Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rehoboam Default

Today, as I was reading in 2 Chronicles 12, I noticed these things about Rehoboam (king of Judah after Solomon's death):

"After Rehoboam's position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel [this is actually referring to Judah] with him abandoned the law of the LORD."

"He [Rehoboam] did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD."

These passages give me insight into two things--neither of them good. Number one; when we humans feel powerful, strong, and proud of ourselves and in our abilities, we, like Rehoboam, have no need for God and we abandon Him. And..we encourage others to do the same by our behaviors.

Secondly, our default is evil. We, like this powerful king, default to evil if we do not CHOOSE to seek the Lord. If our hearts are not consciously set towards God, we WILL wander away from Him. We must train our minds to think the Truth and choose to seek God wholeheartedly.

So...where does that leave us? We must realize that we are weak and distractable and naturally evil. We must discipline ourselves to spend time learning from Christ and His Word EVERY day. We must deny our natural tendencies of selfishness and promote a Spirit of Godliness.

We must die. He must live.

Your life is speaking. What is it saying to others?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Hebrews 12:2-3

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Broken Man

I was struck by Mark 15:21 today when it said that, "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross." Why were this man's sons listed? And by name? What were they thinking? Were they there to see their father forced into this horrible, yet honorable, task? Here is the story that flowed from my fingertips:

“Abba! Abba! Take us to the city so that we can see all of the festival preparations!”

“And the people! Take us to see the people, too, please?”

“Yes, Alexander. Yes, Rufus. We will go soon. We will walk into the chaos of the Passover celebration! Have you some sandals to wear, Rufus? It is a long journey from Cyrene to Jerusalem.”

“Yes, I have them, Father, and I will not complain.”

“Let us go then, my sons, you must follow me closely. Stay by my side.”

It seems we have been walking for days. My legs are shorter than my brother’s and my father’s, so I must jog a little now and then to keep up with them. My sandals and my legs, covered with dust and dirt, look the same—gray. My mouth is so dry that I can’t spit; I wish I could spit since my mouth feels gray too. I want to ask my Abba when we will get there, but then I stop myself because I remember that I gave my word. I will not complain, and asking about getting there might sound like complaining. I want my Abba to be proud of me—to think I am a man.

Abba said to follow closely. I have not taken my eyes off of him. But now, I am distracted by the high voices I hear in the distance and I look farther ahead. I smell good smells too. I am hungry, but I will not complain. I think we are almost there.

Finally, we enter the village! Bright colors, strange sounds, dirty animals, rushing people! So much activity! But I will stay close. I must not take my eyes off of my father. He knows where we are going and I don’t want to get separated from him.

I see some soldiers with frowns on their faces. Beside them is a man. I think he is sick. Or maybe hurt. His clothes seem dirty and stiff—do they have blood on them? He is carrying a very big piece of timber, but it seems too heavy for him. He looks very tired. I think he has been beaten—see those gashes on his back? He is trying to carry the wood across his chest like he is carrying a baby. I guess it would probably hurt him to carry it on his bleeding shoulders. The log is so heavy, he is just shuffling along. He is not wearing sandals.

I cannot look away. I am supposed to keep my eyes on my father, but I must look at this man. I want to help him! Without asking, I rush into the road where he travels. The mean soldiers stop me and roughly push me aside. My father steps out to grab me, but the biggest soldier grabs him instead!

Alexander yells “Abba!” and starts to cry, but I watch in silence as they make my father take the big timber from the hurting man. I want my father to be proud of me and I do not cry. Now my father is carrying the heavy load. He carries it on his shoulders because they are not bleeding. The soldiers grab the broken man and they pull him quickly along. But he cannot move quickly. His head is down and he is moving slowly and sadly. My father cannot move quickly either and he is scared that he has lost us. I call out to him, “We are here! We will follow you!” and both of them look up—my abba and the broken man. The broken man looks at me…he is crying… and now I cry.

There are so many people—throngs and throngs of people! Do they not see the broken man? Do they not see my Abba? I am still crying, but my brother is holding my hand. We make it to the top of the hill. It is ugly—this hill—it looks like a skull.

The soldiers take the log from my father and they lay it down beside the broken man who has fallen to the ground. Then, my father rushes back to us. I can smell his sweat as he pulls my brother and I into his scratchy cloak to shield us from the horror.

But I know what is happening. I can hear the hammer. They are pounding big nails into the broken man’s wrists. They are crucifying him. My father told me about crucifying—it is a punishment for criminals. But this broken man is not a criminal. I could tell this broken man was a good man because when he looked at me he cried.

My father is leading us away, but I look back. I see that the broken man has been put up on a cross—his wrists are still nailed to the log my father carried, and his feet are nailed to a post jutting from the ground. I know he is dying. The broken man is dying.

And I am sad. Somehow I know, my spirit has spoken, the broken man is dying for me.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Think, people, think!

In the book, Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon MacDonald, the author addresses the necessity of Christians to discipline their minds:

"Christians ought to be the strongest, broadest, most creative thinkers in the world. It was Paul who said that as Christians we are given the mind of Christ. This provides a potential intellectual breadth that the unregenerate mind does not possess. "

MacDonald stresses the importance of avoiding "flabby thinking" and the urgency of choosing to think "Christianly".

"The unthinking Christian does not realize it, but he is dangerously abosorbed into the culture about him. Because his mind is untrained and unfilled, it lacks the ability to produce the hard questions with which the world needs to be challenged.... Sometimes, because of the massive amounts of information bombarding us regularly, the unthinking Christian longs to run in retreat, leaving heavy thinking up to a few elite Christian leaders or theologians. When the Christian's mind becomes dull, he can fall prey to the propaganda of a non-Christian scheme of things, led by people who have not neglected their thinking powers--and have simply out-thought us. "

Now, Christian, do your job and give that some thought.

"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dangerous Amnesia

“Sometimes we forget love”.

When I saw this posted as my son’s Facebook status, it made contemplate my life. I don’t ever forget love, do I?

I do.

Sometimes, when I am rushed and burdened and trying to complete the last lines of a well-thought out essay, and my precious daughter comes to talk to me, to give me a kiss good-night, I kiss her hurriedly—really wishing her already to bed—really only caring about completing my agenda; Then, I forget love.

When my teenage son is grumpy because he is over-homeworked, over-exerted and under-slept, and all I can do is criticize him because of his forgetfulness or his lack of joy; Then, I forget love.

When my husband isn’t like me and I judge him for the way he thinks or acts or perceives life in general, and not only do I think it, but I tell him I think it; Then, I forget love.

When I so desire someone to know Christ, and I give them a Bible and I talk to them about God and I tell them about Grace, but I don’t invite them to be a part of my life, nor do I get involved in their life; Then, I forget love.

When I pray to God for me and my family and my stuff, but I never ask God about Himself or about His purposes or about His Joy, and I never see beyond myself to His Majesty; Then, I forget love.

When I forget that it was Jesus who died to take my place—on a cross, with nails and blood and pain and with all the horrors of my sin heaped upon his broken body; Then, I forget love.

O Father God, keep reminding, keep reminding. I don’t want to forget. To Love.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:12-14

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jumping for Joy

Oswald Chambers had this to say today:

"My unrestrained committment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ."

So, let's break this down; according to Webster, unrestrained means "immoderate, uncontrolled, spontaneous". Committment means just what we understand it to mean--being devoted wholeheartedly to someone/something. Thus, I think I can logically conclude that my committment to God should not be governed by my common sense or my rationality--but by my willingness to jump into His will quickly; with both feet and with wild abandon!

If I do this scary jumping thing, this thing that will soon not be scary, but exhilarating, then the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me will be given the opportunity to grant me the holiness (that means He will put His RIGHT demeanor inside my WRONG ways of thinking and acting and being) of Jesus Christ!

Me? He will grant me the holiness of Jesus Christ? How can that be possible?

It is possible because in so doing this jumping, it is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ lives in me (Galations 2:20). My individual personality remains, but as O.C. says, "my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed." Yes, I have the same body, but my rights to myself have been destroyed. I am boldly attached to, shamelessy audacious (thanks Alex) for, and hopelessly in love with my Father God.

I think I'm ready to jump! Now! Wanna come?

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."

Psalm 28:7

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Take Over

“Will you take over? Will you take over? Will you take over me?”

This is the chorus from one of my very favorite Aaron Shust songs, Take Over. I listened to it over and over today as I was sewing, and as I sang along, I truly meant the words I was saying.

I am such a hindrance to myself. I am so clumsy and lazy and contrary. But Christ in me is so perfect. He allows me to be free of myself and my attitudes and my restrictions. He allows me to love when I feel like being bitter. He allows me to speak when my fear would make me silent. He allows me to forgive when I feel like hurting.

I don’t always allow Him to take over. Sometimes I think my will is just too strong for Him to manage, so I let it take over. Sometimes my ways of thinking are just too comfortable so I allow them room.

My Lord never makes me obey. He gives me the power to do it, but He never forces me to do anything. He wants me to love Him out of my own free will—my will that He has taken over. He desires my obedience out of my yearning to honor Him. Christ never demands a take- over, but sometimes I do.

Lord, may I allow you to take over all of me; my mind, my heart and my spirit. You must become greater. I must become less.

“He must become greater; I must become less.”

John 3:30

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Break with the Savages

This next week may be a little hit and miss in blog world. All of the kids are home for spring break, and you know what that means: No quiet and no concentration! For me, noise and inspiration don't mix. Things aren't quite as crazy now when they are all home as it was a few years ago, but the house still gets really messy and the food disappears really fast. Ask Luke if he's hungry.

So, to sign off, rather than leaving you with a scripture passage, I will end with a poem that I have quoted to the children often. It pretty much sums up our family life here at the Haverkamp house. Enjoy!
A Thousand Hairy Savages
A thousand hairy savages
sitting down to lunch
Gobble, Gobble glup glup
Munch, Munch, Munch.
By Spike Milligan

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

Today in the car, I heard the song, Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong. This is a song they play often on the station I listen to, and I have always liked it, but today I really listened to it. It talks all about ridding me of myself--which is a common theme in many of my posts--and a continual challenge for me. Check out these words and let them remind you of what Christ did for you and, in turn, what you should do for Him:

Savior I come, I quiet my soul, remember
Redemption's hill where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom, yeah, yeah

Oh and everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

And lead me to the cross where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down
And rid me of myself, I belong to You
Oh, lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as, I tempted and trialed, human
Word became flesh, bore my sin and death
Now You're risen, yeah

Oh and everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

And lead me to the cross where Your love poured out
And bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down
And rid me of myself, I belong to You
Oh lead me, oh, lead me, lead me to Your heart

Lead me to Your heart
Lead me to Your heart
Lead me to Your heart

Lead me to the cross where Your love poured out
And bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down
And rid me of myself, I belong to You
Oh lead me, lead me, lead me, lead me
Lead me to the cross, lead me to the cross, yeah

"For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body."
2 Corinthians 4:11

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Living in Grace

I am reading the book Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald and loved this excerpt which he took from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's book The Gift from the Sea. Lindberg wrote some insightful comments about ordering her private world. I wish the words were mine, but they are not. She says:

"I want first of all ... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact--to borrow from the language of the saints--to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, "May the outward and inward man be one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God."

O that we might all desire this harmony offered to us in our Savior. Let us train our minds to think the truth. Let us pursue righteousness at all costs. Let us have confidence in God so we may have peace even when our worlds are far from peace-full.

Breathe it in.
"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever."
Isaiah 32:17

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Plank in My Eye

Yes, I am back. I know that none of you are sitting on the edge of your seats in anticipation of my next post, but still, I have missed four days and now it is time to get back into routine. No more birthday parties or company or small groups in my basement. No more making 7 pans of cinnamon rolls or banana splits or little doll sweatshirts. Now is the time for all good women to come to the aid of their country--or blog domain--or something like that.

OK--that was just my warm-up paragraph. Remember those weird little phrases you used to have to type over and over in typing class?

Here's the real meat. I have been doing a Beth Moore Bible Study called "Breaking Free" (for the second time--it's really good!), and this week I am learning about obstacles to my freedom in Christ.

One of these obstacles is Idolatry. Anything we try to put in a place where God belongs is an idol. In studying this concept, we were to read Isaiah 44. In this passage, God talks to the Israelites and tells them that He is God--that He is first and last and that apart from Him there is no other. God, speaking through Isaiah, goes further when He says in verse 9, "All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless." He says these people cut down a tree and with half of it they make an idol and half of it they burn for fuel and bake bread over it. Verse 19 says "No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; ... Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"

But here is the verse that spoke out loud, verse 20, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" Now, that grabbed my attention. Up until that, I had been reading, feeling pretty good about myself, saying "Good job, Tori, you don't seem to have any idols." But guess what? God did what he does so well, and he pointed out an area that I didn't really want to see. He allowed me to see myself as I really was and not as I thought I was. Those kind of revelations make me feel bad about myself--in a good way--in a good way! (as my friend, Tony Horton would say)

"Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" Yes, it is. Here's why. Sometimes I hold onto things--in my attitudes and thoughts--things like preferences or judgements--because I feel entitled to them even though they are LIES. These LIES fit me. They are the way I think. They are the way I do things. They are obviously the right way--that's what I think. In the Haverkamp household, we call this way of thinking "hiking"--in reference to hiking the Superior Hiking Trail (which we have actually hiked upon--in the literal sense--twice)--get it--hiking? superior? It is a way of thinking that judges others and elevates self.

I often hike. In the non-literal sense. And I think its OK, but it's not. That way of thinking is an IDOL. That way of thinking reveals that I have not yet become Absolutely and Entirely His. That way of thinking reveals that I have not let Him permeate and captivate my every thought. That way of thinking tells God He is not First and Last and that there is another--it's me. (See my first Isaiah above if you are confused).

Why do I use some of my thought processes to judge and condemn others while in the next synapse connection, I use some of those same capabilities to show God how much I love Him? Why is this starting to sound eerily similar to Isaiah 44? It is starting to sound similar because it is the same thing. I judge and I hold opinions and I think myself superior. Those things are worthless to God.

Tonight, as I write, and as I try to remove this now-obvious plank, there is a sense of sorrow. This is the feeling I always get when God directs me to remove yet another part of myself that is not reflecting Him. There is a sadness that accompanies the banishment of these very comfortable and familiar behaviors. But the worldly sadness is always replaced by Joy when I see that God's way truly is SUPERIOR.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Matthew 5:3-5

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This morning as I read Mark 14, trying to prepare myself in this journey of Lent, I broke down and wept as I reached these words of Jesus in 14:6;

"Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me."
She became real to me. Here is her story:

"Where is He? Where is my Lord? I must find Him. I love Him! I love Him! It is nearly the Passover and the throngs of pilgrims will soon swarm into our city. How will I find my Lord then? I am weary of searching and my legs are so tired of walking, but I have seen Him in this neighborhood---ahh! I hear His voice! It is the home of Simon the Leper.

I stop and consider what I am about to do. Then I break through my fear and I run beyond reason, univited, into this place where I know I will find Him.

My presence is shocking.

There are only men reclining at the table. I am a woman. I am not supposed to be here, yet my passion fuels me. I run to Him. I am still carrying the heavy jar--the jar that is His--the jar that must be broken for Him.

I reach Him and I am weeping. I break the precious jar and pour the costly perfume--the ointment of nard--upon His head--His beautiful head--and my love pours out and scatters around Him like the shards of alabaster that are everywhere.

He is pleased! I have pleased my Lord! In His eyes I see the forgiveness and the love and the peace that paralyzed me at first and comforts me now.

In the background, I hear the other men call me "Wasteful!" and "Foolish!" and "Stupid!"

But Jesus--my Lord--my Love--Jesus calls me "Beautiful."

"I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
Mark 14:9

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Want to be a Cross-Bearer

I bought a book today that I had been wanting. The name is Reliving the Passion, written by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (who I really like because he thinks like me!). This book has forty meditations on the suffering, death, and ressurrection of Jesus. I had been anxious to get a copy since I read about it in another blog on the 2nd day of Lent.

All day it sat waiting as I finished up the necessaries. Now I open it. And I start out. But my Spirit is thirsty for the Truth I know is contained within those pages, so I read quickly and expectantly. Oh, but are they moving...and heavy...and sorrowful; words I don't think my spirit can hold all at once.

So I begin just to read "The Third Day, FRIDAY" and these are the words that speak:
"Jesus has many who love His kingdom in Heaven, but few who bear his Cross. Many follow Jesus to the Breaking of the Bread, but few to the drinking of the Cup of His Passion. They who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for the sake of comfort for themselves, bless Him in every trial and anguish of heart, no less than in the greatest joy." (Thomas a' Kempis)
Let's all be cross-bearers, then, for they are the truer followers of the Savior.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Matthew 16:24

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma!

My Grandma Crow is 89 today and this is for her.
These are the things I love about Grandma:
  • When I stayed at her house, she let me choose the room upstairs that I wanted to sleep in and I could even sleep in the crib if I chose it (I was smaller then).
  • She had a cool old cash register in the closet that we could play with whenever we wanted.
  • She also had a real wheelchair in her garage that all the grandkids LOVED to push each other in.
  • In Grandma's basement was an old Victrola that played records to which we danced.
  • Grandma let me take long baths and I could use the bubble bath that was shaped like a long skinny blue cat.
  • Sometimes, Grandma took us to the Beauty school and let us get our fingernails painted and our hair curled. We looked SO beautiful!
  • During Rodeo week, Grandma bought us cowboy hats and we got to go to a parade.
  • After spending afternoons at the pool, sometimes Grandma would take us to Wendy's to eat.
  • When I stayed at Grandma's alone, she would fix my hair before church and tell me how pretty I looked.
  • Grandma always had Froot Loops in the closet and I could eat them for supper if I wanted.
  • Grandma had a big dog, Tuffy (which was actually my cousin, Nicole's) and lots of cats. I loved those cats.
  • On Grandma's Christmas tree, she always hung an ornament that had two twin Indian babies laying in a papoose.

Thank you, Grandma, for loving me and for making my childhood a happy place--a place full of comforting memories and sweet words from you.

I love you!

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

Proverbs 16:24

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Simple Life of a Child

As a Christ-follower, have you discovered how your life can be the simple life of a child?

While the world must work to cover lies, defend their opinions, and hold tightly to bitterness, the Christ-follower can live in God's truth, die to themselves (what a freedom--since I am often clumsy, clunky and wrong!), and let God avenge the wrongs.

As a Christ-follower, I am dead to myself and alive in Christ, which means I have no rights to myself or anyone else. Carrying around anger or unforgiveness can get pretty heavy, but I have choice to lay these down since I don't have to worry about "me" anymore. Arguments have better outcomes when I have no need to defend myself. And the fear of death is replaced with the Joy of life when I know that nothing can remove me from God's hands. My spirit knows where it is going when the tent of my body has "billowed down".

As I meditate on these truths and try to allow them reality in the everyday of my life, my existence becomes amazingly simple and uncomplicated. God is the Father. I am the child. He's going to do what Fathers do and take care of everything. I don't have to worry about my life---anymore--ever. How cool is that?

" I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galations 2:20