Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Not Feeling It

It would be grossly unfair for me to call this last few weeks a hard eucharisteo.
So, forgive me; I teach middle school and I have teenage girls, so let's chalk it up to the company I keep.
(Or my natural propensity for drama...that could be it. Maybe.)
In the real, no-kidding hard eucharisteo moments, when the pain is breathtaking, it's almost as if I'm searching for gifts under a microscope.  I'm desperate for hope, desperate for Jesus to heal--
and the small becomes Divine.
Then there are days (like today)
 when busy and tired and discouraged are duking it out for Adjective of the Day, 
and my brain is like so much mashed potato, 
and I can't see any gifts because I'm not looking.
Those days I'm looking for a little drama.
The warm bowl of oatmeal with toasted almonds and cranberries doesn't have enough pizazz
 (and besides, haven't I written that down already?)
In John's gospel, there are lots of folks looking for a little more action.
Water to wine? Yesterday's news.
Bread for thousands? Yeah...but what have You done for us lately?
So Jesus calls their bluff.
How about what you really want need?
How about Living Water, Bread of Life, New Wine?
The Lord tells His people,
"Be still and know that I am God."
(and...we stop there because that's all that fits on a coffee mug or a wall plague.)
and we I miss the last part:
"I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted on the earth."
That should be enough drama for anybody.
So my list of gifts grows by (a very, very, super-exciting, uber-important) one:

244. His Name is exalted in all the earth.



Three Word Wednesday

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Three-Word Wednesday: Amazed by Bread

Lately I've been studying the gospel of John.
He has a lot to say about the signs Jesus gave that He is Who He said He is.
Miracles, we'd call them.
Years ago, I heard a preacher talk about a college professor who doubted the miracles recorded in the Bible were true.
His reasoning?  Those things can't really happen.
To which the preacher replied, "Duh. That's why it's a miracle."
Yet, this week I am struck by Augustine's commentary on Jesus's signs and wonders.  He wrote, 
"For certainly the government of the whole world is a greater miracle than the satisfying of five thousand men with five loaves; and yet no man wonders at the former, but the latter men wonder at, not because it is greater, but because it is rare.  For who even now feeds the whole world, but He Who creates the cornfield from a few grains?"
While I marvel at the feeding of 5000, I should also marvel at the bread.
Isn't it true?  
Consider the lowly kernal. 
Can you conjure one from the air?  Fill it with nourishment? Explain how bread becomes...well, bread?
I am powerless in the face of the ordinary.
I'm amazed by bread.
And isn't that the point of counting gifts-- 
that I would train my eye to see the miracle in the mundane and give thanks?
Ultimately, though, gift-counting by itself may miss the point.  
Jesus had crowds of followers who missed the point:
 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.  Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life,
 which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal....I am the Bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:26-27, 35)
It's one thing to be amazed by bread.  
It's another to let my amazement at the bread mean I'm amazed by the Bread. 
It's about Jesus, or it's all for nothing.
Lord, open my eyes to see Jesus in the bread, in the ordinary, in the mundane.
Then I'll be amazed by You.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mulitude Monday:The I Can Imagine It Will One Day Be Spring Edition

Happy Monday!
Believe it or not, our school system managed to eck out a few days of Winter Break despite some snow days, 
so here I am at home again on a Monday. 
I must confess I love being home on Monday.
It's almost...decadant,somehow, like an orange cream cheese scone.

It's a gift.

204. The whole world coated in sugar frosting.

205....but now it's melted! #IlovetheSouth
206. Milder weather for a few days
207. Being able to take my walk outside without icy winds and/or mud puddles
208. House church meeting here yesterday--I love opening my home.
209. New faces in our group--with two of the best-behaved children I've ever met.
210. A friend being able to begin college classes again.
211. Red in the morning--even if it is "shepherd's warning".

212. Tree silhouettes.
213-214. Heavy red fleece and bright green top for a total of $6. I love thrifting!

215. Purple flowers from the grocery store

216. Pinterest..and pinterest projects done!

217. Teen having lunch with a friend
218, A whole day planned with my friend on Wednesday!
219. PW's sour cream pancakes
220. hugs from a 14 year old!
222. Teen-meltdown-crisis that ends in laughter and forgiveness
223. Pain in my back much better
224. " Truth...is God's very reality revealing itself--occuring!--in Jesus." (quoted in The New International Commentary on the New Testament)
What are you counting today?
Linking here

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Scripture and a Snapshot: Scarlet and Snow

Though my sins...
(and they are many,
and I am powerless to stop them on my own,
powerless in my "I'm sorry" to stop the bleeding)
though my sins were as scarlet...
The blood of Christ
wrote in scarlet
that He loved me,
gave Himself for me,
wooed me to repentance,
replaced my bleeding heart with
a new one--
pure, empowered,
whiter than snow.
Linking here, here, and here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Out of Balance

Ice mixes with snow out my window, but I am sitting here thankful for the power is still on!  Yesterday we beavered away around the house; today I plan to grade papers, rest, and sink deep into the gospel of John.
 Studying scripture brings out the student in me.  I love research, looking at different perspectives, chewing on new information.  
I've noticed, though, that sometimes I can parse Greek verbs to the point that I miss the point.
Know what I mean?
I walked away from a commentary underwhelmed by the events in one chapter.
Then I caught myself--or should I say--the Holy Spirit convicted me.
I had been seeking information, not relationship.
I had read for learning, not love.
Don't misunderstand; I love study, and I think it's worshipful--when it leads me to worship.
At first I was thinking that I needed balance.  Time spent studying; time spent loving.
Then my David-Crowder-fan husband played a song last night that changed my thinking.
I don't want balance.
I want obsession.
I want to be so obsessed with my Savior that I do all things to know Him and glorify Him.
Whatever fuels my love for Him, I want more of it, and since He fuels my love for Him, I want more of Him.
This morning, in those quiet predawn hours when I am the only one awake, those less-than-amazing Greek words floated back to my mind, and He showed me what they really meant--how they lead a man to see Jesus for Who He is.
And I was overwhelmed.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When Winter Makes You Weary

It's a white world out my window.
If forecasts are to be trusted, we might as well get comfortable, for we are about to be officially snowed in.

While part of me loves a good snow day (or two), worries over losing power and worries over losing test prep time at school tend to spoil the fun for grown-ups.
The truth is this: February and March are hard for me, bad weather aside.
I'm weary, the kids are grumpy, the assignments are backing up, and the pressure to get through it all is mounting.
Last week, the coach (facing his own issues with weather and work) and the students who live here claimed the computer. 
 I confess I was secretly glad because discouragement had swept in like a polar vortex, and I simply had nothing of worth to say.
Psalm 40:16-17
 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
 I am oppressed and needy!
May the Lord pay attention to me!
You are my helper and my deliverer!
O my God, do not delay!
Today, with a prayer to bless the Lord, to focus on truth, to call the seclusion and silence of this snow rest, I am counting gifts.
183. Spending last weekend with my mom.
184. Being in the car with teens--and enjoying it!
185. Power still on!
186. Laughing with my witty children.
187. Salted caramel brownies. Oh, my.
Salted Caramel Skillet Brownies
188. Marshmallow cocoa.
189. Big, fat snowflakes.
191. Better library books after a few weeks of duds
192.It doesn't matter how I ask the question; Jesus is still the Answer.
193.The Living Water is deeper than the well.
194.Grace...instead of grace.
Linking up at Multitude Monday...even though it's Tuesday