Thursday, March 27, 2008

Witnessing, Ethan Syle?

This morning I was getting the kids and myself ready to go on a fieldtrip at the nature center. As I finished fixing the girls' hair Karin remarked, "there! Now we look perfect!" Ethan picked up on this catch-word and quickly rebuffed her: "Karin, you are not perfect. No one is." I shot him a quick "quit trying to start something!" look and bounded up the stairs to brush my teeth.

What I heard next cracked me up. Not to be silenced, Totty began prancing around the room singing/boasting/taunting, "I am perfect. I am perfect," which drove Ethan bonkers. As she continued to sing, he continued to argue the point, until finally he launched his grand rebuke...

"Karin, if you want to go to Heaven with us, you have to say that you're not perfect, cuz if you say that you're perfect, you're going to go to Hell and that would be scary." I winced, then laughed.

So...what to work on first...? Karin's lack of humility or Ethan's lack of tact?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Longing for Home

In my earlier years I never longed for Christ's return. Actually, just the opposite. But as I grow older and experience more of life, with all it's sorrows, disappointments, and pain, and as I experience more of Christ, with all His love, fulfillment, and joy, I find myself yearning more and more deeply for my true home.

Not too long ago, I was reading one of the final chapters of Desiring God by John Piper. He ended his chapter on "The Rebirth of Creation" with a poem he wrote years ago, vividly portraying a glimpse of the new earth.

As I read this poem, I had a pretty surreal experience. It was as if I was there, stepping foot on the new earth, watching the victorious Jesus, taking my first breaths of eternity. And for a moment, this world that we live in now was only a distant memory, like a dream. All of its years of burdens, grief, and waiting, seemed so small and far away, swallowed up in "the life that is truly life" (I Tim. 6:19). I was home.

Porter's sermon this morning reminded me of that poem and my experience. He quoted 2Pet. 3:8-10 to remind us that God is not slow in His return, that His perspective on time is different than ours, that He has a plan--the salvation of more brothers and sisters--that He is bringing about and waiting to see completed, that the Day WILL COME--just as the creation of the universe and the destruction of the earth by flood came so long ago.

To me all of this was deeply comforting. Oh, when will our rest come? When will our faith be made sight? When will everything be made right and our hearts finally purified of every sin? I long for this! Come, Lord Jesus!

Today's sermon was also motivating. There are more people whom I want to spend eternity with...neighbors, family, Hudsonites, strangers... "You have today," Porter said, "but you may not have tomorrow." Lord, may my eyes not be half-closed as I wait for your return. Help me use today to reach out and point others to You!

Piper's poem is below. May the Lord use it to speak to your heart as well.


As far as any eye could see
There was no green. But every tree
Was cinder black, and all the ground
Was gray with ash. The only sound
Was arid wind, like spirits' ghosts,
Gasping for some living hosts
In which to dwell, as in the days
Of evil men, before the blaze
Of unimaginable fire
Had made the earth a flaming pyre
For God's omnipotent display
Of holy rage.

The dreadful Day
Of God had come. The moon had turned
To blood. The sun no longer burned
Above, but, blazing with desire,
Had flowed into a lake of fire.
The seas and oceans were no more,
And in their place a desert floor
Fell deep to meet the brazen skies,
And silence conquered distant cries.

The Lord stood still above the air.
His mighty arms were moist and bare.
They hung, as weary, by his side,
Until the human blood had dried
Upon the sword in his right hand.
He stared across the blackened land
That he had made, and where he died.
His lips were tight, and deep inside,
The mystery of sovereign will
Gave leave, and it began to spill
In tears upon his bloody sword
For one last time.

And then the Lord
Wiped every tear away, and turned
To see his bride. Her heart had yearned
Four thousand years for this: His face
Shone like the sun, and every trace
Of wrath was gone. And in her bliss
She heard the Master say, "Watch this:
Come forth, all goodness from the ground,
Come forth, and let the earth redound
With joy."

And as he spoke, the throne
Of God came down to earth and shone
Like golden crystal full of light,
And banished, once for all, the night.
And from the throne a stream began
To flow and laugh, and as it ran,
It made a river and a lake,
And everywhere it flowed a wake
Of grass broke on the banks and spread
Like resurrection from the dead.

And in the twinkling of an eye
The saints descended from the sky.

And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream--
Almost--and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there.
A big man running on the lawn:
That's old John Younge with both legs on.
The blind can see a bird on wing,
The dumb can lift their voice and sing.
The diabetic eats at will,
The coronary runs uphill.
The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,
The cancer-ridden bone is clear.
Arthritic joints are lithe and free,
And every pain has ceased to be.
And every sorrow deep within,
And every trace of lingering sin
Is gone. And all that's left is joy,
And endless ages to employ
The mind and heart, and understand,
And love the sovereign Lord who planned
That it should take eternity
To lavish all his grace on me.

O, God of wonder, God of might,
Grant us some elevated sight,
Of endless days. And let us see
The joy of what is yet to be.
And may your future make us free,
And guard us by the hope that we,
Through grace on lands that you restore,
Are justified for evermore.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Conscientious Honesty

Saturday being movie and pizza night at the Crims', Ethan became jealous of my sitting with Jay and Karin on the big chair, so I told him I would join him shortly. A few minutes later, I walked over and laid down on the couch next to my sweet E-man, pulled a blanket over us, and rested my arm behind him and my hand on his cute little keyster. A second later came this sweet warning: "Mom," he said, "I sometimes need to fart back there."

What a gentleman!