Give Thanks

November 22, 2017 — Leave a comment

It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night, Ps 92:1-2

The blessing jar is waiting to be stuffed with acknowledgments of God’s grace, help, and gifts through this year.

May your jar (or cup) of blessings overflow.

Happy Thanksgiving. Continue Reading…

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Returning a Favor

November 20, 2017 — 2 Comments

When I moved into my home in 1977, I salvaged an old table my father was discarding. Our family grew from four to seven around that table.

Then we shrank. When their father departed, we were six.

The years began to show on the table. One of its legs began to wobble. Without warning, it would collapse to the floor leaving all the work for the other three legs. We would laugh. But after a while, one of us found the falling leg not so funny.

When my youngest son was eight years old, he found a hammer and some very long nails and played carpenter. He reattached the errant piece, permanently joining it to the table. The repair was effective, but not pretty. Continue Reading…

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

When I was in high school, I spent good chunks of time waiting for my dad to pick me up–from school, from practice, from lessons. It all seemed such a waste. Once I learned how to drive, I had to wait for my turn to have the car.

I wasn’t good at waiting. I’m still not.

Waiting in line, in traffic–those times can be frustrating. Waiting for life events to unfold might be the hardest test of faith. We wait as a situation resolves itself, as someone else makes a decision we can’t control. That’s difficult. But that’s what makes us grow in Christ.

As Tish Harrison Warren writes, “Christians are people who wait . . . Christ has come and he will come again. We dwell in the meantime. We wait.” Continue Reading…

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels . . . II Cor 4: 7a

We are earthen vessels, comprised of soil and God breathed life. We stumble, fall, and get dirty. We cause others to fall. Along with our depravity–our bent selves leaning toward sin–we embody imago Dei–the image of God.

If we are Christ’s, we carry the Holy Spirit. Yet the battle between His spirit and our bent tendencies continues. We feed our souls the way we feed our bodies–with nourishing foods or with junk. And though we may try to convince ourselves differently, what we consume matters. Continue Reading…

It was a work of Providence I might have missed. I have no idea how long the book sat on the shelf waiting for me to buy it. But I do know it was there just for me–just for the moment I would need it.

That moment would be one every mother who has watched her son go to war knows. It’s an indescribable emptiness. But an almighty God can reach down to fill a heart’s void. And He can use any little nook or cranny to do so.

My daughter and I were in an antique store killing time as we waited to see my son off. He was deploying to Iraq. While we shopped, his unit was on base packing equipment. Families would see our soldiers later that evening for a short time before they left for their departure point.

A yearlong deployment lay ahead. Continue Reading…

Blended Seasons

November 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

Snow in November. The chill of autumn has come to us late. Slushy mounds grow on the leaves–usually gone by now.

Seasons of life blend together. Aspects of one last longer than expected. Pieces of another filter in sooner than we anticipate. A usually brown season has more color this year. Hardy leaves of orange, yellow, and red hang on, refusing to let go.

Blended seasons bring a chilled summer day or a spring thaw in January.

We yearn to hang on to this season. Or we hope time will pass more quickly so we can get to the next thing–the next piece of fleeting time that will take us to yet another.

Linger today in the chill or the warmth. Let the season that is now remain. It will pass soon enough.

A lesson to myself.


Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

We see them all the time. More of them in big cities. But some of them around our smaller towns. Sometimes we can make them invisible.

But should we give them our money? If we think they may misuse it, is there still a way to help? Continue Reading…

“If I am to spend my whole life being transformed by the good news of Jesus, I must learn how grand, sweeping truths–doctrine, theology, ecclesiology, Christology–rub against the texture of an average day. How I spend this ordinary day is how I will spend my Christian life.” Tish Harrison Warren

An ordinary day. Do we truly have ordinary days? Or is every day something special? Something God is working through to shape us–to show us His grand, sweeping truths?

That’s the question Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life answers well.

Warren takes us from morning to evening, from waking to going to bed again. She encourages us to make our beds and brush our teeth and not stress over lost keys or too much email sucking away our time. She calls us to guilt-free indulgences of simple pleasures–sipping a cup of tea–delighting in a pastry–rejoicing in a nap–cultivating a friendship.

She invites us to find the extraordinary in an ordinary day and to pursue the wonder of great truths too often lost in mundane activities–making sandwiches and sitting in traffic.

But this book is not a how-to survive modernity in eleven easy steps. It’s worthy of individual or group study, complete with discussion questions at the end.

Our daily lives contain a struggle most of us–all of us?–deal with. The curse of modernity. We live hectic, crazy lives.

Liturgy of the Ordinary is an ointment for weary souls.

 


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

God in a Quiet Place

October 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. I Kings 19:11b-12

Gusts of wind jostle my windows. Today will be the third day of rain. More expected tomorrow.

News of storms marches toward an outcome. A world filled with tempests of one kind or another–real storms and virtual ones–long, sad gales or short showers. Broken aftermath or sunshine resolution. We struggle against nature and with each other.

What comes after the storm, the personal defeat no one else seems to understand?

“A still, small voice,” says the King James version–“a low whisper,” says the ESV.

Hearing the quiet voice after every kind of storm–the essential to finding peace within and outside ourselves.

We hear this voice if we listen. Maybe when we least expect it. Sometimes, it comes as a word a friend speaks. Sometimes, it comes through a song or the silent touch of another.

A moment of ministry from God Himself.

God in the quiet. The One who walked on water touching me in a quiet place.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

 

My Scar Stories

October 26, 2017 — Leave a comment

A scar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness

Mitch Teemley

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The Final Scar?

To read my previous scar stories, click here.

My two greatest hits are on my neck. Oddly, both remind me of God. I wrote previously about one. The other began with a woman doing her lipstick in her rear view mirror as her car sailed blithely into the back of my sardine tin Samurai.

Several bulging neck discs made their debut that day. The pain level was acceptable (sort of). However, if more trauma were to occur, I was told, I could end up paralyzed. Not acceptable. So a discectomy was scheduled.

The day before surgery, I was laid on a tiltable table and my spine was injected with glow-in-the-dark goo in order to create a scenic map of My Spine, USA. I was fine with that. Of course, I was on Valium, so I’d have been fine with them cutting my toes off and…

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