Friday, July 16, 2010

Grandchildren and Other Stuff

Nothing profound or even witty to discuss today, well, we'll see. I've had my two youngest grandchildren with me since last Saturday night, and the rest came in last night. All week, Roland, at 2 1/2 has been struggling with jealousy of his baby sister, Marilyn, almost 4 months.

He had to sleep in aunt Karen's room instead of gma's bed. He had to let HIS gma hold baby sissy. He had to allow her to sit in his high chair. AND he was NOT happy. He adores his 'baby sissy nudder one', but he's not willing to give up his place with his grandma.

So, Roland, welcome to the real world. It doesn't take long for life to come along and start teaching lessons, and with the distorted thinking of children, it's a wonder we don't all turn out more screwed up than we are. Roland is learning that he has to share. I hope he's also learning that no one can take his place in my heart. Grandma's heart will just expand to include Marilyn, along with Roland and Klarissa and Kerstin and any others that come along.

Why is it that we, as adults, are often still learning the same lessons? Max Lucado writes in one of his books how God sees each of us individually. For example if I look at a large group of children, I see a large group of children. A couple of them may stand out for one reason or another and capture my fleeting attention, but in general, I will see the group and not the individuals.

Now take one of my grandchildren and put him or her into the group. Can you guess what happens? Suddenly this is still a group of children, but one of them captures my attention and holds it. No matter what the other children do, no matter how cute or funny they are, my attention always comes back to that one special child that belongs to me and has ties to my heart: my grandchild!

God sees us as that 'my child' in the crowd too. It's hard to imagine how He can do that, but He is bigger than our understanding and capable of much more than we. And with God, He sees each one of us that way - laughing at our antics, thinking how adorable we are, etc. - as each individual stands out from the crowd. God doesn't see us as just another person, he sees us as HIS! Wow! I just hope my grandkids can understand that some day - about me and about God.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Life Lessons from Exodus 3:2-8

2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

The refiners fire may keep us in the flames, but we will not be consumed. Just as the bush was on fire and yet not burnt, God keeps us in the flames of His refining process, so that we will come out burnished, clean and usable rather than scorched or destroyed.

3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

When we come out of the fire unscathed, it attracts the attention of others. They wonder how this person can go through such things and come out whole and better rather than broken and bitter. This gives the Christian the opportunity to share the God who took them through the fire and offer hope to those who don’t have God’s help in their own circumstances.

A friend recently had a man ask her how she could have gone through all the things that have happened to her in her life and come out without a bitter bone in her body. She had the opportunity to share that, even though there were times of bitterness, lack of faith and fear, God brought things, friends, Words, ect. into her life to grow her through it and bring her safely to a point where she can praise her God for everything, knowing He used it to make her the wonderful lady she is. He also used it to fashion her into an instrument of His, a tool for Him to use, to help many other people find the way through as well.

4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

When others become curious about the things they see that do not make earthly sense, God uses those moments to get their attention and draw them to Him. As you walk through the fire unscathed, others will marvel and seek to have what you have: Jesus!

5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

When we approach that place of wonder and curiosity, we are standing on holy ground, for this is where we meet our God. He uses, not just our life events, but our reaction to life events to bring others to a point where they can listen to Him with open minds and open hearts. What is more holy than a person meeting God?

6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

God’s name is I AM, and HE IS! The reason we can go through the fire is that we don’t do it alone. I Am is with us! I Am the protector, I Am the comforter, I Am the need meter, I Am.... Whatever we need, that He is to us: the great I AM!

7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

The great I AM who takes us through the fire without allowing us to be destroyed, hears our prayers and knows when we are afflicted. He knows our sorrows and weeps with us when we hurt. He never said we would never be afflicted, in fact, He said we would face persecution, but He also promised we would never have to go it alone. He also made this promise: “28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We can know He hears, cares and works all into His great plan.

8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey

God will deliver us. It will be in His way and in His time, but He will be with us and bring us through to the other side. This writer can tell you from experience that the other side is a wonderful place to be. It brings a firmer faith and a more intimate knowledge of God along with a host of other wonderful things.

While I have taken liberties with this passage, everything spoken here is found in God’s Word. He is all we ever need, and if we love and serve Him, We will go through the fire without being consumed. Instead we will find ourselves the object of wonder as others want to know how we made it through. And this is our perfect opportunity to tell them: we didn’t, God did!