Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What time is it?

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;

A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;

A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;

A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, 
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;

A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew;

A time to keep silence
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;

A time of war,
And a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Do what you're supposed to be doing,
when you're supposed to be doing it.  


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Storms of Life

"He commands and raises the stormy wind,
which lifts up the waves of the sea"
Psalm 107:25

Well as you probably know, the northeastern coast of the U.S. is getting hit pretty hard this week.  Hurricane Sandy is making herself known.  It sounds like it's going to be an unusually large hurricane, affecting more than a quarter of the population.   Not to mention the two winter storms that are coming down from Canada.   I've been praying off and on all day for people whose power is out, and people who might lose their homes, and rescue personnel in several states.

But you know what occurred to me today?  That very often, those who need to be rescued, are those who refused to evacuate when it was recommended.  There are voluntary evacuations, and mandatory evacuations, but even when they're mandatory, you can't be forced to leave.  Somehow I love that about America.  But at the same time, it strikes me as irresponsible to cause others to put themselves in danger to rescue you.

But that's what rescuers do; God bless 'em.

And that brings me to the Book of Judges.  Irresponsible behavior followed by compassionate rescuing --> Israelites, meet God.

Have you ever read the Book of Judges?  It's notable for its very repetitive cycle.  The Israelites sin by serving other gods, and God lets them suffer the consequences of their sin.  Then they cry out to Him in their misery, so He sends a judge to lead them back to a lifestyle of obedience.  They obey for awhile, then start marrying out of their culture, and serving the gods of that culture.

God does get angry.  Scripture talks about His anger many times.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 9:7-8, "Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness.  From that day that you departed from the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord... and you provoked the Lord to wrath so that the Lord was angry enough with you to have destroyed you."

See, sometimes, when there's a storm in my life, it's God.  Sometimes the bad thing in your life, is God.  It's God allowing you or me to go through the consequences of our rebellion.  It's not about being judgmental; would you think a police officer judgmental if he gave you a ticket?  You might be mad, but you'd understand that you brought it on yourself.

* Note:  the preceding is not some sort of subliminal message 
implying that Hurricane Sandy is a punishment from God.  
I'm not in a position to claim that it is.  
As far as I know, it's just a storm ~ meteorologically speaking.

The Lord is the shelter, but He's also the storm you get when you step away from the shelter.   He'll rescue you when you need rescuing, but you need to understand that you're the one that caused you to need rescuing.   And rescue is only a prayer away.

~ "He calms the storm, so that its waves are still" ~
Psalm 107:29

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thinking about what you do without thinking

"according to the tradition of men"
Colossians 2:8

I was witness to an argument the other day.   About Halloween.  It can be a tricky topic for Christians.  Some think it's no big deal, and go along with the traditions "in the spirit of the holiday".  Others take part in the "clean" parts, without getting too close to the "evil" parts.  For instance, they let their children dress up to go trick-or-treating, but not in costumes that are scary, evil or offensive.  The third group is those who refuse to participate in any part of it. 

I know people in each one of these groups, and to be honest, everyone I know manages to participate (or not participate) in Halloween to the extent they desire (or don't desire), without ever expressing judgement on those who see things differently. 

But not in this instance.  I didn't know most of the people in this conversation, and it went from people not agreeing with each other, to people in a disagreement.  A voices-raised, judging-others disagreement. 

Mostly, I just stayed out of the fray.  Once I said something humorous to try to keep the attitude upbeat, but then I stayed quiet. 

Although I wished they hadn't been unkind to one another, I think it was a good conversation to have.  I think it's a good thing for anyone with a firmly-held opinion to ask themselves why they think what they think, and why they do what they do.  Trick-or-treating is not mentioned in the Bible.  Neither is dressing up in costumes.  Neither are a lot of other things we come across in life.  So we need to think and pray about everything ~ well, nearly everything ~ that we do. 

I have a friend who went to Israel several years ago, and shared with me a lot of what she learned on that trip.  And one of the things that stuck with me was about the temple.  The steps to the temple were excavated several years ago, and you can now walk up those steps.  But what's interesting is, that the steps are not uniform in their dimensions.  They alternate in height and depth, the result of which is that you cannot walk up those steps mindlessly.  You have to think, and look, and pay attention.  Your mind cannot be on what's for dinner, or whether you should have gotten that outfit while it was on sale. 

I think more of life should be like that.  I think living a Christian life should be like that.  Socrates once said, "A life unexamined is not worth living."  I like that.  I like the reminder of examining my life, through the lens of Scripture, to be sure I'm living as He would have me.  

Halloween is full of traditions, as is Christmas, and other holidays, and maybe even our breakfast routine, or our Friday nights.  But traditions can quickly become something we do just because it's something we've always done.

I've been reminded ~ again ~ to take a good hard look at the mindless decision I make, and maybe use a little prayer and wisdom instead.

~ "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" ~
1 Corinthians 10:31 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Taking It Seriously

"observe carefully all His commandments"
Deuteronomy 28:1

Well, it's autumn.  I love autumn.  I think I've mentioned that a time or two.  I hope you're enjoying it as much I am!   I'll enjoy it a little more next week, though.  All the creepiness and ghouliness and spookiness of Halloween takes some of the joy out of October for me.  But I do love the candy!

One of the things I love about autumn is baseball.  The playoffs and World Series are on TV, and my Amazing Boy is playing Fall Ball.   Fall Ball is Little League, but not as "official" as the season in the spring, that leads to the Little League World Series.

Fall Ball is much more relaxed.  It's about instruction and improvement.  It's more low-key, and they emphasize fun, and downplay competition.  I once saw a coach come out to rearrange a batter's hands in the middle of an at-bat, and that was the opposing coach! 

But we have an umpire this year who is so impressive.  He is very nice, and jocular with the coaches and the boys.  But he is just as serious about his job as if it where the Major Leagues.  His shoes are always shined, he knows the rules, and he is authoritative when making calls. 

And he dusts off home plate the proper way.  Did you know there's a right and a wrong way to dust off home plate?  Well, he knows.

The fact that these are just 12-year-olds, the fact that this is just Fall Ball, is not stopping him from doing everything the right way.  That's a great example, for the boys, and for me.  I can't think that God's expectations for me are any less than for anyone I might read about in Scripture; any different than any instruction He gave in His Word.  There are no "professionals" and "amateurs" in God's kingdom.

Who amazes you, spiritually speaking?  Moses?  Paul?  Mother Theresa?  Billy Graham?   Think you can't compare?  Well you're right; don't.   But know that you take instruction, and inspiration from the same source.

~ "The secret things belong to the Lord our God,
but those things which are revealed belong to us
and to our children forever,
that we may do all the words of this law" ~
Deuteronomy 29:29

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Greater Love

"to lay down one's life"
John 15:13

If you live in the United States, you're probably well aware of the what happened last month at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  Actually, even if you're don't live in the U.S., there's a good chance you're aware.  Four Americans died on September 11 of this year, when the embassy was attacked.  The event has been the source of controversy and debate for weeks now, as Republicans and Democrats seek to find out what happened, and in some cases, point fingers as to which side did something wrong.

I'm certainly not going to get political here, but I have been thinking a lot about this.  It's hard not to; it's on the television a lot.  But mostly, I think about the people; the four men who died ~ Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  Stevens was our Ambassador, Smith was on his staff, Woods and Doherty were security.

For all four men, their jobs were dangerous.  They were working in an area of the world that is politically unstable, and often unfriendly to the U.S., and they knew it.  I so admire that kind of courage.  It always astounds me when I think about people who make the decision to do something dangerous ~ military, police, firefighters, missionaries in dangerous places... there are a lot of them.  Most of them doing something I can't; all of them doing something I won't.   It's not just admiration I have; it's appreciation, too.

No one wants to die.   And yet, there are those who willingly, knowingly put themselves in a position where they know they might.  And most of the time, they are serving others.

That's what I was thinking about today.  Those who are willing to die for the sake of someone else.  I want very much to be like Jesus.   But sometimes, when I look at others, I don't even think I'm coming close.

~ "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" ~
Philippians 1:21

Friday, October 26, 2012

All Aboard!

"the things which you learned"
Philippians 4:9

We're going on a train ride today... on the train of my thoughts.

I know; we do that a lot days on here, but this one's gonna take a longer trip than most.  We are going to go from my Amazing Boy, to creative writing, weightlifting, to Nicholas Cage, to the Hudson River.   Ready?


So my Amazing Boy was working on his homework today.  Working hard, I might add.  I came into his room in the afternoon and he was playing, and I asked him why he wasn't doing his homework, and when he said it was all done.  I was skeptical.  And wrong.  He got out his assignment book and showed me a thing or two.

Well clearly I hadn't given him enough work  : )  so I gave him one more thing to do.  It wasn't much, but it fell under the heading of creative writing, which neither of my kids have ever been fond of.  Now that I think about it, it wasn't one of my favorite things in school, either...

The assignment ~ which came out of a textbook, not my brain ~ was to write a letter with certain grammatical requirements.  And as he was working, he observed that it was rather silly that he was being asked to write a letter that would never get mailed.  I mean, technically we could mail it, but I think when you write a letter because you have to, it might not be all that heartfelt...

So I told him that he's going to do a lot of creative writing in school this year, and he needs to understand that some ~ or most ~ of the assignments might seem pointless to him, but that they will definitely be serving a purpose.  I told him that it's like weightlifting.  Lifting weights can be repetitive, and boring, and might even seem pointless.  And it definitely doesn't seem like it has anything to do with baseball, which is the sport he plays.  But he knows that lifting weights does serve an indirect purpose for him as a baseball player.

And I told him that even though neither of us expected it when we were kids, my hubby and I are both writers.  Not for a profession, but we both write lessons for the Bible studies we are involved in, and learning how to write when we were in school is proving helpful now.

And that's when I started thinking about Nicholas Cage.  Have you seen the movie National Treasure?  It's one of my family's favorites; a fun and educational movie about a man searching for a treasure he believes has been hidden since the days of the Revolutionary War.  The treasure was legendary in his family, so he had known since childhood that it would be his life's work to find it.  Accordingly, he studied everything he thought might be helpful, from U.S. history, to archaeology, to ancient documents and deep sea diving.

And sure enough, during the course of the movie, all of that comes in handy.  At one point, when the bad guys are trying to get to the treasure before he does, he finds himself escaping via the Hudson River.  The first time I saw the movie, I remember thinking to myself, "well, there's his diving training coming in handy!"  And sure enough, all the things about which he had educated himself when he was in high school and college, were necessary for him in his life. 

I love that analogy of what God is doing in our lives.  God knew, when I was learning creative writing, that I would use it someday.   And He knows that what you learned as a child, and what you're learning now, are going to be helpful later.  He wastes nothing, and uses everything for His purposes, whether it's weightlifting, creative writing, or diving. 

Don't ever stop learning.

~ "O God, You have taught me from my youth; 
    and to this day I declare Your wondrous works" ~
Psalm 71:17

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Rest of the Day

"Cast your burden on the Lord"
Psalm 55:22

I'm thinking about rest today.  That happens once in awhile.  And I've written about rest a few times before, but when I have, it's because I have felt the need for rest in a physical way.  And it's generally because I'm feeling too busy, not home enough or not getting enough sleep.

But today I'm thinking about, sort of, internal resting.  Rest of the mind or something.  Have you ever been mad at someone ~ the kind of mad that lasts awhile?  That takes energy.  Like, if you're giving someone the silent treatment, you have to keep "remembering" that, otherwise you might accidentally start a conversation with them.  

I know sometimes, when I'm mad at someone, or irritated at them for some reason, but haven't had a chance to talk to them, to get it out in the open and get it resolved, it hangs over me until that time.  I grew up in a family where we talked everything out ~ sometimes loudly.  We didn't hold grudges.  My sisters and I would disagree, and let each other know, and then move on with our lives.  Sometimes the disagreement would remain, but the anger never did.

But if for some reason, there was some delay in being able to work it out, I would feel like there was a dark cloud hanging over me.  And that feeling was exhausting.

I thought about the other day as I arrived at church.  I sat down in a chair to wait for the service to start, and I realized I sighed.  A little sigh of weariness.  But I wasn't physically weary.  There's an area of my life that's in transition, and I don't know what comes next.  I was a little anxious about that, and had been, off and on, for several days.  And as I sat there thinking that I wanted rest from the anxiety, I realized that rest doesn't have to come from answers.  Rest can come simply from deciding not to be anxious anymore. 

After all, I wasn't supposed to be anxious in the first place. 

It's within my power to have rest from worry, and rest from wondering; rest from fear and from judging and from worrying about being judged.   Too often we choose to cling to our burdens.   It's really a decision not to.  And even if that decision has to be made day after day, the rest will come.

~ "Grace to you and peace
         from God our Father" ~
Philemon 1:3

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

With both hands

"whoever is of a willing heart"
Exodus 35:5

I read in interesting verse in Lamentations recently.  It was actually a verse sent to me by someone else, but it was so intriguing, I had to go to my Bible and get the whole story.  I thought it was such a peculiar way to phrase it, I decided I needed the context to help me understand.

The verse was this, Lamentations 3:41 ~ "Let us lift up our hearts with our hands".  I have heard the phrase, "lift up our hearts" before.  It's a beautiful visual of offering the deepest and most vulnerable part of ourselves to Him.  But what does it mean to lift up our hearts with our hands?  And how is that even possible?

Well, when I grabbed my Bible, I got both a better understanding, and a second meaning to the verse.  I think the translation that had been sent to me was King James.  The translation I happened to grab was NIV, and it used different wording; it said, "Let us lift our hearts and our hands."  (emphasis mine).

Ohhh, well that makes much more sense.  Together.  Lifting up our hearts along with our hands, not using our hands to lift our hearts, which would be difficult...

But then I decided to read the whole chapter, you know, cuz I was in the neighborhood.  I highly recommend that.  If God brings you to a neighborhood in the Bible, spend some time there!

And when I read the verse in the context of the chapter, I got even more out of it ~ and would you believe, I went back to my original understanding of verse 41?

Here are verses 40-42:  "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: 'We have sinned and rebelled'"

That changed it for me.  This passage is about something that's difficult for us to do.  Namely, turn a critical eye on ourselves, and see what God sees.  He sees rebellion where we see justifiable behavior; He sees outright disobedience where we see "no big deal". 

And then when we see what He sees, we need to respond to what we've seen.  And our response needs to be as deliberate as our examination of our actions.  Our response should be to lift our hearts to Him, as purposefully and with as much will as if we were doing so with our own hands. 

It's about His sovereignty, and our acknowledgement of who we are and what's we've done, in light of who He is, and what He has done.   I need to not just offer my heart to Him, but give it to Him.

~ "I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched our my hands to You" ~
Psalm 88:9

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


"we do not know what we should pray for"
Romans 8:26

Did you ever feel like you'd been given a peek of something, and wish you could have seen more?  Maybe out of the corner of your eye, but when you turned to look straight at it, it was gone?  Or maybe something on TV that you weren't fully paying attention to, and by the time you looked up, it was too late?

There's a frustration in not being about to fully see something.  I'll never understand why some people love reading mysteries.  Although, really, the joy of a mystery is figuring out what you didn't know.  So even for mystery-lovers, a peek is not enough.  If it were, they wouldn't finish reading the book.

A glimpse can be frustrating, or it can be intriguing.  I guess the difference is whether we have any hope of finding out more, or if we have to resign ourselves to knowing the little we know.

But sometimes there's a reason for a glimpse.  Sometimes we peek, and sometimes He lets us see, just a little, of something He wants us to know. 

God has given me a peek into the life of an old friend of mine.  Very old.  And by that I mean that we've been friends for a very long time; I don't mean that she's ancient.  Cuz that would mean I'm ancient.  And we all know that's not true. 

We're really not in touch anymore, but our moms are, and through my mom, I've learned a little about the struggles my old friend is going through.  I have reached out to her, but she hasn't responded, so I just have to respect that she chooses not to discuss it with me.

It's been several weeks, though.  I've been praying for her, and I dropped her a line to let her know she's still in my thoughts, but I got no response, and that's hard for me.  I mean, it's hard for me not to know how she's doing.  I don't really even know how to be praying for her.  And part of me wishes I didn't know about her struggle at all.  Ignorance is bliss, right?

But only for me.  Cuz if I didn't know, I wouldn't be praying.

I don't know details, I don't have an update.  I only have a peek.  But that's enough for prayer.

~ "A friend loves at all times" ~
Proverbs 17:17

Monday, October 22, 2012

Loud world ~ Quiet heart

"Oh, that you would be silent,
  it would be your wisdom!"
Job 13:5

You know what's hard to find?  Silence.  Honest-to-goodness, complete and total, not-a-sound silence.  I don't think I can do it.  I've tried recently. 

The first step is to stop talking.  Some days that's easier than others.  But it's always do-able.

The next step is to not be near anyone else who is talking.  This can be done in one of two ways.  You can get to a place where you're alone, or you can be near someone who is quiet.  Your call.

After that, you need to take care of noises.  Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, etc. 

But even after all that, I still find silence elusive.  In my home, I can hear the refrigerator running, or the dog barking, or the neighbor's dog barking...

Outside, I can hear the wind rustling the leaves of the trees, or birds singing, or cars going by.  If it does get quiet enough, I can sometimes hear a lizard moving through the leaves in the corner of the yard, or a far-off lawnmower, or leaf-blower.

I'm not really sure silence is possible.  Quieting one sound in my life just seems to enable me to hear another, quieter sound. 

But maybe that's the point.  Maybe just being quiet should be my goal.  God's word says that He is a still, small voice ~ and that can only be heard if the world around me is as quiet as possible.  He's there.  Sometimes with a word of Scripture in my mind; sometimes in the singing of those birds.  Silence is not mine to achieve.  But I can be quiet.

~ "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" ~
Isaiah 30:15

Sunday, October 21, 2012

All things

"tribulation produces perseverance"
Romans 5:3

I'm sorry; what were you saying about how hard your life is?

~ "we glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance,
and perseverance, character;
and character, hope." ~
Romans 5:3-4

photo credits:,,,,,,,

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A lesson from the trees

"green poplar, almond and chestnut trees"
Genesis 30:37

When I was up in the mountains recently, I spent some time alone, sitting outside.  It was so beautiful, and very peaceful.  The sun was out, but there were so many trees that there was more shade than sun to be had.  I did a little reading, and writing, but mostly just enjoyed being where I was, looking and listening. 

I looked at the trees, and the sky, and the trees.  And then the trees again.  There were a lot of them...  I love looking at trees because I'm continually re-fascinated by the differences in things that are basically all the same. 

They're all tall, but they're not all equally tall.  They're all green ~ well, not all, but all the green ones are green.  But even though the green ones are all green, are not all the same shade of green.   They all have leaves ~ except for the ones that have needles ~ and the leaves are wildly different in size and shape.  And even on the trees that have needles, the needles aren't always the same.

Flowers, seeds, cones... there is as much to contrast as there is to compare.  But as I sat there looking, I found myself wondering why some leaves were blowing, and others weren't. 

First of all, obviously, some trees are higher than others.  The wind might simply be at a height that only affects the taller trees, or the trees on higher ground.

Secondly, the force and direction of the wind.  When the wind is not as strong, some trees are blocked by others, so not all trees are vulnerable.

Finally, the type of leaves on the tree.  Lighter-weight leaves do more dancin'.  That's just a fact.   Ever seen a quaking aspen?  It's true; they do.  Their leaves blow in the slightest breeze.  I love that about them.  Makes them seem so friendly.

I could feel the breeze as I sat among the trees.  So I knew the wind was there.  But not all the trees were reflective of that.  The lesson for me that day?  Don't compare yourself to others.  You're in a position to be affected by things that they are not ~ good and bad.  Or you might see others being blown by winds you can't feel.  Life is not equal.  1 Corinthians 12 says that one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.   Your job?  To be firmly planted in Him, and let the wind blow as it will.

~ "The trees of the woods
      shall rejoice before the Lord" ~
1 Chronicles 16:33

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yes, Dear

"let them ask their husbands"
1 Corinthians 14:35

I've been going to church all my life.  I attended religious education classes once a week when I was growing up, and for part of my schooling, I attended Christian school.  And then 12 years ago, I started attending a weekly Bible study.  And even though I've been learning the Bible as long as I can remember, I am constantly learning new things. 

And I love learning new things.  Just ask my kids.  As I teach them, I often learn something ~ or understand something ~ that I never did when I was in school.  And when I do, I'll say something like, "That's so cool!  Don't you think that's fascinating?"  My Amazing and Awesome kids will generally respond, "uh, sure, Mom!" which comes from the Latin for, "whatever Mom; can we just finish this?"

So it's not unusual for me to come home from Bible study, or look up from my homework, with something new (to me) that I wanted to share with the Apple of my Eye.  I'll say, "Hey, did you know....?"  or "You know what I read today?"  He'll listen, and respond with a level of interest that is commensurate with my enthusiasm, but nearly every time, it will be obvious that yes, he did already know whatever it was I had just found out.

As a result, little by little, I have come to a realization of how much my Sweetie knows.  Not just about the Bible, but about science or geography or a variety of other topics.  Although, I'm continually surprised by his inability to remember where things go in the kitchen cupboards....

So over the years, I've come to him for advice or wisdom or answers more and more.  And can I just tell you how rewarding that is?  I just love it when he's able to explain something that I've been struggling with.  And I gotta be honest; that's not always easy.  I was raised in a family of debaters.  We'll argue a point we don't agree with, just for the sheer joy of gainsay. 

I'll just wait here for those of you who might need to look up gainsay.  It's a beautiful yellow word.  Now just be sure you use it in a sentence this week.

Because of that, it can be hard for my hubby to give me an answer to a question, without my analyzing it and responding with another question.  But as I've often told him, I might get in the last word, but I'll go away thinking about what he has said, most of the time seeing the wisdom in it. 

Sometimes women have trouble seeing their husbands as authorities, or even as being wise.  After all, they can't seem to remember what time baseball practice is, or that we reminded them twice that the printer's nearly out of toner.  For the record, the Apple of my Eye is really good about both of those.  But he does have an surprising inability to remember where things go in the kitchen cupboards...

Now, I'm not saying God created men to be wiser than women, because that's not Scriptural, and it's also obviously not true.  We all have our strengths.  And today's highlighted verse, in 1 Corinthians, is referring specifically to women in churches.  Even more specifically, Paul is talking about speaking in tongues, and how that can lead to churches being chaotic.  So I know some people interpret it to mean that women shouldn't teach in church; others interpret it to mean that the church in Corinth was out of control, and Paul was trying to speak to that.  Pray about it; research it, and be obedient to your understanding. 

For me, it doesn't mean that I'm only to ask my husband questions.  There are dozens of people from whom I get opinions when it comes to studying Scripture.  It also doesn't mean that I can't do the same for my sweetie.  If he's studying, and has a question or wants an opinion, he's comfortable asking me what I think. 

What it means to me is that it is a blessing ~ to my husband, and to me ~ when I accept the fact that God has given him a great deal of wisdom, and I take advantage of that wisdom.  Appreciating the wisdom that God has made available to me, is wise of me!

~ "Through wisdom a house is built,
      And by understanding it is established" ~
Proverbs 24:3

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Battle of Valley Forge

"you endured a great struggle with sufferings"
Hebrews 10:32

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  Famed in song and story.  Well, in story, definitely.... I don't know that there are any songs about Valley Forge.

But you know the story, don't you?  Valley Forge was where George Washington and his men camped during the winter of 1777-1778.  Big deal, right?  All they did was live there for a few months.  And yet it's one of the most famous places in U.S. history.   Lexington and Concord, Fort Ticonderoga, Bunker Hill, Yorktown... and Valley Forge.

I've been there.  We took there kids there a few years ago on a history vacation.  It's a beautiful place.  There are a few buildings there, replica and otherwise; and people in period costume.

And the amazing thing about Valley Forge is that, in a way, nothing happened there.  There was no battle, no threat from the enemy at all; just waiting.  And not pleasant waiting, either ~ suffering, really.  The men were cold, ill-fed and ill-clothed.  Some were sick, and some wounded.  They were in crowded living conditions, which were generally not warm or dry.

The reason it's a source of American pride is for the strength and perseverance exhibited by those men.  Not to mention the leadership qualities of George Washington in inspiring his men to stay, rather than desert to find food or shoes or whatever.

But the other important thing about Valley Forge was that not only did the men come out stronger in spirit for having persevered, they came out militarily stronger.  A Prussian by the name of Baron von Steuben, a former member of his country's army, volunteered his services to Washington.  The men were beneficiaries of his impressive military wisdom, and for months he trained and drilled them.  And by the end of their time in Valley Forge, because of the efforts of Washington and Von Steuben, the exhausted, ragtag men had become an army.

So here's the lesson.  You are never doing nothing.  No time of waiting is without purpose.  Endure, and learn what He is teaching you.   Though it's not fought with weapons, this is a battle, too. 

~ "You will not need to fight in this battle.
Position yourselves, stand still
and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you" ~
2 Chronicles 20:17

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

To the Moon

"you shall surely help him lift them up"
Deuteronomy 22:4

Did you see the space shuttle Endeavour on the news last week?  It made its final journey, traveling through the streets of Los Angeles.  Since the US will not be sending it (or its fellow space shuttles) into space any more, they've been donated to museums.  So the California Science Center is the new home for the Endeavour.  It was fascinating to see pictures of it in places that seem so incongruous.

photo credit: USA Today
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I've always loved the idea of space travel.  I was very young when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon ~ too young to remember, really.  But I love learning about different aspects, different events, and different people in the space program.

So it follows that one of my favorite movies is Apollo 13.  I think I've mentioned that before.  I haven't watched it in a few months, but I was reminded the other day about a very interesting aspect of that movie.  And the reason I like this particular detail is because it's something unusual, that happens all the time. 

Don't worry; that will make perfect sense in a little bit...

One of the astronauts that was supposed to go up in Apollo 13 was a man named Ken Mattingly.   But a few days before the launch, they discovered that one of the astronauts on the backup crew had the measles, which meant everyone that had been in contact with him, was in danger of getting the measles.  And Ken Mattingly had never had the measles before, so he was susceptible.  They couldn't risk his getting sick in space, so he was grounded, and his backup went in his place. 

But when the spacecraft was damaged in an explosion, some of the brightest minds in the country worked together to bring it safely back to earth ~ and that included Ken Mattingly.  He never did get the measles, so he was available to help solve the problem. 

Now, this is unusual because I don't think it was very common that an astronaut was pulled from a flight only days before. 

But what happened all the time is that those who were "left behind" were invaluable to the astronauts. 

There has to be hundreds ~ maybe thousands ~ of people who make space travel possible.  Not just the people at Mission Control, but those who designed and built the equipment, and those who train the astronauts themselves. 

In Ken Mattingly's case, he was disappointed to be one of the ones on the ground, not one of the ones in space.  For how many people was that the case?  How many people got involved in the space program because they didn't succeed in their quest to be an astronaut?

Sometimes there's no glory at all in being the one "on the ground".  But it doesn't make the job any less important.  God has something specific for each of us to do, and we can't all be the pilot.  Neil Armstrong once said that though he was the most visible person involved in walking on the moon, he felt that he was only "the tip of the arrow".  He knew he never could have achieved his amazing feat alone. 

If God has you on the ground, when you'd rather be flying high, know that you're exactly where He wants you.  Do your part to lift others, and you'll be doing something amazing.

~ "If anyone desires to be first,
     he shall be last of all and servant of all" ~
Mark 9:35

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hurting for prayer

"continuing steadfastly in prayer"
Romans 12:12

Do you know anyone with chronic health problems?  I know a few.  I suppose, in a way, that includes everyone.  Who doesn't know someone who suffers from headaches, back trouble, arthritis or asthma?  I used to know someone with multiple sclerosis, but we've lost track of each other.  I still think of her sometimes, and wonder how she's doing.  And I have a friend with fibromyalgia, and a friend who gets recurring migraines, and another friend who has been troubled by gout more than once, and two friends who struggle with muscle or joint pain.  Not arthritis, really, but something like it. 

One of these friends, when explaining her affliction, always says, "It's not something you die from; it's something you learn to live with."

That line has struck with me for years, because I think it's true of a lot of life.  We all have something, physical or emotional, that we have to learn to live with. 

But it's one thing to be someone who has a chronic health problem.  It's something else to be the friend of someone with a chronic health problem.  That can be a tricky line to walk.  Being understanding without ever being irritated that you always have to do all the driving.  Or being concerned enough to ask how they're feeling, without ever making them think "how come no one ever talks about anything but my condition?" 

Recently I had a learning experience with one of these friends, I'll call her Susannah, cuz I love that name.  We were with some other friends, a couple of them new to our group.  And Susannah was in a little bit of pain, which is not unusual.  It's not a lot of pain.  She rarely even mentions it, but she was walking a little slower than usual on that day, and one of the new gals ~ I'll call her Cornelia, cuz I love that name, too but my husband hated it, so there was no chance I was ever going to get to name a daughter that.  I love old-fashioned names.  The Apple of my Eye ~ not so much.  My Awesome Girl is very grateful to my husband for his stubbornness.  He probably would have agreed to "Susannah" for our girl, but we didn't think it sounded good with our last name.

At any rate, Cornelia noticed, and asked if she was alright.   Susannah replied with a brief explanation of her problem, very low-key and offhand, just as she always is about it. 

Cornelia's response was ~ I'm ashamed to say ~ surprising to me.  She asked Susannah if she could pray for her, and then she did.  And it made me realize how long it has been since I prayed for Susannah.  I think it has come to be no big deal for me ~ just as she always makes it seem whenever anyone asks about it.  But in becoming so nonchalant about it, I think I became callous to it.

I not only don't pray for her to be healed from it ~ like I've just decided God's never going to do that ~ I also don't pray for her symptoms to be mild, and I don't pray for her sleep to be good, and I don't pray for her to have His strength when she feels weak. 

In Luke 18, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow, and verse 1 says that parable is a lesson, "that men always ought to pray and not lose heart."  I think that "losing heart" means giving up on a prayer ever getting an answer, but is it any better to decide that someone else doesn't need prayer?  That they are doing just fine in their affliction, or in their trial? 

I've been friends with Susannah for years, but I'm realizing now I could be a much better friend to her.

~ "as for me, far be it from me
that I should sin against the Lord
in ceasing to pray for you" ~
1 Samuel 12:23

Monday, October 15, 2012

Love will win

"love bears all things"
1 Corinthians 13:7

I know of a man ~ a good man.  A great man, really.  He is the most generous, thoughtful, giving man I know of.  Maybe in the world.  You've probably heard of him.

He is independently wealthy, and gives away thousands of dollars worth of goods every year. 

He formed a corporation ~ not because he needed the money, but in order to create jobs.  And his employees are happy.  I've never heard of anyone leaving his company to work for a competitor.  But you know what?  He has no competitors, really.  There are others who do what he does, but no company ~ no man ~ would interfere with the work of this man's company.  He's simply too respected. 

He's married, and has been for many, many years, to the same woman.  They have no children of their own, but it is well-known how they love children, and show love to other people's children.

He is also well-known for his work with animals.  He raises them, and uses them in his work, but PETA has never once protested.

Yes, he is a great man. 

But you know what?  He's fat.  And it bothers me that this doesn't bother him.  I think he's setting a bad example for others, and it's irresponsible, because he knows he's in the public eye. 

And, truth be told, he's actually a criminal.  He has committed crimes more than once, but has never been prosecuted because the authorities, and ~ frankly, his victims ~ respect him too much.  I think everyone feels that the good he has done outweighs the bad.

He also, now that I think about it, is suspect in his hiring practices.  He is discriminatory in who he hires.  I don't know if you'd call it affirmative action... but I guess his employees do a good job, and so many people benefit from what they produce, that no one has ever sued for the opportunity to work for him. 

Oh, and would you believe?  He's a stalker.  Now, don't get the wrong idea ~ he never hurts anyone; it's completely innocent.  He just gets information as to what he should be producing in his factory, so that he can be giving away what people want. 

Okay, yes, I'm complaining about Santa Claus.  I have found fault with someone who's all about giving and thinking of others. 

You know why?  Because I'm mocking myself, and my exceptional ability to criticize others.

There's someone in my life who has done something that hurt me.  It was unintentional.  I know she didn't mean to.  And yet I can't seem to stop feeling wounded.  And the thing I keep trying to tell myself is how long we've been friends, and all we've shared.  She's a good person, who does so much out of love for others.  But after I tell myself that, I find myself remembering what she said.  I find that the forgiveness I thought I achieved, has left me.

Why is the human mind so willing to believe what the enemy tells us?  Why are we so quick to judge, and so slow to forgive?  And why are we so easy to find fault with those who love us?


I have so far to go in loving others...

~ "Love suffers long and is kind...
love does not seek its own, is not provoked,
thinks no evil....
love rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things." ~
1 Corinthians 13:4,5,6,7

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Staying on key

"How shall we sing?"
Psalm 137:4

I love to sing.  It's hereditary.  My parents both love music and I'm pretty sure they both have excellent voices.

I say "pretty sure" because I haven't heard my father sing very much.  He has three daughters, so any time we were all singing, he was the only baritone.  I think he felt outnumbered, so he didn't sing very loudly. 

And we did sing.  We sang in the car, we sang at church, we went Christmas caroling many times.  My parents took us to see musicals onstage, and then my sisters and I would sing the songs we had learned.   We're living in three different states now, so we rarely get to sing together anymore, but we all still sing. 

I sing in my car, and occasionally around the house, but most of the singing I do is worship songs at church and Bible study.  But a few weeks ago, I realized I was having to work a little harder when I sang.  I was having trouble staying on key.  And the reason was because a woman near me was off-key.  And loudly so.  

Now, these were worship songs, so I'm of the opinion that she should sing as loud as she wants.  It's praise, after all.  But I had to really focus to keep myself singing the right notes, even to songs I had sung many times before.  I had to really hear my voice and pay attention, otherwise I'd be off-key, too. 

There are other people in my life who off-key, too, and not in a musical way.  There are people around me who are doing, or saying, or being, things that I am not supposed to.  Maybe it's just that God has called them to something different, but often it's something that they aren't supposed to be doing, either.  And when someone around us is straying, you and I have to work harder to stay on key. 

When someone in your life is disobedient ~ remain obedient.
When someone in your life is discouraged ~ remain hopeful.
When someone in your life is faithless ~ remain faithful.
When someone in your life is judging ~ do not judge.
Gossiping, cheating, lying, coveting ~ it's going on all around us.  

Stay on key. 

~ "Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord promised to those who love Him" ~
James 1:12

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Out Loud

"There is no speech or language"
Psalm 19:3

What a beautiful verse...  Really, the whole psalm is beautiful.  It refers to all the speaking that creation does, without saying a word.

The heavens declare His glory, the skies proclaim the work of His hands... Nothing is hidden from the heat of the sun, just as nothing is hidden from Him.  Luke 19 says that if we do not praise Him, the stones would cry out.  And I believe that all nature sings His praise, in a language we cannot hear.

But I also believe that we, too, speak to Him without speech or language, whether we know it or not.  Many of His children know Him, but do not, cannot, or will not pray.  Many more do not know Him at all ~ but still He hears them.  When I pray it's sometimes silent, sometimes out loud, sometimes in song, sometimes in writing.  And He hears and treasures all of it.

There are times when I am so grateful to know that He hears me, even without the benefit of speech or language.  He hears my tears, He hears my desperation, He hears the ache in my heart.

Whether you travel on the wings of eagles, or in the lowest valley, you need not utter a word to be heard by Him.  He hears and understands the jumble of your thoughts, even better than you do.

He hears us when we shout, sing, or speak.  And He hears us when we don't. 

~ "Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created" ~
Psalm 148:3,5

Friday, October 12, 2012

Home away from home

"Come in, O blessed of the Lord!
For I have prepared the house"
Genesis 24:31

I went on retreat last month with my Bible study group.  We go every year, just for the weekend, and have a wonderful combination of spiritual time and fun time.  There's just nothing like eating together (breaking bread, as it were) for good conversation, and finding out more about each other.   And there's nothing like spending a weekend away, for being able to spend some quiet time with God. 

I'm fortunate to live in an area where we can get to the mountains, or to the beach, with just an hour or so of driving.  So over the years I've gone to several beautiful locations on retreat ~ and most of them have been rewarding and pleasant enough that we've gone back more than once. 

But this year we went someplace new.  Mostly we've gone to retreat locations or hotels, but this year we went to the vacation home of a friend of mine. 

I met this friend the year I began Bible study, 12 years ago.  She was actually my teacher that year ~ and the three years after that.  After that she left that position to serve in another capacity within the study, where she's been since that. 

Her husband is involved, too, in the men's class, and has been for years.  And so, about a year and a half ago, when they decided to purchase a vacation home for their family, they were also thinking of other uses for the home.  They were thinking about the men's class, and our women's class, and the several other classes in the county that could use their home for a retreat location. 

Because of that, they bought a home far bigger than their family needed.  And it's beautiful.  Comfortable, simple but thoughtfully-decorated rooms ~ enough sleeping space for 26.  Places to be alone for some quiet time, and places to eat, chat, and play board games or watch a movie if a group wants to do that.  There's a game room and a good-size kitchen, four bathrooms, and a good amount of parking space in the driveway. 

It was a lovely place to spend the weekend, and I would have been much more reluctant to leave if I hadn't been going home to my sweet family.  And while I was there, I kept thinking over and over again how incredibly thoughtful and generous is this lovely couple.  I'm just in awe of people who can be so completely thoughtful of others.  Yes, they bought themselves a vacation home, but if that had been their only goal, they could have just done that.

How wonderful it is when people think of others.  This couple loves Christ by loving others, and I am just one of many who has been blessed by it.

I do not have ~ and I may never have, the wherewithal to bless others like that.  But I'm encouraged and reminded that the little I can offer the Lord will be magnified by Him, to do more than I can imagine for others.

~ "Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do
for the brethren and for strangers,
who have borne witness of your love before the church.
If you send them forward on their journey
in a manner worthy of God, you do well" ~
3 John 1:5-6

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What do you know?

"You are acquainted with all my ways"
Psalm 139:3

Alex Karras died today.  Did you know him?  You probably knew of him.  He played professional football in the 1960's, for the Detroit Lions.

After he played football, he became an actor.  That's probably all most people know him for ~ playing football and acting.

I don't think I ever saw him in any of his movies, but I remember the sitcom he was in with his wife.   And I remember one of the guest-starring roles he had in another sitcom.

And I know he was a husband and father.  I knew he was a husband because the woman who played his wife in the sitcom was his wife in real life, too.  So probably a lot of people knew that, too.

But he was so much more than the sum of those parts.  He was complex, diverse and in some ways, unexpected.  There were things that made him laugh, and things that made him cry.  He had hobbies and interests; weaknesses and strengths.  He was admired by friends, and tolerated by those who didn't see the world the way he did.

How do I know all that?  I really don't.  I never met the man.

But I knew someone who knew him.  One of his closest friends.  I was privileged to know a man named John, who played football with Karras.  John went to my church, and I am close with his widow, his daughter, and his step-daughter.  I knew him for only a few years before he died in 2009.  But in that time, I came to know how thoughtful, wise and interesting he was.  I saw him treat everyone he encountered with kindness and respect.  He was a big man ~ being a former pro football player ~ but he was gentle and humble.  And he played a very convincing Simon Peter for the children of our church. 

If you look up John on the internet, you won't find out any of that.  I know how there was much more to John than what a stranger would know about him, and yet I know there was much more to him than I knew. 

And because I know there was more to John, I know there was more to Alex Karras, too.

And I know there's more to you than meets the eye.  Just as there's more to me.  Daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, mother, aunt, teacher, writer, blogger...  I like color and I dislike crickets in my house.  I like to cook but I dislike baking.  Autumn is my favorite season, and summer is my least favorite.

What about you?

Every once in awhile I realize how incredibly foolish it is for us to judge others.  Only God knows all there is to each of us; all the events and people that have gone before us, to make us who we are.  And only God knows what we are capable of becoming.  And that's something we don't even know about ourselves. 

Rest in His knowledge of you.  Remind yourself, when you come to a conclusion about someone else, that there's much you don't know.  And take heart, when you start to realize how far you have to go in your own life.  His knowledge, His patience and His love are limitless.   He knows you fully, and loves you completely.  And that's all you need to know.

~ "Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
and Lead me in the way everlasting" ~
Psalm 139:23-24

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busy Body

"your servant was busy here and there"
1 Kings 20:40

My to-do list for today:

quiet time
do some writing
answer emails
teach my Amazing and Awesome kids
prep tests or exercises for upcoming lessons
make a few phone calls
breakfast and lunch dishes
more laundry
work on my Bible study homework
watching tv with the Apple of my Eye
answering some more emails
do some writing

God's to-do list for my day:

 Love the Lord my God with all my heart
Love the Lord my God with all my soul
Love the Lord my God with all my mind
Love my neighbor as myself


 ~ "Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is man's all" ~
Ecclesiastes 12:13

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Good Book

"the Word was with God, and the Word was God"
John 1:1

Do you have a Bible? 

How many? 

Just the one?

Or one upstairs, and one downstairs, and one in your car? 

Or do you just access the Word of God on a hand-held gadget? 

Those are so... well... handy

I'm not sure I'll ever be sold on the concept of reading on a hand-held gadget.  I think I love books too much for that.  Besides, I can't highlight and mark a page and write myself little notes in the margin of a hand-held gadget. 

So, as you can probably gather, I own a Bible.  Actually I own several.  A couple of different translations because back in the old days, you couldn't access multiple translations online.  I have a study Bible, and a devotional Bible.  I have a beautiful, travel Bible that was given to me as a gift. 

And I have a Bible in French, because I speak a little French {un petit peu}.  And a Hawaiian Bible.  Well, pidgin Hawaiian, really.   "God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat He wen send Me, His one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus Me no get cut off from God, but get da real kine life dat stay to da max foeva."  That's John 3:16.  I loved Hawaii so much when we visited there, and my pidgin Hawaiian Bible lets me be in God's Word, and thinking about Hawaii.   

But of the many Bibles I own, one is my favorite.  I don't just love the Bible, I particularly love that Bible.  It's the one I take to church and Bible Study.  It's the one I do most of my note-taking and highlighting in.  And if I can’t remember where a verse is, sometimes I can find it because I know it’s on a left page, at the top of the right column.  Or whatever.  Yup ~ visual learner; that's me. 

Last year, when we were traveling, I had some writing I had to do for the Bible Study I'm in.  Normally when I write, I have my Bible and my laptop and maybe some other books, like commentaries, for research purposes.   It's helpful sometimes to be able to learn something about the geography or cultural traditions about a passage. 

But because we were traveling, I didn’t want to take anything more than I had to, so I took my laptop and my Bible.  Nothing else.  Now, I knew I could access Scripture online, so really I didn’t need my Bible.  But I wanted it.  I wanted my Bible at my side as I wrote.

But the thing is, my Bible ~ my favorite Bible ~ is just a book.  God’s Spirit was going to inspire me and guide me as I wrote, no matter where I was and no matter what I had access to.  It’s not about the book ~ the cover; the pages; the font and the maps.  It's about an attitude toward God and His word. 

Do you know the story of the transfiguration of Jesus?  It’s in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain to pray.  And as He prayed, His face was altered and His robe became white and glistening, and Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with Him and spoke with Him.  When Peter saw this, he said, as only Peter could, “This is great!  Let's make three tabernacles on this spot; one for each of you!”  {my paraphrase, obviously...}

But while Peter was speaking, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and a voice said, “This is My beloved Son.” 

That was a warning.  Peter was equalizing Jesus, Moses and Elijah.   Bringing Jesus down to the level of His prophets, and wanting to honor them all equally.   The Israelites had a tendency to do the same thing with the ark of the covenant.  They would take it into battle with them as if it were a good luck charm, instead of making sure they were in God's will, and then trusting Him for the outcome. 

So by all means, love your Bible.  And definitely, read your Bible.  But when you do, hear Him.

~ "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" ~
John 1:14

Monday, October 8, 2012

That's why!

"the Lord has promised good things"
Numbers 10:29

Have we talked about "why?" before?  I love why's in the Bible.   When I was growing up, my mother never said "because I said so" to me or my sisters.  She always explained what her reason was for whatever she was telling us to do.  And then she told us what would happen if we didn't...

Maybe that's why I love it when God tells us "why?" when really, He has every right to say, "Because I told you so."

The Ten Commandments are given to us in both Exodus and Deuteronomy, and in both cases we are just told the what, not the why.  The exception being the 4th commandment:  "Honor your mother and father, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (verse 12 of Exodus)

But if I play my favorite Scriptural game of Connect the Dots, then those passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy go nicely with Leviticus 26.  Leviticus 26 is the why ~ and it's glorious!

"I will give you rain in its season... the trees of the field shall yield their fruit... you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.  I will give peace in the land... You will chase your enemies and they shall fall by the sword before you... I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful... confirm My covenant with you.... set My tabernacle among you... I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people..."

Twelve verses of promise and blessings in abundance.  And all of a sudden He goes from seeming like a bossy, dictatorial God, to the reality:  a loving Father who showers His children with everything good, if they live in the way that is best. 

But if for some reason that doesn't convince you, then it's followed by 28 verses that will strike terror in your heart, and renew your commitment to obedience.  And you think, "Oh, His commandments don't seem so unreasonable after all..." 

He's got a reason for everything He commands us.  We will be rewarded for our obedience, even more than we can imagine.  And we can know that, whether He tells us or not. 

But don't you love that He tells us?

~ "the Lord your God will bless you
    just as He promised you" ~
Deuteronomy 15:6

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weak as Water

"And the Spirit of God was hovering
over the face of the waters"
Genesis 1:2

"the gathering together of the waters He called Seas.
And God saw that it was good"
Genesis 1:10

 "He flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days"
Genesis 7:24

"Pharaoh's chariots and his army,
He has hurled into the sea"
Exodus 15:4

"So God split the hollow place...
 and water came out"
Judges 15:19

 "The waters saw you, O God;
the waters saw You, they were afraid;
the depths also trembled"
Psalm 77:16

"He divided the sea and caused them to pass through;
and He made the waters stand up like a heap"
Psalm 78:13

"He also brought streams out of the rock,
and caused waters to run down like rivers"
Psalm 78:16

"Behold, He struck the rock,
so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed"
Psalm 78:20 

"The Lord on high is mightier
than the noise of many waters,
than the mighty waves of the sea"
Psalm 93:4

"He went out to them,
walking on the lake"
Matthew 14:25

"He got up, rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!"
Mark 4:39

"The water I give is the water of everlasting life"
John 4:14

"Fear God and give glory to Him...
and worship Him who made heaven and earth,
the sea and springs of water" 
Revelation 14:7

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life,
clear as crystal,
proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb"
Revelation 22:1

He is the Creator, and God of the universe.
Wind and sea obey Him.
He created the water, and called it good. 

And yet...

"I thirst."
John 19:28

I am pained and humbled when I see
the depths of helplessness
to which He willfully sank
on my behalf.