Tag Archives: 1 Peter

ERRR….CRAP!

‘s a sad fact of life. Touchstones break. We call them “stones” because they have weight in our life. It is the “touch” part that we sometimes forget. Weighted stones that have touched our lives at some point We can look at them – or touch them – and they release the memories – the smells – the sounds – the music – the faces.

Most of the time a smile may cross our soul as we hold it in our hands. Sometimes a laugh may escape the confines of the binder that held it trapped inside. And sometimes – when we drop them – – – they break.

Errrr…

This morning I walked the dogs as soon as I woke up. We picked some flowers, threw some sticks, and enjoyed the cool of a perfect spring morning. Since I had only picked two small flowers this morning, I pulled out the two small shot glasses that probably were some of my first touchstones ever.

Mom had special glasses for party nights. They were colorful. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. They also had matching shot glasses. I can still see Dad and hear his laugh as he was telling jokes or getting ready to play his guitar and holding one of those glasses. Other times, when I would pick violets for Mom, she would take out the shot glasses, and we would fill them up with the purple and white blessings. She would pull the doilies she had made out of their drawers and place the glasses around the living room. Just thinking about those violets bring back the smell of her hugs, the smell of her perfume and her red-lipstick smile.

Over the years, all the glasses disappeared. And by the time, we moved Mom out of her house, there were only two shot glasses left. Yellow. Green. Today the yellow one dropped into the sink as I was running water to hold a small rose. Errrrr…I don’t deal well with breaking things that have touched my life. But – I reminded myself – they are just things. I rolled my eyes, looked out the kitchen window while having one of those — half prayer — half talk – conversations with myself.

Errr…I looked at the fragments scattered around the sink and said, “Crap!”

A short time later, I broke a tiny winged, patriotic figure that I bought the summer my mother died. I think Mom must have been born to be a politician from birth. She had all the smarts, charisma, and charm needed. She just was a slow starter in the field. However, once elected as village clerk of our small home town, she rose through the state ranks and on to national organization of clerks.

The figurine I broke – out of a set of six – was the one that said held the banner that said, “God Bless America”. So this was a double touchstone. Mom sang “God Bless America” so many times, that I knew all the words by the time I was 5 years old – – – including the introduction. “When the storm clouds gather…”

Errr…I picked the pieces up off the floor and said, “Crap!”

I decided it was more than time for devotions. Needless to say, they shattered my bad mood completely. I read about the “hupogrammos”. An ancient Greek word that basically means example – but more deeply – it is a concrete, hands-on way of teaching someone how to do something. In this case – Christ became the “hupogrammos”. He set his actions, his steps, his manner, his love before all of us that we might easily follow His steps if we just put our feet and heart where He put His.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example (hupogrammos), that you should follow in his steps.”~1 Pt 2:21

As the tears pushed the corners of my eyes, I read this last devotion. “You answered me, when I called You; with Your strength, You strengthened me.”~Ps 138:3

The lesson of the day? Forget the Errrr… and the Crap!
Touchstones of this earth break and easily.  They fall apart. Our Christ Touchstone is just the opposite. He is an eternal cornerstone that hold everything else together when the world seems to be falling apart. He is the “hupogrammos” for our lives.

Because of Christmas #11: HopeTree

“You, me, and the Christmas tree. Picked purchased, and pruned. Trust God’s work.”~Max Lucado (p127)
 
Advent begins tomorrow. The annunciation was only the beginning – – – the beginning of hope. The trees of the garden have been locked away for so long because of our poor choices. Is it any wonder that salvation came wrapped – in so many ways – in the cloak of a tree?
 
“Who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having been dead to sins, we might live to righteousness…” ~1Peter 2:24a
 
Hope.
 
It is the reason we cry during those sappy Christmas movies. The reason we want to pull the tree out of the attic before Thanksgiving. The reason we can halfway stand the pain when a loved one leaves this temporal plane. The reason that everyone feels like singing “O Christmas Tree” even if they can’t carry a tune in a a tree-holding bucket.
 
A Tree of Hope.
 
Today, I managed to get one of my Christmas trees in place. Now don’t get too excited. My trees are of the 3 foot variety, and they sit in Rubbermaid containers most of the year. There are no ornaments on it tonight. There are no presents beneath it’s branches. For tonight, my Grandma Mac’s creche sits beneath it and my version of the annunciation angel and heavenly lights are its only decoration. It won’t stay that way, but for tonight, it is perfect and I am content.
 
“And having looked up, he [the blind man]was saying, “I see the men, for I see them as trees walking.” ~Mk 8:24
 
Sometimes – we see ourselves as that mighty oak tree in the middle of a field. Strong. Resilient. But often -we become too hard, Grow too tall, Don’t sink our roots deep enough. Allowing the swirling winds of this world to whip us this way and that. Letting the storms of life rip our leaves, fruit and sometimes – even the limbs off our trunk. It is only after we recognize the new Tree of Life -you know – the one that the Father sent to save us from ourselves – that our “blind” eyes are finally opened. In His light we can become the sapling that we were always meant to be so that we might bare more hope-filled fruit for those around us.
 
Because of Christmas – we have the Hope Tree. 
[google image]

Because of Christmas #8: Humble Pie

It as not been a good year for Humbles. There’s been a drought of kindness in the meager water supply. Not to mention, the much needed love fertilizer was held up in production due to an ineffective leadership that had not taken good care of the factory or its workers. If only a Thanksgiving a miracle would occur. But alas, the last sarcastic hail and hate tornadoes decimated the field to only a remnant. There might be no Humble pie tomorrow at the table.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”~Prov 11:2

In its glory, an abundant crop of Humbles is hard to describe. Their fruits are an array of iridescent colors, and when conditions are right, the tree of the Humble seems to dance in the light of the grace-full Son. Harvested, the fruits’ smell seeps free of its flesh and permeates the very air around it with such sweetness that it blesses every Thanksgiving homestead for an entire year.

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”~1 Peter 5:5

Herod didn’t like Humble Pie. Didn’t eat it. Didn’t grow the fruit. In fact, he burned the fields where the trees grew. He even closed his curtains against the light of the Son. He knew he was right. He pursed is lips and refused to listen to anyone’s opinion except his own. He ignored the signs. He avoided the manna that he could have gathered. Worse – he wouldn’t drink from the well that would never run dry. His perversions were well documented, and he missed the grace of Humbles blooming in his fields forever.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”~Phil 2:3

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Not just a day to watch football. Not just a day to eat food. Not just a day to spend with family. Not just a day to debate issues. Not just a day to shop for material things. Not just day off work. Not just a day.

“And everything that you perform in word and in works, do in the name of our Lord Yeshua The Messiah and give thanks by him to God The Father.”~Col 3:17

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to find one of the remnant Humbles. There are a few trees left. Seek it out. Harvest it within your field. Make a pie and offer it as a blessing to those who share your table, that your loving Father might bless your year in the name of the Son who eternally brings grace to a never empty table.

 

“To the humble, God gifts great treasures.”~Max Lucado (p88)

Blessings!Be! and a Blessed Thanksgiving for all. [google images]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #99

I have a tiny journal that I got in 2012. It has George Washington’s name on the front and a replica of the compass that he used throughout his life. Maybe that is why I don’t really use it as a journal. I have bigger books for that chore. This one is more of a — hmmmm —- this one is more of a – – – a salt collector.
 
It sits by my chair and has some crazy random thoughts spread throughout it. A few doodles of my swirling thoughts. Starts of poems that never found completion. Prayer shawls that I wove in words of love and tears. Treasure gems of thought. Quotes of note. Bible verses that hold my feet steady on His path. And tomorrow night, after I type the last Ration, I will tuck my daddy’s 1942 Ration booklet into a pocket on its back cover.
 
There are still many to pages to fill in my salt journal. Elohim reminded me tonight that I that I drifted a little off course the past couple years and need to focus. The best part, He opened the clouds tonight just enough for a moon to peek through. What a blessing. I got to see the super-duper moon and of course, this tiny prayer made its way into my heart.
 
“I see the moon and the moon sees me,
And the moon sees the ones that I can’t see.
God bless the moon, and God bless me,
And God bless the ones that I can’t see.”
 
1942 Daily Ration: “Freedom is never a good thing unless he is good that has it.’~Alfred the Great.
 
‘As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness but as bondservants of God.’~1 Peter 2:16
 
“September 17 is the anniversary of the Constitution of the united States of America. For over 150 years ours as been a Government of law rather than of men. God grant that it may so continue! But if it does we must get right concerning law. We can make or break or keep law; but enforce law we cannot. As Joseph Parker wrote, “Law-making may be reduced to a science; but law-keeping comes out of the heart.”
 
“A commencement speaker asked: ‘How long will America last? Ten years? A hundred years” A thousand years?’ The answer is written in our attitude towards the truth of a newspaper comment: ‘Patriotism is not talking in a certain way; it is living in a certain way.’
 
Read: Galatians 5:13-26
 
Prayer: We bless thee again and again, our God, for the privilege of American citizenship. Remind us of the fact that as a Government we are still in the experimental stage. The world has not yet had full proof that a nation can both govern itself and live. We would give that demonstration. May we, therefore, so live that every good thing in America shall be strengthened and every bad things weakened. In the name of the King of all kings, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” [google image]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #70

This neighborhood continues to amaze me. Our cul-de-sac actually has kids that ride bikes, carry kittens and play games that sound an very similar to the “pretend” games that my friends and I used to play. Grown-ups meander over to say ‘hello’ and check on our progress, or grab their quads to visit other neighbors or haul their kids to homes a little further down in the neighborhood. It is a throwback neighborhood and it fits us well.

This week found us completely changing the front of the house again. When Hurricane Matthew sent a bunch of rain into NC we noticed waterways that were not beneficial to our little home in the woods – maybe to the mosquitoes – but definitely not to us.

Hence – we are completely revamping the front of the house and driveway – once again. Hubby, of course, does the hardest part while I mostly fetch and shovel all my new plants, mulch and dirt that he has dug up into new spots. In true Stumpman style, it is far more elaborate than I thought at the beginning.

Tractor running, stump grinder throwing red clay-crusted stones everywhere, and various hand tools shaped the outline of the new patio and retaining wall while the dogs held their supervisory positions. Although a cut water line was a minor hold up yesterday, we now know where it is and are a little wiser.

Life is good. God is even better. Blessings abound at Eli Covenant.

1942 Daily Ration: Read: Philippians 1:9-14

” ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.’~1 Peter 4:12

“At Glacier Park, a ranger remarked that the lodgepole pine is the only tree that will grow in the wake of a devastating forest fire. The heat open the cones and releases the seeds which find their way to the soil and new life.

“The enemies of Christ thought they had put an end to him and his teachings forever, but he arose with new life and power. Persecutors have been dismayed to find down through the years that their fires have given new life and growth to Christianity. Born of a crisis, Christianity has found its most fertile soil in the great crises of history. The English martyr, Latimer, being taken to the stake, cried out, ‘We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as (I trust) shall never be put out.’

“So in individual Christian experience testings bring to light the unsuspected life and resources. The invalid wife of Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote as they sat listening to the crackling of an oak log on the fire: ‘Suddenly I heard a sweet soft sound, a clear musical note, like a tender trill of a robin. . .The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music, garnered up by the old oak when soft sunlight decked its tender leaves with gold. We are like this log. We should give forth no melodious sounds were it not for the fire!

“Prayer: Help us, Our Father, to pray unceasingly for those who are caught in the fiery trial of persecution today. Bring the comfort of the Holy Spirit to their heart and keep them in thy love. In the name of Christ, Amen.

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #61

This is the start of the last 40 days of Rations. Most people know that 40 is a number that is mentioned often in the Bible. One site that I visited said that 40 was mentioned 146 times. I recognized many of them – although I had somehow missed the one of Ezekiel laying on his side for 40 days to point out Judah’s sins (Ezekiel 4:6).

God doesn’t tell us we need to pay attention to specific numbers. In fact, He really doesn’t tell us that we have to do anything. He suggests. He hints. He supplies teachers, prophets and stories. According to tradition, He even had 40 different people write the 66 book of the Bible.

In Jewish wisdom, the number 40 holds great significance. It represents transition, a period of change, a renewal of faith; a new beginning. Rabbi Yeshua apparently held to this rabbinical thought as well since He spent 40 days in the wilderness before walking into the ministry that would change the world.

So as I write these last 40 daily rations of 2016, I am spending some extra time in the WORD, changing up my prayer times and treating it – in a sense – like the period of Advent or Lent. 40 days of change. 40 days of renewal. 40 days of new life on His path instead of my own.

1942 Daily Rations:Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you…as though a strange thing happened unto you.’~1 Peter 4:12

“Handling difficulty is half the art of living. One must be a spiritual engineer. The first step in dealing with trouble is to expect it and accept it as a normal element of existence. It seems to require hardship to make the sort of human spirit that we like best and value most. If so, God could not make it otherwise. The book of life is a dramatic volume, a mingling of joy and sorrow, defeat and triumph. This is what life is like and no one is exempt. Some people seem to think that the normal life is one of unbroken ease, and that difficulty is abnormal and must be accounted for. There is no evidence for that premise. To expect trouble is not to borrow trouble. Borrowing trouble is apprehension; expecting trouble is comprehension. One who expect difficulty a an integral part of his lot will not be swept off his feet with surprise and dismay when it comes.

“Prayer: Give us grace, O LORD, to keep our hearts at peace among the varying tides of life. Joy and sorrow, health and suffering, need and plenty, are all parts of the common lot of men. May we shrink from no fortune, but learn to meet each one as it comes. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

STUFF

clutter

I love productive days. I’ve had this box of loose “stuff” that I started gathering when we moved my mom out of my childhood home. Needless to say, those were busy years for me…teenagers in the house, grandchildren being born in MI, Mama needing lots of time, husband trying to start a business, so I added more “stuff” to that box. Today, I got through the top assortment of “stuff”, and I feel as if the back room has a new lightness to it.

“… keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” 1 Peter 2:11

“Stuff” does get in the way we see things and sometimes clouds our judgement. After I returned to my home town, I made the mistake of cleaning up an area around my mom’s chair. Mom threatened to disown me if I every touched one of her magazines or books again. She was right. It was her stuff to get rid of – not mine. Mom collected and kept most everything; she was a card carrying member of the original re-cycle crowd. Depression babies are like that. We re-used everything until it fell apart in our hands. When my brother and I finally had permission to clean out her house (without the threat of being disowned), it took pretty close to a year (or at least – it seemed like it). As for Mom, after she moved, she often wondered why she kept all that “stuff” because she said she didn’t miss it at all.

“You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks.” Is 1:29

SOS5We tend to really like our “stuff”. We want this or that – and usually multiples of the “this and that”. Between books, Barbies, pictures on the wall, and a few sundry of other things, I have done my fair share of collecting. My husband collects “manly toys” – you know – boats, motorcyles, tools, etc. “Stuff” adds up quickly and clutters up our lives pretty fast. Don’t get me wrong, I still love having “stuff”. But as I dug through all the “stuff” Mom had collected, I boy clutterrealized how there were very little of that “stuff” that meant anything to me or my brother. One day I sat in the middle of what used to be our dining room – surrounded by “stuff” – and was overwhelmed by the sheer uselessness of it.

“…The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” Rm 10:8

I got a clearer message a few years later, when we had our house fire, I got another nudge about “stuff”. After emptying several large dumpsters of “stuff”, my husband and I made a new rule, if it couldn’t fit in our pocket, we wouldn’t buy it. Obviously, we did not stick to that rule very long, but we have stopped “collecting” a lot stuff. Our smaller home is still full, but most of it (I’m happy to say) are things that weren’t damaged by the fire.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ep 2:8-10

“Stuff” doesn’t get us to heaven…we can’t take it with us. It clutters the corners and builds walls around us. (In my mind’s eye, I can still see my mother’s chair sitting amid piles of “stuff” on every side of it.) It can even cloud our vision as we lose sight of what truly matters. This is where my day became truly productive. It wasn’t about cleaning out the “stuff”. It wasn’t even about initiating a chore that I had wanted to start for years. It was this: Jesus said: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Lk 18;22 Looking around my room, I began to wonder: If the Messiah said this to me today, would I sell everything…or would I be like the certain ruler who just walked away…

The Main Thing

Peter Lord said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

I like this quote. Did you have to read it more than once? I did. Repetition of words make a sentence unusual and those are the things that often catch my attention. I’ve run into this quote before in some of my friends’ statuses and/or devotional blogs that I read. However today when this quote popped up, I decided to do a little research – who was Peter Lord? I guess I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was a minister, and that he will be in NC in November as a speaker for a conference. Then Steven Covey’s name started cropping up with this quote. So I’m not sure who originated the quote. Maybe they both heard or read it and were just quoting it in their writings as well.

“THE MAIN THING…” Time goes pretty fast these days. Hump day is already here and I haven’t accomplished half of the things I planned on finishing. Social media play time probably doesn’t help when I end up putting jigsaw puzzles together instead of actually doing something that sends me in the direction of my goals. “…IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING…” Our society has gotten into the habit of throwing quotes into our discussion like chocolate chips in a cookie. As if that somehow legitimizes an opinion or validates a point..even when we have no idea where that quote originated or who that person really is that said it. It is on a cute picture that we like. It says what we are thinking. It expresses an emotion. But – is that enough? “…THE MAIN THING.”

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25

I throw Bible verses into my statuses all the time because I believe that it does validate a thought, feeling or emotion that I may be trying to convey. To those people who do not believe in the WORD, it doesn’t mean much. To me, it holds value beyond words even when little discrepancies crop up. Translating anything from one language to another causes problems. Which is an excuse that many people use to discard the words and intent of the Bible. What they don’t understand is that – even little discrepancies can help us grow in our faith because God uses those same discrepancies to His glory.

“Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who HAD GONE into battle, “This is what is required by the law that the LORD gave Moses: Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.” — Num 31:21–23

The original word in Hebrew actually says:: “…the soldiers who WERE GOING into battle.” When you read the verse it seems like the Hebrew must have been wrong. Check point for the nay-sayers. However, Jewish Sages say that the Hebrew word was totally correct because God had already told about the soldiers returning from battle in an earlier verse. This verse was instead talking about the spiritual battle they were entering. God was talking about every day life. Every day. all our choices – our actions – our words – must go through the the test – the “fire” of life according to His standards and then be purified by water. Sounds almost Messianic, doesn’t it? Daily, when we choose a course or say a word, we should always be thinking if it falls within His standards and then re-thinking it so that it is purified by the WORD (water).

“.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jn 1:1

The more I read Jewish wisdom and traditions, the more I am convinced that every word and story of the OT which points to the NT which points to the “main thing”…SALVATION.. Salvation of our Father’s creation is the “main thing”. He repeats it over and over and over again. Now – if only we can “…keep the main thing the main thing.”

main-thing

A Good Book

I hate leaving the world of a great book. Today’s world du jour was Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons. Re-entry into my world always takes burnt mountainplace normally, but the flashbacks continue for a few hours as I detach my self from that community and group of people that I have grown attached to during our short time together. Then I begin to wonder if there is possibly one more book of Siddons that I haven’t read and can’t wait to get to a computer to do a search.

A good book is a treasure which reminds me that I haven’t done my daily devotions in The Good Book yet. Surprisingly, I’ve gotten in the habit of enjoying my hour alone with WORD far more than I enjoy any other book (which I find totally amazing). It used to be that I had to force myself to Jesus_Christ_Superstarpull out the Book – read my token couple of randomly chosen chapters – say a quick prayer – all the while tossing a glance upwards as if I was Simon Zeolotes in Superstar: “Christ You know I love You, Did you see I waved? I believe in You and God, so tell me that I’m saved.”

“I will put my trust in Him.” Hebrews 2:13a

Nice thing about being retired is that I do have more time. In reality though, I try to do devotions at night right after supper, so I could have been doing this all my life.. Anne Voskamp mentioned this tradition in one of her books, and it intrigued me. Then I read it was also a Jewish tradition in some sects to study the Torah after a meal. It began to make sense. A full belly is useless if you have a soul that is starving.

“…All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the WORD of the LORD endures forever…” 1 Peter 1:24-25

For me, it’s the best time of day. I’ve gotten my chores done, and I’m ready to just enjoy the quiet whispers of sound that surround our new biblehome. The heat of the day has passed, a slight breeze is gently pushing the wind chimes and the harmonics are better music than anything on the CD. Dogs are content to watch the birds or get in trouble for chasing the wild cats who often make the mistake of crossing the road in front of our house. And, I can work on that “stillness” that our preacher was talking about this week (I still “talk” way too much so I hope God is being patient).

Most of you who are my friends, understand that “need” to read a great book, especially after we’ve passed the exposition, and we’ve become attached to the story line/characters/hypothesis formulating in our heads of “what happens next” . If we leave that book behind (or haven’t downloaded a digital copy in reserve on our phone) and don’t have it to read when we have a minute or two, we are beyond frustrated. That same feeling has now transferred to my devotions. I try to do more than “wave” at God these days and miss it more than I can say when I don’t make the time to spend with my Father. That being said, I guess it is time to get off of here and read a few more words in a book that never ends, and for that, I’m truly thankful to Our Father.

love books