Monday, March 29, 2010
Aha! Caught ya! This is the ornery culprit eating my flowers! Isn't he cute?!?!
Yeah. I think this is a love/hate relationship here.
Now what kind of blessing is this? It is one of letting go of perfectionism...and I'm just gonna let it go. So eat up me hardy! The garden will just have to grow some more flowers to keep up!
Psalm 119:96-97 (New Living Translation)
Even perfection has its limits,
but your commands have no limit.
Oh, how I love your instructions!
I think about them all day long.
I think I know how Timothy must have felt in the presence of Paul. Trying to absorb every word and all the wisdom Paul was giving. Timothy must have felt exhausted and elated. He must have been a great student, though, to have received the praise Paul gave to him in the letters of I and II Timothy.
That is where I hope to be with Liz Pence. She has more wisdom in her pinkie finger than I have in...well...wherever my wisdom is stored. She comes with accolades like Paul, of the suffering she has endured. And like him, she says it is all worth it. She teaches as one being taught by God and praises Him for having a message from her mess. And, with the mercy and grace that God gives me, I hope to learn from her...as Timothy learned from Paul.
1 Timothy 12-14,18-19a (New International Version)
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience.
The Tulsa Workshop...wow what a blessing! I cannot tell you how long I have been going to it. I remember being in the bus ministry at our church in Ft. Gibson and riding the bus back and forth to Tulsa to go. That was in the early 1970's. I remember Jimmy Allen preaching. I remember Just As I Am being sung...over and over sometimes. I remember crowds going forward and spending another hour going through responses. I remember controversies that I didn't understand at the time. I remember friends and family meeting for lunch. All of what I remember is, in my mind, positive.
When we started attending Memorial Drive Church 20 years ago, the Soul Winning Workshop as it was called then, was shared by Memorial and Garnett and we were pretty much loners when it came to working it. But with any living thing, (and the Tulsa Workshop is alive with Christ's spirit) growing pains were endured, maturing happened, changes occurred, until it is what God has made it today: a place of worship, renewal, education, fellowship, growth, acceptance for who and where we are in Christ. It is where we get together to tell what God is doing, with anticipation for what He will do next.
I am privileged to be asked to volunteer my time working at many different areas in the workshop. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for that opportunity. I see God at work in the faces of the people around me. And I praise Him. Oh how beautiful the body of Christ is!
Ephesians 4:11-13 (New International Version)
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Photography is becoming a passion for me. And I guess this picture could represent how 'nutty' I am! God has allowed me to bless people with a snapshot of their lives, and in turn, it blesses me even more.
Some of the pictures I have are of people who have gone on live with Christ: Jimmy Sizemore, Bill Logan, Ed Hammons, Garrett Henley, General Gillespy, Linda Deckman, and those have become priceless. Jimmy and his quiet demeanor gave my daughter encouragement when Ethan was born with a cleft palate; Bill and his solid presence and warm hugs; Ed and his constant hunger for the Word of God; Garrett, gone too quickly; General, a leader in truth; Linda, giver, helper, loved kids. But I wonder if they look down at my collection as a butterfly might look at a worm. They are clothed in the glory of the Son of God now...and my photos are pictures of their tents here on earth. It's is like comparing cut diamonds to a lump of coal!
And here I thought I was going to talk about my blessing of photography, and wound up discussing the glorious saints of God. What a blessing!
1 Corinthians 15:50-52 (New International Version)
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
My mom gave me cash for my birthday because...well...I couldn't think of a good gift she could get me. I truly am blessing! So Workshop rolled around and I realized I didn't have a solid colored shirt to wear for the Memorial praise team (for the women of the team, what to wear is second only to practicing the songs...). Pete and I looked at all of my normal discount haunts and found a few nice shirts to buy with my birthday money but the only solid color was black. The backdrop is black so that wouldn't work.
The day before we were to lead worship, the Angel of Extreme Discounts, namely Brenda, swoops in and helps me find not one but FIVE solid color beautiful shirts! She was my hero for the day!
Thank you, Brenda! You are much more than a friend, you are my spiritual sister! And my favorite!
2 Corinthians 9:8-15 (The Message)
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Yesterday Jacob ran into the house quite distraught. "Mema! The flowers are all laying on the ground! Can you pump them up again?!?!"
The snow had melted and left the daffodills quite wilted. He was not happy when I told him they couldn't be 'pumped up', and we would have to see if new ones would bloom. I do not have a green thumb or I could have told him to wait a day and they would 'pump' themselves up...for here they are, beginning to stand on their own again as if yesterday was just a time for rest!
Thank you God for showing me the difference a day can make! I can't wait until Jake gets home!
1 Peter 1:21-25 (The Message)
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That's why the prophet said,
The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God's Word goes on and on forever.
This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.
I love new things and, being married to a computer guru, getting a new computer is like bringing home a new baby...without the nighttime feedings! I was blessed with a new laptop (notebook...whatever they are calling them now!) to help out with video and photo editing...and blogging, of course! I now have the choice of where I work and I love it! Sunshine? There I am! Comfy chair? I'm there! Outside? Yep, there too!!
Oh and my computer's name? Miss Bea, from Beatrix...Latin for 'blessing'.
Revelation 21:4-5 (New International Version)
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."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"
Monday, March 22, 2010
There was a time when I didn't go to church. My mom was a Christian. My dad was not. And many times my dad's plans didn't take into account that my mom might want to go to church. And many times my mom was just too tired. I didn't know any better. It was normal for me to go, or not to go. That was just the way it was.
I always went Vacation Bible School and to Camp when I was old enough. I raised half of my own money for camp and my mom always pitched in the rest with extra for the canteen so I wouldn't starve. (Camp food was always good, but the candy and pop from the canteen was a treat!) At camp I learn that I wanted to go to heaven and be with Jesus, and was baptized not to go to hell. My dad was very angry when I got home, and I was allowed to play at my cousins for 2 hours while my mom talked with him. Later, the preacher came and talked to my daddy and he was baptized too. He was very strict from that time on and we never missed going to church, ever.
I was a teenager when I was baptized again. I was old enough to know what sin was, and that I had sinned. My mom was very happy to see me baptized. She was sad not to see the first time. My dad hugged me but said nothing.
Later, though, I found and accepted the grace and mercy God has planned for His children. The family above taught me that a life in Christ was more than not going to hell or having your sins forgiven, it was a life filled with joy, a life of wonder in Jesus, a life that God was so involved in, that every breath taken was a gift from Him to be cherished! Church is not a place we attend to stay right with God, it is a body that has been redeemed BY God. It is the body of Christ that is alive and exciting and working. It is the body that praises and gives glory to the Father that created it. It is a fellowship of love. The church is a necessary part of a victorious life being lived by a plan made before time. A plan that reaches out to a world of darkness with the light of grace, of mercy, and of Life beyond measure.
Now THAT is a blessing, my friends!
Hebrews 4:15-16 (New International Version)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Today is the first day of Spring!!!! If you have read my other posts you already know how I have anticipated this day! I have been waiting for the warmer days, sunshine, flowers, and...snow?? Wait a minute! I did NOT order snow for the first day of Spring! It is cold! The wind is blowing like crazy! and it is SNOWING! Not at all what I had in mind for today!
Isn't that just like life? My expectations are of one thing...happiness, health, or wealth...and life gives me dreary days, sickness, and less and less money. Then I get snow on the first day of Spring!
Thankfully my life is not ruled by my emotions! Thankfully I don't have to be happy to be joyful! Thankfully I know a Father that can make the first to be last, and the last, first. God has always snickered at my expectations. So why not Snow on the first day of Spring! Maybe we will have flowers on the first day of Winter! Whatever happens, I know my expectations will have NOTHING to do with it! and that is just...like...God!...and I love it!!
Mark 10:26-31 (New International Version)
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Looking at this picture I am reminded of a giant monster with glowing eyes. It is really St. Francis Hospital at night. Pete and I had been there to visit a good friend that had a lung collapse and wound up being a guest at the hospital for a few days. Another good friend of mine is his nurse. It was amusing to watch one friend taking care of another and listening to them talk like they were family members rather than professional to patient.
God's family is like that. When one member is hurting, we all hurt. We take turns being the patient and the caregiver. Our love is made perfect in our weaknesses and it shows in our actions to one another!
I love my Spirit family!!
Romans 12:4-5 (New International Version)
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
It used to bother me when my kids would enter the house and start shedding: backpacks in the entry, coat tossed on the stairs, shoes and socks in the living room.
It doesn't bother me so much now. Now it is a reminder of what I am shedding in my life: anger, spite, hate, impatience, unrest, hurry, want, disorder and discord. Things that are the grave clothes of mortality.
But in the shedding of the earthly, I must remember to put on the eternal. Things that are important to God and allow me to live a life of victory: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness...the clothing of the Spirit of Christ.
I love finding blessings in the mess!
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The power of words. With words God spoke the world into being. Jesus was called The Word and showed His power through meekness, mercy and salvation. With words actions are initiated and set into motion. With words people are encouraged or destroyed. Words are never idle. They are always active. Words are power-filled!
Think about the words that impact you life. Some of them are remembered from childhood: You're so smart (or dumb); Wow you're tall! (or short!); You're really pretty! (or really ugly!). Some are more recent: You're hired! (Sorry, you didn't get the job.); You're pregnant! (You will never have children.); I love you! (I hate you!).
All words have power and should come with a caution: Use wisely, can be fatal to others.
But the wise usage of words can be...wonderful!! I have been blessed with people in my life that have not only given me words of encouragement, but shown me how to become an encourager. Others have shown me the avenue of prayer...words brought before the very throne God to initiate holy power into any and all of the situations in our lives.
The big trick is remembering to use the good, wholesome, building-up kind of words! The words of blessing.
Proverbs 18:20-21 (New International Version)
From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled;
with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I'm starting this post completely without knowing where it will go. The picture is one of Jeremy with an origami dinosaur that Pete had made. Pete has done origami since before I met him and has fascinated children, waitresses and many other people with his small paper gifts. Jeremy found this one on our entry table and asked if he could have it. He was so sweet in his request that I texted Pete and asked. Of course he could have it was the reply, and with a gracious 'thank you', Jeremy was off in a world of paper dinosaurs roaring and jumping! Amazing how such a little thing can mean so much.
Now for the unknown. I was hit today with quite a few 'issues' that are facing my family. 'Issues' meaning people problems. We are all in recovery from two divorces in the past year, and the fallout from that really...well...hurts. There are times I am stuck in the middle between the younger generation telling me all that I have to deal with, and the older telling me what I should be doing about it. My focus is, and will remain, what God wants me to think and do. But I am feeling a bit Jonah-ish. I don't want to think and do what God wants. Right now I am...mad. There I said it. I am angry in all the horrible terrible ways that anger is. Angry that my family has been torn apart. Angry that adults can't grow up and see what their immaturity does to the children involved. Angry that I was even called to bear this burden.
Mad. Angry. I'm sure you get it. Satan is a jerk...And I DO love all the people involved. Each and every one of them! And I know I am not perfect; and the field is a level one when it comes to sin. We all all redeemed, forgiven, given mercy and grace we don't deserve.
Origami. I am like the paper in origami. Flat, two dimensional, until God picks me up...and crease by painful crease, fold by weary fold, He makes me into something of more that three dimensions. Something that becomes more than me. Something that is included in a world of unseen forces, to be used by the hand of God Himself to roar and jump on the devils plans with a holy stomp of love.
I was not expecting this conclusion when I started. But there it is. The blessing in the bad. God is good, so good to me. Thank you , Father, for forgiving me, and using the little I have.
Isaiah 54:9-10 (New International Version)
"To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
This is a continuation of my previous post. My dear friend, Brenda, decided to bring a cake to my house and celebrate my grandmother's birthday with me! I was SO excited I forgot to take a picture of the cake before we devoured it! Brenda even was polite enough to look at a picture I had of grandma and listen to some of the funny stories I had to tell. Grandma would have loved you, Brenda, talk about a blessing...you are huge blessing! Thank you!
Proverbs 17:17 (New International Version)
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
Monday, March 15, 2010
This picture was taken March 15, 2006 and I honor my dear grandmother with this post today. This was Bonnie Kirkwoods last birthday celebration here on Earth and although it has been four years since her death, I miss her more today than ever. Oh the regrets of not taking more time to spend with her. Oh how I miss the times I did spend with her. She was a piece of my life, someone that was always there. I wish she could just tell me one more time about her garden, her birds, her dog, her life. I love that she lived simply. It is something I strive for now.
But my oldest grandchild is also in the picture and we were also celebrating his birthday! The Grand with the grand. A generation before me, and the one after me. Oh may I give my grandchildren some of what my grandmother gave me. A love of God, a love of life, a love of simple things, and the knowledge that we will all be together again, with no regrets, and having birthday parties for eternity!
Happy Birthday, Grandma! Happy Birthday, Nate! I dearly love you both!
Ephesians 3:19-21 (The Message)
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
Dear Daylight Savings Time,
I have missed you! And although I lost an hour of sleep early this morning, I have found some precious daylight hours to spend with my beloved husband and grandchild. We walked down the street in your later-houred sunshine looking for whatever we could find. We found ducks. Ducks waiting to be fed the breadcrumbs and cheerios we brought. Sweet sweet memories you have given me, dear DST. I just wish you would stay year 'round!!
Sincerely, your sun-starved friend.
Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (The Message)
Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don't take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour,
Remembering that there will also be many dark days
And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
A good friend let me iron her laundry and she is paying me for it! I love it! Getting paid for something my kids used to make fun of me for doing! They used to call me the Little Chinese Laundry Lady because it seemed that I was ALWAYS doing laundry of some sort: sorting, washing, drying, ironing or putting it away, only to start all over again! Now I'm paying off some bills with my new found 'income'. What a sense of humor God has! Showing me that what I used to despise can be used to get out of, and stay out of debt!! (Dave Ramsey would be proud.)
But I think my politically correct title should be Gravitationally Challenged Oriental American Clothes Management and Refurbishing Technician!
Psalm 51:1-10 (The Message)
Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been;
my sins are staring me down.
You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Ever have a moments of just craziness? The good kind, where everything you see is great fun! Today is like that. The air has the smell of spring in it.
I saw a rabbit eating my precious flowers and laughed. I would eat flowers if I were a rabbit! They are pretty!
The birds are beginning to come back and I saw a Robin and that reminds me of my third grade art teacher. She taught me what the birds were called and we all wanted to draw a Robin because it meant...you guessed it...Spring was close.
My huge cat stretched out in a tiny ray of sunshine. Ri-di-cu-lous!!!
Texting verses of a song to a friend which she in turn sends me one back. They weave a message of encouragement back and forth. We called it Spirit code!
Today is a day to celebrate. Yesterday is gone...can't do it again. Tomorrow isn't here yet...can't count on it. So celebrate today! And breathe in the fun and exhale the blessing of a day full of craziness!!
Proverbs 15:30 (The Message)
A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart,
and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I KNOW! I KNOW! The first day of Spring isn't until the 20th! I know!! But I can't help but celebrate it NOW! There are purple mini pansies all in bloom in my garden and now the first daffodil! That indicates Spring in my book! (I'm doing my happy dance!!)
But... my mind goes to the struggle I have had all morning. I often feel I have no great skill, talent, gift...that God could use. I know a little about a lot of things. But not a lot about anything. I go through my days, it seems, going from one project to another depending on the people around me to make it right.
My computer tech is Pete. He make my computer do what I want it to. Mostly. It still won't clean the kitchen. Then there is Jack. He makes my attempts at videography look good. Very good. But if it weren't for these two sweethearts in my life I couldn't do any of the things that I have a great time doing!
I love to embroider. I love photography. Both I know just enough about to do small things for people.
I can clean house, cook, and do laundry. But all of these could be done by other family members as well as I do them.
The glimmer of a thought that started to form when I began this post was that I, and maybe all of us, are in the beginning stages of everything when it comes to God. Like my flowers, taking their time to poke their heads through the ground, struggle to grow big enough, then the bud, then the bloom: Am I still in the ground? Does God view my life as I struggle to grow in Him? And as I push through the stuff of life, does He wait in expectation for the next stage of growth? Am I budding? Starting to bloom?
I have no great skill, talent, gift...but I DO know this. I am not where I was 20 years ago. I am not where I was 10 years ago! I am not where I was last year or last month!! I am always learning about Him and the wonder-filled life around me. I will always know just a little about a lot of things. But I hope it looks like Spring is almost here to Him...in my life. (I wonder if He has a happy dance...)
Psalm 52:7-9 (New International Version)
"Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!"
But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love
for ever and ever.
I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Zach wasn't feeling good today so he and Daddy got to stay home. They played, read, worked puzzles and did some chores. While he was watching a movie and his dad was working on the computer, I mentioned that it was raining. Forgotten was his sickness! He ran out of the door only to stop on the front step. He looked down at the wet drips of rain that had just started. And he stared, fascinated with the way the water changed the sidewalk from light color to a darker color. We had to pull him inside when it started raining harder. He would have just stood in it and gotten wet watching the change of the concrete.
I love the reminders of newness. Rain to me meant achy bones and more potholes in the road. But to Zach it was a wonderful, outdoor experience that somehow transformed a common sidewalk into something better than a movie! May I never grow up to the point of forgetting the wonder of it all.
Psalm 9:1-2 (The Message)
I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders.
I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I'm singing your song, High God.
Many people talk about spending time with God early in the morning. I love mine. It is a special time with just me and my Maker. I don't do the same thing every day: Sometimes I study, sometimes sing, sometimes journal, always pray, sometimes just wait, listening for His quiet answer. It is my strength time, and I feel lost without it. It is my spiritual vitamin that, when taken everyday, keeps me healthy and strong inside.
It is amazing how many times I have studied verses, or written down my meandering thoughts, only to find someone else has been studying or thinking something similar. If I wake with a song (which I always do!) the message of the song is like a thread in my day, weaving thought to thought, person to person, God to us. He's amazing! It's another one of those things about Him! How does He do that...except as our God!
Psalm 27:3-5 (The Message)
I'm calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose,
I'm collected and cool.
I'm asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty;
I'll study at his feet.
That's the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I'm thinking that God must enjoy watching us patiently (?) anticipating... Like me watching the flowers out front. Waiting. Waiting for the first one to have a bud. Waiting. Waiting for the flower...
Maybe that's what Jesus Messiah is feeling. Waiting for one more seed of the Word to be planted. Waiting. Waiting for one more person to know Him. Waiting. Waiting for the Father to say....
Revelation 21:1-5 (New International Version)
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."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"
Friends are hard to come by...at least for me. So I cherish the friendship that has developed between this sweet lady and me! Linda is a tiny woman with a giant heart for people. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Her smile is too! But for all of that, I have had the privilege of knowing some of her hurts, struggles, and weaknesses. For that I love her all the more.
I wonder why it is that I feel I have to wear my pretty mask, saying pretty things, doing pretty jobs and never let anyone see how I really am? I just finished a study on fear, and I have to say that that is my answer. I fear people knowing the ugly me. But when I do open up and allow them to see, something wonderful happens. My ugliness is swallowed up by His beauty. And it brings me closer to the relationship Christ died to give me. One that is full of love and acceptance.
Thank you, Linda.
Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)
Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
(Now..about that guitar in the church....)
This photo falls very very short of the actual event. This benign announcement didn't tell of the life changing, heart wrenching, soul awakening message dear Liz Pense had. It didn't say that I would be reduced to tears only to be made totally aware of God's power and love! A redeeming love! It doesn't even hint that her message would give me a simple grammar tool that transforms my situation...any situation really, into a God event. It didn't say that I would be having discussions and conversations with family members, friends and some total strangers about the way God took this total atheistic woman and brought her to the point of total, abandoned dependence on the creator of all things.
No, the printed page fell far short in describing the day...but then even the Bible couches huge events in subtle terms..."In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Think about it. Roaring atoms of stuff coming together in spectacular pyrotechnic explosions? God created. And in the midst of all that event, God was thinking of us...me...and how I would be trying desperately to convey the wonder of His plan for all mankind. He, God, Father coaches his acts in such simple terms, but they have such life changing, life giving meaning for all his children! Oh that I could make a message that could truly give God the glory He is due!
Oh, wait! It would probably look like Liz Pense! And His glory is not written on the paper announcement but on a heart redeemed! Like your heart. Like my heart. Like Liz's heart! Be blessed today with the wonder of God!!
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (New International Version)
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Monday, March 08, 2010
I was able to do some embroidery work today! Now that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is. Since my back surgery, I have been limited on quite a few things. Quite a few things that I really enjoy doing! This is one of them. The last time I tried (a few months ago) it was a very painful labor of love. Today it was lovely! No pain. A little stiff, but I can work through that.
Healing is so fascinating! Just when I am stuck and ready to give up, God comes through showing me my patience is worth it! Bit by bit. Little by little. From glory to glory. That's how He works. I'm so glad He doesn't do everything my way. Life just wouldn't be as sweet!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (King James Version)
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
I love it! The temperature is 60 degrees! I am out and about without a coat! If I could dance, I would! Winter is on it's way out, and Spring is just around the corner. And, no, I haven't forgotten about my post yesterday...but I still like warmer weather...and have plenty of other things besides cold weather that I dislike!!
Thank you, Abba, for warmer weather!
Psalm 111:1 (The Message)
Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I've got—
Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.
God's works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!
Winter is not my favorite time of year. The cold is one part of it. The other is that the world just looks dead. Grass is brown. Trees are bare. No flowers. The days are short and dark nights long.
But today I noticed something in a neighbors weeping fig tree. I had always admired the shape of the tree with its long, trailing limbs covered with beautiful dark green leaves, but Winter had ripped it of leaves and left it looking lifeless. Looking closer, I noticed a nest snuggled in the interior of the tree where, in Spring, it would be safe and hidden. A home with the finest, downy feather lining.
God is showing me the things I tend to detest can hold sweet secrets that are only seen when I allow myself to look beyond my dislike.
Job 5:8,9 (The Message)
If I were in your shoes, I'd go straight to God,
I'd throw myself on the mercy of God.
After all, he's famous for great and unexpected acts;
there's no end to his surprises.
I started walking again not only for exercise but for some stress management. God and I have a few heart-to-heart talks while I walk and I can pound the pavement with my frustration, grief, and hurt and by the time I get home I am calmer and able to move on.
Today I put my ipod on Dennis Jernigan's This is My Destiny album and started my journey around the neighborhood. I had been praying for almost a mile with Dennis crooning song after song in my ear when I finally reached a point in my prayer that I asked God to just let me know He heard me. I really NEEDED to know that what I said mattered to my Lord. I can't go on with just my own strength! As I paused in prayer, I heard these words from the song I was listening to:
I would never make it one day
Without your love in my life!
You're my Rock
When the world sweeps over me!
Lord, so many times
I don't see a way
So just keep holding me tight,
For I know
That I need you desperately!
Looking down at that time I saw this huge rock sitting beside the sidewalk!
Hide me in the cleft of the Rock; (rock? the song continued)
Clothe me in the love of the Son.
Lord, surround me! Surround me!
I release the joy of my heart,
Flowing from the River of Life!
For you are my Refuge,
A present help in my trouble,
A River of Gladness
My help as the morning comes.
You are my Refuge
Though the world falls around me,
I will not fear, Lord,
For I have your love!
I cried in joy the rest of the way home! How God orchestrated all of the hope and absolute answers He gave me on that walk I will never understand! The rock was placed YEARS ago by that sidewalk! The song was recorded in 1999! Put on my ipod...several years ago! I had walked to just the right spot, prayed just the right words! At the right time I paused in prayer to listed to just the right words of the song, and recognized them for God's presence and love for ME!! Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!!
I will not fear, Lord, For I have your love!
Psalm 46:1-5 (New International Version)
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Monday, March 01, 2010
I'm really not sure how this is going to go. This is the only picture I took today. At the dentist office. Where I was getting my teeth cleaned...only to find out I will be back next week for a crown on a lower right tooth followed later by a crown on an upper left tooth. Now I don't think of going to the dentist office as a blessing, but I am glad to find cracked teeth before they fall apart. I have had that happen already and it felt like I was going through a living nightmare where my teeth all fall out. Maybe you haven't had that one...
So I suppose my dentist is a blessing. I know he certainly is compassionate. And tells me when it is really necessary to have something done versus waiting awhile. This is one of those hard blessings to accept. But a blessing none the less.
Colossians 1:9-12 (The Message)
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
Another month gone in 2010! Wow how time seems to fly past!
I am still amazed how God can take my thoughts and transform them into a blessing He is wanting to give me. I am becoming more trusting of His guidance toward what He wants versus what I expect. Not all blessings are warm fuzzy feeling blessings. Some are really hard. And some are quite painful. All are blessing and call me deeper into a relationship with Abba.
Thank you, Father, for the blessing of February!
Luke 17:20-21 (The Message)
Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, "The kingdom of God doesn't come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, 'Look here!' or, 'There it is!' And why? Because God's kingdom is already among you."
The men of our church have a special evening they honor the women of our church. It is precious to see these guys dressed in white shirts, black slacks and ties come wheeling into the fellowship hall with trays on their hands to the tune "Be Our Guest!" from Beauty and the Beast! Some of them have practiced songs or skits for hours...I mean weeks...for our entertainment!
They choose one or two ladies each year to honor specially for their service and devotion to others. It's touching to see them read accolades and give flowers. The guys can be serious when they honor us, too, and it is all the more meaningful knowing they put thought and time into a wonderful evening!
Oh, and I almost forgot the food! Mmm mmm good!
Thank you, guys, for blessing us and letting us have a night to dress up and have a ball!
Romans 12:9-11 (New International Version)
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Just look at those angels! You couldn't tell they had been screaming and fighting just moments before this picture was taken. But as soon as I said, "Can I get a picture of you three?" they put their heads together and put smiles on their faces. I wish I could say it lasted all the way to their home, but I knew they could behave now, and reminded them of it whenever they got loud.
Oh! that is SO like me. I need reminding, sometimes moment to moment, that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit I possess. Not one I hope for, pray for, or even work for. I have it inside me. All I have to do is allow the Spirit to work it from the inside of me, to the outside of me, where my smile and attitude can show that Jesus abides in me, and I in Him.
The blessing of a bunch of rowdy boys!
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
My baby turned 25 today! How did that happen? It was just yesterday he learned to fold origami birds and took them to his first grade teacher. Now his first grade teacher is teaching my grand daughter!!
Derek: How blessed I am to have you as a son. You are so gentle. Intelligent. Kind to a fault! I am proud of you in many many ways! You love your nephews and niece and take great care with them! You have overcome a lot being the youngest of our family. I miss the times of making spaghetti with you, building flowerbeds and fountains, shooting Nerf guns at eat other, and how can I forget the mine bombs?
Happy 1/2 of 50 birthday, dear Derek!! You are still my favorite! And I found where you hid the angel...
Psalm 127:2-4 (The Message)
If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.
Temptation. I am back on Weight Watchers. I am doing great! Why did I have to get these? They aren't even mine! I got them for someone else! But they wouldn't mind if I had one cookie. I am using my own gas to bring them home. They wouldn't mind then if I had another, right? They are a really great friend! And I will tell them that too! And three cookies would be alright...
I could really find a blessing in eating three cookies...but I think it will be a greater blessing to keep the box closed.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.
Hmmmm....construction on Oklahoma roads are like a Dandelion in a field...one good breeze and the whole place is covered with them!
But dear Terry Rush once said in a sermon that construction meant improvement and should be exciting...ok...I'm excited.
And I have a bent wheel on my car from a pot hole...
So here's a cheer for the blessing of construction: not only does it slow down my hectic life, but it's improving my maze running skills!
Psalm 25:5-7 (The Message)
Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren't you?
Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;
Rebuild the ancient landmarks!
Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!
Sometimes it is hard to see the blessings. Right now is one of them. Oh I know I can choose to see all the 'common' blessings: food, clothing, etc. But I am learning to search the day for the special. For the uncommon. For the one that the Lord sets before me...just for me.
You see, Kaleb is back in the hospital. He took his favorite toy, Platty the platypus, with him. When I go to play with K, Platty acts out some of the medical stuff Kaleb is going through himself. Today, Platty talked about blood draws, breathing treatments, and IV's with the 'Monster IV Machine'. He attacked the IV machine, somehow avoided the blood draw, and decided the breathing treatments were just something to do. After this, Platty went on to become friends with some aliens...and the medical disclosure was ended.
My heart breaks for Kaleb, his sister, his dad, his mom. Kristi endures what no mother should as her son endures what no child should. David and Hannah try to keep on a 'normal' schedule while they are gone, but that in itself is a struggle. I feel totally helpless and very unhelpful. At the same time, I love the time I get to spend with Kaleb and Kristi.
So what is that 'God given' blessing in all of the heartbreaking reality? I suppose it is the humility I feel in the presence of Kaleb and Kristi. Their dependence on God, their endurance, perseverance, and striving for joy in the middle of the awful. They give praise to Him. In all of this. They don't depend on their own strength, but on the one who knows what the future holds and is strong enough to carry them through it. I am humbled. And I love them, dearly.
Romans 5:1-5 (New International Version)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.