Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Prom?

Well, when I woke up and saw this.

I just knew that I better pack a coat for my chaperoning of Prom.

I want to thank Susanne personally for sending her snowy weather from Alberta our way. The weather did not seem to keep the kids from dancing and having a great time. I will post a photo of the hubby and I when we get them back. Just so you don't feel too bad for me, this is what it looked like on Sunday.Blessings to you all this week!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mary and Martha Book Study - Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Mary's Extravagant Love

John 12:3
"Then Mary...poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I know this bible story and have never connected the fact that this is the same Mary in the "Mary and Martha" passage. I have reread the passage in John and find that it can't really be a different Mary. The setting is in Bethany with Martha serving and the resurrected Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus and his disciples.

Weaver describes the significance of the jar of perfume. She explains that the bottle of perfume was probably (we don't know for sure, just traditional and historical references) her dowry - to be given to her husband in marriage. It was worth a years wages and would be estimated to be valued at around $30,000 in today's currency. The container that held the perfume was ordinary. Weaver writes on page 160

"What mattered most - what matters still today - is the treasure the container holds. And the treasure Mary poured out that day was more than an expensive perfume. She was pouring out her very life in love and sacrificial service."

We are those ordinary containers filled with the priceless spirit of Christ. Am I pouring it out is service to the one I love? Am I willing to share what is inside for the Kingdom?

Weaver goes on to compare two followers - Judas and Mary. Mary choose to be changed by Jesus and Judas was not. Here is what Weaver says on Page 163.

"Instead of just sitting passively and listening to the Savior, instead of being overwhelmed by grief (referring to Lazarus' death), this time Mary responded. She gave herself in worship to the One who had given so much to her and her family."

"Though Jesus knew the disciple's weaknesses, he had given Judas chance after chance in the three years they had traveled together...But Judas had remained unchanged. Imagine spending three years of your life with the Messiah, yet walking away more or less the same - or even worse than when you started. Judas did just that."

The best and most amazing thing about this passage is Jesus' response. Mary was vulnerable and extravagant, risking her reputation and chances for a husband. I can see Jesus gently looking at her with approval and tells those mocking her in Mark 14:6

"Leave her alone," said Jesus.
"Why are you bothering her?
She has done a beautiful thing to me."

To be praised and loved by my savior - what a prize!

Dear Jesus- You have laid down you live sacrifically, without complaint or regret. I am so thankful that you love me with a never-ending and extravagant kind of love. Lord, help me to worship you and be changed by you that my "perfume" will fill the air of the room. Amen

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mary and Matha Book Study - Chapter 9

We are in the heart of synchro season and the beginning of summer baseball. I just don't know how those of you with more than 2 children can manage. Anyway, I am continuing to read and determined to finish this book. I only have two chapters left, but here is what I learned in chapter 9. I will do a second post for chapter 10

Chapter 9 - Martha's Teachable Heart

John 8:31-31
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"

It is interesting to see the kind of people Jesus choose as his followers - untrained, common men of the time. That is what most of us are. Weaver states that the disciples had the "potential for transformation". And I guess that is true for us also. This is what she says about transformation

"Unfortunately, though we all applaud the thought of transformation, most of us don't appreciate the process that gets us there. To be transformed means we have to change, and change too often hurts."(pg 138)

Martha reveals this transformation during her walk with Jesus to see a dead Lazarus.

"Jesus choose her open and teachable heart to reveal himself by saying 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies... Do you believe this?' Jesus asked Martha in John 11:25-26.

'Yes, Lord,' she replied, 'I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world'" (11:27)

...and this insightful proclamation came not from contemplative, sensitive Mary, but from organized, duty-bound - but teachable - Martha?" (Weaver page 143)

Weaver stresses that we must be teachable and to be teachable requires three things.

*being willing to listen (to God)
*acting on what we hear (sometimes the hard part for me)
*responding to discipline (as a result of not responding to the first two)

I like what weaver says on page 151

"My deepest fear has always been that I might wake up thirty years from now an realize I haven't changed...What a terrible thing that would be, But unless I have a teachable heart, such spiritual stagnation is my destiny...The purpose of Jesus' death on the cross wasn't to provide fire insurance or an all-expenses-paid trip to heaven. He died and rose again so we could be made new."

Dear Jesus-Thank you for loving me enough to not let me stay the same. Help me to hear your voice and respond to your living word. Thank you for your gentle and sometimes not so gentle nudgings to do the best thing instead of the easiest. You are so amazing. Amen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In "Other" Words-Intimacy

"To be intimate with others is to reveal our innermost selves to them,
including our emotions, thoughts and desires.
For such deep sharing of the soul and spirit to occur,
people must respect and trust each other. ...
In a world controlled by sin, however, to choose to be intimate is to choose to be hurt.
Yet Jesus calls us to this kind of intimacy with Him and with one another."
~ Kenneth A. Schmidt ~

I have been out of the loop on doing In "other" Words, I actually couldn't get the link to work. So I am traveling here to share in the fun. Join in if you like.

I am not sure if it was this quote or someone who said something similar, but I have heard it before and find that it is true. To really love someone and be loved, allows them the opportunity to hurt you deeply. They know how you operate and respond to certain triggers.

I grew up guarding certain information about my family. Maybe because I did not want to admit the truth about my alcoholic mother or because I did not want to be hurt by this shared information. Only my closest friends knew, or guessed about my homelife. It then became a power issue for me. I would only share with those that I felt "worthy" to share with. Now this did not protect me from getting hurt, but I think that it prevented me from having some really good friendships with.

In college, I had even more to hide. I could be anyone, sort of. People did not have to know about my family or my past. Believe is or not, this made my first year of college very lonely. I thought that not sharing would help, but like the quote suggests, intimacy in a relationship is impossible without "revealing" our innermost selves.

The Lord set me free. This sounds so "christian", but it is true. I got involved in a bible study and began reading scripture and applying that scripture to my life. I learned to trust in a healthy way. I first had to get right with God and admit my failings and manipulations of others. I still picked my friends very carefully and did not share everything. There are those kind of friendships that require a certain amount of restraint.

Matthew 7:6 (New Living Translation)

6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you."

So, as I grow closer to Jesus, I have more freedom to share because of the way Jesus accepts me unconditionally. Nobody can separate me from that. My reputation is safe with Him and I am loved beyond measure. Praise Him!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Synchro picture

Here is my girl swimming with her trio in competition for the first time. She is in the front and looks a little nervous. Now if I can just get her to smile when she takes a breath! (Who am I to talk - I am still afraid to put my face in the water....)


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Funeral and the unexpected.

We attended Roger's grandmother's funeral on Friday. The weather was miserable with a winter weather advisory out. Nothing like a gray snowy day for a funeral.

Here is my thought on the weather:

Once grandma made it to heaven, she immediately asked for the person in charge of the weather. She would slam her fist down and demand to "stick" it to the relatives one more time!

She was just that way - demanding and bossy. Yet, she loved deeply. I always wondered if she ever liked me - I have kind of adopted Roger's family as my own. Apparently she did. We talked. I guess that she just didn't talk to people she didn't like.

After the funeral, we spent some time with the cousins - just reconnecting. Why does it take death to bring us together? Does it remind us of what is important and how short life really is? I hope that we can meet again under better circumstances.

Note of interest: The passage read at her mass was of Lazarus. Was this coincidence since I just read that part in the Mary and Martha book? I am spending some extra time examining this - maybe God is trying to direct me.

Lastly, because of grandma's death, we have been left some money. This was somewhat unexpected. She has been living in assisted care for about 5 years and didn't know how much was left. We actually didn't care - the money was hers to spend.

We are now praying about how to use this money to glorify God and not just buy "stuff". What can we do with the "talents" he has given us? Something to pray about.

Blessing to all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mary and Martha Book Study - Chapter 8

Chapter 8 - Lessons from Lazarus

John 11:1,3
"Now a man named Lazarus was sick...
So the sisters sent word to Jesus,
"Lord, the one you love is sick."

I remember listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley (one of my all time favorite pastors - I would move to Atlanta for that!) and he spoke about this passage and it is very similar to how Weaver describes it. She quotes author Ray C. Stedman

"The hardest problem I have to handle as a Christian is what to do when God does not do what I have been taught to expect him to do; when God gets out of line and does not act the way I think he ought. What do I do about that?"

Isn't that the real problem? For some reason, we think that we know what is best for us and everyone else. Yet, God can see it all and knows the end of our story.

She lists four things that we can learn from this story:
1. God's will does not always proceed in a straight line
2. God's love sometimes tarries for our good and his glory
3. God's ways are not our ways, but his character is still dependable
4. God's plan is released when we believe and obey
5. The "end" is never the end;it is only the beginning

Weaver ends the chapter in this way on page 134 and 136:

" Even though Jesus knew Lazarus was about to be raised from the dead, he understood Mary and Martha's pain...Today we suffer. Today we don't understand. But someday, in that eternal Tomorrow, that same Savior who weeps with us will wipe every tear from our eyes"

And won't that be the best day ever! Amen

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study - Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - The Better Part

Luke 10:42
"There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part,
which will not be taken away from her"

I didn't like this chapter. Not because the writing was bad or that it didn't relate to the topic, but because it is something that I struggle with - and really always have. I know in my mind how important it is to spend "quiet time" with God - to build that relationship with Him. I suppose that I need to keep hearing it over and over even though I am into this relationship for over 20 years now.

I ask myself these questions, "Am I just being rebellious because I don't wake up early and meet with Jesus? Can't I meet with God at other times of the day?" Maybe the answer to both is yes. But ultimately, do I meet with God on a regular basis at all? I guess that is where I keep slipping up...

Weaver describes our busy lives like trying to keep many hula hoops going at the same time - work, kids, sports activities, cooking, cleaning, etc. We can do it but we need to be centered and the center is our relationship with Christ. This quote on page 105 got my attention.

"Does it sound harsh to say that cooking or cleaning or taking care of children or doing your job might be sinful? But think about it. The very definition of sin is separation from God. So no matter how important the activity, no matter how good it seems, if I use it as an excuse to hold God at arm's length, it is sin. I need to confess and repent of it so that I can draw close to the Lord once more"

That is a pretty powerful statement! It seems that I need to spend some time remembering the joy of my salvation - go back and remember the grace - and seek His face more consistently.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for forgiving me in my sin every day. I ask for the courage and strength to meet with you more consistently and remember that without you, the rest of life can truly become unbalanced. Amen.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sadness and Joy

Roger's Grandmother died today. We have mixed feelings about it all. She has been doing very poorly for the past couple of years - living in a nursing home with alzheimers. She was almost 93 and more than ready for life here on earth to be over. It is a relief that she is free, but still sad for those of us still here.

Our only concern is that we don't know her relationship with Jesus. It really isn't our business, but we alway hope that she is now in Heaven with our Lord. Eli is happy that she is walking on streets of Gold. Won't that be amazing!

If you think about it, say a quick prayer as our family gathers and mourns. She was the center of so much and now she is gone.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study - Day 6

Chapter 6 – Kitchen Service

Ecclesiastes 9:10
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”

I found this chapter to be the total opposite of the last chapter. This one reminds me that Jesus spent his entire ministry life helping people all the time. He loved people and showed compassion – even when He was tired. I know that I can’t say that I do that.

This is the balancing act that I struggle to follow and maybe this book will make it clearer. We are to find our strength and direction in the Living Room and still serve. Hmm?

I think that Weaver clears it up a little on page 85

“As we ‘abide’ in the intimate relationship with Christ. . . something incredible happens. We begin loving as we never loved before. . . We begin producing fruit. . . Fruit in our lives that tells the world who we are and what our God is like”

Ultimately, it seems that if we are connected to Christ and get to know Him in the way He wants us to, we won’t be able to keep from loving and serving people. Why? Because we will serve for the same reason He did, because we love them.

I am hoping that the next chapter will help to explain how we can find the balance between serving – even out of lover- and not staying connected to Him.

Dear Lord – so much to learn. Teach me to serve out of lover. That I will abide in you and produce fruit. Amen.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Almost done

I almost have Chapter 6 in the Mary book done - just busy with life here at home during Spring Break.

We have basically done a mini makeover for the kids rooms - mostly for the girl (I should have taken before and after pictures - maybe I will post after tomorrow!). She is going to have to live with her choices until she leaves for college in 3 1/2 years. Wow! That seems much closer than I think. I spent all day Monday removing the wallpaper border from both rooms. That was tons of fun and I am not putting any back up! I really don't want to live through that again.

Anyway, her room was full of blue things - sort of an ocean themed room. She decided on changing it to a bright pink and yellow. Two walls pink and two walls yellow. It actually turned out quite nice. I also discovered that I am about the slowest painter ever. My husband actually paint houses in the summer for extra stuff - and has been painting for about 20 years - truly! He painted all of the boys room in the time it took me to paint two walls. I guess that I helped because it was two walls he did not have to paint later.

We have now done our best on a shoestring budget to have more pink accessories. We made a trip to IKEA and came a way with a couple lamps - pink for the girl and blue for the boy.

He decided on a bold dark blue color for his room. He has his car posters up. You can definately tell the difference between the rooms now!

We are considering expanding her tiny closet. That is going to include taking out sheetrock and adding some walls. I think that is more of a summer project!

It was project week in the neighborhood as well. The neighbor next door and across the street painted rooms and even redid some flooring in a bathroom. We kept taking breaks to see the progress being made. So, overall a successful week off. I still have Friday too relax and maybe get to play the Wii?


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study - Day 5

Chapter 5 – Living Room Intimacy

Revelation 3:20

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

The last chapter was the cure to our busyness was to have intimacy with God. Weaver describes many people that have lived extreme lives to prove their spiritual devotion to God. This is what Weaver says on page 65-66.

“All we really need is Jesus. . . . The Father actually wants us close and is willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure it happens….We can spend so much of our lives getting ready to know God or backing away out of fear of displeasing God that we never get around to enjoying the Living Room Intimacy Jesus came to provide. . . . The way has been made. The price has been paid. All we need to do is come.”

That is what Jesus is asking Martha to do. He wants us to spend time with him because that is how you build relationships. I am not so good at that in real life, but I continue to find the time to pray and read the bible. I got better and this in college and have wavered back and forth since kids. Something to keep working on – building that relationship with Christ.

I really liked what she says on page 73

“The place Mary found at Jesus’ feet is the same place available to you and me. It’s a place where we can be comfortable, where we can kick off our shoes and let down our hair. It’s a place of transparency and vulnerability; a place where we are completely known yet completely loved. It is truly a place called home.”

This thought has been a comfort to me, yet a little scary. That someone who knows me the best loves me the most. Only a loving God could do such an amazing thing.

Dear Lord. Thank you for always accepting me. That you desire my company and will produce fruit in me by my abiding in you. Amen


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study, Day 4

Chapter 4 – The Cure

Luke 10: 41-42

“You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed”

This chapter followed up the previous chapter in telling us the cure for my worry and distraction, which is ultimately finding that one thing that God wants you to do today and possible forever.

It reminded me of the movie “City Slickers” with Billy Crystal. The movie is about this guy that is in a rut in his job and family, nothing really excites him anymore. He ends up taking this western vacation with his guy friends – to “find his smile”. After some twists and turns in the movie, the rough cowboy says “ There is one thing that is important – what that is depends on you”. We each have to find our “one thing”. In the end he finds his smile and his desire to go on.

Weaver describes it like this on page 60.

“But service was never supposed to be our first priority. Work is not our first order of business – even working for the Lord. In fact, our own efforts are so far down the line when it comes to what God wants that they didn’t even register in Jesus’ conversation with Martha. . . . But regardless of our temperament , regardless of our emotional preference, we are all called to intimacy with God. The one thing Martha needed is the one thing that we need as well.

So, this is like so many messages I have heard through church and listening to messages online. Even those serving in the church can lose focus and carry too much of a burden. God has called us to ultimately do one thing - sit at his feet and enjoy him. I can only do the "one thing" that God has gifted me with and called me to do. Sometimes I am not sure what that is, but I am learning to listen to that still small voice to here what today's "one thing" is.

Blessing today!