My Dining Room Table

My dining room table is a collecting spot, a study place, and a mentoring area.  It is used for family conversations, sorting notes, having coffee with friends, and yes, even for the rare times we want to eat there.  Today it has many jars of canned tomato juice and green beans waiting to be put away, a plastic container that is ready to be returned to a sweet friend who gifted us with some yummy Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake, and a glass carafe from the coffee maker that ‘died’ and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.  What’s on yours?

In Psalm 23 we are told that God prepares a table for us.  David was also very specific about where this table was placed – – in the presence of our enemies.  What does that mean?  Why, in the midst of a battle, would someone do that?

psalm-23God prepares the table for me.  While I’m watching and waiting.  He sets out the gleaming silver, the shining glass, the sparkling crystal.  He provides the absolute best for me while my enemies are watching, their eyes popping out of their heads, and their mouths watering.  The battle is still going on around me and He serves a sumptuous meal, complete with my favorite dessert.  Why?  Because he wants them (my enemies) to see how He provides for me.

My enemies, your enemies are real.  Perhaps it is the stress of your job…Perhaps you have experienced the meanness of one you thought was a friend… Perhaps someone has spread some vicious, untrue gossip about you…

God is calling you to the table.  While there He will serve you in the way only He can.  He is a compassionate listener and will delight in having coffee with you.  He knows your favorites and will serve you with love and grace.  His merciful meatloaf is better than anyone else’s.  He dishes up a forgiveness fruit compote that will ‘knock your socks off’. The water in your cup is full of life and never goes dry.

I can hardly wait for Him to seat me.  How about you?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

Red and Green

The Holly and the Ivy - Olde English Carole

The Holly and the Ivy – Olde English Carole

It is not entirely happenstance that Red and Green are the colors of Christmas. They are often mentioned in the Bible.  Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red and scarlet most often symbolize sin.  For instance, check out Isaiah 1:18 and Joshua 2:18. Notice that in both of these scriptures the use of red also points to grace.  In Isaiah sin will be washed whiter than snow and in Joshua the red cord keeps Rahab and her family safe, forgiven of her sin.  Exodus 12:7 tells us that God told the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb on the doorpost so that when the Angel of Death came by they would safe.

In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the blood was a large part of the ceremony.  Offering the blood of the animal stood in the place of the sins of the person.  This was a temporary solution to the sin problem.  Jesus’ blood (life) was required for the final sacrifice.  At that point in time, the sacrificial system was no longer needed.  Red now is a symbol for life through the blood of the Lamb.

Green often describes life and rest.  Psalm 23:2  tells us He gives us rest in green pastures.   Psalm 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Green trees often refer to nations. “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezek 17:24.  All nations and peoples will recognize God.

A green tree is also used in Jeremiah 17:8 to describe a righteous man.  “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out roots by the river, and is withered by heat or draught.” 

Green as it is first used in Genesis, is the Hebrew word ‘yer eq’ and is used in verse 30.  God is telling us that He provides all that we need for life by giving us the food we need.

As you ponder these words in your heart I wish you love, joy, and peace during this beautiful, meaningful season.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

 

Psalm 23

 

Psalm 23

There was once a Shakespearean actor who was know far and wide for his one-man show of readings and recitations from the classics.  He would always end his performance with a dramatic reading of the Twenty-third Psalm  Each night, without exception, as the actor began his recitation–The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want–the crowd would listen attentively.  And then, at the conclusion of the psalm, they would rise in thunderous applause in appreciation of the actor’s incredible ability to bring the  verse to life.

But one night, just  before the actor was to offer his customary recital of Psalm Twenty-three, a young man from the audience spoke up  “Sir, do you mind if tonight I recite the Twenty-third Psalm?”

The actor was quite taken back by this unusual request,  but he allowed the young man to come forward and stand front and center on the stage to re cite the psalm, knowing that the ability of this unskilled youth would be no match for his talent.

With a soft voice, the young man began to recite the words of the Psalm.  When he finished, there was no applause.  There was no standing ovation as on other nights.  All that could be heard was the sound of weeping.  The audience had  been so moved by the young man’s recitation, that e very eye was full of tears

Amazed by what he heard, the actor said to the youth,  “I don’t understand.  I have been performing the Twenty-third Psalm for years.  I have a lifetime of experience and training–but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight.  Tell me, what is your secret?”

The young man humbly replied, “Well sir, you know the psalm…but I know the Shepherd.”

Get Some Rest

baby rest

God says on the seventh day He rested from His work(Genesis 2:2) and since we are created in His image we need rest too.  In the 23rd Psalm David said, “He makes me lie down…”  Job’s friend Jophar gives him a crumb of reassurance saying, “You will lie down without fear…” (Job 11:19).  With great wisdom Solomon wrote these words, “…when you lie down your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24b).  Jesus recognized the need for quiet rest when he said to the disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

In my career as a teacher and principal I learned just how important rest was.  Long hours and a great deal of stress do not help anyone’s health.  Burning the candle at both ends, ends up with nothing when the flames have consumed all the wax.  I finally came to my senses and retired early.  The job was consuming me and I heard the Spirit clearly say this is NOT what I want for you.  You see, even though I prayed every morning that I would keep Him close all day, when I walked through the school doors I quit focusing on Him and started focusing on kids, teachers, parents and all the issues and stress a high poverty, inner city, school brings.  I ended up quite ill from lack of rest, poor diet, and high stress.  When my awesome husband was hospitalized and in a chemically induced coma for 20 days from a Traumatic Brain Injury I had much time to pray, think, and reflect. The conclusion–my career was killing me.  Once the decision was made, a calmness came over me that I had not known before.  I knew without question this was exactly what God wanted.  I needed adequate rest and He already knew this was the only way I was going to get it.  Praise God! I listened! and rested!

God’s word says in the 23rd Psalm “…He makes me lie down in green pastures,…”  He doesn’t just suggest that we rest He makes us rest.  He created us and He knows what we need.  We have to pay attention and not try to do it our own way.  Remember what happened to Jonah?  God said go to Ninevah and say to them what I want you to say.  What did Jonah do?  He did it his way, ran away, jumped ship and ended up in the stinky belly of a whale.  When God says do it He expects that from those who say “Oh, God, You are my God”.  Now that’s not the end of the story.  God told Jonah, after he got to Ninevah, to walk the city, proclaim His word and then sit on the hill and rest.  There’s that word again.  REST!  He’s serious about it!

Heavenly Father, thank You! for making me aware.  You deserve my total, rested attention.  I want to do that.  Make my life more and more about You.  In Jesus Name make it so!

Added to and reposted.

 

I Needed The Quiet

I NEEDED THE QUIET

untitled

God says on the seventh day He rested from His work(Genesis 2:2) and since we are created in His image we need rest too.  In the 23rd Psalm David said, “He makes me lie down…”  Job’s friend Jophar gives him a crumb of reassurance saying, “You will lie down without fear…” (Job 11:19).  With great wisdom Solomon wrote these words, “…when you lie down your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24b).  Jesus recognized the need for quiet rest when he said to the disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

In my career as a teacher and principal I learned just how important rest was.  Long hours and a great deal of stress do not help anyone’s health.  Burning the candle at both ends, ends up with nothing when the flames have consumed all the wax.  I finally came to my senses and retired early.  The job was consuming me and I heard the Spirit clearly say this is NOT what I want for you.  You see, even though I prayed every morning that I would keep Him close all day, when I walked through the school doors I quit focusing on Him and started focusing on kids, teachers, parents and all the issues and stress a high poverty, inner city, school brings.  I ended up quite ill from lack of rest, poor diet, and high stress.  When my awesome husband was hospitalized and in a chemically induced coma for 20 days from a Traumatic Brain Injury I had much time to pray, think, and reflect. The conclusion–my career was killing me.  Once the decision was made, a calmness came over me that I had not known before.  I knew without question this was exactly what God wanted.  I needed adequate rest and He already knew this was the only way I was going to get it.  Praise God! I listened! and rested!

Heavenly Father, thank You! for making me aware.  You deserve my total, rested attention.  I want to do that.  Make my life more and more about You.  In Jesus Name make it so!

The Lord Is My Shepherd

shepherdThe Lord is my Shepherd

empty tableI shall not want

green pasturesHe makes me lie down in green pastures

still watersHe leads me beside still waters

treeHe restores my soul

pathHe leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake

valleyYea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

fearI will fear no evil

gods-love

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me

thumbnailCAG6BOYY

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies

annoint

Thou anointest my head with oil

cup

My cup runneth over

hourglass

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

house

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.

Worship in song:   The Lord Is My Shepherd

Heavenly Father You are my Shepherd, You give me everything I need.  Peaceful calming rest is Yours to give.  You restore my soul.  You lead me in the right choices.  Even when I’m afraid or evil is all around me You are there.  You comfort me.  Your goodness and mercy are everywhere I look.  I am anointed by You.  My eternal home is waiting with You.  Mighty and awesome God, make it so.

Fear is …

Ray and I went to see After Earth this weekend.  It was not well reviewed by the critics but we’ve found many good to great movies by not paying attention to those who think it’s their job to tear everything down.   The story line is about a father and son relationship.  It’s about how to overcome fear and totally depend on someone who knows and loves you.  I was delighted and amazed to see so many Bible ‘threads’ in a 2 hour space.  Biblical themes like honor your father and mother,  covered and protected by the wings of an eagle, do exactly what the Father says and you will succeed, and FEAR NOT.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to look at this concept of fear not today.  Did you know these words are repeated 365 times in the Word.  That’s not a coincidence.  God knows this world is a fearful and fearsome place.  He knows that every day comes with it’s own circumstances and challenges and that these can produce fear in us.  In Psalm 23 David says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…”  How can he say that with such trust?  He knows the One who protects, defends and loves.  He knows God’s characteristics.  He knows the One and Only will not let him down.

Fear is an emotional reaction to an unknown result.  It can paralyze us.  It can cause us to want to hide.  It can keep us from realizing our Kingdom purpose.  It can make us bitter and mean.  IF WE LET IT!

When God says FEAR NOT!  He’s saying quit looking at what could be and look at what is.  He’s saying I’m right here, hold on, look up, you can count on Me.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It does not say I can do this alone,  it says depend on ME!  From Genesis to Revelation there is constant proof that when we depend on God we have nothing to fear.  He has our back (our front, our side, all that we can and can’t see).  FEAR NOT!

Worship Him with music!    He Will Make A Way

Ah, Lord, God, I am counting on You.  Create in me a spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.  Whenever I enter the valley of fear shine Your light on me.  Make it so, Lord!