Finishing strong

Solomon was a man of wisdom. I wrote about him HERE but that was a month ago and I have since put some the pieces together and have found a man who had a really STRONG start and then fell off the path in a big way and then seemed to finish with humble strength.

Solomon comes from a family line of infidelity and lust, so its no wonder that it was that very sin that was his downfall. He is the son of David and Bathsheba. According to customs, he was not to be king. King David’s first born son should have been but David promised that he would make Solomon King. When the time came, that Daddy David was old, Solomon’s mom reminded him of that promise. She was a mom that had done some treasuring of her son over the years.

Solomon means “peaceable”. Even as a baby, Solomon was loved by God. God was so pleased with Solomon that he granted his request for wisdom as much as the sands on the shore, along with great riches and power. He had it all, so why did he loose favor with God?

Solomon married the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh to deal a political alliance and this went against God. He couldn’t control his lust….he had many foreign concubines and this angered God…lust lured King Solomon away from God and into worship of false gods and idols. It was a train wreck. He let lust rule his heart instead of obedience to God.

This is where we all will fall. What fools we are when we allow anyone or anything to turn our heart away from God. When you compromise your obedience to God expect trouble to come your way. God removes his protective hedge from our lives when we disobey. He does this to bring us to our senses and back to him. He will not allow us to live a lie and be a hypocrite. Solomon was a bad example before an unbelieving world. Instead of him influencing them for good, they influenced him for evil.

Solomon’s later writings prove that he had indeed realized his folly and turned back to the God of his youth. Having learned through sad experience the foolery of such a life, his greatest desire seems to be to save others from the experience through which he passed. I would write all of Ecclesiastes in this blog if I thought you would continue to read. Instead I ask that you ponder his revelations, that you study his understanding, that you learn from his experience.

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to EVERY person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecc12:13 & 14

Lord help me to not only start well but finish it well. Help me not to compromise faith and love for you. Instead keep me close to the cross and the Christ who died for me there. Reveal to me the mystery that in CHRIST HIMSELF is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Let me finish the race of life strong.

The making of a man, its a beautiful thing

This is a testimony from a once single mom who had dashed hopes for a whole family and high anxiety about how she was going to raise a boy into a man without a dad in the home. This is a testimony about how God just makes stuff happen and when you trust Him with your kid, God will fill in the gaps. This is me testifying that I am a woman and only men can raise a man.

Today, I am completely distracted by thoughts of my husband and son. Mr. Paul is a wise man and when I married him I had high hopes of him not only being my life partner but also somehow impacting the lives of my children, especially my son.

It is happening. Naturally and beautifully.

This week the weight room at our shop has been abuzz with the sounds of two guys throwing around weight. I hear a wise man teaching an impressionable young man, the art of testosterone use and muscle building. I hear great communication like the sound of silence and a grunt here or there. I heard the boy say “ya, you spit in my face that last time” and heard the response “sorry, that happens”, then little chuckles from each one.

These two worked on a job a couple of weeks ago, helping a lady in our community haul some junk to the dump. They did another job at an old couples house in Eagle Crest and hauled away a truck load of weeds. Last night they left for the weekend to build a fence. My son knows he’s paid $10 an hour and has a certain amount of money to feed himself for the weekend. My husband is teaching him how to use that money wisely and perhaps end up with some of it left over and in his pocket at the end of the weekend.

My son is learning and studying to be a man from one of the most patient, caring men I know. If he turns out to be a reflection of Jesus, like Mr. Paul is, this world will be a better place. The future is bright. There is hope for this soon to be 15 year old and I for one am thrilled about it. I’m watching the making of a man, its a beautiful thing.

Treasuring

I just sneezed about 20 times, the skies are grey, its a bit drizzly and I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m. It feels a bit like fall and not much like the lazy days of summer. I am sitting at my daughters swim team practice, every morning (monday, tuesday, thursday, friday) I sit here and ponder the greater things of life. I’m secretly thrilled that her early morning swim practice takes us to Sunriver for an hour and a half. I sit in the WARM pool house, listening to the sound of water splashing, drinking coffee and reading Gods word. I love my daughter.

I love my son. Its hard to believe that he is entering high school next year, wears a size 12 shoe and is taking a writing class this summer without any major complaints! In a few short months he’ll be 15 years old, with a driving permit and great hopes of owning a car of his own some day. He’s growing up, dealing with the twists life gives him and emerging a champion.

This summer our family is reading The Books of the Bible, a community bible experience. We’ll cover the entire new testament in 8 weeks. Its a great thing, we read about 10 pages a day and then at the end of the week we’ll discuss what we noticed for the first time, any questions we have, anything that bothered us, what we learned about loving God and what we learned about loving others. Brilliant! What better thing then getting the new testament into your kids over the summer and growing some community in your family.

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Twice in Luke those words pop up. Mary, the mother of Jesus, watched her baby, her savior, from his first breathes to the end of his days. She watched. You don’t really hear stories of her disciplining her child or teaching him, you see her watching him and treasuring the things in her heart. This first time came after the wise men came to visit the baby messiah, they were astounded at the things of God, spreading the words that the angel had shared about the birth of the savior and the sign that he was to God’s people. BUT MARY…kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Again Jesus was 12 years old and left behind at the Festival of the Passover…Mary was freaking out because her son didn’t come home with them. She found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions…doing what he loved to do BUT his mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)

Treasured: To watch thoroughly, to observe strictly; intensive, to guard, watch, keep with care, to lay up, to retain

Treasuring is something mothers do by instinct but I have found myself intentionally treasuring these moments with my children. I think Mary intentionally treasured these moments with Jesus.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for sign to be opposed–and a sword will pierce even your own soul to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed…Luke 2:34,35

Yes Jesus was her messiah, her savior, but he was her son. She knew her time with him would be short and she wanted to record every ‘child’ moment she could. She watched thoroughly and intensely at the savior she knew to be her son. She was treasuring each little piece of him. Storing it up.

I get it, I think treasuring of our children could be a lost art in our culture. We get to busy to watch our daughters swim and our sons laugh. We focus on behavior modification not heart cultivation. We loose the mystery of watching an infant grow into an adult and get lost in the challenges of the journey.

I was going to talk to you about Solomon and I will, but Solomon was someones son and I wonder if she treasured things she saw of him in her heart? I’ll try to find out but in the meantime, do some treasuring of your own. Your child may not be the messiah but he is all yours and soon he will be his own, treasure it in your heart!