Sunday, January 31, 2010

His Will

It trumps all. It's what really matters when all else is said and done. It is the big question for those who are true Kingdom seekers. It is the thing that will be declared when life is finished, the race is over: did you yield to His will?

Yesterday I heard a man read these words: "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH."

That is a God quote. His will is plainly declared. We can be a part of that if we understand that His goal and purpose is to build. Not much else matters. Are we here or there? Fulfilling our dreams or missing out? Scratching that itch or focusing on Him? The thing that really matters is accomplishing His purpose for our lives. And it is a glorious purpose, to be sure.

May His will be done in our lives. Let Your will be done in mine. Hear our cry, Oh Lord. Take us, purge us, change us, mold us -- do what You need to do. But USE us to build Your church, Oh, Lord!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nutrition For The Whole Man

Cotton candy. Potato chips. Cheeze Doodles. Soda pop.

A diet of such things ruins an appetite for the good stuff. Did you know that? The more you eat that stuff on a regular basis the more you crave it. And nutritional foods with benefits not only don't matter, they just plain don't appeal.

TV shows. Movies. Video games. Facebook apps.

A diet of such things ruins an appetite for the good stuff as well. The beneficial activities no longer appeal. Who wants to read a book when they can veg in front of the TV? And why go out to a concert or get up and clean when snuggling under a blanket with that favorite DVD is available? So this morning we collectively agreed that perhaps we have been overly indulgent. Quite overly indulgent. So no TV, movies, video games were viewed tonight. And guess what? Bedrooms were cleaned, girls knitted scarves and wrote songs on guitars and made brownies and did laundry and finished some recording projects.

Hooray for nutritional food! Hooray for beneficial activities! They keep the body, soul, and spirit healthy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

For Danica

My oldest daughter is hoping to move home early this spring. Right down the road. Walking distance. Shared meals, quick pick ups for spontaneous shopping trips, kids coming to play with Uncle Merrick and other cousins. Brainstorming decorating schemes, experimenting with menus, piano lessons for a youngest brother. Too much fun is in store!

A sister of hers also lives down the street. Taking turns babysitting, attending mothers' meetings together, football games on Sunday afternoons, comparing parenting stories and theories, baking cookies to share, shopping for Christmas in Syracuse. More fun!

Sister number three lives in a nearby town. Sewing parties, decorating cookies, piano accompaniment for Broadway show tunes. Husbands who talk about clothes, business, and the Patriots. Gourmet food and dinner out together. Still more fun!

Several sisters and brothers still reside at 1942. Watching movies together, invading a new house in search of homemade pizza and great coffee, jamming around the piano. Spoiling two nephews, babysitting and learning to sew, chats about doctrine and computer geek stuff. Girl's Bible studies, boys' debates. And more fun besides!

Hooray for fun changes -- I'll take all the fun life affords!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Lesson From Solomon

Seasons. My son recently spoke about seasons in Sunday School. Wisdom is gleaned from the precious Word of God. And wisdom he had found.

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecc. 3.1
Seasons come and go, bringing change, altering existence as we know it. Some change we like, some we don't. Certain seasons are full, adding blessing and joy. Others deplete our treasury.

A time to be born, a time to die... Ecc. 3.2
"This is listed first, a telling concept revealing that even seasons have a birth and a death." He confidently uttered these insightful words. His subsequent rendering of such truth spoke volumes to this faint heart. Actually, they cut to the quick.

The season that is gone must be acknowledged as such. It has passed away. Gone. Finished. When grieving, we process the veracity of death. We struggle through a tendency to dwell in denial as we then attempt to assimilate this new fact. Someone or something extremely dear to us is gone. We are jarred, shaken to the core. But in time we wrap our mind around this new truth. We must. We must hope again.

Sentimentality plagued me as a youth; I bitterly wept at the passing of time. I refused to believe the finality of the end of joyful seasons, preferring to reject this natural occurrence. Acknowledgment did not come readily.

In time, God helped me grow in understanding. He is the author and finisher of my faith, He holds my days in His hand. So I learned to embrace the new, to run with abandonment, believing that the best was yet to come.

It did come; a long, vibrant, joy-filled season of planting and reaping. It has been wonderful. But this, too, must end.

Now I am arriving at a new juncture. It is time to embrace the death of a season, to run head-long into the new term of adventure set before me.

The best is yet to come. There were days long ago when I could not see that. But I was wrong. The best is yet to come. There have been plenty of moments recently when I have not been able to see that. But I'm beginning to remember and believe.

After all, the best is yet to come.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bright Yellow, Light Yellow. Mellow Yellow.

Louissa is painting. Experimenting and painting. The first coat was too bright. Now she is going lighter. Mellower, in my humble opinion.

The best part of painting a bedroom? Sorting, eliminating, re-organizing. That's the best part, in my humble opinion.

Tall school cupboards, built for yours truly for our tenth anniversary years ago, are getting fresh paint, doors removed, and will now be open shelving for countless sweaters, pants, etc. White outside panels, icy blue paint within -- that is fun, in my humble opinion.

A new chandelier, something current and a bit trendy, needs to be found. NEEDS, I said. And that, too, is my humble opinion.

So, that's about enough of my opinions. At least for now.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hunger in the New Year

Hungering for His ways again.

I'm remembering 1977. Recently graduated. Working a summer job while waiting for real employment (chuckle, chuckle...) On the 6:00am-2:00pm shift. Home every afternoon to an empty, quiet home. Lots of time for seeking God, reading His word, praying and worshiping. A wonderful season of hunger. I was young, eager, energetic (in case you didn't know) and ready to find Him in every way possible. How I loved these scriptures!
Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Psalm 25.4,5 NKJ

Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2.3 NKJ

What a wonder, that a Holy God would teach me, a sinner, His ways! I was amazed, humbled, thrilled, and awestruck. How thoroughly grateful I was to learn something other than sin, and to find grace and strength to walk in it! All because of His gift to us -- freely bestowed, ours for the asking! What a wonder!

Today, thirty-three years later, I stand amazed at the Gospel. He has walked with me. Words fail to describe His great goodness and faithfulness. Yet the New Year found me a bit floundering, a bit weary and tired.

Last night, I was brought once again to Psalm 25. "Teach me Your ways." I want to know His ways. And then a reminder.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55.8,9 NKV
I remembered how different His ways are from mine, how exciting it is to learn them, how such faith-ventures are fulfilling and challenging. He restored hope, vision, desire, and hunger. Oh, how wonderful is time in His presence! How steadfast is His love and faithfulness!

His gift to me this New Year's? Renewed hunger for His Holy ways in my life.

How I love Him.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Too Good to End

I find myself still savoring the holidays. So many friends, parties, songs, and gifts. But most of all the family was here. I love being together.

This morning there were no little boys greeting me, no red-headed first-born making coffee. Yesterday they got on a jet plane and flew far away. But, boy, did we have fun. I will miss, miss, miss them.

Yesterday three lovely girls named Carina, Louissa, and Julia headed to the Clinton County Correctional Facility to visit a dear cousin, my very own nephew. He made some wrong choices and now is facing the consequences. Eleven years left to go. They cheered his day, his week. He received the series of books I sent him for Christmas from Amazon. He had requested them; years ago when he was younger I sent the first three to him for Christmas. He remembered they were clearly Biblical allegory and requested the remaining books. Since it had been a long time, I decided to order the entire series. Although the writing is juvenile fiction, they are interesting writing. Besides, he has already lent them out to fellow inmates. This is material suitable for most of their reading levels. The girls said that Kenny smiled in the telling, saying that the borrowers have no idea that these books follow the Bible so perfectly. I'm so glad to know the delivery was accomplished.

Some very dear long distance friends are around for another day or two. Another nephew is as well. So the holiday atmosphere lingers a bit. We're still in "vacation house" mode around here. A sledding party is being planned, some wintertime baking. Brietta and her family are home from a week away. They will find their way here, I suspect, for some games, playing, and movies. That sounds just right to me.

Perhaps a decoration or two will be put away today, but I doubt it. I will gladly hold out on routine for the time being. These days together are too special to hurry away from.