Frazzled in the Season

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

I found this very apropos writing in a little book of Christmas collections called “Christmas Joy.” It is an adaptation from I Corinthians 13 by Sharon Jaynes. I thought you would enjoy and appreciate it as the clock ticks down to Christmas.

LOVE, FIRST CORINTHIANS 13-STYLE

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family—I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozen of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my familyI’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family—it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ,  I have missed the point.

 

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love  is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of your way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.

by Sharon Jaynes (www.sharonjaynes.com)

May you move into these final days with love, joy, anticipation, and be completely un-frazzled.

I look forward to my son and his family coming in from South Carolina and joining us along with my daughter and her family from here in Louisville. Seven delightful grandchildren and I’m not one bit prejudiced!

Merry Christmas to all.

~ Joyce ~

David – A Man After God’s Own Heart

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

“He (or she) is a person after God’s own heart.” Can you think of anything better for someone to say about you than that?

When King Saul had disobeyed God, Samuel came to him with the news that he had acted foolishly.

“…now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and appointed him leader of his people.” I Samuel 13:14

David was that man. We could talk about this dynamic character for a whole year’s worth of blogs, but I think Samuel’s comment sums him up—a man after God’s own heart.

Oh, yes, we would also have to talk about David’s failures and sins; he was not a perfect man. We would need to be reminded of his overt sin with Bathsheba and the resultant cover-up attempt which eventually led to the murder of her husband, Uriah. In addition, his fatherly instincts with his boys were deplorable, leaving him to flee from one of his own sons who tried to take over the throne.

Yet, he was a man after God’s own heart. 

David lived in a savage time in the history of Israel. God’s command to go in and conquer the  promised land required one brutal battle after the other. Not a pretty sight, yet David was given the gifts of leadership, perseverance, and courage to see it through. He patiently waited his turn for kingship and honored the position of God’s anointed as he waited. In the midst of it all, he sought after God’s own heart.

Through his songs, we see the tender, compassionate side of David.

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning. My God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin.” Psalm 51:1-2 

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6

Do you hear his longing and struggle to have a heart for God? How many times have we heard David refer to God as his rock, his fortress, and strength? And then we hear David’s beautiful comparison of the Lord as his shepherd in Psalm 23.

And so, Jerusalem became known as the city of David. Jesus was often referred to as the Son of David.

While we do not wish to be David and certainly not act like him in particular aspects, we can learn from him to the extinct that we desire to be a person after God’s own heart.

These are some final thoughts about David in my quiet moments these past two weeks as I continue to exercise, rest, and put on ice packs with anticipation of healing. Like so many things in life, we must wait with patience which includes having a heart that resembles God’s own heart.

~ Joyce ~

 

David – Persistence, Patience, Hope

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

 

So what does one do when one is waiting for a replaced knee to heal? Exercise, rest, prop up with ice packs, eat, sleep, pile up ice packs, exercise, take pain pills—did I mention ice packs? Then, of course, spend time in the last thirteen chapters of I Samuel with David on the run from Saul.

Doesn’t everybody do that?

In my ample time for pondering, I’ve wondered if David might have thought about the time when Samuel came to anoint him as the next king of Israel. It was a a quiet little ceremony with family and a few friends. Did it seem like a far away dream to David now?

Here he was—conqueror of the Philistine giant, a leading soldier in Saul’s army, slayer of ten thousands, talented harpist in the kingdom, faithful follower. Why then, why did Saul pursue him? That’s his constant question for Saul.

In last week’s blog, David could certainly have taken Saul’s life, but he didn’t. Another time, David slipped into Saul’s nighttime camp and could have easily killed Saul with the king’s own spear, but once again, David spared Saul’s life. When Saul realized that it was David’s voice he heard across the valley and that David had proof (Saul’s own spear) that he had been within inches of Saul’s head, Saul called out with a sugar-dipped voice,

“Is that your voice, David my son?” I Samuel 26:17, 18

Saul realizes that once again David could have killed him. Somehow David continues to honor the position of the anointed one. David has more honor than the king himself. Saul appears convicted, but David doesn’t buy it. 

David must ask the questions we we all do at times. How did it come to this? What have I done to deserve this? Where are those wonderful dreams of what could be, what should be? Pity-party time.

Yet David perseveres in the midst of it all. He has not forgotten that he is a son of Israel, a child of the one-God. He has gathered together a small band of 600 soldiers, mostly riffraff like himself who have ended up in a runaway status for one reason or another. David manages to find refuge with a Philistine official, persuading the official that he is trustworthy. David and his men are given the land of Ziglag. 

When trouble brews with his own men, he still endures the challenge with patience and verses like these are tucked in the narrative every now and then.

But David found strength in the Lord his God. I Samuel 30:6

David didn’t live to hear Paul speak the following words, but David lived these words.

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but also we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

I’m learning with David that great victories don’t come quickly. Hope comes in baby steps. I struggle to lift a foot or the leg even an inch in exercises. It seems I get nowhere and one day, I can move two inches. Then after hundreds of attempts that knee pops right up where it should be. Victory in struggle! 

How many times must we learn these lessons? As many times as it takes!

~ Joyce ~

 

Fruit of the Spirit – PATIENCE

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

A couple of years ago, my 10 year-old grandson excitedly asked, “Are you ready for your first lesson on your new iPad, Nana?” We sat side by side on the sofa. Instead of  grabbing it away from me to do it himself, he went step by step, ever so patiently, telling me how to navigate my way around—a great example of patience!

Patience. We may sigh and say, “If I’m going to have patience, it will indeed have to be a gift.” Patience smacks of waiting and enduring—even when you’re fighting frustration inside. Well there’s the problem—what’s on the inside? Gifts of the Spirit are more about what we are than what we do. If what we are isn’t in check, then what we do loses its strength.

I’m knee-deep in the process of starting my next book. At this point, the Lord has given me only a partial skeleton of the plot—real partial, like three vertebrae, two fingers and a toe bone. However, because of previous experience, I realize He gives just what I need for the time being. As I faithfully follow those leads, He will reveal more. Patience. In that sense, patience means waiting.

The Lord impressed a favorite verse on me during a very trying time in my life.

Those who hope in the Lord (or as KJV says, “wait upon the Lord”) will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I grew to understand that in order to walk, run, or best yet, soar on wings like the eagles, I had to wait, but not just sit idly by; I had to wait on the Lord. In His time, He miraculously turned things around. 

We’re not talking about waiting with a grumbling and complaining attitude or stomping a foot at God with a fist in the air. What’s in the heart will eventually show itself. No, the Scripture means to patiently wait, wait with expectation and hope, anticipating that He will grow us along the way so we can walk, then run, and eventually soar!

We have those times when we are so exasperated with loads of activity or expectations, or relationships with bosses, co-workers, friends or family members, etc. It is all we can do to endure. It isn’t so much a matter of waiting, but enduring. Both carry heavy negative connotations unless we draw the fruit of patience from the Holy Spirit. So what is patience? In many ways, it is closely akin to peace. It is calm in the midst of frustration. When love is present, it puts a positive slant on our ability to have patience. If we have joy in our soul, it subdues our lack of patience. All the fruit fit together, don’t they?

Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

May I devote my life wholly to Thee:

Watch Thou my wayward feet, Guide me with counsel sweet;

Purer in heart, help me to be.

Remember from last week—Inhale the Spirit, Exhale anxiety.

~ Joyce ~