Monday, September 29, 2008

Not Me Monday - 2nd Edition

I frequent MckMama's blog. MckMama has been the source of much laughter in my home. All I have to do to get my husband laughing is walk in the room and say "So, MckMama..." and he's gone. I don't think I'd even need to follow it up. He says the name is what does it. Regardless, I read her blog. You might enjoy doing so, too.

So, MckMama is hosting this thing called "Not Me Monday." In this thing, participants make a list of those things which they most certainly did NOT do this past week. Those things that nobody does, and even if they did... they'd never share.

1) I most certainly did not just employ my 4 month old kitten to lick up the melted butter that I spilled on the floor, rather than using paper towel. But if I did, I would have used dish soap and water after the cat licked most of it up.
2) I did not drop a pen under my desk and then break my keyboard tray in my effort to retrieve it. And if that did happen, I wouldn't have scrambled around and wound up using a pliers and just the removable head from a ratchet screwdriver to fix it. At 1:30 AM. Nope. No way.

3) I did not, and would not ever, and have never before, stay up three hours past the "sleepy" point in order to watch episodes of my favorite t.v. show - that I've seen several times already. Nope, not me.
4) I did not dig and dig a year ago until I found a place online where I can watch my shows for free as often as I want, because someone needs to pay for these things so they can keep making them.
5) I did not nearly chicken out after spending more than $50 on a gift for my dad, and choose not to give it to him. But if I had, my husband saying, "It even made me cry when I was looking through it" would have persuaded me that it wasn't as cheesy as I thought.
6) I did not knowingly drive somewhere between 120 and 140 miles with a dying alternator. I did not deliberately exercise denial, pretending that it must be just a bad battery. Nope. And I certainly did not hide the fact that we were being... foolish... from my husband. Uh-uh. But if I had done that, I would have used the knowledge that we'd always be within 30 minutes of a close friend or relative to reassure me (yes, they're that spread out).
7) And finally, I did not start this post last week on Monday afternoon, and schedule it to post early Monday morning. Because I do not actually care about looking lazy to my *many* readers. And I don't think that making this post automatically publish nice and early would help me in the quest to look ambitions. Nope, not I.
So what did you not do this week?

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Revealing Post.

So. I usually don't say a whole lot about myself here. Or my life. Today's going to be a little different. And I may actually come back and un-post this. But for now, here it is.

Today, my mind is all muddled and jumbled. A combination of pain, fatigue, sadness, frustration, medication, and some other emotions from a private battle are responsible. I'd like to say "I'm clinging to _______ from the Bible today and it's really keeping me from sinking." But to be totally honest, I'm not clinging. Clinging implies that I've got both arms and both legs wrapped around and I won't let go no matter what. The truth? I'm grasping weakly. I don't like to admit that. I'd prefer the world see a "super woman" strength and unshakable faith. Unwavering. Totally stable. But. That isn't me.

Where am I? And how am I really?

I am in a chair. Shifting from side to side to alleviate pain. It doesn't work. But, I can't not do it. I am looking at my cat. He's so peaceful. He's so cute. I am listening to uplifting music. And I am sad. It's not a serious sad. And it's not a dangerous sad. It's just... sad. And it's for a bunch of reasons. But the one that pushes me over the edge, and makes those other reasons capable of instilling said sadness? It's fall. This has happened every year. Every year, I say this is the last time. And this year? This is the last time. It has to be. Right?

I guess it just seems like right now, some really big things are all heaped up and I don't know how to sort them out of the pile to set them straight.

But one thing I can do? I can let people see me. I can let them see that I am just as flawed as they are. Maybe even more so. And I can show the world that in spite of my weakness, my God does still love me. I don't understand that. But He does.

My God is the EVERLASTING GOD. He is the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary or tired. His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary. And I am indeed weary.
He increases the power of the weak. And I am weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. I hope in Him. Without Him, I have NO hope. With Him, I do. I'm waiting. My strength will be renewed.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Me Monday - Courtesy of MckMama.

I frequent MckMama's blog. MckMama has been the source of much laughter in my home. All I have to do to get my husband laughing is walk in the room and say "So, MckMama..." and he's gone. I don't think I'd even need to follow it up. He says the name is what does it. Regardless, I read her blog. You might enjoy doing so, too.
So, MckMama is hosting this thing called "Not Me Monday." In this thing, participants make a list of those things which they most certainly did NOT do this past week. Those things that nobody does, and even if they did... they'd never share.
(**hint: the idea here is to write things that are, in fact, true. You get this hint one time though, so if you start reading next week, you don't get the hint**)
Here's mine.
1) I did not lay in bed last night for twenty minutes having visions of waffles with lots of sticky syrup. And after twenty minutes, I most certainly did not get up and make said waffles and eat them. That would be bad for my metabolism.
2) I did not decide that since I was in too much pain to move, I was certainly not moving enough to require showering and skip said shower three days in a row. Nope. Not me.
3) I did not stand and stare at my sleeping husband and laugh at how funny his face looks with a cpap on it. I wouldn't do that, and I certainly wouldn't tell anybody else about it. Although if I did do that, I'd feel compelled to share the fact that with the cpap, he sleeps so much better and already seems to be feeling better overall, after just a few short nights.
4) I absolutely do not waste time. And I also absolutely did not just spend 45 minutes watching grey's anatomy and reading other people's "Not Me Monday" posts.
5) I did not, on multiple occasions, hide the fact that I was in pain from my husband, and then get secretly annoyed when he didn't notice. I'm not that confusing.
6) I did not just spend 72 minutes pushing snooze on my alarm while wondering what the point was in getting up.
7) I did not, on multiple occasions, think "This would be great for 'Not Me Monday' and then promptly forget what 'this' was."

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


Sometimes, I read my old posts and wonder what happened. Not as in "What was I thinking then?" but "Why am I not thinking that now?"

It is so easy, living in this world, to get distracted. Discouraged. Heavy hearted. Downtrodden. It is easy to lay down at night, and have your final thought before sleep be "I really should have read my Bible today..."

It is easy to get caught up in complaining, whining, bickering. It is easy to want to just "fit in" for a while. It is easy to let go of hope and embrace pessimism.

It is easy to beat myself up. To think my faith is too weak, I need more discipline, I've failed yet again. It is easy to feel like I'm not really saved at all, but just pretending. I don't usually write about these things - not because I want to hide them, but because when I sit down to write here, my brain shifts into "Bible-Girl-Mode." I can't help but think of all the good things God has done. Of how awesome He really is. About the ways He has been touching me, personally. So, before I went any further, I wanted to let all of my readers (all... um... 3? of them) know that I'm not any more perfect or struggle-free than anybody else I know.

I don't have any commentary today, just a passage that I read when I find myself questioning what He really thinks about me, what He'd really want for me.

In it, Jesus is praying to God the Father. He just finished praying specifically for His disciples, and is now praying for "all who will believe in him through their message." That "all" includes me. If you believe, it includes you, too.

John 17:20-26

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me to be where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Righteous father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yesterday and Today.

Yesterday, my mouth was on my mind. The subject of concern. Pain. Swelling. Fever. Several days of this. Last night, we had leadership meeting at church. This isn't just for leaders in the church, but it's for all believers who want to grow and mature. It's more meat than a "regular" service would be.

I went with the expectation that I would ask someone to pray for me. That I would come home well.

Read these verses with me...

Proverbs 4:20-22, AMP

My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.

Last night's meeting was, as usual, full of scripture. I heard the Word of God. I learned. I listened. I let it seep into my deepest parts. And, as time went by... my mouth. It stopped hurting. The swelling (inside) started to disappear. I felt less feverish. Less achy. By 9:15, when the meeting was over... so was whatever was wrong. And still today - all is well. No pain. I can swallow normally. No fever.

So today, I am reminding myself of the promise of God... that His Word brings healing and health to all my flesh.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Error. It's part of my life. I do it. Pretty frequently. I hate it. I wish it weren't so. I am imperfect and flawed.

So is my husband.

He has made an error. One with some very... definate repercussions. One which will probably bother him for quite some time. I wish I knew how to help him. Wish I could say comforting words to make this go away. But, I've got nothing.

But even so, even in light of this... I love him. I am so thankful for him. I don't regret marrying him. And I'm proud of him.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 46th Psalm.

Verse 1, Amplified Bible
God is our Refuge and Strength - mighty and impenetrable to temptation - a very present and well-proved help in trouble.

God. Creator of the universe. Wholly self-existent and self-sufficient. Omnipotent. Ever present, ever faithful, ever perfect God. Is my refuge? And my strength? What does that mean?

To me, it means this: When everything around me is falling apart, when I can't see anywhere to run, I can run to Him. I may not see him with my physical eyes. I may not be wrapped in His arms. But He is my refuge. I can go there to be protected. Safe.

I looked up "refuge" in a dictionary. Here's what I found:
A refuge is shelter or protection from danger or trouble. It is a place of shelter, protection, or safety. It is anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.

That is my God. He is my shelter in times of trouble. He is my protection when I find myself in danger. I am safe with Him. He gives me aid. He puts people into my life who help. He's not deserted me yet, and I know he never will. He gives me relief. No matter what is happening, He gives me relief. He doesn't always take me out of the situation. He doesn't always take away the pain. But there is a peace... a peace that is a healing balm to the most dreadfully wounded soul. It cools the fire of rage. Warms the cold of betrayal. He is my escape. When all else fails, when there is nothing else to cling to, I can know this: if my life ends right now, I will find myself in His presence.

And what of this strength that this verse talks about? Do I really have that? I often don't think so. I feel weak. I feel flawed. I see every time I stumble. I know the worst parts of me. But others... they say I have that. My Pastor looked me in the eyes less than a week ago and told me I was "unusually strong." I don't understand that, at least not completely. It's not that I think I'm floppy or weak. It's just... any strength I have comes from God. And, while I see my flaws more than others do, I also see what He's done for me more than they do. And He's done so much. And He's made me strong. But the thing is... my strength shouldn't be unusual. We all have the opportunity to know the same God. I think maybe there's a lot of people running around who look weak on the outside. But really, if we could see inside them, we'd find that they're stronger than we ever imagined.

Verses 2-3, NIV
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

I get pictures in my mind. Pictures of giant chasms opening in the earth. People, faces reflections of terror, peering into the depths. Coastlines dissolving and disappearing into the sea. Swells of water washing away cities and even nations. Mountains far from the sea trembling from its wrath. I can see this in my mind. And there's no fear. If all that happened, if every last thing I know and love is ripped away... I still have God. And what could compare to that? And if God is for me, who shall I fear? Who (or what) could possibly be against me and have a hope of succeeding?

Verses 4-6, NIV
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.

The thing here that strikes me is this... "He lifts His voice, the earth melts." Do you know what it takes to melt earth? I don't. I can't begin to fathom the frequency of vibration or the intensity of heat required. Not just melting old lava or anything like that. Melting earth. The world. A planet. Wow. And simply raising His voice can accomplish this. That is an awesome thought. Fearful. Wonderful. Did I mention the word "wow"?

Verse 7, New Century Version
The Lord All-Powerful is with us; the God of Jacob is our defender.

All that stuff we just read? Everything I just said about this God? He is our defender. He defends us. Not just from things hear on earth. Not just from bad people. But, most of all, He defends us when Satan is raging in our faces, shouting all the things we've done wrong. Painting terribly detailed images of our failings and short comings. Illuminating every evil thought and deed, and railing against us. Demanding our spirit and soul, claiming them as his. Forever. In the face of that, we have God. He is our defender. He says, "No. This one is mine." And whatever he tries, Satan can't have us. He can't win. Because we have this most awesome defender.

Verses 8-9, Amplified Bible
Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.

Verse 10, NIV
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

This one is whispered to me a lot. In the midst of turmoil and confusion. When I'm angry. When I'm tired. When I'm upset. When the tears are hot and emotions wild. Somehow, I'll hear just a gentle whisper... "Be still. And know that I am God." I've been trying to listen to that more.

When life is falling apart... or at least seems to be falling apart... it's when I listen to those words that God is able to minister to me. It's not while I pace the floor, ranting about how terrible it is. It's not when I'm on my knees crying out for help. It's not when I call someone to "just listen." It's when I turn off the music. Disconnect the phone. Lock the doors. Close the blinds. Put the cats in a different room. Kneel down. Close my eyes. And I'm still. In that stillness, I can hear as He whispers to my heart. I'm not to busy to notice the peace that begins to rise. I focus my thoughts on who He is. On His might. His power. His love. His never ending, never failing love. And I know that He is God. And... it works.

The situation doesn't always change. Sometimes, it almost seems to get worse. But I'm reminded of that one all-important truth - God is for me. He loves me. He loves me so much, He allowed His SON to be sacrificed for me. I'll touch on this a different day, but for now let me say this... I would gladly give my life for someone. I wouldn't think twice about running into a burning building to try to save them. I'd even allow my husband to do it. But my child? I don't have kids here on earth. But I've loved a particular child with the most intense, heart-rending and sweet love I have ever known. I can only imagine the love for my own flesh and blood will be so much more than that. And I wouldn't give up that child for someone. Not even you. No way. But God loves us... He loves us that much.

Verse 11, New Century Version
The Lord All-Powerful is with us; the God of Jacob is our defender.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

An Old Hymn.

One of my very favorite hymns. I used to love singing this song in church. It says, in a way far more beautiful than I myself could do, what I choose each day to give to my God. You'll want to pause the music at the side of this blog, and watch this video. Listen. Close your eyes. Think about the words.

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my silver and my gold - not a mite would I withhold.

Take my moments and my days - let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will, and make it Thine - it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own - it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my self and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just the Word.

Taken from the Message Bible. Ephesians chapter 6. Verses 11-18.

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels (demons).

Be prepared. Your up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Psalm 37.

Days like this - when my head is full and my heart even more full, and I can't seem to find a starting point, I turn to my Bible. It brings peace, it brings promise. It brings correction and reproof. It brings clarity. Come with me, through Psalm 37. It's an old favorite, one that's been comforting for me for so many years.

Verses 1-2
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

This one spoke to me specifically at a time when I was truly afraid of certain people. I was afraid of what they could do, what they could say. Afraid of the pain they could inflict, not just on me, but on themselves and on others. It changed the way I looked at them. I stopped being afraid of them, and started praying that God would intervene in them. If they will soon die away, they don't have much time. And no matter what a person does, hell is not something I could ever want for them.

Verses 3-6
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Trust in the Lord. We say it all the time. It's a phrase we toss around like so many empty platitudes. But what does it really say?
I looked up the word trust. Here's what I found:
1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of someone or something; confidence
2. confident expectation of something; hope
3. someone or something on which one relies

Of course, there were several more paragraphs, but those three stood out to me. Trust in the Lord. Rely on His integrity, strength, ability, and surety. Confidently expect... what? Expect HIM to make your righteousness shine like the dawn. Have you ever been awake at dawn? I have. It starts with the horizon looking just a little lighter. If there are clouds, the bottoms glow orange or golden, sometimes red. Then, suddenly, light floods the earth as a sliver of light, blindingly brilliant for eyes adjusted to the dark cracks the horizon. That is how He'll make your righteousness shine. Dawn gets brighter, more beautiful. So will your righteousness. Not because of you or your own strength or ability. Because of Him and His ability and strength and perfection.

There's so much more just in these few verses. I'll leave it at this, for now - I'm sure I'll be back to this Psalm before long.

Verse 7
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

My focus, my interest, the part that really speaks to me in this verse? The first portion. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. I'm learning this. I'm working on this. I'm doing my best in this. I've got the waiting patiently part - not totally or completely, but it's something I've gotten better at. I am far more patient than I used to be. It's the "Be still" part. When you go before the Lord, do you do what I do? Do you start talking and talking and talking? Do you feel compelled to fill the silence? I do. I'm learning not to. In the past year, I've been learning to just... be. Just quietly wait for Him to speak to my heart.

I like to be outside. The times when I feel closest to God, when I most often hear Him speak to my heart, are when I am outside. Alone. Somewhere quiet and peaceful. I like to find a rock or a fallen tree and sit. I like to soak in the sunlight, smell the flowers and the grass, let the songs of birds fill my mind and quiet my thoughts. It is then, in the stillness, when I feel Him the strongest. It is in times like that when He's whispered reassurance, gently comforted. It is in those times when He's pointed out ways that I'm wrong, things I need to do differently. I love those times. And if I'm not still, they don't happen.

Verses 8-17
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.

The wicked draw their sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

Do you get the impression that wickedness is definitely not the way to go? This particular section has never really gotten to me, so that's all I'm going to write about it.

Verses 18-19
The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

That's a steep promise. One that seems particularly applicable of late. Not that our world is really that disaster or famine ridden - but we do seem to be leaning that general direction. This promise says that I won't wither. It says that I'll enjoy plenty. It says my inheritance will endure forever.

It says my days are known to the Lord. Remember last time I wrote? The Lord. Almighty. Omnipotent. Creator of the universe. Indescribable. Unfathomable. Perfect. And my days are known to Him. Wow.

Why? Because I'm blameless. Not because I'm perfect or have done nothing to be blamed for. But because My GOD has preserved me blameless. He paid the price for me. He ransomed me. He loved me first. Wow.

Verses 20-22
But the wicked will perish: the Lord's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish - vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those He curses will be cut off.

Verses 23-24
If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes His steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds Him with His hand.

I like this one. And I'm going to close here - a little more than halfway through this particular Psalm.

I stumble. A lot. I try my best, but overall, I tend to fail. I don't do the things I know I should. I do things I shouldn't. I get irrational, angry, jealous. I lie. I hold grudges. All those things that we like to pretend don't apply to us. But. Even though I stumble, I will not fall.

Because God, Almighty Himself, holds me up with His hand. His powerful, perfect, loving hand.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Psalm 18.

Okay folks, hold on. This is gonna be a loooong post. I'm in Psalm 18, starting with verse one (there's fifty of them all together). Bible words in blue, my own in... whatever you'd call this color.

Verses 1-3
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn [the strength] of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

I am strong. Stronger than I can begin to describe. Not in myself. Not because of anything that's inside of me. But because the Lord is my strength. I don't understand how that works - how God can be "my" anything. But, He is.

He is so far beyond human. He is indescribable. He is awesome and beautiful. And HE IS MY SHIELD. HE is the strength of my salvation. Not me. Not my faith or resolve. Not my efforts to serve. Him. He is the source and strength. He is a stronghold. I'm anchored in Him. I'm protected. I can never be removed against my will. I praise Him. He does answer me. When I call for help, He answers. And He saves me.

Verses 4-6
The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

I have been in that place. Where death swirled around me. Destruction flooded over and around me, swept me from my feet. I was falling. Fast. I struggled to rise up, but could not. Everywhere I turned, darkness loomed. I saw no alternative. Death. Destruction. Darkness. Depression. Despair. Fear. Pain. When I began to see the reality of where I was - when I saw that truly, I was one slippery step away from utter destruction, I cried out. I cried out to God in desperation, crying "Save me." He heard. I know He did. He answered.

Verses 7-15
The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because He was angry. Smoke rose from His nostrils; consuming fire came from His mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under His feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; He soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness His coverying, His canopy around Him - the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and and routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

Oh how I love storms. I don't believe that God is inside every one of them, showing His wrath or power. But He was in that one. I'm a visual person. I think with pictures. I see the things I remember.
Last spring, I stood at the top of a thirty foot observation tower. I was surrounded by still water, tall reeds, and the tentative conversation of a few young swans. Dark clouds rushed in, low and fast. Thunder rolled. The tower trembled beneath my feet. With a roar, the wind flattened the grass and bent trees nearly double. I spread my arms and lifted my head, marveling at this awesome power. And knowing that this was too small, too insignificant, to even begin comparing to the power of my God.

Verses 16-19
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.

This part trips me up. Remember the previous passage? About the power displayed by the Lord? About the earth trembling? Do you know how big this earth is? And it trembled and quaked, just because He was angry. This isn't some old man up in the sky somewhere waiting to pull us into his sweet embrace. This is God. So awesome and so powerful that when writing scripture, the scribes wouldn't write His whole name. And He reached down from on high and took hold of me?

Yes, He did. He drew me up out of the deep waters. He brought me into a spacious place. A wide open space where I was safe. He took care of me. He put people into my life who knew how to help. He gave them words and wisdom. He chose the bounds of my habitation, and put me somewhere I wouldn't have chosen on my own. He planted me in a loving church. Grafted me into the most amazing family. Gave me sisters. Gave me hope. Gave me love.

Verses 20-24
The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God. All His laws are before me; I have not turned away from His decrees. I have been blameless before Him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

Okay. This one is hard. In my eyes, I have failed. I have not kept the ways of the Lord. I have turned from God. I've turned from His decrees and failed to keep his law (His WORD) before me. I have not been blameless. I have not kept myself from sinning. I am not righteous. I do not have clean hands. But. He has a Son. His name is Jesus. Emmanuel. The Christ. This son was perfect. This Son lowered Himself to become human. He was fully human. And fully God. He died on a cross. A horrible, painful, agonizing death. He descended to hell. He ascended to heaven. His blood has washed me. And it's through and in light of that that God views me. And because of that, I am righteous. I do have clean hands. I am blameless. It is hard to fathom - I'm quite certain I really do not even sort of understand it.

Verses 25-29
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can dvance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

With my God. He isn't mine. I don't own him. I can't claim his as my very own. And yet, His place in my life is as my God. To Him alone do I surrender everything. My body. My mind. My will. My emotions. My trust. My hope. My faith. My spirit itself. And with Him, I can do anything at all. Even scale the obstacle that currently looms so large before me.

Verses 30-36
As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

I like this passage. I like the reminder. I like the safety. There have been times, particularly as a child, where what I really longed for was someplace to be safe. Some place where I was protected. Somewhere I could run whenever I needed to. God is that place. I can always turn to Him. Regardless of what else happens, He will never change. He'll always stay. He'll always love. He'll always give me the strength I need to fight my battles, and He'll always give me His shield of victory.

I left out some of the verses, as you can see. They are good verses. Worth reading. Worth pondering. Worth studying. All the Word of God is. It's just that at this point, I don't have anything to say about them. Finally, these last few? I have nothing to add. No comments. Let them linger in your mind a while, see what they can do in your heart.

Verses 46-49
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O Lord; I will sing praises to your name.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's this? A man?

I did a senior picture shoot on Sunday. This is a boy I've known for quite a while now - about five years. Sunday morning at church, I looked at him and saw a boy. For two hours Sunday evening, I worked with them and saw a boy.
Yesterday, I finished processing the pictures. And as I was doing so, I was shocked. Where was that boy? He seems to have disappeared, and left a man in his place. Not a very old man. And one who still has a lot of learning to do. But, still, a man.

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Right now, I have a big "?" inside. This house project is beginning to wear on me. I'm torn between two dad's - mine and Derek's. Both irritated with the other for valid reasons. Both convinced the other is distinctly lacking knowledge. Both possibly correct. Wanting to be loyal first to my dad, but knowing that Derek's dad has sacrificed a LOT for us this summer and not being willing to do anything that might be construed as "disloyal" to him, either.

Then there's Derek's mom. I don't know how to relate to her. We push each other's buttons. Neither of us are bad people. And we love eachother very much. It's just... hard, I guess. Like most things worth doing.

Meanwhile, I'm taking my sleep-dazed self back to couch (because in this apartment, we don't go to bed, we go to couch).

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