Saturday, December 22, 2012

A humilated king: #5 (A different story and Merry Christmas)

First, let me say, "Merry Christmas!" This will be my last post until the new year. I hope each of you have a wonderful time with family.

My first ever "Cookie Nativity"

A Humiliated King

Bethlehem was busy and crowded, but only a few people knew our King and Savior was born. The barn stunk, it was cold, scratchy, itchy, raw, but it was a place to lay down and give birth. And Immanuel (God with us) was born and God was physically with us like never before. But, nothing about this "king" fit anyone's understanding of how a king should come into the world. His birthplace, his heritage, well, nothing was right. According to whom?

In my honest opinion, if Jesus had come into the world the way the world expected, then where would faith come in? Without faith, we would just follow whatever seems good and comes easy.

The fact that Jesus is so contrary is what makes me believe in him even more. His humble beginnings shows us a humble God. And Jesus did not come the way he fully deserved.  Oh, how much Jesus really sacrificed. He came with nothing and left with nothing, but our sins.

Christians are the only people who serve a God whose Son endured complete humiliation, mockery and cruelness...
ALL to say, "I love you, I forgive you, and I will sacrifice my life just to be with you." 

Merry CHRISTmas!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Floss expires, hope doesn't, and Christmas

Standing above my bathroom sink, I attempt ridding my face of the last bit of make-up. Ya know, the mascara that isn't waterproof, but still taunts you with its never-ending streaks of black? I'm not exaggerating, really.
     I begin my not so routine of brushing the yucky of today off my teeth. In the middle of brushing, I just happen to glance over at the floss and read, expires (see below). Wait a minute. Seriously?

I get how milk, meat, veggies, even medicine loses its effectiveness after awhile, but floss?
Someone please explain how floss expires? It's just flat rope that dislodges food and plaque.
What could go bad? Okay, some floss are mint or cinnamon flavored? Do those spices spoil therefore creating an oxymoron here?
I think of Wile Coyote and the Road Runner and a frayed rope, unraveling to one tiny string. I laugh as I picture Wile Coyote using it to get to his desired prey when the Road Runner happens to have a pair of scissors and cuts the rope sending the Coyote to his "cartoon" demise.

And I think of the unraveling of the world due to sin and how Satan pulls out his handy scissors to snip hope from others. How different Christmas will be for the families facing such grief in Connecticut. I recoil when I think of sending my child to public school and online schooling is suddenly more attractive.

How the belief meter dwindled quickly for some when they asked,"How can you believe in a God that allowed those innocent children to die? Such a senseless act."  I understand their question, but it hurts to not have an answer. I feel a coldness and it isn't the winter air and my heart aches with compassion. And my prayers sometimes seem feeble, but I still pray because...

Floss may expire, but hope doesn't. God doesn't even if we don't understand what he allows. He gave us all a freedom to choose and we mock that freedom when it causes us pain.
Please don't unfriend (or hate) me for saying that...I've been there. I've mocked it too.
And this is where I will leave this heavy topic alone now.

One tradition we have created since our sons were born almost 5 years ago, is to get a new ornament for them, or make one. I usually buy a very inexpensive one for hubby and I, but I just love the idea of having ornaments for my sons and giving it to them on their wedding day. Here are some pictures:

White Glue snowman. Easy and fun.

Your turn.Share a your Christmas traditions with me.

Sharing my heart today with the Soli sisterhood @

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Face to face with God: A different Christmas Story #4

I have two more parts to my Christmas story series before I take a break for the rest of this year and for the Christmas season. Today is an aspect of Mary and Joseph that I haven't thought about, but came to me as I was reading and thinking about Mary's response...her pondering the night Jesus was born. 

Joseph and Mary saw so many miracles and promises come forth from the time she was told by the angel that she would become pregnant and carry God's only son, Jesus. Mary was told her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant and she was, Mary really was pregnant while still a virgin, she witnessed shepherds spreading the word of Jesus' birth and then later when Jesus was older, the Magi came and gave gifts, bowed and worshiped him. So many awesome occurrences, but the most amazing... 

Mary and Joseph were the only persons to actually see God in person, face to face and live! 

Yes, Moses literally heard the Lord, was in the presence of the Lord, but he could not see the Lord in all his glory for he would die. (See Exodus 19-23).

A baby like no other, the Messiah all had been waiting on for so many years. A miracle with a special star just for him.  A privilege.
 And Mary's beautiful response?
"She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." -NIV Luke 2:19

It is as if she never wanted to forget this precious moment. I wouldn't have wanted to either.
I wonder if Joseph and her truly grasped seeing God in the flesh? Or if there was shock and awe and it hit them later? Hence the pondering in her response. 

Honestly, I sometimes wish I could see God face to face or experience his cloud (Moses) near me and speaking as I listen. I wonder how I would really behave? I can only speculate how I think I would be.
Yet, my hope is that I would respond just as Mary and be curious ("How will this be."), but say, "I am [your] servant, may your word to me be fulfilled." -Luke 1:34,38 NIV

Lord, I am your servant, may your word to me be fulfilled. Thy will be done.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Okay, I don't have anything profound or fabulous to say today, but today is 12-12-12. I would have to be 130 in order to experience this again (think 2101) I don't think I want to live that long just for that though. I have a better chance of seeing Haley's Comet.

For some reason, I am feeling a bit sentimental. Maybe because it brings my humanity into a different light. Perhaps, it is because I realize how short life is and how much I have taken this interesting phenomenon for granted. After today, I don't get a second chance to relive this day or this year.
I am feeling regret...ugh, I despise that feeling because it always leads to guilt.

So, today, I am going to try to just soak it up. I am abstaining from the computer for the rest of the day, enjoying my children, and the sunset that is rising and thank the Lord for a wonderful, glorious and unique day.

...someone suggested eating lunch at 12:12 pm to commemorate the day. Sounds good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

God was in the details...A Different Christmas Story #3

I love details. Isn't that what can make a piece of writing come alive? A story more entertaining?

Today is all about details. Very important ones. I am continuing my is coming out of intentionally studying the events, the people, and the details surrounding the birth of Jesus. Just food for thought as the cliche goes...

animals,babies,baby Jesus,Christ,Christmas,Christmas star,cows,donkeys,halos,holidays,Jesus,Jesus Christ,mangers,Nativity,persons,religions,sheep,special occasions,stables,stars

A detailed-oriented future?
Matthew 1:22-23; 2:3-6,13-23 

Tradition, religion can come on thick. The law too. Faithful ones Pharisee or not followed the law wholeheartedly. The oral stories from generation to generation were not folklore to these folks. So if something was passed down you believed, you hoped and you waited.
 (Mind you, this is my opinion of an ancient people, the Israelites based on my limited understanding from studying scripture).

So even years and years later, the Israelites longed for the Messiah, the Savior spoken of in the prophecies. Down to the specifics kind of prophecy. No hokey-pokey pretend fortune tellers or palm readers kind of prophecy. happened. Perfectly predicted and perfectly occurring JUST as God, the God of details said it would. Matthew notes each time (I counted 5) a prophecy is filled. Detail. Micah 5:2,4. Hosea 11:1, Isaiah 6,7, 9:6-7 (personal favorite, 11, 42, 53, and Jeremiah 31:15 all speak of very precise description of how, when, where, who, and what about Jesus. It is so amazing. 

I had to read and reread and it just goes deep. 

When we moved from Fort Collins to Grand Junction, God was in the details. He planned it so perfectly that we sold our home in a miraculous, unheard of under two months. We also bought a home at the same time! We even found a home in less than 10 minutes of hubby's new teaching job.  Somehow we came out not owing anything. Clean breaks...because I was forced to quit my job and stay home as God had called me to almost a year ago before the move.

The details? Almost a year and a half later...hubby loves his job. The town is growing on us. We are connected to a church. We still like our neighborhood and home, I like staying home, I feel closer to my children, I coordinate a small group which requires being in front of people and speaking (not my strongest skill) and yet, I have gotten to where I don't feel nervous. I am better at it which is important since my dream is to teach and speak to groups of women.

Before Jesus ever came to be...God wrote history because he knew we would need it. We serve a God who cares to show us that He has it all covered, down to every detail.

Linking up today with:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jesus Had Two Dads? : A Different Christmas Story #2

Today, I am continuing a short series this month on the events surrounding Jesus' birth. My hope is that we all see how "living" and amazing God's word is as we learn new truths about our wonderful Savior.  
 Who's your Daddy?
Luke 2:1-4; Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-23
 animals,Biblical scenes,Christianity,Christmas,donkeys,families,Joseph,Mary,men,Nativity,New Testament,religion,special occasions,women
There is always an emphasis on Mary, Jesus' mother this time of year, but every Christmas I ponder why so little is mentioned about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. After all, he was a great-grandson (times many) to Abraham and King David...a direct lineage that carried all the way to Jesus.

Joseph was from Bethlehem, Jesus' birthplace and did you know that David was born in Bethlehem too? So why does he seem to practically disappear after Jesus begins his ministry? Jesus' brothers and mother are mentioned later on, but I searched for more on Joseph, even a mention of his death and never found it.

Yet, Joseph needs to be given more us I mean. He was an amazing man, husband, and father. How?  
Well think about this...
 Joseph, a young man at the time was to marry a virgin(Mary). A virgin who suddenly showed up pregnant! Babies out of wedlock meant public disgrace and family shunning.  Joseph could have been revengeful and ugly, but he chose to quietly divorce Mary. Did you catch that? He chose to not be cruel or show his anger or hurt outwardly. He was willing to drop pride for the sake of Mary's feelings.  
He also was said to be faithful to the law and so it could be assumed that he was a good citizen/man as well. Later, Joseph also adheres to Caesar Augustus's decision to hold a census of the entire Roman world and then he upheld the purification rites required by the law of Moses and presented Jesus to the Lord.
     Then, in a dream, one of God's angels explained Mary's pregnancy and tells Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. He is then told as Mary was that the child's name is to be Jesus because he will save people from their sins. Joseph was a great believer too. He was obedient to God's plans. And each time an angel told him what to do, he listened!

Joseph not only took Mary as his wife and tried to provide a comfortable place to birth a baby (there was no room in the Inn), but he accepted a son that was not his. He raised him in the law and it can be assumed that Joseph contributed somewhat to Jesus growing in wisdom, stature and in finding favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Sure, Jesus was without sin and is God, but he didn't grow into a human heathen or brat. His parents must of instilled human morals and values. 

I am still unclear on why Joseph is not mentioned later in scripture. Perhaps, he did pass away. Perhaps, his role in Jesus' life later on was not essential to Jesus' purpose/ministry. Only the Lord himself really knows and it will be one of those questions I ask in Heaven.
God thought of everything and Jesus essentially had two dads.  An earthly one that fulfilled prophecy and our Heavenly Father whom sent us the best Christmas gift: Immanuel, Jesus...the one whom saved (us) the world from itself.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Not a "Holy" blood line: A Different Christmas Story #1

Ever wish you didn't have to read that one story The Gruffalo over and over to your child? Your child loves it though so you do...unless you are like me and you try to persuade them with a shorter, easier to read or funnier story (think Green Hat, Blue Hat, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, or Goodnight Gorilla).
                   Yet, honestly, there is one story I never tire of reading each year. A story that continues to unravel layers and rich details. The Christmas story that tells of Jesus' birth. I've heard it again and again and there is always something new revealed to my head and heart. There is something so pure, truthful and even comforting to me to say these verses out loud every year, "...You (Mary) will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign...forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:31-33 NIV

-Biblical scenes,Christianity,Christmas,Baby Jesus,Joseph,mangers,Mary,Nativities,religion,special occasions,Star of Bethlehem
This month, I am writing a short series (to be read like a devotional) to share what God has shown me with you. My hope is that the Lord will use this month to speak to our hearts as he changes our perspectives on the Christmas story. Hope you can join me. 

NOT a Holy Blood Line

(Matthew 1:1-17)

     When I think of kings I think of royalty, riches, honorable and noble qualities. Perhaps, my perspective of them as deserving or born into greatness comes from the fact that one is expected to worship or at least show loyalty and reverence to the king lest they get their head chopped off.
    History has shown how imperfect kings and their ancestry has been, but at the time I am sure that was not for the general public's knowledge. So why does it surprise me that Jesus' earthly blood line was so tainted?
     Maybe, like the Israelites, my version of a king comes from a misunderstood belief that a king would come from a dignified family, raised in a respectable manner and from a noble birth place.
     But, Jesus didn't. His earthly heritage was chalk full of sinners! 
Many of Jesus' great grandfathers were kings that did evil in the eyes of the Lord: Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Mannasseh, and Amon. Three of the four women named in the genealogy in Matthew were quite imperfect. Tamar pretended to be a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law, Rahab worked as a prostitute before her life was spared because she helped and listened to Joshua's spies before Jericho was conquered and Bathsheba committed adultery with King David.

Jesus really did come from humans full of folly, but he still came to forgive and save them and us! His imperfect genealogy shows how humbly he came into the world..."Who being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness..." Philippians 2:6-7

There is just something so freeing to know that if God would use a band of misfits to be Jesus' relatives then, he will certainly use us for his plans too.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Why I need fruit...why we need fruit

For some reason, I feel like I need to tell you why I need fruit. No, not bananas or strawberries although those two fruits together are scrumptious. I am referring to the kind of fruit that only God can produce.  A divine imprint that human hands did not create.

I need fruit. We need fruit. It reminds us that the one whom we believe in, follow, and obey will reveal his glory.  We want the Lord to show us at least a glimpse of what he is doing. Okay, sometimes it is all that keeps us going when our faith is wobbling. When waiting on God or trusting him is proving difficult. 

I am not saying this with pride, but desire. I want to not only be a part of God's plans for me, but I want to see His work in me, around me and through me. Otherwise, what good am I? This may sound terrible, but I want to be more than just a human taking up space and air.

Moses never entered Canaan, but he brought the Israelites there. He saw God's promise, oath fulfilled (see Deuteronomy 33:48-52 & 34:1-4).
I believe it is okay to long to see God's promises and his work in us.

Here is what fruit can sometimes look like:

Someone who was lonely finds camaraderie.
A child adopted after many struggles to receive them.
Restored relationships.
Someone choosing Christ because you lived out your faith and God used you.
Hope (no explanation needed)
Conquering a sin...where it has no hold on you anymore.
After waiting...the thing you waited on or for happens.
A painful past was given to God and healed.
A restored, redeemed life.
Someone struggling feels supported.
Someone is freed, forgiven, rescued, and or loved.

God's fruit can only come from Him. It is good.
It is hope that we truly are a new creature in Christ, that we are God's handiwork, created in Christ to do good works...(paraphrased by me from Ephesians 2:10) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

When you can't see the fruit...(in leadership)

Here I go again...admitting something in writing.
          I can't see the fruit. I know what God has asked of me. I have obeyed. It has been 6 months. I don't see apples falling down all around me. 

So what do ya do when you can't see the fruit? My first thought? Quit. Yeah, cause that would be easy, but then it isn't obeying. It's Jonah thinking. Run away...because that will make the apples happen. Please tell me you caught my sarcasm. 

I can't quit. I don't want to. I know better. I want a fruit smoothie adventure, but I am impatient. There, I said it. I despise that word.

I am in a voluntary administrative position...something I believe does NOT fit me and yet, I was called to it? Just for the record, NO personality test or spiritual gift test has ever put administrative high on my list.  The Lord thinks otherwise. I better go with him lest I forget the last "God spanking" I had. It wasn't pretty.
No, I am not making light of any of this or on obeying God. This is just hard. It is hard being the one to delegate and sort of be in charge humanly speaking. It is difficult to be the one up there wondering if the eyes looking back at you are judging, frustrated or if the smile is genuine. Am I meeting at least some of their needs with the choices I have made? Is that even my job?

Then, I remember what it is like to be on the other side of the fence. How much easier it is to do nothing and to wonder what the "leader" was thinking when they chose to do something one way. To be the one who has NO clue how hard it is to lead.

All I really want to do is love and minister to other women in similar seasons of life. I want all that God has done for me to NOT be in vain. I want to share what the Lord has done, but honestly, this particular role in my life just doesn't seem to do that. I don't get to share much of me with anyone.
Instead, it is decisions, decisions, speakers, watch the time, do this, do that, chop, chop.

I gotta be me...I am suffocating here. Okay, yes, a piece of me exist in this position. I have had a chance to be silly. I've made others smile. If only they knew how much I care about them, this MOPS ministry, and how much I want them to belong and love it like I do.
Am I doing it for them, for me or for God? I think all three.

SO...When you can't see the fruit and you know you are doing God's will and you are walking daily with Him, then all that is left is to honor reverence and love through faith and obedience.

Yahweh Yireh...I need to keep my heart and head focused on you. Help me to know that I don't have to see the fruit to know that you are producing it.

Happily linking up with:

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being super honest today

Today is a hard post because of how honest I am about to be. 
    Hubby has to ride his bike today in 19 degree weather and I feel sorry for him. Our Jeep's radiator is cracked and the water pump is out and this will cost us almost a thousand dollars to fix. Money we have, but money we really need-at least from our perspective. And I went on a hike last Saturday and somehow lost my driver's license. Then, there are the emotional issues and relationship struggles and terrible reactions. It was ugly last week and this week thus far. 
   Comical too. So I will be illegally driving to pick up said hubby this afternoon so he can drop me off at the local DMV and get our four year old to the dentist and hopefully pick-up the cash gouger that should be ready. Ugh! Life, huh?

So I wince and shift uncomfortably to admit that my deep seated feelings/actions toward this past week were less than ideal. I was fearful, prideful, critical, and dare say it, fleshly (oooooh).

I thought I was over faithless reactions.

Ya know the kind where you get all fearful, say stupid things, believe lies or come up with your own action plan? Striving instead of trusting God in other words.
  For a moment, I am like, um...did I seriously just do that? Hello? Where did the faithful me go?
I am so tired of the old me showing up when it feels like it.  
I wish I was scratch-art where I could use a wooden stick and scrape off the "blackness" and reveal  gold and it would stay and the flesh wouldn't mucky it up. But that job belongs to our Lord Jesus. 

THEN, the new me and the faith does come (after I smashed our decaying Jack O'Lantern with a baseball bat. Ahem, call it cheap therapy).
I read my devotional this morning. Read God's word. At first, I feel convicted, but not better.
Genesis 15:1, 17:1, 18:14 and 22:14 about whack my eyeballs and certainly pierce my heart.
    "Do not be afraid , Abram[Dionne], for I will protect you, and your reward will be great...I am El Shaddai-'God Almighty.' Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life...Is anything too hard for the Lord?...Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means "the Lord will provide").

The Lord will provide.

My 80's childhood returns saying, "Oooh, burn." I chuckle, feel bad, but quickly realize the truth, the freedom springing forth from God's words spoken so clearly to me.

And despite my tail between my legs or the miniscule pity party...there is hope! And I want to memorize the above to fend off the humanness. But, God isn't asking me to be less human. He is asking me to trust Him when he is testing my family and me. To trust me with Him. The Lord will provide.

Your turn to be honest. Share your heart, I will treat it with care.

Gladly linking up today with:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Motherless Mothering

I wrote this awhile back, but never posted it. For some reason, it seems appropriate and feels right to post it today.

In 2006, I became a motherless mother.  After eleven months of trying and five months after my mom’s death, I became pregnant for the first time. Thoughts of “She won’t get to meet him” or “I know what she would say,” “My baby is having a baby” became my soundtrack for those 9 months.
That same year I lost 3 other family members to cancer (one being my maternal grandmother). Crushing sorrow, disbelief and a firm, “why?” consumed my mind and heart. Then, the Lord gently guided me to Lamentations 3:19-26 (not my first choice in bible reading), “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail…” I’ll admit that a part of me wanted to be angry and not accept the truth in these verses, but those words lavished mercy and comfort to my soul. God was reaching down to my sorrow. I knew at that moment that I was not alone in my pain. The Lord was carrying me and He had plans to use this time of bereavement for His purposes.   
I know now that God’s will for me was to be pregnant after 2006.  He knew the devastation that I would feel after those losses and I believe He was protecting my son and me. I don’t think carrying a child at the time would have been wise.  He knew when He would give me a child (a son). It was a lesson in faith, trust and belief.  Believing that He was with me in my grief, holding onto faith even if I never bore a child, and trusting that He would guide me in my motherless mothering.  
I often crave the opportunity to see my mother’s reactions to my parenting and to my children’s antics.  I have inherited her humor and compassion so I daily act on those qualities. The choice to do this has not only benefited my family, but has created a path to my healing; a means of celebrating my mother. 
My utmost struggle has been and probably always will be not having her presence in the moments I want it most: seeing her joy during the births of my sons, asking her advice on parenting, watching my children graduate high school and or college and get married.
5 years and a second son later, my mother’s death still brings sadness to my heart, but the Lord has been healing me as I move forward in my grief. My children are not meant to replace my mother, yet their lives honor her. Reminding me of how much of a blessing it is to be a mom. I am a motherless mother, but I got to have my mom in my life for 32 years and that is something to be thankful for.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A week of Noah (Day 5): Quiet

Linking up today at lisajo's 
Where we write for five minutes flat with no editing or worrying about getting it just right.

I wonder if there were ever really any quiet moments on the ark? Or if the roars, squeaks, grunts, etc. were so deafening that peace and rest rarely happened. I don't pretend to think that life on this giant sized boat filled mostly to the rim with animals was ever pure solitude, but a part of me thinks it might have been a special gift...a chance not given to any humans since to live among all of the animals of the world. All of the Lord's creation huddled and cramped for one purpose: to repopulate the earth while floating safely in a boat with God's blueprints all over it.

In the quiet of this morning before my boys awake, I ponder and am curious about a story I thought I knew so well. I am treasuring this moment as I can sit here and think, rethink, and grow deeper with God as I look further into his word. What a privilege to know and love El Chay (Hebrew for Living God) who gave me Himself through all of the stories, poems, prophecies, and letters in the Bible.

And in the quiet, I am grateful for the silent encounters with God.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

A week of Noah (Day 4): Remembered

Answering a thoughtful question from studying Noah in The Women's Devotional Guide to the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda.

The question: "God remembered Noah" (Gen. 8:1)...Do you think God actually forgot Noah, then remembered him? If not, what other meaning could this have? 

No, our all powerful, holy God doesn't forget anyone. But, I wonder if at times Noah was beginning to wonder if the rain would ever stop. I don't know if Noah ever doubted about his situation.

I believe that when the word says, "God remembered Noah" that this was/is all the proof that our Lord keeps his promises! God did not send Noah on a boat and say, "Good luck with that and don't get eaten by any of the animals." Yes, Noah had to be super patient, but eventually the dove came back with signs that the water was receding (an olive branch). The rains did stop.
God remembered...

Just like God didn't ask my family and me to move to our current city and then abandon us. The Lord has held us, walked ahead of us and we have seen his plans unfold day to day and month to month. 

God does not forsake us. In the midst of the greatest suffering I have endured, I have been remembered. So have you
I have heard his word, felt his comfort, and seen his mercy. 

When we are His...we are His forever.

A little something to make you smile:
Cartoon: aromatherapy noah ark animals (medium) by rmay tagged aromatherapy,noah,ark,animals

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A week of Noah (Day 3): Why Noah didn't worry about voting.

Every four years, someone loses, someone is disappointed and a country is divided between two candidates. Luckily, Noah didn't have to worry about voting.

In his day, it was follow your own laws, yourself, or your own god. Even "fallen angels" chose their own will and married human daughters. It seems like this might be the first example of anarchy. But Noah did none of those things.  While almost everyone disobeyed and disrespected God, Noah and his family did not.
 In a way, Noah "voted" for God.
Let me explain...

Noah was given specific instructions on how to build a huge boat or "Ark"...VERY specific blueprints down to a particular wood to use called, Cypress or some translations say Gopher. The only vessel that would save his family and him.

Noah could have laughed, or decided to ignore God and build it his way, but he didn't. Sure, it would have been foolish for Noah to not believe God since drowning was the consequence, but I believe Noah wasn't just creating flood insurance for himself.

Noah didn't put his faith in humans or himself.
He put his faith in the only living God. And so should we.

We must trust God with our country and not place our hope in the government or a president. I am not saying to not vote nor am I advocating not standing up for your personal beliefs, but one must never rely on humans to make all the right decisions.

One man or Congress will not make everything as it should be...only God can do that.

Noah knew and believed that and was blessed for it.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A week of Noah (Day 2): Would I be on the ark?

(This is a week long series of my thoughts after studying Noah in The Women's Devotional Guide to the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda.) Join me this week.

 (Genesis 6:9 NIV)Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

So if I warped back to different parts of my life when I didn't know God and I wasn't following him, would I have been on the ark? Before Jesus' sacrifice would God have told me:
7 ....Dionne, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. (Gen 7 NIV)

 Maybe it depends on who you talk to, but me found righteous?..not entirely sure about that.
Noah didn't have Jesus in his heart, he never possessed the Holy Spirit, no bible to read and no one sharing the good news, but what he did have was righteousness in God's eyes. According to scripture, he walked faithfully with God  And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. Did ya catch that? 

Faithful and obedient.
Yes, more often then not, even when I was four I had faith in God. Obedience? Um yeah, I am embarrassed to confess that before I accepted Christ, well, it didn't exist. In my defense, I was a child. Then, without saying too much, there have been BRIEF periods of my life where I have decided like an idiot that my way was best. And no, the consequences were not worth my stubbornness.

 Noah didn't have Christ as the one who bore his sin and made him new and he was still found righteous. ONLY his family and him were spared from death by water. Noah's story is a reminder of the blessings of being obedient and faithful. Not just an excuse to escape drowning, but Noah believed and trusted God and now this story is still told after more than 2,000 years later! AND Noah's family were the first humans to see a rainbow. God kept them safe. He kept his promise. They were the only humans left to repopulate the earth.  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.(Gen. 6:8 NIV)

I am grateful that in Christ, I am found righteous, but also I am thankful that God, thru the Holy Spirit changes me, helps me be obedient and I don't have to stay in a rut. It is a privilege to be a part of God's be obedient or faithful isn't easy, but it always has a beautiful promise and ending. (like life and rainbows) 
Mosaic depicting Noah sending the dove to find land.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A week of Noah: (Day 1) It wasn't two by two?

This week, I have decided to share what I am learning in a devotional I am doing called, The Women's Devotional Guide to the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda. I acquired some new facts, but the best part is what the Lord showed me. It just isn't fun to keep it to myself.

Did ya know that Noah didn't take animals two by two? What? Yep, I was shocked too. According to the devotional, Noah was told by God to Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,... 
Genesis 7:2 NIV

So essentially, there was more than a duo of each animal and the reason for that is found in Genesis 8:20 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.

If only two had been preserved on the ark, then that animal would have been instantly extinct. Not God's plan at all. -Syswerda

So like me, do you feel hoodwinked? Tricked or duped?

Honestly? At first I did feel this way, but then I realized the problem was me. Not the sweet Sunday School teacher or the Fisher Price's Little People Noah's Ark toy.

Often, it is me that is doing the bamboozling. Where my pride deceives me into thinking there is nothing left to learn from a tired story I have heard a million times. My thinking and pride stinks!

I don't care to admit that I cheat God of quality time. Sometimes, I spend a dutiful 15 minutes and call that "spending time in the word". Okay, no, I am not blogging to shame myself, however, had I read the familiar story more closely, listened more carefully with a thorough, open heart, I might not have missed that very important detail. Believe me when I say, NO detail is just fluff in the Bible. It is THERE for a reason.  

So why explain how many animals? Well, it isn't totally clear accept for what Syswerda said about animals being extinct and because building altars and sacrificing clean animals was required by God for atonement of sins or peace. Yet, in Noah's case, perhaps pure gratitude for God faithfully keeping his promise to protect Noah and his family.

Today, we are not required to build altars and sacrifice animals (thank goodness because I have a queasy stomach) to show gratitude or atone for sins.  Jesus paid that price. It is because of Jesus' sacrifice of himself, God's unselfish act of grace that God doesn't require this tradition.

So, for me, I am going to start showing gratitude in a different way; my eyes, and ears will soak up God's word more carefully so I don't miss a thing! Not out of pride, but out of thankfulness that I can read the Bible and I am loved by the Almighty God who longs to teach me and speak to me.

Linking up today at these awesome blogs:


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 31): The greatest ending

31 days? I can't believe I made it. Seriously, I had my doubts and I was wrong. And I learned more in 31 days than I thought I would. I did it and today is the last day, but it isn't the greatest ending. That is still to come. Not from me or you, but from the most loving, merciful, living God.

The greatest ending is a tremendously merciful act of grace. For me, not having to strive any longer, hurt, be disappointed, or deal with my own failures will be sweet release. A portion of grace I hadn't seen as grace until now.

Isn't life in Heaven an impeccable be given eternal life, life with completeness, wholeness, unending joy and holiness? No bad, evil, pain or deceiving days.
Amazing, beautiful favor.

To live forever with a God who has always seen me as worthy?

Who counted the cost just to be with me and paid the price with his only son. 
How then can I not fall down and quit typing at this moment in tears of praise and joy? ( I will, but part of writing this is my praise and honor to Him) Knowing how much I don't deserve this grace, but knowing that the living God I put my faith in doesn't see it that way...He considers us worth the cross!

Now, may we all consider this grace given gift that we have received and go honor God with our lips in our prayers and conversations. Let us thank our Father God for this gift! 

Your turn, tell me how you feel about this great ending...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 30): in examples

*Luke 2:40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Jesus came into the world with the Grace of God on him. And would show the greatest example of grace through his death.

*Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Grace is for all humans. When we choose Christ, we receive it.
*Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
We should understand what we believe and our words should drip with grace not with a condescending tone.

*Acts 11: 22-23 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.  
Men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and spoke to the Greeks and many of those people came to Christ. God's grace can change any heart and mind.

 *2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Grace is adequate, enough when I am not.


Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 29): in the grieving

Grief. Not a fun word. No one wants to add it to their resume. "So I see here that you have 15 years of experience in grief. Can you elaborate briefly on that?" Briefly, well, really that is hard to do.

 So I will tell you that this isn't a blog written so you will feel sorry for me. I really want to convey hope. Because there is hope in our Savior, Jesus. He is where we should focus our grief when it comes.
 It does come. And it will come.

Today, they aren't here. Their faces, laughter, voices only captured in pieces of photos or videos. In memorabilia that I clutch in my hands.  I CAN still smell her (my Mamaw) in the sewing machine as I finish the boys' costumes.  My mother's scent still lingers in the leather jacket upstairs.
My hubby proudly wore his grandpa's boots yesterday at church. I hold onto to cross-stitches and sweaters (Elsie) and guitar picks (Papaw's) thinking this preserves their memories.
    It does a little bit.  It honors their presence in our lives.
6 years ago, I lost my mom and her mom (my Mamaw) and before that my Papaw, Aunt Sherri, and a close friend. 

And in those losses, I grew distant and then closer to God. There was doubt, anger, disbelief, vats of tears, plenty of whys and mounds of shock. Temptations to drown in my sorrows the way the world does. I couldn't eat sometimes. Okay, yes, I tried chocolate, coffee, and other sorted distractions. These only brought temporary relief, but sometimes those are needed for some sanity.

Yet, I held onto Jesus and in a needed act of grace, came the understanding that as I drew near to him, He drew near to me and there was hope. Not necessarily answers, but understanding, mercy. I still hurt, but so does God for me. He gently used others to bring support and prayers and he gave me these verses:
Psalm 6:6-7
Lamentations 3: 20-24, 31-32
And in the life of my first born son there was hope of those whom I love and lost continuing and a legacy emerging.

Then there is this song and it says it all...In my sweet brokeness came the priceless gift of understanding that Jesus understands ultimate suffering and in my tragedy came a deeper knowing of our beautiful, loving God. 

Linking up with Jen at SDG

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 28): in disobedience

Grace is deep. Grace is amazing...amazing that God helps us even though we are a sorry lot. God has gone and still goes to great lengths to bring us to him, to forgive, protect, encourage, provide and love us...this is one obvious reason I am not God nor could I ever be: I would have given up on us at the Garden of Eden. 

Today, in Sunday school, my oldest son learned about Balaam and his disobedience. Where God used an angel and a donkey to get Balaam's attention. The story comes out of Numbers 22:1-38. The main idea they learned was, God helps us obey him!

Wait-I have to ponder that a moment...

Even when I don't feel like obeying or like Balaam, I choose to disobey our loving God will help me obey.
     He will use what he needs to (be it a talking animal which would freak me out first and then I would certainly take notice) as a means of steering me in the right direction and getting me back to his purposes.

I still can't get over the fact that Balaam's donkey starts talking and Balaam is all cool with it? Really? He is said to be a prophet and could supposedly curse people so maybe a talking donkey was not so surprising or weird?
  I am starting to digress...sorry.

God favors us tremendously! We are so loved and so important that our God will help us do what he asks.

He is perfect, but he knows I am not...what grace.
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