Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Preferring Others

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 3:3-4
Are you familiar with these words?
They are found in Philippians 3, right before Paul urges his readers to take on the attitude of Christ.
The attitude of humilility which saw Him set aside His rights as God, come to earth in the likeness of man - in the form of a servant, and become obedient to the point of death on a cross for the forgiveness of all mankind.
Do you grasp the severity of that transaction???
God left His God-ness to become a sacrificial servant for the ones He created. The very ones who turned from Him in rebellion and deserved the death He came to die.
And that, Paul says, is the level of humility to which we ought to aspire.
In our lives - as we pursue the call of God to become more like Jesus - we must be willing to prefer others before ourselves. And that, my freinds, goes against everything our flesh seeks to fulfill.

I just finished a study of Galatians with my Precepts class, and the overwhelming message God spoke to my heart through it was my need to walk by the Spirit, so I will not carry out the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
And, wouldn't you know? God is giving me daily opportunities to practice preferring others' needs over my own. It's as if He wants to test me to see if I really believe what I've been learning. If I trust Him enough to apply His Word even when it's difficult.

Have you been in this place, too???

With all my heart (That is, all my heart which has been made new by the One who makes all things new!) I want to be like Jesus. I want to reflect the love of God and the character of Christ to my friends, my family, and strangers I meet wherever I go. And so I pray, Holy Spirit, please lead me. Please enable me to walk where You walk. Please give me the grace to prefer others, to love sacrificially, and to serve like Jesus served.

So that's what's going on in my heart today. How are you doing???


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Words Roll Better Now

I remember when my kiddos were little and they would say something they really didn't mean.
Like when I made something new for dinner - and before even taking a bite one would declare, "I don't like it. It's yucky!" I'm pretty sure she/he meant, "That's something I haven't had before and it looks/smells different. I am not sure what it is, and I don't feel like trying anything new right now. Cuz, what if I don't like it?"
They just didn't have the vocabulary to appropriately express their feelings. Yeah. That's it!
Or, one of the hundreds of times when I forbid a child from doing something they wanted to do (You know - play in the street, run with scissors, eat a gallon of ice cream before dinner, or *gasp* go to bed without bathing or cleaning up toys.) and was told in no uncertain terms, "You're the meanest mom in the world!!!!" At times like that I imagine what she/he was really trying to say was...
Oh, who am I kidding?
They thought I was the meanest mom in the world.
And they had precisely the vocabulary they needed to express their feelings.
The thing is: whether, or not, they truly meant what they said - whether, or not, they even understood what they were saying - part of my momma's heart broke when I heard those words. Because I was trying so hard to do things well, to make good decisions (and meals), and to lead them on right paths. I was in a world of not-knowing-exactly-what-to-do, trying to make my way - while not ruining my kids.
And some days I felt like I wasn't going to succeed.

Which is why yesterday afternoon I found it rather ironic that it didn't even phase me when my youngest son said another thing which (I hope!) he didn't mean.
That is, Matthew was bemoaning the number of notifications Facebook sends to his phone. (Apparently the number is LARGE.) "I mean," he said, as he read from his phone, "here's one that says, 'Karen Sheaffer Hossink posted a link.' Why'd they send me that???"
"Ummmm, because I'm your mom?" I proposed.
He exhaled with notable exasperation, "Like I care!!??"
And I wondered, 'Like you care' that I'm your mom? Or, 'like you care' that I posted a link?
Without spending too much time on it, I decided he cares that I'm his mom, but not that I posted a link. And I moved on with my day, happily and peacefully. (If only I'd had the ability to let words roll off my back those many years ago.)
Ahhhhh, but thanks be to God for His grace and patience which carried me through those moments and days and years. Thanks be to God for growing and protecting and shaping my children in spite of my best efforts. Thanks be to God for His wisdom and mercy in leading us through the hard times. May you find yourself carried by Him today, as well.


Monday, November 12, 2018

When We Struggle with Sin

Here's the podcast to which I referred in my video. I would sooooo encourage you to listen. It's an hour long, but fully worth the time.


Friday, November 09, 2018

Where's God?

I have a friend who is constantly reminding me (and all the ladies in our Bible study) to pray for our country, our leaders, upcoming elections and decisions and stuff-going-on-in-our-government.
I love her tenacity in calling us to prayer.
I have another friend who knows how I love to pray - who inadvertantly inspired me to set an alarm on my phone which reminds me daily to stop and pray. For our country and our leaders and our troops (and recently the upcoming elections).
I love that daily notice.
I receive numerous emails from various Christian organizations who are involved in our governmental process and - especially within the past couple of months - these emails have included continuous calls to be in prayer. For our country and our leaders and the upcoming elections.
So, it ought to go without saying, my prayers for our country and our leaders and the (recent) upcoming elections have been plentiful. And I know the same is true for many, many Christians. I know God's faithful have been faithful in seeking Him. Thus, as I went into Tuesday - as I cast my ballot - I did so with the peace He provides.
Then came Wednesday morning when I turned on my phone and looked up the election results.
Dang, I thought, as the first result I saw told me that "my candidate" didn't get elected.
Awwww, really? as the same was true for the second.
Then, Hmph. and, Wha??? and *eye-roll*, as more candidates and even most of the propsals went the opposite way of my vote.

For a moment I was tempted to think my voice hadn't really been heard. I mean, I voted the way I thought was best. But it seemed there were more people who thought otherwise and - because of the numbers - their's were the voices which were heard.
Yes, I was tempted to think that way. But God's Spirit intervened and reminded me my voice had, indeed, been heard. By the One who hears and sees and knows and can do all things.
When my initial reaction bordered on being one of disappointment, of wondering what went wrong (or what is about to go wrong) - when I was among many people questioning the outcome - the Holy Spirit reminded me, Karen, God is still on His Throne.
And that's really all HE had to say.
I was wondering where God had gone, and His Spirit assured me - He hadn't moved at all.
God was on His Throne when I was praying before the election. He was on His Throne listening as I sought His mercy and direction and sovereingty for our country and our leaders and the election.
I was confident of it.
And I trusted Him.
I believed He would do what was best. What was according to His good plan and perfect will.
So, why? I asked myself, Why am I questioning the outcome? If I trusted God before - when I couldn't see the results - why can't I trust Him now - when I can see them?
The answer, of course, is that I can. I can trust Him now.
And with the gracious prompting of the Holy Spirit, I do.

The thing is, God works in ways we cannot see. He does wonderful things in ways we weren't expecting. His ways are higher than ours, and we cannot predict how His hand will move.
But we can trust Him. We can always trust.
And so I'm puttin' this out here for anyone else who anticipated a different outcome Tuesday.
For anyone else who prayed and prayed, yet found themselves asking, "Wait! What? Where's God???"
On His Throne, my friend.

HE is comfortably and confidently and eternally on His Throne!


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Gettin' my "Grandma" On

Monday afternoon I had the fun opportunity to babysit a couple of young boys at my house while their parents attended parent/teacher conferences. My guests were ages 4 and (almost)8. And, I'm telling you, it's been a while since I've had that much energy and noise in my home!
I put aside my chores (That is, getting dinner ready.) so I could play with the boys - and in the short 90 minutes they were here, those little guys nearly wore me right out.
First, I taught them how to play Foosball. OK, I didn't teach them "how" - as in they learned the rules and proper techniques. I mean, I taught them "how" - as in we crowded around the table and they grabbed at the handles and spun the guys around and sometimes actually kicked the ball, and once or twice even scored a goal. But mostly they just yelled and laughed and ran around having fun.
Then they got interested in the work-out equipment they found downstairs. Especially the 90-lb dumbbell. "Wow! That's heavy!" they said. "But I bet my dad could pick it up!" they said. And they rolled the medicine ball around on the floor to each other. Ahhh, who am I kidding? They're boys. The truth is although I suggested they roll it, the ball somehow found itself with quite a bit of air time. But that was OK. They were excited to see something new, and they were having fun.
Soon enough, they were finished with the basement and wanted to go outside. So we got our coats on and went out to play.
The swing on the deck was good.
The swing on the tree branch was better.
But their favorite thing was raking leaves to jump in. Seriously, I was with the younger one on the deck swing when I saw the older one with a rake in his hand - actually raking leaves. And I'm all, Hey! If you want to rake leaves (If you don't realize that is a job NOBODY around here wants to do!) let's do it!
So "4" and I joined "(almost)8" and we got a pile of leaves going. When the pile got nice and big (to a 4-year-old) the proclamation was made that it was time to jump in them. And I kinda questioned it because the leaves were kinda wet and I thought, Hmmmm. Would Mom approve? But then I reasoned, Ahhhh. They're having fun. And we'll only be out here for a few more minutes. They aren't going to catch a cold from getting a little wet. That's an old wive's tale!
So I joined them in the leaf pile.
After a short time we found ourselves back inside, downstairs playing with the medicine ball again. And one of the boys discovered a jar on the countertop with Hersey's Hugs inside.
You know what happened next, don't you?
He wanted to have one. And it was almost 6:00, and his mom would be back soon to pick him up, and I knew if I let him have one his brother was going to want one. I also knew they'd be having dinner as soon as they went home. So I asked, "Would your mom say it's 'OK'?" (I didn't really expect him to say, "no". *wink*) So when he said, "Yes," and I reasoned a little tiny Hersey Hug wouldn't ruin their dinner, I said, "Yes," too.
So I gave them each a Hug, and we went upstairs because Mom had just arrived.

And as we bid the boys farewell, Brian looked at me and chuckled. "Look at you, gettin' your 'Grandma' on!" And I'm all, "Wha????" And he says, "Come on! You've gotten soft. You know you wouldn't have given our kids candy before dinner. You're going to be such a good grandma!"
And I joined him in the laughter, because as I considered all the little things I'd let go over the past 90 minutes I realized he was right. Something about getting older and having grown-up kids does cause one to soften up a bit. *grin*


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Celebrating with My Son

So, you all know my oldest son lives for fishing, right?
What you may NOT know is that for a very, very long time he has been wanting to catch a musky.
Known among anglers as "the fish of a thousand casts" (That is, it'll take you 1,000 attempts at throwing out your line before you'll catch one.) the musky is an illusive critter.
But Josh has put his time in (and his casts!) and last week he had his day.
Watching this video just made my heart so happy - seeing him, not only do what he loves (and succeed!) but also noticing his attempts to educate and include his viewers. *proud momma moment*

If you don't want to open a new window, you may watch his catch here:
OR, you can follow this link and watch it on his channel. That way he'll get "credit" for the view and earn a few pennies. *wink*

Lovin' my fisherman!

Monday, November 05, 2018

Who Am I?