I Wonder …

12 Apr

I’ve always been a curious person — curious meaning “a desire to learn or know,” not curious meaning “strange” (although some might argue with that). My mind is always “wondering” about something.

Here are some things I wonder about:BabyOil_Really

  • If corn oil comes from corn … where does baby oil come from?
  • How do they get deer to cross at those yellow Deer crossing signs?
  • Why do kamikaze pilots bother to wear helmets?
  • Is it true that cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?
  • If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
  • And this one really gets me …..What do they use to ship Styrofoam? *

In recent months, I’ve wondered over things far more serious.

  • I wonder how God could love me.
  • I wonder that  Jesus chose to “empty” Himself and become a servant (Philippians 2:7-8).
  • I wonder that the Savior, ruler of all creation, chose to live within His creation to save us.
  • I wonder what the angels thought when they saw the Lord of Hosts on a cross (1 Peter 1:12).
  • I wonder that the Church is still alive and well—especially in third-world countries (Matthew 16:18).
  • I wonder that the Holy Spirit doesn’t get so sick of indwelling me (John 15:26), He doesn’t “pack up” and leave.
  • I wonder that all Creation points back to a Creator (Psalm 19:1Colossians 1:16) … and I wonder how man could miss that.
  • I wonder what our praises will sound like before the throne (Revelation 15:3-4).

God created us with the capacity to wonder over Him and His wonderful acts … wonder that leads to worship.

I love King David’s prayer-song, written for Asaph and his brothers to offer regularly before the Ark of the Covenant. And as my heart swells with wonder — love, reverence, awe, healthy fear, and worship before Him – I offer these words to you.

Linger over these words … allow your heart to swell with wonder too:

“…give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done … tell of all his WONDERful acts. Glory in his holy name … Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the WONDERS he has done, his miracles … great is the Lord and most worthy of praise… all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place … Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness … Praise be to the Lord …. “ [excerpts from 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, emphasis mine]

As David finished his prayer-song, “all the people said, ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the Lord.’”

Indeed. Amen! Praise the Lord!

What causes you to wonder and praise over our awesome, WONDERful God today?

- Dawn

* Humor,  some attributed to comedian Steven Wright

Graphics, original sources not clear

On Chiefs, Indians … and Servants

5 Apr

I laughed at the grocery store the other day. A frustrated mom, pushing one child in a stroller, scolded her other child – a misbehaving little girl.GrumpyChild_Freedigital_cropped

“Knock it off, Angela,” the mom yelled.

The little girl folded her arms across her chest and pouted. Then, as her mom resumed shopping, little Angela walked to the front of the stroller and pointed her finger at her wide-eyed brother.

“Well, I’m the boss of YOU!” she said with a sharp nod of her head.

Clearly, this disgruntled child wanted to be in charge … of something or someone!

I once worked in a busy office. Everyone around me wanted to get ahead – to climb the ladder of success. The problem was, no one wanted to do the detail work. They avoided the menial “service tasks” that had to get done in every department. Their attitude was, “Let the other guy do it; I’m too busy.”

One day my boss fumed, so fed up with everyone’s attitudes.

“This office has too many chiefs,” he said, “and not enough Indians.”

We’d all heard that before, but coming from the boss, the words stung and we hung our heads.

He then gave every one of us extra “busy work,” as some called it … but in other people’s departments. He said it was to teach us to serve one another. It was a shock to those who were puffed up with their leadership. File clerks scrubbed toilets. Executives swept floors. It was a humbling, critical lesson.

This kind of attitude crops up on athletic teams too.

John Wooden once described players on a struggling team as more concerned with improving their own statistics than improving the overall success of the team. There isn’t anything wrong with strong individual leadership, but as Wooden acknowledged, successful teamwork requires people who know how to work together. Unselfish players – even if they have strong individual leadership skills – must understand the importance of service to the group in order to accomplish team goals.

Years ago, when I ministered on a revival team, our director noticed the same “I don’t have to do this; let someone else serve” responses. He went right to the heart of the problem in a pointed team meeting, saying,

Pride is the enemy of servanthood.”

Whether in an office setting, on a sports team or even in a ministry the greatest leaders are servant leaders.

Leadership pride is an age-old, human nature problem. Even Jesus had to address  it in His disciples.

Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest,” the scriptures say, “But Jesus intervened: ‘Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant’” (Luke 22:24-26, The Message).

God called His Son, “My Servant” (Matthew 12:18a), and indeed, Jesus is our prime example of servant leadership - illustrating service by washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). He has a right to demand service of His followers (Luke 22:27). There’s a difference between serving God by serving others, and trying to gather power for ourselves (see Romans WashingFeet16:17-18).

Christ’s service cost Him something (Philippians 2:5-8; Mark 10:45). True servant leadership always does, but those who follow Christ are willing to pay the price. Following Christ is a part of our service, and when we serve Him, the Father honors us (John 12:26).

It’s never a matter of Chiefs and Indians – who’s in charge and who’s not.

It’s a matter of serving others as we all serve the Lord God. It’s a matter of humble obedience; doing our duty as servants (Luke 17:7-10). It’s a matter of loving, sacrificial giving - the willingness to go the extra mile and serve with fervency (Galatians 5:13b; Matthew 5:40-41; Romans 12:11).

Is the Master calling you to a higher level of servicethe kind that requires bent knees?

Dawn

Graphic of little girl: adapted Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Towel and Basin graphic: source unknown

Invest in Growing Old Gracefully

29 Mar

There are more than 75 blog posts and articles using this photo of “Very Old Barbie” on the Internet (and I can’t find the original source) – but she’s obviously captured the imagination of many people.OldBarbieDoll_GrayHair_sourceUnknown

I keep thinking, “Wow! I hope I look that good when I’m Very Old Dawn!”

Besides her long silvery coiffure, Very Old Barbie has puffy eyes and wrinkles on her forehead, upper lip and neck … and charming “smile lines.” (It’s probably a good thing they didn’t show Very Old Barbie below her  shoulders.)

In these days when commercials abound for anti-aging creams, “lifts” for double chins, and “guaranteed” wrinkle removers, the focus seems to be on preserving a youthful look.

This might be tough as I get older. I already have more wrinkles than a Shar Pei!

But I’m wondering if people ever think these days about aging gracefully … or preparing to live in eternity with God? Thankfully, everything (body, soul and spirit) will be perfected for those who are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1-5, 17). Oh, how I am longing for that day.

My spiritual mentor, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, often says something like this: “… since I was a little girl, my goal in life has been to be a godly, old lady. I’ve always had this image of what this godly old lady looks like.”

I don’t know too many women who had such foresight as a child. But I do understand the “image” thing.

I’ve learned so much from watching my husband’s mom, Adele. We are so different, but she has inspired me for years to strive toward excellence. My own mom, Patricia, taught me the value of endurance and trusting God, even in the dark.

But going further back, I watched two precious grandmothers grow old gracefully. I wanted to be just like them.

TwoGrandmas

They demonstrated such joy and contentment as they modeled the love of  Christ. Grandma Lillian taught me to love God with all my heart; Grandma Dorothy reminded me, “Your love for God should always result in love for others.” I treasure the legacy I received from these two precious women.

In more recent years, I watched my brother-in-law’s mom, Nancy, age in God’s grace. She carried so many of my prayer burdens. Eventually, Grandma” Nancy‘s mind played tricks on her and sometimes robbed her of right Nancy_croppedForLOLpostthinking; but even then, I saw glimpses of the marvelous woman she was. “I want to be just like you in a few years,” I told her.

When she passed on to glory, we were comforted to know we’d see this same joyful, God-loving  spirit in heaven. I still miss Nancy’s precious smile and dancing eyes.

Watching all of these women, I’ve come to understand:

Aging well requires intentionality.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. And works of art require skill, an investment of time and creative effort.

I decided, long ago, to invest in my “old age.” The first thing I did was pray for wisdom.

Then I asked God to create the “Very Old Dawn” He wanted me to be. On my part, cooperating with God was all about choices. Over the years, I’ve been learning to embrace and apply the scriptures that will make me more like God’s Son, Jesus.

Some of my aging gracefully choices:

Understand … I am not perfect in choosing these things. Not at all.

But at least I have a biblical template for my choices, and overall, my choice is to partner with God in my sanctification as I follow Jesus. To decide to surrender, trust and obey. To triumph, ultimately, in godly maturity.

There is an old Hasidic saying that describes exactly how I feel about aging:

“For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.”

Every season of life is special, but this season of the harvest is so fulfilling. A precious time with opportunities to pour other women’s lives; and unique opportunities to bless my children and grandchildren and try to give them a hunger for God.

If the Lord does not return before I die, someday people will likely sit at my memorial service or funeral and consider my relatively short life (short in terms of eternity).

I hope they will say they saw something of Jesus in me. I hope they will say I numbered my days and applied my heart to wisdom. I hope they will say I lived for a Kingdom greater than any kingdom I could ever hope to build here on earth.

That would make Very Old Dawn very happy. Better still, I think that testimony would please my Father God.

It will be worth the investment!

How about you? No matter your physical age right now, how are you investing today in your old age? Do your investments count for eternity?

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