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Showing posts from June, 2011

Sight

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:40-43 Perhaps it’s age or maybe it’s true growth but lately I have been much more aware of the people around me. None of us live in a vacuum. How long ago did John Donne tell us, “no man is an island”? This is not news but somehow lately it has become more apparent and certainly more important to me. Each day I work with a group or children who bear a label. That label changes every few years but usually includes words like, exceptional or special. Those words are euphemisms for handicapped. The children I see every day are handicapped. They are also special and exceptional, a never-ending source of delight and aggravation, sometime

Sleepy

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you sleeping? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning a third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Mark 14:23-33, 37, 39-42 This same event is told in Matthew 26 in almost the same words. The point is clearly the same. Jesus is suffering the worst night of his life. He asks his three nearest and dearest, Peter, John and James, to come with him to pray. They go along I’m sure,

Look at My Brother

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. Exodus 34:29 ….he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will--- Ephesians 1:5 The pictures of Prince William’s wedding are all over the place, on the internet, on magazines, everywhere you look. Certainly I have seen picture after picture of Will and Kate but I have seen many of the guests as well. One such photo grabbed my attention due to the disparity of facial expressions on the subjects. It is of a celebrity couple. He is a prominent figure in one area and she in another. Together they make a lovely example of the famous and the beautiful, as both of them have both those attributes. My first thought was that of course those are the kind of people invited to the wedding. Then I remembered that an acquaintance of my husband’s had shared a story with us of

Opportunities in Odd Places

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him and offer the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39 I don’t have a big career. Nothing I have ever done to earn a paycheck has any real significance. What I have done, what colors everything I do, is be a mother. The other day I met a young man I’ll call Liam, who will be a part of my life for a short, predetermined period of time. Liam is very self-aware. He is blunt and brash. He swaggers and postures to deliver the message, I’m trouble and if you get close I’ll hurt you. Whatever! My mother’s eye sees a troubled kid who needed someone to tell him, at a much earlier time in his life, that he is the dearest thing in the world to them. Since that did not occur he expects the people in his life to jump through hoops to gain his respect and compliance. They don’t and he reacts by acting out in ways that include mocking ever

I AM

God said to Moses, “I Am WHO I AM.” This is what you are to say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14 I am a middle-aged woman. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. Throughout the day I may say, “I am tired” or “I am happy” or any number of things. I have never just said, or heard anyone else say simply, “I am.” I certainly haven’t heard it spoken in such a way that it needs to be written in all capital letters. When I hear the words “I am” I expect something to come after that. Otherwise I’m asking, “You are what?” So let’s ask that of God. Here He is quoted as saying to Moses “I AM” and telling Moses to basically use that as His name. “Tell them I AM has sent you.” Put yourself in the shoes of the hearer of that message. “I AM sent me.” “Who?” “I AM.” Keep going in your head. It takes on the likes of a famous comedy routine doesn’t it? But when the speaker is God it is no laughing matter. The words that come after I AM are anything and everything we want and nee

What’s Next?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Something is up with my comfort zone. It appears that God would like me to step out of it a little bit, or heaven help me a lot. It’s a subtle thing but it has been going on for months. When it began I thought it would be immediate. It wasn’t. I’ve been thinking in terms of missionaries, a role I’ve never felt called to take. I can’t tell that isn’t it for sure, but at this point, I don’t think it is. We read about Abraham, Moses, the rich young ruler, Saul/Paul and so many others in the Bible and we see that God’s call maybe a still small voice or it may not. Sometimes it’s more like, “Hey you! Yeah, you, I’m speaking to you. What you can’t hear me? Okay then.” And bam! The not so talented listeners find themselves under horses, facing burning bushes or worse, facing their own faults and fears. Can they hear God then? Oh yeah

Daily Gifts

This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 Rejoice in the Lord always I will say it again, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 In praying the Lord’s prayer we say, “give us this day our daily bread.” When my children were younger one of their favorite hymns was “This Is The Day.” It is all about rejoicing in the day the Lord has made. Just a few days ago a friend quoted that Scripture to me. She said that she had decided to live the truth that each day is a gift from God. She was choosing to rejoice and be glad. Those things all came together for me this morning as I was praying. Each day is a gift from God that He is happy to give. I can only imagine that He wants our response to be one of delight. He wants us to rejoice and be glad. I began to think how much it must hurt Him when I wake up and grumble at whatever the day holds. It must break His heart to bless me with a new morning only to hear “oh I

Father Know Best

Yet, O Lord you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 Sunday is Father’s Day. My grandson has a gift for his daddy hidden in a closet in my house. In another closet I have a gift for his grandfather. Father’s are very important. We all know the expression, “Just wait until your father gets home.” Sometimes it is spoken in jest, sometimes as an actual threat. One time when our boys were teenagers, I caught them fake fighting when they should have been cleaning their room. As I began to deliver my lecture I had about half of their attention. Suddenly all eyes were on me and there was a lot of “yes, m’am” going on. I began to feel quite effective until I realized that my husband, their father, was standing right behind me. Father’s are very influential. My husband is a great father. He has a great work ethic but he knows how to have fun. He treats me with respect and is good at doing a kindness when it isn’t necessarily

Jesus

You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Luke 1:31 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe. Proverbs 18:10 At one point or another most Christians experience a crisis of faith. Even the most dedicated, devoted disciples have a hard time when the accident happens, the tragedy occurs or the bottom falls out. Many of us have twinges of doubt over even the simplest of things. Personally, I have questioned my faith more than once. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe God existed. I know that in some incredibly deep part of me. What I do wonder and have questioned too many times is if I have enough faith and if all the things I believe are true for me. I know God can do the impossible. I just wonder if, or even why, He would do those things for me. A few days ago I had a rather rough day. Thankfully, I could feel God pulling on my heart. I knew that what I needed to do was spend a li

Humbled by Ordinary Greatness

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. James 4:10 The other day while shopping, my husband and I were looking at a book written by a young man named Nick Vujicic, who has no arms or legs. His situation is not the result of a terrible accident. He was born that way. We flipped through the photo section of the book to see an adorable baby, smiling, laughing, face covered in chocolate. He could have been anyone of our grandbabies, except for the no limbs issue. My husband had never seen or heard of him so I shared the little I know of him and his life’s work. In doing so I felt seriously humbled. This morning the devotional that I read was written by Fanny Crosby. She stands out to me as the child who praised God for her blindness. There is a great poem about her sightless life that she wrote at age, eight. It says: Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world contented I will be! How many blessings I enjoy that other people d

He Ain’t Heavy

Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 John 2:10 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 Earlier today I heard an old song that used to be one of my favorites. It’s called “He Ain’t Heavy.” I am quite familiar with the song, the saying and the story behind it. I was raised Catholic and every year we got Christmas seals from Boy’s Town with the picture of the bigger boy carrying the little boy and the words, “He ain’t heavy Father. He’s my brother.” I’ve heard the story since I was a small child of how the priest admonished the older boy for trying to carry the younger one saying, “He’s too heavy for you” and receiving the now familiar response. I have no idea how the writer of the song became familiar with the story. I do not know what he thought about God or what he thought he thought about God but I do know that on some level he understood Scripture. There is nothing

Learn from the Message

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God, in the beginning. John 1:1-2 Today is going to be a busy day, and today is going to the quietest day I will have for the next ten days. I made sure to get up early enough today, to have serious Abba and me time. I know I need it! When I woke up this morning I was overwhelmed by the challenges and disappointments that are currently a part of my life. There was a definite threat to my peace and joy. In fact peace and joy are the antithesis of what I was feeling. Gloom, doom and sadness were not the emotions I wanted to take into my visit with my Lord. But my thoughts wanted to stay in the less than faithful, hurt and disappointed area. No! To combat that I did what I do when I’m using my brain. I turned on praise music. One of my favorite songs reminds me that one event supersedes anything that happened before, happened since or will ever happen in the history of man. In other words, the gu

God’s Jewels

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10 Something that I read this morning alerted me to the fact that I may be looking at suffering and hardship in the wrong way. I am aware that God will use those things to His purpose. It is not a foreign thought to me that a challenge will bring one closer to God. Today I read a message I have read many, many times before. It is from a book that I have had and loved for so many years that it is held together with tape. The pages are so yellowed that I have to have the “good” reading glasses to read it. (Good in this case meaning not bent and of stronger magnification.) All of that background is to show that this is not a new message to me. I should have seen this years ago and yet God chose today to truly reveal this idea to me. The author was referring to God as a sculptor. He spoke of a piece of rock that gets tossed aside because it has no potential. That piece regards itself as perfect

He is God

Hear now O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to what I command or subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. Deuteronomy 4:1-2 Over the last several months I have been watching the old TV show, Joan of Arcadia. I watched the show when it was on TV the first time around but now see how much I missed. The theology is not always spot on. My sister Kathy and I used to talk about how some things didn’t quite mesh with our Christian beliefs. Still, there is a lot to be learned there. Joan is a typical teenage girl. She wants friends, in particular a boyfriend, she wants to enjoy life, she wants her brother’s paralysis to be healed and most important, she wants to know her place in the world. God, in many various and often amusing forms, comes to speak to her face to face and help her along. J

Today

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made. When my sons were in preschool they learned a little song based on this verse. “This is the day that the Lord has made, not like tomorrow or yesterday. He made today in a special way. So let’s all sing and be glad.” It was precious to hear those little voices singing. There was a slight emphasis on the “yesterday” that when sung by four year-olds was quite pronounced. I can’t help but think that is why I remember the song so well. It makes the point of that precious verse so very clear. This is the day that the Lord has made. Yesterday was also made by the Lord but yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not here and may not be at all what we expect but today is here and we best enjoy it. If yesterday was a bad day then how wonderful it is that it’s over. Too often we drag the hurts or embarrassments of yesterday into the next day, week or month letting them determ

Nuts

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” Judges 6: 14-16 When the road ahead looks oh so long And your talents seem so few Just remember that the mighty oak Was once a nut like you. Author Unknown Sometimes the greatest people have the most humble beginnings. In fact I would say that happens quite often, especially in the Bible. Gideon felt too small for the task at hand. He was not alone. He was actually part of a very auspicious group. Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, Mary and Peter, to name a very few, also felt inadequate to the task at hand. That isn’t false humility. They weren’t capable on their own, of accomplishing what God had planned for them. Gideon is one of my favorites because o