Her Name is Duchess

There’s a woman who works at a local store where I go to run errands on occasion. Her name is Duchess and I have never seen someone in such a monotonous job with so much joy. I don’t think Duchess is a Christian, though with the way her eyes sparkle when she looks into mine, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Duchess is convicting to me every time I see her because no matter how busy the store is or a customer has a problem, she keeps her cheerful demeanor and takes everything in stride. I don’t know if I have any Christian friends working a secular job who have so much genuine joy while they work. And what’s more, I know Duchess well enough to have seen that she is consistently like this — even when she’s going through a tough time.

Paul admonished the Colossians to do everything in word and deed in the name of the Lord. How can I get offended in the name of the Lord? I can’t! How differently would I be viewed by the world if I really lived these words:

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him…And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Col. 3:17,23-24

Lately, I have been actively pursuing a gracious heart. It’s something that I lack and I desire to show others that God is a gracious God who looks past their weakness. I am realizing more and more how much I need to focus on myself and my problems instead of others’. It’s so easy to take the above verses and say, “So and so should read this, they are so ______.” Instead, I want to see the areas where I am not showing Christ and change them.

I want to live out character and joy instead of just being selfish when I don’t feel like responding well; I want to be like Duchess.

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The Friday Diversion – Week XII

Derek Loux sings the Acronym Song to the IHOP-KC staff. (Please note that this is all in good fun — IHOP is famous for their acronyms).

UPDATE Dec. 2009:

Derek Loux was killed in an auto accident this month. He was the father of 10 children, several of which are adopted. If you would like to assist the family, they are asking for donations to their adoption ministry, The Josiah Fund.

My First Blues Concert

I will never be asked to play music for the mayor of Roseville. It just wouldn’t happen. I’m sure he wouldn’t like spontaneous prophetic music even if he did want a concert of local musicians playing for him.

But let’s create a hypothetical scenario: I’ve been asked to play awesome blues on my cello for the mayor of Roseville (Lord willing I will be able to play awesome blues someday. For now I will be content with my hypothetical scenario.). You bet your hiney that I would practice night and day for that concert.

Without drawing out my imaginary blues concert for the mayor of Roseville, I’ll get to my point: when do we musicians who play 4-5 times a week for God practice to become excellent? How do we challenge ourselves so we can become the best? I mean, isn’t that what we should be, since we play for the most important person/audience/God?

And yet, in our carnal man-pleasing spirit, we see more value in being excellent for man rather than God. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus is our great High Priest. I want to be one who plays with excellence, always improving, so that I can be worthy of that great High Priest. It’s not about a performance mentality, it’s about getting a new theology of grace. Do I come before God’s throne because of grace? Absolutely. Does an understanding of grace mean that God doesn’t want me to grow? No. He accepts me as I am — immature and selfish — but I don’t want to stay there.

The Worry Behind Your Eyes

Ugly wall of worry

To some extent, we all put up a wall in our minds and hide a thought process behind it. Hopefully you don’t have many of these walls keeping your thoughts from those around you, but don’t lie — you know what I’m talking about.

I don’t want to get into the issues of shame and fear of man, though they’re common walls. What I’ve been meditating on is a big, ugly wall so many of us are hiding behind: worrying about money.

I’ve heard a lot of stories lately about how financial big wigs and missionaries alike are getting hit with the effects of the economy. Two IMs at my HOP had their phones shut off recently. It’s that bad.

So last night I was asking the Lord about His promise in Malachi:

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'”
Malachi 3:10

I started to cry as I told the Lord I hadn’t seen the fulfillment of that promise (I have seen blessing, but not to the point of “not enough room to receive it”). He actually said to bachan (test) Him in His faithfulness.

So maybe this is an encouragement to all of you that God promised He would provide, maybe it’s a shout out to Him that I want to see it in my own life — or recognize it if I just haven’t noticed — I don’t really know. All I know is that God keeps His promises and this is no exception. It’s just hard to see sometimes.

The Friday Diversion – Week XI

***This is being posted 50 minutes into Saturday because my birthday is this weekend and I’ve been super busy…Sorry for the delay!***

Every Thursday night, I’m on an intercession set that prays for Israel. We study the Jewish people together and this year we’re celebrating the Jewish feasts. In light of that, I thought the poems below were amusing.
(Note: “goyim” = Gentiles)

How odd
Of God
To choose
The Jews

— William Norman Ewer

But not so odd
As those who choose
A Jewish God,
But spurn the Jews

— Retort by Cecil Browne

Not odd
Of God
The goyim
Annoy ‘im

— Retort by Leo Rosten

So America Chose Obama

What will be our response? Will we despair and say that God doesn’t answer prayer, or that x group of people didn’t pray enough? Will we be offended and shake our fist at God, claiming He didn’t come through for us?

I was impressed with IHOP-KC’s response within minutes of Obama’s victory. They interrupted the last half of their Worship with the Word set to inform everyone of his win…and immediately called a rapid fire to pray for him. Person after person told the Lord, “Thank you.” There was no hesitance in this response, and I know from living at IHOP that they weren’t prepped to say that either. No, those people have some knowledge of God, and their first response was to acknowledge that even if they didn’t know why He would want this man in power, they were going to trust Him.

Why does God want Obama in power? Maybe it’s reaping consequences or His righteous judgment — however you like to label it. But I don’t think so. I don’t know much, and even though I grew up in a political family with two parents who graduated with Poly Sci majors and I used to breathe talk radio, I have let my politics slide (on purpose) for the past 3 years.

I think God’s giving us two things: an invitation and a sign. The invitation is for Christians to realize that they need to be praying. I want to scream Jeremiah at them:

“O my soul! My soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.” Jeremiah 4:19

The second is to realize that God is orchestrating world events for Jesus’ second coming. It’s really going to happen, and soon. That’s going to seem far fetched to most of you, but I’ve been studying the end-times for almost 3 years and I can tell you this much: Matthew 24:3-9 is not far away.

Obama Prepares to Diffuse Expectations

Barack Obama’s senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week’s election, amid concerns that many of his euphoric supporters are harbouring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve.

Maybe Obama really isn’t showing his true colors and he’s allowing people to think whatever the heck they want about him…no matter how untrue. Maybe once again we’ve encountered political rhetoric rather than the truth.

Go figure.

Via

The Friday Diversion – Week X

Introvert (n): one whose personality is characterized by introversion ; broadly : a reserved or shy person

A friend recently drew my attention to an ironic list over at Shrinking Violet Promotions: the Introvert’s Bill of Rights. I am 60% introvert, 40% extrovert and can definitely relate to many on the list.

Give Shrinking Violet some traffic. Head over there and enjoy the list.

Protecting the Disabled Babies

I have been a fan of Bush for his entire presidency. Though many of us pro-lifers were disappointed that he didn’t fulfill his promises of focusing on abolishing abortion during his presidency — he was legitimately distracted by 9/11 — he did make a few good moves.

Like the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act which was signed into law on October 8th. I guess 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. The Awareness Act will, at the very least, ensure that parents of diagnosed children receive information to make informed decisions.

So, in the flurry of deciding who our next president will be, I am personally thanking President Bush for finishing well.

Sources: LifeNews and Nation Review Online