Friday, December 26, 2008

A teachable Spirit...

It is never too late to learn new things. I had to work Christmas night. I usually work 12 hour shifts... but on holidays we only work 8 hours. So... I didn't have to be a work until 11pm. I had enjoyed my day, had my 4 hour nap, and was ready to leave for work around 10pm. I remembered that earlier in the day my son asked if he could use my car to go pick up his girlfriend. Of course, this is because he needed to conserve his gas. I get my gas for free... so using mine in no big deal. NOT! I told him that I wasn't sure how much gas I actually had... so please make sure that I had enough left to get to work and back that night, because I expected that gas stations would probably be closed on Christmas day.

Right as I was getting ready to walk out the door, my son called on the phone. He told me that he knew that he left me on empty... with the gas light on.... and if I met him at the gas station he would be glad to pump my gas for me since it was so cold outside. I thought... well, isn't that nice of you since you were suppose to do that earlier in the day. Anyway.... I asked him if there were any gas stations opened?? After all... it is Christmas day!! To this question he replied,

"it won't matter, as long as you use a card you can get gas anyway."

Now... I am an adult. I have been driving for a lot of years!! And I knew how absurd this was. Of course you cannot get gas from a gas station that is closed!! I don't know where he would get such a crazy idea!! I would be lying to you if I told you that I was kind-hearted about all of this. Here it is... 10pm.... I have to be at work in one hour.... my gas light is on... I have a 60 mile round trip to make.... it is Christmas day... and the gas stations are closed. Now what??? Truth be known... I was pretty ticked.

He was so insistant. Within minutes he was home. He kept insisting that I follow him to the closest gas station. I muttered ugly things all the way to the car. I couldn't wait to prove him wrong. I wasn't sure how he was going to be able to fix this... but it was his fault... and it would have to be his problem to solve.

There is a little gas station less than one mile from my house. As I followed him down the road... he pulled in to this CLOSED gas station. So... I followed him in and pulled up to the pump... at this CLOSED gas station. He proceeds to get out and use his gas card in the pump.... AND to my absolute amazement.... He pumped me $5 worth of gas. At this CLOSED gas station!! I humbly rolled down my window and told him how sorry I was.... I was wrong. He was right. You can get gas from a CLOSED gas station. Who in the world would have thought that??? My next question was.... Who in the world figured that out??? What crazy person pulled into a closed gas station and tried to get gas???

Totally amazed!! Totally wrong!! Totally humble!! Totally able to make it to work with gas from a closed gas station.

Now... if you already knew this... I don't even know what to say. Maybe it made headlines one day, but I didn't get the paper. Maybe it was on the 6 O'clock news while I was watching something else. But to my little mind... this seemed to be something that was impossible.

I thought about the need to have a teachable spirit.

Proverbs 1:5 says,

"let the wise listen and add to their learning"

Now... I will be the first to bow out of the "wise" catagory... but I need to be willing to add to my learning. Even when it comes to learning something as absurd as getting gas from a closed gas station. Can you tell that this has totally turned my thinking upside-down???

God desires for us to have a teachable spirit. Learning through HIS teacher... whether it be my 18 year old son, my pastor, my friend, my enemy, a complete stranger, and well.... He can even speak to me through a donkey if need be. Am I open to what God desires to teach me?? Whether it is something I want to hear or not?? Or have I stopped desiring to be taught???

I thought about the times in scripture that Jesus desired to teach someone something... but they rejected it. Like the rich man in Matthew 19. He came to Jesus and asked what good thing he must do to get eternal life. He was looking for the easy answer. What he got was something that he didn't want to hear. Jesus first told him to obey the commandments. What a funny question came next.... He asked, "which ones?" He assured Jesus that he had kept all of these. (which I find hillarious, had he really???)

Then Jesus presses him just a little more... he told him,

"if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Scripture tells us that when the rich young man heard this, he went away sad. This is not what he wanted to hear. He didn't want to get it. He didn't want it to be about anything more than rules... certainly not about giving up something that meant a ton to him. Following Jesus. Not about following the rules.... but giving Him your heart. What you love most. Leaving all for Him. Allowing Him to teach you what is really important. To Him. Teachable.

Oh... I pray that I never stop being teachable. No matter what teacher He sends my way. No matter what THE teacher sends my way. I want to remain teachable. Forever learning more about Him.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Take all of your medicine

Argghhh!! I do not like being sick. It all started with a little cough. It then progressed to a drainage issue... then into something that was so much like strep throat that it even had the doctors fooled. My youngest had it first. She missed 5 days of school. Then my son got it. Then my husband got it... and being the mom that never gets sick.... THEN I got it!! What??? I never get sick. But last Thursday, when I got up... not only could I not swallow at all... I even went to the doctor. That is something that hardly ever happens as well.

I felt so bad that I called my poor 71 year old mom to take me to the doctor. On the way home we stopped and got my prescriptions filled. So... I started on my antibiotics last Thursday. I took them all day Thursday and all day Friday. But... Saturday I felt like a new woman... so I stopped taking them. (what a great patient I am, right??) Well... I have you know that on Monday morning when I woke up... I could barely swallow again. You would think that as a mother... and a healthcare worker... that I would know that I needed to take all of my medicine!! But it all of my mighty wisdom, I decided that I had taken enough to make me better. Needless to say... I am taking my antibiotics again!!

As I have thought back over this... several things and stories have come to mind.

How sin starts out. Like my little cough... that progressed until it was a full-fledged nasty sickness. Sin may seem small... like a little lie on the phone.... but if not kept in check, it will progress until it grows into something much bigger. My preacher has said.... "sin takes you farther than you want to go... and keeps you longer than you want to stay". How true that is. It can be such a subtle thing to begin with... but before you know it.... you have gone farther than you thought you would... and it is much harder to get away. We must keep our lives in check so that we will not fall into the trap of sin.

Like just enough antibiotics to start my healing process.... just enough "Jesus" to keep you "safe" in your mind. So many people are just satisfied with going to church on Sunday morning. No quiet time. No seeking more. No longing to be like Him. It is really not what the Father prescribed. He desires for us to be changed into the likeness of His Son. I don't think that church once a week is enough to do that. We need to "take" all of the medicine that the Father can give us. His Word, His Presence, His Healing, His Peace, His Provisions... and He has so much more to give. He gives it to us. It is there for us... if we seek Him. Just like my medicine in the cabinet... as long as I just let it sit there... it will do me no good. I have to go take it. We have to seek Him... pursue Him. We will find our healing.

Then I thought about this scripture in Matthew 12:43-45

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, "I will return to the house I left", When it arrives, it find the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

This was something that struck me like a ton of bricks the first time I read it. Just like our lives. We can "remove" all of the things that were "bad" in our lives... the old sinful nature. But if we don't fill up that empty spot with something "godly" then the old sinful nature can come back with several of his evil buddies and take up residence again. Worse off than we started. I had removed the "bad" feelings of my sickness. But... I left an empty hole without resistance to the "bug" again.... so it was just about to move back in. I would have probably been worse off than when it all started. Thankfully I still had the remainder of my antibiotics in the cabinet.

So... hopefully I am on the mend AGAIN. I wouldn't have to say "again" if I had just done what the doctor had prescribed. This is what our Father has prescribed....

Jeremiah 29:12-14

"... " then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord."

Oh... I pray that I will do just that. Seek Him with all of my heart. He promises to be found.

Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!! May God bless each and every one of you.
I love you!!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Friends....

There is nothing like a good friend. You know the kind... the ones that know way too much about you and they love you anyway. The are there when you need them. They supply your needs... even when your pride is about to explode all over the two of you. And if that one applies to you... you know who you are and you know that I love you. We all need friends. But sometimes friends are hard to find. But there is one friend that longs to spend time with you. Of course... that is Jesus.

The Bible tells us that the Lord spoke to Moses, face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. (Exodus 33 :11) That is awesome. There are times when I know that God is speaking to me... it is never audible, but my spirit hears it just the same. Sometimes it is to comfort me... sometimes it is to correct me... sometimes it is to remind me of truth. No matter what it is... even when it is correction... I count it as a blessing. God speaking to me. Like a man speaks to a friend.

Jesus tells us in John 15:13,
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Of course He is speaking of himself. He follows up that statement with one that tells us exactly how to be considered his friend,

"You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last."

Now that is a great friend. First He loved us and chose us, then He lay down His life for us, then He makes known to us everything that His Father made known to Him. Wow! That is love.

I have some friends too... I love them. I am so thankful for them. They are true gifts to me from the Father... but I haven't lay down my life for them. But instead... I will give them a bloggy award.

I received my "Friend" award from Amanda at One Sacrifice For All Time. Thanks so much... I count it an honor to be called your friend.

I would like to award it to some of my friends here in bloggy land as well.....
Regina at Grinders Switch
Beverly at Moma's Blog Log
Pamela at The Pinkshoe Lady
Lelia at Write From The Heart
Tracy at My Cup Runneth Over
Amy at In My Life
Teri at A View From the Mountaintop
Paula at His Ways are Not our Ways

You ladies (and many more) mean the world to me. I love to hop over and see what the Lord is teaching you at the moment.
The requirements for this awards are:
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I love you all,

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Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Meme...

Well... after that last post... it is time for a little fun. But, before we go on to the fun... I just have to tell you that God and I have hashed out that previous issue... my limp is much, much better, and the peace in my heart is unbelievable. God is so good. One of the things that I love the most about Him is that although He is ABLE to change my situation, He chooses to change me instead. I just love Him. There is no evidence like being changed on the inside.

My wonderful friend Tracy at My Cup Runneth Over tagged me for a Christmas Meme... so here goes:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oh... without a doubt, Hot Chocolate

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Just sitting out under the tree

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? I finally won the fight.... white lights only

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No....

5.When do you put your decorations up? I would love to put them up on Thanksgiving night... but I can't always talk the rest of the family into it. So far this year... the tree is still in the attic.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My mother-in-laws dressing

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? When I was really small... we would all gather at my great aunts HUGE house for Christmas dinner. We opened gifts and had so much fun.

8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What? I am not sure I know what you are talking about....

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My family meets at my brothers house to have Christmas with my side of the family. We spend Christmas day with my in-laws.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lots of different kinds of ornaments, some Santas, mostly Christian type ornaments, some sentimental...

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? I hate to admit that I hate it. Too cold. Too messy. All those wet clothes everywhere. And, I work in a hospital... we have to go to work no matter what, and stay however long. I do think it is beautiful when it is falling....

12. Can you ice skate? No, I am a chicken. Too scared to even try.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I can't remember what I got last year... much less what I got long ago.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Love the excitement of my children. Time with family. Okay... and getting gifts is pretty fun too.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My aunts pumpkin roll

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I love to bake with the girls. I love putting up the decorations...

17. What tops your Christmas tree? nothing...

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? well... I love to give gifts to people I love... not out of obligation, but out of love. But... come on, I love to receive as well.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Mary did you know??

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? I like the taste... but don't eat them very often.

21. What do you want for Christmas? Joy... it is going to be quite slim this year... I just want to see my children enjoy whatever they get. My fear for this year is that I may just cry all day because we aren't able to get them what they really want.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? No... not other than with family

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? Usually a Christmas sweater and jeans

24. Do you own a Santa hat. No...

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with my in-laws.

Now I get to tag 5 people:

I cannot begin to choose 5 people... I would love to hear eveyone's answers to these. Go ahead, do it... it is fun. Just be sure to send me a comment that you are participating so that I can come by and check out your answers.

Here are the rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Fill out the questions.
3. Tag 5-7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag!

Have Fun!!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the ground... with God

Well... for anyone that needs for me to be "all good"... this post isn't for you. Anyone that might have had a day when your emotions were running wild and you felt like you were in a wrestling match with God... this might sound familiar to you.

Same old stuff.... I have driven the "financial issues" into the ground here. But... somehow they haven't gone away. Obviously there is so much more that God desires for me to know about Him... we are still going to fight this same old fight. And... what a fight there has been this morning. I wish I had known in time to charge admission. That might have fixed some of my problems.

Well... we all know what time of year it is. Anyone that gets paid every two weeks on the same day that I do... knows that we are just one payday away from Christmas. There have been no extra funds to start our Christmas shopping for the children... you know... the shopping that starts with... well.... Santa. Well... I had been counting on the fact that one of my co-workers needs off this coming Saturday... and if I worked for her, I would get 12 hours overtime. Well... I received an email this morning that they aren't going to allow me to work because they are trying to prevent overtime.

Immediately the tear and sobs began. And... the fight started. Without much warning..... I tried to go back to my quiet time... I picked up my prayer journal and wrote about 5 words... before I threw it. I threw my pen down... and said to the heavens, "I am MAD at you!!" And then more sobs came. Throughout the next two hours... I felt like I was in a wrestling match. Some of our conversations went like this....

Me: "now what???... I trusted you to make it okay for me to work this coming weekend so that I could provide Christmas for my children!!"

Him: "Oh, I thought that you trusted ME as your provider?"

Me: "well, what if you don't provide what I want you to provide??"

Him: "Bow down child, I know what I am doing."

Me: "Yeah... Well, I don't think I like what you are doing!!"

Him: "Oh... I thought this was about ME liking what you are doing...."

Me: "Okay... but I AM NOT HAPPY about this!!!"

Him: "Okay... I am not concerned with your happiness, remember.... it is you holiness"

Me: "I've been handling the rest of this stuff okay... but now you are messing with my children!!"

Him: "Did you forget that you are MY child????"

Me: "what about other people???... they pray and get what they want.. I pray.... I tithe... I haven't stopped even through all of this.... and it doesn't seem to be paying off for me the way I want it to!"

Him: "submit... and it will pay off the way I want it to."

Me: "what about Brad.... I don't see him trying to do anything to fix this....."

Him: "you and I can't work on him.... just on you!" "I know what I am doing!"

Me: "yeah... well I don't like it!"

Him: "yeah, I know... you told me that already" "I love you"

I feel like I will be doing more than the Jacob-limp today. I may have to crawl wherever I go. Don't think for one minute that I believe this fight is over. I still have way too much flesh left. But I am trying.

Through this whole process that God and I have been going through... He has brought me to a place of "well... what if?" meaning.... " what if He doesn't make things better?", "what if He doesn't change the way things are?", "what if you just have to go through this WITH Him?"... I have come to the place that I know that I will serve Him and love Him no matter what happens. It is a choice. I have read throughout His Word how His plan that looks like a disaster is really a divine plan of restoration. It has been a place that was difficult to come to ... but now that I am there, it is a great place to be. Or at least I thought so, before this morning. I know God well enough to know that if He couldn't use this to grow me... and to bring me closer to Him... we wouldn't have come here. So... I think that I will just stand up and throw in the white towel. That is the sign of surrender, right??

I know that God is for me.

I know that God loves me.

I know that God wants to grow me.

I know that God has my best interest at heart.

I know that God loves my family more than I do.

I know that God could rain down the lottery on us... even though we haven't ever bought a ticket.

I know that God doesn't work the way the world does.

I know that God sees the end... while I am sitting in the middle.

I know that God is faithful.

I know that God is Good.

I know that God has a plan.

I know that God is so totally about His plan.

I know that God doesn't have to let me in on that plan.

I know that God can scoop up my little battered and bruised body and put it up on His big lap and love me back into peace.

I know that the sooner I just surrender and allow God to be God... the sooner the wrestling match will end.

God has already shown me so much love. He has sent provisions through others. He wants to be my provider... It may cause another fight between me and my pride.... but it will not be a fight between my and my God. My most recent Bible study lesson was on submission and humility. Timely huh??

Thanks so much for allowing me to work through this with all of you. Thank you so much for sticking around to the end... to despite the blood that was flying. Thankfully... the bloodshed that happened over 2000 years ago was enough to cover this too. And... we will celebrate His glorious birth... with or without a lot of gifts from Santa. God is so good. Were it not for His unfailing love and mercy... I would have already been consumed. He longs for His children to surrender. He longs for His children to just say, "okay, whatever you want Lord." And, I don't think that He requires that I like it. And I am glad. He requires my submission and my obedience.

Please do not think that this is a plea for help... I just want to share what God is doing in my life. He is Good!! I think that there are a lot of people that sit out there and think that all should be "great" if you are God's child. That if they are struggling... then there is something wrong. Well... I do not believe that scripture teaches that. I believe that life is not about the "talk" but about the "walk". I just wanted to share how God and I are walking this morning... I am limping... but we are still walking.

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