Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crossroads: A Crucial Point Especially Where a Decision Must be Made

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…
Deuteronomy 30:19-20a NIV

I find myself and others in my family at a crossroads. We have crucial choices ahead. We each want specific guidance on how to move forward. I was praying this week about each of our decisions, and hoping for some word from God to pop out of the pages of my Bible to tell me whether I should go to the state college or the private college. Instead, the search in the Scriptures led me to an even more crucial choice- life and death, good and evil, blessings and curses.

My guidance was not specific, but the sense I had was whatever I chose make sure it led to life and blessings. Beware of the trappings of those other things that entice me away from devotion to God. We know what leads to life and death, but sometimes we ignore the life path, because we hope just this once self-centeredness will lead to life, but it doesn’t. Instead it leads to disappointment, and destruction at its worst.

In Proverbs, we are told to “Guard our hearts above all else”. This principle can guide us in our decision making as well. It is another way of saying, does my choice please God or myself. God has some pretty wide parameters when it comes to specific choices, but the general choices tend to be narrower. And that is good, because Jesus said the narrow way leads to life, but the wide way leads to destruction. It is a mystery how we can have so much latitude in what we choose to do in our vocations, yet in our pursuit of being, that is, who we are and how we live in relation to God and others is simpler: Love one another.

As I was contemplating the choices before me I came across a journal prompt, which encouraged me to draw an X on the page, and write the choices at the end of each line of the X. I was going to write go to this college or that college. Instead I decided to write life, death, blessing and curse. As I thought about those choices, I began to draw a cross over the whole thing. That was when I realized Jesus actually chose all four of those, so that I might live.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross .
Colossians 1:19-20NIV

Monday, March 23, 2009


“…the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NLT)

So what defines a responsibility? The dictionary states that it is “a duty resulting from a job or position.” So first, I must figure out what my job or position is to further understand what is expected of me. In the secular sense, I am jobless. I do not work outside the home. But I do work and study and pursue activities for which I am liable. I partner. I parent. I pursue learning and practice writing.

Responsibility is a huge word, and sometimes my responsibilities overwhelm me to the point where I feel stuck. I don’t want to move in any direction. I am paralyzed by the potential for failure. I lack the motivation to actively move toward the expected outcome of what I believe is required of me to fulfill my duties.

My position has various manifestations based on whether one looks at it from a marital, social, or spiritual status. From a spiritual perspective, I am a child of God. And with this relationship there comes certain responsibilities as well.

Today I was reading about Jonah and the big job that God brought to his attention. It was interesting to note that Jonah’s decision to go the opposite direction and hop a boat to get away from Nineveh was an indication that he was actually moving “away from the presence of the Lord.”

As I was reading about Jonah, I started to ask myself this question: Is there any place that God has asked me to go that I am resisting? Not really. Well, maybe a couple places, which were actually related to my responsibilities. But when I thought further, I realized the question could be asked a different way: Do I resist God’s presence? And I had to admit that I do resist him at times. This admission led to the thought how the presence of God might be related to my various realms of responsibility. He does not ask me to care for or to be obligated to someone or something without his trustworthy presence strengthening me and giving me the grace to pursue his plans and to extend the same grace to others.

Where there is responsibility, there is the presence of God.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


“…clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
Colossians 3:12-14 NLT

I wish I could say that the following thoughts were my own, but actually the idea was shared in a devotion I read this morning. The author was relating a time when she had a role to portray and how when she put on her costume, she was better able to take on the character she was portraying. With my recent experiences in theatre, I could relate to what she was expressing. Many times, as I’ve shared before, people will comment on how hard it must be to memorize all those lines. But there is so much more to developing a character than the lines they must say on stage. The actor must learn where they are to move on stage, analyze the background and personality of their character based on clues in the script, as well as work with personal props and their costume. These are just some of the things the actor must consider to create a well-rounded, believable character that interacts with the other characters to bring the story to life.

All these activities bring to mind the spiritual disciplines of memorizing and meditating on God’s word. Lately, I have been thinking of the Bible as my script, and studying it to find out how as a child of God I am supposed to act. It is a common practice to memorize sections of Scripture and then to mull it over and think about how it might change our perspective or our actions. In acting, a person rehearses their lines and their blocking over and over until it becomes a part of the character they are representing. I think this relates to memorizing and meditating. After weeks of rehearsal, one of the most exciting times is when the costumes are given out. The actors don their costumes, which seem to complete their character. Now all they need are few dress rehearsals to feel out how everything works together, and then they need an audience.

In a spiritual sense, we put on the attitudes and actions that are implied in Scripture and our character expands. It is not enough just to rehearse and meditate on the meaning, we need to clothe ourselves in the attributes of the new life outlined for us in Scripture, and modeled by Christ.

Let’s go to the costume closet and find something that will enhance our character, which each of us have inside, and give the performance of our lives for our personal audiences, those we live with and work with in order to offer more love and more peace and more acceptance and more forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Give It Up

I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit;
for apart from Me you can do nothing
John 15:5 NASB

Give it up. Those were the words I read on a sign that I regularly pass on my drive to walk at the mall. Lately I had not been walking much because of a very full schedule. In my quest for education and experience in the theatre, I had agreed this semester to be stage manager for the spring play at the college. Most people know that I am fairly organized, and I can think on my feet. I went in with great confidence in my skills, and humble dependence upon God, mostly. This week the show opens and my humble dependence upon God has been greatly challenged. Meaning my eyes were more widely opened to my need to depend.

The past few years I have been more in tune with the church calendar, and I like to observe Advent and Lent. Last week I was so busy, I didn’t really think to much about Ash Wednesday, but I was musing about what people give up for Lent. In my inner dialogue, I was thinking I wouldn’t give up chocolate because stressed people need chocolate. Maybe I could give up watching TV, but it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice, because I hardly have time to watch anything. Then the a radical idea crossed my mind, what about giving up certain negative attitudes, like complaining or worrying. Those thoughts meandered for awhile, and then I got back to the task at hand, mentally keeping track of all the details for the play. (And also learning Algebra formulas at the same time, yikes!)

In a gentle and firm way, God began to show me what he wanted me to “give up” for lent, while I was in the middle of my stage manager training. I had graduated from giving lines to the actors, the prop tables were ready and it was time for me to enter the BOOTH. The booth is where the stage manager gets to run the show. Supposedly a control freak’s haven, but this frightened me greatly. I had never done this before. The cues are like a foreign language, and if something doesn’t happen most likely it falls back on me. Great potential for failure and looking foolish. Two of my lifelong fears. Fortunately, I have experienced people training me, and to make sure I was under the right amount of pressure they both sat over my shoulders prodding me to call my cues correctly. I was definitely humbled. I came home, and thought of all kinds of ways to avoid having to go into the booth again.

The next morning, I got up to drive to the mall for my walk and there was the sign: “Give It Up”. I immediately knew God was “talking” to me. He wanted me to give IT up. “IT” being everything that I foolishly think I can control, my reputation as an organized, sharp person, my inability to control others, etc. So I laughed and cried and praised God for being so kind and thoughtful to remind me that He alone is the one who can manage my life or anyone’s life for that matter.

So as they say, “Let’s give it up for God!”. (Loud applause)

Have a great Lent! Love-Kel