Sunday, September 26, 2010

happy b-day, mamie

Today is our Amy’s twenty-seventh birthday. Amy is a gentle soul. She has always been so responsible that life bears down on her at times, but she keeps on going forward.

I am so proud of her because she is brave and focused and she is not afraid of hard work. She sees the path ahead, devises a plan, and keeps her eyes on the prize going full speed ahead.

Amy is a good friend and an incredible daughter.She loves to help and serve. She has been a great blessing in the lives of many (especially mine).

Happy birthday, sweet Amy. Have an incredible year loving life and learning and serving. Look to God for all that you need, and you will always have enough.

I love you,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

happy birthday, sister

My sister, Debbi’s, birthday was last Thursday. I decided to make a quick trip to see her this weekend. We had a lovely time together.

We shopped a little, “ran around” a little, ate some good food, had pedicures; and then we went back to her house, got into some comfy clothes, piled up to watch movies, eat stinky chips and ice cream, surf the internet, and read. Like I said…it was lovely. To top it off, the weather outside was rainy and fallish. I enjoyed it all immensely.

I cannot express the wonderful blessing Deb has been to my life (and many other lives, too). She is so smart and strong and willing to work. But above all, she sees the needs of others around her, and tries her best to meet those needs.

I never remember a day of my life without my sister. We have shared many joys and many sorrows. She knows me as well as anyone on earth, and she still loves me, and enjoys spending time with me. Her day of birth was a wonderful gift to me…

Happy birthday, Sister. I love you. Have a wonderful new year of life.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Em's blog

Emily blogged about death this week, and her topic is one I have thought about since Mothers' Day. My comment is my thoughts for this week. You can find it here:

thanks,Em. I needed that,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

you are blessed when you are poor in spirit

I’m not believing this…I forgot the first blessing for those who are poor in spirit! Maybe I forgot it because it one I have always had difficulty understanding. Poor in spirit has always seemed demeaning and unattractive and something I couldn’t achieve. But I have always known that it is something that Jesus saw as beautiful… desired…something I could acquire.

How does one become “poor in spirit?” Is it “Oh don’t mind little-ole me…I’m no one…I’m nothing” kind of person? Is it a person that just lays down and lets people walk all over him? I just could not understand what this blessing meant.

That’s why I am particularly impressed with the way Mr. Lucado explained it in The Applause of Heaven:

“Mark it down. God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would see salvation to the highest bidders.
(My side note: doesn’t the above sound just like a god that a man would create….hmmm…I think that was the god sometimes explained to me as a child….)“And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.” (Hey…you mean God is going to help me with this?! So, that means I need to be looking for help from him…expecting help from him…)

I really like what Max goes on to say:
“God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgement of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.”

I don’t know about you, but I have been in this bankrupt place. I have hit the bottom…all of my earthly support systems have been jerked out from under me…all that I believed in was questioned and this left me unsure…with nothing that I thought I had…

Lucado goes on to tell of four people in the scriptures who had encounters with God: Sarah, Peter, Paul and the rich young ruler. All four of these people “hit the bottom” of their personal resources, of the four, three recognized their need for God…the other one, the young ruler, could only think of all the ways he was sufficient and acceptable to God. The three in need, received new names…the one young and rich, who did not need anything…went down in history never mentioned by name.

As Max explains:
“Perhaps that’s the clearest explanation of the first beatitude. The one who made a name for himself is nameless. But the ones who called on Jesus’ name-and his name only-got new names and, even more, new life.”

I will tell you right now…when I reached the end of myself (and it was a painful, desperate place), God was right there waiting for me…He had everything I ever needed, and I knew I had no other option than to accept it.

Wow! I’m wondering what my new name is…I’m excited to find out…
Lord, please bless my poverty of spirit,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

you are blessed when you are meek

OK…so this is the real reason I have never liked the beatitudes….it’s this word…”meek.” I’ve always heard it said that if the Kingdom of Heaven is to be yours, you have to be “meek”…a doormat…a person without an idea…a quiet person. I will tell you right now, this “meek” is not me, and for all of my early years, as a Christian, I thought I would never be able to see the Kingdom of God. My heart and my person rebelled against this kind of meekness, because I knew I would never be able to achieve it.

In my forties, I realized a lot about God and his Word. I realized that (as a young child) I had either been taught some of the Bible wrong; or had perceived some of it wrong. The “meek” that Jesus talks about in Matthew is exactly one of those concepts.

In reality, the meekness Jesus speaks of… the kind I have to have to be part of his kingdom…is an attitude that I must have as I approach him. An attitude that causes me to come to him as an empty vessel to be used as he created it to be used.

Max Lucado says it so well in his book The Applause of Heaven:

“’ Blessed are the meek,’ Jesus explained. Blessed are the available. Blessed are the conduits, the tunnels, the tools. Deliriously joyful are the ones who believe that if God has used sticks, rocks, and spit to do his will, then he can use us….We would do well to learn a lesson from the rod, the rock and the saliva. [Here, Lucado refers to Moses and the rod, David and the rock, and Jesus healing the blind man with spit and dirt.] They didn’t complain. They didn’t question God’s wisdom. They didn’t suggest an alternative plan. Perhaps the reason the Father has used to many inanimate objects for his mission is that they don’t tell him how to do his job!”
“Once again, the mundane became majestic. Once again the dull became divine, the humdrum holy. Once again God’s power has seen not through the ability of the instrument, but through its availability.”

He goes on to explain what the attitude of my heart must be: “You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees.” There’s that juxtaposition again…that weird “Jesus” symmetry…it doesn’t seem to make sense does it?

I have learned that God wants to use me just as I am…warts and all…he made me the way I am…he has a plan for my life. When I live this way…meek…available…waiting on God…the fears of my life…the uncertainty…the craziness of the world around me…fades. Jesus whispers to me, “Don’t be afraid. Let me fill you. Let me use you. The things you were created to accomplish…the person you are to be…all of it will happen no matter what the chaos is around you.”

Lucado puts it succinctly:

“Earthly fears are no fears at all. All the mystery is revealed. The final destination if guaranteed. Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.”

Jesus, please fill my emptiness with your fullness. I joyfully give you all that you have entrusted to me. I’m available, please use me. Please bless my meekness,