Friday, July 29, 2011

Is My Spiritual Life as Thrilling as a Roller Coaster?

I went to an amusement park last week with the kids. It was fun, but in a much different way than when I was in 6th grade and going on roller coasters for the first time.

I had always been terrified, but when going with another family at the age of 11, I succumbed to the pressure and went on every ride that was on the souvenir cup. And boy, am I glad I did!

But this time, as a mom, was definitely different. You see, instead of enjoying the ride in a purely selfish fashion, I was on with my kids.

As we were zooming through the loop, upside down, I was watching my son's face as it turned white, trying to decide if this was a good idea.

As my daughter screamed at the top of the hill after the endless "click click click" I reached out and patted her hand.

And later, when it was dark because the sun had set (the BEST time to ride coasters!), I would strain my eyes to see what was coming so I could call out to her, "We're about to turn left," or "Small drop ahead!"

Then, near the end of the night, the adults took a turn on a ride that was for 54" and older. You know what that means... it was a SERIOUS ride.

As I sat down, my feet dangled in the seat, unable to reach the floor! The "click, click, click" was four times longer than the other rides we'd been on all day, and my heart beat faster as I reminded myself that this was, indeed, safe! I double checked the seat to be sure I was in tight.

Then down we flew, literally, I felt like I was flying, with my feet swaying like a little kid on a stool at the kitchen counter, savoring an ice cream cone and licking it off his hand as it drips. I screamed with abandoned. I laughed and raised my arms as high as they would go. I never wanted the ride to end!

As we walked down the exit ramp, I was still skipping and jumping and shouting. What a thrill!

And then we headed back to our kids, took a few of them to the bathroom, and life set back in.

For a moment there, though, I tasted freedom. Not from parenting. I love being a mom. But freedom from worries. Stress. Cares. Managing the feelings of other people. I felt completely safe in that seat, I loved the ride, and I trusted where it was going.

I so wish I could say that this was a picture of my spiritual life, but I can't. It's more of a battle between knowing the right thing and doing the right thing, even though I don't feel the right way about it. It's a struggle between flesh and the Spirit. I wish I trusted God with that abandon and let all my worries fly away so I could soar with Him wherever His track led.

That's probably impossible right now. Because there ARE worries and cares. Just when we cast them on Him, we get hit with another. And I cannot live in a selfish bubble, thinking only about the fun I'm having on my track with God. I have children and friends and family and my church family, and we are to hold each other up.

But... one day. Oh... one day! I truly believe that the freedom I felt, the joy and complete abandon I tasted, will be a reality! When we can live each day in perfection! Not fighting sin! Not battling with self. Not reacting to the sins of others! Can you taste it? Can you see it?

One day, we will go HOME. And then, we'll be starting the RIDE that will last for eternity.


Psalm 119: The Word in My Life

And today, the final post about Psalm 119. What a gorgeous Psalm about the Word of God! I hope you've been encouraged.

I have a card that's called, "Personal Prayers from Colossians" that is on my desk. I think I'll post next to it the prayers gathered from this Psalm.

Today's post is about how the Word affects -- or should affect -- or could affect -- my life.

The Word in My Life:
A collection of thoughts from Psalm 119

- I love His commandments and delight to do them.
- I am to delight in His statutes and not forget His word.
- God’s testimonies are my delight, my counselors, my comfort.
- I lift my hands up to His commandments, which I love.
- I sing of His statutes in the house of my pilgrimage.
- My lips utter praise and my tongue sings of His word because He teaches me His statutes and all His commands are righteous.
- Even though trouble and anguish surround me, I delight in His commands.

- Even though others sit around speaking evil of me, I meditate on His statutes and His wonders.
- Speaking my testimony before Kings, I will not be ashamed.
- Stand strong in the word, even though the arrogant utterly deride me.
- I esteem right all His precepts concerning everything, and I hate every false way.
- I weep, my eyes shed streams of water, because others do not keep His law.

- I remember the name of the LORD in the night.
- I meditate on Him during the night watches.
- At midnight, I rise and give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances.
- I love the law and meditate on it all day!
- I rise before dawn and cry for help; and then I wait for His words.
- Seven times a day I praise him because of His righteous ordinances.


More About Psalm 119:


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 119: My Commitment to the Word

This is part 4/5 of my dissection of Psalm 119.

My Commitment to the Word
(Or what my commitment to the Word should look like.)

- I have promised to keep Your words.
- I consider my ways and turn my feet to Your testimonies.
- I hasten and do not delay to keep Your commandments.
- I am to meditate on His precepts and regard His ways.
- I must choose the faithful way, clinging to His testimonies, running the way of His commandments, always putting His ordinances before me.
- I am to trust in His word, waiting on His ordinances, keeping the law continually forever and ever.
- I am blessed if I walk in the law of the LORD, observe His testimonies, seek Him with all my heart, and walk in His ways, longing for and keeping His precepts diligently.
- I am to tell of the ordinances, rejoicing in the way of His Testimonies, as much as in all riches.
- My companions are also those who fear You and keep Your precepts.
- Affliction can be for my good, because then I learn to keep Your word, and God is faithful to afflict me.
- When the word is my delight, His compassion gives me life.
- Sometimes I have to wait with longing, but I must never forget or forsake His statutes and precepts.
- I must restrain my feet from every evil way, not turning aside from His ordinances that He has taught me, in order to keep His word.
- I hope for His salvation and do His commandments.
- God graciously deals with me according to His word.


Read the other parts to Psalm 119 here:

The Word Is...
What the Word Does for Believers
Prayers of Psalm 119


Monday, July 25, 2011

Psalm 119: Prayers for guidance, renewal, and strength

I like categorizing and sorting things. As you can see, that's how I've been working through Psalm 119. Today, I'd like to share the prayers of Psalm 119, sorted into three categories.

“Teach me Your Word”
- Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.
- Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statues.
- Teach me Your statutes, and make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I can observe it to the end.
- With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments.
- I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.
- Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.
- Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.
- Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.
- Remember the word to me, in which You have made me hope.
- Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.
- I cried with all my heart; Answer me, O LORD! I will observe Your statutes. I cried to You; save me and I shall keep Your testimonies.
- Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word. Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.

“Be gracious to me”
- Strengthen me according to Your word.
- Deal bountifully with me, that I may live and keep Your word.
- May Your lovingkindness also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your word.
- May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Your law is my delight.
- Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
- Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
- Uphold me that I may be saved, that I may have regard for Your statutes continually.
- Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name.
- Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.
- I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Your precepts.

“Forgive me, and keep me from sin”
- Take away reproach and contempt from me, for I observe Your testimonies.
- Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your law.
- Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to dishonest gain.                                                                         
- Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, emptiness, falseness, worthlessness, and revive me in Your ways.
- Turn away my reproach, shame, which I dread, for Your ordinances, decisions, and judgments are right.
- May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, so that I will not be ashamed.
- Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep your precepts.
- I have gone away like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.


You can see my two others posts about Psalm 119 here:


Friday, July 22, 2011

Psalm 119: What the Word Does for Believers

Gathered from Psalm 119...

Walking according to the Word established my footsteps, keeps my way pure, and keeps me from going astray.
Treasuring His Word in my heart keeps me from sinning against Him.
God rebukes the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from His commandments.


When I am grieving, the Word strengthens me.
Your word revives me and gives me comfort in my affliction.
Running in the way of the commandments enlarges my heart.
His lovingkindness comforts me according to His word.


It produces reverence for God.
The Word gives me hope.


It gives me an answer for those who reproach me and lie about me and set traps for me.
His word redeems me from the oppression of man.
It provides courage when speaking before rulers.
When I wait for His word, others who fear Him see me and are glad.
His commandments make me wiser than my enemies.
Meditating on His testimonies gives me more insight than all my teachers.
Observing His precepts gives me more understanding than the aged.


Seeking His precepts helps me walk at liberty.
The power of His ordinances sustains the earth, causing it to stand.
Those who love the law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.


See previous post on this Psalm: Psalm 119: The Word Is...


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Psalm 119: The Word Is...


  • My counselor.
  • Truth.
  • Righteous.
  • Wonderful.
  • Light.
  • The giver of discernment and knowledge.
  • Better than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
  • Settled forever in heaven.
  • Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
  • A lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
  • A joy to my heart.
  • My hiding place and my shield.
  • The giver of understanding to the simple.
  • Very pure.
  • An everlasting righteousness.
    We learn from John 1 that Jesus is the word, so we could write this list like this...

    JESUS IS...
    • My counselor.
    • Truth.
    • Righteous.
    • Wonderful.
    • Light.
    • The giver of discernment and knowledge.
    • Better than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
    • Settled forever in heaven.
    • Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
    • A lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
    • A joy to my heart.
    • My hiding place and my shield.
    • The giver of understanding to the simple.
    • Very pure.
    • An everlasting righteousness.

    -- Gathered From Psalm 119. More reflections to come from this long but powerful Psalm


    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Chicken & Squash Skillet

    I wanted to use fresh vegetables and herbs from my garden tonight for dinner. My neighbor also shared some of their produce from their garden. Dinner turned out delicious, and I wanted to share it, since I sort of made it up by combining a few recipes.


    Chicken and Squash Skillet

    ·        1 Cup Brown Rice
    ·        2 Cups Water
    ·        1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
    ·        Chicken, 3 boneless skinless breasts, cut into cubes, or equivalent.
    ·        2 T Olive Oil
    ·        Seasoned Salt
    ·        Salt/Pepper
    ·        2 tsp Paprika
    ·        *Fresh Basil, small handful
    ·        *Chives
    ·        *Squash/Zucchini, as much as you want. I used one of each
    ·        Bell Pepper

    1.      Boil water for rice. Add Rice, paprika, and soup. Simmer for ½ the time, about 20 minutes, in large skillet.
    2.      Meanwhile, in separate skillet, heat oil. Cube chicken, sprinkle with season salt, and add to hot oil. Brown approximately 10 minutes.
    3.      Add Chicken to Rice Mixture. Top with chives. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
    4.      Add vegetables, basil, and salt/pepper to taste. Simmer covered until rice is done and vegetables are tender.

    We served a simple salad w/ *garden lettuce and *cherry tomatoes.

    I steeped *mint leaves with *stevia leaves for about 15 minutes and then poured it over ice. Delicious!


    I hope this inspires you! What are you cooking from your gardens?

    * Denotes items from our gardens


    The Candy Key

    What is Summer Sunday School with out candy? It is barren, stale, lifeless. It's an empty void of games and sword drills with no rewards. Competitions with no prizes.

    That was the huge trial our 3-5th graders were facing this Sunday. The candy was locked away in the closet, and I did not have the master key to open it. There were many grown-ups standing around, with lots of great keys that did good things, but none of them were the "right" key to get us what we really wanted: Candy.

    We played Bible Bingo, and there were winners, but I just had to say, "Wait until next week for your reward." Some had memorized their scripture passage, but their reward, also, was locked behind the closed door.

    Only through Tillie, the Sunday School Assistant, could that door be opened, but Tillie was away on vacation.

    But there was good news! Tillie did not leave us forever! When she left, she promised that she would return, and when she did, the key to the candy door would be opened for all! Hallelujah! So although now, the class is stuck in the in-between time, doing good things and earning unseen rewards, trying to live as a faithful Sunday School Student, they are waiting for Tillie, because only through Tillie will they have access to the right key.


    And yes, I did use this as an illustration in class. Did many kids understand it? I'm not sure. It's sort of like a parable of Jesus, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." And with all parables, you can only take them at face value, not over-analyze them.

    So for those who are asking, "What is this post all about? Candy? Huh?" Jesus came, died, and rose again... He didn't stay dead! After visiting with hundreds of people, He returned to Heaven, but has promised to come back to earth. In the meantime, we are to tell others about Him! There are many keys in the world, but Jesus is the only One with the Key to eternity with the Father.

    Jesus said Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6).

    Sometimes it's hard to wait. Sometimes we get squirmy in our seats. We grumble when we're doing our sword drills or making crafts, and when the other kids pull our pig tails or take our seats, we consider giving up.

    But don't lose heart! When He returns, with the symbolic key to the candy door, all will be made right! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!


    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    My Daily Battle

    It's time for me to get real with you.
    I really hate housework.

    I know, I know. No one likes housework. Well, some do, but that's another issue.

    But my problem isn't that I don't like housework. It's that I constantly struggle being content while doing, well, housework.

    I was asked again this week, "Becky, you do so much! How do you get it all done?" Photography, writing, acting, teaching... the answer is easy. I love doing anything that keeps me away from what I'm supposed to be doing! Which is, namely, housework!

    Need a script edited? The dishes can wait. Lee calls and needs something put together for a bid? The laundry sits in baskets. Want the photos uploaded from our recent event together? I'll get right on it... the kitchen floor can be swept later. You posted something really funny about your toddler on facebook? Ok! I'll watch it!

    I keep my house in a picked-up state that always borders on the brink of explosion. And when something massive, like VBS or a large birthday party, hits the schedule, it blows up!

    It will recover, it will. We have a routine where we all divide and conquer and put everything back in its place.

    But here's what I want to master: Contentment while doing dishes. Contentment while folding laundry. Contentment while straightening what I just straightened an hour ago! I want peace that lasts, not just a verse that gets me through the momentary "trial" of LEGOs all over the family room.

    Last night while doing dishes, I pretended I was at a spa, and the warm water was like a relaxing soak of bubbles. It's nice having an imagination.

    But tonight, instead of straightening up (again) while the kids are sleeping, I edited a script for church and blogged.

    The housework will always be there. I'm working on a balance of getting stuff done (which I enjoy) and keeping a well-maintained house. But at the end, when the home is about to go "kabang!" I want to clean with a happy heart.

    The same thing I expect out of my kids.

    I'm praying for it! And every "cleaning day" I pray, "Lord, get me through this without yelling at my kids and biting everyone's head off." He's faithful to answer.

    I just wish it weren't always a fight. Between me and my selfish disdain for the mundane.


    Friday, July 8, 2011

    How to get rid of fruit flies

    It's summer, and with the delicious fruit selection comes the annoying, pesky, hard-to-kill fruit flies. Our house was recently infested with them after an overripe cantaloup sat on our counter. Thankfully, I called in my 10 year old daughter and asked her to make our annual summer fruit fly trap!

    You might be asking, "A fruit fly trap? How do I make a fruit fly trap?"

    Because I know you've tried smacking them with your hands until your palms are as red as their little bodies, but they have successfully out-maneuvered you.

    It's easy. Abby's been making them for me since she was four, back when I had first scoured the internet for a way to rid my home of the miniscule invaders.


    1. Take a glass and insert fruit, any kind. They aren't picky. 
    2. Fold a piece of paper into a cone shape so that the bottom is a very small hole. 
    3. Place the cone into the glass, about an inch or two from the bottom, and tape it securely around the rim of the glass. The flies can get in but they can't get out. For some reason, they can't find the small hole in the cone.
    4. Just take the trap outside when it's full, open a small part of the taped area, and release the flies. 

    And there you have it! This week, we released them three times in one day, we had so many! But now our home is successfully pest free.

    If only I could find a way to easily trap the other things around the house that bug me... like misplaced toys, food crumbs, the "other" socks, dirty sippy cups that hide and grow science experiments...

    Thursday, July 7, 2011


    Blink. It's a card game I play with my kids. Over the weekend, we had a Blink marathon. It's a fast moving game, where you match up the numbers, colors, and shapes. I love that even the youngest kids can play. But the whole time we played, I kept singing the song "Blink" by Revive.

    Then this morning, reading Psalm 90, the song jumped back in my head.

    "Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."

    This summer is zooming fast. I usually start school in August so we get out earlier in May, but I'm dragging my heals at that thought. We haven't had enough lazy pool days!

    And as I plan for fall, I am trying to be so careful not to pack it full of so much good stuff that the days rush by! Already saying no to hundreds and yes to a few activities feels like too much.

    There's a line in the song, near the end, that always haunts me. "Slow Down... slow down." It's at about 2:32.

    I suppose that even if we didn't do any activities at all except living day to day, like summer, time would still keep moving at a quick pace.

    A few verses earlier, the writer says that a thousand years for us are just like yesterday for Him... zip, they're gone.

    "O satisfy us in the morning with your lovingkindness, 
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (90:14)

    If life is going to keep traveling at this quickening pace, then I don't want to waste it complaining or frustrated or angry. I want to be filled with joy because of His lovingkindness! Don't you?


    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    What will Heaven be like?

    [Note: By "Heaven" I am referring to eternity, the new Heaven and New Earth, Rev 21, forever and ever, but it's easier to just say "Heaven." :) ]

    I am allergic to adrenaline. Have I mentioned that? It's not been diagnosed or anything, but with one exception, roller coasters, I do not like to participate in activities that increase my adrenaline.

    Like last weekend, we were out on a boat, and while my daughters were sitting in front, bouncing in the air with every bump and squealing with delight as the waves splashed their faces, I was planted in the back, holding on tight with my boys. I went to my five year old son for advice. "Why don't we like this? We like roller coasters!"

    He wisely replied, "But on a boat, we can drown!" I agreed.

    For my husband, Heaven would be an eternity of adrenaline-spiking activities. If I were there, I would think there was a mistake in the celestial book and I'd been sentenced to hell.

    For me, I see Heaven as a place with unending relationships. Eternal, intensive, personal, intimate, sinless relationship building forever and ever. So many people to truly know and love without the baggage of sin: selfishness, greed, deceit. Ooh, I can't wait! Pour a hundredth cup of coffee and let's talk!

    When I mentioned that delightful idea to my husband, he said, "Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work."

    I'm sure the personality differences are beginning to be evident. I'll blog later about opposites attracting.

    It made me laugh, though. How is God going to create a perfect eternity that suits all of us? I really don't have an answer, but it excites me to find out! Maybe I won't be allergic to adrenaline. Maybe my husband will grow a little more extroverted. Or maybe... it will be beyond anything we can even conceive of here on earth!

    That gets me going! If You could design Heaven, what would it look like?

    Above all, we'll be with Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

    "Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And besides You, I desire nothing on earth."
    Psalm 73:25

    Desiring nothing but Jesus on earth. That's a huge statement, and I'm making it my prayer today.