Everybody experiences winter in their life and for some it seems the bitter cold will never end, and just when they think the season will not end...a blossom comes forth...hope is renewed...and a deep seeded gratitude for spring, that could only be known on the backside of a hard winter, pours forth. This is one of the beautiful mysteries of God.
"Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one. For now the winter is past; the rain has ended and gone away. The blossoms appear in the countryside. The time of singing has come, and the turtledove's cooing is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs; the blossoming vines give off their fragrance. Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one." Song of Songs 2:11-13
When I got to her I scolded her and took it from her only to look up at the couch and find the 2 basset hounds wallowing in this mess...
...the other half of the toilet paper roll. I had 2 immediate thoughts: 1. How did all of this happen with me less than 10 feet away and 2. They ruined a perfectly good roll of toilet paper! If were honest I would say that there was a third and more quickly fleeting thought..."Why do we love dogs?"
33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,34 Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God.35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent and come out of him! And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.
40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.41 And demons also came out of many, crying, You are the Son of God! But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
In both of these passages Jesus runs across demonic spirits housing themselves within human beings. The demons in both passages recognize Jesus for who He is and what He has the power to do! That is ridiculous!!!! They know He is the Messiah, "the Christ," and they know He has the power to destroy them...."have you come to destroy us." UNBELIEVABLE! The Jewish Rabbis, Pharisees and Scribes, those trained in and knowledgeable about all of the Scriptures, those who know a Messiah is supposed to be coming, do not recognize Jesus as being the Christ, the One with the power and authority of God, and yet the demons do!!!! They know it, proclaim it out loud and tremble in fear because they know what Jesus can do to them. AMAZING!
So, I set out my criteria for the what I wanted in a used car (Civic, Corolla, Jetta with low mileage and low cost), I pitched this info to two people in the car world that I know, to get them to look for me and I looked a ton online to no avail. What I wanted didn't exist in the used car world because those cars hold their value well and people drive them until they have a large amount of miles on them. A few days ago my mom started asking me how I felt about looking at a new car and she thought I should go look, so I did. I went to a Honda dealership yesterday afternoon (unshowered and in a time crunch mind you...with NO intention of buying a car obviously because I just wanted to do research) and I came home with a car. I went in not really knowing what I wanted and I came out with a car, a great car actually. They had one brand new 2009 Honda Civic on the lot that they were trying to get rid of. It had more than I wanted on it, but it was not priced too much over the basic model 2010 I was looking at and it was several thousand dollars off the sticker price. This is the only reason I came home with a car.
Although, I do not regret the decision today I was VERY stressed yesterday because as I said I didn't have enough time for this. I didn't pull off the lot until 5:15 p.m. and I had 30 minutes to drive 20 minutes, shower and drive back to the church to meet a group of girls I had organized together to go to a women's worship night downtown. I had owned the car for 30 minutes and I knew how to work nothing on it! We drove halfway downtown with the lights off and one of the girls reading through the manual and pressing all the buttons trying to figure it all out!
I will miss my jeep, but I will not miss gassing it up. I am pleased with my "on a whim" purchase and I better be because it will probably be mine for the next 15 years!
The Lenten season is a time of preparation through prayer, penitence, and self-denial leading up to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Typically, when people think of Lent they think of giving up something. Some give up "guilty pleasures" such as television or sweets. It is easy to see this season as one of deprivation, but the giving up is not the end goal. The end goal a deeper fellowship with Jesus and a bringing of life and light into the lives of others. We do not "give up" simply to deprive ourselves; we give up in order to step into something greater. We give up in order to give. In Isaiah 58, God confronts us on our idea of fasting. He says in verse 5,
"Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the LORD?"
He questions our practice of fasting as a turning in on one's self. Fasting was never meant to terminate on itself. He tells us the point of fasting in verses 6-7 when he says,
"Isn't the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh."
We are to fast so that we are more free to join God in what He is doing through His Kingdom on earth.
This season marks a time of remembrance. The idea of remembrance is sown heavily into the fabric of this season. All throughout Scripture the Lord is prodding us to remember, remember, remember. In order to help the body remember and press into this time Grace has created a 20 minute online Ash Wednesday experience. You can join the body in remembering here.
2. in her crate.
The first time I discovered she did this I came home to let her out of her crate and her blanket was SOAKED...the whole thing was soaken wet and her paws and chest were soaked. When I let her out she ran to the water dish and drank every last drop.
The other day my sister noticed that Cali's crate was rusted on the bottom (from all the slobber, yuck) and it was leaving a rust line on the carpet, so we put a towel under it to prevent that. When I got home from work the next day and went to let Cali out she had managed to pull half of the blanket out from under the crate, into the crate with her and she had shredded it! I flipped it around and put it back under the crate, but on the third day when I got home she had pulled the entire thing into the crate and completely shredded it! This is what it looks like now...
Cesar Milan makes it look so easy..."Just take her for lots of walks and she will stop." His show makes it seem like he can look at a dog and it will begin to behave. Well obviously I am not the dog whisperer. I wonder what he would say about my above shredded towel...Correction, Lauren's shredded towel...Sorry Lauren!
"And I know you're here
Cause I need you here
Sometimes it's hard to say
That you're more than enough
And I've made mistakes
Took things I should not take
Said things I should not say
While you gave more than
Enough for me
By all the things I do not need
My heart's been ripped wide open
And your heart's been
Ripped wide open
As I keep chasing other things
Wait here I'll come for you
My love don't hide I'll find you
Wait here I'll come for you
Sometimes it's hard to say
That you're more than enough"
Later that evening I was sitting on the couch and Lauren was in the kitchen when she suddenly picked up the empty jar and asked me, "Did you use this peanut butter from the cabinet?" I said yes, not thinking anything of it and she immediately burst out into laughing hysterics. Here is the conversation that followed:
Me- What is so funny?
Lauren- That was Maddie and Bailey's peanut butter (her 2 basset hounds)
Me- What do you mean it was Maddie and Bailey's peanut butter?
Lauren- I use it to give them their medicine. I dip the spoon back in the jar after they have licked it!!!!!!!!!!! (Insert laughter here)
Me- Please tell me that you are joking!
Lauren- No.....(Insert loud laughter here) You should have known not to use it since it wasn't in the pantry with the rest of the food.
Me- How was I suppose to know that Maddie and Bailey get their very own jar of peanut butter? I just assumed somebody put it in a strange place.
Lauren- More and more laughter
We told my mom this story and she sided with me.....that she never would have thought it was "do not eat because it contains dog saliva peanut butter." She also said she would have just thought someone put it in a strange place. From now on I will ask before I eat something not in the pantry! YUCK!
Snow memory number 2 was when I was in middle school. This time was not as big as the first, but it was big enough to have some fun in. My best friend at the time lived behind me and she had a small field beside her house. Her dad had attached a trash can lid to the back of their four wheeler and was pulling us around through the field. It was a blast. The lady from the local newspaper stopped by and wanted to take some pictures of us. I hopped on the sled and as my friends dad sped up and took a sharp turn he cut it a little too close to the fence and slung me under the metal chain linked fence. I had very large cuts all up both legs and that is where the sledding ended for that day.
Yesterday, was snow memory number 3. This is the most snow that I have ever experienced in real life. It snowed 6 inches in Atlanta. Up until this point in my life I had only made sadly small snowmen, no taller than around a foot. This day however, I made life size snowmen and it was amazing! Nobody was home, so I did it by myself and I think I actually have a knack for it. I would never want to live in a place like Minnesota where they see snow all the time, but I would not mind having a few days like this one a year. It is really beautiful.
Bush and Obama have more things in common than they have different....they are mere men, they are not saviors and they do not have powers to change things with the snap of a finger. Every problem in this world right now can be traced back to the Fall in Eden. These issues have thousands of years of weight behind them and mankind has thousands of years of experience in screwing things up and living selfishly. There is only One who can fix all of these problems, and yet we see in the Scriptures man bucking up wildly against the way that Jesus walked the earth. If we all sought to live as He lived, to walk in the ways of the Kingdom, these problems would all dissipate, but we also know that that will not completely happen until He returns.
33 And He (Jesus) took him (the deaf, mute man) aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat..."
I read this and I thought..."Jesus, just gave that man a wet willy...that is AWESOME!"
Jesus can heal anyway that He so chooses, it is one way we know He is God in the flesh. I think if I had power to heal I would also choose to use a wet willy to do so.
Trusting that God knows what He is doing when He has spoken and asked you to move, to leave behind what is comfortable and familiar, to embark on a new adventure with Him, is one of life's most difficult challenges. I pictured myself over and over again like a little kid being dragged by the arms, all the while I am leaning back and digging my heals into the ground hoping to delay the shift if not indefinately, then only for a moment.
I had been in Houston since the summer ended asking God to open a door for me to do ministry there at Houston's First Baptist. I love the city of Houston, the church, the people I had worked with and met adn I had loved my life there. I didn't want to leave, so I waited. I waited and waited and God moved me, but not in the direction I had thought and if I were honest, not in the direction that I wanted. So after months of agony, crying out to God, battling myself in my own head, I submitted to what I believed God was telling me-a move that on the surface, didn't make any sense. I am in Atlanta, GA. I am working in a new city, in a new time zone, for a new church, in a ministry I have no experience in and I have asked myself many times in the last 2 weeks, "What am I doing here?" And then I am reminded of all the times in Scripture where God asked people to do things that made perfect sense both to them and the world around them.......WAIT....THAT ISN"T IN THE BIBLE. There is not one single story in Scripture where God asked someone to do something that made sense (logical, worldly, rational sense).
So here I am in Atlanta, GA-In my first full-time job, with no idea what I am doing and what God is up to, begging Him to show up, which is probably exactly where He wants me to be.