Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Would You Do With An Extra Day?

"My times are in Your hands..."
Psalm 31:15

What would you do if you an extra day where you could do whatever you wanted (and the laundry wouldn't pile up and the dishes would be done)?

As one of the room moms for each of my children's classes, I asked those 4th and 6th grade students this question a few weeks ago in preparation for a game we will be playing today - Leap Year Day 2012!  I loved reading their answers as they made me smile and gave me a bigger glimpse into their precious hearts.

Here are some of the answers.  Wait until you read the last one.

"I would have an ice skating party with all of my friends and family."

"I would play football games on my electronics."

"I would go shopping at the mall all day and everything would be free."

"I would go to Disney World and tell people about Jesus."

"I would go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

"I would read all day."

"I would sleep."

"I would put rainbows in the sky and have a party."

"I would play games with my family and friends and then read all evening."

"I would go to a tropical island and sit on the beach and read."

"I would have math be the only subject all day in school."

"I would have no school."

"I would go to the park with my family and then play with friends."

And now here's the one I saved until the end because, really, where do you go from here?
"I would read the Bible, pray and fast all day."

WOW!  I mean, really, where do we go from there?  WOW!!!

Leap Year Day serves as a reminder that truly our times are in His hands.  I am thankful for each day He is making! 

What would you do with an extra day? Here's my simple answer...assuming we are already going into all the world and telling others about Jesus of course.

After a long, extended quiet time in the Word, I would go the beach with my family (the weather would be perfect of course) and sit, read and nap, while they all happily played and enjoyed their day too.

What would you do with an extra day?

"But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9-10

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hope Peeks Out To See Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

His fragile frame and stumbling steps caught our eyes and grabbed our hearts.  Slowing traipsing across his front yard near the busy street, each stepped seemed laborious and purposeful.  Using a walker as support, his eyes were fixed on his goal:  the Sunday newspapers that were tossed and left at the edge of his property.  With no sidewalk in front of his home and a foreshortened shoulder on the side of the road, he seemed dangerously close to the street. 

This precious elderly man's imbalanced cadence impelled our hearts synchronously. "Let's stop and bring up his newspapers for him whenever we can."

Our little family of four has passed this house thousands of times and never took notice.  But that Sunday morning on our way to church, our hearts were moved.  Moved by an aged man.  Moved by a neglected home. 

Withered and seemingly unkempt, the house and the man seem content together.

Several worn American flags hang in windows across the front of his house, causing us to wonder if he is a war veteran.  Through cracked glass, dangling shudders and faded paint, you feel the man's sense of pride in his homeland.

Though broken and neglected, we see strength in this house.  We imagine the same strength in the precious man.  The determination to weather the storms of life.  The character to fight through trials.  The endurance to reach goals.  The pride to hang a banner of identity even through blurred windows.

We see hope peeking out from behind the withered exterior.

So, as hope looks for love, we stop and bring his papers up to his porch a few times a week. The children write him notes sometimes and we put them in bags and hang them on his door knob.  Praying for him every morning as we pass, and having only seen him that one Sunday morning, we excitedly hope to get another glimpse of him.

He is a stranger to us, but known completely and loved perfectly by Jesus.  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ~ Matthew 25:40

An elderly man.  A tired home.  God's compassion beckons us to love in action and in truth.  Our daily drive to school and church has taken on a new measure of meaning.

So, on this Valentine's Day as we drive by, we will stop and bring up his newspaper.  We will deliver a Valentine and a large-print Bible to his doorstep.  We will pray he knows God's great love for him.  We pray he knows the Savior and Redeemer. 

And we hope he knows that, though we have never met, he has moved our hearts in the most beautiful of ways.  His house is building love in our hearts.  Our broken, hopeful, needful hearts.

So, as hope peeks out through dimmed windows and neglected walls, Love waits.  Love comes.  Love came.

Happy Valentine's Day.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save us...
1 Timothy 1:15

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.
Proverbs 24:3-4

And so we know and rely
on the love God has for us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in him.
1 John 4:16

Friday, February 10, 2012

Delighted...(Not always delightful!)

I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not neglect Your word.
Psalm 119:16

I am a forever-student of the Bible.

I do delight in God's Word. 

But it should go without saying ~ that doesn't mean that I am always delightful! 

I can be crotchety.  Sometimes I Scoo-ka-ma-bob-a.  I have even been known to become Unglued.   

His Word is truth and life.  I know that with my whole heart.  His Words are on my lips because I desperately need them myself.  Apart from Him, our hearts are desperately wicked.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

I honestly believe that His truths, when soaked into our hearts and lived out through our actions and responses, are the only thing that will truly minister to all of us. 

May my tongue sing of Your word,
for all Your commands are righteous.
Psalm 119:172

God's Word, His written expression of Himself, is central to me because of my own awareness of my desperate heart.  Life is challenging.  Even a blessed life is challenging.  His truths are the anchor to my soul.  "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."  (Hebrews 6:19)

Rarely do I send a greeting card or an email to a friend without a scripture in it.  I want to write His Word on the doorframes of our hearts, homes and relationships.  "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Those who know and love me well know that I love His Word because it is life and I want it to judge the thoughts and attitudes of my own heart.  God is so good to have given me a husband and friends who will share a scripture with me that I need to hear.  "Your Word has given me life." (Psalm 119:50)

Because my not-always-so-delightful self delights in God's Word, some may mistakenly perceive me as pious or presume that I think I have arrived on the faith-walk journey.  Hardly.  I am broken before the Lord every day.  One of the loveliest things a friend has ever said to me is "You are broken before the Lord even when blessed."  Oh friends, if that is true at all, it is only by His grace and because I know God is God.

His Word instructs, commands, encourages, comforts, convicts.

So, as long as I have breath, I pray His Word is always my delight.  And even when I am not so delightful, I pray I always write, speak, sing and live His Word.  And I am thankful for my loving husband and sweet friends who will gently and lovingly speak His Word into my heart.   

"For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

Monday, February 6, 2012

Driving Miss Eileen

Gabrielle and my mom in 2006

“Honor your father and mother,”
which is the first commandment with promise: 
“that it may be well with you
and you may live long on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3

Last summer, I sensed the Lord telling me that some changes were coming.  I was to keep my calendar more open during the week and not to commit to certain things.  After six years of attending a heart- and life-changing inductive Precepts Bible Study each week, I knew the Lord was telling me that this 7th year was a year of rest from the study.  I loved this study and had grown so much in the Word through it.  Continuing in the Bible study would have been my plan, but I knew the Lord was putting it on hold for now.  My mom would need more help, and it is my honor to serve her.  As my wonderful Bible study leader, Carol, so graciously said to me when I told her I could not participate in the weekly study this year, "You are living out all we have been learning."  Only by His grace. 

My sweet mom, Eileen, has been very healthy well into her seventies.  She has served our family beautifully her entire life.  Raising four children and then later returning to full-time work outside our home, she has diligently cared for us in the most tender and amazing ways.  In her recent years, she has participated a few weekly Bible studies, volunteered and was active in the community.  She attended almost every sporting event, concert and recital for our children.  Her love is constant and unchanging.

"...those who hope in Me
will not be disappointed.”
Isaiah 49:23

My mom's life is one of love, giving, prayer and hope.  No matter what hardships come her way, her love is unconditional, she always desires to give, she continually prays, and she never gives up hope in God, His goodness, His faithfulness and provision.     

"Two are better than one..."
Ecclesiastes 4:9

The last few years, she has had some physical challenges and surgeries which have caused her to slow down a bit.  Widowed in 1998 after a twenty-year separation from my father, she lives alone in the home in which we grew up.  She feels comfortable and secure there, and she wants us all to be able to "come home" when we want to.  I often tell her, "Any place where you are, Mom, is home to us."  But she wants to stay in the five-bedroom colonial where she has been for 50 years, and we are doing our best to honor her request. 

Just recently taking a break from driving herself for a while, my siblings and I (and a lovely friend) now coordinate our weekly schedules to be sure Mom has someone with her part of each day.  I set up an on-line scheduler that we all can access to write in who is covering which day and to keep track of her appointments.  Preparing and having meals with her, running errands for and with her, driving her to appointments and washing/styling her hair have become some of the highlights of my week.  Though my sweet Mom is still spunky enough to want to do this all herself, she knows she can't right now and is receiving the loving help with deep gratitude.  

What a joy to serve my Mom and return just a little of the love she has poured into our hearts our entire lives.

Wondering where I am? Chances are...I am Driving Miss Eileen.   And I am honored to do so.

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February ~ Love, Respect, Honor

February is highlighted by Valentine's Day and remembrances for those in our love whom we love.  I appreciate Valentine's Day and the warm thoughts and fun expressions it invites us to give and receive.  Celebrating my family and friends and lavishing love on them is one of my heart's passions.

But I'll be honest.  Sometimes I think the boys and men in our lives are not remembered meaningfully on Valentine's Day.  Yes, they want to know they are loved.  But really, they want to know they are respected.

Women need love.
Men need respect.
It's as simple and as
complicated as that.
— Emerson Eggerichs

The live Love and Respect Conference with Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs is coming to our church on Friday evening March 2nd and Saturday morning/early afternoon March 3rd.  This conference is heart- and life-changing for married couples (whether they deem their marriage healthy, troubled, or anywhere in between), engaged couples and singles.  Click here for testimonials.   

With scripture as his basis, Emerson demonstrates that love and respect are the two essential ingredients for a successful marriage.  Click here for an overview.   

Love is a beautiful and obvious foundation for any relationship.  But showing a man (of any age) respect is often lost in our culture.  Even a glimpse through God's Word proves that our expression of unconditional respect for our husband is paramount and consequential.

As love is to a woman's heart, so is respect to a man's soul.

This month of February, I am going to daily be intentional to speak or write words of respect and honor to the men in my life. 

To daily tell my husband I respect him and to show him that respect through my actions.

To thank my husband for how he works and provides for our family. 

To tell him I respect how he is honorable in his relationships and how he handles situations.

To tell our son, Joshua, that I respect him and appreciate so much who he is and who God is making him to be.

To tell my brothers how proud I am of them for so many reasons.

To thank my father-in-law for his dedication to his family and for raising a fine son.

Honoring the men God has placed in my life.  While these thoughts are always in my heart of gratitude, I want to be intentional about telling them.  Whether I write it down for them or tell them in person or over the phone, each day I am making it a priority to express my respect and to honor them. 

Will you join me in this daily expression of respect and honor to the boys and men in your life this month of February?  There are only a few rules. 

1.)  Honor does not embarrass.  If you honor a man in your life publicly, be sure it won't embarrass him. 

2.)  Do not honor another woman's husband, unless it is your brother, father, father-in-law, relative, or unless you have received permission from her to do so.

Whether you are single, engaged or married (even if you are in a struggling marriage), you can express your sincere respect and honor for the men and boys in your life.  I hope you'll join me this month.

Special Invitation ~ Do you live in the Philadelphia area (or within driving distance) and would like to attend the Love and Respect Conference on March 2nd and 3rd but your current resources would restrict you from coming?  By God's grace and for His glory, Jim and I would like give away one registration for a couple to attend!  Email us at and let us know of your interest and why you would like to attend.  If you are selected, we will contact you on Valentine's Day.

...all the women will respect their husbands,
from the least to the greatest.
Esther 1:20

Her husband is respected at the city gate...
Proverbs 31:23

...the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands,
so that even if some do not obey the word,
they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,
when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
1 Peter3:1-2