Saturday, April 30, 2011

There is no need to fear...

"God's word is true,
       and everything he does is right." Verse 4

And God's word says that

"He spoke, and it [the earth] happened.
       He commanded, and it appeared." Verse 9

God made the world, and He commands all the workings of it.

"The Lord upsets the plans of nations;
       he ruins all their plans." Verse 10

What is happening right now is not the result of any human's plans. No sir-ee Bob.

"But the Lord's plans will stand forever;
       his ideas will last from now on." Verse 11

HIS plans. The only ones that turn anything into something amazing.

"The Lord looks down from heaven
       and sees every person." Verse 13

Amy and I are part of "every person." Connie is part of "every person." And so are you.

"He made their hearts
       and understands everything they do." Verse 15

I'm so glad Someone understands our hearts. 'Cause I certainly don't.

"Horses can't bring victory;
       they can't save by their strength." Verse 17

Neither can guns or pepper spray. Or karate. Or bodyguards.

"But the Lord looks after those who fear him,
       those who put their hope in his love." Verse 18

He's so much better than gunsorpeppersprayorkarateorbodyguardsoranythingelse. Yeah.

"So our hope is in the Lord.
       He is our help, our shield to protect us." Verse 20

I'm so glad He's my Protector. Africa in 33 days, peace or unrest.

"We rejoice in him,
       because we trust his holy name.
  Lord, show your love to us
       as we put our hope in you." Verses 21-22

Psalm 33

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Fox and the Hound, or Faith Like a Child

Last Monday night I found myself in the basement at I-House with two little Burmese boys, watching a Disney favorite of mine: The Fox and the Hound. This classic animated film about a dog named Copper, a fox named Todd, and their journey from friendship to learning to be enemies was cause for a lot of deep thought and reflection.

For those who don't know the story, Copper and Todd met when they were just babies-innocent, and unharmed by the expectations of the animal kingdom in which they dwelt. They were carefree and happy to play together-why on earth, they wondered, was it so wrong for them to be friends? Copper's older companion, an experienced hunting dog named Chief, told him that he ought to think of Todd as the enemy. After all, dogs hunt foxes-it's simply the natural order of things for them. But that prey/preyed upon relationship had to be learned-the young ones couldn't see beyond their pleasant, playful friendship. They were different, but who cared? Not them, certainly.

So Copper and Todd were separated for some time, and during that time, Copper was taught the fun of hunting. When he finally saw Todd again, he was torn between his feelings of friendship for him and duty to his master as a hunting dog. Fortunately, for the sake of all children everywhere, Disney kept the story safe and Copper made the right decision to let Todd run free.

For some time now, I've been replaying a scene in my mind over and over, pondering and savoring a precious moment of a gift from God. It was a Tuesday afternoon at Women's Club, and I was downstairs helping with the babies. I had a little Asian girl in my lap, and in an attempt to pull her out of her shell I grabbed a little table that plays music and has lots of interactive gadgets that for whatever reason interest babies learning to stand. She was immediately enthralled, and began pushing buttons and spinning balls, fascinated by the sounds which her actions produced. Within seconds, an African boy was standing on his wobbly legs next to her; close at his heels was a Latino boy, and our one and only American girl. The four adorable babies played together, smiling and cooing at the ruckus they made, and in that moment it struck me how precious and beautiful it was: four completely different nationalities interacting peacefully. There were no barriers of language or culture or religion or personality for these children. Hate and fear of each other was as foreign from their minds as the idea of eating poison willingly is to mine. It was like a glimpse of heaven, so beautiful and poetic and moving.

And I now feel like I have a better idea of what it means to have faith like a child. In a child's world, there is no notice of differences, no fear without purpose, no social or political or religious boundaries hindering them. I want to be more like them. I want to learn how to be as a child again-both in faith and in interpersonal relationships.

 At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus called a little child to him and stood the child before his followers. Then he said, "I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child. -Matt. 18:1-5, NCV

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reason #55 for Eating Chocolate First

"Coooonnie!" I scolded my dear friend as she bit into her brownie the other night. "Meal first, chocolate afterwards! You're so rotten..."
Connie just gave me a look which said she didn't care how much I scolded or threatened-she would eat her brownie and get to the soup later. By now I knew not to argue with her-to just laugh and go along with it. And I did-just not to the point of eating my chocolate first, too.
"But you know," she reasoned, attempting to convince me that it's a good idea, "Jesus is coming back soon, and what if He came before the end of the meal? That chocolatey goodness is just left there, gone to waste! It's a sin to waste chocolate!"
I grinned. I couldn't resist getting saucy- "And what about all the cocoa trees, and all the chocolate in the process of being made? What about all of that?"
She just looked at me like, "Shut up!"

Pam's response to our conversation, though, puts a different spin on it all together, leaving me with a dilemma.
"Oh no-chocolate is going with us to Heaven," she said matter-of-factly.

So what is your take? Should we eat our chocolate first, in anticipation of Jesus' swift return? Or should we be good children and eat the healthy stuff first, and rest in the assurance that chocolate will be in Heaven with us for eternity?

Either way, I'm glad for chocolate and I'm glad that whether or not it will be in Heaven, eternity will still be extremely amazing because we'll be with Jesus! And I'm convinced that every day in Heaven is a sunny, warm day with a gentle breeze to play with our hair and fill our hearts with the joy of our King. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"It's just AWESOME!"

After an awesome 5 days at home in North Carolina, what's the best way to get back into life in Fort Wayne?

Take our girls bowling, of course! And bowling we went, with our biggest crowd of girls yet. With 18 volunteers and youth sharing two lanes at the craziest bowling alley in FW, some epic music videos displayed on huge screens at the end of our lanes, and tons of energy, it was quite an amazing night. We had a few really talented bowlers, but most of us (hint hint: ME) saw gutter ball after depressing gutter ball. You know what, though? We all had fun in spite of our bad bowling skills, and it was great just to spend time bowling badly together. We even added some Chinese girls to our mix, which was an answer to a prayer we've had for awhile that more Asian girls would join us. Several of us were feeling tired before our evening started, but God gave us the energy and passion to serve our girls and encourage them. I'm so amazed by this group of volunteers that He's put together, and the girls He's placed in our lives-we may not know exactly what we're doing, but He's guiding our steps and is doing some amazing things in all of our hearts. I can't wait to see what the next couple of months hold in store for our group!