Saturday, February 21, 2009

And if you call now ...!!!!!!!

Thanks to the new all-digital age of television entertainment and the introduction of the "converter box," my children have added a new channel to their television reprotoire. PBS was the longstanding channel of choice (and really the only option, since we refuse to pay a cable or satellite company to inundate us with nine hundred sixty-four additional mindless sources of streaming electrons), they now have the option to watch “qubo.” It could be worse; Jacob Two-Two, Marvin the Tapdancing Horse, and 3-2-1 Penguins are nowhere near the order of Pokemon and Sponge Bob, or any of those animated classics that involve more testosterone than a field of sweaty rugby players.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but PBS is virtually commercial-free! Qubo, on the other hand, ....

Usually I am toodling around, minding my own business, when I hear, “Hey Mom!

Would you like that?” only to turn around and see the Hanger-Cascader, the Smart Money Clip Deluxe, or the

ever-amazing, “Twin Draft Guard” being peddled to children under the age of 10. Now the Bendaroos or Fun Slides Carpet Skates, I can see, but Water Globes? I wonder what percentage of qubo’s audience is avid horticulturists?

This is a direct quote … from my SON: (you have to imagine all the intensity that warrants the double exclamation points) “'Hi!! This is Billy Mays here, with the Big City Slider Station!!' Then he holds it up – the restaurant thing where he cooks the mini-burgers? 'It is also the ultimate burger station to load the grill in no time!! It’s the ultimate slider station!! The restaurant mini-burgers everyone loves!!”

Hey, Mom, would you like that?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Evidence is Clear

"After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' Jesus replied, 'Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.'" ~Matthew 11:1-6

Before our recent vacation, my husband fastidiously cleaned the car. He washed the outside and vacuumed the inside. He used Windex to clean the windows inside and out. But before long, the inevitable happened. Dirty snow coated our car with disgusting, gray grime. The kids spilled things. And, worst of all, our son smeared his grubby fingers on the inside of the back window: cracker salt, ketchup, spit ... and whoever said M&Ms don't melt in your hand has got to be kidding.

Don't ask me why; I think he does it mindlessly. I'm certain he's not trying to send my husband into a fit of anxiety. But the result is that he has disrupted the driver's view of the road with his careless smudges and smears.

John the Baptist was one confident dude at the Jordan River. His vision was clear and unhindered as he boldly declared, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" Months later, though, he found himself in prison where his view of the outside world was distorted by the dirty smears of captivity: false accusation, rejection, loneliness. Eventually, John even came to doubt the reality of Jesus's Messianic position.

In that oppressive environment, what did John possibly have onto which he could anchor his faith? Desperately, he sent his disciples to inquire of the Christ. And gently, Jesus pointed him back to the evidences of His divinity, asking the disciples to return and recount all the wonders they had witnessed ... the "fingerprints" of God, if you will. Jesus helped John clear away the grime and smudges of pain and circumstance and bring into focus the evidences that proved He was "I Am."

In my life, some of the clearest evidences of God's sovereignty have accompanied some of the most disappointing, embarrassing, difficult, or stressful seasons I've experienced. Graciously, God clears away the smears and distortions and allows me to see the working of His hand. I can see the "little miracles" along the path of the sickness and death of a close family member. I can see the fulfillment of God's promises as I responded to a clear, but difficult calling with childlike obedience. I can see His loving but firm chastening when I fully deserved the consequences of disobedience. I can even see how He orchestrated one of the most convoluted, humiliating experiences of my life to facilitate the emotional healing I was too stubborn to seek on my own. The Spirit brings God's own fingerprints into sharp focus, and in times of fear and doubt, I can cling to those evidences of His faithfulness and grace.

So, what roots you to the truth of God? To what wonders and works of Christ in your life can you look to be reassured that He fulfills His claims as God of the universe? What demonstrations of God's faithfulness can you share with others to explain why you believe what you believe?

As Author of all, God has left His mark everywhere. On everything. In everything.

And He stands waiting with a bottle of divine Windex.

(This post adapted 1/31/09 from a devotional I wrote that was originally published in the Wedgwood advent devotional booklet, Dec. 30 & 31,2007)

"The Book" Mark

When we first joined Wycliffe in 2004, we bought a package of bookmarks (left) at Wycliffe USA headquarters in Orlando, FL.

Four years later we bought another package of bookmarks (right). It wasn't until we got them home that I realized they weren't exactly the same.

It must be working. :-)

We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

For the Bibleless Peoples of the World ...

(Updated 13 April 2013)