Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's Over. The Weekend, that is.

It was cold, grey and wet in these parts this weekend. I should have prepared better, knowing these types of days are inevitable in January.

In spite of my lack of enthusiasm for 48 hours of drizzle, it was decent.

At noon on Saturday, even though it was raining, a friend dropped by to force me to go for a walk. Not just any walk. She wanted to do The Hill. I warned her that I rarely include The Hill when I wander as it's impossible for me to walk and talk and not have an exploding head at the same time.

So we walked in the wet til we stopped. Coincidentally, this 'stopping' was right outside the local Esquires. We needed sustenance, just having done the hill (The Hill) an' all. Inexplicably - it was boiling hot in there, so I stripped down to my underwears. Like everyone else.

No I didn't. I stayed wildly overdressed. Consequently, I melted.

Thus, I did not order a hot beverage.

We chatted. And conversed. And shared. And teared up (me). And encouraged (her). And maybe we laughed. And then she mentioned she had a few questions about Pinterest, so I hopped up and marched her out of the coffee shop and down the street into my living room where, to my great delight, we got that all sorted out.

Have I mentioned how much I love adding new bloggers and new pinners to the internet world? Because truly I do. I love it alot.

Shortly after that, I went to church.

OH man.

It only took, like, what? 46 years for me to appreciate going to church for reasons OTHER than to meet friends, see that guy, make sure my kids heard the Word ... And even now, I'm pretty sure I'm not necessarily going for the right reason (whatever that might be) but I do love going. I am at peace when I walk into a room overflowing with hundreds of other Christians. I am filled with joy singing (or listening to others singing) praise songs and hymns. And I can hardly wait to hear the sermon. WHO THE HECK AM I? I am fully aware that this is not cool. Does this mean I'm old? Or at a good church?

I guess I don't care. I'm old and not cool.

Which is not all that different from being young and not cool.

Anyways, Northview is starting a new series; it's based on Genesis 25 - 32 The Life and Times of Jacob. (Or as this series is titled, "A Holy Rotten Scoundrel") (Subtitled, "Watch and See How God Lavishes Grace On a Big Lying Jerk")

I took notes. Know what I walked away with? This:

1. What in the world? Why would God promise a huge family (as many descendants as stars in the skies) to an old man with a barren wife? Why did God  promise Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, and then provide him, his son and grandson all with barren wives? Why? Because He likes working against the stacked deck. He loves doing the impossible. He makes sure He gets the glory for the things He has done. Plus, He delights in surprising us.

When was the last time you asked God to surprise you?

2. God promised Abraham a child. Because Sarah was old and well past child-bearing age, Abe figured he'd need to make this promise come true. So he had a son with Hagar. That? Was not God's idea; God didn't need for Abraham to figure out a way to make His promise come to pass - He had a plan...

Eventually Sarah DID become pregnant and deliver a son; Isaac. And when she did, there was no doubt that he was from God.

God promised Isaac a child. But the wife God chose for Isaac, Rebekah, was barren, just like her mother-in-law. Isaac, instead of sleeping with Rebekah's servant in order to kick start a family, prayed. He prayed for his wife. Everyday.

How many husbands pray for their wives, daily?

It was 20 years of Isaac knocking on heaven's door on behalf of his wife before she became pregnant. TWENTY years of praying for the same thing. Twenty years of not giving up on God or this wife God had given him. Twenty years of having faith.

What would it look like, hanging in there, for 20 years, with a spouse that was disappointing? With one that wasn't doing the things you needed them to do in order to have the stuff (kids, house, vacations, freedom from poverty, status, peace, joy, love, large circle of friends, retirement fund, healthy lifestyle) that you believed God wanted you to have?

Have I prayed for anything for 20 years?
What SHOULD I be praying for over the next 20 years?

3. What's with "God's Chosen People" in the Old Testament- what's that all about?
It was explained thusly:
God created and loves us all. He has given us the freedom to chose to follow Him or not. EVERYONE has the freedom to choose. So, pretend we're all swimmers/sunbathers on a big beach in Hawaii and God is the life guard. He has welcomed us to this magical place and told us to swim here, where it is safe and He can bless and interact with us. The water is perfect, the sand is soft, the sun is warm, the folks around us are lovely... it's ideal.

He has warned us, as lifeguard, not to go over to the cliffs where the gigantic waves, whirlpools, sharks and boulders are... If we choose to go there, He will not save us. Not because He can't - but because that's the nature of CHOICE. You can stay here, or go there. If you stay here, it will be good. If you go there, it won't be.

Everyone, EVERYONE goes to the cliffs. In fact, we don't wander to the cliffs, we RUN to the cliffs. And full speed ahead, we jump over them into the frothing waters below. God, allows this to happen because of that 'freedom of choice' thing.

But then? Then He reaches down and scoops up a line of people He calls His. He pulls them back from the edge of the cliff and claims; YOU ARE MINE. He saves them from jumping and lavishes His grace on them. From this line of descendants, He will provide a savior. He will protect this line. He will teach them and challenge them and love them and do great things through them.

This line started with Abraham. Then Isaac. And then Jacob (who, spoiler alert, eventually became renamed: Isreal).

And for the next few weeks, we are going to learn more about Jacob.

If you're not doing anything on Saturday nights, come to church. Or you know, just wait til I blog about it :)

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Grace
2. Weekends
3. Smart People


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