Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shoot, I know there's something I'm supposed to be doing...

"Is anyone among you suffering?
Let him pray"
James 5:13

So last week one of my Amazing and Awesome kids had to go someplace I was wishing they didn't have to.  It wasn't dangerous or anything; as a matter of fact they probably were glad to be there.  It was just something I wouldn't have wanted to do myself.  Plus I didn't like the impact it was having on our schedule, so the whole situation was making me uncomfortable. 

So as I was driving there, I was feeling all.... twisted inside.  My heart and my stomach were kind of crunched up; you know what I mean?  Mad at the timing, frustrated by the circumstances, and even ~ in my heart ~ laying blame at the feet of the people who I felt were responsible.  

After I dropped off my Awesome and Amazing child, I spent the next few hours feeling that way.  Irritated, frustrated, infuriated, exasperated, aggravated, vexed, irked, nettled, piqued, disgruntled.   {Man, I love words!}

But here's the thing:  I was so busy wishing it didn't have to happen, that while it was happening, I wasn't even praying for my child.  I was just wallowing in my unhappiness.  How's that for putting your focus on the problem, instead of the solution? 

Peaceful and rested in my heart?  Nope.  I chose crunchy and twisted insides, instead. 

Do you know Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart."  Well here's the wording that was in my head that day:  "You will seek Me and find Me, when you finally get around to searching for Me...." 

Fortunately, God loves even a slow learner....

~ "You will keep in perfect peace, 
whose mind is stayed on You" ~
Isaiah 26:3

Monday, January 30, 2012

Awesome and Amazing

"the child grew in stature and in favor, 
both with the Lord and men"
1 Samuel 2:26

I wonder if, when Jesus was growing up, He ever said to his mother, “I think we should cuddle for a few minutes.”

I wonder if He ever told His mom to relax, and He’d carry in the groceries.... 

I wonder if, when His mother asked Him to do something, if He did more than she asked.... 

I wonder if she was continually amazed at His creativity as an artist; and the beautiful artwork He'd create...

I wonder if He had a cheeky sense of humor that brought her to laughter even on hard days....

I wonder if it gave her joy to see how hard he worked at His studies... 

Man, I love being a mother....

~ "May your father and mother rejoice;
       may she who gave you birth be joyful!" ~
Proverbs 23:25

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Haven't I seen you before?

"I pray for them"
John 17:9

I had coffee with my cousin the other day.  Well, not really, because my cousin lives in Oregon, and I live in California.  Getting together for coffee would be tricky...  Plus, this gal was blond, and my cousin is a brunette.  They have different names, too... and occupations.... oh, and I wasn't at all related to the gal I had coffee with.

But you know, other than that....

Well, okay, here's what really happened.  I had coffee with a new friend the other day.  I'd never met her before.  She's a homeschooling mom too; a friend of a friend, and we were getting together so that I could give her some books I no longer needed, as her kids are younger than mine.  So we chatted for a half an hour or so, comparing notes and encouraging each other on the ups and downs of homeschooling.  But I kept thinking of my cousin, because this gal had the same smile as my cousin.  So after we left the not-so-ubiquitous local coffee house {we had decided to try to boost the business for a mom-and-pop place nearby!} I found myself thinking about my cousin the rest of the day. 

Have you ever done that?  Found yourself thinking about someone, kinda out of the blue, because you saw or heard something that reminded you of them?  It's such a wonderful prayer prompt.  When I was in high school, I moved from one side of the country to the other, so of course I made a whole new set of friends.  But I often wondered if God had given me my new friends in such a way as to remind me of my old friends.  Because for many of them, there was something specific that made me think of someone I'd left.  Like Kathy, who had the same curly hair as Rachel.  Or Lisa, who laughed like Julie.   When I was little, I thought that when God was designing people, He had a finite number of facial features to choose from.  So He'd think, "I'll use nose #6 for her, along with mouth #4; that'll be a nice combination."  And then anytime you saw someone with nose #6 and mouth #4, they'd remind you of that other person you knew with that combination. 

I'm older now, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't work that way. 

But maybe. 

But I definitely believe that He allows people or events or circumstances in our lives, that are going to remind us of people.  And that that should prompt us to pray.  God loves intercessory prayer.  Today's highlighted verse, from John 17, is proof of that.  Jesus, while on earth, gave His disciples ~ and us ~ an example of how to be an intercessor, when He prayed to His Father for His disciples, and for those who would come after them ~ meaning, of course, us. 

It is so easy to be all-consumed with our own lives and wants and needs.  I think it's fair to say that for every one of us, praying for others should take a higher priority than it does.  Take advantage of those reminders of people in your life that would appreciate your prayers.  Maybe even design some triggers.  You could decide to pray for your mom every time you see a red car.  Or to pray for your nation's military every time you see your national flag.  Or to pray for someone who's hurting when you pass an ambulance.  Or pray for your spouse every time you pass one of those ubiquitous coffee houses.   Ask Him to prompt you, and He will.  And then it's up to you to follow through.

And Linda?  I hope you had a good day on Friday.  Cuz you were on my heart  :)

~ "they fell down before the Lamb,
each having a harp,
and golden bowls full of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints" ~
Revelation 5:8

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Done and Done!

"The Lord has done what He purposed"
Lamentations 2:17

That's a good sentence.  There's so much power and might and sovereignty in that sentence.  And yet I think its might lies in its simplicity"The Lord has done."  Just like that.

No fireworks.

No trumpets.

No mention of His fearsome angels.

Simply His will.   "The Lord has done".

And what has He done?  "What He purposed".  He can do nothing else.  And no one can do what He does not intend.

He has purposed and planned and intended since before time began; for the duration of the "always" that is His existence.

He commands.  He fulfills.

And all creation silently shouts, "Amen!"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Caution: The squeamish should read this at their own risk!

"Be holy, as I am holy"
1 Peter 1:16

We had an impromptu homeschool science lesson today.  We've got some standing water in a trashcan in the side yard, and we realized that there were some unidentified wormy-looking things in it.  White grubs, all clustered together, floating in the water.  It was really disgusting, in a fascinating sort of way.... Biology is like that...

I came inside, and said enthusiastically to my Awesome Girl, "Wanna see something gross??"  She loves science, but she does not love gross.  So she asked a few questions to get a better idea of what I was talking about ("is it a dead animal?" etc.) then cautiously agreed.  Then I went to my Amazing Boy and said enthusiastically, "Wanna see something gross??"  He said enthusiastically, "Sure!"  And off the three of us went.

See?  Gross.
It took a bit of research online, but I finally discovered that they are called red-tailed maggots.  They're the larvae of something called the drone fly.  When I looked at the picture of a mature drone fly, I thought it was odd that I'd never seen anything like that around my house, when clearly, this is a climate they like.  But then I thought, well, maybe I have seen them around, but I didn't know it. 

Here's why:
Drone Fly ~ from Bugguide.net
Honeybee ~ From Wikipedia
Separated at birth, right?  If I ever did see a drone fly around my house, don't you think I just assumed it was a bee?

And that got the kids and me talking.  The drone fly benefits from the fact that it looks like a bee.  It's protected because it looks so much like something that other animals (and humans) fear.  It looks like something strong, and that keeps predators away.

That reminded my Awesome Girl of the Viceroy Butterfly.  The beautiful Viceroy, which looks like the beautiful Monarch, is protected by that similarity.

Monarch - from Britannica Online Encyclopedia
Viceroy ~ From the Britannica Online Encyclopedia

The Monarch feeds on toxic milkweed plants, which means that any bird that eats it will get sick.  Birds know this ~ although I think they have to find out the hard way ~ so they stay away from the Monarch.  And the Viceroy.  The viceroy looks like something to be feared, and that keeps predators away. 

How much do you look like Jesus?  If He is your Lord and Savior, and if you are walking with Him and growing in Him, then you are growing to look more like Him.   And that's good ~ for you.  The more you are like Him, the more you are protected from our adversary, the devil, who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  After all, satan tempted even Jesus Himself.  So when we are tempted, our protection will be in responding as Jesus did.  In all things, in all ways, we need to be like Him.

~ "He who says he abides in Him 
       ought to walk as He walked" ~
1 John 2:6

Thursday, January 26, 2012

From the ridiculous to the sublime?

"beauty for ashes"
Isaiah 61:3

This is a beautiful passage in Isaiah; one that calls for meditation, I think.  A little pondering.  Because in many ways, it's something only God can do, at least on the scale to which He's referring in this passage.   But I think that maybe God expects us to do the same, in our lives, in some way ~ at least to the best of our ability!

So in that spirit, I want to share with you an example of making something beautiful... out of something.... well, not so beautiful. 

I saw this in a natural history museum in San Antonio.  Isn't that a beautiful deer?  Now, what do you think of when you think of a deer?  Grace, agility, gentleness, strength, delicate beauty...

But now look a little closer:

Can you see what the medium is?  It's not paint, although the background is paint.  It's not pencils or pastels or charcoal.

It's actually more like those art projects we used to make when we were kids ~ remember using pasta to create something beautiful for your mom and dad?

But it's not pasta.

It's made from rattles.  From rattlesnakes.  Anyone else grossed out by that? 

But it's beautiful.  It was done by a woman named Emile Friedrich, in the late 1800's.  I saw that, and I was sort of fascinated and horrified at the same time.  Snakes are low and dirty and, well, reptiles.  In the Bible, they represent sin, and satan.  But look what she did!  Beauty!  From rattlesnake!

Okay, now here's God's promise...

      The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
      Because the LORD has anointed Me
      To preach good tidings to the poor;
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives,
      And the opening of the prison to those who are bound...

      To console those who mourn in Zion,
      To give them beauty for ashes,
      The oil of joy for mourning,
      The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
      That they may be called trees of righteousness,
      The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified...

      I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
      My soul shall be joyful in my God;
      For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
      He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
      For as the earth brings forth its bud,
      As the garden causes the things that are sown in it 
            to spring forth,
      So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
            to spring forth before all the nations.

Now that's beautiful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One, two, buckle my.... slipper?

"having shod your feet 
with the preparation of the gospel of peace"
Ephesians 6:15

I wore my slippers today while running an errand.  I didn't realize it until I was almost to my destination.  My reaction was "oops" followed by "oh well".  It was just the one errand, and let's face it, I probably wasn't the first one to do it, so workers there didn't seem to bat an eye as I completed my errand. 

But do you know how it happened?  How did I leave the house in my slippers; not even notice I didn't have actual shoes on?  I think it's because they were so comfortable.  I'm not really used to wearing slippers.  The Apple of my Eye bought them for me for Christmas.  Normally I would just wear socks around the house, and then slip on shoes to run an errand.  But now I've got these nice comfy slippers, and warm cozy toes.  And the fact that I was so comfortable led me to believe everything was as it should be.

But it was not how I wanted to be seen by others.  That's not my best me, if you will.  But if I want my best me to be what's shown to others, then my best needs to be my default.  If I let myself get comfortable with being.... comfortable, then that's what's going to seem normal.  And I mean that spiritually, too.  Gossip isn't okay just because I'm with a close friend... just because I know she won't judge me for it.  Judging others isn't okay just because I don't say it out loud.  Criticizing my family isn't okay just because it's in the privacy of our home.  The me God wants me to be, is the me God always wants me to be.  I can't let myself get comfortable with anything less.

No matter how cozy my toes might be....

~ "Keep sound wisdom
and discretion
So they will be life to your soul...
Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble" ~
Proverbs 3:21,22,23

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A little of this and a little of that

"Can I discern between the good and bad?"
2 Samuel 19:35

I had a great sandwich for lunch today.  Thin-sliced ham and Swiss cheese, on three-grain bread with a spread of goat cheese and honey, with romaine lettuce and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  And would you believe, I made it myself?  Sounds like something from a fancy bistro, right?  Well, I just bought the goat cheese and honey spread the other day, so I was building the sandwich around that.  Once I had the ham and swiss, I knew I wanted some lettuce for a little crunch and the drizzle of balsamic for a sweet tang.  It was a great sandwich, because I managed to successfully balance the flavors and textures.  I'd never made this sandwich before, but I knew the tang of the goat cheese would be well offset by the honey, and the salty taste of the ham.  The balsamic vinegar was a little acid to cut through the creaminess of the swiss cheese and the goat cheese.   It was delicious.

As I ate, I thought about what made the sandwich so good.  And I think it was balance.  Each of the ingredients was something that I would have been satisfied by, if it were all by itself.  I mean, I liked each ingredient just fine.  But putting together brought out the best that each part could be.  Tangy, and sweet.  Creamy, with crispy.

You see where I'm going with this?

Life is a balance.  If I could design my life, I would plan something that is fun, enjoyable, pleasant, wonderful and fabulous.  I would eliminate things that are hard, unpleasant, annoying, negative, or depressing.

You too?  Yeah, I figured....

But that's not going to happen.  First of all, we have to live with other people who aren't always acting in the ways that God would have them.  Free will and all that...  We also have our poor decisions to live with.  Sometimes we bring consequences on ourselves that aren't pleasant. 

But even if we are doing our best to be entirely in line with God's will for our lives, in this world we will have tribulation.  How do I know?  Because Jesus said that in this world, we would have tribulation (John 16:33)

Besides, when He was on this earth, He had more than His share of unpleasant, too.  Why should we expect an easier, more pleasant life than He had? 

It can hard to have peace in difficult times, but He allows or orchestrates times or events that will grow us.  And they bring balance to the wonderful people and events that make life joyful, enabling us appreciate them all the more. 

~ "the sufferings of this present time 
are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory which shall be revealed in us" ~
Romans 8:18

Monday, January 23, 2012

No jury needed

"Surely He is God who judges"
Psalm 58:11

A volleyball referee.  A parking lot security guard.  And God.  These are the subjects of my musing today...

Awesome Girl had her first volleyball tournament of the season today.  It was, as they usually are, chaotic... 40 courts in a giant gymnasium.  We were late for her call time, as we didn't anticipate the size of the building, and consequently, the number of people who would be arriving the same time we did.  We also didn't know that the parking lot would be disproportionately small in comparison to the building.  There were different parking lots down the street, and different prices to park, and more than a little confusion.  But we got a parking spot, and our day was well under way. 

Another source of confusion for us was the rules of the tournament.  We've been to several tournaments, but never at this venue, and there were more rules here.  The teams all have two byes wherein they are off while the other teams keep playing.  One bye is for them to rest, and during the other they are line judges for another game.  The resting bye also gives them a chance to eat, as tournaments usually last several hours.  So teams usually set up "camps" out in the parking lot with chairs and tables and some "community" food.   Well, this place doesn't allow those.  I guess they wanted the teams and their families to make use of the venue's refreshment stands.  But to be honest, that seemed like yet another way for this place to make money off of us, what with the entry fee the team had already paid, and the parking fee, and the admission fee my husband and I each had to pay to watch our daughter...  But that might just be me being cynical...

So during her byes, Awesome Girl hung out with her teammates, and I went back to the car, along with Amazing Boy, and the Apple of me Eye.  We read and ate a few snacks while waiting for our team's next game.  But all of a sudden there was a kerfuffle in the row opposite us.  The group from another team had set up a camp, and the parking lot attendant was telling them they weren't allowed.  It didn't seem like a traffic obstruction, as they were in the corner, and cars couldn't come down there anyway.  But she was telling them they weren't allowed, and one of the parents was protesting loudly.  We understood his viewpoint, and even shared it, but rules are rules.  Angry Parent also pointed out that there was another group also gathering nearby, but the parking lot attendant pointed out that they were not setting up tables and chairs.  They were just standing near each other while they ate.  And the parking lot attendant kept telling Angry Parent that her job was the enforce the rules, not make them.  If he had a problem, he'd need to talk to the man in charge. 

Back in the gymnasium, we settled in for the next set of games.  Awesome Girl is in a new age bracket this year, so the rules have gotten a little stricter.  Closer to "official" volleyball rules, I guess.  But since I don't get a rule book, it was hard to keep up.  More than once, the ref blew his whistle, and I had to turn to the Apple of my Eye and say, "Now what happened?"  He generally knew what the call was, but a few times, all he could do was shrug.  And we didn't always agree with the ref's calls.  Sometimes the decision of whether a ball was in or out is rather subjective.  Especially if it was our girl that hit the ball  ;)   But the ref wasn't alone.  He had a handful of line judges helping him make the calls.  And sure, it's possible they made errors in their judgement, but, well, that's the way the ball bounces.  {ba dum bum!}

So that's the parking lot security gal, and the volleyball referee.  Now about God.

I met with a friend yesterday, whom I haven't seen in nearly two years, so naturally we had a lot of catching up to do.  And as we shared our joys and struggles, we both shared the trials we had gone through, that had caused us to ask God, "why?"  Why did He allow that circumstance?  Why did He say "no" to that opportunity?  Why hasn't He taken that painful situation out of my life?

And although my friend and I discussed the good that can come out of difficult times, and the knowledge that He will work all things for good in our lives, we also know that God could have achieved those goals He desired for us, in another way.  And most of the time, we have no idea why.  And quite possibly, we never will. 

So here's the important point.  The parking lot attendant and the volleyball ref both make judgement calls as part of their line of work.  They know the rules for their job, and though they may make mistakes, they do their best to adjudicate fairly.  But ~ they don't make the rules.  They have the authority to judge, but in the sense of enforcing the rules. 

God is the only true Judge.  Our world is His creation ~ as are we.  He designed our planet, as well as our hearts and our brains, and only He understands why and how things work.  We have to trust Him!  We have to!  Man, it's so hard sometimes, isn't it?  And that's because, when it comes right down to it, we can't see.  We just have to rest in the knowledge that it's enough that He does.

~ "Let the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is Judge.
Selah" ~
Psalm 50:6

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One day at a time

"Do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about its own things"
Matthew 6:34

"You do not know what will happen tomorrow"
James 4:14

I don't know what the weather will be next week

I don't know what the economy will do next month

I don't know what clothes I am going to wear tomorrow

I don't know what house I will be living in next year

I don't know what my schedule will be like tomorrow

I don't know what my health will be like next month

But today, I know.... this is the day the Lord has made.  
Let us rejoice and be glad!

~ "Sanctify yourselves, 
for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders" ~
Joshua 3:5

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No need for a cherry on top

"milk and honey"
Numbers 14:8

I'm not a coffee drinker.  Just never got into it.  I enjoy hot tea, and when I meet friends at my local Ubiquitous Coffee House, I sometimes choose hot cider, but usually, I'll have hot chocolate.  I also love having hot chocolate on cold nights, at home.  And since I drink a lot of it over the course of the winter, I'm a pretty good judge of hot chocolate.  A lot of places think they can pour brown powder in a cup, and add hot water and call it hot chocolate.  But they're not fooling me.  And I had one the other day that was waaay too sweet.   But the ones that are good, are really good.

A few weeks ago, I had to be at a meeting first thing in the morning.  Someone planned ahead of time to get some coffee from our local Ubiquitous Coffee House, and they asked me if I wanted some hot chocolate.  I said, no but thanks anyway.  It wasn't necessary, I didn't need it, no point in spending the money etc.  But she insisted.  Said she was paying, and she wanted to treat me, etc.  So I agreed.  And I gotta tell you, that morning, as I was driving to her house, I was sooo looking forward to that hot chocolate.  It was chilly out, and I knew the hot chocolate would be, well, hot.  And creamy and chocolatey.....

I arrived at my friend's house, and my coffee-buying friend arrived a few minutes after I did. 

Without the hot chocolate. 

She forgot. 

I mean, I guess she forgot.  I didn't ask.  I didn't want to embarrass her, or make her feel bad.  So when she handed out cups, and didn't hand one to me, I didn't even flinch.  No surprised expression; nothing.  You can expect to hear my name announced when they do the Academy Awards. 

And can I tell you, how disappointed I was to not get that hot chocolate that I didn't even want in the first place??

I got over it fairly quickly, but I was really surprised at my reaction.  How could I have missed having something that I haven't even wanted to begin with?  I think this is how Steve Jobs made his fortune ~ convincing people they wanted things they really didn't need. 

And come to think of it, it's the way of the world.  Bigger houses, better cars, more money, more stuff.  None of which we need; much of which we want.   

God's idea of sustenance is simple.  Manna sufficed for the Hebrews in the desert.  Bread and water is what He prescribes for us: Bread of Life and Living Water.  And His promise beyond the necessary, is the land flowing with milk and honey.  What more could we need?  What more should we want?

~ "If the Lord delights in us, 
then He will bring us into this land 
and give it to us, 
      'a land which flows with milk and honey.' " ~
Numbers 14:8

Friday, January 20, 2012

To see or not to see

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly"
1 Corinthians 13:12

I went on a retreat a few years ago, with women from my church, at a lovely old facility in the mountains.  It had been refurbished and restored to its former glory, and remodeled in the spirit of the time in which it was built.  Which meant that the rooms were lacking a few modern “necessities”.  Like enough outlets for all of us gals to plug in our hairdryers, hair curlers and hair straighteners.  Why is it that women want their hair to do the opposite of what their hair wants to do?  One of the great mysteries of life….

The other thing the room was lacking, was a mirror.  There was one in the bathroom, but that was it.  So if anyone was showering, or, um, seeing a man about a horse {now there’s a weird expression… for those of you not in the U.S., that’s a euphemism for using the restroom.  Or washroom, as they say in Canada.  Or loo, as they say in England…} then no one else could use the mirror.  It was sort of frustrating.  It’s such a basic thing, to have access to a mirror.  Being without it made me appreciate that. 

The second day, though, I had an idea.  I had brought my laptop computer along so I could do some writing, and my computer is equipped with a camera, for skyping, or similar.   So I turned the camera on, and then, just by facing my computer screen, I could see myself.   It wasn’t a terrifically clear image, to be sure, but it was better than nothing.  At least I could comb my hair, and make sure it wasn’t doing that woo-hoo thing on the side.  {I’m sure you know what I mean.  I hope you know what I mean…}

Naturally, I found myself thinking about today’s verse… about the frustration of not being able to see oneself, or only being able to see to a certain extent.  And all I wanted to do was check my make-up, or make sure I didn’t have spinach in my teeth.   Now think about the frustration of limited vision, when it comes to our spiritual reflections.   Because there, we are really hampered.   We know nothing spiritual, except what He has revealed to us.  Which means there’s a lot we don’t know about ourselves. 

The trick is to want to see oneself, spiritually.   That’s the first step.  The next steps are prayer and His Word.  Mostly His Word.  Prayer is the start, though.  A desire to have our weaknesses shown to us ~ or even our strengths, if we're not accurately seeing them ~ is like giving Him the go-ahead.  Then we can sit down and read His Word, and find Him guiding us in ways He wants us to be more like Him.

Our vision here on earth is a dim mirror.  Full understanding will only come when there is full revelation.  And we have that to look forward to, when He comes again. 

~ "we know that when He is revealed, 
we shall be like Him, 
for we shall see Him as He is" ~
1 John 3:2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Giving thanks ~ and accepting them

"I know your works"
Revelation 3:8

I'm thinking a lot about appreciation today.  A couple of incidents have collided in my brain to teach me a lesson.  I love it when that happens....

The first was the fact that my father had a mild heart attack two weeks ago.  I live close to my parents, so I was able to visit him in the hospital, and help my mother out by making phone calls, waiting at their house for an important delivery they were expecting, and just being support for her in general.  My two sisters live out of town, so all they could do was call and text.  Which is wonderfully comforting and supportive in its own way, but they both wanted to do more.   So they both thanked me more than once for being helpful to Mom, and visiting Dad.  But I was just doing what should have been done ~ what I wanted to do.  I didn't think it was necessary to thank me.

Last week I saw a friend that I haven't seen in awhile.  She and I chatted and got caught up, and then my Amazing Boy came up.  She'd been his teacher at our Bible Study, and he said hi to her, and told her he misses her.  She emailed me later and told me how much that had meant to her, which I shared with him.  I said that was very nice of him, but he didn't feel like he'd really done anything special.  All he did was tell her he misses her.  He didn't think it was necessary to thank him.

The other day I had to run an errand.  Usually, if I have a quick errand to run, I leave the kids at home so they can work on their schoolwork and household chores.  But for some reason, I just didn't feel like going alone, so I asked my Amazing Boy to go with me.  He readily agreed.  As it turned out, it was a good thing.  My cellphone rang twice, and of course I wasn't able to answer because I was driving.  He listened to the voice mail on the first call, so that I'd know who it was, and how quickly I'd need to call them back.  The second time, it was the Apple of my Eye, so my Amazing Boy answered it, and was able to answer the question he had.  Very helpful!  Then, when I arrived at the place to run my errand, their computers were down, so I wasn't able to accomplish what I needed to.  I'd have been very frustrated without my boy there.  He's very light-hearted, and often keeps me from being cranky when life is not going my way.  Afterwards, I thanked him several times, just for being there.  It had been such a blessing for me.  But all he had done was go for a ride with me, and answer my phone.  He didn't think it was necessary to thank him. 

I know God's not giving points for the loving, caring things we do, but what if He did?   How would He judge the worth of our actions?  Would it be based on what it cost us, or what it was worth to someone else?  Or maybe both?  Certainly there have been times in my life, when I have gone out of my way for someone.  Dug deep, reached to the sky, gone the extra mile.... and then had it gone unappreciated, or even unnoticed.  Sometimes it hurts when that happens... But nothing goes unnoticed by Him ~ remember the widow's mite?  Surely, no one noticed that paltry offering.  No one but Him.  What she gave was a fragrant offering to Him because of what it cost her.  I'm not sure he's interested in what we give, that costs us nothing.  That's not a sacrifice, after all.

But on the other hand, there are times when I've been extremely appreciative for something someone has done for me.  I'm out late once a week, and when I get home, tired and hungry, my Awesome Girl makes me dinner.  It's something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich, but what more could I want?  It satisfies my hunger, and what's more appreciable than that?  And of course, gifts, thoughtfulness, compliments or encouragements... priceless.  And what about someone who exercises the gifts God has given them?  Ever been touched to the heart by a piece of music, or a poem, or a book?  For someone without the gift of songwriting or poetry, it would be painful to try to create something beautiful.  So we (those of us without the gift of songwriting or poetry) deeply appreciate the work of those who can, even though the artist might feel it was nothing special.

I know God is not giving points.  But He values our actions, just like He did the widow's.  And I think He's pleased with those who write or sing or play, simply because they are making use of the gifts He has given, and He knows how much it is blessing someone, regardless of the effort that was required to create it.   And I think He's pleased when we dig deep and sacrifice some part of ourselves for someone else, even if they don't appreciate it.  And I think he's pleased when we are able, even with very little effort, to bring someone joy or peace or rest, because of something we've done. 

And that realization makes me want to fully appreciate those around me, who bless me; and to fully appreciate being appreciated. 

~ "in everything give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" ~
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hearing Him above the din

“Why do you listen 
to the words of men?”
1 Samuel 24:9

This is a question that's also a warning for us.  These words were spoken to King Saul by David.  Saul had been pursuing David with the intent to kill him, and when the two men were face to face, David challenged him with these words.  Saul had been told, and believed, that David intended to harm him, and in this meeting, Saul finally saw that this was not true.

So why had Saul listened to the words of men?  Because that was all he had.  Samuel the prophet had been Saul's advisor when he was first made king, but when the Lord had rejected Saul for his disobedience, Samuel stopped counseling him .  So when the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him, Saul had to rely on the men around him.  Men, who at worst, were conniving or scheming deceivers, and at best, were merely human.

I am blessed.  I accepted Jesus’ love and His gift of salvation many years ago, and when I did, I got the bonus prize:  God's Holy Spirit, forever residing in the temple that I am.   In moments of desperation,  I never have to rely on the words of men.  The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, my Teacher, my Helper, who brings to my remembrance all that Jesus has said to me.  What a joy!

Now, this is not to diminish the words of the Christ-filled people in my life.  God has placed around me many Christian men and women; people whose hearts have been given to God, and who also have the blessing of the Holy Spirit.  God can work mightily through these people in my life. 

So I think there is a lesson for me in David’s question to Saul.  I have the help of the Holy Spirit in me; I have the prayerful words of the saints of God in my life; and I have the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ in the Bible, fully available to me, and never far from me.  Why would I listen to the words of men??

~"These things I have spoken to you, 
that you should not be made 
to stumble"~
John 16:1

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Learn as you go

"If you lack wisdom, 
ask of God who gives liberally"
James 1:5

My Awesome Girl taught me something about art today.  She's a wonderful artist; she draws and paints, and most of the photos you see on this blog are hers.  She was sketching this morning, and I said, "What's that?" pointing to one specific part of her drawing.  It didn't seem to fit in with what the picture was going to be.  But she explained it was part of something else.  "I draw that there, and then I can do this, and this and then it looks like this."  She did a few more pencil strokes, and then combined them all to create part of the overall picture.

I've never been a very good artist, so these few simple pencil strokes of hers amazed me.  I told her how clever that trick was, but she quickly responded that she'd learned it from the Apple of my Eye (also a wonderful artist).  She's a very modest girl, but even so, she seemed to not want to take credit for this small technique.  She was almost embarrassed at the idea of taking credit for something she'd learned from someone else.  But I reminded her it didn't make much sense for her to ascribe the idea to her father, when really, he'd learned it from someone else, and that person learned it from someone else.   Heck, I'm my kids' teacher, so if people were required to give credit every time they shared some knowledge, then my kids would be saying my name all the time!  "George Washington was the first President of the United States, and I know that because my mom taught me when I was four."  But no one does that, of course.

That's because once we learn something, that knowledge belongs to us.  Whether you gained your wisdom at Princeton, or the University of Hard Knocks, it is yours.  Now of course, you can give credit, and never stop appreciating those who taught you, but the knowledge you gain is all, ultimately, a gift from God.  After all, the brain, the opportunity, and the memory all come from Him!  And that's one of the things that I love about education ~ any kind of education ~ is that no one can ever take it away from you.  You can't unlearn something.  You can just learn, and then learn some more.  And that's especially true of Biblical wisdom!  And then you can take that knowledge, and use it to bless others, and bring Him glory.  How smart is that?    :)
~ "The fear of the Lord 
  is the beginning of knowledge" ~
Proverbs 1:7

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Book is always better, of course

 "Blessed is those who obey the words 
written in this book"
Revelation 22:7

Have you seen the movie War Horse?  Or the play?  Or have you read the book?  I've done none of the above.  But intend to.  All three versions, if I can. 

I saw something on tv this morning about it, and it was so intriguing.  I was intrigued not just by the storyline, but by the fact that it has been presented in all three formats.  Steven Spielberg was saying how different it is to make a movie, than to make a play.  Often there have to be plot changes, characters added or deleted to make the story flow.  I could understand what he was saying.  I remember reading John Grisham's novel The Firm, years ago.  It was a great book.  It was a great movie, too.  But there were differences.  I remember being riveted to the book, eagerly turning pages as Mitch and Abby made copies of incriminating documents.  It was very suspenseful, as I hoped they would hurry, not knowing if someone from the Morolto family was sneaking up behind them.  But when the movie came out, there wasn't much shown of them making copies.  It's really not very exciting to watch someone make copies.  So that was a good change to make.  It's hard, sometimes, for us to see the changes that have been made to a favorite book, but I can see where it's necessary.  It has to fit the presentation, you know? 

I think this is what's called for from us, too.  Jesus walked the earth as a Man, and we have been given the gift of the gospels.  Through these, we can see how He lived, and how He handled temptations and situations.  But we are really not going to run into the temptations and situations exactly as He did.  I think there is probably a place in my life for righteous anger, for instance, but the odds of my needing to overturn money-changers' tables outside my church are slim.  Nor am I likely to need to feed 5,000 people at a moment's notice.   But I can learn from His lessons of honoring God, and feeding His sheep, and apply those lessons to the situations in my life. 

I won't win an Oscar or a Tony, or be on the Best Sellers' List, but I'll get to hear those wonderful words:
~ "Well done, good and faithful servant" ~
Matthew 25:21

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Being ready with the answers

"according to your wisdom"
1 Kings 2:6

My Amazing Boy loves U.S. history.  He probably gets that from me... who got it from my father.  He's got several sets of army men so that he can re-enact battles from any variety of wars and battles.  He's got books about American history, and all his life he has enjoyed watching movies or tv shows on the theme.  Not to mention, we've taken a few field trips and vacations designed to increase our kids' ~ and our ~ knowledge of our nation's history.  Our homeschool curriculum has always called for it to be taught a couple days a week, but he has always wanted it every day.  And this year he was supposed be learning just World History.  But he'd never want to go a whole year without American History, so we're doing both.

All that to say this:  Amazing Boy knows his history.   It's been so interesting to watch him make connections in his head about different things he knew, but never realized they were connected.  Take World War II, for instance.  As a child, you can pick up facts about the Jews and the Germans, and gain some knowledge about what was going on there.  But you can also hear about the Japanese and Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific.  But that doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to connect that all this was part of the same war.  It's like when you're doing a jigsaw puzzle, and you have a whole row of pieces that are connected, but you don't know yet, where they belong in the puzzle. 

Our general format is that he'll read an assignment in his history book, and then I'll ask him questions about what he has read.  But I often ask more questions than what is in the book.  I want to challenge him, and the textbook doesn't always do that.  I might ask a question I know he should know the answer to, maybe having to do with one of our vacations.  Or I might ask a question that I know will challenge him to think about some new aspect of history.

But what often happens, if he doesn't know the answer, is that he'll think for a few minutes, and then say something that was in the text he just read, to see if that's close.   Or maybe he'll say, "I'm not sure," and then look in the book to find the fact he didn't catch.  But then I'll have to say, "it's not in there."  What I want, is for him to check his own knowledge.  There's a good chance the answer is in his head, even if it's not in the textbook.  I don't want him to just rely on the info at his fingertips. 

This is what God wants from us, too.  The Bible can't touch on every aspect of life we can expect to run up against.   But even if you're not sure of something, if you have made a point of reading Scripture on a regular basis, you have what you need for any situation.  Even if it's something as simple as "love thy neighbor" or "be angry; and do not sin in your anger," you'll have the knowledge already in your head. 

Begin every day with reading the Bible, and prayer.  Give Him your day, and you'll find you are equipped for everything your day will bring you.

~ "Jesus answered and said to them, 
'You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures 
nor the power of God'" ~
Matthew 22:29

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The sunny side of the street

"casting all your care"
1 Peter 5:7

The Apple of my Eye said something sweet to me the other day.  He probably says something sweet to me most days, but I'm not paying attention... (kidding)

We were talking about the many months we spent with him in a state of semi-employment.  By that I mean he temped and free-lanced while searching for a permanent job.  A search that took almost three years.   We had to do things like cutting expenses drastically, and borrowing from family for those things we couldn't eliminate.  And we had many conversations about our options, including the possibility of our having to move if it got to the point that we couldn't make our house payment. 

Now, I don't pay the bills in our house.  The way we've divvied up the household tasks, paying the bills became his duty.  So even though I knew times were hard, he was well aware every time our checking dipped dangerously.  He had to ride the wave of income and outgo more than I did.   I would just ask him, "Can we afford such-and-such right now?" and he'd let me know if it was a good time for it. 

So we were discussing this the other day.  I thanked him for taking care of all of us, for being proactive and thoughtful in managing our expenses.  And he said something like, "you're welcome" or "no problem" or something, but then he said the something sweet.  He said, "I guess if you guys didn't have to worry, then I must have been doing my job."

I'm sure he worried.  Life is like that.  No matter how hard we try to trust in God, worry knocks on the door, and we have to send it packing.  Sometimes several times a day.  But while I worried once in awhile, he probably worried once in a.... smaller while.  And it touched me to think that, in a way, he had worried for me.  He had kept it to himself any time he was worried, taking it to God, until God brought him the peace he needed. 

God wants us to be like that.  Not worried.  Letting Him handle the future, the way I trusted the Apple of my Eye to make necessary decisions, with my input if he wanted it.  Whereas, with God, we hold back our trust, and give lots of input! 

I love today's verse, for the word "cast".  The word "cast" means to throw something forcefully.  God wants us to fling our worries at Him, and then trust Him completely.

Because He cares about us!

~ "Humble yourselves 
under the mighty hand of God, 
that He may exalt you in due time, 
casting all your care upon Him, 
for He cares for you" ~
1 Peter 5:6-7

Friday, January 13, 2012

If the armor fits, wear it

"so David took them off"
1 Samuel 17:39

"You shall be careful to do
as the Lord your God has commanded you; 
you shall not turn aside 
to the right hand or to the left"
Deuteronomy 5:32

I love it when verses that are nowhere near each other, go together.  And these two do that. 

1 Samuel 17 tells the story of David and Goliath.  I'm sure you know the story of the shepherd boy defeating the giant, but do you know the details?  Do you know David had only five stones and a sling with which to defeat Goliath?   And do you know he only needed one of those stones to do the job?  And do you know that when David first announced that he would fight the giant, King Saul told him it would be impossible?  But after David said that the Lord would bring him victory, then Saul was behind him 100%:  "Go!  And the Lord be with you!" 

But most important (for the purposes of this post, at least) do you know that King Saul helpfully clothed David with his armor, and his bronze helmet, and his coat of mail, and his sword.  But when David tried to walk, he couldn't.  So he took them off. 

Fighting Goliath, wearing armor and a helmet that were too big for him, was not God had in mind for David.  He had to battle in the way God had for him to battle. 

I think that's one of the warnings for us, in that verse, "do not turn to the right or to the left."  We have a tendency to want to be one of the group; to look around and see what others are doing before we decide which way we want to go. 

We all have the same message from God in Scripture.  Some things are non-negotiable.  But as you walk the walk He has for you, don't worry about trying to do it the way someone else does.  No one else's armor is going to fit you. 

~ "I have called you by your name" ~
Isaiah 43:1

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Something's coming.... something good

"the hair of his head began to grow"
Judges 16:22

"Now they came to Bethlehem 
at the beginning of the barley harvest"
Ruth 1:22

I've just finished studying the Book of Judges, and have moved into the Book of Ruth.  So the past several days, I've come across these two verses.  They are very alike to me, and I love the message they send.  So I wanted to share it with you. 

The first is from the story of Samson.  I'm sure you know it well.   That powerful, mighty, strong ~ well, okay, weak, judge ~ Samson.  We know the story so well, we can't even say "Samson" without thinking "and Delilah" in our minds, right?  He was indeed powerful in terms of muscle, but he was oh, so weak when it came to the fair sex.  And so he gave in to her feminine wiles, and told her the secret of his strength.  And for eleven hundred pieces of silver, she shaved his head and gave him over to the lords of the Philistines.  They put out his eyes, bound him with bronze fetters, and put him to work in prison, grinding grain. 

But the hair of his head began to grow again 
after it had been shaven. 

The first chapter of Ruth is a rather painful one.  It tells of Ruth, but also her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Both had been widowed, and Naomi had lost not only her husband, but her two sons as well.  So she made the decision to return from her temporary home in Moab, to Bethlehem.  And Ruth chose to come with her, speaking those beautiful words, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."

They arrived in Bethlehem, and the townspeople gathered around them:  "Is this really Naomi?"  But Naomi wanted to be called "Mara," which means "bitter," for that's how she felt.  That the Lord had afflicted her, emptied her of all she loved.   They didn't know how they were going to live, what was going to become of them.

And they came to Bethlehem 
at the beginning of the barley harvest. 

And here's what I love about these two verses:  hope.   Can you hear it?  Do you sense that something is about to happen?  God is doing something.  And that something is going to be wonderful.   In each case, that sentence of hope sets in motion what will change the course of their lives. 

Samson fell, and fell hard.  But when we fall, even while we are still down, God is setting in motion the circumstances to raise us up.  Samson's hair was beginning to grow.

Naomi and Ruth were alone, but for each other.  They had come to Bethlehem because the famine that afflicted that region was over.  They were hungry ~ for food, and for a new start in life.  And they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Author Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "The last step in any journey is the first step of the next."  

Are you ready?

~ "Behold, I am doing a new thing!  
Now it shall spring forth; do you not see it?  
I am making a road in the wilderness, 
and rivers in the desert." ~
Isaiah 43:19

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I've got plenty of sauce, too...

"the Author and Finisher of our faith"
Hebrews 12:2

Remember I told you a couple months ago that my in-laws had moved?  Although I miss them, that made for a nice discovery this morning.  See, the other night, when I made dinner,  I used up all the pasta we had in the house.  I'm not planning on going to the store for several days, and pasta is really a staple in our house.  The kids and I are home all day, every day, so it's somebody's lunch at least once a week.  Maybe more.  And maybe breakfast, too.  (That would be my Awesome Girl, who thinks there's no reason why lunch and dinner foods can't be breakfast, too.)  And normally I'd keep some extra in the pantry, but, well, you know how it goes sometimes...

So it's unusual for us to be without pasta in the cupboard.  We'll manage, of course; it's just odd.  But this morning, Awesome Girl went looking for some more granola (yes, she likes breakfast foods for breakfast, too) for her yogurt.  We looked way back on the highest shelf of the pantry (where the stuff is hard to see) and guess what I found ~ pasta. 

When my in-laws moved, they gave us a lot of the surplus from their pantry.  When you're moving halfway across the country, the last thing you want to pay movers for, is a box labeled pasta...  So they gave us quite a bit, which I stuck in the back of the pantry, and forgot about.  And this morning I discovered I have a whole lotta pasta.  And I thought to myself, "Huh... I wonder what else I have that I don't know I have..."

And the answer to that is:  more than I think.  I think that sometimes, spiritually, we think we're low on something, or lacking something we need.  Like peace.  Or courage.  Or wisdom. 

Or maybe you think you don't have the talent, skill, or gift for what He has set before you.  Maybe you think you're missing the gift of teaching, or hospitality, or compassion.

But you're not.  You may not know that you have what you need, but you do.  It's just way in the back, waiting to be used.  And the reason you don't know you have it, is that you think it originates with you.  But you're not the source of anything good in you.  He is your supply, and He is never-ending. 

~ "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God... 
that the man of God may be complete, 
thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heads or Tails?

"a blessing and a curse"
Deuteronomy 11:26

Last Tuesday night, I found myself sitting with my mother in the local Emergency Room. Though we didn’t know it at the time, my father had had a mild heart attack.  All we knew then was that he had felt tingling in his left arm, and pressure in his shoulder.  He was being checked in for an “overnight” stay that would turn into three days in the ICU.

Mom and I sat there while they settled him into a bed, and she was telling me about the book she’s reading right now.  It’s a collection of ancient tales and parables, and she had just finished reading an old Chinese legend about a man who owned a magnificent horse.  Everyone in the village thought he was blessed to own such a horse.  But then horse ran away and the villagers said he must have been cursed for such a thing to have happened.   

But the horse returned, with twenty-one wild horses, that the law said became the property of the old man.  And the villagers remarked what a blessed man he was to have such luck.   

But a short time later, his only son was riding that horse, and fell off and broke his leg.  And the villagers said the old man must be cursed.   

But then a week later, the king came through the village, drafting every able-bodied young man for war.  And every young man in that village was killed in that war – but for the old man’s son.  He had not been taken to war, because of that broken leg.   

The story ended this way:  “To this day, in that village, they say, ‘What seems like a blessing may be a curse.  What seems like a curse may be a blessing.”

I did not miss the irony of her words as we sat waiting in the hospital.  And a week later I can say that my father’s mild heart attack was a blessing.  He has now been warned of the arterial condition he has, and steps he can take to prevent problems in the future.  

Hindsight is a marvelous thing, isn't it?  Looking back, we can recognize what we cannot, in the midst.  But hindsight, foresight, all sight... is God sight.  He sees what we don't.  He knows what we don't.  

And yet we're convinced of things we really don't understand at all...

~ "the wisdom of this world
        is foolishness to God" ~
1 Corinthians 3:19

Monday, January 9, 2012

Check your GPS

"they went to the country of Moab"
Ruth 1:2

I love the Book of Ruth.  It's a beautiful story of love and redemption.  But a person can only been saved if they are in a helpless position.  And indeed Ruth, and her mother-in-law Naomi, were helpless.  The reason they are helpless, however, was largely due to the decision of Elimelech, Naomi's husband. 

Elimelech and Naomi had lived in Bethlehem.  But times got tough, as they sometimes do.  There was a famine in the land.  So Elimelech decided they should go live elsewhere ~ in the pagan land of Moab.  The people of Moab worshiped many gods, one of which was Chemosh, a god for whom the people sacrificed children.  That alone would make it seem that moving to Moab was not God's choice for Elimelech and Naomi.  It was a human decision, not a Godly decision.

When times got tough, Elimelech and Naomi got going - but in the wrong direction.  Their instinct in a time of famine was to flee.  What's yours?  God said in 2 Chronicles 7, "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, then, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Whether the famine was brought by God, or allowed by Him, His desire was not for Elimelech and Naomi to pack their bags.  He intends for us to walk through difficult times, not run from them... to turn to Him, not head to where the grass looks greener.  The blessing is not waiting for us elsewhere.

You are on a road, and unless you are standing still ~ and we are rarely standing still ~ you are either headed toward Him, or away from Him.  If you make a decision without seeking God's will, you stand a strong chance of going the wrong way. 

~ "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
and He shall direct your paths" ~
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A moment in time

"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"
1 Corinthians 15:52

Do you ever feel like your mind has taken a picture?  I only have a few memories of the house I was born in.  Well, I mean, I was born in a hospital, but you know, the first house of my childhood.  We moved from there when I was 6, so I was too young to remember much.  So the memories I have are like still photos.  Digging in the dirt in the backyard with my older sister.  The hydrangea bushes in our front yard.  The wallpaper in our kitchen.

I also remember the front yard of a house in the mountains, where we spent Christmas the year I was 5.  Nothing about Christmas itself, or the inside of the house; just the snowy front yard.

I'm sure all of us have memories like that from our childhood.  Generally we don't know until afterwards that a moment is going to stick with us.  We just find ourselves remembering what we remember.   But every once in awhile, as an adult, I experience the sensation of knowing that what I am currently doing, or feeling, is a memory that I'm going to remember forever.  It can't be repeated; it's too unique, too special, too once-in-a-lifetime.

Generally these times happen when I'm with my kids, but not always.  I think maybe it's because with our children, they're growing and changing so fast, we know we have to appreciate every stage of their lives.

For instance, a couple of summers ago, we vacationed in Tennessee, and had an amazing dinner at a BBQ dive in Memphis.  There are lots of styles of BBQ, but this one happened to be the style I like best ~ dry rub, sweet and not too spicy ~ so I was thoroughly enjoying it.  And then the entertainment began.  Elvis (from the Vegas years).  He was up there singing Blue Suede Shoes and gyrating as only Elvis (or an Elvis impersonator) could do.  I watched my kids, enjoying the adventure, and I knew I'd never forget that moment. 

"Elvis" is the bright spot in the middle

Or 2002, at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics.  My family ~ including siblings and parents ~ attended, and went to events in various combinations of two or four.   We parceled out the tickets based on the events people most wanted to see, so I only went to two events with the Apple of my Eye.  One of those was at a ski slope in the picturesque ski village of Park City, Utah.  There's a beautiful, charming Main Street of restaurants, galleries and shops.  My sweetie and I walked down the street, surrounded by snow-covered mountains and genial vacationers, as the snow was coming down, and it was so lovely.  It was like being inside a snowglobe.  I enjoyed the moment more, knowing I would be remembering it for a long, long time.
This was taken on one of our return trips ~ slightly less snowy :)

I love that there are special, one-of-a-kind moments like this; not just in my history, but in all history.  I love to read Scripture, and realize these moments are there, too.  The Bible is truth, from beginning to end; every story a true account of real people in actual places.  And there are moments that changed the lives of the people to whom they happened, or even the lives of every one of us.  Like the day when Abraham, after packing up everything he owned, set out to the place where God had called him.  Or the moment when Mary said, "Let it be done to me as you say."  Or the instant when the rooster crowed, and Peter realized his betrayal.  Or, of course, the moment when the sky went dark upon Jesus' death on the cross.  Remember the centurion who cried out, "Surely this Man was the Son of God!"?  That man knew he was experiencing a moment he would never forget. 

I think that's why I love today's verse so much.  It's about a moment in time, but in the future.  "We shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)  "You will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory" (Mark 13:26)  "Then we who are living and remain shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."  (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Can you picture the moment in your mind?  Someday we won't have to.  That moment is coming.  It's a beautiful snapshot in our minds, not that we will look back on, but that we get to look forward to. 

~ "Comfort one another with these words" ~
1 Thessalonians 4:18