Monday, June 15, 2009

Putting On My Cowboy Boots Of Faith

In 2004, Jeff and I left our two children with my parents for a week and went to Colorado to attend the wedding of a dear friend. While we were there, we found a pair of cowboy boots which we bought for Isaiah, who was almost three. I told him about them over the phone several days before we came home. They were brown and black. My mom told me he went around for days telling anyone who would listen, "I have new cowboy boots! They're brown and black." He had never seen them. But he had them. He knew he had them, because his Mom said they were his. I wrote a prayer in my journal:

Lord, give me that kind of faith. The kind that believes what You tell me, and walks around triumphant over the things that I 'have', but have not yet seen or possessed. Faith like a child -- like Hebrews 11.

Personally, I consider myself a realist. (I know that some of you unrealistic optimists have now mentally labeled me a pessimist.) If I have a trip to Disneyland planned, I try not to expect it, to avoid the disappointment of failing to achieve it -- in the event the whole thing falls through. The plane might not make it, you know. Storms could cause me to spend my entire vacation in an airport. Maybe I'll die before the date arrives. I just don't know. I do enjoy Disneyland if I'm there, I'm just not one of those people who gets all their enjoyment out of anticipation. I wait till things pan out before I celebrate them. But I would have been so insulted if my son had said, "Yeah, right. I'll believe that when I see it." And with God alone, the things that He says are all 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Christ. No 'what ifs' about it with Him. He speaks worlds into existence, and whatever He speaks IS. I can walk in those cowboy boots now.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you
through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises;
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
(2 Peter 1:2-4)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Conquering Kings and Slaying Giants

At my children's request, I have been reading Esther to them in our Bible time. This morning we read chapter two. As I read verse fifteen, something about Esther stood out to me, and I'd like to share it.

"Now when the turn of Esther...
had come to go in to the king,
she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain,
the keeper of the women, appointed.
And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her."
(Est 2:15)

I was reminded of David, as he prepared for his battle with Goliath.

"And David said to Saul, I cannot go with these [all the armor of a warrior], for I have not proved them.
And David put them off from him.
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook,
and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip;
and his sling was in his hand; and he drew near to the Philistine...
Then said David to the Philistine,
Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield:
but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the LORD deliver thee into my hand;
and I will smite thee, and take thy head from thee;
and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day to the fowls of the air,
and to the wild beasts of the earth;
that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear:
for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands."
(From 1 Samuel 17:38-47)

Both David and Esther went to their battles shunning the devices of human victories. They left the props behind. They went in simplicity, trusting the Lord to supply their lack. Esther went to conquer a king -- simply, as herself, trusting God. David went to slay a giant -- simply, as himself, trusting God.

Lord, help me to go to Your work simply, as myself, trusting You. I don't want to clothe myself in the strength of man, but in Your strength. And I want to be clothed in Your beauty -- the beauty of holiness, not in the fashions of this world. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

"...who through faith subdued kingdoms,
worked righteousness,
obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions,
quenched the violence of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword,
out of weakness were made strong,
became valiant in battle,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
(From Hebrews 11)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thoughts On Unjust Fees

I hate government interference. I hate unjust fees, unjust taxes, and the oppression of the underclasses through bureaucratic fines. I hate auto registration fees. I hate use taxes. I hate the confiscation of private lands by the corporation that is the federal government in the name of 'preservation' for the masses -- and the subsequent charging of fees to those masses to allow them to walk in the forest. It strikes me as arrogant elitism to 'preserve' nature for the masses while making it unaffordable to the lower classes to enjoy it. It confines the poor to crappy housing in crowded places, with no view of the sky. But this isn't about that.

I've had friends and family who've gone as missionaries to less law-abiding countries than our own. I've been thinking about the extra money they are forced to carry with them to pay off corrupt officials. To bribe the police not to unjustly jail them. To pay not to be hassled at airports and traffic stops. As much as this annoys me to think of, I've been thinking about the fact that the missionaries are not citizens of those countries. Many of those 'fees' and 'fines' are not legally owed by the missionaries who pay them. But they are the cost of being in those countries -- on a mission. I am not a citizen of earth. I am a citizen of heaven. And while these unjust taxes at times make me boiling mad, the revolt against fees and fines and blood-sucking regulations are not my purpose here on earth. I can be caught up in the fight against them (and in my opinion, I would be absolutely justified), or I can get on with what I'm here for. I can remember I don't LIVE here. I'm only here for a little while. And the City I get to call home isn't like that.