Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Wow, the word "nailed" just etched across my mind and wouldn't leave. Eli was right, we can each say, "I nailed it." It was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. In His great love, he went through with His Father's plan of redemption. He had the authority to lay down his life and take it up again. He also had the authority to get out of the painful mess he was about to enter...but love enabled him to put one foot in front of the other on the way to Golgotha. Love hindered him from calling down legions of angels to save him from the unjust act of thick and rusty nails being driven into His flesh. Love held him on the cross when he literally couldn't breathe due to the asphyxiation.
He was pierced for our transgressions. Not because Pilate condemned him, but because my sin drove Him there. I nailed it...and I think I need to remember that lest I cheapen His grace.
Jesus, give me time this week to remember...
Monday, March 29, 2010
God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, "They're mine, all mine. They'll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you'll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn't, between serving God and not serving him." (Malachi 3:16-18 The Message)
The NIV states one verse like this: "A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name."
It seems to me that every time we talk with one another and speak of how awesome our God is, God has someone come over and make a record of it so he can treat them with something a little special. "For those who honor me, I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:12-36
Don't you just love the Holy Spirit? I mean, he has the coolest job in the world (aside from the fact that he is God,) as he gets to continually point us to Christ and make Christ better known. Love that! So, I was reading these verses and immediately, the verse about Jesus storing all our tears in a bottle came to mind.
"You tellest my wanderings; put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (KJV)
"Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record?" (NIV)
"You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book." (Message)
Do you see what I see? God doesn't only write down the accounts when we glorify his name; He is also writing down each tear of lament and storing it in his bottle!
Psalm 139:3 says, "You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways." Our tears speak a special language that goes straight to the heart of the Father. When King Hezekiah was sick, he prayed to God and wept bitterly. God tells him that he has heard his prayer and has seen his tears. God later heals him.
Part of us may scream, "Well, so what?" We are human and God is well, God. It is easy for me to forget that Jesus walked this earth as a human, as well. Even though he was fully God, he walked amongst us as fellow humans. He hurt. He even cried. We see in Luke 19:41 that he cries over the city of Jerusalem, knowing they had thrown away the one and only thing that would bring them peace. He also cries over his friend Lazarus and his sisters' expressions of anguish and grief. He knows he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, and yet he is moved with compassion at the loss of his friend and the deep sorrow of his friends.
Did you know that in Bible times, it was actually a tradition to take a bottle to a funeral and fill it with the tears of those mourning? It represented the sorrow of the family. They believed that the more tears the bottle possessed, the more important, valued, and loved the deceased person was to them. Sometimes, they would even bury the bottle of tears with the deceased.
Jesus died for our tears. In most cases, isn't it the war ravaging effects of sin that bring us to tears? Death was the curse of sin. Isn't the death of something, either figuratively or literally, the thing that moves us most to weeping? He cares that our hearts are broken. He knows what a broken heart feels like.
Someday, the old order of things will pass away! Revelation 21:1-4:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Glory! I like to picture it kind of like this: Jesus the Messiah is walking towards me, carrying a large glass container that has some type of liquid in it. He shows me his nail-scarred hands and tells me that his blood has covered over every single tear collected. He then realizes that I am bawling my eyes out in his presence, this is God, after all, and he lifts my head. He ever so gently cradles my face in his hands and wipes away the last tears that my body will ever cry again. I am set free. The old order of things has passed away!
Well, Sam does study Greek...and for a grade. (You rock, girl.) You'll love what she is sharing today...hope it kicks off your week with a fresh word.
This is my fourth semester of Ancient Greek, and it has been one of the hardest yet most rewarding journeys in college so far. I have spent countless hours flipping through my lexicon and trying to stay motivated to complete my homework. However, whenever I succeed at translating something, I have the most wonderful sense of accomplishment.
I also have one of the most wonderful teachers. If you have seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you will have seen a peek at my teacher. He is very similar to Tullah’s father in that he enjoys showing how common (or uncommon) English words are rooted in the Greek.
For each class, a student is assigned a “secret word,” which is a word in English that comes from Greek words. The goal is for the student to look up the etymology and then present it to the class, letting them guess what the English word is from their understanding of the Greek word(s). A couple of weeks ago, my word was “xerophilous”; it comes from the noun meaning “arid, dry” and the verb meaning “to love,” so it is an adjective describing something that loves or thrives in dry conditions (specifically referring to plants such as cacti).
As we discussed plants growing in the desert, I started to think beyond the plant world. Off and on this year, I have felt that I myself have hit one of those “dry” spots spiritually. It’s not necessarily that I doubt God or I have trouble seeing Him. It’s not that I am tired of serving Him or that I am burned out on ministry. It just seems like things are static. I am not quite as emotionally passionate as I was last fall, and I am not thriving in the same manner I had been. I read the Word and I know that it is good – I trust that I am benefitting from it – but the effects are harder to see.
However, I don’t want this to hinder my growth. I have talked to many young women about this stage of the Christian journey, and the majority seem to be able to relate. It’s not that things are going badly – they are simply “blah.” We wonder why we don’t feel the passion and the drive that we once did, but often it is because we are relating our relationship with God to our emotions. Since Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things,” we cannot base things on the way we feel.
I trust that the Word is affecting me (even when I don’t feel it) the way I trust working out is helping me. I don’t always feel sore after running, but I know that I did something and my muscles and endurance are developing. I don’t always feel immediate results from reading Scripture or in my daily time with the Lord, but we are promised in Isaiah 55 that His Word does not return void.
Therefore, during the dry spells in your walk with the Lord, I encourage you to learn to embrace the concept of a xerophile and continue seek after Him, thriving even if the feeling isn’t there.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Yesterday was so nice! Our whole family walked to the park and played! After we got back, the boys decided they were going to help me cook spaghetti...well, it turned into a cooking show! Eli dubbed our show "Chef Frenzy." It was hilarious...complete with aprons, commercial breaks and an Italian accent from Cade. We then made oatmeal raisin cookies for the show, as well. Sweet memories.
Today, after the photo session, we ran home to change and then went to Jump Zone...they ran for a solid hour and then we headed home. The weather is so nice...we've played lots outside!
Hope you are having a fun break, too!
Monday, March 22, 2010
The below article is excellent! It tells things from a spiritual point of view...after all, this is a spiritual battle we are in. He does a good job of explaining where the church fits into all of this...
I want to rant and rave about the fact that God doesn't have to be merciful to our country...I think He has been long suffering enough as it is when it comes to our nation's abortions, corrupt leaders, and pure idolatry. And yet, in my prayer this morning, I was crying out for mercy.
I see news reports of "the biggest tension between the US and Israel" and I want to cringe. Don't we get it? If we don't stand beside Israel, God will no longer bless our country. Simple as can be. ("I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse...Gen. 12:3")
And yet, with all that is going on, I was overcome with the fact that Jesus is still in control. He sits on His throne and reigns. He is the one and only King. He is good. He is all-powerful. And, I can trust Him no matter what lies ahead.
This may look like an old, empty wine jar to your eyes. And you would be right. But inside it contains very valuable treasure. This is money we are saving for our vacation fund this summer.
What do you think about this jar? Does it look pretty empty to you? You can see a little change sitting in the bottom of the jar.
One penny tossed into this glass jar suddenly becomes part of something bigger. It is added to the quarters, nickels and dimes and one day it is going to take our family on a special outing that will create memories for years to come.
Do you ever feel like your jar is empty and there’s no use trying to fill it because it seems impossible that anything could ever fill up the empty space?
Do you have a certain area in your life right now that is in need of some deposits? Your marriage, purpose in your job/life, your home life, your attitude in general…
I want to encourage you today that no deposit is too small. Every little change you make in your life can add up over time. Ask God to show you today where you need to be filled. God never wastes a penny.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I decided to laugh. My only other option was to cry. Yes, laughter was the right choice here.
Eli then sweetly responded with, "well, really, you only weigh 130 pounds...isn't that right, Mom?"
My response: "That is exactly right, sweetheart."
The boy is a charmer. In two seconds flat, he had me back at my wedding weight.
Now, I am going to go eat a chocolate covered banana. After all, I only weigh 130. I think my fast metabolism will burn off the calories in about three minutes.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Pondering that made me think of smells I love. I can't resist a baby freshly bathed and lotioned up in "Baby Magic." I want to weep with joy every time I spray on Chanel's "Coco Mademoiselle" because the scent is so pure. I can spray all day and not worry about a chemical overload of perfume. It just smells perfect. And then there is Little Bit, my Mom's pillow. This pillow sadly got left in a hotel room on my parents' recent trip to Colorado. I am not sure if the loss of Little Bit has affected me or Mom the most. Something about that pillow just summed up the scent of my Mom. It contained her essence, and now it is gone. Sure, she has other pillows, but none will ever replace Lil' Bit.
I am so glad God gave us the sense of smell. I can't imagine life without the intoxication of a fresh gardenia bloom or the comforting scent of my husband's neck.
If this earth has been tainted by sin, then I imagine that smells have been tainted in some way as well. Can you imagine a place where smells are purely divine and absolutely nothing will mar those smells? Babies grow up, "Chanel" perfumes get used up, pillows get lost, gardenias fall off and die, and well, let's just face it, my husband's neck doesn't always smell amazing. But, someday, I think we will enter a home that has scents we will have only smelled in our dreams...perhaps like blueberry muffins and coffee. :)
And, to segway into this next topic: this has nothing to do with the above!
Everytime Sam lays down for a nap or bedtime, he always wants to ask me a question. It seems to be his twice-daily-plea. It is always stated in question form and usually sounds something like this:
1. When can we go to the zoo?
2. When can we go up on a spaceship?
3. When can we go to the beach?
With the zoo and the beach, we can give him a bit of timeline, but with the spaceship, well, we just let him dream. He tends to ask just one thing at a time, and when he senses that we aren't going to give what he wants when he wants it, he moves onto something else. So, just the other day, he started asking, "When can we go fishing?"
That question is easily answered with "this summer." But, I got to thinking about his other requests. Perhaps he thinks I haven't heard him. Perhaps he thinks they will never come true. Perhaps he has given up hope, which is why he has stopped asking for those things and has moved onto something different.
Perhaps I am no different in my prayer life.
From my viewpoint as "Mom," I can see that we will probably go to the zoo next week and might even get to go to the beach this summer. But, my timing really has no bearing on a 4 year old. "March" and "summer" really don't compute in his little mind. I, being the wiser one, have things worked out (and for his good) but he can't see it yet. In his little mind, he has probably assumed that either I will never deliver or I really don't care about his request.
Perhaps I think the same things of my God from time to time.
And all the while, God is smiling down on me saying, little one, I have this all worked out. I know the exact hour and day when the desires of your heart will be granted. It just isn't the right season. It wouldn't be much fun to go to the beach when it is too cold to swim, right? It wouldn't make sense to go to the zoo when it is pouring down rain, right?
Just keep praying and trusting that He is good. He hears. He is waiting on the perfect season to grant your request.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
My son has recently taken to collecting rocks. He brings them home in his pockets and stores them in various places around our house. Sometimes he paints or colors them. Other times he names them. Usually though, they are cast aside and forgotten pretty quickly at which point I quietly toss them back outside.
Our church just finished a month’s long series on the book of 1 Peter. When we got to 1 Peter 2:4-12, I thought of Sloan and his precious little stones. He really found them to be so fascinating. He never came home with just any rock. He brought home rocks that were unique, contoured, colored, shiny and so on…To him, these rocks were precious and worthy of finding a home inside his tattered treasure chest.
1 Peter 2:4 – And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
To the Father in heaven, we are precious stones. We are living stones, which is so much more valuable. We are not meant to be trampled or cast aside, but to be washed and held up by the One who gave us life. And in the same vein, Christ also is a living stone. We are made in His image and He too is choice and precious in the sight of God.
Do you ever wonder why we struggle with self esteem? Why we question our worth and our place in this world? Could it be because we don’t see Christ as the living and precious stone that He is and, therefore, do not realize the magnitude of what He did for us on the cross? Could it be because we so often forget that we weren’t an afterthought in God’s creation, but rather that we are the crown jewel of all that He placed on earth? If we would only cling to this promise, would we not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has set us apart as precious?
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
I don’t know about you, but when I read those words the magnitude of gratefulness I feel almost takes my breath away. He called us out for a purpose. We are not “stones” that are to sit passively on a shelf – oh no…God created us for a purpose in His great mercy. We are to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out.”
So the next time you see a rock, or your child brings in a “treasure” of a rock, remember the living stone, rejected by man but exalted by God. And remember that you too are precious and worthy to be called a treasure.
Monday, March 15, 2010
A few months ago, I got a text from my mother on a Sunday morning.
“Do you ever tell someone ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and consider that your prayer?”
The ugly truth is that I have done that. My world is full of people who desire and deserve my prayer, but sometimes my prayer for them gets lost in my prayer for “me”-- my prayer time revolves mostly around my immediate family. I pray for strength, patience and guidance for my husband; obedience, faith, and dedication for my son; pure hearts, love of Scripture, presence of peace for my girls… and a heck of a lot of forgiveness and perseverance for me.
I start my prayers small, and grow them- blessings on my family, home, church, city, state, nation, and planet. Sometimes I feel like I’m praying the way my 3 year old daughter does: “God bless Mommy, Daddy, Bubby, Sissy, all the puppies, all the dolphins, all the mountains, and all the stars.”
My prayers, when I’m not properly focused, tend to ramble and become more generalized and more vague. “God, heal the wounded.” “Father, send someone to minister to the lost” “Lord, thank you for health.”
And while sometimes the most simple prayers can also be the most powerful…
A joyful praise, “Thank you, Jesus!!”
A desperate hosanna, “Jehovah, help.”
…I still feel guilty and sad when I (unintentionally) don’t remember the people for whom I said I’d pray.
So, I came up with something to help my memory: Post-It Prayers. I’m certain I’m not the first to come up with this, but it’s been a great process.
Post-It notes. I keep a pack in my purse, in my car, and several scattered around the house (don’t we all?). When I tell someone I’ll pray for them, I write their name and a little description on a Post-It, and place it somewhere I’ll remember.
Sometimes I don’t even mention to the person that I’ll pray, if they don’t specifically ask for prayer. Sometimes I like to “stealth pray,” or pray for someone without their knowing it… like I’m a secret spy for the Lord! I like asking help or blessing for somebody when they don’t know I’m doing it, just like I like dropping off food boxes for people at Thanksgiving, just like I like donating formula at our local women’s shelter without giving them my name.
So, I write a note on a Post-It and then when I see it in some special place- the bathroom mirror, the inside of a kitchen cabinet, my steering wheel, a lampshade- I pray for that person/situation. I like to touch each note before or during my prayer; literally praying over someone’s name gives it more of a personal, powerful place in my heart.
I also like to write Scripture on different colored notes, and put them in surprise places too- the drawer in the refrigerator, the top of the toilet, the jug of laundry detergent- so that I go about my day bathed in prayer and the Word.
There are so many great prayers, and even some really good “how-to” prayers and “why to” prayers in the Bible.
When the Israelites where acting like a hot mess in the desert, Moses’ prayer alone assuaged God’s wrath: Psalm 106:23 & 45 (New Living Translation)
23 So he (the LORD) declared he would destroy them.
But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the LORD and the people.
He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them…..
45 He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his
I don’t, by any stretch, claim to be a Moses. But I know my intercessory prayers are heard. I know my God has an ear for my pleas. My favorite verses on intercession (praying on others’ behalf) come from Peter’s account of his time in jail, when his friends prayed desperately for him: Acts 12:5 & 12 (New International Version) “5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Then an angel of the Lord was sent to remove Peter’s shackles and break his chains. The angel walked Peter past the guards and out of the city, unharmed. Peter realized the angel had been sent to free him. “12When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”
Prayer is a powerful tool, and an intimate way to communicate with our Father. Do not be afraid (or forgetful!!) to pray on another’s behalf. Not only they, but also you, will be blessed because of it.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Growing up, I really loved college basketball. I still do, but since the Hogs haven't had much presence as of late, it is hard for me to watch without throwing a hissy fit. Corliss Willliamson was one of my fave players ever and I am tickled pink that he is headed our way! Go Bears!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Do you ever feel like you have been left in the dark? Perhaps not a place of spiritual darkness, because Jesus is light and there is no darkness in him. But, more like a place of ignorant darkness. A place where you find yourself, even after you have begged God to show you wisdom concerning the "why" of a situation. You ask the Source of all knowledge, and yet, He remains silent, as if it is the best thing.
I have been there. I am there. I think I will always be there in certain circumstances. And, I think this is good. I am not saying that God doesn't reveal great and mighty things to us, particularly those that will point to knowing Him more and more. But, I think sometimes, He remains silent, and in that silence, His glory emanates as well.
The King James version says "...no man can find out the work that God maketh..." Some things are just beyond our ability to uncover. Some things will never be discovered by our minds and hearts. Our understanding is very limited right now. In a sense, we will always be childlike in certain matters. And I think that makes God smile.
He is able to remain sovereign. Full of providence. And we are forced to rely on Him alone. He doesn't disclose every detail to us and we are once again made aware that we are not in control, but we serve the Almighty who is not only in control, but will make all things beautiful when He deems them to be made beautiful.
In His goodness at leaving some things a mystery, He creates an environment where we can be little children, at peace and at rest. Even though our minds and sense of justice cries out for understanding, He knows that we aren't capable of seeing the big picture. Yet.
Psalm 131 says
"My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore."
As God keeps things hidden from our hearts while on this earth, it is actually an act of grace instead of a curse. He wants us in complete, utter love and fellowship with Him. Perhaps living by faith alone is the only place that will get us there.
Right now, certain circumstances seem icy. Sharp. Cold.
But, one day, in His time, those things will be made beautiful. Perhaps those things have already been made beautiful. Continue to rest. One day, we will see it as God does...from beginning to end...and utterly beautiful.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
3 kids with fever...since Friday
1 kid with vomiting and an ear infection and an eardrum that ruptured (of course on a Sunday, thank you ER)
1 kid with an upper respiratory infection and croup
1 kid with pink eye
1 box of kleenex that has been used for the fluid coming out of the ruptured ear drum
2 bottles of motrin
1 bottle of tylenol
1 bottle of cough syrup
1 bag of cough drops
2 bottles different antibiotics
1 bottle pink eye drops
1 bottle Pine Sol
1 can Lysol
3 sleeves crackers
2 cans chicken noodle soup
6 cups of applesauce
1 liter pedialyte
12 pack Sprite
2 trips to the pediatrician and 1 trip to the ER
1 trip to Walgreens
2 trips to Kroger
one thankful momma who lives in the USA, can send her children to the doctor (even on a Sunday), can buy the necessary food and medical supplies, and rest in the fact that we still live in a country where this is all possible.
Thank you, Jesus. Your grace on our country is evident.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The little guys like to shoot each other. (duh)