Morning Moments

with Sandra Bivens Smith


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Advent Study

PREPARING FOR ADVENT

For those of you who are in the Charlotte area: Heart2Heart Ministry is offering the Max Lucado Advent study “BECAUSE OF BETHLEHEM”.  The study is open to all women. See registration information below.

“No one expected God to come to this earth the way He did.  The One who made everything made Himself nothing.  He experienced hunger and thirst.  He went through the normal stages of human development.  He was taught to walk, stand and wash his face.  He was genuinely human.”

In the midst of your hectic Christmas season, Max Lucado urges you to remember these truths and to rekindle your connection to the Christ of Christmas.  To lay down your Christmas to do list and receive what Jesus has already done.  And to heal your heartache by embracing the God who is always near you, always for you, and always in you.

Because Of Bethlehem is a four session study designed to help us prepare our hearts for Christmas.

Study Group meets each Wednesday

Calvary Baptist Church – Fellowship Hall

10301 Harwood Ln, Charlotte, NC 28214

10:30 AM until Noon

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE REGISTRATION FORM 

Heart2Heart Ministry is not a ministry of Calvary Baptist Church.   Our thanks to Calvary Baptist Church for making facilities available to us for this study.

November 28  Session 1:  God Has a Face
December 5     Session 2:  Worship Works Wonders
December 12   Session 3:  God Guides the Wise
December 19   Session 4:  Every Heart a Manger


3 Comments

The Sparrow

This is not my typical post.  As a matter of fact, I debated whether to post it at all.  However, after much thought, I decided it was too good not to share.  It is my hope that my story brings a smile to your day.

There was quite a bit of excitement in the Smith house last night.  Somewhere around 8:00 PM our animals began going crazier (more so than usual).  Nala the cat was sitting by the dinning room window staring.  Maggie our Lharkie was walking around the house with her tail down in what is normally her “storm panic” mode.  And Bethoven, our Shih Tzu, well he was just being Tovey, we never know what he’s thinking!

I was in the kitchen and as I looked up I saw a dark blob of something on the dinning room blind.  At first glance I thought it was a giant moth.  (Let me pause here to tell you that hubby and I had just finished watching a Stephen King movie).  Anyway, I turned the light on and realized it was not a moth but what I thought was a bat!  At this point, I’m with Maggie, its time to panic!  Time to call in the troops – that would be my husband Avon.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me:  (calmly) “Honey, would you come here a minute?”

Him:  “Why, what do you need?”

Me:  (not so calmly) “Please, just come here!”

He comes into the kitchen and I show him the creature that has invaded our home.  He, being the brave one in our family, goes to take a closer look.  I continue to panic and I insist that he put on some gloves (I’m remembering the man who was bitten by a rat in the Stephen King movie).  Turns out it is not a bat or even a moth, it is a bird which has somehow found it’s way into our dinning room.

So now, what are we going to do?  We don’t want to hurt the thing, we just want it out.  We don’t have a net to catch it in but we can’t just let it stay.  We open the door, expecting the thing will just fly away – but no, doesn’t work that way.  Not to worry, my ever resourceful hubby has a plan.  He goes into his garage and comes back with an aluminum rod of some kind with a Wally-world bag tied to the end; we’re going to catch and release this poor bird.

The chase begins.  We sneak up on him with the bag, he flies to the living room; cat chases.  Again, hubby approaches with bag-on-a-pole in hand; bird flies, right past the open door and back to the dining room.  This time he perches on the light fixture, surely we can capture him there.  Not.  Back and forth – dinning room to living room, living room to kitchen, kitchen to …. you get the picture.  Nala the cat is getting more and more excited.  Maggie the Lharkie is getting more and more panicked.  Bethoven, he’s still just being Tovey, seemingly oblivious to it all.  And me?  This chase has been going on for well over thirty minutes so I’m getting concerned that either my husband, or that poor bird, or both, are going to fall out and then what will I do?

And so I prayed.  “Lord, Your word tells us that your eye is on the sparrow.  Please get this little sparrow out of my house”.  And then, just like that, it happened.  That little bird made one more round and then straight out the open door.

Was it my prayer that made him leave?  All I can say is this.  I don’t believe in coincidence.  I do believe in God.  I do believe in prayer.  I do believe in God’s word.  So, why shouldn’t I believe He answered my prayer?  The little birds feathers were all ruffled and I’m sure he was exhausted and afraid.  As he flew away I whispered another prayer “Lord, take care of your creature, he’s been through so much.”  I believe the Lord heard that prayer as well.

I joyfully leave you with this:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Postscript:  At the time, the whole situation seemed quite serious but in hindsight, as I replay it all in my mind, it was really very comical.  Those heavy work gloves.  That plastic bag on the end of a pole.  Two old folks running around the house from room to room chasing a bird.  My greatest regret is that I didn’t think to get it all on video!

Until next time,

Sandra


3 Comments

This Way Out

I’ve known people who, when they go into an unfamiliar building, the first thing they do is locate the EXIT signs.  They want to make sure, if something goes wrong, they know the way out. As the world seems to become more and more dangerous, I find myself, to some extent, doing the same sort of thing.  I’ve become more cautious, more aware of my surroundings, more prone to look for the EXIT sign.

Remember the fire drills in school?  The alarm would sound and we had to stop whatever we were doing then quietly, calmly (in single file) go outside.  Most businesses today have an established “evacuation plan”, a pre-determined route for getting out of the building.  Hopefully, you or I will never be in a life-threatening situation, but just in case, it is good to “have a plan”.

There is a danger that every one of us faces daily;  it is the danger of temptation.  And, just as there is an escape route in the movie theater, the bank, the mall, or your office, we assured of a way to escape temptation, one which God will provide.

Paul writes “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Think about the temptations that threaten your spiritual wellbeing.  Maybe you’re prone to overeating, gossip, complaining; you know the temptations that you most struggle with, your danger zone.  Now, what is your Exit Strategy?  Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a situation and in panic mode.  Make your plan now, while your mind is clear.

These are some things that help me:

  • Search Scripture.  Look to God’s word for strength concerning your particular struggle.  I find a lot of help in the Psalms.
  • Pray, Pray, Pray.  Pray about it.  Pray through it.  Pray after it passes -prayer of praise. (This is where that scripture can really help – pray it).
  • Write It Down.  In a secure place, write down the temptations you seem to constantly struggle with along with the scripture you’ve identified. Post It notes work great.  You can keep them in your bible on the page with your scirpture.
  • Accountability Partner.  Ask someone you trust to keep you accountable.  Go to them as soon as the alarm sounds, before the temptation becomes a sin.

Above all, don’t get discouraged.  I belive that there are few things that please the devil more than to see God’s children get discouraged because that’s when we’re most vulnerable.  Keep reminding yourself, you are a work in progress and what the Lord begins, He is faithful to complete.

You may have some other strategies that get you through; if so, I hope you will share them with us.

Until next time,

Sandra