Being Present

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My husband was recently called for jury duty.  One of the things he warned me about was that he would not be able to take his phone in with him.  It made sense to me at first.  But when I thought about it more I mused aloud about what he would do while he waited.  How boring to sit and wait with nothing to do.

As it turned out, the case that day was dismissed.  However, some time had passed as they waited to be told they could leave.  Bob mentioned having a delightful conversation with those around him–a retired school teacher, a retired bus driver for the City, and another lady suffering with a disability.

You know where I’m going with this.  If Bob had his phone with him, none of those interesting conversations would have taken place.  Think of what he would have missed!  He had a chance to have real life interaction with some very interesting people, and, if I know my husband, he was able to cheer and encourage them as well.

As we are mere days away from Christmas it occurred to me how important God thought it was for human interaction.  He sent His very own Son to live among the people He created.  He is called Emmanuel, after all, which means “God with us.”

What if Peter and Andrew had been staring down at their iPhone when Jesus went by.  They might have missed the opportunity to spend those years with their friend and Savior, Jesus.  Or, what if Matthew had been too busy with an Excel spreadsheet while doing his tax collecting to pay attention to what Jesus was saying.

What are you and I missing out on while we are staring down at our phones?  Is it better to have a conversation with one person or to “stalk” hundreds of people you don’t even know very well?  I’m not against social media at all….there are certainly fun and interesting things to know and learn.  My conviction is to be present, especially over this next week or so that we are around friends and family that we don’t see very often.  I miss my family when I’m not there but when I am there, I tend to have my nose down looking at my iPhone or iPad because I might miss something as it goes by on my News Feed.  I’m convinced that I will not regret putting the phone down and spending time with those I love.

Won’t you join me in doing the same?

“And the Word {Jesus} became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14 ESV

Have a great day!

He Who Is Mighty

Yes, it has been a while since I’ve written.  There is a lot that I have floating around in my head but just haven’t put to paper.  Soon.

Meanwhile, I want to share a song.  Surprising, I know.  It’s from the “Prepare Him Room” Christmas album by Sovereign Grace Music.  This song was released in time for Christmas last year.  However, this particular song has really hit me this year.  I think some of it has to do with studying the book of Revelation this year in Bible Study Fellowship.  Much of what I have learned so far has been about worship.  Through John’s vision, we get a glimpse into heaven and a tiny taste of what it will be like for believers for eternity.  The angels and the multitudes sing praise to the Lamb who is on the throne.  They praise “Him who is worthy to open the scroll.”  He is worthy because He humbled Himself and came to earth as a baby.  A baby!  The Savior of the world helpless and dependent.  But, it doesn’t end there.  Maybe that’s why I can’t get through the chorus of this song without crying…tears of awe and gratitude and praise!

He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name

And then there is the bridge:

Now my soul magnifies the Lord
I rejoice in the God Who saves
I will trust His unfailing love
I will sing His praises all my days

I will sing His praises all my days.  All my days.  Not just the good days, but all my days.  Why?  Because that is why I am here.  How?  No matter what it takes, both in great joy and great sorrow.  When I am sad or having a pity party, nothing works better than singing praises.  Yes, I may cry while I’m singing but God uses that time to bring comfort to my soul.  And guess what happens next?  Now my soul magnifies the Lord, I rejoice in the God Who saves, and I trust His unfailing love.  He Who is mighty has done a great thing.

Not just for the world.

For me.

And for you.

Mid-Life Musing

As of today I am 50.129 years old, approximately.  I must say that approaching 50 was much harder than actually turning 50.  It could be that I was spoiled by my husband on my actual birthday, my co-workers the day before my birthday and by my family the weekend following.  My Mom and sisters had a very nice luncheon for me on the family farm.  It was a wonderful time!  They even surprised me by inviting some childhood friends that I hadn’t seen in years!  It was so great to see them and to catch up.

I had intentions of writing this closer to my actual birthday but didn’t.  Then a couple of weeks ago I ran into this article at desiringGod.org by Jon Bloom called “Turning Fifty and Still Fighting for Faith.”  {click on the word “this” to read the article}.  Naturally it grabbed my attention.  His description of receiving the birthday greeting from AARP was spot on.  But the article gets better….I highly encourage you to read it now.  I’ll wait here.

Finished already?  It was really good, wasn’t it?

Here are three thoughts that stood out to me:

  • When weakness meets weariness, and discouragement meets disillusionment, we must be on our guard.  These are spiritually precarious moments.
  • My weaknesses have a purpose in God’s design, and so does my weariness.
  • What’s important, what this whole race is about, is obtaining the Prize.  And I want to keep running that I may obtain it.

Given what I gleaned from the article it was helpful that at the same time I was reading a book called “Extravagant Grace” by Barbara Duguid.  My plan is to share more about that in future Musings.

For now, I will close with the words that Jesus spoke to Paul when he asked three times for the thorn to be removed from his side.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

May you be sustained by the all-sufficient grace of Jesus today!

He Will Hold Me Fast

I’m sort of “cheating” today since I don’t have anything written and ready to go.  However, since this song was first introduced at church last month, it has proven to be a “balm to my soul” (as described by my worship leader). Given I’d never heard it before I’m betting you haven’t either (unless you go to my church…ha!).

The hymn was written by Ada Habershon who lived from 1861-1918.  So, while it is an old hymn, the words are timeless.  May you be blessed as you hear it.

Have a great day!

A Surprise Visitor

As a BSF CA (Bible Study Fellowship Class Administrator) I am responsible for the record keeping and material distribution for our class.  Our class is relatively small but it does take a good bit of time to organize and store.  For example, I will soon start receiving packages containing 150 lesson packets (each about 8 pages) for each week of class.  They ship the first 5 or 6 weeks before class begins in September.  So, to be ready, I needed to clean up the space where they are stored.  When our class finished up our last study in May, I completed year end reports but otherwise just dropped everything in the garage.  I haven’t looked at it since.  I’ve intended to do it for several weeks but kept putting it off.  Having a three day weekend helped and Saturday was the day!

I set up everything outside so that I could at least enjoy a little fresh air.  However, the noise level from the birds was ridiculous.  My husband had been trying to work outside for several days and this one particular robin was relentless. The robin’s chirp (or rather screech) was very loud and piercing.  Impossible to ignore.  As I sat down at the patio table and started looking around, I happened to glance up and I immediately knew what was causing all the commotion.  Perched on one of the deck support beams was a snake!    I’m so proud that I didn’t scream but I did immediately call my husband.  He came to the rescue with a big stick and ushered him into the woods.  Evidently the snake was digesting something he had consumed as was evidenced by the large bulge that was present.  Within 5 minutes of the snakes exit we witnessed two baby robins fly out of their nest.  We figure Mama robin was warning the babies about the snake.  When all was clear, they flew the coop, so to speak.  And then something magical happened…..it was quiet again!

Very few people like snakes.  Of course the non-poisonous ones are good to have around.  But when I think of snakes I think of Genesis and the serpent in the garden.  He was crafty and cunning and convinced Adam and Eve that they could be like God.  Nothing has been the same since.  As believers in Jesus, we look forward to His coming again.  But until then, we will struggle with all sorts of sin before we die.  Sometimes we are warned with loud screeches like Mama robin but most times it’s sneaky and subtle.  It slithers in quietly and before long we are consumed.   I’m reminded of this warning that God gave Cain just before he killed Abel.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you , but you must rule over it. ” Genesis 4:7 ESV

It is so easy to become discouraged when we sin.  It could be something we consider small like stretching the truth a little (aka a lie) or some huge issue that has plagued us for years.  We all have them.  And what I’m learning lately is that God will use even our sin for our good and for His glory.  God is not surprised and He won’t be undone when we cry out to Him to confess our sin and ask forgiveness.  Will the sin stop?   Maybe.  Unless God uses it to grow us and to teach us that we are utterly dependent on Him and His grace.

I will close with this verse from “Come Ye Sinners” because it gives me comfort and I hope it will comfort you as well:

“Come, ye weary, heavy laden; lost and ruined by the fall.  If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.

Chorus:

I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms.  In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.”

As a bonus, here is a YouTube version of the song:

Have a great day!