Friday, February 26, 2010

CR: 25 Random Things In My Head This Morning

It is Friday, which means a little Caffeinated Randomness with Andrea over at Under Grace and Over Coffee. She is doing 25 random things about yourself. I am doing 25 Random Thoughts In My Head This Morning. She just brings these things out in me. I can’t explain it.

1. Where did the days of Easter dresses go? Last one, maybe eight years ago. Tragic.

2. I love being a bookworm. The smell of books, the weight of books.

3. I also like being a PRS worm. My husband bought it for me when I graduated from seminary. It is inscribed, “Congratulations, I love you”. Yummy.

4. This morning Proverbs 14:1, NRSV, taught me, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Amen and Amen.

5. The coolest thing that I read this morning, “We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in.” (Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume III: Chapter XXXIX)

6. I love comfort food. Mac n Cheese, Baby.

7. Hallelujah, the day is coming, when our Savior stood up. He walked away.

8. In another life, I might have been a nun. Maybe, if my husband wasn't around.

9. I have been given a job, and an Advocate.

10. Wasn’t I supposed to do a pedicure two weeks ago?

11. Is it healthy for my knees to make that much noise?

12. Maggie is being tested for ringworm. God protect the rest of us! (Ringworm, not a worm, a fungus, silly name, just as bad)

13. Jesus does not have a pleasant story.

14. I love my new camera! Thanks, Babe.

This was yesterday in the backyard, 68 degrees, beautiful!

15. Logos rocks my world, but not on the Mac. Every day I shake my head and await the update!

16. I’m free.

17. Exercise is looming. I see my treadmill winking at me. Don’t flirt with me. I am not in the mood, yet.

Picture that I snapped of myself from the back the other day...Really, ok, Not Really.

18. This week I received my TANAKH in the mail. Awesome.

19. My favorite Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, quote from this week, “no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ”.(2.23)

20. I wonder what we will find on Sam’s ultrasound, Monday morning.

21. 25 is a lot of things to think about.

22. I told the senior high girls that if they did not want to fast from something during Lent, they could add something to bring them closer to the heart of God. I have added something and it is changing my prayer life. I will share soon. I wonder if they are doing it?

23. FYI, the Zondervan New and Old Testament Charts are great cheat sheets.

24. I haven’t written all of my thank you cards from Christmas. What kind of a person does that?

25. Thank you, Lord, for each person that visits this blog. Protect them and show them You in a personal and unmistakable way today. Amen.

Have a great weekend! Comment and let me know some of your random thoughts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Things Can Make Us Stumble, Too

“there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Mark 7:15, NRSV

I vividly remember an argument at a group dinner, about 10 years ago. I had made the statement, “Trash in, trash out”. I was not at a choosy point in my life, but I believe the comment related to a well-known, radio “shock jock”.

We went back and forth with our emotional opinions, never coming to anything but disagreement. The memory lingers due to the height of the emotions. He was very adamant that whatever you take in, doesn’t have to affect you. So, listening to radio or TV, or even what you can see on the internet, should not have an effect on your character or morality.

He was right in a way. It should not.

My point centered around the tendency of media to wear us down. Enough exposure develops a life of gray tones.

How do you feel when the bad guy gets murdered? Me too.

Does repentance ever play out in your “who done it”? Me neither.

This conversation brings to mind God telling the Israelites to remain separate from other people, specifically in marriage. He did not do it to harm them, or take away rights; he did it, to preserve their holiness. God told them that if they compromised, they would choose down, not up. There is something in us that will choose the easy and not the hard.

Jesus acknowledges the tension that exists in the human heart at Gethsemane, “...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41b, NRSV).” He said this to our apostolic fathers, so I am confident that it is true for me.

Our hearts want to please God, but if we are subject to the right thing long enough, we will go to the lowest common denominator. There are exceptions that are a delight to hear, but this is the general rule. I will share my testimony, at some point, and prove it.

Our hearts, also, corrupt the commandments. We make choices that benefit us rather than those that glorify Him. In the context of Mark’s verse, two good things are on the table, honoring parents and tithing, but the heart is the wild card. It holds the intent of our actions.

Some good choices that I face on a regular basis:

Exercise first or Quiet Time first?

How much weight have I gained, and how guilty do I feel that day?

Do something else for someone, or have more time for myself?

Do I really like this “someone”?

Spend time with my husband or write another devotional?

Did I procrastinate? Do I have a deadline tomorrow?

I assure you, I can corrupt just about anything.

Or, how about this? I know that my speech should not be profane. If I am riled up and let a word fly, there is an immediate visceral reaction. I know that I should not do this; but, if I decide to invite people over to dinner when I should leave a night free for my husband to recover from his week, that is a harder call. It requires sensitivity on my part and submitting every little thing to God in prayer. I have to be diligent in this way or I stumble over the good things.

This encourages me: I think that it glorifies God to know we are being diligent in the struggle. Even if we fail, we try to make every choice subject to Him. Instead of taking the short cuts, we stay.

We find a way to stay.

I am looking forward to the relief from this struggle when I go Home.

How about you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hard Times Bring Broad Places

“...and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” - Psalm 31:8, NRSV

A couple of years ago, I had back surgery. Aside from all of the uncomfortable things that back surgery brings, I had to deal with the most crushing. Comfortable shoes and cute shoes rarely go together. Oh, the misery at making this discovery.

Don’t get me wrong. I was so grateful to walk that I didn’t care about the details. I would have worn trash bags if I thought it would help.

I remember how pleased I was to hold on to the treadmill bars and walk at 1.0 (that’s right, a sixty.minute.mile), with a handler watching. I wore functional shoes without laces (I couldn’t reach my feet to tie shoes). I wasn’t impressing; I just wanted to know that my foot was on the ground and it was staying there.

Getting through all of this has made me understand the value of a broad, clear place. At no time in the last two years have I worked my stilettos on a runway. I have not worried about how my calves look. I simply put one foot in front of the other. I find security in broad places and flat ground, with frumpy shoes.

I would say that became the landscape of my spiritual life, as well. I am more comfortable here, in a broad place. It has a wonderful, easy feel.

There are events that we experience which set a new pace for our life. We can either fight them or roll with them. We can fall into step with Him, or try to create our own rhythm. I have tried about every rhythm that exists, I don’t recommend it.

In a broad place, I see the hands of God reaching out. I see events happen without explanation. I see love and lives touched. I might have been too busy before the surgery. I feel that I can see Him better and hear Him clearer now.

I had to go through that horrible time, to get to the broad place.

I rejoice in this place. When the enemy pursues me, I can find comfort. I usually don’t have to untangle myself from the mess of the world to find my running shoes on solid ground. In this broad place I know who I am. I can see the One who set me there.

I like it here. I think I will stay.

Do you have events that re-paced your life? Did they put you in the broad places?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sam's Weekend and My Restlessness

I wouldn’t say that Sam is getting spoiled over this whole thing, but I will give you a glimpse of her weekend.

My best friend from college, who lived with me then and again for five years before I was married, brought doggie Peanut Butter Pie.

Sam thought that my flowers were for her. I didn’t tell her any different.

All in all, she was very satisfied.

As for me, I have felt restless. Perhaps seven days of dog-sitting have had their toll. My life has become the size of my house.

This morning I read, Luke 10:17-20, NRSV,

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

I do not exorcise demons.

I would be bitten if I walked near a snake, stung near a scorpion. I cut myself for the third time this week on Sam’s aluminum food can.

I do not heal people.

The disciples rejoiced in all of these. I can only imagine how amazing it would be.

Stilling the seventy, Jesus set their eyes to the horizon, to the ONE thing. It made snakes and scorpions look small.

I share with the lost.

I write in His name.

I teach His word.

I stand beside people who accept Christ.

I minister alongside awesome women.

I am shortsighted, though. I rejoice and often obsess over these. Even worse, I obsess over their growth. Jesus set my eyes on the horizon this morning.

Their names, all seventy, are written in heaven. My name is written in heaven. We can rejoice now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

CR: A Week With Sam (My Dog)

Our house has become a canine hospital this week. I am not sure that the other two girls (Maggie and Tess) realize that Sam is the only sick member of our family. They did remove Sam’s spleen, on Monday, and I was stunned when the showed me the size of it. She is only 22 pounds, which is a large Miniature Schnauzer, and I did ask them how such a spleen ever fit in there. I can only describe it as a cross between a banana and a burrito. Let’s just say, it has grown.

Waiting has been our game. With Sam on our bed, I have written, and watched documentaries that would make my husband gag. My big accomplishment of the week seems to be the laundry, and a magazine article (we can talk about that, later). Personally, I think my biggest accomplishment might have been stealing cuddle time while Sam is on pain killers. She is very independent, otherwise.

All of this alone time brought to mind a 23 year old, girl. I thought I was quite a woman. In a strange place, I had my first real job that was way over my head. I found that I did not have a friend, or a clue.

One of my employees took a fancy to me and, when his mom’s dog had puppies, he offered one to me...a gift. They let me pick her out. She was the most rambunctious one of the far. She would take a running charge into her siblings, all of which could barely see. We ooo’d and aah’d over how adorable she was.

She was the one, my Sam.

Sam, last night at my canine hospital

My lonely nights were over. She and I would sit and watch TV on the couch, and debate the merit of playing in the middle of the night. Often, I would sit and tell her the stories of my life while she sat with that tiny head cocked to the side, ears at attention. I would cry because I was homesick, because I was scared, and because I was having to grow up. She would listen and then she would lick my tears.

Last night, I knelt down beside the bed. I had to tell her some news. “Sam, how could keep this from me? The doctor just called and told me that you have cancer.” She looked up at me, head cocked and ears at attention.

I was crying, again. I told her how sorry I was. We can’t fix it, only manage it.

She just leaned forward and licked my tears, like a hundred times before.

That is just like Sam.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"This Time I Will Praise The Lord" Exemplify

Leah was unloved. Jacob, her husband did not love her. He loved her sister, Rachel.

Leah was the one who was picked last for the dodge ball team, the one who went to prom alone when the boy that she wanted did not notice her. She did not get married because someone asked her father for her hand; she got married because the custom dictated that the oldest married first. During the seven years that Jacob waited for Rachel, no one wanted to look in Leah’s lovely eyes and call her wife.

She could not see the eyes that pushed past her quiet facade, though. They were the same eyes that saw her tears when she was left alone after polite intimate interludes. These eyes saw the desire of a wife for her husband and the distress of an empty bed. No one on this earth could see what these eyes saw. They had the heart of a Father...

To read more click here and go to Exemplify's Devotional Channel. You will find me there, today!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Choosing Peace

Today, my littlest and oldest dog, Sam, is having her spleen removed. It seems that she has a “huge” nodule or tumor on it. Knowing very little about spleens, I don’t know exactly what that means, but anytime the word “huge” is used by a doctor, I take note. They have to remove the entire spleen because it will keep growing, also to determine what type of “huge” we are facing.

I thought there was some irony in this verse being my topic of study, at the very moment Sam was in surgery.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hears be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” - John 14:27

These are my notes on it...

Jesus left peace with us. As He went away, He left the one thing that would hold us together until His return. I need this gift. Perhaps, He understood that the world, as promised, would spin further into chaos. Perhaps, He knew us so completely that He recalled the tendency of our sin nature to move to unrest, even on a cellular level. He knit us together in such a way that, without this peace, we could never live with a complete knowledge of Him.

Not only was it peace, but His peace. This was not the generic version of the drug, “peace”. It was not the shadow of peace, nor a mirror image of peace. It was not an opt-in/opt-out campaign. It was not born in this world. His was the blood of peace. Like oxygen, it flowed through the veins of Christ, traceable to the original fount.

This peace was not offered in exchange for trouble. It was not to be sought as the sirens notify us of mortal unrest. It was to sit under. It was to recognize Him as in the beginning, in secret, from the depths of the earth. I was woven in such a way as to share the constitution of the original fount.

Trouble, fear, they are unknown to this peace. My very nature is drawn to whisper insecurity and scream at its offense, but the fount does not recognize my nature. Instead, trouble gives reason to hide under welcoming wings, and fear provides a pleasant backdrop to the moving mountains.

I, the one with the cellular dysfunction, am the decision maker.

Will I let my heart be troubled? Will I let my heart be afraid?

What is promised is true. What I choose is how I will experience Him.

So, what do we choose?

P.S. I JUST got the call from the vet...Sam is doing well post-surgery!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just Eleven Reasons For Love

Just eleven reasons why I love my husband on Valentine’s Day:

He watches whatever I want on TV.

He is a great cook.

When he prays, I know that God hears.

He is the funniest person that I have ever known.

He doesn’t take any of my flack, which is hotter than one might think.

He believes in me more than I believe in me.

I am safe with him.

He is the handiest guy I have ever seen. There is no limit to what he can build or fix...also, hot.

He baby-talks Tess in the dialect that I created. This does not affect his manhood at all.

He offers to refill my water, even if he is not going to the kitchen.

The way to his heart is through his stomach, which is why I cooked this, this, and this to go with the bbq pulled pork sliders, for V-day weekend. This meant that we did not have to battle the crowds...and he didn't mind at all.

I could write a hundred things, but they all point to the same thing. He is my perfect Valentine!

Friday, February 12, 2010

CR: On Love and Awards

I am not a celebrator of Valentine’s Day, generally, but I have this desire to say Happy Pre-Valentine’s Day to all of you! This is the day when, in classrooms everywhere, children exchange cards and candy. So, you are like my classroom and I am an old 7 year old.

You stop in to read, It makes me believe that friends are near and far At the end of this week You will all have a treat because chocolate will go on sale. (Not perfect, but you get the point)

Happy Pre-Valentine's Day!

One of my friends far and near, is Natalie, at Mommy On Fire, and this girl is! If you have not, you should check her out. She gave me a fun award this week and I really love the meaning of it. It is the Sunshine Award for people who offer just a little ray of sun into your life.

If you choose to participate (no pressure, you are my sunshine for the week regardless), here are the technicalities of the award. Each award has its little quirkies...

1) Put the logo within my blog or on my post 2) Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers 3) Link the nominees within my post 4) Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog 5) Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from

Could you play, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...”, in your heads while I give the list? These are people who shared their sunshine with me this week.

Victoria @ Let The Son Shine (I think that worked out well for the Sunshine Award) Christy @ Critty Joy Kristen @ On The 3rd of December Andrea @ Over Grace and Under Coffee Lauren @ Living By Faith Amy @ Filled With Praise Joyeful @ The Joyeful Journey Kara @ kara with a k Jessica @ These Are The Days Jenn @ A Country Girl’s Ramblings Patty @ Blessed Moon (What a great McLinky party she had last weekend!) Brookie @ The Mountain Brooke (She was right, I did not work out last Friday.)

That is a lot of people! Hope that you have time to visit them.

Thanks to Andrea, at Under Grace and Over Coffee, for another round of Caffeinated Randomness!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jonah, Jonah Everywhere

I have been studying Jonah in two places this month, Victoria’s Let the Son Shine, and my Sunday School class. For the first time in my life, God has taken center stage in this mini-epic. God, our protagonist, makes His plan and will not be deterred.

Enter our leading character...God.

Oh, how I long to place Jonah at the center, much like I desire to place myself as God’s primary concern. If Jonah is the center then all of his rebellion and attitudes are to be mulled over and waded through, much like I indulge myself at times. But, what if the calling is the primary concern? What if I reflect on the history of prophets rather than my daily mindset?

This glimpse has created a struggle for me. If this is true, if God’s plan is the primary element of the book, then where does that leave Jonah? What if Jonah and I are not the center of the universe? I am going out on a limb to, we are not.

I relate to Jonah. I have run, I have drown, I have delivered and I have misunderstood, but that is the peripheral plot. Jonah got to Nineveh and brought a city to God’s throne. This seems to be the point, as Jonah begins and ends with this discussion.

I can’t help but feel conviction at this new insight. If Jonah’s obedience to God’s plan is what proves pleasing, then I must carry that lesson in to my life. Jonah shows me that I don’t have to do it perfectly, nor pleasantly, but I need to do it. I claim to be available. I claim to desire God-sized events in my life, God-sized dreams; but, I am not sure that really want to go to Nineveh. Showing up in a foreign place, smelling like the belly of a whale after soaking in acid for three days, might not be what I had in mind. I would like to show up more like Esther before the king.

So, no matter what, am I willing to go?

Am I willing to embrace the God-size task and complete it?

Are you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

She Said Be Still

I shared with you that I saw Cynthia Heald last Friday. It was dreamy. She said my name. I even sat next to her at lunch. You could feel her before you could see her, meek and wise. I am pretty sure that I am holier just from being in the same room with her.

I am sure that we all long to be holier after her talk. She talked about simplicity…gasp, sputter, moan. Yes, simplicity.

She talked about being still. Some days, is this the hardest thing that you have to do? I know it can be for me. “To do” items actually bounce off of my list and do the cha-cha in my brain, while I sit railing against the limitations of my attitude.

I have to turn off the treadmill of events and face my Savior.

Be still.

Exodus 14:13 & 14, NRSV,

But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.

The Egyptian army was coming to retake the Israelites by force. Moses’ advice was to stand firm and see what the Lord is going to do today. God will fight for you if you just keep still. It makes my mental havoc seem more trivial.

God will fight for me, for my attention, for my heart, for my worship, if I am still.

God will fight for the events of my day, for my false expectations, for that which I have no control over, if I am still.

I want to be the woman who starts to take on the qualities of the One with whom she spends time. When I walk, I want to have His stride. When I listen, I want His attention. When I talk, I want His demeanor.

Be still.

Then I can ask…what is the Lord going to do today?

Stillness, what do you think?

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Cling From the Rooftops

"My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me". - Psalm 63:8, NRSV

I have never fallen off of a building, but I have seen it. There are countless movies in which a hero slips from the roof, catching himself on a rain gutter or pole jutting conveniently from the side of this formidable structure. The coincidental placement of these life saving items always makes me roll my eyes, but secretly I am relieved to spare another life from the perils of a rooftop. I can only hope, that in this situation, I too would have the luck of a gargoyle or flag holder to cling to, upon my descent.

I would be a terrible heroine. I am a physical klutz. I have no doubt that if placed on a high rooftop, I would end up in a free fall from my sheer nature. I am also a spiritual klutz, which never lends itself to heroism. I stumble over the smallest of opportunities. Often, I will trip over the opportunity to envelop a sister into relationship. Instead, I keep her out by comparison, unwillingness and exclusion. I assess my figure against her figure, my circumstance against circumstance, my influence against her influence. My nature sets my in harm's way, high on the rooftops in the rain, and then it lures me to my descent.

There on the rooftop I stand, busy with my mental successes and failures while I do not seem to sense my gradual slide to the edge.

If I were a hero in a movie, I could handle this situation with brute strength, simply by grabbing the nearest rain gutter to pull myself up. I am not a hero. I am too out of shape and inexperienced to overcome this enemy. I am simply a housewife, a woman and a wife. I can only hold on so long. My strength will give out.

I know what is about to happen.

But, at that moment, before my fingers deceive me, what if, instead, it became effortless? What if I realized that I did not cling to a rain gutter or gargoyle, but a hand. After a few moments, I can ease my grip and I remain secure. The hand is assured.

What if the longer I hang there, clinging to this Life Saver, the more my hand and His seem to meld into one homogeneous mass? And, the longer I hang there, the less my body becomes aware of the problematic sway at my windy height?

What if clinging becomes my salvation, instead of the death of my strength? His hand can do what both of mine could not produce.

One day, I look up and I find that it is no longer my hand to which this Life Saver clings, but my soul. In His right hand I rest, and I do not ascend to the rooftops alone, anymore.

If you have not been there already, check out Kristen's (editor of Exemplify) series on leadership. She just started it today, and it has already challenged me!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

At Home But Blissful

It is true. I am not at Blissdom (a blogging conference for those of you who don't know), but I see people across the blog world who are enjoying there time there. I, also, see many who are enjoying their time at me.

I saw the I'm-Not-At-Blissdom-Blog-Hop, at Blessed Moon and I thought that I would join Patty's fun. It is the first time that I have visited, but I love McLinky.

Patty wants us to introduce ourselves. My husband, Captain Awesome, is solely responsible for my blog. He has given me continual encouragement to keep writing. I just adore him. What a lucky girl I am! We are the proud parents of three doggies, Sam, Maggie and Tess. Oh, we are simply crazy about these girls!

I have been blogging for under one year. It has been a fascinating journey. I have found wonderful friends in the blogosphere. I, also, love the opportunities that come from it.

I showed you a friend that I met while visiting my family last month, so you know that I love cows. It comes from being a rancher's daughter. I thought that I would share two pictures that I love, although I did not take them. I call them the quizzical cows.

When I get my new camera (that my husband is getting me for V-day), I will be able to share so many fun pictures with you. Until then, you have to admit that these ladies are so funny.

Just so you know, the February issue of Exemplify is out...and of course, it is awesome. Treat yourself with a cup of coffee and a lot of encouragement.

Thanks for thinking of this Patty, what a great way to meet new friends!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Random Kindness of My Friend

Yesterday, I told you that I had moved New Years. It is going pretty well. I am getting up to the treadmill most days, which used to be saved for right before dinner. This is a dangerous place for exercise, indeed. Dinner has to happen, but a million things can happen before then to alter my schedule before 5:30pm. Somedays, I just don't feel like exercising by then. So this year (starting February 1st), while it is dark, it is up and to the "treadslayer", or the "dreadmill" as Michael Scott says.

Today is different, however. I will meet my nemesis at our old time, today.

My dear friend Jane, who is learning how to write comments, has given me a gift. I am going to see Cynthia Heald this morning...and then I will be Jane's guest for lunch with Cynthia Heald. What a gift this is to me! All that it took on her part was kindness and a willingness to lug me along, but to me it could have been a box of cash. I have looked forward to it so much, and today is finally here.

I have gone through two of Cynthia Heald's books, Becoming A Woman of Excellence and Becoming A Woman of Prayer. They are wonderful little things that explode in your heart, kind of like pop rocks for the soul...while drinking Coke. It is guided scriptural study. They bless me tremendously.

I can't wait to see what comes out of it. I will let you know.

Is there some way that only you can bless one of your girlfriends with a "gift"?

Thanks to Andrea over at Under Grace and Over Coffee, our fearless leader in Caffeinated Randomness.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Crawling Out From Under My Rock

Most of you had New Years last month, but mine was February 1st. I decided this when the holidays just kept running on and then I left town. The "normal", post-celebratory life is just beginning for me.

With this new occasion, I have restarted a slew of activity. I have my high school girls back on Tuesday night (we had gelato). Yesterday afternoon, I was able to meet with my mentor, who I have missed greatly over the holidays. Last night, I hosted the women's committee for an impromptu meeting (we had sea salt brownie bites).

I have found that, in church life, people are more apt to remember the food than the meeting. My girls might not remember that we talked about Christ-centered passions and how to find them, but they really liked the gelato. Last night, one person in particular enjoyed many brownies. I will mention no names, but you know who you are. We, in turn, enjoyed watching her eat brownies.

Today, however, I fulfilled one of last year's goals. I went and registered my money and I for a bible study outside of my church. I believe that it was life category 73, number 12. It involved something that I like to call, "crawling out from under my rock". As a creature of habit, I do not need change; I need regularity. It will take a few months before this group feels regular to me. In the meantime, I am the new girl...argh! BTW, if your job begins with domestic or anything from this post, you should check out their free podcast.

This means that I am, officially, attending a bible study in a place that I do not attend or serve...goal achieved.

AND, it was all fine and good until they started passing around a sign-up sheet. My heart gazed on it lovingly, while my brain said, "touch it and die". I could be useful to all of these new people. I stood up and walked away right before the woman next to me clicked her pen and started passing it. She probably thinks that I was running from it, and I was.

We talked about the tongue this morning. Oh my, my tongue. What sparks have flown from it in recent weeks! I have failed miserably in this area, and my heart has been restless over it. He is helping me, though. I am free and stand on His grace, which is everything that I need. That and a swift kick.

Getting glimpses of how wrong, how broken, and how far I am from anything that resembles "good" can be devastating, however useful. At times, it points me to what I want to become. I found this verse, and although it is about wisdom...I want to be that. Or, if you watch 30Rock, "I want to go to there".

"Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy." - Proverbs 3:17 & 18, NRSV

Imagine! How would life be different if this were true?

Victoria's study on Jonah is still happening at Let the Son Shine. I will be commenting over there, again, today. Come and join us!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Placing Pride

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,

some take pride in cars or hair cuts some take pride in clothes and housewares some take pride in details and structure some take pride in a leisurely life some take pride in having the most followers some take pride in being alone some take pride in being seen some take pride in attending the right bible studies some take pride in having the right friends some take pride in having the most friends some take pride in knowing what to say some take pride in saying nothing some take pride in having the best children some take pride in their homes some take pride in making themselves crazy over their homes some take pride in accessories and bobbles some take pride in their paycheck and some take pride in passing beauty

If I am real, I have to say that I recognize some, have felt superior over others, and will encounter what is left. So where is my pride?

but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call.

Psalm 19:6-9, NRSV

Scripture never rests, or sits still. That is one of the things that I really love about it. I can find a new word every day, sitting and waiting for me. Today, I learned about the placement of pride.

I am headed over to Let the Son Shine, today, for a week long study on Jonah. It sounded like so much fun to study with my friend Victoria, that I could not pass it up. We are studying Jonah in a Sunday morning class right now, which is really Sunday School for adults. (Do we have to change everything to make it sound more sophisticated?) So, I am interested to study it with these ladies and gather new perspective. Everyone is invited!

Are there any other online studies that we should know about? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Love, Knowledge and Insight...Oh My

We have been talking about Philippians in church lately. Actually, we have been talking about something else in Philippians, not what I am writing about. Sometimes, when I am sitting in church, I read a scripture and mark it for later. Does anyone else do mini bible searches in church? We sit in the front, too, so it is probably a bad idea.

This was the case with Philippians 1:9 & 10, NRSV, "And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless."

I have wrestled with this verse because I have to. If you tell me that there is a possibility to determine the best thing to do, I will do everything that I can to figure it out. That is the A-type, need a gold star mentality. There are a lot of words before, "to help you determine what is best". The key ones that I see are love, knowledge and full insight. A-types dread these words because they can be subjective.

So, I go further in hoping for a flow chart. If it is true that love is a tool for proper perspective, then I need that. I see simple increases with knowledge and full insight. So, if I do not love then knowledge and full insight will decrease.

This makes sense. When my husband and I were dating, I had a lot of incentive to get to know him. He was cute...I mean he IS really cute! So, aside from that, he liked me. I had been without a date for two years, and was not looking. I did find myself looking at him when he would walk in a room, however. I might have not loved him, yet, but I wanted to know everything about him.

I wanted to know what he liked and what he disliked.

I wanted to know if he ever shaved that soul patch off.

I wanted to know if he looked just as cute without his glasses.

I wanted to know the way that he spoke to his mother.

I wanted to know if he would like my cooking.

I wanted to know why he didn't turn down the air conditioning more at his house.

You get the picture. I wanted full insight into his life, into his head...and into his heart, eventually.

The more I knew, the more I liked; the more I liked, the closer I was to love. We naturally want to know more about the things that are in our hearts.

I see the connection between knowledge/insight and love, but I need a clarifying verse to really sink into this material. If love goes into hyperdrive with all of this knowledge and insight, then how do I get them?

I found it in Proverbs 2:3-5, NRSV, "if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures - then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

To know what is best, not just for today but for every day until my eyes see His face, requires an infatuation kind of love for Christ. It will grow deep and wide, as I know more and love more. As intimidating as it sounds on its own, it comes so naturally to us to pursue the things that we love, to which we are attracted. In this state, we are willing to cry out, ask those questions for more understanding, and search it out like a hidden treasure.

Happy searching, ladies!

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