Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soundbites and Axioms from the Past 48 Hours

If you see a line, get in it.  Apparently, this is a good thing, because they might be giving something away... or you might be at the post office.

"But,I'm not socializing during class; I'm just talking!"  Apparently, to a 10-year old, socializing involves cocktails and cigarette holders -- and that just doesn't happen 'til 7th grade.

"Can I throw a party with fake alcohol to see how many people will act wasted?"  Wow.  The mom in me says "no," but the scientist in me says, "Would we actually need a mole to get the ball rolling?  Say, someone who walks around saying, 'Man, those drinks are so good, you don't even feel it 'til you get up!'"

You can "poke" someone too many times on Facebook.

A genuine "You make my day fun and bright," is ten times better than a routine "I love you."

"Man, Nan, you ate some of everything except the pierogies!"  "That's because I didn't see them."

"Hi, Mom!" said by a 20-year old I haven't seen in over a year! :-)

After a five minute lecture on boredom, and whining because we're bored, and being bored because no one will play with us... "You can't depend on others to make you happy.  What will you do when you're on your own and you have no one but you to make you smile?"  "Get a cat?"  I try, God knows I try.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

"I think I'm being punished," she said.

"Really?  How?"

"Well, I think God wanted me to buy the house on Rosewood instead of the house on Juniper.  Everything's gone wrong since I signed the papers."

Where does God’s will end, and man’s freedom of choice begin?

Who among us would want our children to love us because we said so? How successful can we expect a relationship to be if it is built on fear, obligation or a lack of better options? God didn’t want automatic servitude and obedience, He wanted relationship. He created our minds -- pretty absurd to think He did not want us to use them! Free will starts with our ability to reject or serve Him, but the truth is, God’s will shall be accomplished whether we are “in the boat," or not. I will tell you, the benefits to being a sailor over a swimmer are enormous!

“God does not wish to see any of his children suffer, or do without, or stray,” doesn’t mean they won’t – any more than saying that of our own children doesn’t mean they won’t; sometimes allowing our children a little hardship is the best lesson. Difference is, God has the power to change the tide, and the sovereignty to decide how, when, or if He will.

What about our choices? A job with a corner office over the job with a key to the executive washroom? A hike in the park with my family over reading God’s Word in the back yard? Personally, and perhaps with some cowardice, that’s when I believe the truth lies somewhere in between. If we are listening when He speaks, walking where He leads, following when He beckons, living how He commands, then thinking of Him as being outsmarted or disappointed by the child who chooses a shih tzu over a poodle limits Him to humanity’s providence and justice. The key is to be at one with Him, in daily fellowship with Him, desiring to honor and live for Him, and trusting Him wherever the journey leads.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Woke Up to Write This!

‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?  But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’

“On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.  
-- Malachi 3:14,15,17,18

What words of encouragement!  A promise straight from Our Lord!  Faithful, when your road becomes long and your journey tiresome; when your feet are weary and your efforts seem all for naught, remember God counts you as His own.  It matters not what others say and do in this life, for God has dominion over all!  Lay your treasure up in the next life, and be encouraged that God knows all and keeps His promises!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Praying... For You

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciated the book, “In the Land of Believers,” by Gina Welch. If not, I’m mentioning it now. There is real benefit to seeing yourself as others see you.

One of the things Gina addresses in her book is prayer: “If it was God’s will, wouldn’t it just happen, since God was in charge?” In other words, why pray?  If God's will is to be accomplished, how can we know what that is?  I mean, how do we know we're not praying for something contrary to what God desires?  And why even waste time rooting for a horse in a fixed race?

Prayer is about relationship.  At the risk of simplifying things, allow me to offer this.  Each year, Scott and I ask the girls what they want for Christmas or birthdays -- for a number of reasons:

1) Things have been mentioned or spotted throughout the year, but it’s the things they really want, that make the list. God wants to know the things that are most precious to us. By knowing what is on the hearts of the girls we learn much about their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and even areas in which we might channel more of their time – acting lessons for the one who repeatedly requests “dress up” clothes, a trip to the art museum for the one who loves paints. Now that's not to say God needs prayer to lean about us, God knows the desires of our heart, but He desires for us to recognize those things as ways in which we can serve and honor Him most.

2) We want the girls to feel comfortable enough to share with us their ideas, goals, and longings. It’s sort of a “relationship check,” knowing they feel close enough, confident enough, and safe enough to tell us what’s really important to them. God wants us to approach His throne with confidence, to feel safe with Him, and to be as close in relationship to Him as possible.

3) Talking to them – about anything – keeps the lines open and shows them we genuinely desire relationship with them. God knows all. Prayer is not His way of “keeping up with the latest dirt.” Prayer keeps us talking – and listening – to Him, frequently. I absolutely abhor those annoying Christmas letters that people began substituting for heartfelt wishes several years ago. “I don’t hear from you all year, and because it’s Christ’s birthday you send me a five page disquisition about your family and all the wonderful things you’ve done over the last 365 days? Why?” Real relationship, we were made for it.

4) "The List" changes them.  Believe it or not.  Throughout the years, we've watched them go from the most outrageous of requests to items completely within our budget, items perfectly permissible, and items "worthy of a wish."  We've not only learned about them, but they have learned about us.  They know we will not buy them junk that breaks within fifteen minutes of opening -- no matter how badly they want it.  We will not neglect our responsibilities to fund their whims.  They know what will and will not receive approval.  As a child, my prayers were of reversing a bad grade I’d already gotten on my report card; I’d like to think my relationship with God has matured (partially through prayer) since then.  I'd like to think I've learned a little more about His will.

Our time in prayer is an intimate conversation, an honest dialogue for the purpose of strengthening a relationship, the most important relationship we can have.   

Shhh... I've Got a Secret

I think we all harbor deep dark secrets, and of all the world, I think Christians are the worst for it.  We think or do things that, if confessed aloud, we fear, will make others think we have doubts about our faith or about who God is.  "Maybe we really don't love Him," we agonize.  That kind of misguided thinking can leave serious questions unanswered and, worst case scenario, can snowball into a big, wide open door for Satan to waltz through and really install some doubts about God, salvation, eternal life -- whatever!

Here's mine -- maybe silly, maybe sort of childish (kind of like the first time you realized Santa Claus couldn't possibly fit all that stuff in his sleigh, or make all those stops in one night):

I don't like gold - at all - and I'm not too fond of pearls.  That's it.  Silly really, but when I'm struggling with what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my eternity, it's a big deal!  Besides, eternity?  Do you have any idea how long that is? No.  Neither do I, but sometimes I'm just so tired.  Will I ever get a break?  Can't heaven be lying in fresh green grass, by the side of a clear running brook, reading a book or looking at clouds, and smelling the dark, rich soil?  How can I be sure I even want to live in Heaven?  I mean, I want to be with Jesus -- safe, laughing, joy bursting from my heart, giving all I have to worship Him.  But forever?  All the time?  Time?  There isn't even any time; it just goes on, and on, and on...

OK, before I work myself into an all-out panic, here it is:  Trust.  Finite vs. Infinite.  I don't want to think about it; I refuse to think about it.  I must know, I must trust that what God has planned for eternity is perfect.  This life here has certainly prepared me for that -- moments when I've thought my life would never be happy again, people I've thought I could never forgive, open doors that I reluctantly -- very reluctantly passed through.  And Scott.  Scott has taught me trust.  He has this incredible, visionary mind that sees things before they are; he is a designer.  God is the ultimate Designer!  If He has designed Heaven just for me, how can it be anything less than wonderful!  So, I trust.  I know that my finite mind cannot grasp the beauty and fulfillment of eternity, and I trust.

What are your secrets?  Confess them today.  God is full of answers!   

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Happy Valentine's Day!"

"Yeah, who believes in that stuff, anyway?"

"Anybody who has somebody."

Whether you have "a significant other," or whether you think Valentine's Day is a commercialized holiday conjured up by card companies and jewelers to compensate for the after-Christmas doldrums,

Have a great day, and remember:


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jonah and Jimmy Choo

My name is Judi Murphy, and I am a footwear fanatic.  But not just any footwear, mind you; I have a propensity for the finer footwear in life.  Christian Louboutin is a sculptor, an aesthetic genius who works in the softest of leathers and reddest of reds to create masterpieces of style and femininity.  Jimmy Choo inhabits my dreams, calling to me with his siren song, luring me to the depths of his Stiletto Seas...  Sad but true.

However, at some point, the realty exists that while I have allowed myself to be carried away by the illusion of Valentino Garavani's arches resting oh so gently next to mine, I am not where I was born to be.  I was born to Payless parents, cannot justify more than the occasional splurge at Macy's, and would suffer from heart failure if I saw my girls playing "runway" in any more than my Carlos Santana's (and when it comes to my ladies conducting raids on my closet for the sake of play, I have a hard time saying "no."  Doing the same thing with my mother forged an intimate bond and, as I remember it, was my way of developing myself to be like the person I most admired.)

Ironically, Jonah has always been one of my favorite Bible stories.  The classic folly of trying to run from God's plan for one's life, meets God's redirect and redistribution, meets more foolishness.  In short, here was a guy so confident he could escape from God (or, perhaps thought he had escaped from God) that he bragged about it to his shipmates, shipmates who valued God Almighty as no more powerful or omniscient than their false gods -- otherwise they would have sent Jonah packing the moment the boast had burst from his lips.  Nonetheless, it was God who sent the storm, God who determined the lot fell on Jonah, God who brought the whale, and God who calmed the storm, resulting in Jonah's shipmates not only witnessing God's authority and strength, but committing themselves to Him!  As for Jonah, he recognized his foolishness, made haste to obey God's calling, but later begrudged God the prerogative to save Nineveh from retribution because they, like Jonah, had repented!  Truth is, Jonah's physical location may have been in compliance with God's will, but his heart was still far from humble, charitable, Godlike.

While I would never think of putting my family in debt over a pair of shoes, would I be happy with shopping at Payless, limping through the aisle with a disposable Ped, trying to find a place out of the way of traffic, and proudly selecting a pair of tan-soled Fionis?  Perhaps, my heart could use a little more work.