Friday, September 24, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Numbers

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

'You must present as the LORD's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.' - Numbers 18:29

I really was planning to post a different verse for Numbers, but when I was flipping through reviewing the book, this one grabbed my eyeballs and wouldn't allow me to go anywhere else.

Because, really, do I give the Lord the best and holiest part of ANYTHING? Let alone EVERYTHING.

Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my day?
Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my labor?
Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my devotion?

Ouch ouch ouchy ow ouch!

Now, for context...this was direction to the Levites, and their sustenance was to come from the offerings/sacrifices given by the people. We're mostly talking things like meat and grain here, you know. Their food. They were to give the best and holiest ('most special') part to God; by doing that they were guilt-free in consuming the rest.

You know that mental picture we all have of the offerings being burned? Go back and read all the specific directions and you'll find that, for most of the offerings, only certain portions were actually burned. The rest was eaten by people...either by the priests and their families or by the folks who made the offering (e.g. the Passover lamb).

It's a novel concept to me that we sacrifice things to God by presenting them to Him and then enjoying them in His presence...but, that's the gist of it. the midst of that enjoyment, we still should give the best and holiest part to Him.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Falling into the Random Dozen

So what if the thermometer in my car informed me that the temperature outside was 99 degrees Fahrenheit when I left work at 5 PM today...the calendar says Fall starts this week.

I should break out the flannel PJ's and the turtleneck sweaters any day now. RIIIGGGGHT.

Whilst we wait for more seasonally appropriate temps to move into the Tennessee Valley, here's this week's Random Dozen to take my mind off the heat and the cha-CHING cha-CHING of the air conditioner...

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything? (I just came from my dad's ceremony wherein he was given a medal of honor by the French government for service in France in WWII. Pictures to follow.)

I dunno...does the General Foods Family Leader of Tomorrow Award(formerly known as the Betty Crocker Future Homemaker Award, or some other such thing)when I was a senior in high school count? My mother actually laughed so hard she could hardly stand up when her friend the Home Economics teacher whispered to her that I'd won...and then wouldn't tell me what was so funny. But if you looked at my house right now you'd probably laugh along with Mom.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military?

My Father-in-Law. He was among the replacement troops sent into France immediately after D-Day, and was wounded by shrapnel from a tank round after only about 2 weeks. The guy he was with was killed outright; Dad lost an eye and has scars that elicit questions from the grandkids. I believe he was 19.

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you.

I am a real patriotic sap. I have to fight the urge to say 'Amen' at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance, school kids waving flags at parades uncork the tear ducts and I choke up and lose my voice every time I'm in a crowd singing 'The Star Spangled Banner.' (just out of curiosity...who among you knows the third (oops...need to fix this...)  fourth verse -
'Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the wars desolation.
Blessed with vict'ry and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just
And this be our motto, 'In God is our trust'
And the Star Spangled Banner in vict'ry will wave
O're the land of the free and the home of the brave.'

I learned that two or three years ago, just because it is so amazing...)

4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality?

I'm numero uno; my next sibling is a fuzz less than two years younger than me. And I have no idea if that played into my personality. Maybe just a pinch...but, as Aslan says, 'No one is told what would have happened.'

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents.

My grandparents had an amazing work ethic...but they also knew when to stop work and enjoy a little relaxation, even if it was just a break in the middle of the day for half an RC cola or a slice of watermelon.They worked hard when it was time to work and saved some time for real rest. At least, that's how I remember it.

6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo?

I actually prefer to wear skirts...but, in my life, pants are much more practical. So I'm normally in pants. Sigh.

7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep?

I've got some low back/sciatica issues right now, and I wake up once or twice a night. But after I rather carefully and laboriously roll over I usually drop right back off.

8. Share a favorite movie quote.

Oh, this one is HARD!!! So many great lines!!! But the first thing that popped into my mind was this one: "Whaddya think I am, dumb or somethin'?" - Lena Lamont, "Singin' in the Rain," (that MUST be quoted with the full-out Lena nasal accent) which is one of my Absolute Favorite Movies of All Time, full of great movie moments. The payoff at the end is marvelous!

9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent?

Alas, I'm one of those folks who really don't handle scents well at all. However, a good pine-scented candle doesn't give me a headache. Last year The Princess gave me a Mountain Pine candle from Yankee Candle Co., and it almost made up for the fake Christmas tree that doesn't smell like a Christmas tree.

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to?

Roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and eating s'mores! But not while the AC is may be a while for that one.

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.
Um.....(pulls pizza out of oven and eats it with kids while playing half a game of Racko and then returns to the computer)'s not that pleasant things haven't happened, it's just that I haven't been really surprised lately...

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be?

December 30, 1978...I carpooled into my job in Indianapolis, and My Future Sweet Baboo drove all the way from Elkhart to Indianapolis (a fuzz over 3 hours) to collect me a little after noon (I'd worked extra so I could leave early), then turned around and drove back to Elkhart. We arrived at his folk's house just in time for supper. His Mom taught high school biology, his dad taught high school chemistry and some math, both his brothers were engineering students and his sister was a high school senior. The topic of conversation at that meal was, I kid you not, the thermal effects of hardening concrete, and about halfway through the meal I knocked my glass of milk over. We were off to a great start...I was certain I was way below the family average IQ and proved myself a klutz to boot. Fortunately, my in-laws were and are gracious people and they didn't let that first impression ruin our relationship.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Leviticus

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own -- Lev. 20:26

I have a note scribbled by that verse that reads,'Key verse/theme of Leviticus'...from my BSF study of the Life of Moses, I expect.

And it's interesting because I've been reading The Messianic Church Arising! by Robert D. Heidler, which contained a quote from one of the worship leaders at his church that really got my attention and made gears shift in my brain, "The opposite of holy is not sinful or evil. The opposite of holy is ordinary."

I know I have heard many times that the definition of 'holy' is 'set apart', but it is so strongly ingrained in our spiritual culture that holiness has to do with sinlessness that 'set apart' becomes secondary, as in 'you are set apart because you behave less sinfully than the world around you.'

No. We are holy because God, who is holy, has set us apart.

Like wedding clothes, the interview suit, the good china, the white linen tablecloth, the guest towels, the Christmas decorations...special. And, you know, it's the use of/presence of the special thing that raises the occasion above the ordinary.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miss Diane's Prayer Dare

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We had breakout sessions on Friday afternoon of the conference; one of those sessions was team taught by two of the ladies in our church...both women of great spiritual credibility, for all they are from different generations.

Miss Diane, who is an amazing woman of God and one of the very first women I met when we first visited the church nearly 9 years ago (she brought the 'visitor bread' by the house!), challenged us all to pray a prayer she has been praying since her now-grown children were small.

In fact, it turned into a Facebook pray this prayer every morning for the next 30 days (I have Miss Diane's permission to share it with you, my faithful bloggy buddies):

Lord I submit myself to You today!

I ask You to use me in any way that You will!

I ask that You give me knowledge, wisdom & understanding & let JESUS shine through me in all that I say & do today!

Love Your people through me!

I ask that You give me the words to say in the hour that I need to say them & let my speech be always with grace!

Filter every word that comes out of my mouth through Your Holy Spirit!

Give me great favor with everyone that I come in contact with today!

In the name of Jesus! AMEN!

(Scripture references from which she drafted her prayer: James 4:7 - Submit; John 14:12 - Use me; Ephesians 1:17-19 & James 1:5 - Knowledge, Wisdom & Understanding;
Matthew 5:16 - Shine; 1 Corinthians 13 - Love; Matthew 10:19-20 - Words to say; Colossians 4:6 - Speak with grace; Romans 8:14 - Filter (led by the Holy Spirit); Acts 2:47 - Favor)

But, she cautioned us...over the years she's learned that, if one has a heart to pray this prayer and mean it, the Comfort Zone is very likely a previous address.

Anyway, I'm in! Anyone here game?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Different Kind of Conference

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
Credit where credit is due: my pastor posted this photo taken with her cell phone to her Facebook page...there are about 300 ladies in this picture!

Photo credit Leisa Nelson

It really didn't feel like any conference I'd been to before. I think that's largely because the emphasis wasn't so much on what *we* were getting, but what we were *giving*.

Saturday morning we did an outreach. 9 rented school buses were lined up in front of the church when I pulled into the parking lot; I was surprised to find that I suddenly teared up. It was apparent that something was goin' on.

We had groups who went to (mostly) low income neighborhoods and one (the group I was in) went to a nursing home. Our group took gift bags that contained a stuffed animal, a comb or brush and some lotion to the residents of the nursing home; the other groups took reusable grocery bags w/kitchen supplies, rice, potatoes, canned goods and the like and went door-to-door, giving away the filled 'hope totes' and offering prayer.

The stories we heard in the afternoon were amazing. People were touched...not just the folks who received the bags, but all of us who went out. I think this is going to be a part of our women's conference from now on. you remember what I wrote about being prepared for the conference? God stirring my heart for an elderly lady?

How incredible is it that I was assigned (and it was a random assignment...they slapped the code dots on the backs of the nametags before they ran them through the printer to put names on them) to go to the nursing home?

I'll be honest...I don't handle nursing homes well. But I knew as soon as I heard my assignment that it was no accident. I was able to go and participate and smile and pray and get on wheelchair level and look into eyes and hold hands. And the faces of the folks I spoke with are still coming before my heart. They're all on my permanent prayer list.

We had no inkling that a nursing home was going to be part of the outreach. God was preparing my heart better than I could ever have.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Exodus

Posted a tad early by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock."- Ex. 33:21

Of all the gems in Exodus, this is the one that jumped out at me this week. So literal: God placed Moses on the rock as He passed by...and so prophetic: on Christ, the solid Rock, *I* stand (I suppose if you didn't grow up in a hymn-singing church, you might not recognize that..)

God has a place near Him where I can stand on a Rock.

Because I'm purposely limiting myself to the Faithful Fave scripture reference, I'm not gonna dig into 'Rock'...but if you get some time, pull out your concordance and see what significance attends the word 'rock'.

That episode in Moses' life has always intrigued me; he secured the promise of God's presence for the entire journey of the Israelites, then he actually asked God to allow him to see His glory.

And God said No. Not because He wouldn't allow it, but because Moses physically couldn't endure it.

But I you suppose God just postponed it?

I wrote the following after doing the Bible Study Fellowship study on the Life of Moses, back in the spring of 2002. (I posted it on the sewing blog in Jan. of '08, but I think it fits so well I'll repost it here)

Crossing Over

I was foolish when I was young; I ran from my folly and hid until he called me.
I was yet foolish when he called me – “Send someone else!”
But he would not. Instead he gave me my own staff,
a charge to bring his people out of slavery,
and a promise to be with me.
And he told me his name, and I went.

Only one request of mine did he deny –
to blot out my name from his book
if the people’s sin was unforgivable.
But he said no – those who sinned against him
would be blotted out of the book
I could not substitute my name for theirs—
And the people suffered a plague for what they had done.

Only one request did he partly fulfill –
‘Show me your glory!’ I begged,
Desiring to see at last the face behind the voice
To know even as I was known.
But he said he would show me his goodness instead,
For no man could look on his face and live—
And he proclaimed his name as he passed by the shelter he gave me.
I saw only his back, and it was too wondrous to describe.

All the rest he granted. Every last one.
He sent the plagues on Egypt, gave us water when there was none,
Sent his own presence with us, healed my sister…year after year,
What I asked for, he gave. You’d think the people would’ve noticed the pattern.
But each hardship seemed to confuse their memory—
Egypt, they remembered as a place of comfort and plenty (They were slaves!)
The miraculous provision they’d had since they left there they remembered not at all.
I finally lost my temper and hit the rock. Twice.
He had told me to simply speak.
What can I say? I was wrong.

At the very end, I asked one more favor -- to be allowed to go in and see the land beyond the Jordan.
But that request only made him angry; I will get no special dispensation.
I must bear the consequences of my own sin…just like the rest of my generation.
So now I am foolish in my old age, and Joshua will lead the people into their inheritance.

It has been a long walk from Egypt.
One more walk up the mountain to gaze into the land I on which I will never walk.
It is a good land, and green. If the people learn obedience, they will do well there.

Here I am. Yes, Lord, I remember asking to see your glory.
Do you mean NOW?

Ah, my Lord and my God! The glory! The glory! The glory…!

But, you said no one could see your face and live…
Why are you laughing?
I did?

Oh. I hadn’t noticed.

She Rev: I am Hope

This has almost snuck up on me this year; it's a different conference with a different emphasis and for some unknown reason I didn't make my 'preparatory transition'...just suddenly, boom, it's September and time for the women's conference...

But, you know, maybe that's ok. God may be preparing me in ways I wouldn't have pursued if I was setting about it myself.

Case in point:

I was out at lunchtime today; I had a chiropractor appointment that ran late, so instead of making a sandwich I stopped at the local burrito eatery and got a to-go grande burrito w/sour cream (naughty, but since supper will be light tonight I splurged!), then hopped in the car and headed home.

As I was easing my way through the parking lot towards the exit, I noticed a white-haired gentleman pulling a wheelchair out of the trunk of a car. In just about the same glance, I took in the open passenger door, and an elderly lady sitting hunched over in the front seat.

In the time it took to register that, I was past them and trying to pull out onto South Parkway. Suddenly, my heart broke for the little hunched over lady. All through my five minute drive to the house, I just felt overwhelmed with the feeling that I'd missed something...wishing things had been timed just a little differently. I don't know what I could've done, other than asked if I could pray for her (there is a doctor's office in the same complex as the burrito place, but I don't know if that's where they were headed). But maybe she needed someone to just say, 'God pointed you out to me and I just want to pray for you.' Oh, I still prayed for the little lady, but she doesn't know it.

Then I felt the Holy Spirit say, 'When you feel My compassion moving, that's the time to pray.'

So Saturday, when we head out into the streets with our Hope Totes, you can bet I'll remember this lesson.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RD: The Post-Labor Day Edition

Once again, Linda delves into the realm of the trivial, the obscure and the pensive... click the icon to peruse other answers or link up your own!

1. Describe the best sandwich in the world, according to you.
Two well-toasted slices of whole wheat bread upon which is spread a liberal amount of mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!!!), containing thinly sliced, peeled, vine ripened tomatoes and a slice of Velveeta cheese. MMmmmmmm......

2. Which inspires you more: a good conversation, a song, a book or movie?
I love love love good conversation (don't get much anymore, do we?), and a a movie will, now and again, get me connecting dots in my head, but books consistently send me to my journal to record a response.

3. What is your favorite board game?
That's easy! Scrabble(R)! No, wait, it's Clue(R)! I mean, Trivial Pursuit(R)!

4. As you grow older, are you more or less patient with small children?
Probably less. I'm in a stage of life where I'm not around small kids very much at all; I've lost touch with my patient persona. Hopefully it will return about the time grandkids show up.

5. Name one item you never let yourself run out of.

6. Do you agree with Tennyson's assertion, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?" leaves a legacy.

7. Name one national treasure or monument that you have visited.
The National Mall. Covers a bunch.

8. Which is more painful, to be disappointed in someone else or to be disappointed in yourself?
Probably to be disappointed in myself. I will eventually forgive and release someone who disappoints me...after all, they're only human and all that, but I'm still agonizing over mistakes I made and things I did that I wish I hadn't done years and years ago...arrrrggghh!

9. What makes your kitchen uniquely yours?
The MESS it's in right now!! No one else could slop up a kitchen so fast and then take so long to get it back to's one of my gifts...

10. Are you a crafty person?
If by 'crafty', you mean 'can I take string, paper plates and Wal-Mart bags and make something cool to decorate my house?' the answer is absolutely not. But if you mean 'Can you make things?', I'll just refer you to My Sewing Blog and you can judge for yourself.

11. What is your favorite traditional picnic or bbq (cookout) food?
Chicken and dumplings. Really. When I was a kid, about the only picnicking we did was the annual Warren Reunion...and it wasn't a picnic so much as it was a carry in dinner held at the local park. My grandmother always made a big pot of chicken and dumplings. It was one of my favorite parts of the reunion meal.

12. Name one leisurely activity you enjoyed over Labor Day Weekend.
I sewed! Put two new tops in my closet! Hence the wreck in the kitchen...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Genesis

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The LORD had said to Abram,"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." - Gen. 12:1

When I began contemplating the idea of doing this series, this verse immediately presented itself as the choice for Genesis.

It has always amazed me that, on this simple directive, Abram took off and went to a place he'd never been.

I mean, how did he decide whether to turn left or right when he got to the end of his father's driveway? He didn't have a pillar of cloud to lead him around; all he had was that nudge in his heart, which he had to trust.

I've often wondered if Abram was the first person to whom God gave that directive...or if he was just the first person who heard it and obeyed.

And what was Abram leaving?
He was leaving everything he knew and was familiar and comfortable with; he was leaving his place of position as the son and heir and going to a place where he was just a traveling nobody, with no authority and no credibility and no status. He was leaving 'being known' and traveling to 'being unknown'. He was leaving stability and predictability and heading into total dependence on God.

There was a time in our lives in which this verse was exceedingly significant. After serving God steadily in a little church for a fuzz over 20 years, we began to feel God stirring us to change. We weren't sure just exactly what form of change that would be, so we stepped out of our positions of responsibility for a season to see where we would be led. Were we going to a new city? Were we to, perhaps, change our focus and start a new ministry in the church we were in? Were we being led to a different church? We weren't sure.

But when we began our sabbatical, suddenly we began encountering Genesis 12:1 in all kinds of messages that we listened to on tapes, in meetings that we attended, in discussions with friends...over and over again 'Leave...and go to the land I will show you.'

When we finally left our little church and headed out to see where God would lead us, we were doing very much the same things, although on different levels. We didn't change countries...but we didn't just leave the church we'd been in, we left the denomination we'd been in. Not because we disagreed with anything, or had issues over anything, but because God said 'Go to the place I will show you.'

That was 9 years ago. I have no doubts that we are serving God where we are meant to be serving Him. I may not understand everything about the way He does things, but I do know that I can trust Him.