Promises, Promises–Word Up Wednesday

dove chocolates

It’s not a secret that I am a chocolate lover. I am particular fond of Dove chocolates, or “Promises” as they are called. I bought a couple of bags Monday for a women’s event we were having at church–they were on sale so I got milk chocolate and caramel. This means I got a lot of promises, well, if you want to call them that.
“Daydream.” “Take a moment for yourself.” “Time for chocolate relaxation.” “It’s a definitely a bubble bath day.” These aren’t exactly promises. They’re more like instructions, opinions . . . or suggestions, maybe. But promises, nope, ain’t buyin it.

Why? Because I know promises. I stand on promises. I teach promises, and “It’s definitely a bubble bath day,” is not a promise.

I am thankful to serve the God of promises: Promises of faithfulness, provision, hope and a future, and promises to protect, equip, forgive and sustain. Promises like:

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

or

Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

or

Isaiah 64:4
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

There’s just not enough room in one blog to share all the promises of God. But I do know that they are promises– God’s word that He will do the things He says He will do. The knowledge that He is faithful to keep His promises gives me peace, hope, security, rest and comfort unmatched by any chocolate promise out there. God’s promises never fail and they’re not harmful to your cholesterol levels either!!

And that’s the word up this Wednesday.

Dora the Explorer–Tiny Tot Tuesday

When I was in junior high, I took Spanish. I don’t remember much, I was terrible at it. I can still count to 10, and say “hello” and “goodbye”, and I have a faint recollection that the Hispanic name the teacher gave me was “Dora”. As I remember it, kids in the class kind of laughed at the name. But that, of course, was long before the days of Dora–The Explorer!!! I’m sure if we were back in that class today, I could get teased in a whole new way, but I do believe the name carries just a little bit higher level of respect than it used to–unless you have been watching with your kids for the past 12 years.

As I was thinking about this blog, God brought these memories back to mind, and I found myself giving Him thanks for making me into a grown up version of Dora the Explorer. I have found my greatest joys and passions from exploring His Word, and from sharing my discoveries with those around me–especially my children and the children I minister to. I am so thankful for the power and excitement of God’s Word and the healing, strength and direction it gives.

It can seem like a challenge to share Christ with toddlers and preschoolers. But the truth is that it is never too early to begin to instill in your children the desire to explore God’s Word for themselves. Even our littlest treasures can begin to find the great treasure that lies within those pages. Often times, the ways to help them do that are right at our fingertips. For example:

Where I live we are truly blessed to have an abundance of eagles that nest here during the winter. It’s beyond awesome to watch them soar across the dam and the river banks each day. Recently, we have gone out several times to watch them, catch some pictures of them and just marvel at their beauty. Then I found this “super cute” little craft that could easily be made at home with your tiny tots to help them learn a powerful piece of Scripture while also helping them to marvel at the goodness of God’s creation. (You can find it here http://www.blessedmommyblessedwife.blogspot.com/2011/06/eagle-handprint-art.html)

eagle print

In choosing to do an activity like this with your kids, simply add in a minute or two to look up the passage in the Bible, show them where it is and read it to them. You can even spend a little time soaring around the room while you wait for the paint to dry!!! Then hang that artwork up and say the verse together throughout the coming days!

Often, it’s the simplest of activities sprinkled among the things already in our days that help our children explore and discover the greatness of our God. In doing so, we also find ourselves soaring on wings like eagles as we explore and discover the joys of sharing Christ with our kids.

Signs

This morning I was travelling up to Marion, Iowa, to speak to a wonderful group of MOPS Next moms. I had a little over two hours to drive and found myself looking forward to the time alone in the car with my podcasts, music library and some Jesus talkin time. I left a little early just to be sure I would arrive on time, because, after all, “one never knows what may happen now, does one?” (Thanks, mom, for those words of wisdom)

As soon as I left the house I saw my first sign. Twelve eagles were flying over the Mississippi River Bridge. I mean they were soaring. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah’s words, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I have never seen so many eagles out at one time. I laughed a little thinking that they were probably always out at this time of day, I just usually wasn’t. And I had to think that an increase in eagles means winter is on its way–signs of things to come. What I didn’t think was that those eagles could be signs of things to come today. But. . .maybe I should have.

Because as I drove out of town singing about how “emotional girls should all wear mood rings,” I saw loaded propeller trucks coming up from the opposite direction preparing to turn onto “my” highway. Propeller trucks are the semis used around here to transport wind turbine propellers. To say they are huge is an understatement. There are always several small trucks with their “oversized load” signs driving nearby (like we wouldn’t notice their oversized load), and I thought to myself, I really need to use this when I speak. I mean how many times do we feel like the load we are carrying is just bigger than it should be? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just have a sign on the day as we started it out? WARNING: TODAY IS AN OVERSIZED LOAD DAY. Be alert! Proceed with caution and all will be fine! Maybe we could even have our own sign so that others could be prepared when they see us coming. “Wuh-oh, slow down, woman with an oversized emotional load coming this way.”

Although the oversized load slowed down my trip, I wasn’t worried. I was soaring like the eagles, singing about God’s faithfulness and how I was never, ever, ever getting back together with my old life when I saw the “construction zone” and “reduce speed ahead” signs. (That and miles of orange cones) So of course, I reduced my speed, determined not to let the fact that I was now driving what seemed like endless miles at 55 instead of 65 bother me, and thought again about those eagles, and how good God was to prepare me first thing today for the waiting I would again be facing.

I finally made it through the construction zone and continued to soar when I found myself coming up on a lighted sign that, I must admit, I missed part of—why do they put moving words signs out on roads filled with semis anyway??? I did see the words “expect delays,” but I must have missed a few other details. Again, my mind went to the talk I was about to give (which was quickly becoming delayed in its own right) because we often face barriers and delays, and wouldn’t it be nice if there was a sign to warn us? Little did I know I was actually going to have time to rewrite my talk (although I wouldn’t because that would have been unsafe to do while driving!) No doubt, that last sign should have read, “Expect Major Delays and Prepare to Drive 2 Miles an Hour for the Next 20 Miles.” Yeah, I know. . . that would have been too many words for the electronic sign.

So as I sat and sat and sat and sat, I thought about those eagles and I thought about those signs and I thought about the blog I would write instead of the talk I would not be re-writing, and I realized that God usually does give us signs, and He often gives us warnings. It’s just that we are often so caught up in so many other things that we don’t see them. As a result our responses and reactions are often reckless, dangerous and filled with impatience over things we can’t change, rather than calm and purposeful as we wait patiently on the One who has everything under control.

So take this as a sign: When we slow down a bit, open our eyes and watch for the signs, we can truly wait upon the Lord, allowing Him to renew our strength so that we can soar through the delays, road blocks, narrow paths, and detours that come our way, and we can do it all with joy—a sign to others of the power of God at work in us.

Consider all joy, my friends, when you face trials of many kinds for the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3