Shrouded Glory

A while ago we visited the Grand Canyon. In December. In my thinking Arizona is warm so I didn’t think visiting then would be any big deal. Boy, was I wrong. The day we went it was freezing cold and the gate attendant told us the Canyon was fogged in. We almost turned back, thinking there wouldn’t be anything to see, but we had come too far to quit, so we pressed on, hoping to see something. Many things we know to be true about God are like looking at the Grand Canyon when it’s shrouded in fog. We know the Canyon is there and that it’s beautiful. We don’t doubt it even though we can’t see it for ourselves. In a similar way, we know God is holy but we don’t see it and experience it in its fullness, so we acknowledge it and move on, just like we did at some of the scenic overlooks at the Grand Canyon where all we could see was fog with a fringe of beauty. But when we get even a small glimpse of His holiness, it’s not only jaw dropping, it’s paralyzing. The apostle John fell on his face as though dead (Rev. 1:17)—and he had walked and talked with Jesus for three years. We know God is pure but when we get a glimpse of His purity it’s frightening. Isaiah cried, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5 NAS) Even though the Canyon was shrouded in fog, there was an awesome beauty to it. When the fog shifted, giving us...

The Missing Ingredient

When I copy a recipe, I'm very careful to write 'B. Powder' and 'B. Soda' to make sure I focus on the powder and soda and not only on the 'baking' part.  If I focus on the 'baking,' it's easier to end up with the wrong ingredient, which will ruin the finished product. The other day my friend talked about motivation and attitude, and it was like being hit with a one-two punch.  The more she talked the more convicted I became.  Truth does that to you. Let all that you do be done in love.  ~I Corinthians 16:14 Too many times I focus on the doing and not on the love.  My motivation is all wrong because I'm doing things out of necessity and not out of love.  Even in my home. Our motivation should be our love for Jesus.  Not obligation, not duty or self-recognition.  An act of love for Jesus and nothing else. That love is like the difference between baking powder and baking soda in a cookie recipe.  If I do something out of duty or obligation, the final product will be of no lasting value.  Sure, there will be a finished product that might look just right, and everyone around us may be convinced and the need may be filled—but will it have lasting value?  No. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. ~I Corinthians...

Hearing Range

I just went out to call my son and as I stood at the edge of the deck, I realized it was hopeless. He'd never hear me. He was inside the barn tinkering with the go-cart while it was running, causing a racket. Rather than calling him and hollering for nothing, I simply came back inside. I'd try later, when the noise stops. I think God does the same thing with me. He may go to call me and see that I'm in a place where it makes it harder for me to hear His call, but not impossible—He just has to yell louder. Other times He may find that I also have lots of noise around me. I think those are the times He does something like I did. He waits until the noise stops. Sometimes I turn off the noise in time to hear His call, but other times it goes on for too long and I miss whatever He was calling me for. The best times of all is when I can easily hear Him. Sure, I can be off doing something, but the key is to be always listening for Him. This is a lesson young Samuel demonstrates for us. (Read the account in 1 Samuel 3.) Samuel’s life was dedicated to God and he was serving God. But it was more than being in the right frame of mind and in the right place—it was a matter of being tuned in and listening. When God called to him, he thought it was Eli so he went running to help even though it was the...

A Tambourine Dance

I spent this last week working on a project that just would not gel. I worked and worked and all but banged my head on the keyboard, and still couldn't get it right. It was frustrating—to the extreme. Finally, with my back pressing the deadline, I poured it all out before God again, and went to help make supper. That night happened to be my husband's specialty—fried chicken and all the fixin’s. It's one of our favorite meals and the whole family pitches in to get it on the table. After prepping the milk and flour for the gravy I got to wash dishes, and I was so thankful for the mindless busy-work . As I washed the dishes, I talked with God about the project He'd given to me. I knew that, if left on my own, I was sunk, but I also knew I wasn't on my own in this. With my hands busy in dishwater, I tossed ideas around in my head as I prayed. And God came through. He gave me the idea I needed to provide the framework for my project. It reminds me of the children of Israel when they left Egypt behind. They were caught between a rock and a hard place. Their back was against the Red Sea and Pharaoh was pressing down on them hard and fast. If left to themselves, they were sunk, but they weren't on their own. The Lord Almighty was with them and He parted the Red Sea. As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and...

Got to vs. Get to

Many times in my life things get twisted about and I end up on the wrong side of things. That's happened just recently and I quickly hit the frazzled stage. I was stuck in the got to camp, and life wasn't happy. Let me tell ya, my attitude didn't smell too sweet. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. My husband was sweet enough to point out a difference between got to and get to and God reminded me of another difference. I had let a privilege turn into duty simply because of using the wrong vowel. I was saying “I've gOt to do this” instead of “I gEt to do this”. And when it comes to the things that God has called us to do, we gEt to do them. We gEt to let God use us to accomplish His purpose. It's a privilege! If we get stuck on gOt to and never move back to gEt to, God just might use someone else and we'll be out a huge blessing.     But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. ~Numbers 18:7 (NIV)   God has given us things to do, and those things are gifts to us. If we see them as gOt to’s then we are missing out on the blessings God has for us—blessings that come as we serve with a good and joyful attitude.   Many times, it’s a choice we have to make. Do we choose to see the work as...

Blueberries On Your Knees

This year we have a bumper crop of blueberries—our best harvest yet. Big, plump, juicy blueberries, just waiting to go in some tasty treat. But those sweet things didn’t just jump off the bushes and into the batter—they had to be picked, and the picking wasn’t as fun as the eating. Picking blueberries is a team sport here at my house. My younger boys went picking with me, but they didn’t do much moving up and down. They tended to declare a section done when they didn’t see any more blueberries at eye level. Sure, they moved branches and leaves, but they still missed a ton of fruit. When I joined them on a bush, there were few berries at shoulder level, but as I poked around I found that if I got down on my knees there were loads of blueberries there, just waiting to be picked. That’s so much like life. Too often I stand there, hunting and pecking for the fruit, but there doesn’t seem to be much there. I’ll move here and there, looking, but it’s all horizontal movement. It’s when I hit my knees in prayer, looking up to Him, that I see so much more. Sometimes…often…my best work is done by spending time in prayer. Look at Hezekiah, one of the last good kings of Judah. Sennacherib and the huge Assyrian army were attacking God’s chosen people. Judah didn’t stand a chance against them. When Sennacherib sent a letter mocking them and their God, check out how Hezekiah handled it… Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read...

Do Not Forget This Gift

The holidays are a wonderful, and exhausting time of the year. No matter how simple you keep things, December is an enough to wear out the Energizer bunny. As wives and mothers we're concerned about making memories for our children, getting together with friends and family and reaching out to others around us, among other things. In all the caring for others we do, especially around the Christmas holiday, it's so easy to forget one very important person in our lives: our husbands. It's not just the holidays, though, it's something that can happen anytime we get overly busy or when our focus is fuzzed. Forgetting and overlooking our husbands is something we need to guard against all year round. It ties in with taking them for granted and we that's one we can all relate to. No one likes to be taken for granted. This holiday season make specific plans for you and your husband, and if you need to, put them on your personal calendar. A dish of ice cream by candle light, just for the two of you. A midnight slice of his favorite pie topped with a heaping scoop of smiles and laughter. A flash of special lingerie when you greet him at the end of his work day. A note of appreciation and love slipped in his lunch bucket or pocket before he heads out for the day. An early bedtime for the kids and a bubble bath for two. This gift does not have to cost anything except thought and time on our part. It's a gift we can all afford to give....

Making Over

When my parents became full-time RVers, the few things left of their home went into my shed. Now that they've resettled, each year when they visit they go through the shed, weeding out, repacking, and hauling off to their home where the sun shines all winter. At one point, my kitchen table was full of memories, and Mom said to take it all to the Salvation Army. She didn't think I'd want the motley collection we stood looking at. My teen years were spent as a missionary kid in Ecuador, and the things on the table were from those years. There was a traditional Quichua hat, a faja, the colorful belt the Quichua women wear to keep their skirts up, and two bolsas, the bags they used to carry anything and everything in. As I stood and looked at those things, and more, I wondered what in the world I would do with them. Now, you have to understand, decorating is not my strong suit. In fact, my decorating ability barely even registers on the decorator's scale. I was tempted to box it all up and put it back in the shed, but I didn't really want to do that. These were special items—things that represented years of my life that formed me into the person I am today. I wanted them out. I wanted those items seen and appreciated, even though there is nothing beautiful about them. So, I turned around and looked at my house. Slowly but surely I found homes for each item. Did their new home make them suddenly beautiful? No. But worked into the...

Smelly Cans

I opened the cabinet door and was blasted with stench.  Not just stink, but all-out stench.  I quickly tossed the garbage into the can and shut the door.  My aggravation level bounced off the ceiling–my son had neglected his responsibility.  Keeping our home smelling good is hard enough without him forgetting to take out the cans after having tuna for lunch the day before–how could we ever expect it to smell good if we didn't take out the source of the stench?  “Have you removed the source, or did you just close the door and forget it's still there?” Lord, I'm not the one responsible for hauling out the trash. He is. “It's not the trash I'm talking about.” I deflated like a hot air balloon.  You see, when I opened the door to throw out some garbage, I was gnashing my teeth over a friend that had a way of getting on my nerves.  She hadn't really done anything wrong, but I was dwelling on it because she had hurt my feelings earlier.  Sure, she had offered an apology, but I hadn't let go of it yet. Rather than taking the garbage out of my life, I had just quickly closed the door, hoping it would disappear by itself.  But it didn't.  It sat in the trash can hole of my life and incubated, just like those tuna cans had.  And the result was much the same. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;  ~Hebrews 12:15 By...

Shrouded Responsibilities

  SLOWDOWN FOR SUMMER GIVEAWAY # 10 She's Got Issues by Nicole Unice (2 book & DVD sets) Ellen Renee H. The Samaritan Project by Jeff K. Lane & Rob A. Fringer (3 copies) Amy Hagerup Clever Colleen Teresa Fresh Brewed Life Study Guide (1 copy) Calista   CONGRATULATIONS winners!! If you see your name on this list simply email lori@internetcafedevotions.com and we'll get those awesome prizes to you right away!     **************************************************************************************************************************************** The sons of Kohath in Numbers 4:15-20 really intrigued me when I read about them the other day. They were the Levites responsible for carrying the Holy objects of the Tabernacle. Others took care of the Tabernacle coverings and the all the rods and sockets that formed the framework of the Tabernacle, and they were given carts to haul those items in, but not the Kohathites. They carried the Holy objects on their shoulders. But what caught my attention was that Aaron and his sons were to go in and cover the Holy items and then the Kohathites could go in and carry them. It made me wonder if those men ever saw the items they were responsible for. They saw the covered forms and were well acquainted with the weight of their responsibility, but they might not have known the details of those items. There are Christians today that are called to do as the Kohathites did. They carry responsibilities on their shoulders—responsibilities given to them by God—that they don't know the details of. All they see is the covered, shrouded, form. All they know is the weight of carrying that responsibility.  Even when we don't know the details, when...