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Christmas cards

1 King 19:11-13a – “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.”

I know, it’s not Wednesday and it isn’t 6 in the morning. But I had to get this out.

Someone stole my Christmas cards out of my mailbox last night. Yep, you read it right. Someone thought they would find a stash of money or something in that stack of 100 and something Christmas cards going out to friends and family all over the place. Boy, were they shocked to find the only thing of value was the unused stamps on the outside of the card. 

Here are my lessons in this situation.

1) Someone needs Jesus. If things in your life are so desperate that you are reduced to committing a federal offense by rummaging through someone’s Christmas cards in the middle of the night, you need Jesus. 

2) I need to forgive. I’m working on this one. I know that in the scope of eternity whether or not I send out Christmas cards is not going to matter. It does, however, matter if I forgive this person that did this. I’m getting there. They have been on my heart heavy these last couple of hours. 

3) I need to listen. Last night as I was putting the cards in the mailbox, I thought “someone could steal these tonight.” Then I thought “no way, no one is going to do that. They are just Christmas cards.” God was speaking to my heart and I just tuned Him out. I can’t tell you how often this has been happening lately. I will hear His whisper across my heart and then blow it off as nonsense. When will I ever listen? And listen consistently?! That Still Small Voice is still active today. He is still whispering across our hearts – warning us, encouraging us – and too often, I know that I don’t listen. I instead listen to the other voice. I listen to the one that tells me that I know best. I listen to the one that says the other Voice is crazy. 

In all of this, I’m upset about the loss of the Christmas cards, the time and money spent on them and the fact that our society has stooped this low. But most of all, I’m upset with myself for not listening. I have asked for forgiveness and I know that I have it. But now I have to forgive myself for being a cotton-headed ninny-muggin (Elf reference) and ignoring God when He speaks to me. 

Christmas is a time of reflection and memories and a time of giving. Well, this will certainly be a memory I look back on and I hope that my giving of the unused stamps will certainly cause someone somewhere to pause and rethink their life. They need Jesus…and so do I. 

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Mommy alarms

1 Kings 19:11-13a – “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.”

We have this thing in my little family called “mommy alarms”. Everyone knows not to doubt the “mommy alarms”. The “mommy alarms” has kept us from harm and getting wet many times. 

“Mommy alarms” is that “still small voice” inside me. When I listen to it, things bode much better for us all. But when I choose to ignore it, well…let’s just say things might get a little hairy. 

I believe that God has equipped us, upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, with that still small voice. He is also known as the Holy Spirit. And He speaks to us all the time. He tells us when problems are coming. He tells us when things need to be said. He tells us when things should NOT be said. He helps us to understand the Word of God. He is with us any time and all the time we ask and are willing to listen. 

I like to call His work in my life, in regards to protecting my family, my “mommy alarms”.  I know it is God in my life because how else would I know way ahead of time that “yep, we should really head back to the car – my mommy alarms are saying rain!” I believe that God cares about all aspects of my life, even the tiniest little details – like rain. 

In this portion of the passage, Elijah is having a pity party and God is trying to refocus him. He shows him that He is not in all the distractions and problems. He is in that still small voice that pulls us through some of the darkest moments in our life. 

I know in my own life that it has been that still small voice that has held my crumbling spirit through the death of my dad. It has been that still small voice that has lifted me up when I failed my national board exam for OT (the first time I failed anything!). It was that still small voice that kept me from giving up when I thought I would never have a child. And I could go on and on. But that still small voice has also been there in the happy moments as well. That still small voice reminds me to praise the Lord when things are right and happy and good. 

So today, as the wind threatens to blow you over and the earth quakes beneath your feet and the fire around you blazes, listen. Listen for that still small voice. And when your “mommy alarms” are going off, don’t ignore them. God gave them to you, in good times and bad, for a reason. 

Asking for the right thingĀ 

1 Kings 3:8-10 – “And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”

These are the verses where Solomon asks for wisdom. And in doing so, he gets so much more. 

Have you ever been plugging away through your day and BAM! Brick wall out of nowhere! You get some news and all the plans that you had made are suddenly on the ground in shambles and your not sure how to pick them up and make sense of them. 

So you do the only thing you know to do – you pray. But what do you pray for? Do you pray for God to fix the situation or do you ask for Him to help you know what to do? Yes – on both accounts. 

I know that God is perfectly capable of making my problems disappear. I know that He can miraculously change minds and create situations that work things out. I’ve seen Him do that. 

But I also know that He is able to give me the understanding to figure things out in His will. I know that this path may take longer and require more prayer and more patience and more work, but this is often the path that changes my life and causes me to learn. It is the time when I am pruned and prepared for the next chapter of my life. It is never easy or fun but necessary and God-glorifying. 

What I wanted you to see in these verses is that Solomon did not ask for God to fix all the problems he was facing and would be facing. He didn’t ask God to slay all his enemies that he had or would have. He didn’t ask for a life of luxury and ease. He asked for “an understanding heart” to “discern between good and bad”. 

We don’t always need God to fix all our problems, but we do need God to give us the know-how to solve the problems we do have and will have. Sometimes we do need to God to make it all go away. But more often than not, we need God to give us wisdom and understanding to get through whatever problem we face. 

So, when that brick wall comes out of nowhere and you find yourself with a whole lot of yuck, remember Who you have on your side and what He is capable of – wisdom and understanding. For with these comes peace of heart and joy in knowing that you are following after Him.