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Archive for August, 2011

Never Leave You or Forsake You

Note: In my year absence of blogging, I wrote this last year when my youngest went off to college. Since this weekend was the anniversary of that event (he is now a Sophomore!), I figured it was a good story for retelling. Enjoy!

“…You and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses…. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Joshua 1:2-3, 5

These are the words the Lord said to Joshua as they were about to enter the Promised Land. Their leader had died and now the reigns were being transitioned to a new leader, with instructions regarding the transition and promises for a new future in the land flowing with milk and honey. These were also the words that the Campus Pastor at Huntington University read to us when we were sitting at the Dedication Ceremony on Kyle’s first college orientation day in Huntington, Indiana. He made comparisons to our situation that day to the situation the Israelites encountered. I will try to recap those similarities.

The Israelites were heading into new territory and would encounter many unknowns: Who are the people they will meet? How will they find food? Where will they live? Will they go to war over the land? Will their God be accepted by the locals? Finally, they were getting to a destination that they have looked forward to for over 40 years that they had heard from their relatives who toiled in Egypt and then wandered the desert for years. Like the Israelites, we are both heading into a new territory: Kyle is going to school in Indiana, three states away and we are now encountering an empty nest. Kyle will also have many new challenges that he will have to navigate without our assistance. Will he like his classes, professors and the school, in general? Who will he meet and become his friendship base? Will he get a roommate (since his roommate didn’t show up to orientation)? If he does get a roommate, will he like him and will they get along? Will the financial aid come through? How will he get back and forth to Indiana? In addition to these questions, it is an exciting time for Kyle. He is also entering territory that he has looked forward to since he decided to go to Huntington University.

The one verse, as a mother, that I find comfort in the Lord’s words to Joshua is this: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Just as the Lord was with Joshua and the Israelites, so He will be with Kyle. I can rest in the comfort that my Lord is watching over Kyle, even if he is three states away! He will also be with us as we transition to having an empty nest.

Be comforted my friend…in whatever situation you are in, GOD is with you and HE will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!!

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Occupied

I got to the door and the sign said, “occupied”.  That is what I found when I trapsed across the field to the porta potty.  That word is not good to see when you really gotta go!  The smell of these units are way less than appealing but very necessary for them to be unoccupied when you are in need of one.  I thot about my porta potty dilemma this morning when I was in Sunday school because we had encountered the word ‘unoccupied’ in our study.  The occupancy in this case was an evil spirit occupying a ‘house’.  It had been cast out and returned to find “the house unoccupied, clean and put in order” (Mt. 12:44).   Then the spirit returned “with seven more spirits more wicked than itself and the final condition of the man is worse than the first” (Mt. 12:45).  What is interesting to note here is the definition of  occupancy according to Merriam Webster is “to take up a place or space; to reside in or as an owner or tennant”.  The man had the evil spirit as a tennant or living within him but when Jesus cast the evil spirit out, the man didn’t replace the tennant with a new and much better tennant.  We today as Christians know that once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us…take up tenancy there. (Jn 7:39).  This is a promise that has been happening since the day of Pentecost.  Prior to this, a person had put his faith in God or Jesus and God’s presence in their faith was the tennant.  Our discussion centered around that when Jesus had cast the evil spirit out, the man didn’t have faith occupying the space so the spirit returned with some friends to inhabit the house once more.  So my question to you today is who or what occupies you or your ‘house’?  Are you filled with the Holy Spirit, working on living the kind of righteous life the Lord desires or is your house swept clean, unoccupied and ready for a tennant that will destroy you inside and out?  If you don’t know the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the peace and freedom that a living a life in Christ can have, I encourage you to call 1-888-NeedHIM or go to needhim.org today!

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“Apple” of my eye?

From BeautifulFreePictures.com

Today, I attended a technical briefing at the uptown Apple store for work. For being a PC fan for many years, it was an “i” opening experience. Entering this store was like entering ‘candyland’ for anyone who is crazy for anything ‘apple’ – MacBook Pro, iMac, Macbook Air, iPhones and iPads. It was definitely sensory overload! Then onto the technical briefing room with big flat screens (2) on each end of the room and one large screen which happened to be behind me. All of us had an iPad in front of us with the presentation on it as well. I was very impressed with my ‘apple’ experience and from my security perspective, I was happy with what I heard.  God tells us that we are to “guard my teachings as the apple of your eye”.  Proverbs 7:2b  The term ‘apple of my eye’ usually means that one is cherished above others (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-apple-of-my-eye.html ).   Think about where the eye is …right in the front of the head….usually the first thing we notice about someone is their eyes (or at least I do).  The eyes are front and center and God’s Word should be front and center with a love that is cherished above all others.  So…back to the Apple store…does this mean ‘Apple’ is now front and center and the ‘apple’ of my eye for laptops, tablets or phones??  Well, not quite yet.  But let’s just say….I was impressed to the core. (more…)

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Wisdom greater than silver?

Today, my husband, Dave, and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  In today’s age of divorces and people not making long commitments to each other, that is a an accomplishment.  Being that it is the silver anniversary, I thought I’d check out why silver was so special…my guess is it has to do with the longevity of the relationship and reaching a significant milestone.  In reading Wikipedia, the anniversary years are named to “provide guidance for appropriate or traditional gifts for the spouses to give each other”.  This tradition is believed to have started in medieval Germany and if a couple made it (meaning lived…not necessarily divorced!) to their 25th anniversary, then they are presented with a silver wreath to signify the “good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_anniversary).  So, my thought wasn’t too far off, but I did learn something new about the gifts over the years…and I found it interesting that after you make it to 25, then the gifts are every 5 years, instead of yearly.  What does that mean?  Gifts are not necessary after 25?  Or you needed the gifts up until then to ‘keep you going’?  It makes one wonder….I digress.  Any who…thinking about ‘silver’ on this day reminded me of how I had read about ‘silver’ in the book of Proverbs this summer.  Silver is mentioned 6 times in Proverbs and 2/3’s of the time, silver is in reference to wisdom or instruction.   A couple of references, both in chapter 8, are the ones that intrigue me the most.    Proverbs 8:19 says, “My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yeld surpasses choice silver”.  The fruit in this verse is referring to wisdom and how it is so much better than gold and the blessings we get from wisdom surpasses (it is over the top!) better than the best silver.  And  earlier in this chapter, verse 11b says that “nothing you desires compares with her”.  If I desire choice silver (which silver in this case is a great job, wonderful friends, fantastic kids and the most awesome husband), this doesn’t even compare to wisdom and the blessings that flow from having wisdom.  And since I have all the ‘silver’ items….a great job, wonderful friends, fantastic kids and the most awesome husband, the only thing I should desire now is wisdom……and yet, obtaining it is hard to do.  God, like the silversmith, has to keep ‘taking away the dross’ (removing the bad or unnecessary stuff) from my life so He has ‘material for a vessel’ (Prov 25:4).  A vessel that God can use for His Glory instead of me cluttering it up with other ‘silver’ things that hinder me from gaining wisdom and the blessings that I will receive.  Some of this seems like it is so far off and over my head….in the mean time, TODAY, I celebrate the ‘silver’ in my life and am most thankful for my husband and the 25 years we have had together!  Love you, honey!

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Do you ever sigh?

Do you ever sigh? I find myself sighing at times. It seems I sigh for different reasons: bored with tasks, overwhelmed with tasks or even relieved that some task is completed. Scripture often talks about God hearing us or the writer asking God to hear us but did you know that ‘sighing’ is in scripture too?

Psalm 5:1 says, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing”.

I studied this verse earlier this summer and the sighing phrase caught my eye. Since then, I have found myself taking note when I am sighing and reflecting on why I was sighing. And then asked God to ‘consider that sigh’ and prayed for direction on the tasks that needed to be done or thanking Him for the strength for the tasks completed. The next time you sigh – think about how God could be considered in your sighing throughout your days and turn that time into prayers and/or praise. You will be blessed …. in even your sighing.
Originally written: 7/14/11

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Satisfied

Many people throughout history have been looking to fill a longing or satisfy a need within. It is a problem that knows no time barrier. Johnny Lee, a country western singer, sang about “looking for love in all the wrong places”. The rock band, U2, from Ireland sings a song, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for”. Everyone is looking for some type of fulfillment to bring them happiness. The world tries to fill up the empty spaces with any type of love, money, possessions, and/or a successful job. As a Christian, God is the one who fulfills us. In Psalm 90:14, the Psalmist asks God to “satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”. Psalm 107:9 says that “he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things”. And Psalm 103:5 says that he “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles”. From these verses, we understand how God satisfies us. He satisfies us with unfailing love and based on the songs I quoted, we look for love in so many places but don’t look to the author of love Himself. God’s love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8a). As His pours out His love on us, we are filled with good things and our strength is renewed. Our response to Him should be to ‘sing for joy and be glad all our days”. So why do I even as a Christian struggle with this topic of satisfaction?? I think it has to do with any struggle of the Spirit within us to desire the things of God and yet be pulled by the worldly flesh into the things of man. Paul has said it well in Romans 7:15f where he talks about the battle within about knowing what I should do and yet still follow the sinful nature. Society puts pressure on us to be successful and look out for ourselves —literally crying out to be filled by money, possessions, human love or success. Like the Psalmist, we should be so thirsty that ‘as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God”. I need to continually fill my longings with Jesus’ unfailing love and crave more time with God. His Word has promised that He will fill my desires with good things and that I will receive His strength. These promises warm my soul and give me happiness that only He can fulfill. My closing thought I want to share with you is a song called ‘Satisfied’ that I heard while volunteering at camp in June. It turns out it was an old hymn, “All my life long I had panted” but with a pepped up beat. Soak in these words and rejoice, for He has saved you and satisfies your longings!

Satisfied or All my life long I had panted
All my life long I had panted
For a draught from some cool spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Chorus:
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His life I now am saved.
Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.

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