Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lovely Feet

The rain was coming down in buckets. I waited for it to let up and hoped that the life group meeting would be cancelled. Patrick was working late at school so I was alone in this adventure. Minutes before the meeting, there was still no change of plans, either from God’s weather or our group leader’s choice for the meeting, so I went.

Rain continued to pour down hard as I parked the car near their mailbox at the end of the driveway. I opened the door just enough to poke my umbrella through and pop it open. I still got wet. The umbrella shielded some of me as I reached into the back seat for my bible and the platter of veggies I had brought for the dinner. Thunder and lightning made me hurry my pace all the while trying to be careful not to drop the umbrella, my keys, bible or the food.

Around the front of the car, the gutter was over flowing with water. It was not muddy, but it was wider than I could jump, especially with hands filled. The water crept up the drive and also out into the street. So I looked for another way. I thought that the grass might have soaked in some of the water so I decided to tiptoe around the grass to higher ground. That was a mistake! The umbrella hit the mailbox and went askew! I grabbed for it and everything else in my hands. I just barely held on. Meanwhile, I had stepped into mud that had soaked my shoe and about six inches of my pant leg. ARG!

On the doorstep, I was met with helping hands to grab my belongings, but I didn’t want to enter the house with muddy feet. I asked my friend for some paper towels. She ran to retrieve her supplies. I slipped off my shoes when she handed me the towels and I went to work cleaning them off. She bent down and began to wipe my feet! She carefully held my foot in her hand and wiped it free of the wet dirt clinging there. A picture of another foot washing came to my mind and I felt so humbled. She wiped my foot and scrubbed away the mud from my pants. I told her she didn’t need to but she said quietly and simply that she didn’t mind.

This dear woman of God is a humble servant. She could have simply handed me the cleaning supplies and let me clean up while she helped others get ready for our dinner. She kept apologizing, too. Why? She had done nothing wrong. I had made the mistake. I made the mess and yet she was cleaning it up.

I learned a big lesson that night: Humility flows from both parties when feet are being washed. I had to humble myself to admit my mistake, but also to let someone else make it right. My friend saw a need and without question or judgment she bowed down in humility to help. I also saw in her that Jesus, too, is sorry we are in the mess we make by our sin.

I am not sure I expected the response I got from my muddied feet. Yes, I was surprised. This humble woman revealed no fear that I would muddy her floor, but I might have expected her to in this day of the material being more important than people. I was her main concern, not her floor, not the wasted time, not even her own image.

Jesus may not call us to physically wash each other’s feet, but He does expect His followers to have the same attitude He has and that my friend demonstrated so beautifully.

John 13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Isaiah 52:7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Father, You and Your Son, Jesus, have shown us the way of humility. You have walked before us and ask us to follow Your example. Please forgive us when we hang on to our pride. Forgive us for thinking too much of ourselves. Thank You for caring enough to wash away the dirt from living in sin. Give us humble hearts to show Your love to all people. Amen.




Friday, August 12, 2016

God's Choice

Some may say that I have a lot of experience in voting. Well, I have voted every time a ballot was set before me so that may qualify me, but even with years of experience, I am still baffled about who I should place my vote in this upcoming election. This blog is not really about the election, nor am I endorsing any candidate. This blog is only about my thoughts as I determine who I should choose.

I am proud to be an American! I take seriously the responsibility of citizenship. My right to vote is not something I take lightly. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I believe I must be the best citizen possible and remain true to the values I hold dear. This campaign season has put these convictions to the test for me.

In my opinion, it is not wise to listen to news commentators because they often get the story wrong or leave out important parts. I also do not take much stock in the advertisements and junk mail that bombards me with only what the individual wants me to hear. I do take into account the actual words of the candidate IF it is not a "sound bite" because things are often taken out of context. So how can I decide the best man or woman to lead our country and place his or her mark on our lives for generations to come?

I have been relying on prayer more than ever. I listen to God's voice and sometimes He surprises me with His wisdom.

A few weeks ago I was in prayer about the candidates and names from bible stories kept coming to me. Peter was an outspoken , bombastic, foot-in-the-mouth kind of guy. He said so many things wrong, but Jesus considered him a strong leader even changing his name to reflect that. Moses ran away when trouble appeared for him in Egypt and when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he tried to tell God he wasn't able to make speeches. David was an adulterer and murderer and yet, God said he was a man after his own heart. The only thing Esther had going for her was her beauty and her love of God's people, so God used her at a special time of their history. Paul imprisoned and killed Christians because of his religious fervor and then he was entrusted to take the Gospel to the world. I could go on and on with names of imperfect, in fact, downright sinners who God used to lead and direct His people. The common thread with all these sinners was that they believed in God.

The lesson I came away from my prayer time that day was: Would I obey God in voting for His choice, not my own? I also had to ask myself if I would vote out of obedience to God even if both choices were not, in my opinion, worthy of the office? I also had to not look at the faults of the person. I also was impressed not to look at only the present, but to seek the person who professes a faith in the God of the bible, even though imperfect, that would make decisions that will allow the kingdom of God to grow.

I am still seeking, listening and praying.

Sovereign God, my Father, I know that You hold all government in Your hands. I confess that I have sometimes looked to a man to fix our country's problems instead of You. Forgive me. Thank You for showing me a greater purpose for my participation in this election. Thank You for using anyone who is willing to follow You. Move Your people to obey Your voice as we seek a leader for our beloved U.S.A.

Friday, July 22, 2016

God's Garden

I see so many beautiful, wonderful, accomplished and caring pictures of people my friends love here on FB! This reminds me of a beautiful garden. Each flower/person is unique. Each one is different in shape, scent, and color. Some may have thorns or prickly stems. some may have deep roots, others shallow. Some are considered weeds to others. Some act like they are better than the others. some are complicated, some are simple. Oh, such a wonderful variety!

The point is that I think the most beautiful gardens are the ones with all of us together, side by side, being the best of our unique selves and making room for others. I also think that this is the kind of garden that delights our Creator God.

I think we must remember that the pictures of people are not all that they are. Thier outward appearance is not the only thing that God sees. He sees our hearts (yes, all of our hearts.) His garden is one that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also to the heart. He cares for all and places us in the place we belong. It may be in the sunshine or the shadows.

Our only purpose is to please Him.

Holy Gardener, Good Father, Great Creator, You are our only purpose for being. You have given us so much and we have lost sight of who we are in Your eyes. Forgive us for our arrogance. Thank You for making each of us different and putting us side by side so our differences would shine. Teach us Lord to recognize You for who You are and ourselves and others for who You created them to be. We need You to pour out Your living water over us because it is only in You that we can be all we were meant to be.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Discovery

Discovery

Grandlady Abi has always been scared of bugs. She would scream, cry and run away from the sight of a creepy crawly or a buzzing bomber. Lately, however, she has surprised us all with her fascination for all kinds of crawling bugs. Rolly pollys and centipedes are hunted down and collected by hand into containers. She watches them with a studious gaze and reports in great detail to any listening ear. Though Abi has always loved animals, this new discovery of the smallest of God’s creatures is amazing to watch. She is learning about herself and about the wonders of insect life.

Eugene Cernan was the astronaut chosen to leave the last footprint on the surface of the moon. I watched a documentary about him that unraveled the story of his journey through the space program and beyond, but it also told the personal side of life. The movie was informative and moving. He grew from a simple farm boy, to fighter pilot, to an astronaut, to only one of twelve men to walk on the moon.

The last trip to the moon was a mission to bring back moon rocks and explore as much of the landscape as possible via the Lunar Rover. The video from that day of discovery was so much fun to watch! “Gene” Cernan was having a great time on the moon. It seemed as if he frolicked and played while attending to his duties. He saw the handiwork of God and was amazed. I was having fun watching him. As he approached the LEM to leave the moon, he stopped to write his daughter’s initials in the moon dust. It would still be a long journey for him to learn about himself and the wonders of our world.

Exploration and discovery are the themes of these two stories. Each was learning and discovering things in a new way. In the same way, I was discovering something about God. I could sense His delight as He watched His children uncover the mysteries of the world He created just for us! He was watching Abi and “Gene” immersing themselves in the pleasure of the moment and I am sure He smiled!
I know that there is much more to discover. What can I uncover today about God? Myself? Creation? The list can go on for eternity! Yes, I think I will need a place where there is no end where my spirit, soul and body can experience the glory of the Lord!

Good Father, You are timeless and endless in discovery! I have too often remained in my shell where I feel safe. Forgive me for not looking far where I can be enticed to search for more of You! Thank You for making the world a place of amazing lessons. I want to be an explorer who reaches far beyond myself and touches you! Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is My Sin Showing?


Sin is a big word. We all have sin in our lives, but it is not something we proudly display, most of the time. We think we hide our sins fairly well, but then someone calls us out on what they see, and we go scrambling to stuff them back under the covers, hoping it will all disappear.

I remember clearly at the time when my sin of ingratitude was pointed out to me. I was grumbling and unhappy with everything in my life. My very patient and loving husband took me to McDonalds and let me complain for a long while. Finally, he said to me, “Care, your problem is that you are ungrateful.” I was speechless. Of course, I wouldn’t have named my unhappiness in that way, but lying there in the deepest part of me was the ravenous monster called Thanklessness. Even though my sin was disguised by my blame game, it was showing. Patrick did the right thing by shining a light into my darkness. It was time to deal with that fiend once and for all.

We all are sinners. We all fall short of the mark. We all would like to hide those failings from others. But in all my years, I have to admit that though I think I am covering over my sin, it still shows. Like a child who closes his eyes or hides under a blanket, thinking we can’t see them, it still shows.

Yes, some sins are easier to hide than others, and we are more desperate to hide some sins than others, but all sins can be found out. Our only hope is to have them covered by the Blood of the Lamb.

Good Father, we see the world uncovering their sin without guilt or shame. We, too, sometimes excuse our sin as just a human condition that needs no fear of exposure. You see all of our sin. Yet, You love us so much that You will not let it stay hidden. You have made a way to remove it by Your Son’s blood. Thank You! Help us to open our hearts to Your plan and Your holiness. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rewards Awarded


They put me to shame. I’m talking about those people who determine to lose weight, change a bad habit, or begin an exercise program and succeed. Yes, they put me to shame, because I stumble over obstacles and decide it is not worth the hardship, so I quit. But I love to cheer on those who stay true to their commitment. They deserve the reward they have fought hard to achieve.

Something Good Inside of Me: A Children’s Poetry Keepsake Journal began 18 years ago with the writing of one children’s poem. Over the past 18 years, I was to write many more poems, given opportunities to learn and dream, and surrounded by many who gave encouragement and direction. I was like that little donkey chasing the carrot dangling on the end of a string just out of reach. I would reluctantly put one foot in front of another, give up easily, and then return to the chase with a new determination in a cycle of seemingly never-ending obstacles. Those stumbling blocks were mostly in my thinking, but with help, I was able to get past them.

This last week I was informed that I will be awarded a certificate and a check for my Children’s book winning second place in a national contest for the NLAPW in the children’s book category. I was very surprised and happy! It is not every day that a prestigious honor is given for the work done.

Getting the award has been wonderful, but I don’t really claim it all to myself. I gave credit to all those who helped me along the way at first. Today, however, brought a new thought, one that is even truer. The award goes to God. He gave me my talents. He provided the opportunities. He put it all into place because He has a plan for the words written. Today I have received a great reward! I am ever so pleased to place this award at His feet, and Give Him all the glory!

I can stand alongside those success stories of overcoming obstacles only by believing God has a purpose for me. It takes faith to take each step toward His will not mine.

The truth I see today is that earthly awards have no value in my hands. Only when my awards are given to the God who is the Beginning and the End can I receive the reward I deserve, the pleasure of giving value to my Creator, Lord, and Savior.

Father God, You created me for Your glory. You chose a plan for me. You are the only one who deserves the praise. All of my accomplishments began with You and will end with You. Forgive me for holding tight to my earthly awards. Thank You for the reward that is greater! I desire to make You smile. I want to make You known throughout the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Power to Learn

I look back over my many years and realize that I have sold myself short on many occasions. I have told myself and others "I can't" when the truth was I really gave up too soon. I gave up on math, history, memorization, writing, and other efforts.

I learned from my son, Joseph, that I could learn algebra. Homeschooling him in math made me learn, even though he seemed to already know how to do it. I learned from him that I could figure it out. I am still not fast or always right but I understand the concepts.

I gave up on history until I began to study the bible. Reading the history of God's people lit a fire inside me to understand the story of mankind. I still get mixed up on dates, but I am learning new stories from around the world and of influential people. I find I understand what is happening now when I know what has happened in the past. Here is a secret I've found: People have not changed much. Our world has changed with inventions but people seem to still struggle with the same issues.

Memorization was never something I excelled in, but remembering God's word is important to me so I have learned to put the word into my mind and heart. I have not succeeded in memorizing chapters or books, but the treasures I have gathered in my storehouse are so helpful in my prayer life and my walk of faith.

I never thought I was a writer. I loved to write but, I only recently have called myself an author and poet. I continue to learn and grow in this field and may never become an expert. I can do better and so I will keep trying.

These little stories illustrate the power we have to learn. Self-education should be part of our education plan for all students. In fact, I believe each student has as their main job to self-educate with the help of good mentors to lead and guide, not force feed. Learning is a lifetime endeavor. When we teach children that they are to only know or seek to learn what is presented to them we take away the joy of learning.

My parents instilled in us a love of learning. I purposefully tried to do the same in my children. I hope my children are doing the same for my grandchildren.

I believe God wants us to love learning as well. He gave us curiosity and imagination. We only need to supply the self-discipline and the awe from all we discover.

Creator God, Giver of all that amazes and intrigues us, You are to be praised for Your work of creation. Forgive us when we sell ourselves short and fail to see the wonders You placed here for our delight and pleasure. Thank You for not being boring. Thank You for expanding our knowledge every day! Help us to use the gifts of curiosity and imagination so we might discover Your creation and in the process more of You and ourselves. Amen.