God's Word for Today

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Birds in my Chimney!

No this is not a metaphor for the state of my mental health.
This morning during my quiet time, I was met with the very pleasant sound of the birds. From time to time they will take up residence in my chimney. The early morning chirping was amplified and it sounded as if they were literally right there in my living room with me. I listened to the conversation of these birds and I began to think of how simple some things are and how complicated other things can be. For that quiet moment the birds chattered away and I just sat and drank my morning coffee and let the experience fill my quiet living room. It was a very good way to start the day.

MT 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Friday, March 28, 2008

What are the rivers in your life?

This small sentence from today’s “Streams in the Desert” really spoke to me.

“We must not overlook the fact that faith on our part helps God to carry out His plans.”

I have to ask myself how many times does my doubt or my fear of a situation or possible my unwillingness to be obedient hinder God’s plan? The truth is that God never needs my help, but He always wants me to yield to His plan. He always wants me to be molded into a more Christ like person. I am the clay and He is the Heavenly potter. I must be willing to submit to His molding, I must be pliable and allow myself to be shaped into whatever vessel He would have me be.

It is my faith in Him that gives me the strength to proceed with a difficult task I may be asked to do.

It is my faith in God that gives me the perseverance to continue to pray over a seemingly hopeless situation.

It is my faith that will eventually turn my perception of hopelessness into an eternal truth that God’s promises never fail (JER 21:44).

It is that faith that pushes out the hidden doubt that at times creeps into my day. Not doubt in the Lord but doubt in myself to follow through.

The scripture reference for today was Joshua 3:13

JOS 3:13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD--the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

The Jordan River was at its peek, they were standing beside this deep and rushing water and they know what they have been asked to do. They have to make it to the other side. God has promise them He will deliver them into the land of milk and honey. They are standing there looking as the rushing water holding the Ark high above their heads, the raging river stands in-between them and God's promise.

How great is God! He never pushes us or forces us to do anything, He wants our (my) willing obedience, and as soon as the priests (or me) set their feet in the water look what He did. The waters were cut off and they stood up in a heap.

In reading the footnotes on this passage I am posed with a very interesting question:

What are the rivers or obstacle in my life?

It also points out that God often provides no solution until I am willing to completely trust Him and move forward, to step into the water, to do what I know in my heart He is asking me to do.

So today I look at the raging rive in my life (my rebellious teenager) and I commit to continue to pray that it will be held up in a heap so that I can walk through to the other side on the rock solid ground that are the never failing promises of my God.

The bottom line is, God wants everyone to come to know Him(2PE 3:9), this includes my son. I have to keep my focus on praying persistently and praying even when I don’t feel like praying. I must pray continually (1TH 5:17), and even when I reach my very limit and I am overwhelmed with life and can not see through my frustration, anger and tears I know that the Holy Spirit interceded for me with groans that words can not express (Rom 8:26).

So what are the rivers in your life? Wade in with me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When are you grown up?

What a difficult question to ask and an even more difficult process to go through. As parents we get a front row seat in this painful mini-drama. Sometimes there is a lot of blood shed, weather physically or emotionally. There is usually pain involved, lots of change, and a very real revelation that as much as we want good things for our children there comes a time when we have to step back and pray that the process will not be to painful for them to experience and for us to watch.

I keep looking at my son, who chronologically is almost 19 years old, but emotionally and maturity wise he is closer to being about 16. The synapses in his brain have not yet made the connection that allow for rational or logical thinking. He still is operating under the assumption that as long as I don’t get caught then everything will be just fine. He motto is “Why tell the truth when a lie will work just fine!” The other enduring quality is his penchant for physical labor. The path of least resistance is always preferable to actually breaking a sweat. Why wake up at 7:30 am when 11:30 is just a few short hour away.

It must be such a burden to know everything, and even more of a burden to be saddled with parents who don’t now anything. But that is the age old response, we as parents don’t know anything until our children finally get into a position of having to be responsible mature adults.

I must admit that I long for the days when I will actually “know something” as apposed to being “totally clueless” and I can’t wait to “be something” other than a thorn in my son’s side and a roadblock to his perception of limitless freedom.

Tag Your It!!!

1. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged and to ask them to play along and to read your blog.

I've been taged so here goes!

What I was doing 10 years ago – 1998

1. My son was 10 years old and still thought I was a good mom.
2. My daughter was 3 years old and thought I was the best mom in the world
3. I celebrated my 16 wedding anniversary
4. Began my Stephen Ministry Training

Five things on my to-do list today –

1. Post to my blog
2. Balance my check book after putting it off for two months
3. Complete this questionnaire
4. Check the rates on a short getaway
5. Try to remain positive

Five snacks I enjoy

1. Mini Carmel Rice Cakes
2. Noni Turtle Biscotti with a hot cup of Chai
3. Popcorn
4. Peanut Butter on Toast
5. Fruit in season (it has to be really good, if you bit into it and it is a disappointment then you might as well switch to chocolate)

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Pay off bills (duhhh)
2. What ever I wanted
3. Travel with my husband and my accountability group (but not at the same time)
4. Go to collage
5. Insure all my loved one’s financial future (retirement, collage tuition etc….)

Five of my bad habits:

1. Television
2. Laziness/procrastination
3. Eating when I’m not hungry
4. Not putting things back where they belong
5. resistant to change

Five places I have lived:

1. I was born in North Carolina
2. Ohio when I was a baby
3. Georgia (all over, St. MTN, Decatur, Conyers, DeKalb county,) from the time I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade
4. Lawrenceville
5. Dacula

Five jobs I’ve had:

1. Fast food in High school
2. Lay-out at a local Newspaper
3. Graphic Designer
4. Full time mom
5. Administrative Assistant (sorta)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TNT Knows Drama??? I beg to differ.

Live with a rebellious teenager for five minutes and you will know drama, weather it’s the unexpected facial apparatus or the hysterical antics of an ex-girlfriend that you hoped was long gone, drama lives on.

I will be setting up a concession stand in the driveway later this afternoon in hopes of off-setting the family income with popcorn and milk duds’ revenue. I may even sell my living room sofa on EBay an install a row of stadium seating and surround sound so that I may fully enjoy the experience.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My "beloved" the idiot!

I will preface this posting with a warning. There will be no uplifting words, no profound spiritual truths, no encouraging statements, no warm fuzzy moments. I will from time to time depart from being a rational logical mature woman in favor of a hormonal shrew who can find nothing good in anything what so ever.

You see my “beloved” son waked through my door this afternoon with a chin piercing. I looked into his face and felt the gorge in my stomach rising up my throat. I paused momentarily trying to decide weather it would be necessary to sprint for the bathroom where I could vomit in peace or burst into tears at the sight of this foreign object jutting out of his chin. I am not even sure what to call this foreign object, except hideous, revolting, nauseating, disgusting, nasty and down right unattractive.

I remember showering sweet kisses all over his tiny toddler face and now I can’t even stand to look at it. I know if I say anything negative it will give him the satisfaction of knowing that he yet again has done the exact opposite of what we as his parents would desire for him to do, so I remain silent. I hate it but I will keep my mouth shut.

There are some creatures in the wild who devour their young, however revolting this concept my be, at this moment in time I can totally relate as I have visions of ripping my “beloved’s” head off and looking inside to see if there in fact is a brain residing within in that thick scull.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Look what I found!

Yesterday was the day. The weather was perfect, not to hot not to cold, with just enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable. I went in search of my garden gloves and pruning shears. The dead wood on my crepe myrtles awaited me. I know that this tedious task must be done, if I do not cut back the deadwood on the crepe myrtles then eventually the flowering of the tree will become top heavy and the branches will droop and hang over to the ground and the flowering will be poor.

I do not know many situations in life that do not benefit from a bit of pruning. As I was whacking away at the barren straggly branches one by one I could not help but think back to the many (many, many) times over the years when I felt the painful slicing away of something in my life. I can vividly remember periods in my life where I felt like I resembled a lone stump jutting out of the ground with everything sharply pruned away. It is painful to be pruned. It is even more painful to be pruned when you can not (or will not) see the fruit that is promised. But like everything that God designs there will always be fruit, we just have to be patient and wait for it to develop and ripen in our lives. This applies to the gardens we choose to tend as well.

I received a bit of unexpected fruit yesterday as I was tending to my “pitiful” patch of land. With each branch that I loped off I was lamenting the sad and barren state of things and making plans for where I will plant my first tree or trying to find the perfect place for a mass of Black-eyed Susans when in amongst the tangles of prickly growth I was pruning rested a small delicate abandoned bird’s nest. It had been previously concealed in the camouflage of jutting branches. You could literally not see the forest for the tress. It was so well hidden in the heart of the barrenness that it did not come into my view until I began the process of pruning. It was gently cradled in the branches I was pruning away. I moved in closer to examine this tiny abandoned home and found the remains of a hatched egg. The shell discarded, left behind by the mother and child. I very carefully moved around it trying to prune away all but the base branches so as not to disturb this beautiful gift.

You see when I came upon this tiny birds nest, it was like a sweet surprise from the Lord. My tedium of pruning was transformed into a treasure hunt. God spoke to me in the pruning and said:
“You may see “barren and pitiful” but I see a beautiful tree that I have placed in your care. This tree will house many generations for one of my creations. Don’t you remember, I care for the birds of the air, I provide for there every need, how much more do I love and care for you. (MT 6:26)”
I continued on with my task and was not only blessed once but twice. For in the second tree I
began to prune I found another tiny nest resting deep within it’s branches.
God is so good, He cares for me so much that He has entrusted to me the care and feeding of a very small part of His creation.

MT 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thank You Lord!

Is there anything better than waking on a Saturday morning to a heavy downpour? The sound of the muffled thunder and beating of the rain on the roof. I lay surrounded by my sleeping house in my warm bed, listening to these amazing sounds knowing that I could linger as long as I wished. I did not have to get up to go to work or take a child to the doctors office or make some important appointment. All I had to do was lay warm and cozy in my bed and listen to the welcome and the washing of a new day. What gift from the Lord.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Up!

I miss my old backyard! We moved into our first home about a year after my husband and I were married and then stayed there for 23 years. I know that is a long time. As I sit in my new house of just over two years, I long for the view I had from my old living room window.
For as much as I miss my wonderful garden, I have to recognize that it did not “spring up” over night. I now have the opportunity to begin again with my blank slate of a back yard. Now when I say blank slate you may take my words literally for there is absolutely nothing in my back yard except for a few junipers hidden out of site on a small hill and a flat postage size area of Bermuda grass. Gone are the days of ¾ acre lots with beautiful hardwood trees. Now we have a lot barely bigger than the house that sits upon it, but in an effort to avoid complaining (I really do love my new house) I am trying to focus on the process of transforming my blank slate into something that will motivate me to open the blinds across the back of my house. I notice that they remain closed most days simply because I recognize that to open them will lead to disappointment. The reality is that there is nothing worth looking at. However now that spring is here again I have the opportunity to begin, God willing that the drought conditions will lessen I may even plant a few trees.
I can see it in my mind, I even have it plotted out on a large piece of graph paper. All that is left is to acquire the funds and invest the sweat equity. I have to remember all those Saturday mornings bent over my old backyard spading up the hard red clay. Learning from mistakes, pulling weeds, and pulling weeds and pulling more weeds. I have to remember the years of moving bushes around thinning out iris beds, planting vegetable gardens, borders of annuals, all this took time, years even and I must again practice the art of patience.
I have wonderful memories of sitting on my garden bench with my coffee, bible in my lap as the morning breeze would brush through the dogwoods and then move through the stand of tall yellow iris. The sound the leaves and blossoms made as they brushed against each other. The hummingbirds as they hovered over the right red canna lilies. The morning dew on the wide leaves of the low growing hosta. The deep green of the grass, the pale salmon color and bright fuchsia of the azaleas the deep purple of my grandmother’s heirloom iris. The smell of the rosemary bush, the small splashing noises as the sparrows had their morning shower in the birdbath under the dogwood. I remember all of this and I want it back desperately.
I can feel it! The urge to sink my hands into the dirt. The smell of the soil, the earthy organic fragrance, the cool feel of it as you press the seedlings down into it. The anticipation of daily checking on the progress of tiny little plants. The excitement of finding a new blossom or picking the first tomato of the season. There really is nothing better.
So, I go in search of my garden gloves, loping shears and shovel.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Omologeo = Confess

We talked about the act of confession on Sunday. I have decided that I really like the Greek translation of some of theses words. Several weeks ago it was Hupotasso the Greek word for Submit. We served this up smothered in gravy with a side order of home fries. This past Sunday we talked about an equally difficult concept. Confession, in the Greek it is translated as Omologeo the southern pronounced aaaaama-o-leeeeg-eh'-oooooo. It sounds like an expression of surprise. You are walking down the isle at the Wal-Mart and you run into an old high school friend and you say “aaaaama-o-leeeeg-eh'-oooooo I cant remember the last time I saw you!” I know, I know a bit to corny, but somehow I don’t think Omologeo works as food metaphor.

What does it mean? Our pastor, during his sermon this past Sunday pointed out a few of the meanings:

To say as God says
To acknowledge
To recognize
To admit
To confess

For me it means to open ones self up to the sin within my heart and lay it down before the Lord. The very first bible verse I ever memorized was:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

I remember thinking how wonderful it was to be purified. It still is a wonderful thought that even now after I have been walking this path with Christ for nearly twenty years, I have not reached a point in my life where I am no longer in need of purification. I will always need to be purified from all my unrighteousness.

For in the book of Romans Paul writes that:

RO 3:9-13 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."

Paul hit the nail on the proverbial head with a great big hammer. We all have a bent toward sin. So if we all have a bent toward sin them we all have a deep need for confession. I think however there is a huge difference in having a deep need for confession and actually being able to confess.
I have a son who would rather cut of a body part than confess, some people look at confession as a sign of weakness. Some people have a deep fear of opening oneself up to scrutiny. Some are so full of pride that they will not yield over to any authority period.
The act of confession is for me another component in the process of becoming more like Christ. Remember my first memory verse:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There is that “If” word. God knows so very clearly the inherent character He created us to have. We are all capable of the very best, of worshiping God with all our hearts, of giving God our very best, of devoting out lives to him in every way, but we are also capable of turning our lives over to the world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air. There is always gong to be a choice.
If we/I choose to confess God will be faithful and just and purify us/me from all unrighteousness.

I can just as easily choose to remain in my sin. No one will know except me (and God) The sad reality is that it is our unconfused sin that keeps us from knowing the full joy of what God has in store for us. But the good news is that everyday we have a brand new opportunity to keep looking for areas in our life that may hold some hidden sin or maybe some not so hidden sin.
I know all to well the areas in my life that I struggle with, and I can bet that you probably have a few of your own.

1 John 1:9 is a wonderful place to start. When we have moved from the infant formula to something a bit more solid we read above and below and we find out the full truth of this verse.

1JN 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

So lets be real! I cant claim to be without sin, if I do then I am great big liar! But I can claim my sin, confess it and be purified from it. Praise God!

I could claim that I have not sinned but then that makes him out to be a liar.

I do not want to stand before God at my time of judgment and have him ask me why I called him a liar.

I want His word, His wonderful, wise, healing, purifying and life giving word to have a firm place in my life.

PS 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Let us all remember that once we confess our sin God in his infinite wisdom has the capacity to never look on it again.

It truly is as far as the east is from the west in His Heavenly realm.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

For the inquiring mind.....

I am now officially unpacked. The Mountain Top never last as long as you would like it to. I even had to do laundry today. What a bummer!

What is my legacy?

It has been several days since we returned from the mountain. I must confess that I have yet to totally unpack. My suitcase still sits in my bedroom. I have removed some things from it out of necessity, however I have not totally unpacked. I would love to place some deep significance on my unwillingness to unpack on my desire to hold on to my mountaintop experience, but realistically it has more to do with my inherent laziness.

We went to the mountain to get away to a quiet place. It was beautiful, it was breathtaking, and the mountain air was somehow different in our lungs than the city air we breath back here at home. We arrived with snow flurries and woke to mountain sunrises and spent the day in communion with the blue sky and our sisters in Christ. We had wonderful teaching and even more wonderful table fellowship.

We pondered the meaning of what our legacy is.

We asked ourselves what we want our legacy to be?

We were asked:

What seeds do I want to sow?

Want kind of harvest do I want to reap?

These are difficult question to answer if I am to honestly think of them and answer them truthfully.

What seed do I sow on a daily basis now?

What harvest do I reap from my behavior today?

What do my children see me doing?

I have had several very powerful realizations on exactly how this works over the last few years. With the birth of my daughter things were focused a bit more clearly for me. She is now entering a point in her life where she is leaving the childishness of life behind and moving into her own as a young woman. She is watching everything I do and say. She is leaning how to be a woman from my example. When I really fully take in the heavy reality it seems too much responsibility for me to comprehend. But even with that feeling, it does not lessen the truth of the situation. My daughter is going to look to me and model her behaviors after what she sees me doing. WOW! I have to let that sink in for a while. I have known this in theory, all mothers do. My husband and I have worked long and hard to raise both our children in a Christian home and to pass on the values and beliefs that we have in our hearts to our children. It is important to us. But this seems a bit different to me. It feels a bit like being under a microscope and the lenses of this microscope look a lot like my daughters beautiful brown eyes. She is watching me! She is watching everything I do. You see I did not learn how to be a Christian woman from my own mother. I had to learn on my own as I grew into my faith. So now I have new and wonderful, and terrifying opportunity to really practice what I believe and pass that on to the next generation.

We talked about this on the mountain as well. We discussed the reality of how the faith of the people of God is only one generation away from being extinct. That is important so listen to it again.

“The faith of the people of God is only one generation away from being extinct.”

If I do not pass on what I believe to my children then they will be sadly on there own, basically wandering in the desert just like the Israelites for all those years. It will not be impossible for them to come to a relationship with Christ, because we know that God’s desire is for all to come to know him. I look at my own experience and I know this to be true. After many years of my own wandering I thankfully came to know my Heavenly Father, do I hear and AMEN, that’s right sister AMEN, AMEN and AMEN!

Each day on the mountain we sang the song “ I want to be a Legacy”

By: Nicole Nordiman

I want to leave a legacy.
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering.

Child of mercy and grace who blessed my name?
I want to leave a legacy.

I returned home with this song my mind.

How will I be remembered?

What am I teaching my children?

Do I choose love?

Do I point to God enough to make a mark on things?

What will the offering of my life be?

I know that these questions will be upper most in my mind for quite some time.

We left the mountain with a very small keepsake, an example if you will of what our time on the mountain was all about. I have it on the table before me as I am writing these words. I will keep it in my bible and use it as a remainder. It is a small plastic back of dirt. Good fertile soil. It has three scripture references on it. If you were on the mountain with me you know what they are. Genesis 2:4-7, Ecclesiastes 3:20 and Luke 8:15. (I have included these scriptures in full at the bottom of this post.) This tiny bag full of very simple dirt reminds me daily that God formed us (me and you) from the dust of the earth (GEN 2:4-7), which we will one day all go back to that dust from which we were formed (ECC 3:20). It also reminds me that while we are here on the earth it is up to me to be the good soil where a seed can take root and thrive, good soil with a noble and good heart, to not only hear the word but remember it, to retain it and to tell it to others about it, especially those that I love the most. It also reminds me to persevere (LK 8:15). We don’t like that word at all, it brings pictures to our mind about suffering and pain. We all want things to be easy. But God never promised us easy, in fact we are told that in this life we will have trouble, it is how we overcome that trouble when our true character gets to shine.

Look at the lyrics of the song again.

Ask yourself:

How will I be remembered?

Do I choose love?

Do I point to God enough to make a mark on things?

What will the offering of my life be?

What will my legacy be?

So since my daughter is watching me so very closely I think maybe I need to go really unpack my suitcase and get it off my bedroom floor.

In His Precious Name

GE 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-- 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

ECC 3:20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

LK 8:15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Where to begin...

I return home from the mountain top feeling both renewed and exhausted. We laughed together and cried together. We talked into the morning hours and we enjoyed wonderful food and table fellowship. We were blown away by God’s creation. The mountains, the blue of the sky. I am still digesting it all. I wait with much anticipation for the unfolding of the experience. For now I have to catch up on my sleep and unpack.

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