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Showing posts from December, 2019

Better than the bushes

Do you remember playing that simple game of "hide and seek", running wildly around the house or yard, trying to find just the right hiding place?  Back in the day, we had a great neighborhood for hiding. We had 13 citrus trees in our yard, not to mention a huge mulberry tree, and two pretty impressive sized junipers just as you turned into the driveway to our house. All provided ample hiding space for one who could scurry up the trunk and into the cover of the leaves, or scooch way down inside the juniper's ample cover fast enough. In addition to this, we had all kinds of hiding places behind the pigeon coop, around the pool area, behind the garage, and even behind a row of shiny silver trash cans. Yet, as I recall all the places I hid, none was as safe as the place I run to now when I just need a little 'hiding out' from life's challenges!

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in s…

In us, Around us, FOR us

There are times when we all need to hear the words that are more than 'fluff' or 'flattery' - they need to be words that will bolster our courage, increase our faith, and help to put "steel in our spines" again. No matter how hard we try, we ALL experience moments of doubt - the siege "against" us seeming to be far more prepared than our own defense. The truth is, we are often caught unaware in the moment of attack in our lives. Most of us have little to no clue of the next thing which will put us into a tailspin. As I am writing this, I am listening to the words of a song declaring our God is stronger, our God is for us, so who could stand against us or stop us. Now those are rallying words!

Hezekiah rallied the people, saying, "Be strong! Take courage! Don't be intimidated by the king of Assyria and his troops—there are more on our side than on their side. He only has a bunch of mere men; we have our God to help us and fight for us!&qu…

Leaving a mark

We all have a bad hair day once in a while, or one of those 'clothing crisis' mornings when nothing seems to fit or flatter your frame the way you want it to. Consider the outfit, thinking it would make you look good for whatever meeting or event lay ahead that day, then almost immediately you pull it off, replace it back on the hanger and return it to the rack? Your first impression when you picked it from the closet was that it 'would do' for the day, but you quickly found out it wouldn't 'do' at all! Maybe it is a "girl thing", but I think guys go through this frustration once in a while, too. They may just not admit it! There is one form of "attire" which will never disappoint, never look odd or old on us, and it is guaranteed to always flatter our 'frame'. It is the 'suit' that cannot be bought, but is 'hand-made' just for us.

I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed …

What's that I see?

Working hard at a task, seeing incremental changes which appear to be in the right direction, gives a soul expectancy for things to be different from what they are today. The idea of "hope" is the anchor which holds every person in the battle of cancer treatment. The chance the latest chemo treatment may just be the one to kick those rebellious cells into remission gives one a chance to believe things may turn out well. Studying hard for an upcoming examination, reading and rereading every important section of our books, gives us hope of a good grade in the end. We all live with some element of "hope" in our lives. If we did not, we'd shrivel up and die - if not physically or spiritually, at least emotionally! Hope is found in the smallest things - even the tiny blade of grass that emerges from the ground after a long winter of ice and snow gives hope of spring's warmth and the return of 'color' again to our world.

Unrelenting disappointment leave…

Not going to 'fit in'

"Belonging" is something kids start to 'pursue' at a very early age. They want to belong to a neighborhood group of friends or a best friend. The wish to belong to a group of kids at school with similar interests and who actually help them stay 'insulated' against those who would seek to do them harm by bullying or targeting them for some 'flaw' they have in their size, shape, or ability. In school I found there were various groups of people - some were pretty popular, others not so much. In the moment, almost all of us wanted to be part of the popular group. It was not so much the desire to "do" what they did, but to be considered to be "part of" their group. In fact, if I had considered some of the stuff they "did", I might have reconsidered my all-fired desire to "fit into" their group! Isn't it funny how we view others from the limited perspective of how being "part" of their "circle&q…

Peripheral vision

We all have those 'aha' moments when we realize what we 'thought' was being said was not at all about us! We somehow "think" someone is talking about us, so when we are asked our opinion based on just a little bit of knowledge of the gist of the conversation, we begin to launch into some answer which makes us look great (at least in our own eyes) and based on what we 'think' someone has been talking about? Then, as quickly as we began to speak, we find ourselves caught off-guard when we realize we had no clue what they were talking about or asking us! There are times when someone is bragging on someone else and we just assume (unwisely) they must be talking about us! That little bit of 'mistaken' truth leaves us more than a little embarrassed to find out that everything others think and talk about isn't actually all about us - even though we 'thought' maybe it was. Haman found himself in just such a spot - entering the king's …

A lifetime or a day

Have you found yourself in a circumstance where just remaining silent was the only choice you could take? It may have been there was so much discussion going on that you didn't agree with, or that you just didn't know how to answer with some semblance of grace and tact, so you remained silent. There are times when silence is definitely the best "tactic" to utilize - yet there are others when remaining silent will just worsen a situation. Learning how to use silence in a positive manner is a skill many of us never fully grasp. In fact, many of us don't like silence. We avoid it at all cost. There are also a group of us who like to express our opinion - invited or not. Either way, what we do with the silence is important - what we do with the spoken word is even more so.

When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: "Don't think that just because you live in the king's house you're the one Jew who will get ou…

I don't fit in

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter - all are celebratory times in the Christian faith. In a world as diverse as ours, we see all kinds of "customs" and "ways" of doing or celebrating things or seasons that are somewhat different from those we may have been raised to observe ourselves. The passage of time even affects the customs and ways of various people's celebrations. Just look at the tendency to all eat dinner as a family in the 50's being replaced with the "catch as catch can" type of family gatherings we see today. Or consider the 'old way' of setting up a room so it was good for conversation vs. today's custom of setting it up so it is good for TV viewing or playing games on the game system! Yet, when a people holds to a custom, there are always going to be others who will find some fault with it.

Haman then spoke with King Xerxes: "There is an odd set of people scattered through the provinces of your kingdom who don't f…

Don't change me

Many of us go through life trying to be someone we are not in order to impress somebody we don't really know in ways we probably aren't all that excited about either. Imagine being a young woman, orphaned as a young child, taken in by your cousin to be reared after your parents have died. You find yourself living in a strange land as a foreigner, your family has been so quickly taken away from you, and now you find yourself living in a "single parent" home. Not the life every young girl dreams of for sure. A decree requires you to leave the comfort of the only "home" you really knew - life is again turned on end because of something totally outside of your control. Taken from your place of comfort, you are ushered into a great harem of others being prepared for the pleasure of the king of the land - something you know nothing about, but have no choice but to do in order to survive. Months of preparation will be required, but in the end, your very life w…

Hiding from grace

I was listening to a Christian song the other day that made me ask if we really do make 'mountains' out of molehills in our lives simply because we won't let go of our shame. Dare I admit it, I probably do this more than I actually realize? How about you? Do you have trouble letting go of your missteps and things you've already confessed to God, but somehow just feel like you need to 'keep confessing' them to him? It is likely you and I do this because we don't really trust God's grace to be complete, final, and trustworthy. Somehow we think we have to do more, confess harder, get worked up a little bit, or just beat ourselves up with our sin just a little bit more if we are ever to be free from the load of guilt we carry because of it. The opposite is the truth, but we hold onto our mistaken beliefs because we don't fully understand grace. Grace isn't just an action in our lives - it is a person - Christ. Where Christ dwells, there is no room f…

God's ready...are you?

What do you maintain as 'confidential' in your life? In the healthcare arena, many things are kept as "confidential", with very limited access to the information - it is kind of like a 'need to know' coupled with a 'permission to know' environment. Many times people want to "know" what we have access to, but we have been bound by rules of confidentiality to keep silent on matters of your healthcare unless you permit us to share it with another. This is definitely not the case with our message of hope and trust in Christ! We have been given a deep knowledge of grace and we are actually encouraged to share it with everyone! We aren't going to 'breech' some line of 'confidentiality' if we share the message of grace - but how many times do we 'hold up' on letting others know, either because we don't feel confident sharing it, or because we feel they won't be comfortable hearing it?

God's readiness to giv…

Tending the garden

Some of us dread Monday mornings more than any other day of the week - looking longingly at the weekend that has drawn to a close upon us. Isn't it amazing how many times we look at the week as "good" or "bad" just by how it starts - how that "Monday" goes for us? If we have a so-so Monday, we hope for a good week. If Monday comes in like a fury, we just buckle up, settle, in, and hold on for the very bumpy ride! From time to time, I reread passages that I am quite familiar with in scripture and today was no different. I was re-reading the creation story and came across something pretty amazing about our great big God.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)

God himself had just settled down after pretty long work week of creating all things. In recounting his "work week", we would find everything from creation of stars, moon, and sky to his 'big finale' of the cr…