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Two sides of a coin

Judges 4:4-9 – “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.”

Sorry there are so many verses – one or two just wouldn’t do!

Let’s think about Deborah for a few minutes today. I was having a lively discussion with my little spitfire daughter last night. I love her tenacity and grit. She isn’t afraid to lay it out – even to a teacher, respectfully of course. 

She reminds me a lot of Deborah. Deborah is the only female judge that I know of in the time of the judges. Can you imagine? Women were usually considered second class citizens in those days. Yet, here she was telling it like it is to an army commander. 

Deborah was a judge. But she was also a wife – and more likely than not, a mother. No children are specifically mentioned but they usually come along with the territory of a wife. 

I know that Deborah was prophesying when she said that the victory would be given to a woman, but can’t you hear just a bit of sass in that response? I can almost see the eyes rolling and the arms flopping to pick up her things to leave. Maybe there was some mumbling under her breath. I’m sure many prayers were lifted for this man who needed a woman to come along to assure Israel’s victory. 

I guess the point that I want to make is this – there are two sides to every coin. Every woman has two sides – the “get out of my way or I’ll run you over” side and the “here, let me take care of that” side. The side that says “well, I’ll do it because it needs to be done” and the “come on, you can do it” side. We all have two sides. In my perspective, a woman’s two sides are just more pronounced. It depends on the day. 

I was thinking about what I’m teaching my daughter. Am I doing it right? Will she have that meek and quiet spirit that is sometimes needed in a relationship? I know she already has developed the “get it done” gene. And the sass gene seems to be working quite well too. 

I want her to be like Deborah- capable of being wife and leader all at the same time. A wife is a helpmate – someone to come alongside and help out, not a dictator or wet washcloth to be swished around. But rather, a beautiful combination of sass and grit, gentleness and compassion. 

We need more “Deborah”s in this world. We need more women listening to God’s word and living his statutes and commands in their life. We need more gentleness and compassion in our marriages. We need more grit and sass for Godly truths in our society. We need more lively conversations between a parent and their child. We need more students respectfully stumping their educators.

 We need more pronounced sides to our coins. It’s okay to have two sides – God gave them to us for specific times in our life. We need to develop them both equally and efficiently. 

If you have children, pray for them. They need it. We, as parents who hold ourself accountable to God and God alone, need to develop within our children the characteristics they need to be the Godly men and women He is calling them to be. Pray for both sides of the coin. 

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He’s still working on me

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Lyrics for He’s Still Working on Me by Bill & Gloria Gaither

He’s still working on meTo make me what I need to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be..’Cause He’s still workin’ on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart “Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part”. But I’ll be better just according to His plan. Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.

He’s still working on me To make me what I need to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be…’Cause He’s still workin’ on me. 

In the mirror of His word, Reflections that I see. Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me. But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray. Remember He’s the potter, I’m the clay.

This song has been in my head for a few days. I remember singing it when I was a little girl. It has a whole different meaning now. 

I understand better that I am a work in progress. I understand better that I won’t be perfect until I get to Heaven where there is no sin. I understand better that when I do sin and God brings it to my attention, I need to take care of it right then and turn and go the other direction. I am understanding more His work, His hand and His love for me – although I appreciate fact that I will never fully grasp it. 

But He is still working on me. He is trying to make me what I should be. I really do need a sign some days that says “Don’t judge me yet. He’s not finished.” I want to see His reflection in my life. 

So when you are feeling totally inadequate and unable to accomplish anything and everything, remember – when you are His child, He will always be working on you. Happy Wednesday. 

Cooking with my son

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

My son is 14. The time has come to start teaching him to cook. He wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of cooking, but he is a good kid and did it any way. And guess what? I think he actually enjoyed it. He followed the recipe and made a few blunders, but all in all, he did a very good job and was very proud of himself. 

This whole experience caused me to remember that I need to be diligently teaching my children the principles of the Lord as well. They need to see me studying, praying, applying God’s principles and doing whatever else God has called me to do. They need to see. 

I need to be encouraging their walk with Him. They need to know, understand and appreciate that He is the only One that can be with them throughout everything in their life. 

Educating our children is vitally important. I have been reading in the Old Testament lately about one generation serving God and the next one has straying far from Him. And part of me doesn’t get it. I try very hard not to judge but rather to understand how that can happen. It is hard for me since I grew up in a home that loved the Lord, as did my parents. I can’t imagine my life without Him in it. 

But that is because my family was faithful. They taught me about God, about Jesus and His sacrifice. They taught me right from wrong based on the Word of God. But here is how it keeps on going – I chose to follow Him. 

I can teach my son all day long how to cook and clean and do laundry and any other task necessary for domestic survival, but until he decides he is going to do it, it means nothing. 

The same is true for the teachings of God. I can guide him and teach him and instruct him in the principles of the Lord, but until he takes them and applies them to his own life, they are just hanging out there in the air. 

But regardless of how things may or may not turn out, it is my responsibility to be diligently doing what I know God wants me to do. All I can do is teach and pray. And so, that’s what I do. 

A fourteen year old cooking breakfast for dinner is a big deal. But a fourteen year old living out the principles of God is an even bigger deal. 

Let me encourage you today to be an educator in someone’s life. You may or may not have children, but I can guarantee that there is someone in your life that needs educating. And God put you in their life to teach them about Him. 

House upon the Rock

Psalm 62:5-8 – “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”

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Last night, my pastor spoke about The Rock, Our Rock – Jesus Christ. While he was speaking, my thoughts kept going back to this photo.

We visited this Frank Lloyd Wright designed home this fall – Falling Water. One of the coolest things about this house is that it is built into a rock – a really, really, really big rock! The foundation of the house is in the rock so that it can hang precariously over the stream below it. It is really neat but a little creepy as well. I was praying the whole time that we wouldn’t have an earthquake. Anyway, Mr. Wright was know for his “organic architecture” – what that means is he loved to bring the outside inside. One way that he did this was to bring the rock that the house was built upon into the living room via the fire place. He used this massive rock as the foundation for the fireplace. It was really cool.

My point in all of this is, just as my preacher spoke last night, Jesus needs to be our Rock. If we build our “house” upon Him, it will never fall. We don’t have to worry about earthquakes knocking it off of its foundation or rain washing part of it away or a great wind coming and knocking it off of its foundation. He is firm. He is sure. He is everlasting. And He needs to be integrated into all parts of our “house”. He needs to be the fireplace that keeps us warm. He needs to be the foundation that we step upon when our feet are unsure. He needs to be brought inside into every room and in every instance we experience.

Is there a part of your life that you are holding back from Christ? Is there a part that you have not given Him control and access? How can you expect Christ to be Lord of your life if you are not willing to give Him full access to everything about you? He needs to be in your kitchen when you are providing for your family. He needs to be in the office when you are making decisions about your career. He needs to be in the living room where you relax and enjoy life. He needs to be in the bedroom with your most intimate relationships. He needs to be in the bathroom where you are judging yourself in the mirror. He needs to be in the garage where you keep your past. He needs to be out in the yard where you come in contact with others. He needs to be everywhere and in everything.

He is our Rock. He is our Strong Tower. He is our Mighty Fortress. He is our Cleft. Don’t leave Him out of anything.

Your house

Proverbs 14:1 – “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

If your not a fan of personal responsibility, then you probably won’t like this verse. Solomon could not have said it better if he tried.

You see, in our society, we are looking to blame somebody for something. “It’s not my fault I’m fat. I don’t have the right food options at McDonald’s.” “I don’t make good grades because the teacher doesn’t teach me what I need to know.” “My marriage is falling apart because we have just grown apart.”

Life takes work. Living requires doing. Doing requires that you choose to take ownership of things to make them happen. And with that comes personal responsibility.

As women, we are known as the “keeper of the home.” I guarantee that if you were to ask my husband right now where the cheese grater, hole punch or thermometer are, he probably could point you in the right direction but could not immediately tell you where they are at. Ladies, it is our responsibility to keep up with our house physically.

But it is also our responsibility to keep up with our homes emotionally. The devil is out there looking to destroy us. He wants to make our lives miserable. He wants us to remember all the yuck that has happened lately and wear it around like a banner of honor of all the junk you have had to deal with. The “poor little me” t-shirt is ugly. Take it off and throw it away! You see, by choosing to wear that shirt, you are slowly tearing down your house. It’s like that box of cookies that disappear slowly. You don’t sit down and take it out in one swoop. You take one here and one there and another later until you realize you ate the whole box. And then you feel miserable because you ate the whole thing. Tearing down your house feels just as bad and worse. First, you start wondering why you feel like no one in your house is talking to you. Then you start planning things without discussing them with your mate. And the next thing you know, your house is in shambles around you. I have been blessed that I have not personally experienced this. However, I have seen it many times in the lives of people around me. I know that if I chose one day to get up and not work on my marriage that I could very easily find myself in this position. I know that my life and my marriage are susceptible. I know that without Jesus reminding me daily to love my husband and my family that I would find myself tearing down my own house.

And sister, I think that is where we fail. We want to blame someone else. We want to choose to be blameless in our walk – when we are not. We all fail. We all mess up. We all fall into the pit of despair at times. But Jesus is standing at the top with His hand out reached desiring to pull us up out of the yuck to walk back alongside Him.

Building your house is not one time deal. It is constantly in need of attention. It requires that you clean it. It requires that you decorate it and celebrate in it. It requires that you repair it occasionally. It requires that you be attentive to it. It requires that you live in it and learn it. Just like your physical house, the house of your marriage and your life require attention. Don’t neglect either one of them.

Fallingwater

Matthew 7:24,25 – “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

While we were in western Pennsylvania, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s home design called Fallingwater. It was stunning! Simply amazing! Especially the outside. It blended so perfectly with nature. The inside was a bit small and cramped for my style, but you have to remember it was built in the 1930s. Yes, you read it right – 1939! But the amazing thing was that the furniture and the bathroom designs could have been in any modern home in America. Really, really neat.

But the thing that I want to point out is the building itself. It is hanging from the side of a mountain over a small waterfall. When Wright designed the home, he wanted it to perfectly blend with nature. He anchored it to a boulder, well, several boulders to be exact. I must admit, when we first stepped into the house with this knowledge, I began praying that an earthquake would not come and test the firmness of his anchoring. It was a little creepy. And this house has been hanging around (literally) since 1939.

When I stopped to think about this fact, several verses came to mind. But none stronger than this one. Mr. Wright built this house upon a rock. He placed the beams for this house firmly into the (seemingly) unmovable boulder. And all that rock, concrete and steel have been hanging over a little mountain stream’s waterfall, hosting millions of guests, for 75 years. That’s pretty amazing.

We are instructed to do a similar thing in our life. We are to build our life upon the Rock. This Rock is truly unmovable. Let the earthquakes come. Let the floods rise. Let the wind blow against you. Nothing can take you off that which you have established upon Him. It sounds all well and pretty right? “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that my whole life and still have no clue what that really means.”

Have you ever built with Legos? Those little blocks that fit together to create something truly unique? When you get a set of Legos for something specific, you have all these pieces, a base and a wordless instruction manual – all pictures. You take the pieces in the order instructed and attach them to the base. Every piece has a specific location. And when done properly, it will look exactly like the picture on the front of the box. But if you try to create the structure independent of the base, it will fall apart. You have to use the base.

When people try to build their lives independent of the Rock, their life will eventually fall apart. It may be slow or it may be a raging mudslide, but it will fall.

So take these verses and this little tirade on Fallingwater and think about it this weekend. What, where or on whom have you or are you building your house?

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People talk

Psalm 112:1 – “Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.”

People talk about you. Did you know that? They talk about what you wear. They talk about what you do (or don’t do). They talk about what you say. They just talk. And I’m guilty too. I talk about people. I try very hard only talk about people’s good things but sometimes I sin and talk about not so good things. We all do. It doesn’t make it right; it makes it real. Things we need to work on, right?

Well, I hope that when The Lord calls me home, the verse above will be used to describe my life.
I want people to praise The Lord at my funeral. I want them to look back and see His hand at work in all of my life. I want them to see the way that He has brought me through so much. I want them to remember the way that He never let me down.
I want people to see that I am blessed; blessed beyond measure. I want them to know and understand that I am blessed because I choose to fear The Lord. I’m not scared of Him, well, maybe just a little, but rather I have a healthy respect of the One that controls my breathing. I want people to talk about how I try to be a blessing to others. I never want to be a burden. I want to lighten their load rather than bring them down. I want to build up, not tear down.
And I want people to see that His commands are dear to me. I want them to see that I try very hard to follow Him. I fail. I stumble. I fall. I wonder. But His love and all that He has done for me always brings me back. He always reminds me of the path that He desires for me.

You see, what I want people to talk about, while I’m here or when I’m gone, is this: She loves(d) The Lord. She wants(ed) to do what is right in His sight. She tries(tried) to follow Him in ALL that she does(did). He is what makes(made) her special.

It may be depressing for you to think about what people say about you or what they will say about you when your gone, but princess, this is a time for reflection. A time to plan. A time to change. A time to grow. This is a time to lay before you the way that you want to live to leave an impression. You are going to leave an impression one way or another. You just have to choose what impression you are going to make. Is it going to be one for Him or for you?