<![CDATA[Sojourner and Scribe - A Writer's Journey Through Life and Faith - Blog]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:57:49 -0700EditMySite<![CDATA[The Once (and future) King]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 14:12:42 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/the-once-and-future-king
I opened my Bible to 2 Samuel this morning to read about King David and the famine in Israel, but I ended up on a rabbit trail, reading every verse I could find about justice. Not superhero justice or vigilante justice, but God’s justice.

I guess this topic intrigues me because of all the injustice in the world. Poverty. Human trafficking. Terrorism. It’s enough to make a person wonder, is God really just?

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14 (ESV)
 
The Bible speaks repeatedly of God’s justice. Justice is one of the characteristics of who God is. It’s an essential part of His nature.

God’s justice demands He deal with evil. He can’t sweep it under the rug or pretend He doesn’t see it. In order for God to be just, sin must receive what it deserves – death, both physical and spiritual.

God loves us, however. He has since, “before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4, ESV) This presented a problem: how could God punish sin, yet preserve the sinners? How could He mete out the justice our wickedness deserved while still sparing us?

He could punish someone else in our place. He could pour out His righteous wrath on a perfect and innocent substitute. And that’s what He did.
 
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
 
Make no mistake - our God is a God of justice. If you doubt this, look at Jesus on the cross, brutalized, bleeding, and forsaken by the Father. Look at Jesus, dying terrified and alone. That was God’s justice. That was the justice our sins deserved.

That’s all well and good, (you may be thinking), but what about all the evil running rampant in our world? Where is God in all of this? Isn’t He going to do something?

I’m glad you asked.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11 (ESV)
 
Jesus came to earth the first time to deal with sin as a suffering servant. To offer salvation to any and all who would call upon his name.
 
He will come again to deal with evil as a ruling, reigning, and conquering King, and on that day justice will be served.
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<![CDATA[Letting go]]>Thu, 05 Nov 2015 18:52:06 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/letting-go
Isn't it one of the wretched ironies of life that we don't realize how much we enjoy something until we stop doing it? I started this blog somewhat grudgingly, if I'm honest. I didn't really want to write a blog, but it was a step of faith I needed to take. 

Now, I find myself with a slew of other writing commitments and life commitments, and I don't have the time to do this blog justice. The novel I almost finished, the one I put on the shelf six months ago so it could rest and I could rest, is whispering my name again. I feel the Lord telling me to take a break from the blog, but letting go is harder than I thought it would be. 

I'll pop in from time to time to share what God's teaching me, but I can't promise anything consistent. In the meantime, keep reading your Bibles. Feast on the good and perfect Word of God everyday, and I'll do the same. Keep the faith!

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf... Hebrews 6:19-20 (ESV)
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<![CDATA[Salt of the Earth]]>Thu, 29 Oct 2015 18:24:44 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/salt-of-the-earth
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. Matthew 5:13 (ESV)
 
There’s an old anecdote about Alexander the Great confronting one of his young soldiers who, in a moment of cowardice, fled from a battle. (By the way, after doing some research I’m pretty sure this never happened, but it makes for a good story…) Alexander the Great asked the soldier for his name, to which the soldier shamefacedly replied, “Alexander.” Alexander the Great then told him something to the effect of – either change your ways or change your name!
 
Christians have gotten a bad rap in the world today. Some of it, I’m sad to say, is deserved. You don’t have to look far to find a pastor or Christian leader involved in scandal – falling from grace and dragging the name of Christ down with him. Everyone knows someone who claims to be a Christian, but acts like a jerk – from the office gossip to the neighborhood Scrooge.
 
As followers of Jesus, what are we supposed to do?
 
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,  having a good conscience… 1 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)
 
Christians like this verse. We tend to camp out on the always be prepared to defend your faith part without reading what comes before and after it.
 
I can only give a reason for my hope if I’m honoring Christ as Lord in my heart and have a good conscience – in other words if I’m obeying Him.
 
What kind of reputation would the body of Christ have in the world today if Christians actually obeyed the Word of God? If we loved one another? If we spent less time thinking of ourselves and more time thinking of others? If we ran from sin instead of entertaining it?
 
The world would be a different place…but the world won’t change until the church changes.
 
Lord, help me – to die to self and live for Christ, to live in humility and love, to flee from sin, and to run back to you quickly when I fail!
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<![CDATA[The fear factor]]>Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:00:44 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/the-fear-factor
David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?” 2 Samuel 1:14 (ESV)
 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)
 
I have a healthy fear of sharks. I don’t go past knee-deep in the ocean, I don’t like to swim in the deep end of swimming pools, I don’t even like bathtubs that are too big. Okay, I guess you could replace, “healthy” with, “irrational” in this case, but this fear has served me well. I have yet to be eaten by a shark.
 
In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, we meet a man whose lack of fear costs him dearly. This man, who describes himself as an Amalekite and, “the son of a sojourner” brings David the sad news of King Saul’s death. When David asks for details, the Amalekite admits he had a hand in Saul’s demise. Bad move.
 
As you read this chapter, one thing becomes painfully clear: the Amalekite doesn’t fear the Lord. He had no problem killing Saul (the Lord’s anointed) because it seemed logical to him. Saul had fallen on his sword in a botched suicide attempt and was in the process of dying. Plus, in case that took too long, the Philistines were bearing down on him and would surely have completed the job.
 
Saul was dying anyway, why not give the guy a break and finish him off? Doesn’t that seem logical? It only makes sense, right? Wrong. The Amalekite was reasoning with man’s wisdom instead of the fear of the Lord.
 
Saul was God’s chosen king. Although his reign was steeped in failure, God was still allowing Saul, for the time being, to rule. The Amalekite had no right to take matters into his own hands.
 
For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:19-20 (ESV)
 
The Amalekite’s folly results in his death as David has him executed. This story is a sober reminder of an unchanging truth - relying on man’s wisdom will always end in grief. The fear of the Lord alone leads to wisdom and abundant life. 
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<![CDATA[Why I went to Israel...]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 02:07:39 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/why-i-went-to-israel Picture


The Temple Mount was quiet the morning I visited. Tour groups scattered across the extensive grounds chatted quietly, while old men huddled together, gray heads bent over their sacred texts. Heavily armed IDF soldiers paced back and forth across the smooth, white Jerusalem stone, their tense postures and the assault rifles slung across their backs the only evidence I was standing on the most hotly contested piece of land on the planet.
 
"Americans no good!" An old man spat the words as I walked past. "America and Israel no good!"
 
Although I wasn’t in any danger, the sentiment raised the hair on the back of my neck, and I wondered for a fleeting moment why I had come.
 
The most common response when telling people I was going to Israel was, "Why would you want to go there?" Granted, the Middle East isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think vacation. Add the constant media coverage of political unrest in this crossroads of religion and culture, and Israel ends up low on most people's bucket lists of places to visit.
 
Still, I knew I wanted to go to Israel. While I left not knowing what to expect, I came back a changed person.
 
Israel brought new dimensions to my faith. After watching the soft coral sunrise over the Sea of Galilee and walking the rocky hillsides where Jesus taught, I find myself experiencing the Gospels in a whole new way. Seeing where Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and lived as one of us has connected me profoundly  to both the humanity and the deity of Christ.
 





Hiking to the cool, clear headwaters of the Jordan River gave me a new appreciation for David's words, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:2 ESV), while the gushing crystal waters of the Spring of En Gedi left an indelible picture in my heart of the living water Jesus promises to his followers.
 
As I touched the Western Wall in Jerusalem and saw the grandeur of what the Jewish temple used to be, I was overcome by the thought that I am now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The enormity of grace and what Christ has done in reconciling us to God takes on new meaning when you’re standing in the shadow of the law.
 
I also gained a new appreciation for what’s really happening in Israel. The political situation in the Middle East is complex to say the least. While realistic solutions to the Arab/Israeli conflict seem as slippery as the mud of the Dead Sea, one thing is clear: there is a media war raging around Israel as fierce as any physical fight. Most media outlets are shamefully inaccurate in their reporting. If you really want to understand what is happening in Israel and what is at stake, you need to go see for yourself.
 
Lastly, I was immeasurably blessed by the chance to bless the people of Israel in some small way. Centuries of Crusades and Inquisitions have given Christianity a black eye in this part of the world, but this is slowly changing. Now more than ever, Christians need to visit Israel with a desire to bless her people and show them true Christ-like love and humility.  
 
Go to Israel. Enjoy the kindness and sincerity of her people. Sit down in the beautiful Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem with a plate of creamy hummus and warm falafel. Later, as you explore the cobblestone streets say a prayer for the peace of the city and for a growing knowledge of the Prince of Peace in the hearts of her people.
 
Go to Israel. You’ll never be the same.  

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<![CDATA[What she could ]]>Mon, 19 Oct 2015 13:22:32 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/what-she-could
She has done what she could… Mark 14:8
 
A short post today, but a pithy one. This snippet of a verse is taken from the account of Mary interrupting dinner to pour oil on Jesus’ head and feet. She was using expensive perfume to anoint the Lord, an act of pure and unadulterated worship, and the disciples began to scold her for wasting what could have been sold for a lot of money.
 
Jesus jumps to her defense, calling the act beautiful. It’s only a few days before His crucifixion, He explains, and she is preparing His body for burial. She couldn’t stop what was going to happen to Him, but she could give Him her love and worship.
 
You may feel like what you have to offer the Lord in terms of worship is small. You may not feel like worshipping Him. You may be in a season when all you have to offer Jesus is a dry heart and an exhausted mind and a wounded faith.
 
I appeal to you therefore, brothers; by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 (ESV)
 
Offer them anyway. Bring your frailties and dryness to the Lord, bring whatever is most precious to you, and offer them on the altar of your heart...for they will be beautiful to Him. 
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<![CDATA[Dare to be a Daniel]]>Tue, 22 Sep 2015 22:18:18 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/dare-to-be-a-daniel
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Daniel 6:10 (ESV)

I found myself in an unusual situation when I went to church this past Sunday. Oh, I saw lots of dear friends and heard all the usual questions: how are you? How was your week? What have you been doing? The situation was unusual because I didn’t know how to answer them.

Things have become very uncomfortable around my home and my heart as of late. I couldn’t truthfully say I’ve been, “fine.” All this because the Lord has been calling me to prayer. Not just everyday prayer. Strategic, targeted prayer for the city I live in. The kind of prayer that changes things. And the more I pray, the more difficult my life becomes.

I know this is the enemy of my soul at work. As followers of Jesus, we’re always at war, but when we enter into specific times of prayer the battle intensifies. We’re picking a fight on a whole new level.

What’s a girl to do?

The Lord graciously led me to Daniel 6, where we find Daniel thrust into a similar situation. King Darius has (under the influence of his snarky advisors) passed a law stating no one in the kingdom can pray to anyone but him. That’s right. No more prayer. The punishment for breaking this law? Death by hungry lion.

Up to this point, Daniel has been in the habit of praying by his open window every day. What now? What does Daniel do?

He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Daniel 6:10 (ESV)

Daniel keeps praying, just like before. Giving thanks, no less. Lions be hanged!

Whatever God has called you to do I guarantee it won’t be easy. It will probably make your life uncomfortable and difficult. Your obedience might paint a big neon target on your back.

Do it anyway. Dare to be a Daniel. Yes, there will be lions, but our Father is greater than all.

And remember to take heart in the promises of our good and faithful God.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
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<![CDATA[Known]]>Thu, 17 Sep 2015 17:12:20 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/known
Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:1-5 (ESV)

 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  John 10:14-15 (ESV)

I’m standing in the deli line at my local grocery store, waiting for my number to be called. All around me, people fidget impatiently – shifting heavy grocery baskets back and forth and pecking half-heartedly at their phones. An elderly couple discusses broccoli in the produce department behind us, while somewhere nearby a toddler starts to whine. It’s just another day at the supermarket, and I’m just another face in the crowd until it’s my turn to order.

My tendency as a Christian is to feel like I’m just part of the crowd to God. One of His many children. Loved, but loved as one of the masses. Just one unknown, tiny part of the whole.

The Bible tells me otherwise. I’m not another face in the crowd to God, and neither are you. As a master artisan who takes delight in His work, God created every part of you with tenderness and care and purpose.

He knows you. Your thoughts and habits. The things that frighten you. The things that bring you joy. He knows what you’re going to say before you say it. And He loves you.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28 (ESV)

If you belong to the Good Shepherd, He knows you intimately, cares for you tenderly, and defends you unceasingly. You are set apart as one of His own, and He will never let you go.
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<![CDATA[Pressing in]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 13:20:56 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/pressing-in
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. John 5:1-3 (ESV)

There are certain places in this world where I would rather not spend my time. Miserable places of tedium and suffering. Hospital waiting rooms. The DMV. Chuck E Cheese.

In John 5, we find Jesus at the pool of Bethesda, where blind, lame and paralyzed individuals went in some superstitious hope of being healed by the waters. I can only imagine the heartache, the frustration, and the disappointed hopes of that multitude. The grief in that place must have been palpable.

Only three verses into this chapter, and already I’m reminded of two powerful truths:

·      Jesus never avoided suffering. As you read through the gospels, you’ll see how Jesus made Himself available to the grieving, the sick, and the helpless. He touched lepers and healed dying children and went out of His way to meet with the spiritually broken. In situations where our instinct is to turn away, Jesus presses in.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows; and acquainted with grief; Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)

Jesus left the glory of heaven to enter our world, to press in close to our infirmities. He meets us in our brokenness, in the absolute darkness of our sin, and offers us redemption if we are willing. If this doesn’t overwhelm you with the need to worship Him, nothing will.

·      God tells us to do the same.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

The impulse of our flesh is to give a wide berth to those who are suffering, as if their hardship is somehow contagious. We don’t like to interact with people in hard situations because it makes us uncomfortable. Jesus, however, calls us to press in with His love and compassion. 

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 (ESV)

Jesus took on our sin and grief and in exchange offers us deliverance and life. He stands before us as a perfect example of God's compassion, and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us as we take His love to those in need.
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<![CDATA[The choice]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2015 03:06:50 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/the-choice
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18 (ESV)

My husband and I looked at a lot of houses before we bought our first home several years ago. One house in particular stands out in my memory, although I don’t recall what caught my attention first as we stepped inside – the giant oil stains on the carpet or the smell of burnt fish sticks that seemed to permeate everything.

“Pew!” My three year-old daughter exclaimed. “It smells like coyote in here!” Needless to say, we didn’t choose that house.  

God has given all of us the blessing of free will - the ability to choose. Paper or plastic? Cheese or pepperoni? Should I go to college? Who should I marry? Do we want kids? Some choices are easier than others. Some are temporary, and some have lasting consequences.  

I don’t know what you think of God. Maybe you think He’s a tottering grandpa in the sky. Maybe you think He’s a sour-faced judge with a gavel and a beady-eyed glare. Maybe you think God is some nebulous spirit that exists in every rock and tree. Maybe you think you’re God.

If you want to know God - the real and only God - look at His Son.  

 I and the Father are one. John 10:30 (ESV)

Look at Jesus, who welcomed sinners and outcasts, who defended the weak, put bullies in their place, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and made time for little children. Who opposed the self-righteous and the hypocrites, who hated evil, but loved His enemies and forgave the ones who drove the nails into His hands.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. He came to save us – from the curse of sin, from death, from the devil, from ourselves.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Hebrews 4:7 (ESV)

You have a choice to make. What will you do with Jesus? You can’t ignore Him. You can only put Him off for so long. Will you believe in the name of the Son of God? Will you accept Him? Or will you reject Him?
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<![CDATA[Lift up your eyes]]>Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:22:33 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/lift-up-your-eyes
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. John 4:31-35 (ESV)

I’ll be the first to admit, I am easily distracted by food. If you could hear my inner monologue right now, it would sound something like this - nachos, must have nachos. Ok, maybe preoccupied is a better word. I really shouldn’t try to write this blog when I’m hungry…

In this passage from John 4, Jesus and the disciples are on their way from Judea back to Galilee. It’s around noon when they come to the Samaritan village of Sychar, and they’re understandably hungry. The disciples leave Jesus by the village well and head into town to find food.

When they return, they see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman - disturbing because Jewish men didn’t normally converse with either Samaritans or women. The disciples’ stomachs overrule their curiosity, however, and they sit down to pass out lunch.

At this point, they’re unaware of the life-changing interaction Jesus has just had with this Samaritan woman. They don’t even notice the people pouring out of the village at her testimony, eager to meet Jesus. As the disciples urge Jesus to eat something, He tells them He has more important things to attend to than His stomach.

 “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

How often does God catch me with my nose in my sandwich, so to speak? Caught up in my own problems? Concerned with my own wants and needs and earth-bound musings with no thought to the eternal needs of those around me?

Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 

I don’t want to miss what God is doing all around me because I’m more concerned with filling my stomach or furnishing my house or building my resume. I don’t want to miss being a part of the harvest.

Nachos can wait…
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<![CDATA[Hidden treasure]]>Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:57:29 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/hidden-treasure
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

As a child, I loved watching a certain game show in which contestants were allowed to pick their prizes. The problem was, the prizes were hidden. The host would hand the contestant a $100 bill and tell her she could keep the money or turn it in for whatever was behind door number two!

What an agonizing choice – give up something good for something possibly better? It could be something great like a convertible or it could be something lame like an old dishwasher.

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus tells his disciples a story about the kingdom of heaven. What I love about this story is the heart of the main character. This man sells everything he has to buy a field and a treasure. Does he do it grudgingly? Is he debating over whether or not it’s wise to sell his house or thinking about how much he’s going to miss his car?

No! In his joy he sells everything he has to gain the treasure.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (ESV)

Once you’ve had a taste of true fellowship with Jesus, nothing else will do. There is no temporary pleasure that will satisfy me like He can. There is no relationship or career or hobby that can give me the peace that passes understanding. 

Jesus is the light that keeps me from walking in darkness (John 8:12), the bread that keeps my soul from hunger (John 6:35), the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for me (John 10:11). He is the resurrection and the way to eternal life (John 11:25).

It’s a joy to leave the world behind and follow Jesus because His kingdom is a treasure beyond compare. I’ll never have to worry about wasting my life if I spend it in the service of the King - and unlike a game show contestant, I’ll never mourn what I give up if Christ is what I gain.
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<![CDATA[Growing among the weeds]]>Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:11:56 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/growing-among-the-weeds
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest…” Matthew 13:24-27, 28-30 (ESV)

There’s no denying it – I have a black thumb. Plants cringe when I walk past. We brought a potted plant home from the hardware store a few months ago, and I kid you not, I could hear it quietly weeping in the backseat. My garden, if I had one, would be full of weeds.

 In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a parable in which we see another example of a good crop growing alongside weeds. Why? What reason could the man in this story possibly have for letting the weeds grow unchecked in his field?  

Let both grow together until the harvest…

In this story, it isn’t time for the harvest yet, and the wheat still has growing to do. It hasn’t fully matured, and pulling out the weeds could uproot the wheat as well.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. John 17:15 (ESV)

Before His crucifixion, Jesus set aside time to pray for His disciples and for all the Christians who were to come in the future. During this prayer, He didn’t ask the Father to take us out of the world, but to, “Sanctify them in the truth…” John 17:17 (ESV)

God has a plan for us, a plan that values our holiness above our happiness. Enduring trials, testing, and persecution are a part of this plan. So are learning to resist temptation and love those who hate us.

We’re destined to grow among the weeds for now because we still have growing to do, but take comfort. A day is coming when the weeds will be taken away, and we will, “shine like the sun in the kingdom of [our] Father.” Matthew 13:43 (ESV)

Oh happy day!
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<![CDATA[No plan B]]>Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:08:11 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/no-plan-b
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1 (ESV)

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69 (ESV)

It was a gorgeous fall day. Crisp and breezy, it was the kind of day that makes you want to put on a flannel shirt and drink cocoa in front of a fire. Unfortunately, I was trapped in a hay maze - a towering wall of straw in front of me, my hungry, tired family behind me – with no cocoa in sight. Maybe it was the crowds, maybe it was the smell of kettle corn wafting over from the fairgrounds slowly driving us mad, but I knew we had to get out of there...fast.

“Is there really only one way out of this thing?” I asked.

My husband muttered something about desperate times and desperate measures then boosted our daughter over the wall so she could look for the exit.

That’s right, folks. We cheated our way out of the hay maze.

For many people, putting all of their eggs in one basket is frightening. Not so for the Christian.

Our hope comes from God alone. Like Peter said so long ago, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”

We have no plan B. No exit strategy apart from Christ. We know there is nowhere else to turn. Maybe this seems crazy, but it isn’t.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 (ESV)

It isn’t crazy because we know the character of God. Our God is faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). He rules over every inch of the cosmos (Colossians 1:17). He gives us eternal life, and no one can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). He’s had a plan for us from the beginning and He will see it through to the end. (Revelation 21:3-4).

We need no other hope. We need only to go to Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2 (ESV).
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<![CDATA[Not the One ]]>Mon, 17 Aug 2015 21:26:39 GMThttp://www.sojournerandscribe.com/blog/not-the-one

And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:26-30 (ESV)

The hallway of my high school was packed with students that fateful Tuesday afternoon. Voices swirled around me, echoing off of the fluorescent lights and the tile floors. People jostled past one another, their backpacks swinging as they scurried to class. Suddenly, the crowd parted, and there stood Mr. Dreamy himself, smiling and waving…at me. My arm shot out, and I waved back, any hope of playing it cool already lost in his green eyes. Just then, I heard male laughter at my back. One of the football players was standing behind me. My cheeks caught fire as I tried to burrow into my locker. I wasn’t the one. Mr. Dreamy wasn’t waving at me, after all.

One of the things I appreciate the most about John the Baptist is his humility. John knew he wasn’t, “the one. ” He wasn’t the Christ. John knew he was the forerunner for Jesus, the guy rolling out the red carpet for the King. John’s greatest joy was in pointing people to Jesus. Jesus was the center. The point. The purpose. Jesus was all that mattered.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Jesus should be the center and the purpose of everything I do too…whether I’m washing dishes or explaining a math problem to my daughter or praying with a friend. My heart should be singing His praises. My words should be full of His love.

I’m not the One. On my own, I have no power or wisdom or love to offer this world, but I know One who does. May I find joy, not in drawing attention to myself, but in pointing people to Jesus.
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