The Christmas Dolphins

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“God will take care of the hidden things …” Deuteronomy 29:29 MSG

“Mom!!!!” My seven-year-old screeched as she took off into the depths of the house,  “I have the BEST idea for Christmas cookies this year!” dec recall 12

The discomforting changes that we instinctively fight can yield a refreshing freedom to embrace new traditions.

My then-Kindergartener emerged from the basement with a play doh-cutter in her hand.

“CHRISTMAS DOLPHINS!!!!” she spat out with glee. “For Grammy and Papa.”  Though we were all sad to see them relocate to warmer climate permanantly, my daughter reminded me to allow the possibility of what could be compared to what had always been.

Today’s verse expounds upon an Israelite people that would rely on descendants to carry on their commitment to the Lord. Even Moses would turn the reigns of leadership over to Joshua before they would set eyes on their promised land.

” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden. But he makes other things known to us and to our children forever. He does it so we can obey all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 NIRV

The wisdom gained over an ancestral lifetime wasn’t automatically transferred to the recall12 dec tweet 2.png
next generation back then, nor is it now. Try as we may to listen to those that have gone before us, history tends to repeat itself. Additionally, God doesn’t make all things available to learn in this lifetime.

hidden- being out of sight or not readily apparent. (Merriam-Webster)

In the second half of this month’s verse, I believe a shred of light is cast on the most popular question human-kind raises …why? “He does it so we can obey …” He’s omnipotently given us a unique purpose in this life that we are not always privy to.

 “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” 1Corinthians 13:12 MSG

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Jesus is our glimpse.

When we are mangled from the latest mess of this falling landscape, He is there. As pieces of our hearts shatter irreparably, He holds onto the shards. It’s hard to imagine our Savior suffering, but Christ felt every hurt that we feel from the manger to the cross. He was mocked and shut out of social circles …beaten though innocent …judged yet perfect …tempted by the devil. And He is our bridge over the gaps we cannot fulfill within our minds upon this earth.

The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 HCSB

“The revealed things belong to us.”   We can trust that through every hurtful change …misunderstood abandonment …heart wrenching suffering and unplanned diversion,  He has given us what we need to survive. Faith in Christ allows us to loosen our grip on the injustice of “why,” in trade for the patience to wait on “Who.” The Israelites would fall and flounder over and over again, suffering at the hand of their own disobedience. But we have a hope that they did not. Jesus.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

Christmas is a celebration of our allowance into the presence of God, because of the life Jesus lived and the death He conquered to free us from the curse of sin.
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” For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror…” 1Corinthians 13:12a NIV

Faith is being able to look into the face of unexplainable difficulty and see the goodness of God. When we look for Him, we will find Him. He is evident in creation, and waiting in His Word.

hēnnâ is an adverb meaning “here,” usually in the sense of “in this place, – Mounce Complete Expository Dictionary

He is in His Word. For Christians, He is in us. His creation reflects the beauty of His glory. He is here.

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1Peter 1:8 NIV

recall 12 dec tweet 1Though we fight unwelcome change, we want God’s will over our plan. When we allow our grasp on the concrete “why”to fade, faith in what He has hidden is overcome by what He’s revealed. We become content to abide in His secrets when we understand more about who He is. Faith is trusting our Father to hold onto the unknown answers. Christmas is honoring what we know with what we have …right now. Make the Christmas trees, wreaths, and angels …but leave room for the Christmas dolphins, too.

“…then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search tout, man cannot discover it’s meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.” Ecclesiastes 8:17

know- to perceive directly (Merriam-Webster)

comprehend- to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of (Merriam-Webster)

We don’t need to know when we comprehend “why’s” Author.

Happy Christmas,

Megs

Click here or on the image for this month’s FREE verse memory cards

Screenshot 2017-10-11 15.29.01#recall 12 verse cards, DEcember PDF

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“What Does It Mean?” Week 3: Joy.

Joy

A source or cause of delight –Merriam-Websterjoy-image-1

Joy differs from happiness in that it is an emotion.  -Wikipedia

Is there greater delight than the wonder of Santa, or the glee witnessed as a child unwraps the present they wished for? Can there be a sweeter tear than the touch of a Christmas memory?

 Yes.

Set a part from the fleeting feeling of happiness, joy defines what Jesus came to give.  It’s constancy flows through the entirety of our days, and allows us to laugh our way back to right. Joy is accepting who we are in confidence that we are cared for.

Acceptance & The ‘Damn’ Centers

Joy is the acceptance for who we are by the One who made us.

“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.'” Genesis 21:6

joy-tweet-1She was ninety …of course she laughed at the thought of giving birth. (Genesis  18)  Yet as God promised, she and her 100-year old husband Abraham had a son named Isaac …which means “he laughs.”

We often place God far off in the distance or high in the sky. But one of the endearing qualities of the Lord is that He is funny. I believe, in reverence, that Biblical conversations reflect the humor of a God for whom nothing is impossible. How often are we able to make light of our circumstances? Life isn’t always funny, but it is overflowing with joy …if we choose to accept it.

joy image 3.jpgMy six-year-old daughter exudes joy. It’s hard to discipline her with a straight face. When I asked her one afternoon why she had to stay in for recess, she said:

“I had to finish my damn centers,”  and rolled her eyes.

What else could I do but excuse myself to die of laughter?  She’s six! #longroad It further confirmed the spitfire personality that I love, along with the list of reasons she’ll never be allowed to go on spring break…

“Lo” doesn’t fall in line or take adults too seriously. Her laugh is loud and ever-present. I may joke about her tendency to test the rules, but embrace the tender heart behind those twinkling blue eyes. My love for her allows me to witness the brightness of her light.

God is not surprised by us. He loves the complete creation, and we are made to journey in joy! His love doesn’t lessen when we fall down. In fact, He seeks to share a laugh with us and reveal joy in hard moments. He’s accepted us. That’s why Jesus was born.

Christmas is closeness with God.

Confidence …For the Birds

Joy is the attitude of gratitude.

joy-tweet-3In the North where I live, Christmastime signals every bird that can’t bear the winter’s cold to start flocking together.  Millions of birds dance together in the sky, instinctively gathering and swooping and soaring until they’ve accumulated enough of a mass to drift as a dark “bird cloud” away with the warm air.

“…Look at them fly. It looks like God is taking pretty good care of them, doesn’t it? Remember that you are more precious to God than birds!” Luke 12:24

Birds are not even in my top 100 of favorite …or even likable creatures. Yet, over the years, I’ve come to admire the way they just know what to do.

“…God cares for every little sparrow …Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail—down to the number of hairs on your head at this moment—you can be secure and unafraid…” Luke 12:6-7

Birds don’t realize they are small or incapable. They operate confidently on carefully designed instinct.

“My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.”Luke 12:32

Humans seek to be loved because deep within the design of our nature is a Creator who is love. Our confidence is found in Him, through Jesus.

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He came into this world a small baby in a manger. His light caused others to flock to Him and follow Him, shifting and moving and gathering and cackling and spreading the Word. Long after Christ gave His human life on the cross, the birds continued to fly and stories of Jesus spread. His Word still flutters and gathers. Christian faith is moving and shifting. God’s not surprised. We all instinctively seek the joy of Jesus.

    He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations,
        and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” Luke 2:32 (The Voice)

Joy to the world, indeed. The greatest gift. #yulesee 

Happy Christmas,

Meg

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The Last Day

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The product of my rushed suburban childhood is arm-in-arm in that sandy crop of kids, traditionally appreciating the last day of school in their little lake town …where the busiest road has a 35 mph speed limit, and we can count the number of stop lights on one hand. “Rush” is absent from their vocabulary.

PERFECTTraditions can bloom dreams if we allow them to align our intentions with His design. The small lake town I live in has taught me to treasure tradition. In your town, on the farm, amidst a metropolis, or in your move; here are some benefits I’ve uncovered in establishing a little tradition.

#heartseeds

1.Stability

foundation- the basis or groundwork for anything…the natural or prepared ground on which some structure exists. (dictionary.com)

Learning to leave God in our dreams takes faith tough enough to trust that His view of them will undoubtably differ from our expectations a lot of the time. If we learn to look up before we dream out; the surrounding blessings, people, and places in life begin to reveal parts of His purpose. Tradition rooted in Christ yields a stable foundation to dream upon.

“You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the pieces of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20

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Paul reminded the church at Ephesus to embrace the foundation that Jesus laid at the foot of the cross.  We would be wise to do the same. When our dream is drifting with the Creator’s current, living it each day spreads the virtuous kindness and joy of Jesus.

2. Resilience 

“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good.” 1 Thes. 5:21

I had all intentions of moving by the water to be out on the water, but God threw out the anchor… and beached my boat.  And as I peeled back the layers of blessing from the shoreline, I’m so glad he didn’t let me rush past it all. Changing the direction of our lives is never easy, but layered in the learning are blessings that follow an obedient heart. “Clinging” to those blessings, to who He is, shapes a resilient heart.

resilience the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.- Google

The pre-school years flew by, and the “Last Day” tradition that started with four moms is still growing … each year new friendships form and new laughs are logged. We pray for each other, help each other, laugh, cry and load up on a bus to celebrate milestones together… stand arm-in-arm together.

#dontskipachapter

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3. Confidence

“So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.” 2 Thes 2:15

Paul wrote this letter to clarify some traditions that had been muddled in translation. Can you imagine passing things down accurately without the Internet?

I’ve been privy to witness, that the tradition of excellence my town, has more to do than just the happy disposition that often follows suit with living on the shoreline of one of the world’s Great Lakes. The tale of each home-town Tiger begins with tradition.

From the first day they high-five the elementary-school principal down hallways decked with yellow smiles, they are brought up to believe they can find their best and bring it out in others. The entire town cheers them on until they show up dressed in white to lookout from that shoreline together one last time …arm-in-arm. I’ve watched my daughters watch those beautiful graduates, confident they can conquer anything because they’ve been raised to believe that they will.

Confident, bright, and beautiful blooms are the result of roots. Spectacular moments of growth don’t last forever, but roots remain to break through the soil once again.

PERFECT copyChristians are confident in the joy Jesus. From the very first time we high-five Him as we’re dunked under the water, or whisper a prayer…His truth allows us to bloom beautifully along life’s bumpy road. Like the graduates confident they can conquer the world, He stands with us, arm-in-arm, in a victory that’s already been won.

4.Triumph

“I must say how pleased I am to hear that you remember me in everything and continue to hold on to the traditions I have passed on to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2

Paul wrote this letter to the believers at Corinth as they were torn by spiritual immaturity in attempting to uphold tradition.

Triumph is synonymous for “coming back.”

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The “Last Day” tradition isn’t always a smoothly executed plan, but we all keep coming back. Tradition gives us a space to embrace our place on this earth.

Sometimes the frustration in having to be still is God whispering that you’re already here. Perhaps the purpose of my dream to live by the lake was simply to slow down and embrace tradition all along. That’s all God asks of us …keep coming back. Keep the tradition of meeting with Him everyday …of looking for Him in everything we experience. Those are strong roots, a stable foundation, a resilient reliance, and a triumphant destination.

Happy Summer!!!

Go Tigers!

Megs

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Stay encouraged!