Monday, March 28, 2011

Adoration or Expectation?

My dog has become high maintenance. Daisy is a 11 year old terrier-spaniel mix that has been in our family for 10 years.

When Daisy was young we trained her to bump the blinds with her head when she needed to go outside. When she wanted to come back in, she'll scratch the door with her paw and wait for me to let her in.

Lately, Daisy has less patience than she used to. Instead of tapping her head against the blinds, she now bangs them with a loud thump. She stares me down when I don't jump right up to let her outside. After moments outside (without taking care of 'business') she scratches at the door and barks at the top of her lungs.

In fact, everything she does to communicate with me has become a little snarky. To ask for food or water she will drag her bowls around the kitchen until I trip over them and fill them up again. She pulls her bed around the house, and growls when I try to move it out of the way.

You're probably thinking she sounds like a pretty smart dog. And she is. She's a smart dog who's developed a bad attitude. Once upon a time, Daisy adored me. She was so excited to spend time with me and she hung on my every word. Somehow over the years, the relationship changed. She no longer hopes for things, she expects them. She's no longer happy sitting at my feet, she demands I do things for her. When I finally do what she wants, it doesn't keep her happy for long.

Are you just like Daisy? Has your relationship with God turned from adoration to expectation? Do you still love to sit at His feet and spend time with Him? Or are you more focused on what God can do for you? When He does bless you, are you thankful or do you just expect more?

Daisy is a sweet dog. Despite her new attitude, I love her and want the best for her. God loves us beyond measure...are we adoring Him?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made...” Luke 10: 39-40a

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Daily Bread

My small group had a conversation about the manna God provided to the Israelites in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. It peaked my interest so I did some research and wanted to share what I found.

Did you know...
-Manna means “what is it?”

-Manna resembled a coriander seed – small, round white and sweet which represents the humility, perfection, purity and sweetness of Christ

-The Bible tells us that manna tasted like wafers made with honey

-Manna appeared with the morning dew. If it was not gathered in the morning, it would melt with the heat of the sun. Therefore we should spend time with God in the morning, before the day gets away from us.

-Each person was allowed 1 omer of manna which equals about 3 pints

-The Israelites gathered manna for only 6 days, on the 7th day the rested. God provided enough manna on the 6th day for both days.

-Aside from the 6th day, if the Israelites did not consume the manna for the day, it would spoil overnight. This reminds us not to hold on to 'yesterday's blessings'. God's mercy is new every day.


I don't know about you, but I'm always amazed by the craftiness of God. Not only did He provide the Israelites food for their bodies, He showed them a way to live. Praise God for His ways! I'm comforted to know that every gift that comes from God not only provides what I need but represents His love as well.

So, I have to ask...are you receiving your Daily Bread??

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” Exodus 16:4

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taste and see

I've discovered recently that my palate has changed. I've always been a middle of the road, not too spicy, not to tangy kind of girl. But now I enjoy the bitterness found in dark chocolate, the zing you find when you add just a little wasabi to soy sauce and the crunch of a fresh jalapeno in a 'made from scratch' salsa.

I'm not sure when the change began. I didn't just wake up one day and decide I liked spicy sushi. I did, however, decide to finally try it. After years of having extremely different palates, my husband and I are finally beginning to close the gap. He has offered me bites of his spicy and flavorful food for years. I would try it, not like it and be unwilling to try it again.

Children respond the same way. If food looks weird or is just generally unfamiliar, they don't normally like it. Experts say you should continue to expose children to different types of food because they may begin to like it. All across the world, parents are dishing out veggies and family recipes of all kinds with the same hope in mind... maybe they'll appreciate it someday.

We are all children in our faith as well. We first get milk from God's word. We learn that He loves us and sent Jesus to pay our ransom. Scripture about God's love is as sweet as cream and goes down just as easily.

As we grow, we start digging into His word a bit more. We find Scripture that encourages us and instructs us to love one another. These lessons are kind of like the veggies. They are necessary to keep you healthy and balanced as a believer.

Then comes the harder stuff. Trials, addiction, loss, sin... the list goes on and on. Now we're in the meat of God's word. Now we have to make an effort to apply His truth and sometimes it's even tough to take. We don't normally take a large chunk of meat and swallow it whole without choking on it. God's word is the same way. We have to process it. Just like chewing, we have to focus on it, consider it and find out how it applies to our situation. Then finally when we've done that, we can take it in and draw strength from it.

So where are you? Are you stuck in the milk or veggie stages of Christianity? Or are you diving in and taking hold of the meat of God's word? God wants us to have all of it. He wants to serve up a big Tbone steak with a side of well seasoned veggies and a big glass of milk! But if we're not willing to take everything He's offering, we're missing out on the fullness of God. He's prepared the feast, are you ready to try something new?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crying out

I was a mess all morning. I'd waited for this day to arrive for months but never expected to feel like this. It was my last day at work. I should be giddy with excitement but instead my heart hurt.

I held it together as I put on my makeup and got dressed. As I made the bed, the tears began to flow.

This is so silly. Why am I so sad when I'm getting exactly what I wanted?

On the drive to work the tears started up again. Lord, I can't do this. Please give me your strength to get through this day. I've got to keep it together!

It was 'business as usual' with the exception of the well wishers stopping by my desk to say their goodbyes. I said my farewells without shedding a single tear or feeling sad. He had done it! God had strengthened me through the day.

As I drove away from work for the last time, the tears began to flow once again. Thoughts of all the great people I've met and the friendships I've made consumed my thoughts. I'm so thankful for them.

So how did I make it through the work day? I didn't just pretend or put on a fake expression. God knew my heart was hurting and He surrounded me with people who were genuinely excited about my new opportunity in life. God gave me His strength through their encouragement while He covered me with His peace. When we're standing on the brink and feel that we have no control, God shows up! He infuses us with His strength and uses our weakness for His glory.

Do you feel out of control? Are you afraid of what's coming next? Unsure of your next step? Good! You're right where He wants you to be. God shows up in the 11th hour when we cry out to Him and believe that He is able. Are you crying out or just crying? Ask Him to give you His strength. You'll be amazed by what He'll do...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:16-17