Category Archives: faith

Why #imwithher

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Why #imwithher

The decision who to vote for this election was incredibly hard. There were, however, several deciding items that tipped my decision to Hillary Clinton. 

I realize putting this out will not sway any hearts. And it’s not really intended to. This is so I can go back and reflect on it later. 

On the subject of abortion. I do not believe outlawing it will stop it. There are many reasons a woman would take such a drastic step; none of which will be solved by making it illegal. I have spoken to women who’ve made that terrible choice and not a single one made it lightly.

I also no longer believe Pro Life means anything; it is a device of politics. The same party that rages against women for electing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, has voted to deny the expansion of Medicaid for low income families and failed to fund early education which is absolutely critical to changing the conversation around success rates for children in poverty. They failed to support efforts to provide safe, inexpensive access to reproductive care and contraception, adequate availability to affordable childcare, and support and resources for women in vulnerable situations. The party that hangs its entire moral outrage on the innocent death of the fetus seems to have no compassion or interest in the quality of life of those children once they leave the womb. 

I think abortion is a heinous act committed against an innocent. I do not support the use of it as anything but a catastrophic intervention to save the life or future reproductive capacity of the mother. 

I also know the phrase “late term abortion” is a political invention to crudely describe an extremely rare procedure that is absolutely never used but in the most dire circumstances. I whole-heartedly agreed with HRC when she said in the last debate that she doesn’t believe the government or politicians are qualified to interfere in a decision that should only ever be between that family and their medical team. 
Regarding immigration: immigration laws have always been intended to keep undesirable people groups out. In our history, that included the Chinese, then unescorted women who were not met by a man, eastern and Southern Europe, etc… We have created a system so cumbersome that poor families in dismal circumstances have little chance of ever getting through the red tape. 

This country has always been a place for a second chance, a fresh start, and boundless opportunity. We must find a way to simplify the process so those who pay taxes and contribute to the betterment of their communities are given the chance to obtain citizenship. Existing immigration laws must be enforced, and penalties for illegally entering this country (only once the process has been simplified) or committing a crime while a guest of the United States must be strengthened. 

In regards to refugees fleeing horrific circumstances: We have been the rescuers, the heroes, and the good guys for generations. To now turn our backs on these people because we don’t like their religion or politics is repellant. To make a blanket judgement because their worship doesn’t look like ours decries the great commission. To close our hearts and refuse to offer aid likens us to the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. We fail our calling in the name of fake safety. We were never called to be safe. We were called to be instruments in the redeemer’s hands. 

This election has given me reason for grave concern over the health of The Church; that is, the body of people who claim to be Christ-followers. We write a check and put in the envelope and feel good about supporting mission work. Twice a year, we give money or fill backpacks and think we’re changing somebody’s story. And these are worthwhile efforts. But they’re not changing anything. Men, women, and children in our very communities are facing life and death circumstances because they are poor. Or black. Or a child.

HRC has had her share of controversy and, while I believe so much of the furor around her is propaganda, the fact that there are so many circumstances where her family name can somehow be linked to something sketchy is disappointing. I am reminded of the part of the Old Testament when Israel said to Samuel they wanted a king and God warned that to place a man (or woman in this case) in a position of the kind of power is a recipe for disaster. We are broken people. At least HRC acknowledges when she makes mistakes or uses poor judgment. I am willing to extend grace to those who ask for it because I find myself in such desperate need of it every day and I would hope to be shown grace if I asked for it. 

Finally, in regards to LGBT protections under the law. And this is where my heart quakes because this is where I am so at odds with where I am personally. The day we write laws that deny the protections of the constitution because we don’t agree with their morality, our republic is doomed. If the government offers legal provision to the civic contract which is marriage, our government must offer it to any marriage. As the Church, we are called to be in the world; NOT of it. Behind these issues are PEOPLE. It’s so tempting to pick up that rock, stand on our moral high ground, and stone the issue – forgetting there is a flesh and blood heart, a soul on the receiving end of our blows. What kind of witness are we providing when we say Jesus came for all…but not “them?” The only one who should be outraged here is Jesus. Because that’s not what he said. 

Nobody should have the right to persecute, abuse, or discriminate another person – FOR ANY REASON. As believers, we above all others should be the most vocal champions of this; not the loudest opponent. Showing grace and extending a hand of compassion and welcome to ALL is how we demonstrate the love of Christ that we have been shown. “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 
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There is never going to be a perfect candidate or party. And each citizen has a responsibility to make their own EDUCATED decision. 

I have watched the Republican Party tear itself apart in the past year. I have watched a candidate rise who spews filth and stirs up hatred with nearly every address. A candidate comfortable in the use of fear and intimidation. A bully. A man who makes no apologies for his xenophobic rants and his utter lack of self-control. I will not align myself with a party that seems to be run on hate and fear. 

I believe we are better than we have behaved. I choose hope. I choose Her. 

the MOST wonderful time?

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This is the time of year when my favorite music plays on more than half the stations, non-stop.

The time of year when it’s ok to have “one more” cookie, or truffle, or Martha’s rum cake.

The time of year when it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the stuff you want to get done.

  • Gifts for the kids’ teachers
  • Cakes for the Athletic Director and Coach’s Assistant Coaches and their families
  • Decorate the house
  • Tell stories
  • Make cookies
  • Church programs
  • Driving around looking at lights
  • Starting a new tradition
  • Elf on the Shelf (don’t hate – it’s fun)
  • Christmas PJs
  • Christmas shopping
  • Wrapping presents
  • Eat cookies and drink milk on the Santa dishes
  • Hit monthly targets with Thirty-One
  • Book January parties
  • Recruit another team member
  • Deliver all those orders!
  • Oh yeah, and all the other stuff that has to happen in a normal house with three young-ish children and a dog
  • And let’s not forget it’s cheer season
  • And soccer season
  • And…

I have a headache just typing all that out.

The time of year when we are reminded of the infant who left Heaven to come and live among us and die for us so we could be saved.

The time of year we think about a teenage girl and her young husband, desperately searching for a place to give birth; picking a barn because there was nowhere else.

The time of year we remember the journey of wise men – across the sands and maybe mountains – to follow a hunch.

The time of year we think of solitary shepherds and how absolutely terrified they had to be when the sky opened up and the glory of God and Heaven was revealed. What it had to have sounded like to hear angel song through human ears.

The sound of an infant cry and how the universe had to sigh at the sound, because they knew, even if we did not, our Savior had finally come.

Oh.

 

 

Hello Mornings: Taking Refuge

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Hello Mornings: Taking Refuge

Ruth 1:1-5

So excited to start this new session of HM. Ruth is a lovely story and I’ve read it many times, but never really stopped and spent any time with it.

So, the assignment is to read the passage and write what jumps out, then write a sequence of events, and, finally, to read judges 2:11-19 and note what’s taking place in the country during this time.

But first, I wanted to know how far away from home and why they’d gone in the first place.
Visual Bible
Neat maps that show the journey, specific to Naomi and Ruth.

Events
Elimelech takes his wife and two sons to sojourn in Moab, due to the famine in Canaan
Elimelech dies.
The two sons marry Moabite women.

Notes
The Matthew Henry Commentary (MHC) suggests it was a sense of duty that took the family of Elimelech across the Jordan into Moab. To sojourn means to move, but without plans to stay forever. They were, in a way, refugees fleeing the famine in Canaan.

But they get over there and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi and her two sons. They, in turn, marry Moabite women. Why did they do this? Why didn’t they go back home after their father’s death? It’s i the resting to note the MHC says that Elimelech probably had no idea his sons would marry women outside of their faith but, “But those that bring young people into bad acquaintance, and take them out of the way of public ordinances, though they may think them well-principled and armed against temptation, know not what they do, nor what will be the end thereof.” Which is a really fancy way of saying if you allow your children around bad people and situations, don’t be surprised when something bad happens.”

That caused me to stop and really think about some of the lessons we have to teach and, frankly, UNteach in our house. We are a public school family. I work outside of the home. My children are exposed every day to children growing up in homes without Jesus. This does not make them bad children, or their families and homes unsafe. It means that, as their parents, we must constantly work to ensure they are hearing enough truth to balance all of the noise they hear, and give them a foundation strong enough to withstand the temptations they will face because we have chosen not to shelter them from the world, but to raise them to be Godly in spite of it.

Made Up Words

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Nirvana. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Tolerance.

Increasingly in my life, I believe “tolerance” is a made up word. Cain killed Abel because he was “intolerant” of the way Abel worshiped God. Abel chose a different way and Cain killed him for it.

Having a belief system (whether someone else agrees or not) does not make you intolerant, ignorant OR phobic. A&E has the ultimate right to do as they choose with shows under their umbrella, but I DO believe it was an unwise business decision. A&E cashed in on the Robertson family and their way of life. It is illogical to suddenly have a problem with part of their belief system because a certain part of it isn’t PC. It is illogical to believe a family who has been unapologetic about their faith will suddenly apologize or shy away from talking about what they believe to be truth.

My belief system is this: man without God is a broken thing. Scripture says that with God all things are possible. The reverse, then, is also true. Without God, NOTHING is possible. We are incapable of showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness OR self-control without God. Period. The end.

 

PS. For the record: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6

I am a broken, disgusting, dead thing. But, because of CHRIST, I have been remade. All of us are broken, disgusting, dead things. My life choices. Your life choices. Broken. Disgusting. Dead. But for Christ. Amen.

The clock ticks

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The clock ticks

I don’t want to be a stay at home mom. I thought I did. I used to be. But I don’t anymore. This is not a post about the pros and/or cons of staying at home. This is about me. Because it’s my blog. LOL

I stayed home with Munchkin until she was two. It was, circumstances aside, Amazing and super rewarding. Being able to watch her develop and learn real-time was incredible. When I went back to work, we both had a very hard transition. Becoming a single parent necessitated going back to work. I will tell you, in our experience, two was too late to introduce daycare. Munchkin suffered terrible separation anxiety and every transition issue you can imagine. This compounded my own personal guilt at not being able to continue the plan of staying home with her until prek; illogical as it would prove to be. I felt like I failed her by not being able to sustain the plan.

Princess Crybaby was a daycare kid from six weeks. She did not experience separation anxiety the same way and she missed a lot of the transition issues her sister went through. She is not a hitter, or a biter, and potty training was a breeze. She gets along well with classmates and is, overall, very accepting of adult caregivers. All of this could be personality and have little to do with early socialization. Certainly well-socialized kids still hit and bite, struggle with potty training and have terrible separation anxiety. Shoot, who knows how The Boy will shake out. (So far so good, though)

As I was pregnant with The Boy, then, scenarios went through my mind of staying home; both with and without some kind of income. I felt some measure of sadness as I accepted the reality that finances and our chosen lifestyle just wouldn’t permit me to stay home without some kind of income, and legitimate work-at-home jobs seem scarce or hard to find.

Once The Boy arrived, it was quite different. I found the long days at home very lonely, blissful as they were, with only The Boy for company. I found myself craving a creative outlet, but felt too tired and attention-torn to focus on anything. I started to feel a little crazy without regular, adult conversation. I started rearranging the house, cleaning and organizing. That makes my husband VERY nervous.

I realized that my wanting to stay at home was less about the kids and more about me.

Now that I’ve gone back to work, albeit only a couple of days back, I find I am happier and more satisfied during the day. Of course I miss the children and can’t wait to see them at the end of the day, but I get that much-needed creative exercise. And, being home with the kids all evening isn’t exhausting, because I haven’t already been with them all day… I can still be a good mom and not be home all day.

I believe God uses our circumstances to gently teach us. I am pretty over the idea of a God who beats us over the head in order to bend us to His will, or employs the “because I said so,” style of leadership; blaring truth through loud speakers. He was gentle (and silent) in this circumstance; allowing me to discover for myself that His plan (going back to work) really is in my best interests.

So if you, Dear Reader, are sitting and watching the clock tick, sit tight. Search your heart for how you feel and where you see God leading. Try not to get too hung up on the why; I think it becomes apparent, but sometimes not until you’ve moved past.

disclaimer: I am a skeptic. I love The Lord with my whole heart, but confess to asking a LOT of questions. I have invested in fleeces, because it seems like I have frequent opportunities to use them. Thankfully, I worship the God of the universe: big enough to put up with all my obnoxious questions, and small enough to take the time to answer them.

Heaven

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In 2005, when I lived a different life, I wrote about my vision of Heaven. It’s changed a bit since then.

white house with green shuttersHeaven still looks like smalltown USA. I can still see my house with the hardwood floors, screen doors and gerber daisies. It’s white, with green shutters. It’s early summer. 

picnicIn my daydream of heaven, the kids are all still kids. They are chasing lightening bugs in the yard (so, I guess there have to be bugs in heaven after all). Riley has just come back from fishing with my grandfather. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother are showing me (again) how to make peach fritters and the house smells of peaches and summer. Matt is (what else) playing in the yard with Asher and Emory and Madison is reading on the porch swing. Cookie is working on whatever “honey do” list (I’m sure) my mother gave him; smiling all the time (because that’s just who he is. <3) My brother and his family and my sister and her family are there, too, of course. They walked down the road for dinner.

 

Most importantly, we’ll all be together. For always.

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Object lesson – Hellomornings – week 6 – day 1

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John 9:1-17

Willing unbelief. A deliberate refusal to accept fact or truth presented, in order to serve some other purpose; usually selfish.

This is actually a beautiful picture of what we do in PR. This man had a miraculous encounter with Jesus. He didn’t know everything there was to know; he only knew the facts pertaining to him. He couldn’t provide them any more information to quench their insatiable appetite for “more,” but he testified to what he knew. That morning, he woke up blind and with no prospects for a better situation. But Jesus changed all that for him. Jesus, in a passing conversation with his disciples, healed this man because he was there. to show his power over the afflictions of the human condition. to teach his disciples. Praise God for object lessons!!!

Not listening – Hellomornings – week 5 – day 5

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John 8:48-59

There comes a point in any argument when one person just stops listening. Anything the other person says is GOING to be wrong and, therefore, must be disputed. This argument between Jesus and the Pharisees has gone on for an entire week. When the Pharisees were cornered and knew they weren’t “winning” the argument, they took up rocks to stone Jesus, because he claimed to be God. Their disbelief was so deeply embedded they were completely unwilling to hear and entertain the possibility that they were wrong and jesus was exactly who He said he was.

How many arguments have I been in where I was so convinced I was right that I Would. Not. Hear. Anything else? How many times has my stubbornness rendered me completely unable to see anything but my own point of view?

Insults – Hellomornings – week 5- day 4

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John 8:31-47

This is kind of an interesting section, because we see Jesus mixing it up with the people. Jesus stays very calm, of course, but the people get angrier and nastier as the conversation progresses, even going so far as to throw the circumstances of his birth at him. (Incidentally, Jesus’ description of satan is a lot like Sam’s description of Gollum to Frodo, in Lord of the Rings.) I can imagine how Jesus’ heart broke every time he had such an encounter with the people; the very same he had come here to rescue from their sin and would eventually die for. His resilience amazes me. Even though he was God and therefore above the petty insults, he was fully human too and surely had to have felt the pain and disappointment of the constant rejection.

Stones – hellomornings – week 5 – day 2

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John 7:53-8:11*

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by brining him the woman, caught in adultery. If he let her go, he would be speaking contrary to The Law. If he condemned her, his message of forgiveness would be upended. But, as usual, Jesus saw through this trap and reminded them of the TRUTH in the law that they conveniently chose to ignore. They were ready to stone this woman. They wanted to. The savagery of the sinful human heart is all too ready to commit unspeakable violence against one another; and to have a legitimate reason (prescribed by God’s law) seemed even better. But Jesus KNEW the condition of the human heart; that is the reason the other part of the law is there: “let he who is without sin…” Only those who were, themselves, holy and purified were to exact God’s judgement. It is, I believe, the primary reason God says, “vengeance is mine.” He KNOWS we are are so filled with sin as to be completely incapable of following the law and, in turn, ensuring that others do the same; or face the consequences when they don’t. I believe this was Jesus’ masterpiece: to reveal the cancer in the human heart and provide the only cure: himself.

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No good thing – hellomornings – week 5 – day 1

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John 7:37-52

– What did Jesus do?
Continued to preach about living water

– What did ohers say about Jesus?
Some said he was the Prophet.
Some said he was the Christ
Some said he was a fraud

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to meditate upon and believe today?

**monday, June…3(had to think about it a second)**
Today’s reading starts out very similar to last week’s: more teaching about living water…growing division between the people and the Pharisees, hating and plotting. But today was a little different. The Pharisees show themselves as fools. “No Prophet arises from Galilee.” We’ll, that may be so, but Jesus wasn’t from Galilee, was he? I am reminded of the times in my life when I make blanket statements or judgements, so sure of my “rightness” and I am completely incorrect and I end up looking foolish. (Thankfully grace covers even loud-mouthed redheads.) as we start our week, let us be ever mindful that we are seeking to learn from Jesus, not making blanket statements based on what we THINK we know… If you are going to turn your nose up and condemn someone/thing, do be sure to do your homework so you don’t prove yourself a fool.

You Dont Know Me – Hellomornings – week 4 – day 5

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You Dont Know Me – Hellomornings – week 4 – day 5

John 7:25-36

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
You think you know me, but you’ve missed the entire rest of the story because you can’t get past my address.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Verse 27 really jumped out at me. The people had twisted two OT (Torah) verses to the point that they believed the messiah would just appear out of nowhere. Since Jesus was “known” to them, they assumed he wasn’t who he said he was. What a tragedy! To be so wrapped up in our own certainty about an interpretation of scripture that we become blind to the truth.

Time – Hellomornings – week 4 – day 4

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John 7:1-24

– What did Jesus do?
Sent his brothers before him into Jerusalem for the feast and then follow behind, discreetly.

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
God does things on a timetable. We are to be so tuned in to him that we act accordingly.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to meditate upon and believe today?
If you are truly committed to Christ, the world should hate you.
Jesus was not swayed from his course by his own brothers’ disbelief.

Who Are You – hellomornings – week 5 -day 3

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*i got a little excited and skipped ahead. Stay tuned for TODAY’S reading. *

John 8:12-30

– What did Jesus do?
Spoke to the Pharisees in the temple

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
That we will die in our sin if we do not believe
That if we are blinded by our own opposition to god, we are on the side of satan

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
The light of the world

– What true things do others say about Jesus?

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Willful ignorance is the same as outright rejection.

I got nothin’

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I’m tired. It’s been a crazy, hectic week; to be followed by a hectic Friday and Saturday before I can relax. I am SO thankful, though, for the holiday weekend. So, today’s post is a whole lot of nothin’. Nothin’ funny. Nothin’ sappy. Nothin’ inspiring.

I’m empty today. Well, that’s not true. I have a baby boy the size of a bell pepper hanging around that I’m trying to get to know, two little girls who light up my life with their fireworks every day, and a husband who delights, completes and overjoys me. I have friends who encourage me, family that holds me close and faith that keeps me afloat. I have Jesus.

You know what, maybe I’m not so empty after all.

Walk! Hellomornings – week 3 – day 2

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John 5:1-18

**Tuesday, May 21**
I’ve read and heard this story most of my life, but the significance on several points escaped me. Yesterday, we started looking at Jesus as King. Today, we see Jesus enrage the priests and Jewish leaders by calling God his Father. He ignored the “extra” rules of the Jewish leaders by healing on the Sabbath. He did not break God’s law, but man’s. I think the caution here is to examine our lives and see if we’ve added any “extra” rules in our own lives that are not based in scripture.

I think the healing of the man by the pool was also significant. The man had been afflicted nearly 40 years. Who knows how many of those years he sat at the pool hoping somebody would come and help him into the water. Then Jesus – a total stranger – walks up to him one day and says “take up your bed and walk.” And he does it!! WOW! May I have a heart that stays open to a miracle, and know my salvation when I see it!

– What did Jesus do?
Healed the man at the pool of Bethsada

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
God does not have a law against doing good on the Sabbath. The rabbinical leaders convoluted the law to include a lot of other stuff that God did not say. Jesus took issue with this. This sets up the beginning of open hostility from the priests.

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
The Son (indirect)

– What true things do others say about Jesus?

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Sin has consequences.
Jesus has supernatural knowledge of our individual situation
Do not try and create a lot of extra laws/rules around God’s law, or you will invite the wrath of the King.

What IS a King? Hellomornings – week 3 – day 1

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My first post this morning as a co-AC. (That’s like a group admin)

**Monday, May 20**
Good morning, friends! I hope you had a great weekend!! Week 3! This week, we learn about Jesus as our King. What does Jesus as your Sovereign mean to you? Do you struggle with the concept of Jesus as King? Personally, this is a very hard idea for me. As an American, living in the 21st Century, the only monarchy I’ve seen is the royal family of Britain and their version of monarchy is, I believe, very different than the absolute power and dominion held by previous monarchies and CERTAINLY by God. I am an avid history lover, and have studied many ancient monarchies, but its hard to put Jesus, King of Kings, into a category with any of them.

It is easy to see Jesus’ divine authority here, though. He knows the hearts of these people is rooted in disbelief, but his grace for these people is so complete and unending, he heals the official’s son anyway.

How hard is it for YOU to see Jesus as your sovereign King? Am I, like the Galileans, just as likely to fall into the pattern of asking for more signs, instead of bowing at the Throne and worshipping my Creator and King, in all his glory? I am praying for you today, friends! You can’t know what a blessing you are to me!

John 4:46-54

– What did Jesus do?
Healed the official’s son

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
That, despite our own disbelief and demand for more signs and more displays of his power, he is sympathetic to our heart’s cry and his grace is unending.

Preparing for the Harvest – Hellomornings – week 2 – day 5

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John 4:31-45

– What did Jesus do?
Stayed with the people several days, teaching. Then, he went on to galilee, where he was welcomed.

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
He spoke to the disciples about living food.
He also told them about the harvest, which is the salvation of people.

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)

– What true things do others say about Jesus?
The people told the woman: We believe, no longer because of what you told us but because of what we’ve seen for ourselves.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Others have sown the seeds of salvation. It is my responsibility to watch for opportunities to help bring in the harvest. Other times, it will be my turn to plant seeds; even if I am not to bring in the harvest.

How can i keep from singing – Hellomornings – week 2 – day 4

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John 4:16-30

– What did Jesus do?
This is a full conversation. Jesus tells the woman he knows about her life; defines the true believer, and reveals himself as the Messiah.

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
That through him true worship by all was now fully possible; whereas before it had only been to the Jews.
That location no longer distinguished the “true” believer; belief in him did

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
The messiah

– What true things do others say about Jesus?
The woman ran back into town and told others about this man. Despite her shame, she could not keep herself from seeking out others.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to meditate upon and believe today?
So many things strike me here: his statement about marriage directly applies even today, when so many seek to put words in Jesus’ mouth and make jesus into something he wasn’t (a permissive, “name it and claim it” kind of savior”). Also, the promise that he brings salvation, not just to the Jews but to all who would receive it, is a profound and amazing statement. It would have been unheard of for a Jewish prophet to go to Samaria, much less claim he is the messiah and the salvation he brings is for them too!! It reminds me of how adamant Jonah was about not going to Nineveh; that his messages were for the Jews. But when jonah obeyed and took gods message to them, they repented!! Jesus came to seek and to save the whole world; starting at this well, in this town, and with this woman.

Right Where We Are – Hellomornings – week 2 – day 3

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I took yesterday off.

John 4:1-15

– What did Jesus do?
Stopped and spoke with a Samaritan woman, at the well.

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
That he is the living water

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
Living water

– What true things do others say about Jesus?

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to meditate upon and believe today?
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Hellomornings – truly, truly

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week 2 – day 1

John 3:1-21

– What did Jesus do?
Spoke to nicodemus about being reborn
– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
You must be born again
Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the work might be saved through him.
The world loves darkness, but Jesus is the light come into the world.

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
Son of man
The light

– What true things do others say about Jesus?
Nicodemus said “we” know he is a teacher from god and that god is with him, because of the things he can do.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Truly, truly, I must seek the light in all things. Are there any dark places in my life that I keep hidden because they love evil?

Seek and Save – #hellomornings – day 5

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John 2:13-25

– What did Jesus do?
Overturned the money changers and drove out the animals from the temple.
There was also a confrontation with the priests

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it. He was prophesying his own death, burial and resurrection.

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)

– What true things do others say about Jesus?
The disciples remembered the “zeal for your house” from Psalm 69:9

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
I typed this thought in Facebook and didn’t save it to post it here, so I added a screenshot:

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Hellomornings – Day 3

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John 1:35-51

– What did Jesus do?
Gathered his followers. I actually chuckled out loud this morning, reading. This was social networking at its finest: Two friends to start, then they bring a friend, then they bring their brother James… LOL

– What did Jesus teach? (What truths, promises, and commands did Jesus declare?)
You believe because I saw you under the fig tree – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

– What did Jesus call himself? (You might consider creating a list, with a tally of how
many times Jesus calls himself certain titles.)
The Son of Man

– What true things do others say about Jesus?
John calls him the Lamb of God.
Nathanael proclaims that he is the Son of God

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
When Jesus shows up, GO with him!

Q. Is Nathanael John, Jesus’ friend and the writer of this Gospel?

There He Is – Hellomornings – Day 2

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John 1:19-34

– What did Jesus do?
Came to John to be baptized. This signified the official beginning of his ministry

What true things do others say about Jesus?
John called him the Lamb of God, referring to the Hebrew sacrificial lamb
Son of God – the one come to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

– What is one truth about Jesus and/or His promises from today’s passage that I need to
meditate upon and believe today?
Even John the Baptist said he did not know him, but the one who sent him (God) told him who Jesus was. So often, I think it is a reminder that you should always be looking for Jesus because you never know when you will encounter him, but also to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit to tell you, “pppssst. There he is.”

What utter joy it must have been for John to hear those words.

Hello Mornings

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So, a few months back I stumbled across the HelloMornings Challenge Blog. It’s a challenge to get up a little earlier, on purpose, to make that YOUR time for bible study, exercise, and whatever morning routine with yourself. I found it to be a wonderful idea so I signed up. Not really familiar with the concept and getting in after group sign-up,  I didn’t really do it right (I didn’t know that until later either) and I wasn’t so faithful about it. But I really love the idea, so I’ve signed up for the Summer session and I’d LOVE for you to join me. Here’s what you need to know:

  • A 13-week challenge to maximize your mornings, via online accountability groups.
  • Starts May 6th and runs through August 2nd.
  • Registration is open until Friday, May 3th.
  • Perfection is not a requirement. Just a desire to meet with God in the morning and a commitment to checking in with your group. (if you know me and want to be in the same group I’m in, click on Kristin Smith in the Central Time Zone list.)
  • There is also a free Bible study for all HelloMornings participants, Meet Jesus, a walk through the book of John.

I can’t wait to get started!

hellomornings

Why

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It was early. They walked quickly, in hushed tones. It was cool, having rained overnight. Everything was so rushed on the Preparation day, there wasn’t time to properly anoint the body. The women all agreed to meet early the morning after the Sabbath, in order to anoint His body; as was fitting. They wondered aloud if the soldiers would help them with the heavy stone.

Passover was usually a time of rememberance but also of celebration. This time, however, there was no celebration. FOr the first time in their lives, all ritual seemed hollow. Afterall, their Deliverer was dead. For three years, they’d followed this man – the One. All they’d hoped for – gone – in one horrible afternoon. Why, Lord, why?

Mary Magdalene worried a little about how quiet it seemed – her experience with Romans was that they were loud – all the time. And yet, as they approached the tomb she did not hear anything – no voices, no heavy steps – just the quiet of the garden.

Then they saw it. The tomb was open. The guards were gone. What had happened? Surely no-one would have taken the Lord’s body. Why, then was the stone rolled away? Why would the Roman soldiers have unsealed the tomb? Why?

Frightened, they ran to the tomb, but found nothing. Bewildered, they ran outside and were met by two men. How brightly their robes shined! And their voices rang – it was terrible and beautiful, at the same time.

Why do you seek the living among the dead,” one of the men said, “He is risen! Go and tell the others.”

They immediately rushed to tell Peter. “Why don’t you believe us? We’ve seen it for ourselves!” Mary’s heart was heavy – she told herself she believed these men – surely they were messengers, sent to give them the good news. Why, then, couldn’t she rejoice with the others? Why wouldn’t they believe her?

Peter immediately ran for the tomb – going to inspect the now shed graveclothes with bewilderment.

Mary knelt in the cool grass a long time, eyes closed, just listening and praying. When she looked up, she saw a man standing near her. Grief-stricken, she cried, “They’ve taken the Lord away and I don’t know where.”

“Mary,” said the man. It was only then she realized the man standing before her was Jesus. Alive!

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Jesus had to die. God’s perfection demands a sacrifice for sin. It is a death sentence. From the very first rebellion in the garden, God knew we could never be redeemed unless He intervened. From the beginning, to the very last pages of Scripture, we read of God’s plan to redeem us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. Jesus had  to die; or we would never truly live.

That’s why.

Gone

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I can’t imagine the stunned shock of the disciples. Even though they’d been told this was coming, how many of them really understood? And now, He was gone. They’d watched their friend and teacher – the Savior – beaten, mocked and, finally, crucified.  They watched, with finality, as the Roman soldiers sealed the tomb with an enormous rock.

Judas had betrayed him to the priests and, now, he was dead. Peter, the Rock, had denied him – three times. Not one of the 12 had come to his aid.

And now, they were in hiding. Afraid for their very lives. I imagine the room where they gathered was as silent as the very grave itself.

They had to be exhausted from their grief and terror. It wouldn’t be until later they would be filled with courage. Today, all was uncertain.

Soylent Green

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Linky Linky to this VERY strange movie

I had an interesting epiphany this morning.  We do not know we are starving until we taste real food again.

For [fill in the blanks], we’ve been “too tired” to go to church. We’ve had too much to do. We’ve been over-extended/-committed/whatever. (and we were) We, legitimately, were running on fumes. Munchkin and I had Oliver! and Coach started soccer season. I had SO many work obligations I brought it home a lot of nights; against my personal commitment not to. Goals made at the new year still hang, unstarted (is that a word?) on the door.

Church was effectively shelved. A two hour commitment, once a week, was crossed off the list, in favor of a little more “rest.”

What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were also shelving two hours of concentrated family time; one of our family goals. Time to pray together – also a goal . A church where we could plug in – another goal. Two hours a week, dedicated to reminding us and reinforcing the kind of family we want to be: friendly, patient, kind, healthy, praying, and on and on. So, by eliminating that two hours a week, we effectivly hobbled our ability to meet almost every one of our family goals and many of our individual goals.  Yes, that two hours were freed up but we were starving our family of fellowship, community, encouragement from the outside, accountability to something bigger than ourselves and a group connection to our Savior.

[Enter the Soylent Green metaphor]

Soylent Green is a movie that came out in the 70s and, according to wikipedia: much of the population survives on processed food rations, including “soylent green”. It’s a weird post-apocalyptic movie that came out in the 70s. People don’t eat real food anymore. They eat this soylent green stuff.  It tastes better than other food rations and is more nutritious.  After a VERY long story line (hello, 1970s, I know all the drugs slowed down your processing speed but it doesn’t translate well to future viewers), Charlton Heston’s character discovers this soylent green is made of PEOPLE.  When people die, their bodies become this processed “food.” People don’t even know what they’re eating. At some point, Heston’s character aquires some steak and it’s like a treasure. It’s so valuable, they hide it until they are ready to eat it.

[return to today]

This morning, for the first time in months, Coach and I went to worship service. At our church. When Brother Andy began to preach, any sense of lingering tiredness fell away and we were just caught up in this sweet fellowship with each other, with the others in the room and with God.

It was during this time I realized I’d been starving for real food. Making myself be content with processed and manufactured rest, over time, my spirit grew quiet as my flesh began to “forget” what real food tasted like. Not that my spirit went away or was less present – I think it just waited for my flesh to get. a. grip.

Suddenly, my attempts to free up our time seemed laughable. Like I could re-create this feeling without spending the time in the pew.  Like I really wanted to. My spirit laughed; not in a mean way, but in a joyful way. Making a joyful noise took on the proportions of the delighted oohs and aahs when Mom presents the family with the Thanksgiving turkey. We feasted on the scripture (Romans 8).

And, not for the first time, I said to God, “God, why did it take me so long to figure that out – the answer was right in front of me the whole time…” And I’m sure God just shrugged His shoulders and said, “I don’t know, but I’m glad you’re back.”

It was good.

We rested in Him.

We were filled.

L-O-V-E

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Listen
Overlook
Value
Encourage

  • Listen means turning off the iPad and phone, disconnecting my brain from the temptation to work and really engaging in conversation – investing in friendship.
  • Overlook means keeping the good stuff in focus and it worrying so much about the other stuff.
  • Value means caring enough to be sensitive to needs.  I must communicate and model behavior I hope to see.
  • Encourage is just that. I think I do can do a pretty good job at this but there is always room to improve.

 

Lord, thank you for renewed vision and a willing heart. 

I Believe! (Devotional)

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Passage Romans 10:8-17
Prayer
Dear Father,May the word of Christ always be on my lips and in my heart. May I make known to everyone in every place that Jesus is Lord and that you have raised him from the dead. Remind me continually that I have no cause to be ashamed of my faith.Grant not only that I myself should believe but that I should also become partners with others in sending them to proclaim the Good News to the world.Thank you that Christ is preached. Thank you for the belief you have put into my heart. Thank you for the salvation that comes from this.In Jesus’ name. Amen. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/hl-devos-pwp/~3/Bi0gG-F-nI8/pwp.pl #Bible http://j.mp/hSqMD9

It’s been a really hectic few months and my blogging has slowed down to a crawl.

I need to blog about Annie, the recent show I was just in. I need to give an update on the never-ending adventure in parenting.  You get the picture.

For this morning, though, I really connected with this devotion and thought I’d share.

It is my prayer my words and actions would always reflect Christ. I know they don’t but that is the sweet promise of the cross;  despite our countless failings, we can rest safe in the arms of Redemption.

Have a great day! Be blessed!