Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is a Felon -- My Confession Is Written Below

In seventh grade I committed a felony. Yep, there you have it. I confess.

In seventh grade I was diagnosed as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). The diagnosis in the early 80s was not as prevalent as it is today, and my parents had to get educated real quick. It was a bizarre time in my life. I knew I was different that the other kids. I knew it was easier for me to be around adults than it was for kids my own age. I realized that by the end of a football game all the other cheerleaders would be exhausted, but I was raring for more. In the mornings, it looked like a wrestling match had taken place by Sumu wrestlers. I didn’t know what impulsive meant. I called it being spontaneous…and wasn’t it great and fun? I made As and Bs at Calvary except in math. I struggled beyond belief. It didn’t matter how much I tried I could not get above a C.

The day I was caught, I was in school and my math teacher pulled me into the hall. Mrs. Honea, who is now the principal at Calvary, stood maybe 5’ 2”…maybe. She never raised her head to look up at a student, but she would roll her dark brown eyes upward and could bore a hole in you as she handled whatever situation that had arisen in class. On this particular day…I was the situation. Mrs. Honea had my math test in her hand and asked if my mom had signed it. My mom’s name was on the paper alright, and I had done my best to make it look like hers. But when you use a pencil to forge your mother’s signature on the ride to school, you are doomed to fail! I had committed a forgery on a math test where I had made a BIG, FAT F. Yep, there were a lot of conversations and consequences after that little jewel came to light.

When I failed that test, I had a choice to make…buck up and face the consequences OR try to skirt the unpleasantness. Once I made the choice to be deceitful, I had another choice. Do I tell the truth when confronted? Yes, Mrs. Honea, I forged my mom’s signature on the way to school this morning. OR Do I lie? Knowing the consequences aren’t going to get any better, I opted for telling the truth after fishtailing and squirming for what seemed hours (but I’m sure it was only a second). It’s amazing how quick your life can flash before you when you’ve only lived to see the seventh grade!

While reading about Creation in Genesis 2, I read about God creating two trees in the center of the Garden of Eden – the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. THE ONLY INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING EITHER WAS REGARDING THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. God specifically told Adam this instruction. Eve wasn’t even created yet! Might as well have told him not to run with scissors in his hands! (Just kidding. He didn’t have scissors, but you get my point.)

I used to wonder why in the world God would even create such a tree if He knew it would not have good results. Options. Choices. He wanted to give Adam the opportunity to choose. Do you love me and obey me, or do you love yourself more? Remember the prior blogs about God’s relationship with Adam…God planted a garden…for Adam. Adam doesn’t know anyone else but God. It’s not like he has been influenced by his peers or by the media. He was a blank slate. He was pure.

Another thing I wonder about is how did Eve learn of “THE” rule? Did Adam tell her, or was she created with this knowledge? The Bible doesn’t say. Doesn’t really matter other than she misquotes the rule.

I remember when Pearce was little he was an explorer of his environment, and he was intrigued with the place where we plugged in our electrical devices. He could pop those covers off in no time flat. Child proof, my eye! Adult proof is more like it. Anyway, I would pull his round, little body away from the outlet and place a couple of wonderful toys in front of him…toys he loved. Where would I find him in no time at all? Back at the wall, popping the cover off. He was curious. He knew I had popped his roly poly hand before, but he was determined to find out what was the deal with that outlet. Adam was just like that. God gave Adam a choice. God placed the Tree of Life right there in front of him, but we don’t ever hear of Adam eating from it. Adam’s own naiveness and choice to go along instead of lead by making the right choice led to the ultimate fall of mankind. Yes, Eve was tempted, and she failed, but Adam had been entrusted with the information and when given the opportunity to choose to follow the rule or not, he failed.

Just like Adam and Eve whose choice led to their spiritual death and eventually their physical death, we make decisions regularly that give life or death. Death to a relationship. Death to a dream. Life to a relationship. Life to a dream. We will never know what would have happened if Adam and Eve had chosen to eat from the other tree, but what we do know is that their choice determined what happens next in history – CONSEQUENCES. We face consequences for our choices as well.

Did God still love them? Absolutely. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have made coverings for them. Did God abandon them? The rest of the Bible tells you God never forsake them or their offspring. God just wants you to choose Him. Choose to love Him. Choose to obey Him. He wants you to choose life.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Do you remember seeing the world through your first born’s eyes? Do you remember seeing the wonder in their eyes? Do you remember the excitement they expressed when they discovered something new to them?

I used to say that I should have named Erin, “Rose” from the Scarlett Letter. It has nothing to do with the character of her mother, but rather, the character description of Rose herself. Rose could see right to the heart of a matter, and she would say things that would prick her mother’s heart and conscience. Rose was a quirky little person and made her own discoveries along the way. Erin was a lot like that as a toddler and young child. I remember when she would discover something new, she was so expressive. (This should have been my clue that she would be theatrical, but I was na├»ve.) As a baby I could put a new toy in front of her and show her how it worked, and her eye brows would go up in perfect arches and her mouth would purse into a perfect, small “o.” Her chubby little hands with the dimpled knuckles would clap, and her roly-poly legs would bump up and down on the floor. I would watch where her eyes to see what caught her fancy on the new toy, and she would laugh a hardy laugh. I loved exposing her to new things, new foods, new sounds. She was just so much fun.

Pearce, on the other hand, is a very different child. He isn’t happy just looking at a new thing. NNNNOOOOOO!!!!! I would put a new toy in front of him as a baby or as a toddler and his dark eyes would bore a whole into it as I showed him what the toy did. He didn’t squeal with excitement. He didn’t even necessarily try to use the toy as I had showed him. Pearce was more interested in taking it apart or ramming it into another object making sounds for it as it was forced into the collision. I remember putting a couple of Erin’s baby dolls in front of Pearce when he was just sitting up. Before I could get up or do anything, he was making car sounds and smashing them together. (I didn’t teach him that.) When he got older and I knew he wouldn’t put things in his mouth, we started buying him little cars with tires and parts. It wasn’t long till all the tires were off the rims; the doors were disconnected; and other pieces would be missing.

I was reminded of these experiences when I was reading Genesis 2. God was bringing the animals before Adam to be named. Keep in mind, Adam had just been created. He had no knowledge or had experiences from the zoo to have seen these animals before. I imagine it brought God great joy to see Adam’s face as each animal was brought to him to name. Was Adam like Erin – all wide-eyed, expressing his awe in ooohs? Was he like Pearce running his hands over the face of the animal, lifting it’s wing or leg, pulling the animal’s tail, inspecting in its mouth? I wonder if God laughed. I know I used to laugh when my kids were exploring and learning about their environment. It gave me such joy.

I hope God gets pleasure seeing my face when I discover something about Him, His Word or His Creation. How often do you discover something new in God’s Word? Do you His love letter to you as if it was your first time, or do you read it like, “This is the story of Creation; I’ve heard it a hundred times before.”

My prayer is that you will be revived in your study of the Bible and that you will read it as if it was for the first time. I pray that you read the Bible and put yourself in the shoes of one who is in the story or maybe from God’s perspective as our Heaven Parent. The Bible is as fresh and relevant today as the day it was written. It’s the people who read who have gotten stale and hard-hearted. Just like God breathed life into Adam, I pray that you will accept God’s breath of life into your relationship with Him.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Planting a Garden

B.C. (Before children) when we lived in Belton, I had a beautiful rose garden comprising of five generous rose bushes, one of which was the easy living rose. The raised flower bed had a picket fence to keep the dogs out and hanging moss rose hung over the edge of the bed. I also had an iris bed with bulbs of three varieties including an iris with a dark purple beard. I loved my flowers. They required attention and grooming. Weeding and feeding.

I guess that is probably the last time I had a beautiful flower bed. Pearce and I tried to grow a small garden in a raised bed last year, but that was the year of the drought, so we were not successful. I used to really enjoy gardening, and someday when my children when my children are too big for my lap, when they don’t need a driver, when they don’t need me as their alarm clock and cook, I’ll get back to having a beautiful flower bed.

I started reminiscing about my beautiful flower garden while reading in Genesis 2. In verse 8, it says, “God planted a garden.” I wonder what he chose as His favorite to put into the garden or what He put into it because it would intrigue Adam. He created this perfect garden Eden (means delight) knowing Adam would only enjoy it for a little while. Were they flowers like those I saw in Hawaii? How unique or interesting were they? Or were they simple because Adam had never known flowers anyway?

We know according to chapter 2 that God cause the ground to grow trees pleasing to look at and producing fruit. It was a garden with plenty of water resources with the Tigris and Euphrates, Pishon and Havilah, and as Pearce and I learned this past summer, water is crucial for a good garden. God also put the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in this garden. Why? That’s another upcoming blog. And what would have happened if they had eaten of the tree of life instead of the other? (Don’t expect a blog on that because that would just be supposition and unintelligent guessing on my part. There was gold, aromatic resin and onyx (vs 12). God’s garden was beautiful, life sustaining, and aromatic. It touched the senses of man – sight, taste, smell. Don’t you know how it must have pleased God to give this to Adam?! (Every good and perfect gift – James 1:17.)

People have wondered and tried to pinpoint where Eden was, but it’s really hard to know since the flood very well could have altered the geographical layout of the rivers and moved sediment to form land where there wasn’t once land. The point here is that God planted a garden for man, and just because mankind ruined it by choosing to eat from the wrong tree doesn’t mean that God has taken away the marvel and beautiful of his creation. It’s still there, but are you too busy to notice it.

I also noticed God wanted Adam to tend to the garden…this was before the fall. Adam was to be responsible and attentive to something other than himself. God was teaching him skills Adam would need later. God grew a garden to prepare Adam because he knew Adam would make the wrong choice at some time and need to know what to do next. (I’m getting ahead of myself…that’s in that upcoming blog I talked about earlier.)

Adam served God by tending the garden…what a wonderful way to serve! For me, gardening used to be therapy after a stressful day at work, and it was pleasure. I’m sure it was Adam’s pleasure to tend the garden God provided…surely. But how often do we become discontent with the “garden”/life that God has provided us? Often times the life or garden God has chosen for us is destroyed by our own decisions and the weeds we allow to come in and penetrate our hearts. It goes back to choices…that next blog thing.

The point of this blog is God planted a garden. When God provided this garden it was His best, His favorites, and His provision for Adam. I hope you don’t miss the beauty in God’s handiwork today. I hope that you see something new as if for the first time. I hope you wonder.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Redneck Takes His Two Daughters Camping and...

I want order in my life. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spontaneity in my life from time-to-time. You couldn’t have lived in my house growing up and not appreciate daddy’s spontaneity. As a matter of fact, one Friday night when I was probably in the fifth or sixth grade, daddy said, “Let’s go camping.” I don’t remember what time he said this, but Lori and I jumped at the opportunity because daddy assured us we’d have fun, and he told us of this place that had a rope that we could swing over the bayou and jump in. SOOOO, we threw our things together and hopped into the truck and left. Mom had better sense and stayed home. We didn’t check the weather. We didn’t need directions because daddy knew where this place was. I’m sure we stopped somewhere to buy junk food for the weekend, and I’m sure we listened to music and laughed all the way down there. Ever heard “ignorance is bliss?” Yep, it’s going to be like that.

As we were unloading the truck, it started to sprinkle. No big deal. He assured us we weren’t made of sugar. We wouldn’t melt. We got the tent set up in the rain, and by the time we got into the tent with our things, it was a MONSOON! The wind was whipping the walls of the tent in and out. The rain was beating down on the top of the tent. AND THERE WE SAT. As the storm got worse, we became more and more alarmed. Did I mention we didn’t check the weather? Daddy made an executive decision. We were going home. It just wasn’t safe to be under these trees in a tent in the lightning and high winds and pouring rain. SOOOOO, we load our things back into the truck in the monsoon. Somewhere there is a Polaroid picture of the three of us with stupid grins on our faces, drenched to the skin, wet as a dog. We shivered the rest of the way home. The next morning when we got up, we heard on the news that a tornado had gone over us on Dorcheat Bayou (or however you spell it). A TORNADO! Yes, spontaneity can be fun. It can be exciting. It can be an adventure, and I wouldn’t swap my adventures for anything, but there is something to be said for order and peace.

While meditating on the creation and studying the creation, there is something that caught my attention, God didn’t create His menagerie of animals before He created the earth. He didn’t create the birds of the air before the trees were established. He didn’t create plant life before there was light. He didn’t do things all willy-nilly. He didn’t wing it. 1Corinthians 14:33 says, “since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” Where there is order, where there is God there is peace. Do you have order in your life? Is God an active part in your life? If you do, then you know of the peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).

Spontaneity has its place in life, but I want the core of my life to be peaceful. Even in the roughest of storms in life, we can have peace knowing that God is in control…WE MAY NOT BE IN CONTROL (which is an illusion and misnomer anyway), but He most definitely is in control…if we allow Him. So, do you want that peace? Do you want order? Seek God.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Number is 11

What is the perfect number?

    No, I’m not thinking 10, as in Bo Derek.

        No, I’m not thinking about the number you chose for sports – mine was always 11.

           No, I’m not thinking of a size 4 or 6.

              No, I’m not thinking of the perfect age.

                The perfect number is the number for completion in the Bible – 7.

One of the reasons I have the ladies mark their Bibles is because sometimes we miss the patterns and clues God has left for us in His Word. I’m still in Genesis chapter one, and do you know how many times in my Bible it is written, “it was good?” Seven.

How many days were there in all described in the story of Creation? Seven.

The God who spoke creation into being saw, “it was good” – not great, not awesome, not fantastic. Good. It was good. If anyone could take pride in His work, it would be God. He made something from nothing. He didn’t make a prototype before creating the original, and yet, He called His creation “good.”

A perfect, complete God – nothing ever created will ever be better than the One who created it/him/her. Have you ever baked a cake from scratch or built a piece of furniture? Is it more valuable than you? Of course not.

Our Creator is perfect. He knew what was going to happen before time even began. Our Creator is all-knowing – omniscient. Our Creator is full of grace and mercy and takes time to see His creation for what it is. Our Creator took His time in creating each individual. The verse in Psalm 139 says that God knitted you while you were still in your mother’s womb. I’ve seen a man’s play classical guitar with his feet. I’ve seen a woman paint an elaborate picture holding the paintbrush with her mouth, but I’ve never seen anyone knit with anything other than their hands. And for the record, knitting takes a lot of time especially when you follow intricate patterns.

Some people may think they are god. Some may feel like they are a god (probably not anyone on the LSU team right now). But truth is, they are not. God is God. He is bigger than us. He is bigger than any situation that may arise. He is bigger than any problem that occurs. He is bigger than any wrong committed against us. The bottom line is do you trust Him with your problem, with your pain, with your crisis?

Another thing, God is perfect, and He knows we are not. He knew that before He created us, and He created us anyway. Isn’t that something for which to be thankful? He created us anyway knowing He would have to sacrifice His Son if He created us, AND THEN HE CREATED US ANYWAY! We cause Him such grief and heartache at times, but His love for us never changes – it’s perfect. If you have asked Jesus to come into your life, you can rest assured that there will never be a day in your life that you don’t have God with you hemming you in from the front and the back (Ps 139 – love that chapter). He’s got you covered.

I am so thankful for a perfect God who created me with such an overwhelming love. Aren’t you?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Working an Oven Is Hard Work

The first house Patrick and I ever bought was in Plano, Texas. We bought it from some friends of ours who was having to relocate with the company. It was a three bedroom, two baths, but the selling point for me was the fireplace in the master bedroom. In this particular neighborhood, the garages and driveways were accessed by alleys behind the homes. Our neighbor directly behind us was Monocom Block. He and his family were Orthodox Jews. I learned a lot about the Jewish religious holidays because I would read about them as our neighbors would celebrate.

One particular evening, Patrick drove up and parked his little, white Mitsubishi pickup truck into the driveway. He exited his vehicle, and our neighbor Mr. Block approached Patrick. This was the only conversation they ever had with us.

Walking up, Mr. Block introduced himself to Patrick and told Patrick his oven was on.

        Confused, Patrick said okay.

            Mr. Block reiterated the fact his oven was on.

                Patrick asked, “Do you want me to turn it off?”

                    Mr. Block turned and walked away, and Patrick followed trying to keep up. This was the only time either of us was invited into their home…not that Patrick was exactly invited.

                   Patrick turned off the oven, and there was no acknowledgement or gratitude. Patrick turned and left.

See, the Jewish Sabbath had started. Their Sabbath starts in the evening, and they are not permitted to do any work. Turning off the oven was considered work in Mr. Block’s eyes…and according to some of the women in my class, they consider it work too!

Genesis 1:5, “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.” (NIV) Genesis 1:2, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…”

Sometimes our new beginnings are birthed in the darkness.

Sometimes our trials begin without having any form to our knowledge.

But God loves us too much to leave us in the dark. A verse that I have clung to these past five or so years is Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by the ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” I am no theologian or Biblical scholar, but so far, I’ve never seen an incident where God leads His child from the light into the darkness. He brings his children from the darkness of night into the light of day.

If you are seeking God and His will for your life, has He ever left you in the dark or where you sat?

Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

God may have rested on the seventh day, but He didn’t quit. He’s actively participating in our lives if we allow Him. Do you want to see daylight in your problem, your trial, your journey? Seek Him and have confidence that He will never leave you or forsake you where you are and that He will continue to work things out for the good of those who believe in Him (Romans 8:28).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times..."

I have purchased a digital recorder. I have recorded several phrases into it, and if you are a parent, you’ll appreciate these. “Don’t touch your sibling.” “Take your complaining somewhere else.” “Your face will freeze like that.” “Go to your room.” I get so tired of repeating myself, but I might as well be talking to the wall because no one else seems to listen.

While studying Genesis 1, there was something that I noticed. There are a couple of patterns. The first pattern I saw came in verse 3, “God said…” These words appear in verses 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, and 29, and what typically follows? “And it was so.” His Word is so powerful that whatever He says is so. Obviously, my word does not carry that kind of power. If it did, I would be saying things like, “I’m physically fit” --- and it was so. If my word was that powerful, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself to my children, and they would be little angels all the time.

Just because God ceases to say something like, “You are a beast of the field,” doesn’t mean it stops being the beast of the field. He says it one time, and His Word sustains that created being and the generations to come. How often do we need God’s reassurance? Over and over and over again. Kinda there myself right now to be perfectly honest.

His Word sustains what He creates. Do you rely on God’s Word to sustain you? You are one of His creations. His Word is POWERFUL. His Word SUSTAINS. His Word is the Bread of Life.

Are you looking for something consistent? Are you wanting something secure? Then dive into His Word for yourself. Don’t wait for a Beth Moore or your pastor to tell you what it says or what to believe. Find out for yourself how the Word of God can sustain you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Erin Turns 11, but It Took 13+ individuals to make it happen -- go figure

How many were involved in your conception, your birth? Most would say two (your parents). Some would say three (your parents and God). What if I told you my daughter has 13+?

Like everyone she has two biological parents, but she also has two adoptive parents. If you are counting, we are up to four.

Then there is Ramona Sanders, Debbie Wilson, Jill McWilliams, Jennifer McLemore, Debby Ash, Debbie Stuart, and Jeanne Nyman. These seven women embarked on a prayer journey in March of 2000. These women are who we call Erin’s “Praying Seven.” The week they began praying for my husband and I to become parents and for the baby we would adopt, Erin was conceived – those are some potent prayers. So we are up to eleven.

Honey is the one who was led by the Spirit to these seven ladies and would send letters to each of them with directions on what to pray and how to pray. Twelve.

The only One who could orchestrate such a miracle – God. Thirteen.

The adoption agency and the miracle workers at the hospital – you never know how many God actually uses to calm the nerves of the adoptive parents, the birth parents and of the baby to be adopted...the plus.

Each child has a story, and their story begins before conception. Psalm 139 is a chapter that I claimed for my daughter before her birth.

I encourage every woman I meet to journal. You never know what you are going to see when you look back into your history, your child's history or the history of your family. God is sooooo good, but too often we miss His touch. We miss His hand working because it is always working.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Your Origin Is a Point from Which to Rise -- just don't shake the family tree too hard

My family tree isn’t one you go shakin’, if you know what I mean, and that’s assuming that you are assuming that my family tree has branches. Regardless, you just don’t know what nuts will fall or what kind of nut may hit you on the way down. While I do have a semblance of a family tree mapped out on both sides of my family, there was a family tree that intrigued me much more when I was growing up – Greek mythology. I know! Totally bizarre, isn’t it?

When I was young, I had very little interest in reading mainly because nothing caught my attention long enough for me to sit down and even attempt to focus. But one day in the library at school, I stumbled upon a Greek mythology book. I loved it. It stirred my imagination, and the pictures were so vivid. I’d like to tell you about one of these mythological figures. Her name is Phoebe. Hang with me! I promise we’ll get there.

Phoebe wasn’t a well-known goddess, but she was a “Titan goddess” and the “mother of Asteria and Leto, among other children.” “Phoebe, the goddess of intellect, was married to Koios.” She was the grandmother of Artemis and Apollo – those names may be more familiar. Some have believed she was the “goddess of the moon,” but Artemis was the moon god. (1) Phoebe’s name actually meant “bright” which some may say relates to her intellect, and others say due to being connected to the moon god.

I know this has to seem out of left field, but I promise you there is a point to my digging into the name of Phoebe. You see, there was a Phoebe in the Bible, and there are only two verses written about her. I wondered if someone was given an opportunity to write two verses about me what would it say about my life? Paul minces no words.

Knowing she was a convert, I wanted to know possible connections to her name and its origin. It is very common for children who are adopted to want to know about their origins. Origins give you something from which to rise, and for some, something from which to overcome. You cannot change your origins. It is part of who you are, but it does not have to define your future. Phoebe, in the Bible, discovered just this.

The first thing I noticed in Romans 16:1-2 about Phoebe is that Paul is giving her a letter of recommendation. Phoebe is not only a convert (a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ), but she is a servant. She did not sit on her laurels and become a fat, lazy, baby Christian. In my daughter’s devotional, it said Phoebe was a deacon/deaconess. This piqued my interest, so I did more digging. Diakonon = SERVANT in this scripture. “It has been transliterated into English as a deacon or deaconess.”(2) You know what this tells me? It tells me she became educated in the Word of God and in her faith. If she did hold the position of deaconess, then she applied the Word to her life and lived it through ministry and service. I have to tell you, I really like this chic.

Phoebe was a giver, a provider, a benefactor. One may even surmise she was wealthy and maybe even a business woman. Think about it – she hung out with Priscilla and Aquila. She was traveling without a documented spouse. Traveling involved more than going to Priceline.com or Travelocity.com and getting a ticket. Traveling was grueling and tiresome. It was physical, and yet, Phoebe did it.

Unlike other converts in her time, Phoebe kept her Greek name. She did not change it to a Christian name. There is something to be said about knowing who you are, knowing where you came from, and knowing that God loves you then, now and throughout infinity. She didn’t see her name or her history as a hindrance. She saw them as a point from which to rise.

I love how Paul asks the sisters and brothers in Christ in Rome to welcome Phoebe “in a manner worthy of the saints” – yet another way he showed she was to be respected and honored. You noticed he didn’t give all of Phoebe’s history or past. He didn’t write, “Oh friends in Rome, although Phoebe was once a lost Greek who committed the sin of having another god before the God, she has now seen the Light.” No, it’s none of their business to know what her past is, and it is her past should she be willing to share it. Paul obviously respected and appreciate Phoebe for who she was in Christ right then and how faithful she was in her service. Can anyone say that about you?

Phoebe was definitely bright. She applied herself. She handled things. She ministered to many. She’s my kinda gal. I think we need more Phoebes in the church and in the body of Christ. Don’t you?

(1) http://www.ehow.com/about_4566180_phoebe-greek-mythology.html

(2) Patterson, Dorothy Kelley & Kelley, Rhonda Harrington: Women’s Evangelical Commentary New Testament

(3) Acts 18:18 documents Paul being in Cenchrea with Priscilla and Aquila who are mentioned in Romans 16:3.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Day, A New Year, New Beginnings

First day of school with new pencils and pens and fresh notebooks that have yet to be doodle on.

A new morning after a fresh layer of snow had fallen the night before.

Starting a new job.

Buying your first car or first home.

Relocating to a new city.

New beginnings. I love them. I’m so thankful that God’s mercies are new each and every day giving each day a new beginning (Lam 3:23).

Since this is January 1st, I thought I’d look at beginnings. You know, “In the beginning God…” (Gen 1:1).

At the beginning of every journey, every trial, every phase – GOD. But how often do we look to God first?

He was there before we made a decision to end one journey to start another. He was there before the trial was inflicted upon us. He was there before we entered into any new phase in our life. Maybe we should say, “Before the beginning GOD.”

God chose to create each of us because of His love for us. He knew the sacrifice He’d have to make, and He still chose to create us any way. We get our value, our worth from Him because He is our Creator and the lover of our souls. It pleases Him to maintain a healthy, ongoing relationship with His children, but He is just as thrilled when one of His wayward children returns. He offers us a fresh start over and over – He’s generous that way.

Genesis 1:2, “the Earth was without form and void.” If it didn’t have shape, what did it look like before God got ahold of it? What does your life look like before God gets ahold of it? “During the second and third days of creation, God gave form to the universe, during the next three days, God filled the earth with living beings”(1). Beginning a journey or trek in your life, often times it lacks form. It lacks definition. You don’t know where God is leading. You don’t know what God is doing. You have absolutely no control. You just have to take that first step. That first step of faith that when you put your foot out there you feel ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOTHING, and yet He wants you to put your weight on it. And without fail, when you put your weight on that foot, where there was once nothing there is now the Rock of your Salvation. If we allow Him to, God will give our journey, our trek, our trial, our life definition and form. The definition and shape He wants it to have in order to meet the needs in His Kingdom and the needs in your life.

Not only will He shape your journey, your dreams, but He’s the One who fills them with light. Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These things I will do; I will not forsake them" (NIV). God knows exactly where He wants to lead you in this new year, this journey. Are you willing to follow? He wants to get you off those crooked paths you are on to get you back on a path He has planned for you -- the best path.

God’s Creation had an order. He didn’t make the land animals before solidifying the earth. He didn’t make the plants before He made light. So has He ordained every day of your life (Psalms 139:16). You may not understand the order – that’s okay. It’s not yours to understand. It is yours to obey.

The thing about the Christian journey is that God pours Himself into it, into the person. During the journey from this new beginning, we are to reflect Him, His holiness, and His love. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them to reflect himself.

Not only was there order to His creation, but God provides. God graciously gives us people in our lives to help us along our journey from that new beginning. They aren’t perfect, but neither are we. We should never put those people in our lives ahead of our God. They should not be placed on pedestals because there is to be no other God. You are to follow God alone, and to thank Him for those whom He chooses to add to our lives that help us along our way.

And then God rested – what should that tell us about our journeys, our treks, our trials? If God rests, then we in our weak, frail and sinful form must rest.

I have been so richly blessed with the women God has chosen to put into my life – some for a lifetime, some for a season and some for a reason.

My class has held me accountable whether they realized it or not. Just knowing I would be sitting in front of them on Sunday morning, encouraged and challenged me to go deeper, to grow deeper, to be as prepared as I possibly could be. Thank you for allowing me to the human and transparent.

Now God is calling me and my family to a new beginning. I believe there will be a season of rest and restoration as we search for the place God would have my whole family serve Him.

The women in the class aren’t to follow me, but rather to learn to follow Him, and I pray they’ve learned how to feed themselves from the Bread of Life. The best witness to this effect is when the class continues on and continues to mature in their faith. Make sure you follow your Creator and not a person.

1 Life Application Study Bible King James Version. Tyndale. (Pg 5)