Linda's Cozy Mysteries

Growing Up Haunted, Hour-Long Special Radio Show

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting On God--by Linda Kozar

"That same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
He took them and sent them across the wadi, along with everything he owned.
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the break of the day."--Genesis 32:22 thru 24

Do you ever get tired of waiting for God and try to make things happen? Do you convince yourself that God's too busy to help you, so you decide to carve out your own destiny?
You've probably heard the story before--about how Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord to obtain a blessing. But Jacob began wrestling much earlier. He and his twin brother Esau, wrestled in their mother's womb. And Jacob, whose name literally means "supplanter," or "heel grabber" was named that because he took hold of his brother's heel as they were being born. Jacob later finagled his brother out of his birthright to obtain the blessing of the firstborn son. Jacob would stop at nothing to secure a personal advantage. He pursued the divine blessing deviously and relentlessly to obtain success.
How desperate are you to obtain God's blessing? You've waited and waited on God and you're fearful that the blessing you've prayed for will never happen. Everyone around you seems to prosper. But success always seems to elude you. However, there is purpose in the process...and a process takes time.
Over the years, Jacob changed. He became a man of faith. Through trials and suffering similar deceptions, his heart turned toward God. Now, at a desperate time in his life--the eve of meeting the brother he had deceived and with his angry father-in-law at his heels, he sought God and God showed Himself to Jacob face-to-face.
As they wrestled, the pre-incarnate Christ knew that the morning light was breaking and told Jacob to let him go. Jacob responded, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me." Christ touched him and his hip went out of joint. Though in great pain, Jacob persisted in his plea and would not give up the fight.
How about you? Are you holding on in faith or wrestling in fear?
"The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, 'read this, please.' And he says, 'I cannot, for it is sealed.'"--Isaiah 29:11

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Worst Christmas Gifts EVER! by Linda Kozar

I lovelovelove those Target Lady commercials. That blonde-haired woman with the quirky side ponytail and Wilma Flintstone faux pearls around her neck is the epitome of an over the top power shopper in a red track suit and high heels. And crafter, dare we forget her icing creations. . .
But I have to wonder what kind of gifts the woman buys.
I suspect she's the type of woman who gives her friends and family Bedazzler kits or Bumpits, days of the week underwear (a 7-pack:), lame self-help books, toe socks or a dense fruitcake filled with petrified fruits. Have you ever been on the receiving end of some of these gifts?
I have.
Ever been the recipient of a re-gift? A toaster with a wedding card still in the box?
I have.
Ever had someone give you a gift from their house? Like a paper weight with dust on it?
But my favorite/worst Christmas gift of all time, one I will keep forever and never ever re-gift is an Heirloom Fruitcake. My friend Connie surprised me with it.
Yes, it's completely fake. There's a little booklet inside with suggested uses for the foam, faux cake. Like a doorstop or foot rest, pillow--you get the drift. And speaking of drift, my heirloom fruitcake can also serve as a flotation device.
Family and friends should know what to get us for Christmas--right? And shouldn't WE, by the same token, know inherently, perhaps intuitively, what to buy them as well? But the fact is, when we're bleary-eyed and exhausted from fighting crowds and standing in long lines all day, we somehow convince ourselves that Aunt Betty would love that Hello Kitty blanket or Cousin Tracy would adore that neon orange sale sweater. We just want the shopping to be done--the nightmare to end.
Children are quite another matter though.
If a child wants a dancing Elmo for Christmas, most parents are going to find a way to get one, even if all the local stores are out of stock. We'll go out of our way to make sure our children aren't disappointed. We want to give them their hopes and desires. There's a soft place in the heart of most adults when it comes to kids and Christmas.
I remember one year, my youngest daughter, Lauren wanted an Amazing Ally doll. I searched through five or six different stores searching in vain for one. Sold out--everywhere! So right there in Target, right in the middle of the toy aisle, I prayed and asked God to help me find an Amazing Ally doll. And guess what? 
God spoke to me.
He told me to turn my cart down a particular aisle. So I did. And the minute I turned down the aisle with the Play Doh, I spotted a package wedged in between the cans of Play Doh. An Amazing Ally doll! The tears flowed. On the way to the checkout, half a dozen women stopped me to ask where I'd found the doll. They were ready to take their heels off and bolt for the toy department. 
I prayed and God answered.
God did not give me a lecture about the commercialization of Christmas. He didn't chastise me for chasing after materialistic things. He answered my prayer. He knew that doll was important to me, to a little girl. Because He loves us. In fact, He loves and cares for His children far more than we could ever love and care for our own.
If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts [a]that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and [b]continue to ask Him! Luke 11:13
If you've walked with God long enough, you know how tender-hearted and thoughful He is.  The little things matter as much as the big things. And like my desire to provide my child with an Amazing Ally doll, our Father God desires to provide us, His beloved children with the desires of our heart. 
Of course, sometimes our desires don't fall in line with God's Word. Every parent understands that saying no to some things is important. You wouldn't give your child a loaded gun just because they asked, would you?
We're always asking God for things.
Seriously. If it's not something of a material nature, we're asking for favor or spiritual gifts. And God hears our prayers. He loves to bless us. But the truth is, He's already given us the most precious gift we could ever receive--His one and only Son.
God won't give you anything until He gives you everything.
Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God's gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water. John 4:10
Eternal life is the perfect gift. A treasure beyond comparison. It cost God everything. It costs us nothing.
But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many. Romans 5:15
This year, along with the many imperfect gifts I offer to family and friends, from the Flowbee to the Slap Chop, I'm going to share the Good News about the free gift of eternal life with everyone I care about. How about you? Can I challenge you to do likewise?
'Tis the season to be holy!
Sooooo remember that. Especially when your great aunt gives you a crocheted toilet paper caddy,
or the little jewel below--sort of scary and mighty hideous.
A southern lady lamp.

Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! 2 Corinthians 9:15