnic.. they were everywhere. While I put my tunic on, a mom tried nicely to tell her kid to sit down. I pulled my belt knot tight, put my mean face on, and LET HIM HAVE IT. It was SO MUCH FUN!! The mom said thanks.

As I was warming them up, the Gm came down and started his regular routine. Jumping jacks, a billion push ups. Hold that horseback position until you are crying. It was great. They seriously stayed in a plank position for 10 minutes while I walked around with 2 other senior belts yelling,"Get your knees off the floor! You have 2 stripes, why are you lying down??? GET up! GET OFF THAT FLOOR!!" Stickin' my toes under their knees to see if they were touching and yelling at everyone. It was SO MUCH FUN.

So anyways...
Then the senior belts were told to line up for the kickathon. Why do I ever believe him? All the little belts are standing against the wall, and as I'm doing my 300 stretch kicks I can hear their little brains saying, "Hey lady.. get your foot up there. Faster! Mrs stripy belt, why aren't you kicking higher. THAT IS NOT A STRETCH KICK~~ GET IT UP THERE." I tried to use the vibes that I was definitely receiving as encouragement. :-)

Then I gained 2 pounds. How does that work?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Though you can't see it with the naked eye...

Romans 8:36 has always been a puzzle to me. "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." It seems to be plopped down in the middle of a declaration about our security in Christ. So, what part of "As it is written" do I not understand?

Pastor taught Ps 44 on Wednesday, and lo and behold, there it was indeed written. There seemed to be a similarity in contexts, but a remarkable contrast in perspective.

The Psalm rehearsed the wonderful deliverances that God had accomplished for Israel in the past. The Psalmist declared God to be his King and his only depository of hope, the boast of Israel and the banner they followed into battle.

Then he laments. He felt that God had cast them off, shamed them, abandoned their armies, made them a laughing stock, given them over to be literally conquered rather than to conquer. He admits confusion, since Israel had not turned away from following God (during this time) or put their hope in another country or another god. Why had God deserted them? They were God's special ones. His last appeal is for God to awake, arise, remember them in their oppression and redeem them. Right before this appeal comes the verse in consideration,"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." In this context I understand the verse.

The Old Testament understanding of blessing seems to be, if you do what is right before God, He will bless. According to the covenants, this would be right and logical. As Pastor Daniel used to say, "If you want to be blessed, you must first be blessable." Therefore the confusion in the mind of the Psalmist. Therefore the confusion in the minds of Job and his sorry friends. Therefore the question of WDBTHTGP? Frustration inside the box! Sorrow and despair.

Pastor Rich made the tie in with Romans 8. Interesting context. We are not condemned in Christ. We no longer walk after the flesh, or seek deliverance in it. It is weak, and we owe it nothing. We walk in the Spirit, having received righteousness and life through Christ's atoning and substitutionary and death. God has put his Spirit in us and made us his children, giving us freedom from bondage, making us His heirs, and promising that if we would suffer with Christ, we would also be glorified.

Now the perspective from outside the box,"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Next the apostle acknowledges trials and troubles as the Psalmist did. We haven't received the glory, but are subject to vanity. We groan with the rest of creation waiting for the redemption of our body. But we hope in God, and the Spirit helps our infirmities and weaknesses. We don't even know how to pray for ourselves, but the Spirit intercedes for us. God knows the mind of the Spirit who makes intercession for the saints, and makes ALL things work together for good so that His predestined ones will be made into the likeness of Christ. Though we have tribulations WE KNOW HE IS FOR US, for He gave us his Son. Since He died for us, we know he doesn't condemn us but rather intercedes for us. Though we experience tribulations, distress, persecution, famine and worse, (here it is) "as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Though you can't see it with the naked eye. It doesn't appear so to the natural man, but the spiritual man can see it.) Nobody, nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Even though our eyes may suggest differently here inside the box, Romans gives us the "out of the box" perspective. There is purpose.

And that is why I love Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We ARE Lost...doodoodeedoodoo

So, I started watching the series Lost (doodoodeedoodoo) while sitting on the runway at O'Hare in bad weather. They didn't know what the weather on our flight path was like, so they sent out a sacrificial lamb plane. "Sorry for the inconvenience, but we haven't heard from the plane we sent to check for bad weather. Perhaps they're ... going to get back to us in a few minutes."

I sat watching a portable DVD player displaying plane wreckage and bodies strewn all over. It dawned on me that I might be upsetting the passengers around me so I tilted the screen slightly for more privacy. The story was good. Lots of drama. A smoke monster that snatches people and gruesomely kills them.

I told the friend I was visiting that I was enjoying the series and she said,"I watched it for a while, but every episode was the same. 'Aaa, aaa, something's chasing us, run!!'" After a couple of discs I realized that she was right, but I had to know what was next.

Then we started making Jin jokes. "Udders!" "Fish." (pronounced feeesh) A new element refreshed the show with the introduction of the need to press the button to reset the timer every so many minutes, to keep the place from being destroyed. "New" "others" began appearing. We found that people were related to each other like an Arkansas family tree. Somehow, Jin learned English in about 3 months "Lost" time (doodoodeedoodoo). Of course, the new element of time travel may have given him an edge. People kept trying to get off the island, just to return to it of their own volition.

Somewhere in the middle of season 5 (doodoodeedoodoo), I was really tiring of the whole thing. Julie assured me that this was the last season and all would resolve. But this series is like a bad case of cockroaches. Even blowing it up with an H bomb didn't kill it. (Like that song... The cat came back- the very next day.. mmwwaaahahahahahaha)

So, yes, with renewed hope that the series will end, I continue following it. There are now OTHER "others". The smoke monster is still on its murderous rampage and we still don't know why anyone is there.

And today it dawned on me. THE SERIES ITSELF IS THE ISLAND. We are the captives. We keep being duped and deceived and still return for more. When we are tired of the whole thing and just want to go home, it offers just the right thing so that we blow up the escape sub or the freighter. After escaping, we willingly leave LA, get back on a disaster-bound airliner and end up in the same place we've been for 5 years. Lost. (doodoodeedoodoo)

It's like sin- "Takes you farther than you want to go, costs more than you want to pay, keeps you longer than you want to stay."

However, they promise that THIS is the last season. So, who's with me on the island? And why are we here?? doodoodeedoodoo

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's the worst thing that can happen?

I love John 11. The paradox of God in the flesh here is beautiful to me. I have to remind myself that Jesus ate, smiled, had a heart beat, made friends and looked like the guy that does my smog check, or like one of the guys at my church. He didn't glow.

In Jn 11, Jesus's very good friends had very tangible troubles (their brother was sick- and died), and relating to my previous post, I perceive they also had the non-tangible troubles (disappointment in their friend, pained hearts, unfulfilled expectations). While Lazarus was still alive, they send an appeal to their dear Friend, confident that he can solve their problem.

When Jesus received their message, my Bible says,"Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus... therefore... he abode two days still in the same place where he was." (5,6) When Jesus decided it was time to go to his friends' home, he tells his disciples, "plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that you may believe."

The regular humans only saw an "inside-the-box" problem. The box is only what we can see. The box lid is the sky, the bottom is under our feet. Our eternal life is beyond the box, and you can only go there by faith. Jesus's focus is on the eternal, not the temporal.

Jesus goes to the funeral 4 days after the death. He appears to be late. It appears that He didn't attach even customary importance to His friends' devastating event. (I hate with agony when my good intentions are misunderstood for evil.) They sent for Him and waited every moment for His arrival, I'm sure. After all the shared meals, conversations and friendship- He came, but too late.

When Martha hears of His arrival, she runs to Him and meets Him on the road. "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus sends for Mary, and waits for her there, presumably to speak to her alone. She hastes to Him, and falls at His feet. "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus goes to the grave and weeps. The bystanders rightly recognize Jesus's love for his friend and say,"Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?" All these people thought that preventing Lazarus's physical death was the most important thing that could have happened.

When we can only see inside the box, that appears to be paramount. The grief monster had swallowed Jesus's friends alive. In the midst of swirling grief and mourning, misunderstanding and broken hearts, Jesus groans twice. Groaning seems to relate to carrying a heavy burden or a heavy heart. He doesn't groan anywhere else in the gospels. He weeps before the grave.

Jesus allows the hard things in order that the important things may be accomplished. Jesus loved that little family. He loved His disciples. He loved them enough to wait for the grim reaper to take his toll in order that they might believe and glorify God.

"I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that you may believe." (15)
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"(25,26)
"Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God" (40)
"Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. (41,42)
"Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. " (45)

He did do a miracle for his friends. It was an unimaginable miracle. If you have stood by a dead loved one, you'll know this is true. Jesus always arrives on time. But he was there for a more important purpose than to heal the sick or raise the dead. Physical death just appears inside "the box". His more important agenda was that they might believe. Death isn't the worst thing that can happen.

"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Do you believe this?"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Normal mothers don't do this.

So, this morning I found myself seated on my royal throne in the family room researching pressure points on the body. I sat squeezing points on my hand and arm and twisting joints trying to produce pain. At one point I declared,"This is great!" and looked up to see J, eating her breakfast with that amused smile she gets. I told her that normal mothers probably don't do this. She smiled bigger and shook her head, no.

BUT I'M HAVING SO MUCH FUN!! I'm glad she understands. I'm so glad God gave me karate. It makes me happy. It's going to be a good class today. Tang Soo!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

So, who cares?

I love our church. Our pastor has the self-control to go through the book of Psalms at a snails pace so that snails like me can reap the benefits. As we've been looking at Psalm 42 over the last 2 weeks my small mind has considered the problem of suffering and the things we call problems.

David had problems. We have problems. Problems lead us to be downcast. Many times when trouble comes my way, it seems so enormous. I can't see around it. I open my eyes to it in the morning and it's the last thing I see at night. David felt like the ocean was swallowing him with waves breaking over his head.

A trouble may be real (a lawsuit, a car accident, CPS showing up at the door with anonymous allegations). In David's case it was enemies pursuing him and threatening him with doom. Sometimes the problem is only in my mind or emotions. It's not an invading army with flame-throwers or the threat of losing my home... My feelings are hurt. My "rights" have been infringed upon. I urgently desire things to go one way and they go another way instead.

Trouble. Is God unfair? David was a man after God's own heart. WDBTHTGP? (Why do bad things happen to good people?) It's apparent to us that BTHTGP. I know that God uses all things to bring Him glory, but the question (WDBTHTGP) makes God look bad whenever someone brings it up. The question bothers people. I usually sound lame when trying to come up with an answer.

But we're also studying Revelation on Sunday night. And more and more I can see that my seemingly big problems are happening to one little person on this enormous planet. But this enormous planet is just a small dot in our enormous galaxy. BUT our enormous galaxy isn't big enough to even see when you consider the size of the known universe. We're so small that you would have to be God to even know that we exist! So my problem is as big as a speck on a speck on a piece of floating dust. And all this is inconsequential in size as it sits in a little container in the eternal landscape that is the throne room of God. The little container holds all of created matter and time... for all planets in all 4 or 5 dimensions that we speculate about (or 11 according to M-theory). Finite. Outside the box, where God sits, is reality and eternity.

So, what is the worst thing that can happen? My seeming injustices are inconsequential. One day we'll die and open our eyes in heaven and it won't matter that the policeman gave me a ticket for something I didn't do, or my house just blew down. Somehow, instead of a feeling of fatalism, the outside of the box gives me hope. But it also makes me think,"So, what do my troubles really matter? It's all so small. Who cares?"

I was riding to church the other day and I thought something that wasn't nice. And I thought, so what does it matter? How could God possibly care that this speck had a bad thought, or a wrong motive?

This God who lives outside the box with an infinite presence doesn't just care about what happens to His little creation, He cares about what I do, and smaller yet, He it matters to Him why I do it. Really? How could one little sin even be noticed in the grand scheme of things? It's because of God's largeness that He can care about the small things.

Though we live on a dust speck, He made us in His image. Amazing. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? " He is our constant witness. Good, bad, injustice, triumph, joy or sorrow, faithfulness or failure- He sees. We are not inconsequential. He orders each day for each individual for His purpose. He has agendas that we couldn't even imagine, and concerns that we can't guess. We're small. He made us small. And He lives in my heart. And He does care.

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God."