Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Unexpected Journey

"the tops of the mountains were seen"
Genesis 8:5

Something has happened in my home.  Well, in my life, really.  Something has begun.  And it's really kind of a milestone.  Something I have long thought about, long debated, long intended, is finally happening.

I'm reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

My older sister has been a fan of Tolkien since we were young.  She read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy numerous times.   Meanwhile, I was busy reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series numerous times.  And Watership Down.

What?  Never?  Oh, I highly recommend it.

Anyhow, while I never really had any desire to read the Ring series, I always wanted to read The Hobbit.  I love the name, I love the idea of a this little critter living in his hole.  The whole concept is just so... peaceful and pastoral.  Although I know it doesn't stay that way.

But somehow, I just never read it.  All through my childhood, I just never did, and then she moved out, and the book went with her, and I guess I stopped thinking about it. 

Then I started thinking about it again after I had kids.  I have always read to my kids ~ still do, almost every day.  Sometimes it's a way of having them experience some piece of literature that I think should be a part of their education.  Sometimes it's a way of sharing something I love, and getting to experience it with them.

Well, beginning last week, I started reading The Hobbit to my Awesome and Amazing kids.   But unlike most books I read to them,  I'm not doing it for them.  I'm doing it for me.   Because it's high time.

And I could just read it to myself.  They both saw the movie at Christmastime (with my sisters, ironically), and I'm pretty sure they'd both get around to reading the book in their own time.

But I'm reading it to them, not because I want them to experience it, but because I want to experience it, alongside them.  I'm sure I'll see the movie when it comes out on dvd, but I didn't want to pay for a movie ticket.  Besides, I like movies better after I've read the book.

And the beautiful thing is, I can ask them questions.  Having seen the movie, they know the plot, and I can stop and ask questions like, "I forget; where are they right now?"  or "I don't trust this guy; is he bad news?" to which they either tell me the answer, or just say, "Read the book, Mom.  You'll find out."

I've also found myself asking pronunciations more than once.   And even though they've only seen the movie once, they know!

This whole thing is interesting to me for two reasons:  first ~ sometimes, it's all about the incentive.  I've been wanting to read the book for years, but what's finally gotten me to is my desire to share this new enthusiasm of my children.  Apparently I never had a strong enough need to connect with my sister on this topic.  {No offense, B!}  :-)

The other thing is about the idea of reading something that might be tricky.   My favorite kinds of books are non-fiction.  Fiction is okay, but when you get into fantasy, it's one step further, and you can find yourself in the realm of things that impossible or simply unheard of on earth.  So I enjoy it more if I can get my questions answered on the spot, and not have to try to figure out what I don't understand, at the same time as moving ahead on the plot.

Sort of like math.

So, this all got me thinking about reading the Bible.  So here's how it all ties in:  There are books of the Bible that we all avoid.  Or just haven't gotten around to.  Or have started to read more than once but can't seem to get through.  

Incentive.  That's what we need.  Maybe for you it's Revelation.  Or the laws of Leviticus.  Or one of the prophets in the middle.  You need to find your incentive.  Could simply be the knowledge that's waiting for you there.  Or perhaps the something that's applicable to your life.  'Cause that's what's there ~ in any book of the Bible.  He's got them all there for a reason.  And really, that's the best incentive.  The desire to understand the message of the book, and know, in your heart, why it's there. 

But the other thing we need to tackle the books that we're afraid of less interested in, is help.  A teacher, a commentator, a study group... something.  I don't think there's any shame in acknowledging that a specific book isn't our cup of tea, and having someone there to help us interpret, or understand, can be invaluable.   Might be a pastor, might be a teacher, might be an author.   And... it might take time.

Definitely, though, you'll need the Holy Spirit.  By that I mean that no matter who you find to help you understand difficult Scriptures, it will be the Holy Spirit working through them, and in you.  God wants us to understand His Word.  And with effort and perseverance on our part ~ with a little desire, and a little help ~ He'll make that happen. 

~ "A wise man will hear
and increase learning,
And a man of understanding
will attain wise counsel" ~
Proverbs 1:5
~

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's all about Him

"Praise the Lord God of Israel
with voices loud and high"
2 Chronicles 20:19

I sat in the back of church last Sunday.  I don't normally do that; we generally sit toward the front because I can concentrate better.  I'm a visual learner, so my eyes need to be engaged in what I'm learning if it's going to make it into my brain. 

But that day we sat in the back.  The Apple of my Eye was responsible for the sound board, meaning working the computer that projects the song lyrics during the worship time and the pastor's notes during the sermon.  So I sat on a chair in the very back, to be near him.

As a result, I found myself observing all the different ways that people worship.  See?  Told you I concentrate better in the front...

Anyhow, it occurred to me there are really a lot of variations in the positions people assume during worship.  For instance, their eyes might be open or closed.  Clearly, mine were open, because for that particular song, I needed the lyrics.  If I don't need to read the lyrics, I sometimes close my eyes.  Closing my eyes while I sing can make the song seem more like a prayer to me, but because I'm a synesthete, I sometimes enjoy looking at the words even to a song I know, because focusing on the colors in the words can be so beautiful.  Appreciating colors is a way of appreciating my Creator.

Whether people worship with their eyes open or closed, also sometimes affects the position of the head.  Do you worship with your head back, your face to heaven?  Or with your head bowed, eyes lowered in humility.  I love that it's different for everyone.  It's an expression of how one is feeling, and about how one offers Him their worship.  I love that it's genuine. 

There are also variations in body position.  In our church, we generally stand as a group for the first song, and then people are free to stand or sit as they please.  Occasionally I've even seen people kneeling.  And they might have their hands folded in their laps, or maybe raised to Him.  Or maybe even holding hands with their honey, as I sometimes do.  

I love that there's a freedom in our church.  It's a place where people feel comfortable being who they are in worship.

And I love that there's freedom in Him.   There's no right or wrong way to sing, or song to sing or way to be when you're worshiping.  You can even dance, as David did.  

He doesn't tell us how to worship.  So don't let anyone else tell you how.  Remember:  it's between you and Him ~ and it's all about Him.

~ "All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
and shall glorify Your name" ~
Psalm 86:9

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taking Stock

"the ways of her household"
Proverbs 31:27

I made stock the other day.  Chicken stock.

I love making chicken stock from scratch.  Every time I prepare a chicken, I put the bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a stock pot full of stock ~ hey!  I just got why it's called a "stock" pot!

Genius, aren't I?  Remind me someday to tell you what I know about the Nabisco Company...

Anyhow, for several hours I had the would-be stock simmering on the stove, as I puttered around my home, queen of all that surrounds me.  While some of the time dishes and laundry just seem like chores, there are times when the things I do around my home feel ~ rightly so ~ like a celebration of all that God has given me.

Making stock is one of those times.  It's so rewarding.  Stock is so useful in cooking, and I use a lot of it, so by making my own, I'm saving some money. 

Plus, I love the knowledge that I'm making full use of what God gave me ~ namely, those chickens.  A lot of TV chefs these days talk about "honoring the animal" or "honoring the protein".  And that's admirable.  Some of my Christian friends would call it "being a good steward".   It's part of my role as wife and mother to take what God has provided, and get every blessing I can out of it for my family. 

And then every time I look in my freezer and see all that He has provided, it gives me a feeling of peace.  I may not know what the future holds, but I can see all that He has done for me, and I can trust Him for the future. 


Yup.  I got all that out of chicken stock.  Just another case of me getting everything I can out of something!  :)

~ "She watches over the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness...
a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised" ~
Proverbs 31:27,30
~

Monday, January 28, 2013

Huh?

"with coals of the broom tree"
Psalm 120:4

I have no idea what that means. 

I don't know what a broom tree is ~ is that tree that looks like a broom?  Or a tree from which brooms are made?

Psalm 120 is a short psalm, only seven verses.  I have one Bible that says it a "song of ascents" and another Bible that has titled it, "A Plea for Relief from Bitter Foes." 

But the meaning of this verse eludes me. 

Frankly, the whole psalm is a little perplexing. 

But that's not the first time I've ever said that about a passage in the Bible.  There are verses, and whole chapters I don't understand, or I fail to see why they were included.

But I know two things very well.  First, I know that this strange verse was inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Bible would not be complete without it.  It helps me, when I'm lost, to know that every word in the Bible has a purpose; that He is a God of details, and there is knowledge in every "jot and tittle".

The other thing I know is that the Bible is not a book to be read.  That is, it's not a book to be just read.  It is to be studied, and pored over, and memorized, and meditated on, and discussed and prayed about, and sometimes, to be simply accepted by faith.

So I will ponder this verse.  I will read the psalm in its entirety.  I will talk to a few well-versed Christians.  I will read it in other translations of the Bible.  I will study the notes of a few Bible scholars, and glean everything God has for me.

And in doing so, I will claim this verse, as He has always known I would, and hide it in my heart.  And in so doing, this verse, too, will illuminate my life. 

~ "Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path" ~
Psalm 119:105
~

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Unique

"the very hairs of your head are all numbered"
Luke 12:7

Do you know the name Wilson Bentley?


I don't think he's very well known, but his work is.  His life's passion resulted in a single, wonderful fact that is probably known by everyone over the age of 3.  And for every three-year-old who doesn't know that fact, there's a mother or father who can't wait to tell them.


It's a fact that we know because when we learned it, we were astounded, and it stuck with us.

It's the kind of fact that you want to share with everyone you meet.  But if you try, you'll find out they already knew.  And unless they've gotten bored with miracles, they are just as amazed as you are.


I didn't know his name until recently.  And I don't know much about his faith.  But he had a big impact on mine.  Wilson Bentley taught me about the magnitude of God as Creator, and he reminded me of how much God loves me, in a way that He loves no one else.

Don't worry, God loves you like no one else, too.


So what is it that Wilson Bentley did for me?  He took photos.  He was the man who discovered a way to photograph snowflakes, revealing to us all the astonishing and beautiful fact that no two are alike.


God's love for me ~ and you ~ is very personal.  No one knows each of us as intimately as He does.


No one appreciates every beautiful, wonderful, special, unique, glorious detail of who you are, better than He who created you ~ He who created you to be different from anyone else He ever created, or will create.


I think God loved Wilson Bentley in a very special way, because He knew what Mr Bentley would reveal to us.

But He loves you in a special way, too. 

I hope you know that.

 

~ "Have you seen the treasury of snow?" ~
Job 38:22
~

photos from snowflakebentley.com

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Leaders and Followers

"to lead them on the road"
Nehemiah 9:19

I dated the Apple of my Eye for five years before we got married.  We started dating in high school, so you can see that it wasn't really appropriate to get married too quickly.   So we waited until we were (nearly) done with college to begin our lives together.

And for all the time we dated, we were each living with our parents.  Now, we were blessed to go to a private school, so it was not like we were both attending the school closest to us.  So our homes were about 30 minutes apart.

Side note:  I've heard it said you can tell someone is from California when they measure distances not in miles, but in the time it takes to get from point A to point B.  I don't know if that's true, but I do know that I haven't the faintest idea how many miles it was between my parents' house and his parents' house... 

Anyhow, because we lived rather far from each other, he didn't generally pick me up for dates.  Sometimes if we were going to a movie or dinner near my house he would, but if we were meeting friends, or going miniature golfing or something, we would take our own cars, and either meet at our destination, or meet someplace in between, and then caravan to our destination.

Now, as I might have mentioned in the past, I'm not a great navigator.  I get lost easily.  I have no sense of direction.  Stuff like that.  So anytime I'm caravaning (yes, that's a real word) with someone, I'm the follower.

So I became very comfortable with the role of follower.  And, if I may say, I'm very good at it.  There's a talent to it.  You have to be focused, but flexible, as traffic and lights sometimes seem to work against you.   You have to follow closely enough to avoid being separated by interlopers or red lights, but not so close that you increase the likelihood of an accident if there's a sudden stop.

And you have to be ready for something unexpected.  If your understanding is that you're going to be on the freeway for 12 miles, but the leader takes an off-ramp after only four, you have to follow.  Maybe engine trouble?  Maybe he needs to double-check his directions?  Maybe a sudden need for the bathroom? 

Point is:  you gotta follow.  If you're the follower, you can't see the person get off, and think, "well, they'll figure it out," and just continue past them.  Followers gotta follow.

And while I was learning how to be a good follower, the Apple of my Eye learned how to be a wonderful leader.  Also not easy.  The leader has to drive ~ eyes forward ~ while still keeping a watch on the follower, to make sure the follower hasn't had to exit the freeway because of engine trouble or a sudden need for the bathroom.   The leader also has to look ahead enough to anticipate tricky lane changes or possible red light separations.  And if a red light separation does occur, the leader needs to pull over, watch for the follower to reappear, then pull back out in front of them, flawlessly resuming the leader/follower relationship. 

It's not an easy role.  Neither one is.  But both have to be done for the partnership to work.  We joked about it when we were visiting family over Christmas, because there was caravaning that needed to be done, and not everyone was good at it.  Some leaders have a tendency to sail on ahead; some followers have a tendency to drift.  Worst of all, some followers have a desire to lead.  That can't work.  More than one leader is just competition.

Not that that's not fun, too.  But only in controlled circumstances.

The hard part is, I think, knowing what's called for in different circumstances.  Some of us are leaders by nature, and some of us are followers.  And it's a comfortable blessing when that's the role we are called to.  But He's also going to call us out of our comfort zone.  For born leaders, that's going to mean humility.  For born followers, that's going to mean courage.   We simply can't always default to the role we prefer.

But no matter which one you're doing, if it's what you've been called by God to do, it's going to take faith.  It's going to mean following Him.  No matter what.

~ "all of you be submissive to one another,
and be clothed with humility, 
for 'God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.' " ~
1 Peter 5:5
~

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Now and the Not Yet

"things which must shortly take place"
Revelation 1:1

When my Awesome and Amazing kids were little, I used to have a bunch of old magazines for them.  Not for them to read, but so that they could cut out pictures if they ever wanted to make a collage for school or just for fun.  They used to love doing that with animals, for instance.  When they were very, very little, I would help them make little collages to focused on a specific color, to help them see all the red or blue or yellow in nature.

And then early last summer, I realized, as I was cleaning out a closet, that no one had made a collage in a long, long time, and we were probably done with that phase of childhood.

I don't really think teen-agers go for that sort of thing, and if they do, there's probably an app for that...

So I went through all those old magazines, pulling out articles I wanted to read again, and maybe a few I thought my kids would want to read, and then I discarded the rest of the magazine.

So now I have a large, ginormous stack of articles to read, out of magazines that are as much as ten or fifteen years old.

The articles are no less interesting than they were the first time I read them.  Most of them are informative articles, about nature or places or people in history.  So they aren't exactly cutting-edge, but I still am enjoying them, and learning from them.

As a matter of fact, in some cases, it's even more interesting to read an article that was written ten years ago, because of what has changed since then.  For instance, I just read an article about Jamestown, Virginia, that was written in 2005.  It was about the amazing finds that archaeologists are uncovering as they have come to a better understanding of the exact location of the fort the settlers built.  For a long time, historians have believed that the fort was under the James River, but in the late 1990s, they realized they were wrong, and much more of the artifacts are accessible (with a lot of digging) than they thought possible.  Little by little, they've been finding articles, and drawing new conclusions about the Englishmen and Native Americans who lived there.

So in 2005, there were interesting things that had been discovered.  But reading the article in 2013 means that much more has been accomplished.  So I can go online, and find an even more up-to-date information.  Information that didn't exist when the article was written.

I also read an great article about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots in the United States military.  There's really not much new information about the history of these heroes ~ they've been duly celebrated for years now.   But the article was written shortly after the establishment of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in 1998.  There wasn't much to it, it was just plans.  But now it exists, and I can see the finished product online (or visit, which I hope to do someday).

It's a little as if I'm living in the future.  I mean, I guess I am.  I have knowledge that didn't exist at the time of the writing.  I know things that hadn't happened.  I know how things have turned out.

So.  When's the last time you read the Book of Revelation??  Because you, too, can approach the future with the knowledge of someone who's been there.  The scroll and the Lamb... trumpets, angels and the dragon... tribulation, woes, and the beauty and glory of the New Jerusalem.  It's all there. 

The Bible is a wonderful combination of history, life application that applies to now, and prophecy.  And that information is not just there to entertain us with creatures more fantastical than anything Dr. Seuss ever came up with.   And I know a lot of people think Revelation is daunting, and hard to understand.  I totally agree with them, despite having studied it and even taught parts of it.  Though we may not comprehend all of it, we should still be reading it. 

Life has enough surprises; why wouldn't we want to be as prepared as possible?  And while Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that there are secret things that belong to God, there are also things He has shared with us.  So get in the know!

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facts

What's the most important thing you know?

Christ has risen
 ~ "He is risen, just as He said" ~
Matthew 28:6

Our sins are forgiven
 ~ "If we confess our sins, 
He is faithful and just to forgive our sins 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" ~
1 John 1:9

We have eternal life
 ~ "For God so loved the world 
that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whoever believes in Him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life" ~
John 3:16

We have life abundant
 ~ "I have come that they may have life, 
  and that they may have it more abundantly"~
John 10:10b

He is merciful
 ~ "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, 
    longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" ~
Exodus 34:6

We are loved
 ~ "God, who is rich in mercy, 
because of His great love with which He loved us, 
even when we were dead in trespasses, 
made us alive together in Christ" ~
Ephesians 2:4-5

He is with You
 ~ "you will seek the Lord your God, 
and you will find Him if you seek Him 
 with all your heart and with all your soul"~
Deuteronomy 4:29

He hears you
 ~ "The righteous cry out, 
and the Lord hears, 
and delivers them out of all their troubles"~
Psalm 34:17

Jesus is coming back
 ~ "the Lord Himself 
will descend from heaven with a shout, 
with the voice of the archangel, 
and with the trumpet of God"
1 Thessalonians 4:13

Your answer today might be different from your answer tomorrow.  But aren't you glad you know what you know?
~

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Very Present Help in Trouble

"the Lord of hosts is with us"
Psalm 46:7

I was preparing my Awesome Girl's history lesson on Monday, when I found myself ~ on Martin Luther King Jr Day, ironically ~ reading about Martin Luther. 

One of the things I love about being my kids' teacher, is how much I find myself learning, or relearning, as I teach them.  I'd forgotten some of the details about the Protestant Reformation, and what Martin Luther accomplished in his lifetime. 

One of the things I'd forgotten ~ or maybe never realized ~ was that Martin Luther was the author of that beautiful hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God".  Knowing that, I did a little research on the history of this classic hymn.

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.  A mighty fortress is our God.  He wrote those words sometime between 1527 and 1529, during the time of the Reformation that he helped bring about, and he is credited with composing the words and the tune.

Based on Psalm 46, it's a hymn that celebrates the utter invincibility of God.  But, surprisingly, it's a hymn largely about our enemy.  I'm sure many have absentmindedly sung the words "on earth is not his equal," thinking they were singing about God.  But that line is about satan.  To Martin Luther, the devil posed a far more present danger than the earthly adversaries he faced.

I guess he felt that if are going to fully appreciate our "bulwark never failing," then we need to fully appreciate the danger we are in.

But while the song reminds us that the power and hate of our foe is great, it also celebrates that it only takes a word from God to defeat Him, and that Word is Jesus ~ Lord Sabaoth, His name.

Lord Sabaoth is one of the Hebrew names for God, and it means Lord of Hosts, or Lord of Armies.  You'll find it in Romans 9 and James 5. 

Martin Luther was a prolific writer of hymns, and greatly influenced the development of singing in churches ~ something that was not done before then.  But this hymn stands out.  It has been incorporated into works by Bach, Pachelbel and Wagner, among others.

The King of Sweden had it played as his forces went to battle in the Thirty Years' War, and it is played every year in London at the celebration of the Queen's birthday.  And in our own history ~ if you, too, call yourself an American ~ it was sung at the funeral services of President Dwight Eisenhower, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and at the Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral three days after September 11, 2001.

So in appreciation of this beautiful hymn:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great; and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus it is He
Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly pow'rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever

~

More then simply remembering details that I had forgotten about, I have a renewed appreciation of all those men who made it possible for me to hold a Bible in my hands, and the love they had for the Lord.

And more than appreciating great men, and great love for the Lord, I have a renewed appreciation of the Lord, how much He loves us, and how helpless we are without Him.

~ "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth" ~
Psalm 46:10
~

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Long and Short of It

"Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray"
Psalm 55:17

Did you read about the Subway sandwich controversy?  Apparently some of their "footlong" sandwiches aren't exactly, well, a foot long.  It's too soon to tell if this is going to change their quality control standards, or if it's all just going to blow over, but I do love the fact that this came to light in Australia, a country where things aren't measured by the foot.

Of course, that's most countries, isn't it?  Yeah, I just did an internet check, and the only countries who are not on the metric system are the US, Myanmar and Liberia.

Well, I don't know about Myanmar and Liberia, but speaking on behalf of my country ~ boy, are we stubborn! 

I feel it's okay for me to say that, because I was one of those kids being educated in the 70s and 80s, when our government was desperately trying to teach us the metric system.  And with good reason, since the whole rest of the world uses it!  Well, almost the whole world... 

And yet, somehow, we just couldn't or wouldn't learn it.  And here we are, all these years later, persisting in measuring our sandwiches by the foot. 

Anyhow, I thought it was interesting that this whole sandwich controversy came about because of facebook.  The sandwich complainant posted his sandwich and tape measure on Subway's facebook page, and pretty soon, there was a bandwagon of people joining in the conversation. 

It's hard for me to believe the internet has existed for such a short time.  Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, email, not to mention the "googling" I did to find out the countries that aren't on the metric system.  In most ways, progress is a blessing, isn't it? 

Thinking about all of this today had me thinking about communication.  It used to be ~ not too long ago ~ that to communicate with those who were too far away to walk to, you had to write a letter, then wait for days or weeks until someone picked up the mail, tucked it in their bag, and jumped on their horse to send your letter to its destination. 

That was the extent of written communication for a very long time.  The horse was assisted, then replaced by the train, and then the automobile.  Then the airplane was added, and the time it took was shortened. 

Then came email.  Written communication became instantaneous. 

The length of mail changed, too.  Back when letters were a once or twice a year, they were long.  I remember reading in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, about Ma cramming news about the family into every inch of the paper.  But with email, we can send a nice, to-the-point message.  No big deal if we forget something, 'cause we can just send another one.  Even more so with the 140-character-limit of twitter. 

All of this got me thinking about how we communicate with God.  What are your prayers like?  Do you send up brief prayers when you have a minute?  Or do you converse with Him?

There's a place for both.  He's there for us when we want to pour out our hearts, and He's there when we send up a quick, "Help me!"  And I think He treasures both. 

What's not okay, is to rely on just those quickies.  I've heard them called arrow prayers, or popcorn prayers, just popping up to Him.  But we need to be more familiar with Him.  Our prayers shouldn't have to start with, "Remember me?" 

He loves hearing from you, and prayer was His idea.  Indulge in it!

~ "He went off to the mountain to pray,
and He spent the whole night in prayer to God" ~
Luke 6:12
~

Monday, January 21, 2013

What do you think you know?

"Did not He who made the outside
make the inside also?"
Luke 11:40

I wore my shirt inside-out yesterday.

But I didn't know it. 

All day. 

And I never knew it.

I think, when I first got dressed in the morning, I had an inkling that something was wrong.  It was a black shirt, but there was a bit of a white thread on the front, and I wondered how had never noticed that before.   But I just thought, "huh..." and went on with my day.

The shirt was all black, and made of that sort of "waffle" material, like thermals are sometimes made of, y'know?  So there was no "reverse" of the pattern by which I could have judged the right side from the wrong side.

And it is a hooded shirt, so the hood fell over the tag in the back, preventing my neck or hair from being irritated by a tag that was doing something other than it should have been.  It also prevented anyone from seeing the tag, and informing me that I had my shirt on inside-out.

And even the seams of the shirt, inside-out as they were, didn't catch my eye.  The difference was just too subtle.

When I put my shirt on in the morning, I thought it was on right.  I thought I knew for sure, what I thought I knew.  If someone had asked me if my shirt was on properly, I would have thought it a strange question.  I've been dressing myself for a long time, and I think I've worked out the kinks. 

But I was wrong.  What I thought I knew was wrong.

We don't always know what we think we know.  Ask Him.  Read the Bible.  Test all things and hold fast what is good.  And ask Him for wisdom, which He promises to give liberally.

Because you don't know everything you think you know.

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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ode to the Sunday Nap

"at rest in my house"
Daniel 4:4

Ahhhh..... the Sunday nap.  There's just nothing like it.  And it certainly doesn't happen every Sunday, but I guess that makes it even more precious.

I think it's a sweet pleasure because everything has to be right in my life before I can indulge.   For instance, when my kids were younger, I couldn't let down my guard unless I knew they weren't going to decide to try painting on the walls with my nail polish or something.  So even now, my being able to nap is predicated on my knowledge that my kids are safe and secure, the stove is not on, and the dog is not locked outside (which would lead to a great deal of demanding barking).

And most of all, a nap makes the statement that there's nothing I need to be doing.  At least, nothing for the next 20 minutes or so.  Because that's all a nap is to me.  20 minutes of eyes closed and mind and body relaxed.   And when I'm done, I have more energy and even an increased sense of eagerness to tackle the needs of my day.

It's a boost.  A lift.  Dare I say, even a little bit of life.

And what's interesting to me is how different a good nap is from a good night's sleep.  Both are necessary, but in totally different ways.  Although naps are beneficial, they do not take the place of eight hours, total darkness, and REM.

Sleeping is necessary for good health, good attitude, and good mental acuity.   A 20 minute nap cannot restore a body to where it should be.  So we can't do without sleep, and think we can make up for it with naps. 

I think the difference occurred to me the other day because I was thinking about my quiet time with God.  I know a lot of people who get up first thing in the morning to pray, or read the Bible.  It's an important way to start the day.  It doesn't even have to be long.  And frankly, it doesn't even have to be first thing in the morning.  But it has to be sometime.  There has to be a time during the day when we sit down and talk to Him and listen to Him, and think about nothing but Him.  It has to be sincere, and concentrated.  This is like your good night's sleep, to revive you and sustain you.  

But then there are the naps.  Times during the day when perhaps you sit down for a short Bible reading.  Maybe a psalm or a chapter out of a gospel or Genesis.   Maybe it's when you're driving, and you turn off the radio and give your thoughts to Him for a few minutes.  Or maybe it's when you turn off the TV and turn on the worship music.

It's just a few minutes to pause in your day, and remember that your life is not about you.  This is your "nap", restful and rejuvenating. 

He is with us always, but we don't always remember how close He is.  Which is because we're not that close to Him.  Even though He's close to us.  Make sense?

We need sleep.  And we need rest.  But most of all, we need to rest in Him. 

~ "He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul" ~
Psalm 23:2-3
~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Love that goes into overtime

"fervent love for one another"
1 Peter 4:8

Do you have anyone in your life that's... well, special?

I recently got together with a couple of friends, and they were discussing loved ones that they struggle with.

Well, that's not really right.  They don't really struggle with these people.  But those loved ones have special needs, and it takes special effort to help them live the best life they can.  And I got to thinking about other people I know who are in similar circumstances.

I have a friend who cares for a diabetic, and a friend with a six-year-old that in terms of physical and mental development is like a two-year-old.  I have two friends raising boys who are high-functioning autistics, and have several friends who have to prepare complicated diets for someone in their family ~ gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, etc.  

These two friends of mine were comparing their responsibilities a little bit.  Then one of them said to the other, "He's lucky to have you."  And I realized that both of these women were truly a blessing in the life of someone who needed them. 

Each of us is important to someone.  Maybe more than one someone.  But I also think that sometimes it's stronger than that.  Sometimes the role that God has us playing in someone's life is a life-changing.  And that can be a lot more work than the average relationship.

Jimmy Durante used to sing, "Make someone happy.  Make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too."  God didn't put it quite that way in the Bible, but it's the truth.   He says over and over again, "Love one another."

But sometimes the kind of love a situation requires goes even farther.  Romans 12:10 says "be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."  Sometimes a relationship is not 50/50.  There might be a relationship in your life where you are always going to be expected to give more than you get.  Or at least, it might seem that way to you. 

But God doesn't work that way.  He doesn't ask anyone to do more than He did ~ John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this:  than to lay down one's life for his friends."  This doesn't necessarily mean dying for another, as He did.  It also means giving up your rights and desires.  But the impact you make by doing so will go farther in someone's life than you can possibly know.  'Cause that's how God works!

~ "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,
for great is your reward in heaven"
Matthew 5:12 
~

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do as He says, and as He does

"He said, 'Come.' "
Matthew 14:29

As I shared recently ~ or perhaps, yesterday ~ we are studying the Gospel of John in Bible study.  As I also shared, we just finished chapter 6 ~ that packed chapter of water-walking and loaf-multiplying on the part of Jesus.

The event generally referred to as "the Feeding of the 5,000" is one of the relatively few events that we can read about in all four gospels.  Because Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were different individuals, with different styles, and because they were writing from different standpoints, and for different audiences, there are many, well, differences in the gospels.  Some events are in three of the four; some are in two, but not always the same two.  I find it very interesting ~ and very enlightening ~ to compare.

The other thing that sometimes happens, is that two or more of them might have included certain events, but not included the same details about those events.  So it takes a little work on our part to make sure we're getting all the details we can about a certain occurrence. 

Which reminds me, have you ever heard of the The Jefferson Bible?  It was created by Thomas Jefferson.  Fascinating.  He cut up several volumes of the New Testament, taking excerpts and then arranging them in chronological order to tell the story of Jesus' life.  Now, I've done something similar for my own study purposes, but I did it by cutting and pasting virtually.  Can you imagine actually cutting and pasting passages out of the Bible?  And once again, I'm intrigued and astounded by Thomas Jefferson. 

If you'd like to take a gander at the Jefferson Bible, you can find it (and even purchase it) right here

But back to John's gospel.  John tells us, in chapter 6, that the disciples were in a boat when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the sea.  They were afraid, but when He identified Himself, they "willingly received Him into the boat" and then immediately found themselves at their destination.  

What John doesn't tell us is about Peter.  Matthew tells us that part.  Why John skips it, I'll never know, but it's far from my only question about what's included and deleted from the Bible!

Matthew 14 tells us that when Jesus identified Himself, Peter responded, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."  And Jesus replied simply, "Come."  And Peter did. 

And you probably know what happened next.  It's been the subject of many an inspirational talk, sermon and book.  Peter walked on the water, but then became aware of the the wind, and he started to sink.

Which was followed, of course, by Jesus saving him, and then uttering those devastating words, "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Peter has been justifiably criticized for his lack of faith in that instance; for taking his eyes off of His Savior.  There's a lesson there for us when we're in the middle of something difficult.

But Peter did have the faith to step out of the boat.  None of the other disciples did.  That says something.  And he got to experience something that you and I never will.  Something that nobody, short of Jesus, ever has. 

Except for those water-walking lizards.

photo credit: greenbasilisk.weebly.com
 
But more than that.  Peter did this most amazing feat in the middle of a storm.  In darkness.  As if stepping out of a boat, and believing you could walk on the water is not courageous enough, he did it in the worst circumstances. 

But here, to me is the most important thing I can take away from this fascinating and educational event.  It wasn't Peter's courage; it wasn't Peter's sudden dip of faith.

It was Peter's obedience.  See, when Peter called out to Jesus, "if it You, command me to come to You," it was only a suggestion.  A request.  He knew he was talking to His Lord, and you can't tell God anything. 

Well, I mean, you can talk to Him about anything, but you can't give Him orders.

But as soon as Jesus said, "Come," it was a command.  Peter knew that.  Peter asked for a command and then got it.  And I love that Jesus was not only telling Peter he could walk on water, He was telling him to.  I love that.  In His commands, is the power to obey. 

Doesn't mean we will obey, but if we don't, we'll be the only thing stopping us.

It happened with the lame, and it happened with the dead.  Jesus said, "walk" or "come out" or "wake up," and they did. 

Certainly seems like we should be able to pull off "love thy neighbor," doesn't it?

~ "walk in My statutes 
and keep My commandments and perform them" ~
Leviticus 26:3
~

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Little is Enough

"Jesus took the loaves"
John 6:11

We're studying the Gospel of John in my weekly Bible study.  It's always so fascinating to study the gospels, because there's so much to them.  Each writer wrote from a different angle, and for a different audience, and even at a slightly different time in history.  But when you read them all, and put them all together, you get such a wonderful, informative picture of Jesus' birth, and the years of His public ministry.

We recently studied chapter 6 of John.  It's a packed chapter, including Jesus feeding the 5,000 and also the account of Jesus walking on the water.  (That's the same instance where Peter walked on the water, but that's not included in the book of John.)  Plus, chapter 6 includes Jesus' discourse on being the Bread of Life.

Yup.  A packed chapter.

But one of the details that struck me on this reading was Philip and Andrew's reactions to the lack of food right before the miracle of the loaves and fishes.  All the disciples are kinda standing around, as Jesus says to them, "well, what are we gonna do about this?"

Although I don't think Jesus was the type to say "gonna"...

He was challenging them.  Testing them.  

Philips's response seems to indicate that he was thinking small, in terms of a solution to the problem.  He answered Jesus with the estimation of how much money it would cost to buy bread.  If, in fact, there were anywhere nearby to buy that much bread.

But you can tell by his words that he's sort of throwing up his hands.  He had thought of one solution, and discarded it, even before he got it all the way out of his mouth. 

It's a little disappointing to me, because I like Philip.  But I know that the other mentions of him in Scripture back up the fact that he was an outstanding man of God.   So we'll just assume he was having a bad day.

But I'm even more disappointed in Andrew's response to the problem.  Andrew has a suggestion, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish."  I imagine his voice is hesitant and questioning.   Meek and a little insecure.   But remember, these men had been with Jesus in Cana when He turned water into wine.  They know He can do something with nothing.

But then Andrew finished his sentence:  "... but what is this, among so many?"  It's as if he is saying, "nevermind."

Have you ever watched children play hide and seek?  And you see the seeking child come so close to where the hiding child is, but then they turn around and go a different way?  And you think "ohhh.... they almost had it!"

That's how I feel about Andrew here.  He came so close to solving the problem.  But that solution was not those loaves and fishes ~ that solution was Jesus.  Andrew came so close to saying, "We have a little bit of food.  Here, Jesus!  Feed them!"

I think this mistake, this "near miss" of Andrew's, bothers me so much because it's something I seem to see more and more.  People who are willing to serve God, but don't think it will be enough.  People who have a gift or talent or offering, but belittle it as they give it.  Or belittle it and then don't give it. 

It reminds me of the story of the widow's mite, in Mark 12 and Luke 21.  She threw her small amount into the treasury, without any shame or deprecating words about how, surely, this was too little to be of any use...

We are all poor.  When we give to the King of kings, we are giving out of our poverty.  And we can ~ and should ~ expect Him to take our little, and make it much. 

If you're hungry, look to Him to be fed.  And if you have something to offer, offer it ~ and then watch and see what He does. 

~ "The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
and You give them their food in due season" ~
Psalm 145:15
~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Know-it-all

I was doing the dishes the other night, and thinking about God. 

Doing the dishes can be a great time for thinking. 

So can hanging laundry, sweeping and painting. 

I mean painting walls, not canvasses.  I wouldn't know about painting paintings.  I'm a writer.

Anyhow, I was thinking about a friend of mine whose mother died on Sunday night.  And then I thought about another friend of mine whose daughter gave birth on Monday morning.  And I thought, "the circle of life...."

But then I thought, "well that's not the Bible, that's The Lion King." 

And then I thought, "when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."  But then I thought, "that's not the Bible either, that's the Sound of Music."

And then I thought, "so why do things sometimes seem to happen in connection with other, or because of each other?" 

But there's no answer to that.  They might be connected; they might be coincidental. 

And then I thought, "God is sovereign."

The only thing I can know, is that God is sovereign.

He laid the earth's foundations.  He marked off its dimensions and stretched a measuring line across it.  He set its footings and laid its cornerstone ~ while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.

He shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb.  He made the cloud its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness.  He fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, and said, "This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt."

He gives orders to the morning, and shows the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it. 

He has journeyed to the springs of the sea, and walked in the recesses of the deep.  

He has seen the gates of the shadow of death.

He alone comprehends the vast expanses of the earth.

He knows the way to the abode of light, and where the darkness resides. 

He has entered the storehouses of the snow, and has storehouses of hail reserved for times of trouble, for days of war and battle. 

He knows the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, and the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth.  He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass. 

He knows the laws of the heavens.  His dominion is over the earth.  

He endows the heart with wisdom and gives understanding to the mind.

We like the pithy little sayings, because they give us a feeling that what happens in life can be expected.  We like patterns because they give us a feeling of predictability, which gives us a feeling of control, or security.  But it doesn't get any more reassuring than knowing that He is sovereign.  All I need to know, is that He knows all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Celebrating the past ~ every year

"God, at various times and in various ways,
spoke in time past"
Hebrews 1:1

Well, the time has come.  I've started the process of putting away Christmas in our house.  I've been reluctant, because I'm still enjoying all the decorations.  After all, everything I own ~ by way of decorations ~ I own because it's beautiful, or because of the memories it provokes.  So it's hard to tuck them back into their tissue paper every January.  Even though I know I'll appreciate the clean feeling that comes when I remove the surplus stuff that's hanging, setting, and dangling in my home.

But as I remove each ornament from our tree, and tuck it away in its tin, I find myself grateful to Him for all He has done in my life, and the different people He has used to bless me.   It's my own annual post-Christmas version of It's A Wonderful Life.

You see, we don't have one of those trees that is decorated with matching balls and ribbons.  Ours would never grace the cover of a home decor magazine.  But it does a wonderful job of celebrating us.  Every ornament memorializes a person, or a time that is precious to one (or more) of my family.

For instance....

This ornament depicts the Jefferson Memorial.  
I can't remember where I got it, but I love it because it reminds me of our Nation's Capital.  
I grew up only a few minutes from Washington, DC, 
and it's one of my favorite places in the world. 

~

This ornament is one of the oldest I have.  
It was given to me by a friend, in 1981.  
Her father's dental office was in their basement,
but that's not as creepy as it sounds; 
it was a walkout basement.  And it wasn't uncommon for them 
to be used as offices that were accessible to the public.   
Anyhow, she gave an ornament 
to each of the girls in our circle of friends, 
and she engraved our names 
using one of her father's dental drills.  Clever, huh? 

~

This one I bought in a shop in San Francisco.  
My mom and I drove there after I graduated from high school.  
A fun mom-and-daughter road trip to celebrate my graduation 
and check out a couple colleges I was considering 
attending after junior college.  
She and I still talk about it, 
but that's mostly because I'm a terrible navigator, 
and I got us lost.  
Good times!

~

And this one is from a road trip with my dad, 
through the Great Basin National Park in central Nevada.
I don't remember getting us lost, 
but there's a pretty good chance I did...

~

Another ornament that reminds me of my childhood, 
but with a twist.  
This is from Busch Gardens, the theme park in southern Virginia.  
It has wonderful memories for my sisters and me, 
but those memories got even better a few years ago 
when I went there with my hubby and kids.  
There was a beautiful surrealism 
about returning to one of my favorite childhood spots, 
and watching my kids enjoy, while I took the role of my parents.  
A very sweet time for me.

~

This one was a gift my older sister.  
She gives an ornament to each member of our family every year, 
and they are often variations of the same design.  
Makes for some cute collections!

~

And this one is from my younger sister.  
She bought this while traveling through Alaska.  
She loves moose, and I love 
that she got an ornament for me that reminds me of her

~

Well, you certainly know what this is about, right?  
This was a wedding favor several years ago; 
we all rang them for the bride and groom, 
because throwing rice is passe.  
I think it makes make a cute ornament, 
reminiscent of the movie "It's A Wonderful Life".

~

Vacation souvenirs 
from Coloma, California ~ site of the discovery 
of the gold nugget that started the gold rush...


.... from the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania...


... and from Washington, Missouri.


~

This one was a gift from my in-laws.  
I love it because Iowa is where my father-in-law's family is from. 
 I love the reminder of our family's history; 
of those who went before us.

~

And finally....
This is an ornament I bought for the Apple of my Eye, 
five years before we got married.  
I bought one for myself, too, 
so that we'd be sharing a part of Christmas, 
even though we couldn't share Christmases together yet.   
Twenty-two Christmasses together now, and counting.  
And each and every one a blessing. 

~

One of the best aspects of Christmas that we are given an opportunity to reminisce and celebrate the years, events, and people of our lives.  Every day is a reason to praise Him; and reason to be thankful.  Every day that we have lived becomes part of who we are, like a puzzle put together piece by piece, each one by His caring hand. 

~ "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord
for His goodness,
and for His wonderful works
to the children of men!" ~
Psalm 107:15
~

Monday, January 14, 2013

Preeminent Domain

"salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us"
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10

There is some construction going on in the town where our church is.  Pretty major construction, it looks like, although they've scarcely begun.  But we can tell it's going to be a big change, based on the preliminary work they've done, which is to raze a couple of buildings at an intersection near the freeway.

The town is one of the oldest in Southern California.  It lies along the El Camino Real, which has a fascinating history.  El Camino Real is The King's Highway, the 600 mile California Mission Trail from San Diego to San Francisco.  Between the 1600s and the 1800s, Catholic missionaries from Spain oversaw the building of 21 missions.  The road connecting those missions, was the El Camino Real.  And each mission was no more than a day's ride, on horseback, from the missions on either side of it.

It was wonderfully reminiscent of the concept of the Cities of Refuge described in Numbers and Joshua.  And I've seen a few of the missions in southern and northern California, and they are still beautiful. 

So this town needs to do the very tricky work of updating roads, and making things better for the citizens and visitors of the town, without destroying the "old town" feel of it.   Cal Trans ~ the California Department of Transportation ~  is predicting the work will take two year, which means it will probably take three and a half.  At least.

Not that I'm cynical about how long it takes Cal Trans to complete a job....

The first sign we had that something was going on, was the disappearance of two businesses at this major intersection.  Now, businesses close all the time, especially in a bad economy, but it's unusual to have two businesses in a thriving neighborhood ~ one a busy fast food franchise owned by a man named Jack, who lives in a Box; and the other a gas station ~ both close their doors at the same time.  And soon thereafter, both buildings were razed.  One morning, as we drove by and commented on this disappearance, the Apple of my Eye turned to me and we both said in unison, "Eminent domain." 

Eminent domain is a tricky business in America.  It's the law that says that the state, local, or federal government can take your property ~ with appropriate compensation, of course ~ for the betterment of the community.   In this case, taking down a restaurant and a gas station in order to widen a road, a freeway overpass and the off- and on-ramps. 

Eminent domain is both revered and loathed, depending on if it's taking place in your backyard.  Because as you may know, people generally like progress, but NIMBY.  "Not in my backyard."  Even when I explained the concept to my kids, they were horrified.  It doesn't sound like "liberty" and "freedom" ~ two concepts that are just slightly important in America ~ for the government to take your property. 

And indeed, the government oversteps its bounds sometimes.  I remember a controversial case years ago ~ Connecticut, I think ~ where the people fought to keep their homes, and lost.  And years after forcing the property owners to sell, the government still hadn't done a thing to the land.  It became a home to overgrown weeds and a monument to red tape. 

But there are times when it's necessary.  There are times when something has to be destroyed so that something else can be created.  There are times when one has to suffer, for the good of many.  That's the whole concept of a sacrifice ~ giving up something to accomplish or receive something better.

That, my friends, is JesusHis pain, for our growth.  His death, for our life.  His sacrifice, for our salvation.  His Love, for us.

~ "Come, you blessed of My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world" ~
Matthew 25:34
~

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Avoiding a Fumble

"looking unto Jesus"
Hebrews 12:2

You watching any football lately?  Well, American Football, for those of you outside the U.S.  The NFL is in playoffs now.  My team is out if it, so I'm enjoying the fact that I can now watch games without getting emotionally involved in the outcome.

The commentators for today's game passed on an interesting comment at halftime.  They were quoting a player, whose name I didn't catch, because I wasn't paying that much attention.  But then I heard this great line.

The game was between the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings.  It was played in Denver, where it was less than 10 degrees.  And apparently someone asked this player something about how much more difficult it is to catch a football in weather like this.  How the cold affects your hands, etc.  But the player responded to the question by saying, "You don't catch a football with your hands; you catch it with your eyes."

Love that.  There's a great message there.  No matter how cold your hands are, your best chance at catching the football is to keep your eyes on it.  If that's your goal, your feet will take you where you want to be, and your hands will do what they're supposed to do. 

It's that way with our goals for Jesus, too.   The world is full of distractions, and things that can hinder us.  Even circumstances we can use as an excuse for our disobedience.  But if we keep our eyes on Him, the rest of us will follow. 

~ "I must be about My Father's business" ~
Luke 2:49
~

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Resting in Praise

I had a crazy day today.  I think during a twelve hour span, I was only home for about 2 hours.  And that was in small increments. 

But it was a good day.  Well, not if you consider "a good day" one in which you get things done.  I didn't get a lot of things done.  Well, not things I'd planned on getting done.  I transported my kids a few places, and ran a few errands.  Including a couple that had needed to be done for several weeks now.  So I guess that's something.

On a day like this, I feel like my thoughts don't have much time to settle.  Really, I feel like I don't have much time to think.  My mind is on what I'm doing, with a little bit of my brain given to where I'm going next. 

My praying is different on a day like today, too.  I think it's less selfish, in a way.  My brain doesn't have time to think about what I need or what I want or what I wish. 

Which really, is how it should be all the time, but our minds come back to thinking about ourselves frequently, don't they?  Doesn't yours?  I hope it's not just me....

Anyhow, a day like this, is a day to focus on Him.  It's a day for appreciating Him.  It's a day for praise.  So here we go:

~

You are Master
"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself, 
he will be a vessel for honor, 
sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work."
2 Timothy 2:21

You are All Sufficient
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
to think of anything as being from ourselves,
but our sufficiency is from God."
2 Corinthians 3:5

You are my Dwelling Place
"Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations."
Psalm 90:1

Your are the King of the Jews
"Pilate asked Jesus, 
'Are You the King of the Jews?'
'It is as you say,' 
Jesus replied."
Luke 23:3

You are the Overthrower of Enemies
"Be strong in battle!
God has the power to help and to overthrow."
2 Chronicles 25:8

~

Not having to think means I can just rest in my knowledge of Him.