Sunday, May 17, 2009
First I will let you know that we have a name for this little guy, Luke Jeremiah Shelfer. With much thought, and then once I called him by name myself, I knew it was the one. We have agreed on Luke as the first name. Obviously Luke was a man of God and close follower of Christ, so that's most important. Luke comes from a Latin word that means "bringer of light". The biblical Luke was also known as "the beloved physician". Second, of course Layah's little brother must be named Luke-although in Star Wars they were twins. Finally, in the Shelfer family history, we think Luke was Tobias' grandson, so it's a family name. Most of you that know our family well, know that our family's favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you , 'declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future." Since this little guy probably wouldn't like "Hope" for a middle name, and we plan to give that to his sister someday, we figured this would be the next best thing, naming him after a great prophet who wrote Lamentations, I & II Kings and Jeremiah. It also means, in Hebrew, "the Lord exalts" or "God will raise up" and "God will set free". We know with our other 2 children, how prophetic names are. Obviously with Layah, and her name meaning, "delicate" and "child of heaven" and "heavenly flower" we didn't think she'd be returning to heaven but coming from heaven, nevertheless, her name was prophetic, as with her big brother. Tobias means "Yahweh is good", and his middle name Gabriel, besides being one of the leading archangels, also meaning "the messenger" and we believe Tobi has a very sensitive spirit and will do mighty things for God. So that's it. We have named our sweet little blessing of hope as this blog is named. Again, as we approach the "marker" weeks when we had and lost sweet Layah, (23.3 weeks), and Tobi came, (26.5 weeks) we ask that you would pray that I will not have any signs of premature labor, pain, discomfort, bleeding, leaking fluid, contractions, anything. Please pray that my womb will remain a safe place for Luke to grow, mature, and develop to his full potential, until his arrival around the second week of September- and not a week sooner.
Now, today's message at church was worth reflecting on. It was about not losing focus over the summer when not only do we want to take a break from work, school, the stresses of a schedule and so much structure, but many times we find that we've taken a "break" from our relationship with God. We are to proclaim, warn, teach, and help each other reach our full potential in Christ, as it says in Colossians 1:28-29. Pastor Chris gave us some questions to ask ourselves and I will pose them to you (and myself): How are you doing in your relationship with the Lord? Am I connecting with God regularly- and he wasn't just talking about reading scripture and going to church, as many may do those and never truly connect with God, what about staying connected in my relationships with people? Am I relating with people effectively? Am I serving Him passionately? Now, those are some tough questions to answer-honestly. But think about them...if it makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe that's the point. I felt it. I know I need to work harder at being who He would have me to be. I think if I'm comfortable, that might mean I'm slipping away and not even know it. As Paul wrote in Philippians, 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus," Paul knew he constantly had work to do, even in a prison cell. He couldn't just do nothing. (and he communicated to the masses without Email!) I know he asked himself those questions I posed. I mean, look at the life he had led before Christ, he persecuted and condoned the killing of followers of Christ, the Messiah. He knew that we constantly must look in the mirror of "Christ" (I am referring to the perfect example we are to strive to achieve) and see how we're doing. What is reflecting back to us? Satan will constantly try and bring back up our past, as I'm sure that he did with Paul. He might say, "Look what you've done. you cant share God with others because you were once living apart from Him, and you still fall on your face. You are no theologian or scholar or even learned in the scriptures as some teachers.Who are you? What can you do?" I think that's what Paul was talking about, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I looked at several meanings of this word, straining, and although I don't know what word was actually used in Greek in the bible, it may have been one that ones I found. The word straining means "to exert as oneself to the utmost" and "to stretch beyond a proper limit" and "to pull against resistance". So that's what we're to do, press toward the goal, by straining against everything that comes against us, spiritually, emotionally, financially, all of it. To achieve that "goal and win the prize" you really have to know what your purpose is, what you're goal is. We have an awesome "class" at church that helps you see what your personality is and what spiritual gifts you have been given. It's funny cause when I took it, I scored the lowest on teaching, and that's so me. I could never be a teacher. I don't have the patience nor the desire, because that's not MY gift. (God bless you teachers!!!) I scored the highest on advocacy, and arts and crafts. That is so me! Obviously, we are advocates with the March of Dimes, and I hope one day when my children are grown, I can really get involved more with that. I would like to start a support group at UAB for moms who have lost a baby in the NICU, and hopefully soon, after the new women's and children section of the hospital is complete in 2010, that will happen. That's my goal, to reach out to hurting moms. I also want to get really active in Sav-a-life, but right now, it's obviously too painful,so that's a goal, and I'll get there with His help. Each of us should be passionate about something that brings glory to our God. Whether you're a bus driver, work in a restaurant, work in an office setting, or you're a stay at home mom, we can all make a small difference. I don't think we get it sometimes when the bible talks about the "sanctuary" and the "church". WE are the sanctuary. WE are the church, not the building. I cracked up when pastor Chris said, " I just say our building is an auditorium....a Wal-mart with a cross on the front" isn't that true. So this week, as I will, pray that you will connect, with the Lord, and with others in a way that you might not have the day before.