Cara thoughts…

Prayers


To commemorate Hubble Telescope’s 20th Birthday, NASA, along with ESA and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI), released several of Hubble’s findings. NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Good morning, friend,

This morning I woke up praying for my kids. I woke up remembering a post written by  Brooke McGlothlin, she wrote it with her boys in mind, yet girls and boys would benefit from these ten prayers. Here’s the link : 10 Prayers For Your Son. You see, I forget too, as Brooke said so eloquently that our fight is not with our sons it is…

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Ephesians 6 AMP

How quickly I forget this fact, jump in, and start fighting for my rights.

He’s not your enemy. But there is an enemy. McGlothlin

Each one of these prayers is wonderful. I love them all but the one that jumps out at me that not only can I pray over him, but over me AND sing a song to keep the verses in my head all day today? Number 10.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Here’s the song:

Now, to take it a step further for me, because for ME, the verses ahead of Philippians 4:8 are just as critical to my being ABLE to fixing my mind and praying for my kids to fix their minds on what is noble, just, pure, lovely, good report…let’s look…

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

How about a song to help us memorize some of those verses too? (Sorry, folks, no Ginsu knives…)

And friend, peace, when we look at our children, or wait, not just our children, how about co-workers, or family members, or church  family or you fill in the blank…we don’t wage war against flesh and blood. Maybe they are not our enemy. Maybe we are wrestling with an enemy we cannot see.

Join me, won’t you? Pray, memorize these Scriptures, get yourself into the word of God and be transformed by the renewing of your mind!

Thankful today for a day at home.

Thankful for fresh bread today.

Thankful for a perspective shift today.

Pray on, pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, New Testament | 2 Comments

B-I-B-L-E


Example of groin vault in medieval architecture: the portico to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Guardiagrele in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy.

Good morning, friend,

As a child, I remember learning the song, B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E, BIBLE! I’m sure you’ve heard and sung that song. VBS’ of old and Sunday schools would start us off with this rousing song.  We were  taught  this song  but did we have any idea what in the world this song meant? We were taught  Moses parting the Red Sea. Joseph and His Amazing Coat of Many Colors. Noah and the Ark. Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Jesus’ parable of Good Samaritan. Of course, Jesus living, dying, rising from the dead. I came from a generation that didn’t teach the entirety of the Bible, just what seemed safe. Oh, yes, because what happened to the thousands of soldiers who were after Moses and the Israelites was very cheery. Or, the destruction of the entire world taught to children…

Am I on my high horse? Am I criticizing Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Gavin or my parents? No, no. As my family works harder and harder to create this habit, this daily routine of listening to the Bible, some nights, I will be honest, it’s not easy. Some nights, we get home late and it would be so easy to just, well, not. I know that sometimes my daughter will drift off before she hears the whole thing. There is something about hearing the entire story. Not just picking out the parts you like. Or want to read over and over and over again.

This man who reads to us every night, Brian Hardin, has been reading for the Daily Audio Bible for nine years. Nine years! Nine times reading through the whole Bible. You know, friend, I think somethings in my heart are changing about  knowing the entirety of His word. My children knowing His word. Reading it over and over again. There is good reason for it. Do I get excited to read Leviticus? Not especially. Yet, friend, God,  my God, has placed it in His word for me, for you. Maybe it’s time I read it all. I think that’s why I love reading part of the Old Testament, part of the New, Psalm and a Proverb.

A friend shared with me that she had no idea that these stories all connected and you know, I didn’t understand how they all connected until I started studying the Bible in-depth with Precepts. We have to stop taking a verse we like and making it our “favorite” verse and not knowing it’s context. We can’t keep plastering Noah and the ark on our children’s bedroom walls without stopping and thinking of the worldwide destruction. Cute little pictures of Noah and a little boat (trust I have them, I have a Noah) with a giraffe smiling, a lion, an elephant…this all puts the Eternal One, Mighty God in a box, our neat tidy box where He can be safe and happy. And when we separate the Bible into stories and not into THE story, we miss the LOVE story that God has been pursuing with us all along.

So, may I urge you, exhort you, come with me, yes, it’s the 16th, grab a…

1. Computer and listen to the Daily Audio Bible, so you are a little late? Whoopdeedoo!  http://dabplayer.com/

2. Bible..read on your own with a plan of your choosing.

3. Chronological Bible…

Just don’t miss out on the Love story that Jesus died to tell you.

Love,

Cara

Categories: Cara thoughts... | 4 Comments

Rubble


Ruins of ancient Capernum in Israel. Orthodox church is built on top of traditional site of Saint Peter’s house.

Good morning, friend,

Isn’t there something just so cool looking at a pile of rocks that claim to be Peter’s house? Well, the rocks don’t jump up, but the archaeologists have their reasons and arguments. People who have been to Israel say it changes their faith, to walk where Jesus walked, where the apostles walked, to see the history of our faith. I can well imagine. In a very small way, being also a lover of British literature and being able to visit England and Scotland, walking through Shakespeare’s hometown, seeing his grave, walking about the hometowns and such of many of my beloved authors is a memory I cherish. I loved looking at samples of their handwriting, places where they sat, forks they used, I mean crazy things like that. They are not just authors, then, they are real people, who lived and breathed.

And bringing it back to Jesus, that I believe, might be a beautiful thing for me about visiting Israel. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, visited us. He walked upon this earth, breathed in the air…I gaze at the picture above and wonder, could Jesus have visited this house? Could He had stepped through the front doors and taken off His sandals? Is this where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law?

14 And when Jesus went into Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying ill with a fever.

15 He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she got up and began waiting on Him.

16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick.

17 And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases. Matthew 8 AMP

Throughout the book of Matthew, one of Matthew’s purposes is to showcase of Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. This specific one to which Matthew speaks can be found in Isaiah 53:

4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

He saw Peter’s mother-in-law. I know, I know, it’s not really that profound, but look again. He saw her. He could have walked past. He could have not gone to Peter’s house. He could have done so many other things that night. He went there. He saw her. He touched her hand. Maybe you need to remember that today, that He sees you today. Remember His name, the God who sees you (Genesis 16).  He bears your griefs, your weaknesses, your sorrows, your pains.

Peter knew this truth, but added this praise,

24 He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls. 1 Peter 2 AMP

Your griefs, weaknesses, sorrows, pains were born His body on the tree…this all has to die, friends, we need to live to righteousness. We are healed. We live in the light of eternity and grace and mercy.

So, when I see the rubble of Peter’s house, it makes me think. I want to walk where Jesus walked. I want to go to Israel, but now? Not in the budget. So, the next best thing? Walk in the shadow of His feet. Walk where He tells me to walk each moment of the day.

So I begin, with thanks,

I’m thankful for the joy of watching my kids play basketball and love it.

I’m thankful for the joy of friends who just give to us even when it’s inconvenient.

I’m thankful for time with the Lord this morning, for the rubble of Peter’s house, for Your fresh reminders. I love you, Lord.

 

Categories: 1 Peter, Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., New Testament, Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Prophecies, Thankfuls | 1 Comment

Mercy


Shandrivs’kyi Falls Photo by Vovavovk1

Good morning, friend,

Today begins a new week. A fresh week, a fresh start. What are you thankful for this day? How do you begin this day today?

I am so very thankful today to have caught a Matt Redman concert on KLOVE last night as I drove to pick up my son from youth group.

I am thankful for Upwards basketball, HRK basketball and the impact both are having in my children’s lives this year. What a gift.

I am thankful for our church, to see our pews filling, see our children worshipping, my eldest up with me playing his guitar…we, as a church, voted to financially support TWR missionaries Mike and Wendy Lambert yesterday. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work that Mike will be doing in Guam for TWR, please check out his website. The need for Mike is critical. Right now, they have only one engineer working on the equipment that serves a huge audience of nearly two billion people and to work effectively the station should have three technicians. Please be praying.

What I am chewing on today…

a song that I heard for the first time last night by Matt Redman…Mercy. You know I have to share it with you. :)

May I never lose the wonder of Your mercy…

Do I ever just pause and wonder at the amazing depth and beauty of His mercy?

11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children. Psalm 103 EXB

What sparks my interest, what motivates me, what keeps me studying are phrases such as we find in these verses in Psalms.

As high as the sky is above the earth (picture that with me) so great is His love…now, I think, we like to stop there. We like to stop with His love. So great is His love. And it is great. It is magnificent. And there are A LOT of verses about His love. Last night, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the reality of hell. Can I just be honest with you and tell you how badly, in the quiet of my house, I wanted to turn off the preacher and turn on worship music? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking about it. However, if we are going to think about His great love, we also have to think about sharing that great love with those that need to hear it most desperately?

So great is His love for those who respect and fear Him…

7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP

So, reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord, starting with an awe of Him, going back to the song that started this whole journey of mercy for me.

I will kneel in the dust, at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me.http://www.songlyrics.com/matt-redman/mercy-lyrics/

That’s the start, that’s the beginning, the best part of this knowledge of the Lord that He loves. And the blessings just flow, my friends, we give Him this reverent fear. That’s where we need to be, covered in His dust. Covered in His mercy.

As you begin this day, His compassion, His mercy covers you. Now, who can you show compassion to this day? Who can see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus this day?

Pray on..pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

You lifted me out


View of American Falls seen looking across top of Bridal Veil Falls and Luna Island from Goat Island on the New York side. Rainbow Bridge in the background; Ontario side at left across the Niagara River. (Sept. 25, 2004) Photo by © 2004 Matthew Trump

Good morning, friend,

We showed up to basketball practice on Thursday. Normally, I try to bring a water bottle with my son. This time, I brought my water (nice) and we didn’t bring his bottle. I relied on the church having drinking fountains, that they had water. Strolled in to see signs all over the place NO WATER, BOIL ORDER, drinking fountains had garbage bags taped over them. Ugh. I had forgotten. A pipe had burst. Grayslake had no water. It was unnerving.

Yesterday, news reports flash:

Hundreds in W. Va. report exposure symptoms after crippling chemical spill

Which reports that 300,000 people are without water, they can’t boil it, touch it, be near it. It’s awful. It’s scary.  There is not an end in sight to this scare.  The pictures on the television show people scrambling for ice, bottled water, chemicals floating on the river…frightening images…

I was in ·trouble [distress], so I ·called [prayed] to the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me ·free [ I will not ·be afraid [fear], because the Lord is with me [Rom. 8:31]. ·People can’t do anything [L What can people do…?]to me [Heb. 13:6]. Psalm 118:5-6 EXB

 31 So what should we say ·about this [in response to these things]? If God is for us, ·no one can defeat us [L who is against us?]. 32 He did not spare his own Son but ·gave him [or delivered him over;C to death] for us all. So with Jesus, ·God will surely [how could he not…?] give us all things. Romans 8 EXB

Burst pipes, chemical spills can send us spiraling into fear and worry. It doesn’t even need to be something as severe as a spill or pipe, but friends, freedom is not found in focusing our attention on what is wrong in our lives and in the world around us.

I was in trouble…so I sat and stewed and worried and fretted and stayed up all night and had terrible heartburn.No…..

I was in trouble…so I called ( love this word here A primitive root [rather identical with קָרָא(H7122) through the idea of accosting a person met]) so literally the Psalmist is pestering the Lord! Not letting Him go. Lord! Lord! Lord! Does the Lord ignore His beloved? No, friend, He does not ignore His beloved! Whether it is a chemical spill or a basketball game or a pimple or a test or an argument with a friend, no matter what the reason, we call, He answers.

The Lord answered me and set me free.

The Lord answered me and set me free.

What if we enjoyed this day God gave us? What if we were not afraid of the day ahead? What if we believed what we read? Believe it, friend! Claim it! Live it!

Today is a new day. It is a good day.

Thankful for this day, it is my Mom’s birthday and I’m so thankful for her.

Thankful for this day, my kids’ first day of their basketball games, I think I’m more nervous than they are!

Thankful for a day with my husband today to enjoy time and space. We need a day!

Pray on. Pray on.

Categories: Cara thoughts..., Psalms, Thankfuls | Leave a comment

Man of Sorrows


Primula vulgaris in snow. By “color line”

Good morning, friend,

Living in the Light ] You are God’s children whom he loves, so ·try to be like [imitate] him. ·Live a life of love [Walk in love] just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a ·sweet-smelling [fragrant] offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 EXB

We have another day of crazy cold around here. Yesterday was filled with experiments like throwing boiling water into the air and watching it freeze, seeing how long a wet wash cloth takes to become a solid and for good measure, we wanted to see how long it would take for an egg. A friend on Facebook gave us the idea..it has been amazing to see our community react to these temperatures. Our area has just shut down. No classes, no basketball, the kids are a little antsy to get back into the swing.

I am thankful today for a day at home with all four, to getting back into our routines and schedules. It begins again.

I am thankful for  the Daily Audio Bible to my whole family. It is good to hear the Bible spoken at night across our house.

I am thankful for alarm clocks! My teenager is up and getting his day going! LOL

These past few nights have found me awake in the middle of the night. Have you ever noticed how, in the hours before dawn, you really cannot think clearly? Rational thought is not my best friend. Very often I turn to praying for family and loved ones,  last night, though, my mind traced on old routes of worry and stress. The chains that had been gone for so long seemed to be creeping back in. I lay there stunned as the thoughts tumbled one after the other. I cried out, Jesus! And this song popped into my head, Man of Sorrows. Now there are two versions I know, one we sang on Sunday by Hillsong and a very old version by Phillip Bliss (another favorite.)

I kept singing what I could remember to myself. Over and over.  The focus in my head became Jesus, Man of Sorrows rather than my worries. Check this out:

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed Lyric Freak

Free indeed! Whom the Son sets free! I throw my hands out in worship and thank Jesus for His precious, precious blood spilled. Yesterday, my daughter and I were discussing grace and she needed to write in her own words the definition. Grace is one of those words for me…a cue…grace=unmerited favor. Another one for me, salvation=deliverance, for some reason the words on the right of the equal sign keep the definition close. However, my girl wanted to just use my words. Ahh, no. So, how do you describe grace?

Grace (charis)-

  1. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

Of course, my girl was wishing she could copy that, which then led to entirely new conversation..I digress. Mom! He loves me! I don’t deserve it, do I? It’s a gift! She’ll learn more and more about His merciful kindness that turns her to Jesus as she grows. What is important now for her to remember, she is loved. It’s a crazy, wild love, she hasn’t done anything to earn it, yet it’s hers.

How I need that truth in the middle of the night!

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Man of Sorrows…

3 He was ·hated [despised] and rejected by people.
·He had much pain [L A man of pain/suffering/T sorrows] and ·suffering [one who knew/was acquainted with pain/grief].
People ·would not even look at [turned their backs on; L hid their faces from] him.
He was ·hated [despised], and we ·didn’t even notice him [or did not esteem him].

4 But he ·took [bore] our suffering on him
and ·felt our pain for us [carried our sorrows/sickness].
·We saw his suffering
and thought God was punishing him [L …stricken and afflicted by him; C God].
5 But he was wounded for ·the wrong we did [T our transgressions];
he was crushed for ·the evil we did [T our iniquities].
The punishment, which ·made us well [brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
and we are healed because of his ·wounds [lacerations; T stripes; 1 Pet. 2:24].
6 We all have ·wandered away [T gone astray] like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way [1 Pet. 2:25].
But the Lord has put on him ·the punishment
for all the evil we have done [L all of our sins/iniquity].

7 He was ·beaten down [oppressed] and ·punished [treated harshly; T afflicted   

but he didn’t ·say a word [L open his mouth].

He was like a lamb being led to be ·killed [slaughtered].
He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet ·while its wool is being cut [L before its shearers; Acts 8:32Matt. 26:63Mark 14:61John 19:91 Pet. 2:23];
he never opened his mouth. Isaiah 53 EXB

Today, I begin this day weary, but encouraged. I know Jesus feels my pain. His punishment brought me wholeness and peace..so this creeping thought of worry and unrest, it is not welcome, nor is it from the Lord. I am healed because of His wounds. I am well! I am thankful. Today, a new day, the sun shines even with this incredible cold and reminds me I am free indeed. Yet, friends, this is not just for me! We!

Remember that beautiful definition of grace?

.. merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues”

Remember that today. We are kept. We are strengthened. We are being increased in our faith, in our knowledge, and our affection! Not for the things of this world, not for the earthly pleasures that fade away, but for the Man of Sorrows, Lamb of God. 

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, Old Testament, Prophecies, Thankfuls | Leave a comment

Snow


winter landscape Photo by Chwalkowko

Good morning, friends,

Looking out my bedroom window this morning, I smile as I watch the birds fly from branch to branch tossing snow effortlessly to the ground.  A few of the little birds are perched close to our window, peering in. The day dawns bright and clear, have you noticed how snow helps the world seem clean and new? I know what lies under the snow in our yard (trust me, I have kids and a dog). Our dog is a stinker. She loves to sneak things out into the yard and sneak things in FROM the yard. *Sigh* . Luke is begging this morning for “snow cream”. I told him we would need to find VERY safe snow. VERY.

The cardinal is over by my window now and the color contrast!! I like to think that God gives us reminders in nature. What do you think?

Cardinal in snow Photo by Mike’s Birds

 6 You ·want me to be completely truthful [L desire truth/faithfulness in my inward parts],
·so teach me wisdom [L and secretly you make me know wisdom].
7 ·Take away my sin [L Remove my sin with hyssop; Ex. 12:22; C a plant used in purification rituals; Lev. 14:4649–51Num. 19:18], and I will be clean.
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow [Is. 1:18].
8 Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness;
let the bones you crushed ·be happy [rejoice] again.
9 ·Turn [L Hide] your face from my sins
and ·wipe [blot] out all my guilt. Psalm 51 EXB

Snow is a lovely thing, as I said, it does cover the ugly, doesn’t it? But, it never stays covered, eventually, it melts. Eventually, if you drive by my house, you’ll see the toys, the shoe the dog dragged into the yard, etc. We like to cover up too, don’t we? Oh, I’m fine. I’m good. Yet, if we are completely truthful, all the way to the inward parts, we are not good. Wisdom calls us to call out and say, Lord, I’m not good! I’m struggling. I need YOU! And you know what, friend? He’ll answer! He’ll teach you wisdom.

The fake us that says, oh, I’m good, can only last for a certain amount of time before the facade will give way. We listen to the lie that it’s better to hide than to come clean! A lie from the pit of hell that we need not listen.

I love verse 7…Remove my sin with hyssop (have to include a picture, I had no idea!)

Za’atar growing in the herb garden of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, Jerusalem, Israel Photo by Gilabrand

 “Hyssop” was a small plant (see 1 Kgs 4:33) used to apply water (or blood) in purification rites (see Exod 12:22Lev 14:4-6, 49-52Num 19:6-18. The psalmist uses the language and imagery of such rites to describe spiritual cleansing through forgiveness. Notes by https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Psalms+51

David knew his cleansing could not be his own doing. He could not cleanse the sin. I will be clean. I shall be whiter than snow. This is said with confidence not found in himself. David knew his confidence rested solely in his God. And friends, we can learn so much from this confidence. This confidence was born out of pain. Take note.

It’s not about being strong, looking strong. He is LORD, LORD of all. He is your strength. He is your all. Oh, but us trying, attempting, looking a certain way..ya, that’s filthy rags to Him, the King of Kings…remember, He knows you are weak. Friend, He remembers we are dust, for heaven’s sake. What are we trying to do running from Him?? Mercy.

A few things I would like to share with you as we enter a new year…if you would like to add the discipline of reading/listening to the Bible in a year, I had never done this before this past year when I found the Daily Audio Bible.  Before I go to bed, I listen to Brian Hardin read portions of the Old and New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb each day. It’s been a great addition to my daily routine. I purchased the app for my phone for a buck and I love it.

I’ve finally had enough of the clutter and I’ve enjoyed this woman’s website and how she breaks down into 52 weeks. If that sounds overwhelming to you, then think how long it took you to get to where you are today. LOL. Home Storage Solutions 101

May God bless you this day. May you remember that you are loved, deeply and forever.

All this from snow…snow…

I digress.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Psalms | Leave a comment

Whac-A-Mole


I start my morning with a slurper, well, two actually. One is already on his way to work. The other is memorizing the Foxtrot comic book resting on his lap. I begin to have a cognizant thought and slurp! And then, I am reminded of the many pages I follow on Facebook. The Mamas chronicling the one year anniversaries of losing their babies to cancer, fighting to keep their children from the grip of cancer or discovering their fight is just beginning. Slurp away, kid.

Sunset in Belo Horizonte Photo by Higor Douglas

Life is like that, isn’t it? We were meant to live this life in the present. To enjoy this gift, to peer out of the windows, see the sun shining through the trees and rather than just smile and close the blinds, run out with the dog and kids and join the chorus. Of course, it would require that my other children arise and join the rest of the open-eyed population.  I’ve been spending way too much time in my head lately, in regret, in the past, what I should have said. How I should have been.  And guess what I’ve done? I’ve smiled at the joy set before me (my family), closed the curtain and listened rather than run out and joined the chorus.

How often do we close the curtains in our own lives? How often have we briefly seen whatever the joy was the Lord set before us (the beauty of the day, the family, the friendships, life, whatever) and chosen to keep our focus solely on the stress? Has your neighbor’s dog bark finally crossed that line? Do your church’s music choices set your teeth on edge? Are there people at your church that you wish would worship elsewhere so you could finally have the church you want? Are your children not doing everything according to your gospel? Shall I continue? Did I mention yours? Fill in the blank ________. You tell the Lord. But I’m going to tell you, here’s what He says in Philippians 4:

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you are on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

All those questions, those curtains they close the door on celebration. Celebration is open the doors wide.  Open your heart wide. As I type that, it’s hard. Down and dirty hard to do this with people…especially when people are not like you. When people don’t understand you and you don’t understand them, we forget. We forget that we aren’t here to be perfect, we are here to work together, harmoniously. Our love for one another doesn’t have to be constant time and attention but it can be a touch on the shoulder, a smile that reaches your eyes, knowing that love comes from the Father in heaven. You can’t love the difficult people on your own. You love them from Him. He is your love and His love pours through.

Romans 12: 11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

How do we burn out? How do we keep fueled and aflame? Most certainly not by working on our own strength or love. It all starts with Him. All of it. It stops when we… back to Philippians 4:

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

We have got to get to this point where we trigger an automatic response to worry. Right away. The worries begin and bam! we begin to pray. I’m not kidding. I keep thinking of that Whac-A-Mole game, right? You know the game? Sometimes, I feel like that’s my worries in my life. One crops up, bam! Another, bam! A child has no problem whacking a mole with all their might, why do I allow my “moles” to just hang out above the surface, grabbing some rays, checking out the hot moles in the other holes…You get my point.

What if today, I turn my back on the whole stupid game? And I let petitions and praises shape these moles into prayers and I just give ‘em over to my God? Then as I do this, I will begin to feel and know I am complete in Him, I will and am remembering that all comes together for good!

It’s wonderful, isn’t it, when Christ displaces worry in the center of our life?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me, I have a slurper and dog to take on a walk.

Pray on. Pray on.

Thankfuls

I’m thankful for the gorgeous sunrise.

I’m thankful for my Kimberlee who checks on me every morning to make sure I’m having my QT. I love you, girl.

I’m thankful for a new alarm clock that didn’t work today and we slept in.

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, Music, New Testament, Pictures from commons..., Psalms | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marshmallow shooters


Creeping thistle. Photo by Ivar Leidus

Good morning, friend,

Ever sit to watch the coffee drip into the pot, waiting for enough to fill even half a cup? Recalling this past night, wishing for more sleep…knowing that the day spreads before me, knowing this truth: when I begin my day with the Lord, no matter the amount of sleep, I still have staked a claim. This day shall be for the Lord. As the garbage truck passes by the house, one of the boy children is awake and the day begins. It must begin with the Lord. I must..

I continue to ponder the first chapter of Joshua. God keeps it simple.

Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. 9 Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1 CJB

For me, this day, this means to keep my mind securely on the Word. To meditate on the Word…

hagah- to speak with oneself, and in a low voice, as is often done by those musing.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

1 How blessed are those
who reject the advice of the wicked,
don’t stand on the way of sinners
or sit where scoffers sit!
2 Their delight
is in Adonai’s Torah;
on his Torah they meditate
day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams —
they bear their fruit in season,
their leaves never wither,
everything they do succeeds. Psalm 1 CJB

Where is my delight? What does my mind meditate upon? Do I ponder more upon the fears? Do I remain fixed upon the truth of His Word?

15 (14) May the words of my mouth
and the thoughts of my heart
be acceptable in your presence,
Adonai, my Rock and Redeemer. Psalm 19 CJB

As I type, my son, my early riser, is attempting to configure his marshmallow shooter. Some of the marshmallows are stuck in the barrel of his gun. (Even though his Grandmother told him to use cornstarch with the marshmallows). So, he has tried a straw to push them out, he has tried water to wash them out, and now he is using a hairdryer to dry them out. However, had he listened to his Grandmother (you can pay me later, Mom), he would be gleefully shooting the dog, the other members of his family even at this moment.

He didn’t.

God tells us to meditate on His word…we start our day worrying about ________________________ (your worry here).

God tells us to speak His truth…instead frustration pours from our mouths because our day is not looking how WE think it should look.

God tells us to meditate on it day and night…instead we are distracted by Facebook, email, Twitter..

We are clogging up our marshmallow shooters, people.

Now, my boy has gone back and listened to the advice of our wise Matriarch. His marshmallows are covered in cornstarch. Then, he decides to coat his brother and sister’s bags of white fluff to help them so they do not run into the same issues as he.

So I hope by my words I may point you to our Lord, His Word and His teachings. Don’t start your day with worry. Get your coffee, grab His Word and begin your day by meditating on His Word. It’s all about Jesus (Haven Today). I end with this quote of Paul’s today.

14 Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; 15 and let the shalom which comes from the Messiah be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.

And be thankful — 16 let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts. 17 That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3 CJB

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., New Testament, Old Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Great I AM


Wupatki National Monument Photo by Stephen M Alden

Good morning, friend,

So, I found a new Bible on the Biblegateway website. I love it. I think I go through phases of which is my favorite. I love the Expanded Bible which gives background and word definitions right in the text. For some, it clutters the page. For me, dragging my eyes from the text to the bottom of the page for commentary and such feels disjointed. I love the Amplified Bible (pretty similar to the Expanded). This new one I am sharing with you today is called the Complete Jewish Bible. Love it (she says with a song in her heart) ! The names of God are right in the text, the names of the people are in the Jewish form, So in the following text, Moshe is Moses. Torah is the first five books of the OT.

6 “Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. 7 Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. 8 Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. 9 Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1 CJB

Be strong- chazaq- to tie fast, to bind bonds strongly, to hold fast, stick fast. 

Be bold-amats- alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard

I look at these two words and at first glance, I wonder how in the world God expected these people, Joshua to be strong. However, the definition of strong, to tie fast, to bind bonds means that the one who needs the strength should hold fast to one who is stronger. It makes no sense in the midst of a strong storm to bind yourself to a sapling but to a 100 year old oak tree. God wasn’t expecting Joshua to just be strong on his own. Adonai knew Joshua and the Israelites could not do it on their own.

Yes, they were going to be given the land. Their success came in following ALL the words of the Lord. Knowing His word. Keeping His commands. Keep their eyes on Him. Not turning from the right or left.

How in the world do they not turn to the right OR the left? Memorizing the Word. Keeping it on their lips. Meditating on His word all. day. long. So the tying, the binding was to the Lord, to His word, to His promises, to His guidance. This was crucial to their success.

It is crucial to mine. To yours. How can we not be afraid or downhearted? Well, I think it begins to tying myself early in the day to the Lord. Binding myself strongly to the promises contained in the whole word of God.

16 Always be joyful. 17 Pray regularly. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Pray. Give thanks. Keep His word in my heart, on my tongue. Speaking His words are so much better than my own. I get muddled in the middle of my day and the words I start my day on seem so far away. The boys are fighting. The girl is wandering off listening to her book. We need to get school done!! And all of a sudden, the whispers begin. Your kids are so far behind. You are doing a horrible job teaching them. If only you kept a better schedule. If only you had a clean…

STOP! Are these the words of God? Are these the promises of God? Nope. Instead, I’ve forgotten. What if instead of allowing my brain to take over with accusations and guilt trips (which are not fun trips) I turned it around.

The boys are fighting, Lord, how should we handle it? What words can you give me? My girl is wandering off. How can I gently, yet strongly enforce our rules? Lord, are my kids far behind? It’s September. Horrible? Really? Wow. Where did that come from?

Peace. Be still and know that I AM God. (Psalm 46:10)  “Courage,” he said, “it is I. Stop being afraid!” (Mark 6: 50b) The Great I AM is here. The I AM is here. The I AM is here. I am not alone. I am not homeschooling these gifts on my own strength. I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Walk in His truth today. Bind yourself to Him. Walk closely to His side.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, New Testament, Old Testament, Pictures from commons... | 5 Comments

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