Monthly Archives: November 2015

Who Do You Think You Are AKA The Princess Speech

Our associate pastor was giving the sermon recently. It was centered around the question, “Who do you think you are?” It was beautiful, or what I heard of it. As usual, something was said that sent my brain careening into places dark and deep and not usually fit for public consumption (always an equal opportunity daydreamer).

The thing that really set me off was the image of the enemy of my soul challenging me with that question, followed by more (the more of course is always in my imagination).

  • Really, do you think you deserve to succeed? After all, your bad choices made others make bad choices; you might see heaven, but they won’t because you couldn’t even decide what denomination you were.
  • And seriously, do you really think that because you dress like a woman and think like a man you even deserve to keep a worldly job, forget getting equal pay for equal work and skill?
  • And why should any of the church types connect to you? You’re edgy and avante garde and nouveau.
  • And why should the world types connect to you? You give time away for free to friends and your church.
  • Moreover, why should anyone connect to you? You don’t get rules of polite society, and you can’t get rules of polite society into your kids’ heads, and you definitely don’t get the gender rules you’re supposed to follow.

Anyway, the point of the sermon was to challenge the question with a response from God’s Word. The funny thing is, that’s the point of the princess of God Most High speech I always pull on my daughters (referenced in other blog posts). I’ve never really documented it for posterity, and I get the usual teenage bellicose and belligerent eyeroll when I suggest it.

I should really be giving myself the speech. But it always feels so funny and awkward and unnatural, like somehow it’s good enough for my daughters, but I’m not good enough to receive it myself.

But the more I think of it, the more I believe every working Christian woman dedicated to living an authentically holy life in the grime and gutters of the world should have it or something similar. So, here’s what I would say to me if I were my own daughter (let’s not ponder the bioethics of that one).

You are a daughter of God Most High, a princess of the tribe of the Lion of Judah. Your Abba Daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He could create more by the power of His Words.

Abba knew you as He formed you in your mother’s womb. He called you to be His workmanship, a masterpiece to do deeds that only you could do in such a time as this. You are His ambassador to bring the power of the Gospel and the love of Jesus to your corner of the world.

You do good and not evil all the days of your life. You are a blessing to all around you. You work with your hands to make financial gains, and you invest those gains wisely and profitably. Your work is good, and all those under your care lack no good thing. You labor at all times for the Lord Your God.

You are clothed in strength and honor; you speak with wisdom and kindness. Your righteous fear of the Lord brings you praise and wisdom.

After the work of daylight, you wrestle tirelessly against the darkness of this world. You don’t fight flesh and blood, but your testimony, spoken Scriptures, and sung hymns spiritually combat principalities, powers, the rulers of the current darkness, and the hosts of wickedness in the heavenly realms. You overcome both now and in eternity.

References — The following is the list of Scriptures upon which the prayer is loosely and largely based: Revelation 5:5, Psalm 50:10, Colossians 1:16, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 6:12, Revelation 12:11

 

Zippy Takover, #9

It’s the time of year when my humans list all the things that they are thankful for. It’s not the time of year I would choose, but humans are always a little crazy. And they always seem to list weird things. And I can’t get them to explain thanks and thankfulness. So, I thought I would see what I could think of that I would be happy for.

  • My tail still wags
  • I can still run all over this human kennel, and I even have my own room
  • I have a warm place to sleep all the time, and I can sometimes nap in the sunshine
  • I only have to go outside to pee and poop, and sometimes I can make them let me wait if it’s rainy or cold
  • I don’t itch as much as I used to
  • My kibble is always fresh and good for me (even if I don’t like the taste)
  • My water is always cleans (well, mostly)
  • I am learning how to tell my humans what I want
  • I get all the attention a dog could want
  • I have all my own things
  • I can convince my humans to share their things and sometimes their food
  • I have lots of dog friends, especially ‘Ginz and ‘Zee
  • I am loved

Singe of the Phoenix

Author’s Note: If you’re given to the spirit of offense, just close the browser window and move on. This Christian piece is an attempt at an in-your-face call to arms.

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Thought for the Day: Follow the phoenix as she follows 
the Son of Righteousness Who rises with healing in His wings; 
singe the tail feathers of evil by hiding the hurting 
under the wings of healing and encouragement.

I’m having one of those days, folks. I can feel the fire of righteous indignation rising in my gullet, but I know if I give into it, it will be like an incendiary weapon that scorches the earth and burns the dead and the living.

I know I’m not perfect, and I make mistakes. That said, I have had several different volunteer positions at different churches. Regardless of the denominational pew, I’ve watched as “Christian” after “Christian” decides that some Christians are too broken to even be in church and treated with respect.

If you don’t like someone’s favorite sin, just don’t even bother with them; silence is probably more emotionally healthy for your target. However, make sure they have some human connection and companionship.

However, that doesn’t mean you can be Christian in name only, sitting on your @55e5 in the pews only to go home and do nothing. You won’t grow, and your favorite, super-spiritual, healthy leaders will be burnt out faster than it takes a comet to go around the sun.

We need to put on mercy glasses. We need to choose to see people with the agape love of Christ, and small acts of service just might be the key to not only expanding our love but taking the load off our pastors and religious.

Don’t like that father with the normal looking child who acts or talks differently? Instead of criticizing him behind his back (or worse to his face), go and offer to take his child for the afternoon. In getting outside of yourself, you might find you would be incapable of handling his child and decide to pray for him to continue to grow as a Christian parent.

Don’t like the quiet Goth chick who says nothing? Go pick a spot that you think she’d like to stand in and with mouth closed and eyes open watch what she watches. You might find that what she sees is so disconcerting as a tender hearted human being that she can’t find the words to express what she feels, and you might choose to examine your own behaviors and modify them so you don’t contribute to the issue.

Don’t like the way a single mom dresses her kids? Offer to take them for the afternoon and buy them a few oufits. You might find out just how far money doesn’t stretch these days, or you might be able to find just the right store that helps her limited budget.

Don’t like the little, wizened grey-haired old guy who sits in the corner without interacting? Go talk to him; you might find that he has health issues he is treating and the treatments result in suppression of the immune system, but he can’t miss being in the House of the Lord on Sunday.

My point is that we tend to judge and criticize the wrong things in church and Christians these days. We’re looking at externals that may or may not accurately reflect internal reality, and we’re not looking at the measuring stick Abba gave us. As a result, we are too spiritually weak and sick to have the unity required by the modern world, and we don’t shine enough of Jesus to win people to sit with us for coffee let alone come worship with us.

And that, in a dying world with an eternity on the line for each soul, is truly the harshest reality of all.

 

A Spin on Daniel’s Prayer

Author’s Note: I’ve been to all kinds of Bible studies with all kinds of study guides. One of the study guides often gave little challenges. I hated them. They ranged from “Predict the future for the next 20 years” to “Act out a dream you’ve had recently.” But one little challenge piqued my fancy. It suggested to review the prayer of Daniel at the end of Daniel 2. My attempt is below.

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Praise to Jesus for He calms the storm and quiets His child. He knows the duration and intensity of the storm; He leads His child through the storm.

Jesus gives peace that passes all understanding, and His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. He visits His people in darkness even though no darkness dwells in Him.

I thank you and praise you, Jehovah-Shalom, for you give me peace to ride the storm. You give me the strength I need when I need it.

No (Eye) Contact

Don’t look at me. Don’t make me look at you.

Your actions scream over the whisper of your words.

The hypocrisy roars over the silence of the minority.

I can’t look. You will see the fire of defiance.

The blazing scarlet burns with a heat you won’t bear to bear in me.

If I don’t let you see my eyes…

You don’t see me, you can’t touch me, you won’t hurt me.

Modern Bondage

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide
Enslaved to the pharaoh of a beautiful place
Lives bitter with the mortar of debt,
The bricks of legal requirements
The world’s an oyster
And me with shellfish anaphylaxis

I need my bush to burn
I need to see my fields on fire
But the foxes have hidden
And the ground is unholy

Is my distress heard?
Is my suffering seen?
Can my slave drivers be few enough to be counted?

I need to see the eternal name
Emblazoned with glory
Rising up with healing in his wings to free his children

Zippy Takeover, #8

Dop’shun Day

My humans are so crazy. They gave me some kind of a party yesterday. They brought me in and put me in the middle of a circle. They told me they were happy I lived with them, and I was a good dog. I kind of enjoyed the attention. Then they brought out these crazy toys, but I could tell by the smell they weren’t for my kind, they were for those feline terrors. I got a new collar and a special tag with my name on it; I’m not sure I like those either.

I know that they love me. I’m just not sure what all the fuss of Dop’shun Day is about. I’ve seen them do it for each other, but they don’t call it Dop’shun Day. But it did feel good that they all stopped and paid attention to me because some days they aren’t home all day.

A New Sign

I watch my humans playing with each other all the time. Sometimes they do this thing they call hug — they seem to wrestle standing up but they don’t move. Sometimes they do a kiss–it’s like they’re going in to lick each other, but their tongues are stuck in their mouths and too short to reach. And sometimes they just touch each other’s faces with their hands.

They don’t like it when I try to hug them–they tell me that I just trip them and I’ll get hurt. And forget the kiss/lick thing–they smell bad and their faces get even more squished up. I was frustrated.

Then I discovered a new sign one day quite by accident. I was trying to smack my Mom with my paw because she won’t let me sniff butts, but somehow I didn’t swing hard enough and she didn’t move into it. (Yes, I know. I shouldn’t hit, and usually I never do, but how can I make sure it’s really my Mom if I can’t sniff? It’s very frustrating. Some humans just look too much alike each other, and I can’t always tell them apart except by smell. But I’m chasing my tail…)

My paw just landed on her face too gently and stayed. Her eyes went so wide and then I really started to smell her–that good smell, the really happy smell. She started to scratch my muzzle, and she rubbed behind my ears, and she stroked my belly.

Amazed by my results, I went to one of her human whelps, the one that looks exactly like the other but smells like a good leader (the other smells more like a good litter playmate). I touched my paw to her face the same way… and she did the same thing!

Now I at least have one sign that I taught my humans. I can tell them when I need them to pay attention to me and play with me.