Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting together & Gratitude

First, the get togethers: I was thinking about how in 15 to 30 minutes I can kinda check in with friends via facebook, twitter and oh yeah, email. Even if they live 15, 150, 300 or even 3000 miles away. If I really want to visit with someone, then I can place a phone call or text or skype or g-chat but it is not often that we walk down the street knock on some one's door and say, hi, how are you doing today? Our ways of socially interacting can be overwhelming at times.

So, there I was in my kitchen doing my best to remember how I kept in touch with people when I was 18 to 22. The phone answering machine! It was a time when the public restroom did not double as a "phone booth."My most frequent way to keep in touch was via the answering machine. Some people still have one in fact a friend of mine, screens ALL her calls. I like to leave long messages on it. It is kinda fun. Whether I was on my way home from work or having been dancing or to a movie, once I got closer to home, I would think, I wonder if so and so called back or I hope so and so called, we were suppose to get together this weekend. Some of my friends had pagers (and they were not all drug dealers), so they could get there calls "instantly." If they wanted to talk to that person, they went to the nearest pay phone or asked to use a phone.
Long conversation over coffee were uninterrupted unless another friend showed up at the coffee shop. We had no idea how our friends (near or far) were doing unless one of us dropped in on the other or picked up the phone. The time we took to be with each other, we gave all of our time and attention to that person. Sure on occasion, my mind would wonder but not too far unless of course, I planned on being rude. Rarely, did I dial in remotely to check my answering machine but I knew how to do it. (I am not scolding anyone here but it is making me think about being a better steward of my time.) It is good to think about and I don't like the fact that more and more I find my head down in my phone (an android, a portal to most anywhere in the digital world). Taking stock of my use of technology is not a bad idea. Did anyone say spot-check?

The last word on connecting with others and then we will move right into gratitude. The really old fashion way of keeping in touch - letter writing. I freely admit that it is still so fun to get a personal hand written letter in the mail. I got one just the other day. =)

We can also say appreciation or thanksgiving but I like to say, here I will express my gratitude. All of the following I link back to GOD who is our provider. The human beings who created things that I am grateful for are after all image bearers and since we are made in the image of The Creator - all the Glory can and will go to GOD.
Electricity gets the top of the list. There are friends who are getting through day 4 without it due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.
Sump pump - we had water in the cellar due to the storm SO electricity gets another shout out!
My phone and all the phones in my phone plan that keep me connected to my family. We are land line free.
The laptop computer that I am writing this blog post upon
Social Networks especially those ones that keep me connected to all of my "outside of the area" friends.
My LORD and my GOD, three in One, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
My dear family, Dan, Michael, Katie and Grace.
The abilities to read and write. All the other abilities that God has given me, Lord help me not to take them for granted.
For all of my friends. Sometimes you just have to name one: Nancy Myers.
The Word of God, living, active, fire, hammer, sword, Jesus Christ, who is The Word who became flesh, dwelt among us, died, was buried, rose from the dead and will come again! COME LORD JESUS COME!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

“Stahm’s(storm) comin’”

We have the non-perishables, flash lights, extra batteries, a meeting plan, Hello Hurricane queued up in the play list, etc. all in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Did you secure all those potential outdoor projectiles? Are you ready?

“Stahm’s comin’” is a one liner from the movie Shutter Island from the captain of the vessel when DeCaprio’s character is headed to the island as a “federal officer.” It is a storm that we can see just like Irene. The technology to get a really good look is incredible. It would be easy to sit in front of the TV and just watch. People will make there way down to the shore, risking their lives to experience the storm. (We could even talk about DeCaprio’s character’s internal storm…..and how prophetic that one liner is in the movie, maybe another time. Perhaps if I watch the movie again, it is very disturbing – psychological thriller.)

There is another way that we need to be prepared and some of us have already made this preparation, others don’t see any need for preparation and still others say things like, “Time to say your prayers.” “Better get right with your Maker. People are going to die in this one and you might be one of them.” The truth is we all face death every day. Unless, you have a date with the Executioner (for heinous crime or by your own hand) then none of us knows when we will die. It leads to one of those philosophical questions that most human being ask at some point in their life – what happens when I die? Which of course leads to other questions.

For the purpose of this blog post, I want to ask the question this way of myself and give my answer, “Are you ready to die?” The short answer is Yes. Of course, this is answered on the presupposition that there is an after life (for me Eternal), all mankind will face judgment, there is a God who is altogether loving and altogether just, sin and death are real and because of Jesus Christ there is HOPE.

Just the other day, I was in a conversation about facing death and refrained from saying anything, without biting my tongue, just listening and praying silently. Leaving I was a caught in the middle of an internal dialogue that was not meant for that meeting. There was definitely not enough time.

It is probably not my time to die, but if it is I am ready. With tremendous gratitude, I stand having had my sins paid for by the blood of Christ believing with my heart that at the Cross Jesus conquered sin! Only by the Righteousness of Jesus Christ am I able to face and stand in the Loving Presence of a Holy God. In every other belief system, I must “get right” with my Maker, and ONLY in True Christianity am I MADE right by the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. I said it myself before I knew such LOVE, such GRACE, such an outpouring of Mysterious Mercy – “So what?” which is why I need to qualify my YES.

The forgiveness of sins is only part of this Eternal Perspective. Christ Jesus did not just conquer sin but death as well. He did not remain in the grave, but He beat death by the power of God, raised Himself from the dead and is today The Resurrection and The Life. Those who die in Christ will also live and be raised up with Him. This is not to say that I would just lie down and die. There is so much more of life that I want to experience! With everything in me I will fight to live but while I fight, I will not fear death because of Christ Jesus the One who has given me Eternal Life. This is why; I will say with the prophet, Isaiah, “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.”

Those of us who believe can cry out to Our Father in Heaven, protect us through the storm, be our peace, and give us grace. We trust you LORD, not only the Maker of Heaven and Earth, but also Sovereign LORD of both. Not to test nature but in trusting God we can say, “bring it Irene, we are ready!”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Assemblage of Graces

To cradle a newborn infant,
To hear a song for the first time and it brings me to tears,
To drive toward the shore and smell the first hint of the salty air
To witness one person come along side another with comfort and compassion
O to be comforted!
The first bite of a meal prepared for you, the aroma prepared your glands.
A story told with passion;
words meant only for you;
Commitment reaffirmed.
Swimming in a sea of hope,
Sipping the first hot cup,
Cool breezes after the heat,
Sun catching and settings glorious.
Your smiling and dancing eyes,
The curve of your face and light of your countenance,
The sound of your voice.
Laughter contagious,
Kindness in trouble
Love in the midst of war
At the center of the storm - peace
Joy not denying the pain,

© Catherine Mullaney 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Umbilical Cords tied tight

It is not like me to leave in the middle of a meeting but it was the best I could do. (It was for parents of new HPU students) Yes, I still have a lot to learn. As a mother, I have gone through many stages of letting go of each of my kids, now all young adults, which we have been calling them that since they were 13 or so, perhaps I ought to say I am a parent of adult children. Back to the meeting: there were at least a half dozen questions about food and the meal plan. We have trained our children to communicate for themselves and now the morning after I realize that many parents have not; these questioners felt they needed to ask these questions for their children instead of letting their kids find out for themselves. Yesterday, I didn’t have much patience or compassion, I wanted to ask, “Does anyone have a pair of scissors, so I can cut these umbilical cords?” Biting my tongue was not enough; I needed to just walk away.

As a mother who has educated her children at home, you might think that the launching would be more difficult. Admittedly, this is the most difficult transition in the parenting process for me. There is wisdom in learning from our own emerging adulthood and from those who have already shot their “arrows” out of the quiver. Our children need to learn to navigate through this life. There are two choices: we can send them off with our blessings or we can cling so tightly that they will need to break free. With the latter choice, parents wound their off spring and the relationship often never fully heals. They may never return, if they do return it will not be in a way that brings them back into sweet fellowship with us.

Our children are still dependent on us in a few ways and in many ways they are not. This is a time of finding out who they are. It is the natural course of life. If we want to be there for them, we must lovingly let them go with grace as passionately as we did when we held them so carefully as newborn babies, in awe of the responsibility, filled with joy of this new little life. There is more new life to come with each phase of development. Childhood is the SHORTEST season of life and most kids want to leave it behind and embrace their adulthood. Don’t be the parent who holds them back.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


John 5 verse 39

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life”

Over the last year many changes have happened in the lives of the Mullaney Pilgrims. (Makes me think that it is time for an update perhaps) For today I want to just stick with one of the changes in my own pilgrimage in a return to scripture memory. There are many scriptures that encourage us to hide the Word in our heart (Psalm 119;11), sharpen our Sword (Ephesians 6;17) understand that these words of the Lord are alive, active and sharper than any two edged sword (Heb 4;12), meditate on the Law day and night(Josh 1;8 Ps 1;2) and then the oral tradition that was more common in the days when the New Testament was being written. Even in John 5 Jesus himself is saying that the Scriptures bear witness about me and to grow in our knowledge of Him urges me on even more to have the Words written on my heart and my mind because I want to know this dear Savior and Lord of mine more fully. Growing in knowledge is deepening my love for Him and for those around me.

But I also take John 5;39 as a warning: the Scriptures themselves will not give me eternal life. Jesus is the One who gives Eternal Life and even so it is through the Word spoken, the preaching of the Good News (Romans 10) that we come to believe in the One whom God has sent. When I alluded to growing in the knowledge of Him (Jesus Christ), I was not talking about head knowledge and the ability to quote chapter and verse, but getting to know the LORD through His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. His WORDS are the very words of eternal life said Peter. John the beloved described Jesus as the WORD who became flesh. The Holy Bible is not an ordinary book, nor a book of magic but The Testimony of God concerning His Son, testifying about this world, life, death and truth. Jesus is the Truth and these Words are the Truth but we must not fall into the way of the Pharisees.

It is a dangerous pursuit to memorize the Scripture. We must not use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not students of the Scriptures or take pride in our knowledge of the Word or to alienate those who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. We must handle it with care and through prayer. There is great responsibility in owning something as deadly and life giving as the very WORDS of God. The One who has the power of life and death in His grasp will guide us, if we will humble ourselves before Him and be discerning about how we will deliver the Words He will use the Words and us for His purposes.

Once we start making progress and start owning the Word the way some own lines from a movie or youtube clip one cannot help but let it roll off your tongue. How terrifying and delightful it is to be the possessor of such an instrument!! James warns us about our tongues, that with them we praise God and curse our fellow man! Is there any hope for us? Yes! When our motivation is driven by LOVE and guided by the Holy Spirit, there is hope for us who are in Christ! To not only walk in the Spirit but to talk in the Spirit. Personally, my goal for memorizing Scripture is two-fold, first to grow in my knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ and second that the Lord may use it in the lives of those I touch.

Memorize with great enthusiasm and use with tremendous discernment.

Pax, CM