Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Why Dance with an Ironing Board When You Can turn on the Light? September 29, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:57 am

          The toilet was running.  I knew I could either lay in the bed and continue telling myself it was a soothing, sleep inducing sound or I could get up and jiggle the handle like usual.  I chose the handle jiggling option.  I know in most homes a short trek from ones bed to the bathroom is not a dangerous feat, but for some of us it can be challenging. 

           As I shuffled in the darkness of the room I soon encountered the inhospitable hope chest which sits at the foot of our bed.  It’s great for holding heirloom items and bruising shins.  My recovery from this impact was short lived.  One step further I found my foot sinking into a soft mound of dirty clothes (you know, that pile you INTENDED to take to the laundry room earlier in the day).  After shaking what I hoped was only a sock from my toes, I foraged onward.  Almost to my destination, I walked confidently into the ironing board(complete with iron) and performed the awkward “steady it before it falls and wakes the husband” dance.  As soon as I felt the smooth floor of the bathroom, I slid inside and quietly closed the door behind me.  I turned on the light, SANCTUARY!  In the wonderful glow of incandescent lighting I was able to make contact with the troublesome toilet and jiggle the handle.  I turned off the bathroom light before opening the door to the darkened bedroom and headed back to bed.

          My return trip to the bedside would be far less eventful.  You see, although once again I was walking in darkness, this time I knew what was in my path.  I planned accordingly, veering a bit as I exited the bathroom to avoid the ironing board and giving the dirty clothes pile and hope chest plenty of passing space on my left.  Once safely snuggled below the covers and ready to enjoy a quieter night’s sleep, I found myself contemplating my late night journey.  Odd, I thought, how easy it was to navigate in the dark once I had a lay of the land, yet how much easier it would it have been had I simply turned on a light.   In a well lit room getting up to jiggle the handle of the toilet would have been quicker, quieter and safer.  I can’t keep from considering how this relates to the darkened world. 

          I think it’s possible that people learn, as I did the other night, to navigate the darkness.   Obstacles that may have once caused us to stop and consider our predicament are now easily avoided.  Painful trial and error can cause us to have a false sense of where to walk.  

          God brings light to our darkened world so we DON’T have to shuffle our way through life wincing in anticipation of obstacles.  He floods the world with light so we can see truth and have hope.   He wants us to journey in the light so we can enjoy the view and have confidence in our steps.  Yet it is easy for man to continue to grope in the darkness, navigating our way through life using any path of least resistance.   Walking  in shin scraping, toe stubbing darkness is not the best way to travel.  For myself, I choose light.

 

Remove from Wrapper… September 22, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:31 pm

          Okay, so I opened my dishwasher after it finished running and found the automatic detergent still wrapped in plastic and laying in the bottom of the machine.  Hmmmmmm.  Obviously protected from the dissolving effects of the water, it had done little to insure my dishes had indeed been cleaned.  I soon discovered the culprit was my helpful husband.  He’d placed the cellophane wrapped cube of detergent in the dispenser just as he would have if it were the “other” kind, you know, the kind in a capsule that dissolves.  When I pointed out his error he immediately defended his action with,  “How was I supposed to know?”   I thought that was a valid question…how was he supposed to know?   There are not instructions on each individual packet after all. 

         Why is it that really important instructions are easy to miss and other , less necessary instructions are plain to see?  For example, on the container of snake repellant (see previous posts for snake issues)  the important tid bit about not using this product “in areas where snakes are already known to exist” was located on page 2 of a pull out label in miniscule print, yet the “use in well ventilated areas” was prominently displayed. (Which, by the way, is a silly instruction and waste of ink since the pungent odor would automatically cause you to avoid inhaling it.)  Why do our medicines clearly let us know how much to take and when, but list all possible ill effects of doing so in much smaller disclaimer print? I have yet to figure out why, on any container of cleaning products or harmful chemicals, the “keep away from small children” instruction is buried so far down the label?  Seems like that might be a fairly important thing to be reminded about.  The recent dishwasher mishap along with the various other things I have used or applied incorrectly over the years has brought to mind another area of  my life where I may be missing some fine print.

 

          Sometimes I skip right past God’s instructions.  In my hurry to accomplish something, or in the chaos of my day, I find it easy to set His Word aside and attempt to solve problems and make decisions from my own perspective.   I have no problem recognizing the bold directive of the ten commandments, yet may fail to investigate the other lifesaving instructions and guidelines found in the Word of God.   How much firmer my faith, clearer my call and unshakable my joy would be if I could be attentive to all of His Words, not just those which are presented to me by others, displayed on posters or plagues and strung along in songs? 

          When Luke penned the book of the Bible which bares his name, he did so to assure clarity to folks like us, “inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,…..it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you….so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:1-4  I am challenged to do a better job of studying the Word and knowing the fine print of instructions He has for us.  Unlike some product instructions, God’s are not hidden or lack clarity.   I guess my Bible is like that detergent cube…if I don’t open it up, it won’t do any good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Straining at the Oars September 15, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:30 pm

        P9120577  I was at a Bible study last night when Bill, a friend of mine, shared a devotional from Mark 6:45-52.( This is the account of Jesus walking on water.) Bill did a great job of sharing what God had laid on his heart, he was very brief and to the point.  I must confess though, that while I fully intended to pay attention to everything he said, my mind quickly grasped two striking statements and became so wrapped up in the thought of them that I lost track of anything else he shared.  Even today I can’t help but dwell on them.

          First of all he noted that there are two places Jesus tended to frequent in His ministry, mountain tops and boats!  I had never thought about that  before.  He was right, we often read that Jesus withdrew to a mountain top to pray, rest or even teach.  Who could blame Him.  As Bill pointed out to us, mountain tops are serene and peaceful.  They give us unique perspective and can provide either a vantage point or a place of solitude.   

          Jesus also spent a great deal of time in boats.  My husband would love this!  It is difficult to get him to be anywhere except his boat anytime the weather permits.  I can just hear him now, “Teri, we can’t attend ( (insert any activity I am requesting i.e. weddings, church meeting, shopping, party, baby/bridal shower) we HAVE to spend the day on the boat..after all that is where Jesus would spend his time.”   Jesus traveled by, taught from and displayed His authority over storms in…BOATS!   So maybe as Christians we should spend more time hiking and boating?

          The second thing Bill shared which stuck with me was part of the scripture he read.  After Jesus had sent the followers away and He had finished praying on the mountain top, He looked out to see His disciples struggling in the boat. “And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea and He was alone on land.  And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch, He came to them…. “Mark 6:47-48   seeing them “STRAINNING against the oars”…the “WIND against them”   at these words I quickly found myself reliving the events of last Saturday in my mind.  

           My husband had other commitments and I found myself with a Saturday all to myself, so I decided to take my kayak out on the Occoquan River.   The weather was overcast and slightly windy, but I knew I would not have too many chances to do this again.  I was especially excited to try bringing my porky little yorkie, Hughie, along for the first time.  Of course I envisioned myself casually paddling along the shore with my loyal dog eagerly poised at the bow of my boat.  Hahahahaha.   Surprisingly Hughie did indeed actually perch at the bow of the kayak from time to time (when he wasn’t fearfully huddled against my legs or chest).  Matter of fact, except for the time he jumped out of the kayak in an attempt to get to the turtle he saw sitting on a log in the water, I’d say he was a perfect first mate.

           We paddled up and down the river for almost two hours, but it was two hours of “straining at the oars….for the wind was against us”.   There was a little casual paddling, and a few relaxing  and restful stops along the way, but for the most part I had to work really hard to keep my boat under control and moving the direction I intended as opposed to the direction the wind and current intended. 

          When we strain against the oars in life, trying to move forward or change direction, we are often faced with winds of opposition.  Just as Jesus saw His disciples struggle, so does our God see our efforts and struggles.  I like thinking about that…He will come to me as I strain against my oars.  I can attest to the great relief one feels when someone comes to help you ashore.  When you hand your oars to Him your arms will fall tingling to your side and your entire body will sigh with a release of tension you may not have even know was there.

 

Waves over the bow September 9, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:16 am

         P9070506                          This last weekend Scott and I enjoyed a wonderful boat trip to Solomon’s Island, MD.  The journey takes about 5 hours by boat and requires heading south on the Potomac River with passage through a short section of the Chesapeake Bay.  We had great weather for our travels there and better than expected for our stay at a local Maryland marina.  It is our trip homeward that is still running through my mind.

          We listened intently to the marine weather/water forecast the evening prior to departure.  Various reports mentioned strong winds and waves a bit higher than we normally would run in, but our small band of boaters determined it was still a go.  We left the safety of the marina around 9am and were soon introduced to the wonderful weather and waves of the mighty Chesapeake.  Of course, we were not in any danger…I’m not talking about waves the size of those seen on “Deadliest Catch” …but it did remind me of one of my favorite rides at amusement parks…the log flume.  You know when you’re on the log ride and the final plunge sends water up and into your log soaking you until your dripping wet?  Well, imagine that about every five minutes for over an hour and you may have an understanding of our boat ride home.  P9070517

           The occasional spray of salty sea water and the stiff wind was welcome and familiar…then it happened, out of nowhere, as if someone had dumped a bucket of cold water over our heads, the first wave of the day landed inside the boat.  Oh, we expected rough ridding, wind and waves…what we did not expect was the extreme drenching that would ensue.   I’m pretty sure I am not alone in that I was expecting a lot of sea spray and a few bow crashing waves.  What we experienced instead was a frequent deluge of water over the bow and into our laps.  We had been given a piece of Chesapeake humble pie, as if the weather and water joined together to remind us that when you’re on a boat anything can happen.

          This morning, after of sleeping in a bed that seemed possessed by the sea and rocked endlessly, I found myself replaying the scene in my head.  As I prayed for friends sending their kids off to a new year of school, some for the first time, and for others who are experiencing difficult things, I realized that sometimes life sends “waves” over our bow.

          We expect to experience only a stiff wind or salty sea spray in life and instead find ourselves overtaken by a massive rouge wave.  The excitement in a new school year, discouragement or loss, even the unpredictable weather of the changing seasons, are like waves over the bow…striking reminders of how, in life, anything can happen.  Time is passing, kids are growing, life happens and we are not in control.  We don our life preservers and hold fast to our anchor and brace for the tumultuous journey.   The good news is our captain is in control and He is never surprised by any waves which find their way over our bow!

 

Snake Issues Again! September 1, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 10:05 pm

P8290421          Okay, I live near a bunch of woods.  Since we live in such close proximity to the woods I have come to accept certain inevitable house guests.  I have made my peace with the spiders that seem to inhabit every corner of my house even after I have cleaned. (They eat unwanted insects) 

           I have even stopped freaking out when the occasional mouse finds its way into the house. (They are not welcome guest mind you, it’s just that I am no longer surprised or appalled they show up from time to time.)  Over the years we have seen everything from snakes, lizards, frogs, deer, fox, and of course there was the one year we had a bear in the yard.  I think I have handled most of these encounters with good natured appreciation for each species. (Well, except for the bear…but hey, who expects a  bear on their door step?)  Of all the critters that call my yard home there is only one which seems to test my patience…THE SNAKE. 

          As I mentioned earlier, I know we have mice somewhere in the walls, foundation or garage at some time during each year.  This is why snakes are not necessarily a bad thing.  We have seen black snakes in vicinity in past years.  I fight the urge to chop them with a hoe knowing they play an important role in my yard’s ecosystem.  In the spring a young snake made its way into our home (see previous Spring post for details).  Until few weeks ago, when another small snake found its way inside the house, I did not think we had a problem.  We have since found a nest and two holes we think are snake portals into our dry wall.  What prompted an appointment with a wildlife specialist was the finding of a skin recently shed by one of our garage dwelling reptile buddies.  When we laid the skin out on the driveway we were shocked by the length….note photo of 5’ 7’’ daughter beside snake skin.   That is just too big; I don’t care how helpful it is controlling mice! 

        The enormity of our snake issue has me rethinking my former bravado when it comes to such creepy crawly things.  I have a new appreciation for what Moses endured when he challenged God’s choice to send him to the Pharaoh.  In Exodus 3 & 4 God reveals Himself to Moses and tells him of His plan for Moses to go before the Pharaoh and arrange the freedom of the Israelites.  Moses’ response was pretty much, “Seriously God?  You’re telling me you can’t’ find someone better for this task?”, and “What if they don’t believe me?”.    Due to his reluctance to trust God’s choice of sending him, God told Moses to toss down his staff.  So far, no big deal…easy to follow that request I’m sure.  He tossed it down and it turned into a snake.  Now this is where the account of this interaction sits different with me than it did in past readings. 

          You see, in the past I envisioned a snake about 3 ft’ long…startling, but not terrifying.  As I reread these passages today I realized the snake Moses saw before him had to have been 6ft. easily.  The staff he threw down was not a waist high cane.  It was a walking stick, weapon and tool which would have towered slightly above his height.  Let’s assume Moses was taller than my daughter, or at least as tall, are you getting the picture here?  That was probably a BIG snake!  Exodus 4:3 says “…and Moses fled from it.”!  I would have too!   But here is the kicker…Exodus 4:4 God tells poor Moses, “stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail”.  !!!!  I cannot see myself grabbing the tail of the snake that is currently living somewhere below my garage.  I think I would have looked at God and said, “You’re God, You pick it up!”  Yet we read that Moses obeyed God’s direction.   I don’t see the mention of Moses hesitating to pick up this monster sized snake!   Here we see in Moses what God had seen since He formed him in his mother’s womb, and why He probably chose him for such a difficult task.  Moses had a strong reliance on God.  He had a deep faith and obedient heart that overcame the shallow insecure outer shell that once hid this strength.  When he heard God’s simple, yet crazy, command to pick up the snake, he did it.   What God asked of Moses,  obedience not based on understanding or logic, He also asks of us. 

Lord help me to know Your will and to follow it inspite of my own insecutity, trusting as  Moses eventually did, that You know me best and call me with the fullness of that knowledge.