Friday, February 27, 2009

Worth It

by Cindy F.

Have you ever spent hours, energy, and tears on something and find the result to be so worth the effort? I know that doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is so rewarding and such a blessing. This was the case for me in preparing for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration. I took on much of the long-distance planning for the party – which was in Missouri on Valentine’s Day – and most importantly all of the pictures. A lot of pictures and memories can accumulate over 50 years, and this was before digital photography! I started back in October, but really dove into it in January. From scans of old pictures and slides, I created a hardbound photo album, large photo collages for display, a scrapbook of letters and pictures from friends around the country (and I’m not a scrapbooker!), and most importantly, a 25-minute slideshow set to music. I still am moved to tears when watching the slideshow.



Why the tears? A lot can happen in 50 years. There is much to celebrate, and many happy memories. But life happens along the way. There were several loved ones in those pictures that are no longer with us. My parents lost their first child, my oldest brother, to serious illness at the age of six, and my dad lost his much younger brother at a tragically young age. All my grandparents are also gone. Some neighbors, dear friends, children’s friends, and some members of the wedding party have passed away.


There are also tears of much joy in seeing how God has blessed my parents over the years, even in the midst of terrible pain. There is a bittersweet joy in seeing how the time has flown since my brother and I were the same age that my own kids are now. And to witness the joy they have still in each other and in the simple blessings of life is truly inspiring.


Their marriage had its difficult times, and through it they persevered. One of the songs I used in the slideshow is “Heroes” by Paul Overstreet. It talks about simply giving of yourself as a spouse and parent, and how that is heroic. The gift of their faithfulness to their family and to God is immeasurable.


Today I got an email from my mom, thanking me once again for the party and slideshow. In it she commented that “It's been 43 years today since Stevie died. Still does not seem like that long ago. I know he was watching all the kids and knowing how much fun they were having at the party.” She also mentioned that one of their good friends there in Missouri just received a diagnosis of cancer yesterday. Her next comment was “We learn to take the bad with the good and be thankful for it all.” That’s one thing my parents have surely passed on to me – an attitude of thankfulness. What a legacy.


Recently, in my Bible reading, the last portion of Psalm 33 really struck a chord with me. I see this simple dependency in my parents, and I hope to model this for my own family. I know that if we persevere in our dependence on Him throughout our lives, we will be glad for the outcome, just as I was for the time and energy invested in my tribute to my parents.


"Watch this: God's eye is on those who respect him,
the ones who are looking for his love.
He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times;
in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

We're depending on God;
he's everything we need.
What's more, our hearts brim with joy
since we've taken for our own his holy name.
Love us, God, with all you've got—
that's what we're depending on."

Psalm 33: 18-22 The Message


"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You."

Psalm 33: 18-22 New American Standard


Lord, thank you for my parents. Thank you that they hope in you and depend on you, and that you have shown them your lovingkindness. Help me to do the same. Thank you that you promise that depending on you will make it all worth it, even through the times of famine; that you will give us deliverance, life, help, protection, lovingkindness, and joy.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

by Rebecca Irwin

I have been challenged to seize this season of Lent, which began yesterday on Ash Wednesday. It is a day for SELF-examination. A day people wear a visible mark as a sinner. As I continue my journey to understand where SELF fits into God's economy, I searched for readings and prayers that correlate with the Lenten season.


From a liturgical website, I found 6 readings :


Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn.

Joel 2:12-18 [12-13]

"But there's also this, it's not too late - God's personal Message! - "Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!" Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe."


Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Psalm 50:3-6, 12-14, 17

..."The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this
court, that here God is judge
."


Be reconciled to God...now is the favorable time.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

"God put the wrong
on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God
."


A pure heart create for me, O God, and give me again the joy of your help

Psalm 50:12,14

"Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of kept promises..."


Harden not your hearts today, but listen to the voice of the Lord

Psalm 94:8

"Well, think again,
you idiots, fools - how long before you get smart
?"




Your Father, who sees all that is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet,
secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there
as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God,
and you will begin to sense his grace
."




OR, from the Common Book of Prayer, you may find another set of readings here : http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearABC/Lent/AshWed.html


My SELF is a sinner! What these readings reinforced is my need for a Savior! He is a fair Judge who put all my wrongs onto Jesus Christ, who did no wrong. I hope and pray during these five weeks leading up to Easter, the focus will shift from my SELF to God and I will begin to sense his grace as it is written in Matthew.


I borrow this prayer from the Common Book of Prayer :

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beautiful People

by Debbi Weeks

Back when I was in college I hung around with a group of 15 or so friends from Grace Church. We had such fun, fellowshipping, studying, playing, and just being together. One evening there was a group of us hanging out and as I looked around at all of them the thought came to mind of how incredibly beautiful they all were. I looked at each of them and declared each a “10”. Almost as soon as the thought crossed my mind I let out a little laugh, for in the world’s eyes the best-looking one there was perhaps a “7” and most of us would probably rate more like a “4” or “5”!


I smiled as I realized that I knew their hearts. I was looking at them with God’s eyes and they were beautiful! The eyes of God are a wonderful way to look at His people. And, as I grow older and slip further down the world’s beauty scale I’m thankful that God looks on the inside and sees me as beautiful.


1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’"


Father God, thank You that You created us beautiful in Your sight. Thank You that You look at the heart and not the outward appearance.

Please forgive me when I fall back into looking at others with the world’s eyes.

Thank You for the beautiful people You have placed in my life.

Please allow us to look at others with Your eyes that we may see them as beautiful.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.




Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Is Your Passion?

by Sue Donaldson

A local political candidate came to my door last Fall and presented herself for my vote. When she finished, I asked, “So, what’s your passion?”


“My passion? Well, I guess it’s to insure we have good bike paths in San Luis…”

(Peggy Brown probably voted for her – see previous post.)


Now bike paths are important…I guess. But, a passion?


Have you thought about it? We all have a passion – more than one, most likely. You can figure it out by how your heart leaps when you get a chance to do your passion or when you find someone else who loves what you love.


It’s a little different for each person – we’re unique. And, when we live out our God-given passion, God is most glorified. Like a proud parent at a dance recital, our Father puffs out His chest and says to any who will listen, “Look at her! Isn’t she beautiful? I made her to do that, you know. It suits her. And, she’s going to get better and better. Wow! Did you see that?!” (“And God saw that it was good…” – Genesis 1)

I asked a group of girlfriends around my table that very question, “Besides your family, what’s your passion?” It was insightful and entertaining. The joke became: “Well, besides Jesus…my passion is…”


I loved that. “Besides Jesus…” We love Jesus. He’s our first passion and everything else, uniquely ours, stems from that first love.


If you’re wondering just what is your passion, start there, with Jesus. Paul did, over and over.


He is before all things and in Him all things hold together… He is the head…the beginning… so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:17,18


Those are passionate words: “all” - “in everything” - “supremacy.” Start with Jesus. Is He your all and all? Then, look around and see Who’s proud as punch to be your Daddy!


Dear Father,

Thank you for making me to reflect You and glorify You – uniquely! May I live out of my passion – loving and serving You with abandon. Love, Sue


PS

Besides reading and mentoring a dozen of us grateful girls . . . AND Jesus -- here is Laurie’s passion (which she shares, on occasion)--






Monday, February 23, 2009

Focusing On the Goal

by Peggy Brown

Wayne & I love bikes! We love bike riding, we love watching bike racing…we pretty much love everything about bikes. So, imagine how excited we were when we read in the paper 3 years ago that there was going to be a prestigious bike ride in California AND that it would be coming through the central coast!


The first year, the Tour of California ended one stage and began the next stage in San Luis. What an opportunity for an up close encounter with those world class riders that we’d been watching in the Tour de France all these years! When the riders came into town, sadly Wayne had to work, so our daughter Bethany and I went to watch them come screaming into town. The next morning when they were taking off again, there was that “work” thing again, so I took Bethany out of school and we went to watch! We were standing at Mission San Luis Obispo, not 2 feet away from the guys on their bikes as they got lined up to start. (The guy by us actually handed me his empty Coke bottle since he couldn’t figure out what else to do with it! We watched the results all week and he finished 2nd to last!).


For those of you not into bike racing, being this close to the riders would be the same as standing on the baseball field when your favorite major league team comes out to start the game, or sitting in the front row during the Academy Awards, or sitting in a chair in the orchestra pit when the Philharmonic comes out to perform…get it?


This year, we went down to Solvang for the day to watch what’s called a time trial. That is where each rider rides one 15 mile circuit alone. They are competing against the clock but of course the fastest time wins. One of the cool things at the time trial is that they don’t restrict the access of the fans, so you can actually wander through the team areas and watch as the riders sit on their training bikes (which are stationary) and warm up before their turn.


I have had several observations over the last 3 years that really came into a clear focus this year. The first observation is how strong and muscular these men are. When you watch them up close you can see the well defined muscles in their legs and arms. It is obvious that they have trained long and hard, specifically for the task of bike riding.


The second observation is that they clearly watch their diets. These men don’t have an ounce of fat on their bodies. I swear they must be about 1% body fat! Their goal is to win races, so they choose not to indulge themselves in a diet that would hinder their riding.


And what is the third observation? These men are focused! When they warm up, despite the noisy crowds 6 deep around them, they sit on that trainer, pedaling fast and hard, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. People are often calling their names, requesting autographs, etc. but they have their i-pods in their ears and their heads down in concentration on the task at hand.


Are you beginning to see where I am going with all this? Yep, check out these verses:


Philip. 3:14-I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

1 Cor. 9:24-27- “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; (emphasis mine)


The Christian life is a long and difficult race. The prize ahead of me is of way more importance than anything these riders could obtain! Scripture calls me to press on, to run with endurance in such a way that I may win!


I am challenged by these thoughts:

Am I becoming strong and muscular? Do I exercise my will? Do I choose to be obedient when it’s hard? Am I willing to exercise my spiritual muscles to the point of exhaustion, so that I can go the whole distance? (Bible time and prayer are hard work aren’t they?)


Am I watching my spiritual diet? Do I avoid those things in my life that will hinder me? Do I choose not to indulge myself in those worldly “goodies” that will make me spiritually fat? (inappropriate TV, books, radio, do I gossip….)


Am I focused? Do I have the i-pod of Scripture in my ear so that I don’t get distracted by the world and its values? Do I know how to pedal fast and hard after God? (When was the last time I memorized a verse, sang a hymn or worship song to God, inconvenienced myself for the sake of someone else?)


I am so aware of my shortcomings and my spiritual laziness! But I am also becoming so aware of God’s grace that says to me over and over again:

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. 2 Cor. 12:9 (KJV)


He is the giver of second (and third and fourth….) chances!


Father, you know my weakness better than I do, but you still draw me to Yourself! You never get tired of me doing it wrong, You just keep encouraging me to get up and go on. Help me to train myself to become stronger for the race I am running. Thank you that Your power is shown in my weakness! Amen



Scripture Reading for February 23, 2009....John 15


1-3 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. 4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me. 5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. 9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love. 11-15"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father. 16"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. 17"But remember the root command: Love one another.” The Message


Friday, February 20, 2009

by Missy Grant

“The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Jeremiah 18:1-4.


There is something about the visual which etches in our minds a lasting picture. God is a visual God. His Word is filled with visual punch – verse after verse after verse. He is our creative God and He takes pleasure in unveiling for us, through our senses, not only His word, but the Holy Spirit within us.


The above scripture is well known….it is easy for our simple human ways to grasp exactly what the Lord is teaching Jeremiah. But, being that His word is dynamic – no it doesn’t change, but is revealed over time to us through the Holy Spirit – scripture will impact us differently throughout time.


I love the promises of this portion of scripture….first, the Lord told Jeremiah…”Go down….I will speak to you there.” Praise the Lord that He likes to speak to us! Second, the potter was working….think about that…..the potter was working – not sitting, not fretting, not being passive…he was working towards completion. Third, the finished product was not as he hoped. So, in other words, plans – desires – hopes, sometimes don’t look the way our human hearts desire. Fourth, he crushed the jar AND STARTED AGAIN.


Don’t miss the crushing part of the scripture. What happens when a jar is broken….it leaks and its content are emptied out…..aaaahhhhh, there it is. That is what the Lord is after – emptying out. In order to be filled with Him, we must allow the Lord to empty the contents of the jar. Why? So that He can start over continually perfecting us in His image.


Lord, thank you for taking your perfection and allowing it to be broken on our behalf so that we may spend eternity with you. Thank you that "your mercies are new every morning." So often Lord, we try to be the potter….forgive us. When our plans, desires, and hopes seemed crushed, may we see Your sovereign hand moving to form us in your perfect image. We praise Your glorious name. Amen.






Thursday, February 19, 2009

by Rebecca Irwin

I have been really wrestling with where SELF fits into God's economy. In Oprah's economy, in our American culture at large, SELF is clearly first. But in God's Word (Mark 8:34) I read "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himSELF, take up his cross, and follow me." I enjoyed reading the paraphrase in the Message :


"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? "If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels."


It is a daily struggle to remove mySELF from the driver's seat and allowing God to show me my true self. This includes the really ugly - the depth of my sin. But also, how I am made in His image. The way I am His creation, fully human (though broken from the Fall). I am grasping at a morsel of understanding that the self-control I read so much about in the Scripture is not a subservient role, but an action that requires great strength. It is not in my SELF's best interest to speak MY mind. Instead, there is great power in restraint.


This is just the beginning of this new area of study for me. I would love to hear other insights into this tension we feel as followers of Jesus. Today, I would like to borrow a prayer from an old prayer book I found at my favorite used bookstore before its closing. It is titled 'Bless This Mess & Other Prayers' by Jo Carr and Imogene Sorley.


Total commitment, Lord,

is getting the bills paid on time,

instead of putting it off just because it is a dull and

colorless task.

And it is a priority of stewardship,

arranging my finances so that my bills are worthy

bills.


Total commitment

is getting the kitchen floor mopped when it needs it,

or leaving it unmopped when my child needs me -

and having wisdom to know which is when.

Total commitment?


Lord, God! It's a phrase that haunts me.

Total is such an absolute sort of word-

an all-of-life sort of word-

with no little private compartments kept back for

me.


Commitment is a surrender sort of word-

a not-my-will-but-thine attitude toward every day.

I run. I shudder. I want no part of it.

So why does it haunt me so?

Why do you keep it in my mind, ringing in my other

ear?

Can't I beg off? Can't we settle for something less?

Must I agonize over all THY needy children?

Must I sacrifice?

My own burdens are enough Lord. Must I bear these

others also?


Total?

Commitment?

To Thee.


Amen.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Be Filled

by Debbi Weeks

There was a break in the rainy weather we’ve been having on Saturday and I just had to get out of the house and get some exercise. After calling several friends and not finding a walking partner among them, in my desperation I decided to head out on my own. I was barely out the door when I realized I just couldn’t walk alone (I know, I know it’s silly, but I’m really into the social aspects of walking! J). But still, needing to move, I got my bicycle out to go for a ride. It had been a couple of weeks since I road my bike, but not too terribly long.


I noticed the tires appeared to be a bit low on air, but not knowing how to turn on the air compressor and really wanting to get moving, I took off on my regular route. I had barely begun when I noticed that I was already exerted far more than normal. As I continued on, I was really huffing and puffing. I cut my ride short and headed up the small incline home. I thought I was going to pass out! It was unbelievable. When I reached my driveway, I was having a hard time deciding whether to just throw up in the bushes or go inside. I finally decided to go in. As soon as I got my bike in the garage and the garage door down, I flung myself on the carpet at the bottom of the stairs. And I stayed there, motionless, for the next five minutes. My heart was pounding – I envisioned my hubby finding me dead there at the bottom of the stairs in a few hours after he woke up. I decided I needed to get upstairs, so I crawled. Yes, I crawled up the staircase. Once there, I managed to get to the couch where I plopped and stayed for more than half an hour.


I couldn’t imagine how I had gotten so exhausted with such a brief workout. After all, I walk several times each week and I ride my bike regularly.


Later, as I was relaying the story to my hubby, I remembered how the tires looked low and I asked him if he could show me how to use the air compressor to fill my tires. We went downstairs and used the tire gauge to check the air pressure. It didn’t even register on the gauge! I had been riding on completely flat tires! The resistance I was peddling against (especially uphill to my house) was huge. No wonder it was such a workout! We filled the tires and Matt had me go for a little spin – you would not believe the difference. I could ride with such ease. It’s amazing what a little air can do!


The whole thing got me thinking about how we, as believers, can live without being filled with the Holy Spirit (note that this is different than being sealed with the Holy Spirit which is something all believers have when the believe). But “unfilled” living is difficult and arduous. When we are living filled with the Spirit, we are strong and effective. Being filled with the Spirit is yielding to God’s will.


Ephesians 5:15-20

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. Do not be drunk with wine, which will ruin you, but be filled with the Spirit. Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


After experiencing what it’s like to ride with flat tires, I know the difference that being filled makes. And, it makes all the difference! So, are you filled with the Spirit today? Are you yielding to God’s will for your life? Are you able to be strong and effective? From my own experience, let me encourage you to live filled with the Spirit today!


Father God, I praise You that You seal us and fill us with Your Spirit.

I confess I too often do things my own way and tire easily from living in my strength.

Thank You that You use ordinary physical things to teach us of extraordinary spiritual things.

Please fill me with Your Spirit and let me yield to Your will today.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God's Plans

by Sue Donaldson

A favorite passage often quoted are the words of God to Jeremiah – perhaps you love them, too:


’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)


We like to know that God has plans for us, that He’s paying attention, and if we’re in calamity – we like to believe that good will come from it – sooner rather than later. No one likes pain. Brother Lawrence said we don’t need to pray for suffering – it just comes, part of living on earth.

But, God has plans, and they are for us, to give us a future and a hope.


While contemplating a creek near his camping spot, my brother Steve wondered what God had in store for his future. And, since he’s a prolific poet, he wrote the following:


“The water was flowing, endlessly, it seemed, down the waterfall, having somewhere – by God’s plan for all big things and little – to go. And it seemed to me that then and there God spoke to me, by means of that waterfall, telling me that I must keep going, too, for there is indeed someplace for me to go – something yet to do and dare with my life, before it is altogether spent.

Now just watch that waterfall,

Look at its flow;

With no sign of stopping,

Having someplace to go.

As you stand there watching

Now listen to Me:

There’s a lesson to learn here

To set your soul free:

You must keep on moving

And let your life flow

Over life’s rocks

To the place that I show.”

“I’m listening, Lord,

To the wind – and Your voice;

And this is my answer:

‘Your will is my choice.’”

(excerpted from Heading Home by Steve Moore)


Notice that there were rocks. Maybe you feel stuck behind one right now. Ask God to get you over this next challenge and tell Him you’ll trust Him no matter what.


Steve had the right idea. Look to God, trust Him with your life, and choose His way. Now that’s a hopeful future, and a plan that works.


Father,

Thank You that You know exactly what’s going on in my life right now. And, help me to trust You, even if the waterfall seems like it’s damned up somewhere. Your will is what I want. Amen




Monday, February 16, 2009

Musings on Adoption

by Peggy Brown

Scripture tells us that we are adopted into God’s family at the time of our salvation. Adopt: “to take by choice into a relationship; especially: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child.”


I have been pondering this recently in light of the fact that both of our children are adopted. I think that I have a unique perspective on this precious relationship with God. My prayer is that as you read you will be touched by the enormous love our Father has lavished on us.


Wayne and I had a great desire to have children. We longed to be “family”. When we were unable to have a biological child, I think our desire became even greater. There didn’t seem to be anything more important than having that precious one come into our lives.


When we decided to adopt, we had great anticipation about the child that God would bring us…boy or girl? fussy or calm? What would he/she be like? What would it be like to be a parent? But there was also the anticipation of becoming a family, somehow complete.


What we didn’t anticipate was the waiting! It took many years before our son was born. I must admit that they were LONG years, and at times it seemed like it would never happen. Then came the phone call!! A baby had been born, would we like to come and see? Would we like to adopt it? We had a choice at that point. We could have said no. (Yeah, right!) Sidenote: I was so excited when the caseworker called that I forgot to even ask if it was a boy or girl. We didn’t find out until we got to the hospital!


The moment I held that baby in my arms, he was mine! I was caught hook, line and sinker! Oh, I get a bit weepy just thinking about it. From that moment, everything we had was his; our time, our home, our food (lots of food I found out as the years went by), our money (lots of that too), our property, everything.


Six months later, we went to court and a judge confirmed it. He made us take “vows” affirming that this child was ours in every way that a biological child would be, he was heir to everything, forever.


Seven years later, after almost despairing of hope, another call from a caseworker, “a baby has been born, are you still interested in adopting?” (Note: My first response, albeit unspoken, was “well, duh!!!) This time I did remember to ask if it was a boy or girl! Who’d have believed that when I held that little pink-hatted squirmer in my arms I had the EXACT same reaction as the first time…I was a goner!


Six months later, a judge confirmed it again. This child, too, was ours in every way. She was ours to care for, support and raise. She also was heir to everything, forever.


God, the perfect, eternal parent, has anticipated us, His children, from the beginning of time, He predestined us to be His. Before we ever were, He sent His son as the official adoption declaration. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Talk about waiting a long time!


He waited for us to be born, to grow and to respond in faith to His great love and sacrifice for us (I wonder if He ever became impatient with the waiting). When we accepted that sacrifice as our own, He adopted us “officially” into His family…heirs to the kingdom, forever. Eph. 1:4-5For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will


It amazes me to think that God feels about me like I feel about my kids! He felt overjoyed beyond words when I arrived into His family! (Remember that there is rejoicing in Heaven at the salvation of a soul?) He feels that tremendous thrill that I felt at the moment each of my children became mine! They were never mine physically, but they have always been mine in my heart! I have always been God’s in His heart.


Wow!



Scripture reading for February 16, 2009 - John 15:18-21

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” NIV



“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me.” New Living Translation




Friday, February 13, 2009


"This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalm 118:24