Remember Me

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“Lord, Eternal One, remember me” (Judges 16:28, The Voice).

I was reading a very familiar passage about Samson and Delilah when I saw something I had never seen before. It almost literally jumped out of the page.

The story may or may not be familiar. Samson was a Nazirite and a Judge over the people of Israel. Basically, a Nazirite was someone dedicated to God from birth who had certain restrictions, like no alcohol, no haircuts, no touching dead bodies. As a judge, he essentially ruled over the Israelites. He had extraordinary strength and could not be bound by any ropes or chains.

Most of the time, he was ruled by his appetites. He saw what he liked and went after it, no matter what the consequences. Even though God said for His people to have nothing to do with the Philistines, Samson continually wooed their women and spent time in their cities.

Then Delilah showed up. She agreed to betray Samson into the hands of the Philistine rulers for a hefty sum, or a king’s ransom, you might say. Of course, Samson fell in love with her.

She asked three times how he could be bound. Three times he fibbed. You would have thought he’d catch on to her motives but apparently his love blinded him to her wiles.

Finally, she nagged him to the point where he gave in. You can probably figure out that she got her reward and Samson got captured. He ended up with his eyes gouged out, working at the grindstone as a slave, reduced to a joke.

Samson’s very last actions were his best ones. The Philistines brought him out to taunt and mock him in a celebration to their god, Dagon. He ended up between the two main pillars of the temple. He prayed one last prayer for strength and pushed out the pillars, toppling the temple and killing everyone inside, himself included.

I’d never paid much attention to his last prayer. “Remember me.” Suddenly, it dawned on me. I remembered someone else in the Bible whose last words were the same. It was the  thief on the cross next to Jesus who said, “Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Such a beautiful prayer that says so much in so few words. It’s not so much that God has forgotten who we are but that we’ve forgotten who He is.

It’s a declaration of dependence, an acknowledgement of great need. It says to God, “I’m unworthy to ask but still I know you are a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love. Come to my aid and save me.”

The Bible is still living and active. God still speaks through His word to those with ears to hear. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.

 

Things I Love 29: She’s The Tear That Hangs Inside my Soul Forever

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“How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy- and seeing shows the way in.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are)

Just to give you a context for this particular blog, I have the TV on. Late Night with Conan O’Brien to be specific. So I apologize in advance for any random goofiness that filters into this blog. Oh wait. That’s filters in every other time. Never Mind. Back to #836.

836) Impromptu dashes to Starbucks in the pouring rain for a cold foam mocha that was totally worth it.

837) A tall glass of orange juice.

838) Conan’s wacky brand of humor.

839) Watching a thunderstorm from a safe place.

840) Hugging my grandmother and telling her I love her.

841) The way my little niece’s eyes light up when she sees me.

842) The way the song “Easy to Love” as sung by Ella Fitzgerald perfectly captures the way I feel about a certain someone.

843) Any day without Fox News.

844) Bacon.

845) Kevin Bacon (just because he’s the coolest . . . and in a very non-gay way).

846) Peanut M & Ms

847) The most recent screen adaptation of Les Miserables.

848) Changing machines that could turn my brother into a puppy (if only I had a brother).

849) Finally getting past level 33 in Candy Crush Saga.

850) Melatonin that helps me sleep at night.

851) James Bond movie marathons.

852) Encouraging facebook messages sent at just the right time.

853) Remembering when Bruce Willis had hair.

854) BOTH pairs of  Crocs that I still wear, regardless of whether they are in fashion anymore or not.

855) Every single episode of Firefly and the movie follow-up called Serenity.

856) Pretty much everything Joss Whedon has ever been associated with.

857) The peace of God that comes out of nowhere when I least expect or deserve it.

858) The drive-in movie theatre in Watertown.

859) Driving anywhere late at night with good friends.

860) That the wheels on the bus DO go round and round.

861) That Nosferatu is still the creepiest and most effective adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

862) God picking me up every single time I fall.

863) The concept of flying monkeys. Brilliant.

864) The ending of It’s a Wonderful Life that tears me up every single time.

865) That the thief on the cross was the first person Jesus welcomed into heaven.

866) Never having seen a single episode of Honey Boo Boo (a record I intend to keep going).

867) The first two Die Hard movies (after that. . . . not so much).

868) True beauty that comes from within.

869) Those rare moments when I am totally selfless and God-focused.

870) That God knows me and calls me by name.

Redemption (It’s Never Too Late to Come Home)

For my 50th blog, I wanted to talk about something close to my heart. That something is the subject of redemption. Especially since I and all those who trust in Christ have been redeemed.

Some definitions I found of the word redeem are: “1) to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum, 2) to pay off (a promissory note, for example), 3) to turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange, 4) to fulfill (a pledge, for example), 5). to convert into cash: redeem stocks, 6) to set free; rescue or ransom, 7) to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. 7)  to make up for: the low price of the clothes dryer redeems its lack of special features.8)  to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.”

But it’s one thing to know about redemption in an academic sense and an entirely different notion to know experientially what it means to be redeemed. To know that Jesus can take something worthless and turn it into something priceless is cause by itself for worship. To know that no one is beyond His reach is cause for eternal devotion.

The thief on the cross proves that no one is ever a lost cause or a hopeless case. Not even in his dying moments was he too far gone to be saved. Such is the case for anyone in my life (or your life). No one is too depraved to be forgiven. There is no one who has left the path who can never come back.

If you are the one who has crossed every line and blown every chance, there”s still hope. You can never stray so far away that there is no way to get Home again. If you aren’t the one who has lost his or her way, but know someone who has, know that there is never a time to quit praying and reaching out and believing in faith for that person.

I love this quote from John Newton, who himself was a slave trader who was redeemed and became a great hymn writer and leader in the abolition movement in England. As he lay on his death bed, he said to a minister friend, ‎”True, I’m going on before you, but you’ll soon come after me. When you arrive, our friendship will no doubt cause you to inquire for me. But I can tell you already where you’ll most likely find me–I’ll be sitting at the feet of the thief whom Jesus saved in His dying moments on the cross!”

Remember it’s never too late to come Home. Even if you’ve lost your way, Jesus knows how to get you Home. After all, He is the Way. Don’t lose hope for that loved one. Even in his or her last breath, there’s still a chance for redemption.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.