Thursday, September 29, 2011
Today, I am reminded of how little in control I am of my life. Just when I think I have it all together, I am put on hold and waiting for results of my MRI, trying not to be anxious.
MRI's are interesting experiences, aren't they? For those of you who have had one, the last thing you want to be is claustrophobic and have to have an MRI. On top of it, try going in because of severe headaches and listen to the loud drumming sounds for the 30 minutes required of screening.
While in the "isolation tube," I decided to keep my eyes closed and just focus on Jesus. In addition, I used the drum sounds as the baseline beat to several Christian hymns flowing through my mind. As a result, "the peace that passes all understanding guarded my heart and mind in Christ Jesus" as promised in Phillipians.
The problem seems to come though AFTER the MRI. As I drove home, I lost that focus somehow. The "What If's?" started to haunt me. The dizziness and pressure did not abate on top of it all.
I wish the technician had not told me the results would be ready in an hour. Knowing this, I thought I would surely get results today. (I know, optomistic and naive, right?)
I forced myself to go for a bike ride hoping fresh air and the beauty of an impending fall would cheer my spirits and renew my faith. As I biked, I listened to my favorite podcast by Adrian Rogers. Guess what the sermon was about as I biked?
He reminded me how God's time and God's timing are different from our own. How in learning patience we need to focus on the support God has provided in our past and trust in God's promises for hope of the future.
So I remembered.
I remembered how this past year God healed my sister-in-law, Tabby from liver/abdominal cancer. A miracle!
I remembered how God took my extreme fear of death and had me hold the hand of my father first as he transitioned to heaven and then hold the hand of my mother as she followed him a year later. I no longer fear death. A miracle!
I remembered how in the midst of losing my career, God brought me a wonderful little girl to be my daughter. I went from an aging career woman to an old, grateful mother of a 10-year old, a Sarah in 2011. A miracle!
I remembered how often Satan attacks me with bouts of depression only to find God's Word spreading light and hope in my heart each day. I hunger for His Word as my daily medication of Truth and Perspective. A miracle!
I remembered how I battled food addiction only to be set free this past year as God reminded me in a wonderful Bible study how Jesus came to set the captive free. A loss of 55 lbs. in a year for His glory! A miracle!
I hope in God's promises throughout the Bible that He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) and that He knows me so well and loves me and hears my cry (Psalm 22, Psalm 139,1 John 4:4...and so much more).
So I wait...and remember...and hope.
God knows best. God loves me.
It is His time.
For His Glory,
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Well, I blew it yesterday. I told a lie to a stranger to get my way.
Don't be shocked that a writer for a Christian blog told a lie. Just be shocked that I am able to confess it and have apologized for it.
You see, I don't think it would have bothered me as much a year ago. I mean I really had to fight the rationalizations that came all too easily. I believe it is because I am in the middle of studying the life of David that it hit me so hard and convicted me so very much.
Background to my lie is that I have shopped hard for just the right wedding attire lately. I capitulated after hours, days, weeks of continuing to bemoan colors, fit or lack of fit, and dress lengths. I ended up buying a black, pant suit for a Texas ranch wedding. In my heart I knew it wasn't right for the wedding, but I felt defeated and desperate. I did not notice the sign at check out that said NO RETURNS after 3 DAYS. This wasn't a sale item either by the way.
One week later, I spied the PERFECT dress, much less expensive, even WASHABLE and something I could wear again and again AFTER the wedding. I could not afford to add that dress to my account, so I thought it would be simple to return the pant outfit. I don't usually return items, but I was sure a few days would not be a problem for the pant suit. Confident, I purchased the dress and went back five days later to the pant shop.
After handing my never-worn-before-still-in-the-original-bag pant suit to the sales person, she pointed to the small sign (it was small) saying no returns after 3 days. Desperately I told a lie to her. I told her this outfit would be in no way approved or appropriate and I need my money back, please.
I knew it was wrong. I was operating out of purely selfish motives. As I walked out of the store with my return slip, I went home to finish my Bible study on David. Yes, ironic, right?
Guess what section I read? 1 Samuel 21-22 where David has to flee from Saul for his life and goes to a priest for food. When the priest asks David why he is alone and not with Saul or Saul's army, David lies to him. David's lie gets him needed food which was bread only used for God's convenant, and his lie gets him a sword. Ironically, it is the sword David took from Goliath when David was but a boy. David's lie gets him what he wanted. I thought, "Yeah! David was a man after God's own heart. If he could lie, so could I, right? No big deal."
Trouble comes from that lie later. David continues as he flees Saul to use his "street smarts" to get what he wants.
Of course, as I read this, I became terribly convicted. I thought, "Why did David not depend upon God to help him flee Saul, fight Saul, just as God had helped David when David was a boy fighting the giant, Goliath? " The answer was the same reason I did not trust God when I confronted the store policy for a return. I panicked. I saw people not willing to budge.Like David, I thought I would use my little white lie, my "street smarts."
You may think this a small thing in life.
This little lie.
Yet, for some reason it really stood out to me. I got in the car only to hear Dr. David Jeremiah talking about a time he did not return $20.00 as a young man and how, even after returning the money with interest years later, he never asked forgiveness or owned up to it personally. He talked about how the power of God can be diminished in one's life with unrepentence and how he had to ask forgiveness years later of the man whose money he had taken.
So I went home and wrote the owner a letter of thanks and a confession.
-And I warn you, Dear Reader, once you get into the Word of God, be ready for the Spirit to work on your life. It doesn't make things easier to be a Christian, but God' Word is for our benefit, for our good, so His power can flow freely through us. We can be free from guilt as God works to reveal and forgive sin in our lives.
Don't you know Satan was upset with all of this? All those wonderful rationalizations he and I had worked on that day disappeared in the Light of God's Word.
What about you? Is your mind open to God's direction today even though the world may say, "That's no big deal"? I pray so.
For His Glory,
Friday, September 23, 2011
What a way to celebrate having no migraines during the night nor in the morning! Praise God! This morning when I woke up, pain free, my husband and I set off for a mini vacation day to celebrate our first day of fall. We enjoyed hiking in the Missouri hills.
Bubbling streams,the sun dancing through trees, cool breezes, and a few leaves struggling to turn a color after a summer of drought made today feel extra special.
As I walked behind my husband (that dapper man in the picture), I noticed the saying on his "Life is Good" t-shirt: "Do What You Like; Like What You Do."
We were certainly doing that this morning. We love hiking. I especially like hiking where I know there are no bears. My husband prefers the moutains. Missouri, though, gives us a nice compromise.
I wondered as we walked how God sees what we like in life? Does He plant those desires in us that make us so unique from each other? Why do I love to hike while others would go nowhere near the woods and prefer the city? I believe God enjoys our differences as long as our "likes" are in line with His love and desires for us.
The I took a real challenge. How can I take what I like in life and use it for God? Now that one, I don't have an answer for yet, but I am going to work on it.
How about you? Are you doing what you like and do you like what you do? More importantly, how do you use what you like for God's glory? ("Do all for the glory of God.")
As you reflect, perhaps you will join me in celebrating the first day of fall by getting outside. Oh, and by the way, tell God a little thanks for healing me from these awful migraines. I truly give Him glory knowing He can heal with as well as without medicine.
For His Glory,
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I just LOVE making lists! I don't know how people function without them. Spreadsheets must be the list-makers' nirvana. These past two weeks, I have been wondering how the lists have been going for my nephew as our official wedding invitations arrived in the mail. Once the beautifully embossed cream colored invitation arrived I knew it was time to get serious with my own shopping for something to wear to this celebration.
Unfortunately, it seems that it has been much too long since I last attended a wedding. Nothing seems appropriate. The colors available on the racks this time of year are just not right, and the frugal side of me keeps trying to find something I will actually wear again after the wedding, like say for the holiday season. (Somehow red does not seem to fit this ceremony.)
As I shop for just the right outfit for my daughter and me, I can not help but imagine how precious God must see us as His brides preparing for our wedding day with Him in heaven.
When I look in the department store mirrors (they are so wise to slant those mirrors so I look thinner, yet when I get home, I see reality), my reflection shows the years, the miles, the neglect, the abuse my body has born. Too many cookies, too much sun, and not enough exercise make me reach for SPANX yet again.
Scripture tells me though that God sees each of His chosen ones like a new bride, pure and beautiful. I like that. I like knowing as my hair and skin change, God's love doesn't.
Although I am reminded God sees me as a new bride, I wonder about my preparations for my wedding in heaven, the day I get to join Jesus. Have I been as diligent in my wedding plans here on earth? What do my Christian lists look like? What should be on there? Am I inviting others to join me? Is my list inclusive? Have I been conversing with my groom as regularly as I should?
It is something to consider, isn't it?
By the way, you are invited. Jesus will be hoping you attend. After all, we, His church, are the bride.
For His Glory,
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I always enjoy pictures which illustrate how tricky our perceptions can be. This picture depicting both an old woman and a young woman depending on your perception is a favorite.
(For those who are wondering: The young woman is seen if you perceive a necklace and her chin angled so she looks away from you. The old woman is perceived if you see instead of a chin, a nose and the necklace as her mouth as she is looking down into her shawl.)
Friday I had my perception tested yet again. Rushing around the mall in search of dresses for my daughter and me for an upcoming wedding, I paused to grab lunch at a nearby Panera. While wolfing down my salad, I kept noticing an elderly lady sitting nearby eating alone. Her walker was stationed across from her with her giant purse in the seat, almost like another guest keeping her company.
I kept waiting to see where her son, daughter, caregiver was. Surely she was not alone? (Funny, how when seeing a child or an elderly person eating alone, we worry just as much, or should.)
As I rose to put away my trash, she struggled to rise with her tray. I asked her if I could help. She smiled and thanked me.
The she announced, "I am twice your age, so I appreciate your help."
I laughed thinking she was kidding.
She was not.
It would be unusual to meet someone twice my age these days, and while she wasn't quite that old, she was not extremely far off.
As we talked, Edith revealed she was 98!
The funny part was that she told me when she hit 95, she realized she really wasn't that old after all. There were a lot of things older in this world.
I was fascinated with Edith. You see, I have been feeling "old" lately, almost like life was passing me by, and I have nothing left to offer.
Retiring to care for my aging parents, I had a purpose. Now with their deaths, I find myself unable to get back into the job market. I feel somewhat useless.
Oh, I keep myself busy with volunteer work, Bible studies, blogging, taxiing my daughter to lessons and games, but it is not the same.
As Edith shared her story, I realized how wrong I have been. I am NOT old. It is my perception that has been wrong.
Time to snap out of it! Sieze the day! Be Edith!
God tells us in the Bible in a different way when He admonishes us to think on whatsoever things are lovely and of good report as well as to love others. This means I focus on the good in today and seek how I can serve those I encounter in my daily work, my in between times of life.
Next time I go to the mall, you know whom I will be seeking, Edith. Her son drops her off at the mall once a month. Dressed in her finery, Edith finds a spot in the restaurant, eats her meal, watches folks come and go, and strikes up a conversation throughout the day with those who notice her and take interest and time. If they do, they walk out of the mall richer than when they came.
May I, like Edith, bless those I encounter today in my "youth."
For His Glory,
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The change of temperature in the MidWest brings on my annual closet-cleaning, clothes-tossing ritual. This morning, while preparing my closet for the fall/winter season, and determining which clothes just finally HAD to go (I was never going to be that small in my lifetime again), I was struck by the fact I was experiencing absolutely no hint of headache pain! The past several weeks have had me waking up with a terrible vice-like grip and throb and, after complaining to my doctor with no respose, I just have been dealing with it throughout the day. Since seeing the optometrist, though, I was starting to have the degree of pain diminish. (I am giving the new contacts about 10 days before deciding to request an MRI.)
Holding a 20-year old sweater in mid air, deciding it was time for Good Will (like my dad, I hate to let things go), it hit me. No throb, no vice-like grip, no pain!
I fell to my knees crying in joy and thanking God for His mercy. Even as I prayed, I kept telling myself to take it easy and not bring on a headache from crying so much.
Suddenly, I flashed back to my childhood. Every morning, my mother would pause from her housework and go into the back bedroom to kneel down and pray by the bed.
I remember waiting in the hallway, listening to her prayers. Often she would cry, and I would become scared or worried. She assured me everything was well, and often her tears were tears of joy.
As a child, I just didn't get that. I never cried from happiness. Giggled, yes. Sobbed? No.
So today as I knelt by my own bed and cried to God my thanksgiving in between my seasonal chore of closet cleaning, I understood my mother's tears.
What a wonderful heritage to have, a memory from my mother: an image of her delighting in the Lord, talking to Him, crying over His grace.
Thanks, Mom. Because of that image, I have another one of her living with Jesus and working for Jesus in heaven. I pray my own daughter has memories of a mother who walks and talks with Christ as well.
How about you? What images have you been creating for those around you today? For His Glory? I pray so...
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Remember as a child hearing the story of King Midas? It was thrilling at the story's start to imagine having everything you touch turn to gold! Of course, the story's moral brings it all to a halt when realizing this touch of gold included food, bedding, clothes, and eventually the king's own daughter.
"Be Careful What You Wish For!" was the adage repeated at the end of the story.
Long afterwards, I heard about the lucky winners of the lottery. Their stories often seemed to mirror that of Midas'. With fortune for many came ruin, loss of marriages, friends, and the easily won fortune. It still doesn't stop me from signing up every so often for the free HGTV home give away, even though I wonder how would I pay taxes or upkeep on such a home? If winning it, I could end up having bigger problems, especially in this economy. --Yet I still go on line and register.
Beth Moore, in her study on DAVID, SEEKING A HEART LIKE HIS, shares how the start of Kingdoms in the Bible began with "ASK FORS."
She shares how before David became king, a woman named Hannah sought God for a child. Receiving her answer, Hannah makes a pun or play on words. She names her son, Samuel, which also mimics the Hebrew sound or word for "Ask For." Samuel, becomes a judge for the nation of Israel, but when he turns old, Israel cries out for a king. In their desire to look like other nations, the people of Israel push away from God's timing and methods, and ask for a king to rule.
For those who wonder if God has any humor, the response of God in selecting Saul should answer that. Beth points out that Saul's name in Hebrew means, ASKED FOR.
With their names so ironically intertwined, the two "Asked fors" must interact with each other repeatedly.
I love how Beth points out the difference between Saul and the eventual king God selects after His own heart, David. When Saul was selected he was found hiding among the baggage. He wasn't sure he wanted the job as the first king. Later, Saul seeks to appease God in order to win a battle. In contrast, one sees David seek after God to please God because that is what is in his heart.
Today's study of 1 Samuel 13 made me review my own heart. Am I just seeking to appease, soften God to get what I want in life or do I truly wish to please God? Do I give God my whole heart?
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
I pray God finds in me a heart committed to Him. I pray He works to make me a woman after His own heart.
Join me in trusting that if that is your prayer you will get what you ask for. If so, you will never regret it.
For His Glory,
Monday, September 12, 2011
I truly enjoy watching Just for Laughs Gao on You Tube. The gags remind me of the old Candid Camera television show with Alan Ludd.
I know, you are tooooo young. Believe me it was fun.
The gag above with the bucket humors me because of their facial expressions. I mean, look at the eyes of each person left holding the bucket.
As I watched this clip, I thought how like Satan that is in our lives! He entices us with such innocent temptations. It starts with just come here or just look or just this once....and then he takes such great joy in sitting and watching our discomfort as we deal with the decisions we have made.
I know sometimes terrible things happen like 9-11 in our lives. We wonder why did God do that?
He didn't do it.
God is NOT evil.
Satan roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy. He is evil. He seeks to destroy each of us, our families, our faith.
Don't let him. You don't want to be left holding the bucket and wondering why you are all wet. I don't want you to do so either.
Let's lift each other up in prayer today, Dear Reader. God is with us. He loves us. He does not ask us to do what is wrong or evil, and He will even take what Satan meant as bad and turn it to good.
For His Glory,
I know, you English fanatics our there, it should read, "Be Careful to whom you listen...." I just couldn't be THAT formal though in today's blog.
I read a very strange incident in 1 Kings 13 this morning, and I must share it with you to gather your thoughts or perspective.
After Solomon blew it by marrying a thousand or so women and by worshiping other gods and building altars, God began the process of dismantling Israel as He promised He would if this happened.
Jeroboam had been promised the ten northern tribes of Israel by God.Solomon had given young Jeroboam the job of special project foreman during his reign. Later Jeroboam tore part of the kingdom from Solomon's heir, Rehoboam.
Jereboam had gone to Rehoboam on behalf of the people to ask for leniency in the laws. Rehoboam refused and lost his throne as a result. Rehoboam had asked advice of the elders as well as of younger advisors. The elders told him to give in to their requests. The younger ones told Rehoboam to become even stricter and show the people who was in charge.
Unfortuately for Rehoboam, he listened to pride and showed the people no mercy.
That is the FIRST example of bad advice. It gets surprisingly worse. Surprisingly because it happens to a man of God!
Jeroboam comes to power, but he, like so many others before, goes against God's commands, and builds shrines, installs priests in the high places he made.
God sends a man of God to warn Jeroboam. It is fascinating to see what happens, much like Moses when confronting Pharoh. The prophet cried out against the altar at Bethel made by Jeroboam, and the King stretched out his hand from the altar and said, "SEIZE HIM!" But the King's hand shriveled up immediately. He then asked the prophet to intercede for him and restore his hand.
Talk about changing your mind! At least he did not take as long as Pharoh with Moses. The king then asked the prophet to come with him to eat and talk, but the prophet refused.
Why? The prophet had been told by God NOT to stay, eat, drink, or return home the same way.
So the prophet obeyed and left.
NOW THE BAD ADVICE PART THAT IS SURPRISING. READY?
On his way home, another prophet hears about this man of God and sends for him to come to his home and eat. The man of God tells him he can not go back, eat, or drink because God told him not to do so.
Now you would think one prophet to another, he would respect that. Yes?
NO! This prophet LIES and tells the man of God that God TOLD him to send for him and take him to his house to feed him and give him drink.
The man of God believes him and does so. During the dinner, the prophet tells the man of God that God is angry with him for defying his directions and as a result his body will not be buried in the tomb of his fathers. Whoa! The man who lied must now tell the man of God whom he lied to that he was going to be punished for believing him instead of God?
The prophet put the man of God back on a donkey and as the man of God went his way a lion attacked him and killed him.
Neither his body nor his donkey were mauled or eaten! The lion just sat near the body of the man of God as though he were waiting for someone to fetch the body home. As a result, the prophet who had lied heard about the body, retrieved it, and buried it in his own tomb, and mourned over him.
Well! That certainly upset me this morning! I thought about how careful I must be when listening to hearsay!
Also, how much more careful I must be in making sure I do not give erroneous hearsay!
How often have you heard someone say," I feel God is telling me to tell YOU to...." We must be careful whom we follow when taking directions, right?
The funny video clip below reminds us of that fact:
Today's story tells us to go to the SOURCE, Scripture, God's Word, for our direction as much as possible and to be careful when giving others advice "from God."
"All Scripture is God-breathed for the teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness..."(2 Timothy 3:16).
Today, let's join together in seeking advice and direction directly from God and watch out for hearsay, no matter how wonderful its source may be.
For His Glory,
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Today I was reading a Scripture from Psalm 40:4. In doing so, I thought back to one of my favorite movie series durig my 20's, INDIANA JONES.
One particular scene illustrates what you and I do daily, and how important it is as we move forward to keep doing. The first step is the hardest, though, isn't it? Like Indiana Jones, he had to step out on that invisible bridge, but once he did, each step became easier and easier.
I think that is the way for us, too, don't you? Trusting the first time is so hard. Yet with each experience of stepping in faith, our faith grows stronger and stronger because our relationship with God deepens. The eyes of our spirit open as we see God working in our lives and the lives of others.
That is why I love hearing about answers to prayer or even how people are still holding on when God says, "No" or "Not now."
Yesterday, my spirit soared upon hearing about Debbie, Becky, and my sister, Rebecca, having good news. In addition, my headaches lessened as well! While still there, the pain has not been as blinding, literally.
"How happy is the man (or woman) who puts his (or her) trust in the Lord and has not turned to the proud or to those who run after lies!"
Beth Moore writes, "Trusting in the invisible God does not come naturally for us. A trust relationship grows only by stepping out in faith and making the choice to trust.The ability to believe God develops most often through pure experiece."
Trust and Obey...for there's no other way...to be happy in Jesus...than to trust and obey (Methodist hymn).
How's your trust today? Here is praying you take those important first steps as God holds your hand and opens your spiritual eyes to His bridge of faith.
For His Glory,
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I just spent a scary two hours at the optometrist.
It wasn't her fault.
My migraines have increased to daily episodes, so I decided I needed to start with checking my eyes again before going for an MRI.
As I described my symptoms to her, she warned me that she needed to test for a detached retina.
Gulp! My father had serious eye problems for the later years of his life as he fought diabetes and high blood pressure. My mind went immediately to his struggles even though I did not have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes or migraines. When she left me sitting in the darkened room, I admit to you, I started crying.
I have battled bad eyesight all of my life. My parents thought I was one clumsy kid as I always was the one to misjudge distance at the kitchen table when reaching for milk or items and spilling it everywhere. They did not discover I was near sighted until I was in 7th grade! (Yes, I am that old that eyes were not tested in school regularly nor did we go to the eye doctor as part of a routine visit.)
When I was in 9th grade I was grateful for contacts since glasses were just not the fashionable kind we have today. (Imagine cat-woman glasses and in shades of black or blue.)
So today, I just had it. I also felt such fear. My head began to pound fiercely as my thoughts raced to things like: "OK this is it. You won't be able to read or drive or see your daughter. You will be homebound. This is what getting old is like for you. Get ready. Or...you probably have a brain tumor and will die soon." (Remember, my head was pounding and it had been doing so for 48 hours.)
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of that or any of that could happen. It was just racing to those possibilities set my mind on fire and my heart sank to depression.
Then I remembered the verse, "...peace is his whose mind is set on thee..." I think that is it. Anyway, I started speaking to God. I asked Him to be with me and calm me. I asked Him to heal me, but if He did not wish to do so then to walk with me and help me trust Him like so many of you, Dear Readers, have already done. I know Satan was attacking me in that little room. The spirit of fear is not from God.
I closed my eyes in that dark room, in the silence with only the eye chart glowing in front of me, and I hummed hymns and focused on Jesus. My headache subsided. It did not leave, but it diminished.
So far, the verdict it a bad batch of contacts may have been shipped to me for the past two months. We are trying a new batch. No detached retinas. (PTL) No cataracts.(PTL) No pressure on the optic nerve. (PTL)
It might be migraines or something else, but for now we are trying "bad contacts." To think I went two months with these headaches and fear before testin my eyes again!
But it was a test today of a different sort for me. An "I" see God in difficulties and times of trial test.
I am trying my best to trust Him. Even as I type this blog my head hurts. I don't have the new contacts yet. So I am hopeful this constant pain will go away.
Until then...I pray and trust...
For His Glory.... and hope you do the same...
"For now we see through a glass darkly, but then we will see Him face to face...."
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Last weekend, I saw an unusual sign in a restaurant window. See if you have ever seen one like this:
Warning! By entering this establishment you agree to be filmed....
The establishment was Sweetie Pies Restaurant in St. Louis. It had been featured on a Diners/Dives show, I believe. My brother visiting from Colorado had heard about it and sought it out. He waxed eloquent when describing the BBQ and various side dishes while listening to Rhythm and Blues live music. We drove by there to see what it was like and saw the sign.
I popped out of my car and had to have a closer look. What in the world were they talking about? I bravely asked a stranger jogging by.
She told me that from what she heard the establishment was going to have a reality television show starting in the fall, and anyone who walked in and ate there had to know in advance they were being filmed.
I envisioned how my table manners might change knowing that or even how my attire that day would have been altered as well.
Of course I was reminded how we are already on God's reality television show daily. Others watch us and decide whether or not they see God in us or just hypocrisy. I am ashamed to admit I really did not demonstrate God on Saturday morning to some stranger while visiting the Chidren's Museum in St. Louis.
With 104 record temperature, we were at a loss as to what to do to entertain our out-of-town guest as well as my 10-year old. We needed something indoors for all of us. The Children's Museum is an amazing place where artists have created hidden passageways in walls, floors and art objects. It is hard to describe to adults who have not ventured there.
These pictures try to capture the sculptures and mazes in the ceilings and walls children (and thin adults) climb through during their visits. As the morning continued, the crowds became thicker and thicker, and my anxiety increased with my daughter disappearing in and out of walls. To top it off, a migraine ensued. My vision became blurry and my head began to pound.
Trying to snap a phone camera shot of my visiting cousin (on the whale fin in the picture) a lady kept walking back and forth in front of me. I asked her to wait just a second, but she continued back and forth, back and forth. Finally, I snapped the shot just as she blurred past. She turned and said, "Sorry," just as I was shaking my head in disgust. Then she proceeded to berate me wherever I turned to take another picture because I was shaking my head.
I don't know what came over me, perhaps the heat, the noise, the migraine, but I actually started to go over and tell her off! I then caught myself. How embarrassing! How was this acting like a child of God to this stranger? Too late, she had gone by the time I recognized I was on yet a different Reality TV series. My manners were not God-like either.
I have plenty of excuses, yet none of them work. The bottom line is that I am entering an establishment every morning and am on God's camera. I pray next time, I do not embarrass Him or myself....
For His Glory,
Friday, September 2, 2011
No, I don't think Jay Leno is as smart as Solomon. The title may be misleading in that regard.
-But reading 1 Kings 10-11, I was reminded a bit of Solomon in the description of all he collected. I mean, doesn't it remind you a bit of Jay Leno's famous garage full of collectiblly restored, costly cars?
"The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue--the royal merchants purchased them from Kue. They imported a chariot from Egypt for 600 shekels (15 pounts) of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty...."
That is just the tip of the iceberg with this king. He had ships, gold beyond our dreams. (And with gold prices I have some wishful dreams, don't you?) I mean he even made 200 large shields of hammered goald, 600 bekkas of gold went into each shield (7.5 lbs.). Even the Queen of Sheba who came to visit him because she did not believe the rumors, was in awe of Solomon's riches.
So I picture this man with all of his "cars" like Jay Leno. People are amazed by him. They come from all over to talk with him, to see for themselves someone this wealthy and wise.
That is where the story becomes sad though. Chapter 11. Solomon loved something else, too. Women. He loved foreign women so much that He took women from many nations against God's command. 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines.
What happened to his wisdom? He made political alliances and enjoyed the gifts of wealth that came with each partnershp as well as I am sure, he enjoyed the women themselves.
Solomon turned with each compromise away from God. He established altars to foreign gods, just as God told him NOT to do.
This is the part I find most interesting and hopeful and even unusual. The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from God of Israel. So the Lord told Solomon he was going to take away his kingdom.
He was going to give the kingdom to his subordinates.
Because of David, his father, the Lord would not do it during Solomon's lifetime. "I will tear it out of the hand of your son."
Now, I find that interesting, don't you? Solomon did not experience the full wrath of God because of his father David. Even the tearing apart of the kingdom was diminished later because of God remembering David's heart.
Perhaps then, while my parents can not save me or get me into heaven, perhaps their faithfulness has helped spare the degree of punishment I have so often deserved? Or perhaps my own faithfulness or heart toward God will benefit my own daughter some day?
I know. I know. It is an unusual thought. I have not had it until reading this passage. I know only Jesus can save us and get us into heaven. My Christian parents can not. It is my relationship with Jesus that ultimately matters. It is what HE did on the cross that saves me.
Yet...perhaps the blessings or lack of punishment in my life has been because God has remembered my grandparents or parents or great-great grandparents' heart and prayers for me before I even entered this earth.
I don't know...but it is here in Kings. It is happening to Solomon's kingdom. He has all of these riches. He has all of these women. Yet He has turned away from God. God told Solomon what would happen if he did such a thing, yet God tells him he will spare his kingdom during his life time because of his father, David's heart.
May I be diligent in keeping my heart for God, not only for my sake, but for that of my family's. Something to ponder upon reading 1 Kings 11.
For His Glory,