Monday, February 28, 2011


"A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child."  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hard words. 
Words that wound.
Words that scar.  And I am guilty.

Delicate souls have been entrusted to my care.  They need to be nurtured in love, tended with care, enveloped in gentleness.  All too often gentleness falls away, self-control flees, and tempers rise. 

This mirror is a difficult gaze.  Sometimes I don't want to linger to long at this reflection of myself. . . for what I see is ugly.  Sin ravaged soul, dark shadowed heart, sharp wicked tongue. 

When the sin is unto myself, where only I reap the consequences, that is one thing.  But when the fragile spirit of a child is hurt by my belittling, careless words, that is another thing altogether.

It is true that you cannot take back what has been spoken.  Once it has escaped your heart and fallen on listening, trusting ears, the words can never be retrieved.  The slicing syllables make their mark.

I am so very sorry for words I have spoken in anger. 

I am meant to be a guardian for my children, protecting them from ungodly culture, from the harshness of peers, a shelter from this stormy world.  Slowly, an enemy has crept into our lives, our home, our minds.  Our family shows disrespect instead of love, rebellion instead of humility, hurt instead of healing. 

Praise God for grace!  He knows and He forgives!  We confess to Him and one another the sins that have bound us.  There is hope for change.  There is new life in Him. 

My new goal is not to take one day at a time, but one moment at a time. . .surrendering to Him the heartbeat of now, laying down my self, and seeking to follow Him in this moment. 

Help me Father on this journey of knowing You and loving You better with my words, thoughts, and actions.

I am thankful for. . .

36.  second chances
37.  warm days in February!
38.  hikes in the woods
39.  silly girls who fall into streams and laugh at the wildness
40.  boys who love rockets, airplanes, and bugs
41.  little ones who grab your hand and say, "I need you!"
42.  birthday parties
43.  windows that bring in the breeze
44.  morning whispers that remind you He is near

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E,  Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe." 

I used to sing the words to this song as a child.  Carefully spelling out the word obedience, so proud of myself for not mixing up the i and the e.  Now I realize the poems and songs we learn as children are meant to teach us lessons that go far deeper than correct spelling.  But those simple lessons are the foundation for building a strong life in Christ.

I have learned hard lessons in obedience this week.  It has been a long time since I have looked deep into my heart, my attitudes, and my actions to realize the sin that has been lurking there.  It is so easy to push the little seeds of bitterness under the rug, or hide that rebellion in the shadows,  or disguise the pride with masks of religion.  But I have been exposed.  The light has come into this hardened heart and pointed out all those wretched sins that darken and enslave me.  I am undone in the light of His holiness, and the only thing I can do is confess, repent, and pray for His strength to fill me.

This silly example of my foolishness this week may be humorous, but God finds no humor in sin.  I have had trouble recently finding comfort in food instead of the Lord and have been eating out more than I should (it doesn't help that we live near "breakfast row" complete with Biscuitville, Bojangles, and Cracker Barrel).  My husband has asked me not to eat out quite so much to help our budget and my waistline, but I am often found running through the drive thru, just for a snack.  I knew the Lord wanted me to respect my husband, but the Cranberry Orange muffins with sugar crystals on top were calling my name.  I rationalized it away, thinking at least I wasn't buying sausage biscuits with gravy (this time) muffins were much healthier.  As I pulled up and placed my order, just dreaming of the satisfying sweetness that awaited, the cashier told me it would be 3 minutes for my order and to please pull forward.  No problem, I thought.  As I waited ten minutes in the car (gas wasting) my patience grew thin.  How long does it take to warm up a crazy muffin? I asked aloud to the radio.  Impatience grew into anger and anger into full blown wrath.  As the fifteen minute mark passed I parked the car, slammed the door, and stomped inside the restaurant to see what was taking so long?!?  You could see fumes rising from my head as I stood in the back of the long line glaring at the cashier.   He glanced my way and I seized the moment to sarcastically say "Drive thru!" as I pointed outside to my car.  He sheepishly told his manager behind him to fill the order, and she apologized as she handed me my order, which I snatched away quickly with a quiet "thank you."  I arrived back home with goodies in hand only to find that my children had been wreaking havoc on their rooms as my husband got ready for work.  They had dumped toys, clothes, books, and whatever else they could find all over the floor and had pulled on the window blinds so hard they fell off and broke in two.  Of course, my anger got the better of me over that and the entire morning was spent wallowing in sin.

The point of this story is that sin breeds sin.  My one little self indulgence, that I knew was wrong, led to impatience, anger, wrath, malice, strife, and the list goes on and on.  I had done the things that God hates.  I had grieved my Lord and my God.  If I had only chosen to OBEY. . . the day could have been beautiful, but instead the day was wrecked with sin and consequences of sin. 

This little experience woke me up to other sins in my life and I learned I can choose not to sin.  I am not a slave to sin, because He has made me free!  Free in Christ!  I also learned that His Spirit leads me, if only I am willing to listen.  His still, small voice of peace is leading and directing my steps, He wants to tell me His will and His way.  He wants me to be holy.

"Be ye holy, for I am holy."

So this sin needs to leave, Christ needs to reign.  He longs for me to be like Him - Holy.  The first step is obedience.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What am I worshiping?

In our Bible lessons, we are studying with the children, we are going through the book of Exodus.  The wide-eyed child wonder is contagious as we learn and really think about the Israelites wandering through the desert, sustained on heaven sent manna, evening quail, and Elim's deep waters.  But it seems His people are ever complaining, imagining their life in Egypt when they had warm homes, plenty of food, markets full of cloth and spices - convenient living. 

Traveling through miles of dusty wilderness God stops them at Sinai's base to give them His rules for living.  Moses ascends the mountain, as the rocky giant quakes in the presence of the Lord.  Thunder, lightning, and smoke cover the Most High and Moses speaks with God.  The commandments are given and the messenger tells the Israelite nation God's laws.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything..."  Exodus 20:4

"Do not fear, for God has come to test you. . . so that you may not sin."  Exodus 20:20

His perfect law is sent, so that we may not sin, so that we will know right and wrong, black and white rules spoken by the voice of Almighty God.  Then Moses returns up to the mountain to gaze on Glory and receive more instructions for tabernacle worship.  The leader lingers, the people wait. . .and wait. . . and wait.  Their eyes and hearts and minds wander from the things of God.  Impatience reigns, boredom creeps in, idol thoughts quietly settle into their minds. 

"Come, make us gods that shall go before us," the people cry. Exodus 32:1

"Bring me your gold,"  Aaron replies.  Aaron - who once defied Pharoah, stood beside Moses as he led them across the Red Sea, leader of worship - and now molder of idol.

We all know this story how the chosen ones of God forsake His Word and His will and worship the golden calf.  They pour all that is precious to them into this god symbol, their gold, their sacrifices, their souls. 

I judge quickly, these chosen ones.  "You just saw the hand of God deliver you from slavery, carry you through the sea and wilderness.  You saw as He sustained you with food and water, gave you clothes and shoes that didn't wear out, and spoke from mountaintops with lightning and smoke.  What is wrong with you?  Why would you defy His command to not make any graven image?  Why would you go seeking the world when you have the Maker of the world right above you?"

Then I remember . . . I am the same.

All too often my hours are spent watching man made objects.  The world calls through television or music or the computer.  Calling to come and take pleasure, come rest awhile in comfortable delight.  Come and give your time (your life) to golden gods.

Sometimes my idols come in packages that are good unto themselves, but when they take the place of God, it is worship.  Frequently my children are given that place in my heart that should only be reserved for my King.  When my need to fulfill their desires, to lavish and not instruct them, when I love them more than my God, it is sin. 

Lately, food has been erected in my heart as an object of worship.  Without realizing it, I find myself searching for comfort in what I consume.  Ahhh...chocolate. . . who can resist?  I can and I should.  When I search for comfort in cravings and not my Creator, it has become an idol.

The list goes on and on.  Me, a chosen one, choosing not to find my strength, hope, and comfort in Him.  Idolator.  Ouch!

So here I am, an Israelite of sorts, forgetting the marvelous work of salvation and redemption the Lord has done in my life.  Forgetting how He has walked me through valleys and lavished His blessings upon me.  Forgetting to look up. . . and looking around.  Looking for something I can see or grasp in my hands to give my worship unto. 

Only when Moses returns and casts down the idol, grinds it up into dust, and makes the Israelites drink it does the idolatry end.  What a stomach ache that must have been!  And coming face to face with your own idols is a hard pill to swallow, but it must be done.  My idols must be crushed and never looked upon again with the same adoration.  Nothing is to take the place of God in my heart.  Nothing.


My gratitude list continues, I am thankful . . .

31.  for commandments to follow that expose my sin and draw me closer to Him

32.  to know I am not alone on this journey

33.  for best friends to share the sorrow and hope

34.  for revival

35.  for a church that seeks to do the will of God

Saturday, February 19, 2011

United in Christ

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. . ."  Acts 2:44

A prayer over a meal at church tonight left me pondering the thought. . . what brought all of us together?  What can a mechanic, chaplain, lab technician, schoolteacher, stay at home mom, and nurse have in common that would cause us to drop our lives and fellowship with one another?  How could all of our paths possibly have met to form bonds of friendship and love?

The answer. . . Christ.

I know you because I know Him. 

He is the common link.  It is in seeking the Savior that we found each other.  It is out of obedience to Him and  hearts willing to serve that we have found one another. 

I thought of all the people I had met throughout life.  Friendships in childhood stemming from a healthy church life.  Running wild through mountain meadows with ponytailed girls who loved laughter and the Lord.  Kindred spirits growing in grace.  Later in high school days, learning sign language to songs, to praise my Savior.  Learning more about Him in an atmoshpere of love, challenging one another to forsake hypocrisy and embrace full life in Christ.  Going to college, feeling the freedom of salvation through worship and friendship.  Late nights in dorms chatting about cafeteria food, boys, and God's will.  Seminary days with a new husband, joining a beautiful community of saints - going deep in the Word - fleshing out the Gospel.  Then serving in the church, serving the body of Christ as pastor's wife, Sunday School teacher. . . humbled by gray haired saints, speaking wisdom to young ears.  And now, finding a new body of believers to share in the joy of Christ.  Putting away the masks, embracing the truth, being real with real God followers.

My lifetime has overflowed with relationships - but how did I know every single one of these people?
Because of Christ.  He is the answer.  He is the one who binds us.

In our yearning to seek Him we have found each other. 

In our striving for the Savior, He has given us a great gift.  The gift of community.  The gift of friendship.  The gift of knowing we are not alone in this walk.  The gift of helping, encouraging, admonishing, uplifting other soldiers of the cross. 

Imagine what God must see when He looks down from high heaven on His beloved creation.  At any given moment there are thousands of prayers being offered up on wind's whispers to find their way to the ears of the Caring One.  Men and women, old and young, black, white, brown, yellow, a million beautiful faces looking up to the Father.  Thousands of men and women serving every day to be the hands and feet of the Gospel - speaking the Good News, caring for the widowed and orphaned, serving the homeless, writing words to encouarge others in their faith, crying with the broken friend, baking for the sickness stricken home - all of these acts of love being done because of the greatest Love. 

We find our unity in Christ.  We are one in Him alone.

We are eternally bonded to one another through the Savior. 

Paul's words say it best - read the Word slowly - soak it in - let it be lived in you.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."  Romans 15:5-7

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

God Comes In the Quiet

One of my favorite passages of Scripture comes from I Kings 19:11-13.
We find Elijah completely exhausted, running for his life, and wanting to die.  He had just walked for forty days and nights across barren land and was hiding in a cave.  Then the Lord speaks, "What are you doing here Elijah?"  What was he doing there?  Was he just needing a little peace and quiet?  Did he really want life to end?  Was he tired of listening to wicked queens and idol worshiping prophets?  Was it all just too much?  Do I go cave dwelling too?

The Father says, "I want to show you something, go stand over there, on the edge of the mountain, for the LORD is about to pass by."  (taken from v. 11)

Then a powerful wind shatters the rocks, a mighty earthquake ravages the earth, and a raging fire storms the land.  But the Lord was not in these.  No, the Creator came in a "gentle whisper."  The very presence of God was revealed in quiet breath floating across the air. 

He has revealed Himself in this way all along, or do we forget the breath of life that gave Adam his beginning.  The very name of Yahweh - YHWH- the sound of a whisper.  Noah's rainbow covenant stretched across the winds' breathy home.  The pillar of cloud moved by the windy breath of God to lead His people out of bondage to the Promised Land.  This intangible mystery - the breath of God - the Almighty is here and He speaks (to us).

So often I am too busy watching the whirlwind, the earthquake, the fire to stop. . . to listen. . .to wait. . . for the whisper.

God comes in the quiet. 

He comes when we stop the busyness and dwell in the solitude.  He wants to be alone. . .with me.  He wants to tell me so many things, but rarely do I slow my wheels, turn off this ever running engine and listen.  Even if I do pause, sometimes I'm afraid.  Afraid of what He might say, because I know it will demand obedience or refusal on my part.  Sometimes I want to dwell in my cave a little longer and soothe my own hurts, seek my own self. . .  but He is the answer to all of those hurts, He is the balm that soothes the soul.

What now?  Wait. . .

Wait some more. . .

When the time is right, when the soul is calm, when the whilrwinds are over He will speak. . .

Listen.  Obey.

I have heard His voice before and I am always taken by surprise at the peace, authority, and love it breathes over me.  He is speaking, if only I will hear. . . His words. . . the Word.


"We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us.  Why are we so terrified lest God speak to us?  Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. . . Lord cause Thy glorious voice to be heard in this place and in my soul."      - Oswald Chambers

Monday, February 14, 2011

Redeeming Love

I love the story of Hosea and Gomer - how they make me smile and cry.  Prophet made husband to promiscuous wife. Holy and heated. 

I love how Hosea obeyed God even when it was hard.  Imagine being called by God to preach to His people, called out to be separate, a righteous man of God sent to give a message.  But then the Holy One asks him to marry a woman who will prove to be unfaithful.  What?  Perhaps we didn't hear you right, Lord?  You couldn't have said. . . Just think about the humility, heartache, and confusion Hosea must have felt.  And what if he hadn't obeyed at all, then we would never know who Hosea was, but he obeyed God even when it was confusing and difficult and contradictary. 

My little girl struggles so much with going to bed at bedtime - she always says, "but it's soooo hard."  And then I remember my own day, when I completely felt the Spirit telling me to share the Good News with a neighbor, but my thoughts were, "what willl they think, what if it changes our relationship."  Sometimes obedience is hard, but it is always right.

Hosea and Gomer became one.  They made a commitment, a love covenant with one another, married.  Hosea's amazing example of God's unwavering, extravagent love always makes me smile.  His promise held true.  He remained faithful to his wife "in good times and in bad."  He was a rock and fortress of love.  Gomer bears a son and their family grows.  Babe sleeping in mother's arms as father looks on, "We will name him Jezreel."  Questioning look, patient answer, "the Lord has named him."  As a remembrance of the horrific battle at Jezreel and the blood that must be avenged.

Then things change, Gomer's heart wanders, she goes outside of the sweet marriage relationship to seek the world.  Unfaithful, adulterous woman.  I already know I am Gomer.  I already see the reflection of my life seeking things for myself, laughing with the world, finding pleasure in things not of my God.  Unfaithful, adulterous woman.

Two more children born from adulterous affairs, found in the arms of uncaring men.  She earnestly seeks to find love, affection, attention. . . when all along it was right there waiting patiently for her - at home.  Steadfast husband longing for his wife, hoping to catch adoring moments with her, but she is nowhere to be found, and returns home bearing the weight of sin in the form of a child.  We carry our sins when we fail to repent.  Hard, burdensome journeys of sin loads that hurt and scar.

God gives warning when we have gone too far, when our self seeking has taken us out of his sight.  Thus, his warning - Lo-Ruhamah - No Compassion.  God's wrath will not be put off forever.  His mercy is great, but sin must be punished.  Lo-Ammi - "you are not my people and I am not your God." We lose identity with Him when we continually lust after the world.

The crowd is thick as Hosea pushes his way to the front of the group.  The slave market smells of hot shame.  Sweaty men with fist fulls of gold bidding for their newest girl.  Loud voices shouting out their hunger for more.  Then she comes out, clothes torn, dirt streaked arms, knotted matts of black hair covering her ashen face, but she has never looked more beautiful, because she has been found and she belongs to him

"I want her!" the timid preacher shouts holding up all he has to redeem her, to save her from this life of shame.  The auctioneer looks around to see who has spoken and if there are any more bids.  No one else wants this dirty, sin worn woman.  "Sold!" he calls as he points to Hosea.  She slowly looks up to see her new master. . .slow tears wash streams of hope down her face.  Why is he here?  After all I've done. . . how can he?

He helps her down and they walk silently to a quiet alley.  His love looks straight through her as their eyes meet and he tells her plainly, "you are to live with me many days, you must not be a prostitute or intimate with any man, and I will live with you."  Hosea 3:3

God lays out His law for us to follow.  He makes it clear the paths we are to take and the ones we are to flee.  We must follow His ways completely or suffer the consequences of our sin.

She has been redeemed, bought with a price and now she belongs fully to him.  Her life is no longer her own, but she already knows the freedom that is in the arms of her redeemer.  She has tasted the steadfast and complete love of this man, whose very own name means "salvation."

Hosea takes Gomer home to their three children.  His commitment never wavered.  He was faithful to the end.  My God, faithful to me to the end.

I am thankful. . .

23.  for his faithfulness
24.  for his stories of deep meaning that teach life lessons
25.  for letting me see
26.  for amazing forgiveness
27.  for a Redeemer
28.  for purchasing me, though it cost Him His Son
29.  for saving me from sin
30.  for freedom in Christ

Friday, February 11, 2011


“Friendship is the only thing that will show up at our funerals,” Ann Voskamp. 

Why do I run from them so?  I was created for relationship, the ultimate relationship being with my Creator and Sustainer, my Savior, my God.  Why does the thought of picking up a telephone to call someone I love, choke and entangle my mind?  Why does the sound of little feet running to my bedroom at the breaking of every dawn leave me suffocated, struggling for air, for freedom. 

One day when my crown becomes gray I know I will long for this communion, for this everyday intimacy.  This dungeon my thoughts have created for me have certainly trapped me for unseen time.  I long for the mind of my youth, where thoughts were pure and simple, untainted by worldly indulgence.  To be free to be myself without doubt and inferiority, to love and be loved simply as it comes.  Maybe, one day… maybe I will embrace these loves that I think tie me down or disrupt my day.  There is hope, in Him, when I seek and obey. 

Please don't misunderstand - my children, my husband, my family, my church family - they are my life.  Everyday I pour my life into theirs, but sometimes the discourager comes and brings me down.  The enemy attacks my thoughts and my own defenses are useless.  My only hope is in my God.  The Creator who made every part of me knows my mournful thoughts, but He also knows that in these valleys there are lessons to be learned.  I must learn to rely on Him and Him alone.  I am nothing, He is everything.  Help me Lord, I pray.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I have always loved holidays, even more so since I have had children.  I remember when they were babies, stamping their sweet baby feet in red ink and sending Valentine cards to doting grandparents or sweet aunts and uncles.  Today, my older babies (7 and 5) made valentines for church friends and neighbor girls.  As I watched their still chubby hands signing their names I was reminded of the essence of love.  Love is something that is given.  Without restraint.  Free.  Pure.  Holy.

There is sweetness in love because, "God is Love."  He is the author, keeper, and definer of love.  And no love has been shown more purely than in the sacrifice of the Son. 

"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. . ."  and He did.  He laid it down, gave all, sacrificed beyond belief for us, his friends.  His created, dearly loved, stubborn, sin stained children.  The essence of love is found in Jesus.

Later on we are told, "dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."  I John 4:11
Love one another. 
Practice kindness. 
In word or deed or thought - love.
Take a meal to the new baby family.  Call your mom about her doctor's appointment.  Write a letter of encouragement to a hurting friend.  Send a valentine :)  Love the little ones around you - serve them their meals joyfully.  Love your spouse with listening ears or a soft kiss.  Simply love.

"If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."  I John 4:12
We are fleshing out the Gospel when we love. 
When we love, God lives in us. 
To love is to live.  To love is to know God.  To love is to obey. 
We are able to share in this great gift when we lay down our lives to give love.  We can be a part of this amazing grace story.  Invisible God is seen through our actions.  The hidden holy one is glimpsed by the lost and hurting world when we choose to  love.

So, live His love today.  Take this moment to know the heart of God and simply love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The mystery of love covenant given breath on our wedding day. Two lives made one by the Father. Combined being starting their walk together, never to diverge on separate paths, but to hold and carry one another across the mountains and through the thick valleys. To never walk alone, but alongside. Sharing, holding, needing, giving, loving. To hurt his hurt, to bear her burden, to cry and cling, to know. Holy gift of communion. Bonded unity, eternally one, sacred relationship.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


There cannot be enough said about the word encouragement. 

His word tells us to "encourage one another and build each other up."      
I Thess. 5:11

Encouragement is food for the soul, air to the lungs, a smile to the lips, and honey to the mouth.

Encouragement, when given at the right moment can shape a life.  I have seen and felt this in my own life.  I have a tendency to focus on my own little world, to put the blinders on and see only the daily things that affect me and my family.  When things aren't going well in my little world, I get discouraged, I pout, and on occassion throw myself into a full blown pity party.  But then, a kind friend, or sweet mother-in-law, or unaware blogger - plants a seed.  A seed that says you are doing a good job, and I noticed.  A seed that says you are not alone in this big wide world and I struggle with that too.  A seed that says I thought of you today and said a prayer. 

No matter how small, the seeds of encouragement supply growth - growth for the soul.

Barnabas was a great encourager to Paul in the Scriptures.  In fact, Barnabas was the one who brought Paul (Saul) before the apostles of the early church, so that he may join in their ministry.  Even when the apostles and others doubted Paul's conversion, Barnabas remained faithful to Paul (Acts 9:27).  The pair continued together through several missionary journeys, preaching in synagogues or in the streets proclaiming with boldness the message of our Lord Jesus.  Barnabas and Paul faced sorcerers, riotous crowds, and even stoning (Acts 14:19-20).  Through it all, Barnabas encouraged Paul and was there for him through thick and thin, which was a testimony of his faithful spirit. 

One thing about encouragement though, is that it is quiet. 
Encouragement comes when one person, in hushed humbleness, exalts or praises another, in order to lift the spirits and inspire a greater work in that individual. 

Encouragement puts others first. 
Encouragement notices the small to make one great.

So often in our culture we tend to find the shortcomings of others, the things that make us imperfect.  It comes naturally to criticize or see the wrong in someone else.  This is so wrong.  What if our Lord focused so intently on our imperfections, our sins, our blemishes?  I know my shortcomings could keep Him busy for a long time.  That is what makes me so thankful that He is a God of love, forgiveness, hope, and joy.  He calls us His children, and don't we love our children regardless.  How much more He loves us!

I was encouraged tonight by a wonderful group of ladies who meet together to study the Word.  So I want to pass along some of that encouragement. 

You are beautiful.
You have gifts that are uniquely yours.
You are loved.
You are sought after by a wonderful Savior.
You have a purpose.
You have been chosen to be His.
You are not alone.
Live your life with all that you are, because all we get is this one short life.

Monday, February 7, 2011


"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."  William Wordsworth

Wow!  At first, inspiration and passion fill my mind when I read this quote.  But then I linger a moment longer to really think about what makes my heart breathe. . .or sing. . .or dance.

So today I give thanks for the small, beautiful gifts in my life.  Today I am thankful for the things that fill my heart. 

12.  Bible studies with godly, encouraging women

13.  Coffee houses that serve love and smiles and the Word

14.  Red curls on my sweet, snuggly boy

15.  Remembering baby days and sweet grins

16.  Bathtime girls in warm towels ready for bedtime stories and snuggles

17.  A husband who loves me, even when I'm not very lovable

18.  Nebulizers for croup-stricken babes

19.  Bedtime songs by sweet girls trying so hard to fall asleep

20.  Warm Russian Tea on cold winter days (times 3 :)

21.  Like minded saints in sweet Sunday School class

22.  Truth

23.  Seekers of truth

24.  Grace, on cranky mommy days
25.  The unending faithfulness of my Lord

26.  Stories that teach children (and parents) to depend on the Lord for our daily needs (manna)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Greatest

By the side door of my home, near my keys and purse and coat, sits a box.  Just a small, simple, unpainted wooden box.  It's there as a reminder - to love. 

Years ago, when I taught Vacation Bible School we learned about Jewish traditions - the Passover meal, the tasseled prayer shawl of the rabbi, and the mezzuzah.  The mezzuzah is a box placed on the doorpost of every Jewish home that holds the words of the Shema, the greatest prayer and commandment of the Old Testament.  Whenever someone comes in or goes out of the doorway they are to touch the box and remember the words contained inside.  Some may even kiss their fingers before they place them on the box. 

How beautiful!  What a simple yet meaningful way to bring to life the words of the Word.

But how often do I miss it?  How often do I reach up for my keys to go and forget to touch, forget my Lord's command?

Today, I open the box and uncurl wrinkled and worn paper to read, to see, to hear. . .

"Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."  Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Be still and hear. 

Our God wants us to do something. . . to love Him.

Is what I'm about to do loving God?  Is where I'm going pleasing to Him?
Have I used my strength for His glory?
Is my soul filled and overflowing with love for my Lord, and am I telling others about Him?

While I'm walking along the road, or sitting in my home, or lying in my bed are my thoughts and words of Him? 

I am to bind these words on my hands and keep them in my mind.  These are words of life.  These are words of truth.  This is the will of God.

This is the path He has for me. . . to walk in His love. 
May I have the fortitude of heart and mind to keep this command before me every moment of every day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"The heavens declare the glories of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands..."  Psalm 19:1


Skies shouting.  Clouds clapping.  Winds whirling.  In praise.
Just look.  Stop the counter wiping and laundry folding and bathtub scrubbing to look - and truly see.
Look up.  The heavens saying with all their windy breath - praise.

He is to be praised! 
What an amazing Creator. 
What a truly magnificent, Almighty God!
My Alpha who started with light and water and clouds and formed our domed sky on day two.
An ever changing portrait of beauty that we can gaze upon whenever we look - up.

Perhaps He placed the sky above, so we would stop all of our looking around.
Stop the busyness, stop the comparing, stop the focus on the small to see the big picture.
Step back and see.

Sunrise glory.
Rising mist over blue tipped mountains.
Dancing, color swirling clouds.
Sequined stars.


Night jewels spread across the velvet cloak of darkness.
Fixed points of burning, fiery spheres raising praise.
Blue green gases, comets' hot tailed glow, bursts of light energy - for Him.
ALL created heavens lifting up their Maker.

We say with the heavens, Lord what a wonderful God you are!
These small, sheepish words could never express the glory that is You, Lord.
So, as the heavens declare their worship through their marvelous display of beauty, may my life in wordless grace and humility lift up the Most High.  May my small, simple life point to You and the only beautiful part of me, Your Spirit that lives inside.
*All pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.