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Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! (Must say it with a Gomer Pyle drawl)

surpriseI realize that not every surprise is a pleasant experience.  Yes, I’ve been on the boat of unpleasant surprises many times…You can ask the boat pilot whose name just happens to be Officer Gotcha  A.K.A.  Mr. “Can I see your License and Registration, please?” …Anyway, I am not naive to the fact that people may tend to connect surprises with a negative emotion, but I am also aware that surprises can be a wonderful thing.

Sometimes the unexpected is a great way to show someone that they are loved or a great way to feel that you are loved.  Here’s what I mean…You know you are loved when:

  • You go to work to find a surprise drawing on your computer wallpaper from your daughter that says, “I love you, Mom.” (Happened even with a post-it note this morning)
  • Your seven-year-old surprises you with a shoulder massage. ( It was actually a job well done)
  • Your co-worker brings to work your favorite dessert just to surprise you (Banana Pudding…. she is so thoughtful)
  • You receive an unexpected phone call from your friend who just called to say that you are loved (Makes me miss ’em)
  • Your health conscious husband surprises you with Krispy Kreme donuts on a Saturday morning while you sleep in.  (Okay, that one didn’t happen.. but it might if he sees that I wrote this)
  • Your husband surprises you by cleaning your office while you are in a meeting  (that one did happen!)
  • You wake up to a surprise of hundreds of plastic forks sticking up in your yard….. (Yes, you read that correctly… My neighbor and her accomplice put Howie Mandel, Allen Funt and Ashton Kutcher to shame)

See, not all surprises beat to a negative drum… some are just great reminders of how much you are loved… Okay, some might beg to differ about the whole fork thing but I’m leaning on the love side of the prank…forked yard

I’ve always felt that if those surprise moments were common place then they would mean nothing.

Take for instance the the story of Paul and Silas.  Here are these two guys in prison, chained up, praying and singing their hearts out … probably pretty annoying to the non-believers in earshot and the jailer who has to listen while he does his job… but they were singing praises while chained up when all of a sudden an earthquake type event happened… their chains are broken off and they, along with others, are now free.  I would imagine that the area was dark, possibly the jailer had a rock bump his head or maybe just in the panic of the situation, he, the jailer, had fail written on his forehead… he was ready to kill himself for slacking on the job and not keeping the prisoners in their places… earthquake or not.   Now, Paul and Silas were given the opportunity to flee… to get out of there fast.  But instead of running they surprised this man.  They, along with the other prisoners were still there.  They told him to not harm himself that everyone was still there and they weren’t going anywhere.  The jailer was shocked.  Their surprise stopped his suicide.  Instead of his tragic intention,  he was so blown away by their actions that he wanted to know more about who they were singing about.  In reality, I guess their surprise showed so much love that he was changed then and there.  He had Paul and Silas come to his home and he became a follower of Christ.   Had this guard been used to seeing prisoners who had the opportunity to flee and didn’t……if this had been normal behavior that Paul and Silas had shown then their actions would have meant nothing.

Just like my family… if they did all of those things mentioned above on a daily basis then I would probably soon forget the importance of what they were trying to show me.  Maybe it is not so bad to surprise others…

I think I know who my surprise “victim” will be today ….and I won’t even use forks.

Who needs a surprise from you today?

Acts 16: 22-40

22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

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Posted by on July 10, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Andy Griffithson is on!

It is so great when kids say or do something that you don’t want to forget.  Our kids have loaded us up with andygriffith-castplenty..here are a few:

  • “Andy Griffithson is on!”
  • “Mom, do I know Jack Squat?”
  • “Can I watch MacGyvie?”
  • “Grandpa, if you’d eat more carrots then you wouldn’t need a flashlight.”-exasperated while searching with her grandfather for a flashlight

And that is just the start… there’s more…..

  • “Ummm, It’s not my day”- referring to assigned chores
  • “Would you tell her to…. (the list is too long)”
  • “But she gets to.”
  • “But you get to”
  • “I don’t have anything to wear”

and even more…..

  • “Mom, would you pray with me?”
  • “We forgot to pray.”
  • “I did that! I prayed for her to happen!” – referring to the birth of her baby sister
  • “If Jesus is God and God created the world then how were Mary and Joseph around when Jesus was born? Where did they come from?”- 5 year-old’s question
  • “I want to help people”
  • “Mom, can we pay for a stranger’s dinner? I feel like God wants us to do something nice for someone.”
  • “I think I want to be a youth pastor”

And then there have been things that others have said about our girls that help us see that they are growing into beautiful and gracious young ladies…..

I think most every parent has those moments that they don’t want to forget..(just ask a scrapbooker or a journaler).. Those good moments are what we can hold onto to get us through those rough moments…

And thinking that, for me,  just makes the whole story of Christ and his life growing up that much more relevant because Jesus’ mother, Mary,  had those moments to hold onto too….

The Bible says (in my own paraphrase) that Mary listened to the words of praise spoken about her baby, thought about them, held them close and then treasured them.  Later when we read about him being a preteen, we see his parents doing what I believe is a tad bit of discipline ( I do believe he was perfect but I also believe he was a child and still needed parental guidance)…Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus… they search for three days only to find him teaching adults… The Bible says they were astonished but it also says they didn’t understand fully….jesus-at-the-temple-by-brian-jekel

The astonishment of what others think about your child, the marveling at the thoughts of the greatness of your child, the treasured moments that you want to hold onto… that just makes Jesus’  family seem like your average family… Jesus’ family could have lived right down the street with their very average but loving family life…

Mary seems to have paid close attention to the words of others and to her son’s actions and from it was able to treasure these things about her son…. and then hold on to them when he had to save the world… and not stand in his way…

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sister, a brother or even none of these… It pays to listen to what God’s people say,  to look with depth into a situation and hold on to those when God is ready to do a great work in ourselves or the ones we love… it gives us the insight to set aside our desires and we can trust to let God do his thing….

By the way, “Andy Griffithson is on!”

Luke 2

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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