Friday, October 7, 2011

A Ray of Hope

1. Life hereabouts has been difficult lately. All 4 of us were sick in succession: I had a bad cold, then Miranda had croup, then Alex had strep and finally, Marshall came down with a bronchial infection last Sunday that put him in bed for 3 days. Adding this to our usual Autumn craziness have left us feeling extremely overwhelmed. But God keeps sending me back to Matthew 6:1-18, which I've been focusing on in my iGroup (Youth Group small group). Here, let me remind you of the passage:

The Message (MSG)

Matthew 6

The World Is Not a Stage
 1 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity
 5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
 6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
 7-13"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

   Our Father in heaven,
   Reveal who you are.
   Set the world right;
   Do what's best— as above, so below.
   Keep us alive with three square meals.
   Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
   Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
   You're in charge!
   You can do anything you want!
   You're ablaze in beauty!
      Yes. Yes. Yes.

 14-15"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.
 16-18"When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well.

So, for the past few days, when life has seemed unbearable, I stop for a moment and remind myself of this passage. And pray for mercy. Mercy always works for me.

2. My canna lilies are in their glory in late summer and early autumn, blooming until the first freeze. 

In fact, they overhang the front steps, leaving room for little else. 

However, Miranda has noticed our neighbors' practice of buying potted chrysanthemums and decorating their front steps with them and wanted to point out to me my lack of appropriate autumnal accessories, so she helped:

Yes, that's my darling girl who has filled two containers with dirt and planted sticks in them. At least we know her imaginative play skills have really come along. 

3. Alex's 8th birthday was Tuesday and he spent it at home, recovering from the strep infection, and playing lots of Angry Birds. So he missed the pumpkin picking trip his class took that was reported in the local paper. Ah, well. His lovely teacher brought him back a pumpkin of his own and we will be celebrating both Alex and Miranda's birthdays with family on the 15th, when my parents will be visiting.

4. For some strange reason, I've become a Phillies phan and spent a lot of time this week watching baseball games. My family has been very tolerant of my strange obsession. Game 5 of the NLDS is tonight and I have some actual apprehension for the team's prospects. One of our friends writes on the Phillies Nation blog and I highly recommend his articles, if you want an update. 

5. Surely I did more this week than whine and complain about my sick family and watch baseball? Well, I finished Storm Front and started Grave Peril. (Yes, I know those are books 1 & 3 of the series; I read book 2 in San Diego while on vacation.) I also wrote some postcards. Man, this is a pathetic report of a sad little week.

6. The good news is that my mother arrives Sunday afternoon for a week long visit with my father joining her for the following weekend. Life is always better when they are here. And they will be looking for a place to rent after the move out here in late November. Yay!

7. Bathsheba's Lament. Order it. Read it. Review it. Hooray!

And here's Jen.

1 comment:

Lindse94 said...

That is a wonderful Bible passage. Thank you for sharing it! Love Miranda's creativity. Cole is like that too! Hopefully this will be the last of the sickness report for the season.