Thursday, June 12, 2014

Broken Hallelujah!

I have listened to that song Broken Hallelujah so many times lately either because of my own circumstances or being in prayer and feeling at a loss for someone else.  Many times our praises lifted to God are broken and frail.  We are broken and frail.  If we were to count the number of times we lifted hands to heaven in a desperate state versus from a place of steady ground the first would far outweigh it!

Are you struggling to see how God is working or how he could possibly bring beauty from these particular ashes?  I learned of a very dire situation for a friend this week and walked to my Bible praying that God would lead me to a verse that would reveal a piece of his heart in this situation.  As the song plays read the Psalm aloud as your prayer of praise.

Psalm 146

My soul, praise the LORD.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing to my God as long as I live.
Do not trust in nobles,
in man, who cannot save.
When his breath leaves him, 
he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans die.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever,
executing justice for the exploited
and giving food to the hungry.
The LORD frees prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD raises up those
who are oppressed.
The LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects foreigners
and helps the fatherless
and the widow,
but He frustrates the ways 
of the wicked.
The LORD reigns forever;
Zion, your God reigns for all generations.

We begin and end with Hallelujah, a word that means praise Yahweh!  Our lives should be as such.  The middle is a mystery, a journey that God has mapped out and often we cannot see the route or even the next destination, but we can firmly hold the LORD's hand who as this Psalm says:

rises up
reigns forever!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lessons from a Country Concert

To the boy following the girl around:

Stop looking at her assets.  Hold your chin up high and take the lead.  Find a girl who respects herself enough to cover up a bit and one who will follow you.  Your time is quickly coming when you will soon be a man.  Our world has enough men with downcast eyes and defeated looks.  We need men who will stand up, take charge and lead their families as Godly men leading as servants and wise decisive individuals worthy of a women's respect. 

To the girl with the purse longer than her shorts:

You are not alone.  You are not the only one suffering from this shortage.  Apparently the US is in a great textile shortage.  Fabric must be spared and there is not enough to go around.  We must campaign for our right to proper clothing.  Oh, wait!  What we really must do is find value in who God made us and not seek to gain our value from what we have to show off or offer or sacrifice in return for some looks, some attention or worse yet our very bodies.  Trust me when I say it is not worth it.  That cannot be easily undone. 

To the parents of the little girl left sitting in her seat:

A glance in her direction every-now and again does not count as supervision.  You are out in PUBLIC.  No one else has your daughters best interest at heart.  You should!  A few beers and being closer to the stage are not worth what could happen if you turn your back too long.  Children are a gift from God, a gift that often feels like a burden, but still your burden to bear.  You only get this one chance to do it right.  Don't screw it up!  Let her be a kid and not the one who had to grow up watching her parents always pick something else over her.

Perhaps no one who reads this blog falls into any of these categories or like me maybe you used to, but maybe there is still a lesson to be learned.  If you have children in your care teach them who God desires them to be.  Teach them to honor God, possess self control, love others and that it's OK to be different than the rest of the world.  Teach them to be the girl who is ACTUALLY dressed at the country concert and looks stunning.  Teach them to be the boy who holds his girl's hands and guides her threw the mob of people so she can go the bathroom for the 100th time.  Be the parent who would rather sit and only hear the show, but certain that your daughter is safe.  Be a Titus 2 Christian in a very confused and aimless generation.

 Titus 2:1-8
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.