From The Mud Puddle

Friday, May 27, 2005

How often we may wonder our influence over our children and our decendants...This is a beautiful example of God's blessing after obedience.

Jeremiah 35 (NKJV)

The Obedient Rechabites

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 2"Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink."
3Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, his brothers and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites, 4and I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door. 5Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, "Drink wine."
6But they said, "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, "You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. 7You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.' 8Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. 10But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, "Come, let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and for fear of the army of the Syrians.' So we dwell at Jerusalem."
12Then came the word of the LORD to Jeremiah, saying, 13"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, "Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?" says the LORD. 14"The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father's commandment. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me. 15I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, "Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.' But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me. 16Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me."'
17"Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered."'
18And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, 19therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever."

Thursday, May 26, 2005 here somewhere....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I read a lot of different things here and there all over the web as well as offline. I listen as people speak and I hear a lot of the topics that are probably considered "hot", and what folks think about them. Most definately one of these is "Worship". Worship to our Lord, God of Abraham and Jacob and Issac, The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, The great "I AM".

I can think back to the days when I was a child, growing up in the Southen Baptist Church I attended with my family. I remember the singing of hymns. There were always three (unless it was a Sunday night hymn sing). Sometime in there, our worship leader decided to add some choruses. Between a song that declared we are all a part of the family of God, to the Doxology, these were sung mainly before the second hymn, which came always directly before the morning offering collection.

As we moved to other churches, we found some never singing such choruses,sticking ONLY to hymns, while yet others were open somewhat to a few more contemporary lines. Mainly the contemporary praise was reserved for youth meetings...retreats, or weekly get togethers.

None of this was anything like todays contemporary worship movement though. Through the past 10-15 years, we have witnessed a growing rise in churches using contemporary worship as a replacement for the traditional "hymn sing". Now I know that churches long have used "contemporary song", especially as many of the different hymns we know now were once in that catagory. I know that back in the late 60's there was much being started where this is concerned, but mainly....the overall acceptance of it in the traditional Sunday morning service was rare, if used at all until more recent years.

Now we see wars...wars over what to sing...traditional hymns or contemporary worship song...hymnals on every pew, or words flashed upon a screen giving everyone a chance to look up and sing with the worship band. We've seen a rise in the use of non traditional instruments in the morning services, oftentime totally replacing the traditional sounds of the piano and organ ...fully loaded with pipes on the walls, adding to it's magestic appearance.

We see wars over what is the proper way to worship, and what songs are the right songs to well as a judgement of songs being too shallow, or songs being too stuffy. Brothers and Sister's in the Lord are tearing each other apart because of critism of how the other desires to worship the Lord. Mud is slung, and people are hurt. If our worship was done in true humility for the one that died for us on that rugged cross, rather than to please those of us that claim to be His....there would not be all this battling and struggle. It wouldnt matter what we were singing , as long as it was biblical and offered as an offering of worship and praise to our Heavenly Father.

Where do I stand in this war? I would hope as a peacemaker. I would hope to be a bridge between the two sides...that part of the body that chooses not to war and take sides. I love the old hymns. They are precious to me as they were many of the first songs I knew how to sing about Jesus Christ, our God. They are precious because they are full of truth as they were often written by someone that knows pain, that knows how hard it is here on earth, and the trials we often experience here. But I also love the modern worship songs too. Sometime after the church with all the choruses...we found ourselves at a church that hardly EVER did a hymn. Oh they might acknowledge that they are treasures....but rarely did we sing them. At that time, God was showing me what church was and was not (and still is as I might say )...and this worship was refreshing. It wasnt the songs so much, as it was just that I related to what was sung and it was easy to sing it back to the Lord. It fit who I am better than the hymns did and do. There was an openess found there in the modern worship that was not found by me in the hymns yet.
Sometime after this, at a thrift store, I found an old hymnal and bought it on a whim. I figured I might enjoy having it around from time to time to sing from and maybe to teach my own kids the it didnt appear that they would be learning them as I did growing up.
We later went to a home church for a season...and at that time we still sang very modern worship songs. It often became a very direct time of laying down my burdens as God prepared my heart for His message through the pastor. It was wonderful. It also became a time of healing.
Later, for different reasons, we started attending the church we do now. They sort of mix things up a bit. Usually we sing at least 3 - 4 hymns a month....sometimes more, sometimes less. It still is very much modern worship...and often the hymns are done in a more modern way, appropriate for the instruments used there.
I like the mixture. I dont know why it has to be one or the other...why it cannot be both. I also like much of what is being written where worship is concerned right now. I will not critique it as it is generally not something I feel I should trash. The writer did not write it with me in mind, but our Lord Jesus. Even songs like "here I am to worship" or "open the eyes of my heart Lord" have their this too seems to be a part of the "war".
I remember the pastor of the home church we attended some years ago telling us about his thoughts on worship music..and how he didnt sometimes "feel" what the song was singing, and so the song became a prayer instead. I often wonder if some of the songs that sing about "here I am to worship" or "here I am God", etc...might be songs of prayers as one opens their heart up to God as they come into the Holy of Holies, ready and waiting for the Holy Spirit to soften and speak to our hearts thereafter. As we praise, our hearts are softened and readied as God dwells in our praise. So to say "here I am to worship", might just be another way of beginning a conversation and praise of God later entering into praise songs or hymns that convey deeper truths, as they take us onto holy ground.
Even the hymns are not immune to these sort of declarations of our devotion and love. Right offhand, "Just as I am", comes to mind. Another is "I am thine oh Lord", that sings about desiring God to draw us nearer to Himself. Or, "Be Thou My Vision".
If all of our lives are worship, played and lived in surrender to Jesus...then it is very appropriate for us to declare to the whole world, whom we shall serve. It is appropriate for us to approach the throne of mercy and grace boldly announcing from our hearts that we ARE here to worship and that we are open and yeilded to our Lord, Christ Jesus , bowing our hearts and heads in reverance and adoration.
It's not just a Sunday morning thing, its a life thing. Our worship, whether at home or in the local fellowship we are a part of is important to God. It is Him who puts the song in our heart that He wants us to sing and dance . It is Him who we adore and Love. It is Him who we proclaim our allegance. Even Joshua felt it important that the declaration be made as he asks and states in Joshua 24:14-15
"So honor the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD."
May our worship, whether corporate or personal, be the fragrance of we practice for eternity to bring glory and honor to Jesus, our Lord.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Original joke from my daughter Hannah ...

She says the spelling of piano has only two letters... P an O

....(say it out loud for best results ;)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

We always buy Arm and Hammer vent filters for our house heat pump/air conditioner. We buy the kind that are suppose to help suck various allergens out of the air, away from our breathing passages and onto the filter. The filters themselves have a cardboard brown frame, with white as the filter. We change it more often than recommended since it seems we have to baby our air conditioner . Every week or so, one of us will pull it out and look at it, asking the same question, "Hey, do you think this is dirty"? Sometimes its fairly obvious, but's hard. White next to white is easy to see...but without having the measure of white right next to it, off white, or dirty white can be mistaken for white. The dirt is so gradual in how it builds up, that sometimes its hard to know if we should change it yet if we don't have a clean white filter right there with us to compare it. We had to change our filter today, as our air conditioner seems to be not working well again. (I should say all caps for emphasis) That in itself is another story.
As I was thinking about the difficulty in knowing if the filter was dirty, I started thinking about how it is like sin. How easy it is for sin to creep in...little by little-where we don't see the gradual change right off. At times even, we look at our lives and say.."Oh Im not so bad"....because we are not comparing it to something pure white. Jesus is that pure white, that pure measurement that we need to know and see that we are dirty, and in need of a change. There is so much of the world we have to filter out of our lives...sometimes that that we filter begans to stick to us and it makes us dirty. Our lives dont run right when our filters are dirty. We are not as clear about things...and we do not run as efficiently as we should.
May our measurement always be Jesus Christ and His word. He is our pure and true measure.

Quote: If your Spanish language training ended with counting to ten on Sesame Street, you may be unaware that Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) commemorates a battle fought in Puebla, Mexico on May 5, 1862.

OK this made me laugh. It was from a Christian Book Distributor email I received today. I have often teased my kids that all the spanish I know, I learned from Sesame Street. How DID they know @ Christian Book Distributors? ::grinz::

And while I didn't learn of Cinco de Mayo from Sesame Street...You cannot miss it's upcoming memorial date when you visit LaBamba in town.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Back a few months ago, this group came through Greensboro with their display. They are basically an anti war group. I am not anti war, nor anti military.(to put it briefly) We did go to pay respect to our fellow Americans in this well as to see in a real visiable way the magnitude of the sacrifice our country has made with it's sons and daughters. My main complaint about this display rests in how they are using the death of so many to advance their cause, rather than have it as a simple display of respect and memory of those who have served our country and shed their own blood. These were taken at the Depot downtown.
Posted by Hello

Another picture showing a part of the display of boots, letters, photos and flowers. You will see around the edges, ordinary shoes that represent fallen civilians. Posted by Hello

North Carolina's Part of the exibit. Posted by Hello

There are a few things that have been on the back burner for a while. I often wonder why it is so hard to get going on them. They could change my life if I were to go ahead and get dirty doing them, unafraid of being perfect and having to redo them.
I remember my grandmother trying to teach me to crochet, and my mother trying to teach me to sew. I wanted to just plow through it, without a mind to how it was done...but they would make me rip out bad stitches and seems to redo them. I hated to redo, I still do. I realize though, that what holds me back is myself, and the fear that I cannot do what I have 'amind to do. What holds me back, is me.
What holds me back is that often I have so many thoughts in my head...things to write, things to do a certain way, yet on paper it never comes across the way I intend. The perfectionist in myself keeps me from doing anything. The knowledge that I am going to fail before I succeed, if I succeed keeps me hostage as I continue to hold in my mind thoughts and ideas and plans that need action.
I'd like to think that part of the problem is just lack of time, quality time...but I know that isnt true either. We give time and effort to those things that are important to us, and that we find worthy of our efforts.

Sketches-VERY rough Sketches

I've been taking a notebook to church for the past couple of years. I take a couple of pages of notes each week, but sometimes, I also do some different doodles on the side as I listen. I suppose I got used to being in PSP as I listened to Jon Courson's teaching archives online...and so it is natural to listen and draw at times as I digest the point my pastor is making in his teachings too. Thought I'd share some of it all...All original artwork by Muddy-to God's glory. Posted by Hello

Second of the two-My pastor always talks about how Peter was the one in the bible that stuck his foot in his mouth all the time-thus the picture in my notes to illustrate the point. ;) Posted by Hello

Last of 'em for now... Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. Psalm 19:8-
This verse was the reference to the piece in my notes from the above grouping.

Through the years, I've thought a lot about security. Mainly the thoughts about security didn't really begin until when what had always seemed to be secure and safe was gone, as life changed and I went from living under my earthly father's roof, to being married to my husband, Jay. When I was a child, I didn't have a care in the world beyond friends, school and those times when normal disappointments occurred. Security was something not to be pondered, but expected and known.
Problem is, I put my security in the wrong things, and the wrong person/people.
When I married, I wondered where that security went. When my earthly father died, as I talked about two weeks ago, more of that security slipped away. When our three babies died, and my "world" seemed to crumble...More and more security and safeness shattered. As we switched churches at various times, and found ourselves in different situations our security also was on turbulent ground, ground that could instantly swallow us whole. I longed for security, I longed to feel safe again. I longed to be cared for. Honestly, I had never really contemplated the fact that God alone was to be my security. God alone was to be the one that would heal me, hold me, provide for me and carry me as He held me in the palm of His hand. I think to some degree, I expected Jay to do this, as my own father had done. Life was something to be tamed, and would be tamed..but in reality, it is not.
Sometime in here, I learned that God alone is truly our sufficiency. I had learned that emotionally He is before...But now, spiritually, physically and mentally, God IS indeed all we need, and His word has everything we need to know about life in it. God comes before my husband and will fulfill me. In that, I am to be freed to live how God needs me to live, and my husband , because he too is looking to God to fulfill him...Is free as well to live how God wants him to live. Together then...My husband and I both can complete one another and enjoy one another because we are not looking to the other person to meet a need that we have that only God can meet. To be blunt, I am not speaking of sex-but of all the needs we find ourselves lacking in-that we try to fill with so many other things-yes, even us that have been Christians for years....So often miss this very important part of living with God as our head.
Last year, when my husband got a new job, one we had been waiting for all those extra years while he was in school again ....Getting a second degree...It "felt" secure. We felt that finally we were moving forward towards our goals. When eight weeks later, he was laid off for no reason (we know now it was all a big lie..Long story), that security was pulled out from under us. What would we do? How would be support ourselves and our two kids. How would we live and survive? God had big lessons for both of us in this security, and His provision. I no longer look to anyone else to make me happy, or to fulfill me in any way. They cannot, they will only fail to provide security and safety for me. They will only fail to meet my needs emotionally-or to hold me when I am scared, or sick, or just tired. God has provided for us in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. It is just God doing a work in my heart and the heart of my husband as He has shown us that it is He alone that holds it all, and provides and loves us. I have never felt more secure in my life-with God holding me as I allow Him to do now. I have never felt more at peace with life's turbulence than this time. While things seemed to have settled for a time, there are no guarantees. While money is still tighter than I'd prefer at times, I know that it is not my thing to worry about it-for God knows when our bills are due and what we need and even how much. Provision is God's thing. We take opportunities as God gives them, as we trust God with Jay's jobs, and the assorted odd jobs I do here and there. It's not us providing, or trying to secure our life, but God. Life will strike it's blow again(probably sooner than I'd prefer). My hope is that I remain steady, and steadfast, not in my power or strength...or my own security..but remain ONLY in the palm of God's hand. I was created for the creator-God alone. In Him I find my only peace and my only Hope through Jesus Christ-and the only security available of any lasting value-that will not rot or mold or rust. He is my Abba Father.
To you alone Lord Jesus my praise is raised.