Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God's Side

My first soccer team: the Tuffies
'Are you for us or for our enemies? 
'Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' 
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'"  
~Joshua 5:13b-15
By the age of 12, I had already been involved in at least eight organized athletic activities: soccer, golf, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, ballet, horseback riding, tae kwon do and baton twirling (yes, I'm counting that ~ my instructor said I did a mean "figure-8"). Often these activities were sponsored by Christian organizations, and I can remember wondering about coaches who prayed: "Dear Lord, help us to win. Deliver us from the visiting team."

"Does God want us to win or them?" I remember asking myself. Both sides seemed likely candidates. They looked a lot like us, though sometimes I liked their uniforms (and haircuts for that matter) better than ours (I appeal to Exhibit B below). If God had sent his angel to tell me, "Neither," it would have made a lot of sense to me.

Is God for or against this hair?
But Joshua's game was for keeps ~ God's people versus the Amalekites, heathens to the core, sons of Ham, accursed son of Noah. God had promised his people the land. He would very soon give commands to kill every man, woman and child. The walls of Jericho fall within a few verses of these, and yet, this heavenly warrior who gives himself the military title "commander" does not take a side between Israel and Canaan. Shouldn't God's commander be for God's people?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 
~ 2 Peter 3:9
 God had a people, but did he really have a side?

How often do I allow myself to compete with those around me rather than helping them reach their goals? Or perhaps more to the point, am I decidedly and obediently on God's side?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making a Home

Refrigerator magnets, book shelves, lamps: the elements that go into making a house. What is needed for a home involves something more, though. Sure, it includes all those items that we come to rely on in our daily comings and goings, the ones listed above and so many more, objects we keep for practicality or sentiment, things we don’t think much about until we move somewhere and feel their absence. But a home needs symbol, meaning, memory. Spaces that in and of themselves hold nothing of significance unless viewed through the lens of a personal history shared by the few who have inhabited the place for some length of time.

If it’s the intangibles that people long for when they think of home-that chair in the corner where you read after a long day at work, that kitchen where you taught your children how to cook-then it’s a house Suzanne and I currently reside in, not a home, an apartment, actually and one in a development named Shady Place, where our first day here involved a visit by the police to check up on a former resident. “No, we have not seen that man and no he has not been back since we arrived.” Can’t say the place lacks a panache of sorts.

A temporary home is a strange concept because home implies stability. How can Suzanne and I begin to create something that requires time, only to leave it before the calendar turns over to the next school year? I don’t know the answer to that, and I know I should probably draw the spiritual lesson about our eternal home being our only real one, but while that’s true even here on earth we need still something to rely on, and Suzanne and I had just moved into our apartment in Germany that was only in the early stages of becoming “ours.”

But the project here has begun:  We have been visiting local stores, obtaining public library cards, and filling and organizing our one bedroom place with enough familiarity and comfort to begin building this into a temporary home. Curtains went up today, windows and sills were washed, and a Goodwill run is in the offing. Most evenings have involved a walk around the neighborhood to get a feel for the lay of the land and see what is within walking distance. I mentioned to Suzanne that we have had enough experience moving into and out of various dwellings that surely we qualify for a television slot on the Home and Garden network. Perhaps they don’t have our new number here; the phone has been strangely silent.

Yesterday, we arrived back home to our apartment after a weekend at the Morton’s, a little over an hour’s drive away from us. It felt different walking into a place that was now furnished with our stuff and had a history, if only a week’s worth. It’s a start.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bright Links

These past two weeks of Wycliffe Equip have been eye-opening and inspiring. I have learned more about bibleless people around the world {did you know there are around 2000 language groups without a verse of Scripture?}; 

I have been introduced to great new technology {sent my first video emails this week}; 

and have stumbled upon some just plain interesting finds {soooo addicted to Prezi!}.

Hope you find something helpful for you, too.

  • Colossians in a year: Isaac and I have been trying to memorize the book of Colossians together, & then I found this lovely little post. Author & blogger, Ann Voskamp, also offers free downloads of her DIY memorization booklet.
  • Adopt a Language: Pray for a specific language group that has not yet heard or read the good news in their heart language, and be a part of history-making. 

  • Money-Saving mom: Sign up for her RSS feed, & you'll get daily coupons & freebies from around the web. Be informed about deals at your local grocery store by checking out her regional store deals.
  • Swagbucks: One of Money-Saving Mom's go-to's for earning gift cards. I've just made it my default search engine and am earning 15-20 points a week. At this rate, I'll have a $10 gift card in 2 months. Every little bit helps, right?
  • Mvelopes: As we move from a cash-based envelope system to a plastic one, the free basic account on this site has been handy for keeping track of our spending while still knowing how much we have left ~ A product of Crown Ministries. Mint.com is another free alternative.

  • Eyejot: Quick & easy video email through the convenience of your webcam. Makes it easy to send a more meaningful birthday wish than a facebook post.
  • Prezi: a fresh, non-linear presentation format that will soon have you addicted, too! Great for school projects, class lectures or just for fun