miércoles, febrero 26, 2014

A Thinky Day

It is-thankfully-a gray day. I hope and pray that will mean rain for the rain-starved desert in which I dwell. I will stay inside, where I have the daunting task of waiting for a package for Mr. M that I will need to sign for. It is a super special package, essential to his work and livelihood. If I miss the package, we will have to pack up all our earthly possessions and move to Mozambique. So, I will be staying at home and spending quiet time in thought and prayer and reading. I think my thoughts will gravitate to one particular subject that has been occupying a lot of my brain-space . . . friendship. I have dear friends in other states. I don't see them too often. I also have friends in town, close to me. I see them often. I have a few friends who actually prefer to have friends in other states, and don't spend much time with friends who live nearby. This I don't understand. I think I will never understand. I know I write a lot about friendship, and I think a lot about friendship. That is because I prioritize it. Not everyone does, and, to be honest, I just think that's weird. I seems odd to me. I know people are busy, but to spend some time with a friend is a joy; a joy that, to me, is worth setting aside my to-do list, and doing laundry in the evening instead of in the morning like I planned.

lunes, febrero 24, 2014

Changes . . . or not.

Today, a good friend told me it is "lame" when someone doesn't update their blog frequently enough. So here I am, updating my blog . . . and what I have to say is . . . nothing. I guess I will just regurgitate and expand on a conversation I had with Persnicketta. We were talking about changes. Persnicketta has lived in all 50 states, give or take a few. I have lived in one. I have lived in only 2 houses. I lived, as most children do, with my parents until I moved out. I moved in to Mr. M's house after we were married. I weighed____ at that time. I weigh ____(same number)+3 now. I was a skinny little gangly twerp then. I am a skinny little gangly twerp now. I work out consistently, and have been doing so for the last 16 years. I have nothing to show for it. I think I have seen a small amount of muscle on my arms, but I can't be sure. I've always had skinny little stick arms. No amount of working out has changed that. Except for some wrinkles and my eyeglasses and some other accoutrements of age, my physical appearance has changed little. What I am saying is that in my entire life, from my living quarters to my physique, I have not had to deal with change. I like it this way (I assume, for I know no other way.) Most of my friends have been my friends for decades. Mr. M and I have had the same couch for 16 years. (It is a good couch.) Our couch has never been moved. I sometimes think a change would be exciting, but when I start to make some change, I get distracted and sit on the couch and read for the rest of the day. The only good change (according to me), is the change that I can use to pay for a parking space.

viernes, febrero 21, 2014

The Gift (and Responsibility) of Time

I was reading Matthew 25 last night, the parable of the land owner who goes out of town and gives his servants different amounts of money to look after. To one he gives $5000, to another $2000, and to the third he gives $1000. Each servant will be accountable for what he has done with his share of the money. That got me thinking, we all have different amounts of free time. And like the servants, our Master will hold us accountable to how we've used our free time. For instance, I have a lot of free time. I don't have kids, and I don't work. That means I have plenty of time to volunteer in the community, spend time encouraging other believers, learn new skills, take care of my body, pray, read good literature, help out with the annual conference my church hosts, watch friend's kids, etc. I don't know many people in this position; actually, the only others I know live on the other side of the country, so we won't be going out for coffee anytime soon (sorry, guys.) These thoughts led me into thinking about spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12), and how we all are given different gifts for the common good. In verses 8-10, I underlined each "to one." "To one", God gives this gift, "to another", He gives this. We all have different gifts, and we all have different amounts of time available for ministry in the church. We are all called to be good stewards of what we have. This will be different for everyone; the important thing is that we are honoring God with the time He's given to us.

domingo, febrero 16, 2014

Psalm 34 and a Fun 5k.

I was looking forward to the colorful 5k, but it was starting to look like I'd be doing it alone. It wasn't just a 5k for me; it was a celebration of restored health and a reminder of God's goodness, and I didn't want to do it alone. I prayed about it. I talked to the event organizers to see if I could get a spot for a friend who'd forgotten to register in time. To my great delight, she said "Yes!" To my further delight, my friend said "Yes!" It had been a hard month of trying to see God's goodness even in hard times for both me and Persnicketta. This would be good for the both of us. I was beyond excited-I was downright giddy-at the thought of doing this fun color run with my friend.

In my reading through the Psalms at night, my psalm for that night was 34. I'll list just a few lines that stood out to me: "Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry. The Lord redeems His servants."

Reading this psalm of God's faithfulness after hearing that Persnicketta would do the 5k with me just made my heart soar. I fell asleep with songs of praise in my heart, having once again tasted of and seen God's goodness in my life.

viernes, febrero 14, 2014

Valentine's Day, Sacrificial Friendship

In an ongoing quest to practice what I preach on my blog, I have set aside my own schedule for this morning to share my life and my thoughts with my readers. My thoughts of late have revolved around friendship, and the sacrifices we are willing to make to maintain one; also the sacrifices that we are unwilling to make that can lead to the death of a friendship. Then, too, there are our expectations, and if we manage them well and see the limits of what our friends are willing and unwilling to do for us, we will not be surprised, hurt, or disappointed by their words or actions. For instance, I have some friends who I've noticed are unwilling to set aside their schedules to talk with me for a significant amount of time. This might well be hurtful, except that I know this is how they are, so I don't set myself up for disappointment by interrupting their schedule; I instead go to a friend with different priorities, a friend who will set aside some time for me, even when it wasn't part of her day's schedule. This is something that's been on my mind, and it makes me ask myself if I am a sacrificial friend, if my friends know that relationships are always my first priority, above laundry, reading, walking the dog, shopping, etc. etc.

miércoles, febrero 12, 2014

My Favorite Author

Susan Hunt, she's my favorite author. Why? She focuses much on the Church, on the body of Christ gathered as a unit and benefiting one another in so many ways. I find this issue close to my heart as I see in my own life how I cherish those friends who are willing to let me into their family lives. I treasure the times friends come over with their kids and we all play a game together . . . or go for a walk . . . or go out for ice cream. I am convinced it is through friends like this that God fulfills His promises to comfort the lonely and cause the childless woman to be settled in her home.

lunes, febrero 10, 2014

Disciplined Like Dancing Rabbit Residents

Dancing Rabbit is a community somewhere in the Midwest. They live completely off the grid, and this influences every aspect of their lives. From the time they get up, they have to get a fire started so they can take a warm shower, and they have to collect their own waste from the toilet to be used as manure, (hu-manure, they call it), the soap they use has to be biodegradable, any spray deodorant or hair spray is forbidden . . . and that is just what happens before breakfast! These people are definitely dedicated and devoted. As Christians, are we that dedicated and devoted to our beliefs? Are we willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of God's honor? One way we can show our devotion to God is by obeying Pro. 17:5 and 1 Cor. 13:6, both of which instruct Christians not to rejoice in falsehood or take delight in the troubles of others. I see this happening so clearly and so often in society; in fact, it seems that an entire TV network exists only by exploiting the sad plights of people in trouble. Are we Christians delighting in this? Are we complacent about the troubles that have befallen others, and do we laugh at the poor decisions they've made and the resulting negative consequences? Our lives are to be defined by love and compassion, and we must be known for loving what is good. I see this ungodly trend also here on the internet, where silly quarrels and arguments abound. Paul told Timothy to have nothing to do with such things, and that is true for the Christians of today. We must remember that we have better things to think about, better things to watch, better things to talk about.

Book Review

I was sent a copy of An Infinite Journey in exchange for a review. I was expecting a heady, theological work, which it is; but the book is also refreshingly practical and pastoral. It was like having pastor Andrew Davis in the room with you, lovingly encouraging you on to spiritual maturity. The book has been a great blessing in my life. I can see the tangible, spiritual benefits of having read it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to flourish in their faith. Please see http://ambassador-international.com/books/infinite-journey-growing-towards-christlikeness/ for more info.

sábado, febrero 08, 2014

A Dog With A Sock, and Sunday Church

Although these pictures have the same subject, they are not quite the same. One picture is blurry. The other is clear. The blurry picture could be likened to a church service. At church, we get a blurry picture of Heaven. We sing praises to God, just like we will in Heaven, we talk to God, we enjoy sweet fellowship with other believers, but we also come tired and grumpy, we may gossip about others, we eat too many donuts . . . it's not the perfect and sinless paradise that is Heaven. It is what it is, and it's as close to Heaven as we can get on earth. So, while the blurry picture is far from perfect, it's the best we got. May your church attendance be blessed this weekend, basking in the goodness of our great God and looking forward to the day when we will see Him clearly, with no sin to pollute our relationship. While yet on earth, we see God only with a veiled face, a blurry vision of His glory; but when we see Him face to face, we will see His glory clearly and perfectly. 2 Cor. 3:18.

miércoles, febrero 05, 2014

One's Not Such a Bad Number.

I sit here alone on a Friday night. Mr. M is at the office late. I want to do something, but then again . . . I don't. Contrary to the song, one isn't always a sad or lonely number. I'm enjoying the cozy, quiet night in. I have asked my friends, by way of the computer, if any of them want to come over or go out; so I get up every few minutes when my computer makes a bonging noise. I've also called a friend and am waiting for her to call back and let me know if she is free tonight; so I am expecting my phone to ring any minute. Is this what it is to be enslaved by my devises? I don't want to start reading my book, because I know I'll just get interrupted. I think I will just turn off anything that bings, bongs, beeps, boops, or rings, and enjoy this quiet evening at home, reading my book in uninterrupted silence.

lunes, febrero 03, 2014

Expectant Faith For February

I read of a woman, I'll call her Sam, who was sick continually. Every day for 12 years, she was sick. She spent all her time and money going to the best doctors and specialists, but none could offer her any help or hope. One day, she heard that Jesus the Son of God would be in town, so she made plans to go see Him. She'd heard of miracles and healings He'd done for other people, so she determined to see what He could do for her. She just knew He'd be able to do something. When the day came, she got into the crowd surrounding Him, and she pushed and shoved her way through all the people until she was finally close enough to touch Him. I don't know if she grabbed at His clothes on purpose, or if she accidentally touched the hem of His clothes in the chaos of the crowd, but that is rather insignificant in light of the result of the touch; the sickness that had pained her for 12 years was gone instantly. Her faith had healed her. She had tried all the medical remedies given to her, but she knew in her heart that if she could just get close enough to Jesus to touch His robe, something amazing would happen. I don't know if she expected a total and instantaneous healing, but she obviously expected something, something worth pushing and shoving her way through a crowd to get to. Do I have this kind of faith? When I pray, do I expect an answer? Do I expect great things from God? Am I eager to pray and see what God will do? I need to be. We all need to be. We need to be faithful and expectant in prayer. The Bible tells us to have faith like a child. Children think bug people can make anything happen. Do we believe that about God. He really can make anything happen. Do we pray and live believing that? Are we willing to say, "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do!"? Children in Sunday School have no problem standing up and singing that truth at the top of their voices.