Good for Evil

September 10th, 2017

God is good. A very present help in times of trouble. You guys have probably heard that before. And you’ve probably wondered why God allows so much bad to happen to so many who, we are told, He loves.

It’s been on my mind a lot.  After all, it’s been a tough year at our house.   While thinking about it, I came across an old Bible story I’ve read and heard a thousand times before but this time something new struck me.  It was the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. If you want tough times, that would do it. Your own brothers want to get rid of you and do it in the most cruel way possible. Joseph endured some rough patches as a slave. About the time he makes it to the top as a slave and life is improving, he gets thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.  Still, he doesn’t lose faith.  Eventually he is removed from prison and becomes second in command to Pharaoh and saves all Egypt and many others from famine. During the famine, his brothers come to him for food for their family.  After a little give and take over some time, Joseph lets his brothers know who he is and assures them, he isn’t angry.  He told them that what they had meant for evil, God had meant for good. Now that’s amazing insight.  Thousands of people would have starved had Joseph not been in tune with what God was saying. Joseph heard and responded in spite of the fact that he was a slave and in prison.

I suspect Jesus disciples stood at the foot of the cross and watched Him die unable to see any good in this. But Jesus’ death was necessary to complete God’s plan. The one where Jesus now holds the keys to death and hell.   He came to seek and to save those of us who are lost. His death was necessary to accomplish that goal.  He knew that.

We are just human. We don’t always understand. Sunday, our pastor spoke of Paul stuck at home under house arrest for two years. I’m sure Paul couldn’t picture how he could carry out God’s command to spread the gospel while he was stuck at home.  But, two thousand years later, we know Paul was writing letters that would eventually become a large part of the New Testament.  He’s been spreading the gospel for better than 2000 years.   He just didn’t know that was  how it would turn out. Bad things happen.  Often to good people.

God is bigger.  He can make them good.

August 10th Quote of the Day

September 27th, 2016

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St.  Francis of Assisi

This particular quote can get me through every day of cleaning the playroom. Every night I walk into that room and stare at a carpet of toys.  Boxes of giant Legos are mixed with wooden blocks, alphabet blocks, toy food and dishes, dinosaurs, stuffed animals, balls from the ball pit, books and zoo animals, and the list goes on.

Before we go on, let’s just get past the part where I should have taught my children to be neater and I should make them clean up after themselves. Let’s just realize that some people call my little ones ‘special needs’.  I just call them special. So Nature Boy can figure out ‘clean up’ when we talk about the ball pit and the Legos but other things confuse him causing him to -literally- tear his hair out. The Little Guy has PIKA which means he eats everything as long as it’s not an actual food so he is too busy eating his toys to put them away.

Anyway, the job looks insurmountable. Time to break it down into what’s necessary. The empty and mostly empty juice boxes that are attracting bugs have got to go.  So do those sneaky snacks that have made it into the playroom when I wasn’t looking. Then I start tossing toys in the general direction of their allotted containers which usually reminds me that my height is not the only reason basketball should never have been a career choice for me.  Eventually all the toys are in piles close enough to their containers to be scooped up and stored properly. Once they are in their containers, the rocking horse, the little table and chairs, the little trampoline and the books can all be returned to their allotted spots. Bingo! What has seemed impossible has become possible.

Okay. So the playroom is not an earth shattering accomplishment but it is an accomplishment.  The point is that you should take your life in little pieces.

Don’t try to fix all the errors of your life and all your shortcomings at once.  Pick one piece.

Fix that one.  Go on to the next. Work on that for a while.  Keep adding those things one at a time until -wonder of wonders- you are accomplishing the impossible.

Grandpa – Fix Yourself for Us Now!

September 22nd, 2016

Our Grandpa has cancer.  This is the Grandpa who stabilizes our lives. The one who keeps the computers running, fixes the appliances, repairs the leaking bicycle tire. The one who can take a handful of playdoh and make it into a dinosaur for Nature Boy. The one the Little Guy goes to and begs to be spun in a circle until both of them are too dizzy to stand up.

No cancer is good cancer but this one is particularly nasty.  It’s a highly aggressive lymphoma that made it to Stage IV before we knew he was sick. It’s hanging out not only in his abdomen but in his bone marrow and spinal fluid.  I’m a mommy.  I kiss hurts and make them better.  Won’t help with this hurt.

When we were told this, I just broke down and cried. Grandpa loves us and promises to not give up. That’s not an easy thing when ports are being inserted in your head to take the chemo; when special IV’s are placed in your chest, when you must spend 5 days of every 21 in the hospital where drugs are being administered to you that you know full well will make you sick.  And all the while you wonder “is this going to work?”.

I can and have been praying. Our church is praying. The churches of family members are praying along with the family.  I’m coming to you now, my nearly 2000 subscribers. Pray with us.  This Grandpa who fixes everything else for everyone else needs more than just the doctors and determination to get well.  He needs God’s help and the prayers of God’s people.

He has two little special needs boys and two granddaughters who need him to be there. Life without him is unimaginable.  God is the Giver of Life.  We’ll lean on Him.

Red Wine in Carpets

September 17th, 2016

Q: How do you get red wine out of carpet?

 

A: Good question.  I had no idea so I reached out to one of my favorite wine drinkers,  my sister. She said she didn’t have any idea either since she has hardwood floors.  But she did sent me a link that looks like it would be pretty helpful:

http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Red-Wine-from-Carpet

If you try it, let us know if it works.

Joseph – a Valuable Member of the Nativity Scene

September 12th, 2016

This is the time of year when people do a lot of focusing on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We marvel at what a wonderful person she must have been to have God choose her for the Mother of His Son.

We spend so much time focusing on her that we overlook a really key player in this earthly family of Christ.  It’s the man God chose to be the earthly father of Christ.

God didn’t just come to Mary to discuss the arrival of this child. Certainly, He sent His angel to let her know what the plan was and Mary, in essence, said “whatever You want, I will do.” Mary made her choice.  I am convinced she had the option to agree or decline.  It must have taken a great deal of inner strength to agree to such a life-changing event. But God didn’t send His angel only to Mary. He also sent him to Joseph.  The Bible tells us that Joseph was a Godly man who knew that he had a tough choice to make where Mary was concerned. She was pregnant and single. Totally unacceptable to the church of his time – or to anyone for that matter. In today’s world, he could easily have been the man who said, ‘not my kid; not my problem’ just before walking out the door.

Not so for Joseph. He accepted his responsibility as fiancee’ for Mary and was working on his options when God sent His angel to have a talk with Joseph.  Joseph, too, made a choice. He accepted the responsibility of raising God’s Son.

I find it interesting to note that the Bible tells us that Mary watched everything that happened and ‘pondered it in her heart.’ It was Joseph that was the do-er in the family. Further instructions for the protection of the child were given to him. The angel was sent to Joseph to warn him to take the child somewhere safe.  Joseph just went to Mary and said ‘pack up. We’re out of here.’ Later, it was again Joseph who is told that it is safe to return home.  When he did come back, he went to Nazareth. I’ve wondered about that some. My pastor says there was a lot of construction going on near there so maybe Joseph was just going where the jobs were.  Part of me wonders, though, if he was still protecting Jesus and Mary.  Protecting them from the stigma of being born to an unwed mother – a truly scandalous thing in those days.  Even if the circumstances of His birth did become known, Nazareth was a tough town by all accounts. People said, “can any good come out of Nazareth?” So with any luck at all, nobody would care.

Jesus, Himself, became a carpenter like his earthly father, Joseph. Tells me that Joseph spent some time teaching Jesus a trade and Jesus respected him enough to be willing to to spend some time following in his footsteps. The type of earthly father Jesus should have was as important to God as the earthly mother He chose. It was a team effort – this raising of Jesus. As a team, they went hunting Him when He was missing from the traveling group at the age of 12.  It was Joseph who scolds him saying “your mother and I were searching for You”.

Fathers, just because the woman is the one who gives birth doesn’t make her the only one responsible for the training and the upbringing of the child. Your input is critical. God shows us that by the care He took in choosing Joseph. He shows us that by letting us know that it is Joseph to whom He gave instructions on the safety and protection of the child.  Be the man God wants you to be. Seek His guidance as head of your household. Never underestimate the importance of your role.

Verse of the Day – July 27th

September 12th, 2016

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Father,  today is a low strength day for me.  I need your strength to make it through this day.  Keep me in your sites.  Lift me when I start to fall.  There is so much to do lately.   I am pulled so many ways.

Give me wisdom to work with each situation but most of all, give me the strength promised in Your word.

November 11 Verse of the Day

September 11th, 2016

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Father,

Our country has just elected a very controversial president.  Many are angry.

Many, including a former President, had refused to vote for either candidate.  Those who did felt strongly about their choice.  Now there are protests and destruction in many cities.

You have promised to heal our land if Your people, called by Your Name would humble themselves and pray.

Father, I am one of Your people.

I am called by Your Name.

I am joining now with so many across our country to ask You to heal the divisions. Speak peace to those who fear for our country now.

Give our leaders, especially our newly elected President, wisdom to guide our country.  Silence those who would cause dissent.  Above all, Lord, may Your will be done in this country.

Verse of the Day – July 28

September 3rd, 2016

Isaiah 1:2 (NET)

Listen, O heavens, pay attention,  O earth! For the Lord speaks:
“I raised children, I brought them up, but they have rebelled against me!

Father,

You are the only perfect parent and, yet, even You have children who rebel against You just as we do.  You know the pain of parents whose children are rejecting them, their advice, their lifestyles,  their values, everything. You love us even more fully than we can love our children. You know the pain and anguish we are feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for letting us know this.

 

Verse of the Day

September 2nd, 2016

Matthew 1: 1-17

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew is traced through Joseph. I won’t copy all of it from the Bible. You can look it up and read it for yourself.

It interests me to note that Joseph was not the genetic father of Jesus but, by law, he was the legal father and so Jesus was his legal heir.  It was an important point to the Father. Important enough to place it in the Bible. It interests me because, in essence, it says Jesus was adopted but was also fully heir to his adopted father. Jesus was totally his son, enough so that His family tree was traced through Joseph.  But he was also the Son of God. Interesting concept. We, too, are adopted. We are adopted by God through Jesus. We are fully his heirs. We are fully members of His family. Not outsiders. Brothers and Sisters of Christ. May we always live so that He is not ashamed of who we are or what we do.

 

Our Little Shadows

September 29th, 2014

Remember the childhood poem “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me”? Grandpa has one of those. It just isn’t his own shadow. It is actually Nature Boy.

Nature Boy adores his Grandpa. He wants to see and do everything that Grandpa does. There are a couple of problems with this. One – he is only four years old. And two – he is developmentally delayed. So everything he does to imitate Grandpa or to ‘help’ him turns out to be not so helpful after all. Grandpa spends a lot of his time at the computer so Nature Boy often sits with him and stares at that computer as if he knows all about it. Every now and then – when Grandpa isn’t looking – he pushes all kinds of buttons which sometimes delete things Grandpa really doesn’t want deleted. He follows Grandpa into the garage and ‘helps’ him repair little rocking chairs or other toys that have been overused.

One of Nature Boy’s favorite things is a cord that he can flap up and down like bird wings. Grandpa has all kinds of tie-downs, power tools, and extention cords that suit him perfectly. He happily flaps them up and down and, sometimes sneaks them out of the garage and into other places in the house. Then we get to hear Grandpa complaining ‘All right, where did you put them this time?” But, Nature Boy, being developmentally delayed, doesn’t talk. He just stands there looking innocent.

Anyone with small children has variations of this scene in their homes as well. Little girls watch Mommy and try to cook, dress and put on make-up. (My make-up gets hidden whenever possible to keep Princess from ‘borrowing’ it). Little boys the world over try to fix cars, paint houses, or otherwise imitate Daddy.

It’s a joy to watch them try to be like us. We smile when our little girls rock their dolls to sleep and we hear them say ‘go night night, sweet baby’. We know they are learning to love and cherish their young.

We laugh to see our little boys sitting at the computer table moving the mouse and clicking away.  They can be so much fun sometimes.

Then there are the other times. Times when we see and hear things we aren’t so proud of.  That time when I hear our Princess use a tone of voice when talking to her friends that sounds so unkind but sounds a lot like me. Or the times when we hear those not-so-special words that shouldn’t be used around children but are coming out of our children’s mouths. The ones that sort of slip out on occasion.

We love our little ones with all our hearts. I’m sure you love yours as well. If we want them to be the truly great men and women of tomorrow, we need to show them how. It might be time to take stock of ourselves.  Do a little self-improvement.