Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dishwashers, Sisters, and a Brother

Thursday afternoon, with a loud grinding sound, our dishwasher decided it was time to retire and not complete any more washing cycles.  After dinner, as I was washing the dishes by hand, I had a flashback to my high school days.  The dishwasher had broken and Dad decided not to replace it immediately.  With a family of seven, that meant there would be an “opportunity” to wash lots of dishes, glasses, silverware, pots and pans in the days ahead.  We soon developed a plan to complete the job.  Our brother and youngest sister usually cleared the table.  Then each of the “three big girls” took a week at a time with one washing, one rinsing, and one drying and putting away the dishes.  Each week we switched to the next part of the cycle.

One time when I was home from college, I remember asking Dad why he waited so long to replace the dishwasher.  Besides teaching us responsibility, he said there were other lessons he knew we would learn.  It was soon a rule that you needed to keep track of your glass and not get a new one every time you needed a drink.  We quickly discovered how we could irritate each other, but even more we learned the value of cooperation.  You see, complaining was not going to exclude us from the chore.  We had two choices:  we could be a happy camper or sad camper as we did the dishes.  While cleaning the dishes, there were lots of conversations about what happened during our day, what we still needed to accomplish for the evening as well as our upcoming plans.  We learned the value of giving the gift of time and effort when someone took another person’s responsibility if they had extra homework or a project they needed to complete.  Entertainment and much laughter were the norm.  For some reason, the nozzle on the sink “accidentally” sprayed people at times.  Needless to say, the kitchen was extra clean on those days.  There was definitely appreciation when the new dishwasher arrived.

The lessons learned from a broken dishwasher are still in practice.  A few weeks ago, I had a big project that I knew would take me several days if I tried to complete it by myself.  I called my two sisters, who live in town, to see if they would help.  My youngest sister, Micki, already knew the supplies we would need and how to do the project since she had recently helped a friend do the same type of work.  With Robin’s help, we were able to finish the work in just a few hours while enjoying spending time together.  Dad would have been pleased with our cooperation in completing the task.  I know our Heavenly Father is pleased when His children love each other and work together in peace.  And by the way, without even asking, Larry dried and put away the dishes.  

I Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Worth the Wait

About a year ago, the store where I purchase cosmetics remodeled.  On the grand opening day, they had invited representatives from different lines of cosmetics to come and offer tips and actually apply the makeup.  I had signed up, two months before, to secure an appointment time.  When we arrived, about 10 minutes early, the makeup artist was applying makeup for another customer.  One of the makeup artists from the store came up and offered to do my makeup.    Instead of waiting for the “expert” who knew the most about that brand of cosmetics and was there only for the day, I settled for someone who worked in the store almost every day with several different types of cosmetics.

Not waiting for the “expert” artist for makeup is not a big deal.  But it is important where God is concerned.  I don’t want to ever be in such a hurry that I am not willing to wait for God’s best.

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Isaiah 26:8
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Faith brings Miracles

A dear friend gave me this cross for my birthday.  It so much represents what I want to happen in my life and heart.  Doctors and procedures are instruments, but God is the one who brings about the miracles of blessing and healing.

 Several of the scriptures in the New Testament Bible readings the past few weeks have been about healing and faith.  The following is one from Mark 10.

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

There are important truths I am learning from “Blind” Bartimaeus.

*Even though he was blind, Bartimaeus “Saw” his need for mercy and was confident that Jesus was the one who could provide it for him.

*When the crowd told him to be quiet, Bartimaeus continued to boldly call to Jesus with his plea.

*When Jesus called, Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and immediately responded.

*Bartimaeus had a ready answer to the question when Jesus asked him “What do you want me to do for you?”  He must have thought of the opportunity of this situation over and over in his mind during the long hours of begging.

*Because of his faith, he was instantly healed.

*With new sight and insight, Bartimaeus immediately followed Jesus.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, on my behalf, during these days.  God is faithful. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Disciple

In recent days, two photographs taken by Stan and Karen Schoeppey at the Passion 2012 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a quote from a Bible study, a saying by a saint, and the words of Jesus have reminded me of the importance of being and picturing what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Below is a picture of the “Freedom Art” that was erected in International Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia, during the days of the Passion Conference.   The hand and arm were covered with items that were made with slave labor as a reminder of the price that had been paid for goods that we might purchase for our enjoyment.  

 The second picture shows the shadow of the “Freedom Art” on the Georgia Dome.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the world could always see the shadow of God’s hand working in and through his children whether they were at a conference, work, school, church, home, at a ball game, or on a mission trip?
This semester, I am in the James Mercy Triumphs Beth Moore Bible Study at church.  In one of the articles, written by Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick, she states, “I want the life and wisdom of Jesus to so transform me that even when I’m not deliberately referencing a Bible verse, I remind someone of Jesus.”   
St. Francis of Assisi is commonly attributed to saying, "Preach the gospel at all times -- If necessary, use words."
And in John, Jesus says:
..."If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." (John 8:31)
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

It's a great time to be and do the work of a disciple of Jesus.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

60 and Counting

One of the first things I do every morning is thank the Lord for giving me another day of life.  As of today, I am 21,915 days old, including leap year days.  If I were still teaching school, I would give a challenge homework problem to figure out how many years, months, hours, minutes, and seconds that is.  Those days have been full of God’s countless blessings.  I am so grateful for family and friends who have and continue to share this journey of life with me.

Five Generation Picture

Last month, one of my doctors passed away, at the age of 74.  Dr. Jackson was still doing what he loved on his last day of life – delivering babies.  He had delivered more than 10,000 babies.  Dr. Jackson had been my doctor for 30 years.   Interestingly, he and Larry knew each other even better because they talked when they saw each other in the hospital when Larry was seeing and praying for people.  One time, the boys were with me when I stopped by Dr. Jackson’s office to let him know I would be praying for him as he had an upcoming surgery.  The boys were most impressed because that night at dinner they announced that they wanted to have a “flattop” just like my doctor.  I guess I thought or hoped Dr. Jackson would always be my doctor.  He was so patient and kind, willing to answer questions, and polite to his patients, nurses, and office assistants.  He made a difference during his lifetime and will be missed.

Two thoughts have continued to be on my heart and in my thoughts these days.  First, none of us know how many days we will be on this earth.  Even though I thank doctors when I leave an appointment, Dr. Jackson’s death has caused me to be intentional about expressing my gratitude for what they do. And it has motivated me to express gratefulness to others as well.  Secondly, I have been reminded that every day I have a choice of what legacy I want to leave behind.

It’s been said that it’s not so much the number of days in your life that matters, but rather the life in your days.  So on this my 60th birthday, as on other days, I will ask the Lord to help my life be a gift that counts and makes a difference for His Kingdom.

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.