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Day 3 of November Thankfulness: Grace….In A Textfully Speaking Kind of Way

Several years ago right around Christmas time,  I had a very interesting cell phone bill.  Texting had just caught on in our household and we had allowed our daughter the privilege of going from a pay as you go phone to being on a fixed monthly plan along with the adults in the house.   Believe it or not, I’m a texter more than a talker now, but this incident was during the early stages of texting in our household.   My daughter was becoming quite fast with her texting and her communication with friends now became conversations with no purpose….

Messages such as this:

Daughter:  Wut r u doing

Friend: texting

Daughter:  Oh Haha

Daughter: me too

Friend: Have you seen that movie that they were talking about at lunch?

Daughter:  No, but want to this weekend?

Friend: Yes!

Daughter: Me too!

Friend: K

Daughter: K

Daughter: 🙂

Daughter: See ya tomorrow and we’ll make plans

Friend:  ttyl

At that time we had a limited texting plan and overage was a quarter a text.   Now, she thought that a whole conversation such as that would cost a quarter, when in reality it cost $3.25. So now multiply that by some 2500 texts over our limit and you have a phone bill that is not only unbelievably outrageous, but also as thick as a book!  And that was what we had.. our bill…$600+ with another one on the way for over $300 AND it was nearing Christmas… Needless to say, our phone carrier received a nicer gift than our family did that year.

Anyway, several asked me if we punished our daughter only to be shocked that we didn’t.  We disciplined but not punished….  We paid the phone bill and she had to work to earn the money for her upcoming mission trip of the same cost.  She earned her money,  learned her lesson, became aware of how money really works and grew in wisdom throughout it all.  This is the part of the story when we get the most blank stares and then we get the “what I would have done” scenarios which almost always include taking the phone away.

Maybe we should have taken the phone away but instead chose not to “punish” because it wasn’t a defiant act, it was accidental.  I guess to some degree, we showed her grace.

I was talking with a friend the other day and the topic of grace came up in our conversation… God’s grace is an amazing thing.  My friend reminded me that the Greek meaning of grace is a translation of “a superior stooping, bending or reaching down in kindness to an inferior.”  In a word picture of that, you can imagine that God bends down, looks you in the eye and hugs and holds you just like a child…grace.  Wow, God’s grace is a choice and it is more than just grace in certain circumstances… but rather, grace in all things.

I’ve messed up so many times, even when I knew better…. even when I knew completely what I was doing was against what God would desire from me…. Even if He had reminded me over and over again of what I should NOT do… His grace doesn’t give me what I deserve.  Whew!  What a gift.

When my husband and I chose grace for our daughter, we not only did it because we love her and we knew she didn’t do it intentionally, but we also did it because we have experienced grace ourselves…. we passed it on in hopes she would and will too.

Today, I am thankful for grace-  the Grace of God and the grace that I see exemplified by others.

John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Day 1 of November Thankfulness-Don’t Box Me In

There used to be a skit on Saturday Night Live about a couple named Doug and Wendy Whiner.  The skit was based around this couple who spoke in a whiny voice all of the time.  I can remember traveling in Panama as a teenager and while doing a little sightseeing, my friend and I began saying things in our Doug and Wendy Whiner voices.  Looking back, we cracked ourselves up but were probably annoying everyone else.

So, now it is time for me to divulge a truth……I’m often like Doug and Wendy.  I whine. I suppose the reality of it is that I’m a pretty thankful person.  I realize that I have been blessed with a great husband, great kids (even if they do roll their eyes at me at times) and a great family.  I love my job and my co-workers. I have some precious friends. My kids never have to go without needs. (I am stressing needs… wants are a totally different thing.) I’m thankful to God  for all of these things and so much more.  BUT…. I’m also still a whiner.  Not so much of one out loud and to people (okay, maybe a few get to hear me) but in the quietness of my life, wherever that may be, I whine to God about what I don’t have or what I don’t want.

Last spring, I took a day long personal retreat.  It wasn’t much of anything other than a hike all by myself to a rock that overlooks a river.  I took my walking stick, a backpack, some music on my phone and my Bible.  The intention of the retreat was to spend my time with God….. whining.  I had been dealing with a perpetual thorn in my side… as much as I have done and as hard as I have tried, I couldn’t (still can’t) get that thing out of my side.  So, my retreat time was going to be me and God…. I totally had planned on him showing up at that rock with me.  I sat down, prayed some, opened my Bible, read some….. nothing.  No God.  I did those things again.  Still, no God.  For whatever reason, though I know I am always in his presence, he chose to be quiet.  And my reaction… I was disappointed…. I wanted to complain about this thorn in my side… I wanted answers….. It was a great day for it to be removed! Still nothing but silence.

I basked on the rock for several hours, reading, waiting….. I was at the point of putting God in a box and of believing that He was also annoyed with my whining, so I finally gave up and decided to leave.  Now being a girl that grew up on a farm, with a tad of hippie inside and lack of desire to be like others, I decided a hike without shoes would be great….  I put my shoes in my backpack and began hiking through mud, rocks and grass… It was wonderful.  The smells of fresh mud and grass, the feel of walking on gravel and squishing through mud, the sounds of a running creek and singing birds… I was instantly taken back to my childhood.

I made it through the rough terrain and back to a concrete sidewalk and was watching a group of kids in the distance when I looked down and caught myself in mid-step.  I almost stepped on the biggest thorn I’d ever seen in my life.  It was huge… at least to me it was.  It was probably three inches long and the thorns on the side were sticking a good two inches outward.  It looked much like a cross.  I thought in my mind that thorn would be great to show the kids at church because it was probably the size of the thorns placed on Jesus’ head.  I looked around to find more but there were none.  The only ones I saw were about 40 feet in the air, wrapped around a large tree.  So, I picked it up and decided since God wasn’t meeting me that I would listen to some music.
I put in my ear buds and without looking, clicked on my music.  A song began to play and as I sat down in my car, I heard the words in a whole new way….

The song was, Don’t Give Up by Shawn McDonald…. These are the words that I heard….

Sometimes it is hard to go on
It’s hard to see the reasons
For breathing, living, letting love guide the way
But you must hold on

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 

Sometimes we fall down
We get ourselves in trouble
But it’s OK
Cause we still have another chance to get it right
To get it right

 

I’ve come too far
I’ve seen so much
I’ve heard the call and felt the touch
I’ve tasted love that I cannot deny

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 
I remembered the words that had been spoken to me just days before, ” Maybe the thorn in your side is to keep you relying on God.  If you didn’t have it would you depend on God as much as you have to with it? Maybe not” … I looked at the thorn… it was a souvenir…God waited until I was like a child and spoke to me in a way that was creative and miraculous….. I wept…

I’ve kept that thorn. It sits on my desk as a reminder of that day.   I still don’t like the thorn in my side and it still bothers me a lot, but at least I have an understanding and that understanding came in such a loving and beautiful way.

 

 

Day 1: I’m thankful for a God that cannot be put in a box, desires a personal relationship with me (and you) and speaks in beautiful ways.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT)

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-

Grow strong in the Light of My Presence. Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you.

A yielded heart does not whine or rebel when the going gets rough. It musters the courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust. In quietness and trust is your strength.

 

Don’t Give Up- Shawn McDonald

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Running Naked…. BUT With Clothes on AND a Target on My Back

A few weeks ago, I was unable to sleep one night and as I lay there at 4:30 a.m., I decided that in thirty minutes I was going to turn on my “Couch to 5K” app and head out the door.  I was going to be a runner.  It would be a new everyday routine .  I would run at 5:00 a.m., experience no embarrassment (no one would see me), be back to the house before anyone was awake and in the darkness of the early morning become a seasoned runner that could eventually show herself in daylight with no shame.  I had it all planned out.    But then I started thinking, “what if others are out running at that time too” and I remembered that I probably didn’t have great running shoes or clothes to run in, so when 5:00 a.m. rolled around, I decided to skip it and go buy some running apparel later that day.

However, I  later saw something that threw my excuses right out the window…. It was a man, who was obviously not running from anyone, but instead was running for pleasure, and on his feet were not fancy running shoes…. actually, no running shoes at all.  He was running in flip-flops.

Well,  to know me, you know that I love flip-flops… I wear them everywhere, even hiking.  So, I actually became inspired and went home and googled  “flip-flop running”…. not only did articles come up about running in flip-flops but there were articles about running barefoot.  Now, to really know me is to know that barefoot is the way I’d prefer to be pretty much at all times, so barefoot running was very intriguing to me… but before I can run barefoot I need to study up on it.

Okay, who am I kidding… deep down inside I want to be a runner but the reality of it all is that I have enough excuses to hold me off until, well, until I have no desire to run.   I once told my co-workers, which became a running(excuse the pun) joke for years,  “The only way you’ll ever see me run is by placing a target on my back with a gun in your hand”.  I definitely have to be motivated to run. (A 5K with zombies chasing me might work… keyword: might).

Recently, when brainstorming with a friend about ideas for teaching Hebrews 12:1 (vs 1b-And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.), I was reminded of my whole running desire, barefoot running and having a target on my back.    I realized that sometimes I don’t want to “run”, much more, run with endurance… (this time I’m talking about spiritually running). Just like physical running, sometimes I need a reason to run, a reason to “get going”,  something to get me motivated or just to stop being lazy about my faith….. So what can possibly create that motivation?  A target on my back, of course.  A target that the enemy wants to hit.

Now, with a target on my back, not only do I have to run with endurance, but I have to focus on my run… where the path is taking me and where I need to go in order to dodge that bullet, or maybe even a missile, that is headed for me.   The first portion of Hebrews 12:1 says “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up”  So now, I also need to release some things so I can run faster and dodge easier…. pretty much metaphorically get naked.

So, now I have a target on my back but I’ve thrown off everything that could weigh me down….you would think that now being “lighter” and having a clean, pure, faith-filled life, the target would be gone, the path easier and I could slow down. However instead, by throwing off everything, I just exposed the target and now it stands out more than ever.   Making my target more available and feeling exposed and vulnerable……I’m not so sure that this sounds like something I would want to do. It sounds more like something I would lie in bed and make excuses to get out of.  Why give up what is comfortable only to make myself a running target?   Hold on… Good news is coming…

If you keep reading in Hebrews, it says that by keeping our eyes on Christ we can do it. Why? Because if I have a target on my back, I want to make sure I know every place to run so I don’t get stuck in some dark dead end somewhere…. Also, keeping focused on Christ will give me the opportunity to see what he sees and behave how he does.  After all, he is God so he’s got it all figured out. Not enough reason to expose your target? Hang in there….there’s even more….and its my favorite.

A few weeks ago, I taught the kids about the armor of God…. And one very cool thing that I love to remember and also to remind others of is when looking at the armor of God, our head (helmet),  our heart (breastplate) our vital organs (belt), our feet (boots), anything coming our way (sword and shield)…. I am protected.  However, there is one piece missing…. There is still one exposed important part of the body that this armor doesn’t cover… MY BACK.  The place where that exposed target is…. BUT…. here is the best part ever… Christ has my back.  The target may still be there but by keeping my eyes focused on Christ, I stay on the path of protection and hope.  He’s not going to allow me to be hit….That doesn’t mean the enemy won’t attempt to strike…. It just means that I’ve got protection,  hope and excitement to get to the finish line.

Running naked with my clothes on, a focus and a protector ….. that’s a race that I can run.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[d]

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Devotions, Faith

 

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A Masterpiece

“Aslan”

I read this morning about being God’s masterpiece…. That is a huge thing to consider.  I’ll admit that probably more days than not, I don’t feel or look much like a masterpiece.   When I think of a masterpiece I think of something great like the Sistine Chapel or “The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans” by Degas. (Okay, I totally looked that one up), but maybe you understand where I’m coming from.  I have in my mind that masterpiece is defined as something great but completed… done…. no additions, no subtractions…. just perfecto.  No more touch ups by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling because it was perfect. Then others see it and ooh and aah about it’s greatness and it becomes something distinguished, something of value, something that others love or at least pretend to love because it is a “masterpiece”.    Now, that’s how I picture a masterpiece.

When I read that, not feeling much like a masterpiece, I began thinking about what that meant. If I’m God’s masterpiece, what does that say about me really?  Am I complete? I hope not.  Am I distinguished? Not really.  Do I need additions or subtractions in my life? Yep! (and my family and co-workers say a big “Amen”) Well then, if I am going by my definition then there is no way I am a masterpiece.  So, feeling a little uneasy, I looked up the definition and I was surprised to find out that masterpiece is not defined by what others think nor about it being complete or perfect… Though many of the sources varied in a small way, most defined the word masterpiece as an outstanding work of art.  So that raised another question…. outstanding to whom? Who decides if it is a masterpiece or a piece of junk?  Hmmm, more to ponder…..

“In Memory Of Andy”

I have toyed with art for years and recently found that my Ipad is a great canvas. I have an app that is helpful for the mental block that storms in when I ask myself, “Okay, what should I draw?” It gives daily challenges and competitions that spark that idea machine to turn it’s wheels….   So, because of those little idea boosters, I have created some artwork that I would have probably never drawn otherwise…. like a caricature of a celebrity, someone “caught” or a 4th of July firework….. Though there is one thing that I’ve noticed in all of the challenges and competitions.  I won’t or don’t enter my art into a either one if I am not satisfied with it.  I have to feel that it is good enough…. my best….. my own personal masterpiece of sorts.

However, as are most, I am my worst critic.  Once I’ve submitted my art, I find a dozen or hundreds or even more changes that I could have made to improve it…. It is my masterpiece but yet, I’m not truly finished with it and because of my eyes, as the creator of it, I probably never will be finished with it.  There will always be something to change.  And though I don’t know the story of Michelangelo’s painting, I wonder if he stood back while others “oohed” and “aahed” about his work and thought, “I should have added a bit more color to the clouds.”   Possibly, however, would he have said, “Okay, I’m done”, if he wasn’t pleased or satisfied or even proud of his work… his creation? I’m thinking a strong no possibility…

Tiger Lily

So, I drew a lion that was featured by the app creator and I also created a baby dragon that I really liked but didn’t receive the accolades that the lion did.  Both, to me, the artist, are each ones that I really like yet they are totally different. I can’t compare them because they are just not the same.  Though one took hours and hours to complete and the other took less than an hour, they both can use some touch ups here and there….  but I was satisfied with them both and still am.

So, if through Christ, I am God’s masterpiece, as the artist, he doesn’t have to keep me the way I am.  He can always make changes (or create in me desire to change) to help perfect me and still be totally pleased with who he has created….

I definitely needed that reminder today….. maybe you need it too….  You are his masterpiece…. his handiwork…. each of us different, each of us valued to the Artist…. and the Artist doesn’t care nor place our value by what others think….

What a great thing to soak in….

Ephesians 2:10

New Living Translation (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The artwork in this post is all original and created on my Ipad.  🙂

“Baby Dragon”

Feather Challenge

“Caught!”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Advent Daily Chocolate- Christmas is all about the Gift- Drawing Names

Sitcoms are great for bringing to the audience a sense of humorous tension created by a character who finds himself in a situation that he can’t seem to get out of… Yeah, well my life’s a sitcom.

Several years ago, in preparation for our staff Christmas party my boss asked me to write down everyone’s name on paper for us to draw names for gift giving. While I was in the other room gathering up the paper and a container to pick names from it hit me… Wouldn’t it be funny if everyone got my name? In other words, no one would know that my name would be on every slip of paper and when they selected the gift recipient, they would all have my name.

I could just picture how funny it would be when everyone showed up at our Christmas party with a present for me…. It was a brilliant plan!  So I did it.   For each of the staff members, including myself, I wrote my name. We all drew names out of the hat and I was the only one who knew that they all had my name.  I was laughing inside… I was going to be laughing all the way to the Christmas gift bank until I began to get a guilty twinge. I noticed that one of my co-workers, because he had drawn my name three years in a row, was wanting to trade names with another… they found out that they both had me.  I immediately fessed up.  We all laughed and I rewrote the names and this time did it correctly and our Christmas party went on without a hitch.  We talked about for a few months, laughed about it and then the whole thing seemed to be forgotten.

So…

A few years later, our staff had grown in numbers and my little gift plot hadn’t been talked about for quite some time and I’m pretty sure it was forgotten.  As before, my boss asked me to write everyone’s name down on paper so that we could draw names for our gift exchange.  Well, once again the thought of everyone walking into the Christmas party with a gift for me sounded just too funny.  So I did it again…. I wrote my name on every slip of paper and everyone drew MY name out of the hat.  I truly thought that before the day was over that I would once again be found out, we would all laugh and names would be rewritten and drawn again.  But just like any good sitcom… it didn’t happen the way that I thought it would.  No one seemed to catch on that they each had my name.

After a day or two, no one said anything about it so I knew that I had won.  I was going to get a gift from everyone.  I could just picture how funny it would be when it was time to pass out the gifts that everyone would hand theirs to me.  Then, like a kick in the rear, I realized that I would be the only one who got a gift…. I know, I know, that was the plan, but I love my co-workers; I didn’t want them to .not get a gift.

Because several days had passed, I was too proud or maybe too embarrassed to admit my plan, I  had to find out if they really, truly didn’t know about the numerous duplicate “Nancy” names floating around.  I began hinting but no one seemed to catch on.  So I went to the one staff member that I felt would team up with me…. I still won’t tell who it was…

After much prying and the promise that I would never reveal my source, I was told that yes, everyone knew that they all had my name.  But what I found out beyond that blew me away…. I was told that not only did they all know they had my name but they had plotted against me!  They redrew names and didn’t include me at all.  I was going to show up to the party and not get a single gift!

Now you might think that is completely fair but …. okay, well, I guess it was…… but I couldn’t let them out do me… I had to be a creative thinker and come up with a plan to make them all feel guilty for leaving me out.

I thought and thought and the only thing that I could think of that could possibly make them feel bad was to let them believe that I felt so guilty that I would be receiving all of these gifts, that I went out and purchased a gift for all of them…. but not just any gift…. I wanted to get them something BIG.  Then when they opened their gifts they would be like, “Oh man! But wait, we didn’t get Nancy anything…. I feel so guilty… I feel so bad for trying to out do her…. I feel like such a terrible friend and she is such a good friend… Just look at this gift she gave me.. How will I ever repay her?”  (Maybe a tad over the top but you see where I’m going, right?)

So, my search was on…. I needed to find a great gift for each of them but I had little to spend.  Still yet, I was going to show them.  I began by looking for great items at places like Goodwill and other treasure outlets but nothing.  Then I finally found the store that made my gifts come to fruition.  I drove an hour and a half to a little town that happened to have a store that had great coats for very low cost.  I stocked up.  I bought wool coats, leather coats, team coats, down coats… I was a coat monster….. My husband wasn’t too happy with me but it was worth it….  Those guys were going to feel so ashamed!

I arrived at the party and laughter roared as I walked into the room with my stack of gifts.  Little did they know that the joke was on them.  We ate and talked and then it was time to open gifts.  I made my little presentation… I told how guilty I felt and that I wanted to do something nice.  So they each opened their gifts and they were all amazed at their generous gifts.

Now, I will admit that I didn’t have this great feeling of accomplishment that I had hoped for… they really thought that I had spent a lot of money and they did seem to feel a little bad.  As much as I plotted and planned, I realized as they opened the gifts and I saw the look on their faces that I never really wanted them to feel bad…..I loved them. (still do)  I was just having fun… albeit over-budget fun (which my husband asked that I please not do again) and at that point, I didn’t want them to feel bad at all.  I wanted them to enjoy their gift whether they had gotten me anything or not.

I think a true gift is just that…. something we want people to enjoy.  It is pleasing to the giver when  there is an appreciation for what was given.  During the Christmas season, it is easy for me to get so caught up in the giving and doing parts that I tend to forget about what a great generous gift God has given to us through Jesus.  Not only is there hope, peace and love in that gift but there is the gift of eternal life and it  was given for us to embrace, appreciate, share and enjoy.

This Advent Season, through songs, stories or other means, be reminded of the great gift that God has given to us. But more so be reminded that he would have given this gift even if your name was the only one in the hat.  He thinks that much of you. 

Romans 6:23

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Advent

 

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Celebrate the Season- Advent Daily Chocolate Day 1: Love is Blind

When I was a kid I used to look so forward to December 1st.  That was when I could open the very first window in my Advent Calendar, look and see what the chocolate design was… you know, an angel, a Wiseman, a shepherd, etc…. and then eat it up.  The main problem though was that by December 2nd, the only thing left behind in those little windows was a hollowed out shell and  the smell of the chocolate …. Yep, I had no self control and I counted down to Christmas in one day.  What do you expect?  The pieces of chocolate were wafer thin and the windows weren’t locked… it was like a chocolate free for all.

Well, now I’m all grown up and have self control ……. And I also have a job so I can buy an extra calendar or two just in case ….. but, this isn’t about chocolate calendars….it’s not about self-control…..  It is about the Advent Season and the excitement that the countdown brings.

I’ve found myself many times when I’m reading during my quiet time, wanting to read more and then a bit more and even more …. pretty much like the chocolate of my childhood, I don’t want to stop until I’m satisfied.  So to add to my regular Bible reading plan,  I’m opening an Advent reading window a day (while eating a piece of chocolate, of course).  I’m doing this so I can share the “chocolate” that is satisfying to me and hopefully to others to.

So grab your chocolate …. the real stuff.. or not….. and hold me accountable to sharing with you a devotion, insight or story a day until Christmas.  Hopefully,  you’ll enjoy it as much as I will.

So, we’ll begin here in Isaiah…. Isaiah 11:1-5 to be exact

Isaiah is prophesying- He’s telling about a person (Jesus), a descendant of David, who is going to have some pretty obvious qualities about himself…. Godly wisdom, Godly Counsel, Godly Understanding…Just these three alone are enough to make you think He would be the one to follow, but as you move on down into the scripture there is something that I read that makes the whole appreciating Jesus thing even more precious.

It talks about his quality of blindness in Christ… not literal blindness, but instead, it is the ability to look at someone and not see them as others do and not judge them because of the way that they appear.  He judges the heart (That is why the Pharisees stayed so angry at him all of the time) .  In other words, he doesn’t love us just because we are attractive, or physically fit, or big givers of our money, are financially sound, teach Sunday School or sing in the choir or any other deed.   He loves us because we are his creation… made in his image..    That’s an incredible hope for a society who lives in a shadow of Hollywood images and lifestyles … It is also incredible hope for those haunted by their past.

We also find out He also judges by what he knows and sees … not rumor…He waits to know our hearts and doesn’t allow the opinion of another to persuade his thoughts about us.   More hope for those plagued with a history of poor choices or a past (or even present) that has brought about conversations from others.

When Isaiah was prophesying about this Messiah, he painted a picture of a fair and loving Christ that we fortunately now have an opportunity to know…. personally.

Have you pushed Christ aside because of a sin, a past, a hate, a bitterness or just an esteem that feels undeserving?  Look at how he see us… it’s different than what we are used to …. allow him to show you that love.

What about those who have experienced his love… How is your love? Is your love blind toward others?  Is it based on what you feel is attractive or not so attractive (appearances, financial status, hygiene, rumors, lifestyle, political positions)?  Today is a great day to practice blind love… to try to see the heart of a person rather than what the world sees.

So, I’m off to buy more chocolate…. I love this time of year!

Isaiah 11:1-5

New Living Translation (NLT)

1 Out of the stump of David’s family[a] will grow a shoot—
      yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
 2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
      the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and might,
      the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
 3 He will delight in obeying the Lord.
      He will not judge by appearance
      nor make a decision based on hearsay.
 4 He will give justice to the poor
      and make fair decisions for the exploited.
   The earth will shake at the force of his word,
      and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
 5 He will wear righteousness like a belt
      and truth like an undergarment.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Devotions, Faith

 

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It’s a Good Book….

Children’s lives are, in many ways, like good books. You become so engrossed with each page of their life that chapters fly by and before you know it, you have finished the book and you wish there were more pages to read.

But the Author continues with another chapter… a brand new book in the series is written. There are new characters and settings.  So it may take a little awhile to get caught up in it like the last one, but the Author is good and won’t disappoint …. the new chapter will be just as good and quite possibly even be a better book in the series.

The Hall household has just bought the next book. The first chapter in it is titled, “College”… I’m sure it will be a good book too, but I sure didn’t like having to put the first one down.  I’ll keep reading though…. I’ve heard the good part is coming up.

I do think, however, that I’m going to read the other two books that I have at home a little slower. 😉

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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