Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Talking to Televisions March 16, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 4:58 pm

          I talk to TVs.  There, I said it.  I am not ashamed to admit to the world that I am that person in the room who feels compelled to talk back to the television characters. It is just too difficult to sit there and not state the obvious.   Perhaps the most difficult time I have is when I am watching a scary scene unfold.

          Why is it that when the victim enters the darkened room they never notice the “bad guy” lurking behind them?  Why does it take so long for the heroine to realize she needs to scream for help…doesn’t she notice there is danger right around the corner? Of course not, that is why I need to tell them, so I shout… “Look behind you dummy!!!!!”, “Turn around!”, or “Don’t open that door!!!”, and my favorite, “There’s a shark fin!  Swim for your life!”

          So often the predicament these characters get into are the result of them not being aware of their dire circumstances.  It may look obvious to others, but they refuse to see the eminent harm no matter how loudly I shout at them.  They need to be rescued, helped, or saved and yet they have no idea of such a need until it is too late.

          I think it is just as easy for us to become unaware of our spiritual need to be rescued, helped or saved.

          I had a dear friend who had a challenging life.  She had fallen into a dark and dangerous lifestyle before she discovered Jesus.  She learned of a God who loved her no matter what and desired to give her forgiveness for her sins.  She knew she did not deserve His love or forgiveness, but she asked God to forgive her through His son Jesus Christ.  She never stopped being aware of how much grace she was given, or how much she continued to need it.  She exuded a constant love for our Lord.   

          Her sins were no greater than my own.  The world might judge our lives differently, but to a Holy God, “sin” is anything that separates us from Him….and in that, all sins are equal and all need equal forgiveness and grace.  Sadly I forget at times just how forgiven I am and the great amount of grace bestowed on me each day.  I needed saving from my sins.  I needed to be rescued and I need His help in all things.

          In Luke 8:37-38 we read the account of a woman who truly understood her need.  No one had to shout to her and alert her to her need to be saved or rescued.  NO one else needed to convince, or convict her of her need…she already understood.

“And behold there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He(Jesus) was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with perfume.”

          Stop and try to picture this carefully….in the image you have of this event, how long is this woman’s hair?  I have had long hair before, but even when I picture this woman with luxuriously long tresses, the reality is that in order for her to wipe the feet of Jesus with the “hair of her head” she would have to have her face disturbingly close to the feet as well.  Our Christ did not wear closed toed shoes, nor was He a regular partaker in pedicures.  No doubt the last place you would want to put your face was near anyone’s feet at that time.   

          I encourage you to close your eyes and picture this moment once more.  This time notice a broken hearted woman, lowering herself as low as she possibly can while drawing as close as she could to the one she knew could save her….the weight of her sins pressing down on her and a torrent of unstoppable tears of grief pouring forth. …surely our Christ could feel her breath on his feet as she feverishly wiped them with her hair.

         The room was full of people who unbeknownst to them carried a sin burden no less than her own.  Yet because she recognized her need for salvation, she would be the only one that day to hear, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

         Today you may be challenged to remember the debt of sin for which you have been forgiven and to live your life as a recipient of amazing grace and therefore a giver of grace to others.

          Perhaps you have never acknowledged sin in your life, sin that separates you from God.  God’s word tells us that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 1:23, “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 ……and best of all“Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans10:13!!!!!

 

A Big Glob of Paint March 9, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:13 pm

          A while back I heard a devotion that just keeps replaying in my mind lately.   My friend, Ron, shared about watching a guy on television who was teaching the joy of painting.  Maybe you’ve seen it before…a guy with a rather large tuft of curly hair, the stage set only with an easel and his paints, he masterfully uses brushes and spatulas to spread thick oil paints over a barren canvas.  Before your eyes what was once blank and without form becomes a colorful image of an outdoor scene, usually mountains, trees or oceans and streams.  It is mesmerizing to see him work; he makes it look effort less.

          Ron said he was enjoying watching him create a beautiful painting of mountains and forests.   Just as he assumed the painter was almost done with his painting the artist took a big glob of dark oil paint and plopped it smack in the middle of the canvas, “what you go and do that for?” he wondered.  Why would he ruin a perfectly delightful painting?  Then he watched as the artist worked the glob of paint into a tree of some kind, it was a perfect finish to his painting.

          How often does God work like that in our lives?  Maybe everything looks fine and we feel like He is done with us, only to find a big “glob” of change tossed into our lives.  It makes us question our God and wonder what he could be thinking.  But just like this painter, our God does not toss “globs” into our lives without purpose.  He has a plan. He has a final picture already designed and being formed in our lives since before our first breath. 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

God, not only knows our big picture, He is lovingly plopping on all the necessary globs of paint!

 

 

Smile! March 2, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:50 pm

          Sometimes I smile out of habit.  I know that sounds strange, but I have inherited a set of cherub like, cheeks from my mom’s side of the family.  I have been to enough family reunions to know how important it is to keep these cheeks perched atop a smile.  Yep, eventually the years and gravity cause what were once youthful, rosy cheeks to turn into jowls capable of dragging down even the brightest of smiles.  So, over the years I have made an effort to smile more than not.  (I like to think of a smile as really cheap alternative to plastic surgery)

          One of the problems with always smiling is that others do not know if it’s only cosmetic.  Sometimes it’s important for those around you to know you are not smiling on the inside.  Sometimes we need our family or friends to know we are struggling.  I LOVE that I never have to wonder if God sees past my smile.  I know God knows my struggle and meets me wherever I am.  Just today He showed Himself to me in the beauty of events that could only have fallen into place at His hand.

          I’ve been in a bit of a funk.   By “funk” I mean that unexplainable, often unsharable, feeling of yuckiness.  It was only made worse by the guilt I felt for being in such a pit.  I know in my head I have NO reason what so ever to be in any kind of “funk”.  I am healthy, financially okay, nice home, nice family, good friends, currently not facing any real challenges or hardship, so who am I to feel so down?   In comparison to world events and the hardships others I care about are dealing with, my “funk” is like a hangnail as opposed to a broken body part.   And yet, it was unshakeable.  I still smiled.

          Satan whispered in my ear daily.  He knew just where to place each hobbling blow.  My parenting, my writing, my spouse, my service in church, my goals, my faith all took hits.  I tried to shake his words.  I could feel myself falling for it all.  In my head I argued with myself and rebuked the negative thoughts, but I felt so very tired.  Like a very heavy blanket the feelings of ineffectiveness, lack of focus or success, self pity and uselessness began to wrap me like a shroud.  I still smiled.

          I knew the Word of God held the key to breaking out of this trap.  I knew seeking God’s Words would set me free and keep Satan from stealing my joy or derailing my service.  I taught Sunday school, went to Bible study, and yet never got passed trying to motivate myself to “snap out of it”, “pull myself up by the bootstraps” sort of thing.  I still smiled.

          I was smiling, but inside I was at war…God saw past my smile.   That’s when He set in motion a very long, detailed chain of events.  As is obvious by my past history on this blog, and this posting as well, I am not good at telling a long story short.  But let me try to reduce these events into a shorter version:

*Daughter calls distraught from college

* Community college she attended here never sent final transcripts there

*Daughter can’t register for next classes…much wailing and gnashing of teeth

*Many phone calls to said school to arrange for transcript

*Registrar is busy, forms needed, Spring break looming, classes closing, and panic ensuing

All leading to me sitting in the outer office waiting, not unlike a stalker, for the registrar to walk past.

          I felt like Jacob who wrestled with the angel in order to get a blessing….I was not leaving there without a transcript.

          Planning to sit it the outer office for 2-3 hours, I stopped by a local store and picked up a bottle of water, $5 of quarters (all visitor parking is metered), and a random book.

          I settled into the uncomfortable waiting area chairs and pulled out my book.  There He was….God.  I had not read past the introduction to the book, when the author shared a verse that changed my heart (God’s word tends to do that).  

          No doubt God would have revealed Himself to me sooner and perhaps in a less inconvenient way, had I truly looked to Him for my help or encouragement.  Instead, He had to send my daughter into crisis and me into battle for her just to get me to find His Words.  What was that verse you wonder?  What verse did God lay before me that squelched all Satan’s attacks?

Psalm 84:11& 12  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  How blessed is the man who trust in thee!

          Now when I hear Satan whispering reminders of all the ways I fail, when he tells me I will never reach my goals, or tries to convince me to just give up, I will proclaim in my heart….My God shines light on my path, HE is my shield, HE gives grace and glory…I only need to trust in Him and keep on walking as uprightly as I can.  THAT is worth smiling about!

 

A Lot of Snow February 16, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 2:17 pm

          It sort of looks like a bunch of snowmen had a get together on our back deck while we were away on vacation!  Yep, while we were relaxing in the Bahamas our home in Northern Virginia received record snow fall.  All this snow severly reduces one’s desire to be out and about.  I have spent these few days settling back into place, doing post vacation laundry, working on posting our vacation blog and photos(www.travelingwithteri.wordpress.com) and in general contemplating my relationship with God.

          What am I doing, where am I going, am I doing as God desires?  What is His will for me?  These are questions I have sought  answers to many times over the years.  Sometimes I felt sure of the answers, other times I struggled to know the difference between God’s will and my own ideas.  This time I found an answer that will always be correct no matter what season of life I may be in!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1Thessalonians 5:16-18 

          Tah Dah!!!!  There it was, in print, in the WORD of God!  His will for me was written quite plainly for all to see….how had I missed this before?  At first I was elated to find such solid instruction and direction written clearly before me, but then my heart sank as I realized the difficulty of each of those mandates.

Joyful always”?   Seriously?  Wouldn’t, “joyful as often as possible” be sufficient?

Pray continually”?  I’m guessing my current habit of prior to meals, during a crisis or after volunteering for something beyond my own abilities is not enough?

Give thanks in all circumstances”?  No way!  Surely this is a type-o…they left out the word “favorable”…all “favorable” circumstances, right?

Eeeek!  Once again the Word of the Lord faithfully yields wisdom and instruction.  Lord may Your words continually challenge and change me.

 

Adjusting to a Changing Jigsaw Puzzle January 5, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:36 pm

          We are taking Ashley, our 20year old, to school in the morning.  She is transferring to the College of Charleston in South Carolina.  We are proud of her hard work to accomplish this goal.  While we are excited for all the future holds for her, it is still a difficult season in life.  I know she is ready.  I know this is good.  But it is change, and change is never easy. 

           I joined her in her room yesterday as she finished her packing process.  For the first time I noticed how much her room is like a jigsaw puzzle.   Every item was like a piece of her life, a reflection of her personality, mementos of special moments or monuments to trying times.  Intact her room was a complete portrait of the young woman I call my daughter.

          I watched as she emptied her closet and drawers.   Suddenly the puzzle was losing its pieces.  I loved putting her in pretty pink things as a baby.  As a little girl she loved to play dress up and as a pre teen we clashed often regarding her clothing choices.  Later, as a teenager her clothing choices were a direct reflection of her mood and personality, and as a young adult her clothing was a way for her to communicate her need for respect, admiration and her strong sense of self.   The barren closet and drawers no longer hold this image of her.

         She deftly swept up bottles and brushes from atop her dresser and deposited them in a plastic tub.  Another piece of the puzzle disappeared.  It was only yesterday my baby girl entered this world with a head full of soft blonde hair framing her blue eyes.   She transitioned from bows and braids to curling irons and flatirons in no time it seems.   The top of her dresser, which once only had room for a goldfish bowl and a tube of chapstick, transformed into an artist’s pallet by the time she was a teen.  Lipsticks, eye shadow, blush, bronzers, mascara and various application brushes were a testament to her creative style and need to constantly seek beauty.  The space, which once held the tools of her quest for beauty, no longer, shows evidence of such a time. 

          Another piece of the puzzle faded away as photo frames were folded and carefully laid aside to be packed.   Every one of them images of she and her friends, always laughing, always together, always in the midst of adventure.  These photos she now packed away replaced others she has had over the years…although they were of younger years, the images were the same…all of smiling friends, laughter frozen in time, all reminders of important relationships. 

         Books which towered by her bedside table were quietly put away.  A piece of the puzzle falls to the ground.  Books in her bedroom were as necessary as walls and a roof.   She is always reading.   As a little girl she loved to be read to.   I spent countless hours over the years reading everything from Dr. Seuss to most of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series with her.   Now I can actually see the clean white surface of her bedside table, I will miss the teetering clutter of texts that once bore testimony to her love of literature.

          Boxes, bags and suitcases are piled in the hall awaiting tomorrow’s drive.   The items removed have left visual gaps in a room once full of chaos, love and life.  Like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces it stands before me now…but that is okay.  Her room is missing pieces that make it uniquely her, but our lives will never be missing the pieces that remind us of her uniqueness.   Her room may be empty, but her life is not.  Different closets to fill, dressers to cover, bedside tables to clutter and photos to collect are all awaiting her in the next few years, all of which will continue to complete the puzzle/portrait of the young woman I call my daughter.

Though we may be apart for a time, because she is my daughter I will always love her and be working for her best interest.   So is the relationship God desires for each of us,because we are His, He loves us and He will always be working in our best interest. ……. Colossians 1:19-23 reminds us all of this very love.

 

Packing up Christmas, remembering grace December 29, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 9:11 pm

          This is the last Tuesday with Teri for 2009.  Is it me or was that a particularly fast year?  I had hoped for some profound “farewell to the year” kind of message to share with you, but I suppose for now profound thought escapes me. 

         I spent today starting to de-Christmatize our home.  Yep, time to untrim the tree and pack up all  the “boughs of holly”.   I do a poor job each year packing away fragile ornaments.  I don’t actually do this intentionally, I just am not a very detail oriented, patient packer I guess.  The down side of course is an early demise of our more fragile ornaments.  The upside is it makes for a suspense filled unpacking each Christmas as I anxiously peer through the boxes to see what lucky ornaments have lived  to see another season.   It is sort of like a survival of the fittest for Christmas décor. 

          There is one Christmas item that will never fall victim to my careless end of season storage, our precious Christmas tree angel.  As I gently restored her to her place of honor in a curio cabinet, I was reminded one last time of her message.  I have included a copy below of a Christmas devotion about her.

         As the New Year approaches we tend to do a lot of self evaluation.  It seems this is satan’s preferred time to attack my self esteem and heap discouragement on my plate.  The “yearend review”  of my life is seldom packed with positive thoughts.  But my Christmas angel reminds me…my God loves me in ALL my imperfection and His grace is more than enough.  

May each of you have a wonderful new year of seeking to see Him more and resting in the peace of His love and grace. 

 A Christmas Tree Angel, a Reminder of Grace

          I’m not sure where she came from.  I’m not even certain of her age.   I do know that she sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.  These days she resides in a curio cabinet until we bring her out each Christmas.

        Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time. 

          Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into reattaching her long held candle to her now misshaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

        She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

          I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need for constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection. 

         A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

 

Worth The trip! December 15, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:19 am

         This is week three of our advent celebration.  Each week, four prior to Christmas Eve, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior.    This week we light the candle of love.

          Our niece is getting married this weekend!  We are excited for her and our family.  We are busy preparing to join them for celebration in Pensacola Florida.  Yep, Florida…a whopping 16 hour drive.  Don’t get me wrong, we are glad to have such a wonderful reason to make such a trip, but it has some complexity to it. 

          My husband has a business trip this week.  He will need to fly to Canada then straight to Florida and meet us there by Thursday.   This requires him to pack for two different trips simultaneously.  The kids are taking final exams this week.  Since we need to leave by Thursday morning, they had to arrange to take a few of them early.  All of our Christmas shopping needs to be done.  Presents for the Florida families will be wrapped and packed into the car with us. 

          In addition to getting everything done for Christmas prior to our trip, we are also busy getting our daughter, and her car, ready to go off to college a week after we return.  After taking hubby to the airport, my day will be full of auto mechanic appointments, wrapping gifts, doing laundry and packing.  Our poor porkie little yorkie, Hughie, has seen the suitcases and has started his fretting, which includes pitiful whining, pacing, crawling into any open suitcase and sticking so close to me you’d think he was attached by Velcro. 

          At  O’dark hundred Thursday morning our son will drag himself home from his 12 hour night shift and slide into the car, which will already be packed and running.   We intend to drive straight through so we can maximize our time with our family.  Although the kids are grown up now, and less inclined to bicker endlessly while underway, I can still see a few tense moments in our journey.   When three adults with very diverse personalities spend 16 hours in a packed vehicle…well, let’s just say the group dynamics may require a bit of adjustment.   

          When we get there it will be great.   It will feel good to hug loved ones we can usually only hear on the phone. We are looking forward to seeing and experiencing the love of our family.  Nieces and nephews are growing too fast and most are young adults now.  We may see them less often in years to come as they go their separate ways, so each visit is more treasured than before.  Stories will be shared and new memories made.  A little chaos, loud laughter, quiet conversations and just “being there” will be the best gifts of all.

Traveling to see loved ones is not always easy, but it is ALWAYS worth the trip!  

          This season we celebrate the amazing trip our savior made for us.   Christ left the comfort of Heaven, the company of angels and the space of eternity.  He experienced life and all its complexity…happiness, sorrow, hunger, friendship and adversity.  He took on the confines of the flesh and journeyed with man, for all mankind.  In death He took on our sin that we could know forgiveness.  

This is LOVE…that He would make such journey because He considers us worth the trip! 

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father…for of His fullness we have all received grace upon grace…grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ”  John 1:14-17

 

Rest Stop Ahead November 17, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:54 pm

                     When my husband and I were first married we were on a  long car ride home to see our families.  I was driving at the time.   I smiled at the sight of my sweet husband sound asleep in the passenger side of the car.  Our windows were rolled down because our little 2 door car had no air conditioning.  I was enjoying the fresh air.   

               I had just started my “shift” and was not even remotely sleepy.  You know how sometimes when you get sleepy behind the wheel you find yourself trying to stay alert?  Well, I had not gotten to that point.  I was not nodding off.  I did not need to chew gum or turn up the radio.  I did not for even a minute think I needed to wake my husband so he could take over driving.  I felt wide awake and in total control.  That is when it happened. 

WHAM!

          Suddenly a large amount of grass was flying past my face.  Literally bales of it filled our car as I plowed through the high grass of the median.  My husband,no longer sleeping of course, grabbed the wheel, keeping us from oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the median and  brought the car to a stop.  We sat there for a while letting the totality of the moment find its way past our pounding hearts to our brains.  The freshly cut grass clippings which filled our car gave off a sent that would forever remind me of this day.  By the grace of God we did not harm ourselves or anyone else.  

          Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this event was that I did not see it coming.    I was not attempting to drive while sleepy.  I felt very much awake, and yet obviously I was not equipped to be driving at that time.  I needed to rest.  It is important to realize, that no matter how “okay” you think you may be, when you are on a journey you need to rest.  This point has been driven home to me (pun intended) in a spiritual sense as well.

         Like many, I tend to fill my days with activities and events.   During the holiday season we are even more inclined to allow schedules to become too packed.  There are things we need to do, things we want to do, things we enjoy, things we should do, things we’re afraid to miss and things we do for others.  These are all good things.  But sometimes on life’s journey we forget to rest.  

            God commands us to rest.  The One who created us knows us best and knows we need rest.  He rested.   This week, this season, this year, this journey,  I desire to be more intentional in my rest stops.  I hope you will join me in an effort to reclaim a day of rest.  A time to rest in God and know His peace.  When we hear the Christmas music in our churches and our stores, when “peace on earth” and “God of Peace” is seen on cards and decorations, may we be reminded to pull over on our journey, find fellowship, encouragement and stretch our spiritual legs…find rest in God.

 

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.

 

 

Being A friend Like Carly August 11, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:34 am

I have this story I like to tell.  It is just a story, it is not true, but it reveals a truth I think.  It goes like this….

          Several years ago the minimally famous actress, Dinah Wheeler, received quite bit of attention for her friendship with a woman named Carly Smithe.  Carly considered herself to be one of Dinah’s closest friends.   Whenever Dinah was  out of town on a movie shoot, Carly would take care of her place.  She would dust, vacuum, collect the mail and water the plants.  Carly would even sleep over on weekends whenever Dinah was going to be out of town for an extended period.  Dinah’s neighbors were accustomed to Carly’s comings and goings.  She was always pleasant and they’d often wave or engage in neighborly chit chat at the mail boxes.  Dinah’s neighbors considered her to be fortunate to have such a good friend as Carly.  Everything seemed fine, better than fine even….except Dinah had no idea who Carly was.

           She had never met her before and had no idea Carly had been in her home on such a regular basis.  One weekend Dinah returned home a few days earlier than scheduled from filming on location.  She found Carly in her house and immediately phoned the police.  When the authorities came to take Carly away neighbors heard her crying out, “But I’m her friend, I watch over her house and take care of her things!”   Sadly, Carly was mentally unstable.  She was a devoted fan for many years and eventually considered herself to be a close friend of Dinah’s.   Carly may have known a lot about Dinah, but she never spoke with her, wrote her or spent time with her.  There was not a “personal” relationship between them .   Carly had imagined one existed.  She believed it was true and so did all of Dinah’s neighbors. A lot of people thought Carly and Dinah were very close friends.

          Are we like that with God?  Do we hang out at His house on Sundays, watch over His things, do stuff “for God” and consider ourselves to be close to Him?    Like Carly, who was certain her attention to  Dinah’s things made her one of Dinah’s friends, do we fall into the pattern of doing things for God, but not really knowing Him in a personal way?   A relationship requires attention to the heart.  Do we listen to Him through His Word?  Do we talk with Him through prayer?  Do we rely on Him in faith and trust? 

          Sometimes I  ask myself have I become like Carly?  Does my life only look like I know God in a personal way.   2Timothy 3:13-17 warns of imposters and gives us guidance for how to not become a Carly.   “…continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; …from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus…all scripture is inspired by god and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for  training in righteousness; that the man of God be adequate, equipped for every good work.”