Hebrews 3 recounts psalm 95 “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in rebellion.” It goes on to say the Israelites wandered in the wilderness because of their hard hearts, they did not have rest for 40 years.
Hebrews 3:12-14 Message So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.
We’re in this for the long haul. Today, hear Him, listen to someone else you know who grips on to Jesus. The promise here is REST (ch 4:1).
The writer of Hebrews call unbelief evil. Whoa!
See, I wanna walk with friends that sharpen my iron. I want to live a life of rest, peace, joy. Even in my darkest trials, when I’ve kept my eyes focused on Jesus I find rest in His arms. The other night I was reading Hebrews 10 (thank you brother!). There is some strong language about our promises and what we can do! We can have confidence, boldness to enter in and be close to God if we keep our grip on Jesus.
Our promises: More than we can ask for or imagine, exceedingly, abundantly, provision, health, rest, victory! And on and on.
Heb 10:23 hold fast to our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!
Today, we have a choice. Don’t harden your heart. Harden your heart, you wander like those in the desert. Gripping Jesus, you have rest, victory and God’s promises fulfilled!
Dennis and I hunted last week for five days. Elk hunting, gun or bow is like summer practice for a fall sport; two-a-days. You awake at 4:00 am so you can have coffee before you set out at 5:00 am. For me I splash on a little make-up, this could be the morning of the kill and I will have pictures taken 🙂 You stalk, look through binoculars, walk and not talk. The first morning we were so excited. Hopped up got dressed and off we went. It was a beautiful morning and as we pulled the Jeep to park in a field we were going to hunt the field was filled with mule deer and four elk.
We didn’t know this was the closest we would ever get all 5 days. We walked, looked until about 9:30 am then off to the house (usually a cabin or lodge) for breakfast. Eat, chat about everyones’ adventures of the morning then nap, shower and off to the mountains for more hunting about 3:30 pm. Return from hunt about 8:00 pm, eat, talk about your evening adventure and then off to bed to start again in the morning.
Day two was not beautiful. It rained, it was cold, we saw no elk in the morning. We walked, climbed, walked, climbed. Here is where the difference comes in. I am thinking to myself, “There is warm coffee and breakfast on the other side of this hunt, lets just call it a morning.”
Ryan, our guide says, “So do you want to walk to the Jeep and drive to the other side of this valley to go look over there?” “NO!” goes off in my mind. “Sure.” comes out of D’s mouth. “What? Why did he say that? Ugh!” It’s all about the hunt, we won’t be out here long. But see, they are men. It’s cold, rainy and they haven’t seen elk. They won’t stop until they do! Women (like me for instance) figure, we haven’t seen any elk, we have all week, lets go drink COFFEE! We hunted, I smiled.
All of day two was YUCK. Day three we set out fresh it was a damp fragrant morning, the air was filled with the scent of pine. We walked a bit then Ryan stopped and whispered his strategy to us. He spent quite a bit of time telling us how the elk will move from this watering hole to high in the forest, etc. While he’s speaking, I thought, “The habitat of these amazing creatures is so intricate; they move with the sun, they are bothered by high barometric pressure, it is mating season so they loose their senses.”
Ryan finished speaking and he and Dennis both thought, “Ok the goal of this plan is the KILL.”
We walked and stalked and sat and waited, all the while I am in awe of what a privilege it is to be in these beautiful surroundings. So I snapped pictures 🙂
As we were walking to the Jeep ready to call it a morning Dennis walks up, slides his arm around me and said, “While Ryan was explaining his strategy you were thinking, ‘This is so lovely! I love being a part of their habitat!’ weren’t you?” Haha, he knows me well. We giggled at how we can be doing the exact same thing and yet come away with a completely different story.
Hunting, like summer camp is social, hard work and oh what a fun adventure! It’s just an added bonus that someone else does all the cooking and cleaning!
Friday night we decided to head to the Haulapai Mountain Resort for dinner. The locals call it “The Lodge” I haven’t figured out why, there is no lodge in the name. Dennis is on call this weekend so we needed to stay in town. We have both eaten there but separately. I was there last winter when Mom and I came for a recheck of Kingman. The food wasn’t impressive so when we were settling in I never pushed to go again. Dennis ate there about a month ago for a dinner meeting, he enjoyed the steak.
Our dinner schedule has changed tremendously since we moved. Dinners use to be 8:00 or 9:00 pm now we consistently eat around 6:00 pm, Still a little later than the Haverdinks. Reservations at 6:00 pm at the Lodge.
Tucked away in the Haulapais is a little resort area, there are cottages and the Haulapai Mountain Resort along with a general store. It reminds me of Pickeral Lake. No lake just cool summer nights, hiking, mountain bike and off road trails. AZ residents from Phoenix and Lake Havasu City have cottages here to get out of the heat. On our way to dinner we saw her.
The elk and deer roam freely in this area. In the restaurant they have a large picture window where you can sit and watch the deer and elk feed on hay. They are wild, they enjoy the stage I think. While eating we saw three baby (calves) Elk, they still had their spots.
Saturday morning I had a cup of coffee and went for a run. Just as I started the big, warm, drops of rain fell. Warm summer rain always seems like it hits in slow motion. Big drops just plopped on my shoulders and visor of my baseball cap. I was heading into the sun so I turned around looking back over the golf course and sure enough there was a beautiful rainbow, double in fact!
Out here in the desert God gives us little treats. He is so good to us, I wanna rejoice and be glad!!
Remember the jingle; She has personality, walk, personality, talk, personality?
I just took a personality test, for the 10th time. They all come out the same. I am enthusiastic, persuasive, idea girl, cooperative, talkative, trusting, I like to be bossed rather than boss. I like to be liked. This works out great because Dennis likes to be the boss and loves to quote Putty from Seinfeld and say, “Quit bossing me!” He is results oriented so he follows through with my ideas. He is bold and mixed with my enthusiasm we push through our plans.
Oh this doesn’t come without challenges. How about when he asks me to fill out forms or do mundane tasks, which I abhor and I get distracted by shiney objects (aka people or some kind of social interaction)? He is goal driven and judges by goals achieved! Ugh, this can get ugly fast.
Alas, in all of the joys and trials of our differences we have come to appreciate them.
The other day Dennis was flying, we headed to a place we hadn’t been before in a crowded air space. Dennis was nervous and uptight. Sometimes I forget to keep my mouth shut. I chit chat, he is quiet and curt. Oh, I realize he is focused and I need to be quiet, there is so much to do when you fly. So we land, beautifully and when we took off to return home he said, “Sorry I get so weird.” I returned, “It’s not weird it’s focused. If you aren’t focused and driven to be the best we wouldn’t own a plane!” He smiled.
Not so long ago that would have gone a lot differently. I would have been hurt and felt rejected because he wasn’t responding to me. He would have gotten frustrated. He would not have apologized, I would have pouted and we would have flown home in silence.
We chatted with the pleasure of his accomplishment!
Marriage is tough. We learn from God’s word to be humble and put others first:
Philippians 2:2-4 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Sometimes it’s tough to look at our spouse’s differences as strengths. When we learn how our spouse ticks and recognize our own strengths and most importantly in marriage, our weaknesses. We understand that he is not just being difficult or thoughtless. She is not just being thin-skinned or impulsive. We just need balance and understanding.
There are many personality tests out there. The Enneagram has a free personality test on line, I think you can find it on Facebook. Just ask one of my nieces to find it for you!
Learn the personalities of those around you. There are great books by Florence Littauer, Laurie Beth Jones, Gary Smalley and more to learn your’s, your spouse’s and your children’s personalities. Relationships around you will flourish with understanding.
Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
I love learning and most of all I love learning about people.
I’m reading a book right now about being silent. It seems to be a common theme in my life these past couple of years. I started thinking about words; they can sting, tear apart, be empty or encourage and build.
My friend, exercise partner and cheerleader, Kirsti and I are both going to run a marathon in winter of 2012. We are running seperate races, that is a for another blog.
Kirsti was taken to a track by her husband Mike and son Noah to be timed in a one mile run. So when I return to Grand Rapids Kirsti wants to time me. There is some calculation for how fast you will run a marathon 🙂 I told her I was slow and I have always been slow, my time will be not be faster than her’s. She thinks differently because the difference in the length of our legs is substantial.
Dennis overheard our conversation. When I hung up he said, “Well that is a defeatist attitude.” I said, “No, it’s the truth. I have always been slow, swimming, running, anything.” He quipped, “You were told that before you were 12 years old therefore you have never pushed yourself .” Ouch!!
I have also been told I was stupid, lazy, good for nothing, wouldn’t amount to anything, whinie (this might have been founded) and on and on. I purposely sought God and asked Him to help me forgive these words and show me who He created me to be. He showed me I am smart, good for what He wants of me and I am a princess, that is something!
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give me the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
Hmm, it makes me wonder why have I hung on to this confession while working so hard to change my heart and mind about who I am as Christ sees me mentally and spiritually.
One thing I have heard my whole life is that I am pretty. Well, I like that one! Of course for most of my life I thought that was all I had going for me. Well, I’ve been able to be slow and pretty, slow and smart, slow and kind. I’ve never had to push through the physical act of being slow. Slow has always entered the scenerio; slow to think through a situation, late for appointments, etc. Have you ever seen me make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!? Seriously, my husband must really love acts of service because he always waits patiently for me to complete preparation.
Well then. Slow is a new word to shed from my vocabulary and my description of myself. God made me to be swift to think and slow to speak. I think I have practiced the opposite. Swift and victorious will be my thoughts. I will have to train for that too.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the authorand perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Strong, courageous, swift, lover of God’s Word. That is who I am in Jesus Christ!!
About a month ago I was eve’s dropping on my cousins’ Facebook conversations. I saw they were coming to Vegas. What a great opportunity. I invited myself to join in their family fun. They included me and I ran up to see them. We had an incredibly delicious breakfast, then we went to the pool. The actual pool is packed because it was 105 degrees. We stayed out there for an hour! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Fischers. I snagged the picture from Patrick’s fb.
See but everything now has a Kingman spin to it 🙂 So, Two nights before my Vegas day was planned Dennis’ car wouldn’t start. He was parked at the Lodge on the Hualapai Mountain. So the next morning I had it towed to a local mechanic who couldn’t find anything wrong with it, it started right up. Dennis called and said, “Don’t have anyone in Kingman fix it, we need to take it to Las Vegas, to a dealer.”
As long as I was going to Vegas Friday, I could drop the car at the dealer, the dealer had a shuttle that was happy to drop me at the Palazzo on the strip (I’m sure I’m not the first person to go to the strip while getting my car fixed) and they would send a shuttle later that afternoon so I could make it back to Kingman to go appliance shopping with Dennis. Clock work, I had the whole day scheduled. I would see the Fischer clan and not wear out my welcome, D’s car would be fixed and all would be right with the world! Ha ha, rose colored glasses and well laid out plans can get squashed in an instant!!
I got the oil changed and and there was one “small problem”. “Let’s get that small problem taken care of so it doesn’t turn into a big problem down the road and cost you a lot more money.” is what the customer service representative at the service department. So at about 1:30 pm I thought I should just have them come and pick me up, it was taking longer than I thought and this way I would be ready to hit the road when they finished. I called and he said he would send the shuttle. It might be a bit, the shuttle was 1/2 hour out. So I said my good-byes to the Fischers so they could get on with their fun day and I waited a while for the shuttle. Then I waited and waited.
It’s 105 degrees, the hotel lobby has no chairs except for the casino or bar. I wandered a little, the shuttle driver was supposed to call when he was 5 mins away. What would you do while you were waiting? I found gelato! Spamoni in a home made sugar cone thank you!
Finally about 3:30 the customer service agent called and said he cancelled the shuttle because you know the big problem we talked about? At 3:30 pm the car will no longer start and we can not get the part until Tuesday.
I called Dennis to come pick me up. “Your wife is wandering around the Las Vegas strip, come pick her up!” We live 1 hour and 15 mins from the strip. So what else to do than to head to Neiman Marcus, they must have clearance or something. Wrong again! This NM across from the Wynn only has designer fashions. Well, here I was schlepping around suntan lotioned, sweaty and I’m sure quite a sight carrying my big overnight bag with my pool wear, water and such.
This darling girl at a make up counter offered to do a free facial. Perfect! So I had a relaxing facial, just as I was finishing (I told her I needed a little make up so I could still go to dinner) Dennis called. I gave him directions, I ran outside, crossed the street and he picked me up at the curb in front of Treasure Island and we headed to Cheesecake Factory in Henderson for dinner. We made it home by 9:00 pm.
Some well laid out plans go up in smoke. The worst part of the day was I got so hot and tired crabby. The best part of the day, besides seeing the Pat Fischer family, Dennis not allowing my crabby attitude. In this new chapter of our life he sees me crabby, ignores it and treats me so kind that it is hard to continue my behavior!
I may babble a little here. God takes us on circular journeys. Remember Thursday’s blog? What am I doing here? Well today I was going to move on. How many days of correction can a girl take? I got a thought and I pressed God for answers. It went like this.
Why don’t we follow men? So I stepped into the backyard, bible and journal in hand , all twisted inside and fired up. The Holy Spirit had other ideas, but He lets me go. I start singing in my head, “Some trust in chariots…….” So I find Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. It’s simple to think, “God wants us to trust Him alone for victory.” This is gonna be great!
Did you know that God told the Israelites they couldn’t have horses or chariots? Deuteronomy 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself (I’m saving the rest of the verse for later). Get out! Why?
In first Kings 10:26-29 we find Solomon buying them anyway. Ah ha! We can’t even trust Solomon. See, I thought I was on to something about this whole trust thing.
But why can’t they have horses? Now I can’t get off the whole horses thing. The second part of Deuteronomy 17:16 says, “nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.'”
Let me please tie this all together. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Egypt and slavery was all they knew. He knew He had better for them but they were not so sure. He didn’t want them going back to Egypt or back to the habits or the things they busied themselves with that may have been important there but they don’t need in the desert.
See, Thursday was all about, “Why am I here?” God is so gentle and so terrific to show me again and again what I have here is what I need and it’s good for me.
My children and now my grand children are the joys of my life.
When we made the decision to move we knew we had a call on our lives and we knew this was going to take us further away from our children. God told us to go, we obeyed.
Well, here we are. Dennis’ practice is thriving. We had no doubt that He would take off. Kingman Regional Medical Center and cardiology in the Mohave desert will never be the same.
We also knew God was taking me to the desert for a reason, to be quiet, study and be emersed in God’s Word so I could be equipped to write. I took off and got busy. First it is busy unpacking. Oh and I have to make friends. I have to be busy doing errands, looking for land, now building a house. Wait! Remember Martha?
In Luke 10:38-42 we find the story of the 2 sisters of Lazarus. Martha welcomes Jesus into the home, according to verse 39 they both sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to Him. But Martha was distracted by worries and she was troubled. She was serving Him. She said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
Jesus tells her she is too worried and troubled and her sister “has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
I don’t think Jesus wanted Martha to give up her hospitality, He just wanted her to have balance. He was speaking His Word and Mary was listening. Hearing (reading) the word of Jesus is the key.
The importance of obedience and doing the “good part” is what will effect and influence these next two generations.
This morning I felt just as Timothy or Titus must have felt when they received Paul’s letters. My brother, Pastor Jim can encourage and rebuke in the same breath and just like Timothy and Titus, I am refreshed and ready to move ahead with God’s plan. I feel safe in the multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14).
When I want to get serious about worship I turn on Rita Springer. She has recorded music that stirs my spirit. I have listened to the same songs over and over for years. Does anyone else do this? Do you have a favorite worship leader who has written songs just for your soul? Yesterday morning I needed serious worship. That’s it time to plug in the ipod and dial up Rita. You know those days; dry, desert-ish type days, when you know you need the Word but just “aren’t feeling it”. Time for Rita.
So I turn it on and I listen to “Holy, You are so Holy,” twice. She absolutely hit it out of the park with that song. Then I speed ahead and listen, not sure for what, just something. I don’t even know the name of her songs. I stop at the song that starts out, “I am not here to see a phenomenon, I am not here for experiential bliss.” Suddenly I hear a line I have heard hundreds, I am not kidding when I say hundreds of times. “If I have been a marketplace then turn me upside down.” Whoa, I played it over and over, I couldn’t get off it. What does that mean? “If I have been a marketplace then turn me upside down.”
She goes on to say she just wants to bow at the feet of the One that she loves.
In Matthew 21:12-17 Jesus turns the tables over in His temple because the money changers are there and others are buying and selling goods. Jesus then quoted Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11, well really He paraphrased and brought them together to say, “It is written, ’My house shall be called a house of prayer’, but you have made it ‘a den of thieves.’ “
So why am I, this temple of the Holy Spirit moved so by this line in a song I’ve heard over and over?
Here’s my confession followed by my study. You know Proverb 27:17, As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friends? Well, this little girl needed to be sharpened. I can’t say anything troubling or devastating or icky has occurred. I live in the desert. In the desert or anywhere else I need to be sharpened. I need to speak in Psalms and hymns, I need Rhema, soak it in, talk about it, listen to Rita sing about it. I wasn’t. There ok, I wasn’t doing any of it!
After Jesus turned the tables over, He immediately began healing. The next line is remarkable. He rebukes in verse 13 then in 14; Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. Verse 15 then recalls The children cried out in the temple saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
In First Corinthians 6:19-20 Pauls says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.
So if we are not keeping our body and spirit filled with the Holy Spirit, our temple in order per say then is it a marketplace? Jesus didn’t need the temple to perform miracles, the temple is a house of prayer. If my temple is not a house of prayer, then what is it?
Ah, this so called life. Every time I turn around I am faced with a choice. Some are made easily some come with prayer, contemplation, research and on and on.
No matter our background, the choices are generally the same. Of course I realize circumstances are all different and the opportunities afforded one may not be the same for another.
Last Friday I watched my new friends’ children, they have 3 girls and early Friday morning the mom gave birth to a baby boy. Both parents graduated from Duke University with science degrees, the mom then went to medical school at Wake Forest University, she did residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and then back to Duke for a Fellowship. I don’t know the background of either of these parents but the three girls, especially the 8 year old, have been exposed to Academia.
The two older girls were playing with their new dolls from McDonalds’, i took them for happy meals while they waited painfully to see their new brother. While pretending, they asked one another where they were going to college, one picked Wake Forest and the other chose “the blue school”. They went on playing. This make believe life reflects what they expect will be choices they will one day make.
That same Friday my sister Mary was spending her day in the inner city of Grand Rapids building a Habitat for Humanity home. When her friend pulled up to help she overheard little neighbor girls playing “pretend”. Their conversation went something like this, “I ain’t pregnant! Who said I was pregnant?!” Does this reflect what these two think will be their choices as they grow up?
All of these girls are going to face the same choices, showing up to school, having sex before marriage, studying, friends, college, drinking, drugs (meth is big in Kingman, crack in GR), jobs and on and on. I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe it’s not just choices, it’s ceilings, expectations, opportunities.
Oh Lord I pray for hope! Please pray for all of these girls.