Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Powers Out



A few weeks ago, in the early hours of the morning my husband woke me up from a lovely, sound sleep to tell me the powers out.  I lay there a bit groggy, and wondered why it was important for me to know this at 5 A.M. in the morning—I surly would have slept through the whole thing!   Then he added, “I hope the sump pump is okay and the basement doesn’t flood.”  He promptly rolled over and went to sleep.

Grrrrrrrr! 

 I got up, checked the sump pump and used my phone to get the restoration info from Consumers Energy.  (Estimated time was 7:45 A.M.)  

Did I mention…GRRRRRRRRR?

I went back to bed my mind racing.  I asked myself, why did he need to wake me up to tell me the powers out?  And as fast as I thought this—a scripture I memorized as a child came to mind.

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

I smiled.  After 40 years of marriage it actually felt good to be my best friend’s "burden bearer" and he's my "burden bearer" too.  This special privilege is not only for husbands and wives, but also parents and children, siblings, friends and sometimes strangers. 

This week I hope you get a chance to be a "burden bearer" to someone in need because when you do—you are fulfilling the law of Christ. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

There’s nothing I can do.



Recently someone shared this simple phrase with me.  There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make God love me less.” 

As she shared this, I could hear the relief in her voice, and I saw a content smile formed on her lips.  (…and no it wasn’t me looking in the mirror!) 

For those who struggle with being accepted, loved or mistakenly feel they actually play a part in earning the love of God—that phrase can bring an enormous amount of peace. 

·        God's love for you is not conditional on how many Bible verses you read or memorize.

·        His love doesn’t fade if you don’t meet your prayer quota for the day.

·        He is not checking off a “to-do-list” of things you must accomplish in any given day to be worthy of His love.

Nope—not happening. 

I love this passage of scripture in Hosea 11:1-9 (MSG).  God is crying out as a loving father to his rebellious son, Israel.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think of my Heavenly Father saying these words.  Even with all of Israel’s failures His love is evident. 

 “When Israel was only a child, I loved him.
    I called out, ‘My son!’—called him out of Egypt.
But when others called him,
    he ran off and left me.
He worshiped the popular sex gods,
    he played at religion with toy gods.

Still, I stuck with him. I led Ephraim.
    I rescued him from human bondage,
But he never acknowledged my help,
    never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon,
That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek,
    that I bent down to feed him.
Now he wants to go back to Egypt or go over to Assyria—
    anything but return to me!...
My people are hell-bent on leaving me.
    They pray to god Baal for help.
    He doesn’t lift a finger to help them.

But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
    How can I turn you loose, Israel?
How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah,
    devastated like luckless Zeboim?
I can’t bear to even think such thoughts.
    My insides churn in protest.
And so I’m not going to act on my anger.
    I’m not going to destroy Ephraim.
And why? Because I am God and not a human.
    I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst.

Have you ever struggled with the lie that you have to earn God’s love?  Read these highlights again.   

(Insert your name here.) I’m sticking with you.  I’ll rescue you.  When you were just a baby, I taught you to walk, lifted you to my cheek and fed you.  I can’t give you up or turn you loose.  I can’t leave you in ruins.  I’m not going to act on my anger.  I’m not going to destroy you.  I’m here.

Strive to be your best for the Lord, but always remember,  There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make God love me less.” 






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Didn’t Hear A Thing!



The spring and summer storm season is upon us.  A few nights ago there was a big storm that blew through.  

Bob asked me in the morning, “Did you hear that storm last night?”  

I replied, “No.  I didn’t hear a thing.”   

He said, “The wind was blowing, it was pouring rain and the thunder was so loud.”

In surprise I replied.  “Really?”  Then I pulled back the curtains and looked outside.  Within my view I could see that everything was wet and a few garbage cans were tipped over and tussled around landing far from their owners. 

I slept through it unaware and unaffected by the storm because I didn’t hear a thing.    

There have been many storms in my life that were not weather relate that I wish I could have slept through.  I would have loved to say of those storms…I didn’t hear a thing.  And guess what?  Some of them were of my own making.  Have I shocked you?  I think not! 

I wish I could unhear the cruel words, unsee the cold shoulder and unfeel the pain of rejection that I have both felt and inflicted on others. 

Whatever your present storm is; financial, spiritual, physical or relational the Lord is not sleeping through it.  He isn’t saying in surprise, “I didn’t hear a thing.”

I think of those three little monkeys we remember from our childhood each one covering their eyes, ears or mouth—implying that they don’t see, hear or speak. 

Jesus will never do that with us.    

 The Bible tells us…
19…God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer 
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:19-20 (NIV)

This week if you are in a storm, facing a storm or stepping out of one—rejoice in the truth that Jesus sees, he hears and YES—HE even speaks.  “Peace, Be Still.”


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Best Seat



A few weeks back I had two of my sweet grand-kids over to spend the night.  I was fixing them a snack and told them to sit at the small kids table downstairs.  Moments later, there was an earth-shattering scream.  I ran to see what the problem was.  

My 4 year old granddaughter had the only kid's chair in a death grip while my two year old grandson sat on the floor in tears.  It was pretty obvious that he had been forcefully evicted from the chair.  

After a few questions, I took the chair from my granddaughter, and I gave it back to its rightful owner.

Then I tried to explain to her that I had another chair exactly like that one.  Tears streamed down her face, loud wailing resounded and I realized words weren’t going to work.  This girl needed proof.  

I ran back up the stairs and retrieved the matching chair.  It was the same size, same color but it still wasn’t good enough—until I said, “I’m going to put this chair in the best place.  You can see the TV better from here."

She stopped crying.  Her eyes darted from the chair to the TV and back again.   

Then the tears stopped, and she took her seat of honor with a satisfied and maybe a bit mischievous smile knowing that she had the best seat.    

Funny thing about kids—they haven’t learned to mask their true feelings.  They can’t hide selfishness, envoy or pride.  All their emotions are out there like an open book for the world to read.  

“Give me the best.”
“Love me the most.”
“I want that.”
“It’s mine.” 

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.”  Philippians 2:3 (NET Bible)

Adults may be better at hiding their true motives, but we all know there is a 4-year old child within us that wants the best chair, even if it means displacing another.  

This week, examine your true motives and bring them into submission to the Lord.  He can see that mischievous smile, and he knows your heart.  You’re not fooling Him.

Keep Swimming

After a slow start to summer, it's   full-on   swimming weather.  Yeah! For me to really enjoy swimming, the weather needs to be at ...