Saturday, January 01, 2011

During 2011, Inspire Me, Lord

Walk into my office and you would see lime green walls. Sherwin-Williams’ specific name for that shade of paint is “Gleeful.” A cheery room, the color was chosen to inspire a bright and sunny outlook where I write.

My computer desk sits in front of a double window that faces a large mounded pasture, surrounded by a fringe of tall pines and oaks, often reminding me of the dome of a bald head framed by hair. You would not see curtains above my double window, nor see a cornice board or shelving. You’d see borrowed words above it–longtime favorite words on loan from God via a psalmist. They will be our first get-in-the habit index card words for the coming year, written at the end of this column.

Last week I asked you to tune in this week and find out how we will embark on “The Year of the Index Card.” In 2011, at the end of each column, I’ll include a scripture to be written on an index card because our days become more wholesome when we have daily hope presented through God’s inspired Bible. Our over-consumption of newscasts containing dire news or our personal problems of bad health or family stresses sometimes color our worlds one shade darker than black. And what we long for at those times is good news that circumstances can get better.

With God’s anointing, the authors of the Bible write from their stories of affliction, despair, delivery, and victories. And their words tell us that God gives both new birth and healing. He breathes new light into our dark days. The Bible stories reveal again and again that God will always do what’s best for us, whether it’s changing the outward parameters of lives or changing our hearts to accept our paths.

I’ve heard from readers who tell me that a column, phrase, or word borrowed from the Lord helped them during a particularly difficult time. Or maybe a scripture simply realigned their notions about God, or brought to remembrance a truth about God that they had known for years. They just needed a memory-jog, a resurrection of a truth about our Father.

Christians mature at different rates, but all of us need repeated lessons as life crowds us. We need daily reminders of God’s intended goodness. My bed ridden mother has communicated less and less to her family over the past decade because of dementia. Even though she’s not with us mentally most of the time, I still love to sit on the side of her bed, and get eyelevel with her, hoping that my touch and eyes convey my love.

One day about three years ago, as I leaned close, she came out of her dementia long enough to tap me with her finger over my heart and say, “He promised to do us good all our days and not evil.” That one affirmation of God’s goodness has strengthened me again and again even though her suffering continues.

We’ll journey through the Bible one week at a time in 2011, so, plan to buy a packet of index cards (about a dollar for 100), or use a stenographer-tablet or cut 53 scraps of paper (53 because at the end of this column, I share a scripture). I personally like index cards because the paper is thicker, uniform, and can be grabbed up, taken with along, and seen through your day. But if you don’t have index cards, just jot them on anything. The palm of your hand. The dashboard of your car. A restaurant napkin. A small child.

In 2011, at the end of the column each week, I’ll include the index card scripture. I’ll choose my favorites that inspire, instruct, or correct. Next week, we’ll begin in Genesis and work our way through Revelation by next December. By combining some of the Old Testament Minor Prophets and any book in the Bible that has a first and second before its title, we can journey through the 66 books in 52 weeks.

I’ll include my E-mail address at the end each column; you may want to share how a particular scripture influenced you. We’re going to jumpstart our “Year of the Index Card” with this extra scripture, the one that decorates the space painted on the “Gleeful” wall above my office window. Because I suspect that all our lives -- at sometime through 2011 – will need a large helping of God-inspired courage.

Index Card: “When I called you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted” (Psalm 138:3).

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