Two of my heroes

I am so thankful for my ClearPlay DVD player that allows me to play some powerful movies for my guys without all the trashy scenes and language. Tonight we watched “42” – an amazing movie about two men I consider to be heroes – Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.

My favorite quotes from the movie (both from Branch Rickey):
“Your enemy will be out in force, and you cannot meet him on his own low ground. . . Like our savior, you’ve got to have the guts to turn the other cheek. Can you do it?”

[Speaking to a retired baseball coach]: “Sleep and roses are two great things. Sleep you can get in your casket, and roses look great on top of it. But you don’t look like a dead man to me.”

Favorite quote from a family member during the movie:
“Ugh! It drives me crazy! Why would anyone care what color your skin is???” -Jesse Hood

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picture from http://www.i70baseball.com

What is happening???

I read the story of Solomon building the temple recently. What a glorious place that was! After it was completed, God said “I have set this Temple apart to be holy – this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart” 1Kings 9:3.

As I read that, I couldn’t help but wonder, “If God was always watching over it, why did He allow it to be destroyed?” The answer is given in subsequent verses. God said that if His people turned away from following Him, He would allow their land and their Temple to be destroyed. He said, ” . . .all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads in amazement. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them'” 1 Kings 9:8-10.

As I read the news, I wonder if this passage isn’t the key to the devastation in our own land. We have turned to other gods; we have abandoned the Truth. If we don’t want to see the devastation continue, it’s time for a major turn.

Where does the turn start?  God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

The first key is prayer and lots of it. God says “pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Sound impossible? It’s not. As you go through the checkout line and see the Hollywood headlines, instead of opening the pages to read more or shaking your head in disgust, pray for the people on the covers. Imagine what might happen if we all did that! Instead of writing off teenagers who would kill out of sheer boredom, and those who can bomb innocent people without remorse, pray for them – and for everyone else out there who has no purpose in their lives. Instead of getting angry at politicians who don’t see things your way, pray for God to give wisdom to that person – and to you! Pray, pray, pray!

The second key, and one that I think gets ignored is the “turn from their wicked ways” part. Maybe you don’t think you have any wicked ways. I encourage you to pray about that. Do you contribute to the Lord’s name being taken in vain? Did you know the Bible says, “The LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” Exodus 20:7? Are you OMGing and paying to watch movies that tear His name down? What about other wicked ways? Are you judging others? Gossiping? Lying (yes, even “little white lies”)? Stealing (which includes pirating movies and music, not tithing to the Lord, cheating on your taxes)? Viewing pornography? Engaging in sex outside of marriage? The list goes on and on. Are we truly loving God more than anything else, and treating others the way we want to be treated? I’m sure we can all identify ways in which we fail in this.

Perhaps the best prayer we can pray is: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24. And when God reveals some area of wickedness, let’s “humble ourselves” and pray for healing in our own lives and in our country.

We can point our fingers at those we consider to be godless all we want to, but the truth is that God’s people are the ones being pinpointed by Him. Remember that God said the devastation came “because His people abandoned the Lord their God.” And it is His people who are called to humble themselves and pray.

I want to be more diligent in praying for my country. I want to live for God above all else. Will you join me?

I Want to Save the World

I want to be a super-hero.

I want to save the world.

I want to teach every illiterate person to read.

I want to adopt every orphan.

I want to hug every unloved person.

I want to feed every hungry person.

I want to visit every unreached people group in the world and tell them the name of Jesus.

I want to translate the Bible into every language that does not yet have God’s Word.

But I am one little person who currently struggles to keep up with all the jobs I already have.

So what can I do?

I pray.

And I hear that still small voice tell me, “Do what I have given you to do today; pray for guidance for tomorrow; then ‘Be still and know that I am God’ Psalm 46:10.

Swinging Soooo High!

I had the most precious experience the other day. I watched my four-year-old niece, Evie, being pushed on a swing by her father/my brother. As Evie soared through the sky, her hair flying out all around her, she called out, “Look at me, Aunt Penny. I’m swinging so high. And Daddy is there keeping me safe.” A sense of joy and awe swept over me, not just from the beauty of the scene before me, but also because of the realization that this picture captures the essence of joyful living. I want to stroll beside my heavenly Father, allowing Him to determine the speed and heights and depths that my ride through life will take, all the while rejoicing because I know that He is there keeping me safe. Thanks for the lesson, Evie. I pray you never outgrow your joy – and that you will one day have as much trust in God as you now have in your daddy.

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“From the lips of children and infants, you, Lord, have called forth your praise” Matthew 21:16b.

Something Worth Watching!

If you ever hear of shows like “Leave it to Beaver” any more, it is no doubt in some derogatory way, as if having a family unit where the mom worked at home and the family loved and tried to encourage each other is some weird thing. Today so many shows love to feature families that are a total mess, and where disrespect is the norm. I would much rather show “Leave it to Beaver” or “The Cosby Show” to my children than “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy” – the latter two are garbage.
What is wrong with showing an intact family who love each other? Are there any shows out there that don’t make men look like stupid, irresponsible, losers? My hubby and I are raising three future men, and we want them to see a higher standard. I want them to have respect for their dad, and I want them to know that they have a high calling as men and fathers.
This year we learned about “Duck Dynasty” and we love it! Of course, you won’t want to play the role of beaver in this show, because you will be the star dinner ingredient!

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I thank God for the Robertson family. Like the rest of us, they aren’t perfect. But Kay revels in her role of caring for her family; Phil is a responsible, hard-working, manly dad who leads his family in prayer; the brothers have their issues with each other (many!) but they work through them. They also hunt, fish and enjoy guns and fires – and this isn’t demonized, as if anyone who enjoys these things is bound to be a terrorist. My whole family enjoys watching, and I don’t have to worry about what they will learn.
I love what Jase Robertson said about reality shows: “There’s a blueprint for reality shows which I didn’t know. They like a lot of fits of rage, a lot of dysfunction and a lot of four-letter words. And we said, ‘Look, you’re not going to find much of that here. And when we do, we’re gonna try to stop that.” Thank you!
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Jase also said, “When you’re sincere and things are real, that’s what people want to see.” Amen! And if you check the ratings, you’ll see that a whole lot more people want to see this real, unscripted, godly family’s life than the trash that a lot of other shows offer.
As always, when a godly family tries to live out their faith and share it, others will try to tear it down. I see articles and posts from women talking about the Robertson men as if they are some kind of sex object. No doubt the beautiful wives get their share of inappropriate attention as well. The enemy would love to destroy this family. When the show first started, Jase heard one of the cameramen say that making this show would tear the family apart. Jase thought, “Well, he hasn’t met my family yet.” Even more important, the man apparently hasn’t met their God. Please join me in praying for the Robertsons – that the Lord will continue to bless them and use them for His glory – and for His protection over each marriage and family. Thanks!

 

*beaver picture from National Geographic; Duck Dynasty picture from A&E

The Dream

This young man’s dream of a room blew my mind as it reminded me of God’s great love for me and why I can truly have “no guilt in life, no fear in death.” I strongly encourage you to read this! Don’t stop before you reach the glorious end!

“In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.

“They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read ‘Girls I Have Liked.’ I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

“And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

“A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named ‘Friends’ was next to one marked ‘Friends I Have Betrayed.’

“The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird: ‘Books I Have Read,’ ‘Lies I Have Told,’ ‘Comfort I Have Given,’ ‘Jokes I Have Laughed At.’ Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: ‘Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.’ Others I couldn’t laugh at: ‘Things I Have Done in Anger,’ ‘Things I Have Muttered under My Breath at My Parents.’ I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards that I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.

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“I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

“When I pulled out the file marked ‘Songs I Have Listened To,’ I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

“When I came to a file marked ‘Lustful Thoughts,’ I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

“Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: ‘No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!’ In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

“Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore ‘People I Have Shared the Gospel With.’ The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

“And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried . . . from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hid the key.

“But then, as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. ‘No, please, not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.’

“I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

“Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands, and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.

“Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

“‘No!’ I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was ‘No, no,’ as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

“He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, ‘It is finished.’

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.”

-Joshua Harris

*photo of Yale Library card catalog taken from wikimedia.org.