Saturday, May 23, 2015

Have you had a bad day?

Have you had a rough day?  Did things not go your way?  One frustration after another?  Did you put your coffee on top of the car, then drive off without it?  Maybe you should try something that Phoenix does so often.  She’s four and she’s made a big decision.  She’s too big for naps.  Most days she still really needs one.  Many afternoons end in tears and tantrums.  When Daddy gets home from work, she crawls up on his lap and tells him all her troubles.  He listens while she cries.  He offers hugs.  Sometimes it’s just what my sunshine girl needs to make it to bed time.  

No, I'm not suggesting that you sit on Toby's lap.  Remember you too have a Heavenly Father.  He invites you to be His little child.  When you’ve had a bad day, tell him all your troubles.  It might not change anything about your day.  All those difficult circumstances will probably still be there.  But it might change you.

Romans 8:15 NIV ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”’

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bird Watching at Sedgwick County Zoo

Today is a fabulous day because today we began our Summer Bucket List!  Our local zoo just reopened it's jungle building as the Tropics Exhibit.  It seemed like the perfect place to cross 'bird watching' off our list.  Horticulturalists added lots of beautiful orchids to the exhibit's collection of exotic plants. 
Phoenix is making her best orchid impression in the above photo.  Besides tropical birds, we also observed penguins and bald eagles.  It was a great opportunity to discuss the distinguishing characteristics of birds.  Greg and I even made an acrostic poem to help us remember what makes a bird different from other animals.

·       Beak or bill instead of jaws and teeth
·       Is hatched from an egg
·       Runs with two legs (aka bipedal)
·       Doesn’t have fur, covered with feathers

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Photo Albums and Mercy

I love looking at old photo albums, don’t you? At least I love it if the photos don’t contain some of my awkward middle school years. I’d like to forget the school pictures documenting my 4-inch-tall bangs. Why do I love looking at old photo albums? They show me how much my parents cherish me. My whole childhood is recorded on those static cling pages: the day Mom went into the hospital 9 months pregnant, the Christmas when I shoved popcorn into my baby brother’s mouth, the morning I stepped onto the bus for my first day of kindergarten. When we reminisce, I know the moments of my life are among their treasured memories.

This same treasured feeling strikes me when I read Psalm 139, especially verses 13-16:
     For you created my inmost being; 
        you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
     I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
        your works are wonderful,
        I know that full well. 
     My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place,     
       when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
     Your eyes saw my unformed body;
       all the days ordained for me were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
When I read the above passage, God’s gaze towards me seems to be laced with warmth. I find the faith to believe that He really does love me enough to pay the penalty of my sin with His own blood. Secure in His grace, I need not run from Him or hide my weakness. Just like a loving parent, when He disciplines me He desires to teach me a better way to live - not to vengefully punish my sin.

It’s easy to read the Old Testament and see a vengeful God, ready to punish offenders with death. But when I read it carefully, I can’t help but notice His abounding mercy. He would have spared the whole city of Sodom for the sake of only ten righteous people (Genesis 18:16-33). He sent a reluctant Jonah to Nineveh to bring a city to repentance. He commanded consideration for the poor in the Law (Exodus 22:22, Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 26:12). Yes, God is Holy and righteous, but He is also merciful. Just as disobedient children can draw near to a loving and concerned parent, we can come close to God. Thank you God for sending us Jesus, who perfectly personifies your mercy and righteousness!