Are you smarter than a two-year-old? I’m not.
Once again Eli performed at a higher level of faith than I’ve been able to exhibit in all my 56 years. Here’s how it happened.
Friday was date night for the kids and grandbaby fun time for me. Eli and I did some shopping where of course he selected a new truck for his special treat. I was unloading groceries and he was crawling around my feet imagining a super productive construction site with his dump truck and new cement truck. I must add its cool swiveling bucket on the back insured it as the favorite of the day.
He crossed his trucks between the kitchen tile and family room hardwood only to bump the floor strip; it moved. Oh, how exciting to a little boy who promptly lifted it from its supposedly glued position. I noticed and asked him not to play with it. He let it snap into place and continued on.
A few minutes later I was washing fruit and I heard, “Granpap fix it.” My ears perked up because I know something broke. I feared it was his new truck with the swiveling bucket.
He walked up to me with his fearless face and said, “Granpap fix it.”
His reply, “Granpap fix it.”
That’s it. That’s the lesson that overwhelmed me. That’s why I need to learn from a two-year-old. Only a child has that kind of faith.
If you don’t see it yet, let me share what I would’ve done. I often times follow my ancestor Eve. I’m told not to touch it. I touch it and I break it.
I’m terrified that I will be scolded and disciplined therefore I start coming up with excuses on why I touched the forbidden thing. I actually blame the thing. “It should’ve been glued better. I was only trying to fix it.”
Then I try to fix it myself which because I’m worthless with tools becomes a bigger disaster. So I hide. I put the splintered strip of wood back in place as best I can and I hide on the sofa in a fake sleep.
When Granpap comes home and forces me to wake, I recite my explanation and he doesn’t buy a word of it. So guilt and shame come in and I cry apologizes for being such a waste of a person. “I break everything. I always make it worse. I don’t deserve to live in the same house as you. I’ll pay for the supplies if you will fix it.”
Then I use every tool in my womanly arsenal to try to appease his perceived anger and make him happy so maybe he will like me again.
All my efforts are wasted. I’ll daily remind myself of my stupidity every time I step across that threshold. Guilt will consume my joy.
Oh little Eli, thank you for constantly displaying a childlike faith.
“Granpap fix it.”
Yes, Eli. Granpap did fix it. He didn’t scold you. He loved you before you did it. He loved you while you did it. He loved you after you did it. His love never changes.
“Granpap fix it.”
I hope I remember this the next time I blow it. The next time I sin. All He wants me to do is run to him with a fearless face and put my sin before Him and say, “Abba Daddy, fix it.”
“Abba Daddy, fix it.”
He will. He’s the only one who can. All the time He’s repairing the damage, He’s reminding me of His love. I can sit next to Him and watch how He restores the broken to a perfection I could never have imagined.
And now every time I walk that threshold, I’m reminded of His love for me, His beloved child.
“Abba Daddy fixed me.”
And if that weren’t enough, there’s always a special treat for faith, Granpap gave Eli a new kite, and they played together all evening.
I hope to never hide from another special treat. How about you? Learn something from a two-year-old?
My theme verse for 2013 was Acts 1:5 Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
I’ve endured a difficult spiritual year. When I received the word WAIT, I shuddered, knowing it would be a long journey. I’m an achiever. Passivity is not in my vocabulary. But those two arguments held no resistance to the Spirit’s goal. He is persistent.
As I look back over this year, I marvel at what I’ve learned. I’m so full of new truths I’m about to burst at the seams wanting to teach somebody, anybody. Sadly, I wait some more. He’s not finished yet.
But in order to offer my thanksgivings during this season, I will share a bit of this journey. I’ve studied, with my dearest friends, this promised gift spoken by Jesus to His disciples. John Piper describes it as an “extraordinary anointing for ministry.” No doubt, Pentecost brought such an anointing upon the apostles while at the same time bringing salvation upon 3,000 who were instantly filled with the Spirit.
But I wanted to know how that extraordinary anointing manifests itself in a believer’s heart. This quote nailed it for me. “The Spirit fills me with His own vision of God and His own passion for God and His own prophetic words of praise.” John Piper
Let me put it in my own words. If I’m living in this extraordinary anointing, operating in the unlimited fullness of His power, then the God in me will reveal the majesty, power, and plan of God the Father to me; the God in me will love God the Father with unhindered intimacy and passion; and the God in me will never cease to worship God the Father. Now that’s the fullness power of Christ in me the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27.
One of the books we studied was They Found the Secret. It’s a collection of powerful testimonies of twenty believers who simply believed. I summarize one illustration like this, “Some say we are a pencil in the hand of God. But a pencil can be dropped or lost, I cannot. No, I am more like a finger of God. Jesus prayed that we might be one and He always gets a Yes! answer to His prayers.”
So to solidify this truth and as a constant reminder of our Oneness, I painted one fingernail red. Every day I can say, “By the grace of God and the blood of Jesus and the fullness of His Spirit, He lives in me to do His will. So be it!”
The following words relate my year, my life. Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Every time I quieted my heart,
Every time I heard and obeyed a truth.
Every time I worshipped in awe,
Every time I spoke the Gospel.
Every time I read His Word,
Every time I prayed.
Every time I gave a tithe,
Every time I sacrificed a treasure.
Every time I cried in joy,
Every time I loved another.
Every time I repented of sin,
Every time I conquered a stronghold.
Every time I admired creation,
Every time I sang His praises.
Every time I taught a truth,
Every time I wrote of Jesus.
Every time I trusted through a trial,
Every time I wept in sorrow.
Every time I cuddled a baby,
Every time I spoke a blessing.
Every time I fasted in power,
Every time I rebuked the devil.
Every time I stood in faith,
Every time I crawled from a pit.
Every time I felt loved,
Every time I knew security.
Every time I trusted His forgiveness.
It was never, ever me. It was always
Every time He…
Movies entertain me. The dictionary defines entertainment as the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment. I choose feel-good movies when my brain tells my body it’s had enough. Violence and intrigue stress me out. But laughter, even if it’s internal, relaxes my soul.
Few movie scenes cause me to activate the rewind option. There’s a scene in Ghost Town between Ricky Gervais, Kristin Wiig, and the imposing Michael-Leon Wooley as the hospital lawyer that’s classic humor. Gervais plays the dentist Bertrand Pincus who had a routine colonoscopy by surgeon Wiig. Strange things begin to happen and he returns to the hospital to investigate.
“I died! For seven minutes!”
“We brought you right back. People die all the time.”
“Yeah, but it’s usually just once…at the end.”
The dialogue before is a stumbling mumbling exchange between Gervais and Wiig. The lawyer is called in and he remains quiet until a lawsuit is mentioned and well, he perks up. No words on paper can do justice to the humor of this scene. Here is where characters, setting, and dialogue merge to perfection.
But the movie is more than just a comedy to entertain. It’s the story of a man who can now see ghosts, they want his help, he hates people dead or alive, and then he meets a woman. So yes, it’s a romantic comedy with an interesting theme: ghosts don’t have unfinished business, people do.
There are three little words in this movie that hit my soul. In life, there are combinations of three words that are always powerful no matter who speaks them. Hearing “I love you” sends currents of pulsating pleasures through our veins. The words “I hate you” can crush a spirit to the depths of despair or ignite a fury of revenge.
“I forgive you” frees two bitter or broken hearts while “Please forgive me” humbles the proud.
We love to hear the challenge “Go for it.” But at times we need to hear “Wait for it.”
In this movie when Dr. Pincus recognizes a patient he found irritating was in his life to serve a purpose, he could only say, “I didn’t realize.” Yes, we only die once and then these words may emanate from every mouth, “I didn’t realize.”
I didn’t realize everyone around me was a part of that purpose.
I didn’t realize the purpose was for my good.
I didn’t realize good can be wrapped in pain.
I didn’t realize God was real.
I didn’t realize death was final.
This list is endless but it doesn’t need be.
Realize now, God is good.
I married a Trekkie. We raised two Trekkies. I suppose that makes me a Trekkie as well. Our collection of memorabilia includes the pewter replicas of all their ships, commemorative postage stamps, and even a battery operated Tribble. Of course we own every movie.
When news hit our home that J.J. Abrams would direct the new Star Trek motion pictures, we all said “fascinating” in our best Vulcan logic. Mike skipped work to go to the theatre on opening day, twice. I enjoyed it once.
I watched it for the second time last night paying more attention to the dialogue than the action. I’m sure guys marveled at the special effects. I enjoyed the tender and yet logical Vulcan family interactions. There’s childhood bullying and bar room fighting. It’s the story of a rebel kid turned good and friendships conquering all obstacles. But there’s more, so much more.
The bitterly vengeful Romulan Nero declared war on the world. He destroyed every ship in his path and threatened every planet in Starfleet. Thousands died in battle. Billions of innocent Vulcans perished when their planet collapsed into a black hole. It was the horrid justice of Nero’s sickness.
In the final moments, Kirk used Nero’s weapon against him. When the villain realized he had no hope of victory, Kirk offered grace, “Your ship is compromised, too close to the singularity to survive without assistance, which we are willing to provide.”
A bewildered Spock interrupted, “Captain, what are you doing?”
Kirk responded, “Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with the Romulus.”
Now pay close attention to Nero’s reply, “I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony than accept assistance from you.”
Kirk then gave him what he wanted, “You got it! Arm phasers. Fire everything we’ve got!” The next footage showed the enemy, his crew, and his ship annihilated only because they chose death over grace.
This movie is for anyone who has never understood the biblical book of Revelation. If you cheered when Captain James T. Kirk defeated the villain, then you must also cheer when the Almighty God of Creation destroys the wickedness from this earth.
So many people wonder how a loving God could send such devastation on Earth: earthquakes, diseases, pestilence, famines, bloody water systems, blackened sun, and tormenting flying demons. Revelation is this scene in the movie.
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Hebrews 10:26-29 reads, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God…How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot.”
Revelation 9:20-21 reveals the Nero’s of mankind throughout history, “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.”
God’s compassion never ceases to offer forgiveness upon repentance. Yet like Nero so many respond, “I’d rather die a thousand deaths. I’d rather suffer the agonies of judgment than to accept forgiveness from the Loving God.”
God then answers, “You got it.”
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
I was seven years old when I l first dreamed of being the one beauty who would win the heart of the handsome prince, just by walking in the room. I imagined that’s all it would take. He would see me with my eighteen-inch waist, full breast, and swan neck adorned in a gown of fabric that glittered like the stars, and instantly know that no one else in all the universe compared. I had no idea where I’d find the fairy godmother that would make me so beautiful. But if it happened for Cinderella, then it could happen for me, at least in my dreams.
Since the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, I’ve been a sucker for this classic story. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched the 1998 remake starring Drew Barrymore as the strong-willed, sharp tongued, tomboyish Danielle de Barbarac, aka Cinderella. The writers masterfully blend the fairy tale into historic fiction and for short time; I think this could be real. I overlook the forced accents and low-budget props. I don’t miss the plump godmother and the singing birds or mice from the Disney version. I must admit I’m thrilled this Cinderella doesn’t have to sing like an angel but instead she quotes from Thomas Moore’s Utopia and the prince is hooked. Yes, I could be this Cinderella.
Ever After is more than a story of a young abused girl who gets her chance and wins the prince. The movie shows 16th century France and puts me into the lives of noblemen, peasants, gypsies, and even Leonardo de Vinci. He makes me laugh as the loveable and witty godfather who walks on water, builds flying machines, and will go down in history as the man who opened the door. I even learned he painted with his left-hand.
Woven throughout the story are intrigues, competition, conspiracies, and vengeance. My sense of righteousness is fulfilled when the wicked stepmother and step sister are punished with life-long servitude, when the squealing page gets his scull cracked open with a pot, and when the rotten teeth, well-endowed Pierre Le Pieu is nearly sliced from navel to neck by the sword wielding Danielle.
I want the bad guys to lose and the good guys to win. So in court when the King and Queen confront the Baroness and Marguerite in their lies and conniving ways, I expect justice. I’m not disappointed as they are instantly stripped of their title and ordered shipped to the Americas on the next available boat. It’s only fair.
But then Danielle’s voice comes from behind and silences the courtroom, “I’ll speak for her. After all, she is my stepmother.” She offers mercy, “Your Majesties, all I ask is that you show her the same courtesy she has bestowed upon me.”
Cinderella gave grace. Not only is she independent, strong, beautiful, plus she has a loving heart. This is a true heroine. I’m changing my dream template.
But did she really give grace? She gave an eye for an eye judgment. That seems fair, more than fair. They got what they deserved. But that’s not grace. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve and not receiving what we do deserve. Allow me to rewrite that scene showing true grace.
“I will speak for her.” Cinderella appears in royal attire where just hours before she traded her rags for riches. She had been forgiven her lies and deceit to the Prince. He loved her for who she was. A slave girl was now a princess.
Cinderella continues, “I know the gift of forgiveness. I don’t deserve these riches yet they are mine forever because of his love.” The room loses all air as every inhabitant gasps at once.
“Your Majesties, all I ask is that you pardon their sins and free them to live in my home as my sister and mother so that they can know the love I have.”
Grace always leaves me speechless.