Archive for December, 2011

POV

POV is discussed at length in the writing world. It stands for Point of View. It refers to how a writer presents a story. Who tells the story. For instance, in many classics, the POV is omniscient since the reader is able to know all of the characters thoughts and actions through the writer’s eyes.

There is also first person POV. The writer takes one character and views all outside activities through his or her eyes. Kind of like what I do when I write to you. Recently, writers use several POV’s like in The Left Behind Series. The reader knows whose POV it is by a division in the writing. For a few pages, you see the story through Buck’s eyes. Next, you might see it from Rayford’s POV.

That was running through my mind this morning as I drove. Being immersed in a different culture has made me contemplate my POV. It stems from a background of being a soldier and an officer’s kid in The Salvation Army, a Social Work graduate of Asbury University, a mid-westerner, a probation officer, wife, mother, daughter, caregiver, friend, Floridian, the list is endless. Perhaps the greatest influence outside of the Lord Jesus Christ is that I am an American. I realized that POV may affect me more than I know.

No POV is identical. Even if there are identical twins, they still have had different experiences. Therefore, their POV would be different.

As I was immersed into the culture of Central America, I viewed it entirely from my POV. And it wasn’t pretty. I had a self-serving, bad attitude, and doubted my Lord and Savior. I see now that it was my limited vision.

But still it was a vision. A thought process. So whose POV can we depend on? Who has the true POV. If no one does, than there are no absolutes.

I’m betting on God.

Fresh out of college, I worked as a probation officer for the Salvation Army. I noticed that my boss went to lunch whenever he wanted to and stayed away as long as he chose. Thus I came up with the saying, “God can go to lunch whenever He wants.”

I know this isn’t spiritual by any means, but it does express a profound thought. God answers to no one. He is the ultimate Boss, so it is His POV that I need to discover.

That is what I’m asking Him. I want to line up my POV with His.

Over the next several days, I’m going to present my POV along with others on our mission team and then try to line up with God’s POV. I find His POV in Scripture.

My next blog will discuss our five hour turned twelve hour bus ride. What we thought a mere inconvenience turned out to be a blessing.

See you tomorrow, friend.

Spiritual Warfare

I’ve always been a little skeptical of people who talk about a spiritual world that I can’t see or touch. I know scripture teaches it, but until recently, I’ve shied away from it.

Why?

I’ve never seen sound waves, yet people who wear glasses, and actually understand how a computer functions, assure me they are there. Most people believe in sound waves.

I cannot see the wind. I can see what it does, I can feel it. But it does not take on a physical form. I believe it is there. I even take action like throwing my chairs in the pool when I hear a hurricane is coming so they don’t fly through the air and hit my roof. (It’s a Florida thing.)

I cannot physically see wickedness, yet I see the wickedness of people by their actions. I read stories in the paper, and a shiver runs down my spine. It astounds me how cruel people can be to others.

So why is it so hard to believe that there is an unseen force that is pure evil. A devil. There I’ve said it. Satan. And that force is fighting an unseen force that is good. It’s the plot line of every great story.The Bible teaches it, I really don’t understand it, but I believe it. I believe I experienced it before and during this missions trip. (Does anyone know how to spell missions trip correctly?)

About a week before the trip, I was sick. Really ill. My throat felt as if someone had taken a knife to it. I could hardly get out of bed. I was dizzy. My daughter and her fiance came down for Thanksgiving and I hosted the meal at my house, but laid down much of the time. The annual Black Friday shopping spree with Sarah was impossible. She went with David. I was sad, but there was absolutely nothing I could do.

Then a few days before we left, while I was still weak, I became anxious. Not a normal kind of anxious. Those of you who know me, know that new situations do not bother me. I love adventure, as long as I can be in bed by 9. No, A dark heaviness settled over my spirit. I could hardly breathe.

I was anxious about my children. My mother. My dog, Sam. He became quite ill the night before we left. I felt terrible leaving him.

We got on the plane and I looked over at Tom. A number of wicked thoughts went through my mind. I won’t share them with you. There was no reason or basis for them, they were just there.

I arrived in El Salvador and we travelled to El Esperanza. It’s a newly planted church by SOS ministry. The name means hope. We settled in, and the trip began. I felt as if my body were there but my spirit was looking on. Surreal would be a good word. Normally, I am outgoing and friendly. People must have thought I was friendly, but my thoughts were not. There was an oppressive weight on my heart. I especially felt distant from my husband.

The next morning, Tom and I walked in the yard and I stepped in a hole. I heard two snaps and couldn’t walk. Sitting down on a low wall, I began to weep.

“Lord, why have you brought me this far to sprain my ankle and not be able to participate. Please heal me!” That was my cry. I knew I needed ice of some sort, but there was none. About an hour later, they found a few cubes for a small cold pack.

It was time for our five hour bus ride through Guatemala to Honduras. Only it took twelve. I’ll write more about that tomorrow. For today, I’d like to share a from Hebrews 12: 10-13. This comes from a prayer book written by Kenneth Boa titled, “Face to Face.”

Here is the passage:

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best, but you, O God, discipline us for our good, that we may share in Your holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful; later on, however, it produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, let us strengthen our hands that are weary and our feeble knees, and make straight paths for our feet, so that what is lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

This morning as I lay in bed, thinking about the trip, I felt a twinge in my ankle and realized that it never swelled up like it had the two times before when I sprained the same ankle. After visiting the hospital on both previous occasions, and being on crutches for several weeks, it had finally healed.

But this time I was able to walk to remote villages that challenged my faith about the goodness of God. So maybe God healed me. Maybe He desired for me to be challenged, to have a crisis of question.

More tomorrow.

A Crisis of Question

I rested at 35,000 feet. The plane was dark, quiet, and only half-full. Tom and I shared three seats. I leaned against the window. Covered with my faux-fur blanket from Costco, I was deep in thought.

Tom returned from the bathroom and leaned over. “I just looked into the mirror after a week.”

I knew what he meant. We’d travelled to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. We visited villages that could have been in a National Geographic Magazine. Half-dressed, hungry children, along with their tired mothers, peeked out of mud and stick shacks as we passed out candy, inviting them to a Christmas party. Mirrors were few and far between. It wasn’t pretty.

Intense could not begin to describe it.

Tom leaned over again. “I don’t want to be like the man in James who looked at himself in the mirror and then walked away and forgot what he looked like.” (James 1:23)

I understood that, too. I prayed that spending a week in Central America would change us forever. I know that life takes over and the urgent sometimes conquers the important and maybe we could forget. But I didn’t want to.

Here’s the trouble —I’m still not sure what I learned. I’m not sure what I shouldn’t forget.

So for the next several days, I’m going to write myself through it. It was so painful, I need to explore it, pray about it, and ask for God’s wisdom. I know that He will answer. James 1:5 states, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously an without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

So mine is not a crisis of faith because it is not me that holds on. It is God. John 10: 27, 28 states, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Romans 8: 35 states, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword?” It’s a rhetorical question since verse 38 goes on to state, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, not any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s got the love rope tied securely around me, but I have questions. And there was definitely a crisis. So I’m going to tell you about it, not because I think I’m smarter or even important. I haven’t written any theological books nor do I plan to.

I’m going to write about my struggles so I won’t forget. I’m going to write about it to make discoveries on my own. So maybe you can discover with me. Maybe you have some of the same questions.

Sometimes in America, I think we keep busy so we can avoid difficult questions. Or perhaps we think to question God jeopardizes our salvation. It doesn’t.

I’m not demanding any answers from God. I don’t want Him to ask me where I was when He created the world like He did to Job. Instead, I’m humbly asking questions of my Papa.

Just this morning I prayed, “Lord, I have a quarter mustard seed of faith. Please increase it. Like the man with a demon-possessed son I ask you, ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.’ I even have 1/100ths of a seed of intelligence and I am asking difficult questions of you, Lord. Help me.”

And just like a Father, the Lord God will tell me what I need to know. I know that I won’t understand everything, but maybe I will understand some things better. And for what I cannot understand, my prayer is that He will give me the faith to trust.

I am weak. He is strong.

I will be transparent. I will be real.

Join me, will you?