Monday, January 24, 2011

Just stretch out your arms, and thow your body...

You know what makes me smile the biggest (among other things)??  When Brynnen, (who may or may not be a little whinny), just wants her mommy to pick her up.  She’ll usually make some kind of distressed noise, I’ll bend down and say “You want your mommy??” and open my arms.  She’ll waddle over with her arms stretched out, and I stoop low enough that her little arms go over my shoulders, and she puts her whole body weight on me, trusting that I will catch her and everything will be ok.  I squeeze her sweet baby body for a few seconds and tell her I love her, sometimes she’ll put her head down on my shoulder-oh, that is the cherry on the whipped topping on the frosting of my cake!  That just makes my day, and reminds me what a sweet blessing I have!

Think how much more must our Father above delight in our running to Him, arms stretched out, and throwing our whole body weight on Him, trusting He will catch us, and everything will be ok.  Well sweet child of God, He will catch you, and it WILL be ok.

These verses actually came from my wonderful friend, Bethany Gentry, (from the CHBC website listed below) they are her favorites, and you can easily see why. 
Habakkuk 3: 17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior.

That is beautiful.  Sometimes we wonder why there is no fruit, or harvest or cattle- this was their lively hood then (and we still have many people that this may apply literally to, there are plenty of farmers, even if we do not see them- we sure need them!!).  Present day this verse could be, “though there is no raise or extra income, though you lost your job, though the doctors found no cure, though your life isn’t what you planned, though you feel you can’t take anymore, you will still rejoice in the Lord, and you will still be joyful in God your savior.”  No one said it would be easy, although living in America (or Canada ;] ) we are among the richest in the world, and life compared to third world countries, is cake,  we are to rejoice in the Lord. 

Have you ever made a decision to have a positive attitude, to thank God in every situation- because it could be worse?  I have, and have I ever been tested on it!  Sometimes I fail, but I have seen that if I make a choice to be happy, to rejoice in my Lord, God and savior- it becomes a habit, then becomes part of who I am.  Yes, of course there are times I fall so short, I am ashamed at how I have reacted to certain circumstances.  Well, just gotta get up, finish the day (or week), and ask God for another opportunity, BUT be prepared, He will give you another opportunity to rejoice, even though…(insert something here).

Just remember it may or may not be your fault there are no figs, or grapes or cattle and sheep, those are all circumstances.  They too will pass, but your opportunity to rejoice in your Lord is constant!  =) 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snowflakes, hot chocolate and cold feet!

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table looking out into the backyard, I have been gazing up every few minutes just to collect my thoughts, slowly I see a speck of white here…then there, then over there, oh here too! Next thing I know, IT’S SNOWING! It amazes me how it can be clear, no rain, no wind, just a little cooler than yesterday, but no snow for weeks and then here it comes.  Snow is so calm, it doesn’t need a big entrance like thunder or downpour like rain to catch your attention.  Nope, snow arrives with simple speck here or there, which leads to more, and then even more specks of white that fall straight to ground (and then disappear of course).  Looking at snow for me is so calming.  Even as a child (and now too) when I am up in Ohio, there can be 8 inches of snow on the ground at night with blowing winds on back roads that haven’t seen a plow or salt truck, and something about the steady constant white on black gentle streamish flow gives me a peace that blocks out any fear that i may have otherwise had in that type of weather. 

Looking at this snow now I picture a time in the future when my daughter (who is 11 months old, and napping currently) will be able to come up to me and excitedly tell me it’s snowing and ask to go play in the snow.  I can’t help but smile, and picture her out there trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue, dancing around without a care in the world.  She hopes it will stick so her and daddy can make a snowman, or snow angels when he gets home from work, oh how fun!  I’ll have hot chocolate ready when they come in, and listen intently as she tells me about their time outside.

 It also makes me thankful for the slight chill in my toes as I sit in this chair, very thankful it’s ONLY a slight chill, and that I can turn the thermostat up, or put socks on.  My heart breaks for another mother who may be also looking out her window to her backyard, which may or may not have grass, but it certainly has no room for running or playing.  She may see this snow and wonder how she is going to keep her kids warm if they want to play in it (which they shouldn’t even be out because of the neighborhood she lives in).  Then what about tonight, that cold chill she feels is more than in her toes, and it is going to get worse- will she have enough blankets for them?  Maybe she can ignore the cold so her baby can be warm, yes that’s what she’ll do!  Hopefully this snow won’t stick and her husband will find work again soon, her pantry is empty and she hates hearing her children say they are hungry.  Nope, there’s no calm for her when she sees snow, it’s more of an anxious “will we get through this?” type feeling. 

Most of you reading this are probably where I am, able to turn the heat up, (even though the electric bills have skyrocketed), but I am certain there is something in your life, maybe your child(ren)’s life that has you shaken.  Well, remember beautiful mother, this too shall pass.  Psalm 3:3-6 says “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.  To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up again me on every side.”  Be strong sweet mother, the Lord has a plan for your and your sweet babies.  I don’t know the pain, because I have never been in your shoes, but my heart yearns for comfort and peace for you! I am praying for you, even though I do not know you and may never meet you- I will pray MANY blessings for you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Silence is...Golden?

Psalm 4:4 says “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.

Let me repeat that (with CAPS for emphasis, of course).  “Search your hearts and BE SILENT.”  As women it’s almost natural for us to search our hearts, wonder if we are doing the right thing, search until we are sure we are making the right decision.  However, that “be silent” clause, that just doesn’t work out well for us.  We have to talk it out, we have to ask anyone and everyone their opinion about everything to make sure we have the most accurate information in order to ‘search our hearts’.  Of course the bible says to seek wise counsel.  Where we need to be careful is how many wise counselors and the motive behind the counseling.  The first wise counselor we should turn to is God and his word, from there a husband, father or trusted Godly friend who isn’t in to what YOU want, but what is right could be sought.  I, myself am guilty of asking different people for advice before turning to the one I need to seek first.  So next time you have a decision, thought or idea that may render advice, simply pray once and be silent.  We may be surprised at the response we get from THE wise Counselor. 

Another reference for this same “silent” process is Psalm 77:6 “I remembered my songs in the night.  My heart mused and my spirit inquired.”  The dictionary says Muse is: ponder, consider, deliberate at length.  (Again CAPS for emphasis) deliberate AT LENGTH.  You can decide to what length, but I’m thinking a 24 hour period at minimum. 

Wow, we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us- Looking forward to trying this with you!!
Please let me know if you try this, and how it goes! =) 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Genealogy is a thing of the's NOT your future!

Matthew 1 gives an account of the genealogy of Jesus.  You see a mix of people- good, bad and scoundrels!  I am going to talk about a few women listed.  The first we see is Tamar.  She originally married the oldest son of Judah, but he died.  Judah then had his second son (of three) “lay” with her to produce an offspring, well he did…but didn’t, so he also died (read Genesis 38 for all the juicy details).  Judah, still feeling the need to have Tamar produce an offspring from his family, offered his youngest son, but not until he was older.  Long story shorter...Judah lied, he did not give his youngest son.  So Tamar tricked Judah himself into sleeping with her, 9 months later she had twins.  Perez, the oldest twin, is Judah’s son from Tamar who is part of the line leading to Jesus. 

Next up on our list of “bad girls” is Rahab.  In Joshua 2 the bible says the spies “entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there,” however my bible has an “a” and the “a” reference indicates “prostitute” here could possibly be translated to “innkeeper”.  Whoa, in our language those are two very different occupations.  In addition to her possibly scandalous title, she lied to help out the men of God.  After which Rahab got married and bore Boaz, who is included in that same line, listed above, leading down to Jesus.  Some people ask “oh, so it’s ok to lie if you’re doing it for God?”  I most certainly cannot answer that; however I do know that if she had told the guards the men were hiding at her, she would have aided in their death, which could be considered murder, right?  You pray about it, and see what God tells you concerning her actions (which for me is not to worry about affairs of someone who is long gone & I will see in heaven).  .     

The last one I want to mention here is “Uriah’s wife”.  Bathsheba, that is her name, however in this genealogy her name isn’t given, simply “Uriah’s wife”.  This is from II Samuel 11 – 12.   I don’t know if I consider her a “bad girl”, more like in a bad situation.  In this story Bathsheba simply does what she is told.  King David calls for her, even though she is married and her husband (Uriah) is off fighting a war for King David…he still calls, has his way with her and then sends her home.   She gets pregnant, then David has her husband (Uriah) killed and takes Bathsheba for as his wife, the first baby dies, they get pregnant again, and behold Solomon is born.  I wonder if they list Uriah name instead of Bathsheba to honor him.  Uriah was nothing but a good, devout soldier who died because of another mans sin (wow, that sounds familiar!). 

The son of a scoundrel mother (and father, really) was used to continue the gene passing down the line to our Christ. 
The possible prostitute, who lied, has a son, who is in linage of Christ.
A woman who was used for pleasure, lost a baby (and husband), produced an heir in that same line to Christ, THE KING.

I say that to say this, Christ was perfect, his family…not so much.  As Christians we are now part of His family, and definitely not perfect.  He knows our sinful nature (which you can read about on another post), yet He continues to take our mistakes, mishaps and outright sins and make it work for His good, not our good HIS good, and the good of the kingdom.  This doesn’t mean it’s ok to sin because God will take care of it, sometimes He doesn’t.  This is an encouragement for those who may have a not so nice past- you don’t have to live in regret and despair!  Rise up child of THE KING, seek forgiveness and know God is waiting to aide in the restoration process.  You most likely will never forget past sins, but that is to remind us, keep us accountable, lest we fall into temptation again!  Embrace your past, regretting gets you no where, learn from and most of all, help others!