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Hanging on to hope…. and UK Basketball is there to prove it

Wow, Kentucky Basketball is back in the spotlight and now it is for a good thing… finally the Wildcats are ranked number one in nation.  It has been awhile since I felt like I could put on my UK sweatshirt and wear it with pride.  Yes, I’ll admit it… I don’t think my blood was pure blue.  In fact, I think there were times when I didn’t even watch one complete game in a season because I was bored.  Now you may think I’ve never been a true UK fan and that is totally incorrect…. I was probably the only girl in my middle school who had a blue and white bedroom with UK posted everywhere…. I was a true blue fan…. But when they began their spiral into just being an average team rather than an outstanding team, I lost interest.  But I think I am on the road to recovery …. I once again think they are fun to watch.

With my confession I will say that there are many who never wavered in their faith in their team.  Regardless of the poor performance or embarrassing losses, they still never missed a game, still wore blue and white… even at away games and they still cheered as loud as before.  They withstood the test and their belief in a team held firm.  And because of that they can say that they were faithful during the hard times and now it has paid off.

A test of faith pays off when we hang in there and hang on to hope.

There is a passage where Jesus tests a woman who had come to him for the healing of her daughter.  The only issue (which really wasn’t one to Jesus) was that she wasn’t an Israelite… she wasn’t one of God’s chosen people… she was a Cannanite woman.  She was begging for help and Jesus pretty much appeared to ignore her.  Finally, his buddies had had enough and begged him to get rid of her.  So then, Jesus  says something that was directed to the woman…He said it wasn’t fair to give the children’s bread (Israelite’s healings) to the dogs (those who weren’t Israelites) and she retorted that even dogs get scraps.  She was telling him that she believed even a crumb of what he could do would be enough to help her daughter.  He tested her faith and she showed him that her faith was hanging on to the hope of what he could do….Jesus was pleased and he healed her daughter.  That was the pay off for hanging on to hope.

Maybe you are dealing with something and you feel as if God is ignoring you….. or maybe you don’t feel worthy …. maybe you feel like your issue is not deserving….. But God is totally aware of your need…..Maybe He needs to see where your faith is… maybe he needs to test and see if your faith is true blue ….. Keep in mind though, I used the word “hanging”…. no one said it was easy… I know it is not easy, and sometimes it may seem if you are losing your grip…… hang on to hope.  The pay off is amazing.

Oh yeah,  “Go Big Blue!”

Matthew 15

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

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Posted by on January 26, 2010 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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“Hey, Jephthah… You might want to change your shirt” -A not so common Bible story

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a morning person.  I love a beautiful sunrise …… but only in photos.  There is not too much I love about mornings except maybe the concept of a snooze button.  Now, in reality, I would love to be an early riser who could get up about 5:30am and go jog (if I can get up at 5:30 then, yes, I can also jog), come home and fix my family breakfast, have my daily quiet time and then take my time getting ready and still be on time to work.  Yes, that is the way that I would love for it to be but I’m pretty sure that even though it was a recessive one in my parents, I believe that I was given an “unearly” gene somewhere in my system.

My mornings are more like this….. hit the snooze button,  hit the snooze button,  hit the snooze button…. get out of bed, stand somewhere between the bed and the bathroom, stare at something until the snooze button goes off again…. slowly go about waking myself up while I manage to get dressed, fix breakfast and get my youngest ready for school.

How safe it is for the rest of the world, I don’t know…. but because of my husband’s work schedule, on most school day mornings I am the one who delivers the youngest to school.  The fortunate thing is that she attends the school in the building where I work.  Some mornings I stay at work when I take her but often I will return home for some quiet time and finish getting ready for work time.

The other day was one of those hurried mornings.  After rushing to get her to school, talking to her teacher, stopping on the way back to the car to have a detailed conversation with two other parents, and running into my office, passing a multitude of parents, I decided to slow my morning back down by stopping at the nearby food mart for a cup of coffee.  Once home I made my way to the mirror for a makeup refresher and noticed something that completely woke me up……my shirt was on but it was on inside out!

Now, you might say that was not a big deal… even stopping to chat with others or going into a public place… it could have been a lot worse and you are probably correct.  It is just the thought of what people may have thought…. it was actually pretty funny (though I had no one to share the humor with) but I laughed, corrected the error and went about my regular routine.

Funny how no one told me that my shirt was on inside out…. maybe they didn’t care, maybe they didn’t want to embarrass or offend or maybe they just didn’t notice… regardless of the reason, if I hadn’t gone back home then I would have really made a fool out of myself at a later time during that day.

Life is kind of like that.  People live their lives seeking and searching and filling voids with “stuff”… actually living life inside out or upside down.  They think they are on the right path but have it mixed up just a little… It is not something uncommon or distinctive of our day and age.  The Bible has stories that took places thousands of years ago and are totally relative to living inside out.

Jephthah  was a prime example of finding out that, though his intentions were good,  he was living inside out.  The story is one we often don’t hear … (I definitely know why it isn’t taught to children…unless you want them to have nightmares).  Jephthah lived in a time period when the Israelites were caught up in idol worship.  They knew about God and even worshiped Him to some extent but their faith was intertwined with false religion… making it easy to get confused about exactly what God wanted.  So, Jephthah was apparently quite the warrior…. he was winning battles but his call out to God to defeat the Ammonites had a twist to it.  Jephthah made a promise to God (remembering that breaking a promise to God was a law that if broken would have been sin… and there was no grace of a savior at that time).  He told God that if he would let him defeat the Ammonites then he promised to sacrifice to God “whatever was the first thing to come out of” his house when he arrived home.

Jephthah defeated the Ammonites, so being a man of his word he headed home ready to sacrifice the first thing that came through his door.  Now I’m not sure what the guy was thinking.  Maybe he was thinking that his beloved dog would come running out to greet him … yes, that would be a sacrifice.  Maybe he was thinking his mother-in-law would step out the door to see who was coming… yes, that would be a sacrifice…a sacrifice maybe or a blessing.  Maybe he was thinking that it would be his wife… maybe he pictured her coming out of the door saying,”Well, it is about time you came home.  Do you know while you and your little warrior buddies were out galavanting all over the countryside I have been here cooking and cleaning and raising a family.  Now get in here and help me already.”  Yes, that would be a blessing… er, uh sacrifice.  In reality though, he had to know that if that was his home then something of value to him would walk through that door and that is exactly what happened.  His precious daughter came out singing praises to God because her father had won against the Ammonites.  He grieved and told her of his promise to God…. she understood and agreed that he needed to keep his promise and Jephthah killed his daughter as a burnt offering.

So what is so “inside out” about keeping a promise to God?  Probably nothing if it was actually a promise that God would approve of (however, I’m not so sure how God feels about cutting a deal with him) but that was the problem.  Jephthah had his faith mixed up with the false religions of those around him… nothing pure about what he believed.  And because of that mixed up faith he ended up doing the unspeakable…. he was no different that those around him.  He definitely needed someone to tell him to turn his shirt inside out.  That what he was he was doing was honorable but not necessary.  There was a wholesome way to give praises to God that did not require a human sacrifice…. those kind of sacrifices were left up to the believers of false gods.

People today are still caught up in living inside out.  They seek another unhealthy relationship just to fill a lonely heart. They drown their sorrows in substances trying to hide pain.  They work more hours to avoid facing a relationship struggle. They leave a relationship just because they want something new.  They try to find answers through seminars and self help books…..I would say most of the time I am completely guilty of not sharing what could fill the void.  Why is so hard to let them know that they might want to change their “shirt”?  Maybe it is because we don’t care. Maybe it is because we don’t want to offend.  Maybe it is because we didn’t notice…. If I am guilty of the first two then maybe I need to evaluate how much I want to see them make fools of themselves later because I didn’t say anything.  If the last one is the case then maybe I should find out why I didn’t notice…. maybe I might find out that my shirt is on inside out too.

 

Judges 11:21-39

21 “Then the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his men into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.

23 “Now since the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the LORD our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, [c] decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”

28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Tell me about it, Moses P. Diddy Hall…

flipperI don’t know why I have such high expectations for the animals that I choose to own.  Maybe those expectations were formed because of reruns of great shows such as Flipper (though I never owned a dolphin), Lassie or Fury…. or maybe it was Lady, my cousin’s collie who was incredible well behaved… or Babe, my uncle’s dog that was showbiz intelligent…..or Benji. How could I forget Benji? Whatever the reason, with a little training, I knew it couldn’t possibly be that difficult for my very own dog to become something of legend… nothing short of a human on four paws.

So let’s see, first there was Gustavia.  Gussy was a little white poodle who chased cars, chased cattle and rolled in manure… smart dog.  Then later came Rascal.  An adorable little dachshund that turned out to be an incredible bully in the amateur dog show circuit.  Then there was Sam.  Another poodle who, for all practical purposes, was a pretty good dog, but he did bark at himself in the mirror. (Wouldn’t it be funny if people acted surprised to see themselves in the mirror each time?) There were more pets down the line… Buddy 1, Buddy 2, Bandit… and some cats, hamsters, and even a skunk (Yes, you read that correctly) but none have met the superstar expectations that I have believed in for so long… that is, until recently… .

Now, our ever-lovable shih-tzu, Moses P. Diddy Hall (a.k.a. Moe) is a dog that when told to sit, he sits…. well,  he might lie down…. or  possibly he will continue to go about what he was doing.  He is also a dog that wears a diaper… well, technically it is a “belly belt” but you get the idea.   Moe also knows to get in his bed when told, he knows to “hit the rock”(our family’s ultra hip term for shaking paws), he knows to go to the car when the van door opens.   He even hates hanging out at the dog park… he waits by the exit gate until we are ready to take him home.  See, it is hard for me to decide if either Moe is very intellegent and just pretending to be a dog to get out the whole “work dog” group, or if he is just like all of my other dogs in the past…. just a regular ol’ dog.   I have been leaning toward the regular ol’ dog thing for quite some time, that is, until one night not too long ago. Moe at Dog Park Gate

Moses P. Diddy Hall is not allowed to be on the couch.  He has his bed. He has his spot near our feet.  He is totally fine not to be on the couch, but on occasion there are those special times where we give in and give him some supervised couch time.  Such as it was on that evening when I was certian that Moses P. Diddy Hall would be paying for my children’s college education.  I was sitting on the couch and Moe was comfortably resting on my daughter who was on the couch next to me.  Allison’s position was perfect as she laid on her back because if I turned my head slightly then Moe and I were face to face.

As Moe and I looked at each other, just as usual, I said something to him.  I can’t even remember what it was but when I said it, something amazing happened.  Moe began to talk back!…. and I’m not talking barking kind of talk… it was conversation kind of talk.  Now, I might not have thought anything about it if I hadn’t seen the youtube clip of funny talking dogs but I knew Moe was trying to tell me something.  I kept asking him, “What is it, Moe?” And he kept voicing something that was clearly a concoction of vocal movements that were trying to form words.  To get him to continue his talking ability I started looking at him and saying things like, “Mama” (I never think of my dogs as kids so this was very awkward for me) and ” I love you.”  Moe would look at me and try to repeat it.

I was so excited I could hardly believe it.  I had a plan. He and I were going to work on this daily until he could speak in conversation.  I started counting the dollars in my head.  I called my husband, who was out of town (explanation of the couch time that Moe was getting), and told him the whole story.  He didn’t share my enthusiasm.

The following day, Moses P. Diddy Hall and I went to work.  I got down in his face and began talking to him.  “Mama,” I said.  Moe looked at me.   “Mama,” I continued.  Still Moe looked at me.  I changed my pitch.  I changed my tempo.  Moe looked at me then cocked his head and looked away.  It was time to change my game plan.  I began the whole, ” I love you” verbiage.  Moses P. Diddy Hall looked at me and walked away.  I didn’t get it.

I began telling my story to anyone who would listen.  My husband, my other daughters, but it was while I was telling a friend about my incredibly talented, Hollywood bound dog that would surely be whisked away to star in his own movie, when my hopes and dreams for him came to an abrupt halt.  Allison felt it was time that she stepped in and prevented me from the inevitable… making a fool of myself.  She quietly pulled me to the side and said, “Mom, I was blowing in his face.” It seems that the only reason Moe was “talking” was because he apparently doesn’t like to have someone blowing in his face.  I was stunned. Moe is just a plain ol’ dog …. he is no different than any other dog that I have ever had.  After the initial shock of the whole confession, I found it all quite funny.  Fortunately, I was halted from looking like a fool and fortunately, I listened to what she had to say.

I wish faith was that simple.  You know, something like….we may be a bit out of line, acting foolishly, forgetting to include God in our everyday life and then we are told we are being a bit foolish and we fall back into line…. that would be simple.  I guess sometimes it might be that way, but there are those other times when we get so busy doing the right things in life that we may not realize we are doing them on our own…..depending on our human ability rather than trusting in God’s ability.   In Galatians, Paul comes down pretty hard on the people.  He even states that they are being deceived and they don’t even realize it because they are so caught up in living by the religious law that they have forgotten about what Christ did for them/us all.   Still today, we may not be in Galatia, but we still tend to lean on our human ability, thoughts and decisions rather than allowing God to guide our way. I wonder what would happen if we all began to lean on the gift God gave us rather than wearing ourselves down and eventually looking foolish……

If Moses P. Diddy Hall really had the gift of gab, I’m sure he’d have the answer.

Galatians 3

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 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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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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Moses P. Diddy Hall, I owe you an apology….

At 3:30am this morning(not a myth either) my dog, Moses P. Diddy Hall aka Moe, began barking.  This usually means one thing…. He is an attention seeking, self absorbed dog… okay, maybe it might mean he needs to go potty and therefore is sending us his little dog message… if only he had a big dog bladder in his little dog body… Long story short, he woke us up.  I laid there for a few minutes and fortunately, he stopped barking and didn’t need us after all…  But that is not the part that makes me so proud of Moe,  this is……..

My daughter came running up the stairs as we were all getting ready this morning.  I was concerned because there was a bit of fear in her voice.  She asked her dad if he had been in his car this morning and gotten into his glove compartment.  He said that he hadn’t…. That meant that it had happened again… Our car had been broken into…  They didn’t take much, just a little money.  This is the third time that this has happened since we have lived in this neighborhood.  We live in a nice enough neighborhood and don’t really fear this kind of thing but still yet, always try to remember to lock the car doors.  This just happened to be a night that Chris forgot to lock up… again, not much taken, just some quarters from his change dish and a few dollars from my daughter’s purse….

So really Moe wasn’t barking to go out because he needed to potty, he was barking because he wanted to go outside and bite the thieves’ legs off…. Good Moe.

I find it interesting that my reading yesterday was Leviticus 6-7.   It began like this:

Leviticus 6:1-7

1 The LORD said to Moses: 2 “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, 3 or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do- 4 when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, 5 or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. 6 And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7 In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.”

Well, what do you know…. God just told our little car robbers that they need to pay us back plus some.  I’m feeling some justice here… but then I started thinking about it… Yes, this robber guy took something that didn’t belong to him and yes, he is wrong and should fix his wrong, but the robber guys are not reading this passage… I am…

So what have I taken from someone else?  Maybe it isn’t something material but maybe it is something just as important if not more … something like dignity, respect or esteem.. I hope I haven’t, but the reality of it is, I am human and there are things that I regret saying and regret doing.  I would like to think that I have the wisdom and compassion now that I didn’t have years ago and if given the opportunity I probably need to apologize… why not?  It might be giving back plus more… I’ll start with Moe…

Moe, I’m sorry I named you Moses P. Diddy Hall..( I’m sure that has to be a dignity issue when he is around other dogs), and I’m sorry I wasn’t respectful of your barking at 3:30am when I mumbled, “Stupid Dog!”  For the most part you are a good dog.

Next, I am on to real people… Mrs. Ricker, I’m sorry for giving a smart alec remark when you were taking role in fourth grade.  You may not remember but I have never forgotten it… and since I can’t give back that respect, I do want to tell you this…..  One time in church you gave your testimony about feeling called to be a missionary….You said something to the fact that you weren’t sorry for your life as a teacher, mom and wife as it was but you were sorry that you hadn’t been obedient when God called you into that ministry field.  You then encouraged others to be obedient to what God had called them to do so as not to later regret… I remember it well and I took those words and eventually put them into practice. Thanks for that.

Now, who is next??

What have you taken from someone? Can you give it back?

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Moses P. Diddy Hall saw his shadow today…

I’ve always been curious to know… If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow in Punxsutawney, PA does that affect me where I live?… Does Phil speak for a whole nation?? Can it not be that if Phil sees his little groundhog shadow in Pennsylvania then more winter is predicted for Pennsylvania and not anywhere else.  To me that only makes sense….

We don’t happen to have a groundhog lying around the house but we do have Moses P. Diddy Hall.  Otherwise known as Moe, our family dog.  He is similar in size to a groundhog and has about the same cuteness factor, so I figured he could represent the southern part of the US… or at least Kentucky… well, maybe Lexington… okay, just our house, but if Moe and Phil are on the same page then I am convinced that Phil can be a groundhog that speaks for a whole nation. However, if they weren’t in agreement to the coming weather then Phil is on his own in the future…

Moses P. Diddy Hall stepped out on the porch… Punxsutawney Phil stepped out of this cage.(are you feeling the tension?) On the back porch Moe’s shadow edged into the yard… In Pennsylvania, Phil saw his shadow once again…There is more winter to be seen at our house and in Pennsylvania so we’ll just say that means winter for the entire nation..

Moe did his Groundhog Day job and I’m proud of him,  but since he and his groundhog counterpart saw eye to eye then Moe is released of his duties of weather prediction from this day forward…I guess maybe this proves that groundhogs are a weatherman’s best friend. …

punxsutawney-phil2 img_0454

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2009 in Fun

 

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