Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
And then, I had a thought that HORRIFIED me. I began to wonder how many of these "gifts of mercy" might have been gifted to me without my awareness? What if these gifts were overflowing from underneath my Christmas tree as I smugly sat recounting the half dozen or so I had gifted? I also thought of the many, many mercies You have gifted to me. If I took the rest of my life, I could not even begin to recount them all.
And I wept.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
My daughter, offspring, heir, descendant had me laughing, jovially expressing myself so hard, vigorously, intensely at her depiction, representation, portrayal of me talking, discussing, conversing.
But seriously, I have no clue as to why she would think that!
Monday, December 03, 2007
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL RECEIVE MERCY. - Matthew 5:7
image taken from here
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
God, How do you rest? I mean, I cannot picture You working. I know You create things and do mighty things....like keep the whole world and universe spinning and intact....but what does work look like on You? I know what work looks like on me....sometimes grueling, sometimes tiring, sometimes intense, sometimes exhilarating. But what do You look like when You are working? And resting? What do You do to rest? Lay down? Put Your feet up? Close Your eyes? Keep very still? Day dream?
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:8
And Lord, when You planted this garden...did You start it from seeds or did You speak it into existence? Did You dig holes for the plants and wipe the moist soil off Your hands onto what....overalls? Did You have a seed bag slung over one shoulder? Did You watch as the seedlings burst from the earth and grew into maturity? Did You rest under the shade of one of the trees You had planted?
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7
Now this...this I can understand. Because I remember when You breathed the breath of life into my spiritually dead life. I remember awakening and coming alive. I can remember the closeness of Your presence, Your very touch. And still now, those moments when Your breath, Your very Spirit, Your touch... fills my heart and mind and soul with echoes of that newness of life, renewing the deadened parts of me, and drawing me ever closer to You.
Image taken from here.
Being created in the image of God...well, now...that is just a gift!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
By the way, check out the autumn pics at Richard's.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Might seem silly at first, but on second thought, how sad that man's tendancy toward prejudice and stereotyping occurs so commonly and readily? Think about it.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Later, I was getting some things ready so I could put my mom to bed. I was standing in front of the window and happened to catch the teenager across the street walking out of her house toward a red car in her drive. From her happy face, you could tell that she was excited to be going out with her friends. The smile on my face as I watched them pull out turned to concern. They had backed right into my friend's car which was parked in the street. The police were called, I dished out some mom hugs to the crying teen, and my friend took the officer aside to ask him if at all possible, not to give the girl a ticket. I stopped to think about how amazing that was really. And I thought, "For one who has not been shown much mercy in life, to show mercy to another...now that is a sign of a life transformed by Jesus."
On Sunday, I was watching my friends' kids. They played with this toy and that. I was just enjoying their youthful imaginations and exuberance. Then they started to play with a train set. As I watched this brother and sister, I flashed back to another picture. It was this same little boy playing with a train set. He was in an orphanage. Wearing green overalls...community overalls since none of the children owned their own clothes. He looked so small. And here he was now, in front of me with his own clothes, his own train set, and his very own family that fills his life with love. I stopped to think about how amazing that was really. And I thought, "God, You are truly good!"
I think God can be like those kernels of corn sometimes, revealing Himself to us when we aren't really looking for Him. He has His revelations squirreled away in the nooks and crannies of our lives. And in a moment, we sweep away something ordinary to find divine beauty and wonder. Like a life transformed. Or a life rescued.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Will you take some time to petition an Almighty God on Arlene's behalf today? And for my friend's friend as well?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
One of my pastors had posted on the concept that if Jesus is the flag, what is the flag pole that you rally around? You can read more here and here.
I have to admit that I have been stumped. I have spent more than a week doing some soul searching, trying to figure out what my answer to this flag pole question is. Today, as I was reading archived posts one of my new favorite blogs (thanks DT), I came across this quote:
"The Church: Central to God’s Plan of Redemption
We must, finally, help our people see that the church is the center of God’s redeeming and self-glorifying plan in heaven and on earth. That’s what we gather from Eph. 1:10, 22-23; 2:14-22; 3:9-11, 20-21. It’s through the church that the evangelism of the world is carried out. The church reveals God’s wisdom and glory. The church proclaims the defeat of the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” Through the church, the Lord will gather all things under His feet.
Our people must know that God has not plan of redemption and no plan for spiritual edification and maturity outside the church. They must know that participation in church is about far more than their individual needs. Participation in the church is essential to advancing the plans of God to bring to himself glory, to redeem humanity, and to bring all things to completion. And they must be taught to prize all of that above their individual selves. We must teach them that if it’s God’s glory they wish to pursue, then one of the easiest things they can do is to join, commit to, and love a local church—which is God’s eternal design for them anyway."
For the entire post, go here.
So, what do you think?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
- I plug my nose at the stench of the sick You have given me to care for.
- I often rant and rage at my circumstances and don't rest in the knowledge of Your goodness.
- I don't want to live with less....I want more and can be wasteful with what You have provided.
- I am often resentful and do not exhibit the quiet, steady love that is You.
- I spend more time feeling sorry for myself than having compassion on the poor, the unfortunate, and the hurting.
- I exalt myself more than I exalt You.
- I don't motivate the world to take a second look at You.
I ain't no saint. How is that You still call me beloved?
Search me, O God, and know my heart!Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139: 23,24)
Image taken from here.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
1:47 PM Melissa: Do you have paper of some sort?
what kind of paper?
this is a rather odd question
1:48 PM is someone being paper trained?
do you need to swat someone?
are you coloring?
you are leaving me in suspense
do you need to throw some gum away
Melissa: Well I am trying to take some notes on 1 corinthians 14 and my notebook is in my car and I don't want to go get it
me: WHAT KIND OF PAPER DO YOU NEED?
Melissa: cuz I don't want to leave my desk
me: COME IN
1:50 PM Thanks :)
Thursday, October 18, 2007
First of all, let's separate sin and scriptural truth right out of this discussion. Aside from those, I think there are a lot of "truths" that we hold on to very tightly--our preferences, our biases, and our prejudices. I don't think withholding these is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes I think it can be the wisest thing to do...to keep quiet on those.
I don't think I can always handle your "truths" either. I don't know if I want you to tell me if I look fat or am having a bad hair day or if the sound of my voice gives you the same feeling that someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard gives you.
Truth and honesty should build up people and relationships and most of all glorify God, and should not be welded as a weapon. I taught at a women's retreat a few years back. The topic for the entire weekend dealt with authenticity. A few months later, I was talking with a woman from that church and she had been dealt a hurtful blow by another woman's remarks. The woman topped off the remarks with this comment, "Well, you know Kathy told us to be authentic." Obviously, nowhere in what I presented was there an encouragement to use authenticity as a means to "take down" another person. If anything, the encouragement was to be introspective and honest with ourselves, our motives, drives, etc.
Timing is important to our "truth" telling. We've all seen this played out a million times in commercials and sitcoms. The wife is standing in front of the mirror, all dressed up for a big night out and asks, "How do I look?" I am a firm believer in "not asking the question if you don't really want the answer", however, I also think that timing is an important ingredient in sharing truth, especially difficult "truths". And being loving....timing and being loving are both important.
I think intimacy has another thing to do with transparency. I am not as transparent with people that I am not as close to. For example, I might use a certain palindrome to tell a sister-friend that her top is too low cut. However, I would most likely not say that to a stranger.
Do I always tell the "truth" in all my relationships? No, I don't think I do. I am blessed with a quite a number of close, intimate friendships. Relationships forged over time. These friends know the best and worst there is to know about me. Not all my information is available to everyone. Nor do I think it should be.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
I heard about Mallorie from my young friend, Abby, who has a missionary's heart and has led a number of missions trips to Africa. Mallorie is a part of the World Race. She has $1,600 left to raise. If you can't spare a dollar, could you spare a minute? To pray for her and her team?
If you can't spare a minute for Mallorie and the lives God has used her to touch...take a moment or two for yourself. I can GUARANTEE that your life will be changed as you read her blog. You won't be comfortable. You won't be able to shake the stories and images from your mind. You won't be able to turn a blind eye. But you WILL "see" in a new way!
Thanks, everyone, for your graciousness with my request.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Much appreciated, truly!!
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. I John 4.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Another friend of mine is in the beginning throes of a new romance. When I came in to work yesterday I just took a moment to observe. This friend has been literally glowing and I am very sure I have seen my friend floating "on cloud 9"! So, I just took a moment to watch my friend and feel the excitement. I am happy for my friend. I am enjoying my friend's joy.
When I was camping a couple weeks back, I must have seen 10 gray haired couples walking around, hand in hand. As we were leaving, we passed one of these couple and much to my daughter's chagrin, I rolled down the window and shouted, "You two are ADORABLE!" It made me happy to tell them that and from their smiles, I think it made them happy to hear that. Older couples walking hand in hand is one of my favorite things. To see a love that has stood the test of time, the ups and downs of life, the freshness and wonder to get to a place of deep and quiet passion and commitment is just a very beautiful thing.
Another of my favorite loves is the love that has been fought for and regained. This is not a pretty love, but it is a mighty love. There is a strength and determination you see in couples with this kind of love that creates an air of steadiness. I am in awe of this kind of love.
Personally, I don't remember what it was like to be in love. I know I must have been. I was shocked awhile back when I showed someone my wedding picture. The girl that I saw in the photo was so fresh faced and full of the future. I don't remember her. I don't really have a memory of what that love must have been, it is more of a thought really.
Before you feel too sorry for me...I have to say....while romantic love may not have been in God's plan for me, I have been incredibly surrounded by love. I am not just saying this so I don't look like a big loser...lol. I have told my daughter so many times, that if I were to die...I would die happy and fulfilled. God has filled my life with so many people, and so many wonderful relationships, that I feel I am a very rich woman!
Monday, October 08, 2007
I have been reading and rereading this chapter of scripture over and over and over.
As a standard to measure myself against, I fall far far short.
As something to achieve, it presents me with a lifelong project.
As a teaching tool, it presents me with something new and fresh each time I take a look at it.
As a guide for life and relationships, it sets me on a true course.
It is a treasure that I do not hunt, but one that searches me out, leaving me exposed yet full of hope, and faith, and well.....LOVE!
Friday, October 05, 2007
This is my office PC. Lots of files on my desktop that I really should organize into folders. And, no background. That is because I have so much on the desktop that you really can't appreciate any pics. In the past, I have had a picture of my friend, Sandy and her two grandchildren. Now, boring boring....nothing. (Yes, that flash is me taking the picture...I know there must be a better way...lol)
This is my new office lap top. Purchased so I can run PowerPoint for the new training program I am helping to write. Not much there. Standard Microsoft provided desktop pic. But it does make me happy and makes me wish I was living in a little cottage near the sea shore, surrounded by flowers. (Again, with the flash...what is wrong w/ me?!!!LOL)
My daughter set this for me on my home screen. One of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie (and book) Pride and Prejudice. I must admit that I am in love w/ Mr. Darcy...all the Mr. Darcy's from every version and my own mental image from reading the book. (No flash....credit goes to Rachel for being more technologically advanced than her mom!)
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
It got me to thinking about how much it has meant to me when I know I am being prayed for. I mean, it just feels like such a love gift.
I know I don't possess the power to heal...but I know ONE who does.
I know I can't change the course of a river, of a country, or of a life....but I know ONE who can.
I know I don't know much and I certainly don't know the future....but I know know ONE who knows all.
I don't always understand the hard stuff that happens...but I know the ONE I trust.
Got the call just a bit ago that my friend is doing well.
Would you mind praying for another friend of mine, Arlene? I know she will appreciate it and I know she is constantly sending out her own love gifts of prayer on the behalf of others.
Monday, October 01, 2007
- My friend Rob was able to come up for a day after a very scary time in the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
- My daughter and I had a lot of down time together.
- The Roast Beef panini's Rachel made us all for lunch.
- The long walk we took one morning, dogs in tow, and the way Maddy hung on my shirt tail most of the way back.
- A side trip for Rachel to the Gap outlet.
- Maddy, Ty, and Noah riding horses.
- Mint double stuffed Oreo cookies.
- Campfires....lots of them....I can still imagine how they smell.
- Darryl and Vicki...for having our tent set up when we got there and for blueberry pancakes.
- Sleeping in.
- Great weather....not too hot...not too cold.
- Our "community" dinner.
- Celebrating Sandy and Vicki's birthdays.
- Jesus...in the middle of it all
Image taken from here.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
My Refuge and My Fortress (Psalm 91)
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord,
“My refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place
—the Most High, who is my refuge —
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Image taken from here.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Have a blessed day.
It is amazing what those four little words can do, how they can affect a person.
Have a blessed day, my friends!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Last night, while having dinner with some friends, I told this story about an associate pastor who was teaching a class on the "One Anothers" from scripture. I was really excited to take this class because the subject matter looked good and the associate pastor was new to our church so this gave me an opportunity to get to know him better. The class was excellent, he was a very good teacher, and I was really applying the materials....until....the one day he told us what he thought to be a very funny thing.
He told us with a great big smile (perhaps there was also a wink...kind of like you give to someone who knows the inside joke, but I really don't remember if there was an actual wink) "You know that time before services, when all the people are gathered in the vestibule and you get asked about fifty questions from fifty different people??? I call that THE PIT! yuk, yuk!!!!" Um, no one really laughed, you know, seeing we were all "pit" people in the class. And I was very careful after that to never, never, NEVER do anything but say hello and smile when I saw him before services.
So, this morning during my devotional time, when I read this line from Psalm 88, I had to laugh:
I am counted among those who go down to the pit...(Psalm 88:4a)
I guess that makes me a member of the pit crew and I know there is some invisible fire involved somewhere...somehow..... (wink, wink!!)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Love Your Enemies (Luke 6)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
So, I began to pray for my enemy. Not for how my enemy had wronged me. But for my enemy's life. For my enemy's family. For the difficulties that my enemy is facing. I prayed long and I prayed hard.
I prayed as lovingly as I could for my enemy, not because I am good. I am not. I am less than good. I prayed because God is good. God is holy. God is righteous. And I love Him.
Today, I still struggle with unrest. Today, I am reminded that my response will teach those around me what I believe and not what I may preach. Today, I still feel that "aloneness" in the pit of my stomach. Today, I still have much to learn and change, much that still needs the redemptive power of a Mighty God.
But today, I continue to submit to One who is safe. One who sees the outcome, no matter how difficult that may be for me, who I know to be trustworthy. Today, I continue to pray for my enemy, as lovingly as I know how.
“When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” -- Jim Elliot (Martyr...it would be worth your time to Google him if you don't know anything about his life.)
Friday, September 14, 2007
I asked, well probably more like ordered, my daughter to water my flowers this morning. See what God blessed her with for her obedience? The cutest little baby cottontail hopped right out from underneath some of the flowers she was watering! It made her day!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
My thoughts went back to the last verse of the Psalm I read this morning...."that they may know that you alone,whose name is the Lord,are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18)
Whatever grief, whatever fear, whatever loss of innocence, however we, as a nation, as a people, as individuals, have been marked and changed....may it be that we know....THAT WE KNOW...that YOU ALONE, whose name is LORD, are the MOST HIGH over ALL the earth! Grant us this truth, through Your grace and Your Holy Spirit! Amen.