Saturday, March 28, 2009

One more for the day

I try not to be political on this blog, but this was e-mailed to me today and I felt compelled to post it. I am extremely concerned for our country, but daily I choose to keep my confidence in God.

And it came to pass...
in the Age of Insanity that the people of the land called America , having lost their morals, their initiative, and their will to defend their liberties, chose as their Supreme Leader that person known as "The One."

He emerged from the vapors with a message that had no meaning; but He hypnotized the people telling them, "I am sent to save you. My lack of experience, my questionable ethics, my monstrous ego, and my association with evil doers are of no consequence. For I shall save you with Hope and Change. Go, therefore, and proclaim throughout the land that he who preceded me is evil, that he has defiled the nation, and that all he has built must be destroyed". And the people rejoiced. For even though they knew not what The One would do, He had promised that it was good; and they believed. And The One said "We live in the greatest country in the world. Help me change everything about it!" And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Change is good!"

Then He said, We are going to tax the rich fat-cats!
And the people said "Sock it to them!"

"and redistribute their wealth"
And the people said, "Show us the money!"

And then He said, "Redistribution of wealth is good for everybody"
And Joe the plumber asked, "Are you kidding me? You're going to steal my money and give it to the deadbeats??"
And The One ridiculed and taunted him, and Joe's personal records were hacked and publicized.

One lone reporter asked, isn't that Marxist policy?"
And she was banished from the kingdom!

Then a citizen asked, "With no foreign relations experience and having zero military experience or knowledge, how will you deal with radical terrorists?"
And The One said, "Simple... I shall sit with them and talk with them and show them how nice we really are; and they will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! We are safe at last, and we can beat our weapons into free cars for the people!" Then The One said, "I shall give 95% of you lower taxes".
And one, lone voice said, "40% of us don't pay ANY taxes.......
So The One said, "Then I shall give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!"
And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Show us the money!"

Then The One said, "I shall tax your Capital Gains when you sell your homes!"
And the people yawned and the slumping housing market collapsed.

And He said, "I shall mandate employer- funded health care for EVERY worker and raise the minimum wage. And I shall give every person unlimited health care and medicine and transportation to the clinics."
And the people said,"Gimme some of that!"

Then he said, "I shall penalize employers who ship jobs overseas."
And the people said, "Where's my rebate check?"

Then The One said, "I shall bankrupt the coal industry and electricity rates will skyrocket!"
And the people said, "Coal is dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don't care for that part about higher electric rates."

So The One said, "Not to worry. If your rebate isn't enough to cover your expenses, we shall bail you out. Just sign up with ACORN and your troubles are over!"

Then He said, "Illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let's grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches, free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing..."
And the people said,"Hallelujah!!" And they made him King!

And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers. Others simply gave up and went out of business and the economy sank like unto a rock dropped from a cliff. The banking industry was destroyed. Manufacturing slowed to a crawl. And more of the people were without a means of support.

Then The One said, "I am the The One, The Messiah - and I'm here to save you! We shall just print more money so everyone will have enough!"

But our foreign trading partners said unto Him, "Wait a minute. Your dollar is not worth a pile of camel dung! You will have to pay more..."
And the people said, "Wait a minute. That is unfair!!"
And the world said, "Neither are these other idiotic programs you have embraced. Lo, you have become a Socialist state and a second-rate power. Now you shall play by our rules!"

And the people cried out,"Alas, alas!! What have we done?"

But yea verily, it was too late. The people set upon The One and spat upon him and stoned him, and his name was dung. And the once mighty nation was no more; and the once proud people were without sustenance or shelter or hope. And the Change The One had given them was as like unto a poison that had destroyed them and like a whirlwind that consumed all that they had built. And the people beat their chests in despair and cried out in anguish, "Give us back our nation and our pride and our hope!!" But it was too late, and their homeland was no more. .

You may think this is a fairy tale, but it's not. It's happening RIGHT NOW!


It started snowing this morning around 9:00 and it seemed like it was never going to stop. We have at least six inches out there. So much for globabl warming.
I don't particularly like the snow, but I love days like this because it means I can curl up with a good book, a hot cup of tea and no guilt over what I "aught" to be doing instead. I don't know why I need the weather to give me permission to relax, and there is always plenty to do inside, but I let it be my excuse to do what I want rather than what I should.
I love biographies. Especially Christian biographies. I find them incredibly inspiring. Jacob gave me "The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon and William Wilberforce" recently. It's the third in a series by John Piper where he highlights the lives of three men of faith. They aren't extensive biographies--others have written those--rather the books were born out of a series of messages Dr. Piper gave at the annual Bethlehem Conference for Pastors which he hosts every year.
The first two in the series, in case you are interested, are, "The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's triumphant grace in the lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin" and "The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper and David Brainard.
Needless to say, they are immensely inspiring.
But I got no further than the introduction before bursting into sobs of heartfelt desperation to love God and cling to Him for divine help in enduring reverence and obedience.
This is John Piper's cry. It is mine as well. I hope it is yours.
"Let Your goodness, O God, bind my heart with a chain to You! Seal my will to Yours with an unbreakable application of Your eternal covenant. Keep me! Preserve me! Defeat every rising rebellion! Overcome every niggling doubt! Deliver from every destructive temptation! Nullify every fatal allurement! Expose every demonic deception! Tear down every arrogant arguement! Shape me! Incline me! Hold me! Master me! Do whatever You must do to keep me trusting You and fearing You 'till Jesus comes or calls." Amen.
Let my life be swallowed up in You. Keep me unto You. Make me to increasingly reflect You in all I do and say.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Last night Jay and I had the awesome privilege of watching and hearing Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel work his magic at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. There is simply no way to describe how brilliant an innovative he is. (Check him out on YouTube.)
I have never seen or heard of anyone doing the things he did to get the instrument to erupt in such splendid sounds and bend to his will the way he did. The effect was mesmerizing. Even Jay, my predominately sports-minded husband was impressed. At one point he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "If this guy would practice a bit more, he could be really good."
But since I play the guitar like a dyslexic third-grader learning to read, all I could think about was how good he actually was and what it took for him to get to be the best ever.
Obviously the starting point had to be a God-given talent. But he didn't hold his talent up to God and ask Him to magically do something with it-- like I am so often guilty of doing. ("Oh God! You gave me this gift, now make something happen!") He practiced. Then he practiced some more. He practiced every day. He worked and honed his craft. For years.
I'm sure there were times when his fingers were sore and bleeding and yet he continued to practice. You can't watch someone like him and not realize that he had to have become obsessed with the instrument, with making a guitar do things no one had ever made one do before, with creatively experiment- ing with all sorts of ideas and things that were outside of the proverbial box. With participating in his gift.
Yet as he was playing and practicing and honing his skill, as he played in countless small venues, I'm sure he wondered when his big break would come. After all, shouldn't fame and fortune--or some kind of recognition and kudos--come to those with the talent and dedication of his caliber? Like an Olympic athlete he was someone who had sacrificed so many other things in order to be the best at one thing.
Man. It was all I could think about during the concert, on the drive home, as I fell asleep, when I woke up this morning and as I've gone through my day. Not the fame and fortune, mind you, but the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be the very best at something.
I kept asking myself what it is I want to be known for by those who know me. What I wanted to be known for being that good at doing. My claim to fame. My unique calling. And just as importantly --or maybe more so--I've had to ask myself what am I willing to sacrifice in order to see that greater goal reached?
Because the truth is, I just want it to be easy. I want God to smile His big God smile and have it all rain down on me like sugar-coated gumdrops at Easter.
I don't want to work and sweat and toil and hope and be disappointed and start all over again and be in despair and pray and pick myself up by my bootstraps and have things fall apart and pray some more and kick the devil and lean on my friends to keep my spirits up and cry and deal with frustrations as I watch the years roll by and...
Well, you get the idea. I don't particularly like anything about "hard."
But God has been serendipitously working lately to change my thinking. It is hard, and it takes a lot of work and dedication to reach our goals, even when He's in them. In some ways, that's the most surprising thing of all.
All I can say is, "OUCH. I still want the smile and the gumdrops." But I am learning that if we will take our God-given talents, lift them up to Him and be diligent and willing to do the hard work, He will open doors and make things happen and bless our efforts and teach us and love us and create the character of Christ in us in the process.
I still want to slap Eve when I get to heaven, but until then, I'm going to make every effort to use the gifts God has given me while asking Him to lead and bless my efforts.
If you do the same, maybe we can help each other accomplish the tasks He has set before us. And then we will have the joy of knowing God is smiling because we have been willing to succeed in not burying our talents and to be active and to persevere at what He created and called us to do.