Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for May, 2012

Thank You for the Music!

The school children’s song brought a smile to my lips and an “Amen” from my heart:  “Thank You for the Music!” 

Of all the people in the Bible whose career I envy, it would be Heman, Asaph and Ethan, whose detailed family lines are listed in 1 Chronicles 6:31-48.  Their job must have been important to have such impressive credentials listed there:   Temple music!  Praising God!

Aren’t we privileged to have a God who communicates with us in this way?  He puts skill in the heads and hands and voices of those He chooses to lead in this service, and He plants joy and delight in the hearts of all of us who participate—whether in church, in the kitchen, the shower, or outdoors.  And then He sits back and enjoys it as we return the praise to Him.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for the music!Note

B J & R making music

Tribute to a Remarkable Lady

She was a mother to many, including “Oma” to our grandchildren, “Grandma” to our kids, friend and mother-in-law to me, and aunt and then beloved stepmom to my husband.  She loved us, always welcomed us with a loving smile (whether in person or by Skype), was interested in our lives, and prayed for us.

Jean holding Cadence2

On her way to the hospital a few days before her death, in the midst of excruciating pain, her concern was that someone would send us her wishes for a happy anniversary!  That’s how she was. Caring, attentive, patient. Fun, faithful and friendly.  And she loved God in whose presence she is now delighting.

And now we are becoming the “older” generation–the models, the care-ers, the anchors, and the pray-ers for our family.  All that we looked to our parents for is increasingly being transferred to our shoulders.  We are blessed to have godly patterns such as Jean and our other parents, as we carry on by His grace.

Parenting—Eli’s model or Hannah’s?

The parenting styles of Hannah and of Eli, and the resulting character of their sons, are woven together in stark contrast in 1 Samuel 1-3.  Compare their progress reports:

Hannah begged God for a son, promising to give the child back to God for his whole life.  And she did, even though it meant seeing him only once a year.  She honored God above her beloved son.  (Chapter 1)

Eli turned a blind eye to his two sons’ utter disrespect for God and for their duties as priests when they abused the people and the offerings that were brought to God.  In in this way, he honored his sons above the Lord. (2:12-17)

Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD. (2:21)

When Eli’s sons were seducing young women,  he delivered a token lecture that they ignored. (2:22-25)

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the LORD and with the people.  (2:26)

God warned Eli he was going to kill his two sons because he allowed the abuses to continue, saying “I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed.” (2:30)

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel continued serving the LORD under Eli’s supervision.  (3:1)

God woke Samuel up one night with a shocking message of impending punishment on Eli’s family because of their blasphemy and his lack of discipline. (3:2-14)

As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. (3:19-20)

…And the two sons of Eli, were killed… (4:11)

How Wise Was Solomon?

The fabled wisdom of Solomon:

—Choosing wisdom as his “one wish” from God (Wow, what would I have chosen?  I think the request in itself was pretty wise!) (1 Kings 3)

–Threatening to cut a baby in half to determine who was the real mother         (1 Kings 3)

–Thrilling audiences from far and wide with brilliant lectures on botany and zoology (1 Kings 4:33-34)

But how wise was he when he flaunted God’s list of guidelines for kings in Deuteronomy 16:16-20:

–Do not accumulate a lot of horses, especially not from Egypt.

–Do not take many wives.

–Do not accumulate vast amounts of wealth.

–And DO copy out God’s whole law, READ IT daily his whole life, and OBEY it!

Solomon had everything going for him:  God’s special favor, wisdom, wealth, fame, a huge and peaceful kingdom.  And God’s promise of an ongoing prosperous dynasty IF he would remain faithful. 

So what did he do?  He threw it all away, violated every one of these regulations.  His heart turned away from the God who had lavished favor on him to the gods of his myriad wives. Sad smile  Read the sad story in 1 Kings 10:23 to 11:13. (I have lots of “sad faces” in the margin of my Bible beside the stories of the kings of Israel and Judah.)

So what about me?  Will I cling to God when things go well, or do I need problems to keep me holding tight to His hand?  By God’s grace, I choose the former.

Hanging Out with God

“I Miss My Time with You” is a song I heard again this morning in which Jesus longs for the company of one who has grown too busy for Him.  Then later a colleague shared that we are actually God’s prized possession (Ephesians 1:11-18).  It blows my mind that God would so highly value my company!

But then I pictured myself on a rare visit to my grandchildren.  (I maintain that God gave us earthly families to help us understand His family.)  How would I feel if one of them just ran past my chair with a quick wave as she hurried off to play with friends or work on a project?  Or accepted my gift with a mumbled thanks and then spent the rest of the day focused on the gift instead of the giver?

Instead I long for them to sit in my lap, whisper secrets in my ear, invite me to play their favorite game, and go looking for me when I’m out of sight. 

That’s how God feels about me.  In love

A Ship in a Harbor?

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.”  So said a poster we used to have on our wall.  I have always struggled with the desire to be “safe.” 

Think of a child learning to walk.  Between the safety of the chair he’s hanging onto and the outstretched arms of Daddy across the room, there’s a zone of vulnerability.  Will he take the chance?

Between the security of where I am right now and the goals God has for me is a lot of uncharted water–and I can’t swim!

What has God made me for?  I read today about people who began and accomplished amazing things in their 90’s.  And I’m not even 60.  What am I afraid of?  Will I take the chance?  I want to say yes.

Eyes on Jesus

This morning as we prayed for our family, I caught a phrase from my husband’s prayer—that they keep their eyes on Jesus!  He tells me of plowing a field as a boy—he kept keep the row straight by heading toward a fixed point in the distance.  (I know that’s a well-used story, but it’s true; I just double-checked with him.) 

Peter, already out of the boat, was doing just fine (walking on a stormy lake!) as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.

In Hebrews:

–2:9-18  We do not yet see the creation restored to what it was meant to be. “But we see Jesus”…

crowned with glory and honor,
bring us also to glory,
making us holy and calling us his brothers and sisters,
freeing us from the fear of death,
helping us when tempted.

–11:27  Moses accomplished amazing things because he “persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible

–12:1-2—Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.

So when the way is hard, when the task is impossible, when distractions beckon, I want to focus on Jesus.  That beautiful face, smiling encouragement, beaming love, cheering me on.  I’ll make it!

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