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Sing with me…”Whoa Black Friday, Bam-A-Lam… ” Oh, the memories…

Yes, I know that the song is really “Black Betty”, but it is kind of catchy, don’t you think? I don’t know about you but Black Friday always seems to sound like such a creepy day that I think it needs something like a theme song.

I’ve never quite figured out why a day that kicks off the holiday shopping season has such a dreary name.  Black Friday… it reminds me of a day that we should either be in mourning or scaring the living daylights out of each other… “Move over Halloween, it’s Black Friday… Bwahhhahahaha….”.

I realize that the whole “Black” thing has to do with some accounting term about being on the good side of the economic table, but even having to explain the term “Black Friday” is so boring…. It seems like they could have created a name that is a bit more appealing to the laypeople.  Maybe they could have named it- “Really Big Sale Friday” or “Crazy Standing in Line Friday” or “Fight for your Deal Friday” or “Be Kind Friday”(Sending out a subliminal message, of course) or “Spend Lots of Money Friday” or “Camp Out Friday”… Do you realize how hard it is to convince a 7 year-old that you don’t have to dress in black on Black Friday??  Let’s just say that she now has a new black T-shirt….

Regardless of why it is called what it is, I have never really been a fan of it.  I have gone out a few times during the early morning hours but I will have to say that each time was only because my sister-in-law was at my house and I went to keep her company.  I’m more of a 10:00am, catch the mid-morning deals, type person, but when I’ve gone with her I admittedly have found a bargain or two.

This year there was a twist to our experience.  There was no 4:00am alarm.  Nope.  Toys R Us opened at midnight and we were going to get a deal.  We figured there wouldn’t be much of a crowd.  After all it was Thanksgiving evening and most would be gearing up for the next morning.  My two oldest were ready for their Black Friday initiation and at 11:50pm, off all four of us (my sister-in-law was obviously there) went to get bargains at the toy store.  As we got closer we began to see that traffic was pretty heavy for a midnight… and as we got even closer we found that it was pointless to take the front roads but instead cut to another road and slyly worked our way up from the back.  As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones who had that thought and we were in total disbelief…

Though there was no way to count, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.. hundreds, maybe even thousands of people…. there was a line that stretched amazingly around the whole mall building.  I couldn’t imagine that this could be the line for Toys R Us.  (Apparently, Zhu Zhu pets had gone under my toy radar and I was oblivious to the Zhu Zhu pet craze that allowed parents to actually get their child a clean smelling hamster..not a real one but close enough)…….As it turned out it was the line for the toy store or at least that is what we were led to believe.  We walked to the back of the line and answered as cars passed by and asked us if we were in the Toys R Us line.  We would nod our heads and shrug our shoulders at the same time because we, just like everyone else, just went to the back of the line without checking to see where the line went.  So, our assumption was that we, along with everyone else in Lexington, were waiting to go buy toys.

After a few minutes and a dozen or so cars asking if we were standing in line for the toy store, I decided to be bold and venture to the front of the mall area to just make sure that we weren’t standing in line for the makeup or furniture store. (I know, I know… no one would stand in line for a furniture store…makeup maybe but not furniture)  What do you know, we were in the correct line. But there is a catch to this…. it wasn’t the only line.  There was another line that was about 1/20 the size of the other line.  I got in the short line and called my sister-in-law to come join me and we giggled the rest of the time at our Black Friday maneuvers.  Oh, the memories…..

Well, our night didn’t stop there… one hour in line outside (yes, in the short line), two shopping hours and one more hour in line to check out…. it was now time for other stores to open.  Walmart had better watch out because the Hall ladies were tired, slap-happy and hungry…. Oh, the memories

We tackled the Walmart bargains and again went to get in line to check out.  I double checked my basket to see if it was worth the wait…. the line stretched completely from the front of the store to the very back of the garden center (for non-Walmart consumers, that is a long line) and yes, my goodies were worth the wait.  So we started walking to the back of the long line and it hit me… we were just assuming that this was the only line… while my sister-in-law waited in line, I again took off and navigated to the front of the store to scout out the line construction…. little surpise to find out that there were plenty of two to three people lines but those in the long line had no idea.

I hopped in a short line, called my sister-in-law and we once again giggled at our little Black Friday maneuvers.  Oh the memories…

I’ve thought a lot about those lines since Friday.  I think I was amazed at how easy it is just to get in line and not really know what lies ahead.  Everyone else seemed so confident and patient in those long lines… as if it was inevitable that the long line was the only line available… looking around at the confidence and patience it seemed as if it was the natural thing just to fall into that line, no questions asked… How easy that is with a spiritual walk as well…we know the relationship we need to have with God but then we look around and everyone else seems to be heading for that big long line… they talk the talk, whether it be faith filled or anti-faith filled talk, and seem very confident so we tend to just get into that line because it seems to be leading in the right direction.  We have no idea where it really leads but we scoot along blindly missing so much because we didn’t venture away.

I’m wondering how many people live their daily lives thinking that they are in the best line… maybe they are longing for something different, knowing that there is a shorter line out there just waiting… or maybe they are content to find out that others passed them by….I’m not pointing a finger a any one group of people…there could be many.

What line are you in? Are you tired of living in the long line? Have you stepped away to find the short line?
It is out there… seek it, you’ll find it.

After my Black Friday adventure I went home, fixed some breakfast and fell asleep.  Pretty sure now that the whole Black Friday name is because of the sleep you have to catch up on when you get home… well, deserved name then, I guess.  My father asked me if I enjoyed myself and I believe I said that I would never do that again…. well, at least until next year.

2 Peter 3:17-18

17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

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Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Little House on the Prairie… My Summer, Part 2

When I zoned out at school as a child, I went to other places and was totally infatuated with the plans that I imagined in my mind.  At that stage of my life I was totally oblivious to the lack of reality that I was seeking and at times longed for….cast

Things like:

  • Being a trapeze artist in the Ringling Bros. Circus
  • owning every breed of dog imaginable and all of them being incredibly intelligent and well trained.. you know, the kind that would do more than just tricks… things like finding Timmy in the well…
  • being a Native American during the days of the wild west
  • living in a little house on the prairie… quite possibly with the Ingalls family

It was years later that I realized the reality behind the imagination…

Things like:

  • trapeze artists aren’t in high demand and who knows how much a trapeze artist’s salary is…even if it is good, you have to be somewhat athletic, I would assume?
  • a house full of dogs means smelly, even if you constantly groom and I’ve not had one dog who can do anything more than the regular “sit” and “stay”…. no, none of them ever learned to stay… and now that I think about it, they only sit when I say it when they are already sitting
  • To be a Native American in the wild west would not have been glamorous but likely quite dangerous
  • Living out a year’s worth of Little House on the Prairie episodes in real life is bound to place a normal emotionally healthy person over the edge.

I figured most of these out by the time I was in High School but the last one, the Little House one… that one just stunned me a few months ago when my daughter recently spent her birthday money to complete her collection of each season of the series.  I never realized how many tears Michael Landon had to squeeze out each week or so.  Now, I’m not knocking the series at all… still love it… but when you watch them back to back you realize what troubles those people had.  The bullying, the blindness, the ruined crops, the death, the orphans, the overweight people, the illnesses, the storms… Mercy! and I thought I wanted to be in the midst of it…

However, there was one episode where a dying mother asked Charles Ingalls to help her find a home for her children.  In his heart, he wanted to keep them but knew in his head that it wasn’t possible.  He searched and searched but found nothing… no one wanted to take three children.  He finally decided to give them each a home separately.  Once again, his heart was aching because he wanted to keep them …. more tears.  In the end there was a happy home for all together.

I experienced a tiny bit of that emotional Little House episode this summer…   A year ago I had a grandmother come to me to share with me the news of a her terminal illness.  It broke my heart because she had full custody of her grandson.  Her family taking him was not an option so she asked me to help her find a good home for him.  Now, I am a Children’s Pastor… I know nothing about this type of situation except that I wanted to grab him, build an extra bedroom and take him home but that was not to be….As it worked out she was able to find someone… only to find out that the situation wasn’t what she had hoped for.  So, she asked me and another lady from our church to help again.  This time though, time was precious….. she was growing worse.

My story was a bit different though.  I had technology to get the word out and I had people longing for a child.  The outcome was good.  We found a family…. friends of mine and for them it was an answer to a 20 year old prayer.  He is loved much by the family.

I have often thought about the grandmother.  Her act was bold, courageous and selfless.  She thought only of this child and his well being.  I’m pretty sure, if I was placed in the same situation, that I probably wouldn’t be able to do that.

I taught the kids tonight about Moses as a baby.  His mother, in some ways, did almost that same selfless act.  She had no way to know that when she hid her baby that her life wouldn’t be ended should he be found… she also had no idea when she placed him in the basket and sent him on his way that he wouldn’t drown… she also had no way to know what the reaction of Pharoah’s daughter would be to a Hebrew baby.  Moses ended up being just fine… and his biological mother even got to help raise him.

Both of these stories ended with a happy ending… not necessarily an emotionally void ending but a heart-warming ending.

Things are sometimes so often like a Little House on the Prairie episode. It may be easier to dream of a different life and definitely easier to dream of living in non-reality … but, hang in there, the episode is not over yet.

Exodus 2:1-10

The Birth of Moses

1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

8 “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses,  saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Take a hike… seriously… I mean, really… literally….

hikingI don’t know what I was thinking… an hour to spare and I said, ” Why don’t we take this other trail?  It seems silly to go home when we could keep walking for another hour.  It can’t possibly take that long.”  I don’t know if the map was totally exaggerated or if I was oxygen deprived and not thinking straight, but for me to suggest we hike further????? Totally not me.  First of all, let me set the record straight, I do like to hike… as long as the trail is relatively flat, the air is cool and I can wear my flip-flops.   Also, I need to walk with slow walking people… my leg stride is so short that I have to run to keep up with others and believe me, I have a few friends who just about kill me when we are walking… at the mall.  You know who you are..

But the point is, hiking is a fun way to exercise my body and my mind.  I love to look at the world around me as I walk and marvel at creation..( I also, like to stop and sit on creation and take a breather every now and then)  I often wonder what it would be like to be someone walking that same route 100 years ago.  Obviously,  it is a way to get my mind off of the fact that I’m panting and doubled over… but it is way better than walking through a neighborhood or on a treadmill.  Way prettier pictures…

Our hike last Friday was at a place we had never been before… we checked it out for its family friendliness and decided that it was going to be a diamond in the rough… a total treasure that we had overlooked.  The pictures sported beautiful streams, small and medium sized water falls, a river overlook,  rustic bridges, a wild animal or two… we were excited.  We gathered our walking sticks… yes, we are that professional… our picnic cooler, cameras and I threw on my flip-flops and headed out the door.

After lunch we headed to the information center to get our trail map and into the woods we went.  Our walk was a tree covered, dirt path that took us to a water gate that was long deteriorated and gone … probably for a century and a half… there was an incredible rock wall that had stood the test of time but the stream was a trickle…The only wildlife we saw was a tick crawling on a leg and my husband throwing a rock off of the trail to make us think something was moving in the woods…. Our seven-year-old began to grow weary and began stating her favorite hiking place was not the one where we were…her favorite, she reminded us, was the one that my husband had first suggested we go… I kept telling her to keep her opinions to herself… she longed to see a waterfall…I was determined that this would be her new favorite place…mainly because it was my suggestion… so I didn’t want to leave until she could find that picture perfect waterfall.  I wasn’t finding the waterfalls on the map so I thought the river overlook might satisfy a seven-year-old’s desire to see water.

We worked our way back to the main path and I realized that we had a hour before the trails closed… it seemed such a waste to leave after such a short little walk…. we hadn’t even seen a waterfall.  As we stood on the hot main trail, our older daughter decided that wanting a haircut was more important than our physical health and she started to zone out of the hiking mood… the first trail was fun but now in the hearts of all but me… well,  it was time to leave.  Instead, of leaving we took a shortcut through an open meadow that made us all cranky and thirsty.  I hike in flip-flops so it is probably also apparent that I would not hike with a bottle of water or any other kind of liquid for that matter.  We all began to get thirsty.  My husband just so happened to have a Diet Coke Plus in the camera case and the girls were at least able to share that.  About two thirds of the way into our “shortcut” we realized our timing was going to be an issue and now the whole bathroom thing kicked in too.  We were so close to the river overlook that it seemed silly to walk away so my husband said that we could definitely make it if we walked back in double time.  “Double time? I have been walking in double time,” I said.  ….. (Remember my walking stride is short) So I finally shrugged it off and said, “On to the Overlook”  With frustrated hiking daughters, we made it there.  Still no waterfall, but it was a nice view… a cool, safe cliff to sit on and look over into the murky waters of the Kentucky River…. totally worth the walk….  we double-timed our way back to the car… we made it out of the park with 3 minutes to spare before they closed the gates.  It was as if we had accomplished a tremendous feat.

Sometimes it seems that the most difficult thing to overcome happens to be the best experience that we never dreamed it could be.  Our hike wasn’t devastating… but it wasn’t filled with many moments that would be considered incredible at the time either.  However, looking back, had we stopped walking when we did, we wouldn’t have seen the river from the overlook point and we wouldn’t have had the family memory…. now we can laugh about it.

I’m preparing for The Family Adventure (a family event where I work) and I was reading  the Persistent Widow Parable.  You know, that lady kept on “keeping on.”  She didn’t give up asking for justice.  She finally got on the nerves of the judge so he gave in to her request. widow Jesus said that if we see this uncaring, unjust judge answering the request, then just imagine what a loving Father would do.  It would be really easy to look at that parable and take away from it that we have to beg and whine in order for God to answer our prayers the way we want them answered or we should ask God to be our genie in a lamp,  but I don’t think that either is the point.   I think the point may be to not give up before it is time to quit so you don’t miss out on the blessing that God has in store.  Maybe persistence in prayer is not for us to feel good about the accomplishment or the gift, but maybe it helps us appreciate the power of God.

So, if you are hiking and are ready to quit before the trails close… double-time your walk and continue on to another trail… you might see something incredible.

If you are praying and seeking God’s will, don’t give up when things seem quiet…  but instead keep on “keeping on” and hold on for an incredible experience of God at work.

He loves you.

Luke 18:1-8

Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Life is a highway… Can we stop at the next rest area, please?!?

t2010camaro2You could probably say that if I was a car then I would be a 2010 Camaro.  Totally able to take on any other car and never feel ashamed or embarrassed of my ability.  I would zoom down the highway just racing by all of those minivans and family cars. .    I wouldn’t even have to refuel because I might also really be a Transformer!  Nothing would slow me down… every goal and objective that I aimed for would be reached without any hesitation because my speed and accuracy would threaten or take down any obstacle…. Yep, that is me…. a red, 2010…. I should add, convertible… Camaro.  Vroom……vroom.

Oh, who am I kidding…. I would never be believable as a Camaro…. a VW bug maybe… a 70’s model, at that…. but never a Camaro. 1978-vw-beetle-convertible Actually at this point, I am more like a scooter…well, maybe  a scooter going up hill… or more likely a scooter going up hill  with an oversized load…. okay, a scooter going up hill with an oversized load on a gas fumes only…. I really should pull over and call for help but instead I’ll push myself on up the hill at whatever the cost….At least I’m a red scooter….

The point here is that my summers are crazy… my job requires my summers to be quite impressive… filled wih potentially fun things but those things tend to drag tons of energy right out the door with them…they tend to make my sleep schedule totally mixed up… my mind in overdrive and my hands constantly working to show others how to do more…. So, when does it slow down?  Not for a few more weeks and then unfortunately my summer is over…and fall is here with more activities and events…

Because of the craziness of camps, planning activities for summer and fall, for coordinating events and other goodies… I tend to truly be that scooter… I forget to refuel….and I tend to push myself up the hill when things could be so much easier…

The refueling is the important part of all of this… often times I forget that things can be easier if I remember to refuel…

I was reminded of that during staff meeting the other day…. It seems that because of what I do I tend to forget to stop and really soak in the fuel….I love my job and what I do… I love to create things that in some way help others see God or deepen their faith or walk…It would seem like since I am helping others fuel up I shouldn’t have to refuel myself.  Oh, I read and pray and do the things that I should but it is the message that gives me the fuel to continue to do what I do at the pace I need to go….

I slowed down enough during staff meeting to soak in these words from Paul ….

Ephesians 3

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

There is the fuel that I needed….to be reminded that I am loved….not just to serve and serve …. not just to hear the words …. but to truly soak in the thought and  be reminded of how wide, how long, how deep his love is ….

That was the rest area I needed to finish my summer…..


 
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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Moses P. Diddy Hall… I appreciate you… sometimes

shih_tzu_puppy2I’m not sure that there is anything much cuter than a baby animal… well, not a baby narwhal but that is another story.  So, my friend sent me an email saying that she had found a puppy on the internet that she wanted.  A cute little girl whose photo was attached to the email.  I know when Moses P. Diddy Hall was a little ball of fur he was SO cute so I was excited to see this little fluff that she was so smitten with.  I popped open the picture with excitement to see a cute little fluffy, sweet puppy only to find a picture of a hairless little puppy with a comb over on her head…..okay, comb over is a bit dramatic but more like a frustrated genius scientist look… I will say that she wasn’t ugly andhairless puppy seeing her little round, puppy belly even made her a cuter than I would have guessed, but it sure wasn’t the picture that I thought I was going to see.  It was a photo of a Chinese Crested Puppy… .the hairless dog.  Now, some people may think that Moe wasn’t such a cute puppy because of his pug nose and big eyes and in comparison to this puppy I would say they might balance the scale.  So, my reply to my friend’s email was a quick,  “Cute but…..

Sam

Sam

They grow up” and I sent her back a picture of  Sam, the Champion Ugliest Dog… (a Chinese Crested adult dog who happened to win the ugliest dog contest several years in a row….And Moe… he tops that one… Well, it isn’t even a competition) I guess appreciation for some things is a matter of how you look at it.  I suppose Sam’s owners must have appreciated his uniqueness. So, when Moe is now doing something that I think is annoying or bothersome I can remember the photo of the ugliest dog and be thankful that at times, even when he smells, Moe is kinda cute… I can appreciate his cuteness.

It seems that I’m finding myself appreciating other things a bit more too.  The other night I was able to spend some time at the home where I spent the majority of my childhood.  My parents don’t live there anymore but fortunately it is still in the family.  I only spent a few hours there the other night but I could have stayed there forever.  It was an appreciation of that place that I had somewhat forgotten. The house is approximately 100 years old and has been renovated with the comforts of air conditioning and central heat while being able to sit in the glassed in room and enjoy the beauty of a vegetable, fruit or flower garden.   I can sit on the deck and smell fresh cut grass, hear the birds sing or crickets chirp while looking at acres and acres of rolling hills just as a family member may have done on the porch 70 years ago. I can remember sticking my feet in creeks, catching crawdads (or at least trying),ubwnk running in a yard so big that it would take up the whole cul-de-sac I live on now. It is beautiful.. and though I’ve always loved it there, I can’t say that I have appreciated it like I did the other night.  There was just something different.  Not sure exactly what it was that made me feel so blessed to walk through the grass or look at the trees I used to climb except maybe the fact that my daughters haven’t had that full experience.  They have played outdoors but not in the same manner.  Their outdoor life has been at a park or a small yard or a blacktop area where they have to watch for cars.  So, eventhough I never wanted to move from there when my family did in my young teen years, maybe my deep appreciation comes from having moved away and then coming back.

I guess that is the way it is with life in general. We can’t always appreciate until we recognize the obstacle, hardship or the opposite.  I think, had I stayed on the farm my whole life, I might be aching to get away.

I talked to the kids yesterday at church about Jesus feeding the 5000 with 2 fish and 5 little loaves of bread.  Something that I found interesting is that Jesus asked Phillip how they were going to buy bread for everyone.  I never really thought much about that question because the Bible says that Jesus was testing Phillip.  Maybe he wanted Phillip to say, “Jesus, do your thing…you have healed the sick and even done the whole food thing.  Remember?  You made water turn into wine..what are you waiting for?” .. But after studying it a bit I’m thinking that Jesus wanted Phillip to recognize the obstacle and the difficulty in meeting the need so that when he did do his thing it wouldn’t be taken for granted and it would be remembered as great.  Lots of people, little food… look what Jesus did.

My dog- sometimes annoying- take a look at the hairless dog and remember…. Yes, Moses P. Diddy Hall you are  appreciated

The farm-moved away- look at what my kids haven’t had- and remember the beauty of God’s creation and where I grew up- appreciated

So what else can I appreciate?   A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend?  Maybe a house, a car, a yard or a bed?  Take time today to recognize the obstacle or the opposite of things in your life and appreciate today.

And by the way, my friend appreciated that little puppy enough to take her home…. Tasha is a new member of their family.

farmfarm2farm3

John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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I need to know what the moon is.. and more..

On facebook in the past month I have:facebook_logo

  • told 25 things about myself to 25 people
  • created an album cover using wikapedia, flickr and random quotes
  • caught up with my 4th grade teacher
  • chatted with a high school friend that I haven’t talked to since he graduated
  • created an NCAA bracket
  • laughed at a great Breakfast Song video
  • and loads of other things that I normally would not have done

Some of these things were interesting and completely time worthy a while others are purely a waste of time but fun….Usually some of the time wasters are sent to me by other who have done them too, so I just follow along and have fun with them… like this a little Google exercise that had these instructions- Go to Google, type your first name followed by the word “needs” and then write down the first five things you need…. so here is what Nancy needs

Nancy needs:

  1. to learn what the moon is
  2. jailtime
  3. her own personal Boeing 757
  4. prayer
  5. a vacation

(I definitely think four and five are on the money..)

I’m glad that I don’t really have to search Google to know everything that I need…..although sometimes it could come in handy.  Often times though, like it or not, I know exactly what I need.

I read tonight one of my very favorite accounts of Christ and the need of one man (Luke 5:12-16).  At first it seems like just a regular story of healing but then there is something more to it.  It begins as Christ has been healing others all around and word was spreading about his abilities.  A man with leprosy comes up to him and asks him to heal him if he will…. Now I want to make the picture of this story a bit bigger… (Max Lucado’s book, “Just Like Jesus” tells it in a far better way than I could)… the story is of the leper.. the way that people look at his disfigured body and are repulsed, the way that he longs to hug his wife and hold his daughter, the way he must warn people as he aproaches by announcing that he is “unclean” when entering a crowd… for years he has longed to be near another, to be touched, to be loved, to just be human but he is an outcast and his only hope lies in a man who he has heard has healed others…

Jesus did heal him but my favorite part is this…. Jesus reached out and touched him… Jesus could have just said the words, “you are healed.”  He could have told him to go home and his leprosy would be gone.  He could have done any number of things but Jesus knew that this man needed more than just a healing… this man needed a touch.  He needed to be validated, to know that he was worthy of a loving touch… He needed it and God gave it to him completely.  Amazing.

I love how God knows what we need better than we do… and all the guy did was ask.

I don’t know what you are dealing with or what you need as you read this but I do know that all we have to do is humbly ask for Christ to help and we may get more than what we knew we needed..

The Man With Leprosy- Luke 5:12-16

12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[l] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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I be wantin me some treasure…. Arrrr…..

treasure-chest-1

Maybe you are like me and you can reflect over a time period and then think of something that you find to be pretty valuable.  Possibly a funny story to remember, a heart-warming incident that you never want to forget, an observation that strikes you as pretty amazing, or maybe even a lesson learned… Well, I had one of those times this weekend where I could just reflect on current little things that I would consider little treasures…. I think I’ll call it “mind booty” (what’s a treasure without pirate talk, yer know… arrrrr)… the treasure that is swiped right out of your mind…

Here’s the booty.. one jewel at a time…

Jewel #1Lesson Learned- Even if the car in front of you does it too…..the “right turn only” cardboard-box-carsign means just that

Jewel #2Funny story to remember- A stimulus package is not a high energy flavored drink package that you dump into bottled water (don’t ask)

Jewel #3Amazing observation- Children of today, who live in a high-tech society, have 24/7 communication with others (cell phones, internet….yes, even little children), have received more information by age 10 than a 15 year-old would have 15 years ago, are able to play sports, exercise their bodies and exercise military operations from the comfort of their couch with a joystick (and if they have a Wii they may possibly stand up)… all of this and they still enjoy playing in a cardboard boxdisney-ice

Jewel #4Funny Story- One who turns 7 years-old actually LIKES having people sing Happy Birthday to them in a restaurant

Jewel #5Heart warming moment- No matter how old you are and no matter if you see it every year, there is still something special about those events that  Disney puts together..

Each one of those little incidents, for whatever reason, make up memories that I don’t want to forget.. a little treasure or mind booty (arrrr…)

I love that about the Bible too.  I can read something one time and read it again later only to see something that I didn’t catch before… like yesterday… I have read the story of how Jesus was betrayed many times.  I know the whole  kiss on the cheek, ear cut off, denying of the denial, the false allegations, etc., but I caught something last night that I have either skimmed over in the past or just never seen.   It is  Mark 14:51-52.  It tells of a young man who had been following Jesus and his disciples. When all of the action of the arrest was taking place someone grabbed this guy and in doing so, his clothes ripped right off and he ran away naked…it is not mentioned in any other account of the arrest, just in Mark and it is only two little sentences.    At first I thought that it was kind of funny…  I chuckled as I pictured the scene of him being scared out of his clothes.  Then I thought about it (arrr…. searched for the treasure) ….right before that little story it said that everyone deserted Christ and ran… This guy didn’t get away in time so he did what he had to do… ran naked…

In that reflection I  wondered if I have ever run away from Christ when times got a little scary.. When Christ asked me to do something that made me feel a little fearful and instead of trusting, I ran?…My rebellious pirate answer? “Aye,”….. I have and I might just be able to say that when I felt trapped, I did what I thought I  had to do to run away from Christ …..not even considering about how I was acting or even how I looked as I took those steps….

Fortunately, we have a loving God who wants to be our treasure.  He knows when we are running scared and he is ready and waiting to give us fresh clothes, nourishment and guide us in the direction we know we should have gone in the first place.  And the best part-he doesn’t leave us running by ourselves…  I’m thankful that I ran back.

Are you running to or from your treasure?

Mark 14:43-52

43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.50Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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