Monday, November 11, 2013

Dissertation Dedication



                         DEDICATION


“To God be the glory”; it is to Him that this endeavor is dedicated as it is all because of Him that this journey has transpired. All the praise and glory are His alone.
I dedicate this to my family. First to my husband, Chris, who has been a constant support, encouragement, sounding board, and a kick in the posterior when needed.  I never could have undertaken such a project without him by my side. My mother, Darlene, has been my prayer warrior and champion; her belief in me has sustained me when the going was almost unbearable. Another continued source of support has been my mother-in-law, Marjory. It was my son, David’s teasing about me not stopping until he could call me “Doctor Mom” that prodded me into going forth on this journey. My daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Keith have been steadfast with their encouragement. My brothers, Don, Mel, and Bob have provided the brotherly teasing that helped to keep my spirits lifted. Victoria, my cousin, has been a lifelong inspiration to me as well as an encouragement. A good friend Mary helped to start me on this journey with a strong letter of recommendation and has continued to provide endless support.
To my grandchildren, Caleb, Zavier, Katerina, Caralena, and Faith, may you go after your dreams and never stop believing that you can achieve what you set out to do.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back to the Basics



“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5


When sports teams “get in a slump”, they are often directed by their coaches to work on the fundamentals. Life can get so complicated that we are left to wonder which way to turn, how to proceed. I had been dealing with such a time when the Lord pressed upon me to return to the basics. I was struggling with writing even the beginning of part of my dissertation. In my doctorate classes, I used a technique to write the many paper for class. God brought before me of returning to this method. It was a way to “get out of the slump” I was experiencing.

So it is with our walk with the Lord. Sometimes we can get so bogged down in everything that we believe we must do to be “good” Christians that we become discouraged and down. It is then that it is good to return to the basics. The basics are the foundation guiding us in our relationship with the Father and with others. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22: 36-40 in easy to understand words the very basics of what we are to do as Christians. The Pharisees were testing (or so they thought) Jesus, hoping to trip him up with their questions about what they perceived as the law, the Ten Commandments, trying to lay a snare for Him. They wanted to know which was the greatest commandment. Jesus answered with the foundation of all the law, returning to the basics.  “Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

As complicated as life is, I am all about the basics. How about you? Do you need to return to the basics?

Digging deeper: Galatians 5:14; I John 1:9
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Priorities in the Journey




We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:2b

I enjoy planning trips. I check out where I am going on an atlas, often using MapQuest to gauge how long it will take to get to where I want to go. The magi started out on a journey unsure of their exact destination, but they had heavenly directions- a star to follow. They understood that this star was no ordinary star, but one that would lead them to someone special. Their journey begins with the star and ends directly underneath the star (Matthew 2:9).

The magi had their priorities in the right place- to journey as long as it took to carry gifts to the new king, to worship Him. They sought the king and worshiped Him, the highest priority a man should pursue. They also illustrate faith in the journey. They did not know where they would arrive but had faith that by following the star they would find the king. The wise men humbled themselves and paid tribute to the Christ child! these were not token presents; they were extremely precious and rare. These gifts illustrated the depth of their love and devotion. God received the very best that they could offer.

Matthew Henry writes “Those who live at the greatest distance from the means of grace often use most diligence, and learn to know the most of Christ and his salvation. But no curious arts, or mere human learning, can direct men unto him. We must learn of Christ by attending to the word of God, as a light that shineth in a dark place, and by seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit”.

Where do your priorities lie today? Where do mine? It is never too late to journey in the right direction, to get your priorities right. Confess to the Father (1 John 1:9), spend time in the word, and worship the King. The greatest gift you can give to Jesus is your life. The greatest journey you can ever take is the one following Him. Why not go on the journey? We are assured that “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (I Chronicles 28:9). There is no better Christmas gift than that of salvation.

Digging deeper: Jeremiah 30:9; Psalm 48:14; Psalm 8:3-4; Numbers 24:17: Isaiah 60:3

Friday, July 6, 2012

Doing My Job



"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40 (NIV)

I was headed to the grocery store with my daughter, when she received a text from her husband. As she was driving, she asked me to respond to it. Problem was, her phone was an iPhone and very different from mine and I did not know how to use it. My daughter started laughing and said if one of the kids were here, they could do it. So very true! My not-quite-three year old granddaughter can get around that phone like it is nothing. I was chagrined to have this really brought to light, yet it was my fault. See, my husband had an iPhone and I could have easily learned to use it, but I just did not want to. Hubris stopped me from being a help. In not learning something that would have only taken a few minutes, I was unable to do “my job” and help my daughter.

 Luke 19: 37-40 tells of Jesus was approaching Jerusalem and a crowd of disciples were praising God for the miracles they had witnessed. The so-called righteous Pharisees were objecting to their praises and had asked Jesus to rebuke them. The Pharisees wanted to silence the praises of Christ. Jesus, in answer, told the Pharisees that His praises, God’s praises will be sung, if not by man then by the rocks of creation.

I don’t know about you, but when I am given a job to do, I want to do it to the best of my abilities. I do not like it given to someone else because of a lack in me to do the job. It was humbling enough to have a not-quite three year old able to do my job, but to have rocks, inanimate objects do my job- well, that is beyond insulting. However, I must ask myself, am I truly praising God? Or am I just giving Him lip service so that rocks must do my job? How about you, are rocks doing your job too?

Digging Deeper: Habakkuk 2:11; Joshua 24:11; Matthew 6:21

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where Is Your Focus


Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”

Breakfast, back packs, lunches, permission slips, finished homework, special snack for after school, meetings, seminar notes, commute, dry cleaning, milk- just a running list of things to do and items to get, take, etc.. runs through my mind like a fast moving train as I try to get out the door in the morning. Life is busy.  It is filled to the brim of people to care for, things to do, and places to go.  It is difficult in the deluge of life to keep my focus where it should be.  

Most humans are not content to take one step at a time.  We want to take several and we want to know where the steps are leading, how many we need to get there.  The journey for us as Christians has many steps, twists and turns.  Too many times we become focused on the journey instead of the one leading the way. 

The journey entails learning to trust, to ignore the distractions of life and focus on God.  Frequently we start out on the journey gung-ho, full of energy and drive.  Then, the journey becomes tiring, requires some effort, takes time, and often is not easy. The conditions of the journey no longer appear as inviting as when we first started out. So, put little effort into it or quit. Ecclesiastes 11:4 tells us that “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done”.

Proverbs 24:16 tells us that “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” God does not reject us in our weakness; rather He is there to carry us, to help us, and to love us.  Philippians 1:6 says “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” So dear one, continue the journey, though it may be hard for God is at work in you, He will work out His plan for you.  The journey may be long, but the final destination is worth it all. So, focus on the One leading the way.

The song by Helen Lemmel says:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
  In the light of His glory and grace.”

Digging deeper: Psalms 62:8; Isaiah 40:11; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 6:33-34; Hebrews 12:1-3; Psalm 138:8; Psalm 37:3; Philippians 4:8