Monday, July 21, 2014

Day Ten...High Standards

Hey there...settle in for a few minutes with me will you? Let's talk standards.

I cannot stand to be told what to do. I cannot stand it so much that I'm writing that sentence again. I CAN NOT STAND TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO. It's annoying and most of the time the person doing the "telling" isn’t in my opinion all together worthy of my obedience

So there you go. I like to do things my way and I also like to learn by doing...not by hearing. I don’t recommend it, it's been pretty painful. 

All that being said....the few times I have enjoyed being told what and how to do things it has always always always had one thing in common, and that is, the person in charge has managed to prove their authority in a way that captures my heart.



Obedience is a heart issue. If I love you and respect you...there is a far greater chance I will follow your rules. Because at that point...even if I think your rules are stupid...I want to please you, not disappoint you, and give you respect.

Most people fire off the Ten Commandments without including the very first line in the chapter...and it is my favorite. It makes the rest of the rules matter to me. See if you agree...

"And then God spoke these words. I Am The Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Exodus 20:1-2

BOOM.

He is establishing with us who exactly He is, and what exactly He has done for us before He lays down the rules. I love that so much. 

I read that and I hear "Hey Allison, I'm the One who created you; I am the One who gets you out of all that trouble you constantly get yourself into. I Am the One who gave you freedom when everyone else was trying to knock you down...baby girl...obey me...I deserve it."

And then, because He continues to astound me with His generosity and PATIENCE Oh my word the amount of patience He has...He sends us Jesus to forgive us when we go right ahead with our stubborn selves and break all those well laid out rules He made.

WHO. DOES. THAT? I would squash you like a bug if you broke all 10 rules I gave you. I'd squash you after you broke three... But not our God...

To be honest...I can’t even recall by memory all Ten Commandments. I forgot the list after about 3rd grade Sunday School. I'm just guessing you are in my boat so here it is ...short hand.

1. No other gods. Only Me.
2. No carved images. Don't worship them. 
3. Do not use Lord's name in cursing or in any irreverent way.
4. Work six days and rest one. 
5. Honor your Father and Mother.
6. No murder.
7. No adultery.
8. No stealing.
9. No lying.
10. No lusting.

Aaaaaaaand I'm in trouble. Those are high standards. 

When Jesus comes on the scene He sets all the self righteous people who think they are doing a pretty awesome job of not breaking the commandments straight by adding...

"You have heard it said, Do not commit adultery. But I am here to tell you if you even look at another woman lustfully you have already committed adultery in your heart."  Matthew 5:27-28 

Did you see that word..."heart"? Told you. Obedience is a heart issue, and Jesus is wildly interested in what’s going on inside that heart of yours sister. 

When we read and watch all of the horrible, unimaginable acts going on in our world today we scream "What is wrong with these people? Have they no SOUL?" And the question we need to ask is, "Have they no Holy Spirit?" People need The Voice whispering..."Do not hurt others, remember the commandments."  

Let's all remember why we want to obey God, we love Him. And lets remember WHO He is and WHAT He has done for us the next time we roll our eyes at the list of "do not do’s" He gave us.

He is worthy of our respect...

And sure...you can do what you want to do. We all know you can sneak around and get away with most things these days... that's not too impressive. You can sling the phrase "redemption of sins" around like a gunshot to anything unholy....but who are you really hurting in the long run? It's you sister. 

Will God still love you if you break all ten...yep. Will you live a very frustrated life in the process...yep. Don't be that girl. Rebellion against God can leave a lot of carnage in its wake...   

Look at this!!! Day ten is done of the Scripture challenge! I'm high five-ing you! At this rate we will finish before Christmas...if we are lucky. (grin)

~Allison 
*aka* the very biggest grace abuser.

Day 11
Romans 3 Click HERE

       
  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Children Are Running...

The sun came up and they could feel it in their bones…it wakes them and they slowly push off warm blankets. I have a closet full of them…extra blankets. Quilted, cotton, and frayed around the edges from years of being tucked in tight with love.

We heat up the griddle and stir the batter…homemade pancakes are making tummies growl…”May I please have seconds?” Of course you can…we can all have seconds and we will still have left overs… Save them for later or slip one to the dog who has been patiently waiting under the table?

It‘s Saturday, time to relax by the pool. My feet are up and I can see the sun screened kids with eyes bulging from too tight goggles…”Mom, Mom, Mom watch me. Watch me Mom. Are you looking?” Big dive from the deep end…clapping from the crowd. We have room for 10 more…easily.

The temperature heats up just a pinch…time for lemonade. Our container holds  several gallons. We have a mound of multi colored solo cups and straws…they couldn't possibly drink it all.

The doorbell rings kids trample in…open door policies are common in the South, or they used to be anyway. My mom taught us by example that you don’t turn people away when all it costs you is one more peanut and jelly sandwich.

I imagine she was following the example of Jesus when the crowd grew too large…the disciples panicked, but not Jesus…He multiplied the loaves. Mamas have that ability…we multiply, stretch, and add water to the pot of soup…until every mouth is fed.

I don’t think my story is far off from yours…after all, if you are reading this, you at least have a computer or an iphone…that puts you way head of poverty .

With every dumping of the leftover food down the garbage disposal…I can hear the children asking for a bite. The ones I see on the news…the refugees fleeing unthinkable conditions in hopes of a pair of loving arms that say…”You are safe now. Here, people can’t use you for drug trafficking or sexual pleasures...not on my watch. Here you can sleep through the night without fear. Here, being eight years old means school and sports and laughing and catching fire flies. It’s not perfect but it’s just.”  

My chest is burning…for me it’s the Holy Spirit. For you it could be the injustice…but I know its burning in you too. We have freedom, there is no greater human need. We can’t hoard this… There must be a better way. I’m not a politician, I don’t have all the answers…but I have extra blankets and I make a really good PB&J washed down with cold lemonade. I believe in my heart that you do too…



We aren’t just a Country, we are the heartbeat. We have the power to give life. They know it.

I have room. I want the children. If I care for one, and you do the same…we can trust our God to supply our needs.  I don’t want to hear about your policies…I want to hear you talk about the people. They are here…how will we respond? If we turn them away… we are giving them a death sentence.

The children are running. One foot in front of the other, pounding a path for the ones behind them. 

Read that again.  

I’m writing this letter to you…my elected official. I want you to get to the drawing board and make room for the children. Find a better way. Speak up for those who are the very least of these.

I want you to be brave and be a voice for me, the girl who voted you in office. Get creative, get on your knees, seek justice…swiftly. I am not alone. I am not the only one. We have empty bedrooms, extra seat belts, spare shoes, loads of laundry on the floor and aching hearts for the broken faces of children who run.

Talk to me…talk to us…give us a plan. You are the leader. You wanted this job. I need you to rise up…Look at your extras. How many could you take in?

Waiting, praying, hoping. Ready to respond.

~Allison

Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. Matthew 19:14

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphan. Isiah 1:17

Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31  



  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wild, Free And Unexpected...I Choose You.

I jog by them several mornings a week, (I wish I could say everyday but who are we kidding). They are so beautiful too me. They are never where you expect...the conditions are always contrary to what I think of as good growing conditions. Yet there they are. 

The weeds. The ones that are wild and free. I'm most attracted to them...  

I mean sure...yes, the premium flowers I push past are stunning in vibrant colors. All nice and neat in their perfect rows with the fertilized soil from a bag. But it's the ones that peek up through the pavement...the ones that meet my feet by the edge of the uncut grass...the ones I'm not expecting, that get to me. I choose those.




Some how they tell me that everything doesn't have to be accomplished to be beautiful. That you might just need to let your roots dig really deep down for sustainable dirt, rather than waiting around to be selected and nurtured. 

They remind me that closing your eyes tight and making a wish really can make a difference in your hope...there is possibility in the dandelions floating away.

The hunt of a four leaf clover teaches patience and determination and I have found not a single one. 

They are so unpretentious in their splendor, yet I can only go so long without stopping to take a photo. 

I want to challenge you to look around this weekend at things other people might have deemed inferior, and make your own opinions. 

Happy Friday you wonderful things...

~Allison