Tell Me Another Story

Once upon a time…

But he lied. It’s what he does, this angel of light.

happily ever doesn’t come

there’s no white horse and prince in shining armor to sweep the heroine off her feet.

housework

Photo credit: Ben124. (Creative Commons)

there’s dishes  to warsh (ha), tubs to be scrubbed

and a stomach-ache from too much stress.

…in a land far, far away…

We long for that Calgon land, where all is light and bubbly. There are no care-worn, sagging shoulders, and aching backs, and screaming kids.

It’s a lie. It’s a deception.

And the story ends, the credits roll, the lights come up.

And we sit blinking in the reality. Oh, yeah, work tomorrow. Housework to be done. Errands to be run.

The end….

Well, not quite.

In a land far, far away, a prince did come, not on a shiny steed, but on a donkey.
There was a rescue and there is a happily ever after to come.

It’s Jesus, our bridegroom, our Prince. One day soon he will come to claim his bride, the universal church.
And then there will be no housework, no chores, no sweaty labor. Just peace, and glory and worshiping him forever.

Hm, I went 2.5 minutes over this week, but I couldn’t leave us without the rescue. I’m joining in Lisa Jo’s Five Minute Friday on the prompt, Story. There’s lots of other great posts to read if you want to check them out.
Five Minute Friday

 

Original photo credit: Richard Fisher (Creative Commons)

Original photo credit: Richard Fisher (Creative Commons)

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I Messed Up (and so did you)

Splash

Photo credit: Yashna M (Creative Commons)

I screwed up. Again.

Not just again, as if I’ve made this same mistake before. Again, meaning I did this last week, yesterday, even mere hours ago.

Sin.

I try to be the good girl and even succeed in making most people think I’ve got it all together. But it’s a lie. Whoops, see, there I go again.

Try as hard as I may, I can’t do it.

Be good.

God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

Psalm 53 lays it out so clearly, doesn’t it? There is none who does good, not even one. Ouch.

Yet,

Isn’t that a comfort? Didn’t you feel a little relief to hear that I screwed up? Again?

Because, here’s a little known secret.

You can’t do good either.

Oh, you knew that already, didn’t you?

But with your sin tucked away so no one will see, you look at me, at your neighbor, at your friend, and think we’ve got it all together. She would never struggle with this sin. He would never screw up like I have.

Wrong-O.

No one does good. All have fallen away.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

The Psalmist cries out for hope in that last verse. And hope comes, in the shape of the God-man, Jesus. One, without sin and secret screw-ups, took on the consequences of our sin.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

So rather than despairing, hope. The salvation David cries out for in the Psalm is come.

—–

I’m linking up with Everyday Awe today:

Psalms

When a Friend Betrays You

bread and wine #1

Photo credit: khrawlings (Creative Commons)

Do know the sting of having someone you once trusted turn on you? If so, you can relate to King David. And the son of God, Jesus Christ. They were both betrayed by a friend.

David’s trusted friend and adviser was a man named Ahithophel. Ahithophel was so wise that the Bible says his counsel was considered as if one consulted the word of God. When David’s son, Absalom, revolted and tried to steal the throne, Ahithophel switched sides and began counseling Absalom. That had to hurt, to put it mildly. The story ends badly for everyone, and Ahithophel ended up committing suicide. You can read the full story in 2 Samuel 15-18.

David’s 41st Psalm seems to touch on the pain that Ahithophel caused:

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Similarly, Jesus had a friend he trusted sufficiently enough to handle the financial affairs. When this friend, Judas, betrayed him, it was to sell him out to the people who wanted to kill him. Jesus’ words about Judas echo David’s:

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.

This song by Michael Card touches on that betrayal.

I’m studying Psalm 41 this week and the ending gets me.

But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

Yes, David asks to be able to repay the one who betrayed him. Which of us wouldn’t want revenge in a similar circumstance? I’m not saying it’s right, but it is a very human response (one we don’t see in the story of Jesus and Judas, by the way). But David first asks God to be gracious to him. We need that grace of God to help us when our own bitter feelings get the best of us.

He ends with praise and blessing on the Lord, the God of Israel. May we all, if or when we are betrayed by a friend, ask God to be gracious to us and bless his name instead of trying to get even.

I’m Walking Through the Psalms at Everyday Awe. Psalm 41 was a toughie. Join me next week for Psalm 42.

I’m not just fine; I’m great!

It’s One Word 365 time again! As an alternative to resolutions that quickly fall by the wayside, Alece and the One Word 365 community challenge us to select a word to focus on for the next year.

~~~~~~~~~~

Do you ever feel like there’s always something that’s not going well? That’s how my life often seems.

I always pick the wrong line at the store.

It’s my theater seat that’s broken or uncomfortable.

Sure, someone gave me a gift, but it was too big, the wrong color, or not my style.

My neck/back/stomach/foot hurts.

And how am I? Oh, fine. That sneaky four letter word.

Fine.

For 2013, I resolve to change that answer.

OneWord2013 (400x278)

(more…)

Day 29: When The Storm Surges

I committed to pray for the hurting throughout the month of October and today there is only one group of people I can focus on – those in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy, Oct.28-29, 2012 at the Outer Banks, NC.  Mostly Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills

Outer Banks, NC (Photo credit: dedhed1950 – Creative Commons)

In 2003, when Hurricane Isabel wound its way up the Chesapeake Bay, I was in Perryville, Maryland. I know it was not even a comparable experience to Sandy, or even to Irene last year. For me, though, it was one of the eeriest nights of my life. I still remember the sound of the wind that night. (more…)

Day 5: When The Pain Won’t Stop

Pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop
upon the heart
until in our despair
there comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

– Aeschylus

Why is there pain? Why do certain people live with pain every day of their lives? Why are others spared that gnawing ache? (more…)

Day 3: When A Child Breaks Your Heart

Today’s post is a little harder to write because I am not a parent. Several friends of mine over the years have allowed me glimpses into the challenges of parenthood and, in particular, the heartache a child can cause. The reasons are vast:

  • rebellion
  • mental illness
  • strong will
  • physical limitations
  • idiotic decisions
  • abusive behavior
  • anger
  • immaturity
  • ______________

Parents, you can probably fill in that blank better than I can.

Your child, whether small or grown, can leave wounds on your heart, be they deliberate or unknowing. (more…)

Outside of time, into eternity

Most of us are vigilantly aware of time. How fast it goes while on vacation or how slow it moves when stuck in class or a meeting. There’s a great conversation about time and timelessness between C. S. Lewis and Sheldon Vanauken in my favorite book, A Severe Mercy. Vanauken writes:

Time is our natural environment. We live in time as we live in the air we breathe. And we love the air–who has not taken deep breaths of pure, fresh country air, just for the pleasure of it? How strange that we cannot love time. It spoils our loveliest moments.

He goes on to quote from a letter C. S. Lewis wrote him,

Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures? (more…)

The danger of wearing a mask

It can be dangerous to wear a mask.

wearing a mardi gras mask

Tonight: a fun event with a colorful mask, but I wasn’t quite myself. A little too loud, a bit too enthusiastic – not really a problem since I’m rather reserved most of the time and after all it was a party. Hiding behind the mask, I felt the freedom to be more outgoing and vivacious. But as the night wore on there was an alteration. The mask felt more normal, a part of me – truly, it was starting to stick to my skin, but the smile below the mask began to feel false, too.

The danger to be not quite true, not quite me was strong. (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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