Archive | May 2016

Remembering Memorial Day

John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

It’s the one day a year that we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and pray for the ones left behind. We have Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday of May and Veterans Day November 11. These holidays celebrate the living – those who are serving and those who survived. But today, we remember and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice performed by many. 

I had the privilege this spring of visiting Arlington National Cemetery. It was a sobering experience. Six hundred twenty-five acres of sacrifice. Some died in battle and some did not. But all sacrificed in one way or another. I also witnessed the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. What a beautifully haunting ceremony. These soldiers are so meticulous in all that they do because of their respect to someone they don’t know and never met. That’s what Memorial Day is all about – respect and appreciation for those we never knew and never met who laid down their life for you and me. 

My heart has been torn in two multiple times this last week with posts on Facebook. I saw one the other day of a young woman sleeping on the floor by her husband’s casket with a Marine standing guard just so she could sleep next to him one last time. I have seen a mom laying on a blanket of memories by a white grave marker holding her tiny baby. And the list could go on and on. It breaks my heart. These loved ones who have nothing but a picture and their memories to pass down to their children who will never feel the love of their fallen parent. 

But I am grateful. I am so thankful for the men and women who have given their lives for my freedom. We maintain the freedom of speech because of them. We maintain the freedom of religion because of them. We maintain the right to bear arms because of them. If we fail to remember and appreciate their sacrifice, what are we teaching the next generation? How are we honoring the fallen if all we focus on is barbecues and parties?

So this Memorial Day, I implore you to take a moment out of your day off and party and whatever else might fill your time and say “thank you.” We should be grateful and thankful to God for providing our country with soldiers who were willing and ready to to make the ultimate sacrifice. And we should say “thank you” to the ones left behind. For they make a daily sacrifice as well – facing the future without the ones that they love. They too need our prayers. 

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Numbering the days

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Well, it’s official – I now have a child in high school. I’m not lamenting, I’m just sayin’….

As I dropped the kids off for their last day of seventh and eighth grade yesterday, I have to admit, I was a little sad. It seems only yesterday, we were going to preschool and wondering if they would ever learn to read. Now, algebra is their main concern – their mixing letters AND numbers together. 

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are great kids. They are loving kids. They are obedient and respectful. 

However, I can also remember the days when I was younger. I remember planning what I would do and expect from my spouse. I remember dreaming about the man I would marry. All the dreams of a young girl’s heart were mine. And that was yesterday, wasn’t it?

My point is – time is flying. Some days it flies out the window and some days it flies down the toilet – depends on the day. Most of my days are out the window, which is a good thing. 

Yet, here we have Moses asking God to teach us to number our days so that we can seek out and apply wisdom. The other night in Discovery, we talked about wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is knowing information. Understanding is learning a lesson from the knowledge. Wisdom is applying knowledge and understanding to an outside situation. 

Think of all those years you have spent learning knowledge and understanding. Now that you have some years under your belt, you should have some wisdom to mete out. Notice I said “should”. Some people can live a really long time without an ounce of wisdom. It’s sad. Now, I’m not saying we should be a bunch of old owls looking down on everyone. Goodness no! I want to be the crazy, fun lady that every one wants to talk to because she has a way of applying things that just makes sense. No hidden messages. No confusion. Just good, down to earth advice that makes you stop and say, “oh, yeah..” while you scratch your head. You know what I mean. 

Number your days. I’m trying not to lament and be sad. Instead, I want to rejoice and be glad at the growth physically, emotionally and spiritually of my children. I want to help them reflect and learn from this year. And when they think of me and our car rides to and from school, I want them to smile and remember the crazy way that mom had of making them see things. I want to beautifully number my days. 

Forsaken

Psalm 9:9-10 – “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

Have you ever felt left behind? Have you ever felt like everyone is running off and leaving you?

I think we have all felt like this from time to time. The people around you seem to be having such a good time and everything seems to be going their way and here you are – hanging on for dear life. It may be physical, emotional or even spiritual. But at some point or another, we have all felt forsaken. 

Webster’s 1828 defines forsaken just like you would think – “Deserted; left; abandoned.” Pretty much sums it up, right? 

Why do we feel that way? How could we ever feel abandoned and alone when we have the King of Kings walking alongside us? Sin. Sin builds a wall between you and your Savior that can make you feel like He has left. In reality, you have laid the bricks that has caused the rift that feels impossible to cross. Sometimes it is actions that builds the wall. Sometimes it is self-pity and apathy that creates the space. Either way, we build the wall. We have a choice to feel and act as we do. And it is a struggle sometimes to turn away from self-pity and apathy. It requires admission that we were wrong. 

But praise God there is a bridge to cross over the gap. Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a beauty bridge that allows us to be washed from the ugliness of brick building and creates within us a sense of joy and peace that most people don’t understand. It washes away that feeling of being forsaken and reminds us who we really are and where we belong – right beside our Heavenly Father as His children. 

The wall of the forsaken may seem impenetrable and looming. But the bridge of forgiveness is wide and welcoming. It is for those who choose to turn away from the wall and walk beside the Savior. But it is a choice. It is not someplace that God forces upon us. It is not someplace we are required to go. That’s what makes it so beautiful. 

If you feel forsaken today, choose to look around for the bridge. It is there waiting on you. God has built it just for you. Take the first step in walking away from feeling forsaken by seeking Him out. He’s just waiting to take you back in. 

Be a pineapple 

Ephesians 6:13 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”


I found this on the biggest time waster in the world, Pinterest. Love that but man, does it waste time!

However, I thought this was great! I have never really considered the personal applications of a pineapple. 

Pineapple is one of my most favorite fruits. I have very fond memories of pineapples. I also LOVE the taste of them. Their sweetness is unparalleled. But they are a booger to get open, sometimes. Their “skin” is so very tough and really attaches itself to the sweetness found inside. 

So, do you know how to pick the very best pineapple? You tug on a leaf of the crown. If it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe and ready. If not, leave it for another day. 

Did you know that you can grow your own pineapple from the one you buy at the store? Yep! When you remove the crown, plant it. It will take several years, but eventually you will have your very own pineapple. Knowing that they take so long to grow really makes you appreciate them all the more. 

So, what does this have to do with my spiritual life, you might ask. First of all, a good pineapple will always stand tall. God doesn’t ask us to initiate a fight. He asks us to be prepared and stand tall – be ready to defend. Pineapples have a tough outer skin. We need to be tough as well – not allowing everything that is said or done to us affect who we are or what we do. Secondly, we need to wear our crown. We are children of the King if we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior. A pineapple is known by its crown. We should be known by our crown as well. And lastly, we need to be sweet. Being sweet can take many forms –  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Do you recognize those? Look up Ephesians 5:22,23 – the fruit of the Spirit. 

There are so many lessons to be learned from pineapples. This only touches the crown, so to speak. Pineapples also are a sign of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9). And we already touched on this one, but one could dive deeper into the armor of a pineapple. They have a core that extends from the base (foundation) that makes the fruit. I could go on and on, but you see what I mean? I never really put much thought into it but wow! God can truly use anything to express Biblical truths!

So, even if you don’t like pineapples, be a pineapple. Take a few moments this week and study the pineapple. Learn its traits. Apply the principles you can learn from this majestic fruit. Every thing around us is here for a reason, multiple reasons usually. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking it’s just a yummy fruit. The pineapple is truly a gift from God.  

Overwhelmed 

Psalm 61:1-5 – “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.”

Have you ever had moments in your life where you are just completely overwhelmed? 

You may be overwhelmed by fear or sorrow or joy or gratefulness. Being overwhelmed can come in many forms. 

I have been overwhelmed several times this week. Monday, I was overwhelmed by God’s care and attention to my life. Tuesday, I was overwhelmed by uncertainty. Wednesday, I was overwhelmed by excitement. Thursday, I was overwhelmed by stuff – lots and lots of stuff to do. And today, I am overwhelmed by gratefulness. 

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that I have been married more than half my life! But it’s true! It is a decision that I would make over and over again. My husband is the BEST! He is loving, honest, true, trustworthy, the leader in our home – I could go on and on. 

I know that the longevity and beauty of our marriage is due entirely to OUR Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that without Him, we would never have survived. Jesus is the One who has kept us sane, kept us strong and kept us choosing to love each other each and every day. 

You know, as we were going through Monday, I knew that God would see us through the trial we were facing. But He did something extraordinary – our couples devotion for that night specifically dealt with what we were dealing with – to the detail! It knocked my socks off! All I could do was cry. It was amazing. 

Being overwhelmed can sometimes be a good thing. It brings you to the place of praise and communication. It doesn’t matter what state of overwhelmed you are at, you can’t help but cry out to Him when you are there. 

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t sweat it – be prayerful in it. Be joyful. Be grateful. Be praising. Be crying out to Him. 

The Ring Leader Complex

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

God has been vigorously trying to teach me a lesson lately. And just like a stubborn old mule, it has taken many trials in an attempt get this lesson through this thick head of mine. I’m not sure I have it firmly established in my being yet, but I’m getting there. 

I’m trying to learn to wait and be flexible – more of the whole flexible thing. You see, I perceive myself as the ring leader of the circus. I feel that it is my responsibility to keep the animals and their shows in order and all doing what they are supposed to do. But sometimes I have a hiccup in the show. Sometimes tragedy strikes and I have to modify my plans. I don’t do so well when that happens. Monkey wrenches have not been my forte as of late. And God is doing His best to remind me that it isn’t really my circus and they really aren’t my monkeys.  

Every week while I am planning out my meals for next week and preparing my grocery list (this is a well oiled machine, mind you!), I am contemplating what sort of things I need to plan for. And when something pops up unexpectedly, that’s when the crazy lady comes out pulling hair and acting the fool. It is not pretty. But God knows my weaknesses and He is doing His best to modify this very unladylike behavior. 

For example, yesterday held an unexpected soccer practice, dance class, private soccer lesson, school awards and work. Oh, and let’s not forget about the monsoon! So, instead of going into freak out mode, I decided to let God take care of it and asked (multiple times) for grace and mercy to accept whatever He had in mind. Know what? All things worked together super smooth and life didn’t crumble because of the monkey wrenches. 

Yes, it was a victory that I am celebrating in Him. I know that if I had let the crazy lady out, it could have been ugly and tense. But she stayed away and the monsoon came and we had a peaceful dinner and I went to bed cheery. 

Sometimes we don’t want to admit that we don’t have it all together. We have this insane idea that we have to have it all together all the time. We aren’t allowed to say we don’t know what to do or that we don’t know how to handle this. These are ludicrous limitations we place on our self. Sometimes you need to throw up your hands and say, “That’s it! I have no clue how to handle this!” And guess what? That’s ok. You don’t have to have it together all the time. You don’t have to know how to handle every single situation. You just need to know when to turn it over to God – and that would be when you open your eyes in the morning. Give it to Him first – and I mean REALLY give it to Him, not just part but the whole entire thing!

I know I’m not the only one learning this lesson. I know I’m not the only one suffering from “The Ring Leader Complex”. But by the grace of God, we will learn it together. 

My Life’s Sculpture 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

So we talked about these verses in Sunday school yesterday. I was trying to get the kids to understand what these verses really meant. Now, I know that these verses were written in regards to service within a local New Testament church, but I feel that they also have a personal application. 

Every sculpture has a base – something it is built upon. Your life’s sculpture is built upon Jesus when you accept Him as your Savior. You build your sculpture with all kinds of things – silver, gold, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble. The actions, thoughts and words you speak that are positive and glorifying to God build parts with silver, gold and precious stones. The actions, thoughts and words that you speak that are self-glorifying and negative build parts with wood, hay and stubble. We build with all those materials every day – all of us. 

But at the end of your days when you stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, what will your sculpture be built of primarily? You see, at this Judgement, all of our works will be tried by fire. Our life’s sculpture will be placed in God’s holy fire and only the good stuff will come out. 

What will your sculpture look like? Will it be beautiful and abundant or will it be small and puny? 

You see, this is what your gift to God will be. It will be a life’s work that will show Him how you truly lived your life (not that He doesn’t already know). This sculpture is how you will be rewarded. It shows what really went on. In this life, you can make your actions seem pure and righteous, but God sees what you are really building with. And in that fire, so will you. 

So, what are you building your life’s sculpture with? How will it withstand the fire? What will your gift to Him truly be?