Beliefs matter.

Suppose we’re riding in a car together.  The GPS messes up, your cell phone dies and I forgot mine at home, and we find ourselves traveling down an abandoned country road.

Then the car breaks down.

We get of the car and walk down the road looking for help.

We walk a long ways and about midnight we see somebody walking towards us.

Is it politically correct for us to care what this person believes?  Maybe not.  Do we care about political correctness at this moment?  Not a bit.

Beliefs are not abstract, pie-in-the-sky, accessorizing gimmicks.

Beliefs matter.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  (Colossians 2:8, NLT)

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Photograph by Guy Schmidt, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/shortfatkid/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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Yisset

All right, why am I even writing anything?  You see her picture.  If that doesn’t win you over, I know for sure nothing I can say can.  🙂

If you want to sponsor Yisset, click here.

If that link doesn’t work . . . well, I can’t say I am surprised that someone wanted to sponsor Yisset!  But there are hundreds more children like Yisset, and although they might not be beaming in their picture, I guarantee you they will when they find out you love them (you can hold me to it).  If you want to sponsor a child through Compassion, click here.

Wisarut

Today is Wisarut’s birthday.  Now, I know that might not be “today” anymore, since today for me is November 12, and today for you might be the next day or a long time after.

I don’t think Wisarut will probably get sponsored in time for his birthday today, but this is what I hope for him.  I hope that when he is sponsored, his sponsor will send a birthday gift for him for this birthday.  I have had the great fun of doing that for kids I sponsor.  It is so much fun to tell them, I know I missed your birthday because I didn’t know you then, but here’s a gift for back when it was your birthday.

That is such a picture of grace for me.  Specifically, God’s grace.  I had a wasted life of over two decades of regret, when I at last understood that God was waiting for me.  And, in His grace, He gave me the love He’d been saving for me for 26 years.  Powerful.

If you want to sponsor Wisarut, click here.

Happy birthday, Wisarut.  I pray God sends you a sponsor soon.

I hope one day the link above won’t work anymore . . . because Wisarut has gotten a sponsor and birthday present all wrapped in one!  If so, and you want to sponsor a child through Compassion, click here.

Appeal to Myself

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

–DOWNHERE, “How Many Kings”

If I cannot love after that . . . what is wrong with me?

I will love, Lord.  I will.

Joao

Lord, I pray for Joao.  I pray you will give him a sponsor. 

When I was a four year old, I didn’t want to wait for anything for 6 minutes, but Joao has been waiting for a sponsor for more than 6 months.

I don’t pray that anyone comes along and chooses to sponsor him.  I don’t pray that someone feels guilted or wants brownie points.  Instead, I pray that someone sees Joao and sees joy.

Joao.

Joy.

Joao, joy.

Yeah, that seems to go together.

Joao is a child on Compassion International’s waiting list.  To learn more or sponsor him, click here.

I hope one day people will visit this blog and the above link will not work . . . because Joao got sponsored!  If so, and you want to sponsor a child through Compassion, click here.

 

Mrs. Erante

sewing machine and fabric isolated on white

I heard an Amy Grant song today and I remembered Mrs. Erante.

Mrs Erante must have liked Amy Grant, or must have thought teenage girls liked Amy Grant, because she played her Amy Grant CD every time we came over to her house for home economics.

The name ‘home economics’ did not sound inviting to me, but I had friends going, so I wanted to go, too.  I was, I had to admit, minimally excited at the prospects of being able to cook and sew by the end class, mostly because I simply believed it was “beneath me” to do such things . . . and I didn’t want to be stomped on by a husband someday.  But, then, there was a really valid reason for my avoidance, too: I was going to be terrible at home economics.  I was pretty sure.

Each week, Mrs. Erante had a different project for us.  We made jam one week.  I think we made cloth covers for the jam lids, too.  I couldn’t make mine.  Mrs. Erante made mine.

We decorated country baskets with cloth and lace on the top.  I couldn’t make mine.  Mrs. Erante made mine.

We sewed aprons for ourselves.  I spent half of my childhood in the fabric shop.  Turns out, there are a lot of choices for aprons.  I at last chose a cool frog pattern.  Mrs. Erante taught us how to estimate cutting for our patterns and how to use the sewing machine.  I couldn’t estimate cutting or use the sewing machine.  Mrs. Erante made mine.

Project after project, week after week, I couldn’t do whatever it was everybody else was doing.  So Mrs. Erante made mine.

My projects always looked really nice.  In fact, mine gave the best girl in the class a run for her money.  Mine always had neat seams.  Mine always had, well, industrial quality.  Yes, I would have made a very fine housewife, so long as Mrs. Erante came along.

One day, we learned how to cross-stitch.  Amazingly, incredibly enough, this was something I could actually do.  We had four patterns we could pick from, all animals on wheels.  I picked out the rabbit on wheels.  There was that second when Mrs. Erante actually realized I could do something.  You would have thought I had become a Betsy Ross.  Mrs. Erante was very proud of me.

I gave that cross-stitch pillow (pillow that Mrs. Erante made) to my father.  He kept it at work.  Years and years later, when I went with my mom to clean out his office because he was dying, I found that pillow.  The end of the cross-stitch was unraveling.

Mrs. Erante could have fixed that, if only I could have given it to her.  I can see it now, my eyes wide with fear of unraveling myself as I handed her a project I couldn’t handle . . . that smile on her face she somehow had for me as she fixed everything I botched or was too scared to attempt.

I don’t think Mrs. Erante knew she was teaching me about the relationship with God I would have one day.

I confess, this is my day in prayer: eyes bubbling with tears, lip quivering in disappointment with myself and rage that I cannot seem to do anything right, I hand God my projects.  At the start of this, I was as shy with Him as I was with Mrs. Erante.  I was afraid He might be mad or hate me.  But I have gone to Him enough now that I am quite over my fear.

I give Him whatever I have bungled or am way too scared to try at, and He takes it.  And time after time after time after time after time after time, when you would think He would be ready to backhand me, He mends my tatters and patches my tears.  God is really good about that.  I don’t know why.

The more I know God, the more I realize I don’t understand Him.  I would never act that way towards me.  I would never take my disasters and give back mercy.  I would never take my failures and give back grace.   And I would never take my really awful sins and give back love.

I don’t know why God is this way, but I want to thank Mrs. Erante for foreshadowing, just a bit, what salvation would be like for me.

Thank you, Mrs. Erante.

Thank you, God.

In him [Jesus] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)