Sunday, December 30, 2012

Family Pictures

I don't know about you, but every time we take a family picture there's loads of drama in the background.

Every year, we pick a color - this year the color was green, which in hindsight may not have been the best selection - there are too many varieties. There were different levels of prostetation - I don't have any green; this is the only green I have so this is what I'm wearing; do stripes count?; Mummy we're only doing this for you; if this makes you happy, then I'm happy. 

On the day of, I remember that the Little One, may not have any green in her closet. What to do? I run through her closet and realize that she has a dress with green and white striped top - this will do. 

It's also about the hairstyles, at least for the women it is. We're all natural now and at the last minute daughter  #2 decides that she wants to be adventurous and straighten her hair. Mind you, she hasn't straightened her hair in about a year and is growing out a short cut; also her hair is very thick. Our appointment is at 3 and she starts this at 1; by 2 she is only three quarters done. So now daughter #1 decides to help her out - thank God. In the mean time, the men are debating the "greenness" of their sweaters, and I have decided to cancel any fancy hairdo I would have attempted. Instead, I do my usual standby - a pony tail. I also get running commentary on the greenness of my dress.  At 3, a last minute wardrobe change by daughter #1 allows her to locate a green top in her suitcase and she convinces herself that the stripes in her sweater have a shade of green in them.  She decides to wear a green accent ring and some green eye shadow.  

At this point, I am holding on to my sanity by a very slim thread. By 3:15 we finally leave and arrive at the studio by 3:25.

  
Finally, our pictures are done, until next year. (above a subset of our photo shoot)

My family is not perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

Do you have exciting behind the scenes stories around your family pictures?




Sunday, December 23, 2012

This is 46

I'm a Christmas baby, so I have double the reasons to love this time of year.

me and hubby
Yesterday, I made no plans, and was thoroughly surprised by my family.

You know what I think of birthdays - they're special, and the person born on that day was special. The world would be a lot less without you being here. I like to acknowledge birthdays, because some people just don't know how special they are until you tell and show them.  Making them feel good makes you feel good. Wives and mothers sometimes feel unacknowledged for all the good that they do. A birthday is the perfect opportunity to show just how much this important woman matters - and yesterday they delivered. A surprise visit to a spa, gifts, and dinner later.

On my birthday, I also strangely thought about my brother who passed away. I don't know why, but I did. Some how I could hear his voice in my head reading Psalms 19. I sometimes wonder what it's like to be in heaven, but I don't get too far since I really can't comprehend the magnitude and magnificence of heaven.

This blog is called Life....after death, because the death of my brother gave greater perspective to the things in life that we sometimes take for granted. I have a sibling that lives really close to me geographically, but we are so far apart relationally. It wasn't always that way, but its the way it is now. She's lonely and really does not look forward to the holidays. She blames Los Angeles, for most of this, but it's bigger than that - it's rather complicated. In any event, I passed by today, since she called my parents who live in NY and they then called me to tell me she was not doing well (I told you it was complicated). I hope I was able to cheer her up.

I'm rambling; but I'm glad I made it to another year. I have no shame in saying my age since apparently I don't look it, but even if I did it wouldn't matter; I'm grateful for my husband (though sometimes our communication styles could drive a sane person crazy); I'm grateful for my children; for my small church family; for Christmas time and Christmas music and for salvation.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 


Happy Birthday Jesus! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Clean Ears!

I find it soothing to clean my ears with a hairpin, even though it's recommended that we place no foreign objects in our ears.  I like knowing my ears are clean - because I don't want to miss what's directed at me.

I had a child who suffered from wax buildup to the point where it was painful.  One Sunday afternoon I had to take her to critical care, since our regular doctor was not on call.  Here's my memory of that day - the nurse reminded me of Broom Hilda in appearance; she was no nonsense and determined to get the wax out.  She literally pinned my child down so that she was steady, and used a device that resembled a crochet hook to remove a huge wad of wax.  By the end of that visit, we resolved to be more vigilant with watching her ears.

I have ears on my mind because spiritually, I want to be open to what God has to say to me.  I want to hear it and be able to respond accordingly.  I don't want to have a wax buildup of all the world's gunk that requires the equivalent of a heavy nurse pinning me down to remove the wax.

This post is prompted by an excerpt from an earlier devotional this week:
In Psalm 40:6, David declared, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.”The word opened in this verse can be translated “cleared out,” and it speaks of what God desires for us. He wants our ears to be open and ready to hear Him as He speaks to us through His Word. Sometimes, however, our spiritual ears may be blocked by the background noise of the surrounding culture or the siren songs of temptation and sin.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—but my ears you have opened; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll.
 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalms 40: 6-8

Are your ears opened to hear God's desires for you?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Writing, Life, Etc.

This year started on a promising note - I wanted MORE of God.

Here's what I've realized about MORE - when I spend time with God, I hear him, he inspires me, he provides wisdom and peace.
When the cares of this world consume me (as they have recently), I feel so far away and don't hear him any more.

He didn't move, I did.

Lord, restore me.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.




Thanks for what you will do, Amen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Worshipper in Me.......MORE

I recently heard this song at a gospel concert that was put on by USC's Gospel Choir -  SBG (Saved By Grace), of which my daughter is a member.  The words moved me, but even more, the soloist was amazing. If you read this blog for any length of time, you know that  my word for this year was MORE. I never thought I would find a song that encapsulates all that wanting MORE entails. 

The song sums up all of the angst associated with MORE, and where I am right now.  Enjoy!




(Intro)

I give you more 
So much more 
Ooooh Ooh 
So much more 
Your deserving of more 
- Ad Lip -

(Lead)

Ooh the worshiper in me wants to be free 
From the cares of life that seem to weigh me down. 
Yes the worshiper in me needs consistency
To lift my hands and give you praise when no ones around. 
Ooh the worshiper in me wants to break free 
From the intellectual mentality 
Like when I should be up, I’m sitting in my seat
I should be lifting my hands, giving you praise, and gloryyyyyy 
Ehhh I-IIII should be giving you more 
Moreeee (run)
I should be giving you more

*Group*

Oh the worshiper in me wants to be free -(Just wants to be free)-
From the cares of life that seem to weigh me down. -(From the cares of life that seem to weigh me down)-
Oh the worshiper in me needs consistency -( I want to be consistanttt )- 
To lift my hands and give you praise when no ones around -(Lift my hands to give you praise yeaahh yeah)- 
Oh the worshiper in me wants to break free -(From the intellectual Oooh)- 
From this intellectual mentality -(Right when I should be Uhh Oooh)- 
When I should be up, I’m sitting in my seat -( I should be lifting my hands yee-yeah)- 
I should be lifting my hands, giving you praise, and glorryyyy . -(Everytime I get a chance, I wanna give my best to you)

*Chorus* 2x

I wanna give my best to you,
I wanna do what you ask me to,
I wanna go wherever you say,
Just say the words and I’ll obey, 
I wanna live a life thats real,
I wanna serve you Lord foreal,
For you deserve all this and More,
So I give you More 
More-Or
So I give you more 
More-Or

*Vamp* 16x

(You deserving of more) 
*You deserving of more* 
(Ad Lip) 
*you deserving of more*

(Bridge) 24x
-(Ad Lip) 
I Give You More

(Outro) 3x

I surrender all 
I surrender all
All to thee my blessed Saviour 
I surrender all

Have you ever heard this song? Did it bless you as much as it did me? What song is on repeat for you right now? 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peaks, Pits, Praises and Prayers

I've never done this before, but you know I have a love for alliterative sentences and the one in this title is perfect for this post.
So I'm linking up with a fellow blogger  Katie @ Married With a Pup for her Peaks, Pits, Praises and Prayers.




Peaks: highlights of the week; overall positives
Pits: low point(s) of the week
Praises: praising God for specific things that have happened throughout the week
Prayers: prayer requests that arose during the week or have been lingering

Peaks:
  • It's Christmas
  • All the children come home
  • Humor

Pits
  • Seems I hurt my knee while jogging on Thanksgiving; it hasn't been the same since
  • Family member was in a second car accident within the past 2 weeks
  • Marriage relationship ebbs and flows
  • General dissatisfaction with life

Praises
  • Life
  • God   that his ways are not like mine! I can't figure Him out, but trusting Him is worth it.
  • Fruit trees in my back yard.
  • Southern California - so different from NY, but not so bad. 
  • Husband - just what I needed though I sometimes fall victim to my emotions
  • Moving - it forces you to grow up
  • Old friends - though we don't talk daily its good to know we are there for each other
  • Enthusiasm of a 9 year old - she's selling chocolate again and so far she's sold 22 cases! She's determined to get to 26; her prize is a kindle fire. The sale ends 12/17 - I think she'll make it.
  • The ability to share via writing.

Prayers
  • Everything in the Pits

Sure hope I linked up correctly. Faith, I borrowed this from you because I loved it. Thanks for getting me to do my first ever link up. As I wrote this, I realized that as I focused more on the Praises, I got happier and I was reminded of the verse that says - In everything give thanks! Everything!  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do you have any Peaks, Pits, Praises, Prayers? Do share.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review - A Lineage of Grace


As I read the book Lineage Grace by Francine Rivers there are a couple of thoughts that stood out.

You don't have to be perfect to be used by God. God can and does take your imperfections and uses them for his glory. In our world, a woman who marries her father in law, a prostitute, and an adulterer (the  other woman) are not looked upon kindly. Yet if there is a change of heart, God can use you.  All of the women mentioned at some point during their difficult lives experienced a change of heart that turned their hearts toward God.

The cultural norms of Biblical times for women are hard to reconcile with modern times. I'm sure all the women in Biblical times weren't comfortable with cultural norms that dictated they married young and bear children. When I imagine myself living back then, I think a part of me would have waged a fight.

There was a longing for the Messiah. Every generation wondered when the promise would be fulfilled. Life was full of challenges for the Jewish people and they were looking for some relief. The words of this hymn describe their ache for a Messiah:

Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart
Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne

I enjoyed this book and getting a sense of how the women must have lived. The thoughts I shared in the previous blog posts are only the ones that stood out, but as you read the stories you will think of things you never thought of before - deep thinking is always beneficial. But ultimately, the book is about salvation, faith and hope; when your circumstances seem insurmountable - God steps in and does the impossible. The women with their scarred pasts are now noted as heroes and God gets the glory, because He is amazing. This book also encourages women in particular to dream and to recognize that you are not limited by your circumstances or cultural norms - in God's eyes we are all equal and worthy of his love and salvation. It's a worthwhile read and I hope you enjoyed getting small look of the women that are mentioned in the lineage of Christ.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - MARY

Mary is the last woman mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. She had Jesus through what is known as a virgin birth - she never knew a man, but the Holy Spirit impregnated her. Even as I type that, I can't wrap my mind around it, so I can only imagine what Mary must have felt. One minute she's a normal young lady, the next she's pregnant and there's a young, unique life growing in her.

By the time the angel spoke to Mary, the Jewish people had been waiting for Messiah for a long time. Life was very difficult, and the Messiah would make things better. When the angel Gabriel addressed her, he told her that she was favored and that she would blessed with a child named Jesus, the Messiah. Mary in her humanness asked, "But how can this happen, seeing I know not a man?" Gabriel replied, "the Holy Spirit will overshadow you and the baby born to you will be holy."  After all of this transpires, Mary gracefully accepts her assignment.

As it is laid out in the book, the author provides a perspective of what it must have been like to be the mother of Jesus from infancy to adulthood, watching Him as he is crucified. As a mother, I know that all toddlers aren't obedient and well behaved - they require great training and discipline; apparently Jesus the toddler did not. [Please note, this is not mentioned in the Bible].

Because Mary knew who Jesus was she listened to her son in ways that some how don't seem to make sense to us. Consider the story of when Mary and Joseph lost Jesus for three days and he was found in the temple in deep discussion with the religious leaders. A frightened Mary asks Jesus how could he have done this? He replied "...know ye not that I must be about my father's business?" It's a stinging statement that immediately removes the panic but also indicates knowledge and self assurance. His parents did not understand.
There's also the instance when Jesus turned water in to wine. He appeared to speak to his mother harshly, yet she then told the servants to do whatever He tells you to do.

Mary had the burden of knowing -she knew her Son was the promised Messiah, but she watched as so many did not believe. He was there, yet they did not know or did not accept him. That can only pain a mother's heart, but Mary pondered all these things in her heart.

Can you relate to Mary? What does it mean to be favored? If you are favored by God, do you question God? How do you know you are favored? How would you parent a child that only you knew was different? Today we hover and are overprotective - contrast that to Mary's parenting style of Jesus. Is it ever OK for a child to be indignant to a parent? How can you learn from your children? Do you ponder as you raise your children?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - BATHSHEBA

Bathsheba isn't mentioned directly in the genealogy of Christ, instead she is referred to as Uriah's wife.
Who was Uriah? He was a captain in David's army.  One day while Uriah was away fighting for King David, David saw Uriah's wife taking a bath on the roof (as was the custom of the day) and lusted after her. He summoned her to his chamber, where he then slept with her.  From their interactions, Uriah's wife became pregnant. David then tried to hide what had happened by coming up with a plan. He tried to get Uriah drunk so that he would sleep with his wife, but Uriah did not want to go against the customs  of the day which said that when a man was at war, he didn't have relations with his wife. So that plan failed. So David set Uriah up so that he was killed in battle - he gave the order that Uriah be placed in the front line of battle where it was the most dangerous. David then married Bathsheba thinking that no one would know of his illicit affair; she became his eighth wife.  David's action was displeasing to the Lord, who accordingly sent Nathan the prophet to reprove the king.
Nathan told a parable of the rich man who took away the one little ewe lamb of his poor neighbor (II Samuel 12), and excited the king's anger against the unrighteous act; the prophet then applied the case directly to David's action with regard to Bathsheba.
David at once confessed his sin and expressed sincere repentance. Bathsheba's child by David was struck with a severe illness and died a few days after birth, which the king accepted as his punishment.
David loved Bathsheba, for she became the mother of Solomon. In David's old age, Bathsheba secured the succession to the throne of her son Solomon, instead of David's eldest surviving son Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:11-31).

Can you relate to Bathsheba? Was Bathsheba complicit in this situation? Did she do anything wrong? She is listed as Uriah's wife, yet it was as David's wife she had Solomon - do you find this odd? Is there any significance? As a woman, was there anything that she could have done to prevent David from lusting after her? How does God choose to honor Bathsheba?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - RUTH

This is the third in a series of women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. To get caught up, check here and here.
Ruth - is one of the more romantic stories in the Bible, and in the retelling of this story, the author does not disappoint. Here's a scaled down version.

Ruth was Naomi's daughter in law and she was from Moab. Moab is where Naomi and her husband moved to for a better life, but it was not a Godly country. Naomi's husband and her two sons died, leaving her without someone to carry on the family name. At the same time Naomi heard that life was better back home, so Naomi decided to go back home to Bethlehem with her two daughters in law. She didn't anticipate that they would make the journey with her, after all, they were not from Bethlehem. Orphah chose to stay which was not a problem for Naomi, but Ruth decided to go wherever her mother in law was going, which was uncharacteristic. Somehow she had come to believe in Naomi's God, and made that famous statement found in the first chapter of Ruth:
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-18
This may have been a turning point for Naomi, as up to this point she thought her life was bitter.
They travel to Bethlehem and end up working in the fields of Boaz. Boaz is a well respected guy, a bachelor, who had done well for himself by following Godly principles, and who took care of his employees. Boaz was also a relative of Naomi, and the son of Rahab.

Naomi recognizes that there is an opportunity for her line to be carried on through Boaz as he is what is known as a kinsman redeemer; she provides counsel to Ruth on what she needs to do, based on Israelite customs and guidelines from God.  Ruth is obedient and follows Naomi's instruction.

Ultimately, Boaz and Ruth are married and have a child named Obed, who was the father of Jesse (who was the father of David). Ruth was said to be better to Naomi than seven sons  - that is an amazing testimony.

They are many women in this story - Ruth, Naomi, Orphah; which one do you relate to? Naomi never seemed happy in Moab, but went because it was her husband's decision; based on the unfolding of the story, do you think God honored her decision? Even though Naomi was initially bitter, Ruth chose to follow her - what does that say about both women's character? Naomi was able to impart sound counsel to Ruth in spite of her circumstances; how was she able to do so? Can the same be said of us? Is it uncharacteristic to feel closer to your in-laws than your natural family?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - RAHAB

Rahab is the second female mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. Her story is found in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6. She is also mentioned in Hebrews 11 as someone who demonstrated great faith.

Rahab - was a prostitute. The people of Jericho including Rahab knew of the Israelites and how God had rescued them from Egypt and protected them in the desert. Because of this, the inhabitants of Jericho were afraid of the Israelites.

Moses had died and Joshua was now in charge of the Israelites. Because of their unbelief in God, God declared that they would wander in the wilderness for 40 years.  The period of 40 years was for the 'unbelieving generation' to die off, so they new generation could rise up and enter the land. The younger generation may have determined not to be as disbelieving as their elders.

Jericho was part of Canaan which was part of the land promised to Israel.  Joshua sent two spies to spy out the land. The spies took refuge in Rahab's house.  When questioned by a messenger of the King as to the spies' whereabouts she misled the king and told him that she had no idea where they were.  Rahab used her knowledge of her country and its customs to protect the spies. Rahab affirmed her belief in God and told the spies:
"....I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.  We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b]  When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." Joshua 2: 9-11.  
She then asked the spies to promise that when they capture the land her and her family would be spared. 

“Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.” Joshua 2:13-14

When the Israelites captured the land they spared Rahab and her family. She lived with the Israelites for the remainder of her days and eventually had a son by the name of Boaz.

Can you relate to Rahab? Do you feel unworthy because of how you may be forced to make a living? Have you ever affirmed your belief in God like Rahab and changed the way you live? Tamar deceived Judah, Rahab misled the king - is deception ok? Did Rahab's actions demonstrate her trust in God?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Lineage of Grace - TAMAR

We read A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers as part of our women's Bible Study. The book provides a story book format of all the women who are mentioned in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1:1-16, which are highlighted below.
The author does not add to what is written but uses her knowledge of history during bible times to personalize each woman. After reading each story, you are able to put yourself in that woman's shoes.


This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Tamar - was the daughter in law of Judah.  She was first married to Er, but he was a wicked man and God killed him.  Then she was married to Onan, Er's brother.  Onan did not want to have his brother's child, so during intercourse he spilled his semen on the floor.  God did not like that, so he too was killed.  There was a third brother - Shelah, but instead of Tamar being given to him in marriage, Judah told her to go home to her father's house.   Judah never gives Shelah to Tamar in marriage.  Tamar recognizes this and realizes that if she does not bear a child, she is nothing.  One day, a much older Judah is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep and Tamar is aware of this.  Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute, and sleeps with Judah.  Before she sleeps with him she struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord.

In the process of time, Judah finds out that his daughter in law is pregnant and commands that she be burned to death for committing adultery. Tamar, never losing her wits has the staff, seal and cord delivered to Judah with the message that the owner of these items is the father of the child. Judah recognizes the items and she is not killed. Instead she is brought back in to his house and she delivers twins - Perez and Zerah. Tamar spends the rest of her days in Judah's house but they do not live as husband and wife. The story in it's entirety is found in Genesis 38.

Heady stuff, isn't it. Yet God showed grace - undeserved favor to Tamar. At Christmas you always hear that Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judah. This is the Judah that is being referred to. He didn't start off as an honorable man, but he had a change of heart and God used him and Tamar.

Can you relate to Tamar? How do you handle broken promises? Is it ever ok to deceive someone? Can deception be part of God's plan?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Truth and Lies

This post is courtesy of what I was fed this Sunday at church, during service and Women's Sunday School.  I hope it blesses you as much as it blesses me.



The first woman Eve, had everything she needed: she had a man - Adam, she lived in a beautiful home - the Garden of Eden, she was provided for - fruit trees, she was loved - by God and Adam.

Yet when Satan approached Eve, she fell. Eve had everything she needed, but Satan caused her to focus on the one thing she did not need. The Bible says Satan was subtle. The definition for subtle is: Characterized by skill or ingenuity; clever; Crafty or sly; devious; Operating in a hidden, usually injurious way; insidious.(dictionary.com)

Eve had no idea who she was dealing with. She was the first women and probably had never dealt with subtlety or she underestimated his capabilities.

When Satan approached Eve:

  • She listened - she engaged him in conversation.
  • She dwelt on what he said
  • She believed what he said
  • She acted on the lie.


Once she acted, she sinned and she knew it then, because she was convicted.


The battle for truth over lies often takes place in our minds.Satan's goal is to deceive.

If you know the truth, it will change your thinking; and when you change your thinking you change your life.
Those that speak truth and walk righteously dwell in the Lord's tabernacle - Psalms 15:1, 2. When you have an intimacy with God, you are the recipient of truth.

Nothing else makes sense unless you know the truth - when you think on these things, the first thing that we are told to think on are things that are true - Phil 4:8

God protects our front and our back; he is our shield (protection in the front) and our buckler (protection in the back) Psalms 91:1-4. Therefore, we are protected from Satan's fiery darts of deception and lies.

The truth sets us free - John 8:32

If we know the truth, God's truth it's hard to fall prey to Satan's lies.

Do you know the truth? Do you fall prey to Satan's subtleties?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Soccer Shenanigans - Update

Last week we creamed the competition, this week they creamed us and unfortunately the Little One was the goalie when they scored four (that's right!) goals. The final score was 7-2.


At this age level, there's something known as a "blow out" rule which goes something like this - if you're leading by x amount of goals, don't score any more and try to let the other team score.

This week the team that beat us did not observe the "blow out" rule - they were relentless and continued to score. We got creamed!!!

But it's all good...I can't speak for all, but I don't think any one's self esteem was scarred permanently.

When you lose it doesn't always feel good, but it's a part of life. If we didn't lose we wouldn't know what we are capable of.

I don't know how I feel about the "blow out" rule - but I'm glad for God's grace and mercy which I tried to extend to my daughter after their loss.

So hopefully, next week they will have a better outcome!

Update - they were on the wrong side of the 6-2 score again. On the upside it was not a blowout, the girls are having fun and getting fit.  The opposing team scored 4 goals on another goalie on our team this time. The parents, on the other hand, aren't doing so well.  Let's see what next week brings.

Today, we won 2-0.  Woohoo!  I'm sure these girls are learning perseverance.

10/13/12 - It was a tough game.  We were ahead 2-1 until the 4th quarter; then the opposing team tied it and at the last minute were able to score another goal.  We really tried to tie it, but we took a loss.  Final score 3-2.  Overall, the girls are playing well, running faster and harder and working on being more aggressive.  Even though they lost we can see improvement.

It's Wednesday - the day we have a 90 minute practice.  Today it became clear to me that some parents are unhappy with our game record and are being quite verbal and rude about how they feel. Perhaps I have bigger fish to fry, but I am of the notion that 9 year old soccer is for the girls to learn the fundamentals of the game while having a bit of fun.  Since it's a game they're literally going to win some and lose some.  There are no superstars on our team, so it's quite unfortunate that one parent is so verbal about his feelings. Yes, I'd like my child to be part of a winning team, but since life doesn't always go that way, I don't mind her being on this team. It's tough sometimes, but I try to keep everything in perspective.

They tied last week 2-2 and won today 4-3.  I think they're doing ok.

They won again today 4-1; but I think I may be too invested as a parent.  While intellectually I know that hardship is how we learn, sometimes I want my little one to be the star of the team and score all of the goals. She plays defense, and when she plays it well it's reflected in the score.  However the primary role of a defender is not to score a goal, but to prevent the other team from getting in to position to score.  I think the Little One handles it better than me.

They won today - 6-1.  I didn't go to the game but my husband said she played very well today.  She's been practicing her kicks at home, so I guess that made a difference I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

Have you heard of the "blow out" rule? Does it matter? Are your children on winning teams or losing teams? How do you feel when your children lose?

Friday, November 9, 2012

On a Lighter Note.........

I am married to a sentimental sap (this is a good thing), who loves music.  Recently he celebrated a major milestone so he was given the gift of music. We got him a record player, so that he can play records from his collection.

I'd never heard of Tavares until he played this song for me - Words and Music:

You see, he's not very vocal, but he said - "Come on, I want to play this song for you."

Sometimes, I don't know how much I mean to him or I'm deluded by my emotions and moods but then he plays this song and I'm ecstatic. It just goes to show, we can't live by our emotions.

True love...makes me ecstatic!

I hope you are the words and the music to someone special.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Know the Master of the Wind

This song came to mind as so many were experiencing Hurricane Sandy this past week.  First, Sandy touched my relatives in Jamaica and then it hit lots of close friends on Long Island in New York. The Bahamas was severely impacted also, but I didn't know anyone in harm's way.
Hurricane Sandy was not a category 4 - yet it wreaked so much havoc.

The first time I heard this song sung by the choir, I got goosebumps...I still do.

Remember this as you come through the storm.



MASTER OF THE WIND 

MY BOAT OF LIFE SAILS ON A TROUBLED SEA 
EVER THERE'S A WIND IN MY SAIL 
BUT I HAVE A FRIEND WHO WATCHES OVER ME 
WHEN THE BREEZE TURNS INTO THE GALE 

CHORUS: 

I KNOW THE MASTER OF THE WIND 
I KNOW THE MAKER OF THE RAIN, 
HE CAN CALM THE STORM 
MAKE THE SUN SHINE AGAIN 
I KNOW THE MASTER OF THE WIND 

SOMETIMES I SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE IN THE SKY, 
AMONG THE PEAKS MY SOUL CAN BE FOUND 
AN UNEXPECTED STORM MAY DRIVE ME FROM THE HEIGHTS 
BRING ME LOW BUT NE'ER BRING ME DOWN 

REPEAT CHORUS: 

TAG: 

(softly) 

HE CAN CALM THE STORM 
MAKE THE SUN SHINE AGAIN 
I KNOW THE MASTER OF THE WIND

Do you know the Master of the wind?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Political Pressure

Every four years we go through a Presidential election, and I've noticed that my thoughts are pretty consistent. This is my only post on the volatile area of politics, but I wanted to share.

Observations during Presidential elections:

  • Campaigns are a popularity contest.
  • The economy is a huge factor, but in my experience, no one person knows how to and can correct the economy; other factors come in to play besides head knowledge.
  • Voting Biblically should not only be about gay rights and abortion.
  • Democrats are bad; Republicans are good -  but we'll take a Mormon. Actually we don't care about your personal faith, or do we?
  • People select a candidate for the most inane reasons.


Timeline of my political consciousness:

President
Party
Term
My Age
Jimmy Carter
(D)
1977-1981
11
Ronald Reagan
(R)
1981-1989
15
George H.W. Bush
(R)
1989-1993
23
Bill Clinton
(D)
1993-2001
31
George Bush
(R)
2001-2008
39
Barack Obama
(D)
2008-
42


Based on the above table, I can make the following observations
  • Prior to age 23, I paid no real attention to politics. However I got married at 22, and during those first few years really started to read and form my own views more.
  • By age 31, I had three children and we were able to buy a house. At this point I was solidly middle class. In terms of the economy, I felt I could afford my lifestyle though we always lived below our means.  More importantly we were able to provide for our children. On a broader scale, this was a boom time for me in terms of job and career. There were many opportunities available and I pursued many of them.I remember the early 90s where everyone received calls from headhunters on a regular basis especially if you were in the IT industry. Jobs were a dime a dozen and the concept of longevity at a job went out the window.  The next offer was always better.
  • By age 39, I found myself with baby #4. Also, we had taken some hits on the job market and jobs were more scarce. It required more creativity and networking to land a comparable position.
  • By age 42, I was on the west coast away from close friends and family. My husband and I learned to rely on each other a whole lot more. I remember the doomsday news signalling that we were in a recession; it never spiraled in to a depression but personal depression was real for many as they were no jobs. I remember feeling the sting of no jobs. Then Obama got elected and there was a wave of hope in the air. The day of the inauguration  we stayed home (well I had no job) and watched the festivities on TV.

And here we are.


  • Your faith alone does not make you a good politician.
  • Just using my life as an example, many people came of age the same time I did. We are considered Generation X because we were born during the years from 1965 to 1981. According to demographers Bill Strauss and Neil Howe, there are approximately 88.5 million Gen Xers in the U.S. today. (wikipedia.com). This number would explain why it seems that so many know so much about politics today - there's a lot of us.
  • The Bible does not tell us how to vote in terms of party. I don't think any party has a stake on Christian views, nor do I think your views on homosexuality and abortion alone, determine your Christianity.
  • Christians are called to be in the world not of the world.
  • Ultimately if you are a Christian, your allegiance is not to a party but to God.
  • I think this sums it up a whole lot better than I ever could - Ten Commandments of Talking Politics



When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Proverbs 29:2

Galatians5:13-26 (NKJV)

Do you feel misunderstood because of your political views? Can you tell if a person is a Christian by their stance on political topics, by charitable giving, by the way they speak, by the size of their household? Do you feel pressured to vote a certain way?



Monday, October 22, 2012

Pile of Poop!

During the week, I  try to run 3 miles twice a week at 6:30 in the morning.  At this time, it's usually dark but the sun is making its way through. Because of the time of day it is quiet, it's peaceful, it's cool and it allows me time to just think and commune with God. Jogging makes me feel good, so I often use this time to clear my brain and meditate. I'm really praying without being on my knees.

I run a half mile loop 6 times to get to 3 miles.  On one particular morning there was a pile of poop in my path and that pile of poop really soured my disposition.  I had to go out of my way to avoid it; I had to look down to make sure I didn't step in it.  In addition, any pleasant thoughts I was thinking quickly disappeared.  I tried to put the poop out of mind, but each time I came around it was there.  This did not make for a pleasant run. But if I wasn't aware, it would've been a really awful run!

the most sanitary image of poop I could find!


You know what that pile of poop did?  It made me think of the negativity that sometimes shows up in our lives. This negativity may take the form of circumstances or people. Because of its inescapable aura, it has an impact on you; but you do what you can to not step in to it or be soiled by it. You can ignore it, confront it, seek counsel, or pray about it, all in an effort to minimize its effects on you.

If there are piles of poop in your life, I hope you are able to avoid them and that they disappear soon. Don't step in to a pile of poop!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10
Are you dealing with piles of poop? How do you get rid of them?

PS - the oddest things make me think of life! I hope this didn't gross you out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Still Have Joy


When Sister B. sang this song, you couldn't help but be joyful with her.  It's a soulful song, that moves you.
If you knew Sister B, you would know that she's been through some things; things where you think you would lose your mind.  She would start off real low and stop to feel the words, and at some point she kept repeating ...after all I been through, after all I been through, after all the things I been through...the drums and bass guitar are doing their thing.  No one could sit still. (I really miss that in church right now!)



I Still Have Joy 

Chorus
I still have joy; I still have joy!
After all the things I've been through,
I still have joy! (sing twice)

There were times in my life
when I felt I couldn't go on
But the Lord He blessed me and He made me strong.
I kept the faith and I held on through the night.
This is my testimony--that He made everything alright!

Chorus

I get joy when I think about all He's done for me.
He even broke the habits trying to conquer me.
Well, I spoke to the mountain; it ran down to the sea.
I can't begin to tell you what He's done for me!

Chorus

There are times in my life when I feel I can't go on,
But the Lord He blesses and He makes me strong.
I keep the faith and I hold on through the night.
This is my testimony--
that He'll make everything alright!

Chorus

After all the things I've been through,
I still have joy!


I might not have been through the things Sister B went through - but we all go through. I started writing this last week as I was thinking about my life. Priorities are important in life and what you value is demonstrated in your life. All I know is that, regardless....I still have joy.  It's a choice.  I still have joy!
Some of us are going through huge difficulties right now - choose joy. Know that God is greater than your biggest problems - choose joy.

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. Proverbs 10:28
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds... James 1:2

Do you still have joy? Have a blessed week!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Connecting The Dots....

I remember the PC (personal computer) revolution; I remember the positive impact it had on productivity in the workplace. I remember when I discovered the Internet and all of its capabilities and I remember when I first got email. I remember when I paid for AOL.

With the advent of email I started to receive many emails that contain platitudes, feel good quotes and Bible verses from many sources.

I remember when I finally discovered Facebook and realized there was a term for this - social media.

It was great connecting with old friends and making new friends. I started to notice an interesting phenomenon - many had religious principles in their status and quite a few now seemed to be born again Christians. I was pleased yet perplexed. Perhaps I was an undercover Christian in High School and College, but wouldn't I have known, wouldn't I have gotten some indication based on actions or words that they were different, just like me? (maybe I think too highly of myself).

I was perplexed because I never realized that so many I knew had the same beliefs as me - perhaps we didn't have these beliefs when we were together.  The other thing that was even more perplexing was that many quoted scripture, but if you just look at their social media profile, nothing in their lives lined up with the scripture.

On a large scale, I see this happening today.  For example many quote Jer 29:11...I know the plans I have for you.  Many want the good promises of the Bible without the daily discipline of nurturing a relationship and  being obedient. Some would say what's wrong with this? Imagine you have a house that's been given to you. It's a gift with no strings attached. The house is so beautiful, that on first sight you fall in love with the living room - and this is where you stay.  You can tell anyone who asks about this living room - the furniture, the dimensions, the view.  One day someone asked  - but what about the rest of the house?

What about the rest of the house? It is said that the Bible is like rubber since many bend it to make it suit their views. I believe this happens because many things are taken out of context and many are looking for validation for their thoughts and lifestyles. We're stuck on one dot, one room. We need to connect the dots to see the whole picture.

With the advent of technology many are taking steps to let the world know of their faith. I know we're all works in progress, but be consistent in your beliefs; don't be empty vessels or look good on the outside and be deteriorating on the inside. Be brave. Know why you believe what you believe. Let your beliefs dictate the way you live.

Do you take time to connect the dots? Do you spend time pondering scripture? Do you enjoy searching the scriptures? What do you do with the knowledge gained? 




Sunday, September 23, 2012

How Is It That Ye Do Not Understand?

This is what Jesus said to his disciples after miraculously feeding the four thousand.
In the prior chapters of Mark, He had fed the five thousand, healed countless people, and calmed a storm.
The disciples had been in his presence when He performed all of these miracles and yet they still did not understand who He was and how he spoke.

We are like that, aren't we? Jesus is in the midst performing miracles, rescuing us, bringing us comfort, intervening when we would otherwise make a mess and yet we don't get it.



How is it that ye do not understand?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Equipped


I joined the Track Team on a whim. I had just started HS and I felt lost and confused. The school I attended was not your typical High School - it was a specialized HS; only the talented and smart attended. On the first day I did not feel like any of these so when the announcement was made that the track team needed runners, I thought - I can do that, and that is how I started running. I had no idea what I had signed up for, but I quickly learned.

Every sport requires equipment and Track is no different. I did not come from a family of means so initially I ran in my skippies. I started to get shin splints and the coach informed me that I would need proper running shoes which would provide support. So, knowing no better at the time and having limited resources, we went to Bobby's (how many of you remember or heard of Bobby's?) and purchased my first pair of running sneakers. To my mind's eye, they looked like track shoes and they had better support than my skippies. If I was to have any success in this sport, I had to invest in the proper equipment. Eventually I was able to purchase proper running shoes and other accessories.

Today, I would consider myself a jogger. Running without the proper equipment is a recipe for failure. Like me you may have an abundance of cotton t-shirts. However, if you run in cotton t-shirts you sweat so much more and cotton doesn't absorb the sweat; after a while you become cold. The fabric makes a difference.  Shoes make a difference. A cap makes a difference. A hydration belt makes a difference. Many of these items are not cheap, but they're an investment that's worth it over the long haul.
Knowing what I know now, it's silly to go for run in the wrong equipment.





Yet, so many of us in our Christian life do not take the time and effort to prepare ourselves for what's ahead. We don't invest the time or the effort, and then we wonder why we are not able to handle what comes our way. We are to put on the whole armor so that we can stand against the wiles of the devil. We think we don't need to, or we can figure this out on our own.  Just as I would never go running without the proper equipment, on a daily basis, I do not start my day unless I'm spiritually prepared.
On a daily basis, put on your equipment (armor):

  • Belt of truth
  • Breastplate of righteousness
  • Shield of faith
  • Helmet of salvation
  • Sword of the Spirit
  • Pray



Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
Are you equipped? Do you prepare yourself daily? How have you invested in your Christian walk?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling

The other day while running, I fell.

As I was falling, my brain was saying "I can't believe I'm falling," and then I hit the pavement. It was very early in the morning, so not one solitary soul heard me scream as I fell, and moaned as I made my way back up.

Once I got back up, I had a tough decision to make - do I quit or keep going?
I gingerly walked to my mile marker while being very audible in my discomfort, drank some water and decided to keep going. Once I started to run again, the pain from the fall didn't bother me as much as I had received surface cuts and scratches on my elbows and my right knee. Also, running distracted me from the pain.


A couple of things made me want to continue:

  • A friend's mother who is in her late 70s is training for a half marathon. She recently told me how she fell while running, but she just got back up and kept going.  I thought, "If this 70+ year old can do it, why can't I?"
  • She also said that running at her age is hard, so she always repeats Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me....as she runs.
  • After recovering and thinking about falling Proverbs 24:16 comes to mind - The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. This fall was an analogy for life. I've run this path many times and yet I have no idea what tripped me up. I was a tad distracted not really looking at where I was placing my feet. After the initial shock and pain, I took my time, steadied myself and continued. When I was finished this particular run, I felt accomplished; I felt stronger; I almost felt invincible.  Getting up and fighting makes you feel that way and encourages you.


Falling hurts; getting back up hurts a bit; staying the course - hurts initially and then it doesn't hurt anymore. Until you fall again.

Have you fallen recently? How hard is it for you to get back up? 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy New Year!

For many, the new year is celebrated when the calendar advances to the next year in December, but for me I always get a sense of newness in September.
September is when the children start school traditionally; though many schools started in August, today was the first day of school for the Little One.


With the start of school, I think of it as an opportunity for:

  • Growth
  • Opportunity
  • New Experiences
  • New Friends
  • New Commitment
  • Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone


I have a pep in my step today; smiling because I'm alive, saying hi to random people.  I feel good! I feel possibility.

In the mornings typically my husband and I have deep conversations. We've been married for 23 years and through the years we've learned many things together. When you've been married or in a relationship for a long time you think of ways to revive your relationship. If you've been a Christian for a long time, how do you revive your Christian walk?

I'm participating in a Bible Study using the book A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. I'll be sharing insights and highlights here.

Life is tough; don't become despondent. I used to have a pastor that ended every service by saying, "Jesus, I  reach out to you."  I didn't always understand it then, but the longer I live the more I need Jesus. So I reach out to Him daily, hourly, minutely.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
  Lamentations 3:22-24
Happy New Year! With God's help, make it a good one.  If you've been a Christian for a long time, how do you revive your Christian walk?