March 31, 2017/Weather Or Not You Want to Believe It

No, that isn’t a typo. I really DO know how to spell weather and whether.

English is a difficult language. If you have ever spent time trying to learn another language and the rules of grammar that are required, you ‘should’ figure out rather quickly that learning English isn’t easy for others. Other languages have specific rules about feminine and masculine identifiers and terms. To put it bluntly, they are often a lot easier once you get the ‘hang’ of those rules.

English, however, breaks normal rules a lot. English has tear (a droplet from your eye); tear (to rip something). It has ‘to’, ‘too’, and ‘two’ to confuse you. While we are raised with this, those who wish to learn our language having grown up speaking their own find us confusing.

Thankfully, God is never confused as we can see by these verses from Proverbs.

Proverbs 3: 19 & 20-The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Our Lord has the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of all things. He created our world so He knows all the rules of how things behave. We bobble around space, held in place by something we don’t see, expecting to see the sun rise in the mornings and set at night.

We bask in the glow of the hot ball of gas that gleams in our sky, but we have another Son (Jesus) we proclaim as our focal point. Christians have no need to wonder ‘whether’ God is in control of the weather…we know that Jesus is our guiding star. He outshines every rock star, every heavenly star, and every kind of weather known on earth.

There is no ‘whether’ about it.

Our God is in control!

 

 

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March 30, 2017/Plans

I made a mistake yesterday.

(Actually, I probably made a LOT of mistakes yesterday…but the one that I referenced you might have caught! There were TWO entries for March 28th and none for March 29th!) Obviously, I typed in the wrong date.

We make a lot of mistakes in life–just like we make a lot of plans. Lots of times we make plans without considering what God would intend for us. Jeremiah reminds us in chapter 29:11-For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah had to reassure the people that what they were going through wouldn’t last forever. Nebuchadnezzar had taken them captive and carried them away from Jerusalem to Babylon. Life looked bleak.

Jeremiah is considered to be the ‘weeping’ prophet. He was watching the nation of Israel destroy themselves. God had warned them over and over to repent from their glorification of evil in their behavior practices.

Did they listen?

No.

A friend of mine has a saying: “First, God taps you on the shoulder. If you don’t listen, He might use a two by four. If you still aren’t listening, He might have to send a big-rig truck to get your attention. You don’t want to know what comes after that!”

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin weren’t listening. God had sent Jeremiah to give them their last warning before they left their homeland. God had turned against them and had gone so far as to turn their land over to a pagan king.

Jeremiah is the weeping prophet because He is suffering the loneliness of knowing what God has in store for them, and also knowing that they had it in their hand to change their destination if they would only repent. Jeremiah suffered deeply, weeping because he knew that CHANGE LAY WITHIN THEIR OWN HANDS.

What was sad was that they would not make that change.

The people would not listen. They no longer believed in God. They no longer trusted God. They refused to listen to His warnings.

God is making it clear that He would like to give His people peace. He would like to give them all the good things in life. But He will only allow us to go so far in our rebellion before He has to bring us to heel.

Take a moment today to give some thought about where you are with God. Are you doing what He wants you to do? Has God been tapping you on the shoulder?

If He is tapping, take time to listen. You don’t want God has to use a big-rig truck to get your attention…you definitely don’t want to know what He plans after that!

 

 

March 28, 2017/Tough Love

Raising teenager is always an experience…usually one that makes you thankful when they pass the hormonal stage and recognize that sometimes parents aren’t as stupid as they first might appear!

A friend of mine once gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I have heard: “God gives you teenagers so you learn to pray on your knees.”

She was right.

Part of parenthood is recognizing when to let go enough that your child learns from his/her mistakes. Much like a mother bird, we have to allow kids to strengthen their wings on the small stuff so they won’t plunge to the ground when they get to the big stuff.

But that isn’t easy. It requires one to love enough to be a parent, NOT a friend. You cannot be friend and parent. The two simply don’t mix with young children for it is your job to protect, teach, and love. The ‘friendship’ bit comes later when you commiserate with them on how difficult life is when they learn what life is like without the safety net of parents to fall back on.

Parent have our backs when we are young.

When we are older, however, it is our choices that define us. And so it was with David and his son Absalom. 2 Samuel 19: 1-7-And it was told Joab, Behold the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou has shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; In that thou lovest thing enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou has declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now, therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

One could easily excuse David for mourning the loss of his son…IF you didn’t understand the set up here. Absalom was a ‘pretender’ king. He had rebelled in a way that left everyone in no doubt that this was a set up of a duel between father and son for power. What’s more, he was old enough to know his place. This was no teenager here. This was a man having a major temper tantrum because things were not going in the way he would like. Obviously, he was not going to listen to explanations or even seek to understand God’s will for his life, OR listen to any of his father’s explanations.

The tribe of Judah was following Absalom, who had been easily led astray by promises from David’s enemies. Absalom had gone so far as to shame his father in front of his people. He blantantly made it clear this was to be the type of ‘duel unto death’ situation.

David was left with little choice but to resolve this situation.

Still, he was a father with a father’s broken heart.

After his son’s death, however, David goes too far and needs reminding with some ‘Tough Love’ from Joab the leader of his forces. By weeping and carrying on and having such a public pity party, David is, in fact, actually rewarding his son’s rebellion and humiliating those who fought for his right to rule.

Perhaps, David mourned the fact that he had spent too much time catering to Absalom who was jealous and envious of his father’s bond with his brother Solomon. Perhaps, David regretted they type of parent he had been.

Whatever the case, Joab gets busy giving David the kind of tough love, no nonsense type of advice that he needed to snap out of this.

He isn’t telling David not to mourn his son.

He’s telling him there is a time and place for such things and that he is insulting those who gave their all to keep him on the throne–and he was right.

Tough love isn’t easy.

It isn’t all that popular.

The thing is, however, that once your children are grown, nine times out of ten they will come back and thank you for being their PARENT rather than their friend…

March 28,2017/Open All Hours

Yesterday, I wrote about friendship. As we go through life, we sometimes need the counsel and wisdom of a friend to help us view things we are undergoing from a different perspective. We can become so close to situations, that we ‘fail to see the forest for all the trees’ as the saying goes.

Jesus understood that.

Right after he has instructed His disciples how to pray to God, he illustrates why it pays to be persistent in asking for help by teaching His disciples in a parable about what a friend our Heavenly Father is to us. Luke 11:5-10 reads: And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give them. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Importunity–an URGENT request or demand.

So here is your friend who is caught unawares with company. In Old Testament times, hospitality was very highly regarded. As you walked from place to place facing deadly animals, snakes, dust storms, weather, sunburn, sand, robbers and thieves, and other dangers, offering what you had to someone who came to you in need was highly prized.

This person’s friend had retired for the night–no doubt a poor person whose family would all sleep together one some sort of raised platform on the floor of their single dwelling. To rise to get bread would disturb everyone. Yet, because his friend is outside asking for help, he turns not aside or refuses but does what he can for his friend.

This friendhip is an OPEN ALL NIGHT type of bond.

Jesus is reminding us that God, too, is our OPEN ALL NIGHT type of friend. All we need do is Ask Him. All we must do is to Seek Him. All we need do is to become the same example of being Open All Night to our God and listen to Him.

God promises to allow us to receive Him, find Him, and be Open/Listen to our requests…ALWAYS!

His timing may not always coincide with all of our requests–but He wants what best for us, knows what is best for us, and allows us the free will to gain the bread we need through the circumstances we must travel. He doesn’t promise us ease.

He promises to always be at hand. God is OPEN ALL NIGHT, ALL DAY, TO ALL WHO TRULY DESIRE TO SEEK HIM.

March 27, 2017/Knit Souls

With the recent stress from the unknown heart condition my husband has been suffering, I have taken up knitting again.

I began to knit when I was a teen. Somehow, I found a way to make a sweater (which I never wore and which the elderly Scottish woman who taught me this hobby probably helped finish). That said, nowdays I have been making potholders. Lots of potholders. Very EASY potholders that require little more knowledge than how to cast on, bind off, and knit.

There is something very soothing about the repetition of knitting. An easy ‘solace’ if you will.

Certain people you meet in life have this same characteristic. You ‘bond’ to them as if they are another side to you. David felt that way about Jonathan, King Saul’s son. You might think there would be a ton of jealousy on Jonathan’s side. After all, HE was the son of the king and David’s popularity definitely threatened his potential reign. Yet, in David, Jonathan recognized a kindred soul. They were ‘knit together’ in friendship that was binding.

This was no physical relationship. It was a spiritually bonding friendship, much like we read about between Frodo and Sam-wise in The Lord of the Rings. You can see this in 1 Samuel 18: 1-4-And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and give it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

I believe that Jonathan knew his father well–his jealousy, his pride, his envious nature. Perhaps, Jonathan had suffered from his father’s wrath or felt that he couldn’t live up to this young man who was so heroic that he met Goliath face-to-face. Perhaps, in David, Jonathan witnessed the type of man he could become if given time and space. Maybe, Jonathan was so impressed by David’s simple faith that he saw in David the type of friendship and trust that was lacking in so many who would have worked to endear themselves to the son of the king.

Whatever the case may be,  Jonathan and David are an example of true friendship.

You make a lot of ‘friends’ in your lifetime…but you make very few who are true unto death. Few are the ones you can call any time, day or night, from any where in the world and know that they will have your back or come when you call.

Have you become that kind of friend? Have you told your friends how much you treasure their friendship? Have you thought about how much true friendship matters?

Take a page out of Jonathan’s book today. Take time to show a friend how much you really care.

March 25 & 26/First Place

Every race has a winner.

Not every race, however, has to have a loser.

Sometimes, by simply running the race you have won the battle. The word for that is perseverance.

Paul understood the way God designed the Christian faith. While Christ had won the battle over Satan and death, we must continue here on our earthly mission until He calls us home.

So how do we face this race?

He gives us insight in his writing in 2 Timothy 4:7 & 8- I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

He is not boasting that he is deserving this award.

He is simply stating that God will give all who can stand before Him in judgment the trophy that they have earned by living day-to-day in an effort to please Him. Our crown of righteousness comes from accepting the call of faith from Christ. After we do so, then we face a new way of living.

The ‘old’ manner of our sinful nature suddenly becomes something to be wrestled with rather than encouraged. We wrestle daily in this fight. We sweat, pant, and droop with the effort to see the finish line before us. We struggle to maintain our faith.

The journey itself is NOT for a crown or trophy.

To truly know Jesus is to know that being a beacon of light that even remotely reflects His love is the greatest award one can win.

To understand the magnitude of God’s love in His plan to bring us into His presence by sending His only Son Jesus to save us after humanity’s choice to fall into sin puts all other meanings of love into a different perspective.

We are to walk on in this race not for crowns or glory, but for the simple truth that in running our race we become closer to the God who loves us so much that he is willing to vanqish our sins and reward our faithfulness.

March 24, 2017-Home Requirements

Recently, we were away from home for a few nights in a motel where they had a huge assortment of television channels. Boy, has the world has changed since one only had three major channels and one or two local channels to choose from! Way back when, you only had news three times a day, too!

While we sifted through programs, we were finally forced to turn to the channel that features people interested in buying or refurbishing homes. It is amazing to me to see what many feel are important.

Granite countertops.

4 Bedrooms.

Double Sinks.

2 Bathrooms.

Large Whirlpool Tub.

It seems that it takes all of this to make a home now. Funny, that. We began a home in a 12×60 mobile home. It was all we could afford. We thought we were quite clever as sinking money into that meant that although we had to pay lot rent for the park where we lived, eventually we would have something of worth to sell. Back then, most people rented an apartment.

Having to live on what we could afford meants we eventually sold our mobile home (trailer) to graduate into buying a ‘twin’ home. Thankfully, we bought the corner house and had a HUGE back yard as it was an older home. Of course, in those days our interest rate was 11%!!! I remember looking at the mortgage papers only to see that our $45,000 home when completely paid was going to have cost us well over $100,000!  That is a far cry from what people will spend today…and most of them aren’t concerned with buying a home they can AFFORD. They want the home that they WANT.

Paul tells us a bit about or second home in 2 Corinthians  5: 1-6-For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 

Christians know that their heavenly home is already built by God. Here on earth, we must constantly strive with all the burdens humanity endures. While we would like to have a carefree, smooth, stress-free life, it is not to be while we are here…but it IS to come. God has given us the Holy Spirit to walk with us through our daily life and help us during our times of trouble. He is there as our helpful ‘Home Decorator’. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that our house is ready and waiting, perfectly fashioned for us as individuals.

We are to be confident while we walk this earthly ground that our home in heaven awaits. We are only ‘temporarily’ absent from God’s presence. The Holy Spirit is God’s stand-in, allowing us comfort while in our tent/trailer/apartment/condo/house until we eventually move to the mansion that God has prepared for us!