…“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”
I grew up drinking Southern sweet tea…the kind where you didn’t measure how much cane sugar you poured from its brown paper bag into the pitcher. You just poured until you figured you’d reached saturation level—too little and it wasn’t sweet enough…too much and you’d end up with grainy sugar at the bottom. Then you poured boiling hot, strong black tea over the sugar, stirred, and filled the pitcher with cold tap water.
I grimace now to even think about drinking that much sugar.
I love unsweetened tea; and always order mine with lots and lots of extra ice. It’s so frustrating to go through a drive through, pull out of the parking lot, take a long drink and then discover it’s sweet sweet Southern tea. I’ve thought of spitting it out, but I haven’t. Yet.
Sometimes I hold up the cars behind me while I taste my tea before I leave the window. There’s no other way to be sure that my order is correct because I can’t see or smell the sugar; and if I want to know for sure, I have to test it.
do not believe everyone
who claims to speak by the Spirit.
You must test them
to see if the spirit they have
comes from God.
For there are many false prophets
in the world.
1 John 4:1-5
Taste tests are best.
Our family has a long history of silly exchanges with telemarketers. Dan was the champ; and would nearly always stay on the line until the exasperated caller hung up on him.
Years ago our sister-in-law’s phone company promoted a Friends and Family calls program; and she received a discount by giving them our name and number. They called and within minutes Dan had the lady convinced he believed she was calling to give him bad news about his family in Missouri. He repeatedly refused to understand her assurances to the contrary and nearly drove the poor lady to tears.
Another caller promised him $1500 if he could name the three colors of the American flag. He hum-hawed aloud before finally saying he thought one color was red. The telemarketer encouraged him to continue. Then he agonizingly hmmm hmmm’d for a while before saying he thought maybe the next color was white. The caller, really wanting the sale, excitedly encouraged him to name the final color. Dan said that he’d seen a flag just the other day….and man, oh man, if he could only just remember what color it was….then he finally guessed green. The guy hung up on him.
The calls I receive these days are more along the lines of tele-scammers instead of tele-marketers. I’ve gone the gamut from not saying a word to being sarcastic and rude before hanging up. But I don’t really like to do that even though they are trying to steal my computer passwords, credit cards and identify.
So I decided to take a new approach. I’m polite, but non-committal as I listen to their spiel. Then I turn the tables and ask them if they ever pray. This always catches the caller off guard, but so far, they’ve all said yes.
One caller even volunteered that he’d had dreams about Jesus and that Jesus had told him he should call and help the people with their computer problems.
That made me smile, but I told him that I didn’t think Jesus would really say that, but that maybe Jesus did want him to talk to me.
And then I talked about God and Jesus and faith. And he was still with me after that, so I read him the prayer that Dan prayed at the end of each church service.
He very respectfully ended our call; and I was smiling when I hung up.
As Elijah stood sheltered in a mountain cave in the presence of the LORD…
…a great and powerful wind
tore the mountains apart
and shattered the rocks
before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11-12
After he shattered the immovable; shook the earth’s foundation; flashed flames of fire; and set Elijah’s senses to high alert…
…then God whispered.
What a powerful God I serve. He moves heaven and earth to get my attention; and paints himself with word pictures to let me know his incredible power and invisible presence.
Sometimes when he speaks, it’s so clear and nuanced that I’ve no doubt it’s his voice.
But other times this unfathomable God, who tabernacles with me, doesn’t speak. So then I try to be very quiet; and use Scripture and common sense to discern what he’s telling me.
Who among the gods
is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul
and healthy for the body.
Good memories are also a little like honey—sweet, sticky, and healthy for the heart.
When I told my son I was replacing my truly awful, and original-to-his-childhood, vinyl and carpet floors, he said:
Those old floors have just had a lot of memories spilled on them over the years.
No argument there.
From leaky baby bottles to farm boots clumped with red mud…
…from smoky bonfire clothes piled high by the back door to cowboy boots two-steppin’ across the kitchen…
…from Curious George waltzes in the living room to kitchen cabinet door climbs up to the big window ledge…
Every memory covered scratch, scuff, and stain in the house told part of a laughter-filled love story that I wouldn’t have exchanged for any amount of perceived perfection.
We marked our house as we lived and raised our family here; and it occurred to me, the evening before my new floors were to be installed, that I really really wanted to do more of the same.
…Unless the LORD builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted…
Following the special ceremony Dan facilitated his last night on earth; I commented that his feet were barely touching the ground. Could I have ever made a more apropos comment?
I’ve no doubt Dan’s body will someday rise from the grave and be transformed and reunited with his spirit. Which is what I was hoping would happen right that minute as I sat front row at his funeral three plus years ago.
As a pastor’s wife, I attended a lot of funerals over the years; but I avoid them these days as much as I reasonably can. They tangle up my thoughts and it takes considerable energy to sort them all out afterwards.
However, I do think it would be flat out amazing to be sitting front row at the funeral of a believer when the body disappears. And I can only imagine the amazing news stories and photo ops that will follow.
I rarely go anywhere without my camera; but if I’m at that particular funeral, I won’t be taking any after-the-event pictures. Because my feet will no longer be touching the ground; and I’ll be dancing through the clouds to meet Jesus face to face.
I won’t be back.
…We who are still living
when the Lord returns
will not meet him ahead of those
who have died.
For the Lord himself
will come down from heaven
with a commanding shout,
with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trumpet call of God.
First, the believers who have died
will rise from their graves.
Then, together with them,
we who are still alive
and remain on the earth
will be caught up in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17