Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blogger Sabbath - Whoa!

Cody takes a blogging Sabbath on a regular basis, but I'm not generally this bad!  Whew!  I apologize! This last week has been pretty crazy.  I wish that I could tell you that something absolutely entrancing had happened, but no such luck.  I've just been busy.  Sad thing?  This was the week the kids were on break, so I didn't have any commitment Wednesday night and the praise band didn't actually rehearse on Thursday night.  Two free nights added to my world.  What did I do with them?  Nothing terribly productive, let me assure you.  I went out to dinner.

Max and I took the new Director of Ministries out to dinner on Wednesday evening.  I figure if anyone is going to get to know me well, they had probably better get to know Max.  He is part of me after 13 1/2 years.  Thursday night I went out with Max and Leonard (Fran had to pay bills - blech).

I have been out and about every night this week and when I did finally get home after being gone all day, I was pooped!  So pooped that I didn't have any intelligent words to share with the world.  Consequently, no blogs.

The next paragraph of this blog is going to sound like a commercial, but I have just discovered one of the most anointed, coolest things ever!  The Bible!  Ok ... not really ... but ... well ...

I ordered "Inspired by: The Bible Experience" on CD last week and it entered my home Friday.  It is the most amazing thing ever. An immense cast came together to read the words of Scripture with passion and anointing. 

If you have 10 minutes - watch this video.  If you don't - come back and watch it later, you will be amazed!

I spent Friday evening listening to I, II, III John and Jude. Then I popped in the book of Romans.  Listened to it all the way through.  To hear someone read these words is simply amazing. I could hear Paul speaking as he was writing the letter.

Yesterday I was working on my Disciple study - we are wading through the law - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.  But, as I listened to Moses talking to the Israelites in Deuteronomy, I heard it as I would hear a great sermon.  It was inspiring!  It was no longer a drag.  I opened my Bible to the passage I was listening to, and read along as I heard the words in my ears.

All I can say to you is: Get This!  There is such a different level of understanding that comes when you hear the Word of God rather than just reading it.

The early Jews and Christians didn't just read God's word. It was read to them over and over. It was told to them as stories and the letters of Paul were read out loud in the churches.  The stories of Jesus were told over and over again in homes as people gathered together.

You will notice that all of the actors are black.  I love that! There is more passion and yearning in these voices that most of us will ever feel or be able to voice. The talent of Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Angela Bassett, Blair Underwood, Samuel L. Jackson becomes a vehicle for God's Word to be heard by millions.

Hear God's Word. Read God's Word. Let this become part of your very being. Whatever works for you to put the knowledge of the Word of God into your heart ... do it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go to Bed!

It is 3:45 am and I am still up. I tried falling asleep, I think I might have drifted off for a few moments, but alas ... to no avail. I'm still awake. I think this is one of those things that goes along with getting old. The worst thing is that I never know when this is going to hit. It's actually been a problem the last few days. And, for want of a better explanation, it's cyclical. So, here I am.

This has been a weird week. I took Wednesday off because I felt horrendous. It actually started on Monday, by Tuesday I felt awful and Wednesday morning I knew I just needed to keep sleeping. Thursday was nuts and Friday evening I had the first of two concerts this weekend for Canticum Novum. I was a little stressed about that.

I slept in this morning until 9:40. I never do that! My body kicks me out of bed by 7:00 at the latest anymore. See, I'm tired. I slept for 1/2 hour this afternoon while Max was watching Ohio State football, but that wasn't nearly enough to keep me up this late. I simply can't get my brain to turn off. Television either annoys me or overstimulates my mind at this point, so the screen is dark.

I wonder why I'm up? In just a few minutes, Leica is going to beg me to take her outside. She can't have this much activity happening with expecting to be let out. I don't blame her, I can't have this much activity happening without heading for the bathroom either!

I was speaking with Fran today about 'Sabbath'. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. In fact, I'm betting that I've blogged about it. But, oh well ... it is still on my mind. When you read Exodus 20 and consider the 10 Commandments, does it occur to you that 'remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy' is actually one of the commandments? It's not a suggestion, it ranks up there with 'do not kill' or 'do not steal'. If we take those seriously, how can we ignore this one?

Since I've been thinking a lot about this commandment in the last several weeks, I was kind of hoping to come to some type of conclusion about how to make this a part of my life. I haven't been able to. I guess I don't even know what it means to me!

In days of yore, the Sabbath was a day set aside for scripture reading and attending church. Nothing much happened and children were generally bored stiff. We have rejected that lifestyle to the point that we work hard every single day of the week and get no rest. We work at our jobs for 5-6 days a week and our weekends become a mad rush to complete all of our personal tasks before we head back to our jobs.

Don't think for a minute that I am not as guilty of this as every one else. I may not do a million tasks and activities during my weekend, but I'm certainly not setting aside a day for 'holiness'. No, I make no judgments on anyone.

But, wow ... it really is time for me to begin to consider what God would like to see my Sabbath look like!

Alright, it's now 4 am. I'm going to run the dog outside and then I'm going to try again for sleep. I may not make it to church in the morning. Poor Max will have to go alone. I think that 3 hours of sleep might be as bad as just staying up all night! We'll see what happens.

Diane, go to bed!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Slowly I Turn, Step by Step

There's an old vaudeville sketch that I would love to be able to quote, but since none of my friends have any clue what it is, I'm afraid it is totally lost on them.

The Three Stooges used it in a movie "Gents Without Cents", Abbott and Costello used it and I've also discovered it in an "I Love Lucy" episode.

If you love me (hehe), you'll learn this sketch enough so that I can feel comfortable repeating it and hopefully perpetuate the joke!

Here is the classic Stooges clip:

Now, here is the Abbott & Costello bit (the guy in the cell with Abbott is another old vaudevillian - Sid Fields):

I Love Lucy (I think this is Emmett Kelly with her!):

And just one more if you want to spend the time - Mike Douglas asked a 75 year old Moe Howard to be on his show.  This is awesome!  The woman ... Julie Newmar.  Good heavens, I'm getting old!

If you hear me say, "Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch ..." run for your life.  I might punch you in the eyes, rip open your shirt and beat you to the ground! (hehe)

It Smells Like Fall!

I just took Leica back outside and as I was standing there, I experienced a joyful sensation - the smell of dried leaves and freshly mown grass. Ahhh ... it was fabulous!

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp air and the smells that are associated with the changing of the season. I love football season and the excitement that it generates. I've always anticipated the new television series that will be starting up - and even though I am turning off the television, there are still a few that I'm enjoying this year. I enjoy new programs starting and old programs re-starting at church. It's just a great time of year for me.

Bread and potato chips no longer are at the mercy of humidity, food doesn't spoil within 15 minutes on my countertop.

I sleep better at night - the cool air moves through my home, I don't mind having a warm dog snuggling close to me or a rather large cat lying on top of me, my internal thermostat is much happier.

God blessed us with seasons and though I try to be thankful for all of His good things, I am not the person to come to when you want the summer season to be blessed. I whine, moan, and complain about heat all through the summer. In fact, I've even been whining and complaining a bit this fall because it feels as if summer is trying to hang on longer than it should! I will put up with the winter months and I will thrill to the freshness of spring, but when fall comes I light up and become the happy person I want to be all year!

A high of 65 degrees and a low of 37 degrees at night. That is my perfect weather. Right now? I'm in the middle of it. Ahhhh .... thank you Lord!

Another Saturday

Max and I got up early this morning so that we could be ready to get to church early. There was a pet blessing happening. Lots of activity, an incredible amount of time and effort had gone into preparing for this day. Many volunteers had expended time and energy.

7:00 came awfully early. There were terrible thunderstorms last night and this household (among many others in the metro) did not sleep well. But, they had finally subsided and Leica was READY to go outside. The poor thing was wiggling and whining. Out we went and my phone rang. It was Jennie's ringtone ... hmmm ... I'm going to see her in a couple of hours - what's up!

I got back to my phone, picked up the voicemail and ... the Blessing was cancelled. I really thought she was kidding me, so I had to call her back. No, not kidding. Cancelled. I was torn between being quite thankful for having a few hours returned to my world and the fact that after so much energy, money and time had gone into this and so many people knew about it - there would be nothing! I am my father's daughter. Never let people down when they are counting on you.

A few phone calls later and I was ready for my day to wind back down and start later!

Max is off to the Nebraska football game today with a friend and I'm hanging out waiting for Carol to call. I'm supposed to help her install a grading program on a computer and then see if we can make the thing work well for her so that she will have grade reports done in a week or so. If I can do this over the internet with her and stay in the comfort of my own house, I'm certainly going to try that! I would love to have the day to myself (no husband, no activity) so that I can get some writing done.

It's a perfect day for that! The weather is cool, the sky is overcast - who wants to go anywhere! Not this girl.

So ... I'm off ... for awhile. I might be back if my brain gives me something entertaining or interesting to talk about. I have Hornsby playing in the background, a dog snuggled in blankets beside me, the television is off and I have thoughts rolling around in my mind. It's going to be a good day!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Making God Laugh

I hope that many of you are like me in that you believe the humorous moments in your life are shared by God. Sometimes I can practically hear Him laughing at me (or with me as the case may be).

I'll begin this story by referring you to my blog of last Saturday. "Turn the TV off!"

While His command to me was not about actually turning the television off, it was all about my obedience to Him and the fact that I am highly distracted by television. God really isn't asking me to give up the few shows that I find entertaining. What He is asking me to do is turn the television off when I'm just sitting on my butt and being a vegetable. And when I turn the television off, I know full well that the expectation is that I actually participate in a relationship with Him!

The reason for the command was simple. I was complaining about not being able to memorize scripture and God responded with a practical solution.

Well ... I had a very long day today - spent too many hours at the office. Max and I stopped at Jimmy John's for a sandwich and as he took Leica outside for a quick walk, I planted my stuff around my desk and saw he had brought the mail inside and laid it there for me to check. A bill and a package! Hmmm ... what's this?

I nearly fell off my chair, I began laughing so hard as I opened it. Here is the conversation that I had with Max as he came in the back door with Leica.

Diane: Max, do you know how funny YOUR God is?
Max: MY God? Why is He my God?
D: Because you’re the only one I know with a sense of humor as awful as this.
M: What happened?
D: You are never going to guess what just came in the mail?
M: What?
D: What big moment did I have with God this weekend?
M: Turn off the TV.
D: Well, I just got a Nielsen Media Rating survey in the mail.

Yes, folks, I have a Nielsen Media Rating survey to fill out online this evening. Just at the point I am doing my best to be obedient, this shows up. Don't TELL me God doesn't have a sense of humor. And let me just reiterate, this is absolute confirmation of the command from Saturday. Because I honestly believe that sometimes God confirms His Word with a humorous event.

I love Him so much!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Listening to God

I think that one of the things we have the most difficulty accepting is whether we are hearing from God or just making things up in our minds. I'm an old lady and I've been worrying about this as long as I've been a Christian. But, to be honest, more and more, I've been increasing in the confidence that I have in discerning whether or not I'm making stuff up.

You see, God is always consistent. Consistent with Scripture, consistent with telling others the same things and consistent in repetition with me.

For the last couple of months, from different sources, I have been hearing God tell me to turn off the television. Because this is probably one of my biggest addictions, I haven't been paying close attention to Him. But, it has been registering and stirring in my mind.

Then, this afternoon, as I was in the bathroom (I have discovered that is the quietest place around - no distractions. God and I spend a lot of time talking in there), I was talking to God about my lack of ability to memorize scripture. And plain as day, I heard "Turn the tv off." I promptly ignored it, figuring that I had made that up because of my guilt over this. But, I kept talking to God and with no warning, I heard "Turn the tv off."

Well, doggone it! I don't want to! But, I know that it is become quite apparent this is no longer an option. I'm not turning it off completely ... yet, but I will get rid of digital cable on Monday. I asked Max if that was going to be ok this evening when he came downstairs. His response, "Why wouldn't you?" Ok ... confirmation.

Lately, the television has not been on as much. It's been quite discretionary. There are a few shows that I really enjoy. I watch those and then it goes silent or off. We watch some football, Max loves baseball, so the playoffs are on, a Nascar race and then the television really doesn't interrupt my world so much anymore. God's been drawing me away from it for quite some time.

Do I believe He is asking me to remove all visual entertainment? No, not at all. But, you can barely understand my addiction. The television is on all the time! I use it as a distraction. When I don't want to think or my brain is lazy, I just let it run. Sometimes it's on in the background, but my back is to it and I'm not watching a thing.

I'm discovering that there might be a point where the television is no longer important in my home. I can actually watch most of my favorite shows on my computer. We'll see where God takes me on this one. Know that I'm completely desirous of being in His will, but at the same time, I am about as rebellious as one girl who loves her Lord can be! He has to talk pretty loudly to get me to pay attention to changes in things that I'm really addicted to. But, the good news is - He does speak loudly to me when I need to be listening and He causes me to be attentive to His voice.

My only task is to be attentive. I thrust myself into Scripture so that I recognize what He is saying when He speaks to me. And I know that the reason I need to turn off the television is because I need to spend more time in Scripture. When my friends tell me what they believe God is saying to them, I listen and I process. You see, God speaks to me in many ways if I choose to listen.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Desert

Sometimes insanity hits and you wonder if God really means it. Am I meant to sit here and be driven nuts? Is it really true that I have to put up with a load of horse patootie? And if God says He's hanging out close by, why can't I feel Him? And why is it that everyone around me is in the same place?

Ok ... enough, Diane. For heaven's sake! You have a few crappy days and you are going to start pulling this garbage? Puhleeze.

What do YOU do when you feel like you've entered the desert and there is no oasis in sight? Normally, my response would be to get angry and hide out. Oh, don't think I wouldn't be praying. I always pray. But, my prayers get really self-centered. It's all about me and not so much about God. I talk to people that are in the middle of the garbage with me and we have a hard time pulling each other out. It goes from bad to worse.

But, not this time. I decided that I was going after a pray-er that rocks my world! I sent the email and then I started praying. God talked to me on the way home from work and I knew that I had to send her another quick email to rescind my rant. But, God had gotten to her first. And told her exactly what to say to me.

Verse by verse, she wiped me out with scripture. Not yelling, but reminding me and letting me know that attacks come - sometimes before a big event and many times after. Beforehand to stop the power and afterwards to steal the joy. My joy was creeping out the back door today ... I'd held on alone for too long by myself and I was letting the crap overtake me.

And He sent another friend into my office to just bounce in and remind me that there are other good things happening in my life.

I'm a moron. I'll admit it freely. But, I'm a moron that God loves and even when I'm a whiny, rotten tomato (visualize that, won't you?) He sends hope and joy to me. Whew! I'm a bit ashamed.

Funniest remark today: Max called when I was coming back from lunch.

M: Now, I'm kind of being funny, but don't get upset.
D: Uh oh, what's up?
M: What did you do to piss Satan off today?
D: What? (giggling a little)
M: You know that 300 gigabyte hard drive that we store our entire music library on? It's dead.
D: Are you kidding?
M: Nope. Totally dead. Everything on it is gone.
D: Tell me you have backup!
M: Sure. It's all backed up.

Ok ... so, we have to replace a $150.00 hard drive, but I will never forget Max asking what I had done to piss Satan off. Gotta love the man!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sleepy ... with more day ahead of me

I generally treasure Monday evenings. In fact, the reason that I'm not in a bible study on Mondays is because I was actually going to try to do some writing in that time off. But, alas (reader be warned: whining is about to occur), I don't seem to be achieving a night off! Last Monday night I spent at Panera with Carol working on grading papers and building her mid-quarter progress reports. Tonight, I have a meeting. Argh. The problem is that I am busy practically every night of the week and I just get worn out after awhile!

I'm hanging out with all of these youngsters (if you aren't 35 yet, you are a youngster) and they have the energy and stamina to do all of these things day after day.

So, here it is 5:00 pm and I know that I have two hours before my evening meeting. Max is out messing around with a friend, I don't have a vehicle and I figure I may as well make the most of my time. I'll keep working. And I guess that I'm going to find myself whining! (hehe)

Enough of that ...

Last night I spent some time reading through the letters of Peter. I read through them and then began again, reading slowly. When I get through this reading, I want to tear them apart and see what is really going on.

I don't know that I've ever really READ through these letters. I've read passages in them and love them. But, as I get deeper and deeper into scripture, I yearn to KNOW these things inside and out. To make them part of my thoughts.

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart"
Psalm 119:16 "I will not neglect your word."

The other book that I'm beginning to work through is Ezra (Old Testament). It is just so cool to see how God works in the lives of people to bring about His kingdom!

I'll let you know how it's going!