Wednesday, February 24, 2016

God Speaks




        I try to read devotionals with my kids on a regular basis. We read Our Daily Bread in the mornings and the girls have their own devotionals for evening. One particular morning, as I was reading the devotional aloud, my daughter said, "hey, this is about being satisfied-that is what my devotional was talking about last night." Devotions for Girls: God & Me referenced Psalm 107:9 “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Our Daily Bread was out of Exodus about God providing for or satisfying the Israelites with manna. The tag line at the end of the devotion read, “Those who let God provide will always be satisfied.”
     First, I was impressed that she made a connection from these two unrelated sources that occurred at least 12 hours apart from one another. (I certainly hadn’t made the connection.) Second, I wondered how to respond.  Would she understand? Do I have enough time to explain? I took a deep breath and dove into an important conversation with my 8 year old. "You know, when I hear the same message from different places, usually it means God is trying to tell me something important." As soon as the words left my mouth, my daughter inquired, "Do you think God is trying to teach me something?"
     I responded affirmatively and began to think of all of the life applications for her. I was half way through this sermon in my mind, when she stopped me dead in my tracks with her reaction. She was so excited as she squealed, "God is speaking to me!" In my mind, God was trying to teach her something she wasn’t already doing. It was quite obvious to me that God was showing up with a lesson about being satisfied since kids these days always seem to want more.
     I was surprised by her excitement and remember thinking how much she had to learn about life. However; as I revisit the texts as I write this article today, I am reminded of the wisdom in youth. Perhaps my daughter was more right than I originally thought in interpreting the scriptures about being satisfied. She was excited that God spoke to hear because she saw the scriptures as more of a promise from God instead of a command, something to hold onto instead of something to accomplish. I urge you, allow God to satisfy your heart this day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bedtime Routines

Recently I was putting my 7 year old daughter to bed. As many parents know, this is either a delightful or dreaded experience dependent on a few factors. At any rate, this particular night was great. Teeth were brush, baths taken, and ready for devotional time. This particular night I don't know if we completed the devotional or simply talked about our day. Either way, we finished our time with the Lord's Prayer. My daughter has the words memorized, but many times she likes me to recite them by myself or with her. That particular night, she decided we would say the Lord's Prayer together. 

The Lord's Prayer has some pretty big words in it. As we were saying the prayer, my mind wondered, thinking...I wonder if this prayer is meaningful to my daughter. I wonder if she even knows what we are saying. So after we were finished, I acknowledged my questions. My daughter's response was priceless. She said, "Momma, I do know that debts are sins. But, even though I might not know what all the words mean, they are about God and God is good and that is what I believe!" 

No doubt we will talk about the Lord's Prayer and what all the petitions mean. However, the biggest lesson learned that evening was taught by my daughter. We don't have to know everything, we must believe. I wonder how many more faith lessons I will learn from my children.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Newness


    Recently we had to upgrade our DISH Network system because our receivers and dish was too old. We kept receiving reminders in the mail in the form of flyers as well as telephone messages and emails. The messages told us that our service would be interrupted if we didn’t update our system soon. Since we are paying a monthly fee for this service, we surely didn’t want to interrupt service.
  So I set up the appointment and planned to be available for half the day in order to accommodate their DISH technician. The technician was nice, helpful, and good at his job. And the best part, we got upgraded equipment for free! We got a new receiver, DVR style! It is pretty fun to navigate and try to figure out how the new remote works. In addition, the picture is so much more clear.
   Don’t you just love getting new things?! Take a moment and think about the last new thing you experienced. There is a certain energy and enthusiasm that comes with newness whether it be new tv equipment, new haircut, or a toy. You want to spend time looking at it, playing with it, or learning about it every spare second you get.
    I wonder if that “newness” attitude can translate into our faith life and relationship with God? In other words, shouldn’t we try to approach God with that same kind of energy and excitement? Whether it be during daily devotions, Bible Studies, Youth Force, or worship, God deserves the best of our time and attention always.  Use this lenten season as a time of preparation to grow closer to God. And may Easter be a time of great excitement and new beginnings as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Baby Potato


This week following worship, there was a Potato Bar to raise funds for the Basement Dream Plan at the First Presbyterian Church. The Adult Sunday School class put together a fabulous event complete with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head costumes. The older girls (Julia and Annie) wore the costumes, but there wasn't one Kaycee-sized. Of course, my little cherub was upset. She approached me upset, but with a solution, wondering if she could put her own costume together between Sunday School and Church. That left her about 20 minutes to perform what I thought would be a miracle. With my permission, she set off to make a costume (out of old church costumes).

I noticed she had been missing for awhile and asked my mom to check on her right before church started. Before long, they appeared and to my surprise, she had diligently been working on her costume the entire time. The results speak for themselves (see the picture about). Not only did this little girl make her own costume using church attire, but she also created a face, and named herself "Baby Potato." Instead of getting upset and sulking around with an attitude problem, this little girl faced a problem and did something about it! I couldn't have been more proud of my "Baby Potato."

Perhaps it is because I am her mother, but her actions sure spoke to me yesterday. So many times, I get upset and basically do nothing. Kaycee allowed her feelings to drive her to action and fueled her creativity. I wonder, could we use our feelings (whatever they may be) to drive us to action? And if we did, would this world be a better place?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cats and Christians

I have a few farm cats. They are really beautiful creatures, one is gray striped, one black with white paws, and a couple orange fellas. They are cute, but don't even think about petting them because they are skittish. Here is the thing, they get close to you on their terms. When I am in the garden, they like to frolic nearby. If I am working in the shop, they come close enough to satisfy their curiosity. If I am unloading the car and my arms are full, they are practically under foot. The moment I notice and try to acknowledge them, they run.

Now I have tried everything to tame these little things. I have sat in the garage (their home) several times just trying to make nice. I remember Grandma Weant would warm up meat for her cats in the evening. Sitting on the step, she would toss "supper" to the cats until they were crawling on her lap. I tried to coax my cats with left over meat time and again...nothing.


I wonder....could Christians be a little like my farm cats.... We are a little skittish and only get close to God on our terms. The moment we notice God trying to acknowledge us or act in our life, we run! When God tries to pursue us, we only allow ourselves to go so far. We want to be in control, after all it is our life.

I am not so sure that I will ever tame those farm cats, however; I can learn a lesson from them. I will try to notice my skittish nature and keep it under wraps so as not turn away from God. I will try not to run when God acknowledges me or tries to nudge me in a certain direction. I will try to allow my relationship with God to grow naturally instead of just on my terms! Praise God for those skittish farm cats that can teach me a little about me!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Smell My Hand

There is something about smells that seem to mesmerize both the young and old. If you have ever been around kids for very long, you have probably heard this one before, "Hey, smell my hand." Are they amazed by something that smells wonderful or are they just trying to get you? Usually you have a 50-50 chance on this one. However, if it is a girl, you are more likely to be safe, I suppose.

The other day I got a text message from a friend that read, "My daughter just asked me to smell her hand. I am thinking lotion and preparing my automatic 'mmmmmm' response. No, she had helped clean the fish tank. She is now washing her hands for the third time." There is just something about our sense of smell.

My grandma died several years ago, however; when I smell a certain combinations of perfumes, I remember her as though she is standing next to me. My other grandma loved to cook, whenever I smell homemade beef and noodles, it takes me back to her kitchen. My husband likes the smell of hot gear oil and it reminds him of racing.  My daughters can smell the hand-me-down clothes and know without a doubt whose home they came from.

What smells jog your memory?

I wonder, is the sense a smell a gift from God? Well, maybe not for my friend....but, I think it is....most of the time. In the Easy-to-Read version the word smell shows us 93 times!
-Many references have to do with the sweet smell of a sacrifice or gift to the Lord or others.
-A few references dealt with recognizing people. "So Jacob went to his father and kissed him. When Isaac smelled Esau’s clothes, he blessed him and said, “My son smells like the fields the Lord has blessed...." (Genesis 27:27)
-Some have to do with the importance of smell. "If the whole body were an eye, it would not be able to hear. If the whole body were an ear, it would not be able to smell anything." (1 Corinthians 12: 17).
-And then we come full circle to smells being a gift again, but not for God, from God. Ephesians 5: 1-2 reads, "You are God’s dear children, so try to be like him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave himself for us—a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God."




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ants, Terro, and Friends

There is not too many things in this world that I hate. After all, hate means to "dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest." That being said, I am pretty sure that I HATE mosquitoes and ants! Those pesky little creatures are so nasty, especially when they take up residence in your...home. YUCK! 

I can't believe that I am even going to share this nastiness, but I will as the object lesson is one that I just I can't pass up. So you see, my front room and porch were recently invaded by ants. I felt violated, so I did the only thing that seemed to make sense, I cleaned like a mad woman-vacuuming floors and washing blankets. To my dismay, the ants came back. This meant war, so I sprayed ant killer thinking that would do the trick. Again, those little boogers came back. In talking to my mom, there is a magical treatment called terro liquid ant bait. The ant bait is formulated to slowly kill the worker ants in two to three days. This gives the foraging ants time to consume the deadly bait, return to the colony and share it with the rest of the unsuspecting nest. Let me tell you this stuff works wonders; it is amazing. Though I highly recommend this product, this is not an advertisement for terro, it is an object lesson in faith, of course! 

Let's think of the ants as a group of friends and the terro as an evening out. I am sure the terro tasted great at the time, otherwise, the ants wouldn't eat it. As you can tell by the picture, they are surely enjoying this tasty treat for the time being. However, this stuff is actually killing them very slowly.


I wonder what things we do that may be "killing" our spirit slowly and infecting others around us? Think about it, the people that we hang around with affect us. The things we do, affect us and others as well. Proverbs 12:26 reads, "The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray"