When You Realize You are the Snotty Kid at the Party

mlCu9leWe’ve all been at kids’ birthday parties when a child opens a gift they don’t like – usually it’s clothes or some other non-toy item. The younger the recipient, the more likely they are to turn their nose up and say, “I don’t like this.” Older children have usually been coached to force a smile and say, “Thank you.”

Or perhaps at your family’s annual Christmas celebration you open a gift and find it’s a silver moose nutcracker. While you try to grin and gush about how much you love to eat nuts, and how now you can sit around cracking them to your heart’s content with just a twist of the ole’ antlers, there’s no denying the disappointment.

In Old Testament times, the Israelites, led by Joshua, took possession of the land God promised them, and Joshua began to assign land to each of the tribes. First, he points out where the half the tribe of Manasseh will live along with the tribe of Gad and Reuben.

“Okay, Reuben, Moses already gave y’all this pretty piece along this gorge and all the way past that plain over there past Medeba. You’re going to get Heshbon, Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, Kiriathaim… You’ll have some great fishing along the Jordon River.”

“Now, Gad, you guys are going to get this valley over here, along with…” Joshua described all the towns to be included.

He continued to list the wonderful towns these tribes could now call home. All the while, the Levites were just hanging tight. You see, verse 33 tells about their gift.

But Moses gave no allotment of land to the tribe of Levi, for the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised that he himself would be their allotment. Joshua 13:33 NLT

God chose the Levites as priests to perform any religious duties. They were responsible for making all the sacrifices for the people. They were the only ones who could enter the tabernacle. This tribe was not given land, instead they were given GOD HIMSELF!

I don’t really think you can compare any gift to getting the Creator of all things as your allotment.

Just imagine the tribes all hanging out at a bonfire talking about their new lands, comparing milk and honey, when they notice the Levites a little quiet. “Hey guys, what’d you get?”

mhYu4T2

The Levites look their brothers in the eye and say, “The I AM.”

As awesome as that sounds, when reading it in the Bible, I still wondered if there was some disappointment. Everyone else was getting land, while the Levites gift seemed a little less tangible.

While it’s easy to gasp and say, “How could they possibly be disappointed in God as their gift?” I wonder how often I am just that – disappointed with the gift of God.

I become consumed with how much I don’t have instead of being consumed with God. I stand around the bonfire, wishing for other people’s milk and honey instead of saying, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:5 NIV)

When God calls us out of a life of sin and promises a home with Him forever in Heaven, it’s time we as Christians stop turning up our noses.

It’s time I stopped telling God He is not enough. Maybe not with my words, but with my actions and my attitude.

God. Is. Enough.

I’ve got to start living my life like I believe it. I’ve gotta talk about, tweet about and Facebook share about the gift of my Savior.

I don’t want to be the spoiled kid at the birthday party. Do you?

Lord, forgive me for acting like You are not enough. Lord, You are my refuge and my portion. Help me to stop worrying about what I don’t have and instead realize what I do. I have You, God. Thank You for Your incredible gift. Amen.

*image credit

Carol

God is Bigger than Mickey

internet-cafe-devotions

I’ve just returned from a vacation to Disney World with my family. Our last day was spent at Hollywood Studios where we watched the show Fantasmic. Those of you who’ve seen it are nodding and smiling right now, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a water/light/fireworks/drama show.

At the end of the show, water is spraying high and the music builds as an old-fashioned steamboat drives by carrying every possible Disney character you can imagine. While you’re still all smiles…

Join me today at the Internet Cafe. You won’t believe what I thought of when I saw Fantasmic. Click HERE to read the rest of the devotion.

Carol

Blurring Out the Background

“Mom, can I use your camera? I want to make a Lego stop motion movie.”

My son paused, waiting for my answer. Inside my head, the pros and cons were having a war.

He has used it before with you watching, he knows how to use it. Be the mom that says yes.

He may drop it or put his fingers on the lens. He might press buttons and mess up the setting you have, and you don’t know enough about your camera yourself to reset them. Do you remember how much that thing cost?

“Y-y-yes,” I sputtered out. The word stuck on my lips.

Ten minutes later, I decided to check in on my young director. Tiny Lego figures were set up in a battle scene, and my eleven-year-old was crouched low, capturing the action shot by shot.

He paused and used the playback mode to look at the images he shot. “Why does it look fuzzy?” he asked.

I took the camera to look and noticed the auto-focus had selected things in the background on which to focus, and Colin’s Lego men stood blurry in the front. “When you press down halfway to focus, you need to make sure the center of focus is on the important stuff in the photo. That way it’ll be clear in your picture and the background will be fuzzy instead.”

Image

I remembered this conversation a few days later while talking to my husband. He called to see how my day was going, and I explained how overwhelmed I was. How I couldn’t find the right balance of time with God, time with kids, time spent cleaning the house, time writing on my book proposal and time focused on exercise. If I was really good in one area, another area was lacking.

My wise husband said, “Carol, if you focus on all that stuff you can’t get done, you will always feel overwhelmed. But if you focus on all the good stuff you are doing, you’ll be encouraged.”

I was frustrated because I was looking at a blurry picture of my life. My center of focus wasn’t on the important stuff. Stuff like showing my son I trust him with my expensive camera and letting him know Lego stop-motion movies are important to me because they are important to him. When Grace interrupted my morning writing time and I did ABC and 1,2,3 flash cards instead, I realized my priorities had come into focus.

When I choose to sit with my husband and watch a movie over doing laundry, I’m cropping in on things of worth. If the bathrooms don’t get clean because I spend that time talking and praying with a friend who is struggling, I’m just blurring out the background. And who looks at the background in pictures anyway?

So, if you struggle like me trying to find the balance in all things. If you’re overwhelmed with your non-Pinterest worthy life, take a deep breath. Change your focus and stop looking at the background so much. Then notice the beautiful picture right before your very eyes.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NIV

Carol

Who Do You Follow

presidential-prayer-team-devotion

I’m at middle school camp with my son this weekend. As I’ve watched the kids, I’ve noticed they all follow somebody.

So I’ve got a question for you. Who do you follow?

Join me at the Presidential Prayer Team today. Click HERE to read today’s devotion.

*Remember the link for the devotion is only direct today. After today, you’ll have to select July 6 from the drop down menu on the Presidential Prayer Team site.

Carol