Friday, November 7, 2008

Smack Into You

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools..." --Romans 1:18-22

Everything runs smack into You, eventually.
Here's where it's found lacking or true;
Right when it runs smack into You.
Everything runs right up to You.
It cannot go over or under or through.
Here in this place it's naturally weighed.
Right when it runs smack into You.
--Esther Sparks from Esther and the Protesters

I was at a funeral today. As we stood in the cemetary and listened to the melancholy bagpipes wailing Amazing Grace, it struck me. Well, here we are then - in need of God.

John Mayer said in a song, " I am invincible, as long as I'm alive." But the one thing that man cannot conquer - the one thing - is death. And so for all our talk about the autonomy and independence of man, about how we can do anything we set our mind to, and about how Jesus is just a crutch for the weak, we still end up dead, don't we?

If ever we need a Savior, it's when we die. I can understand how a man might think he can make it through life all by himself "thank you very much". But somewhere in the corner of his mind and heart, surely he thinks about the day when he won't be able to make it all by himself.

My pastor today quoted someone who said, "It's a fool who makes no preparation for what he knows is certain." What will you do with death? Or perhaps, more importantly, what will you do with the life that precedes it?

God is real. The evidence is all around and is hard coded into your very being. Everyone must make an active choice about God and whether to serve Him - or not. You cannot go under or over or through God. You must face Him. Face Him saved, won't you?
Father, I wish that all men would choose You. I know it breaks Your heart when they don't. Thank you for Your grace and mercy in sending your Son, Jesus, to die and then defeat death for us. I cannot wait to run smack into You. Amen.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." --2 Corinthians 5:1-10

"It was like this. The tree which sprang from the Apple that Digory planted in the back garden, lived and grew into a fine tree. Growing in the soil of our world, far out of the sound of Aslan's voice and far from the young air of Narnia, it did not bear apples that would revive a dying woman as Digory's Mother had been revived, though it did bear apples more beautiful than any others in England, and they were extremely good for you, though not fully magical. But inside itself, in the very sap of it, the tree (so to speak) never forgot that other tree in Narnia to which it belonged." --from The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

I had the honor and privilege of seeing my Granny go home to be with Jesus last week. I never loved her or my heavenly Father more than I did in those last few moments of her life. In His sweet way, He allowed my father, my sister and me, our children and other family to be gathered around my Granny as she ended her sojourn here. Four generations of people who love Jesus, in large part because of her doing.

How do I choose which lesson to share from her life and death? There are so many. I believe I will share this one. Let me begin this way...

All my life, Granny meant love to me. I remember burrowing under the covers in her old feather bed next to her and being enveloped in her softness and warmth. She fed me chicken and dumplings, blackberry dumplings, and a host of other delicacies I'll never experience again; not like that. Granny showed me how to plant food, pick it and shuck it, shell it or peel it, whichever was necessary.

She was a simple woman of no means and yet I've never met anyone as content as she was with her lot in life. She bloomed where she was planted, you might say. Granny loved to tell me stories of her girlhood, though her girlhood was short-lived. At a very young age, she raised her brothers and sisters after both her parents died. Granny talked of cotton fields and flour sack dresses. Tomato gravy and biscuits. Making do and living decent. And she gave me mints and gum out of her purse during church, but only if I was doing right.

As I walked into her hospital room last week and put my hand on her arm, it was wet. Her skin was breaking down and weeping, my aunt explained. And I thought to myself, though maybe this is not biblical, "Her spirit is trying to get out of this old body. Her spirit is complete and this old body can't hold it anymore. It's fairly busting at the seams to go Home." She got out of that old body a few hours after I arrived. We were very happy for her.

...So, about that lesson. While we are here on this earth, if we are God's, we make it our goal to please Him. We live by faith, not by sight. We bear apples more beautiful than any in the world, and we are extremely good for people, though we are not fully "magical". But in our spirits, in the very sap of us, we never forget that other place to which we belong and long to return. We long to be home with the Lord.

My Granny was magical. She made me want to be magical - like Jesus. So her lesson to me was that most simple and, dare I say, magical of the catechisms. What is our chief end? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. She did and she is. Praise the Lord.
Father, thank you for the gift of my Granny and others like her who have shown me glimpses of You, and who make me long for Home. I greatly look forward to the day when we all gather around Your table at the greatest family reunion ever. Help me walk by faith until then and be "magical". Amen.