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Thursday, November 15, 2007


I am most thankful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is FOREVER faithful. He has taken situations filled with turmoil and confusion and turned them into blessings and hope. Some of the blessings were “in disguise”, but revealed themselves as blessings nonetheless.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take time to reflect on the blessings in your life. Even in the midst of pain, God is working in your life. Seek Him and look for His masterful hands working it all for good. If it’s not visible, trust Him. He loves you enough to die for you…

In addition to God’s saving grace, I am thankful this year that:

  • My husband is a good man; one I adore and respect. In spite of our challenges, our “ups and downs”, and our often completely different points of view, I consider myself a blessed woman to have him. I thank God for him.
  • My “wayward” son is home and safe…and my relationship with him is better than it has been for a long, long time. I do believe he knows how much I love him, and I pray that ultimately leads him to embracing the Lord’s love for him. He is beautiful, he has a good heart -- albeit easily distracted from goodness, and I believe in my heart he will do great things someday.
  • My youngest son is smart, funny, has a strong sense of right and wrong, and oh how I know he loves his parents. I pray he knows how much he is loved in return. What a wonderful boy…a bit temperamental (as I suppose all teenagers are), but such a joy. He makes me laugh daily.
  • My sister-in-law, her three boys, and my mother-in-law are all coming to visit for Christmas. We are so looking forward to having them here. We know that there will chaotic moments, but we are so blessed to have such a loving (and fun-loving) extended family.
  • I have parents who love me and who are interested in my life and that of my family, in spite of having their hands full with a “new” family of their three adopted great-grandchildren. My parents are the model of selflessness and living for others.
  • The Lord has blessed us financially, giving us the ability to respond to many unexpected expenses this year. I am in awe of His generosity, and I am also thankful that I know from Whom all blessings flow…
  • I work for and with other Christians, in a business where one might not expect to find many (if any) Christians. My immediate boss is a Christian, at least three of my counterparts are Christians, two of my direct reports are Christians, and one of my direct reports has just started to come to church with me. I am surrounded by people who I care about, who care about me and who care about others.
  • When I feel alone, afraid or disappointed, the Lord so often sends just the right song on the radio, a perfectly timed blog entry from a blogging friend, an email of encouragement, or even His tiny whisper through His Word or through an inward thought. He is ever present, and even when I don’t see Him or don’t sense Him for a moment, He is there. He is my friend, closer than a brother.

I primarily read the NIV of the Bible, but from time to time, I look at other translations to see if I can gain a different perspective. Psalm 34:1-8 is perfect praise, particularly at Thanksgiving, and I thought The Message version was especially relevant and beautiful for all circumstances this time of year…
“I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears. Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from Him. When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him.”

Blessings dear friends. May you have a season filled with all manner of things to be thankful for.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I’m currently listening to an audio book titled, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. It’s a terrific reminder that at the end of the game of life, we don’t take our “stuff” with us. We leave it all behind… And, John asks, what do you want to leave behind? What will be your legacy? Will it be the accumulation of “stuff” or will it be an impact you made in others’ lives?

One of his quotes is, “Many people aren't living their priorities, they are trying to do guilt management...” I often find that to be the case for me. I have spent a lot of time defining my passions, my gifts and my priorities, but I have not yet completely overhauled my calendar to reflect those things. Instead, I handle the crises as they come... If I’m behind at work, I take time at home to try to get caught up. (By the way, getting caught up NEVER happens.) Then, when my family feels neglected, I put the work aside, but then the family is so used to functioning without me that we all end up in separate rooms doing separate things (surfing the internet, playing Xbox, reading, watching TV…). In the midst of that my mom calls from over 1,000 miles away and says, “I haven’t heard from you forever!” (I remind her it’s only been about a week, to which she responds that is too long.) Around 11p I remember that I was supposed to call the children’s ministry director at church to discuss volunteer opportunities, but it’s certainly too late at night for that…it goes on tomorrow’s “To Do” list (where it’s been for about a month). Oh yeah, all of the managers at work are reading First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, so before I drift off to sleep I pick up the book and end up reading the same page about three times because I keep nodding off. By the end of the day, I haven’t prayed as deliberately as I’d like, it’s hit or miss if I completed my devotions, and I sure haven’t had time to work on my “life plan” based on the previously mentioned passions, gifts and priorities. All this leads me to question what my priorities really are.

In the book, John tells a story of an executive who kept saying he would have more time for his family and himself, “once things settle down”. Guess what, folks…things never settle down. This executive kept climbing the proverbial ladder…up, up, up…until he fell off and died. Time ran out before he had the chance to “have more time”. There is no more time…we all have 24 hours in a day, and we all have a finite amount of time to live. How will you chose to spend that time? How will I??

The life story of Jesus is not about someone climbing up the ladder, but it is instead the Son of God descending the ladder to become a servant of mankind. The King of the universe deserved an earthly throne, but instead took on the cross. It was His outpouring of love that moved him to live and die for us. What will we live and die for?

"Lord, I desire to live for You. I pray for Your priorities to be my priorities. Help me to live my life based on Your calling, and may my daily calendar and actions reflect that. Forgive me Lord for climbing a ladder that has led me away from my family and even away from You. Help me to descend that ladder and create a clear path for me to follow. Lord, I know that you call us to step out in faith. It is not enough to ask You to show me the way, I have to take it. The priests carrying the ark had to step in the river before you stopped it from flowing. Moses had to stretch his hand out over the sea, and the Israelites had trust You to walk through enormous walls of water on either side of them to reach safety. Give me the strength to trust You fully, and may my mustard-seed size faith move any mountains that block my path. Thank you, Jesus, for descending the ladder and modeling for us on this earth how to really “live life”."