Monday, February 28

Confidently Humble

I came across the following post while I was researching a post that just wasn't coming together. I want to share it with you because, well, I thought it made some really good points. It's got me thinking about the vast difference between humility and insecurity. More on that later this week--I hope.

Borrowed from Paula Hendricks at

Question for you . . . Do you think it’s possible to be humble and confident at the same time?

I ask because I used to think humility looked something like this: deflecting compliments, staying away from high-profile positions, even talking down on oneself occasionally.

But then Moses changed my mind.

It happened when I read the following verse in Numbers 13:3:
“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)”

Really?! Moses? Am I the only one who finds it surprising that Moses was the most humble man on earth? He’s sort of the last guy I would expect this of. After all, he was a leader—not of 10 people, or 100 people, or 1000 people, but well over 1 million people! His resume might have read:

• Raised in the royal courts of the Pharaoh of Egypt.

• Singled out by God to deliver an entire people group from slavery to the most powerful man in the world.

• Received and recorded God’s Law for the Jewish people.

• (And on, and on, and on.)

If this were my resume, I would be anything but humble!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Moses wasn’t always humble. In fact, I think he started out rather full of himself. Think about what was said to him when he interfered in a fight:

“Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”
Now, when he flees Egypt and hides out in the desert for 40 years . . . this would be the time I would have expected to read that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. I mean, he was a nobody in a no-man’s land.

And yet, we don’t read about Moses’ humility until after He partners with God in miracle after miracle.
Could it be that Moses’ secret to humility was not that he deflected compliments, stayed away from high-profile positions, or talked down on himself—but that he knew God better than anyone else?
Here’s how God describes their relationship:

“When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD” (Numbers 13:5-8).

Maybe—just maybe—the secret to true humility lies not in striving to be humble, but in getting to know God! Learning the contours of His face, the rise and fall of His voice, His breath on your skin. Maybe—like everything else that is good—humility just flows naturally out of relationship with Him.

Be a Parent or a Friend?

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD 

your God is giving you.

Exodus 20:12

Read Proverbs 2

I recently read an article that made me very sad. It was about a father who realized too late that his daughter needed a parent, not a friend. She needed limits, not more fun. The father is a famous one, Billy Ray Cyrus, known for his many country music hits. The daughter is also well-known, 18 year old Miley, star of Hannah Montana and now a recording artist herself.

Billy Ray is quoted as saying, "How many interviews did I give and say, 'You know what's important between me and Miley is I try to be a friend to my kids'? I said it a lot. And sometimes I would even read other parents might say, 'You don't need to be a friend, you need to be a parent.' Well, I'm the first guy to say to them right now: You were right. I should have been a better parent. I should have said, 'Enough is enough--it's getting dangerous and somebody's going to get hurt.' I should have, but I didn't. Honestly, I didn't know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere."

A parent's role is to create solid boundaries for a child (Proverbs 2:1). It goes against our instinct initially. We think, "but I don't want to see my child unhappy." Giving in to that theory doesn't make the child happier, actually the opposite. There is a security (trust) and love in setting limits. A child lacks the maturity to know what is good for them. That's why God gave them parents! My grandma told me when I was dealing with a terribly defiant toddler, "She has powerful potential, but you need to get her bullets firing in the right direction."

A friend of mine told me about her growing up years in a family with "fun" parents who always tried to be her friend. In her teen years she started to rebel and felt very angry all the time. Their relationship got so bad that her parents took her to a counselor. After hours of counseling an angry teen and frustrated parents, the expert determined that the teen did not feel her parent's love. "How can that be?!!" Her parents exclaimed, "We give her everything she wants." But because the child/teen did not know limits, she did not know trust, and because she did not trust, she did not know love.

When we in the midst of parenting little ones, our goal can lose focus. We can easily get muddled and off course. Inconsistency happens. Maybe we let the child manipulate instead of obey. Or we appease instead of discipline. In fear of tantrums, we give in. But try to hear in the tantrum that the child is saying, "Can I trust you? Do you love me? Will you hold firm to the boundaries or leave me firing without restraint?"

Let these words from Billy Ray be a reminder that years from now, we'll look back at things differently:

"I'd take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just everybody be okay, safe and sound and happy and normal would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I'd erase it all in a second if I could."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Start children off on the way they should go,

and even when they are old they will not turn from it."

Proverbs 22:6

You can read "Billy Ray Cyrus' Regret" by Jim Daly at Focus on Family Online Community.

Friday, February 25

But I Don't Feel Gentle

Read Philippians 4

By Lysa TerKeurst as published at (in)

Can I tell you one of the Bible verses that’s been chasing me around lately? It’s Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

When the Lord was handing out the gentleness gene in July of 1969, I forgot to stand in that line. Lots of people who were being fashioned at the same time as me got the gentleness gene.

Some people stood in line twice and got a double dose.

Me? Not so much.

Thursday, February 24

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

Read Psalm 19

I own exactly one diamond. It perches atop a twisted white gold band in regal princess cut splendor. I’ve seen bigger and bolder presentations. But the fist time I saw this particular one, it took my breath away.

It was offered along with the heart of the man who already had mine. The offering was humble extravagance, and oh! How it sparkled! I accepted his ring and his heart and every time sunlight dances across its surface, I am reminded of the impractical, crazy love my husband has for me.

It has become a fixation on my finger. I wash dishes, teach reading, math and science, grocery shop and fold laundry without thinking about the gem until the stone catches the light just right or I need to remember which way is left. Often though, it goes unnoticed.

Wednesday, February 23

Chores and Kids

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6 (Read all of Proverbs 22 here)

I found this chore list from Focus on the Family really helpful. I desire to teach my children Biblical principles and along with that, I want them to be productive members of the family. Chores are necessary for teaching and training. Read the whole list here. And download a PDF here. Feel free to leave a comment about chores and kids!

Read Proverbs 1


What chores are important for your children to learn, and what are they capable of doing?

First, recognize the difference between a chore (an ongoing task that benefits the household) and a life skill (an activity that children should know how to do before living on their own, such as managing a checking account). The following list does not include life skills. It is a list of chores.

Second, remember that every child matures at a different pace. Adjust this chart to what you know about your children's skills and talents, and realize that no child should do all of the chores listed below every day.

With those two qualifiers in mind, here are some general guidelines for personal and family chores. This list is only meant as a guide and reflects the types of chores that many children in these age ranges are capable of completing:

Ages 2 and 3
Personal chores

Assist in making their beds
Pick up playthings with your supervision
Family chores

Take their dirty laundry to the laundry basket
Fill a pet's water and food bowls (with supervision)
Help a parent clean up spills and dirt

Ages 4 and 5
Note: This age can be trained to use a family chore chart.

Personal chores

Get dressed with minimal parental help
Make their bed with minimal parental help
Bring their things from the car to the house
Family chores

Set the table with supervision
Clear the table with supervision
Help a parent prepare food
Help a parent carry in the lighter groceries
Match socks in the laundry
Answer the phone with parental assistance
Be responsible for a pet's food and water bowl
Hang up towels in the bathroom
Clean floors with a dry mop

Ages 6 and 7
Note: This age can be supervised to use a family chore chart.

Personal chores

Make their bed every day
Brush teeth
Comb hair
Choose the day's outfit and get dressed
Write thank you notes with supervision
Family chores

Be responsible for a pet's food, water and exercise
Vacuum individual rooms
Wet mop individual rooms
Fold laundry with supervision
Put their laundry in their drawers and closets
Put away dishes from the dishwasher
Help prepare food with supervision
Empty indoor trash cans
Answer the phone with supervision

Ages 8 to 11
Note: This age benefits from using a family chore chart.

Personal chores

Take care of personal hygiene
Keep bedroom clean
Be responsible for homework
Be responsible for belongings
Write thank you notes for gifts
Wake up using an alarm clock
Family chores

Wash dishes
Wash the family car with supervision
Prepare a few easy meals on their own
Clean the bathroom with supervision
Rake leaves
Learn to use the washer and dryer
Put all laundry away with supervision
Take the trash can to the curb for pick up
Test smoke alarms once a month with supervision
Screen phone calls using caller ID and answer when appropriate

Ages 12 and 13
Personal chores

Take care of personal hygiene, belongings and homework
Write invitations and thank you notes
Set their alarm clock
Maintain personal items, such as recharging batteries
Change bed sheets
Keep their rooms tidy and do a biannual deep cleaning
Family chores

Change light bulbs
Change the vacuum bag
Dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms and do dishes
Clean mirrors
Mow the lawn with supervision
Baby sit (in most states)
Prepare an occasional family meal

I loved reading through this list, especially as the ages got older! My kids are 6 years and younger, but I look forward to things like "prepared a family meal" and "mow lawn."We would love to hear about it.

What chores do you insist on in your home? Do you have creative ways to "inspire" children to help the family through service.

Tuesday, February 22

Oh, Snap

Read I Samuel 16:1-13

Written by Andrea and Betsy

At first glance, there was no chemistry. I evaluated her from afar in about 2 seconds. Smart, mature, practical and in control. Nothing at all like me. We would not be friends. What would we even talk about? Best to avoid her and flirt with the boys in the room instead.

To be honest, I was completely intimidated by her poise, and the fact that she didn’t seem to care a bit about the guys in the room as more than just regular people. I was insecure, lost and lonely. She was obviously single. Obviously older than me. And obviously not on the prowl.

We had nothing in common; that much was obvious. She showed up to the Valentine's party dressed as cute as can be. That alone threatened me; I didn't know how to match jeans and a sweater. She knew everyone at the gathering and was obviously very popular. She was cute, skinny and seemed to have the ability to talk to anyone and everyone, including the guys. Again,… threatened.

From first glance I made a judgment call that would last for years: Our worlds were worlds apart - she was cute, popular, fashionable; I was conservative, had no sense of fashion and clearly did not know how to interact in a light-hearted sort of way with anyone, including the guys. "Yup", I thought, there was pretty much no way I could ever or would ever relate to her or be her friend. Best to avoid her and focus on others in the room.

Monday, February 21

Growing the good stuff [contentment]

My husband and I are in the middle of a project in our basement. The list of things to be fixed seems endless, but high priority is an itty-bitty mold problem. We all run screaming at the mention of dreaded mold. Mold requires 4 things to grow: spores (floating around everywhere), food (any organic material), appropriate temperatures (anywhere from freezing and up), and moisture. We have the perfect environment to grow it. Now let's get rid of it!

As I was scrubbing away at the stubborn mold that was clinging to the block walls of our basement, I thought about how THIS was the last thing I wanted to be doing. Talk about discontent. Why can't I just pay someone to come do this? Why doesn't my husband volunteer to do the icky job? This stinks! Did I mention it was icky?

Discontentment is like mold. It's easy to grow. It feeds on un-thankfulness spores and grows in our lives without any effort. From petty frustrations (scrubbing basement walls) to huge inconveniences (a car that barely runs), discontentment springs up in the normal environment where all humans live.

Friday, February 18

A Worship Giveaway

But I, by your great love,

can come into your house;

in reverence [worship] I bow down

toward your holy temple.
Psalm 5:7 (Read the whole chapter here)

Worship is defined as "reverent honor and homage paid to [G]od, and adoring reverence or regard" ( We were created to worship as we read all through the Bible, but particularly in the Psalms. " Praise and worship go hand in hand as give "reverent honor" to God.

Praise is the Hebrew word “halal,” which means to be clear in sound, to shine, make a show, to boast, to be clamorously foolish, to rave, to celebrate. "Praise is an expression of the soul. It directly involves our mind, our will and our emotions. The Psalmist David repeatedly stated that our soul is to bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1), boast in the Lord (Psalm 34:2) and praise the Lord (Psalm146:1). This expression of the soul is to manifest itself in many ways, as is seen in the Word of God." (Victory Worship Center, Tucson)

A friend wrote about worship, specifically worship music, on her blog this week. Read the excerpt below from Grace. Then leave a comment about your favorite worship song. We will randomly select a winner to receive a song download!

Thursday, February 17

Wiped Out

Today's Bible Reading assignment comes at the end of the post.

Panic came quickly and without warning. Walls started closing in. Breathing became difficult. I searched, frantically for a way out. Was there something in my arsenal I could throw? Tears. Silence. An insult. A past wrong. An excuse. A diversion. But there was nothing. My attacker was coming at me, and I could not avoid the truth.

He was right.

And he was not attacking. He was gently guiding me to see that my behavior in a certain area was causing a wrinkle in the smoothness of our relationship. The conversation was a rational one. His word were not strewn in hurt or anger, but motivated out of a desire for a wrinkle-free marriage.

He was right. But I didn’t have to admit it.

I tossed out diversion after diversion, I dodged the issue like a competitor on Wipe Out. And, just like on the show, I got wiped out.

This is hardly the first time we have had the identical “conversation.” And my reaction is always the same.

Why? I wondered. As a mature adult, should I be so concerned with who is right and who is wrong? Why am I terrified of being wrong?

Wednesday, February 16

The Source on Parenting

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

The Bible lays the basic ground rules for parenting. But the specifics aren't always apparent. I gain a lot of my parenting strategies from other Christian moms. We talk and suggest this or that worked for us. Christian radio, tv, movies, and blogs are also helpful. I learn a little here and a little there. It feels safe to take this guidance from other Bible-believing people. We all just want what is best for our kids. I can't go wrong when the advice is from a trusted source, right?

It was a few years ago and I was sitting in a Christian women’s group, excited to hear a speaker talk on “Sibling Rivalry.” My two girls are 3 years apart and so different and fought constantly. I was very eager to hear what the speaker, a Christian Psychologist with 4 children of her own, had to say that would help me find peace between my kids.

Her basic concept was that siblings will fight, it is normal and healthy. Don’t interfere unless they are causing botily harm to one another. I remember her saying, “I don’t break up fights unless there is blood.” Everyone in the audience chuckled. The children need to figure out conflict on their own because mom picking sides will hurt their feelings, she said. I also remember this quote that was immensely encouraging (at the time), “Your job as a mother isn’t to make your children be best friends, it is to help them get through childhood without killing each other.”

Tuesday, February 15

Back to Basics

Read Colossians 3:1-17

This morning I went to WalMart at 5am. I sported pink striped pants that are about an inch too short, blue and green fuzzy socks and my very favorite Mom Shoes. The top doesn't matter, because it was hidden under a basic black coat. I looked ridiculous. But refrigerator biscuits and red heart balloons were a rather urgent need.

When I read the following post (borrowed from it resonated. I hope you like it too.

I love clothes. But I’m hardly a fashionista. I look at the Target ad to see what’s in style. (Don’t judge me).
But these days, clothes go way beyond basic necessities.

Example: Jeggings.

Enough said.

I want to talk about your basic all purpose garment. And it’s not a black cotton tee.

It’s love.

Before Jesus, we wore ill-fitted, dirty clothes. (Basically a bad episode of WHAT NOT TO WEAR).
After meeting Jesus, we’ve been dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item, custom-made to fit us perfectly, by The Master Tailor. We wear His label. And we look fine, I might add.

But then we have a bad day. The alarm doesn’t go off, we wake up late, we’re rushing around. We go for convenience and ease and slip on our old clothes: impatience, unkindness and judgment. We layer up in jealousy, gossip and low self esteem.

When we clothe ourselves in the past, we hide our true beauty.

But when we dress in the wardrobe The King has created for us, we wear:

  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Quiet Strength
  • Discipline
  • Even-temper
  • Forgiveness
  • Confidence

Girl, seriously, what are you waiting for?

Put on love. You’ll never regret it.

Plus, totally it’s your color.

“Regardless of what you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Col.3:14 (The Message)

By Kristen Welch as published at (in)

Monday, February 14

Showing Love

It's the love day. Or didn't you notice? Read some of Song of Solomon if you aren't in the mood yet for Valentine's Day.

There is a lot of pink today. Hearts everywhere. Cupid. A bouquet of roses will cost double today. Restaurants have lines out the door of couples waiting to be seated in twos. Children get excited about heart shaped candy and little cards to give to one another. February 14th.

When I thought about posting today, I was dizzy. What can I say about love that is original? What can I say about the infamous love day that doesn't just clammer around like another heart-shaped candy stuck in your teeth?

For kicks and giggles, I Googled "love." 2,820,000,000 hits. Where do I start?

This day isn't just about being "in" love, it's about showing love. That's why we hear nothing but marketing for gifts, gifts, and more gifts for the ones we love. I laughed when a friend put on her facebook status, "Dear husband, please do not listen to the commercials that are on the radio right now. I do not want a Vermont teddy bear, a Snuggie, or a rose bouquet from 1-800-flrs-4-u." Apparently these are the tangible ways our culture shows love.

Friday, February 11

On Being Re-Made

Read 2 Corinthians 3

I feel the pain of it. It is unavoidable. But it is for a good cause, and because of that I endure it. Not always with a smile on my face, mind you. I definitely complain about it more than I should, and at times I even fight against it but I'm learning to allow it. And sometimes for a moment, I even embrace it.

I'm in the process of being re-made.

I keep thinking of the analogy C.S. Lewis uses in his book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace, who is quite the "pill," turns into a dragon and in his misery he realizes just how terrible of a boy he has been. After a few days of dragon-living, he meets the Lion, Aslan (God-figure) and with the help only Aslan can give, he goes through the process of being remade into a boy again.

A new boy. A better boy.

At Aslan's instructions Eustace begins to "shed his skin," tearing the scales from his body. He does this, but finds another layer of rough, ugly skin underneath so he does it again, and again, and again. Aslan asks Eustace if he wants his help. Eustace replies "yes," for now he recognizes that alone he can never shed all the layers. As Aslan reaches his claws deep into Eustace's rough and thick skin to remove the ugliness, Eustace feels searing pain, as if the claw has reached all the way to his heart.

Oh, how it hurts! But he endures it.

When the process if finally complete, Eustace catches a glimpse of his reflection in a pool and he sees himself... kind of. It is himself for sure, but it is a new Eustace. A somehow different Eustace. A better Eustace.

That is how I am feeling these days. I am being re-made. And it is painful, reaching to levels of the heart I've not dealt with in a long time. Our move and the fact that I am alone in the "desert" here has provided the catalyst for this remaking. I've tried to shed the rough, ugly skin myself while not seeking the help of the only One who can truly remove the unpleasantness. But that it futile and so I am seeking His help in the process.

It is painful, this maturing process. It is a process I would rather not go through but more than my aversion to the pain, I desire to become the Betsy that God intended me to be, not the dragon-Betsy that exists in this world. And to be the person God intends means allowing His hands to do their work to mold, shape, remove and replace the old and ugly with the new, even though it is extremely painful at times.

This process of being re-made is affecting every area of my life. It is a personal journey, but it has affected positively my parenting, the relationship I have with my husband, how I view the world and the interactions I have with others.

I still have layers and layers to go, I realize that. But every scale that falls, every bit of ugly skin that is removed by my Heavenly Father is done in love and with my best interest in mind and ultimately... it yields a new person.

A better person.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18

By Betsy Rowles, a recent transplant to the Seattle area, wife and mom to two awesome little boys. She has a passion for God and Bible study, and graciously allows us to use her thoughts on this blog.

Thursday, February 10

On Guard

Read Provebs 4

It was just a vent. A plastic vent at the new home’s foundation that was missing. An easy fix. One that the homeowner would get to. Certainly it needed attention. You don’t want anything moving in under the house. But other things needed attention too, so the vent-fix got postponed. The homeowner would think of it when he was in the back yard or on warm Saturdays, but there was always something more pressing. Still, the thought niggled at him. You don’t want anything moving in under there.

After a while, he noticed neighborhood cats in their yard. You really don’t want those in there! So one day, when he had a few minutes to spare, he propped a board against the opening, hoping to alleviate his concern without too much hassle. It worked too. He felt better knowing there was protection in place. Until he noticed a weird looking cat prowling the yard in the dusk. With a pointy nose, short legs and a long, creepy tail, it became obvious that the cat issue has escalated into an opossum problem.

The board propped against the opening in the foundation, had fallen down flat, leaving a wide open welcome for pesky rodents. With some hard work and a few trips to the hardware store, the homeowner wrangled the rodent and carted it off to the countryside. Then with the board nailed firmly in place, he thought the problem was solved.

But Mama Possum left behind thirteen baby problems. THIRTEEN!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Wednesday, February 9

Imperative Sentences

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 

Impress them on your children. 

Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, 

when you lie down and when you get up. 

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 

Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The verses above are found in the old testament, in Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verses 5-9. These are powerful words to me as I go about raising my children. (Read Deuteronomy 6).

Almost every line starts with a command. Going back to grade school grammar, they are called imperative sentences. "An imperative sentence or command tells someone to do something. [A sentence that] gives advice or instructions or that expresses a request or command" (thank you Wikapedia).

Tuesday, February 8

Without Looking

Read  Job 28:12-28

Homeschooling a kindergartener is an interesting undertaking to say the least. Most recently, we’ve started a spelling list. While not an exhaustive process at only four words a week, it is a bold new challenge in our world. Day one I explained to my son that he would copy each word three times every day and then on Friday, he would have to write the word without looking.

He gave me that look. The one that says, Oh please. This is too easy.

“I can do it without looking now, Mom.” He said.

“Don’t worry about that yet,” I told him. The object is for him to practice writing as well as to learn how to spell the word. “Just copy the words for now. You’ll get your chance to do it on your own.”

He set about his work, and I set about mine for the 30 seconds it took for him to finish word one. He gleefully handed me his paper. “I did it without looking, Mom!”

The word was THE. Upon close inspection, all the right lines were there. A straight line down here, a slide right there, a circle back… but it was really a mess. They were sort of grouped together, but not a single line intersected anywhere. I was confused. His penmanship is by no means masterful, but I was surprised by the disaster I was looking at.

“What’s going on with this, bud?” I asked.

“I did it without looking!” He snatched the paper back and proceeded to demonstrate for the next word. With his left hand over his eyes, holding the page in place with his elbows, he carefully formed the lines necessary for the word OF. Not even close!

Once I regained my composure, I explained to him more thoroughly what I meant to say—that he wouldn’t have the words to copy, not that he couldn’t look at his paper. And as I recounted the tale to my husband, his reply was essentially, “That’ll preach.”

Because we all do it.

God gives us instructions, and we jump on in with both feet to do what we think he meant. We forget to copy him. We skip the practice part and want to go straight to the doing part.

Jesus sums up the parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16) by saying, ““Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (v 10). The little is as boring and tedious as copying the word THE three times a day, but it’s a very necessary part of the learning process. It’s studying before the test; the drops that precede the downpour.

It’s tempting to do power through the day by day without looking at the Source. Some days, doing it on our own steam doesn’t seem so difficult. We take comfort in knowing the Source is out there, but we can handle today “without looking” to Him. Little do we know our lines are all over the place. We are supposed to be practicing for the “much” that will surely come our way. We will need more than ever to have practiced copying from the Original when that time comes.

Consider your Source today.

By Andrea

Monday, February 7

A "thank you" that lasts.

Read Psalm 118

"Thank you" isn't an unfamiliar phrase in my vocabulary. My parents taught it to me when I was young, along with "please," "excuse me," and "I'm sorry." "Thank you" is easy to say. I have said it often, felt it often, thought it often. I take "thank you" for granted.

I am reading a book called "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are," by Ann Voskamp. This isn't an easy fiction read like I am usually drawn to. I'm only part way into it, but already I highly recommend it. Instead of being taken away by a novel's story, I'm seeing my own story in a different light.

 "Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

Sarah Ban Breathnach

This morning I was reading the book, a chapter delving into thankfulness, when my 6 year old daughter  came down the stairs. It was 7:02am. Her hair was in a dither and her eyes were scrunched as they decided between sleep and the lightness of  day. Her groggy voice said, "I slept right 'till seven." She has always been our clock-work kid with her self-imposed schedules.

She came close to my chair to look at the book in my hand.

"I'm reading about thankfulness. What are you thankful for?" I asked her, curious about her answer.

Friday, February 4

The Bigger Picture

Read Matthew 25:31-46

Dart Throwing. . . Because We Don't Naturally View Things As God Does

by Allysa (borrowed with permission from Resovled2Worship).

I was reading a story about a professor who set up on object lesson for his seminary class. . .

He asked as each came in to draw a picture of someone that they disliked, or were angry at or had hurt them and they were unable to love.

On the wall of the class room was a big target and there was a table with lots of darts.

Each person drew a picture - one drew a picture of a woman who had stolen her man, another drew a picture of a sibling. Another drew a picture of a former friend who had betrayed her. You get the idea.

The professor told the students they were welcome to put their pictures on the wall and he would allow them to throw the darts at them. The students began throwing their darts - some very forcefully to the point of the targets nearly ripping to shreds. It became quite the excitable time and everyone began laughing.

Then it was time to be seated. The professor began removing the student made targets from the wall. Underneath was a picture of Jesus.

Thursday, February 3

I'll Get Right on That

Read Revelation 4 (The Prize)

“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction,” and apparently it is paved…

With good intentions.

The last part isn’t exactly Biblical. It’s true though. Good intentions did not get my laundry folded yesterday. They also don’t get birthday cards in the mail, phone calls made or books read to children.

Spiritual discipline is not something most of us want to think about when we also have small children running around under our feet while we juggle all the balls we have in the air. Adding one more--spiritual discipline—threatens to topple the whole side show. In reality, getting that one figured out brings the rest of it into balance.

And this objective of mine, trying to overcome the compulsive need to procrastinate is a step on the road to discipline. There are days I feel as though I am in bootcamp facing an obstacle course. Instead of walls to climb, ropes to swing from and barbed wire to crawl under, I face patience tested, unending services to be rendered and things that really need to get done on time.

I want to break down on the sidelines and cry like a girl. It’s just too much!

Wednesday, February 2

Keep Score No More (Part 2).

It's not for lack of inspiration! Really, read I Corinthians 13 again and see what verses jump out and smack you in the face.

For part one, click here.

God's word says, "Love keeps no record of wrong," yet time and time again I was disobeying this recommendation. To God it looks like I read his Word and then walked away and forgot about it. He says,

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).

Are my petty grievances against my husband (or anyone else for that matter) more important than obedience?

It was time to take a look at  the “love chapter” again in First Corinthians chapter 13. This verse jumped out to me as I read:

"Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 

it keeps no record of wrongs" 

(vs. 5, NIV).

Tuesday, February 1

Love Doesn't Keep Score.

Read I Corinthians 13 (I know, I know. You've heard/read it a bazzillion times. But I'm telling you, there is a lot to see there if you give it a fresh look!)

Love doesn’t keep score.

We’ve heard it before. Probably even thought, “That’s a good idea.” Actually living it is another story.

My pastor told me and my soon-to-be-husband “love doesn’t keep score” while we went through 6 weeks of pre-marriage counseling. It was sound advice and it comes from the “love chapter” in First Corinthians, chapter 13, “It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (Verse 5).

The pastor gave us lots of good guidance that we smiled and nodded at as we clutched one another’s hands thinking more about wedded bliss than potential marital problems. “You each give 100% all the time and never keep score and you will have no problems in your marriage,” he told us. I’m sure we sighed and looked into each other’s eyes. “Sure. No problem.” All the while thinking, “When is this over so we can go make-out in the car?”