Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Name Tag

Romans 5:15 (NIV)

 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

The book of Psalms in the Bible uses the word “trembling” frequently.*  Most of us probably conjure up a negative connotation of this word.

Knees Knocking.                                 
Body Shivering.
Teeth chattering.
Stomach churning.

But David, the Psalmist wants us to understand (Thank you Pastor Brian for this teaching), that trembling* looks more like excitement, anticipation; like a child so gregarious Christmas morning, he's already peeked downstairs waiting for something great to happen.  Running to the bedroom of his parents at 5:00 a.m., he shakes mom and dad awake.  Can you remember?

Jumping up and down.
Eyes wide open.
Heart full.
Can’t wait. Hope.

Knowing what I know, with my experience, I try to live expectantly while praying. (Psalm 5:3)* especially when it comes to my writing inspiration. I can’t wait for those times when He shows me His plan in simple moments, sparks a synapse that keeps my heart beating, my words flowing, like a Holy Spirit Electro-LIGHT! I know it’s going to happen because I am keeping myself connected. 

Have you ever had a “Secret Santa?”  It’s a gift that shows up in your box at work, or on your front porch. Christmas does bring out generous souls. What fun it is to find a gift, tagged with your name only, an unexpected surprise!

You admire the special wrapping.
The heralded way it came to you.
Planned perfectly.
Found and accepted.
It’s treasured.

The Christ Child came that way. Wrapped in love, the angels, like children on Christmas morning, swooped down the stairway from Heaven to peek and wake up those sleepy shepherds in their fields. The Wiseman anticipated, following their insight.

But Oh!  Look!  That Baby has a gift tag and it has YOUR name on it!  His wristband has His name on it, Emmanuel, God With Us.


Will you accept Him?

Peer into His face with trembling awe at what the Savior promises to give you. This Gift truly fills every need, fits perfectly, and never needs batteries.  What’s even more awesome?  Regifting is encouraged! 

Father God, I am so thankful. Receiving your Gift of Your Son makes me smile through all of life’s expected and unexpected moments.  So many forget to unwrap your goodness even though their nametag is written in the Blood of the Lamb. I pray that eyes be made wide open, hearts turn soft, and open arms stretch wide to receive You. Amen.

* Psalm 96:9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; 
tremble before him, all the earth.
* In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What Do I Know?

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 The Christmas Season no longer comes gently with a few glittery Christmas cards arriving from friends in the mail and a single strand of lights hung around the window. Starting right at the end of October, a bombardment of advertisement, projections of sales, Black Friday lines, and tremendous expectations proceed December 25th.  How much can we get, how quickly and for how much?  Just finishing Thanksgiving last week, I feel the pressure already to get my decorations out and deck the halls.

With one son in heaven and my other moved out this year, routines continue to change around the Holidays.  My extended family, nieces and nephews, all grown now, some married or in college, are making their own traditions.  Once again, the expectations swirl around in the hot chocolate of Christmas memories and there is so much I miss.

Christmas past remains magical, Christmas future, forever hopeful, but what of Christmas present?

Walking into an office supply store tonight, I  heard the music piped into the shopping experience.  Crooning a question, the question, Bing Crosby asked, “Do you know what I know?”  

Said the shepard boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
(Do You Know What I Know)

In your palace warm mighty king
Do you know what I know
(Do You Know What I Know)
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
                                Let us bring him silver and gold

No matter how many things change, God remains the same.  I worship and celebrate Him this Christmas as the newborn God-man miracle. I worship and celebrate at Easter as the crucified and resurrected Victor over my sin. In every day in between, I worship Him as my Lord and Savior, the One who takes away my worldly disappointments and unfilled expectations and gives me in return a Season of Hope that never ends.

My Savior I pray, give me a heart of worship this season.  May my Christmas be a gentle chorus of angel songs and warm candlelight, mistletoe kisses and hugs from friends, sweet memories and joyful laughter, but mostly, may I promote your Hope in all my Holi-days.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beyond Game Day

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Cross-town showdown; the big game gathers fans around the living room, restaurants and of course, the stadium.  Everybody hopes "their" team comes out ahead, puts the most points on the board, entertains us with athletic ability. True fans follow their team weekly, probably possess season tickets and know the players and their stats well. They listen to talk radio and sport the team logo on accessories and coffee mugs.  We know where their loyalties lie.

"Bandwagoners, tail-gattors"...they show up for the food, the drink, the few hours of rambunctious cheering and screaming at the referees and coaches.  Some don't even know what the team record is or the benefit of watching a team's growth, adding up TD's and hoping for Heisman Trophy's. But they spout their strong opinions and emotion based grumbles when things don't quite go their way.  Spirits high for a few hours, who knows what team they will be cheering for next year.

Do you think "Christians" act like that?

Showing up to worship on Sunday, we cheer and sing for the Lord, partake in the social encouragement, and "feel like a winner". Then we pack up our stadium seats and head home.

Away from the cheering crowds, do we stay tuned-in to the play by play? Can it be said that no one knows which "team" we support for our lives do not display a winning attitude?  All the truth-based statistics seem unreliable and the communication with our "Coach"is held in disregard, a Coach who never takes off his headset. The team jersey lies at the bottom of the hamper.  Sometimes bandwagoners never really have a ticket into the stadium. Even though the "game plan" is highlighted in the Playbook, the plays fail to be studied and kept close to heart.

Lord, I know I am on a winning team. Help me to live victoriously every day and especially in all my side line moments.  It may take me several "downs" to move the ball, but I can be confident in Your Team, on the field and off. Amen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Campaigning for Hope

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The issues? 

You’ve lost your hope, your initiative--what gets you up every morning; purpose. Maybe you just never discovered it, recognized it.  

I promise to reveal your purpose, help you discover it, expound on it and bless you in and through it.

The deficit?

I promise to fill your empty hearts with the fullness of my grace and you will  just want to return the favor in My name, to others. That has a way of making us feel full, joy. 

Balance the budget?

I promise I can do a lot with a little, like a “mustard seed” little. Remember the 5 loaves and some fish? It’s all about faith, your faith. My grace is sufficient and my mercy is everlasting.

Health Care?

I promise eternal life. Sound good?

Foreign Affairs?

I promise peace. I am The sovereign God, the Light of the World. I so loved this world, that I came here to work stuff out, get back peace between you and Me and then let you give it to others. You just need to believe me, put me in your corner, spread the Word.  I have a super diplomat, the Holy Spirit.  His embassy?  Your soul!  

I am the Lord and I approved this message.  

Father, we look for strong leaders in our community, and in our Nation. With gratitude, I can say that America remains the greatest country and I am thankful for my freedoms. You, alone Lord, are my King.  Though others fail to deliver promises, Your love never fails. You recorded my citizenship in Heaven and in You Lord, I place my Hope. Amen. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

All That is Within Me

Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, All You People...

I found a marked up scripture this afternoon, Psalm 103. Circled and dated, it said, "Timmy, Thanksgiving 2006." Our son passed on to Heaven, February 2007.  I studied the words on this NephCure Walk Eve, Oct. 2012. 
"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul." 

Within my soul lies memories, heartbreak and unspeakable joy at what the Lord gives me, promises me, inspires me too.  

"who pardons all my iniquities,"

It doesn't say some iniquities, it doesn't say when you're good enough, it doesn't say when you do certain rituals. It tells me of a God who knows all of me, and is full of grace, ready to give to all who ask. 

"Who heals all your diseases."

 How do I figure this verse out in light of loss?

Eternal perspective. 

Always and forever do I think this way.  That gives me peace. 

"Who redeems your life from the pit."

The pit of grief is deep, but yes, God pulls me out with arms of special friends, wings of scripture, and legs and knees that move with a renewed purpose.        

"Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;"

I hope to share that crown as I walk for NephCure. 

"Who satisfies your years with good things,"

I write for God's glory. My encouragement continues and I wait on the Lord and listen for His inspiration.

"So that your youth is renewed like the eagle."

Brave, strong, symbol of freedom. 
Free to fly home wrapped in Amazing Grace. 
Free to know Him more and more.

 And Tim says,  "Bless the Lord, O my soul. Amen." 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Porch Greeters

Matthew 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Venturing to pumpkin patches today after work in search of the fruit of the vine, finding the perfect ones  to “represent” at my front entrance took me to three places.  Always a favorite, their taste is OK, but it’s really the spices mixed in the fleshy pulp that gives it flavor.  I love pumpkins for other reasons, their fun shapes, the color and the variety among its kind.  The word “pumpkin” itself, is a fun word.  How many of us have used that word endearing our children or our pets? 

You certainly wouldn’t call one of your kids a GOURD?  (Or would you?) 

Pumpkins are perfect for their purpose—possessing several. They appear at the right time for harvest festivities, and we delight in them for our indoor displays, our porch greeters, and our warm spicy recipes.  We even like the seeds!

I usually see the e-mail forward this time of the year that compares a pumpkin to a relationship with God.  I think the part I like the most is how, like the pumpkin, we need only to remove our “cover” and God reaches in and pulls the yucky stuff out,  replacing it with His light.


Lord, sometimes I feel like a gourd, yet You call me Your pumpkin.  You add Your spice in spirit and love. On the front porch of this life I hope to “represent” Your everlasting glow.  Never too small, to large, bumpy, striped, flat on one side, or even over ripe, my outsides really do not matter. I ask that as Your "porch greeter," Your light brightly shines and You take delight in the Harvest.