Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

En Gedi March 30, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:38 pm

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the Desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

          My sister shared this scripture with me at a difficult time in my life.  Not only was I without a job, but I was unsettled about what type of job I should even be looking for.  I clung to this Word every day.  I wrote it on a scrap of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror, never thinking how long it would stay there.  I did eventually find a job, and even affirmed God’s calling in my life at the time, but I did not take the verse down.  It stayed on the mirror until we moved out of that house.

          At the time I placed it on that mirror, I did so to remind me to have faith and trust God.  Later those same words would serve to remind me each day that not only does God provide, but He also works in ways far beyond our expectations…I mean, “rivers in a desert”, who would have thought that possible?

          It’s been years since I have had to see that soggy, crumpled, hairspray coated piece of paper in the mirror each morning.  Today, I cannot stop thinking about it.  In our home group we are learning of a place called En Gedi.

          En Gedi is nestled between the western shore of the Dead Sea and the eastern edge of Judea Wilderness.  It is surrounded by dry, barren land.  From rainfall miles away in the mountains of Judea, underground water flows all the way to this surprising oasis.  Water gushes forth from rock and changes everything.  At  En Gedi there is abundant wildlife.  At En Gedi, travelers can find shade and refreshment.

           I like to imagine the glorious surprise this must be to those who are weary and thirsty in the desert.  I think I can imagine it.  I have known deserts, time in life when I felt at a loss, weary, fruitless, aimless, confused, and scared or alone…I have also known God’s provision.  I have seen Him work in my life in ways only He could have.   I have felt His peace in my heart when my situation was far from peaceful.  I have felt the sweet relief of His forgiveness each time I return to Him broken from my own attempts in life.  I know I have a God who will provide  a “roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert”…and yet…some days I sit in a desert, not even looking for His provision.   

          I think today I will rewrite that scripture on a piece of paper and once again tape it to my bathroom mirror.  Every day is a good day to remember, our God WILL provide and our God is able to provide beyond our expectation!

 

Restoration March 23, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:28 am

          Today felt like spring!  The smell of wet grass rose to the air as the sun began to warm the rain soaked ground.  The wind subsided making the sun’s warm rays much easier to feel on our skin as we ventured out in short sleeves without sweaters or jackets.  The tufts of green leaves marking the spot where tulips and daffodils will soon bloom finally showed their buds, some even unfolding brightly colored petals.  The yard is dotted with tiny holes dug by squirrels retrieving their buried treasures.  Perhaps the most notable indication of the presence of spring is the activity of the birds.

          The sound of chirping birds has been steadily increasing over the last few weeks.  The persistent pounding of woodpeckers echoes from distant trees.  We have a large Spruce in our front yard that has served as a home for several cardinal families through the years.  Today I saw them flitting about its branches once again.  Yep, definitely springish out there today.  However, I was taken aback by one particular sign of this season, a bird’s nest forming in a very unusual place.

          Last fall we experienced an owl encounter of the weird kind.  It began with a loud crash on our front porch.  We raced to the door and flung it open just in time to see a large owl standing before us on the ground, dinner in his mouth, and then he flew away.  Upon further inspection, we noticed the glass globe around one of our two porch lights had a rather large hole in it and shards of glass scattered below.  Apparently, in his haste to capture his fast flying prey, the owl collided with our porch light.  The light still worked so I put off repairing the broken globe over the winter.  The hole in its side made changing the light bulb much easier, I reasoned.  But apparently it also made it easier for birds to fit into as well.

          I stepped to our front window this morning to look out at the early sun and found myself startled by activity in the porch light globe.  I stood frozen in place, not wanting to disturb the activity.  I watched in amazement as two small wrens busied themselves stuffing dried leaves and sticks into the small opening.  Within minutes, they had amassed enough bedding to fill the globe and form a nifty little nest just under the glowing light bulb.

          Although I will need to keep the light off to give them a safe home, I like the idea of them being there.  I like that something shattered, deemed broken and even neglected, has become a place of restoration, new life, and hope. 

          We are like that porch light I think.  We are broken.  Sometimes we dwell on our brokenness and the world might even encourage us to think we are not redeemable…But not our God.

          Just as those birds took our broken light and turned it into a place of hope and renewal, so God takes our lives and transforms us from broken and lost, to whole and found in Him. 

“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. …God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…”  2 Corinthians 5:17-21

 

Girl Scout Cookie Guantlet March 15, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:50 pm

          It is that time of the year again!  That time when sweet little girls in spring colored uniforms launch an assault  on the American people.  I am not referring to the annual selling of Girl Scout cookies.  In fact, I do not think poorly of those various young ladies (and their well intentioned, co-conspiring parents).  When they approach me with order forms,  I gladly lend my support and dutifully purchase a box or two.  No, the “assault” of which I speak is what I like to call The Girl Scout Cookie Gauntlet.

          These Girls Scout Cookie Gauntlets usually form toward the end of the general cookie sales drive.   No longer seeking orders from the ranks of family, friends, or coworkers, these cookie tauters expand their sales effort to include cash and carry to the public.   Tables stacked with numerous cookie boxes and flanked by energetic Girl Scouts, line the entrance and exit of almost every shopping establishment in town.  “Would you like to buy a box?” the sweet cherub faced peddlers call out to shoppers.  Seeing them as I enter a store fills me with dread.  My world becomes a swirl of conflict and guilt.

          As I complete my shopping endeavor I know I must pass through this tempting Girl Scout Cookie Gauntlet to get safely to my car.  I don’t want to ignore them.  I don’t wish to discourage them.  I hate to look into their precious pleading eyes.  I especially hate to get eye contact with their accompanying parents, as I know they will most likely end up purchasing all unsold boxes.  BUT…I also know I don’t need any more cookies.  I can’t afford to buy boxes at every Girl Scout Cookie Gauntlet I pass through.  My wallet and my waistline will be negatively impacted.

          Each year I try to control my Girl Scout Cookie consumption.  Since I have an established track record of consuming everything sweet that enters my home, my best defense is to reduce the number I actually take home.  My latest efforts lead me to purchase only one box for our home and donate any additional  boxes instead.  I thought I had this licked….that was before THE GAUNTLETS.

          It is not their fault.  Those well-intentioned Girl Scouts could not possibly comprehend just how much they are asking of me when they utter those innocent words, “Would you like to buy a box?”  They only know they need to reduce the number of boxes currently in their possession.  They only know they want to meet a specific goal. They only know they need our support. 

          They do not know that what they are really asking me to do is to risk my health.  They do not understand the emotional conflict I torture myself with trying to decide if I should say “yes” to them and “no” to my diet.  They could not know the hardship imposed by having a box of unopened Girl Scout Cookies taunting you from the cupboard. 

          I realize I am exaggerating a bit of course.  However, after successfully passing through three such gauntlets in a single day, I could not help but consider how often I ask for something without comprehending the impact of my request. 

          In the days prior to His crucifixion, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  The multitudes lined his path with coats and branches of palm.  They cried out Hosanna, Hosanna!  This means save us, or save now.  They did not know, they could not have comprehended I imagine, that what they were asking for…being “saved”, would require the death of the one they now hailed as royalty.  They did not know what they were asking of Him.  They only knew they needed saving.

          I too need saving.  I have cried out to my God for forgiveness of my sins.  I am forgiven ONLY because of God’s grace.  I do not get what I deserve, but instead, because of the death and resurrection of Christ, I have forgiveness

 It is too easy to forget the enormity of what I asked for when I asked God to forgive me…it is easy to forget because God gives grace so freely, He only desires us to believe.

“…confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9

 

Bust A Rut March 8, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:00 pm

          Last week I learned a new phrase:  “Bust a Rut”   While visiting our daughter in Charleston last week she was telling us about her day.  Apparently when my daughter’s yoga instructor(yep, it is  actually a college course) noticed the class was moving into the next position before he told them what to do he announced it was time to “BUST A RUT”. 

           He realized the class had become accustomed to a normalcy that was not acceptable.  He then had them move to different locations within the room and then proceeded to change their overall routine.  Those of you who have never attended a workout class may not understand the disruptiveness of this maneuver.  I totally felt my daughter’s agony when she shared she was moved from the safety of her usual location, the far left back of the class, to the front of the room.  Funny, while I would not dare to attempt a yoga class, whenever I do venture into a workout class at the gym I too almost always go to the far left back of the room.  For some reason, there is a great deal of security in the back of the class…especially if you actually have to follow someone else’s moves or instructions. 

          The phrase, “Bust a Rut”, has stuck with me since she told us this story.  I have thought about how easy it is to fall into a rut.  It is hard to recognize a rut.  My hubby and I decided we would attempt to “Bust a Rut” whenever possible.

          Attempt number one:   walk slower…it came to my attention that we were walking fast everywhere we went while in Charleston.  How did this come to my attention you ask?   Well, I noticed we were navigating the sidewalk and other pedestrians using the same rules and techniques as one would on hwy 95.  The other tell tale sign was that we needed to pass others at all…we really were in no need to hurry anytime we there.  So, we decided to try to make ourselves move slower, bust our rut.

          Result:  Well, not too sure, since by the time we discovered the need to bust this rut we were heading home to Northern VA where walking slow could cause a small riot in some locations.

         Attempt number two:   go down roads less traveled…We visited the historic town of Annapolis Maryland this last Saturday.  We have been there before and love to stroll down this port city’s main streets.   This visit we actually went a bit off our beaten path.  There were streets we had never been down before, for good reason, they were less inviting and did not boast of numerous shops or restaurants.

          Result:  Found an out of the way antique shop with a unique piece of furniture we may later acquire.  Saw numerous homes and buildings of historical beauty. We finally got a chance to try our “walk slower” goal and found we really enjoyed the relaxing day.

          Yep, that is it…only two attempts so far to “Bust a Rut.”  Seems this rut busting business is not as easy as it sounded.  I am still determined to incorporate this mindset into my life. 

          Do I always sit in the same place in church?  Do I tend to talk with the people I know at church and miss chances to meet others?  Have I challenged myself to have more conversations with people I encounter?  Is it time to change how I do things throughout the week?  Have I fallen into a routine of Bible study and lost my thirst for His Word?  Have I been so busy living life that I forgot Who I was living for?   

Colossians 1:9-10 is a wonderful template for us to pray for one another as we seek to “Bust a Rut” and do something outside of the norm, increase self expectation and put a little bend in the road of life…to please God, bear fruit, know Him more.

“Therefore we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

 

Rest A While March 1, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:24 pm

          I am in Charleston SC this week visiting my daughter at college.  We have had a wonderful visit as usual.  While it is always good to spend precious time with our daughter, we get doubly blessed because her college town happens to be a great place to vacation.  Charleston is a sweet southern town full of civil war significance, quaint shops, fantastic eateries, beaches and boat marinas. 

          I especially like to walk around the town.  Within a 5 mile walking distance you encounter unique gift shops, plenty of trendy clothing stores and street upon street of beautiful historic homes many on a water front known as “the battery”.  The streets are filled with an odd assortment of vacationers, college students, cadets from the local military school and the locals.  The later can easily be identified by their laid back saunter. Wether dressed in business suits or swim suits, everyone seems to move at a much slower pace than our home town in Northern Virginia.

       While I had noticed the beauty and abundance of tree-lined parks in this area, it was a comment from my daughter while on one of our strolls around town that highlighted something I somehow had overlooked.  “This place just encourages you to sit.  There are benches everywhere.” she said.

         I looked about, sure enough there before us was a large assortment of park benches.  The further we walked the more we saw.  I lost count after 30.  Wrought iron, wood, or cement benches lined walk ways through parks, fronts of stores, apartments, government buildings, local piers and docks.  Most of the benches were made of iron with wood slat seating, some were in groupings forming a pod of sorts and almost all of them sat below shady trees or shafts of warm sunlight.

          Then I noticed something equally odd, most of them were empty.  Joggers, walkers, visitors, workers all moved past each tempting seat as if they were invisible.  Of course, if everyone stopped at every bench they saw, no one would get anywhere…but still, it seemed a waste.  The existence of these benches was not lost on my husband and I.  We talked about how nice it would be to just sit on a sun soaked bench and relax and read a bit one of the days of our stay here.  Several times today even, we determined we would set aside time to just go sit and relax on one of those benches and yet….here I sit in our hotel room closing out day 3 of our visit and we have yet to sit on a bench.

          How often do we pass up opportunities to rest?  It is easy to tell ourselves we don’t need, deserve or have time for REST, and yet we are made for times of rest.  Biologically our bodies require recovery time.  Emotionally we have all experienced the need for rest.  spiritually there is a need to rest and renewal.   Why is rest so easy to avoid?  While we may not all live in a city that “encourages you to sit”, we are all given a place to rest in our heavenly Father.

          “Come to Me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

          Tomorrow, I will sit on a sun soaked bench, if only for a while….and I hope you will join me in remembering throughout each day that we have a God who offers us REST. 

 Everytime I see a bench, I will remember in Whom I find true rest.