Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Boy Jesus

In the gospel written by the doctor Luke (was he Paul's personal physician?), we read the only story we have recorded of our Lord Jesus as a boy. I admit that this story brings me more questions than answers and I love the intrigue! Sometimes my questions express my confusion; here, my questions express my awe and my draw to know Him more intimately.
In Luke 2: 41, this story begins with the time and place - not unusual for a good story. This story is unveiled during the Feast of the Passover. What must it have been like Jesus to hear the story of the Passover? When He was 12, did it 'click'? What was it like watching a distracted young mother tend her children during this feast? Or a middle-aged man who had grown bored with the yearly tradition? Or was He already looking ahead to a Passover that would happen about 21 years later - the one where He became the Sacrificial Lamb? Did he know when He was 12 that He would be The Firstborn to redeem the people He was eating beside?
What was it that drew Him to the temple? What was it like for Him to sit among the teachers, listening to them asking them questions. What would Jesus question?
What must it have been like for Mary to search for her special son for 3 days? I wonder if she was trying to figure out a way to tell God that she had lost His Child?
What was the look exchanged between Mary and her oldest son when he was found? Was it a look that brought her to her knees in worship?
Just a few questions I'm pondering today as I journey to work. I want to know You, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Mentoring Relationship

I love the concept of mentoring. It is a 'hot' topic today - lots of meanings, lots of places to use the idea. The definition I use is: A mentor is someone further down the road from you, who is going where you want to go, and is willing to shed some light on your path to help you get there too. I can just see her -- a woman just a few steps in front of me, walking backwards - gracefully, holding a lantern on the road just ahead of my next step. Her voice is so gentle as she urges me and encourages me to continue following her.
I LOVE my mentors! Please note this definition says nothing about age. I have been mentored by some women years younger. I have been blessed with many. I want to carry this theme on in future blogs. But today I want to thank a few of my mentors.
My daughter, Jenny, has been a patient mentor to me: from her I learn authenticity, unconditional love, and how to grow in Christ even when you don't get your way. I love sharing life with her. She is a great shopping buddy!
My daughter-in-law, Kayci, who is teaching me how to ask the hard questions. She and I can sit for long periods of time on the beach and read and talk and laugh!
My daughter-in-law, Jennifer, who is teaching me how to be gentle, how to love people more. She emulates kindness and acceptance. I love her precious phone calls just to check on me. I love her help in the kitchen!
I LOVE my girls! We share something rare and rich!
My sweet co-worker, Vicki, draws me into Sabbath rest.
My precious friend, Judy, teaches me what it means to be servant. Her home is one of my favorite places to be!
Saturday, I was with Richardson East Church of Christ. So many wonderful sisters in the Lord. Susan is precious - so is Maria, Carla, and - wow! - so many sweet faces. There was one sister that I found myself continually drawn to because of her eyes of encouragement. I would love to sit at the feet of the older woman who sat on my right (the 2nd table back). She was giving me guidance all the way (through her eyes and through repeatedly mouthing 'amen') - to step into faith and be bold in my proclaiming of the power of Christ in transforming our lives.
My 'girlfriends' continue to hold the lantern on my path.
God, thank You for sending me powerful mentors. Please give me a teachable, spongy heart!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

When the Girls Get Together!

I'm already fired up! In about 2 1/2 hours I get to meet with about 50 friends and study the book of Luke. I believe - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that something special happens when the girlfriends get together to study God's Word and share prayer requests.
I LOVE the visual I get when I read Romans 15: 5-7 --
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring to bring praise to God."
Can you just picture it with me - beginning at about 7 tonight, when God looks at the fireplace room of the Decatur Church of Christ building, He sees one mouth and one heart lifted to Him.

Lord, we long to bring You praise and glory. Bless the study of Luke tonight. May Your Son's birth be real for us and may we find the treasures planted in Your Word just for us - Your daughters! Thank You, Father, for the Gift of Jesus. May we always choose to bring You glory! In the Name of the Perfect Lamb, Jesus,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Praising God

Last week, in our Wednesday night ladies' Bible class, we began a study of the gospel written by Dr. Luke. I have fallen in love with this book already. So many key components! Luke has so much about prayer, women, children, the Holy Spirit, the underdog (the poor, oppressed, the outcast), eating and laughing, and "praising God". That phrase - "praising God" - is mentioned more times in Luke than in the rest of the New Testament altogether.
I have decided, after just sharing from chapter 1, that I want to be like Elizabeth. Everyone this precious woman came in contact with praised God. It says so much about her!
1. The angel directed Mary to Elizabeth's house immediately following his message to her. He knew the blessing she needed to hear and the power Elizabeth's words would carry. Mary was certain to face many days uncertainty ahead but Elizabeth focused her on God's hand.
2. Mary is free to worship God in Elizabeth's presence because she knew Elizabeth 'got it'. Mary boldly begins one of the greatest praise songs of all times!
3. When John was born and Zechariah could speak again, he didn't begin by complaining. Rather immediately when Zechariah's mouth was opened, he begin to praise God. (vs. 64) Note only had his lips been opened but also the eyes of his heart - maybe after watching his wife for nine months.
4. Their neighbors were all filled with awe and began to spread the news about the hand of the Lord.

Who is your Elizabeth? Who continually points you to praise?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Josh

Twenty-five years ago today, my life was forever changed with the birth of our second child, our first 'man-child'. Joshua Louis Ross was born at the end of the hottest summer that has ever hit Abilene, Texas.
I did not have brothers - just one sister and, quite honestly, never pictures myself having a son. I never pictured myself enjoying dirt and sunny baseball games on Saturday afternoons. I never pictured myself signing the paperwork for my child to play a sport where they are suited up head to toe in pads with an ambulance with open doors in the end-zone, with a doctor and a trainer (who our family grew to trust more than any doctor) on the sidelines. I never pictured myself watching the man I parented with cheer after the games when our child came home to announce that he had won the Slobber-Knocker award in the Friday night game. (We had taught him, and I thought rather well, that in our family we don't hit people.) I never pictured myself having a child that played the 'monster' or the 'blood' position. (I'm still not sure I have that right.) I never pictured myself loving every minute of watching him play.
He has grown from preaching on the hearth of our living room to his older sister and younger brother to preaching from a real pulpit to sisters and brothers in the family of God.
I so identify with the verse in Luke that says that Mary treasured the things about her son in her heart. Josh, the Lord has provided so many treasures of you for my heart! Thank you for being such a source of strength and faithfulness in the last year when the road has been so hard. Thank you for being a lover of family prayer! Thanks for being a passionate sharer in gems found in God's Word!
I love you and can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use you in the years to come! He has certainly blessed this mother with your presence! You are a joy!
Happy, happy birthday!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who's on the throne of your heart?

A few years ago, Rick and I went to a concert by Michael W. Smith. The whole night was an amazing and incredible experience but the moment I remember as a stand-out was when the lights dimmed and M.S.W. walked to the end of the stage and quoted Psalm 139. Powerful! I am convinced he had taken ownership of David's words.
Glance into the thoughts David shares here with me --
Bottom line: God made us; He is crazy about us; and He will never leave us. He knows more about me than I have a clue! Let that settle for a moment. The God Who knows it all and can't help but love us anyway. The One Who knows every thought that ever whizzed across my mind and every thought that held me captive - He continues to invade my heart and He longs to pour more of Himself in it! Go figure! My mind cannot comprehend it!
Just yesterday, I was reflecting on verse 13 in Psalm 139. Malaya and I were searching through the craft department of Wal-Mart. I stumbled across the knitting needles - I don't knit - but I couldn't help but pause for just a moment and wonder what size needle did it take for God to 'knit me together in my mother's womb"? I picture His hands as HUGE but His touch as so intricate that maybe the needles were too small to be seen by human eyes. Oh, excuse me - sometimes I get lost in my imagination of figurative words of scripture.
You see, in my very vivid imagination, I picture a scene something like this:
When the Creator set my heart beating inside my mother's womb, He placed His thumbprint right smack dab in the middle of it! As I grew, that print eventually developed into a throne. Then came the day - at least the first day - that God began to whisper to my heart - "Who do you choose to sit on the throne of your heart, Bevie?" I remember the first time I chose Him for real - the first time I claimed as the Lord of my life in public - right there in front of my church family.
But then came a day over 2 decades later, that I began to cry out to the Lord for help. I was doing everything 'right' I knew to do - my hands were so busy! but I had an unsettling in my heart. Through my tears, I begged Him for help - I knew there had to be more. I didn't know what else I could DO but I was certain there had to be more to walking with the Lord because His peace and His joy were not radiating in me. I was kneeling beside my bed begging Him with the same words over and over when suddenly, I felt certain He was writing a message on my heart: "Check your heart, darling daughter. Check your throne."
You see by this time in my life, I was married (to a minister) and the mother of 3 precious children. I adored Rick Ross. I have unbelievable maternal instincts. I was made to be a mama. But, clearly, my husband and my children do not belong on the throne of my heart. Would you agree with me that whatever God gives us for good, Satan can use as His playthings. (I just hate that about him.) I begged the Lord right then and there to help me, to show me, to guide me how to take those precious loves off His throne. Nothing belongs in that spot but God Himself. His throne only feels at peace when it gets to conform to Him.
Since that about 10 years ago, My Father continues to gently nudge me when something gets in the way of Him having His rightful place in my heart. Nothing else belongs there - not my self-identity, not my church family, not my profession, not ANYTHING - just Him. What a sweetness is found when God is seated on the throne of my heart. I think I'll close and do a throne-check for a few minutes. (I have to do it more frequently now I know what it is.) Won't you join me? Let's act like the princes and princesses we have been chosen to be!
Clean us up, Lord! We want to be yours! Reign in us, Father! Take a seat! We choose You as King of our hearts!
Can I get an amen?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

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