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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

No missing pieces

I was playing with my grandson, Jonathan, on the floor today.  We were having the best time!  (Primarily because he is so handsome and extremely smart and winsome and obedient and....well, you get the idea).  One of our toys was one of those wooden peg / hammer things.  You know what I mean - the colored pegs fit into nice snug holes and you can hammer them in. And out.  And in.  And out.  Again. And again.  It's a lot of fun.

Except that we have misplaced one of the pegs.  That empty hole doesn't bother Jonathan too much but it drives me crazy.  I keep looking under furniture, on the porch, in the toy box, trying frantically to locate that missing peg.  No such luck.

As I crawled around on the floor, I pondered my peculiar obsession against missing pieces.  I don't like incomplete puzzles.  Or unattractively mismatched china.  Or broken door handles. Or light bulbs that need replacing.  Or holes in my screen door. Or books with the covers torn off.  Or toys without all their proper attachments.  Shabby chic, I like.  Missing pieces - not so much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

God's Who's Who

Ever since I was a teenager, I've read books and heard talks that sought to inspire the recipients to reach for the stars, dream the big dreams, do the impossible.  Those messages are appealing and inspirational indeed.  And I am all for doing things excellently, not shabbily.  But today, I'd like to examine these messages through the microscope of Scripture and see if perhaps we need to exercise caution in our reaching and dreaming and doing....

First, I concur that we should heed Colossian 3:23  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.   Christians should be known for being the best workers, most cheerful attitudes, and of greatest service to the organization.  The problem I have with some of these books and talks, though, is that the last phrase of this verse is often unheeded.  They don't encourage us to do great work for the Lord's reputation, but rather to enhance our own.  How to "get ahead", how to "succeed", how to "have a great career/marriage/kids" etc. Including "how to have a big church...." as opposed to how to advance HIS fame.

Next, on the "dream big" thing.  Check out this verse and see if you think it is consistent with that mindset.....

I Thessalonians 4:11,12

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.   

I know I am in unusual territory.  I know it doesn't sound right for me to suggest to teens and young adults "Don't aspire to be great.  Just aspire to lead a quiet life and work hard and treat people right"  I now that doesn't make for great conference speeches or book titles or conversation fodder.  But isn't that exactly what this passage teaches? 

Work hard, yes.  But not to advance your own interests.  Be ambitious, yes.  But let your ambitions be to lead a life that is not "grand" or "admirable" but rather one that treats others right.  Sometimes grand things do indeed come but they should come from God's hand, not from our pursuit, for His fame, not our pleasure.

The world will probably not make note of our accomplishments if we obey these verses.  Most likely, we won't be applauded or acclaimed or emulated very much.  At least not here.  But check out what God says in Malachi 3:16  Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

A book of remembrance written for the Lord Himself.  Better than any earthly listing in Who's Who.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Grief Observed

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Yesterday I went to see a friend who suddenly and tragically lost her 18 year old son.  I went, bearing food, knowing I had no words that could help but hoping to minister to her just the same.
Instead, I was on the receiving end and she did the ministering.
Let me share some things I observed while visiting just a short while:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Body

I'm reading an old classic - In His Image by Paul Brand, M.D.  It reads like a physiology text and I am loving it!  For today's Wednesday's Word, I will share some of my impressions after ingesting what he has to say.

The physical body is made up of a bazillion cells (can you tell this is in my own words?).  Each cell is distinct, yet connected.  Every cell in my body contains my own unique DNA, which links each one to one another, making them all belong together.  Yet they are separate from one another, individual.  Some work together and function as a group, different from other cell groups, yet all orchestrated to operate in harmony with one another. Every single cell in my body responds to orders from my brain...and every single cell recognizes an inherent bond with every other cell in my body, responding to their needs.  When cells, at least most of them, work as they are designed to do, I am healthy.  If enough rogue cells have their distorted way, my whole body can suffer.

Indeed, this is the picture of the Body of Christ.  We are all separate individuals, yet, because we are imprinted with the DNA of Jesus, we not only respond to His commands but also to the needs of others. In fact, many of His commands involve meeting the needs of others!   Think of the numerous "one another" exhortations in Scripture - "wash one another's feet", "love one another", "serve one another", "teach and admonish one another", "pray for one another", "confess your sins to one another", "comfort one another", "bear one another's burdens", "forgive one another".  When we all "do to one another as we would have them do unto us", the Body functions in beautiful, beneficial, healthy harmony.

 And the world takes note.

"We will, in all things, grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work"  Ephesians 4:15,16

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Breakfast at Suzie's

After the last post which mentioned my cheese grits casserole, I got some requests for the recipe.  I have never been one of those cooks who guards her recipes with the secrecy of Fort Knox - I am so delighted someone likes something I have prepared that I hold the world's largest conference call so I can share it.  So here it comes!  After all, the way I show my Living Letters that I love them is with FOOD!!

I'm including a couple of other family favorite breakfast recipes.  Maybe you can fix them for first day of school breakfast!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer is ending.  The school supplies have been out in WalMart for weeks.  I love summer and wish it could last forever.  It's not that I don't want to start school (I teach, ya know!).  It's that when a new school year begins, it means I am that much closer to working myself out of a job.  My kids are one step closer to the completion of their time at home.  And I'm pretty much wailing, just thinking about it.

Call me strange but I've never been one of those Moms who couldn't wait to get away from her kids.  I think I caught that trait from my own Mom.  She loved being with my brother and me and we knew it.  She still does.  And, if she could right now, I think she'd still come get me out of school when it snowed so I could play with her!!  Or let me stay home so we could work on Valentine Cards together.  Or sit up late so she could hear all the (boring) details of my evening.

I am sure there will be plenty to do once all my kids are gone.  I've never been one to be bored.  But if I could just hit the pause button for a bit, I'd do it.  I already know what it's like to set less places at the table.  To start to fix cheese grits casserole and remember that the one who loves that best won't be at breakfast that day.  To be able to finish laundry in 1/3 less time. To spend less at the grocery store. (OK, that part's not so bad!) To have fewer soccer practices and piano recitals and AWANA lessons.  I know that when I lie down in the hall outside the bedrooms late at night to pray, some of the beds are empty now.  And the only way they come home now is with a suitcase.

OK I'm in full blown sob mode now.  Can hardly see to type.  All because of what it means when summer ends.