Samuel 1

Read –Samuel 1

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” (I Samuel 1:10, 11 NKJV)
Hannah, how did you do it?  She was desperate. And she made a promise. A promise to God. She feared God and knew a promise made to Him was not to be taken lightly. Please, she begged. You can have him right back, but let me carry him for 9 months, let me feel his smooth, warm skin on my face when he is born. I will nurse him, rock him, hold his hand. Teach him to know your voice, and then, then, when he is ready to hear you on his own, I will give him back. 
God, help me. Help me with these children. Help me truly trust You with their lives. In the day to day. In the moment to moment. With discipline, with school work, with chores, and dance, and love. I need them to know your voice. Help me release them to you now, trust You with them now,
God is trustworthy. And He can do more with their hearts and lives than I can imagine. 
Losing my temper, yelling, and shaming the children means I have stopped trusting in Gods faithfulness, and His sovereignty. I have elevated myself to the omnipotent one. *I * have to make these children behave. * I * have to make them smart enough.  No. He is enough. And in Him, I am enough.  Not because of my family, not because of my accomplishments, not because of anything I do or say. If  I truly believe that, the stress is alleviated. Once pride is acknowledged and cast down, there remains only Christ, and His righteousness and that is more than enough for me. 
What part of God’s character and man’s responsibility stands out to you in this chapter?

Forget Black Friday, You need this one thing, like I do, and I bet you already have it! Now let’s use it!

If my mom is an “A” personality then I am a “Z.” She loves her calendar, daily compartmentalized vitamins and planning. And dishes. I think she even loves doing dishes. Sometimes people will ask me if I do xyz everyday and my answer is always the same. “There isn’t much I do EVERY DAY.” Consistency isn’t my thing. Spontaneity? Yes. Flexiblity? Most of the time. Laid back-ability? Yup. Routines? Um, not so much. I am trying. Really. And little by little I have seen change in my life. And that gives me hope. But on those days when I feel like I will never change those habits that most need changing…. I hear that argument from “My Best Friends Wedding” with Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz….this one….

Man I am tech savvy!!! I can’t believe I just inserted a video in a blog…. But I digress. You are NEVER going to be JELLO!! I hear this in my head, a lot! But in my case it would be Creme brulee’….  Because I am easily Jello! And to some extent, that is a good thing. The world needs jello. I love being jello. God made me jello, kind of, ok, my analogy might be coming apart at the seams. But my point is this.  I am distinctly different in some ways that are very positive,  and yet there are some things that could really use an upgrade! And the good news is, while creme brulee’ can never be Jello, I serve a God that changes water into wine! Can I get a witness!!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, so one of those upgrade needing areas in my life is my quiet time with the Lord. “Quiet Time” and “5 children” don’t seem to fit in the same universe, but I know it can. I know this, because it has happened. I have made that choice to make it happen, prioritizing and such, but not daily. Not every day.

I have been on a “Read your Bible in a year”  plan for about 3 years….and I am still in the Old Testament! To add insult to injury, I just heard that in the last three years a man tweeted out the entire Bible. Yikes. It makes no sense for me NOT to open the word every day. Almost every time I open the Word, it’s as if God knew just what I would need at that moment. I mean, reading through Job when your daughter breaks her arm in two? Coincidence? Sure, you can think so, if it was just that one time. But any child of God (by this definition) can concur. The Bible is living and active and can and will speak to you in whichever circumstance you find yourself, especially when you get on a regular reading regimen.

Here’s the thing. I need accountability. My house is always cleanest right before someone is going to come over and see it. I always floss my teeth the week or day before I go to the dentist. I study most the night before a test. I work out more when someone meets me at the gym. And I know I am not unique.  Despite the socialism mindset that is trying to sweep the country, we as humans simply operate most efficiently when there is a deadline, based on accountability or reward. So you, my dear friends, are invited to be my accountability partners! I am going to be reading through Samuel I, a chapter a day (or so). And I would love for you to join me. I am going to open up the comments section so you can share too. Also, make sure to follow through email so you get that daily reminder.

Now, for my grace loving friends, I want to make this clear. I am not doing this to “earn points with God.”  Just like I wouldn’t take my vitamins every day to “earn points with my body.” But I am doing this because I need to. Like I need to drink more water, like I need to get more sleep. But this need actually trumps all those physical needs because everything hinges on the well being of my spirit. Everything.

So if you want to join me, let’s go!! And if you get behind, just jump in. Or catch up, or whatever. There is no guilt. There is only the natural rewards of the power of God’s Word when you do, and the grace of His mercies being new every morning when you don’t.

My main suggestion is to read the passage and meditate on it by yourself, in addition to the blog. God’s Word will not return void and His words are life. And I will only be quoting verses, not the whole passage. Unless I just can’t help myself!!

What do you think? Who’s in?

You’ll never guess what I am wearing!!

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
Mother Teresa

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
Joseph Addison
Whenever I go to the store, I am constantly amazed at how many angry/depressed/empty faces there are around me. Especially when right in front of them are five of the cutest kids to ever walk the planet! I mean, lets just start with the littlest….have you seen this guy? How can you look at a three year old boy and scowl. He’s not screaming. He’s just chilling, looking ridiculously adorable. Yet the grumpiness is strong. Ok, but let’s leave the munchkins out of it. Let’s say it was just me. Plain old me. And you met eyes with me. What would you do? I will tell you what most people do. Nothing. They look at me like I was a sack of potatoes. Or paint on the wall. Or like I was totally invisible. People look right at my eyes and then look down as if I wasn’t there at all. Women, men, old, young, this condition knows no boundaries. No one smiles anymore in South Florida. But I do. I am on a smiling mission. Mostly because I am acutely aware that I have a million and one things to smile about. Even on a day like today, when nothing seemed to go the way it was supposed to, the list of things I have to be thankful for is endless, number one being I know Jesus, the One that holds my future. Why wouldn’t I smile? Now hear me on this, I know it is hard to smile in a Wal-mart, or Target, or even Aldi. 😉 Today I spent the first 20 minutes at Target in the restrooms, between three little children that apparently had too many raisins. Twenty minutes. But then, once I got past that adventure, I saw this sweet blond mommy at the checkout, with a three year old, one year old, and baby twins. Lord have mercy. And I smiled at her, and told her what a beautiful family she had. And she smiled back. Two mommies, having a conversation through a smile across a room. Ahhhhhhh. It’s a great feeling when people smile back. It’s a connection. You can feel it in your heart. Especially in south Florida. Because it’s a 50/50 shot (or less) that someone will actually smile back at you.
When it comes to shopping malls, or super stores, there are three levels of miserable people, as far as I am concerned.
There is level 1- just scowling and grimacing, or blank stares…they may glance at me or my children, but there is no change in expression, unless it is to scowl more.
Then level 2- Those that look right at my eyeballs, and then look away as if it never happened at which point I start contemplating the probability that I am actually invisible.
Then def-con level 3- Those that look right at my eyeballs long enough for me to eek out a smile and THEN they look away. Zero response. Who doesn’t smile at a smile?
Here is my disclaimer. There is a lot of pain and tragedy in the world. Horrible, unthinkable events are occurring as I type. My heart is grieved by this and I am not saying that all should walk around with a stupid grin on their face. But, man, the percentages of grumbly faces surely cannot reflect the percentages of people in the midst of personal tragedy. Most of these solemn sour pusses are just tired of life.

Proverbs 15:13

A joyful heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

We are entering a season that for most is a joyous time. But for some it is a very hard time. If you are a believer, and your heart is filled with joy, man, now is the time to let that light shine. Because although I mentioned three levels of miserable people, I left my favorite level till last.
Level 1/2- These people have the tell tale long face, but upon receiving your smile, their face lights up, like they didn’t know people still smiled. I am telling you. I see this one A LOT! And there is nothing like it. It’s authentic and inspiring, and it brings to life all the quotes I presented to you today. Take the smile challenge and see how many people you can smile at when you are out and about. Like a big “from your heart” smile. And if you can’t, if you are the weary one. Jesus has this invitation for you. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Take Him up on it. Every day.

Who are you to judge?

I knew a girl, she changed the lives of thousands. And her funeral, every eye filled with tears, every heart broken. What was her contribution? How did she leave such an indelible mark on so many? Was it her flawless face and perfect body? Or her high IQ? Maybe it was her way with words, or her athletic aptitude? No. It couldn’t have been those things. She lived a short 18 months. Never a word was heard from her lips. So much medication and drugs to keep seizures at bay that she could barely hold her head up. But that sweet face, at her first birthday, her pig tales, her family that adored her every breath. Life changing. My life was changed.

A pastor, with a wife and two children, motivational speaker, world renown.  This man. So badly burned as a two year old, not a limb was left intact. Who would have thought? His  life, so purposeful. So impacting. Such quality.

A pastors wife. Three sons, a loving husband and a story to tell. Her life, it almost wasn’t. Her grandmother was raped. Her grandmother chose life. She is here because of a choice so few would agree with.

 I could go on and on and on. I really could.  Should I? Ok. I have to. Baby Samuel. He lived only a few hours. I still remember the day I saw his picture slideshow through a friend on facebook. His parents knew, their time with him outside of the womb would be limited. They treasured every minute. Their lives? Forever changed. Would you like to ask them how many lives were changed by their first son? I would venture to guess the number might surpass the number of those affected by the average “normal” life.  With so much talk these days about life and death and who deserves one or the other based on what their *quality* of life will be.  It makes me wonder, what about you? What is your quality of life? Should we measure? Should we compare?  I would like to ask those making these life and death decisions, oh great knowers of the future, could you, would you, have predicted the impact of these lives? Could you have imagined? 

  “Do not judge!” is proclaimed constantly by those that are clearly critical of a Biblical worldview. Yet in an instant these same voices are ready to judge, to end a life, because they have found it wanting.

“Celebrate diversity!”  is our country’s mantra. But what, I ask you, is more diverse than the group of individuals I just introduced to you? Is our world celebrating them? They have something to teach us. Their lives are worthy of celebrating. But that is not happening.
My heart has been heavy these past 40 days. 40 days of life. 40 days of praying. Fervently. To save the least of these. Desperately. My friend invited me to stand out front of an abortion clinic. I have never done this. I did not want to do this. But I did. Want to. I had to. Do. Something more.  So we went. Me and my traveling party. Some mommies are scared to keep their babies, I explained.  So they do something horrible. They don’t know. They are blind. We need to go and pray. Pray that they will do what is right. The children understand. They agree. So we stood. And we prayed. And it was incredibly powerful. Like nothing I have ever ever done. And I need to write about it. I need to, but the words won’t come. Because  I need them to be perfect. Because I need this to stop.
Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
― Edmund Burke
This is what is happening right now. People don’t know. And we are repeating. This is what I know of history. I know that countless German Christians hid away their Jewish friends, and neighbors, to save them, including, but not limited to, the well known Corrie ten Boom.  I know that Christian men like  Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought Hitler from day one until he, Bonhoeffer,  was executed 23 days before the German surrender. I know that some Christians fought. Hard. But I also know that some didn’t. Or I should say, some that called themselves Christians, didn’t. And millions died. Because there lives were not considered to have value. So we can ignore history, or we can learn from it. 
But people, we not only have history, we have the future! You see, our friends across the pond. Ya know, the sinking ship we left hundreds of years ago, they kept sinking. And have reached new lows. 
Gender selection abortions? They are happening in England. Right now.  Oh darn, I wanted a boy. Abortion. Try again. It’s not supposed to be legal, but
Ann Furedi, the cheif executive of their biggest abortion provider says it would be “wrong” to refuse to consider an abortion request from a woman who cited the sex of her child as a reason.
I’m sorry, What? 
Or  How about Mr Lister a deputy mayor, also of the UK,  who gave his solution to the high cost of caring for disabled CHILDREN : “I would guillotine them.”

Did you read that?It’s  sickening. and all were “outraged.” He had to quit.  But I can’t figure out why.  Isn’t this what society teaches? Old people, tiny babies, and the disabled. What good are they? He just had the nerve to say out loud what countless people believe. 
But Christian, I am also talking to you. Why? Well, statistics say that almost 80 percent of Americans claim to be Christians, yet, 40 percent think abortion should be legal every.single.time. every.single.way. You don’t have to be a math major to see those numbers don’t add up. The bible tells me the world is blind, and I have to repeatedly remind myself of this, because man, the things they say, are crazy making. But you church. You should know better!!! 
We have in office a man who told planned parenthood, that the ban on partial birth abortion was “disturbing.” Sit with that for a minute. Please. Let all of those words filter through your brain. The ban that said “no you can not crush the skull of a baby and rip it out piece by piece” the ban, yeah, the ban is the disturbing part to this man.
Then we have Gosnell. Whose real crime was having a dirty office. His crime was getting caught. You know he is not alone, right? But again, all were “outraged”, its so hypocritical.  Yes, he was convicted of beheading babies born alive. But, who  would consider that a criminal offense? Our president? Not exactly. Oh and planned parenthood, What do they think should happen to a baby that escapes an abortion? They say  “we will leave that to the doctor and the mother. “
Elections come and go, and really hip Christians say things like “I don’t vote on one issue. ”  Well how diverse. But please forgive me for wanting “doctors” to stop ripping the limbs off of babies so badly that I placed that ONE issue above the rest.  Because when a baby is teething. TEETHING, we fill them with Tylenol just to ease the pain, but a few months earlier, tearing off their arm? Well, that is a choice and just one issue. and who would vote based on that. Tearing off an arm. Someone help. 
This can’t keep happening. And there is so much more we can do *in addition* to voicing our conviction with our vote. But none of those things are going to happen, unless their is a fundamental shift in the way, we, who call ourselves Christians, view the sanctity of life, and reject Hollywood’s definition of worth and beauty and replace it with what the Bible teaches.
Every life is filled with purpose. Those with special needs are especially filled with purpose. The stories that I shared, could be multiplied over and over. They are not unique. There was so much pain, but they were also given a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. Their purpose comes from their common denominator. In each story, their lives were surrendered to the power and will of Christ. 
 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28