Monday, December 27, 2010

No "strangles" for me.

Timing is everything sometimes. It will never cease to amaze me how spot on God is. You would think it would be a " no duh" type thing, but yet- it still surprises me.

Teens have been giving me a run for my money. Holiday busy-ness has tried to steal my joy. Marriage has not been "roses and daisies" of late, and more than anything- I keep choosing to worry rather than pray. Terrible place to be.

As I was hurrying to work this morning, God reminded me of Martha. You remember her- the sister who gave Martha Stewart her name? (Not really- but you know you always think of it too.) Luke chapter 10:38-42 shares her story. Let's recap:
Jesus and His homies rolled into Jerusalem and had a sweet little lady named Martha, invite them to dinner. The home was comfy and clean, and Martha's sister Mary was so excited to have Jesus there! She sat down right at the Lord's feet- enthralled by every word He spoke. Martha, on the other hand, was setting the table, cooking the roast, rolling out the dough, cutting vegetables, making punch and setting up 3 big, beautiful pies for desert. She didn't hear a word Jesus said- but she certainly had some choice words of her own to share with her stinky, slacker sister! She was completely distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. At last, Martha came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here (on her fat, lazy tail) while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!!!”
But Jesus looked at her and said, "Martha dear- you are WORRIED about all these DETAILS. Just details, love! Stop trippin' and realize- there is only one thing worth being concerned about. What I have to give YOU. Mary had figured this out, and no one can take it from her."
(Please don't be horrified by my liberties in story telling- go read the actual story. So much better. My version is just what comes out after I have read it. :)

I have always read this and been like "Well, sure. But all you all's bellies would be EMPTY if it wasn't for MARTHA!" Even in this story, I get hung up on the details. But today God reminded me that- whether Peaceful Mary was learning at Jesus's feet (sitting on her butt with idle hands, btw) or Joyful Martha was learning in the kitchen, listening to her Lord's words as she kneaded the dough- BOTH could have been more concerned about the "one thing worth" thinking about.

That was the key- to have the willing and teachable heart. Whatever your bent is. A pastor said today "Worry STRANGLES the divine perspective." As Martha focused and stressed on how to get the "big dinner" on the table and her pats on the back for being Betty Crocker, she missed the best thing. Jesus was in her home- letting her SERVE HIM. Oh, fix my worrying heart, Lord! I want to see people, the world, LIFE- from Your Perspective! I like being Martha- doing, doing, doing. But don't let me be so distracted by the worry, that I miss the essential things. Or give myself a coronary. I don't want to be "strangled" by the concerns of this world..when in the end, you work it all out just right anyways.

So good for me today, and I hope it comforted you too- whether you are Mary, Martha, or some where in between. Hang out with me in Luke tonight, and see what else God has for you.

(And I did make a new reminder sign for the kitchen- "Clean enough to be healthy. Cluttered enough to be happy." My family will appreciate it if I was a little LESS OCD.)

"When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. " Psalm 94:18-19

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A very Merry Christmas!

Nothing more important this morning than feeling blessed that I know Jesus...I so hope you do too, friend. There is no better thing than celebrating Christmas morning when you know the reason for the season!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

(A sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan- a children's home in Calcutta)

God bless you with a motive like that, friends!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tamar has my number...

I hate to admit that I totally get this girl but I do. Taking matters into my own hands and being impatient comes naturally to me. Surprised, right? ;)

I was not in the mood for a lesson from the righteous today. And God reminded me of Tamar. (There are a few Tamar's in God's Word, but this chick has my heart.) The best thing about this story is the evidence of God's grace. Judah was a jerk, Tamar was a lonely woman who decided to do something about it- and yet they both get to become part of the lineage for Jesus- our wonderful Savior and the Son of God! Back up with me and read Genesis 38. (I always forget to mention, if you don't have your own Bible-message me. I have a pile and would love to send you one! And for now, you can look up the passage at

Tamar married the wrong dude, then due to their really whacked out heritage rules, she gets pawned off to the brother, then she gets promised if she waits- she will get to marry the youngest brother when he comes of age. Yeah- I know. Gross beyond gross, but that's how they swing it back then. (Her husbands kept dying off because they were "evil in the sight of the LORD". I wonder if she was glad- she was the one who had to live with their EVIL!)

Anyways, things just got worse for her after that. She waited alone for awhile, and Judah, her father in law, never kept his promise to give her the next little bro for a husband- even though he was old enough now. I know it sounds weird, but imagine the situation as a woman in a culture where your only worth came from marriage and the production of sons. Tamar had no hope of that now, and no hope of being a part of the lineage of her people- Abraham's descendants.

What she does next is just gnarly- I can't even TRY to describe it. Read Genesis 38:13-19...I'll wait.

Yeah- wow. Can you even imagine the desperation that it would take to bring a "good girl" raised in the strict fashion of the Hebrews to do this? WOW. That's like trash t.v. unstaged!

The best part is yet to come, as always! Good ol' Judah has still got some live ones- Tamar gets pregnant with that one shot. Yep. Now there is going to be trouble! When Judah finds out his daughter in law is pregnant, he gets all self-righteous and says "Off with her head!" (Well, not really...but I have been watching too many old movies lately.) Clever Tamar then sends him back his seal and staff to prove who Daddy is...big OOPS for Judah.

NOW is the best part- for once in his life, Judah does the right thing. Judah owns up to his sin, and declares Tamar more righteous than he. He recognizes that she just forced him into doing the right thing- providing her first husband (and his first born son) an heir to carry on the family name.

Reading commentaries about this- was Tamar right, should she have gotten what she wanted, what about Judah?Blah, blah, blah. The insight from this passage can go on and on but the beauty and point I think- is the GRACE of GOD.

In spite of it all, God provided for Judah, Tamar, and for US. You see, one of the twin boys this couple produced becomes a direct ancestor to Jesus. Romans 5:20 says it so beautifully, and I needed this comfort today:
"The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..."

What a lesson! Sin never wins, hurts won't always rule our minds and and in the end, God's Grace will always be more than enough. Oh, hallelujah! Who knows? Maybe this life lesson in chapter 38 was one of the changing factors for Judah. Where he once sold his own brother into slavery (Genesis 37), he than became the man who stood before Egypt's ruler and begged to be thrown into prison instead of his other little brother (Genesis 44:33) But that is a story for another day....:)

Oh, Lord, how gracious you are. Thank you for being our God and loving us like no other. If only we were all as good to one another. Help us remember Tamar and Judah, help us live cleaner and love better.
(Pretty horse, huh? Her name is Bella...)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gotta love the elderly....

"Several women in the church prayer group were visiting an elderly friend who was ill. After awhile, they rose to leave and told her; "We'll do what we can to help. We promise to keep you in our prayers."

"Just do something more useful like wash the dishes in the kitchen," the ailing woman said, "I can do my own praying."

Bahahahaha! What a great joke to make me smile yesterday when I so needed it! Hope it made you laugh too. Gotta love the honesty of the elderly.

(Joke was from Mike's Funnies, a daily joke email website and the photo was from )

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am His...and that is enough.

One Year Later
Check out the link above. Best random thoughts I have read all year. God, grant us all perspective. No matter what it takes. (Terrifying words to pray!)
"These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." Colossians 2:17