Consternation-Follow God's Leads

February 27-28
The word consternation came to mind last night as I was going to sleep and was still with me when I awakened. Not certain what it meant I headed to the dictionary.

Consternation-amazement or dismay that hinders or throws into confusion.

WOW, this week I was thrown into a state of consternation following a phone call. So what was I to do with this word feeling so certain God wanted me to follow its lead. After checking seven translations I finally found the word in The New American Standard in Ezekiel 3:15
Then I came to the exiles who lived beside the river Chebar at Tel-abib, and I sat there seven days where they were living, causing consternation among them.
This led to a two hour study of the book of Ezekiel.
(I had planned to clean my house...oh, well.)
Looking at the word again I saw...
The prefix con means "with". Constern translated in my mind to "concern".
Then there boldly at the end of this word stands "nation".

We are to be filled with concern for our nation!


Check out this commentary from the NIV Women of Faith Bible. It is well worth the read and spoke clearly to me to shift my prayer concerns today for our nation.

Ezekiel 3:3-15
"As part of Ezekiel's call, God tells him to eat a scroll. The scroll contains words of 'lament and mourning and woe'. Surprisingly, when Ezekiel eats the scroll, it tastes sweet, revealing to him and his listeners that even God's words of bitter judgement can be sweet because they are a last call to turn to him and be saved.
After eating the scroll, Ezekiel recognizes the troublesome task ahead of him. He must relay a discouraging message to the people in exile. These are his people, people he belongs to and loves. And he must tell them that God has decided to destroy Jerusalem, the city they adore. God's judgment is now inescapable. But worse than the message itself is the sure knowledge that the people will not listen. Ezekiel's heart is broken. He grieves for seven days; he is overwhelmed by what he's seen and heard. Only after those seven days of agitation and mourning does he respond to God's call to begin his ministry."

I wish you were here with me to feel my excitement as God is putting several things together for me. Be encouraged when God sends you on what may seem like a wild goose chases! He is speaking to you!
All week He has had me going back to a song we sang last Sunday in church.
Hosanna, by Hillsong. I will post the whole thing in the side column on the blog, but the phrase which hasn't left me all week is..
Break my heart with what breaks Yours.

Do you see how that ties in with Ezekiel's mourning for his people?
How it connects with where we have allowed ourselves to go as a nation?
Are we lamenting when it comes to those we love and care about who don't listen to what God wants them to hear?

Oh, Father, you have me aching for Ezekiel in his faithfulness to rely on Your strength and carry your message to a tough audience. Our day is no different.
Make us all obedient to listen, and because of who we know You to be make us courageous enough to step forward into action when You call upon us to be difference makers. In Jesus Name, Amen

Sit Still

February 26

LOL...my Bible study this AM has taken me to passages on the importance of sitting still! Immediately I realized I bark out the command of "sit still" daily.
Ah, you are thinking that is because I am a teacher....nope...that command is aimed daily at our English bulldog who requires some tedious care. From the gook which drains out of his eyes, to the dirt which cakes up on his nose, to the poopies which get stuck under his corkscrew tail and the drainage which comes out of his infected ear I need him to be still and cooperate while I clean him up!

Do you hear it? Did the same thought reverberate back to you? God is saying..
"A hum." Likewise dear ones, I need you to sit still and cooperate while I clean up your heart with my Word! Oh, my! The list is lengthy of the things which need to be picked out of our lives.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

May we all take time to sit before the Lord today an allow him to clean up our acts!

Under Cover Care

February 25

Lying on my belly, with the covers pulled up high around my chilly shoulders, I am praising the Lord for wireless which allows me to type without getting out of bed.
It's cold! My hot water bottle of a husband starts his day in another town, so he is up and Adam, leaving me to really not want to get out of bed and wander out into the cold temperatures this morning.

Sobbing through a faculty prayer time yesterday, two of us shared circumstances we are experiencing which at times make us want to give up the battle. A huge part of me wanted to hide beneath the covers yesterday and not get up and face the world, but I knew the children would be an excellent distraction and the prayers and encouragement of my colleagues would put me in the proper mind set.
That was right on!

Today my prayers are for the "burden bearers" out in the world.
This phrase has dual meaning, so I need to double up my prayers.

While typing this term, "burden bearers" I was thinking of all the people who are carrying heavy loads of hurt and disappointment. On occasion, as a teacher, I hold a lamenting child whose tears and distress relay a message that the pain is just too great for them. The three greatest burdens I see and sometimes share with my adult friends are job and health fears and the onset of panic which comes from feeling unloved by someone you love very much.

Going to God's Word with a search on the topic "bearers" I came across words of wisdom for Moses, which now have me praying equally as hard for our support systems...you know the friends who come alongside you and are willing to crawl under the covers with you, just long enough to let you know you don't want to stay there, and they gently pull the covers back, wrapping a warm shawl around your shoulders and putting a hot cup of tea or coffee in your hands while nudging you along to make the transition of facing the beast which is bearing down upon you and trusting God with the outcome.

For me yesterday, the wisdom which flowed around me carried great impact. The greatest thing it did was allow me to hear the Lord himself say to me..."Do not get weary from the battle by trying to fight for yourself...I am here...trust in me."

So often we try to handle things ourselves. Moses began to buckle (panic) from the burden of God increasing the people he had been called to lead in Deuteronomy 1. Can't you imagine? "Wait a minute Father, I have a plate full already with these grumblers." The Lord gave him some great advice in verses 11-13.

May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you."

If we are feeling "covered" up from our own personal burdens or those we have been called upon to carry for others we need to crawl out from under them and seek wise counsel and even ask for help!

Singing Mighty to Save as I face the world today!

Mighty to Save

February 24

"The battle is heightening." I hear that comment over and over again from brothers and sisters in Christ. Situations are robbing our slept and anxiety is pressing in on many fronts, but when the going gets tough we need to get on our knees,open our Bibles, turn on the praise songs and encourage one another.

The phrase "Everyone needs compassion" has just come to mind.

I've posted Hillsong's complete lyrics to Mighty to Save on the sidebar of the blog today. Here is the beginning.

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.


The Biblegateway verse today is an appropriate one for those of us who need to remember God is in control and has a plan!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

I just want to know...

February 23

We struggle with the unknown!
We think life would be much easier if we just knew what was to come.
Hollywood has produced hits like Back to the Future which tempt us with what would appear to be a luxury of being able to make choices which could alter the outcome of life ahead of us.

A day doesn't go by in this economically deprived time that I don't talk to someone who wants to know that things are going to get better, that they will have a job, or that they can make their house payments. They struggle with what to do next. (My husband and I are right there with them concerning our jobs.)

This time of year has thousands of students waiting for college decisions. They just want to know where they will be spending the next four years of their lives.

Adoption lists are long and anxious, "want to be" parents see time ticking along and their desire to have a child consumes their daily thoughts. They just want to know...will the call ever come?

Overwhelmed with the daily tasks ahead of me yesterday, plus the burden of the unknown, I found myself not even knowing what to pray on the way to school yesterday, so I asked the Spirit to intervene. Within minutes I found myself repeating a very honest phrase to the Lord. "I just want to know, I just want to know, I just want to know." My mind was flooded with the numerous categories for which I just wanted to know the answers. It could not have been 5 seconds, when on the radio came a song by a group called "December Radio." The chorus rang out..."It's gonna be alright!"

Sharing this story with my students their eyes and mouths revealed the same excitement which I had experienced knowing that was God showing up to remind me He is still on the throne and He knows us well enough to know it is best we don't always know what is ahead!
The unknown is a huge part of our journey!

Searching the word "know" in the Bible over 1,000 verses came up!
Psalm 139 is a classic expressing what the Lord knows. Go there and hang out!

Psalm 94:11 continues on exclaiming what God knows about our thoughts!
The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.

So we lay our troubles down at the foot of the cross and watch for Jesus to sort them out in a way which hopefully leaves us reflecting more of Him and less of us!

Probably one of the biggest "I just want to know's" in life is...
I just want to know I am loved. All we have to do is pinch the very skin we are in, remember who took the time to make us, who counts the beats of our hearts each day and who hung upon a cross for us; therefore, we know Jesus loves us.

Overload

February 22
Lord, I have one of those 14 hour days ahead which does not stop and I am already late and feeling overwhelmed. Looking out my window is the deepest, pink sunrise I have ever seen. While beautiful, I am thinking of the rhyme my father taught me when he was teaching me to sail..."red sky at morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight." (Ha, we were just on the lake and always insight of the shoreline!) Hopefully, that warning does not apply to the storms of everyday life.

Needing a verse to cling to, I felt rushed and as if there wasn't even time to write the devo or look up a verse. I opened a 50 page document where I have been doing a Bible study and scrolled to the middle to look for a quote about the storms of life. Instead...there aws what I needed to bring me peace.


The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8

I probably won't get my legs shaved today, but since a personal massage and pedicure are not on the agenda that should go unnoticed! Do pray I am not in a wreck and end up in the ER where they will be grossed out with the stubble!

See, just taking time to hang here with God has renewed my spirits.
My He be real to each of you today.

Soldiers

February 20-21

The students at school have been writing to soldiers and today in my Bible study I was really impacted by the way what I was personally studying related to our military personnel.
From One Month to Live:
Jesus traveled lightly. He kept only the cargo that was most important for His health and His mission. He advised His followers to do the same.”
The study goes on with these questions.
What is your response to His advice?
What cargo might Jesus want to you to discard from your life?

(Oh,goodness...show me some mercy! My husband is hoping I interpret this to mean I need to learn to travel more lightly!)

Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Mark 10:28-31

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

God is preparing me for something....downsizing maybe or leaving everything!
My husband says the only way he will ever move again...is if we take nothing!
Rarely does my mind gravitate to consider how simply our soldiers live while abroad or in training camps.

Less, especially living without the mess, makes it easier to spend time with Jesus!

Let's take time today to stop and pray for our soldiers who have left so much behind to willingly go and give it all up to protect us!

Compassion

February 19

Lord, have compassion on me, I've let the world trump my time with you this week.

Merriam Webster's definition of compassion:
sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
together with a desire to alleviate it


I keep reading this definition over and over. The obvious difference between feeling sorry for someone and having compassion for them comes in the second half of the definition. Christ like compassion should move us to the point of having a desire to help alleviate another person's distress. One of the most powerful ways to have a positive impact is to earnestly pray for the dilemma that person is experiencing.

Struggling with some back pain I was on the floor stretching yesterday and looked over at my prayer bench. Sorrowfully, I realized I could not remember the last time I knelt there to pray. The most powerful punches we can throw the enemy come from fervent prayer.
Time to get on my knees and alleviate the distance which I have created with the Lord.

Test Our Sincerity

February 18

During a study on Galatians Chapter 6 and "reaping what you sow", our Middle School Bible class was challenged by a question which suggested how you would fair on a test of your sincerity in the area of selfless giving.
Today our students go on an annual skiing/snowboarding field trip, so yesterday the challenge/test was this...Say a mother walked in the school today and had great financial needs. She had no money left to buy food for her family and if she did not pay her rent that very day she would be evicted from her apartment. The suggestion was made that for each student to sacrifice going on the ski trip, and instead give the money which was for the ski trip to the mother in need.
The reactions were quite diverse. Two immediately said, "Absolutely give the money to the mother." The majority did a quick heart check and agreed the right thing would be to give the money, while one student's head was shaking negatively from the get go. My guess is he was thinking there would be other ways to come up with the money and not have to make the personal sacrifice. While that is probably true, I believe there are times our obedience to the Lord is tested and we are called upon to act in selfless ways. Many times the sacrifice which is requested is our time. Hmmm, then it is probably best to recall who controls our tickers! The truth is we always feel better when we give of ourselves.
Having the opportunity to be a blessing is a blessing!

Genesis 12:2
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.


1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,
because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.


John 1:16
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Instill

February 18

Instill: : to impart gradually.

Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won't sin."
Exodus 20:20

Someone was sharing about a friend who had accepted Christ, but they hadn't seen any changes in the person's life to confirm such occurrence. A walk with the Lord is a lifelong process, The Holy Spirit is imparted to us, but we have to choose daily to give control over to Him. The depth of our reverence for the Lord, which Moses speaks of above, comes from a long time relationship which He proves himself true over and over again. "True" does not always mean experiencing our desired outcomes, but His desires. When we experience Christ's love, which is imparted to us over and over again despite our performance, we want to stay away from sin and be pleasing in His sight.

Smooth sailing is not the forecast for our earthly lives, but the fact that our captain will never abandon the ship is promised and instilled in every tale which is ever told about Christ.
Now that is reason for rejoicing!

Rut

February 16
Being stuck in a rut has been a literal problem around here with all the snow.
When I awakened this morning with that word on my mind I was taken back to my childhood when a record would get stuck in a rut from a scratch and play the same note over and over. Sometimes the needle would hit something that sent the arm sliding across the whole album.
A winter like we have had, especially not seeing the grass for weeks, can cause dispositions to be a little rutty. I can't seem to remember a time in the Bible where Jesus was stuck in a rut, bored or frustrated with life. The secret to His success was recognizing the need for prayer and always looking to the Father.

Fling a little spring into your life and the lives of those around you today. Instead of hot chocolate, serve up some lemonade and a scripture which is full of happiness. Choose to allow the Holy Spirit to smile out of you today instead of keeping him wrapped up deep inside of you. Get out of the winter rut and look to the Lord in expectancy of a new thing being done today!


The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Psalm 19:8

If we let the SON shine and all our days will be brighter.

Rush to the Word

February 15
Today has been a rush from beginning to end. A winter storm was predicted and I really thought school would be delayed. Even though I sleep with the Head of School, I don't always know what is ahead. After sitting at his computer watching the weather forecast for an hour and a half he decided to go on time, but awakened me a bit late! Whew, I had to get in gear quickly and never caught up. After starting school on time, we had to close early because the storm did come!
The word "rush" had been hanging on all evening, so finally I went to the dictionary to see if the Lord had a message there.
Clinking on the verb form, which is what I had been experiencing all day, I found: "Rush: to move forward, progress, or act with haste or eagerness or without preparation."
Seeing the option of the noun form of the word I immediately thought of Moses in the bull rushes, but found quite the variety of definitions covering a spectrum from football terms and fraternity membership processes, all the way to feelings of euphoria.

One word, so many possibilities. God's Word works the same way. It is potent and powerful and brings life, healing, hope, encouragement to a barrage of scenarios.


For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Whose Side are You On?

February 12-14

A friend emailed me this You Tube link;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ddoyfn6g4

Now it has a good ole country twang, which if you're not from around these parts you might not be accustomed. The interrogational lyrics will get your brain in gear this morning. (The made up word, interrogational might too!)

While the song, which by the way is being sung by The Barn Again Gang, may get us considering our earthly heritage there is deeper thought to be provoked. Spiritually speaking, we are on one decisive side or the other when it comes to how imminent our exit could be. In a flash, in a twinking of an eye, at the last trumpet's call", when Jesus appears whatever our previous relationship with Him has been will determine our travel plans.

Lyrics to My Father's Side;
Felecia Shifflett

Just a young boy in the temple one day
Shared with the doctors, they were so amazed
Never had they seen one so young speak so swift
They asked him many questions, the conversation went like this

CHORUS:
What’s your name, son?
On my mother’s side, my name is Jesus
But on my Father’s side, they call me Emmanuel
How old are you, son?
On my mother’s side, now I’m twelve years
But on my Father’s side, I’ve just always been
Where you from, son?
On my mother’s side, I’m from Bethlehem
But on my Father’s side, it’s New Jerusalem
What’s your plan, son?
On my mother’s side, I’ll be crucified
But on my Father’s side, I’ll rise again
And I’ll sit by my Father’s side

He was the Son of God, yet the son of man
And I can’t help but wonder how Joseph must have felt
When through an open door that day, he heard his son reply
You see, I’m the King of Kings, that’s on my Father’s side

Joy Robbers

February 11

Stash 'em, smash 'em, put 'em in the trash. Get those things which rob our joy out of our lives! Impossible! They are going to show up. Joy robbers come in the form of people, thoughts, mechanical break downs, and yes...even the weather! All of these elements will forever exist in our earthly lives. Ah, for the hope of heaven.

What is our mind set? Yesterday's arctic temperatures and blustery winds had many people in our area armed with fireplaces full of wood, candles and flashlights in anticipation of power outages. As for the seagulls, they were like elated surfers before a hurricane loving the enormous waves, as they dipped and sored through the erratic air currents. What appeared as potential demise for us, thrilled these birds.

How do we arm ourselves against the joy robbers? It goes back to our mind set.


Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
1 Peter 1:12-14

Prayer, praise music and a passionate purpose to stay in God's Word will allow you to pounce upon the joy robbers in your life!

If

February 10
The past twenty four hours have been dart filled,especially in the realm of my computer life. Such frustration and agitation was just topped off by losing today's devotional. Part of me just wants to bail and say, "See you tomorrow," but my guess is God could have purpose in this and one of you feels like bailing over something in life now and I am to say: Persevere!
Ha, I am now remembering my last line in the previously written devo.
"Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), a missionary to India for fifty-five years had no idea that her little book If would impact so many future generations and draw them closer to the cross. What might God be calling you to do today, which seems insignificant, but in God's plan has a mighty purpose?"

Yes, I need to take my own medicine!
A "Godincidence" occurred when this little book fell out from among my school books yesterday and then today the verse, which inspired Carmichael to write If, stared me in the face on Biblegateway this morning.
[Love] If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The other name, by which If is known, is "Calvary's Love". My prayer today is that each of us is impacted in a life changing manner by Calvary's Love and that transformation in our own lives will be contagious. Pick one verse to apply to your own life today and shine all the brighter.
Being Joyful, while dodging darts, because my Defender lives and showed His love for me on Calvary!



If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Come and Get Your Love

February 9

In my head are what must be some really old lyrics to a song I thought was called, "Come and Get Your Love", but when I searched for them all I found was something much funkier than what is in my head right now.

While the Saints fans are screaming "Who Dat?" (probably because most of Bourbon Street is so intoxicated people don't even know who they are) many a lonely soul this week is crying out "Love Me" and wanting desperately to receive a Valentine. I think I've shared before with you that on my first married Valentine's Day my husband gave me a silk red rose and said, "You can pull this out every year." It is out in the garage awaiting the 14th! I told him that was fine, since flowers are so expensive around Valentine's Day I would just treat myself to regular bouquets from the grocery store throughout the year! Those are the weeks he gets hot dogs instead of steak! :)

We have the "love act" conjured up so incorrectly. Commercials scream at us...what are we going to get from a love relationship. Counselors even inquire...what do you want from a relationship? Me, oh my, we set ourselves up for disappointment time and time again. God is love and He showed himself to not only be love when He gave his only Son to die for us, but he was teaching us how to experience powerful love...by giving of ourselves to others. The love process reaches an extreme fulfillment when we approach it with an attitude of how much can I give, not how much can I get.
We've already gotten the best through the perfect love of Christ. No one can compete with that kind of love. If we want to be filled up we have to give ourselves away!

I love being loved, but I also love loving!

Where can our love be poured out today?
You know how the players sneak up and pour the Gatorade on the winning coach? Let's bestow a surprise "love" attack on someone today, expecting nothing in return!

Too Much of a Good Thing

February 8th
What began as another lovely winter walk to get our mail took a turn. Wearing my son's red snowboard jacket I hiked 1/2 mile UP our gravel driveway to the main road where our mailbox is located. Four large trees were down across the road blocking my passage. Earlier we heard a loud boom and saw a pine tree had come to rest across the top of one of our boat houses. The weight of this heavy wet snow was too much for these trees. Over 50 scrub pines were down on the trails alone. Our work is cut out for us and another storm is on the way tomorrow.We are appreciating those five sons of ours who used to live at home, but now live far away.

My husband will not be happy with me for sharing, but he has been struggling with a knee injury for a month, which is most likely a meniscus tear now pressing on a vein and causing his ankle to swell. Wednesday he has a doctor's appointment scheduled so he can evaluate options. All that to say he didn't need to be trodding out in a foot of snow. He said our chain saw was broken anyway.

Being human, I made my usual mistake and first called people! Neither had chain saws..probably a good thing because I would have tried to use it myself! Making my way to the main road I just stood there and prayed..."What should I do Lord?"
Immediately a pick up truck with a blade on the front came down the road and I flagged it down. "Do you have a chain saw?" I asked as I explained the predicament to a very cute thirty-something. :) He politely introduced himself and offered to drive me down the road to the first blockage where three large trees were stacked on top of themselves across the road. Before he finished, my husband showed up on a four wheeler. He had been able to repair our saw enough to cut through the tree on the lower part of the road.
How quickly life can turn. What a different day this had been from the one before.

While my heart is saddened by the state of the woods and the trails, feeling they are going to look awful now, I know my God works all things together for good. There will be a time of rejoicing. When winter has completed her fury we will have a clean up day and ask friends/students to come help. God will show up and show off and get all the glory! For with Christ, there is never too much of His good thing!

The Magnolia Tree...This is Life

February 6-7th

Three friends emailed this week to say, "I am heading to Florida. Enough of this winter." While they may be hitting the beaches today, I wouldn't trade my winter wonderland walk for anything.
You may be able to enter this address and see a slide show of my experience on Smile Box. If not email me at boojoyful@aol.com and I will send it to you.
http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4d5451334d7a4d314d4442384d6a45344d6a45354e7a493d0d0a&sb=1

The leaves and limbs of our magnolia tree were laden with snow. Before heading off to walk, I wanted to come to the aide of this stately tree for it was carrying quite a snowy burden. Carrying a 12' long piece of wood I began to knock the snow from the branches. The heavy, wet, snow placed such stress on the limbs. Thoughts of friends and family members carrying huge burdens came to mind as I worked and I began to pray for them. Utilizing the long stick was strenuous and at one point I realized it was much more effective to grab onto the limbs which I could reach and give them a gentle shake. Whoosh, the thought came to me. How often do I take time to reach out and bear the burdens of people close to me?
The next level of limbs could not be reached without the assistance of the wooden pole. Likewise there is another tier of people who are in need. Often aide necessitates partnering with other individuals or missions groups to accomplish the goal before us. Trying my best to be gentle, the awkwardness of the pole fledgling in the air still occasionally caused leaves or limbs to be broken off. Visions of rescue efforts in Haiti came to mind, as well as spiritual lessons learned in life which have involved loss.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:2-3

The snow is pouring down again, so the process will be repeated.
Ah and so it is in life...there is always a need at hand.
Visiting on the phone yesterday with my almost ninety year old father,
who wisely has wintered in Florida this year, I was sharing news. Some happy,
some sad. His quote rings so true...."This is life!"

Spread Some Love!

February 5
The snow is pounding down once again and our school's Valentine outreach project is in jeopardy since we have only been to school one shortened day this week. A third storm awaits us next Tuesday. Our goal has been to create 550 handmade Valentines to take out into the community on Friday. Fifty of those go to the residents at our local retirement home. The other 500 are to be bagged in groups of ten. The students divide up starting points and take the bags, which also have 10 pieces of candy inside, and hand them off to an individual at a specific location instructing them to take one Valentine and one piece of candy for themselves, then passing the bag on to someone else! It was quite the hit last year. There were several gentlemen who had not thought about Valentine's Day and they were thrilled to have a hand made Valentine!
Below are some wonderful verses which remind us of God's love.
Consider printing off these verses and spreading the love (of Christ) this week!

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 33:22
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 36:5
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 63:3
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Psalm 86:5
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
Psalm 86:15
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 103:17
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is
with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-
Psalm 107:8
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times,

Engaged

February 4

Looking down at my painted toenails, which I received as part of a birthday pedicure, I thought..."What a waste". Spring would have been a more apropos time for such a luxury! The arctic weather we are having has had me in socks every day and no one can see these pretty piggies!

Does our faith show or is it covered up and kept silent? When God thrills our heart with a scripture from his Word or causes us to sing out loud when the lyrics to a song speak exactly to where we are in life's journey do we share with others how alive and real our relationship with Christ is or do we consider the encounter personal and keep quiet?

Here comes the word....engaged: involved in activity; greatly interested;
pledged to be married.
Having a household of twenty somethings, who have lots of friends, we frequently get excited phone calls announcing engagements. These young people exude passion and enthusiasm when they share this news of how their involvement with an individual has led to wanting to spend the rest of their life with this person.

If we are engaged with Christ shouldn't we enthusiastically be sharing with others about that relationship?

"Oh, how He loves you and me.
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave his life, what more could He do.
Oh, how He loves you,
Oh, how he loves me,
Oh how he loves you and me."

What You Want..Baby I Got!

February 3

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning
I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble
.- Psalm 59:16

Psalm 59:16 was the verse on Biblegateway this morning.
What should I sing this AM? Aretha Franklin's opening lyrics
to her song "Respect" came barrelling through my mind. While they
definitely are not Christian lyrics they could be when it comes to God's love.

What you want, baby I got!
What's you need? You know I got!


Whatever the void in our lives, the love of Christ can fill it.

Being the "love" month, I thought I would check online for famous love quotes.
I started to list some "top ten"lists, but they were so boring compared to what God's word says about love. Searching the word love on Biblegateway 697 references came up.
Here are just a few New Testament verses to thrill your heart!

Matthew 22:37
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
1 Corinthians 16:14
Do everything in love.
Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:16
God is love.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love.

Pot Luck Pelletization

February 2
No school again! A unique weather forecast has crossed our TV screens...
Snow pellets! Hmmm? Looking up the definition of pellet I found:any of various projectiles fired from a weapon (as an air rifle). Mother Nature appears to have her weapon loaded and ready to fire today! :)
Looks as if we are in for a pelletization!

Deciding to take a "pot luck" approach to my Bible study this morning I asked the Lord to lead me to what He wanted me to read by just flipping open the Word. The tiny Book of 3 John appeared. In this short passage John is encouraging his friend, Gaius, to continue offering hospitality to those who are faithful to the gospel. I can't say that I have ever studied this short book, but God's timing made me smile. The father of the family we had staying with us the past two days works for a prison ministry called "Champions for Life". So, I was feeling ok about myself offering hospitality to fellow believers. Then as I continued to study I was pelleted and challenged in how I am to live!
A side note in my "Women of Faith Study Bible" says:
"True hospitality welcomes guests not only when it's planned and convenient for you, but also when it's hard or when you don't feel like you have it all together. True hospitality welcomes those people who need you, not just those you need. True hospitality welcomes those whose lifestyles or income or social graces may not be up to "par". True hospitality welcomes the messy youngster, the annoying teenager and the graceless adult. True hospitality is "being Jesus" to all those you meet."
Do you ever get the feeling the Lord is preparing you for something ahead....Help me Jesus! Help me to be like You.
Right now I am praying for total strangers who are offering hospitality to our son, allowing him to live in their home with them this semester during an accounting internship.
"Oh,Father, thank You for this brother and sister in Christ. May my child be neither messy, annoying, nor graceless." In Jesus Name. Amen

While in college, I had a friend who shared how her mother had always harped to her to wear clean underwear in case she was in a wreck. Wearing a lovely formal gown and "no" underwear, she was in an accident which required her being transported to the hospital. I remember getting the call, "Please bring me some underwear!" Ut oh! She should have listened to Momma! Lord, we will listen to you and be prepared for an impromptu house guest by having a set of clean sheets on a bed or a warm blanket ready for a comfy couch. It would be a bummer for a weary traveler to turn back the bedspread and find no sheets! :)

I promise I will attempt to give you a head's up before descending upon your home, but you never know!
Love, Boo

Frozen

February 1

Never before have I seen Smith Mt Lake frozen over. Saturday, amidst the storm the water looked like an ocean with white caps. Then yesterday morning I looked out and it was motionless and covered in ice. I think you could walk across the shallow waters on the backside of our property.

How often does our faith become frozen? Our hearts harden and the flow of the Holy Spirit, which is to be used for God's purpose and to bring him glory, becomes stagnant.

God sent His Son and established his Word to be life giving forces which produce a cyclical effect. We take in the Word, feed upon it and then give off to others the hope,joy,love and wisdom which spring forth from being with the Lord.

Sometimes we just need to "chill out" and let the warmth, which comes from the love of the Lord, rule in our lives.

Today is the first of February! The "Love Month"! Let's challenge ourselves to intentionally "show the love" of Christ to someone each day this month.

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.”-
Psalms 86:5