Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rocky Road

For a non-living object, the Bible sure talks a lot about rocks.

There's the small, smooth stones with which David armed himself in the battle against Goliath.

There's the rock which Moses struck to produce water to quench the Israelites' thirst on their journey to the promised land.

Jesus knew how cumbersome stones can be.  He saved a woman from being stoned to death.

Jesus even referenced stones and their importance when he told the parable of the wise and foolish builders.  When he gave Simon a new name, he specifically chose the name Peter because it signified how Peter was the rock upon which Christ would build his church.  

And then there's my favorite stone-the one that the angel rolled away to confirm that Jesus Christ is indeed the son of God, that he had been resurrected!  If that stone had not been placed in front of the tomb, people could speculate that someone had merely come and taken away Jesus' body as a cruel, merciless hoax.  But since that stone was not only placed in front of a lifeless body, but sealed, with armed guards around it, that stone becomes even more crucial in relaying the truth of Christ.

I have the You Version Bible app on my tablet and often use their devotionals.  My most recent one is titled "Remembering All God Has Done" and it focuses on just what it says-remembering God's acts.

The first day asked me to read Joshua 4:1-24 and I read it and cannot get the central message of it. The story talks about when the Lord told Joshua to have one man from each of the 12 tribes remove a stone from the Jordan River.  However, these were not just regular stones-they came from the Jordan River the was completely dry as the Israelite priests crossed it.  The Lord flat out told Joshua that these stones would serve as a reminder that the Lord cared.  He cared enough to make sure they had safe passage out of freedom, from bondage to Pharaoh to freedom as God's chosen.  He made a miracle happen.  He didn't want them to forget this occasion so the Israelites had 12 rocks that when their children asked why the rocks were there, it was a way to share that God's undying love and devotion to his people.  The rocks were symbols of God's love, his provision, and his unwavering commitment.

The devotional part asked us to reflect on what God has done for us.  It made me stop and think, "What are the stones that help tell my story?"  What mementos do I have that remind me that God is there, that he cares and provides?

I will readily admit that it took some pondering to think about what those rocks would be.  Then I realized that this is a way I can honor the Lord.  What every day items (like a rock) help remind me that God is there?

How about you?  Are there any rocks in your life that help others understand God's grace in your life? I would love to hear them!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Can Only Imagine

It's been one of those weeks.  It's only Wednesday, and three people (none of whom could be considered elderly) I know have passed away.  All three of them dealt with serious illnesses, and while they have gone on to be with the King, my heart and spirit still hurt.

I live an hour or so (depending on traffic) from my school.  I stumbled upon a local radio show (102.9 FM if you live in south central Kentucky) and at 6:00 a.m. every morning they play "God Bless America", followed by a scripture reading and daily devotional thought, and a gospel or inspirational song to close.  It's becoming a favorite part of my commute.

This morning they played the Amy Grant version of Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine".  As I only knew of only one death, it gave me comfort.  This afternoon, when I became aware of the other two, that song seemed to be on repeat in my heart.  It's continuing to provide some solace.

Once home today, I also re-read one of my favorite Scriptures, Revelations 21:1-4.  This morning the radio was talking about how Jesus has truly gone on to prepare a place for us.  On days like today, that thought gives me comfort.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Reads

I know a lot of you are still on summer vacation. Mine is winding down as a report for my first professional development next Wednesday. So for any of you who still have some time off and are hitting the sand, the lake, or even sitting around the house wanting something relaxing to read, here are some of my favorite summer reads.

When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home by Erma Bombeck. I first read this book in high school and was so entertained by the different vignettes. Back then travel seemed like a distant dream so it was my way to live vicariously through the author. And for the record, Erma is the master of introductions. It wasn't until I was older that I realized she had the best introductions ever.  Seriously.  And it's a humor book so when your travels go awry (like delayed flights, sitting next to obnoxious people on the delayed flight, seeing your 77 year old father walk through the Punta Cana strip mall sans shirt because "I want to get a tan" or same man barging into the Punta Cana airport immigration office, or watching him cut 150 people in the customs line so he can go to the bathroom) it's nice to know you're in good company. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  I bought this as an impulse buy while waiting for a plane. You have to understand I adore the author and enjoyed realizing that I'm not the only one with those fears.
Why Not Me? Same author, same style writing, and the last chapter is a must read, especially for young girls.  She saves the best for last and helps women understand how to validate and own their successes.  This pic is one I took while on vacay last month.  I waited until the last minute to buy the book for my vacation (don't talk to me about e-books, I know they exist but have a hard time enjoying them as much as a physical book) so it took 4 stores and 2.5 hours in northern Kentucky to actually procure the book.  And it was totally worth it.

When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. Love this book because it integrates personal stories, faith, and priorities. Not to mention the allegories to various games. I anticipate my family reunion every year because I love to go and play various board and card games with my cousins.  Every time I read it something new speaks to me and I'm confident it will do the same for you.
If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg.  This is by far my favorite beach read. I always feel a little extra something reading this book sitting on the beach. The book is about Peter walking on water out to Jesus. I have carried this book with me on five different trips and always pick up a couple of grains of sand and place them in the book.  Makes me smile when I read it at home.  Read the other chapters, be sure and read chapter 7. As one who does not like to fail, this chapter speaks to me every single time.  This book encourages me in my Christian walk and I highly suggest it to anyone who loves Jesus and wants to grow in their faith. 
How about you? What's your go to books? I'd love to hear!