Monday, May 10, 2010

In Praise of Mothers

Greetings Fairy Followers,

Just yesterday we celebrated Mother's Day. That Hallmark holiday where we take time to specifically celebrate all that mom has done. Taking time to look back at moms got me thinking about moms in scripture. They weren't all perfect...and that's putting it mildly.

Eve, well, she committed the first sin and then had to watch one son of hers kill the other.

Rebecca, helped her son Jacob learn how to lie, because she loved him better than her other son, Esau.

Jochebed, put her son in a basket and set him afloat.

These moms are just a few of the all-too human examples in scripture. Even Mary, the vaunted mother of our Lord, was only human. I'm sure she had her moments of frustration with her children for it was her first son who was born with the ability to be perfect, not her.

What's the moral of the story you ask? It is simply this. There are days when we are convinced that our mothers live only to pour into our lives things we can later pour out to our therapists. So, the next time you have reached the breaking point with your mom, just remember that she is doing the best she knows how.

Blessings, The B.D.F.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nacho Libre and Other Famous Wrestlers

Greetings Fairy Followers,

I'm constantly amazed at the restoring desires of our God. Sometimes we think we're beyond restoring, that we've done too many crummy things. I learned a new restoration story this week and I'm going to share it with you. Hold onto your stretchy pants.

The history of the nation of Israel is filled with those in need of restoration. Liars, cheats and philanderers abound. In Genesis 27 Rebecca convinces her son, Jacob, to trick dad - who is blind with age - into giving him the blessing that belonged to his slightly older twin brother Esau.

Here's how the interaction played out:
Jacob carried the platter of food to his father and said, "My father?"

"Yes, my son," he answered. "Who is it -- Esau or Jacob?"

Jacob replied, "It's Esau, your older son. I've done as you told me. Here is the wild game, cooked the way you like it. Sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing."

Isaac falls for it, blesses the wrong kid and Jacob then had to flee before the burly anger of his brother.

Now here comes the good part...Jacob gets tricked, does some tricking himself, and then the day comes when he must face his brother again. He sends gifts ahead to try and soften up Esau. Then the night before the coming encounter Jacob wrestles with an angel.

You heard me.

Genesis 32:22ff:
When the man (the angel) saw that he couldn't win the match, he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is dawn."

But Jacob panted, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

"What is your name?" the man asked.

He replied, "Jacob."
Israel means "God struggles" or "one who struggles with God."">

"Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won."

So, two points of restoration here:
#1. "I will not let you go until you bless me." Now, Jacob is already blessed because he tricked dad into giving it to him. But how blessed do you feel when you trick someone into doing it? Jacob wanted a blessing that he had earned.

#2. Did you notice that the angel asked Jacob his name, just as dad had asked him his name. This time Jacob tells the truth...and out of it he gets a new name and a new destiny.

You are never beyond God's scope of restoration and 'tis the season as we approach Easter, the ultimate restoration of the human race.

Blessings, the B.D.F.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lines, Triangles and Circles

Greetings Fairy Followers,

I had an interesting day in church today. We were talking about the passage in I Timothy 6 where Paul tells Timothy to flee from certain things and run toward "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."

The question I had was, is it an either or? If you are running away from evil, are you necessarily running toward righteousness? Is there another option? Instead of moving back and forth along a continuum, can you run away from both? Form the point of the triangle so to speak...equidistant from evil and righteousness.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Also looking forward to hearing from those of you who went to Dare 2 Share. What did you learn? Surprises? Expectations?

For those of you who missed it, here is your first look:

Can't wait to get the updates. Enjoy spring, Fairy Followers. It is nigh upon us!

Blessings, The B.D.F.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Separation of Church and State

Greetings Fairy Followers,

How often have we heard these words? The all important "separation" of church and state. That anything hinting of a relationship with God should be kept far from any person or place involved in the governing process.

Insert shudder here.

I was reading this week in Zechariah. One of those prophetic books filled with visions of flying scrolls and women with wings. Verse 6:13 says, "And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two."

Did you catch it? A throne - which, back in the day, was the seat of government. The king. The man with the plan. And the one sitting on the throne was a priest. Apparently the Israelites had a hard time with the whole kingly priest thing as much as we do today because they believed, at one point in time, that there must be two Messiahs coming - one from the kingly line of David and one from the Levitical line of the priests.

Zechariah makes it clear here that this person was one in the same. King and priest. And, more importantly, that there would be "harmony between the two."

Picture the day when a man who loves God and his country could rule without all this tension about weather it's okay to pray before a meal in school or wear a tee shirt with a Christian message, or give thanks for a good grade.

Your principals and teachers might be struggling to keep God as far away from your school as they can, but you know the truth. That one day the priest and the king will be one and the same.

Blessings, The B.D.F.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Are you "Them?"

Greetings Fairy Followers,

Last week the BDF was doing some research on "church words." You know, those words that people who've been around the church for awhile throw around like "covenant," "consecrate," or "communion."

I came across a particular church, poking a little fun at itself, that included this definition:

Some People – as in “some people have been saying…” or "some people think..." ~ This is a phrase that is sometimes used to share one's opinion while simultaneously trying to avoid claiming the opinion and give it more weight by implying that you've taken a survey and lots of people agree. We try not to use this phrase at First Christian Church, preferring instead to take responsibility for our own opinions and not to speak for one another.

Have you ever used that phrase? Perhaps it sounds more like "You know, they say that..." (fill in the blank with your favorite controversial opinion.) Yesterday in church, my pastor talked about the most powerful group of people in the church..."them."

Jesus, of course, said it best when, referring to our propensity to promise, vow or, even, push our opinions off on "them" he said, "
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No';"
We are to be owners of our words. To take responsibility and, when necessary, make amends for speaking what is in our own heads and what comes off of our own tongues. Which is why James gives us a full dissertation of things that should and should not come off of our tongues.

So, today, fairy followers, banish "them" from your life and your speech. Own your words and if you're apprehensive to take possession of your words, keep them reigned until you are.

Blessings, The B.D.F.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old School Jesus in Lamentations

Greetings Fairy Followers,

How apt are you to follow warnings?

Warning: Texting late into the night could negatively affect your grades.
Warning: Eating the last piece of chocolate cake could result in your pants fitting tighter.
Warning: Turning left here could result in a flat tire.

While those are all applicable, they aren't very scary. They aren't immediate. They aren't "important."

I can't help thinking that the Israelites were from the same school of thought when the prophets came along and said, "Watch yourself. If you fall away, God will punish you."

Just like the ethereal fear that one random bad grade could lead to a history of poor grades, then poor college performance, then a job history that leaves you working at McDonald's for life instead of managing a financial institution, Israel chose to leave tomorrow's problems for tomorrow instead of heading them off.

God did not have pity on them and their city was crushed, their walls were broken down and the people were either killed or displaced. This book was written as a lament of how far the nation had turned from God and of the great lengths God used to bring judgment and mercy upon his people.

The key section of scripture in in chapter 3:21-26.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

As we read Lamentations, we are reminded that God is all powerful and will use any means necessary to remind us of who He is. And in the midst of all the destruction and death, the writer of Lamentations holds out hope for those that will seek God.

Is the Lord your portion? Are you trusting solely in Christ or in other things?

Praise God that his mercies are new every morning.

Blessings, The B.D.F.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Old School Jesus in Isaiah

Greetings Fairy Followers,

I'm sure all of you have been following the tragedy unfolding in Haiti as survivors struggle to make their way to the top of the rubble and struggle to grab a breath while crushed under buildings that fell in the wake of the 7.0 earthquake that shook the region.

Several conservative commentators have gotten flack for their words about the tragedy

I can't pretend to know the mind of God in this matter. Was the earthquake the result of a long ago deal made with a representative of Satan as an old Haitian legend says? Was it a result of the thousands of years our earth has been under the bane of sin? Or was it, in some inconceivable way, the will and purpose of God?

My brain can comprehend more easily that it was somehow a result that had an inciting event. When I read the Old Testament it is much easier to understand "These people sinned so God sent this plague upon them" than it is to understand a situation like poor Job who was righteous but God chose to test in some horrifying ways.

Jesus pops up in the book of Isaiah in some unusual ways but the entirety of chapter 53 gives a summary of Christ...long before he came to earth. Verse 10 says, "Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

A much more righteous man than Job was caused to suffer and make his life a guilt offering because it was "the LORD's will." Ouch.

We aren't always able to see the greater plan and greater purpose and sometimes we can be properly outraged and frustrated and discouraged because we can't see. But God is far and above anything we can understand and deserving of our praise for bringing suffering to Christ so that we didn't have to face it ourselves.

No matter the purpose of the tragedy in Haiti, we can all send prayers on behalf of the families of those who lost their lives and are struggling to survive.

Blessings, The B.D.F.
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