Saturday, December 25, 2010

Make Some Noise

I heard the story of two men--one Jewish and one not Jewish. They sat in the living room of the Jewish man's house. The friends heard the sounds of singing and music coming from a church across the street.

The Jewish man's friend asked, "Doesn't this singing and music annoy you? I mean you're Jewish and they're Christians. Don't you wish that they would stop making so much noise?"

The Jewish man pondered the question for a moment before answering.

He said, "No. The singing and the music don't annoy me. I don't want them to stop. You see, they believe that their Messiah has come, and they're worshipping him. And if I thought that my Messiah had come, there's no power on earth that could make me stop."

Oh, I've got good news: Messiah has come!

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Messiah's name is Jesus, God's Son. He is the Promised One. The Anointed One. God with us.

He is the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles.

He is worthy of our love and our devotion.

Let's worship Him today and everyday, and may no power on earth stop us.

Let's make some noise!

Merry Christmas, sweet girl.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Khaki Makes Me Happy

Recently, I made an important discovery: Khaki makes me happy. See, we've lived in our current house for eight years, and we've painted the dining room four times. First, we painted the walls a soft shade of off-white. Not bad, but still the room seemed underdressed, like wearing a flimsy dress without a slip.

Not that I've ever worn a flimsy dress without a slip. And not that I think you have either. I'm just trying to describe my dining room so that you can see how it lacked something.

So, about a year later, we--ok, actually I--decided that we needed to repaint. I chose a gorgeous, traditional red. I loved the color! The room was transformed into a warm, inviting, and dramatic space. I determined then that I would always have a red room in my house.

But of course, you know how that kind of thing goes....

Yeah, after a few years, I changed my mind about the red.

For some reason, the color grew dark and overwhelming. Definately claustrophobic. Now, I can deal with a lot of things, but a depressing room isn't one of them. The only cure that I could think of involved painting again.

Don't you agree with this remedy, sweet girl? Because, like, all of the decorators say that the cheapest and quickest way to change the look of a room is to paint. Right?

Well, my darlin' husband didn't exactly agree with us. He said something about how he didn't care what the decorators say. Paint is not cheap, and there's no such thing as a quick fix, he said. Painting is hard work, makes a mess, and takes time. Then you have to touch up the trim.

Besides, he didn't see anything wrong with the room the way it was--manic red and all.


... because he indulges me way more than he should, we painted. Don't you love a man like that? I so love mine.

We painted once more. Now, since it was summer, I was displaying my seashells--some sand dollars and starfish--and we had been to Miami, even drove down to Key West--so, I was definately in a beach state of mind.

Maybe that's why I chose blue.

Or, maybe it's because I saw a picture of a blue room in a magazine and thought it was way cool.

Plus, blue is my favorite color.

In retrospect, I'm really not sure why I chose blue.

My darlin' even asked are you sure you want blue?

Yes, I said. I'm sure I want blue.

Well, we went blue.

Oh, my goodness! How could I have known? Blue is a t-r-i-c-k-y c-o-l-o-r. I mean red is deceitful--I knew from past experience to beware of red--but blue? Innocent blue. No, not at all. Blue is like way tricky. The trickiest color ever.

It looked so awful that during Thanksgiving week, my darlin' hub suggested that we go to the paint store.

This time, with my man's blessing, I selected khaki. Sound. Solid. Soothing. The black furniture pops. The white trim pops. The color works. He's satisfied.

And, I'm loving the room.

Seems that all it took to make us both happy was a simple color like khaki.

Kinda sad that I had to learn the hard way that it's the simple things that bring true happiness. Simple colors. Simple things. Like spending time with my family. Watching two little girls' first dance recital. Cleaning my house.

Yes, I know the last phrase sounds crazy, but cleaning and organizing really do make me happy.

Reading God's word also makes me happy.

So, I'd like to share this verse with you:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple (Psalm 19: 7-8b).

May the simplicity of His word bring wisdom and happiness and joy to you, sweet girl, during this Christmas season.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Our Choice

She stumbled out of the doctor's office that day, feeling like she had just received a death sentence. See, Leigh's dad died of a heart attack when he was only thirty five, and she was about that age when she got diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor wrote her a prescription and said she would be fine as long as she took the medication--probably for the rest of her life.

She felt the sting.

My friend could have let that diagnosis cripple her, but she didn't. Her mother said, "Leigh, you can sit around the house worrying about this, or you can live and have fun and love your family. It's your choice."

That was two years ago. Leigh took her mom's advice. She made some good choices about exercise and nutrition and discipline. Leigh no longer needs medication because she no longer has high blood pressure.

I wonder if you've ever felt the sting of a death sentence. Maybe the sting came, like Leigh's did, in the form of a dreaded diagnosis. Or, maybe, you experienced the sting of death in a relationship. A marriage. A career. Or a dream.

I've sure felt that kind of sting before. Well, truthfully, I'm feeling it pretty strong right now. But you know, we're not the only ones who have dealt with a death sentence.

This guy named Paul can so relate to us. I mean he went through some bad stuff. Like being shipwrecked and beaten up and put in prison a few times.

He suffered so much that he thought there was no hope and no way out and no way through. He wrote these words: Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death (2 Corinthians 1:9a).

Yeah, I think if Paul were alive today, he might commiserate with us a little bit because he's been there and done that. And I think that he would remind us of a promise that he chose to believe. Paul penned these words:

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will continue to deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us (2 Corinthians 1: 9b - 10).

Paul chose to remember how God had delivered him in the past. He chose to believe that God would deliver him again. He chose hope over helplessness.

Sweet girl, we can learn from Paul. He didn't sit around the house worrying and fretting and getting in a tizzy about his situation. I don't think that we should either. Yes, it's tempting to shut others out--to shut down. A sting hurts.

The sting of a death sentence hurts real bad.

But our loving God has promised to deliver us from death's sting. He sent His only Son, the Promised One, as proof that He could deliver the promise in full.

It's our choice. We can choose to live and have fun and love our families and believe. And have hope. [And write]. Or we can choose to let our spirit and our heart atrophy.

I so love these words:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10: 23).

Paul, the guy who felt the sting of a death sentence in his heart, wrote this verse. Don't you love it? The One who made the promise keeps His promise. Always. Always, sweet girl. I wish that I could sit beside you, and we would read over and over He who promised is faithful. He who promised is faithful.

He who promised is faithful.

And while we may still feel the sting, together we would choose to believe and to hope.

And we would say we will hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

Because He who promised is faithful.

Our loving God.

He promised.

And He is faithful.

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