Thursday, April 30, 2009

Missing Socks


Why do I put 12 socks in the washer and only find 11 in the laundry basket?

What is going on in that dryer?!

Although I have a lot of experience with it, I hope there's a greater purpose to my life than playing matchmaker to single socks!

Today I decided to go on the offensive and, before they were tossed into their hot water bath, every pair of socks were pinned together.

We'll see if this just means they'll run off in pairs now or if this will save them from the Bermuda Triangle known as the dryer. They are bound together so maybe they just can't slip off into the great unknown...?

Do you think God was thinking about missing socks when he inspired the words of Deuteronomy 11: 18 " Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."?

There's a principle in there connecting that verse and my safety pinned socks.
What? You're asking aren't you? What could that possibly be?

I took some extra effort to keep my socks together, so that one would not disappear when they're tossed into a churning washer and the spinning dryer.

Oh, I have days that feel like that don't you?

I may find a word from the Lord in the morning but by the time I'm in the midst of life by 10 am that word has vanished from my mind - Swept away by all the commotion.

Perhaps in order to fix God's word on my mind and heart I first need to do something akin to binding it onto my hands and forehead. While an ancient Jew may have chosen a phylactery, I think I'll use a post-it note; on my fridge, or the car dashboard, or on my to-do list.

Who knows? I may end up with socks in pairs and a word from God I'll be able to keep in mind throughout the day and both would be a very good thing!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Little Something Special

Every day I pack lunches for school. They're usually variations on the standard sandwich, fruit, chips, and something sweet.

Most mornings I try to find something to make them special. A favorite cookie, the sandwich cut into a heart shape, or something different. In the afternoon I wait for them to say, "Wow, thanks mom for that special thing you packed for me today" and they rarely do, because there's something special so often they don't recognize it as special.

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." Psalms 68:19

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23



"Through each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life." Psalms 42:8

Seems like I too may be guilty of not realizing and expressing thanks for all the special things that are prepared each day for me...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Decisions

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both,

And being one traveler..."
And there's the problem isn't it? We are only one traveler and because we are only one, and we can only take one road; decisions must be made...

"And being one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth..."

And that would be the next problem.
The road curves.
We can peer down it as long and as hard as we can but we won't know what's ahead until we're committed to the path we've chosen.

Decisions.

And not the decision to wear the red shirt or the blue, these are weighty decisions, future affecting decisions, ones not to be taken lightly and that will most certainly cause one path to diverge far from the other...the "yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted that I would ever come back."

In this uncertain present economy and the always nebulous future we find ourselves in the position of the traveler with diverging roads and the question is as pertinent to day as when Robert Frost first penned the words of The Road Not Taken; which way to go?

What's the best decision?

From this vantage point one road does not have an advantage.
There is no sign saying "This is the best way". Wouldn't that be nice though?

It'd be great to have the ability to rise up above the roads and see where they lead, how they turn and where they eventually come out. But I am one traveler who does not have that ability or a map with such information.

I have two roads, diverging, and bending in the undergrowth.
So as I stand here peering, pondering, and predicting, as long as I can, I find solace in these words;

"Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should chose" Psalms 25:12

"For I am overwhelmed, and you alone know the way I should turn" Psalms 142:3

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 40:21

"All the way my Savior leads me what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercies who through life has been my guide?" Fanny Crosby

The One who knows the future also knows my heart. He knows my strengths and my struggles and He knows which path I am to take and even greater than that, He's promised to go with me.

"You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" Psalm 139:3,5,7

"God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' " Hebrews 13:5

"The LORD who created you says: Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God." Isaiah 43:1-3

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

I still may not be certain of the way to go, but no matter what is ahead I know the One who goes with me.

Does that make it simple?
It should, but still I'm anxious and unsure.

And then I remember "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He understands how weak we are; He knows we are only dust." Psalms 103:13,14

He even understands my hesitancy and when I tentatively take those first steps down an unknown path, He goes with me holding my hand.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazing Love!



Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time.
He never sinned, but he died for sinners
that He might bring us safely home to God.
I Peter 3:18

Friday, April 10, 2009

Labels

We all have many labels. Some are factual; neighbor, co-worker, others are opinions; hard working, temperamental, good-looking etc.

John, in his gospel, had a label. It’s how he identifies himself but it also seems that this term defined his life.

He calls himself as “the one whom Jesus loved”. It’s used numerous times in his gospel. At first glance it seems a bit ostentatious to call himself the disciple Jesus loves but… isn’t it the truth?

This is how John saw himself.
Not as a disciple, son of thunder, fisherman, or Galilean but as the one Jesus loves.

How do we know this?
Look where we find him.
He is the one always at Jesus’ side: he’s part of the inner three, next to Jesus at the last supper, still with Him even at the foot of the cross and given the care of Mary, and with Peter Easter morning at the tomb peering in at the folded grave clothes and believing. John is the one who, when the disciples are fishing after the resurrection, recognizes that it is the Lord on the shore asking them if they’ve gotten any fish.

John viewed himself as loved and therefore lived his life loving Christ.
If we viewed ourselves in the same way, wouldn’t we also live our life in the same manner; close to His side and recognizing Him?

If you knew down deep in your heart that you were _________(your name here) the one Jesus loves, how would it change your perceptions and therefore how you live your life?

It’s true. You know it is.
Now live conscious of it. Revel in it. You are the one Jesus loves.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Words that bear repeating

I never done this before and I'm not sure if this constitutes plagiarism but...! :) These are powerful words from Max Lucado for this weekend and for me it gave a fresh realization from a familiar story. You may end up sharing these words as well!

A Cry of Victory
by Max Lucado

“It is finished.”

Stop and listen. Can you imagine the cry from the cross? The sky is dark. The other two victims are moaning. The jeering mouths are silent. Perhaps there is thunder. Perhaps there is weeping. Perhaps there is silence. Then Jesus draws in a deep breath, pushes his feet down on that Roman nail, and cries, “It is finished!”
What was finished?

The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished. The task of selecting and training ambassadors was finished. The job was finished. The song had been sung. The blood had been poured. The sacrifice had been made. The sting of death had been removed. It was over.

A cry of defeat? Hardly. Had his hands not been fastened down I dare say that a triumphant fist would have punched the dark sky. No, this is no cry of despair. It is a cry of completion. A cry of victory. A cry of fulfillment. Yes, even a cry of relief.
It’s over.
An angel sighs. A star wipes away a tear.
“Take me home.”
Yes, take him home.
Take this prince to his king.
Take this son to his father.
Take this pilgrim to his home.
(He deserves a rest.)
“Take me home.”
Come ten thousand angels!
Come and take this wounded troubadour to the cradle of his Father’s arms!
Farewell manger’s infant.
Bless You holy ambassador.
Go Home death slayer.
Rest well sweet soldier.
The battle is over.

From His Name is Jesus© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009) Max Lucado

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My IEP

IEP-to some of us it's a familiar term and, although the first time I was made aware of the need for one and had that subsequent feeling of "ugh", it's a good term. It means that my child will get the help they need to succeed despite their personal difficulties that make learning more of a challenge than for the average student.

The term stands for individualized educational plan. And in it's simplest concept "it is designed to meet the unique educational needs of one child, tailored to the individual student's needs and must help teachers understand the student's disability and how the disability affects the learning process. In other words, the IEP should describe how the student learns, how the student best demonstrates that learning and what teachers will do to help the student learn more effectively."

It is personalized instruction based on the student's abilities.

Don't we all posses a particular set of strengths and weaknesses, of ability and disabilities?

I've no doubt there is an IEP filed in heaven in my name...

Strengths: a quick learner, good comprehension, eager to understand
Weaknesses: short memory, needs concrete reinforcement of concepts, prone to wander
Accommodations: continual reinforcement by concrete examples of previously understood concepts, gentle patience on the part of the instructor along with unconditional and unfailing love.

If we, in our finite wisdom, can craft IEP's and provide specific instruction so that each student can succeed why would we doubt for a moment that Almighty God is able to speak to us so that we can hear and understand Him?

What He uses to speak to my heart may not be the same way He reaches you. While I may learn quickly and forget just as quickly perhaps you need to wrestle with a concept for a long time until you make it you own but then you never forget. While I am prone to distraction perhaps once you are engaged you are fiercely focused. The beauty of this is that it doesn't matter how we learn but that we will.

Isaiah 44:21 says, "I, the Lord, have made you, and I will not forget to help you." What reassurance!

In Psalms 139 we find that "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb."

God knows your unique mix of abilities. He made you that way.
He knows your love language for it is He that gave you that particular way of hearing and expressing love.
He knows your name.
He knows your heart and He's promised over and over again that if we turn our hearts to Him, if we seek Him, that we will find Him. And I promise that He will present himself to you in exactly the way you need to be able to see Him, because that is the very reason we were created and the message of Calvary; God wants us to be in relationship with Him.

You know the old joke of don't ever pray for patience because... :)
Sometimes God does bring the storm to get our attention, but that is not His only educational tool. He can speak to us in a still quiet voice through His Word, through a friend, a song, a sermon, a book, a moment of clarity, or the inspiration of nature.
God is the master teacher.

He knows how you learn, how you listen,and how to bring you down the path of your own journey of faith making you more like Christ until you are safely home.

I created you and cared for you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:3

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Your Inbox


I was welcomed home by this screen. Wow, 20 messages in one day - that's a lot for me...!
I scrolled through the senders and subject lines...scrolling... scrolling...scrolling down, than scrolling up and there it was, the one message I really needed to read. The rest were sales and opportunities, chatter from facebook and notification of upcoming sales...all stuff that could have been addressed to me or a thousand of my closest friends - the cyberspace equivalent to snail mail's "To the resident of..."

We are bombarded with words. Now more than ever with printed words and ads and emails and texts and twitter. Just messages flying at us all day every day. Indiscriminately.

In all those words, messages and kilobytes only one was really for my actual benefit and not a store's bottom line or someone else's agenda. There was one message that was truth and encouragement, the quality hidden amongst the quantity.

Things clamor all day every day for your attention.
Does the most important message get through all the verbiage?
Did you hear from God today? Did you take the opportunity to turn the pages and find His words of love and encouragement, of honesty and hope that He has for you this day?

There is no end in the Inbox of your life to people asking you for this or that, or telling you what to do and when and how, or how you didn't do this or that. There's the constant presentation of offers you can't refuse or opportunities you shouldn't...but do you hear that still small voice? Do you hear the voice that says you are loved and that "I am with you", not merely in presence as in "God is everywhere" but with you, involved in your life, mindful of your concerns, aware of your situation. Did you open that message today? It's there, waiting...