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Showing posts from September, 2011

My Chair

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16 My husband’s aunt came to visit his mother last week. She is in her eighties and apparently has difficulty sleeping in a bed. At home she sleeps in a recliner, a piece of furniture my mother-in-law no longer possesses. She used to have a nice recliner but when she bought her new furniture she gave it to our son for his room. When he moved out he left the chair and then it made its home in my office. It has become my chair. Read that the way I would say it to you, MY CHAIR. I love that chair. It’s my prayer chair, my Bible study chair and my just sit and read chair. Guess where my chair has been for the past ten days? At mother-in-laws house. She didn’t ask for it. I offered it back to her when she explained her sister’s issue with beds. It was the right thing to do and I not only knew that but never hesitated to offer it. I did, teasingly, make sure that Gigi [my mother-in-l

Vacation

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 A friend of mine just returned from a very nice vacation. Before she left the tension in her person was perceptible. She carried herself in a way that suggested she might shatter if anyone got close. She stated and restated how much she needed the break. Well, simply taking a break isn’t always the answer. Jesus took breaks, or tried to anyway. He admonished the apostles to take breaks. From the Old Testament to the New we are advised of the wisdom of taking a break, getting away and resting. We are called to be as much like God as we possibly can and guess what? On the seventh day, He rested. My friend’s idea was a good one, get away, take it easy and go back to work with a renewed sense of purpose. She’s baaaack. She doesn’t seem rested and where there should be a renewed sense of purpose there is nothing but the same old story, the same old song and dance. When I spoke to her the day after she

Faith Like A Child

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as there.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:14-15 In the past ten days I have heard two sermons and had two very interesting conversations with my granddaughter Faith. The sermons were good, well, one was good and one was just okay. The conversations were amazing. My granddaughter is two weeks away from her sixth birthday. She isn’t a genius or a Bible scholar. She is a child, a child who has enormous love and trust in God, which is a bit surprising, considering that she only rarely attends church. She attends a public school and is being raised by a single mother, my daughter, who has a great spiritual foundation but no real relationship with God. Just yesterday when our pastor referred to a friend who had passed away, he said, “We know God loves Todd [the man’s son] and that He loved Jim.” (Jim being the friend who had died.) I’m

Character

So I tell you this and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because they have given themselves over to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 There are four words that are present in almost every conversation I have with my friend Patty. It doesn’t matter who we are talking about, ourselves, our children, politicians; it comes down to the same four words. It’s all about choices. Maybe you can’t judge a person by the outer core but if that appearance raises doubts watch and see if their actions follow. One mistake is understandable but a string of lousy choices points to serious character flaws. This condition is not unique to this time in history. Paul’s writings are in the nei

Hebrew of Hebrews

If any one thinks he has reason to put confidence in the flesh I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews: in regard to the law a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:4b-8 Paul had the right idea. He knew that he was nothing without Christ. He knew that all of the trappings of this world were worthless. He knew because he had once had it all and had willingly given it up for Jesus. Our own position doesn’t matter. Look around, no matter how well off you are, or high up in your profession or church, no matter what your family heritage, I bet you can find someone with mor

Because You’re Worth It

“For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” Acts 17:28 Years ago the tagline for L’Oreal cosmetics was, “because you’re worth it.” L’Oreal products were a bit higher priced than their competitors. Instead of trying to deny that or explain why their products were worth more than the other guys’, they turned the tables. They didn’t say, “Hey look how great our stuff is, spend a little more.” No, they played on our self-esteem issues. “Look in the mirror, you’re worth it.” That, my friends is a slippery slope in more ways than one. That mirror will tell one person they are worth it and another they may as well buy the cheap stuff, because there is no hope. That slope is unimportant to me. The one that I think about, a lot, is the one that concerns my spiritual health. Maybe I am worth an extra dollar or two, but why? And more to the point how does my Father want me to spend those dollars? How does He want me to measur

Chains

I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18 Remember my chains. Paul, formerly revered for his persecution of Christians is now in chains persecuted for his devotion to Christ. Ironic isn’t it? Take a look at your own life. What are your chains? Have you taken something on that used to seem like a burden because God asked you to do it? Or have you given something up that you were sure you couldn’t live without because God hated it? Those are your chains. We are blessed to live in a country where we are allowed, at least for now, to openly profess our faith in Jesus Christ without fear of imprisonment or torture. That does not mean that the Christian walk is without peril. None of us lives exactly the same life we lived when God called us to walk with Him. A yes to that call brings change with it. We cannot choose Christ and continue to live the way of the world. It may be one big thing or a lot of little ones but change is i

Cool Praying

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24 How many books do you suppose have been written about prayer? I wouldn’t even begin to guess. There are books for spouses, parents, teachers, doctors, singles, men, women, etcetera. I own a few and there are others I would like to own. With the number of books, essays and sermons on prayer, it seems that it must be a fairly complicated thing right? I’m not sure it is. I wonder if we make it harder than it has to be. My grandson Joey and I love the movie “Cool Runnings.” One of our favorite scenes is when Derice is trying to convince Sanka to join the bobsled team. Derice is a lovely, very charming guy and Sanka has been his friend since they were children. Derice approaches Sanka with this whole speech about friendship and loyalty. Sanka says no. He then says to Derice, “Derice, if you want me to do something, just ask me. Just say, ‘Sanka, you are my best friend

Missed Opportunities

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 I am blessed to have two grandchildren attending the school where I work, my granddaughter, Faith, who is in Kindergarten and her cousin Joey, who is in Second grade. Yesterday I brought them both a brownie with a note of love from me. On the first day of school I did the same thing with cookies that were joyfully accepted and appreciated by both of them. Yesterday Faith was thrilled to receive her treat but Joey’s reaction wasn’t nearly as positive. When I approached him I was greeted by a look I have never seen on his face before. He looked as if he didn’t know me and further, didn’t want to. I was shocked and disappointed. This is a child who has run to me every time I’ve arrived on the scene since he was old enough to run. This is a child who has begged me to let him live at my house. We’ve s

Vengeance Is His

Arise O Lord! Deliver me O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw, break the teeth of the wicked. Psalm 3:7 Many years ago I was in a terrible position in life. All around me things were falling apart. I did not have the luxury of joining them as I was the mother of four young children. Many of my problems, most of them, actually, were centered on the behaviors of one other person. That person had caused enormous damage to almost every area of my life. Even then I knew my best weapon against his attacks was prayer. With no love and a whole lot of bitterness and anger in my heart I approached the throne of grace with no real confidence but a heart full of obedience. I prayed for him, quite honestly, to be kept well but far away from me. As I said, life was a mess. It was hard for me to see God’s hand and impossible to understand why He was allowing certain things to transpire. Through it all I continued reading a devotional Bible. Many days the message from the Word was the only I

Cheer Up

A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 When I was younger I thought religion and anything that involved religion had to be serious. I thought that because it was what I was taught. When I began to develop my own relationship with Jesus I still believed that I had to be serious, almost solemn, about it. My views on religion were bleeding all over my faith. I am not by nature a very serious person, responsible yes but not serious. There is a touch of humor to be found almost everywhere but to be a “good Christian” I had to forget that and take life more seriously. It was rough going for awhile as I tried so hard to be “good.” Eventually, through Scriptures like this proverb and truly getting to know Jesus I realized I had been right all along. There is a touch of humor in most things. Sometimes we have to be serious and tragedy is just that, tragic, but whenever possible find something to smile about. There are some amazingly blesse

Picture Not So Perfect

“Come to me all you who thirsty, come to the waters Isaiah 55:1a There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2 Our pastor often bemoans the fact that there are very few good artistic renderings of Jesus, his apostles or the saints. He’s right. Some depictions of the apostles have them look dazed and confused. In others they look useless. Most of the saints look, oh I hope this isn’t sacrilegious, creepy and certainly ill-equipped to do anything but gaze into the sunset. And poor Jesus! I’ve never seen a picture of what looks like a typical Jewish guy. Jesus gets a whole lot of sappy treatment too. Once in awhile there is a strapping, wide smiling Jesus and while those are great pictures, I’m betting they fall very short on accuracy points. Our pastor seems to object most viscerally at the sappy Jesus pictures and I get that. Is this the guy that took all that torture? I don’t think so! Yesterday there

I Wanna’ Go Home

In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. John14:2 The thief comes only to kill and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 While writing in my journal yesterday I mentioned to my Father how pleased I was to feel His presence even though the view lately has not been so nice. Everywhere I turn someone is hurting, someone is discussing the effects of the sad economy or the sorry state of our government. Even what I can physically see, empty buildings where businesses used to be, a loved one walking, barely and in great pain, and worst, people showing disrespect and lack of care to those to whom they should be showing concern and love. The view can be downright ugly. Then again it can be glorious. As I was writing in my journal the image that flashed through my mind was one of incredible beauty. One day last week as I was driving to work a hawk flew across the front of my vehicle, literally inches a

When Trying Is Not Enough

“A new command I give you; Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:35 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 Last Sunday our pastor preached about loving your neighbor, among other things. I throw in the “among other things” because the sermon was very good and Sam made a few significant points. The salient point to me was the one about loving our neighbor. The Scriptures Sam was quoting left no wiggle room. Jesus is quite direct on this issue and so was Sam. The reason that topic was hitting so close to home was that right after church I was going to “do the right thing” and spend some time with a couple of people who present me with a challenge right now, one in particular. And guess what? That guy is my neighbor and thanks to Jesus, and Sam’s presentation of his perspective, I knew that there were no other options. It would be great to type in here about how I went

Closed Eyes

Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?” The man hurried over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes were set so that he could not see. He told Eli, “I have just fled from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.” 1 Samuel 4:14 This passage is part of the story of the Philistines capturing the ark of God. There are all kinds of lessons to be learned from the behavior of the Israelites, from the Philistines, from Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas and from Eli himself but one minor line stood out to me today. As I read this chapter the words, “whose eyes were set so that he could not see” grabbed my attention. To be honest at first I was just taken with that turn of phrase. It could just say that Eli was blind because Eli was old and blind. So my writer’s eye was captured by the word picture and then as I read it again I saw a deeper meaning. Eli’s eyes were closed. His actual physical sight was non-existent but that isn’t a