Archive | March 2011

What a friend I have in Jesus

Sometimes I wonder where my life is headed.  What exactly IS my ministry or calling?  Often I feel like I’m wandering, like a lost sheep. 

But I know Jesus.  I know he sees me.  He saw Zaccheus up in that sycamore tree.  (Luke 19:4)  I am like Zaccheus in so many ways.  Zaccheus had ‘separated’ himself, up in that tree.  I do that too.  I isolate myself.  But Jesus saw him.  He not only saw him, but Jesus invited him down from the tree and wanted to spend time with him!  Can you imagine hearing this from Jesus?:  “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  But that’s what Jesus says to you and me, “Hurry, Sue!  Come!  I want to spend time with you!”

And I know that Jesus KNOWS I am ‘touching the hem of His robe’.  So often I struggle with believing that Jesus would have the time to notice me.  There’s so many other people that need Him.  He’s probably busy with the huge ministries of important christian leaders, pastors, evangelicals, etc.  But the story of the bleeding woman in Matthew 9:20-22 confirms to me that we are all important to Jesus.  Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of an important synagogue official when He stopped.  Yes, he stopped!  … and gave His full attention to this woman – a woman who, as an “unclean” woman, was unwelcome in society (LEV 15:19-30).  She was socially isolated.  Everything and everyone she touched became ceremonially unclean, so she would have been shunned by everyone, even family.  Sexual relations would have been unclean, her bed and even her husband would have been ceremonially unclean, so she probably would have been divorced by her husband (DEU 24:1).  Worship in the synagogue would have been barred to her since she could not make atonement for her blood flow (LEV 15:28-30).  Yet this woman was important to Jesus.  I hope we can all remember this at all times.  No matter what we think of ourselves.  No matter what the world thinks of us.  Not matter what our history is, no matter what baggage we bring from our past.  We are precious to Jesus. 

And I know that Jesus HEARS ME calling out to Him through the crowds.  In Matthew 20:30 there were two blind men who ‘heard’ Jesus passing by.  They cried out to Jesus, and even though the crowd sternly told them to be quiet, they cried out all the more.  And Jesus stopped.  He stopped and called them to Him.  In this story I am encouraged to know that Jesus DOES hear me and sees me.  Even though I may not ‘see’ HIM, even though the world may be implying that He doesn’t see or hear me, and the world even tells me to ‘be quiet’, I KNOW by this story that He DOES, and that He wants to know whats on my heart and mind.

And I know that Jesus won’t turn me away when I come to Him with my questions.  He didn’t turn away Nicodemus.  (John 3:1-17)  No, Jesus ‘explained’ things to him.  And as if to validate this character of Jesus, it was in the next chapter, in John 4, that Jesus TALKED…. really talked to, was intimate with, the woman at the well.  Like the bleeding woman, this woman also was considered ‘hands off’.  She was a Samaritan, and a Jew would never talk to a Samaritan, let alone a woman!  But the disciples found Jesus at the well, talking with this woman!

…….on and on and on.

Jesus loves everyone.  Jesus loves me.  This is why I call Jesus my friend.  There is no situation where He will not be there for me.  Jesus loves me.  He loves me so much that He died for me.

So when I hear myself thinking, “I just want you to love me Jesus, to like me, to approve of me, to want to be with me”….. that is nothing but a lie from the evil one.  Jesus has already established His love for me! 

So if I’m ever at a place where I don’t want to be in life, is it because I am being ‘rejected’?  Absolutely not!  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  ……..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, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Roman 8:35,38

Enough said.  I will wait on and trust in the Lord.

Sister Helen

I don’t get that many hits on my blog.  But for some reason for about 5 days I was getting an incredible amount of hits.  It looked like people were reading “They Had Drama Too.”  The only thing I can figure out is that I mentioned Charlie Sheen in the blog.  Maybe people were doing searches for the latest on Charlie Sheen and maybe it brought them to my blog.  I don’t know.  But it got me to thinking.  Why are people more fascinated in Charlie Sheen (me included) than in someone like Sister Helen?  I ran onto this video by accident. 

Most nuns are not like Sister Helen — she’s tough as nails, can curse like a sailor, and woe to anyone who gets on her bad side. But most nuns probably haven’t had a past like Sister Helen’s, either; a longtime alcoholic, Helen gave up drinking only after the death of both of her children (one of whom was murdered, the other who died from drug overdose) and her husband (who died from alcoholism). After getting clean and sober, Helen became a Benedictine Nun, and until her death in 2000 she ran a halfway house for recovering drug and alcohol abusers in a rough neighborhood in the South Bronx. 
I cried when she collapsed and died as they were filming this documentary.  But I will be thrilled to meet her in heaven.  The incredible documentary is a stirring tribute to Sister Helen who believed that God puts you where He wants you.

THEY HAD DRAMA TOO

Don’t you just love the people in the Bible?  I mean, it’s such a breath of fresh air, to step into the lives of these men and women who are so…….. HUMAN.    I mean, really, it seems like the big news this week has been what the stars wore at the Academy Awards!  Well, I guess there HAS been the Charlie Sheen news. 

For the past month I’ve been doing a pretty intensive study on Genesis.  We all know the story of Adam and Eve.  I understand how easily that could have been me.  I mean on first glance, it seems like, how could Adam and Eve have been so STUPID?  They had everything.  It was just that one tree they were to stay away from.  And of course, that’s the one they wanted. 

 I think of how blessed I am…… Oh, how very blessed I am.  But I have days when I think I must have something else, or more.  That human nature in me keeps trying to pull me in that direction of dissatisfaction and rebellion.

I’m encouraged when I think about Noah.  I like to think of him as OLD & WAITING.  Like so many of God’s annointed ones.  Abraham.  Sarah.  OLD & WAITING.  God had told Noah to build an ark.  When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old.  He building an ark during those 100 years, building and waiting.  Waiting.  For WHAT, he does not know.  Abraham is old and called to a land he doesn’t know.  He’s OLD & WAITING.

This week I have been studying the life of Jacob in his older years, when he sent his sons to Egypt to fetch grain, because there was a famine in Canaan.  And they would have starved to death.  So he sent his sons – well, not all his sons.  Not Benjamin.  No, he wouldn’t send Benji.  Because years earlier, Benjamin’s brother Joseph, by his beloved wife Rachel (who died giving birth to Benjamin), had been killed by a wild beast.  That’s what he thought.  Benjamin was all he had left of his memory of Rachel.  So he refused to send Benjamin, who by now was 24 years old.  But when the brothers came back with the grain from Egypt, they also came back with some dire news!  The pharoah’s official (who none of them knew was none other than Joseph himself!…. oh yes, what a story THAT was!) had demanded they bring back Benjamin to show their good will.  And one of the brothers – Simeon – had been kept as hostage until they returned!  But Jacob refused to let Benjamin go.  WOAH!!!!  What about Simeon?  Yes, that’s what I love about the Bible.  I love that we see the main characters of the Bible with the same flaws we have! 

I have 4 children, a couple grown step-grandchildren, and two young grandbabies.  Angel is 3 and Caleb is 2.  I can’t IMAGINE what it would be like to lose any of these children, like Jacob (thought) he lost Joseph.  I can’t imagine the scar it would leave on your psyche.  I can’t imagine the people who have lost children to horrific crimes in our world today.  How could you ever trust that your remaining children would be safe? 

My son Jimmy was seriously burned by hot grease when he was 18 months old.  It took me YEARS to ever feel like my children could be safe again.  I was in a constant state of anxiety, worrying about what bad things could befall my children.  And so when I read in Genesis 42:4 “But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.”, I understand. 

But what about Simeon?  Commentaries say he was there, held as a prisoner, for at least 2 years.  The brothers DID eventually go back, and with Benjamin this time.  Because the famine did not let up, and they had to go back for more food.  Yes, God’s plan in this all worked out, through all this human drama.  Just as his plan continues to work out through all OUR human drama.

Anyway, this story of Joseph and his brothers and Jacob:  It’s a great story, and you can read it for yourself starting in Genesis  37.