Monday, December 31, 2012

I, (state your name) ...

"rightly named"
Genesis 27:36

Some friends of ours from church got married last week.  We didn't attend the wedding, but we were fortunate to see a lot of pictures online, and it looked like a beautiful wedding.  The bride is a wedding coordinator for a living, so we knew this would be a well-done affair.  Plus, she's an elegant, beautiful, stylish and graceful woman in every way, so of course her wedding reflected that. 

As I looked at the pictures, I kept being reminded of her nickname, which totally fits her.  She's called Sparkles.

It fits her because she loves things that sparkle, but also because she herself sparkles.  She has a vibrant, effervescent personality.

The meanings of names are very important in the Bible.  Often, Scripture tells us not only someone's name, but the meaning of their name.  And when someone's name is changed, like Abram to Abraham, or Jacob to Israel, we are told why, and the meaning of the new name.

Sometimes, that makes me wonder about the origin of some names.  In the Book of Ruth, we are told that Naomi's two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion.  Those two names mean "sickly" and "pining".  This, in my mind, begs the question: who would name their children such pitiful names?  Or were they given those names after it was apparent that they aptly described their personality?

Which, in my mind, begs another question.  (My mind apparently begs a lot of questions.)  What would your name be if it came from your personality?  What would your nickname be if it was given you by those around you?

Would you be called "Giggles"?  Or "The Thinker"?  "Doc"?  "Sparky"?  "Scrooge"?

Are you a Chatty Cathy, a Nervous Nellie, a Johnny Raincloud or a Debbie Downer?

Einstein, or Dopey?

Plain Jane, or Sparkles?

Just food for thought.  Perhaps something to make your mind beg a question.   What would you call you?  What would those around you call you?

And an even better thought: what would God call you?

~ "rejoice that your names are written in heaven" ~
Luke 10:20

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have you cherished your mate today?

"they shall become one"
Genesis 2:24

The families have departed now; all of us gone our separate ways after sharing our Christmas.   It's an interesting dynamic when all of us are together.  I'm sure it is for your family, too.  I have two sisters ~ one older and one younger.  All of us are married, and all of us have kids.  The kids are all within about eight years of each other, equal numbers of boys and girls, and all get along well.  They enjoy being together as a group, but they also can break up into any number of small groups and enjoy each other.

The grownups all get along, too.  Eight of us, including my parents.  And there's a lot to learn from being together.  I found myself thinking a lot about marriage the past few days. 

The length of marriages varies widely in the group ~ fifty-two years, twenty-two years, ten years, and two years.  It's interesting to watch spouses interacting with each other.  Sometimes I think, "oh, that's nice."  Other times I think, "wow.... I don't think that would work in my marriage." 

The beautiful thing is that it doesn't mean anybody has a better marriage than anyone else.  God is so good that way.  He lovingly created each of us uniquely, and has blessed each marriage in its own way.  No relationship has been without its struggles, either before or during the marriage.  "Two becoming one" is a difficult thing.  It means each one becoming less about oneself, and more about the new one.  And I don't think He ever intended for it to be easy.

Working to be selfless is an ongoing effort.  Even more so in a marriage, I think, because you still need to be true to who you are, while growing to be who you are becoming, all the while staying in sync with your spouse's growth, as they become who they are becoming.   

And while all that growth and effort is happening, others are being blessed ~ kids, parents, in-laws, siblings... but most of all, the two who are growing together as one.

my folks at their 50th anniversary celebration
~ "Two are better than one" ~
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Lesson from the Secret In-N-Out Menu

"those things which are revealed belong to us"
Deuteronomy 29:29

When our little family of four did our holiday traveling, we went up through California and into Nevada, to join the rest of the family for Christmas.  On the way, we carried on a hallowed tradition, honored by everyone in my family, on nearly every road trip ~ stopping for lunch at In-N-Out Burger.

We love In-N-Out.  The restaurants are always clean; the employees are always friendly, and the food is simply prepared, which means it's hard to screw up, which means it's reliably delicious every time.  They make everything fresh, too.  You can stand there waiting for your order, and watch whoever is in charge of French fries, cutting up the potatoes.  So, no reheated frozen fries here!

And no, I'm not getting paid for this; just sharing my humble opinion!  :)

The menu is just burgers and fries.  And shakes.  Their menu board is one of the smallest you've ever seen at a fast-food place.  Your choices are:  hamburger, cheeseburger, or the "Double-Double" with or without cheese.  That's it.

Or at least, it seems like that's it.

Because In-N-Out also has a "secret" menu.  That's what it's called by the people who know about it.  Which is a lot of people... It's not a very well kept secret.  I think the folks at In-N-Out refer to it as their "not-so-secret" menu.

Basically, the secret is the variations.   You can have more than two burger patties if you want.  You can have three, or four if you want.  But if you do, I hope you have your cardiologist on speed dial...

You can also have whatever number of cheese slices suits your fancy.  You can have your onions grilled or raw.  Whole or chopped.  No "spread" on your burger, or extra.  You can also have any of those options applied to your fries.

As someone once told me, if they have it on the premises, you can have it.  You can mix and match and create the lunch of your choice. 

My favorite lately is to have a cheeseburger without the burger.  In other words, a grilled cheese.  I love their burgers, but I love their grilled cheese, too.  It's got crisp iceberg lettuce, a slice of big red tomato, and a healthy dose of their spread, which is something akin to thousand island dressing.  I get extra of that.  I also get whole grilled onion on it, as opposed to chopped.  Delish.

I remember the first time I ordered it, I was a little hesitant.  Since what I was ordering wasn't on the printed menu, I was a little afraid that my request would be met with confusion, or that the order-taker would say, "Sorry; no substitutions."  But he knew exactly what I meant, and I got my order, no problem.  I've ordered it several times now.  It's a great alternative to their cheeseburger.  A little smaller, for when I'm not as hungry, and a little cheaper, if that's my goal for the day.

So when we stopped for lunch on our way to Nevada, I ordered that sandwich.  And as they always do, the order-taker immediately called back to the grill area that they needed a whole grilled onion.  I guess those are ordered less often, or take a little longer to prepare, so they need to get it started.  He just turned his head and shouted, "Whole grilled!" in the direction of the grill area.  I kinda grinned to myself when he did, wondering if the other customers near me would know what that meant.  A couple of years ago, if I'd heard an employee call that out, or a customer order it, I would have wondered what they knew that I didn't.  I used to see customers receiving their fries "animal style" and wondered what it was and how to order it...

So, here's a riddle for you:  how is the menu of a In-N-Out like the Bible? {Aside from the Bible verses that are printed on the cups and burger wrappers.}

I think that sometimes the Bible seems secret to people.  They think it's confusing or mysterious or ambiguous. 

It's not, of course.  It's God's Word to us, and He's brighter than we are, so there are going to be parts that are above us.  There are parts that can only be understood in the context of other parts.   There are parts that we are not going to understand until we understand Him better, and we can only understand Him better through His Word. 

Sound paradoxical?   Maybe; but it's true.

But once you understand something complex in the Bible, that knowledge is yours.  You understand what seems incomprehensible to others.  A concept that once was beyond you, or that might have felt "secret" to you, is now yours for the keeping.  Knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge, can never be taken away from you.

The hard thing is, we don't know what we don't know, until we know that there's something we don't know.  But then all we have to do is learn it.  Read.  Study.  Re-read.  Write.  Memorize.  And read some more.  There is treasure there, if you're willing to seek. 

~ "those who seek the Lord understand all" ~
Proverbs 28:5

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ten! Nine! Eight!...

"the old has passed away"
2 Corinthians 5:17

The New Year is coming.


Are you ready?

I'm not really a believer in New Year's Resolutions, per se.  I think we should be continuously working to make ourselves better, which means at the start of a new year, or a new season, or a new week or a new day.

But let's go ahead and get on the cultural bandwagon here.  Let's pretend that in a few days we should begin making an effort to improve ourselves.

So, in what area of your life do you have responsibility?  In your home?  In your job?  In your ministry?  Maybe all of the above.  I know in the case of the Apple of my Eye, he has responsibilities in every area of his life.  I'm so impressed with all God has entrusted to him.   He takes care of our family, of course, and has responsibilities at his job.  But he also teaches Bible to high school and junior high students, is a leader at our church, and helps coach baseball.

For each of us, there is some way in which we are "above" someone else.  At least, as the world defines "above".  Jesus would call it "under".  Mark 9:35 says that to be first is to be last, and the servant of all.

There's a verse in 1 Chronicles that I love, that speaks to the idea of being given responsibility.  14:2 says: "David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel."

This verse gives us three important facts:

1.  David had faith that his position as king over Israel was from the Lord.

2.  This kingdom had been highly exalted ~ lifted up, honored ~ and he was king over this highly exalted kingdom.

3.  The kingdom of Israel was highly exalted, for the sake of the people of Israel.  And that, had nothing to do with David.

To have responsibility is to be established by the Lord.  And it means you're a servant of others.  God desires for His children to be led, taught, encouraged and exhorted, and we are the instruments He uses.  Each of us has been gifted in some way, with the ability to care and love as the Shepherd does, or with the ability to teach, or with the ability to organize, or any number of other talents.

Fortunately, the God we serve does not have an attitude of:  "There.  I gave you what you need, now go to it."  No, He makes us this promise:  "... the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

He will ask you to do nothing for which the Holy Spirit is not with you.  The Holy Spirit is with you in your home, in the classroom, in the workplace, in the meeting room and in the dugout.  He is the energy, the wisdom, and the patience needed to serve, even when it's hard.

The Holy Spirit is also in our prayers.  The more we try to do, the more we must communicate with Him whom we serve.  Our prayers must be frequent, sincere, and thorough.

The Holy Spirit is also in God's Word.  Be in His Word daily.  The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance everything God has said to you in His Word, but you can't remember something you haven't learned. 

Now, you can respond to His call to serve, and then decide to fly solo, but it's going to be harder on you, and you'll be less effective in your efforts.  The saying goes, "It's lonely at the top".  But it doesn't have to be.

Perhaps our New Year's resolutions shouldn't be about strengthening some weakness in ourselves, but about strengthening ourselves in Him.

~ "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, 
he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; 
behold, the new has come." ~
2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Giving what we receive

"we glorify God for your liberal sharing with us"
2 Corinthians 9:12-14

So we're visiting family this week.  The whole gang has gathered at my sister's house for some good old fashioned togetherness.  And plenty of it.

It's the first time in many years we have gone to my sister's for Christmas.  We are spread out over three states, but two of the families live in Southern California, so we gather there for holidays most years.

My sister is a wonderful decorator, and a great hostess, and the house has been beautifully and thoughtfully prepared.  I know she did an extra special job of making her house Christmassy in preparation for having us.  In the weeks before the visit, she was getting more and more exited about having us all come visit.  Every time I talked to her on the phone, she'd tell me again how much she couldn't wait, but I know it was only partially about seeing all of us.  After all, she sees all of us every Christmas.  This was also about being the hostess, and wanting us to experience the home she loves, and the town where she and her family love living. 

I just loved sharing in her anticipation.  I love that she wanted to show love to us in a way you can only when you offer your home to someone.  I love that she wanted to share what she loves with us. 

And I think God loved it, too.  Sharing the things that are important to us is a way of opening ourselves up to others.  His blessings to us become a blessing twice, when we bless others with them.  And I think He sees our appreciation for the things He has given us.  I think He loves watching us enjoy what He has blessed us with, like when we're excited about giving gifts on Christmas, more than receiving them.  It's a way of thanking Him when we share our blessings with others, whether it's our money, our time, or our homes.

Of course we should still say the words of gratitude to Him, but I'm so glad He sees our appreciation, for those times when we don't say it.

~ "He who supplies seed to the sower
and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be enriched in every way
to be generous in every way,
which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." ~
2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Sound of Silence

"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth' "
Job 37:6

What are your favorite sounds?   Your child's laughter?  The opening notes of your favorite song?  The sounds of your sweetie's keys in the door?

I love the call of my woodpecker when he comes to visit.  His chirping is unique, and I love when he lets me know he's in the apple tree if I choose to stop what I'm doing and come admire him.

I also love the sounds of geese honking for no reason.  I mean, I'm sure they have a reason, but I can't tell what it is.  A few years ago, I was with the Apple of my Eye in Colorado Springs, in January.  It was cold and snowy out, and we went for a walk past a mostly-frozen lake.  The geese were all way out in the middle, honking furiously, and it was an enjoyable, musical sound.  It sounded like when the symphony warms up before the concert. 

I got to hear that sound again today.  We are visiting family in northern Nevada for Christmas, and we went for a walk along the lake near their house.  There were fewer geese than that time in Colorado, but they still honked their wonderful, gentle, musical honks.

And I heard another one of my favorite sounds today.  The sound of snow.  Have you ever heard snow?  My kids never used to believe me that snow had a sound, but today they heard it.  You have to be quiet to hear snow.  I don't even know how to describe it.  And it's not the sound of the flakes landing.  I'm talking about the sound of snow falling.  Lovely.

Soft sounds are a reward.  They are the gift we are given for accomplishing silence.  

God is a reward for us, too.   God does not yell in order to be heard by us.  He might occasion something emotionally noisy in our lives to get our attention, but He does not raise His voice.  He speaks, and sometimes it's only a whisper.

God speaks constantly, but so eloquently that we cannot hear.  We do not know what to listen for.  It's a different language... it's not out loud... it's poetry and we are crippled.

Shhh..... Stop talking, stop moving, stop breathing for a minute, and if you can, stop thinking.

That last one's a hard one.  Even harder than the breathing, surprisingly...

Once you're as still as you can be, then listen.  This is where it becomes important to stop thinking.  Because usually, when we try to listen, the loudest thing we hear is our own thoughts.  But we need to get past those, noisy as they may be.

That's the only way to hear Him.

And He's worth the effort. 

~ "Fire and hail,
   snow and clouds;
Stormy wind,
    fulfilling His word" ~
Psalm 148:8

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


For unto us
a Child is born,
Unto us
a Son is given;
And the government
will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

King of kings
and Lord of lords
Revelation 19:16

And He shall reign
forever and ever!
Revelation 11:15


I wish you a merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

"silent in the presence of the Lord God"
Zepheniah 1:7

Noche de Paz... Noite de Paz... Sainte Nuit... Stille Nag... Ping'an Ye Ge... Usiku Mtakatifu... Pavetaa'eva nehe'xoveva... Busuku obuhle... Po La'i E... Layla Shalev

It's possibly the most beautiful Christmas song there is.  It's certainly one of the most recorded.  One source says it's been recorded by almost every artist who has done a Christmas album.  I personally have 20 versions on it, out of about 500 Christmas songs in my library.

There's a great story behind the writing of Silent Night; that in 1818, at a church in a small village in Austria, a song was needed for the Christmas Eve service.  The organ was broken, and Joseph Mohr, who was the assistant to the priest, needed a song which could be sung with just the accompaniment of the guitar.  So he asked the organist, Franz Gruber, to write music to accompany a poem that he himself had written.

photo credit: wikipedia
Is that story true?  I don't know.  I also don't care.  It paints such a beautiful picture in my mind, that I'm just going to hang on to it.   

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant, so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night!  Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night!  Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.


It is my prayer for you.

~ "My soul, wait silently for God alone, 
For my expectation is from Him" ~
Psalm 62:5

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bearing Fruit

"to bring forth branches, and bear fruit"
Ezekiel 17:8

The Bible talks a lot about fruit.  There's the fruit in the Garden, in Genesis.  And there are some fruit trees mentioned in Leviticus.  There's that great passage in Numbers where Moses sends some men (including Joshua and Caleb) to spy on the land they are going to inherit.  And he specifically asks them to bring back some of the fruit of the land.  I think that was so wise of him; he was clearly giving some good thought to finding out what it will be like to live in the land.  But I also get a kick out of the way it's phrased in the Bible.

Starting in Numbers 13, verse 17, Moses gives the spies their marching orders ~ now, I want you to read this with imagination, with expression.  Picture the spies, bags in hand, ready to leave on their mission.  It's dangerous, it's important, and it's for God.  Moses is authoritative, and the the spies are taking his words to heart.  Are you picturing this very solemn scene?  He said:  "Go up ... and see what the land is like:  whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds, whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not."

And then He gives them one last ~ seemingly ~ instruction.  "Be of good courage."

Now, in my mind, that's the last word.  That's the last instruction you want to give someone when they're about to do something dangerous and daunting, right?  Be of good courage.  And I picture the spies turning to leave, feeling the full weight of their mission.

And then Moses adds that last bit:  "And bring some of the fruit of the land." 

Love it.  It's like me, when the Apple of my Eye heads out to get milk or dog food, and as he's pulling out of the driveway, and I'm waving after him, I shout, "oh, and get some fruit!" 

Scripture also mentions fruit when it talks about fig trees and apple trees.  I wonder, though, when the Bible talks about fruit, if it's including tomatoes?  Or are they a vegetable?  Hmmm....

But the Bible also talks about fruit from the spiritual standpoint.  That which we're producing in our lives.  Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruit of the Spirit, which are manifest in us when we walk in Him.  James 3:18 says "the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."  If you do a search for the word fruit in the Bible, you'll get a lot of hits.  To bear fruit is to accomplish something.  It is to live a life for Him, and get results ~ the kind of results that bring Him glory.

Now, bearing fruit is a challenge for us.  By that, I don't mean that it's difficult, I simply mean that we can't do it without some work on our part.  Prayer, serving, living your life with eye to His will.  That will produce fruit.  But it is a challenge.

And yet, here's the secret.  You ready?

John 15:4

"Abide in Me, and I in you."

I know.  It's so simple sounding.  But it comes with a promise.

"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine.  Neither can you, unless you abide in Me."

The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.

So don't try.

 ~ "Herein is my Father glorified, 
that ye bear much fruit" ~
John 15:8

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Lesson in Courage from my Dog

"Blessed is the man who endures"
James 1:12

Have you ever heard the expression, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." ?

My kids hate that expression.  Course maybe that's because I say it to them when they are in the middle of whatever's making them stronger.  When you're in the middle of something difficult, it's sometimes very hard to appreciate the lesson.  

But I love that expression, because it's so true.  Hard times in our lives strengthen us. 

Take my dog, for instance.  Well, don't really take her.  We'd miss her.  And truly, you probably don't want her.  She's pretty high maintenance.  Scared of noises, strangers ~ and for that matter, friends and family too.

Another thing she is scared of is car rides.  She's not one of these dogs that sits on the seat with her head out the window her tongue lolling in the breeze.  No, she's one of these dogs that sits on the floor of the backseat, trembling.  If we do manage to get her to sit on the seat with the kids, she alternates trembling with barking at passersby.

But her favorite thing in the world is my husband.  That is to say, the Apple of my Eye is also the apple of her eye.  So recently, he decided to take her with him on a short trip to pick up our Awesome Girl at her babysitting job.  He had one hand jingling his keys, and his other hand on the doorknob, and the poor dog just didn't know what to do.  She wanted to be with him, but she didn't want to go where he was going.   Finally, after he had called her a few times, she went.  Now, every week when he picks up my girl, he takes the dog with him.  And now, when he goes to the door, keys in hand, and calls the dog, she goes running to join him.  She's a little less afraid now.  A little stronger.

One of the beauties of this truth is, that we are not just stronger in character, we are also stronger in a characteristic, if you will.  Hard times not only strengthen us, but also something in us ~ our compassion, our awareness, our determination.  And yes, our courage.  

Growth is generally not something we can tell is happening at the time that it's happening.  Faith means being confident it's happening.

~ "May the God of all grace, 
who called us to His eternal glory by Jesus Christ,
after you have suffered a while, 
perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you." ~
1 Peter 5:10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nobody Hurts Alone

"weep for yourselves and for your children"
Luke 23:28

There was a weird kind of a solstice in our house a couple of weeks ago.   Something disappointing had happened in the lives of each of my children, at the same time. 

I was stuck in a melange of emotions.  Anger at those were responsible for my kids' disappointment.  Shared sorrow and despondency.  Remorse for what I might have done to prevent the problems from happening in the first place.  And I was teaching my son at the time, so in between subjects, as we put away books, and got out other ones, I was doing a little muttering to myself.  My Amazing Boy asked was wrong, and I just summarized by saying, "Both my kids are unhappy.  I hate it when my kids are unhappy." 

And then I added, a little cheekily, "... unless it's my fault..."

We both kind of laughed a little, but there was actually some truth in what I was saying.  Sometimes parents have to make decisions that hurt their kids.  Punishments, or consequences for their bad choices, or having to say no to something they want.  It's hard ~ remember that old saw "this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you." ?  There's truth in that.

But anytime you have to make a decision that's going to disappoint your kids, you have to feel strongly about it, or you wouldn't have made the decision in the first place, right?  It still hurts, but you feel you're doing what you have to do. 

I think the same thing is true about God.  I believe He hurts when we hurt, and that doesn't change just because He orchestrates or allows the pain.  Which, of course, is true all the time...

And of course, He also has the benefit of always knowing what's the right thing to do in any given situation.  No second-guessing or doubting for Him.  Me?  Happens all the time. 

He knows we're living in a world of tribulation.  Jesus told us so.   And He knows that comes with pain.  Jesus experienced that.  And it somehow comforts me to know that when my kids and I are hurting, my Father is hurting too. 

~ "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; 
there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  
There shall be no more pain, 
for the former things have passed away." ~
Revelation 21:4

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Back to Basics

"Let all things be done decently
and in order"
1 Corinthians 14:40

I met a microbiologist last week.  At a Christmas party.  And we proceeded to have a very interesting, decidedly unChristmassy conversation.  Unless of course, the Twelve Days of Christmas song includes some number of festive bacteria...

It was a fascinating conversation.  At least to me, it was.  Maybe she was bored, talking about what she does for a living, but I had a lot to learn.  And learn, I did.

We talked a little about the rash of meningitis cases in the U.S. this summer.  36 people died and 500 others were infected from contaminated steroid shots for their back pain.  She said that without any investigation on her part, she was pretty sure she knew how the steroids had gotten contaminated; she could guess what simple precautions hadn't been taken on the part of the manufacturing pharmacy.

Assuming she's right, it made me wonder why those precautions hadn't been taken.  Laziness?  Money?  Time?  Maybe all three.  It's sad, because the precautions existed for a reason. 

Then we talked about germs in the home, staying healthy, etc.  And she said the most important "tricks" to staying healthy are the basics.  Wash your hands before eating and after touching germy things like doorknobs, keyboards and the like. 

Do you remember that piece from years ago, "All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"?  Just a series of very basic things to remember about how to treat others, and how to take care of yourself.  Things like:  Share.  Clean up your own mess.  Don't hit people.  Stuff like that. 

It's just not that hard.  Life is not as complicated as we make it sometimes.  God boiled it down to 10 simple rules, and then when Jesus was on earth, and the Pharisees were pressing Him, He boiled it down even further.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.  

Sometimes we don't do things the right way, because another way seems easier.  Either that, or we're too busy loving ourselves to love Him and others.  So we omit foundational steps, and somehow, in some way, someone pays.  Maybe it's our neighbor, certainly it's ourselves.   And it's just as much a sin to not do something you should, as it is to do something you shouldn't.

He wants us to live a life of abundance.  And He has told us how.  And it's not that hard.

~ "Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea." ~
Isaiah 48:18

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be a hearer. And a doer. And a hearer.

"Blessed is he who reads 
and those who hear the words of this prophecy, 
and keep those things which are written in it"
Revelation 1:3

I want you to think, for a minute, about John, the author of Revelation.  Picture an old man, painstakingly scribbling on parchment of some sort.  He was writing down a vision, and if you've ever tried to describe a dream to someone, I think that will give you an idea of how hard it must have been for John to put into words what he had seen. 

I wonder how he felt about writing it down.  I wonder if it was hard, or if it just flowed out of him, all the details he remembered.  And I wonder if he had any idea of the long-lasting impact of what he was writing.  Seeing the vision he saw must have been a tremendous blessing for him, but his responsibility had only begun.  He still needed to "do".

In John's day, the Word of God had to be read to the people; that was the only way they were going to hear it.  Today we have the blessed privilege of reading for ourselves, although to be honest, I think sometimes that makes the hearing harder.  I can read a passage, seeing every word I read, but still go away not really having "heard" any of it.  Today's highlighted verse is a promise, but also a warning to me, to not take the Word of God lightly.

On the day he died, Moses spoke to the Israelites, as they stood ready to cross over the Jordan River to the Promised Land.  It's in Deuteronomy 32 and it's called the Song of Moses.  I recommend you read it, or re-read it. 

Upon completion of this song, Moses spoke to the people.  These are verses 45 through 47:

"Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and he said to them:  Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe ~ all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land, which you cross over the Jordan to possess."

This is a great verse for new beginnings... for when you're ready to begin the doing part of being a believer.  When we begin a new chapter in life, we are often trembling with excitement, or quaking with fear.  But if the steps we take are in obedience to Him, then there are promises.

But what I love about stepping out to do something for Him, is the knowledge that it's really not about what I'm doing.  He chooses us to do hard or scary things for Him because we love Him, and because we are teachable.  I love that about Him.  Doing things for Him shows love to others, brings Him glory, and puts us in obedience to Him.  Win, win, win.

You hear God's call on your heart when you step into serving Him, but that only happens because you responded to His tugging on your heart in the first place.  He began something in you that very first day you believed in Him, and He continues it every day after.  And as Philippians 1:6 tells us, "you can be confident that He who has begun a good work in your will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." 

That means both undertaking a job for Him, but also continuing our own learning.  Taking on a role of leadership doesn't make you any less a follower.  Taking on a role of doer doesn't make you any less a hearer.

We must not take lightly the opportunity to serve, but it also shouldn't take the place of our continued learning.  The Book of Revelation comes with the promise of blessing for those who hear it and keep those things written in it, but the Bible itself comes with the promise of sanctification.  In John 17:17, Jesus prays to His Father:  "Sanctify them by Your truth; Your Word is truth." 

And so He will.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Giver of Gifts

"If ye, then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your children, 
how much more then 
shall your heavenly Father 
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"
Luke 11:13

I came across this verse last week ~ in the King James, so I thought I'd give it to you that way.  I do love me some ye's and thee's every once in awhile! 

It caught my eye, because it's the Christmas season.  That word gifts just jumped out at me, I guess!  I love this verse all year round, though, because it speaks to me as a parent.  It's one of those verses that reminds me that no matter how much I love my Awesome and Amazing children, God loves them more.  And it reminds me that I am one of His children, too.  And He loves me. 

But this verse rings especially true as Christmas nears.  It's a time of gift-giving, and there's no one I'd rather give gifts to, than my kids.  This Christmas, as I've shopped for a variety of people in my life, no matter what store I was in, I saw something I wanted to get for one of my kids.  Sometimes more than one something.

But over and over again, I've had to stop myself.  We, like everyone else, have a finite amount of money, so the gift choices have to be made wisely.   This desire of mine, to give good gifts unto my children, makes me think of this verse, and how much our Father desires to bless our lives with, well, blessings.

But today, I had a thought that caused me to take this lovely awareness one step further.  I was in the hardware store ~ can I just tell you how much I love going to the hardware store?  Something always surprises me.  And there's a whole lot more girly stuff in there than there used to be.  Things for the home, or for gifts, that are fun to look at.  But when I was wandering down the aisle with kitchen gadgets, all of a sudden I thought how fun it will be to help my kids furnish their homes when they move out.  Now, of course, that won't be for years  ~ and I'm in no hurry for that next chapter ~ but I just pictured all the fun I'd have buying little things like for them. 

And more than just wanting to buy things for them, I feel a little like it's my privilege.  It almost feels like it's my right, with my husband, to be the one to give them certain gifts.  Does that make sense?

But as soon as I thought that thought, I thought, "I wonder if God feels that way, too".  He wants so much for each of us: a life of strength and grace toward others... a life of awareness of His power and sovereignty... a life of abundance, and forgiveness.  And as the verse says, the gift of the Holy Spirit ~ the height of love and comfort and guidance.

No one can give to us what He can give us.  No matter how much we love the people around us, we cannot give them what He can give them.  The gifts that He gives are His to give, and it's His joy to give.  If we, who are flawed and weak and selfish, love to give wonderful gifts to our children, how much more our heavenly Father?

~ "The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life" ~
Job 33:4

Monday, December 17, 2012

Glad to be His Child

"love the children of God"
1 John 5:2

I served in a classroom in church yesterday.  It was the toddlers' class, so there isn't as much teaching going on as there is watching, playing with, and entertaining.

It was only a handful of kids.  The oldest was four, and the youngest just turned two.  But there was so much diversity in personality.  There were two boys, and the rest were girls.  One of the boys was just as charming as could be; he just toddled around the room playing with toys, or sitting when we told him it was time for the Bible story, or snacking when we gave him animal crackers, or coloring when we got out crayons and coloring pages.  He smiled endearingly, and never said a word.

The other boy, well, he was on the other end of the spectrum.  He climbed on tables, and refused to join the other children when it was time to go sing.  He threw toys and tried to leave the room more than once.  I used to have a teacher who would have said he was zigging when he was supposed to be zagging.

And then there were the girls.  Two of them, though not related, have a lot in common.  A surprising amount, in fact.  One of them comes with her mother, the other with her grandmother.  They are very close to the same age, and both have a white mother and a black father, so they both have that exotic beauty that comes from having mixed-race parents.  And though they are young, they consider each other friends, having seen each other at church, and attended each other's birthday parties.  It's sweet to watch them interacting with each other.

Another of the girls was an adorable, pigtailed, redhead.  She was only visiting our church.  She and her family live out of state, but they were visiting relatives who attend our church, so they came too.  She's been there many times, and feels comfortable.  She was so interested and involved in the story; it was sweet to watch.

Working with children is really not my forte.  I help once a month because we need volunteers in the Children's Ministry, not because I feel especially called to be there.  And that wonderful diversity of the children is part of the "problem".  I have raised two kids.  I mean, I'm still raising them, but they are not really "kids" anymore.  One is a teenager, and one will be soon.  So the "raising" feels more like "guiding" now.  Reminding and redirecting my kids when they are wandering off the path a little. 

And I loved raising my kids.  I loved each new phase ~ even the difficult ones ~ and treasured the characteristics of every age and stage.  But I knew what to do with them.  It was trial and error, but I got to know how to encourage, how to discipline.... what their strengths and weaknesses are.  I don't have that advantage with the kids at church.  I just don't know them that well. 

So I left feeling frustrated today.  But at the same time, amazed at our Father.  I am in awe when I think of how well He knows each of us, and how much He loves us.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses; how to encourage and strengthen us... and He has limitless patience when we climb on tables or run from discipline.

I'm reminded once again of how being aware of my weaknesses illuminates His strength for me. 

~ "Behold what manner of love the Father
has bestowed on us,
that we should be called
children of God!" ~
1 John 3:1

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Keep up the pace

"do not grow weary"
Galatians 6:9

There were protestors in the national news this week.  But then, there generally are. 

Sometimes, when I disagree with their point of view, I roll my eyes a little at them, but in general it's one of my favorite things about America.   I know this isn't the only country where protesting is legal and welcome, but I'm still proud that it's true here. 

Twenty-plus years ago, when my family visited Great Britain, we were inconvenienced by taxi drivers who were on strike.  But we were only inconvenienced for one day, because polite as they are, the Brits who were protesting only did so on Wednesdays, so as not to inconvenience the public too much.  Isn't that wonderfully civilized?

Most of the time, protestors are far away from me.  Most of the time it's not personal to me; just something I follow on the news.  But several years ago, the grocery store workers in our area went on strike.  It didn't affect us too much; we were still able to do our shopping, but it was obvious that many who were filling the roles were rookies who hadn't been well-trained.  So we took to bagging our own groceries, to prevent getting home and finding that the bread was under the canned goods...

The strike went on for months.  And one day, while I was driving home, I saw the picketers, but I noticed a difference from the last time I'd been near that store.  Several days before, there had been many of them, loud and proud.  But on this day, there were only a few, and they were sitting. 

Before, they had marched in circles, sometimes calling out to passing cars.  Now, they sat in the shade, their signs leaning against them, still visible, but not as prominent.

They simply didn't have the energy and enthusiasm they had had at the beginning.  Even though I'm sure they still thought they were right in their arguments, their part in the battle had become too hard, too tiring, or too boring.  Their passion seemed to be gone.

Our work here on earth is hard, and there will always be something that needs to be done.  But there's a time to sleep, and a time to work.  The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, and while I'm on duty, I must work. 

Even when it's sunny and hot and I want to rest in the shade. 

Even when the task is dull and I want a new assignment. 

I must march, and hold my banner high, and proclaim my message, as loudly and proudly as when I first began.

~ "Nevertheless, I have this against you,
that you have left your first love.
Remember from where you have fallen;
repent and do the first works" ~
Revelation 2:4-5

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blessed are those who mourn

"A voice was heard in Ramah, 
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more."
Matthew 2:18

"Let the little children come to Me, 
and do not hinder them"
Matthew 19:14

"The Lord is near to the broken-hearted"
Psalm 34:18

Friday, December 14, 2012

One degree of separation

"bring back a sinner"
James 5:20

I did something a little bit presumptuous today.  Not a lot, I don't think.  But I also haven't heard from all the parties involved, so I could still be scolded. 

But they were both friends, so I took the chance. 

I have two friends whose daughters are sick.  These two friends don't know each other, but I've known both of them for years, and for a few weeks now, I've been getting prayer requests from both of them regarding their girls. 

In both cases, the illness is a mystery, but the symptoms are remarkably alike.  In both cases the suspected illness is proving difficult to confirm.  And it's a fairly unusual condition, so it seems odd that I'm getting prayer requests from two people, at the same time, about something I've never even heard of. 

Because the doctors haven't been able to confirm the illness in either one of them, the girls are going through a series of tests, and taking numerous medicines.   And for both sets of parents, the lack of answers is proving frustrating.  Probably for the girls, too.   Just a few days ago, I was talking with one of my friends about the necessity of getting a second opinion.  That can be so helpful, especially when you're dealing with something that is not responding to current treatment.  You are relying on the doctor's best judgement, so it's a good idea to compare that with someone else's best judgement. 

So I decided to try to get my two friends in touch with each other.  It was a little risky, because medical information is personal, but since they've shared the circumstances with me, and other friends, I decided it might be a good time for an exception.   I emailed both of them this morning, and let them know how I know both of them, and that I thought maybe they could compare notes on doctors, symptoms, and medicines. 

It was a bit of a difficult decision for me; I knew it was presumptuous.  But I also thought about whether I knew anyone else who could connect these two women, and I could think of no one.  So I decided if this connection was going to happen, it was going to have to be me.

Okay, now look back at today's highlight verse.  It's been on my mind lately because my Amazing Boy memorized it for Bible study a couple weeks ago.  The whole thing is:  "whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins".  I normally read the Bible in the New King James version, but my boy had memorized this in the English Standard version.  The most significant difference is the word "wandering".  The NKJV says "turns a sinner from the error of his way".  Both versions make the same point of course, but that phrasing "bring back a sinner from his wandering" is just so visual.  So often, that's what our sinning is ~ wandering.  We don't necessarily make the decision to sin, we just, you know, wander.  In this passage, we are encouraged to help someone who is wandering, find their way. 

And that, takes getting involved. 

Now, these friends of mine were not wandering in sin.  But I thought they might need help.  And I thought I might be the only one who could connect them.  But whether or not I am, and whether or not it helps them,  I took the chance, wanting to help. 

So pray.  And be ready to get involved.  You might know someone who is wandering, and you might be the one to bring them back.

~ "a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name" ~
Acts 9:15

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Well, are you?

"He will hear you"
Job 22:27

I noticed something interesting today, in Genesis 22.  It's the chapter that tells the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to be in obedience to God.  It's a hard chapter to read, especially as a parent.  It's only made palatable by the knowledge that God did the same thing for us.  That fact is such a reminder to me that His compassion for us is based on understanding.  God so loved the world, He gave His only Son... He knows about sacrifice. 

But anyhow, what I noticed was the frequency ~ three times ~ of the words, "Here I am."  First, at the beginning of the chapter, when God first calls his name, Abraham replies by saying, "Here I am."  The second time is in verse 7, when Isaac speaks to his father, and Abraham replies, "Here I am, my son."  Finally, there's verse 11, when the Angel of the Lord calls to Abraham, telling him not to hurt Isaac.  When Abraham heard his name, he responded in that same way.  Sort of a habit for him, wouldn't you say?

After noticing this, I went searching to find other instances of that phrase.  Actually, there aren't many.  Well, not as many as I had hoped to see.  Makes the ones that are there, really stand out.  My next wonder was, how often has someone said it to God?

So, there's Abraham.  And then in Genesis 31 and 46, Jacob.  In Exodus 3, Moses.  In 1 Samuel 3, Samuel (repeatedly). 

The only other instance is Isaiah, in chapter 6.  Isaiah actually says, "Here am I," but we'll count that.  His sincerity is the same, even if the words are slightly reversed.   

So, have you ever said that to God?  Seems like there is a catch.  You might be thinking that it's the kind of thing you might say only in response to God calling your name, but I think that's a cop-out.  You don't have to hear your name, in a deep voice, from the clouds, to know that He is waiting to talk to you; that He has something to say to you.

In fact, I wonder if maybe we don't hear Him because we don't have a "here I am" attitude.  Maybe we need to have a heart of willingness before He will tell us what He would have us do. 

It might make a nice daily greeting, from you to Him.  "Good morning, Lord.  Here I am."  And then just you watch and see what happens.   You will not be ignored.

~ "I Am Who I Am" ~
Exodus 3:14

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just do it

 "in the garden in the cool of the day"
Genesis 3:8

I was at a luncheon recently where we were given a series of discussion questions.  I love those.  While there are times when it's wonderful to simply chat aimlessly, and see where the conversation goes, sometimes a discussion question helps you find out things about other people ~ or even yourself ~ that might not come up in ordinary conversation. 

Well, one of the questions at our table was "when do you have your quiet time with God?"  It led to a very interesting conversation about the pros and cons of sitting down for prayer and Bible study at different times of day. 

Morning is often the quietest time, if you get up before the other members of your household.  It's also a wonderful way to start your day, and remind yourself that your priorities should be His. 

Evening is such a wonderful way to close the day, and leave yourself thinking of Him as you close your eyes to sleep.  It also allows you to look over your day and maybe confess, or praise, as necessary. 

Then, of course, there's the middle of the day.  For me, that's often the quietest time, after lunch, when the kids have done their chores, and they go to their rooms to do their homework.  I have the main part of the house to myself, and often read or work on my Bible study. 

Naturally our conversation turned to Scripture, and the examples we see in there.  I know Jesus got up while it was early to pray to His Father (Mark 1:35) but I somehow doubt that was the only time of day He was in communication with Him. 

And we talked about Adam and Eve, about how they were with God in the garden, until their fall.  They didn't really have to have quiet time to talk to Him.  He was in the garden with them, at least part of the time, according to Genesis 3. 

They also didn't go to church, or take communion, and we have no record of them singing worship songs.  They didn't need to.  We don't know how long this way of life lasted for them, but what a beautiful picture it paints of being with Him; of the relationship they had with Him. 

It's impossible for us to achieve what they had with Him ~ or the relationship Jesus had with Him while He was on earth.  And yet I think it's somehow still something to strive for.  That idea of being with Him all the time... of walking with Him in the cool of the day.... He put that in the Bible for a reason.  I think because He wants us to know how it can be.  And how it will be, someday. 

~ "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him" ~
Psalm 91:15

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hidden motives

"you justify yourselves before men,
  but God knows your hearts"
Luke 16:15

The ark of God was being brought to David, in the city of Jerusalem.  And on the way there, the oxen who pulled it stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the ark, and "took hold of it".  God struck him down, and he died there by the ark. 

This was always a verse that created more questions than answers in my head.  I used to wonder how God could be so cruel, when all Uzzah did was touch the ark, and only with the good intentions of steadying it.  {story in 2 Samuel 6}

I used to be bothered that when an angel came to Mary, telling her she would have a Son, and her response was, "How can this be?  I do not know man."  And when an angel came to Zacharius, telling him he would be the father of John the Baptist, his response was, "How can I know this?  I and my wife are old."   Both replied with almost identical questions, and apparent impediments to what the angel was predicting.  But Mary's response was met with a comforting explanation, and Zacharius' was met with punishment.  {story in Luke 1}

I used to be bothered by God's treatment of Saul.  God had hand-picked Saul to be king, albeit at the insistence of the Israelites.  And all Saul did wrong was make a burnt offering, disobeying Samuel's instructions to wait for him.  But he was afraid of the people losing their nerve.  It was just one incident of disobedience.  {story in 1 Samuel 13}

The difference?  God knew what was in their hearts.  While the circumstances seem to justify their words, or their actions, the condition of their hearts determined His response. 

~ Uzzah's death was not in response to his action, but his arrogance in disobeying.

~ Zacharius' punishment was not for his words, but for his attitude. 

~ Saul's punishment was not because he made an offering to God, but because He minimized the role of God's priest, Samuel.  Saul thought that he, as king, held all the cards.

Words, actions, thoughts, motives... The fact of the matter is, that I am a sinner.  So there's a fair chance that it's not just my deeds that are sinful, but my thoughts and intents, too. 

And what makes it even worse is that I can't even examine my own heart to see if it's sincere.  I need Him to do that.  Psalm 26:2 says, "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart."

The accounts in the Bible are not given to me so that I have a reason to judge His decisions; it's to give me illustrations and examples from which I can learn.  I need to be less skeptical about His actions, and more about mine.

~ "Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven" ~
Lamentations 3:41

Monday, December 10, 2012

The sin of neglect

"Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"
Ezekiel 34:2

My cat is meowing.  For no reason.  She does that sometimes... She makes us think she's out of food, but then when one of us goes to fill her food bowl, most of the time she's got food in there already. 

Sometimes I wonder if she just wants company.  I'll come into the room, and she'll be standing there meowing, but the minute she sees me, she starts eating.   Funny....

She's a very meowy cat.  Social.  She meows to ask for food, or to let us know she's out of water, or just to say "hi" when we walk by.  It's one of the things I loved about her when I chose her at the shelter.  Actually, it's how she chose me.  But it's how I knew I wanted her. 

We are still studying Jeremiah in church, and one of the passage we read a few weeks ago made me think of my sweet kitty.   It's a powerful, painful verse.  A warning.  It says, "Therefore, thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people:  'You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them.' "

It was that last part that got my attention:  "you have not attended to them."  It reminded me that when we are responsible for someone ~ or even something ~ neglect is just as bad as abuse. 

God talks about shepherding a lot, but one place where you can learn a lot about bad shepherding is in Ezekiel 34.   Here's a sampling:  "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost, but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.  So they were scattered because there was no shepherd." (verses 4-5)

It's a lot of wrong-doing.  But it's also neglect. 

I think neglect is easier for us to rationalize.  I'm too busy... you don't know my schedule... it's not my gift... someone else will take care of it...  Who of us hasn't said that when there's a job to be done?  When God draws our attention to something, it's not supposed to be for spiritual sight-seeing.

I'd like to point fingers when I read this.  I'd like to focus exclusively on others' mistakes.  And I'm sure I could think of some.  But it's not an effective warning to me if I don't apply it to myself. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to make sure my cat has food.

~ "Water the sheep and go and feed them" ~
Genesis 29:7

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Once more, with just as much feeling

"I, the Lord, do all these things"
Isaiah 45:7

If we were to do a word association about Christmas, there are a lot of words that would come to mind:

Christmas --> lights... 
Christmas --> dinner...   
Christmas --> tree...  
Christmas --> party...

But then there's also this word connection:  Christmas traditions.

Traditions are a wonderful, painful, comforting, dangerous thing.  They don't need thought, so sometimes we do them without thinking.   They bring up memories of times and people past, and sometimes those memories are painful. 

I love Christmas traditions.  I can say that, because I think I have (pretty much) eliminated any tradition that I feel is not worth keeping.  So any that still exist in our home, and in our family, are chosen. 

Thinking about traditions has me remembering something I read this summer.  It was written by G.K. Chesterton, who is also the author of a favorite poem of mine, The Donkey.  You can read it here.  It's especially good when read around Easter, so maybe I'll try to remind you then. 

At any rate, I'm thinking about something else that Chesterton wrote.  I read it on a blog several months ago; the always-educational, often-profound blog of my friend RWP.  You can find it here

This is not a poem of Chesterton's, but a thought.  A concept that really got me thinking and trying to get into God's head a little more. 

Which, of course, is impossible.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9), and yet we keep jumping, hoping we can touch them...

This thought of Chesterton's is sort of about tradition; about doing the same thing over and over.  He said: 

"Because children have abounding vitality, 
because they are in spirit fierce and free,
therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  
They always say, 'Do it again'; 
and the grown-up person does it again
until he is nearly dead. 
For grown-up people are not strong enough
to exult in monotony.  
But perhaps God
is strong enough 
to exult in monotony.
It is possible that God says 
every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun;
and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity
that makes all daisies alike;
it may be that God makes 
every daisy separately,
but has never got tired of making them. 
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;
for we have sinned and grown old,
and our Father is younger than we."
G.K. Chesterton

Isn't that a wonderful thought?  That the things we find beautiful ~ or necessary ~ in life are not just there because He programmed the sun to rise and the plants to give off oxygen, but because He chooses to bless us over and over and over?

Perhaps every breath I take is because He commands my heart to beat.  Perhaps every day, my husband loves me because the Lord chooses to continue to bind our hearts together.  The  woodpecker and the phoebe who visit my backyard, the jasmine that blooms in my front yard.  Perhaps they are all there because every day He says to the earth, "Do it again."

The thought makes me want to change my expressions of gratitude to Him.  It makes want to say not just, "Thank You, Lord." but "Thank You.  And thank You again."

~ "Be glad and rejoice forever in what I create" ~
Isaiah 65:18

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Today is December 8th.


Not sure what to read in your Bible today?  Start with one of these.  Maybe one of them is an old favorite.  Or maybe one of them will pique your interest and you'll read something you never read before.

"And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord."
Genesis 12:8

 "Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it."
Exodus 12:8 

"And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons ~ one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering.  So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean."
Leviticus 12:8

"I speak with him face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord.  Why then were not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?"
Numbers 12:8

"You shall not at all do as we are doing here today ~ every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes."
Deuteronomy 12:8

"in the mountain country, in the lowlands, in the Jordan plain, in the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the South ~ the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites"
Joshua 12:8

"When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place."
1 Samuel 12:8

"But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him."
1 Kings 12:8

"Some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were swift as gazelles on the mountains"
1 Chronicles 12:8

"Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations."
2 Chronicles 12:8

"Moreover the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah and Mattaniah who led the thanksgiving psalms, he and his brethren."
Nehemiah 12:8

"Or speak to the earth and it will teach you; and the fish of the earth will explain to you."
Job 12:8

"The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men."
Psalm 12:8

"A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a crooked heart will be despised."
Proverbs 12:8

" 'Vanity of vanities,' says the Preacher, 'All is vanity.' "
Ecclesiastes 12:8

"My heritage is to Me like a lion in the forest; It cries out against Me; Therefore I have hated it."
Jeremiah 12:8

"And in the morning the word of the Lord 
came to me, saying, "
Ezekiel 12:8

"Although I heard, I did not understand.  Then I said, "My Lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
Daniel 12:8

"And Ephraim said, 'Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.' "
Hosea 12:8

"In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them."
Zechariah 12:8

"For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Matthew 12:8

"Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God."
Luke 12:8

"For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."
John 12:8

"Then the angel said to him, 'Gird yourself and tie on your sandals'; and so he did.  And he said to him, 'Put on your garment and follow me.' "
Acts 12:8

"he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."
Romans 12:8

"for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit"
1 Corinthians 12:8

"Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me."
2 Corinthians 12:8

"But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons."
Hebrews 12:8

"but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer"
Revelation 12:8


'cause after all, it's 12/8.

Amen.   <><