Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Is Your “jar of clay” Cracked? September 28, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:10 pm

         I read a funny story the other day…a youngster was watching his grandmother put on her make up, “what are you doing?” he asked.  “Well, you see when ladies get older they put on make up to cover their wrinkles” she said.  He studied her face intently; “It doesn’t seem to be working” came his innocent reply.  Sigh, sometimes it does feel as if this flesh of ours is in constant disrepair.  Thinning hair, wrinkles, aching bones, sore muscles, and fatigue are no stranger to us as we journey further in life.

        Then there are those moments when we are awe struck by the fragility of life.  A tiny hand grasping a parent’s finger for the first time, the cautious shuffle of an elderly gentleman escorting his wife down the church hall, an unexpected illness that changes lives or the loss of a life are all reminders of our temporary earthen vessels.

       At first these thoughts seemed depressing, but then I considered my God.  I know Him to be a God of purpose and plans. Of COURSE He would not form us from insufficient substance without reason.

       2 Corinthians  4:6&7, 16-18  For God, who said, “let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us……Therefore do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed each day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out-weighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

       My “jar of clay” may be a bit cracked and showing signs of wear, but it is a constant reminder that All I have, All I am and ALL I do is because of God.  He has given us the knowledge of His glory through His son Jesus Christ and He alone has made allthings possible.

 

Loved Much September 22, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:21 am

          I am loved!  It’s not that I did not know it, it’s just that sometimes it feels good to acknowledge it out loud for myself as well as others.   I soaked in a bunch of extra loving this weekend as I celebrated my birthday.  My friends and family all made this a special time.  As I basked in the glow of kindness, I kept thinking, not only of how incredibly blessed I am, but just how much I love these wonderful people God has placed in my life.  Kind words, thought filled gifts, hugs, time spent together, and good food all filled my “birthday weekend.”  At one point, when I prepared to blow out a few candles on a cake, I actually thought my heart would burst it was so filled with love for those who had orchestrated that moment and joined me in celebration. 

          It is easy to love those in my life, especially when they are pouring extravagant love out on me.   This kind of love oozes grace.

          I think of my dog Hughie, our porky little Yorkie with an attitude.  He is not a “good” dog by most standards.  He has no reservations about going potty in my house.  He barks each morning around 6 am and is less than welcoming to those who enter our home, rightfully earning his nickname “Hughcifer!”  But even with all these strikes against him, I love him tremendously.  WHY?  Because this little guy LOVES ME.  Yep, no other pet I have ever owned has displayed such affection for me.  When he sees me, whether I have been gone for the day or for a mere few minutes, his entire body wags in excitement.  When I sit down, he hurries to fill my lap.  When I am not sitting holding him, he is constantly watching my every move, anticipating a chance to be next to me.  He thinks I am the bee’s knees! He LOVES ME, so I cannot help but love him.

          I love all the young mothers in our church I have gotten to know over these years, but most of all I LOVE their little ones.  Why?  They love me.  Of course, this is due to a few calculated efforts on my part. I’m the lady whose pool they played in.  I get to be the non-disciplinarian who plays games and give treats.  This has resulted in a sweet out pouring of love from these precious kiddos.  They call out my name, tell me they love me, give me hugs and kisses and smile when they see me.  This thrills my soul!  I can’t help but love them beyond words!

          I love my friends and family.  They are quick to laugh with me, not just at me.  They let me be imperfect and still be acceptable.  They give me the gift of their time and share their talents with me.  They celebrate with me.  They grieve with me.  They lift me up in prayer.  They challenge and encourage me.  They think of me.  They smile when they see me (usually).  They love me, so I can’t help but LOVE THEM.

          This last Sunday as I considered all the love I have around me I could not help thinking of a children’s song from long ago….

Oh how I love Jesus, oh how I love Jesus, oh how I love Jesus…because He first loved me.

We are recipients of such grace filled extravagant love from our Lord and Savior…how could we help but LOVE Him!

 

Maybe God Wears Running Shoes September 14, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:17 am

          I ran my first 5k!  Okay, let me clarify, I “jogged, trotted, trudged” through my first 5k.  Do not get me wrong, I am super proud of myself.  I still cannot believe I actually signed up to participate and am over the moon that I finished.  But it comes as no surprise that it would not be my athleticism or cardio fitness that would get me through this event.

          This crazy idea started at the prompting of my friend Ann.  She took on a project in the spring to run a 5k.  I was so inspired by her effort that I decided to try it too.  I plunged into my training and worked hard to learn how to run one, two and eventually three miles.  They are not pretty miles.  Unlike the numerous runners/joggers I pass in our town, I pant, wheeze, and fight the pavement for forward movement the entire time.  Seriously, I wear headphones to drown out the discouraging sound of my own labored breathing.  I get through each mile by repeating to myself, “I must keep moving, no matter how slow, just keep moving.” 

          I knew committing to the 5K was important, it gave me a set goal and quickened my effort to run farther, but I must admit that if Ann were not with me the morning of the run, I would have got in my car and gone home.  Before I knew it we were gathered with the others to begin our journey.  My adrenaline was flowing, my heart already racing, when they sounded the start. 

          This was not Ann’s first 5k.  She has worked hard to accomplish being able to run farther and at a good pace.  I knew if she were going to run with me, she would need to slow herself down considerably.  I told her she did not have to stay with me, I felt bad at first.  It did not take long before I realized how grateful I was that she insisted she pace herself with me.   

          We did not talk during the run, I was too busy breathing and telling myself to keep moving.  We exchanged an occasional glance, thumbs up, smile or grimace.  It must have been a very lonely time for Ann.  I was running faster than usual and trying hard, but one by one other runners passed us by.  While I had no expectation of being first or fast, I was surprised at the emotional impact this had on me.  In no time at all two women enjoying a pleasant conversation as they jogged, a man running with his dog and alternately running then walking, a woman who had just recovered from a sprained ankle, and numerous others, passed me.  “Just keep moving,” I told myself.   

          When I looked at Ann she would be smiling, never letting on if she worried if I’d make it.  Although I knew she could run faster, I never felt like she was dismayed at how slow we had to go.  She patiently stayed by my side.  When I was too busy trying to breathe and run to pay attention, she would steer me the direction I needed to go, keeping on the course and the appropriate side of the street.  As we crested the last horrendous hill, Ann pointed up ahead to the illuminated time clock at the finish line.  “Do you see it?” she asked.  “You’re almost done.”   I was beyond done.  Suddenly I had to slow to a walk.  The finish line in sight, I just could not get my breathing to cooperate.  Ann, slowed to a walk with me for a few yards before we picked back up our pace.  I’d like to say I sprinted to the finish…but I can’t.  As we approached the finish “shoot” (a cordoned off path which allows only one runner at a time to assure accurate times and placement), Ann graciously allowed me to enter before her, keeping me from being the last one to finish.  She did not deserve last place, no one made her do it, she just did it out of her care for me.

           What a wonderful earthly example of my heavenly father.  You see, like Ann, my God never leaves me.  He meets me at my pace and goes with me all the way.  He challenges me to keep going, shows me the hope of the finish, and does not give up on me when I am not where he wants me to be. He keeps me on course and safely on the right side of life.   Others may pass me, succeed when I fail, but He stays with me still.  Though I falter and even slow to a walk, He does not give up on the plans He has for me.  

When I told my daughter that I was actually last, I expected her to tease me a bit…but she quickly replied, “Someone has to be last, what matters is you ran.”  I’d like to add to that…”What matters is we don’t run alone.”

 

Star Light, Star Bright… September 7, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:22 pm

          We stood on the dock under the star packed sky.  We stared up into the darkness and marveled at the brilliant display above us.  My husband and I, along with several of our boating friends, were staying at a marina in Maryland, just off the Chesapeake Bay.  We are quite an eclectic bunch…displaced Kentuckian, Floridian, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Romanian friends…but we have shared numerous boating adventures and truly value our time together.  This particular trip one of our friends’ moms was with us, she is visiting from Romania and speaks very little English.  For most of the trip, she has sat in the background, a quiet smile on her face as she takes in all she sees and hears.   Because of her lack of English and my lack of any other language, she and I have only exchanged smiles, nods and a few conversations translated by her daughter.  However, this night, under those amazing stars I understood her clearly.

          As we were oooohhing and awwwing over the numerous stars, one of our friends brought out a unique instrument.  It looked like half a binocular at first.  It was a night vision monocular.  Through its lens, the pitch black departed and every sliver of light became amplified.  I took my turn and peered through it up at the stars….it was breath taking.  Where once I saw millions of glittering stars, I now saw trillions of glittering stars.  Through this lens, I could see stars upon stars, beyond stars.   I could not stop looking.  I did not want to pass it on so someone else could see.  I even lay down on the dock and held it to my eye trying to take in the intense beauty it revealed.  Then it was time to share.

          We handed it to our friend’s mom and encouraged her to look upward…no translation was required to know what she said.  Her mouth fell open in awe then slowly formed a knowing smile.  Transfixed by the sight, she made gestures indicating the immenseness of it all.  I completely understood.  She continued to gaze at the stars in wonder.  It was a privilege to stand beside her and also take it all in.  We had nothing in common.  She lives in a country still struggling to grant personal freedom.  She has walked through times too tragic to imagine.  Her language is beyond my comprehension, her reality far from my own.  I watched her as she browsed the night sky, this courageous woman, mother, daughter …her life, her past so complex…but on this night we had something in common, a universe filled with stars.  Then she looked at me and pointing to the Big Dipper constellation uttered “Ursa Mare”.    The words were familiar if but a little different, “Ursa Major” I replied.  We both grinned and smiled at each other.  Nothing else needed to be said and we just stood there quietly watching the sky.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth their speech; night after night they display their knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3