…so does the sluggard on his bed (Proverbs 26:14). That has been my life since the time change. Before the time change I was getting up at 7am, waking Matthew up at 7:30 and I made it to baby boot camp in the mornings on time. For one week it was a beautiful thing. I hadn’t been able to do that since we got home from Christmas vacation. And then the time change wrecked everything. This morning Matthew did not start getting antsy in his bed until 10am! And I slept until about 9am and took my sweet time getting ready. The cold weather hasn’t helped much. I’ve had no motivation to go outside and for the past 72 hours Matthew and I left the house once, this morning, to go to mine and Doug’s new doctor.
The reason for the new doctor is that I had a lump on the middle finger on the inside of my hand where my finger connects to my palm. I noticed it back at the end of January, we talked to my obgyn about it and she referred us to a family doctor. When I called the first available appointment he had for new patients was March 16. This week Doug and I had to go in for blood work and other lab tests so he could have a baseline for where we are health-wise. I told the nurse on the phone I was pregnant and she assured me that shouldn’t effect the testing at all. The downside is that starting last night we couldn’t have anything to eat after midnight. We didn’t make it to the doctor’s office for the lab work until almost noon, so when they took my blood I was fine until the end and then started feeling faint. The nurse gave me some juice and had me put my feet up. And then it was Doug’s turn. She had no problem finding a vein on him and getting blood, but he had the same reaction I had. So we were quiet a pair. And then we recovered and went to the Tavern for lunch, and after two cokes Doug declared he felt a little like he was intoxicated.
And after all that I noticed last week that the lump was gone. Go figure.
After lunch we came home and all took long naps. So my hypothesis is that Matthew is having a growth spurt; I’m lazy; and Doug is staying up late working on a project. Doug and Matthew are “wrestling” and after the munchkin goes to bed we have a couple movies to watch.
Last night Doug and I gathered with our brothers and sisters to pray over a family who has meant so much to us. This family has had a hellish time over the past several months. Trials and tribulation are being poured out on them. It is a long list, both physically and spiritually, what they have had to endure since 2008. My heart aches and weeps for them. As we closed our time in prayer we sang “it is well with my soul.”
I watched the father, the husband, on his knees, tears pouring down his checks with his arms stretched up to God singing those words in pain, but with an unshakable confidence.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
He can sing with confidence and passion of the state of his soul, no matter what he endures because he knows his HOLY, HOLY, HOLY God.
“My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
Through the life of this man, and through his family, you see the power of the cross. It is well with his soul because God Himself upholds them with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). He will endure. He will not run. He will stand with his family. His wife will stand beside him. In a time where the world counsels him to curse God and die, he continues. It is well with his soul.
I thank God that this man and his family are who Doug and I have as an example. Through their lives we see what it means to cling to the gospel, to hold fast to the covenant of marriage, to stand strong against insult and injury. In 10…15…20 years, when Doug and I face something like this, when all that holds us together and keeps us constant is Jesus Christ, I pray that we will be on our knees, tears pouring down our faces, our arms raised toward God, singing with confidence “it is well with my soul, it is well with my soul. It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
“The doctrinal matters that have divided evangelical Protestant denominations from one another have almost uniformly been matters on which the Bible places relatively little emphasis, and matters in which our conclusions must be drawn from skillful inference much more than from direct biblical statements” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology).
The above reeks with humanity. I see no picture of Christ, no unity. The easiest thing to do when there is a disagreement between groups of people is to split off. One of the reasons I have so much respect for Martin Luther is because his heart was never to divide from the Catholic Church. He saw things that were wrong and needed to be changed. I wasn’t taught that growing up in a Protestant church. Growing up Methodist, frequently attending a Catholic Church, and now part of a church most closely affiliated with Baptists, it all seems a little silly.
We can’t really undo hundreds of years of damage and division. And sometimes there are issues worth dividing over. But as Grudem pointed out above, those issues (like the diety of Christ, or the Word of God) are not the ones that Protestant churches have been quibbling over. Why do we take the little things and choose to do on this hills? Sometimes I think we make the Enemy’s job too easy.
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46; Isaiah 56:7
Those doing business in the temple courts provided a necessary service. Money needed to be exchanged so foreigners could pay the temple tax; people needed animals to make sacrifices to God. This was a reasonable business. They provided a service—they were helping people to worship God better. These services were provided in the court of the Gentiles. This was a special place at the temple God designated for those who were not Israel to come and worship Him.
In His mercy, He made a way for those who were not His chosen people to come near. They were still separate from the Jews, but God created a space for them. With the buying and selling, the rumble of voices, the shuffling of people, the sounds of bird’s wings flapping in cages, the clinking of coins, how many Gentiles were able to worship God authentically? They tried to come near, but the commerce distracted them.
Through Jesus we learn that God desires compassion more than sacrifice (Matthew 9:13, 12:7). He had compassion on the crowds; He had mercy on those who were blind, lepers, dead, possessed and unclean. How it must have enraged Him when He saw people making money off of those who were simply trying to come near to Him. In the shuffle and busyness of life those who were “in” forgot compassion. The very purpose of this house was to pray for the nations, to pray for those who were lost, to be a light in the darkness that pointed to God so that all the nations would come to know God as the LORD their God.
How much of this behavior is true for us? Have we neglected compassion in order to do more for God? Is our attitude on Sunday one that encourages worship and interaction with God; or are we more interested in making an appearance, thereby adding to the general noisiness? Are we too busy in our day-to-day lives that we forget to be the light? Jesus compared us to a city on a hill that shines its light to all around. No longer do we need to travel to Jerusalem and enter the court of the Gentiles to draw near to God. He lives in us. We are the body of Christ. One thing we are called to do, individually and corporately, is to pray for the nations—to pray for those who are lost. That must be the heartbeat of our lives, because it is His.