Monthly Archives: January 2008

Catching Up

Or at least I’m trying to catch up.

We’ve had a tough couple of weeks in our family. My 93 year old grandmother went to be with Jesus two Sundays ago. No matter how much you think you might be ready for something like this, you never are. She was my last living Grandparent, and an absolutely amazing little lady. Nataline “Nora” Saraceni deserves to have some things written about her. So, my plan is to do that, here in a post, as soon as I can get it together. She took a piece of my heart with her. She will be missed.

I just finished up the book of Romans in my devotions this morning. What an awesome book. God speaks to me new and afresh every time I read it.

This particular time, chapter 12 stood out to me a little different. Let me explain. One of the ways I learn is through writing. I like to take notes. I love to write out my thoughts. Putting things down on paper gives substance to them. It makes it so the myriad of thoughts in my head are not just in my head. So, I decided to list out what Paul says in verses 3-21 of chapter 12. He’s talking about the Christians responsibility toward God. I love this because it’s so simple in his words. Listing it out brought it even more to life for me.

He starts the chapter by saying,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

And now for the list…I title it, My Responsibility

1. Don’t think more highly of myself than I ought to think – verse 3

2. Think soberly of myself – verse 3

3. Use my gifts as God has given them to me – verse 6-8

4. Love without hypocrisy – verse 9

5. Abhor evil – verse 9

6. Cling to what is good – verse 9

7. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love – verse 10

8. Honor one another and give preference to one another – verse 10

9. Don’t lag in diligence – verse 11

10. Be fervent in the Spirit – verse 11

11. Serve the Lord – verse 11

12. Rejoice in hope – verse 12

13. Be patient in tribulation – verse 12

14. Continue steadfast in prayer – verse 12

13. Give to the needs of the saints – verse 13

14. Be hospitable – verse 13

15. Bless those who persecute you – verse 14

16. Bless and do not curse – verse 14

17. Rejoice with those who rejoice – verse 15

18. Weep with those who weep – verse 15

19. Be of the same mine toward one another – verse 16

20. Don’t set my mind on high things – verse 16

21. Associate with the humble – verse 16

22. Don’t be wise in my own eyes – verse 16

23. Don’t repay evil for evil – verse 17

24. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men – verse 17

25. If at all possible, as much as I can, live peaceably with all men – verse 18

26. Don’t avenge myself (God will take care of it) – verse 19

27. Don’t overcome evil with evil – verse 21

28. Overcome evil with good – verse 21

I replaced the yous and yours with I’s and mines and wow, it all came to life.

Well, just wanted to share that. Hope it blesses someone today.

I’ll leave you with another beautiful picture taken up where we meet for church at the Rio Lindo Academy. Rachel took this one. The colors are breathtaking. Yet another beautiful season..Winter.

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When it rains, it pours…

It rained again today. It’s been raining for a few days now, but today…it really rained.

It didn’t just rain though. The bad stuff started at about 1:00A.M.. Hard, continuous, down pouring rain, as well as hurricane force winds. I heard they were clocked somewhere around 90mph in some areas. The noise during the night was so loud, I had to sleep with ear plugs in. But I slept none the less, in spite of the noise, and in spite of the fact that Chris was out of town. After 21 years of marriage it can still be hard for me to sleep when he’s away.

I was pulled out of sleep early in the morning by the sound of yelling. I could hear it, even through the ear plugs. I got up to look out our bedroom window. The neighbor behind us, and the other neighbor next to them, were standing at their fences in the torrential rain and wind trying to talk, or rather yell to one another over the fence. This caused me to look down into our side yard. To my surprise it was filling with water and just about coming over the walkway. Thankfully, I had left our back gate open to allow water to flow out during the storm. None the less, for the water to be that high…ummm..not a good sign.

I threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, put on my shoes and stuck a beanie on my head, then made my way out the front door. I knew what I would see as I rounded the corner to the drive way, I just didn’t look forward to seeing it. Sure enough, the street from our house, all the way down to Old Redwood Hwy, was under water…and I mean under water. The creek across the street was pouring over it’s banks. Water was running out of our backyard, and our neighbors backyard like a rushing river. Our neighbors front yard two doors down was completely under water up to their front porch. I stood out there in the pouring rain, simply dumbfounded, and still half asleep. I thought to myself, “Man, if I hadn’t slept with earplugs in I would have woken up sooner.” I don’t know what good that would have done though. The rain still would have come. Kind of reminds me of that Sunday school song about Noah with that verse that says, “The rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up”…they sure did.

Once again, my God, who knows I need visuals in order to learn and retain information, teaches me in the rain and the flood. Ya see, ever since Chris’ emergency Appendectomy we seem to be getting hit with one rain storm after another. When Chris was in the hospital, we received some news about his mom’s health which was hard to hear. She had battled lung cancer a few years ago. We were really hoping she was over it. Then, after he came home from the hospital, Roby Duke had a massive heart attack and went home to be with Jesus. We were so stunned by this news as we had plans to hear him play on New Years eve. Next, my grandma was hospitalized with Pneumonia and congestive heart failure. She’s hooked up to life support machines as my mother struggles to make all the “right” decisions. My older sister is also having health issues that are weighing on her heart, as she also has had cancer in the past.

It wasn’t but a couple days ago I was sharing with someone about all these issues. They responded with that all too familiar phrase, “When it rains, it pours.” As they said it, I remembered a day back when Chris was still in the hospital recovering from his surgery. We were on one of his many “around the ward” walks. They told him the more he walked, the sooner he could go home. Anyway, during this trek, I grabbed a hold of his hand and said,

“Hon, why does it seem like bad things like this always happen around the holidays?”

His response was so simple, so perfect, and so what I needed to hear at the time,

“They don’t always happen around the holidays. They happen all the time.”

My inward focus caused me to miss the fact that stuff like this happens everyday to all people, everywhere. The Lord isn’t selective on who he chooses to pour rain on.

“..for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 4:45b

And He’s certainly not selective on who, how, or when He allows trials to come. He is a sovereign, all knowing, and just God. He knows when the ground of my heart is dry or lacking root and depth in Him.

And so…He brings the rain.

There’s a song that I love, and therefore listen to over and over, especially when I’m going through trials. It’s called, In You. It’s by Shane and Shane and is off their Pages CD. The first verse of the song says this,

“I sing for joy in my remorse
A well within prosperity’s curse
That drowns the mighty oak of pride
But feeds the root of God inside

So, I’m not necessarily eager for the flood. But rain is good.

Resting in His arms

Mary

“It is always in the midst, in the epicenter, of your troubles that you find serenity.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wartime Writings 1939-1944

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