Tuesday, February 9
a few gems that caught my attention today...
Today I spent a good chunk of time doing some "catch up" reading in my Daily Bible (The Message translation). It was good. However - as normal for me and my resolve to read through the Bible in a year - I have fallen behind. Anyhow - today I read a chunk of scripture, and wow - it is amazing what "sparkles and catches your eye" ~ often the same scripture that you have read over and over before, and well - all of a sudden God uses it to speak VOLUMES!!
Let me share a bit of the "gems" that caught my attention and spoke into my heart in a new way today. The Daily Message began in Genesis and included a Psalm. I have now gone into Mark as of today, and still the Psalms. I love the Psalms - but Petersen, he just really writes it to speak today. ANYHOW - back to the gems from today.
Gem #1: Mark 8: 34-36 ~ he (Jesus) said "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?"
(big breath ! WOW) I was thinking a lot over that scripture. I realize over and over again that I have to let HIM lead. Hmmm.... let him lead. I sure want to, but so often I keep taking over. It reminds me of when Alvin and I try to dance! I am not sure which one of us is trying to lead... all I know is we laugh and have fun and sometimes wonder why we aren't moving much! (or stepping on one another's toes!) Jesus tells me - Joy - you are NOT in the driver's seat... I am!! I really want to learn how to follow. Learn how to embrace suffering. (oh boy, that was another hard statement) How often do I complain about how I am feeling? (just some fibromyalgia pain gets me down often!) LORD, make me willing to learn!!
I was reminded of my mom when I was thinking about this. In 1994, my mom ended up in the hospital for a long time - and we watched her go downhill very quickly. Her discs were crumbling in her spine, and overnight it seemed, we watched her in a hunched over state. Her eyesight which was bad, went to the point where she was only able to see shadows. We put a note at the head of her hospital bed, so that people would know she was blind. Everything was out of whack in her body - the pain was unbelievable. She was throwing up constantly from the morphine and the codeine. One day I was heading up, and just wondering how much more Mom could take. I walked into her room, hugged her, and as usual, Mom was in such a wonderful mood. Everyone that worked on mom loved her! The nurses all thought the world of her. They would be picking and prodding and trying to take blood from veins that were just protesting, so they would apologize at how they just couldn't seem to get blood, and keep trying. Mom would thank them for being so good to her. She would reassure them that she was just fine.
So that morning, I remember specifically - walking in, and seeing mom before she could know I was there. I wondered if she was just tired of living like that. And - I asked her the same. She said, "Oh no dear, I have so much to be thankful for!" I learned a lot from my mom... more than I ever told her. So often over the past 14 (almost) years - I have wished my mom was here to talk to. And these days - even more so. I have never met another woman quite like my mom!
Gem #2: Mark 10: 22-26 This is the portion about asking. It is also the portion on forgiving. In my journal I did write: "Oh, Lord, how do I forgive fully? Lord, please show me."
I have struggled with a big issue. Last April, actually on Good Friday - I spent time speaking with the Lord about forgiving some people whom I felt had hurt me. I had actually been wrestling with this - and I guess wrestling with God on it. I remember that morning - when I finally felt like I forgave. Since then - I am wondering.... have I? Can you forgive if the other person never acknowledges anything you think they have done? And lately - have I honestly forgiven if the thing keeps "rearing its ugly head?" Usually when that happens, I try to "give it back to the Lord" over and over and over again. (that was also part of the reason why I erected an altar in our back acreage, giving it all to God. So, today's scripture spoke to me again.
Gem#3: Mark 12: 41-44
This is the story about the widow who gives her 2 coins. Or as Petersen puts it in this scripture - "a measly two cents" .... and then the Message says "all the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford. She gave her all!"
We - are rich aren't we. We have "pocket money"...
I was so moved the other day by a little thing in the Winnipeg Free Press. I forget what section it was in - I think under the new little section that talks about "random acts of kindness". The person who wrote in said they were at one of the missions the other day, and the meal was being served, and the t.v. was on, about the disaster in Haiti. The person said that a hat was passed among the clients there for the meal, and together, they gave about $70. It moved me. $70 out of the pockets of the poor and homeless clientele, who have to go and eat in soup kitchens to survive daily. They gave what they couldn't afford!! They gave their all. If that doesn't move you to give - I honestly don't know what will. (by the way, the government is still matching dollar for dollar - in Haiti relief money - PLEASE GIVE SOMEWHERE!)
There were two things that I just thought of from my kid's lives - when they were teenagers. Joshua had gotten a down jacket from his aunt for his birthday. He came home one night - "jacket less" and told me that he had bumped into a guy outside of Walmart - begging and coat less. Josh without hesitation gave him his coat, and some money that he had in his pocket.
Ashley went after grade 12 graduation, into the OUTTATOWN program at CMU. Part of the time they spent in Vancouver and had to spend time on the street, living like a street person. It was not a huge amount of time - but sufficient time to speak into her heart - and affect her. She later went and served in Guatemala with the program. I also had the joy of serving with Alvin, and Josh, Leah and Ashley in the Dominican Republic. They were responsible for building the septic tank and were literally down in a hole all day! We also had the joy of helping to support Michael when he was in high school and off to Mexico to do mission work.
I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed us as a family with opportunities to be able to serve him with our finances, our gifts, our talents, and our time. My prayer is that God will continue to give us opportunity... and willingness to give our best (whatever that is at the time) for HIM. Oh Lord, let us all give a "cup of cold water in your name." We are talking about doing some mission work again next year - in the winter. We are praying about that... and excited to see what God does.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So - those were the gems that caught my attention today from the Gospel of Mark. I thank God that He continues to speak into my heart - and into yours!! All he wants is for us to ask Him to illuminate the pages of His word - and to open our eyes and our minds to understanding His truth to us. Enjoy your Bible today.... it truly is our handbook for life! Share some of YOUR gems with me!!