Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Not-So-Great Exchange!

Check this out.  Psalm 106:19-20 says,
19 At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20 They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
Now, I just have to tell you that when I read this chapter in Psalms recently, I had to re-read these two verses several times.   When you read verse 19 you might almost let it go by because of the familiarity of the story, but then if you're paying attention when verse 20 rolls around.... WHAM!  They exchanged their WHAT?  For WHAT?  
"They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass."
Let me just say this; although I was stunned as I read those words, I can too easily relate.  No, I haven't recently exchanged my Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.  But, I have exchanged my Glory for many other lesser things.   Well, all things are lesser when compared to the Glory referred to in this verse.

Have you been exchanging your Glory for lesser things?  It is certainly something to pause and consider.  I'm sure with very little effort we could come up with an extensive list of other things that we settle for or look to:  food, shopping, hobbies, ministry, alcohol, sleep, friends, spouse, comfort, pets, money, reputation, power, religion... the list goes on and on.  One last question.  Why did they do this?  Why do we do this?

Check out verse 21:
21 They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt,
They forgot.  We forget.  (See James 1:23-24)   

Let us be thoughtful and remember;  there is nothing worth the exchange of our Glory.  Nothing.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."    2 Corinthians 3:18

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Answer by Fire!

What comes to your mind when you think of fire?  Warmth?  Light?  S'mores?  Getting burned?  How about the fact that our God is a consuming fire? (Exodus 4:24; Hebrews 12:29)

Recently, I was reading 1 Kings 18.  It is a familiar story involving the prophet, Elijah.  However, we should never let familiarity keep us from studying a passage again.  Let's jump right into the middle of the account where Elijah issues a challenge to the prophets of Baal  (vs.22-24):
"Then Elijah said to them,  'I am the only one of the Lord's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets.  Get two bulls for us.  Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it.  I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it.  Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.  The god who answers by fire — he is God.'"
The prophets of Baal, miserably unsuccessful in the attempt to get their god to answer them, are about to experience the One True God.  It's Elijah's turn to call on the name of the Lord,  and he has set up the altar and directed the prophets of Baal to completely soak it in water.  Let's look at verses 36-39:
"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed:  "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."  
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The Lord he is God!  The Lord — he is God!"

Are you facing odds that seem insurmountable?  Look to the One who answers by fire.... He is God!

Note:  I want to thank my friend, Lisa DeVinney, for the awesome fire pictures!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

October 15, 1996, was the day he arrived on the scene.  I must admit that he captured my heart from the moment I first heard his beat.  Now, all he need do is smile, and I am pretty much conquered.  I have never been the mother of a fifteen year old boy, so this year will unveil a new part of our journey together.  

Josiah with Super Lolli!

Happy Birthday, Josiah!  Even though this post is showing up a few days late, I did actually type it up on your birthday.  My plan was to have a few more pictures; from your beginning days to present.  No such luck.  I scanned them in, but could never figure out how to get them from there to here...  One of these days I'll get all of this tech stuff figured out (maybe).  You could probably do it.  Why didn't I think of that?  Oh yeah, it was supposed to be a surprise.  Oh well, maybe next year.  I love you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Something to Say

It has been longer than I would like since I last posted.  As I have often done in life, I went from one extreme to the other:  trying to write a new post every day to skipping entire weeks!  One of these days I hope to find a normal rhythm and stick to it!  The fact of the matter is.... though I always have "something to say", when I sit down here to type it, my mind just seems to go blank!  It is a rather frustrating thing because my mind seems to go non-stop!  Life is so full of inspiration, be it difficulties we go through, the beauty that surrounds us, family moments we want to remember, the list goes on and on.  So, I'm going to get back in to the swing of this blog thing by just saying... something!

I decided to go with something I'm looking forward to.  There is a new book coming out this week by one of my favorite authors.  I encourage you to get a copy and see what you think.  It's called, "Beautiful Outlaw", by John Eldredge.    I have been looking forward to this for a while now.  If you can get your hands on a copy, I say DO IT!  I don't think you will be disappointed, and if you are you can come back and tell me about it (nicely)!  : )  God bless you all!   By the way, I'd love to hear about something you're looking forward to.  Just click on comments below, and tell me about it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Five Days Behind

Well, I am five days behind in my personal challenge.  My goal was to write a new post every day for an entire year.  Unfortunately, my computer does not know or understand anything about my personal challenge, and therefore did not cooperate.  So, I'm picking up where I left off several days ago.

I guess the most important thing to take from this is that we can make all the plans we want, but interruptions   come, and can alter our course.  How will we respond?  I must admit that usually (and this time is no exception), I don't handle the road blocks of life very well.  Whether it's illness, a cranky computer, a car breakdown, or you name it;  I usually have a fit (of some sort.)  Just being honest here.  Now, I have learned to keep most of my fits "inside".  In other words, I don't have a loud, ugly tantrum every time something goes awry.  I do, however, have some serious wrestling matches in my heart and mind.

I think it all goes back to the flesh and spirit debate.  My spirit is willing to deal with whatever God allows along my path (because after all He is my Maker, and knows what I need), but my flesh is weak, and I'll take my comfort, security, everything-to-go-just-as-I-planned, thank you very much!  Nope, not going to happen. So, I will let out a big sigh, and say I am back on course (for now) with my posting plan.  Looking back on the last five days, it's probably best that I wasn't posting anything.  I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Listen!

Today I stumbled across an article online about a famous musician from the 70's.  He had left behind his "glitzy showbiz" life because he wanted to deal with his addiction to alcohol and fame, and make a better life for himself and his family.  He had been out of the limelight for so many years that some of his fans had assumed that he was deceased.  A filmmaker who was also a fan, found out that he was still very much alive, and still famous in a certain part of Canada.  He contacted him to discuss doing a documentary.  

Long story short, he ended up doing the documentary even though he admitted to feeling uncomfortable about it.  After all, it put him back in the middle of the addiction temptations he had left behind.  For the conclusion of the documentary, he wrote a song that he feels tells the story of his life, and he hopes that people will not miss it as it is playing during the credits.  He concluded the article with this: 
"I hope people don't applaud through the credits at the end of the movie and then miss the song. Which would actually be an amazing comment on all of this. You feel like you do your best work, and it disappears in applause? I don't want the applause; I want you to listen!"
I found those last ten words to be very thought provoking.  Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Getting Late

It's getting late, and I really don't have much to say.  So, this is going to be one of those random posts about.... whatever happens to come to mind.  That's a scary thought.

Actually, we have finally started school out here in the Northeast!  Hurricane Irene followed by more flood-causing rain from Tropical Storm Lee, pushed the school start date all the way to September 12th!  I think even the kids were getting disappointed.  Once you get yourself psyched up about going back to school and it gets pushed back a week... well, let's just say it was causing some stress.  I'm not sure whose was more intense; the kids or mine?  : )

The girls and I started last week by doing one subject a day.  So, today was our first full day with all subjects (well almost all) on board!  There were a couple of glitches in our day that stretched it out a bit longer than I'd like.  But, we're using some new curriculum, and trying to find what will work best for us this year.  Let me just throw this out there while I'm at it.  I never really planned to homeschool my kids.  It came about after much prayer and thought.  I still don't feel adequate to the task, but am assured that I am not the only homeschooling mom that feels that way.  Plus, I do have a certified teacher in the house as back up should I really have trouble.  : )  Well, enough of my random chatting.  I must get to bed.  Morning comes early for us all!  God bless you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miss Universe

I have to admit I used to love watching beauty pageants.  It has been a long time since I've watched one though. As I was sitting down to check my email, and write my post, I turned on the TV for background noise, and the Miss Universe pageant was on.  I watched the evening gown competition, because, well, obviously, what girl doesn't love a gorgeous dress?  (Okay, some of them were lacking... here and there).    Then they narrowed the top ten down to five finalists, who were then asked a question by one of the judges.  I decided to share this with you mainly to tell you about Miss Philippine's question and answer (for this alone, she would have my vote).

She was asked if she would change her religion to marry the one she loved, why, and/or why not?  This was basically her answer: (Loose translation) "No, I would not change my religion to marry the one that I love. God is the one I love first, and if someone loved me for who I am they would love my God, too!"

If everyone else in the house wasn't in bed already, I think I might have shouted, "You go girl!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011


After watching the coverage today of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, I basically find myself speechless.  It doesn't bother me, I have learned that I don't always have to say something.

However, I had challenged myself to post on my blog every day for a year (what was I thinking?).  So, I needed to get on here to say something.  I have nothing profound to share, so I will just say that I am thankful for so many things:  my family, my home, my health, my ability to hope, my relationship with Jesus that grows sweeter with the passing of time, and for the simple opportunity to "say" anything.  If you're reading, thank you.  I hope you are thankful for many things this day as well.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11

9/11 is a day that everyone remembers.  Most of us (old enough to read at that time) can probably tell anyone willing to listen; where we were, and what we were doing that fateful morning.  I was at home with two of my children.  The oldest was in Kindergarten.  Bill was at work already.  I remember wishing that we were all together.  (In hindsight, maybe this was a motivating factor in my growing desire to homeschool my kids).

I distinctly remember watching in disbelief as those towers fell; forcing myself to deal with the reality of what was happening, all the while wondering... what IS happening?  I had to tell myself, this is not special effects in a movie.   These are real lives... too many lives... devastated.

We had only been in our "new" home for a couple of months.  I was still trying to adjust to life in New York.  One of the first concerns for me was our family who live and work near "the city", and our neighbor who was a firefighter in NYC.  All of our family was fine, and it turned out that our neighbor was not on duty that day. So, he was alive, though no doubt greatly affected.  He, of course, along with any other firefighters who were not on duty were immediately called in.  This man worked tirelessly alongside so many others for months on end.  Though he did not lose his life that day, he had to leave his job a few years ago because of health issues related to that horrible event.  He is younger than I am (I'm 46).  A bit early for this young man to retire, but he had no choice.

He has a get together with friends and family every year on September 11th.  I think it is his way of honoring all those who lost their lives that day.  He is not one to talk alot about his experience, it is too hard.  Too raw. So, he spends time with the people he loves, and cherishes those moments in his quiet, unassuming way.  This year he was invited to the city for a special memorial event with other firefighters.  I was saddened to hear that he would not be allowed at the Memorial Site Dedication Ceremony (at Ground Zero), because he did not lose a family member.  ???????   I don't know, I just think that's wrong, but they didn't ask my opinion.  

Let us always remember.  Let us learn to cherish the moments we're given.  Let us continue to pray for our nation, and for our enemies.  Let us love those around us more intentionally.  Let us rejoice in each new day.   God bless you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Wonder...

If I could sit across the table from you with a cup of coffee or tea, and have a visit, I would want you to share "your story" with me.  More specifically, I would love to hear what drew you to Jesus?  Was it a song?  A sermon?  A person?  A story?  A circumstance?  A relationship?  Creation?  Art?  The quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit?  A moment, or a lifetime of various things calling you to Him?  I wonder... what you would share?

If you would be willing to share your story with me, you can either send me a message via FB (that way it is confidential), or you can leave it as a comment (by clicking on "comment" below this post), and type it there.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to hear from you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Little More Hope

A couple of days ago, I posted a couple of verses about hope, and shared the link on my FB page.  I asked friends for favorite "hope" verses, and the following is what they shared:

One of my sisters-in-law shared this verse, and though the word "hope" is not in it, it is definitely a verse to fill us with hope.
Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
A local friend, Lisa, who is a very gifted poet shared this:
"My favorite verse, and just now, I wonder if it is because of the hope.  "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE."  (Jeremiah 29:11)
My cousin, Shirley, shared this:
"At the end of Job's life he had twice what he started with.  That should give us all hope.  Whatever we go through, God knows, and is helping us."Shirley is a cancer survivor, and has served the Lord since she was a girl.  She speaks from a place of experience and relationship!
And finally, a friend from my High School youth group, Debbie, who has been in ministry for years wrote:
"Psalm 42:5, 11, and 43:5 all include this message:  "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God ."  (ESV)Anytime something appears in triplicate in the Bible (especially when it occurs in such close proximity to each other), it definitely gets my attention."
With all that is going on in the world today; chaotic weather patterns, natural disasters, economic crises, politics run amok, sinfulness, restlessness, despair, doubt, disease, and on it goes, one could easily lose hope.  However, we serve a God who warned us about all of these things.  He also told us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  We must believe; for God is not a man that He should lie ( Numbers 23:19).  

 I want to wrap this up with one more hope verse, and then it's off to bed for me! 
Hebrews 10:23-24 says," Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
God bless you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Random Thoughts

I was actually going to write more about hope this evening, but I'm waiting for permission from a few friends to share some of their thoughts on hope. 

As I wait, I still am trying to keep up with my personal challenge to post everyday for a year, so I decided to share some random thoughts.

 1.  What is a random thought anyway?    Well, for my intent here, random means:  proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason,or pattern: the random selection of numbers.  (Or in this case thoughts.)

 2.  I find it difficult to pick one color as my favorite.

 3. I really miss good Mexican food.  

 4.  One of the most fattening meals that I enjoy, I can only get in Bartlesville, Oklahoma at a little Steak House called, Murphy's.  It is a Jr. Hot Cheeseburger with gravy over all.  I know it just sounds fattening doesn't it?  

 5.  I enjoy watching old movies.

 6.  Music makes me happy, well, usually!  I guess it has made me sad at times, too!

 7.  I have two brothers.  I didn't grow up with a sister, but now I have eight sisters-in-law.  How cool is that?

 8.  Caregiving for both of my parents, then having to make the decision to put them in long-term care facilities was without a doubt, hands down, the most difficult thing I've had to do so far in this life.

 9.  I am curious about end time events.  So, even though eschatology is intimidating to me, I find it very fascinating.  

10. It's getting late, so I'm going to bed.

This is random, and actually, pointless.  We'll get back to "hope" tomorrow.  I hope.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Still Pondering Hope

For some reason, hope has been on my mind for quite some time.  The word, the idea, the subject has permeated my life in one way or another in recent months.  Honestly, I think it's because I have been in need of some.  When I typed it into the search bar on Bible Study Tools, it brought up a list of 180 Scriptures.  Yep, I read them all.  Some of them are very familiar, some not so familiar.  Because I need to keep this short,  I just want to share a couple of them here.  


Isaiah 40:31 "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Not so familiar:

Isaiah 49:23 "Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."

This is what Baker's Evangelical Dictionary says about hope:  "To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something in someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future."

As I look at the last part of that definition, and look back at the two previous mentioned verses, I can't help but notice that those who hope in the Lord will... soar like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint, and they will not be disappointed.  That's all sounding pretty beneficial to me.

Curious.  Do you have a favorite verse about hope?

Monday, September 5, 2011

More on Hope

"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope..."  (Zech. 9:12)

This is the verse I talked about yesterday.  I just want to add something very important to the discussion.  Even though I truly believe that "my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness," living in hope is not an easy thing.  As a matter of fact, I think it is easier to be a prisoner of so many lesser things than to be a prisoner of hope.  

Here's why:  John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Even though, through God's mercy we have new birth into a living hope, there is still this pesky thief about.  One of the many things he will try to steal, kill, or destroy is our hope.  So, it is war then.  

Keeping it short tonight, let me just close with this.  It is definitely exciting to be a prisoner of hope, but it is not necessarily the "easy" road to walk.  The beauty is, we have a Fortress, and we never have to walk the path of hope alone.  I'm so thankful.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Prisoners of Hope

Today, I want to share with you a verse from the Old Testament that has planted itself in my heart.  It is one of those verses that God has used to get my attention!   Zechariah 9:12 says,
"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."
When I first read this verse, it was those first eight words that captured me.  "Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope..."  

There have been many times in my life that I was a prisoner to something; sin, unforgiveness, doubt, failure, rejection, anger, depression.  But hope?  I don't recall ever considering myself a prisoner of hope.  But, if I am going to be a prisoner of something, let it be hope!  

Researching the verse a little, I read this in Matthew Henry's Commentary:

"...The Jews that had returned out of captivity into their own land were yet, in effect, but prisoners (We are servants this day, Neh. 9:36 ), yet prisoners of hope, or expectation, for God had given them a little reviving in their bondage,Ezra. 9:8Ezra. 9:9). Those that yet continued in Babylon, detained by their affairs there, yet lived in hope some time or other to see their own land again. Now both these are directed to turn their eyes upon the Messiah, set before them in the promise as their strong-hold, to shelter themselves in him, and stay themselves upon him, for the perfecting of the mercy which by his grace, and for his sake, was so gloriously begun..."

The Jews at that time were awaiting the Messiah.  We live on the other side of His coming.  The beautiful reality is I am a prisoner of hope!  He is my fortress!  Check this out:

I Peter 1:3-5 says,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."
Because of God's great mercy, we can have new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  While you're reading, feast your eyes on what's to come... "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for us...!"  

Let me leave you with a question.  What are you a prisoner of?  Join me in my Fortress, there is plenty of room, and plenty of hope!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Need of Inspiration! Day 3 of My Challenge

How sad is it that this is day three of the challenge I presented myself, and I already need inspiration?  The ridiculous thing is, my mind is constantly going, and I think, "I'll put this on my blog."  Only, the minute I sit down to type, I'm dumbfounded, and can't remember a thing I wanted to say.  It's in there.  I know it is.  I just can't seem to get it out.  Part of the problem is I want so much to say something of value, that will help, or encourage someone.  I don't want my words to be empty and meaningless.  That's when my enemy creeps in and adds extra thoughts to my head like, "You don't have anything meaningful to say.  No one cares for your opinion.  You are a nobody, an utter failure...."  That familiar tape begins to play in my head, and far too often, I simply agree, and quit.  

So, if for no other reason than not to give into the enemy, I'm writing... every day... for a year.  What am I, nuts?  Yes.  I need some inspiration.  I'll be praying for that, and I'm welcome to suggestions.  For now I just want to close with a Scripture:

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Two of My Challenge: It's About My Man!

It's day two of my personal challenge to write a post every day for a year!  I almost didn't make it, because of internet troubles, but here I am.  I have decided to dedicate today's post to my sweet husband.  There are so many great things I could tell you about him, but today it is about how good he is with our kids.  This afternoon found him pitching a tent with his three princesses, so they could spend the night camping in the backyard!

I know.  Cute, aren't they?  These girls are very blessed to have a dad that loves them, and enjoys spending time with them.  Here's a couple more pics...

Ready for the night out back!  Well, almost.... blankets and pillows to follow.  We like to camp in comfort!  To make it special, he started a fire, and they have roasted marshmallows, and made a s'more or two.  

I'm sitting here at the computer listening to the happy chatter of three very blessed daughters with their dad, who loves them so.  I am grateful.  Day two of my challenge complete, I'm going to go sit by the campfire.  Goodnight, and God bless.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Challenge to Myself

I am challenging myself to blog for 365 days in a row!  Yep, no skipping weeks at a time or even days at a time. I'm going to write something every day for a year.  This would probably be easier to track if I started on January 1st, but why wait 'til then?.  It is, after all, a challenge!  Here's what put this idea in motion....

Last night we had a family movie night, and watched, "Pistol:  The Birth of a Legend".  There was a quote that stood out to me because it connected with my "dreamer" heart.  Pete Maravich's father told him,   "When you dream anything is possible.... "A dream is nothing more than a big challenge you place on yourself."  So, it sparked in me this idea that I need to challenge myself with something (nothing big mind you).  School starts soon, and that will keep me busy enough.  Homeschooling my three girls presents certain challenges, but this is more on a personal level.  Without going into all the reasons why (thus boring you tears), I am excited to begin this challenge!

Just for fun, here's a clip from the movie:  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prayers from the Beach

The sun has risen on this North Carolina beach. The pelicans are flying low over the ocean waves. The sound of the water rolling and crashing onto the quiet shore is constant, and in some mystical way, soothing to the soul.

As I look through the railing on the deck I see little spider webs, and I can't help but notice how they obscure the view of the ocean below. Not unlike the bars and webs that seek to obscure the vision of the eyes of my heart. So, I ask You, Lord, clear my vision. Better yet, remove the webs and spindly rails that seek to shut my heart up and hold it prisoner.

From my journal for instance...

Having survived the fourth annual trip to the beach house... ("When are we going to get there?" "Where is everyone going to sleep?" "Why are my clothes all wet?")... I find myself fighting for joy. I guess I have placed too much pressure on "vacation at the beach". If I can't find joy here away from the hustle and bustle of life, amidst the beauty of Your creation, can I ever find it?

My heart knows deep down that true joy is only found in You, but sometimes in the midst of the constant barrage of pain and struggle, I find You elusive. Forgive my lack of understanding and courage. Thank You for Your never-ending patience with me.

Open my eyes to Your glory in the midst of it all. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reading Like Crazy

One of the things I love about summer, is the great opportunity to read more! I have definitely been enjoying it. Here are a few of the titles that I have read or am reading this summer. I love to hear about good books, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!

I recently finished the book, "Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life", by Nick Vujicic. What an enjoyable read! I encourage you to get your hands on a copy and be blessed by this young man's story and encouragement. I promise it will make you smile. : )

Yesterday, I finished reading "The Twelfth Imam", by Joel C. Rosenberg. It is a novel about the end times theology of the Muslims, and how it affects the lives of, well, all of us. If you are curious about eschatology, Mr. Rosenberg's books (fiction and non-fiction) will definitely give you some in depth information about the things going on in the Middle East, and how it ties in with Biblical prophecy. Mr. Rosenberg also has a ministry called "The Joshua Fund" that reaches out to the Jewish people and her neighbors. Check out his website.

I am currently reading, "Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible", by Steven Furtick. This is a great one to read if you need to inspire your faith. He challenges all believers to pray "Sun Stand Still" prayers like Joshua, in all areas of our lives. I'm enjoying it, and getting some great reminders as I read. I'll probably go back through this one, and share some quotes in a later post.

Also currently reading or about to read the following:

The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World, by Richard Stearns

The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken, by Naomi Zacharias (I've started this one and it's not going to be an "easy" read, but definitely profound and good.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Marty, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile Vs. The Third Reich, by Eric Metaxas

Don't Waste Your Life, by John Piper

There's a few more, but I'll stop there for now. God bless you! Grab a book, a glass of tea, sit back in a read!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Exhausted From Sorrow

I ran across something in Scripture yesterday that I hadn't noticed before. It is found in Luke 22. The chapter starts with Judas agreeing to betray Jesus, then moves to the Last Supper, and on to the Mount of Olives. This is where we will zoom in:

Luke 22:39-46
"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you will not fall into temptation.' He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 'Why are you sleeping?' he asked them. 'Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.'" (Emphasis mine)
There are several things that have captured my attention with this passage. One of them is the simple fact that I'd never really noticed the phrase "exhausted from sorrow". When I had read this passage before, I found myself annoyed that the disciples could fall asleep while Jesus was in such agony just a "stone's throw beyond them." Now, however, I see them through more compassionate and hopefully understanding eyes. Plus, I realize how very much I am like them. In recent experiences I have found myself "exhausted from sorrow". Sleep was a very appealing thing. I can only imagine all of the emotion surrounding the circumstances they found themselves in. Of course they wanted to just go to sleep! Look at Jesus' response to them upon finding them asleep (again). "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Jesus was aware of their exhaustion and their suffering. However, He knew that their immediate need was prayer against temptation. Remember, He had told them when they first arrived at that place to pray. He KNEW what was coming. This, to me, is another example of the importance of our remaining in constant fellowship with Jesus, and really listening to what He says. He knows what we need, when we need it. There are times He will tell us to, "be still, and know that He is God", and then there will be times that even in spite of (and often because of), exhaustion from sorrow, He will tell us to "get up and pray, so that we will not fall into temptation." It is often when we are at our most vulnerable that the enemy of our souls will try to lead us away from our very life and strength.

Look at part of the passage again, and notice the example that Jesus gave.
"He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed. 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."
Jesus was in anguish. What did he do? He prayed more earnestly. Oh, how we need to follow His example.

Notice one more thing about this passage. As Jesus was submitting His life in prayer to the Father, "An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him."

My encouragement to anyone who is exhausted from sorrow, is to pray. Seek the One who has walked the path of sorrow and anguish before you. If your greatest need is truly a nap, He will lead you to peaceful sleep. If temptation is about to knock on your door, He may very well tell you to get up, and pray!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Speaking of Gifts

In the last post, I mentioned that sometimes the simplest gifts can be the most profound. Recently, I stumbled upon the book, "One Thousand Gifts", by Ann Voskamp. I could tell that reading it would be a gift, so I bought seven copies! One for myself, and some to give away. If you haven't heard about it yet, you will. If you have, then you are assuredly reaping the rewards of Ann's gifting. She is an amazing poet. So, I must admit that sometimes her use of language seems elusive to me (my problem not hers). However, when I take time to really drink in the words, they settle in and find a place to grow! Oh! To be able to communicate with such beauty. Alas, I do well to get a sentence out without completely butchering the English language, not to mention punctuation!?

In the book, the reader is challenged just as the author was, to begin a list of one thousand gifts. Not to be left out of this adventure I have started my own list. As many readers of the book are doing, I will share it here on the blog. Giving thanks is an attitude-changing experience. For when you are giving thanks, your mind is not as likely to be engaged in lesser activities (ie., grumbling, complaining, doubting, etc.). It does take some discipline (as all things good for us do). You will find it well worth the effort. The more you practice thanksgiving, the ease and joy with which you do it may surprise you! So, here's the beginning of my list....

1. the sacred ability to give thanks
2. the fresh-baked aroma in the house after the girls baked some cakes.
3. background music
4. the gift of one more snow day (a day off from school for happy kids and spouse)
5. the glittering dance of sunlight on ice-covered trees
6. those first few moments of quiet after everyone has made it out the door for school and work
7. breathing in and out all without a thought from me
8. the chatter and laghter of four 5th and 6th grade girls in my van on the way to Math Olympics in Vermont
9. holding hands with my sweetheart as we watch our firstborn and only son perform in his first High School musical
10. the beautiful smile on aforementioned son's face during the curtain call
11. a father/daughter Sunday afternoon walk
12. a Sunday afternoon bike ride with friends for the firstborn
13. a few moments of quiet time for the mom
14. reconnecting with an old friend (on Facebook) from my Focus on the Family days
15. relaxing on the chaise with my baby "Em" and she asks me a question about Heaven...
16. conversing about Jesus' return, she expresses her hopefulness that He will come back soon...then falls asleep still snuggled up next to me
17. Though I am inadequate, He is All-Sufficient, and He lives in me.
18. Though I am incomplete, He lacks nothing, and He lives in me. In Him I am complete.
19. Divine intervention. God in the shadows - the lost being found, a reminder that He hasn't forgotten me...
20. the UPS truck arriving to the delight of three prcious daughters who have been sick for days
21. happy girls with favorite-colored streamers in hand praise and worship joy-filled though still sick
22. finishing another good book
23. the faithful who have walked the narrow path before us
24. two new tunes (for free) on my ipod
25. hearing the rolling thunder..."Thy power throughout the universe displayed"

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Chicken Update!

I know. I said I hated the chickens. Not really true. Hate is too strong a word. More than anything, I was just mad that the whole experience was bringing such sadness to some of my children. However, after all was said and done, we were left with three of the ten; two roosters and one hen. They are still around, and Jewel, the lone hen, lays a lovely brown egg almost every day. It's like getting a little gift! A small little oval reminder of God's genius. His extraordinary fingerprints on the seemingly ordinary things in life.

Often in the midst of pain and suffering, such little gifts and reminders can be found, but we can miss them if we are not intentional about receiving them. Open wide the eyes of your heart, look for the little gifts that are deposited in your life. You might be very surprised at how they arrive. Who would have thought several months ago, that I would look at the egg of a chicken as a gift? Sometimes the simplest of gifts can be the most profound! By the way, Happy New Year!