Friday, November 27, 2015

"Active Shooter"

I just saw a breaking news headline that began with "Active Shooter." We've seen too many of these lately. Too much violence. Too much hatred. Too much anger. A four-year-old was shot and killed in a road rage incident in Albuquerque. Multiple bombings have taken place in Turkey, Nigeria, Cameroon. Mass killings in Paris. Multiple racist shootings in Minneapolis.

Seeing "Active Shooter" in the headline makes me sick to my stomach, but it also revealed to me a way in which God has been molding me. My first response was to bow my head and pray. I prayed for the shooter(s), that they might find peace and hope in Jesus Christ instead hatred or anger. I prayed for the victims, three of whom appear to be police officers, that they might have non-life-threatening wounds, that they might get help quickly, and that they would know the healing touch of God, our Father. I prayed for those bystanders who weren't injured, that they might escape injury and find the peace of God in the midst of this terror.

Mind you, I am not bragging about my own ability to pray; this is GOD'S work in me. My usual response would be to feel sad and helpless. I recognized in today's response that God is continuing to work in me, as promised in Philippians 1:6. And that is a great joy for me!

I love the idea that I am not finished... that God is still working in me... that someday God will carry this work to completion. This is hope.

In this world of "active shooters" and other terror and tragedy, we must cling to hope, to the promises that God has made that, in the end, all things work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

In times of fear and worry, turn to Him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Not a "Normal" Christian.

Last night, our family attended a "Singspiration" service at the local Assemblies of God church. The churches of Dulce get together like this about 3 times a year, gathering all God's people into one of our churches to celebrate and worship as one. It's a joyous time!

Gathering with God's people of different traditions is an interesting experience, and I love it! Hearing different styles of music is delightful, and participating in various forms of prayer is fun and enlightening.

Each gathered church led some songs, and several people sang solos or duets they had prepared. Many folks gave their testimony, and one in particular struck me.

This person pulled the microphone closer and started by saying, "You can probably tell by looking that I'm not a normal Christian."

Not a "normal" Christian. It stopped me in my tracks. I looked around at the Christians gathered to praise God together, and I noticed:

1. Most were Native American. Not surprising since we live on a reservation.
2. There were more women than men, but not by much.
3. Many of God's gathered people had tattoos and/or piercings.
4. Very few of the attendees wore something other than jeans. Quite a few sweatshirts, too. And
    tennis shoes.

I fit several of those descriptions myself last night. My thoughts went back to the person who was singing about Jesus saving his/her life. "Normal" described him/her quite well. Just a normal, everyday Christian in this place we live.

I was filled with joy to praise God with these folks. The only thing that makes one a Christian is loving Jesus and trusting Him to forgive your sins. I wish all Christians could gather, ignoring the petty differences we have, finding the common ground of Jesus, and praise Him.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I am the Lord Your God

I am reading the Bible chronologically this year. It's a reading plan on my phone, and I am 14% done. That means I'm reading Leviticus.

Yep. Leviticus.

We have a "Sing Through the Bible" DVD that we play sometimes for AWANA. The song about Leviticus has a refrain that goes, "Rules. We've got rules."

Yep. Leviticus.

It's been hard to get excited about doing my Bible reading through Leviticus. (This is also true for me in Chronicles, where Brad and I are in our continuous reading through the Bible.) After all, it's...


Skin diseases. Clean and unclean animals. Sacrifices.


Then today, I begin my three or four chapters with Leviticus 19. Verses 1-2 say, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am Holy.''"

16 TIMES in Leviticus 19 alone, God says, "I am the Lord your God." or something remarkably similar. 4 more times in Leviticus 20, and at least four more times in Leviticus 21.

I am the Lord your God. Now that has relevance to me. To today. To our lives right now.

I can't let my mind wander during that.  God Almighty is my Lord, my God. He claimed his people, Israel, and He claims me.