A Vessel Of Honor

A noise was made in heaven as the way parted and the Accuser entered the throne room. He came with a list…”See that little pot in the corner? It was made from defective materials. It is too small and weak for any good use. It’s broken now. Surely you have no remaining purpose for that one….It will never amount to anything…Can I have it? I’ll dispose of it for you…take care of the problem…It should be discarded. Surely there is no use for it…” (He inches slowly toward the pot and bends over to grasp it when the Lord’s strong voice booms out saying, “Silence! This one was made for My use. I designed it. I am not done with it yet. I have a purpose your eyes will never understand. It was bought and paid for with My blood: I ransomed this one! It has been redeemed! You will speak no more against it! It is mine!”

Satan slithered away and the Lord went and tenderly picked up each broken piece of the fractured vessel, missing nothing. He carried them to a workbench. The Holy Spirit came and together they labored with love over their broken vessel. The blood of the Lamb and the oil of joy covered each ragged edge as God reconstructed what the enemy thought he had destroyed. Slowly, from a pile of broken pieces, God fashioned a beautiful vessel of honor. At the banquet celebration He held, this vessel was on the table of the King of Kings — a beautiful goblet full of new wine. Its delicate, intricately shaped stem and ornamented sides were beautifully decorated with scenes declaring the victory of the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously.
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From Psalms 30:8-12 NLT
I cried out to you, O Lord.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.”

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Teresa Norman April 6, 1991

Not for sale (poem)

Money doesn’t make you a better person-it just gives you better choices.  In some cultures, having no money and no rights makes you a target for traffickers. I first heard of the organization “Not For Sale” shortly after I had met some of my young refugee friends. It made their presentation pretty non-theoretical. I could picture some of the young people I care about and the choices they may have faced if their parents had not chosen to become refugees and take the risk of resettlement to America.

Not for sale…..
Humans as commodities, stocks to exchange,
inconveniences, expendables to be thrown away.
Their lives for sale…choices determined by $.
No! Their lives are a gift. Their lives have value!
Children of God, created with purpose-
whether they know it or not!

They have captured us, adopted us, let us love them.
Priceless treasures beyond measure…
These sharers of laughter, of humbling moments…
Yahtzee played, meals shared, loving acceptance offered and received.
We talk of woman things and what it means
Of relationships and guys who are good
And those who are not.

Transitions negotiated like minefields….
New experiences played out each day….
We talk of Christmas trees and manger scenes–
Of Jesus, a refugee whose parents fled to safety to keep him safe.

They watched our daughter with her baby
And reflected on a mother who loves instead of leaves…
They have little “stuff”- but their father loves them.
With courage he brought them here in spite of the challenges.
They live in a “big” house (smaller than most living rooms),
grateful their father cooks for them….
Grateful for food. For friends…. for choices.
If different choices had been made,
They could be some of those who are for sale in another land…..

How do you determine the value of a human?
Of their love?
It is priceless.
It should not be for sale.

The View from the Front

This article yesterday in the Seattle times tells about the struggle refugees are having making ends meet in the recession economy and how the budget cuts are impacting them here in Washington State.  I took some time to read the comments that followed the article, and was made aware of how great some of the hostility is that people hold towards not just illegal immigrants, but also towards those our government has invited to be here.  While I understand their financial frustration, and fear that their piece of an ever-shrinking pie will somehow disappear, I am also aware that my friends who are refugees have faced things beyond my comprehension.  The link here is to an article from the Bangkok Post, written by a friend of a friend, highlighting the situation these folks needed a refuge from.

Within Range of Mortars

Five kilometers (about 3 miles) is just within range of an 81 mm mortar.  You may not care, since there’s none pointed at you, but families in Ler Per Her IDP camp (within range of the mortar mentioned above) are increasingly concerned by them and some are heading to Thailand in case their camp (housing about 1200 people) is attacked again.  (It has been burned down several times in the past by the Burma Army.  (See today’s report from the Karen Human Rights Group ) for details. School at Ler Per Hur

The US Campaign for Burma lists ways we can all help speak for their freedom.   In other countries, murderers go to jail. Here they are in charge, while the UN and others make statements showing their concern….   Ler Per Hur kids
Partners Relief & Development is helping ethnic leaders provide basic necessities for those impacted by the continuing oppression of the Burma Army, including the new arrivals at Ler Per Hur.  They can use our help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How You Can Help

The following  from the US Campaign for Burma tells one way you can help!


For years, Burma’s military regime has carried out brutal human rights abuses against its own civilians.  Their abuses include the conscription of tens of thousands of child soldiers, the destruction and forced displacement of over 3,300 ethnic minority villages, widespread rape of Burmese women, the killing of civilians, and forcing hundreds of thousands of Burmese people into forced labor, what some call modern-day slavery.
These are not simply human rights abuses — they are mass atrocities called “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes,” meaning that they are illegal under international law such as the Geneva Conventions and Rome Statute. 
In the past, the United Nations Security Council has voted to create a “Commission of Inquiry” to investigate abuses of a major magnitude

— such as in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region of Sudan.  The Commission of Inquiry then makes recommendations to the U.N. Security Council for action. However, no such Commission of Inquiry been created for Burma.
Now, two leading members of the U.S. Congress, Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Don Manzullo (R-IL) have organized a letter to President Obama asking him to press the U.N. Security Council to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Burma’s military regime.  They are circulating a letter in  Congress and asking other Congressmembers to sign-on.  They want as many members as possible to sign the letter, which will then be sent to President Obama.
We need your help to get more members of Congress to sign. When members of Congress organize letters like this they are called “Dear Colleague” letters.  We want you to call your member of Congress and ask them to sign this “Dear Colleague” letter.
Every American is represented in the U.S. Congress by one member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  We would like you to call your Congressional office to urge your member of the U.S. House of Representatives (NOT the U.S. Senate) to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter along with Congressman Crowley and Manzullo.  You do not have to be a citizen; just live or work in your Congressperson’s district. Below are specific instructions on how you can do this. 

 

Click here for the rest of the instructions…….

If We Are His Body…..

It surprised me to see all the theological chatter when I tried to look up this poem.  In my simple way, I hadn’t seen this famous poem as being all that complicated.  Rather, I saw it as somewhat awe-inspiring and humbling that God would trust us with being “laborers together with Him” in the world….

 Christ Has No Body

“Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world….”

 Some of the theological chatter said it was blasphemy-that it implied that Christ didn’t ascend to heaven in a transformed body…..bla bla bla.  In my humble opinion, I don’t think the author was trying to yank someone’s chain.  I think she/he/they (there’s some debate on authorship) was trying to make a significant, complex, mind-boggling mystery real, tangible and practical to those of us without MDvs. 

A friend’s blog posed the question recently, “What are you praying for?”  I guess I am praying to recognize Christ in the many ways He shows up- not just in the Bible, or in church, but at work, in the grocery store, on the street, on the docks, at friend’s houses, in the people I meet each day.  I am praying to reflect to those He connects me with that their lives have value because He made them with a purpose and has plans for their good!  I am praying to learn to live out my faith in ways that reflect the miracle that God uses broken human beings to help make grace real.  I am praying that I will learn to be part of the solution and not the problem in the lives of those I am called to love….As I seek to be present in the moment with some friends facing difficult transitions, I pray above anything, “God, teach me to love.”

Nobel Prize Winner On Trial

The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi  continues.  She is accused of harboring a man who broke into her home and refused to leave.  For this “crime” she could receive up to five years in prison.  Coincidentally, this would get her out of the illegal governement’s way while the sham election takes place in 2010.  Coincidence, or part of the government’s plan?

The illegal government (which makes having an uninvited, unreported overnight house guest a crime and commits crimes against humanity, not fearing any reaction stronger than more words from Asean or the UN), has allowed some diplomats and some journalists (without cameras) to be present for the moment.

Aung San Suu Kyi and more than 2100 other political prisoners remain inprisoned for crimes such as trying to help those who suffered from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, or participating in protests against the regime that has used raped, murder, forced relocation, and forced labor against them for decades.