Monday, November 30, 2009
Preparing 4 dinner... my 5 year old niece sees me marinating "beef." She asks me, "Auntie, what are you doing?" Since I am too tired to think, I tell her, "its chicken..." But before I can correct myself, she responds, "Oh... is that the cow from the chicken?"
Hahaha! What a great laugh for the day!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
by Kelli W.
Today I was thinking about the Scripture where God promises to give His people “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3), which Jesus referenced when he stood up in the synagogue and read this very same passage, proclaiming his fulfillment of these verses (Luke 4:17-18). I have heard this verse many times and it has always seemed sweet but maybe somewhat distant from my heart personally and like it applied to others, but today it struck me in a new way. It was as if suddenly I was very aware of what ashes are. Profound, I know ;-). I mean I guess I never thought about it in context to this verse. What are ashes? NOTHING. They are the charred remnants of something that was, but really, what can you do with ashes? NOTHING. Ashes are worthless leftovers that only get stuff dirty by their presence. You can’t build anything with ashes… you can’t really do anything with ashes except put them on your head and go about mourning… And what does God give us for the ashes of our lives? BEAUTY. Oh, something of such substance. He gives us real, true, eternal beauty. He adorns our souls with something that is lasting. He gives us love…. Perfect Love… not just a love that toys with our hearts or makes empty promises. Not a love that manipulates or connives or takes advantage… He gives us PERFECT, FAITHFUL, ETERNAL, COVENANTAL LOVE. Wow. God takes the nothing of my life: my failures, my shortcomings, my vain attempts at reaching righteousness in my own effort, my broken heart, my tears, my lost hope… all of these ashes…and in His Divine Providence, in a way that only He can do, He gives me BEAUTY. He crowns me with His love. This is quite the exchange.
It strikes me that in this exchange, what He gives us has real substance. It is not just a nice idea, a nice thought or an encouraging word in the way people have sympathy and try to make you feel better when you had a really bad day or the girl or guy does not return your admiration or you didn’t get the job or make cheerleading tryouts or the first string of the basketball team or whatever it is. When God names you, when God defines you, He holds the Trump card. He has the absolute and final say about who you really are. And He says who you are is beautiful. He says you are perfect. He says you are worthy of His love because of His blood.
And there’s more! This beauty is not solely substantial, it is eternal. What He is doing in us will last forever. How true the verses Paul writes, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17, I just liked the KJ version in that one☺, emphasis mine).
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things which are not seen are ETERNAL. Did you hear that? He is giving you BEAUTY for your ASHES. All those shattered dreams, that rejection, that abandonment, that self hatred, those failures…. Ashes all of it… but ashes just blow away. And the Refiner of our hearts is creating a new thing. Like gold is refined through the fire, so our hearts are refined in this furnace of trials and tribulations (1 Pet. 4:12-14) if we but say YES to His Love in the middle of it. In the midst of the questions, as we journey on without knowing the way… as we come up leaning on His faithfulness rather than our own fleshly might our hearts are being refined and something beautiful is being formed… something of eternal value. We are being made into a Bride fit for a King. We are being given beauty for our ashes.
:: O God, I will receive this wonderful exchange. I will take Your Beauty for my ashes…. How can you be this good? ::
Thursday, November 26, 2009
She came to Virginia to spend a week with me for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I didn't realize how much I've missed her until I picked her up from the airport and kissed her cheek! Ah, there's NOTHING like a mom. I mean, there's nothing and no one that could ever take the place of a mother. I love my mom and am SO thankful and grateful for her life. Just being in the same room with her is inspiring. I love that God loves me so much, that He would spoil me with an amazing mom. Wow. He's so good!
Monday, November 23, 2009
God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 NCV
What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work” (Jer. 1:5 NCV).
Set apart for a special work.
God shaped you according to yours. How else can you explain yourself? Your ability to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes, to bake a cake without a recipe. You knew the Civil War better than your American history teacher. You know the name of every child in the orphanage. How do you explain such quirks of skill?
God. He knew young Israel would need a code, so he gave Moses a love for the law. He knew the doctrine of grace would need a fiery advocate, so he set Paul ablaze. And in your case, he knew what your generation would need and gave it. He designed you. And his design defines your destiny. Remember Peter’s admonition? “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pet. 4:11).
I encountered walking proof of this truth on a trip to Central America. Dave, a fellow American, was celebrating his sixty-first birthday with friends at the language school where my daughter was studying Spanish. My question—“What brings you here?”—opened a biographical floodgate. Drugs, sex, divorce, jail—Dave’s first four decades read like a gangster’s diary. But then God called him. Just as God called Moses, Paul, and millions, God called Dave.
His explanation went something like this. “I’ve always been able to fix things. All my life when stuff broke, people called me. A friend told me about poor children in Central America, so I came up with an idea. I find homes with no fathers and no plumbing. I install sinks and toilets and love kids. That’s what I do. That’s what I was made to do.”
Sounds like Dave has found the cure for the common life. He’s living in his sweet spot. What about you? What have you always done well? And what have you always loved to do?
That last question trips up a lot of well-meaning folks. God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he? According to Paul, he would. “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 NCV). Your Designer couples the “want to” with the “be able to.” Desire shares the driver’s seat with ability. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4 NIV). Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery. As Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Human life would seem to consist in that in which each man most delights, that for which he especially strives, and that which he particularly wishes to share with his friends.”
So go ahead; reflect on your life. What have you always done well and loved to do?
Some find such a question too simple. Don’t we need to measure something? Aptitude or temperament? We consult teachers and tea leaves, read manuals and horoscopes. We inventory spiritual gifts and ancestors. While some of these strategies might aid us, a simpler answer lies before us. Or, better stated, lies within us.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Haillee asked her mom what a "period" was. Her mom asked her where she heard about it... Haillee said, "You know, mom... when I read!" "Phew!" said Haillee's mom. "...was sure glad I hadn't launched into the OTHER "period" conversation!"
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
If you love Me, keep My commandments —John 14:15
Our Lord never insists obedience. He stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit with Him. That is why whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an "If," meaning, "You do not need to do this unless you desire to do so." "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . ." ( Luke 9:23 ). In other words, "To be My disciple, let him give up his right to himself to Me." Our Lord is not talking about our eternal position, but about our being of value to Him in this life here and now. That is why He sounds so stern (see Luke 14:26 ). Never try to make sense from these words by separating them from the One who spoke them.
The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.