It’s really all about love

So I feel I should have a political post. I mean, everybody’s doing it. You can’t move between two blogs and not see something political.

But marching to the beat of my own drummer has really always been my style.
(Let’s be honest. I have my own marching band.)

The truth is – I don’t care who you voted for. It’s none of my business. You felt that Hillary stood for women and people of all races? Great! Good for you. You felt that Trump stood for Christian morals and would represent God better in government? Great! Good for you.

I. Do. Not. Care.

What I do care about is the utter madness I am seeing now. People are protesting? Beating others up because they disagreed with how things turned out? Really? I so saddened by this.

Love.

It’s in that big book from the big guy upstairs.

That was the ultimate thing we were asked to do. That’s the bottom line. Jesus saw beyond race, sex, lifestyle – you name it – He didn’t care. He died for everyone.

Just to be clear on that last point.

The guy that voted for Trump that you think is racist? Died for him.
The guy that voted for Hillary that you think is a baby killer? Died for him.
The woman you saw mumbling to herself outside the store unkempt and smelling funny? Died for her.
The guy on death row you saw on the news story? Died for him.
The woman at church that is the most annoying person you’ve ever met? Died for her.
The gay person that you don’t like because you say it goes against Biblical teaching? Died for him.
Your children? Died for them.
Muslims? Died for them.
Atheists? Died for them.
Rape victim? Died for her.
Woman that had an abortion? Died for her.
Presidential candidates, former and current elected? Died for them.

Jesus didn’t care. Jesus loves. Jesus tells us to love.

Jesus said to everyone – hey, I know you guys think it’s “love your neighbor and go roll your enemy’s yard” but you’ve been doing it wrong all these years! It’s supposed to be “Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) A few lines later he tells the local lawyer the answer to the question of the greatest commandment is twofold. 1. Love God. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-39) I’m guessing the lawyer didn’t take a class on how to cross examine God cause he just got schooled.

John 13:34 – A new commandment I have given you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
So, yeah, kind of a big deal. Those were some of Jesus’ last teachings as shortly after this he was taken away and now we have Easter.

So you know what? I’m not going to debate the finer points of gay people or refugees or a big wall or emails. I’m choosing love. Not to be confused with free love of the 60s – no need to go back there. Just love. Mutual respect and love for my neighbor. My sins are no worse that anyone else and guess what? Christ died for me too.

I may still need to focus on the Bible for some of the other aspects to it – but even I know a commandment to love my neighbor when I see it.

Winner, Winner

Ok – not a typical blog post from me! I stumbled upon a site a few months ago where I get a book *for free* in exchange for reviewing it on my blog and on their site. It’s a total win-win situation, right? (Probably not for them as they are sending me a book to review and no one is actually reading my blog…yet. I really feel one day when I’m dead people will desperately wish they’d gotten to know me…and why not? I’m amazing – if only in my own mind.

At any rate – the book was Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgins. I received no money for the review but I did get the book for free in exchange for my honest opinion (who knew some day I’d get to write about that and get a book for it, huh??)

I should probably start by saying that this isn’t my first read by Ms. Higgs. I have read two of her books before and had a feeling I’d enjoy this one as well. It’s so nice to read a book by a woman that doesn’t talk down from a high horse of “preachiness” to condemn others in our current state of sin. She freely admits to being a former “bad girl” – drugs, alcohol and certainly some free love in there. Dare I call it – refreshing? In this world of so many preacher-esque women whom I will never be like no matter how many Bible verses I memorize it’s wonderful to hear from someone real. She writes in a way that is easy for anyone to understand, no matter if you are new to the Bible, never heard of the characters, or just thought it was all made up. She breathes life into the old and I think that is a real gift. Be warned, however, this is the same style of writing she has done for her previous “Bad Girls” series so if you didn’t enjoy those books then you probably won’t enjoy this one either.

“I want it Now!”

If anyone has been in my presence for, oh, say five minutes, you will quickly find out that I have 3 nephews and one niece and they are the lights of my life. Don’t ask about them because I am worse than a proud mom or grandmother and I will quickly whip out pictures of them and bore you for the rest of the day. Seriously. They are that adorable and there aren’t kids as cute as them anywhere on earth. Trust me, I’ve taken a poll and worn my friends down so they agree with me.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Speaking of nephews, my sister shared a funny story with me. Several months ago an age appropriate movie was on television and she said her son could watch it. He was quite excited to be allowed this privilege until the first commercial came on. As anyone with a 3 year old knows – tears happen incredibly quickly.

“Mama! Where’d it go? Bring it back! Bring it back right now! I want it!”

See, he’d never seen a movie on television before. He’d only ever seen 30 minute cartoons per demand on cable or watched something on DVD. Commercials weren’t something he expected. He was not patient with the commercials at all and could not understand why his mom couldn’t just get rid of them. Obviously, as the movie played on and came back after the commercial break he figured out that the movie wasn’t gone and every time it broke for commercials it would return. I mean, he’s 3. He’s not completely clueless.

So this began my thinking about how I am with God. I want answers and I want them NOW. I don’t want to be patient about things. I don’t want to pray earnestly about what His will is for my life. Sometimes I fall into the trap of using God as a genie in a bottle. You know, dust off the old Bible and then wait to be rich? Yeah, it doesn’t work like that. Repeat after me: God is not a genie. And when I stomp around demanding things “now” I’m betting God looks at me like I look at that kid in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” when she wants a golden goose. You know, right before she drops into “below” because she was a bad egg.

God has His own timing and it is perfect. We live in such a world of microwave, fast food, ATMs, and even minute clinics for health needs that the idea of waiting for anything seems preposterous. Why would I want to wait on something when everything I could ever want is at my fingertips?
Encyclopedias are a thing of the past – Google give you instant gratification! To be honest, I don’t really remember surviving before Google – but somehow I made it through college without the internet.
I can get my oil changed in 30 minutes, get diagnosed with the flu in 10, order groceries online and pick them up within hours, and wire money to a friend in Europe overnight. (Of note, I don’t have any friends in Europe, but if anyone wants to wire me some money I won’t say no. Or become a friend in Europe with a vacation home.)

The point is – some things take time. Growth takes time. No matter how fast paced our world has become we still have to slow ourselves. Noah was 500 years old before his first son was born (Genesis 5:32). I mean, people lived a tad longer back then, but still. I’m pretty sure that’s a long time to wait. Abraham was 100 years old before Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5) and God had promised him offspring more numerous than the stars (Genesis 15:5, paraphrasing mine). The first chat Abraham (then Abram) had with God happened and he didn’t have Isaac for at least 14 years since in between that conversation and Isaac’s birth he had a son by a servant (Genesis 16) and it mentions that Ismael was 13 (Genesis 17:25) when he and his father were circumcised (ouch!).
Even Jesus was born perfect, with knowledge of all things, yet He didn’t begin His ministry until it was time for it. At 18 He certainly would’ve been an adult by standards then but He didn’t begin preaching until age 30 (Luke 3:23).

Patience. I want my answers and I want them NOW – but just like my sister had to calmly explain commercial breaks to her son, I suspect God is gently guiding me to more Bible time for a deeper understanding of how His timing is always going to be perfect for me. You can’t fast-forward through God. The truth is, you’ll miss so much if you try.

Book Review Time

Ok – So even though this has so far been a faith based blog – I took a chance and signed up to review a book for the blog. I mean, they send me a book *for free*. All I have to do is talk about if I liked it or not.

Holy cow. Do you know how much this makes my bookworm heart sing? This is the part when I mention that while I was not paid for this review I did receive a free copy of the book from the website for free in exchange for my unbiased review.

Now, when I signed up for the site, I had visions of reviewing new Christian fiction or Bible studies and then bringing those to the masses. (And by “masses” I mean the 3 people that read this – my own mother isn’t one of them – she doesn’t like to read, nor does she know what a blog is).

However, the first book I saw and jumped on was a mainstream book written by a comedian that I’ve seen on television and I have found funny. So instead of exploring anything remotely faith based – I jumped on the popular secular bandwagon to review something “fun”.

Hey – joke’s on me! While I wanted to enjoy the book – I just couldn’t. I didn’t even finish it.

The book is WHY NOT ME? by Mindy Kaling and while she’s certainly very funny the book just wasn’t my style.

Here is the review I posted on the website bloggingforbooks.com.

Oh, dear. I so wanted to like this book. Every time I’ve seen Ms. Kaling on television I’ve found her to be funny and someone that I felt could be friends with anyone. She’s that person in high school that was rude to no one, friends with everyone, and got decent grades, all while avoiding being labeled a geek or nerd.

At least, in my own mind. So I was excited to read a book by her as I felt I’d be laughing, enjoying life more, and just brightening my day.

Basically, it’s just a retelling of her start in hollywood with some funny stories thrown in to make it interesting. While I am sure these stories would make for wonderful drink or dinner conversations I just couldn’t sit down and read them. I only got about halfway through before I became bored with it. I suspect it’s because I actually don’t know the author in person so these stories don’t affect me much.

I did laugh during a few points in the book, but to be honest, if I never finish it, it won’t be the saddest thing that’s ever happened.

So, there ya have it. My first book review – and I didn’t even like the book.
Sorry there’s no inspiration in this post – other than be careful what you get for free in the mail?? Haha! Love to you all (yup, all 3 of ya!) and don’t worry – I’ll be sure to come up with some life lesson soon.

More Freedom than William Wallace

In the past month I’ve acquired a toddler. A rather large (70 lb), non English speaking, furry toddler. She requires walks a few times a day, she prefers to eat whatever I’m eating (if I’m not watching carefully) and if I’m trying to drink a hot beverage then she will feel the need to constantly bump my elbow until I have turned to her to pat her head.

Yes. It’s a dog. A 4 year old dog that I was assured is out of the puppy phase and yet, the chewed upon corner of my dining room table would beg to differ with you on that point.

She’s hyper, she sheds, she has selective listening, and I’m pretty sure I know where one of my missing socks went…but I’ll see it again in a few days.

I’m pretty smitten with her even with all the dog nonsense – did I mention I now take my hot tea with a side of dog hair?

While out on one of our excursions, she spied a squirrel. Not just any squirrel. This squirrel was clearly a kamikaze squirrel, sent to ground by his fellow brethren to check out the furry dog beast. That squirrel got my dog’s attention, scurried about 10 feet down the sidewalk, and then stopped and casually licked his paws.

My sweet beast is almost dragging me down the sidewalk because she is determined to help that squirrel accomplish his mission of death by honor.

I live next to a busy street. A very busy street. My poor dog would’ve been the decor on someone’s front car grill in no time had I let her go. See, even though she wanted the squirrel and he was asking for it (really, that thing was begging to be her dinner), I still had to make her sit and stay.

Oh, that did not go over well. Once I had her attention and she sat she began whining at that crazy animal until he was gone from her sight. (I may have thrown a rock in his general direction to speed up that process).

Then (of course!) my dog’s lack of free will – since I took it from her – reminded me of how we are given free will. Now, I’m not going to get into the question of “If God knows everything I’m going to do then how do I still have free will?” because there are books written on that by people far more knowledgable than I am.

Hebrews 10:26 says “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of truth…”
So – sinning deliberately. Meaning sinning and you know you’re doing it, aka, choosing to sin. I’m not a genius but that doesn’t sound like God’s forcing anyone to follow His path if they get to choose sin. It doesn’t mean He likes it, wants it, or approves. It just means that you have a choice – walk in faith and try to be like Christ or choose to sit around the water cooler and gossip about the new woman’s too tight clothes and weird relationship with the boss.

1 Peter 5:2 says “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”
This one’s a bit longer and it addresses the new disciples of Christ. Pete’s probably thinking about the mission that his Teacher left him with (“feed my sheep”, perhaps you’ve heard of it). Peter is now on a mission to create churches and teach life lessons to the new leaders. However, he already knows that where there’s people, there’s going to be strife and competition. So he tells them that teaching, leading, loving – this isn’t something you do from obligation or guilt. It’s done the way Jesus did it – eagerly and willingly. Note the willingly. You can choose to not be a teacher and not speak of Christ. I must say, the Big Guy himself actually told the remaining disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

Joshua (there’s a little song about him; he fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down) asked the people to choose. He tells them they can continue to serve the idols and false gods they’ve worshipped in the past or choose the true God to worship. He ends his speech with the well known phrase, “but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. (Joshua 24:14-15) (I’m sure you’ve seen that quote at many chain retailers on wall hangings and prints.)
The people remembered that it was God that brought them out of slavery, showed them all the signs, fed them, and gave them the promised land so they chose to serve God. (Joshua 24:16-18)
That’s some serious free will right there. After God has rescued his people, given them some sweet property they can still choose to worship some clay doll.
Let’s be honest, if they choose the idol then when push comes to shove and they end up having a heart attack and see God face to face He will say, “I do not know you” and they don’t get to see beyond the pearly gates. (Matthew 7:23, Luke 13:27

God will never stalk you. He waits patiently for you to turn to Him. He will always be there, open arms, ready to accept and forgive. Truly, the choice is ours. That’s more than I give my dog – I don’t even let her on the couch.

Would you like to buy some magic beans?

I was once the world’s biggest sucker. Well, maybe not the world’s biggest but I feel that informercials were made for me. I would believe anything I saw on television. I thought that if a product promised to get rid of wrinkles and make me 20 lbs lighter then it most certainly would! I mean, why wouldn’t it? All those television models now look so happy, thin and wrinkle free. (Somehow they’ve managed to also achieve a tan but no one ever mentions that).

Luckily somehow I stopped believing in that garbage. It’s a good thing because I worked nights for several years and do you know what’s on television at 2 am when you can’t sleep? Yup. Informercials. Someone selling the latest car gadget, wrinkle cream, weight loss pill, or pet product.

Even when I succumbed to temptation and shelled out my easy payments of $29.99 (plus shipping and handling – of course!) I figured out something pretty quickly.

I never knew if the product actually worked or not.

I used it for a day, maybe half a week, and then I was done with it. Various reasons; I got bored, results weren’t instant, or it really was a bogus sale.

The truth is, if I never gave it a real trial then how did I even know if my wrinkles were going to go away? If I was ever going to be model thin? (Newsflash on that one, folks – not happening with magic beans)

Ahhhh, and now we come to the point of my rambling.

Lately I’ve been studying on how to be a better woman of God. It’s a struggle as anyone who knows my temper, my personality, and my inability to let my mind think before my mouth runs will attest. I mean – this is really, really hard. How am I supposed to be a righteous person? And I don’t mean righteous like we used in the 80’s slang – I mean “righteous” as a way of living with what God expects and wants me to do.

Heeeyyy, guess what? There’s a whole book for that. God wrote it. Ding, ding ding – I know you’ve heard of the Bible. It’s been on the bestseller list for years. Well, not the actual bestseller list. However, it is one of the top selling books of all time.

The trick to the Bible is that if you don’t use it then you’ll never know if it works or not. (Trust me on this one. It works.) You’ll never figure out how to live the way God intended if you only take it to church on Sundays. Read over a few Psalms. While a lot of those are about praise there’s a few about feeling abandoned. I bet we can all relate to this at times. And keep in mind that David wrote several of those while he was on the run from King Saul who was trying to kill him. So he probably did feel abandoned. Read in Romans where Paul mentions his own struggles with his sin and how he’s mad at himself for it (Romans 7:15). (Makes me wonder what Paul was doing that was “so bad” considering just a few years earlier he’d been persecuting the churches and murdering folks).

Living right in the eyes of God isn’t easy. But if we never even take the wrapping off the product then we don’t stand a chance. I’m willing to keep my laugh lines because I never used the wrinkle cream but I sure don’t want to be held accountable to the Big Guy one day because the book He made for me gathered dust on a shelf.

Just a little hair pulling

“I’m telling!”

“Girls, stop fighting. Say you’re sorry. Forgive each other. Hug.”

Oh, those were the days. Not that that ever actually happened in my household growing up – I was a kid raised in the 80s. A cry of “I’m telling!” ended with a swift swat to someone’s behind and then all kids were thrown outside to play (or continue killing each other, whatever) while mom finished laundry.

No, the above dialogue is pulled from those super cheesy sitcoms that everyone watched during my childhood days. 30 minutes of a misunderstanding, comedic miscommunication, and in the end an offered apology followed by forgiveness.

Funny, that’s not really what happens in the real world. I don’t know why – I was prepared for this, right? Everyone watched the same television shows so we should all know how the script reads.

No one tells you how deep a wound really is when a friend wrongs you. No one mentions that the act of “forgiveness” is so much harder – especially if the friend doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. Those sitcoms didn’t mention that instead of hugging it out I’d much rather yank her hair out. I don’t understand – can’t this be fixed in 30 minutes or less?

I was wronged! Isn’t it okay to cross my arms and pout for a bit?

Well. No. Not really. Hey – guess what! There’s some verses about that. Peter (perhaps you’ve heard of him – he was one of those guys running around with Jesus) asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone who had wronged him. (Matthew 18:21)

Now, this part isn’t in the Bible, but I’ve often wondered if someone was just really ticking Peter off. Maybe someone was stepping on his tunic. Maybe someone was stealing his lunch every day (super annoying!). Peter had clearly had it because he was like – Hey, Jesus, can I just forgive this guy seven times?

Jesus just smiles at Peter and says, “Nope! Seventy-seven times!” (Matthew 18:22, paraphrasing mine)

Then Jesus tells the story about a guy (king actually) that came to collect his debts. One guy couldn’t pay him and begged for an extension on his loan. The king had pity, erased his loan and went on his way, presumably to continue collecting his money. Know any banks that would do that today?

Now the guy that owed the king money is feeling broke. So he goes to his servant’s house that owed him money and called in his debt. Right now. Immediately. His servant can’t pay, so he has him thrown in jail. The king hears about it and is super ticked. He says – I forgave you ALL your debt and you can’t even give this guy an extension on his? Did I not teach you anything? How about you spend some time in the cell until your debt is paid. (Matthew 18:23-34)

This is the example that Jesus gives to basically say – God has shown all of us grace, so we should show others the same. Yes. Everyone gets wronged. Yes. It stings. Remember our buddy Peter? After running around with his BFF Jesus for 3 years he pretended to not know him after Jesus was arrested. Talk about hurt feelings. Jesus didn’t pout about it. He forgave Peter (technically, he’d already predicted it would happen, but that’s beside the point).

I know that I am not strong enough on my own to forgive the ones that have wronged me. However, I believe in a power that is strong enough to let this happen. So I pray. I ask for the power to forgive them. I ask for the safety of her family and for her happiness. Crazy? Yes. Prevents me from yanking her hair out? Yes. I’m human, after all. And the crazy southern in me wouldn’t be above snatching someone bald. So prayer keeps everyone from unexpected baldness, even if I’m not quite ready to hug it out just yet.

#Grateful

I was running the other day and I saw a woman wearing a tank with one word on it. GRATEFUL. Nothing else. No cute decor, no sparkles, no logo (that I could tell, but as we all know I run crazy slow and she was running at a normal pace).

Hmmm. So I began thinking. I mean, I’m grateful, right? I’ve got a house (it’s a rental, but the roof doesn’t leak), I have a car, and a job. According to statistics, I’m richer than the majority of the world simply because I have those things. I usually pray with the typical Southern Baptist – “Thank you, God, for my home and my job”. Don’t ask why I don’t thank Him for my car – I am extremely glad to have it.

But really. Am I grateful? Or do I take these things for granted and just pay lip service to God because I was trained correctly? When I pray am I praying fervently to make a change and to ask God to help me become the person He’s intended me to be or am I just putting in the time to check off that box for the day?

Read the Bible – check.
Prayed – check.
Helped a boy scout – check.
Didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings today – check.
Gave some tithe this week – check.
Went to church last Sunday – check.
Go to bed peaceful because I’ve lived a good life today – check.

However, we aren’t on this earth to check boxes. The question we (me included) that we should ask every morning when we wake up is – what can I do for God today? I’m grateful He’s given me another day to serve Him. How can I really show God that I’m GRATEFUL for all He’s given me? In case you were wondering, the stuff you’ve got – yeah, you might think you’ve worked hard for it – but it’s not really yours. That’s the equivalent of saying your indoor plant owns its pot and soil. Your dog owns its food bowl. You get the picture. (Check out 1 Chronicles 29:12-14 “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”)

To begin with, we’re talking about God. He’s been around since, well, since forever. We as puny humans cannot begin to comprehend how long that is. He just gave us a time frame for when things started (“In the beginning… – Genesis 1:1) so that our tiny brains don’t explode. Our little lives of 80 years, give or take, is a nanosecond in His existence. So the fact that we all work like crazy people to save money for retirement for our teensy lives – that’s kind of an insult to Him. We are told that while we have this brief life on earth we are to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20) because that’s where the good stuff is. Eternity, which is such a concept that we can’t even begin to comprehend it.

So perhaps instead of just phoning it in with my nighttime prayers – I know you know what I mean – those exhausted muttered “thankyouformyfamilyfriendsandday” prayers before falling into an exhausted sleep – maybe I should actually stop and think about 1. why I’m grateful and 2. how I can show that to God. I don’t know about you but one day I’m planning on standing (well, kneeling on shaking legs) before the Creator of all. I really don’t want Him to run through my list of accomplishments and come up empty. He will look me in the eye and ask why I get to be there. What do I want to be able to tell Him? That I worked a lot of hours? That I tithed the bare minimum with a heart that wasn’t really in it? That I had an opportunity to tell someone about Him but I was scared to share my faith? That I’m a “good person” because I showed up at church on Sundays but had been drinking like an idiot on Fridays? God knows your heart. Not to guilt anyone but God knows what you do. The best part is – He forgives. He doesn’t forgive so you can go back to what you were doing before. He forgives so you can start fresh and strive to be like Him. (Don’t worry, He already knows it’s never gonna happen. The effort is what counts)

Yes, I’m grateful. Grateful to have a house, a job, a great family, friends, and to live in a country where worship is something that is allowed without persecution. I’m grateful to be able to read my Bible in public. I’m grateful to be able to share my faith with someone and the biggest fear is that they will laugh – not that they will tell the government and I will be arrested. I’m grateful that I can freely write things like this and post it online and don’t have to worry that someone will come knock on my door because it’s not allowed. I’m grateful that a few thousand years ago Jesus took the form of man and died for my sins because I was never going to be good enough to get to heaven on my own. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.

Is the Easter bunny in the Bible?

As it’s Easter, I thought it fitting to write about the holiday. Not the Cadberry bunny kind. I felt like talking about the actual reason we have eggs, bunnies and allergies. I began to think about the actual crucifixion that happened on Friday, the hurry to bury the body (or at least get it in a cave – weird burial laws), and the need for a lone woman to go back to the body.
Everyone knows the story – Jesus was crucified for our sins, buried in a cave that was paid for by Joseph of Arimathea who was “looking for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:51) and was there until Sunday morning.
This is the part of the story I’ve been thinking about today. There are different accounts of which women went to the tomb, but Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (not Jesus’s mother, the other James), and a woman named Salome went to prepare his body (she’s in the book of Mark).
When I was a kid I often thought of it as just being one woman, usually Mary Magdalene, and she was skipping along, probably eating chocolate that the Easter bunny had brought her. Yeah, I wasn’t a bright child.
As an adult I wonder what these women were thinking. Their leader, teacher, and mentor had been brutally slain. They know that his body is behind a huge stone (as was the custom) and yet none of his disciples had come with them. I don’t know the reasoning behind this and I’m certainly no scholar. My guess is that as they’ve just witnessed an innocent man’s crucifixion their other friends have chosen to lay low. I can’t say I blame them. I’d be hiding out myself. In fact, I’d have probably skipped town and be on a beach several towns over with a new identity but I’m a chicken.
So these women go to the tomb with the expectation of a dead body, a disgusting smell, a gruesome task, and quite possibly jail time, simply because they follow this “prophet” known as Jesus from Nazarene. I imagine they are heartbroken. They are stifling sobs as they set about to do the task that is set before them because, let’s face it. That’s what women do. We get the job done.
When they arrive the tomb is already opened, the guards are nowhere to be found and two strangers are hanging out. I may have been wrong about the earlier image of skipping and eating Easter chocolates, but I’m certain that these two “men” are lounging casually, enjoying the sunshine and trying not to appear like angels. Which, of course, they are.
Just in case you’ve missed it – God started the women’s lib movement. Long ago. I know it didn’t really catch on until the 1960’s but the fact that God wanted lowly, not-as-worthy-as-cattle women to go back and tell the menfolk that Jesus had risen – that’s just letting the world know that He’s always thought pretty highly of the girls. The men basically decided they were crazy, although in Luke’s account Peter did go take a peek at the empty tomb.
The women didn’t care. They knew they weren’t crazy. I can only imagine their elation at knowing their friend and King was really alive. He’d done what was promised. He has made it so everyone has a free pass into heaven. No one has to work for it. No one has to sacrifice for it – it’s been done. We are bought and paid for. The darkest day for these women turned into the happiest in just a moment. The disciples took a little longer; their loss, in my opinion.
Now I’m sure I could google (thank you, internet) the reasoning behind bunnies and eggs for Easter. The truth is, I don’t care. The bottom line is that there is a reason for this holiday and ultimately it’s the line between eternal life and death. This earthly place isn’t permanent. It’s just a stopping place until we get to where God wants us to be. Jesus already paid our entry fee – we just have to grab a ticket.

Man plans, God laughs

“Would anybody be interested in a Bible study to meet a few times a month?”

It started off as an innocent enough question. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for about a year and one of my goals for this year is to be more social. I thought I could join something local. A friend introduced me to a website for neighborhood news and I posted my query there.

I honestly felt that I’d post my question and someone would jump up and say, “Hey! We meet at the library every week! Come join!”

After all, this is the south. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a church and I just knew there had to be a local Bible study or women’s group within a 5 mile radius.

I asked my question on a Friday evening. I checked the website Saturday afternoon, fully expecting to be immersed in Southern hospitality and hugs within a week.

Nope. I had 15 responses to my question. Nobody said, “Hey, come join us!” These crazy southerners responded with, “Hey! Great idea! I’m interested in joining. Let me know when it’s arranged and I’ll be there.”

Mic. Drop.

What?

I’m sorry. What? No. See, I’m supposed to be joining a Bible study, not leading one. I can’t lead a Bible study. I swear. I drink. I’m cranky. (Although, to be fair, if I’m drinking I’m not usually cranky). I have a bad attitude. I tend to skip the boring parts of the Bible. I am not equipped to lead a Bible study.

Now, as I’m doubting my ability (not to mention my sanity), I’m reminded of a guy that had similar doubts. To be fair, God asked him to do a much bigger task that I’ve had set before me. This guy grew up with every need addressed, had servants, a nice house, friends, all the good stuff. One day, he gets a little upset, loses his temper and kills a guy. Oops. So he packs up and leaves the only family he’s ever known to start scraping by at making a living like the rest of the poor folk.

One day, while he’s out minding his own business, working for his father-in-law, he sees a bush on fire and hears a voice. I’m guessing he had to change his tunic shortly after, but I wasn’t there and that part’s not important.

In case you haven’t guessed it, this is the story of Moses. He was saved from death by a shrewd mother and sister who moved him uptown to the palace. There he was raised as the Pharaoh’s grandson. (Exodus 2:3-10) After he killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12) he realized he’d goofed up pretty major.

He runs away, marries a woman, has a few kids, works for his father-in-law. And now we come to the point of all this.

Moses had the Lord talking to him via a burning bush (I’m guessing the internet was down). God says to him – hey, go get my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10)

I’m sure Moses was probably looking for some leaves or something to clean up his ruined tunic but he had time to collect his thoughts to say, “Yeah, no, thanks for asking, but I’m not in the mood.” (Exodus 3:11, paraphrasing mine)

Then after God tells him, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14) Moses is still waffling around. God gives him the script on what to say, changes his staff into a snake and back again, shows him how to change water into blood, and gave him a really nasty rash on his hand that went away as soon as he put it inside his coat (Exodus 4:2-9)

At this point, one would think Moses would grab the wife and kids and head off on a road trip. No, he actually asked God if someone else could talk for him because he just wasn’t feeling up to the task. (Exodus 4:10-13)

The moral of the story is that finally after lots of whining, God allowed Moses to go with his brother and let the brother do all the talking. When I asked my question and ended up with over 30 responses of eager people to join a Bible study, expecting me to lead I realized something. I didn’t ask to be a leader. I don’t really consider myself a leader. But you know what? This isn’t about me. And when Moses was showing Pharaoh who the boss is, it wasn’t about Moses. This is about God. This is about a community so hungry for His word that when a stranger asks about a Bible study people jump up and say, “Me! Me!”

So guess what, guys? Looks like I’m leading a Bible study, trying to follow along what God’s got in mind. (Mental note – do not swear at Bible study).