September 11, 2009

My 9/11 Tribute

As I reflect on the day, and its significance, I can't help but think of my cousin Chris who serves honorably in the U.S. Army.  This is how I feel like 9/11 gets the closest to me and my family.  If the tragedy of this day had not happened, my cousin would not have served multiple tours in Iraq.  And he wouldn't be returning soon for another year long deployment.  One more year away from his growing children.  One more year away from his beautiful wife.  
So Chris, thank you, for working to give us enduring freedom.  Thank you, Tabatha, for persevering as single mom. 
The two of you are amazing examples of dedication and sacrifice.

September 9, 2009

Proverbs 9

Invitations of Wisdom and of Folly
 1 Wisdom has built her house;
       she has hewn out its seven pillars.
 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
       she has also set her table.

 3 She has sent out her maids, and she calls
       from the highest point of the city.

 4 "Let all who are simple come in here!"
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 5 "Come, eat my food
       and drink the wine I have mixed.

 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
       walk in the way of understanding.

 7 "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
       whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
       rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
       teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 

Aren't verses 8 & 9 so true?  Wise words fall on deaf ears (casting pearls before swine).

 10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
       and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 

Lord, help me to fear you.  I think I prayed this at the beginning of the Proverbs study, but it continues to be my heart's need and desire.  May I fear you so that I fear nothing else.

 11 For through me your days will be many,
       and years will be added to your life.

 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
       if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer."

 13 The woman Folly is loud;
       she is undisciplined and without knowledge.

 14 She sits at the door of her house,
       on a seat at the highest point of the city,

 15 calling out to those who pass by,
       who go straight on their way.

 16 "Let all who are simple come in here!"
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 17 "Stolen water is sweet;
       food eaten in secret is delicious!"

 18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
       that her guests are in the depths of the grave.

One month ago today, my pastor issued the Proverbs reading challenge!  I really had no idea what a life changing experience this was going to be.  I had no idea how much I would discover about myself and my folly.  And I had no idea how it would prepare me for some events and conversations.  I love the idea of coming back to the Proverbs a couple of times a year and re-read it just to be reminded of the amazing truths! 

WW & SEW: 1st Day of 1st Grade!

For more Wordless Wednesday, go to 5 Minutes for Mom.
For more Special Exposure Wednesday, go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Children's Classics: Back to School

This definitely is a "non-traditional classic," but I do think it will be in the future, and it fits perfectly with this back to school theme.  Wemberly Worried is one of Kevin Henkes Mouse Books, and if you want to read more about all of his books you can click here.  This one in particular deals with how worried Wemberly is about the 1st day of school: 
Wemberly's parents think that she worries too much. So does her grandmother. "'Worry, worry, worry,' said her grandmother. 'Too much worry.'" So imagine how poor Wemberly feels on the first day of school. She has a whole list of worries. What will school be like? Will she make friends? Will people laugh at her doll, Petal?

 Just a very sweet book that could really open the lines of communication about what happens at school.  And all the better if your child is already comfortable with other Mouse Books!

September 8, 2009

Proverbs 8

Wisdom's Call
 1 Does not wisdom call out?
       Does not understanding raise her voice?
 2 On the heights along the way,
       where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

 3 beside the gates leading into the city,
       at the entrances, she cries aloud:

 4 "To you, O men, I call out;
       I raise my voice to all mankind. 

I love that wisdom is not silent or whispering, impossible to hear or find. She is calling out!

13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
       I hate pride and arrogance,
       evil behavior and perverse speech. 

Verse 13 struck me in light of the book, Fearless, I just read.  What does "fearing the Lord" look like?  It's hating evil, pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech (not hating or judging the person who may do those things).  

 22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
       before his deeds of old;
 23 I was appointed from eternity,
       from the beginning, before the world began.

 24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
       when there were no springs abounding with water;

 25 before the mountains were settled in place,
       before the hills, I was given birth,

 26 before he made the earth or its fields
       or any of the dust of the world.

 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
       when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

 28 when he established the clouds above
       and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

 29 when he gave the sea its boundary
       so the waters would not overstep his command,
       and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

 30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
       I was filled with delight day after day,
       rejoicing always in his presence,

 31 rejoicing in his whole world
       and delighting in mankind. 

This is the coolest passage!  Awesome!

 35 For whoever finds me finds life
       and receives favor from the LORD.

 36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself;
       all who hate me love death."

If we don't choose the way of wisdom, we only harm ourselves.

September 7, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

Max Lucado, in his latest release, Fearless, dares us to "Imagine Your Life Without Fear!"  He then takes us on a journey inside the lives of Jesus and his disciples.  We feel like we are in the middle of the action, frustrated that the disciples don't trust Jesus after the miracles they've witnessed, yet identifying with them knowing we are just like them.  Each chapter explains a specific fear common today.  Topics include the fear of not mattering, the fear of not protecting my kids, and the fear of worst-case scenarios. Through Lucado's masterful writing, I was able to identify many fears that I deal with.

If I were to say anything negative about the book it is that reading fear after fear is quite depressing.  But I guess the only natural conclusion to a life filled with fear is hopelessness?  Having said that, Lucado gives multiple scriptures in each chapter to help us overcome our fears.  And then the culmination of the book "The One Healthy Terror" (Chapter 14) addresses this perfectly.  The way we avoid fear of life/death/money/health/people/calamity is by fearing our Lord, letting Him reign supreme.

I highly recommend this book, whether you are already Fearless or still hope to be! Click here to read Chapter One.

Proverbs 7

Warning Against the Adulteress

 1 My son, keep my words
       and store up my commands within you.  
2 Keep my commands and you will live;
       guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
 3 Bind them on your fingers;
       write them on the tablet of your heart.
 4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"
       and call understanding your kinsman;
 5 they will keep you from the adulteress,
       from the wayward wife with her seductive words.
 6 At the window of my house
       I looked out through the lattice.
 7 I saw among the simple,
       I noticed among the young men,
       a youth who lacked judgment.
 8 He was going down the street near her corner,
       walking along in the direction of her house
 9 at twilight, as the day was fading,
       as the dark of night set in.
 10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
       dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
 11 (She is loud and defiant,
       her feet never stay at home;
 12 now in the street, now in the squares,
       at every corner she lurks.)
 13 She took hold of him and kissed him
       and with a brazen face she said:
 14 "I have fellowship offerings at home;
       today I fulfilled my vows.
 15 So I came out to meet you;
       I looked for you and have found you!
 16 I have covered my bed
       with colored linens from Egypt.
 17 I have perfumed my bed
       with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
 18 Come, let's drink deep of love till morning;
       let's enjoy ourselves with love!
 19 My husband is not at home;
       he has gone on a long journey.
 20 He took his purse filled with money
       and will not be home till full moon."
 21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
       she seduced him with her smooth talk.
 22 All at once he followed her
       like an ox going to the slaughter,
       like a deer stepping into a noose
 23 till an arrow pierces his liver,
       like a bird darting into a snare,
       little knowing it will cost him his life.
 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
       pay attention to what I say.
 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
       or stray into her paths.
 26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
       her slain are a mighty throng.
 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, 
       leading down to the chambers of death.

This is so descriptive.  I could visualize the whole scene!  I'm struck by the fact that the young man was fairly aimless as he started going the direction of the adulteress.  It reminds how much we each need to keep ourselves busy doing something productive, beneficial, and service-oriented.  By filling our time and energy with what the Lord directs, we can avoid some of sin's snares.

September 6, 2009

Proverbs 6

Warnings Against Folly
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have struck hands in pledge for another,

2 if you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth,

3 then do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands:
Go and humble yourself;
press your plea with your neighbor!

4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.

5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

So many of the proverbs are "preventative wisdom". They help us stay out of trouble. I am thankful, though, for these 5 verses that help me know what to do AFTER I've put my foot in my mouth. Whatever the instruction, humility is always part of it.

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Warning Against Adultery
20 My son, keep your father's commands
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.

Wouldn't it be awesome if all of us as parents (both mom and dad) were to warn out children against adultery? And wouldn't be awesome if we would command, teach and model purity? Then when our kids "keep" and "do not forsake" then they will be making wise choices that will strengthen their relationships?

21 Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.

22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.

Beautiful words found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

23 For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life,

24 keeping you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,

26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?

28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?

29 So is he who sleeps with another man's wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.

30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.

31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.

32 But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.

September 5, 2009

Proverbs 5

I pray these verses for my son...deep within me I long for him to heed these words:
Warning Against Adultery
1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
listen well to my words of insight,

2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.

3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;

4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.

5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.

6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.

7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.

8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,

9 lest you give your best strength to others
and your years to one who is cruel,

10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich another man's house.

11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.

12 You will say, "How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!

13 I would not obey my teachers
or listen to my instructors.

14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin
in the midst of the whole assembly."

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.

16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?

17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.

18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love.

20 Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?

21 For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all his paths.

22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.

23 He will die for lack of discipline,
led astray by his own great folly.

Are You Big Enough To Stop Me?

Timothy was getting belligerent so Dan gave a warning that he would take the Wii away. Timothy said, "No you will not!" Dan, very calmly (I don't know how he did it) said, "Are you big enough to stop me?" Timothy wouldn't answer. There was a 5-10 minute power struggle until Timothy finally bent his will to Dan's, admitting that he was not big enough to stop his dad. Once Timothy finally admitted it, Dan said, "And that's okay because God, my Heavenly Father, is bigger than I am and it's important that Daddy admits that, too!"

It does this momma good to hear those kinds of conversations coming from the living room.

September 4, 2009

Aloha Friday: Class Sizes

Kailani of An Island Life writes...In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new blog friends!

California schools (and San Diego Unified in particular) have had some serious budget issues. In light of that our class sizes for K-3 grades are going from 20 students last year to 24 or more students this year.
What grade is your child in, and how many students are in his or her class?
1 Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.

2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.

3 When I was a boy in my father's house,
still tender, and an only child of my mother,

4 he taught me and said,
"Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands and you will live.

5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.

6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.

7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.

9 She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor."

I love that he just told his own son what his father said to him as a boy!

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.

11 I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.

I keep thinking about my own personal fears in life and how if I "heeded" wisdom and instruction so many of those things that I worry about would not even be issues.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.

27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

Verses 23 through 27 seem like this perfect set of instructions. I love it.

September 3, 2009

Proverbs 3

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,

How many times do I forget my Father's teaching? Over and over!

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

This reminded me of Deuteronomy 6:4-8.

4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

These verses are so famous. Like John 3:16, I can quote them in a heartbeat, and yet I don't really think I can claim them as my "life" verses. ALL my heart? Lean NOT? ALL ways acknowledge him? No wonder my paths seem crooked sometimes!

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

This is such a good reminder in reading the Proverbs that seems to differentiate between the wise and foolish so clearly. It's not my place to decide I'm wise, but instead observe what defines a wise person and see how my life matches up. (It's been humbling.)

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops;

10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

Sometimes the Lord's discipline comes through a human that we don't respect, and I think it can cause me to resent quite easily. I need to remember the Lord's rebuke can come from anywhere.

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,

I feel a little hopeful that this man "finds" and "gains".

14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.

17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;

20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

Verses 19-20 are cool. It shows why God's creation makes scientific sense.

21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;

22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;

24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Right now I am reading Fearless by Max Lucado. Each chapter deals with a different fear. I love that this proverb shows us a way to fall asleep at night...preserve sound judgment and discernment. Those are broad, and we may have to find what that means to each of us. Maybe not watching the nightly news? Maybe not spending $100 at Target because we'll worry about money later? Who knows, but one directly affects the other.

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor,
"Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"—
when you now have it with you.

This is so good to hear. I must show love to my neighbors.

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.

30 Do not accuse a man for no reason—
when he has done you no harm.

31 Do not envy a violent man
or choose any of his ways,

32 for the LORD detests a perverse man
but takes the upright into his confidence.

33 The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.

34 He mocks proud mockers
but gives grace to the humble.

35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools he holds up to shame.

September 2, 2009

WW & SEW: Circus

I love that just looking at this picture really tells you where we were! For more...

Wordless Wednesday go to 5 Minutes for Mom
Special Exposure Wednesday to to 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Proverbs 2

6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

No reason to look anywhere else. It is the Lord who gives wisdom!

8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

This is so amazing to me. There are times when I have chosen to be obedient, but honestly didn't have a clue what was going to happen or how it was going to work out--God was guarding my course, my path! So awesome!

16 It will save you also from the adulteress,
from the wayward wife with her seductive words,

17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.

Remember here that Solomon's own mother falls into this category.

Lord, I'm feeling like there is so much for me to remember and keep track of in order to be wise. Please just help me look to you and delight in you instead of worrying about the checklist.

September 1, 2009

Proverbs 1

There are some good comments on Proverbs 31, so go back and read those if you haven't! Since we reached the end of Proverbs it feels like we should be done, but we started this challenge at Proverbs 10! I am going to use this opportunity to sprinkle in sermon notes and questions from my pastor's daily meditations (I've received permission!)

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-

6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Why did Solomon write the Proverbs? Where does wisdom come from? How is the fear of the Lord the beginning of knowledge? What does it mean to fear the Lord? Who is the wisest person you know?

8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.

9 They will be a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not give in to them.

11 If they say, "Come along with us;
let's lie in wait for some one's blood,
let's waylay some harmless soul;

12 let's swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;

13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;

14 throw in your lot with us,
and we will share a common purse"-

15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;

16 for their feet rush into sin,
they are swift to shed blood.

17 How useless to spread a net
in full view of all the birds!

18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they waylay only themselves!

19 Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the lives of those who get it.

20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
she raises her voice in the public squares;

21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

I love that wisdom is described as bold. Sometimes when I'm in the midst of a lot of people who are speaking foolishly or about foolish things, I don't have any confidence at all to speak wisdom. I feel like what I have to say is foolish.

22 "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?

23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.

24 But since you rejected me when I called
and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

25 since you ignored all my advice
and would not accept my rebuke,

26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you-

27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 "Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me.

29 Since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the LORD,

30 since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,

31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm."

Verse 32 is so good for me to read. It's not that fools went on a mission to ignore God. They were just wayward and complacent. Look where it got them? Killed and destroyed. Listening to wisdom brings safety and ease. I relax just reading those words.