Last week we had the Women's Study Gourmet Dinner at the Kane's - Chef Jerome is magnifique! He's a really good cook... And we got to exchange gifts, mine came with an adorable bow & bell - just what my Melody would love to play with. But apparently - not what she loves to have tied to her collar! Nor Maestro...Here are a couple of pictures of them with that bow on this year... They refused to look at me!
And just last year they looked like little angels!
Ever since the "Get up!" night, I have thoroughly enjoyed being in the Word. I really like the Old Testament. The stories! Oh MY the stories! Day-time drama has nothing on the Old Testament. And it's amazing to see how the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the New Testament. I've even started memorizing scripture. I have the first 18 verses of John chapter 1 - and Psalm 91 (the guardian angel one) down pretty good. I memorize pretty good when I'm on the treadmill. I can get pretty far in a mile! It's exciting. And if you've never memorized before, I encourage you to try it out. Pick some favorite verses and go from there.
Back to the holiday-time - everybody's getting those family pictures done. Now, I did one last year with me and the cats...we won't be doing that again without some help! Although you've got to admit - we're an adorable family. And I love getting pictures from people. It includes me in their world.
The holidays are also a time for reflection: reviewing the past year, friends and family that have passed on, those plans that didn't quite go the way you planned, etc., and past holiday memories. I remember getting ready for Christmas at my grandpa's. He was a farmer - and they lived in a trailer that had a woodstove in the middle of the living room. Every winter there would be some sort of livestock runt that would need to take residence next to the woodstove in the living room to build up strength. I remember sleeping on the couch next to a calf that would wake me up every hour to feed it by bottle. Ever had a calf lick you on the face in the middle of the night? That's an experience. And the Sears Catalog! Eric and I would pick out stuff all year long for Christmas!
My mom recently received a bunch of old pictures from her mom. Pictures of her and her twin sister and me and Eric, my cousin. Eric was the most adorable little boy I had ever seen! (he's the one on the left). And I just love this picture of me (on the right)! These were both from 1977! Look at Eric's little jumpsuit! And my blue shoes!! What were our mothers thinking! LOL! Times have changed, and so have Eric and I. Although, I still have a teddy bear, but I'm positive Eric's given up the bowl haircut!
Then along came Abraham. The Lord God - creator of the universe - audibly spoke to Abraham (when he was still Abram). No other "god" actually spoke to humans. He also told Abraham to leave his father's household. That's not just physically leave the house - but the worldview that his father held. Take that step of faith in the one true God - follow me - I'm changing the world here and you are going to be the Father of Nations! Nothing different ever happened in that culture - this was different! And Abram was 75 years old!
Fast-forward to Abraham and Isaac. When God asks Abraham to take Isaac up on the mountain and sacrifice him there. Why was Abraham not surprised? Because that culture of the gods asking for more was all around him...that's what he was used to seeing...and he needed to be pruned...his thinking and his heart still needed to completely change. We all know that when Abraham gets Isaac up there - raises the knife - God stops him and provides him a ram as the sacrifice. Great, Abraham passed the test. But that's nto all. It also showed Abraham that his God - the one true God, creator of the universe - was not like the other so-called gods that require more and more and more. He's the God of provision, not destruction.
Rob goes on to talk more about the altar itself and Leviticus. How Leviticus explains in detail where we stand with God - there is no question. There are sin offerings, and wave offerings, and others, but there is also a peace offering. The peace offering basically is that you share your offering with God and the the rest to celebrate shalom with your family. Big feast! (No wonder pot-lucks go over so well!) And when you took an issue to the altar either through sacrifice or offering, it was left there. It was left there - issue and all. You could walk away in peace.
Fast-forward again to Jesus. Rob brought up the scene in John where Jesus clears the temple (one of my favorite dramatic Jesus moments) and tells the Saducees that if they destroy this temple, it will be rebuilt in three days. They of course didn't get it. Rob goes on to talk about Jesus' path to the cross - very visible. And all along the way, Jesus did not react with violence. Remember - the old system required violence in the killing of the sacrifice. But Jesus went willingly. Without coming back with violence - even when Peter cuts off someone ear with a sword. (That's when my mind started racing!) (my thoughts) Jesus also made the old sacrificial system of violence irrelevant when He resurrected - the sacrifice (Jesus) just didn't stay dead! (back to Rob) It was at that moment - the "culmination of human events" that God changed context again. The culture needed to "follow him" in faith. He in that moment of Jesus' death made PEACE with the world. (my thought) Peace with you, peace with me, peace with everyone through the blood of Jesus Christ! Peace! Jesus already prepped his disciples for that - John 14:27 - "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." I gotta tell ya - I felt lighter by the nanosecond. Peace. Through Jesus. Was there a couple THOUSAND years ago and God's just been waiting for me to accept it. He's prepared it for us all long ago - we just have to accept it.
Rob went on to talk about today's culture. We still have those "gods" just with different names - achievement, approval, success, riches, possessions, etc. He even related his own story of getting to a burn-out point (familiar!) and a friend sitting him down and just repeatedly telling him that he didn't have to live like this. He didn't have to live like this. He didn't have to live like this. So I let that sink into me as well. I didn't have to have my boss' approval. I didn't have to have a career of any kind - even in music. I didn't have to be a size 2 (not that my body would ever be that size!). I don't have to have a boyfriend, or husband, or kids, or anything. I don't have to have a dad - that's what God is for anyway! I don't have to have the dishes done in a day, I don't have to have the Christmas tree put up in an hour. I don't have to do anything to please anyone else - it is Jesus I want to please. I started listing off everything that I was giving back to God in that moment, and I am continuing to do so. Literally everything - my truck, my eyes to see, my tastebuds that get to eat favorite foods, my money, my time, my thoughts, my not-so-strong bronchial tree, my allergies, my bad knees, my friends, my family, my whole life. My WHOLE life - past, present and future. And friends, until you get gut-wrenching honest with Jesus about everything, and you are willing to leave it all at the altar, and walk away from everything leaving in Jesus' hands (because he has the ability to forget it all), you'll not really be sure of the peace. Don't block the peace...it's all prepare for you...just accept the gift of God. Love you all! (sorry this was another long one!)
Moore goes on to describe three ways to get into a pit - you get thrown in, you slip in, or you willingly jump in. We've all had our share of those different pits - but the most frustrating can be the first - you get thrown in. Like Joseph did by his brothers (read the story here). You have no control and yet you are affected. How do you deal with that? I've had a lot of those pits this year, and I haven't been dealing well. I have to forgive and forgive and forgive -- those who have no idea nor care that I have issues...those who have died without giving me closure...those who have willingly chose to leave my life in a hurtful way...I HAVE to forgive. Joseph did (read here & here). "Forgive them for they know not what they do," and you know who said that.
The other thing to remember is something else that Moore states in her book, "Christ got down next to us in the grave, stayed the better part of three days, and then got up...so we'd have permission to get up too. And start living life."
That's all well and good; however, there's still a process to go through. In our small group study I learned it's called pruning. And as much as I love the support - my "rocks" who lift me up (the people who support, encourage and love me), can only be ledges in my pit. Only Jesus can be my deliverer. I have to get down-and-dirty with Jesus -- completely open up my grave to him because only He can set me free. But in this process, you are my ledges that hold me that keep me from falling into an even deeper pit - and give me a way to cling to the sides, helps me reach the top.
I've also been reading straight from the Bible - going through John to gain some insight on Jesus' attitude -- not his heart -- but how he reacted, his attitude on things. BECAUSE..."Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). I might have a whole study on this!
The other version I'm reading is my daily chronological Bible. Granted, I'm like in June, but at least I'm there! Last night I read about Asa, a King of Judah (a couple of kings after Solomon in the Old Testament). The section (2 Chronicles 15:1-7) has the statement through the prophet Azariah, "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you...But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." Asa was turning the nation around - tearing down false idols and turning the country back to God. This was a message to him to hang in there...there are a LOT of those messages in the Bible.
What's YOUR favorite "hang-in-there" verse?
November 16, 2007
8:00 p.m. – Midnight
Stone Rest Inn
8757 Rufing Road, Greenville
$20 per couple
$10 per single
Hosted by Steve & Vicki Meredith
Proceeds go toward those going on the Philippine Mission Trip
"What would you do if you met a lion? You'd probably run, and you'd probably grab any weapon you could to fend him off if he attacked. And that is true in our struggles against evil. When evil and temptation stalk us, our first response should be to flee. And when they still attack, we should use every weapon we have to drive them away. The good news is this: God has provided the weapons! His Word, His angels, His Spirit, the encouragement and prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ - these and more are "weapons" God provides. We aren't in this battle alone - so why act like it?"
Here's some of the first correspondence - just lets you know who they are are, and I've posted the picture Skip sent me:
> Hi Christy
> Thank you so much for responding. I will definetly pass your info on
> to the other guys in my squad. As you know, I am a squad leader for D
> company, 1/158th Infantry. We are a Army National Guard unit out of
> Az. We are past the half way part of our deployment here in Farah,
> Afghan. The hot months , in whch the temps reached 150 degrees,are
> behind us. Now the cold is starting to creep in, which is a much
> welcomed change. Life here is Ok. The Taliban keeps us busy, but it
> makes the time go by. Thanks again for responding. I look forward to
> keeping in touch.
> Take Care
I asked what they would need in some care packages and I plan to send something in the next week if anyone wants to pitch in. They're looking for entertainment items: dvds, cds, magazines. I told him I'm sending some cartoons -- that's what I have most of! But I think they would appreciate anything we can send.
We talked last night in Joe's small group about encouraging one another - having accountability partners - having each other's back in the midst of spiritual battles. We made a lot of connections to military troops - like brothers/sisters - willing to put their lives on the line for each other and even perfect strangers. By the way, do you think this is the size of the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem?
Chad gave the examples of Stephen when he was being stoned and Jesus on the cross...forgive them (they don't know what they're doing). Chad also gave the modern-day example of the couple whose son was killed by a drunk driver, Tom. They forgave Tom - and eventually adopted him as their own son. Incredible.
For me, this is one of the top areas I have worked on in my life. I realized long ago with a father who didn't want me, a mom who called me a mistake and "shouldn't have been" when I was a child, other family members who had only a negative view of me when they wouldn't even have anything to do with me, and later in life with men who didn't know how to truly love, my ex-husband's abuse, horrible job situations with horrible people, friends who turned out not to be real friends -- I realized -- it's my choice on how to think about them...how to forgive them for my own peace of mind. And for those of you that know me know there's enough going on up there I don't need to hang on to unforgiveness and bitterness! So I chose and choose to forgive. And for some, I still forgive on a regular basis. Forgiveness is never EASY - just NECESSARY. It's part of the "loving your neighbor" process.
Well - here's one version of my superhero I've told some of you about!
I seem to always be able to pull things out of my hat at the last minute! Today was no exception!
You would be surprised to find that it's pretty difficult to find 2 portable toilets to be delivered to Campbellsburg, IN by tomorrow for an auction on Saturday --- the same weekend as Harvest Homecoming! Just love the last-minute requests. AND - finding obscure historical Colonel commercials has become a specialty as well as scheduling last-minute trips. Not to mention planning a new meeting for a subcommittee next week in Providence, RI.
Now I don't mind a good last-minute rush every now and then, it's just too bad that I don't have a REAL superhero costume to don when I pull off the win of the moment!
I went to see Eastern Marching Band compete Saturday night - and I SOOOoooo miss being a part of all that! Eastern did a fabulous job and it was easy to see how they advanced to Regionals (this Saturday!). The clip above is the last few seconds of the show - I was so engrossed in the show I forgot to get more! I used to teach some of these bands back in the day. The one I was most proud of was Borden! They have a new director - young and right out of college - and their numbers tripled. Which may sound like a lot but considering they only had about 8 kids in band when I did a guard show a few years ago- that's a great increase! They only had 2 guard members, but those girls looked like they were having a great time and they were in-sync!
I'm going to include some mroe stuff here...my favorite local band has always been Floyd Central. They just have this way of really using volume dynamics to get their point across. Although, I am used to having an in-your-face ending - the kind to get everyone on their feet cheering. This year was a little more avant-guard...softer, very artsy. But when this band comes on the field you know they mean business. I've included a couple of videos of them.
And then one of my favorite themes - I just wished they had pulled it off a little differently. Henryville did a Riverdance theme...notice the girl coming in from front center - traditional celtic dress even!
Ok - so I've spent a little too much time playing today! I found a new site - meez.com - create your own avatar. Don't go there unless you have a little time to waste!
And my Maestro -- he's my baby boy and loves to be cuddled! Even though this picture doesn't show indication of that!
Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job."
So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away. They moused. They faxed. They e-mailed. They e-mailed with attachments. They downloaded. They did spreadsheets! They wrote reports. They created labels and cards. They created charts and graphs. They did some genealogy reports They did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than h-e-double "L". T
hen, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off.. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed.
Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: "It's gone! It's all GONE! "I lost everything when the power went out!" Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work. Satan observed this and became irate. "Wait!" he screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"
God just shrugged and said, JESUS SAVES
While reading it, I came across a poem I wrote when I was 15 years old and it amazed me how I still felt the same way about that particular subject. I'm actually disappointed in myself that I have not grown past those feelings in 15+ years. What's holding me back from truly seeing the woman God sees? The woman God painstakingly created - the woman He gave His son to die for...
Psalm 138 and 139 are two of my favorite Psalms. Words like - "In the day I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul" and the concept that the Lord has searched me and knows me (everything about me), and He is there wherever I go - "Though I walk in teh midst of trouble, You will revive me", He formed me inside out (my "self" first, then my body). All this I should focus on, and write an updated song to the Lord to add to my ego file.
"We need to rely constantly on the Holy Spirit. We need to remember that Christ dwells in us through the Holy Spirit....It is important that we stand aside and let Him take over in all our choices and decisions. We know that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26), and what a comfort that should be to the weakest of us. A vicorious Christian is one who, in spite of worries, inner conflicts, and tensions, is confident that God is in control and will be victorious in the end. Whatever our difficulties, whatever our circumstances, we must remember, as Corrie ten Boom used to say, 'Jesus is victor!'"
Romans 8:26 reads: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.