Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Many Shades of Blu

Electric Blu

Such beautiful weather! Yesterday was a perfect day for Blu-pampering. I bathed him, then set up my little salon on the patio to brush him out and of course, take pictures.  Just one little drawback....he doesn't like to be pampered.

Zen Blu


Elegant Blu
Blu doesn't like to be groomed at all.  Not a good thing when you're one big mass of long, silky hair. He was a little more patient than usual, I think because we did it early in the day when he usually sleeps. And treats were involved. 

Rock Star Blu
 There's nothing better than a clean, soft Afghan hound, silky fringe flying in the breeze.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When God Fills the Brackets

Wednesday was my turn to give devotions for the staff. (A devotion is a 5-8 minute teaching/reflection/encouragement talk). My turn comes up every 4 to 6 months and has for the last 14 years. I'm no stranger to this. Usually I've been really inspired by something I'm reading, or studying and the Lord helps develop it into something presentable. Until Tuesday night. I've been on the schedule for a month & was confident something would come to me before August 31st. But at 9:00 Tuesday night, I was b-l-a-n-k! No scripture, no flash of illumination, no brilliant insights. Zero. Nada. Zip.

I whined to my husband, who gallantly offered to fill in for me. Whew! Off the hook! In my relief, I continued my evening procrastination by cruising around Facebook. I posted my dilemma, describing my mind as looking like this:To my surprise, it started quite a conversation and some great suggestions.
Justin said simply, "talk about that." yes, abstract and metaphorical. Interesting. I like it.
Chrissy said "talk about the awesomeness of space and the universe and how that ties into God..." that's pretty good, too!
Bob: "how long does it need to be?" he's a pastor, can you tell?
Debbie said "talk about how in our weakness, God fills in the [ ]." hmmm, not a bad idea either!
She also offered Lamentations 3:23-33, her favorite scripture. Lamentations?! What in the world could be inspiring there??
Dennis said "I've seen Julie walk into a meeting not really knowing what to say...all she can do is make herself available to our Father. And you know what? The Holy Spirit always shows up. He will do the same for you. Sleep on it and the Lord will give you something in your sleep!" That's true & it happened not long ago. I woke up with the strong feeling that someone would be late for their devo & God gave me a teaching to fill in for them that morning. But that was a specific occasion. Don't want to be presumptous with the Lord!

I decided to look into Debbie's favorite scripture and she was right! Here it is in The Message version, starting in verse 19 (emphasis mine):

I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all - oh, how well I remember--
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won't ever
walk out and fail to return.

Wow! That chapter was filled with great stuff!! Inspiration poured over me like a refreshing spring rain. There were many directions I could've gone with these beautiful verses, but this phrase really stood out: Enter the silence.

There's a line in a U2 song that goes "let me in the sound..." But you know what? We're drowning in sound. We're immersed in it. The sound of responsibilities, family, work, television, radio, the internet, talk shows, music (whatever your tastes, you probably have it on all the time!); the news... negativity. So much negativity. Information overload!

We multi-task our devotional time - driving & listening to praise&worship music or teaching cd's. I'm guilty - I pray while walking the dog!

We're all pulled on so much. We all need some empty bracket time.

We need to enter the silence.

God Himself will fill it with wondrous things. It doesn't get any better than that.