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“Chicken Fried Steak” Psalm 51:21

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“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  Psalm 51:2

A Real Mess

A Real Mess

Look at that stove.  How did I ever get myself into this mess?  Just three hours ago if you walked into our home the fragrance of pine floated through the air but now if you sniff, you are greeted by the greasy scent of a country diner.   This lovely odor is entirely  my fault.  After I lost my mind this morning with a mysterious desire to clean the house, including the stove messy from a weekend of pancakes and bacon, my  “Suzy Homemaker” mode somehow continued.

As my husband entered the back door home from a hard day at work, I asked the dumbest question of all, “What do you want for supper?” You have to understand that I don’t cook that often. I mean really cook. I might grill outside, or gather stuff from the local grocery store, even warm something in the microwave on occasion, but that’s it.

I  decided when our youngest son headed off to college, cooking was entirely overrated. I can’t deny it, the only time I really cook is when we have guests or the kids come home for a visit. So you can imagine how taken aback my husband was by my inquiry. Totally shocked, my sweetheart meekly asked, “What are the chances of chicken fried steak?” I now reverted back to my normal self and responded, “Chicken fried steak,” three of the dirtiest and most dreaded words in the dictionary of any sane cook.” You’ve got to be kidding. The kids aren’t coming home so what possible reason do I have to cook that greasy, stinky concoction? It’s a mess and besides it’s Monday and my kitchen is sparkling clean.”

At some moment in time I vaguely remembered my Bible verse for the day, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” That morning, not being a Bible scholar, I looked up the definition of “iniquity.” Well believe it or not it means “sin or transgression, something done to hurt another.” So I rethought my actions, rephrased my words and said,  “What was I thinking, there’s nothing I’d rather do that cook chicken fried steak for you.” Crazy words for sure, but I certainly am glad when God looks at me some days and sees a mess He says, “Bring me some water and I’ll wash her clean AGAIN!”  And I am so thankful that He doesn’t say, “Not tonight, I can’t deal with a mess now, after all it’s Monday.”

Just in case you want to get messy here’s my recipe for Chicken Fried Steak…

You’ll need: cube steak, flour, salt, pepper, an egg,  milk and the most important ingredient, oil.  Pour the oil into the skillet and let it get sizzling  hot. Salt and pepper the meat, roll it in flour, dip it in the egg and milk mixture and roll it in the flour again.  Then place it in the hot grease.  When it’s brown and rising to the surface and the kitchen smells really tasty, you’ll know it’s time to take it out and get ready to chow down.  The most important thing to do after this is to offer a prayer of thanks that you didn’t burn down the kitchen.  Everything else is just gravy.

Points to Ponder:

1. What have you cooked lately? Did it warm your soul?

2.  Do your Bible lessons stay with you throughout your days?  What keeps them close to your heart?

3. Do you ever feel like a spiritual mess?  Why?

 

Pray with me:

To the Real Mr. Clean,

Thank you for being with us to wash us and clean up our messes.  We don’t always have to ask, because you know our hearts and a gentle reminder is enough.

I’m busy degreasing my life.

 

The Scent

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iStock_000002316993XSmallAs she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:38

“Is that Shalimar I smell?” asked the gracious woman. “It’s been a long time since I’ve smelled it.” I had tried so hard to follow the strict guidelines as I prepared for my visit to the Dawson State Jail as part of the Texas Hope Literacy worship team. No jewelry, no cell phones, closed-toe shoes and the list continued. I don’t remember anything about perfume on the procedures, but in retrospect I guess that should have been common sense. I didn’t remember applying my usual squirt of perfume that morning, but perhaps it was on my clothes. My “Debi” response would have been, “Yes, it is. Do you like it? It was a birthday gift from my husband.” That would have been the wrong answer in so many ways in this situation. I stumbled over my words for a minute and simply replied, “Yes, it is.”

We gathered in our groups, shared Bible verses, prayer requests and gave thanks for the spirit-filled music that we sang. But the scent of Shalimar and this tender woman’s days gone-by hung in the air. You see, this gray-haired lover of Christ, wearing a white jumpsuit like all of the other women with whom she lived, had a past that is not my business, a future that is not mine to direct, but a present that we honored together.  This time was ours to share because of a scent. As we prayed, I felt like the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet, unworthy to worship with these women – women whom the love of God poured out through the words of their songs, in the light of their eyes and as they clutched their worn Bibles.

As we finished, my tears could have wet the feet of this woman. Not tears of sorrow or despair, but in celebration of knowing that we share the same Lord. The One of hope, not despair; the One of community, not loneliness; her Jesus, my Jesus, He’s the same for all. I wanted to hug her that night and slip her a bottle of Shalimar in exchange for the gift that she gave me, but I couldn’t even touch her. Another rule, but I pray the scent of my clothes found its way into her worn jumpsuit, or into her hair, because the scent of her love for Christ found its way into my heart.

Points to Ponder:

1.  Where is the last time you have truly seen Jesus?

2.  How would you describe your days gone-by?

3.  How would you describe your Lord?

Pray with Me:

Dear Lord of all,

Your essence follows us as we live with You in our lives. Open our noses so we can breathe in this heavenly gift.

Sniffing the air…

 

 

 

I’ve Been Framed

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“…steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” Psalm 32:10

I’ve been framed, and thank goodness Some One bailed me out!

As you walk around our warm, cozy home and glance at the cheerful golden painted walls, you can truly see the story of our lives.  Snippets of fleeting moments in time during our lifelong journey have been forever captured and memorialized in frames.   Through the years there has been no rhyme or reason as to the next amazing tidbit of life that deserved a piece of non-glare glass with an inviting frame surrounding it and keeping it safe.  Autographed baseball cards, brightly colored scribble-art from a preschooler’s class, a treasured letter written by my mom, and even an invitation to our wedding have all donned our walls at different times.  I’ve hung Christmas cards, crosses, pages from an old Bible, and at one time my prize wall adorned framed post cards from our travels.  Now my most prized gallery holds our sons’ wedding pictures, with a spotlight on the new king of the family, our precious  grandson.

The passage of time can easily be seen as the boys grew into men.  Years are registered by my trendy hairstyles, but Mike always looks the same.  I don’t understand men and their ability to have the same hair no matter what their age.  They may have more or less, but in reality it’s the same.

What is my obsession with glass and wood?  Perhaps it’s a feeling of stability from the wood, clarity from the glass, and a steadfast love that resonates through me as I gaze at the treasured centers of the frames.  As I look with clarity into the joys of days gone by, I fully realize that while the pictures contain treasured memories, they no longer define me.  From the day I was born, my life’s experiences, my joys and sorrows were events that framed my life, but those events didn’t define who I am.  When the day is done, only one thing can be found in the center of this human frame, and that is my relationship with the Holy One.  His steady hand has always guided me, and His steadfast love has always been in the midst of my being.  He is the center of all things, and I trust my Father to define me.

My faithful Some One is continually bailing me out of the jail of life when I forget to look beyond the familiar edges of old frames and move forward to walk the path He has planned for me.  I am becoming a true follower of Jesus, one who only asks, “May I sit with You and feel Your steadfast, never changing love?”

George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to become what you might have become.”

Hey, does anyone have a frame?  I have something new to hang on my wall!

Points to Ponder:

1. What is in the center of your frame?

2. Do you feel God’s steadfast love? When?

3. Are you who you want to be? Are you who God has planned for you to be?

 

Pray with me:

Dear Some One,

You come to me and help me to feel that you are the core of my being. Help me to soak up  Your steadfast love as You surrounds me as I walk each day with you.

Caught in the middle

 

 

 

Back to School

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Parched

“Let  my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2

NEWSFLASH to those of you who have been living under a rock (where it definitely has to be cooler), “It’s HOT here in Texas.”It has become a proven fact that in the summer, when the days are long and lazy, I seem to forget to read the word of my Lord.  It actually rained on Saturday. Even before the drops hit the ground the glorious fragrance of the coming rainfall surrounded me. It was as if I could actually see the parched cracked earth smiling as God kissed the ground with His gentle shower. The words written in God’s Holy Book can be as refreshing as a new rain to a parched heart that has been living apart from Him. It’s no wonder that His fragrant touch brought me back to the enlivened feeling of Him in my soul.  When my heart is all dried out from an extended vacation from His word, it’s a blessing to remember He has not taken a retreat from loving me. It’s time for my own private Bible school to launch as I begin again to read the inspired word of my Father. I am blessed as His teachings descend upon me and allow me to feel His kiss quench my parched soul. I will pray and let His spirit guide me as I choose one of His sixty-six books, read it through, dissect it bit by bit and use it to replant the garden of my soul. Thankfully He showers me with His love every day of my life, whether I ask for it or not. Next time it rains I am not going to use my umbrella. I want to feel the Holy One’s sweet kisses.

Points to Ponder:

1. Have you felt much rain this summer on your heart?

2.Do you take a vacation from the Lord? Why? Why not?

3. Is your heart parched for another reason?

Pray with me:

Dear Refresher of our soul,

Guide us as we study Your word to smell the fragrance of Your love as it enters our being. As we will sit with You, Holy One, allow our hearts to be rekindled with Your teachings so we will grow into mature plants walking to serve others in Your name.

Back to school for You