Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Dress in the Window

I had to spend some time talking to God today, because I had some moments that weren't my favorite times. I went through periods of feeling irritated and I sent a text or two to a friend that I knew would "get it". She did, and it was helpful. God reminded me of a time a few years ago when my family and I were on a trip and we were all standing in a long line to get into this super duper restaurant. The line went all the way outside and around the block, but supposedly it was well worth the wait. So, we waited. As we all stood there, my boys and husband began to pull out there phones and look at all the gadgets they had, comparing everything they had with each other. I, on the other hand, began to gaze across the street at a dress that was in the store front window. It was pretty far away, and I was trying to see exactly what was in the window, color, texture, style, etc, so my face was getting crinkly and showing various expressions. My son, glanced at me, and he assumed I was crinkly because everyone was distracted with their phones. He was mind reading!  When in truth, the last thing I was thinking about was them and their phones.
So, when talking to God today about my troubles, He asked me the same thing. "Are you mind reading?"  He continued. "Could the people you are feeling irritated with be looking at the dress in the window?"  Ouch!   So now I'm the mind reader? Uh, yeah.
God is good, and shines light very quickly where it started to look a little dim. I'm thankful for that. He reveals truth and demonstrates His love to me in wondrous ways, this was one way. Say That Again, God, my mind belongs to You and You alone, keep me focused on You, and not what others might be thinking!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Dead Fish

When my son got home from school today it was discovered that the last and final fish in his tank was dead. We still haven't found the missing in action fish. So, now he has an empty fish tank. He took the news pretty well, no tears or anything like that, but he did want to be reassured that he would get two more fish. Oh my, how many times will we be going back  to the pet store to buy fish? And, why do his fish die, or disappear? Our daughter doesn't have this issue.
A friend of mine sent a text saying that her son had a fish missing in action a few years ago, and when they finally find it the poor little fish was stuck to the back of the dresser, all dried up. Where or where, could my son's fish be? At least when the fish dies and it's floating on top of the water, we know where it is.
We gathered together for dinner tonight with our group of friends. We had a lovely dinner of grill cheese, soup, and salad. We had pie for dessert. It was very nice. We talked about the dead fish, the missing fish, and dancing on graves. I know, it's a little weird. We laughed, we prayed, we talked about the things we think about the most are the things we worship.
Oh Jesus, turn my thoughts to You when there is drama like dead fish and missing fish, and all the stuff in between. I want to think of You! Keep me rooted in You, because I need You desperately, today, tomorrow, and always. Bring Your Word to my heart and mind, so I walk on the path You have laid out before me.
Continue to Say That Again to me, No one is missing, You have me captured in Your Hands, and alive for eternity!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Missing Fish

My son has a fish tank in his room with two fish, well, he did have two fish. Now, he has one. Last night he was looking for fish number two and couldn't find him anywhere in the tank. My husband began to investigate the tank as well, and sure enough fish number two has gone missing. My husband began to take apart the innards of the tank, he thought that maybe fish number two was playing hide and seek with him, but, still there was no fish to be found. He then began to look outside the tank, but still, there was not a sign of fish number two anywhere. We don't know where he has gone. I suppose we could put up posters, but in the fish world, I have my doubts it would do a lot of good.
Fish number two has simply disappeared, and at this point it seems rather hopeless for finding him. Of course, if we ever do find him; it's still rather hopeless, because fish can't live without water, and fish number two is not in his tank.
My son has not had good luck with his fish. He started with two, and one died right away. Lucky for my son, the fish had a warranty, and he got a new one!  Now, the new one, fish number two, has gone missing. As I'm thinking about this it reminds me of the verse in 1 Peter 1:1,2 , starting at the end of verse 1:
"...Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice  of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!"
This is reassuring to me. I will never be missing or forgotten! Unlike fish number two, who will probably never be found by any of us, and will go down in family history as the missing fish. God knows! And, on the days that I feel like the missing fish, I can remember His promise that no one is missing or forgotten.
Say That Again, Father God, You do not forget Your children or allow them to be missing children.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Ski Hill

We spent the morning at the ski hill so our two younger children could have lessons in skiing and snowboarding. Before getting there our eleven year old was certain that he was already an expert and he was a little put out that I had signed him up for the beginners class. Our daughter wasn't too sure that she wanted to learn how to ski, she thought that maybe it would be too frightening for her to conquer even the bunny hill.
So, we made our trek to the hill, my son in shorts with snow pants on top and a forgotten coat. My daughter without her gloves, she left them at school, so she had tiny mittens for a three year old. But, we made it, and I loaned my coat to my son, then made my way to the lodge only to find that every table had been claimed by other eager parents and hungry children. Oh well.
I peered out the window in an effort to watch my son's expert moves on his snowboard. I could see him perched on the snowbank just above, but there were no jumps, or twists, or cool moves from my point of view. I could see my husband with him giving him a few pointers, and my son would get up now and then and do a little maneuver, then back to his perch.
My husband trudged back and forth between both children. Our daughter, who was frightened to go down the hill at first, discovered that her ski's needed a little more wax, so she couldn't go down the hill without being pushed anyway!! My husband gave her a good shove. She discovered it wasn't too scary after all and she was rather skilled at skiing.
As their lessons wrapped up and both my husband and I  helped them move towards the lodge, we watched them show off their new tricks, I was surprised with another skiers new trick as he raced down the hill and ran over me. He landed flat on his back, and so did I! It was a big surprise.
To sum it all up, we experienced some blunders on the Ski Hill. My children are going back next week, and I hope they remember their gloves and coat. Maybe, I will be less achy by then, but either way, I may stay off the Ski Hill. My son has learned that it's okay to listen to others and learn. My daughter learned that facing her fear is a good thing. My husband got some good exercise. We all had some nice family time, even though it didn't go perfectly smooth.  It added to the adventure, which reminded me of a quote I read just this morning: "Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; wherever there is opportunity there is danger."
In the voyages of life there are going to be many blunders, mishaps, and risks, yet all of these can grow opportunity, strength, courage, boldness, and the ability to love. I just need Jesus to be there with me all the way.
Say That Again, Jesus. You will walk with me through the danger, and turn it into opportunity!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Soggy Food

My daughter received a fish for Christmas, she's been wanting a fish for along time, so this was very exciting for her.  Her sister helped her get the tank set up and took her to the pet store to pick out the fish. She named her fish Render.
Everyday she is very careful to feed Render breakfast and dinner. A couple nights ago she informed me that Render spit his dinner out because it was soggy.  I wondered what Render is going to do about the soggy issue since he lives in water and all his meals are soggy? It hasn't come up again, so apparently Render has recovered from the soggy problem, but what if he hadn't? We would have had a starving fish on our hands and a tearful daughter.
It reminded me of the Israelite's, they were so excited when God provided them with Manna. But, after awhile, they didn't want it anymore and started to demand something else. They wanted meat.  It was hard for them to see the blessings right in front of them. They had a soggy attitude
Sometimes I am just like Render. God has provided for me abundantly, yet I sometimes am so caught up in the loss that I forget to soak in the abundance. I get soggy.
Wow, there is a richness in life, my life that I want to continue to soak up. It's abundant with blessings and it dries out the soggy. Jesus Say That Again to me through out the day, so I will walk in Your ways.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Mercy Chart

My daughter and I were working on her Sunday school worksheet last night and she had to draw some lines from one stick figure to the next showing how many times she had shown mercy versus revenge in the last few days. Before I started asking her questions, she was sure that she had been "full to the top of mercy"  but by the time she had answered my questions the mercy scale wasn't looking so full! We both laughed, because my mercy scale isn't always so full either, and clearly we needed a little work.
Relationships require so much mercy! I've been thinking a lot about relationships and God's intention for them. Way back in the beginning when it was just Adam and Eve in the garden before sin entered, there was such a purity and innocence in their relationship, and in their walk with God. But, then things got really messed up when Adam looked off yonder, Eve took a big bite and shared it with Adam, they lied, they felt ashamed, etc...
So, now my question about relationships to myself and to others would be this: Are relationships in my life  there because I love them?  Am I  in their life to receive, to benefit, is there  something that I want from them?  I am there to serve?.  What I'm asking myself is, what are my motives in my relationships? Is the motive to further God's Kingdom, or to meet my own needs?
When I think about Jesus and the relationships He had on earth, they were always about moving people forward towards the Kingdom of God. He continually took their eyes off of Himself and onto God His Father. Jesus was an amazing dynamic leader, He did it by loving His neighbor, and spreading the Word of His Father. His ability to show them mercy, even when they mistreated Him was off the chart!
I've had the opportunity myself to show some mercy, and it's not easy. It's one of those times where I need to pray and ask God to allow His mercy to work through me, and with that give me His love so that His Kingdom will grow.
God has blessed me, and all of us with each other. We are gifts to each other. I like the image of the relationships in my life being gifts and of myself being a gift as well, something to be treasured and loved, full of God's mercy and His Spirit.
Jesus, Say That Again today, Your mercy is off the chart, You offer it to me in relationships and steadily teach me how to walk like You.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Burning Coals

I'm on the final pages of Little Women and it has been a very enjoyable book!  The sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth journey through life learning lessons about God, life, death, boys, marriage, etc...
One of my favorite chapters tells of Amy going to the fair to sell flowers and her competitor sends buyers over to purchase her flowers. When Jo and Amy find out about the goodwill of their "enemy" they rally their friends together to go to her booth to purchase all of her vases.
Later that day as Jo is brushing Amy's hair and praising her for her actions, Amy kindly responded: "I only did as I'd be done by. You laugh at me when I say I want to be a lady, but I mean a true gentle-woman, in mind and manners, and I try to do it as far as I know how, I can't explain exactly, but I want to be above the little meannesses and follies and faults that spoil so many woman. I'm far from it now, but I do my best, and hope in time to be what Mother is."
Throughout the book, the girls confide in their mother. She is someone in whom they can trust and love. She is always kind, forever wise, tender and full of courage. She has taught her little women to be the same, and turned their thoughts towards God.
In Romans 12:20 it says this:
"But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."

Oh to be a true gentle-woman in mind and manners, to be above the meanness, follies, and faults that spoil so many. I too come to God daily and present Him with this desire, asking Him to help me work above the meanness, the faults and follies that so easily spoil me!  To be kind to those that are not always kind to me, to love and show mercy and grace, to be a gentle woman of God!
Jesus Say That Again, You have asked me to feed my enemy, and to offer drink. You have said that to love You is to love those that persecute me. Work through me, Jesus, and Say That Again!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Buffet

Last night I had dinner with a lovely group of women. We had brussel sprouts, salad, bread, lentil soup, and home-made macaroni and cheese. We had good conversation, and a nice time catching up on each others news. After our dinner, I was surprised with the best part, a wonderful buffet of ice cream! Some of the flavors I have never had before and as we gathered around the table sampling all of them, it was delightful. So many choices, too. I took a little scoop of each one, but couldn't decide which one I liked the best, and didn't really know which one I was eating. It didn't matter, they were all good.
I received an email this morning confirming how good dinner was, but also confirming that the spiritual food after dinner was even better. We read from Matthew 17; it's the chapter that talks about Jesus taking Peter, James and John up to the mountain and they see Elijah and Moses. Jesus is transfigured before them, and during all of this, Peter decides that maybe he should build a shelter for everyone. But, while he is busy planning his shelters, God breaks in and says "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased, listen to Him,"
Peter's plans, as grand as they were, changed very quickly with the sound of God's voice!  Listen to Him! God said.  I have thought about that one statement this morning, and asked myself if I am listening to Him as I make choices in my life. He has given me a buffet of choices, I have freedom, do I listen to Him?
On that mountain, when God spoke, the disciples fell to the ground, terrified. Then, Jesus, came over to them and He touched them and told them to get up and to not be afraid. They got up and looked up at Jesus, and the only thing they saw was His lovely face!
These men had a relationship with Jesus, and they were afraid, but when He came near to them in their fear and touched them the fear dissipated and all they could see was Him. They listened to their Savior, because they knew His voice and they trusted Him. They loved Him. Peter could have run off and started on a shelter. The other's could have helped him, there were many choices, but they listened and they chose Jesus and only Jesus.
Say That Again God, You want me to Listen to Your Beloved Son, in a world with a buffet of choices, I choose Him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Rain Storm

I recently took a road trip to see my sweet daughter in law and my precious grandson. The trip is about a five to six hour drive and I left in early afternoon. Everything started out well, I had a good book to listen to, the roads were clear, there were no obvious obstacles.  But, then as time wore on and dark approached, it began to rain, then it began to pour, and then the sky opened up and torrential rains fell down all around me. Not only that, but water from the road in my lane, and the opposite lane, covered my car with such rapidity that I could not see where I was going. Suddenly, I was not having any fun at all! I just kept praying for God to take the wheel. I slowed down, moved over, and kept praying. Near the end of the horrid rain storm I received a phone call, and I noticed that as I talked about the storm and the stress of driving through it, and being in the dark, and feeling like I would never do it again, it helped me to have someone on the other end to listen to me. I had prayed for God to drive for me, and then He sent someone to also listen to me.
As I reflect back on the storms in my life, and there have been a few, I think God has often sent someone to be there for me. Someone to lend an ear, or to comfort, someone to love. I want to ask Him to use me to be the person to love others in their storms, to be there for them to love them.  I want Him to show me how to recognize the storms and know when to call.
I read a devotional this morning that I really liked and I relate to as well. It was based on Isaiah 6. In this chapter Isaiah has the experience of seeing God Almighty and when he does he cries out that he is ruined! His life is forever changed, because he answered the call for God to send him!
I know I have answered the call for God to send me, and I will confess that there are times that  when I regret my life is not a life of leisure- travel, sleeping in, reading all day, bon-bon's- I have to fall to my knees and give the wheel back to God. For I know in my heart, this is not my life, it is His, and I will go where He sends me, and blossom wherever that is!
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, You are the driver in my life, You get me through the storms. Send me!

"Woe to me" I cried. "I am ruined"!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King the Lord Almighty. Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the alter. With it he touched my mouth and said "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, " Here I am, send me!" Isaiah 6:5-8

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Day with the Boy

I am being blessed with the company of my grandson. I spent all of yesterday with him, and again today. We are having a very nice time together. He is not even a year old yet, so he has a lot yet to learn, I am 50, and I think I have a lot yet to learn as well, so we make a pretty good pair as we go through out the day together. This morning, we started the day with breakfast, then he promptly spit a large portion of it back up all over my pants, this was his loving contribution to the start of our day. After that, we decided to wipe down the shelves in the refrigerator, and this he found very fascinating. he sat on the floor next to me and moved the refrigerator door back and forth as I wiped down the inside shelf. He had a lot to say about it too, as his arms rapidly moved back and forth. Then, I noticed a puddle of white stuff on the floor next to him, and saw that the soy dream had tipped over and spilled on the floor with his rapid rocking of the door! His socks were now soaking in dream milk, he didn't really seem to mind, but we wrapped things up with the refrigerator and moved on to the sock drawer in the bedroom.  He found the sock drawer to be just as fascinating, so I let him explore there for awhile too. In and out he pushed the drawer, talking as he pushed. Then, he moved on to the blankets that lay on the shelf and pulled them all out. He ended by the discovery of  a bible case and the zipper. He seemed very intent on getting that zipper open, but no luck there.
We ended up on the couch with a bottle and blanket and a tired little boy. As I snuggled with him and looked around my son and daughter in-laws apartment viewing pictures of their little family and my grownup son, God tenderly reminded me of all that He has done. He has me in a full and interesting place in life right now. I am a mother of young children, a wife, a grand-mother, I have a ministry that keeps me very busy, and grown children as well. It is a full life.
One of my prayers for the year 2013 is that God will teach me to blossom in all of these areas, blossom in such a way that there will be more fruit in my life, and consequently more fruit in the lives of others. When He calls me to go, I want to bloom into a beautiful blossom. Today, He called me to be with my grandson cleaning the refrigerator and snuggling on the couch. Tomorrow, it will be something different, a day to day calling. Blossomed in Jesus.
Say That Again, Jesus, You have blessed me with a little man the last couple of days, and I have blossomed. Your promises continue to tell me that You will expand the territory of my heart, Say That Again!

Your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians....Ephesians 1:18

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Warm Sugared Grapefruit

I like to eat grapefruit. I have always cut them in half then scooped the sections out on a spoon one by one and into my mouth. Recently, someone shared a delicious secret with me. They said that if brown sugar is sprinkled on the top of a grapefruit and then warmed in the microwave, it is very good. So, I tried it, and she was right, it was very good. I liked it so much, that I have continued to eat my grapefruit that way, but I've done it secretly, because I didn't want to share it with my children! Then, last night, I made a warm sugared grapefruit and my daughter eyed my secret and asked why I was putting my grapefruit in the microwave. I had to fess up. They wanted to taste my warm sugared grapefruit, and as soon as they did, they wanted their own! I have a feeling grapefruit will never be the same in our house again.
I was thinking that this is how it is with God and His fruit. Once I have received His Spirit and the fruit from His Spirit there is so much sweetness that comes that it is never the same. And, others see that, and they want what I have. I cannot keep it a secret, I have to share the sweetness of His fruit with others. It's the way God works, He is warm, He turns sour into sweet.
Jesus, continue to fill me with the power of Your Spirit and produce Your sweet fruit in my life. Say That Again to me, You give Your Spirit to make the sour sweet!

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, there is no law against these things!
Galatians 5: 22,23

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Man in the Snow

This is the newest member of our family, he joined us yesterday. He prefers to stay outside, and has already given me the cold shoulder :) He faces the driveway, keeping watch.
Now, Fur Ball is not especially impressed with the man in the snow. I don't think he sees the point. He barks, and the man does absolutely nothing. He circles around and around, and the man in the Snow just sits there with a smile on his face, staring up the drive way, waiting.  He has a scarf on, but where is his coat? These are the thoughts I imagine Fur Ball might be having as he barks, barks, and barks some more at The Man in the Snow.
Eventually, Fur Ball was distracted and forgot about The Man in the Snow and got to more important matters last night. But, it reminded me of how easily I too can be distracted. My focus can turn to something here on earth, and I can begin to say and do things that are completely unneeded.
I'm listening to an old book right now, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo, one of the sisters was talking to her mother about her temper and her unruly mouth. Her mother confessed to her that she too had the same problem, but she had learned over the years to give her thoughts and her words to her Heavenly Father, and allow Him to control her being. Jo was having a hard time understanding how all of this could possibly work, for there were so many things that took hold of her and angered her. She felt as if it controlled her.
In the Message in 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says this:
We use our powerful God tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

I have access to powerful tools, the Holy Spirit, which can smash the lies that come against God's truth and enable me to keep my focus on the heavenly realm. Say That Again, Lord Jesus, You have given me powerful tools, so I too can focus just like The Man in the Snow!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Boots and The Diamonds

I listened to Brandon Heath's album today, and one of the songs I especially liked was Diamond:

My father’s father broke this ground
Daddy mined till we laid him down
Only God knows what they found beneath
Now here I stand in my own boots
Ax to grind and a point to prove
Tangled up in my own roots, it seems

I got treasure up in Heaven
I got dirt all over me
I have only scratched the surface
Of the man I’m meant to be
I got something down inside of me
That only You can see
Help me dig a little deeper now
And set that diamond free

Why do I do the things I do
All the things that I don’t want to
Act like I don’t fear You at all
Hard head and a heart of stone
Older now but I haven’t grown
Any riches that I have to show are small

Set it free
Set it free
Set it free
Set it free

Come down with your old flashlight
Underground, black as night
No telling what you’re gonna find in me 

I got boots for my birthday---I like them a lot. Like the song says, sometimes I stand in my boots, with an ax to grind, and a point to prove. And, while I'm standing there, I get all tangled up in my roots. As I'm tangled there, I also know I have a treasure up in heaven, but here I am, in my boots, just digging in the dirt with dirt all over me. I know that only God can really see me, even I can just scratch the surface. There's so much deep down inside, there's diamonds, lots and lots of diamonds.

Why are there days that I do the exact things I don't want to do? I've got a hard head alright, and sometimes I look at my heart and cry out to God to turn it from stone. I am older every day, with not a single rich in my pocket, but God You can move my boots to Joy. Shine Your light down below, in all the cracks that I bestow, You are Mighty, You are Bold, You Dear God can break the earthly roots, and untangle my boots!
Jesus takes the roots that tangle me up and lifts them up from the ground, He untangles me. He gives freedom as a gift, and wipes the dirt off my boots. He finds the diamond in me and shines it.
Say That Again, Jesus, You untangle the roots, wipes off the dirt, and shines up the diamonds.

I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:19

The Crash

My husband has had a blue Dodge Durango for many years. It traveled with us everywhere, and it seemed as if it would be a part of the family forever. But, we recently sold it, and my husband purchased a smaller vehicle. I have taken his car a few times when I go to town, one of the first times, the kids and I got stranded in a parking lot, because the "new" car broke down. We escorted it to the garage where it stayed for a few days for repair, I was not impressed.  My next experience with the new car was just after my husband left for a business trip and I was in a rush to get my children to school. We were backing out of the garage, and I sorta missed the mark, consequently I hit the edge of the garage door pulling the side of the bumper out of place---a lot.  I should probably add here that I have a poor reputation with garages. I pushed the bumper back in with my foot, in an effort to make it look a little better. I snapped a picture. I sent a text to my husband, confessing my sin. He knew right away, without me saying that it had anything to do with the garage, that the garage was involved. My husband's response was very kind and gracious. He was only tender towards me, and I did not at any time feel like his car was of more value than me. I knew I would be teased about it by family and friends, who wouldn't be? But, what really mattered to me was the man behind the car and how he responded, and his values.
God is the God behind who I am and all that I do. He has me covered. I am more valuable than the mistakes that I make, and He looks at my heart, He sees inside my soul, He listens to what I'm really trying to say. His grace and mercy are there for me so I do not get what I deserve, which is punishment and condemnation and a life in hell.  Instead, I have eternity!
Say That Again, Jesus, there are days when I will crash, but, You are there to cover me with Your grace!

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.   Titus 3: 4,5

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Groomer and Fur Ball

Fur Ball went to visit The Groomer yesterday. He came back feeling pretty good about himself, he is soft and puffy now.  When my husband went to pick him up The Groomer informed him that we had failed miserably at brushing Fur Ball on a daily basis. Actually, the night before Fur Ball went to visit The Groomer, my husband suggested that we give him a good brushing. But, to me it seemed like a futile waste of time to brush Fur Ball when he was going to go see The Groomer and get brushed.  To me it was like making the bed in the hotel before checking out, or taking out the garbage, before my son does his garbage can chore. So, I opted out of brushing Fur Ball, consequently, my husband and Fur Ball were scolded.
I don't know if the scolding will change things at our house too much, I feel like I've accomplished a lot if I get my own hair brushed in the morning, and remind my daughter to brush her hair! When would I manage to brush ALL of Fur Ball's hair? And, everyday? I don't see this happening.
Fur Ball's happiness doesn't seem to be contingent on whether or not I brush his hair everyday, He does seem very intent on getting fed, having water in his dish, an occasional trip through the garbage can, and he likes toilet bowl drinks as well. He seems to thrive on drives in the car, belly rubs, and nose dives in the snow. He hasn't yet noticed the fancy bow that The Groomer put on his collar, and I haven't mentioned it to him yet. I don't think he would approve; it's not very boyish, , but it does look cute, so I thought it could stay for a bit.
This is the last weekend of our Christmas break. Our children go back to school on Monday. Life begins it's usual routine, with more driving, more meetings, more of life's commitments. I have enjoyed my break to take some time for a slower pace. I've needed to lay low like Fur Ball for awhile and enjoy the simple things in life, like naps, ice cream, and buttons.
Fur Ball is laying on the couch right now, all four paws in the air. He is sound asleep; it's been a busy day for him playing in the snow, getting in the garbage, and chewing up a bone. His bow is still in tact, his belly is full, and he knows that he is loved. Hmmm, I am sitting in a great chair, I'm very comfortable, I've had a nap today, I've had food, I've had a lot of time to reflect on many things. I know that God loves me. I know that God has provided for me in miraculous ways, over and over again. He has reached down and brushed His robe against me, wrapped me up, held me, completely captured me!  I just want to Say That Again!
 Thank you, Jesus, You have captured me in Your Hands!

The Dot

God is big, I am not. I have to remind myself on some days that I have a very small role to play in the larger drama of this life. I see a very small portion of a very large picture that God is painting. It is never okay for me to say that God is not fair or just when I am unable to understand the magnitude of how He works and what He sees. Life feels unfair, but the reality is, life is fair because God is fair. I believe in a God that is just and fair, full of mercy and grace, love that abounds, my God will not forsake me! But, of course, when there is evil that runs rampant on this earth, and I live in a broken body; it is very challenging to see and feel like God is fair, just, and full of mercy!
I read Psalms 100 this morning and verse 3 says this:

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever.

From my perspective, it does not always seem good, life, I mean. So, sometimes that can be interpreted as God not being very good.  How could this happen? Why is this allowed? etc... God is powerful, He can prevent bad things. But, I also believe there is a source for truth, and that is His Word, I go there over and over again, continually I read about His goodness, His love, His Power. And, this morning, I prayed for Him to change my perspective even more, help me understand that I may not always understand the "why". Help me accept the fact that life here is a dot in the scheme of eternity, a dot that cannot have every question answered! "Isn't this faith?" I heard Him whisper.
Ugh, I know I've heard that whisper before. My prayer continues to be one that comes before Him asking for strength, courage, wisdom, and faith. Without Him life is futile, I can do nothing at all. My life here on earth is but a small dot, for really, life is about the eternity that I will live with Him. He tells me to  relax and not be anxious, for life here is just a dot.
So, as long as my dot in life furthers His Kingdom, and resides in Him, I've decided being a dot in the scheme of eternity is an honor. God chose every dot, in faith I will continue to move forward. Sometimes, I step back, but I know He is there to catch me. It's okay.
Say That Again to me, Lord Jesus, in this drama of life, you have the script. Thanks for giving me part of the story.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Stand

Yesterday I read a devotional by Proverbs 31, it was titled Someone to Lean On. I thought of it again today because one of  the verses I read in my Bible was Nehemiah 9:17:

But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.

The devotional I read was presenting a challenge, do I choose to be a bystander, or a gap- stander? A bystander watches but does not get too involved.
A gap-stander, has deep empathy and learns through that empathy to take action. A gap-stander allows God to use her and the faith she has so that the person in battle can lean on her, for however long it takes. And, because God's strength, compassion, love, and empathy fills in the gap, there will be victory. God calls warriors to stand in the gap.
I have warriors standing in the gap for me. Because God has given me this gift, I am able to stand in the gap for others. The image this creates in my mind is a long bridge of grace and compassion, abounding in love, with raging waters below. But, I want to have hope and faith that we, all of us standing in the gap, will not let go.
As I stand in the gap for others I pray  that the power of His Spirit will bring love and compassion, mercy and patience, unconditional grace and kindness, just, fair, and impartial, to those that are leaning on me. This is His character and He resides in me. Jesus mold Yourself into the crevices of my heart and soul, so that when I stand in the gap, I am standing like You!
Say That Again, Jesus, my God, You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Omniscient God

Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. Psalms 147:5

This is the verse I started out with this morning. Infinite understanding, there is no limit. God has perfect knowledge of the past, the present, and the future. For Him, everything is "one eternal now". All the stuff that I see in sequence, over time, God sees all at once, in it's totality.
I heard someone say a couple days ago that because he is a believer, safe in God's hands, there is no such thing as failure. The outcome of all things belong to God and God alone, he is simply there to follow God where He tells him to go. In the eyes of the world, the outcome may look like a failure, but God knows everything in it's totality, years from now. The supposed failure could be the onset of some other success that I cannot see!
God sees my all, every thought, motive, tear, desire, hope, fear, giggle, and smirk. He sees the goals I set and the ones I wish to set. Past present, and future.
So, why do I still get afraid sometimes? This is a lot of security right here in this one verse. GREAT is our Lord! Abundant in strength---it doesn't say that He has strength; it says He has ABUNDANT strength. I'm thinking that must be a lot. Then, to add to the strength, His understanding is infinite, past, present, and future. Everything about my past, present, and future He gets. In fact, He gets it so well, that He can explain it to me! He understands. I think this is why He so often tells me in His Word to NOT be afraid.
Jesus, Say That Again to me! Great is our Lord! Abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Following

We celebrated New Year's Eve at a camp in the woods, Bear Paw. We arrived just in time for a steak and potato dinner, which I found pretty darn good. After dinner, we suited up in our snow clothes and headed outside to the sledding hill with a group of others and spent most of the evening sliding, spinning, and racing down the hill. I was a little cautious at first when we looked down the hill and noticed that at the bottom of the hill rested a lake, but my husband assured me, that it was far enough away that our children would not end their sledding adventures soaking wet.
After numerous trips up and down the hill, we gathered at the top of the hill and watched fire works. It was fun. And, it was cold. Children cheered and clapped, and asked for more. When we finished and everyone  made their way back inside for apples and popcorn, there was excitement and warmth in the air.
For me, there was a feeling of wonder and anticipation. It's a New Year, and God has brought us to many new places. Last night on New Year's Eve, He introduced us to many new people, and it was nice. There was conversation, good food, fun activity, and beauty.
So, on this New Year's Day I am asking Him about the next step. Where is He taking us? What is He asking of us? Where is He working, and how can I best serve Him to further His Kingdom?
Say That Again, Jesus, You have asked me to follow you, so I'm following.