Lesson in a cup: Wise men still seek him

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All of the Turkey is gone, the pecan pies eaten, the Christmas tree up, the floor vacuumed and for the most part towels and sheets have made it to the laundry room.

Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful with all 20 of my family at home for five days. Chaos of the best kind.

This morning as my son left, rather than enjoy the quiet, I felt a little lonely. The house is sort of straight, I’m looking out my back door at the beautiful green, gold and red leaves, amazed once more at the beauty of autumn.

So why the lonely feeling? My mother’s heart is praying for my children.

Perhaps your tribe is the exception, but most of the time, in the commotion of gathering for the holidays, there are un-thoughtful words spoken, expectations unmet, past wounds un-healed and unknown future responsibilities weigh heavily on hearts and minds. Each of my children carry burdens that become mine as I pray for them.

That’s called family. The issue is not that all of this takes place, because it does. What makes the difference is that after all is said and done: we are family. We are for, not against, each other. When one is hurting, all the others feel the pain. Even when there is discord we know that ultimately when push comes to shove, we will pull together to help each other overcome and make it to the finish line.

As each one left to go to their homes to face their own family trials, we sent them off with prayer and hugs all around, feeling the oneness and love of family. Arriving home they began texting about old songs that are a part of our family history. The message still rang true after all these years.

 

He Didn’t Bring Us this Far to Leave Us

by the Imperials

He didn’t bring us this far to leave us

He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown

He didn’t build his home in us to move away

He didn’t lift us up, to let us down.

(Click here to listen) 

 

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HOPE to run our race with integrity.

HOPE in the Wisdom of the Father as we seek Him.

HOPE to finish well.

Jesus Christ, the HOPE of glory!

 

Then I looked at my first cup of the season and smiled: Wise men still seek him.

 

 

My prayer for my family:

“Lord, as my children face uncertain futures and past hurts, may they truly realize that Wise men and women still seek You.

Today, I pray not for riches, fame or even joy for the holidays. I pray for wisdom. Because as wise men and women, they will seek you, and there they will find Your Peace, which is the answer to everything.”

 

A Little Texas Boot

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“It’s just a little Texas boot Christmas ornament.” Tom said as he placed it in my hands at the Fort Worth Cattle Stockyard.

img_1392-1We were visiting our friends in Arlington, Texas, and they wanted us to see ‘the real Texas’ just like in the olden days. A cattle drive at the FW Stockyard.

The smells, the sounds took me back to a time in my childhood and I remembered my daddy’s beautiful red cows with snowy white faces. It was a big day in the tiny village of Walthall when he moved the cows from one pasture to another. Anyone who could ride a horse joined in the fun.

But the best day of all was the Cattle Sale. Daddy would round up the calves to take them to theimg_1411 sale, and many times my older sister, Chalie, got to go with Daddy. She came back talking about the auctioneer and how he rattled off words so fast it sounded like a he was yodeling. She ate hot dogs and drank Coca-Colas for lunch. Oh, My! It sounded like a grand day. I was assured that one day I’d be old enough to go to the sale too.

That day finally arrived. All week, Daddy had said I could go with him. My excitement soared as I tried to decide how many hot dogs I could eat, and for sure at least two Coca-Colas.

Early that morning I could hear the heifers lowing as Daddy loaded the calves into the trailer. My day had arrived. I ran out to be sure he didn’t forget me, but Mama stopped me at the door. She told me that one of Daddy’s friends showed up and wanted to load a couple of his own calves with Daddy’s and there would not be enough room for me in the truck. I must stay home this time.

Crushed. Disappointed. Shattered. Those words hardly scratch the surface of my wounded heart. I ran to my room, crawled under a table and cried and cried and cried. Mama was so sweet to me that day, knowing how disappointed I was. When Daddy came home he brought me a present, but somehow it just didn’t make a difference any more. I had missed the big event. And life moved on.

I don’t remember dwelling on it, but for years I noticed a huge fear of disappointment. It seemed that the pain of disappointment for me was a little out of proportion. At a restaurant, if my order was incorrect I would be so upset I could hardly eat. Or if someone didn’t fulfill a promise, I was deeply wounded. Rationally I knew this was ridiculous and I was always asking myself, “What is wrong with me?”

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And then Tom Schleuter placed a little Texas boot in my hand. Suddenly tears came to my eyes and I could hardly talk as I felt the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. This little boot was a gift from my Heavenly Father.

I heard that gentle voice speaking tenderly to my heart. “Your Daddy didn’t realize how disappointed you were that day. He had a job to do, herding cows to the sale, and he did it. But I saw every tear under that table. I saw and I grieved for you.”

“I am a good Father, Ruthie.” He continued. “I have brought you to the most famous sale of all: The Fort Worth, Texas Cattle Stockyard! It doesn’t get much better than this one. Spend this delightful day with me watching the people have a good time; listen to the music of guitars; see the sidewalk bronze stars like Wild Bill Hickok; breathe in the smell of the cows and horses. This is our day together at the Sale. Enjoy this day to the max! Release the pain of that little girl crying under the table. I’ve waited a long time to bring you to the best cattle sale of all.”

After that trip to Texas, I took a morning alone time with my Father. Oh what a delightful  time remembering every step of that day at the Stockyard. I laughed, I cried, I praised and I worshiped as I held that little boot. I realized once again how specific our heavenly Father is and how extravagantly he loves us. There is never one tear wasted, nor hurt so small that he does not notice. I had actually forgotten that day under the table, but my Father had not. When Tom placed that little boot in my hand it all came rushing back, every detail so vivid, but no disappointment. What joy to see how my Father remembered all the details and met every expectation of my heart.

Since that time I realize that when I am disappointed, it just doesn’t hurt quite so deeply.

After all, my Dad took me to the Cattle Sale at the Fort Worth Texas Stockyard and healed my heart.

And I have the boot to prove it!

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Thanks, Tom.

 

Would Jesus know the score of the Texas/Notre Dame Game? Recreation creates Community

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David Hartwig Photo

 This morning as I listened in on a conversation between my husband and his friend Roger, their joy and laughter peaked my interest. Were they talking about a church service? A great move of God? Both love with Lord with all their hearts, what were they enjoying so much in their conversation? They were rehashing the Texas/Notre Dame game from last night. “Mmmm, not so spiritual,” I thought. But maybe I was wrong.

Would Jesus know the score of the Texas/Notre Dame football game? In the reality of the Kingdom of God, this is probably not even on the list, but the joy, camaraderie and fellowship around a football game? Maybe so.

Recreation creates community-it’s a God thing.

Recreation means, “Activities done for enjoyment, when not working.” My friend, Julian Goddard, an awesome man of God, studied Recreation at ORU. He explained it this way: “We were created spirit, soul and body. When we break down the word recreation, we get Re (to renew) and Creation (our physical body and soul). Recreation is a spiritual component of the whole man.”

Recreation is close to God’s heart. He and Adam enjoyed one another’s company as they walk in the garden. Perhaps they investigated the new bean crop, checked on how the pecan trees were producing, laughed and raced to the barn to see the new colt with wobbly legs. Recreation and communion at it’s finest. Adam had worked all week tending the garden. On Sabbath, he and God strolled, chatted and enjoyed the Creation together. This refreshed Adam’s spirit for the coming week, rested his body, renewed his mind and also enhanced the relationship between the Father and Adam, building the first community.

Recreation creating community-it’s a God thing.

Jesus fished, laughed and enjoyed recreation so that he could connect on a different level with his friends. Recreation creating community.

For me, there is nothing more invigorating than a brisk walk on a cool crisp autumn morning. It clears the cobwebs from my mind so that I can hear a fresh word in my spirit or not. It allows me to just ‘be.’ But it’s always better when I walk with neighbors, chatting about recipes, children and the beauty of Fall. Recreation creating community.

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Ronald Saunders

I love the exhilaration of accomplishment that comes from a good work out-that is, when I do it. But it is much easier when someone else is there to spur me on. Watching a great football game with friends or any time spent with my grandchildren as they swim, play soccer or baseball is recreation. Cookouts, luncheons, football tailgates. I have a long list of fun things I enjoy. Most involve food, but that is for another day. Recreation creating community.

What do you do for fun? What makes you laugh? What refreshes you and connects you to others in the joy of community? What refreshes your soul, re-creates you?

Enjoy recreation with a friend today. Laugh together because laughter is like a good medicine. High five when your team scores. Go for a walk or run with a neighbor. Pull away from the busyness of life, clear the cobwebs and have some fun. Be RE-CREATED with the Joy of the Lord in community.

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Recreation creates community-it’s a God thing.

 

 

 

Honor for ‘The Name’

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This morning I am working on a book about our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. In doing so I am reading about each time Our Father cut covenant in the Old Covenant (Testament). As I was doing some research on the web about the Tallit, or prayer covering that denotes covenant, I was undone by the honor and respect the Jewish people have for ‘The Name’ of our Great God. To read and sense the fear of the Lord when writing or using his Name, which by the way is the beginning of wisdom, has been humbling and astounding at the same time.

One site begins with this sentence: “Please note that this page contain the name of God. If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.”

How often do I simply talk about the Lord, yet do not stop and realize that He is the King of the Universe. How often do I use His name in a flippant manner, not realizing that I am speaking of the Ruler of the Universe, who with the flick of his finger could take me out!

One of the issues in Ezekiel 22 when God was deciding whether or not to destroy the entire city was this: ‘They do not understand the difference between the common and the Holy.’

Growing up I had always understood that we do not take the Lord’s name in vain, which to me meant using the G D words. But in seeing how the Jewish people did and, still do today, treat “The Name” with reverence and honor I am getting a totally different perspective.

Yes, I understand that Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death, but, my friend, do we in our freedom forget who he is and what His Holiness is about?

Yes, we can come boldly before the throne of God, covered by the blood of Jesus, but do we really stop and consider the magnitude of the suffering it took for us to have that privilege and covering?

I was admonished by the author of this web site to remember that His Name is in this paper, and to please treat it with proper respect and honor. I was stopped dead in my tracks.

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As I continued to read I saw the Shema which was to be recited every morning in prayer.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.

And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Am I saying to go back under the law, to repeat rote prayers? NO! But I am saying in the mornings, I need to stop and realize the privilege and honor that I have to meet with this amazing, great, Holy God each day. Yes, I can come boldly into his presence, BUT I need to honor him for who he is, to meditate on his Holiness, His greatness, His majesty before I rush to my own needs and my problems. I need to stop and come into His gates with thanks giving because of what He has done for me. I need to enter His Court Room with praises to the One who has set me free.

I need to honor Him in everything I do this day, being aware that He is with me when I rise up and when I lay down; to understand that He is for me and will help me in my time of trouble.

I need to be aware that I am a carrier of His Name and I must be careful of how I reflect his character.

I must kneel before him, honor and respect him and yes, fear Him and Him alone.

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campusbiblechurch.com

Because the fear of the Lord IS the beginning of wisdom.

Be Still

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It’s been a while since I’ve stopped to write on my blog. In fact it’s been a while since I’ve stopped to do anything. My world has been quite busy since May but I have enjoyed all of the activity. I’ve been to Texas to teach Redemptive gifts, one of my favorite things to do: joined a family reunion on the beach with 45 members of the wonderful Carroll Clan; hosted a retreat for 14 awesome Delta prayer warriors; visited with friends from Israel; prayed on land; researched for a major prayer initiative; and have done a lot of computer time planning for an up coming trip to Israel. In all of these activities, I’m been giving out and now my tank is pretty close to empty. I’ve loved every moment of this month, but now I hear my Father saying: Be Still.

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Cousins at Reunion

When I’m in a busy season, I seem to think that everything depends on me to get it done. I’m in charge and there is always one more thing to do.

It’s a hard thing to simply Be. Still. Ever been there? On a fast track? Praying for strength each day? Our God is so amazing. I have found strength each day and have been surprised at the stamina He has given me. Some days I’d find myself saying, “Not bad for an old girl like you!” His strength has been and always will be sufficient.

But now it is time to stop. Time to Be Still.

As my friend Anne would say, “YBH?” “Yes, But How?”

I’m trying to pull in, reach deep and Be Still. But it is hard to just stop.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

Breath deeply. Rest. ‘Consider the lilies.’ As I walk in my yard, I do see the lilies, but I see the weeds that need to be pulled up too.

 

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Peggy Lowery Photo

‘Look at the birds of the air.’ I see the birds AND the feeder that needs fresh seed and the birdbath that needs cleaning.

As Emily Freeman would say, “Take a moment to let your soul breathe.”

Remember the Riotous Sunset? Remember the Selah? Remember the 60 second vacation? Stop and Be Still. Cast all of my cares on Him. So I force myself to stop looking at weeds and see the beauty. I listen to the sounds of the birds, neighbors on mowers and let the birdbath stay dirty.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

I am being still.

It’s no longer a command, but a quiet reminder that My Father is certainly big enough to take care of the next thing. The birds won’t starve if they don’t have fresh seed and the weeds will be there next week. I sit in my swing and look around. In all of my busyness, the world around me never missed a beat. I can rest assured My Father has it all under control and I can be at peace.

Not only can I ‘Be still,” I can truly “Know that He is God.” I can allow His presence to gently take away the anxiety of ‘the next thing.’ I can treasure the quietness of the moment. I can look up and see His beauty in His creation.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

Truly I’m learning to simply Be Still.

 

The Perfect Mistake

Glasses-1200x661I received this amazing story yesterday from Bob France, a dear friend in New Hampshire. He is 90 years old, been married over 60 years to sweet Gloria and is one of the most delightful, optimistic people I know. I just had to share this story:

Can’t find your glassed? Misplaced your car keys? Stuck in traffic and late for an appointment? We’ve all been there and done that at one time or another. Have you ever thought it might just be that the Lord of all circumstances is still in control and setting you or someone else up for a miracle?

THE PERFECT MISTAKE

My mother’s father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but the were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen in one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He has spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.”

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather’s small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. “But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches everyday, so my co-workers and I were much in prayer about my glasses. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers they found a pair of glasses lying on top.”

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued. “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as thought they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that miracle!” The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses, but the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, because there were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realize the Master Carpenter had used him and his loss in an extraordinary way. An now he could thank the Lord for the loss of his glasses.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking Him. Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often. “Thank you, God for not allowing my car to start this morning.” He may have been saving your life or someone else’s from a car accident down the road. Or your lost glasses, money, shoes (You fill in the blank) may have been part of a miracle for someone else!

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theopticalvisionsite.com Earls lost eyeglasses

 

Thanks Bob! Great reminder.

 

60 Second Vacation To Change your Day

 

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I do it me self!

Those are the words I heard from my sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Paisley. She is all about independence, from putting on clothes, bath time and buckling her own seat belt. In reality I was there to help, still in control, at least most of the time.

Watching her struggle to put on a tee shirt, getting it all twisted up was precious. Finally becoming frustrated, with big, tearful eyes I heard that sweet little voice cry, “Memaw, I need help!”

And over and over during our week of babysitting, quietly the Lord reminded me that I do the same thing. “I do it me self!”

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Many times overwhelmed, I continue to push on with my ‘to do list’ worrying, trying to handle tasks that are too big for me, thinking, “I have all this to do and I have to do it myself!”

Preparing the house for company, buying the groceries, cooking and cleaning. “I have to do all of this myself!”

Getting ready to teach a workshop, to speak at a retreat, answering emails. You’ve got it! Do it all myself!

Father, forgive me when I forget who is really in control and sends me help when I call. Just like Paisley, I am mistaken that I don’t need any help. But when push comes to shove, You are there. You’ve always been there waiting to help me.

So I stop for one minute. I take a 60 second vacation and connect with my Father.

The Psalms says “You show me the path for my life, and you surround me with songs of deliverance.”

When I get tangled up with the cares of everyday life, overwhelmed by circumstance,  He shows me the way out, the path He has already cleared for me.

And HE sings!

He doesn’t shout at me that I should have known better. He doesn’t say I told you so. He sings.

And as I stop for just 60 seconds, look to Him and listen for His voice, I hear His song: His song of deliverance. His song that releases peace in the middle of my turmoil. His song that says “I’ve got this one!”

I stop, take a deep breath and remember who is really in control. I still have much to do, but somehow the load seems lighter, my mind is not so troubled and my day goes a little easier.

In my heart I feel a strange sensation called ‘Joy’. I find myself smiling. And with the joy comes strength and energy. Rather than a burden, I actually enjoy the shopping, the cleaning. I get new insight as I prepare for the teaching. He really is my help in times of trouble, even in the small tasks of everyday living.

So today, in the middle of your busyness, stop, take a minute, 60 seconds, to breathe.

Breathe deeply, asking for his help and thank him for this one moment in eternity that you have connected with him. Acknowledge his presence and his help.

Thank Him for where you are and what you are doing. Shopping? Thank him for the provision you have so that you can shop. Transporting kids from one place to the next? Thank him you have children and the means to transport them. Cleaning toilets? Take advantage that you are on your knees and pray for some one who needs a little extra boost today.

Take a 60 second vacation. Stop. Breathe. Connect. And give thanks. It will change your day!

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