Scripture, Short Devotion
Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. --Mt. 5:16
I was shopping at my favorite store the other day for stocking stuffers, and I happened to have all four kids with me. I know this sounds like lunacy, but I
had little choice in the matter wanted their help wanted to feel like I was spending some quality holiday time with them like the mothers with cute Christmas vests who stitch their children's name by hand on the stockings and put lit up reindeer in the yard. If you are that mother, I applaud you. You are an inspiration to the rest of us slackers.
Anyway, I was making my way down the very narrow aisle, all four children in tow (and on their best behavior, I might add), when one of my daughters accidentally bumped into another customer. Being that it is the Christmas season, I put on my best "mother" face and said,"Sweetheart, you bumped in to her. Say excuse me." At which point the lady, who happened to be
a child hater old scrooge annoyed with said daughter replied in a very Christmasy way, "yes, in fact we have bumped into one another several times, haven't we?" before turning and stalking out the door of the shop.
Now, had I not been in the motherly mindset, and in particularly the Christmasy motherly mindset, I may have not been nearly as steamed about this. However, the case was as stated, and in response to the unsportsmanlike attitude of the
mean lady, I'll have to tell you I thought a whole string of un Christmasy thoughts about her as she turned her back on my daughter's apology. Of course, the Lord didn't ignore my fleshly upheaval and as I drove home, and pervaded my thoughts with the following:
This time of year, it is easy to hand out smiles to carolers, little old ladies, and salvation army santas. We pat ourselves on the back for letting perfect strangers out onto the road in front of us, even when they have a Darwin fish on the back of their car, because it's Christmas, right? 'Tis the season to be kind to others and point them to Christ; besides, we feel this is our duty as good Christian people. But when someone takes the gas pump we have been waiting for, or the register that the checker motioned to us for at the grocery store, or that last Christmas Barbie that we were reaching for, it is just so easy to behave in like manner, pushing and shoving, giving dirty looks, or just simply thinking dirty thoughts.
My point is, perhaps we should take a look at our habits this Christmas season--not our Christmasy habits that we don like gay apparel for 30 days, as long as we are not offended, and then take off on New Year's--but the ones we revert to when we are angry at someone who cut us off, or snubbed us at the restaurant, or even disregarded our well-meaning and sensitive child. The year is too short to hide our light under a bushel of selfishness; there are too many lost to pay them heed only once a year. So friends, let's let our lights shine, no matter what! And let it shine all year long!
As my pastor turned our attention to the accounts of Mary and Joseph concerning the Christmas Story (Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25), I noticed a certain missing "something" in the passage describing Mary's experience. There was the part about the angel giving her the great news, the part about her finding favor with God, and even the part about her being afraid yet obedient to God's will. What I didn't find, however, is the part about how she tried to convince Joseph of what the Lord had told her, and how she had persuaded him to follow God's direction. That part wasn't there because that's not how it happened. The Lord gave Joseph a word completely independent of Mary, based on Joseph's relationship with Him and personal in that way.
I think sometimes we strive to express what God has spoken to us in the deepest places of our heart with the one dearer to us than anyone else in this world, and we are often frustrated when he doesn't understand what we are trying to say. There's nothing wrong with sharing what the Lord has laid on our hearts with our spouse, but maybe we shouldn't place so much importance on whether or not they comprehend fully what we have caught a glimpse of. The Lord will speak to him at the right time, and based on his relationship with the Savior. If we are unwilling to be patient in waiting for the Father, perhaps we should contemplate whether or not in a small way we are seeking to take His place in our spouse's life. However, if we will trust the Lord in speaking His plan in His time and in His way, we can be sure that He will be effective in a complete way, and our spouse will be drawn into a more loving relationship with our Savior.
Take a piece of fiction that you are familiar with, and find a particular reference in it that you can expound on. For example, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, I could choose the sentence, "When I had attained the age of seventeen, my parents resolved that I should become a student at the university of Ingolstadt (first sentence in chapter 3). Research the statement in some aspect, such as "university of Ingolstadt," and write about why this author may have chosen to include this reference. Think about plot and character development, historical setting, and thematic element that are linked to the reference. Is it used as an allusion to draw the reader farther into the piece, or is it part of a broader idea that the author is trying to communicate?
2 lbs. ground beef or chicken breast
1 large can (28 oz) enchilada sauce ( I like Old El Paso's green chile sauce)
20 small flour tortillas or white corn tortillas (I use the corn ones)
3 cups cheddar-jack shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 and spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray
Cook meat just until pinkness is gone over medium heat, but do not overcook. Drain groundbeef or cube the chicken, whichever you are using.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups cheese, meat, and 2 cups of the sauce.
Place about 2 spoonfuls into each tortilla and roll up, placing fold-down in baking dish.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake about 25 minutes.
O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
A wise soul once said, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That person surely understood that our God is a God of order, and that He establishes everything for a time and a season. The key to peace within is to trust Him to reveal to us whatever He wills today, for His will is perfect in benefit. Our opportunity lies in grasping with our whole being that which He has laid before us in this moment, for this season. Put aside your worries about what you do not know and do not understand; He will give you that key when it is time for you to open that door. Find joy in the door you have before you and thank Him for giving you all that you need to enter in.
Chanda Canup is wife to Scott, a gifted worship leader, and mother to four children, ages 5 and younger. Come visit her at her blogspot: Thursday's Child--it will make her day!