Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Brothers and Uncles" - 09/21/13 - Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, I Chronicles 9:1-34

Their brothers stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving,

one side responding to the other, as had been directed by David the man of God.   

(Nehemiah 12:24)

I love the relationship between Adam and Nichalas. 

Just sitting and watching them interact, drinking in the blessings of our fruits. 

Last weekend, Nichalas flew home for a wedding, and I was blessed with many memory making events.  Our hotel room had a loft, where Curt and I slept, with another bed downstairs.  There was also a pull out couch in the living room area. 

It made my heart smile, knowing the couch was not even an option.  The guys have never hesitated, or thought of it as abnormal, to sleep together.  Even with Nichalas now being married, when Amber isn't with us, they sleep together.  I love hearing their voices murmuring in the dark, as they talk themselves to sleep. Their laughter is often the last sounds I can remember, before I fall into the world of dreams. 

When they were little and had sleepovers, it was not unusual to come in the next morning and find all of them squeezed into one bed, or on the floor. 

They just enjoyed being close, they enjoyed being "brothers". 

I love going through photographs of years gone by and being reminded of all the joy and blessings this group of guys have brought - and still do - into my life.  (Wishing I had those photos available to post, not wanting to leave anyone out.)


These boys are now grown men,          

Just this past summer, Lucas joined Adam and Nichalas in playing video games here.  When I went down to wake them up, there they were, all three crowded into Adam's bed.  I love how all of them, who grew up together, are still so close.  That God is in the center of their relationships, that the world's evil doesn't come in and desecrate their relationship.  I love knowing, until they breathe their last breath, they will always be there for each other. 

Even though they aren't of the same blood, they are closer than most blood relations that I know.  They are there to encourage, hold accountable, support, honor, and love.  They are loyal and would die protecting each other and theirs. 

Lucas has been a daddy to Abel for one month now.  It is still a little hard to comprehend this little guy I used to babysit for, beginning when he was two, is now old enough to be a daddy.  To sit and hold Abel, knowing I am holding a part of Lucas.  Wow!  So much delight comes from just watching the guys come together around this little babe.  The pride, the caring, gentle touch, not holding, holding, not changing a diaper. 

Knowing without a doubt, they are there for Abel, and all other children we will be blessed with, in the years to come. 


They are uncles.  Through our ABBA, they are of one blood. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

"In Our Arrogance" - 09/07/13 - Daniel 5:1-31, 7:1-8:27

 “You are his son and have known all this, yet you’re as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven!" (5:22)

I sat watching in disbelief, sadness in my heart, the flames shooting high into the night sky.  Embers of various sizes were floating through the sky, remnants of a magnificent building.  Because it was declared unfit, the firemen were unable to fight the fire from within.  The Newcomb Hotel was declared a total loss around 11pm.  All further efforts toward the fire were aimed towards neighboring buildings.  With the winds picking up, there was a strong possibility, they also, could catch on fire.  This morning, it is still smoldering, no one was injured, the other buildings were safe, and the cause of the fire is under investigation, listed as "suspicious".  They doubt if they will be able to determine the cause, due to the excessive damage. 

The Newcomb Hotel was built in 1888 and when opened in 1889, it was considered one of the premier luxury hotels of the Midwest.  There are, and have been so many beautiful examples of architecture and design, in the city of Quincy, Il.  It is known for its beauty of not only buildings, but also for its trees.  And each time some of this beauty is removed, my heart is saddened. 

It isn't because I am in worship of the "things" I am saddened, it is the history, the stories they could speak of if they were able to talk.   I imagine the people and events which occurred within and about them.  How much we neglect to write down, so it is not forgotten, because all things will pass away.

The Newcomb Hotel has sat empty for 30 years and during that time, many attempts to develop it have fallen through, either due to funding, legislation, or plain ole politics.  Even though there were some windows boarded up, building materials could be seen sitting unused, through the huge windows - you could still see a glimpse of its former glory.

It was thousands of years ago when ABBA created Adam, the first man.  Created him in His image, designed perfectly, for all His glory.  Just as He has designed each and every person since.  

If only, we wouldn't elect to allow sin to come into our being.  If only, we would learn from the past, those who were arrogant and we follow their lead becoming arrogant ourselves.  If only, we would stop putting "self" before ABBA. 

He created us with so many gifts, talents, and such beauty. 

Yet, how often are we "sitting there empty", with boarded up windows, His construction tools in complete view -  sitting there unused?  

How often do we try to cover up His glory with our own destruction?

How often do we become arrogant in the world's way of living our own lives, only to become a danger to ourselves and others? 

How often do we just sit and not use the beauty of Him  -  for Him - becoming "unfit"? 


"King Belshazzar held a great feast for his one thousand nobles. The wine flowed freely. Belshazzar, heady with the wine, ordered that the gold and silver chalices his father Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from God’s Temple of Jerusalem be brought in so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines, could drink from them." (5:1-3)

King Nebuchadnezzar walked in arrogance of self and his son, Belshazzar, followed suit.  Daily, in my walk, I am in the process of forgiveness - either for someone or even myself.  This is so hard when a person knowingly attacks me, even when I focus on Christ Words as He hung on the Cross, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing".  ABBA finally revealed to me, what  those persons do not know is the consequences they are creating and how the "ripple" will carry on.  It is enabling me to forgive everyone.  Yes, finally, everyone - for they really do not know what they are doing.   ABBA is giving me strength to do this as an example for our sons and daughter to see, to pass on. 

He has humbled me in my arrogance of not forgiving. 

I see so often how I, in my arrogance, believe I am above Him, when actually I am nothing but an empty shell of a building.  I don't want to continue living in a building which has windows shattered with pride and arrogance, filled with the scattered debris of unforgiveness, anger and bitterness, not able to withstand the fires - which will come.  To live in a building falling victim to the "elements", because I haven't used the Tools He provided me for upkeep.  There is no competition - He is the Master Architect and Designer.  I pray my "building" isn't ever listed as "unfit" - for when the fires do come, I desire Him to be fighting them from within.  I desire when persons look at me, they will see my "building" is filled with His glory.

Because He resides within my "building". 

Friday, September 06, 2013

"Grownup Blessings" - 05/04/13 - I Chronicles 26:1-28:21

"all of them, outstanding and strong" (26:9)

 “And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve Him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek Him, He’ll make sure you find Him, but if you abandon Him, He'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build His Holy House. Be brave, determined! And do it!” (28:9-10)

“Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; He won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God. You have all the priests and Levites standing ready to pitch in, and skillful craftsmen and artisans of every kind ready to go to work. Both leaders and people are ready. Just say the word.” (28:20-21)

Our sons, Adam and Nichalas, are now adults.
Nichalas is married to Amber. 

Are there any other parents out there when looking at their grown children, wonder where the little child went?  Occasionally, I am blessed with a glimpse of the little boy, in their expression, the way the light hits their face, their eyes crinkling with mischief as they torment each other.

There aren't too many moments they don't take advantage to "play" either (these pictures are from two Christmas' ago).   They have never outgrown, "wrestling with dad", and still have yet to take him down.  One day though, they will. 

Only because Curt will be too old to handle them.

The biggest difference in the relationship we share with our adult children is time.  With Adam living in New York and Nichalas/Amber in Phoenix, there are months we go without spending time together.  Skyping, cell phones, e-mail, bring some ease to the separation, but it isn't the same.  Absence has a way of when we are together, making each moment count - setting priorities.  And we do.  It doesn't matter if the house is immaculate at all times, a perfectly prepared meal on the table three times a day, or if we are off "doing" something all the time.  We just drink in spending moments together, playing board games, lounging, building something, a welcome invasion to our quiet home with the army of friends, descending upon us, late nights, little sleep, extra laundry. 

We are spending our time being a family. 

And in these moments together, God is always at the center.  Our conversations usually end up speaking about verses we have read in His Word, a sermon we heard, or just how God has grown and blessed us all in our lives. 

Adam has a quiet, strong, and steady walk with our ABBA.  How my heart leaps when I see the example of Christ his friends see and wonder about.  How he is drawing them in, one by one.  While having a conversation with Nichalas and Amber this morning, we were talking about Nichalas' future with school, job, etc.  They both said at the same time, "we don't know what God wants us to do, we're just praying and listening". I just smiled and thanked God that they are truly one heart "in" Him.

We are so thankful to have such an open relationship with our kids,  sharing with each other what to pray and praise God about. It  blows my mind, because I know they got it from their ABBA, neither one of them worry.  I have learned so much from their example of faith in knowing, without doubt, “Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; He won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God

God has so blessed me to see our fruits are  "outstanding and strong." "in" Him. No greater joy!





Thursday, September 05, 2013

"Neccessity of Reviewing" - 09/05/13 - Ezekiel 44:1-46:24

"The Prince is to be there, mingling with them, going in and out with them." (46:10)

Our Wednesday night Bible Study group just finished up the study, "Not a Fan", and all agreed to go through it once more.  Although this study has impacted my life, last night while watching the first video again, I was surprised at all I had forgotten in only a few weeks.


Taken for granted.


December 31, 2013 will be the 15th anniversary of reading through His Word for me.  I had made this pledge to Him, as long as I was able mentally, I would read through His Word yearly.  The first few years I read, but not every day.  Life got in the way.  Good intentions were set aside by something "better" that came along for that day, that moment.  One year, I read through the entire New Testament on December 31st, because I was bound and determined to finish in time.  It had become more about getting through His entire Word, rather than having His Word getting through to me. 

And then, I started to see the change in my heart, my days, I made time to start my day reading His Love Letter to me - with Him.  He was giving me the gift of Godly Wisdom through His Words to equip me in my journey of this life.

I learned - albeit slowly - I needed to "review" His Word every day. 

Even though I have read His Word throughout my years, each and every time, He gives me more "meat" to chew on.  I stand amazed at that.  I stand amazed of how Living His Word is.  I stand amazed how His Word, written so long ago, equips me for each of my days, here and now.  I stand amazed at how often I have fed from it, I still starve for it. 

There are often times when reading through the scriptures dealing with the numerous sacrifices, I mentally think, how thankful I am to be living on this side of the new Covenant - the Covenant I have with Christ - my Savior.  There are times when I will "breeze" through these verses, focusing on all the work and mess it entailed, how it had to have taken up a major part of their lives.  It hit me today, as I was "reviewing", God's instructions and their obedience were their daily "review".  In the reading today, the people had fallen so far away from the meaning of the many sacrifices, it had become routine or neglected.  And they themselves had fallen away from God. 

After the video, we were discussing forgiveness and the great example of Love,  ABBA gave us through Christ.  The ultimate sacrifice.  How we will often balk at loving and forgiving as Christ did/does.  Don said, "Christ left Heaven to come down and walk with us, He didn't have to."  When our Savior left to return to ABBA, He left us the gift of The Holy Spirit walking amongst us, Who when we accept Christ, lives within us.

No greater love or sacrifice has been shown or given for me. 

Yet, how often in my days, do I take that for granted.  Forget.  Put my "self" first?  Christ, my Prince, left His Father, our God, our ABBA, to come down, become human - for the sole purpose of ending all sacrificing for sin. 

So, as long as I am mentally able, I continue to "review" In His Word every day.  His Godly Wisdom has shown, equipped, enabled, me to LIVE "in" Him.  "Reviewing" is my very small in comparison, daily sacrifice, so I won't take for granted the time "The prince is to be there, mingling with them, going in and out with them."

When He became and is The ultimate sacrifice.

"Reviewing" keeps me focused on His gift of "No Greater Love". 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

"Blinded by His Light" - 09/04/13 - Ezekiel 40:38-43:27

"The bright Glory of God poured into the Temple through the east gate. The Spirit put me on my feet and led me to the inside courtyard and—oh! the bright Glory of God filled the Temple!" (43:4-5)

It is a sin you know, to look into the mirror and speak words to yourself in a way you would never speak to another.  When you stand in front of the mirror, the reflection looking back at you, is actually an image of God.  Yes, He created all humans in His image. 

And since I last checked, nothing has changed, I am human.

When accepting Christ as our Savior, we are given The Holy Spirit.  We are His Temple here on earth, The Church.  He comes into us, settles right in from the top of our head to the tips of our toes.  He makes Himself very much at home in our souls, hearts, and minds.  We look at ABBA as a gentle, kind, loving God, which He is, but there is another side to Him we often overlook.  Although He isn't pushy, allows us to make our own choices, He is a very jealous God.  The Holy Spirit, Christ, and God are all a part of the Trinity.  Three in one. 

And being filled with the Holy Spirit means just that. 

He wants to fill you up. 


He is jealous when we hold onto, bring into ourselves the idols of self and the world.  He is broken hearted when we choose sin over Him, yet He never, ever stops loving us.  He doesn't go off in a corner and pout until He gets our way, as we often do.  He stands firm, loving us more and more into Him.  The only time He will go completely away, is when we tell Him to. 

My prayers often include becoming more and more Christlike.  For me to disappear and persons when seeing me - see our Savior instead.  I pray His light will shine through me to reach others. 

These scriptures have caused me to realize, I haven't been praying for myself to see "me" as He does.  To love me, accept "me" as He does. 

I am thankful for all of us In Him who "The Spirit put me on my feet and led me to the inside courtyard" before Him".   To receive the encouragement which comes from my family "in" Him, the hope and examples of His great love from so many He has surrounded me with.

And then I sin when standing before a mirror. 

My new prayer is each time I look into the mirror, I will HAVE to put on His sunglasses. 

"Oh! the bright Glory of God filled the Temple!" 

Banishing all darkness from within me.