Do You Trust?

>> Saturday, December 29, 2012

Charlie, our dog, received a Christmas present from Sarah, our daughter Tammi’s dog. His tail was beating a rhythm against the wall as I helped him unwrap it … Pup-Peroni sticks. He danced around the room as I ripped the top of the package off. Now he could smell it and his enthusiasm grew.

Let me set the stage for what happened next.

Apparently as I walked on the carpet, rubbed against the wrapper as I took the paper off and then slid my hand around on the package … I created an electric charge in my hand. I removed one stick from the package, held it toward Charlie and he grabbed for it with his mouth. I heard the spark of electricity as he yipped and jumped backward. It had shocked him.

He no longer trusts me. 
When I hold a treat out for him, he paces the floor and makes little growling noises at me. I say, “It’s alright Charlie” but he doesn’t believe me. I repeatedly assure him that the treat is his for the taking … and there are no consequences … but he paces and mumbles.

We, as human beings, are just like that. We’ve been burned by someone we trusted and so refuse to trust again. Perhaps it was an intentional act toward us … or maybe that other person intended no harm. But the result was painful to us emotionally.

And so we refuse to trust again.

Just as Charlie missed out on a treat due to his lack of trust, we miss out on many blessings as we protect ourselves. Yes, we may get burned again. But what about all the treats we miss out on as we pace and mumble about the wrongs that have been done to us?

Do you trust?

“God makes everything come out right; He puts victims back on their feet.” Psalm 103:6 (MSG)



>> Thursday, December 20, 2012

I didn’t receive a proclamation from an angel … it was from my mother. When I was 15 years old, the words that came out of her mouth totally changed my future. Yet I said nothing.

“It’s been decided that you will marry the preacher’s son.”

My insides clinched. I had questions. Why? When? Who decided? Didn’t my wishes count? But I never voiced them. The why, when and who were inconsequential. I knew I had no say in the matter. I was very sure if mother said it … it would happen.

And it did. My life was changed forever.
So when I read of an angel appearing to Mary, I have a miniscule understanding of the scenario. Mary may have been 15 … maybe younger … when she was told she would give birth. She had questions … was confused and disturbed (NLT) … unsure if it was true. But she did not remain mute.

“Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (NASB)  

After hearing the angel’s explanation, Mary graciously submitted … accepting she would bear a child … even though it was humanly impossible.

And she did. Her life was changed forever.

So in your life, what proclamation have you been given? Did you question it? Were you confused? What was your reaction? Did you acquiesce without a fight? Did you ask for time to think it over? After hearing an explanation, did you understand?

Did it happen? Was your life changed forever? 

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” Proverbs 3:5 (MSG)


Do You Believe It?

>> Monday, December 17, 2012

Black Friday shopping has now spilled over onto Thanksgiving Day. The news is full of stories about the shoving and screaming … the grabbing and wrestling … over a Christmas present purchase. Last year someone actually died in the stampede to be first in line.

In all that noise and chaos it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

Today is the first day back to school … after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook School. Teachers, secretaries, counselors, janitors … and students … enter their school filled with fear. The sound of a book falling to the floor will cause repercussions for anyone hearing that noise. Some may even throw themselves to the floor ... a knee jerk reaction to the sound of gunfire.

With all that fear and high anxiety it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

I refuse to do the Black Friday thing. Nothing is that important to me to brave that carnage to make a purchase. And I have no little kids headed out to school this morning. But I do have a daughter that is standing in a classroom as I write these words. I know she would give her life for her students. My heart is broken for the families touched by this recent tragedy.

With all the crying and clinging going on it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

But as a Christ-follower, I do believe it. That little baby born in Bethlehem came for a reason … to give us hope and peace. Above all the chaos and grief is love … God’s love. And as a believer, it is up to me to show that love with skin on. If I could, I would hold all the wounded hearts close. But since I can’t, then today I will be very aware of people I come in contact with. If they need love with skin on, I’ll be there.

Jesus is the reason. Do you believe it?

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” John 3:16 (MSG)


Dropping the Needle

>> Sunday, December 9, 2012

I learned to knit using circular needles. As I worked my way across the row and reached the end, I would just let go of the empty needle, turn the work around and begin the next row. That process functioned just fine until I started a project that called for straight knitting needles.

No problem.

I worked my way across the row, reached the end … and promptly dropped my knitting needle on the floor. Oops, I forgot I wasn’t using a circular needle. I picked up the fallen needle, turned the project around, worked my way across the row … and dropped my knitting needle on the floor.
Slow learner.

After a few times of watching me bend over and pick up the needle, my husband could take it no longer.

“What are you doing?”

Even though I knew the real question, I answered “Knitting.”

His curiosity was not satisfied with that response. So I had to admit I had a very short memory … and that my programming using a circular needle was causing issues.

I find I have the same issues in life.

It’s hard to re-program when you’ve spent a lifetime of unhealthy eating. The healthy food makes it to your mouth for a day or two, and then the bad eating habits kick in. Or maybe you’ve been trained to say “yes” to anything asked of you, even though you are already stressed. When you decide to take charge of your time … to learn to say “no” … you still find the words, “Sure, I’ll do that” coming out of your mouth.
And the hardest re-programming for me was to undo my legalistic, religious training. Even though I was striving to be non-judgmental, the words that spewed from my mouth were harsh and condemnatory.

I’m still working on that one … but haven’t dropped any needles lately.

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
1 Corinthians 4:5 (NLT)


No One's Perfect

>> Thursday, December 6, 2012

Remember the movie “10” with Bo Derek? It came out while my husband and I were dating. Imagine my surprise when he handcrafted a special gift for me in the shape of a “9 ½”.

“No one’s perfect.”

I hadn’t thought of that in years … until I received a birthday card from him yesterday morning. So I dug out my “9 ½” and wore it all day. It evoked many questions.

“No one’s perfect.”

But as I displayed my less than perfect score, I wondered about the rating I would get from others in my life as they watch me live as a Christian.

On a scale of one to ten, what’s your score?

“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” Hebrews 10:14 (MSG)


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