Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Yellow is Still My Favorite Color April 28, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:05 pm

 

 

Note the pretty yellow haze...

Note the pretty yellow haze...

 

It is Pollen Mania in Virginia!   The tiny yellow particles are so abundant, weather forecasters have started referring to pollen as precipitation.   It seems like only a matter of time before we will need to start shoveling it like snow.  Okay, so I’m exaggerating a tad….but not much.  Every vehicle has become a blurry version of its original color.  Red cars appear orange, black cars look slightly brown and green cars have an alien like glow to them.   Last week many people took advantage of the warm weather and dutifully washed their cars.  Gas stations with car wash services saw an increase in business.  Our church enjoyed a very successful car wash/fundraiser last weekend.  All of the pollen removal efforts I witnessed were only momentary victories.  It was as if the trees themselves cried out, “Resistance is futile!”  Within days all things cleared of pollen were soon recoated with the delicate dusty debris.  My poor husband washed decking, deck furniture, his car and boat! (Thought I’d let you know that so he gets credit for effort, since you would NEVER know it by looking at any of those objects.)   

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to get something clean, it just won’t stay that way.   Countless times I have driven my just washed car to work, only to find a gooey, globular gift deposited on it by the local bird population.  I have days like that too.  I try to clean myself up.  I seek God with all my heart.  Try to be disciplined in my quiet time.  I desire to hunger for His word and be obedient.  I try to please Him.  I attempt to serve Him and honor Him with my choices.  But, alas, I will find myself severely lacking.  It is so easy to get caught up in the day, discouraged or distracted.  My selfish tendencies and sin nature just resettles on my heart like the persistent pollen.  I so get the apostle Paul when he said in Romans 7:19 “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil I do not wish” .  I find comfort in knowing the grace of my God is enough for all my weakness and His love is great.  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive in Christ”! Ephesians 2:4-5

 I know the rain will arrive soon.  No doubt I’ll complain about the inconvenience of it when it does.  I know the pollen will wash away, as it always does, leaving little yellow rivers flowing down my driveway.   I also know when I bring my sins before my God He will forgive me, they will flow from me like rivers and I will be given the grace to start the new day.

(I was tempted to write on the pollen coated window pictured above, but felt less than qualified after seeing the work of this guy.   His name is Scott Wade.  Although he currently specializes in dirt on cars, I think his work would show well on cars in this area.  Check it out.  www.dirtycarart.com )

 

 

 

I Think I Hear God Giggle April 21, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:11 pm

I often think of the laugh God must have enjoyed when he created me for my husband, Scott.  Did God say to Himself, “Let’s see…someday she’ll marry the young boy I just designed, so I’ll make her completely opposite of him just for fun.”?  Did He smile at His own cleverness?  If not, He should have.

My wonderful “type A” personality husband has endured many years of life with me, a totally NOT “type A” personality.  A description of a typical trip to the mall might give clarity to my point.  Picture the mall, packed with shoppers on a Friday night.  As we enter the South end of the massive collection of stores Scott heads to the nearest posting of the mall directory.  While he plans our direction based on what needs to be purchased and where, I am already following my nose to the source of the buttery Auntie Ann’s Pretzels.  The bright colors of the modern art/light fixtures, suspended above the main walk way, mesmerize me.  As I admire their smooth lines and shape (sort of looks like giant candy), Scott pulls on my arm and we start our shopping.  He is trying to propel me from point A to point B.  He is trying to be patient; “If I walk any slower I’ll be standing still” he’ll say.  He has a plan.  He is on a mission.  He is there to get stuff and get out.  Meanwhile, I am enjoying the creative window displays.  I smile to myself, and everyone else, as I take in the variety of shoppers.  I am easily distracted by adorable babies, sweet senior adults, oddly attired teens, stressed parents and tired husbands.  I think about what sort of day each of them may have had, or what their lives might be like.  Scott tries to push back his growing frustration with my lack of progress through the horde of shoppers.  I attempt to hide my annoyance at his lack of patience and his hurried pace.  You see what I mean?

Over the years we have learned to appreciate our differences, but that does not mean we always enjoy them.  Overall our mismatch has worked well for us.  His goal oriented drive has given my life much needed focus.  My slow paced nature has forced him to slow down and enjoy life more.  It has also been necessary to make some adjustments in our God given tendencies.   My effort to be more considerate of his desire for timeliness and order, and his effort to be more about the journey, has helped us become better people and better for  each other.  God wasn’t just trying to be funny when He created us for one another.  He had a plan.

      Just imagine, every person who impacts your life is there as part of God’s plan for you.  “For I know the plans I have you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11   These words were part of a letter sent to Jews held captive in Babylon.  They lived in a difficult place and with difficult people.   Their difficulties were a part of His plan. 

It is entirely possible that the irritating, frustrating or annoying, neighbor, relative, co-worker, or friend has been placed in your life on purpose!   We may not need to get along or even be happy about our differences, but it may be time to look for how God can shape our lives through them. 

 

 

 

The Great Snake Adventure April 14, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:25 am

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When you’re sound asleep at a quarter till midnight, and your 22yr. old son knocks at your bedroom door yelling for his dad, well, let’s just say the mind goes to a lot of unsettling places looking for an answer to what’s wrong.   After adjusting to being awakened so rudely, we responded to his frantic rapping on the door with a somewhat annoyed, “What Steven?”  I was NOT expecting his reply of, “There’s a snake at the door…inside the house…I need some help!”   It is amazing how quickly those words bring you to your senses.  We hurriedly dressed and rushed down stairs.  Yep, sure enough, there it was…a very disturbed snake trying to get away from an equally disturbed Steven, wielding our barbeque tongs.   Scott got a mop handle and joined his effort to get the critter out of the house.   What ensued was somewhat reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel from an “I Love Lucy” episode.  I had no idea my son had such agility?  He displayed a great sense of balance as he jumped and perched on a chair while trying to lean over and capture the intruding snake.  I also had no idea his voice could still reach such a high pitch. 

               Scott soon took command of the situation and proceeded to bark instructions while simultaneously attempting to pin the snake down with his mop.  Steven had a mid-crisis epiphany.  As Scott was yelling at /encouraging him to move in to grasp the snake with his tongs, Steven suddenly noticed the difference between their weapons of choice and proximity to the snake.   Realizing his dad was giving him instructions from the safety of a long mop handle, compared to the relatively short barbeque tongs, Steven began to protest his part in the snake capture.  Steven, at last, grabbed hold of the snake’s writhing body.  As it coiled up the tongs, and also his arm, girlish cries of “it’s touching me, it’s touching me” echoed through the house.  The snake would enjoy a short victory as he freed himself from the tong’s “jaws of death”.   Ultimately father and son prevailed and the snake was ceremoniously ushered out of the house. 

                  Later that night, as the adrenalin eased out of my system, I laid in bed thinking through a host of “what if’s”.   What if Steven had not seen the snake?  What if someone had been bitten? What if they had not caught it?  What if it came back? What if there were more?   Encounters such as this are startling reminders that we live in a world where “what if’s” abound and anything can happen.  If I am going to sleep in the midst of my “what if’s” I am going to need the peace king David found by trusting God.

 “Thou hast put gladness in my heart,…in peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone O Lord, dost make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:7-8

I like how he distinguished BOTH to lie down AND to sleep.  He did not just tentatively lay back in bed with wide eyed anxiety…he totaly rested knowing God had his safe keeping

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Abigail Changed My Easters(sorry, this one is long) April 7, 2009

Filed under: devotionals,Easter,Uncategorized — tlmiller82 @ 9:58 am

I’ve lost track of how many years ago it was, yet each Spring I can’t help but recall my introduction to Abigail.  I was a high school science/Bible teacher for a small Christian school at the time. One of my students was a football sized young man named Nick.  He worked for a local farmer who had offered him a young lamb to take home.  Nick’s mom, apparently destined for sainthood, not only allowed him to bring the lamb home, but he got to keep it in his room!  Early that Spring Nick brought photos to share.  To my amazement, there, wedged beside his bed and amid typical teenage squalor, was a carefully built pen, complete with wood rails, chicken wire and hay.  Abigail the lamb had found a perfect home.  Over the next few weeks Nick would have numerous stories to tell of Abigail’s antics.  I couldn’t wait to see her for myself, so I invited Nick to bring her to school one morning.

I ushered my entire class outside and we waited like giddy preschoolers for Abigail’s arrival.  I am certain I will never be able to adequately describe what I saw that day.  I will do my best.  We watched as Nick emerged from his vehicle with Abigail cradled in his big burly arms.  We stood transfixed by the sight of what can only be inadequately referred to as precious”.  Her pure, white coat seemed almost translucent, radiating light under the bright blue, cloudless sky.   Her tiny nose was a perfect, pink velvet triangle perched just above her little pink mouth.    As I placed my hand on her sweet little head she looked at me.  I found myself staring into the depths of clear, brilliant blue eyes.  I realized I had been holding my breath in awe.  We were expecting to see a cute lamb, somewhat off white in color.  I had not considered that, unlike the lambs at the local petting zoo, Abigail had been living in a clean, loving, environment.  After everyone had made Abigail’s acquaintance, Nick left to return her home and we settled back into Bible class.

We soon realized the relevance of Abigail’s visit as we continued our study of Passover.  The original Passover took place when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  God instructed them to mark their door post with the blood of a male lamb.  This was to protect them from the final plague which was the death of all first born in any home not so protected. (Exodus 11&12)  The yearly commemoration of this event required the father to select the best, blemish free lamb and set it apart for the Passover…four days prior to the celebration.  My students and I began to consider something quite startling.  There was a good chance that the lamb would have been brought into the house or yard during that time.  This perfect little lamb, probably as precious and sweet as our Abigail, may have clamored under their feet while they did chores, fed out of their hands and shared a living area.  After four days, this lamb, which by now had become even more precious to the family, was to be sacrificed.   Suddenly one can imagine the cries of the children, the quite sob of their mother, the sorrow in the eyes of the father who knows a blood sacrifice is required.   For the first time, since meeting Abigail, we could truly envision the “sacrificial lamb” of the Scriptures.

The continued observance of Passover was a powerful object lesson for generations of Israelites.  Every family member would be reminded not only of God’s protection and provision when He freed them from slavery, but also of the cost…the blood of their most precious lamb.  This Easter we consider the final sacrifice.  Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, perfect and precious beyond description, was sacrificed for our sin.  Many movies and videos have stirred the heart of man as they depict the brutal crucifixion of our Christ, yet none can compare to the vision of Abigail.  As we celebrate our freedom from sin and death through the resurrection of our Lord, let’s never forget the cost.  Praise God His love and grace make us worthy of such a sacrifice!

1 Peter 1:18-19  “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious blood, as a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”