Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our Value to God

We have been made by God and that makes us special. We have been created in His image. His desire is that all of us become His sons and daughters and join Him in heaven for eternity. In God’s eyes we all have importance. In God’s eyes we are precious and valuable.

This week in my devotions, God opened Psalm 139 up for me and I want to share with you some thoughts that I received.

God knows all there is about me.
O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
--Psalm 139:1-4, KJV
Now I want to compare this scripture with the Message Bible.
God, investigate my life, get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back ; I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
--Psalm 139:1-4, The Message
God is eternal, holy, all-loving, all-wise, omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omni-present (everywhere at the same time). Yet he knows Darrell Allen Ezell.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. --Genesis 1:27
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. --Ephesians 2:10
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. --Luke 12:7
God you search me and you know me. --Psalm 139: 1
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. --Psalm 139:14
I came across these facts not long ago and I am not sure who complied them but it speaks to that fact that the God who created us knows us.

  • In a square inch of skin, you would find: 20 blood vessels; 65 muscles; 78 nerves; 78 sensors for heat, 13 for cold, 160 for pressure;650 sweat glands; 1300 nerve endings; and 19,500,000 cells. The skin serves several purposes including providing a protective shield against bacteria and viruses and the absorbing of bumps and bruising that might otherwise damage your bones and internal organs.… and in that inch of skin, your sweat glands in your body do double duty, helping to eliminate wastes and cool your body.
  • Then, there’s your brain. Your brain does all this and uses less power than a 100-watt bulb. Your brain is serviced by about 45 miles of nerves that send impulses through your body as rapidly as 325 miles per hour.
  • Your nervous system is so sensitive you are able to feel on your fingertips (or face) a pressure that depresses your skin a bare- roughly the weight of a bee’s wing falling on your cheek.
  • Then, there are your ears: A piano has 88 keys, but each of your ears has a keyboard with 1500 keys. They are so finely tuned that you can hear the blood running through your vessels.
  • Your eyes are capable of seeing a small candle flame from 30 miles away on a clear, dark night. And can distinguish among more than 300,000 different color variations.
Yet I don’t think that’s what the Psalmist was talking about when he said “Lord you know me!” Not only does God know about our physical but more important He knows the soul. His point is not that God knows all the mysteries of history and the riddles of the universe. Rather, David’s point is that God knows me. He knows everything about me. He know the inner me! Because God knows the inner me he knows the needs that my soul cries out for, and He responds to us.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. --Isaiah 55:2-3
God holds us in His hands.

God not only leads us but He makes a hedge about us and He holds us in the palm of His hand.
Thou hast beset (hedged) me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell (grave), behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. --Psalm 139:5-10
He holds us with His righteousness.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. --Isaiah 41:10
His banner over us is love.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. --Song of Solomon 2:4
Think about sitting in the hand of God and being hedged in on all sides and being covered with His love. No wonder the Psalmist said in verse six, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

God shows us His creating power.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. --Psalm 139:13-16
This does have something to say about the value of life before birth. But especially here David is saying, "Even before my mom gave birth to me, you were present, your Spirit was there. You were knitting me together, it wasn’t just some outgrowth of evolution. But you were right there in the womb. I couldn’t get away from you even before I was born."

Have you ever wondered why God created you? Well, I have. But I want you to know that God never wondered why He created you at all.

Rick Warren says in his book The Purpose Driven Life, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were made by God and for God, until you understand, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.”

From before you are born, even after you die God has plans for you. Now that is powerful!

God probes us with His thoughts.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. --Psalm 139:17-18
I got to thinking about the thoughts God has about me. I wonder what they are? Perhaps He thinks about how much He loves me and wants what is best for me. How he wants me to live for Him and how He can help me to live for Him.

The thoughts that God has concerning me I believe are precious and great, says the Psalmist.
Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. --Psalm 40:5
We are never out of God’s consciousness. He never forgets us!
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. --Jeremiah 29:11-13

The Psalmist, realizing that God’s thoughts were always toward Him, began to ask God to probe His heart.
Search (probe) me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. --Psalm 139:23-24
Look at verses 19-22. Here the Psalmist is asking God to slay the wicked and to tells the Lord how much He hates them. But then we see in verses 23-24, he turns his thoughts towards himself. As if to say, “It not the wicked that I should be thinking about but my own heart.”

If God’s thoughts are toward me and He knows all that there is to know about me then I want to know what He knows about my heart so I can ask God to led me in the way everlasting.

Now, it is one thing to ask God to search us, but what we do with what He shows us is another.
When God probes us and begins to reveal things to us how do we react? If we respond to God’s leadership as we should, then we can sing the song Haldor Lillenas wrote:

What a blessed peace we know
as we travel here below,
while we are walking
in the beautiful light of God.
Brighter, fairer grows the way,
as we journey day by day,
while we are walking
in the beautiful light of God.

I won’t take time to read all of it but it has a wonderful message for those who respond to God’s probing thoughts that He has toward us.

Avis Christiansen wrote a song I think we can understand if we are living within the truths of this Psalm:

It Is Glory Just to Walk with Him

It is glory just to walk with Him
Whose blood has ransomed me;
It is rapture for my soul each day.
It is joy divine to feel Him near
where’er my path may be.
Bless the Lord, it’s glory all the way!

It is glory just to walk with Him,
It is glory just to walk with Him,
He will guide my steps aright
Through the vale and o’er the height,
It is glory just to walk with Him.

It is glory when the shadows fall
to know that He is near.
O what joy to simply trust and pray!
It is glory to abide in Him
when skies above are clear.
Yes, with Him, it’s glory all the way!

’Twill be glory when I walk with Him
on Heaven’s golden shore,
Never from His side again to stray.
’Twill be glory, wondrous glory
with the Savior evermore,
Everlasting glory all the way!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ways to Love Your Mother

Confirmed Shouter

Ever since President Nixon’s inaugural plea to "speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices" I’ve had misgivings about my big mouth. I’ve always admired parents who discipline their children in hushed whispers.

"Arthur, you are a naughty boy for turning on all the gas jets. Now I want you to drag your little sister out into the fresh air, give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and apologize. Don’t make Mama have to raise her voice."

I’m a shouter. Once on a vacation, when one of the kids turned on the car heater while going through Georgia, my mother told me they felt the vibrations as far north as Port Huron, Michigan.

No one is born a shrew. I used to watch women getting flushed and angry while they chewed out their children and I’d say to myself, "My goodness, that woman is going to have a heart attack. No one should discipline a child in anger." (I was five at the time and being flogged with a yardstick by my mother.)

Having children of my own knock a hole in that theory.

To begin with, there were only 32 hours out of every week when I wasn’t angry, and then I was sleeping.

Also, I discovered children never took a "No" seriously unless the dishes rattled when you said it. And the real clincher came when I discovered I had runners.

"Runners" are kids who, when they commit some sin, take off for the fields, trees, basements, neighbors, attics or sewers. Did you ever try to whisper to someone you couldn’t see? I took to shouting.

We once had a neighbor who was born out of her time.

I lived next to her for four years, and not once did that disgusting old dame raise her voice. Of course, you can imagine what that made me sound like. (The Shore Patrol breaking up a floating crap game.)

Anyway, one day the boys were throwing a ball against her house and she appeared like an apparition at the door, gestured to them and said softly, "Boys, would you all come here for a moment?"

I watched her gesturing, talking and smiling. When she finished, the boys disbanded. I pounced on my son. "What did that mealy-mouthed little frail thing have to say to you boys?" "She said if we broke her windows, she’d break our faces!"

From that day forward I forgave her for her quietness. What she lacked in volume, she made up in content. What class!

--from Forever Erma by Erma Bombeck, March 5, 1969
Well, that’s a story of one mother. But let’s look at another mother.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" Then saith he to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!"And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:26-27
Mary witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross. Can you even imagine how she must’ve felt?

Jesus turned to John and said, "Take care of her," and looked at his mother and said, "Let him stand in my place as your son." John lived a very long life, and I believe he took care of Mary until she went to heaven.

Jesus was on the cross, bearing the weight of the sins of the whole world on His shoulders, yet He saw to it to make sure His mother was taken care of after He was gone! As God, Jesus was dealing with eternal matters, but as a man, He was showing all of us today how important it is to take care of and love our mothers!

You cannot be willfully wrong with your mother and be right with God.

If your mother is still alive, regardless of your and her ages, you can love her.

Here are some ways to love your mother.

1. Love her verbally. Some men have the philosophy—I don’t have to say, "I love you. You already know it. I have told you before, if I change my mind I’ll let you know!" Or, "I show love, not just say it…" and that may be true, but a woman needs to hear those words, “I Love You!”
Children and spouses need to hear it…and saying it makes you more of a man, not less!
Dear Abby,

I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thirty-six days later, I was on my way to the Philippines. En route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and we were routed to Australia. Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.

On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her. I did, 18 months later, while on a 10-day R-and-R leave from New Guinea.

After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved "Mary" died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found I could not part with hers.

While Mary was alive, she would frequently say, "You don’t know how much I love you." I’d reply, "Likewise." I never said, "I love you." Now her ashes are on my dresser, where I tell her several times a day how much I love her, but it’s too late. Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.

As my dearest was dying and we thought she was comatose, I told her, "There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love you." A few hours later, she whispered, "Not enough words" and died.

The reason I’m writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive. I don’t know why, but many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings.
Our spouses need to hear it. Our children…our mothers also!

Some men would say, “I’m just not turned that way”…then turn around! “I’m just not comfortable”…then be uncomfortable!

2. Love her physically. When’s the last time you gave your mother a big hug without her asking for it…or a kiss on the cheek, or a neck rub, or just sat on the couch and held her hand for a change? (I bet those whose mothers are gone would like to trade places with you.)

She’s the first person whoever touched you…she wrapped you up in her womb for months, and you came out and first priority was to hold you. She cuddled you, stroked your head, rubbed your feet, held your little cheeks against her, gave you a finger to grasp…in love she did all these things, including grooming you with a licked thumb!

When you were little, she could say, “Give me sugar,” and you’d pucker up and she’d accept your wet, sloppy kiss and she even said thank you! You gave her bear hugs so tight she didn’t have to hold on to you…you’d just cling to her as she walked around! She changed your diapers, potty trained you, and held the Kleenex for you to blow your nose! She wiped food off of your face years longer than she should have had to! She constantly touched you! And she may have to hand you off to another, and her life may endured some heavy changes, but she deserves your touch and should never have to give that up completely! It would mean more to her than flowers or candy, or eating out.

Go to a nursing home and there’s not a single instance in which some of those precious old ladies won’t try to reach out and touch someone, a total stranger even! You can tell. They are starved for that simple, innocent brand of physical love.

3. Love her patiently. Mothers have an incredible job with no pay. No position in the business world compares to the physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment she has in motherhood.
No Occupation
She rises up at break of day
and through her tasks she races.
She cooks the meals as best she may
and scrubs the children’s faces
While schoolbooks, lunches, homework too,
all need consideration . . .
And yet the census man insists
She has -- “No Occupation.”

When breakfast dishes all are done
She bakes a pudding, maybe.
She cleans the rooms up, one by one,
With one eye watching Baby.
The mending pile she then attacks
by way of variation.
And yet the census man insists
She has — “No Occupation.”

She irons for a little while,
then presses pants for Daddy.
She welcomes with a cheery smile
returning Boy or Girl.
A hearty dinner next she cooks
(no time for relaxation),
And yet the census man insists
She has—“No Occupation.”
Don’t ever make the mistake of asking a lady, "Do you work, or stay at home?" Many ladies today have to work on top of the full time job they already have.

Love her patiently. Because she’s tender to your needs is no reason to take advantage of her, it’s reason to be patient and to love her all the more! It is unfair for you to be more kind, considerate, patient with your friends and your friend’s mothers than your own mother! If some treated their friends like they treat their mom they wouldn’t have friends. Their mom deserves better. She’s not a rug to wipe every negative thought on! She is not “The Old Lady!”

For us adults with living mothers: Love her patiently.

Dr. Dobson read on Focus on the Family radio:
A letter from an 80 year old woman on her birthday:

To all my children:

I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines...This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles.

I would like for you to come and sit with me, and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together.

I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically.

Please be understanding about my personal care habits. I spill things. I lose things. I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps. Sometimes sleep helps to pass the day.

Well, there you have it: Time, Patience, and Understanding. Those are priceless gifts that I want.

Finally, in his letter, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I know I can, too! It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. I guess being old isn’t so bad after all!

Love, Mom
4. Love her attentively. Mothers listen as you pour out your heart…she has a sympathetic ear, and always has…and even as an adult you’ve gone to her when you want someone who will really listen and understand…and she’ll always be on your side. It’s no wonder we like to talk to mom…she listens…but now she has issues, and now it’s your turn to be her “rock”…and take time to listen…it’s payback time! “But, she’s always complaining”…yes, just like you did! Talks about herself, asks same question over and over…

(Click on the comic strip to enlarge to read.)

Some of you may feel like Calvin’s mother this morning, wondering if anybody’s going to say, "Thank you, Mom, for all the good stuff you do."

Being a mother is a tough job and we recognize and honor that today. She needs a sincere thank you, and not just today, but from a genuinely thankful heart when least expected!

5. Love her generously. There’s nothing too good for her, we could never repay her, but we ought to die trying before she does!

She didn’t spend on herself unless all your needs were met…she could easily do without, and now it’s time for her to have something she wants!
A math teacher asked a question and said, “State your answer as a fraction. If there’s 10 at the table and one apple pie, how much does each one get? “One ninth.” said one student.

“Don’t you know your fractions?” ask the teacher.

“You don’t know my mother! If there’s that many at the table and only one pie, she don’t want any!”
6. Love her honorably.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12

This is binding as long as your mother lives. If the husband is the head of the home, then the mother is the heart...don’t break her heart.

By the way, it’s the only one of the 10 commandments which includes a built-in promise of blessing!

I like reading this every Mother’s Day.

When God Created Mothers

When the good Lord created mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime, when an angel appeared and said, "You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; have 180 moveable parts ... all replaceable; run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that disappears when she stands up; a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointing love affair, and six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pair of hands? No way!"

"It’s not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord. "It’s the three pair of eyes that mothers have to have. One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks ’What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t, but what she needs to know, and of course the ones in front that look at a child when he goofs up and say, ’I understand and I love you,’ without so much as uttering a word.

"I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already, I have one who heals herself when she is sick ...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger ...and get a nine year old to stand under a shower. Not only can she think, she can reason and compromise."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the mother. "There’s a leak," she pronounced, "I told you that you were trying to put too much in this model."

"That’s not a leak," said the Lord, "it’s a tear."

"What is it for?" asked the angel.

The Lord replied, "It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride."

"You’re a genius!" shouted the angel.

With a somber look on his face, the Lord said, "I didn’t put it there."

By Erma Bombeck
How about a hand now for the crowning jewel of God’s creation: our mothers!