Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grass is always greener......

Anyone have the 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome?   Have you ever thought "I wish I had that house", "I wish I had that yard", "I wish I had that dress", "I wish I could lose weight", etc.   I always viewed it as something innocent and not that big of a deal.

I find my list always revolving around   "I wish I could go to FL to hang with my sister", "I wish I was retired so I could do what I want", "I wish I was married and had my own kids", and "I wish I could get all my projects done".  Overall I love my life and am blessed BEYOND what I deserve!  I find that when I am tired and overwhelmed that I begin to focus on an escape to my present circumstances.  Which in reality is kind of idiotic because "wishing" does not alleviate the exhaustion, rather it only makes me more agitated!

Ok, so I do have some of the common wish that I could lose weight and look better in my clothes.  I recently saw a picture of myself at a family wedding reception dancing the HokeyPokey with my little cousins.  All I can say is that Steel Magnolia's quote "Looks like two pigs fightin' under a blanket" instantly came to mind!!!!  But I digress!   

What seems innocent enough is a BIG issue to God.  In my quiet time He has brought it to my attention that the "grass is greener"  purely boils down to covetousness.   OOUUCCHH!!!  So I knew that I needed to learn more about what He says about coveting because it must be a big deal to God.

God listed it in His 10 Commandments so that alone tells us it is an important issue.  Too often we look at that list as a "control issue" over us but it is not.  That list of items is about protecting us from some really bad stuff!   That commandment clearly states that we are not to covet anything of someone else's.  Notes in my Bible define 'covet' as desiring with an evil motivation.  Upon reading that I thought nothing about my wishes are evil...then I realized that my desires are about my control, to live comfortably,  and to say that His plan for my life just does not measure up to mine!  OK, anything that would separate me from God would be evil and that is truly what my desires would do!   Ephesians 5:5 equates it with greed and idolatry.  Ps 10:3 informs us that the Lord abhors covetous people.  "Abhor" is a very strong word!  It is defined in the dictionary as "regard with disgust and hatred".  Again OOUUCCHH!

Another thing that I noticed in my study made me pause.  While coveting is not a good practice for anyone, God was most of the time speaking of the importance for His people avoiding it.  Several passages refer to those who are saved and sanctified by Jesus but who choose to follow their covetous heart.  He states that you are not to keep company with that person. 

Why is it a big issue?  
a)  it is a choice that seperates us from God
       2 Timothy 3:2  "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" have a form of godliness but deny
       the power thereof,  2 Peter 2:14 habitual choices to put themselves into coveting and/or not 
       taking it serious enough to damage it causes.  It may not seem like such a big deal but that choice
       is just the beginning step that leads down a slippery slope towards all sorts of other BIG issues. 
      Too often in my life I have realized that the little "insignificant" choices are truly the critical "oh, I will skip exercising just for today".  Ha, we all know where that has led!

b) it causes damage to others
      1 Corinthians 5:10 provide a false testimony of Christ to unbelievers.  If we are fretting or
      displeased about our lot in life then what would draw others to Him?  Our biggest purpose is
      same as the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20...teaching others about Him.  If we are too focused on
      ourselves than we aren't able to do our job.

c)  life is not for our fleshly desires
        Luke 12:15  man's life does not consist of  'possessions' because all of it can be gone in an 
        instant!!!   This has all been brought home as I sit here with my mom in ICU...a rare
        complication to her heart stint which led to an open heart surgery to repair 2 holes in her heart
        of which only 0.5 of 10 people survive!  Boy, could I care less about all those previous "I
        wish_________" now! 


How fix:
     I know that the only thing that helps me is God's Word and a Bible teaching church.  Immersing
     myself in God's Word steadies my mind and heart no matter what is happening around me. 
    Colossians 3: 5, 10   When you are going through a life crisis it is crucial to be part of a strong
    body of believers who offer you support before, during, and after it.  One of the ways they support
    you is through prayer which will carry you through.  The beauty of being a believer is that there is
    also a bigger network of prayer warriors out there than you can imagine!  I have heard from so
    many people/friends who attend other churches about how they are praying fervently for my
    mother!   Anyone heard the new song "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down?  Wow, does that
    song sum up my praying through this journey!

    But as I said before it is all about choice.  Josh 24:15   From the beginning He has always given us
    our own way!  He wants us to love and trust him wholeheartedly!  Isn't that what we all want?  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tug of War

So it is officially final.....I will be going back into school today to work on my room.  I had hoped to be in there by 9 but I am dragging my feet.  I am starting to feel that knot of "needing" to be in 2 places at once!  I am finding lots of little things that need attention here while feeling that I need to bite the bullet and leave for my classroom.  I hate that "tug of war" feeling!

Funny how my quiet time in Matthew 16 was about the same topic!  Peter is one that I can't wait to meet in heaven because  I so can relate to him!  His life is an example of the dichotomy of being a Christian.  Once you have accepted Christ as your Savior you have the Holy Spirit inside.  However, the new you is still surrounded by the flesh...the habits/personality/choices of the person you were prior.  Talk about a Tug of War!!!!!

New Testament has several examples of Peter's tug of war between his spiritual and his flesh.  Matthew 16:16 demonstrates Peter having divine knowledge of who Jesus truly was.  But yet in a short time(vs 21-23) Jesus refers to him as Satan when Peter was acting out of his flesh.  Peter was trying to correct Jesus about His near future death.  I love how the authors gave us these examples to learn from.  How many times have we thought we were a little more than we are and would be able to control an outcome of events? 

Luke 22:31-34 is another similar encounter but combined with Matthew 16:17-19 are a soothing balm to my stressed soul today!!!   Jesus knew Peter and that he would definitely screw up AND still prays for him.  Not only that He wants Peter to use it to "strengthen the brethren"!  Jesus also foretells of Peter's important role in Jesus' ministry spreading.  I may never be as important as Peter but I still have a role to play despite how many times I screw up.  Plus I need to be vulnerable to use my hurts/mistakes to help others through life.

I also know that it's up to me to feed the spirit more so it will win MOST of the battles over my flesh!  Today was one of those battles and I am really glad I sat down with my Bible before heading to school!  I truly needed the lesson on Peter today!  So it's 11:20 now and finally time to get up and get to school.  At least the knot in my stomach is gone! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Thank you" can never be enough!!!

This morning I was told my last remaining grandfather died.  It instantly brings to mind an old song "Thank You" by Ray Boltz.  While I do not agree with Mr. Boltz's current lifestyle/views, his song still is the perfect tribute to a life well-lived for the Lord!  "Thank You" talks of a person's entry into Heaven.   I know my grandfather's story so I know he is there as I type this.  Born to a farmer turned Baptist preacher but in his later teens it was his best friend's father who led him to the saving grace of Jesus.

Even knowing where Grandpa is,  it still is hard!  I have been blessed beyond measure by having that man in my life!  Growing up all I ever wanted was to be on the farm.  Stories of how it had been passed through the generations and even at a very young age I intended to manage it when I grew up.  Anywhere Grandpa was you could usually find fact when out at the local feed mill he would proudly introduce me as his 'hired hand'.  When I was 7 we moved an hour away for my Dad's new principal/teaching job.  Our family made great friends and a great life there.  However to me it was not the same as the farm!  It never was home!   I would go home to the farm every weekend I could.  As I got into my preteens I often asked my grandparents to move in with them.  This was not at all because of conflict with my parents like one might think, rather it was a case of homesickness. After several months of my asking, Grandpa devised a sure fire plan to remedy the situation.  He informed my dad that he could not maintain the farm anymore by himself and was going to sell it.  "By himself" were the trigger words because he knew my Dad felt the same way I did about the farm and also knew what his response would be at the mention of "selling" the family farm.  Yes, we packed up and moved back!  That was in the late 70's and thankfully Dad was willing to sacrifice his time to drive 2 hours a day for his education job while coming home to work more hours each night at his love, the family farm.  I am convinced that God prompted this plan because it is also what allowed us to keep our farm during our nation's 1980's Farm Crisis.  I owe everything I am to my grandfather(and my father's sacrifice) for it is this one incident that I can pinpoint which could have made my life go a totally different direction!

There are countless other ways he impacted my life and others.  I learned some of my best life lessons by his life.  Lessons that were not just spoken but lived out every day! 
  • Grandpa valued education highly so much that four of his children went to college and ended up becoming teachers.  He also gave his grandchildren money for college whenever possible. 
  • All the grandchildren laughed as he insisted it is truly a privilege to have a job...we would be heard stating "I have to go to_____" and he would restate it "No, you GET to go to ____".   In today's uncertain economic times I often hear that conversation played out in my mind anytime I am about to grumble about summer commencing and a new school year starting....he was right then but as an adult who acknowledges God's control I see it better now!  
  • It really is better to give than to receive!  Not only was he a great provider for his family but Grandpa would give as much as possible to see others provided for too.  His coworkers(upon one hailstorm that wiped out a crop, Grandpa took a job at the local Pottery plant so he could pay the farm bills and he continued there until his late 70's) once gave him an award and the plaque read "give the shirt off your back" award.  We only saw glimpses of this because Grandpa was an extremely generous man but VERY humble man. He never talked about his role in other's provision.  Twenty years ago I was in the hospital when an employee came in to ask me if I was related to him.  In that brief conversation I found out that not only did he provide her with a car so she could continue her schooling and leave factory work but she had several other instances of his money used to buy coworkers medicines, food, and college expenses.  So many "thank you's" that his ears have heard!
  • God is faithful and provides!  With that came the lessons of differences between a need and a want.   His stance was always "God will provide everything we need and often He will bless our wants too".   I see the fruit of that wisdom today!  Exodus 17:14...."rehearse it in their ears".....the purpose for that is training the generations to trust in God and building their faith.  I only pray that I can do this as well as many of their generation did!
But mostly I  thank him for being the perfect model of God's love which pointed everyone he came in contact with to the truth of the redeeming love of Christ.  For it was Christ in him that radically changed his life and provided us with a living testimony!   For Christ and Grandpa my heartfelt "thank you" can never be enough!!! 

Grandpa, until we meet again....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's in a name?

Wow!!!  We are having a scorcher of a day even in the shade!  However I am still outside enjoying my almond milk iced mocha and English muffin with orange marmalade.  My poor puppy wants to be out but she is a air conditioned diva so she will go in sooner than I.  Life is good and God is great!

I have switched up my Bible reading plan this year.  For several years I have used various styles of 'read through in one year' plans.  While they are great plans, for me it was becoming more of a check-off on my list to do.  I wanted something that would allow me to go deeper and study things out.  So I found a great one that is a chapter a day which is estimated to take about 2-3 years.  It delivered!

Often in the Bible we see God changing people's name throughout time.  I had never noticed that early in Exodus He changes His own name!   Originally, Genesis 17:1, the Isrealites knew Him as El Shaddai which translates to God Almighty.   In Hebrew it also means "God, the mountain one".   As God was preparing them for deliverance out of Egyptian bondage in Exodus 6:3, He introduces himself as Yahweh meaning dependable, faithful, or 'He is'.  Back in chapter 3:14-15 the study notes refer to "I AM" and Yahweh being the same name but the use depends on the speaker.  If God is referring to himself than 'I AM' is used but if we are speaking of God than Yahweh or 'He is' needs to be used.  This was the name He wished to be known as...faithful, dependable.

That has had me thinking for over a month!  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had specific memorable encounters with God as El Shaddai....much like our 'mountaintop experiences' today.  However just as in Exodus, today God still prefers to be known as Yahweh.  The name that suggests true relationship...'He is' with us always!  He was trying to make the Isrealites ready for a long walk with a daily reliance on Him.  That brings to mind our daily walk with Him.  Sometimes my walk is hot and dusty while other times it is cool and refreshing.  Nonetheless He is always there and providing....even when I am too parched to notice and/or appreciate it!

A daily walk is not promised to be easy!  In fact the middle section of Ephesians 6 depicts for us that life is a also instructs us how to prepare ourselves not only to fight but also to win!   Any person in any kind of lasting relationship will tell you it was the hard times that made it grow deeper.  I know personally that is true of my relationships and especially of my relationship with God!   It will be work but it will produce a depth and a joy beyond what you can imagine!

So which name do you know God by?   El Shaddai or Yahweh?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stale Air

You ever walk into a space/building that has been shut up tight and hit a wall of stale air?  Hot, musty, nasty air that leaves you running back outside for fresh air?  First thing you do is open all the curtains letting in light and opening windows so the fresh air can come in!

Amidst doing dishes this morning I realized that over last few weeks my quiet time has become nothing more than "stale air".  Because of the heat and an illness I have sat inside to do my quiet time which I attribute to the staleness.  I am an outdoorsy girl.  Let me be in full view of God's wonderful creation when I'm doing my quiet time and all is right!!!!!  Even in late fall and early spring I can be found outside wrapped in a blanket!   I have a specific area that my BFF refers to as my "Godspot".

In this spot I have full view of all the creation God has blessed me with....a great home, beautiful yard, and a rich heritage.  See across the road is the farm that has been in my family for SEVERAL years/generations.  The farmhouse where 3 generations were raised is no longer there but I can still see it in my mind every time I look!  The barn and corncrib won't be far behind the house unfortunately but the windmill will stay as long as I have a say!

So it's time to brave the heat, breathe in some fresh air, and get back to the spot where I meet God daily!!!!   My guess is He's going to show me that it's my heart that is full of stale air!  ;(  The recent Captivating study our church did made me realize I still have some chambers closed off from others.  It's time to unlock the door, throw open the curtains/windows and let fresh air in there too....that's going to be harder but necessary!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away

.....actually I am thankful today for the unending rain we've had(written 4/21/13).  I so needed a day of hiding!  Life is going at a breakneck speed and I need sometime to process things and refocus!

All this week my quiet time reading has been again in the age old story of Abraham and Sarah(Genesis 16-21).  Plus we have started a Bible Study at church on Captivating which has caused me to look at life a little differently.  Interestingly I had purposely not read that book because I thought it is fluff...too touchy-feely...and that definitely is not me!  ;) 

In Genesis Sarah so desperately wanted her own child that she offered her servant as a surrogate.......upon her plan working she became overwhelmed with jealousy. Her lack of trust caused her to take matters into her own hands.   Results of our efforts never work the way we imagine!  Trying to control things that were not ours to control! 

This time reading one event stopped me cold(Gen 18:10-15).  Sarah overheard God stating that in a year she would produce a son.  Now being in her 90's she laughed to herself...wouldn't we all?!?   What happened next was she had her own face-to-face exchange with the Lord.  As I was reading it the most vivid picture played out in my mind.   He was looking straight into her eyes as she denied that she laughed.  The most penetrating, soul-searching, heart-searing, stare she had ever encountered!  His calm, clear voice "Nay, but thou didst laugh."

Have you ever been on Sarah's end of a stare like that?  One friend can wade through the false exterior I put up and can really see my heart.  He sees me and knows me better sometimes than I do!  It is the most unsettling thing I've ever experienced.  While I realize that he is only trying to get me to 'be real', it is the most unsettling feeling ever.  Much like Adam in Genesis 3:10 when he discovered he was naked/vulnerable.  Interestingly when Satan entices them to eat of Tree of Knowledge that is when fear enters into the newly created world. 

Why the fear?  I'm not really sure of the answer to that!  For some reason unbeknown to me, I had developed a "trust no one but yourself" attitude.  Now that is a TRULY a scary place!  Various life events have proven to me that only God knows what is truly best for me....and definitely I do not! 

Trust....the heart of the matter!  Sarah should have trusted God.  She had a husband who was God's guy and should have trusted him.  God was faithful to keep His word(Gen 21:1) even when she laughed and lied to His face!  How many people do you know would love you if you did that to them?    Only He that first loved us.  He knows us and loves us anyway!!! 

By the way Captivating is a very interesting book and makes you think deeper about life.  Don't trust my opinion, read it for yourself!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Battle weary

I was reading about Abraham's calling in Genesis 15.   God pledges to be Abraham's "shield" & reading this brought to mind Ephesians 6:16 "taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." 
Fiery darts....anyone been feeling overwhelmed by those lately?  This has been a really tough few weeks in our school district.  Not only the funding crisis that all surrounding districts are facing but recently we've had several tragedies amongst our staff; cancer, brain surgeries, sudden deaths of young teachers. 
In fact I was on my way to visit one of those teacher friends in the hospital when I heard this song again.  It put things back into perspective. 

You tired of the battle?  Then stop just playing defense and go on the offense.   Pick up that sword! 

Ephesians 6:17-18  "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

just a small seed of doubt

I read the most interesting thing in my study Bible this morning!   Currently I am in Genesis 3:1  where the serpent asks Eve "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"   I quote from it's notes "the question and the response changed the course of human history!  By causing the woman to doubt God's word, Satan brought evil into the world."  At that encounter it was the same world that God had recently created. 

Boy did it ever change history!  Eve had the perfect life in that weeds, no bugs, no worries!  God had provided everything for her so why would she ever allow doubt in?  Eve's small seed of doubt planted that day led each and everyone of us into a sinful, hard, painful, unfair life...just by one little doubt.  She screwed life up for the rest of us!  To be real honest I have always wanted to kick that woman!

Then another thing popped out in my reading; the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made....God had made the snake!  Why had I assumed the snake was Satan's creation?   I love my study note Bible!!!  It reminded me that Satan, the great deceiver, had only taken on the appearance of a snake.  The snake that had been part of the creation in Gen 1:24 and the same part of that creation which God declared as "It was good" in verse 25.   It makes me wonder if Satan had tricked the snake into taking a part of this encounter?  Because after all the snake had a part of the ensuing curse.

We think of doubt as normal and inconsequential.....but really it is the tool to alienate us from God.  Doubt is just the first step and often leads to a reaction which separates us further.   We humans are so easily deceived and often so fainthearted it makes me wonder just what is there about us that God could love?   And that is how easy Satan tempts us to doubt!!!! 

And I quickly realize how am I any different than Eve?   How many times has a tiny seed of doubt changed my life course?   How would my life be different if there had never been moments of doubt & a consequent reaction?   Very convicting to me!

Do you struggle with doubt in your life?  The only recommendation I have is to saturate yourself in God's instruction book for life!  It is a vital part of maintaining the relationship you started when you accepted Jesus as your salvation(Romans 10:9).   The Bible is still as relevant to everyday life as it was when it was originally written!  It provides the only hope we have to stand against the deceptions of Satan(Ephesians 6:10-11).  What better than the sword when you fighting a battle(Eph 6: 17)?

Friday, March 15, 2013

a lesson from a dog and her devoted admirer

I LOVE spending time with my 3 year old niece.  Our personalities are very similar!!!  In her "all serious" personality she says the funniest things and reminds me to not take myself so seriously. 

At least once or twice a week she comes out to my parents which is just over the hill from my house.  As she has grown up my chocolate lab has always been around and she has become enamored with it.   When the dog arrives the 3 yr old becomes the perfect hostess.  Picture a 1950's socialite.... 

Over the last few months I have been watching my niece fetch a bowl of fresh water, a handful of Cheez-its, and place all of the "favored toys" of the day at my dog's feet.  If there is food and water involved than the dog rewards her with a sloppy kiss which sends her into squeals and giggles! 

However, sometimes the 3 yr old does not have the food and water at her disposal so she just brings the toys as an offering.  On those occasions the dog might acknowledge her efforts but usually stares off in indifference as a cold statue might.  As I was watching today it struck me that this scene between my dog and my niece was very similar to passages I've been reading when the Philistines would bring their best offerings to the feet of Dagon, a cold statue.  Thousands of years ago these people considered a man-made idol as their God.  Dagon who was made out of either stone, wood, or metal also stared off in indifference when the loyal subjects presented their sacrifices. 

In 1 Samuel 5 Dagon's true power was demonstrated when face to face with the Living God.  As I was pondering all this it made me wonder how often am I barking up the wrong tree with my affections?   Yes, pun intended!!!  Seriously though, just like my niece I will sacrifice my time, my money, and my attention for many things that I am enamored with.  Are my sacrifices pleasing my God or just falling short for some man-made idol?  

And if this insight wasn't firmly planted yet then God wanted to make it clear the next day.   My daily reading schedule landed me in 1st John 5:21 which says "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."  Not only is it plainly stated but followed with 'Amen' which is a Hebrew word that means 'firm, sure'.  As my dad would put it "I mean business"....which literally doesn't make sense.  However when dad said that you knew it was time to do as told and no questions asked or there would be DIRE consequences!  I am sensing  that's God's take on this matter too! 

So now I need to watch for the teachable moment to explain this to a 3 year old.  Prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Humor or lessons?

I started this blog mid  August 2012 but something came up and it didn't get finished.  Interestingly it is still relevant today!!!!

I am convinced that God does have a sense of humor....and a very fine one at that!   Prior to the Alaskan cruise I had been asked if I was going to go on a whale watching excursion and my response was "no, I do not want to recreate Jonah's adventure."  The first day at sea I found just the perfect spot on deck for my quiet time, had the perfect cup of tea, sat down and opened up my Bible to my daily reading list.....yes, I was to read the book of Jonah!  Thankfully no one was around to hear my instant laughter because they would have thought I was a little nuts. 

Now,  just as school is starting I am in Jeremiah.  Ironic that as Jeremiah is foretelling the nation's captivity I am personally feeling as if I'm heading to Babylon.  I love my job and I love the people I work with so why this attitude?  Especially when I've done this for 26 years? 

I can break most things down into it's necessary steps to accomplish the end goal.  Once I understand it in it's parts I'm pretty effective at communicating to others how to attain that end goal so it makes me pretty good at teaching.  This trait can also hold me hostage when reality doesn't cooperate with my desired timeline!  Any change (good or bad) can send me into a tailspin of stress!  Just an example of how absurd it is:  going on a trip causes LOTS of stress.  On top of trying to finish a project before I leave and pack, I'm typically stewing about the "what ifs....?"  You would have thought I had been a Boy Scout with the level I take "always be prepared".

Twelve years ago I was face to face with a surgeon who told me that my stress would kill me if I didn't get something figured out. I read a definition once that basically stated stress was ' perception of having control over something you truly have no control over'. That was a true smack in the face as I realized I was in a wrestling match with God over control of my life.  Really, I would know what was best for me over the one who could create a human from dust?   Jacob tried it and he limped the rest of his life!  It didn't happen over night but I began to learn how to trust God and not myself.

So the last few days I have really been searching myself as to "why"?   Why can't I enjoy the moment rather than get so wrapped up in the steps to get from A to Z?  Why do I allow myself to become obsessed by the steps(to do's) and ignore the people?

Then a still small voice spoke "boils down to control".  Wow, is that true?  I hate to admit that after ridding my heart of 'self controlling' that I am finding there are still puddles of it lurking!  Yes, God created my personality but He did not intend it for the extremes that I had taken it...again!  

The last thing I wanted was to go backwards so I talked with a friend.  She gave me great advice-  set specific boundaries and accountability.  In my reading came another great piece of advice from God himself....Jeremiah 29:7  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it:  for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.  

1/30/13  Prayer....seeking the peace of my 'city' (my school) .  There is a novel idea....and yes sarcasm is intended!  Sometimes I can be really dense on the most obvious answers! 

I had started off the year doing well in this area but obviously had gotten sidetracked...hence my October postings.  It was good to reread this and remind myself what is the most important thing.  Contrary to my leanings the tests sitting on my desk to be analyzed, the files that need reorganized, the reports still to do, or the comparison study of two Word Study programs are NOT the important things!  It is one thing only....prayer.  Prayer for the fellow teacher who just had a major surgery, prayer for the administrators who in our state have an impossible task, and prayer for the many students who have childhoods that I can't begin to wrap my mind around.  That is why He has placed me there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Honor thy parents....

Over the last month I've been spending lots of time with my parents.  We drove nonstop to Florida for Thanksgiving.  Then we were making a dress-up closet for my niece's Christmas present.  This last two weeks found us with a remodeling project in my kitchen to make a new refrigerator fit where the old one died.  Spending time with my parents is typically met with much laughter.... and the occasional grumbling.

Today's quiet time was on Paul's second letter to the Corinthians(12:14-15).  Paul's statement about parents being ready to "be spent" for their children made me think of my parents.  Everyone should be so fortuanate to have parents like mine!!!!!  My dad turned 70 when we were in Florida.  He spent the entire time painting interior rooms and putting together furniture that was bought for my sister's house.  My mom unpacked boxes, marathon shopped for household items, made a full Thanksgiving meal in a semi-ready kitchen, and put up my sister's new Christmas tree.

Paul's latter statement in verse 14 left me pondering my treatment of my parents.  Do I honor them or do I take them for granted?  Far too often I have to admit that I took them for granted!  Exodus 20:12
commands us to "honor thy father and thy mother".  My King James study Bible notes that "honor" means to prize highly(Prov 4:8), care for(Ps 91:15), show respect for(Lev 19:3, 20:9), and obey(Eph 6:1).

While I am not perfect at this honoring thing, I have noticed a change in my attitude towards them over the last few years.  I am more giving up my rights, wants, and wishes for theirs.  I am realizing just what they gave up for me!

While reading this passage I was also struck by the parallels of my relationship to my parents and my relationship to God....understanding their love/sacrifice and God's love towards us!   He sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, just so I(and you too) may live.  I have eternal life because of that and that only! 

As well, I am beginning to see the parallel of my "honor" for my parents to my "honor" towards God.  As I prize highly, care for, show respect for, and obey my parents I am also doing the same to God.  Or is it that as I understand the depths of His love for me and begin to honor God with my life that I become better at honoring my parents?  If I had to answer that right now I think is yes because of 1 John 4:19.