and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

A Sticky Treat

       My stomach was saying I wanted a little snack, but my head was saying I didn’t want the same old stuff, so I kept that in mind as I searched the cupboards.  Cookies, chips, fruit, cheese, veggies, crackers, really nothing appealed to me up until I spotted the peanut butter.  I grabbed a soup spoon and scooped out a large portion of it, and skimmed some into my mouth with my lips like I do ice cream.  There is a particular way I eat peanut butter on a spoon and it’s a little at a time always keeping it smooth looking.

       As I walked out of the kitchen I was pondering the many times as a child and an adult I fed a little peanut butter to our various dogs to watch them lick and lick again the roof of their mouths to eat it all.  The butter would stick up there for a long time and it would take quite a while before they could stop licking which made it kind of funny to watch.  That got me thinking about the Word of God, and wouldn’t it be nice if it stuck in our mouths the same way? 
Think about it…

       What if every time you went to curse an inconsiderate driver, a blessing came out instead?  Or perhaps when that ‘slow’ patron in the check-out line is frustrating you, you whisper a prayer instead of complaint?  Or maybe after a horrible day at work, when you get home to a spouse making demands on your time, you speak words of love or encouragement?  Perhaps the next time a struggling friend needs help you actually remember and speak the words from scripture that ease his pain and strengthen his weak hands? 

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Ps119:103
(Jesus) …the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  John 6:63

I think we need the Word of God to stick in our mouths like peanut butter.  After all, those words give life and are sweet to the taste!  We should want them to stick there so that we can speak them to others around us to encourage in their walks and to faith in the Lord.  Remember, our words say a lot about us:

for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.  Lk. (or- Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech. TLB)
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.   Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.  Jm. 3:8-10

       So the Word should be a big part of everyday.  We need to hide it in our hearts (Ps. 119:11) because it will help us lead godly lives.  It brings light to our paths so we can see the way (Ps. 119:130) and helps us live in truth (John ) instead of darkness.  “…the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Is. 40:8) and not one little bit will fail, ‘til all be fulfilled (Mt. ).

Lord, may Your Word stick in our mouths today!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Simple Question- for us all...

Who are you serving...  


             or God?  

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other...  Mt. 6:24

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Unwanted Containers

       When I was young there was a time I was experimenting with a new form of creativity.  I would spend hours in the backyard of our property digging in the dirt, not looking for buried treasure, but down to find the ‘clay like’ dirt.  With a bucket of water, I would work the dirt into a poor man’s clay and form interesting shapes and let them dry in the sun.  One day I thought I’d try to make a container for my mom.  It would be a five inch cylinder shape about 2 ½ inch high, so she could put her treasures in it.

       First, I mixed a specific amount of water to make my ‘clay’ so it was not too wet or too dry.  I worked and kneaded the clay to ensure a thorough mixing so the clay would hold together and the container would not have weaknesses once dried.  Then I carefully formed the bottom circle as flat as possible, working up the sides to the desired height.  I pushed, squished, flattened and fixed to get the clay into the exact shape I wanted, and finally it was complete.  I even formed a flat top for it that had a grip for lifting.  The sun dried the container by the next day and I presented it to my mom… who didn’t want it. (So I broke it.)

       “The next time,” I thought, “I’d make it prettier and maybe she’d want it.”  So it was about a week later I had a new container completed.  This time I decided to paint it, but as we didn’t have any paint, I improvised and used toothpaste.  I carefully smeared it lightly all over the sides of the container and lid, and when it dried, it turned a lovely white colour, and it smelled good too!  Alas, my mom didn’t want that one either.  L

       We are also containers originally made of dirt.  “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7)  God formed us with His own hands.  Now, He could have spoken us into being as He did the other things, but He chose to be more personal.  He is the potter and we, the clay:

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  Is. 64:8
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand… v.6
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour (like a chamber pot)?  Rom. ,21

       The Lord took particular care to form each of us into the vessel He desired, some as ornate golden pitchers and others as plain chamber pots (I’m more like this!).  The thing to remember is He made us the way He wanted us to be, and put us in the earthly situation required to be fired in the kiln the way we needed to be.  Who are we to question Him?  The great thing is that because we are His vessels/ containers, He already wants us! “…they shall be my people, and I will be their God…” (Jer. 24:7) He already loves us! (Rom 8:35-39)  He already thinks of each one of us- all the time! “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!(Ps. 139:17)

You are loved
     You are wanted
           For you are the work of the Lord's "own hands".
                         (Ps. 138:8)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dead Battery

        Few things are more humbling than having your car break down while other people are watching, and that was potentially an issue for me last night.  Click Click... Silence.  No activity at all.  I accidentally left the lights on- for less than an hour- but it killed the battery.  Once I shut everything off, I gave it a ten minute wait, and still couldn’t get it to start.  Gratefully, the parking lot was devoid of people, so I called hubby who came to my rescue.  (See, I told you he loves me!!!)

       After he arrived on his white horse (okay, blue with horsepower…) I began hoping no one would be watching us because I didn’t want to face those questions like: what happened, why’d you leave the lights on, why did you even have them on, etc.  Hubby ‘saved the day’ and I was able to keep hidden my forgetfulness once more.  (So I am choosing to believe… please don’t tell me if you know otherwise.)  Today, I am facing the question, why did my battery run down so fast? 

       Well, we don’t really know when this battery was put in the vehicle as it is new to us.  Certainly, it could be old and needs replacing, but regardless, it isn’t holding a charge like it should.  Sometimes we don’t seem to hold our charge very long either.  We go through our daily routine and the body gives out and needs a rest.  We all know the signs of needing physical rest, but sometimes we neglect rest for our spirits.  Sure, some of that will happen when we rest our bodies in ways that we enjoy, but the greatest and fastest way to recharge is getting in the Lord’s presence- face to face.  It’s like plugging in to the ultimate power source.

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  Dt. 4:29
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.  Lam. 3:25

       Jesus understood about the ultimate power.  After a long day of teaching and healing, with a good night’s sleep, scripture says, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.(Mk. 1:35)  Jesus went off to spend time with the Father and left a large chunk of time to do so.  He wasn’t going to rush it through.  He didn’t say, “Okay Father, I have 15 min. before I have to get to work, so let’s spend some time together!!!”  He rose up with a long time available for God.

       Daily activities drain our energy, and we often leave the dregs of our days to the Lord instead of the firstfruits.  But how will He strengthen us and recharge our spirit if we don’t spend time with Him- without distractions!  As a mom, distractions are the most difficult part so I must find a quiet place to recharge with the Lord.  Worship, prayer, reading the Word, and two way communication are all essential, but the thing I most try to remember is entering His presence where all my attention/ focus is on being with Him- first.  That is what makes the difference, and what recharges me completely so I can do the work He has called me to do.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Ps. 16:11
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.  Ps. 119:28
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, …Let us draw near with a true heart  Heb. 10:19,22

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oh That Ol' Familiar Feeling…

       It didn’t take me long after waking up in tremendous pain one Friday to realize what was wrong; after all, it wasn’t the first time.  Since I was young, I was used to having bad teeth.  My sisters would have no cavities and I would have two or three each visit.  We ate the same foods, mostly at the same times even, we brushed and flossed, but that didn’t seem to help me.  So it was as a 40ish woman that almost all my teeth had fillings, several were capped, and there were a few root canals.  This was going to be one of those; only the pain of an abscessed root could be this nasty.

       I tried downing some Tylenol 3’s and they were barely touching the pain.  There weren’t too many of those left either, so I called my dentist, who knew me well enough to trust this was a real problem, so I could get in and he could write me a script.  Alas, he was not there but had gone away for the weekend leaving the name of a dentist across the county.  Even if I wanted to try him, there was no way I was in shape to drive that far.  So, I walked to a dentist office not far from where I live hoping someone could help.

       Of course, most dentists won’t take emergencies for someone else’s patient, and this dentist wasn’t any different, but I pleaded my case vigorously.  I told them my mouth history and that I knew what the problem was, and eventually the dentist took a look.  Though she couldn’t see anything physically, she took x-rays and I left with a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers.  I will be forever grateful to that dentist for the favour, kindness and compassion she showed me that day.  (A few days later my dentist was back and sure enough, another root canal was performed!)

       Fast forward to last night and I heard about extending grace to other people in life, whether they are Christians or not.  The Bible speaks a lot about showing kindness, mercy, forgiveness, love and such, but I hadn’t really considered giving grace, only receiving it from God.  So I decided to start by reading the definition in Webster’s 1828 version: 
Grace (noun)- 1. favor, goodwill, kindness, disposition to oblige another
                     10. favor, mercy, pardon (given without concern for remuneration and whether or not deserved!) 
All the definitions in between were about God’s grace to us.  Then I looked up scriptures:

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.   Lk.   (Greek word for grace is translated here as thank)
Let no corrupt word out of your mouth go forth, but what is good unto the needful building up, that it may give grace to the hearers;  Eph. 4:29

       All but these two scriptures seemed to be speaking about God’s grace to us, and I didn’t find these two scriptures very helpful, so I went back to a simple question.  What would Jesus do?  Would He extend grace to others?  No human has ever shown such favour, goodwill, kindness, and forgiveness to other people as Jesus did.  The scripture in Luke says if you only love those who love you back, what grace do you have?  We should give love without concern for payback or whether or not they deserved it… it is the same with the other traits.

       Certainly, we should imitate the character of Jesus Christ since He did say, “…follow me” (Mt. ) meaning ‘to be in the same way with’, and Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1Cor. 11:1 ISV).  Jesus displayed grace (all the above qualities) to the people He was around.  That’s good enough for me to decide I should consciously extend grace to others.  And don’t forget, as Jesus hung on the cross in pain, blood dripping down His bruised and battered body He did not consider His mistreatment and the undeserving guilt of all who rejected Him when He uttered those life giving and life altering words, “Father, forgive them…”  (Lk. 23;34)

We didn’t deserve His grace, but He gave it anyway.

Thank You precious Lord for Your grace toward us.