Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Don't Stop Belivin'! Hold onto that Feelin'!" - New Year's Resolution

Matthew 17:1-8 tells us of Jesus taking his disciples to a mountain top where they experience his glory in a greater way than ever before!  You would think they would be completely enamoured with all they were hearing and seeing... Instead they fell under fear and looked away from the miracle, the vision and God's voice stopped... But what if the disciples were not afraid? If they never collapsed with fear; what more, what greater things could they have experienced and seen in the moment of their miracle?

How many times have we done the same thing in our own lives and relationship with God? We get our eyes on the problems surrounding us instead of the solution we have within us. We fall under the pressure of fear instead of falling into excitement and expectation in the moment of our miracle. We stop listening to the voice of God because His word for our life is so grand we doubt our ability to absorb, apply and appropriate it correctly. One of the elementary success strategies first learned in life is "if at first you don't succeed try, try again!" so let's put to use what we have known to do for years...

God's word gives us steps to fighting back against fear "for I have not given you the spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind!" (1 Timothy 1:7) The bible tells us what to keep our concentration fixed on when it says "lift up my eyes toward where my help comes from..." (Psalm 121:1) Where does our help come from? The Lord! Lastly, God tells us not to worry about OUR ability because it's He who works the great work through us... It's not our job to appropriate the miracle just to seize the moment and "he that has begun a good work in you is able to finish it!" (Philippians 1:6) "go into all the world... I am with you always, even unto the end." (Matthew 28:19-20)  Part of your miracle is that GOD is the one providing the way for you, he doesn't need your help to make it happen just talk to him enough that you recognize his voice and character like you would your own family and be open to His instruction when it comes to you. After all, "...My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than yours..." (Isiah 55:9)

"I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word..." (Revelation 3:8)  God has opened the doors for you, your job is to walk through trusting Him and controlling your fear through Him. 

My New Year's resolution is to walk through whatever door God wants to open for me, not to fall into fear taking my eyes off him but to fall into excitement of His promises to me!  To expect things I have in the past thought too grand for me or my church!  To allow God to do the work he desires to do around me and to follow His plan for every area of my life this year... Now, who's with me!?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Shopper Extraodinaire

My Christmas shopping experience this year went a little like this... 

Let's just say I was walking the toy isles hugging a cabbage patch baby for my two year old cousin, Olivia (Do you have any idea how nice they smell, if not, go smell one, seriously! Love that smell! ha!)  I practically jumped up and down like a child when I saw old toys I used to play with growing-up in my own home (glow worms, alphie, one of those telephones with wheels you drag around by the receiver, etc..) I mean I was so excited I completely forgot myself in the moment, not worrying about being an adult or thinking of anything except Christmas memories and the toys I loved! 

We saw a man I have known since I was a child walking down the same isle as mum and I.. In this case we can call him Scrooge (although he isn't actually that type at all, it fits in this instance.)  Scrooge was apparently watching all the while I was fawning over the toys and with a clever smile said "you're too old to play with those toys" and commented on me holding the cabbage patch kid so tightly. Ha!  To old? It's Christmas, no one is too old for anything regarding Christmas! Get in the spirit! 

I was having a grand time remembering the toys I loved as a child and thinking any child would love the same toys I used to have, I was inclined to buy those particular items... Mum said I couldn't just get the kids gifts I would want (isn't that the point!? The kids will be finished with them 5 minutes from opening the box and then I can enjoy them... Am I right!?) "Olivia won't like that" mum said about a toy I was eyeing. I loudly asked "What kid WOULDN'T like this?!?" A random man walking by (we can call him "The Grinch") answered "I wouldn't." I retorted, with a laugh "Well, you're not a kid sir!"

This post really has no point except to remind you of your happy Christmas memories of years gone by and to wish you all the wonder and happiness a childhood Christmas brings!  It's Christmas, we have the perfect excuse to get as excited and silly as we desire; so go ahead, go nuts!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Promises Promises

When a parent tells their child they will buy them a great gift for Christmas is it then the child's responsibility to find out where the money will come from?  Maybe, pick up a shift after school at McDonalds, find the gift in a store, wait in line for an hour, purchase the gift, take it home, wrap it tightly in Christmas paper, put a bow on top, write out a name-tag and place it near the bow and then tuck the gift underneath the branches of the Christmas Tree?  Of course not, the parent assumes the responsibility to do all those things at the word of their promise! 

As a matter of fact, a responsibility is assumed to "make it happen" by anyone who makes a promise at any time.  "Making it happen" is automatically included in any promise the moment it is spoken!  When someone gets a promise from me that's exactly what I am aware of and you should be as well.  Promises are not to be made lightly or because we are pressured into giving our word.  I encourage you not to promise anything before you know the responsibility you are acquiring along with your word, it's better to say you cannot promise than to break a commitment a promise makes.

God has never before and will never make a promise He does not intend on keeping.  And we all have promises from Him... It's no surprise to God when we can't figure out a way to make it all happen when He promises us something!  Remember, as it is with a parent's promise to their child so it is with God's promises to us: it's not our job to make sure it all happens in the first place.  When a promise is made by God he already has the follow-through planned.  Our part in God's promises is accepting His Word, standing firm on His promise, trusting He will open the doors of possibility and, by faith, step through the doors He opens!

This Christmas season, the time of Christ's birth, let's remember the promises God has given each of us through His word!  Take hold of each promise, trusting He will bring them to pass while making our own promise to Him that we will walk through any door He opens for us!  Acts 2:38-39 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off..."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

'tis the season to be... Depressed??!

It's the Christmas season again... I usually hold off on allowing myself to get into the spirit of Christmas until mid-December, and still, by the time the glorious day actually gets here I'm just ready for it to be over. This year I decided to try things mum's way... Full throttle Christmas spirit by mid-November!! Decorations up, gift buying & wrapping started, fireplace on, wrapped in a blanket with Christmas movies practically every evening, Christmas songs  in the air, hot chocolate and cider on the menu! Trying to hold onto the warmth of the holidays through the whole season...

While watching another Christmas movie I realized something... "this is depressing!" I mean seriously, it was a happy movie filled with love and cheer but I was alone.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the "pity party" type; I'm thankful for my life and all the blessing it holds but in that moment I realized Christmas does do something other seasons cannot... Christmas makes you aware of what is missing from your life.  Whatever the one goal you're just not able to reach it's displayed in a Christmas movie; whether it is a home to call your own, the perfect cabin retreat in the woods, a new car, the perfect meal, family, promotion or "the one"... That one thing you feel you're missing out on, the one thing you just aren't sure will ever be yours, that's the thing you watch making happy the people on the screen.

A couple of days later I was thinking about Christmas again (surprise surprise) loving the smells and the sounds of the season but feeling a sad... Suddenly it hit me "Christmas has become depressing because we have our eyes on the wrong life!" Just like the movies we love to watch year after year in which someone has lost faith in the miracles of the season we have lost sight of the true miracle the season is all about! We are looking at the lives on a screen, comparing them to our own lives when we should and need to look at His life!

Yes, the little babe born in Bethlehem wrapped tight with his mothers love settled in a manger filled with hay; but, not only the babe, the man and his life! The story doesn't end with frankincense and myrrh but with a cross of love and resurrection of hope! So let's remember Christ this Christmas season and surround ourselves and those around us with the life giving power of His love and hope!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Polite Pause

The other night as I was drifting off to sleep my state of serenity was interrupted by this conversation:

"We haven't talked lately" - God

"Oh I've been talkin'..." -me

"And pausing... every once in awhile."  -God

Have you ever been in mid-conversation with someone and, either because there is dead silence and a look of disdain or because the other person said something completely random to bring you back to this hemisphere, realized you've been doing all the talking.  Not because the other person hasn't anything to say but because both of you know that a "pause" and a "listen" are not the same thing and you weren't really listening for response even if that person were to offer up life changing perspective... No, no, you were "politely" pausing because that is what we are trained to do... Politely pausing, by the way, is not actually polite. Well, the "Polite Pause" conversation is kind of what just happened between God and I... He brought me back down (or up) to His hemisphere with just two sentences.

So the question is: how have your conversations with God been lately? "Polite pausing" between your requests, suggestions on how He should run the show of your life; dare I say demands for Him to fulfill or are you really listening to His life changing perspectives on your situations and ideals?

Hopefully my sharing of "The Polite Pause" conversation makes you think before your next conversation... And not think only but cut out the "polite pauses" of all your conversing, actually listening to what people and God have to offer! "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." (James 1:22)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Criminal Minds - Kidnapped! Viewer Discretion is advised due to mature subject matter.

I was watching Criminal Minds last week, a show I pretty much love... I know, I know it's not a pleasant show most of the time, but I'm fascinated with how it portrays the workings of a... Not to be redundant but... "Criminal Mind."  Last weeks episode was about a serial kidnapper (and killer) who would kidnap little boys who on camping trips with their parents, keep them in a cave with him for the winter and kill them in the spring.  And it got me thinking about my own kidnap experience... 

When I was approximately three or four years old my dad and I were driving home from a city one hour away.  We stopped for gas at a familiar, country gas station on the way. Knowing I would be getting a treat at the store I excitedly hopped out of the car before my dad running around the front of the car with my little, mitten covered hand still on the hood.  A man picked me up from behind, he was wearing a leather coat, had a scruffy face I could feel on the side of mine and the smell of a wood stove still on his person... All combined I quickly came to the conclusion it was my uncle William and was not afraid.  Not afraid until I saw my father's face when he jumped out of the car and yelled "PUT HER DOWN!" The man said nothing, didn't even flinch but started to back away with me still in tow under his arm.  I started crying and kicking thinking my dad must have been really angry with my uncle but he didn't put me down.  My father started coming for us, fist drawn, saying "YOU'D BETTER PUT HER DOWN NOW!"  I was dropped to the ground and the mysterious man who turned out not to be my uncle disappeared into the frosty, dark, night air.  My father rushed to my side making sure I was not hurt by the fall and we hurried on our way home, forgetting the treat and gas for that night.  A week or two later my parents read the newspaper in disbelief; a story reading ' hanged himself in his cottage after two boys he held for weeks escaped his torture..." It was the mysterious man from just a few nights before. He held the two boys for who knows how long beating, molesting and emotionally torturing them.

Both the Criminal Minds episode remind me of one thing: the story of every single person in the world... We are all at different parts in the story but all reading the same, in the end we just have to figure out how to pen the final chapter.  We all have been held captive at some point by something or someone who has and/or is hurting us: beating us down until we feel we cannot stand up under our own power, molesting our hopes and dreams to the point we no longer recognize the torn pieces of what should have been and torture our emotions until we are just a scared, bitter, hardened mess of a human being.

But, there is another character in this story we often forget about in our moments of fear... The loving, protective, strong Father.  See a father doesn't care if he loses his own life as long as his child is protected and spared.  He doesn't care if there is anyone to help him or witness the event in case he is accused of any wrong doing, he is blinded to all else by the love for his child.  The Father doesn't wait to be called into action when His child is in danger; He will go through hell, death and the grave to rescue His own!  (Hosea 13:14 & 1 Corinthians 15:55)

So what now will we do about this Father who has already come to our rescue?  The choice is yours! You have the pen and the ink well so write your own final chapter:  either slap the rescuing Father in the face and refuse His love, walk back to the captivity and torturer or throw both arms around your Fathers neck and allow Him to pick you up off the ground, make sure you are ok and bring you back home and grow you up... It's a process, that growing up part, there are some scrapes and bruises along the way but when you consider the alternative and most of all the love of the Father it clearly is the best choice!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Procrastinators Unite... Tomorrow."

Hey guys,  sorry I haven't written anything AGAIN in a while!  I have no excuses... The other day I saw a quote on Twitter (SueAnnCanada is my name if you want to follow me by the way) "If you don't have anything to write, write that." -unknown.  So my intentions were to follow that word of advice... But then I realized it's not that I don't have anything to write, it's that I am a PROCRASTINATOR!!  I have had many ideas and things I wanted to share with you but I just felt like I would remember to write them at a more convenient time... Well, no more!  I promise to write them somehow at the moment and post at the more convenient time!

That being said I would like to share the lesson with you... I do procrastinate in every area of life, not just in writing.  But I do feel the need to change and hopefully admittance & commitment to behavioural change through this blog will help me to be aware of and discontinue my lazy ways.

See, that's just it "lazy" is a very offensive word these days... We have come up with many other excuses: "I'm too busy" (yeh, doing what, playing angry birds or watching the latest episode of your favorite shows?), "later" (when?), "I'm soooo tired!" (from what, the majority of people I know work in offices, tired from sitting all day!?) etc.  In all seriousness, it's not because we are busy, tired or even that we are procrastinators, it's because we are lazy!  We no longer use our time wisely, instead of spending quality time with our friends and family we sit to watch TV in the same room; at least when we can agree on the show. We no longer read, I mean really, I do read a bit but it is a discipline not enjoyment anymore and when I am reading I spend almost as much time directing my mind back to the words on the page than enjoying my imagination paint the pictures of the stories!  Don't get me wrong, I love Grey's, Big Bang Theory and The Office as much as the next person but since when are fictional characters more important than the people actually connected to our daily lives?!  It's a little crazy, don't ya think?

Look, I'm not asking for a huge commitment here but maybe we all should take a step back and think about all the things we are missing out on in our lives... And the people who are missing out on what we have to offer when we take just a small amount of time to love and acknowledge them!  The benefit of building meaning in our lives and the lives of others should far outweigh a missed show or game on our IPOD!  And if we sincerely search our hearts we will recognize every word in this blog to be true. 

So here's what I purpose:  You don't even have to miss your shows (who would have to now with Internet & T-vo now anyway?)  Take an extra hour a day, all at once or spread out over 15 minute intervals to connect with family, friends, God and ourselves.  Even if it's at suppertime, lets turn the TV off and sit at that old dusty table.  Or when a friend comes to visit TALK, instead of turning on the TV and surfing the channels until you settle to watch a show you're not remotely (no pun intended) interested in. Read the bible, listen to some Christian music, meditate on God, write something spiritually edifying or just TALK to Him! Get to know yourself in quiet... Seriously, something I learned a long time ago that has helped me build confidence and trust "if you can't be quiet with yourself you aren't comfortable in your own skin." So just be for once, let the hustle and bustle of life (especially headed into the Christmas season) melt away for a bit and slow your mind... You'll be surprised how much you will enjoy quiet time once you're used to it, how much you will learn about yourself (which at first is a lot of "Oh my goodness, I really just can't be" and "I need to slow down this can't be that important, I can't even slow my thoughts for 10 seconds!") and how much calmer you will be in every situation in life in general.  So can we do it?  Will we do it?  I say "YES!" now who's with me!?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

True Love??!!

I feel bad for leaving you all hanging so long... I was doing so well at posting every week then nothing.  It's just that I usually wait for something to happen in my life I can see a lesson in to share with you that will be inspiring to you...  Lately, there is nothing of the kind going on... And I'm not being negative here, I am just "In the waiting" (Greg Long has a song called "in the waiting" and it's a good listen so check it out, I've also been listening to a lot of planet shakers and they're pretty great as well... Enough of the Shakesperean aside ha!) I've thought of something unrelated to my present life I could share... Although as I start writing I can see it's not really unrelated at all...

 One of my favorite Shakespearean writings is Sonnet 116 (below)... I say "one of my favorite" because I pretty much love Shakespeare anything.  I suppose it's because he believed in love, and not just any love but TRUE LOVE!  Which, let's face it, is a dying hope in the world these days.  With divorce rates sky-rocketing (and my parents adding to statistics) I've always been afraid to love.  Of course, it's only now I recognize it's not love I fear but the act of loving.  It's not that I would think it a difficult task to fall into love, but possibly that I would fall and the man still be standing above it all when I crash to the ground.  I always have been a stickler for the man pursuing the woman (and will remain so! It's my opinion every LADY should be pursued not the pursuer) but what about once he is pursuing, I need to be able to allow myself to love him back and so do you!

Just now, writing to you, I feel the need to make a commitment and possibly encourage you to make one of your own.  The issue is, I want love in my life!  I want love in every relationship but specifically I want "the love of my life" to come along (quick like a bunny, ha!)  Someone to laugh with, cry to, be quiet with, to understand (although I hear that one takes lots of time and effort), someone to love... "Don't you want somebody to love. Dooon't you need somebody to love!"

I know, I know, this is strange territory to be crossing; admitting I'm not completely satisfied in my single status... But I heard something on Karate Kid (of all places) that got me thinking "being still and not doing anything are two separate things" and likewise being happy in a moment and satisfied in the encompassing situation are two separate things.  I am happy, I'm not crying at night or fretting over whether that knight in shining armour has lost his horse in some horrible accident and has now worn his legs down to nubs trying to walk to me all these years, ha!  I am, however, looking forward to the possibilities and expecting a breathtaking love to be just around the corner, and if not the next corner the one after that.  So here it is, the commitment:

"I promise to never stop waiting for that moment of breathlessness.  To remain happy in my own skin but hopeful for what is to come!  I promise to not settle for "Mr. I need someone right now" and leave "Mr. I need you for the rest of my life" without the perfect match (ME!)  I promise to believe in love and fight for it just as much as Mr. Shakespeare (or was he a Sir?.. Anyway...)  I promise not to let anyone force me into unbelief, lack of trust or dashed hopes whether it be "friends," family or other.  I promise to remain happy for others around me who uncover this precious gift in their own lives and let their success be a sign of the successes to come in my life!  I promise my Prince Charming that once I do know you're the one I will love you every second without doubt or wavering faith in our relationship, with God in the middle of it all!  Most of all I promise to trust you, God, to lead us both down the path that will have us running directly into each other sooner than I think!"

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved!

"The poet begins by stating he should not stand in the way of true love. Love cannot be true if it changes for any reason. Love is to be constant, through any difficulties... Love should not fade with time; instead, true love lasts forever. When it says "Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom," Shakespeare is saying that love is timeless, and only death can do it part.

The last two lines employ a paradoxical conceit. If there is no such thing as true love, the poet says that neither has he ever written, nor has anyone ever experienced true love. However, because the poem has been written, it means the poet, ultimately, is right about true love."

And let it be said that I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY agree!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"I got this!" - God

Sometimes I wonder why we waste time arguing over things that don't really matter at all... I mean really, who cares if we look at something the same way if the result is the same?  Are we really that self-righteous that we must have other people look at everything in the exact same way we do?  I get it, I like being correct just as much as the guy next door but I could not care less how he comes to know I'm correct. 

I've been accused, and rightfully so, of being an analytical mind... Possibly a little neurotic, which I am not accepting of quite yet ha!  I've also been accused of being a pessimist, which I am not.  I am definitely a realist and I do contemplate what the worst outcome of any given situation is so I'm not taken off guard... And I know what you're thinking "Ahhh, hello!!  That is being a pessimist!"  but that's not exactly true.  First of all when you take law they teach you to be analytical (not that I, personally, needed much help in that arena) and also to think of the worst possible outcome of a circumstance so 1) You can stop it before it happens 2) You will not be taken by surprise 3) You can prepare yourself to handle the situation correctly. * Interjection: It may be benefit to everyone if each person had a bit of thinking before the "handle the situation"... Just something to think about. * I learned well before college to protect myself via analysis and prediction of an outcome, I've strangely tempered it into being prepared instead of expectation... Therein lies the difference between pessimism and realism, the expectation of the outcome... You may know all the possibilities without expecting the worst.

Two of my mothers sisters have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 24 months and a few weeks ago my mother had a call back to the hospital for further testing...  I immediately began to think of what I would need to do to fully support both mother and myself during treatments.  I made calls, looked on-line and made a list of needless bills I could cancel... I was also told I was expecting the worst and being pessimistic instead of trusting God.... 

Let's get this straight:  I was PREPARING for the worst not EXPECTING it so that takes care of pessimism. As for trust in God, I think we should look at the definition of another word "denial."  I have an aunt (who was not the person to tell me I wasn't trusting God by the way) who pretty much lives in denial of any upsetting issue and I always think it must be pretty much a blissful existence... I have quite a spectacular imagination (if I do say so myself ha!) but to just pretend things that upset me are not so and actually convince myself of it would be wonderful!  But I don't think that's really what is the norm for most people and certainly not in my case. God never once said "pretend your enemies don't exist" or "just forget about that diagnosis and it will go away" or "get yourself an imaginary friend when you feel alone and they will come to life just like Pinocchio!" But he did say in Matthew 6:12 "Forgive us for the wrong things we have done, the way we forgive those who have done wrong things to us." and in Deuteronomy 20:4 "For the Lord your God is He Who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you!" Exodus 15:26 "...I am God your healer." and Isiah 53:5 "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Matthew 28:20 "...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." and in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 

In my own paraphrase "Don't pretend enemies, troubles, fears, problems, sickness aren't there; realize God is and He said "I got this!"  So, yes, I see the severity and reality in life but I also see the Power and Love in Jesus Christ and I choose to let the battle be His not mine, I don't really look good in camouflage anyway ;o)   -2 Chronicles 20:15

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Has the Enemy really been defeated?

I read a friends Facebook Statuses today "Throwing in the towel...... I give up!"  and the second "I'm, beginning to wonder if the Enemy really has been defeated."  Seeing those comments caused an immediate reaction in me... Not anger, or frustration but I dropped everything to "Rise up a Standard" (Isaiah 59:19) and here it is:

I get it, I'm not naive of bad days, hard times, family issues, relationship problems, death, illness, fear, rejection, hurt, attacks, undesired and unexplained tragedies, church splits and fights (bet you thought the church would be perfect... Well no, it's filled with imperfect people who are striving to be more like the perfect God.) I know about and have experienced every one of the above experiences and more... I know where they come from and how hard it is to understand why God allows bad things to happen, it's hard not to get angry and question... But questions aren't wrong (just stay away from accusing.)

Revelation 12:10-11 "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God,and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony..."  I know you've probably jumped to the end of that passage "And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony..." but don't miss "For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth the one who accuses them before our God day and night." It seems I'm being a pessimist by focusing on that part of the scripture but I'm not, I'm just trying to explain we need to be realistic, while "the accuser" is on Earth he is going to wreak as much havoc as he can... But he has to go to God and accuse before he can touch us! Job 1:7-12 "One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth." God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil."  Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can't lose!  "But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what."  God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God. " We are protected by the Divine, we CANNOT be defeated if he hold onto him! Paul said in Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." and David in Psalm 118:6 "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"  and God himself in Isiah 41:13 "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee!"

The fact that Satan is around bothering and attacking people actually just proves his defeat!  He was defeated when Jesus on the cross and rose again on the third day!  If Satan wasn't defeated already he wouldn't be wasting time on the children (us) he would still be trying to fight and kill the Father (Jesus)!  Satan is just in capture at the moment, Earth is a holding cell and there is no hope for bail!  When Jesus defeated Satan he was cast down to Earth for a time until Jesus comes back and has him thrown into Hell!  Jesus knows and approves every person he comes into contact with like a visitor registry in a penitentiary. The little Devil talks a big game but if you look down you will see he is to an eternity of torture. Silly Satan, once again proving his own defeat and the power of God!  Really, it must suck to continually prove the one thing you have dedicated your entire existence to refuting!

I'm not saying it's an easy road, even Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23 that to follow Him you have to take up your cross... And Cross carrying is no easy business!  What I am saying is HOLD ON! You won't be taken out by whatever has come your way as long as you stay with Jesus!  It may look bleak but remember, the situation sent by Satan in itself proves the defeat and it's just going to be a little while until Jesus transfers Satan onto the eternal solitary confinement of death row!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do what now?

"Mic check, mic check! 1-2, 1-2!" I know it's been a long time, but this thing still works!

I've been frustrated (verging on emotional,) lazy, tired and feeling "tight" lately... Not tight as in cheap or awesome or any sense of the word that seems to have been popular recently but "tight" as in "restricted." I'm not doing enough... All I do is sing... In reality that's not all I do, still I'm not doing enough... I'm not pushing any boundaries, limits or expectations of myself.

Yes, I'm guilty of thinking I can't do "it" (whatever "it" is can be applied here) without "them" (whoever "them" are can be applied here) without "their" support (again, application), without "their" belief in my abilities... I've never been "top of the class," never "the best," rather average or at most 2nd best... I've never been the one asked to take a step into destiny or to teach and explain any particular topic. I've never been "the one" or even close to that. But is that the point? No, I'm not "top of the class," the "best" or "the one" but I do know Him. Now I'm learning to change "them" to "Him!" I can do it without "them," without "their belief," without "their support" because "I CAN do ALL THINGS through HIM!" And you can too!

There's a phrase most people have heard "hurt people hurt people." Can I just say I don't believe that's what God intends? The Bible says "for all have come short of the glory of God" also "rain falls on the just and the unjust" but God can't want all of us hurt people to hurt people in turn! In fact, the Bible also warns us not to get bitter, God is the one who makes the decision on when and where it rains. So if it's gloomy and rainy where your destiny is and you can't go outside to touch it what should you do? There are feelings that we are all going to experience... Loneliness, confusion, fear, frustration and hurt to name a few so what should we do with all those negative feelings... That's just it, they are only "feelings" the Bible reads "the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things" (the heart being the seat of the emotion) so just because your heart is aching doesn't mean you, your destiny or your God are breaking!

My intentions:  take the feelings of frustration I'm experiencing - I know you're probably expecting the cliché "learn from them" answer but I think we've got that one down - and turn them into something great! I'm changing the whole expression to how I believe God intends it "hurt people HELP people."

How do you help people when you don't have the "platform" (take that literally and/or figuratively whichever applies to you) to extend help from?  Listen, I sing but it's in a service with 7 other people, I may get a couple of solo lines a year or possibly get to speak between a couple of songs for one minute at most, so, I get that feeling. (I realize the previous statement may have put some of you on your heals but 1. I've learned there's more to life than that.  2. God used me in areas I wouldn't have even thought about if I always had the lime light so I think I'm a better person for no longer needing it...   I do think we need to GET REAL before we can GIVE HELP and if we could get back to honesty instead of abashment we could relate to and reach for others a lot more effectively... WOW, rant, sorry ha!) I'm going to be there for people who are experiencing similar situations and feelings, I'm going to encourage, uplift, push forward and witness! I'm going to help! Whether it's help a friend under pressure and stress write a paper, reach to someone because I know God is trying to extend my arms and open my hands, say or text a kind word or an action as simple as smiling at a stranger to brighten their day... I'm going to help! Even when you tell me I'm on a soap box (and I agree a blog can be and sometimes is just that), it's my soap box to stand on; furthermore, if you're offended I'm standing a bit higher and speaking a bit louder than you it's probably because you're uncomfortable with your apathy which means you need to get your own soap box to stand on and reach to the people around you. I'm going to help!

My hope: that the hurt people reading this (and typing this) help people! My commitment is now out there for all to see, you don't even have to go that far (although it would probably do you well) but come on hurt people, HELP PEOPLE WITH ME!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Forget Me Not

Sometimes I feel like people have forgotten about me...  I see others being promoted above me in all aspects whether it be friendship, relationships, knowledge, trust, ministry, etc.  and I wonder, why not me?  What's wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong and not realizing it?  As much as I believe people do not control my destiny I sometimes wonder how God can bring me into the promised place when people seem to be working directly against it...  It helps in one way I suppose, it makes me work harder, dig deeper (in myself and into God), grow stronger, sensitive to others...  I find comfort God...

Sometimes I wonder if God has forgotten... Forgotten His promises to me... Forgotten me?  I know, I know... Logically I am smarter than those thoughts; I have read "Footprints" heard Byron Cage sing "God has not forgot."  I'm a Christian I shouldn't have any thoughts about got forgetting me...  It's weak, it's foolish and some may even think it sin...  But then, didn't someone else have those thoughts?  Oh yes, David... Job (I'm thinking he wouldn't have said "though he slay me" if he felt completely comfortable with God's remembrance of him)...  Oh yes, and Israel (the whole nation)...  Even Jesus said "why hast thou forsaken me?" 

So now that I've clarified these thoughts are to be expected at times, give me a break :o)  

The other day I was looking for a scripture and although I did not find the one I was looking for, I think God helped me find the ones I needed dealing with perceiving to be forgotten... I was encouraged and possibly you can be as well...

  • The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, "Surely I will never forget any of their works!"  Amos 8:7
  • For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
  • Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of "sacrifice"—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets. Hebrews 13:16
  • But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:25

Now I know, God has not, and will not forget!  I am promised more than I thought, I was looking at the big picture but I was standing too close to bring all of it's glory into focus...  If I continue my "work and labor of love," if I continue to "minister" (clarification on this word...  Although it can include those people on the platform and full-time church staff, it is so simple and so much more at the same time...  You can "minister" by cooking a hot meal for someone who needs it, bringing cookies to a lonely neighbor, singing a song, writing a letter, speaking positive and encouraging words - and we need a lot more of that particular ministry! You can "minister" by trusting others enough to share your faults and successes with them so they can learn from you instead of from experience... All in all, anything you do for someone other than yourself that you are doing for the name of Jesus IS "MINISTRY!")  If I continue to take my "acts of worship" (see ministry and add lifestyle) to the streets, kitchen and workplace... If I "look carefully at the law that sets me free" (God's word and work of salvation... If I look into what he wants from me.) IF I continue in these things I am promised God cannot forget me and he will bless me... After all, how can you forget someone who is always bringing you letters, writing you songs, cooking you meals and speaking kind words?  More than that you would not want to forget that kind of person!  I know I am doing these things to and for Him because I looked it up "...'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me." Matthew 20:40  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

So I would like to echo a couple of words from David and make this promise "I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word." Psalm 119:16

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Thinking of You!"

So I'm on another kick of doing whatever I can (and more than usual) to get to the next level with God.  The reason isn't that where I am now is a bad place or that I'm not doing well where I am... Maybe it's that I'm a lot like my uncle Arden and can't stay in one place for any length of time without getting antsy. Whatever the reason, I do believe it's a good thing!

I always think/pray about how I want to be closer to God... How I want to eventually be so involved that I lose myself in him.  Eventually I want people to look at me walking in the mall, sitting in Starbucks or running the errands at work and say there goes God's girl.  I want my description to start with "you know the woman that speaks the words you think God would say to you" or "the woman who seems to look at you like Jesus would, the one who always loves and sees something good in everyone and everything" something along those lines. I want God to be so familiar with my presence that he begins to call me by a nickname...  Something equivalent to when my friends say "Miss. Q" to get my attention or a husband says "the wife" when he's talking to his buddies or a child says "my mom." 

The problem is, I keep coming up with the same process of getting to that place... I'm a romantic so I am always looking for that aspect in every relationship... I'm all about keeping the romance fresh and alive in any relationship (and not just husband/wife or girl/boyfriend kind... Friendships, yes, I try to surprise friends with sweet notes or supper on me etc. to make sure they know I appreciate them...  I even get coffee for my boss in the mornings because all in all he's pretty decent to me) and God seems to have this crazy idea that the wooing stage was completed on his part when he gave everything he could on the Cross of my sins.  He still does sweet things and surprises me answering little prayers I've only thought of and not yet spoken but he doesn't always pursue me.  To be completely honest that bugs me at times, then I remember how indebted I am to him and how he's proven his love in measures I will never catch up to let alone surpass.  So let's face it, the ball's in my court (and yours as well). 

The answer to my "I want to be closer to you" quest always presents itself along the lines of "Put in the time" or "you already know how to be closer you just don't want to do it."  Those answers make me uncomfortable... They make me feel lazy and I don't believe I am, however thinking about proving it kind of gets my back up a bit.  In today's society we (and I) have been taught we don't need to prove anything to anyone, if it feels good do it, tollerance and acceptance, you don't have to work for love it's a gift... While parts of these philosophies are correct they have lead us so far that we forget to work in a marriage, friendship, we've become so consumed with others accepting our point-of-view that we forget acceptance and agreement on an issue are two separate things.  The truth is, we do have to "work" for a marriage and/or friendship to be successful, we have to communicate with each other, consider the other's opinion and feelings, we must be faithful, etc.  It's good that people can tolerate different lifestyles enough to treat everyone equally (do unto others as you would have it done to you) but they should also understand everyone doesn't have to agree with the lifestyle to love the person who chooses it...  Everything is a two-way street; we all have to "work" toward strengthening a relationship for it to be strong.

I want people to see me as being God's... In the same family...  I want the God who lives on the inside to show on the outside through my actions, speech, walk, talk, every part of who I am... And as taboo as it has become to admit, I want the power associated with that God.  For people to view me as "God's woman" (a.k.a "Godly woman" for all you spiritual types reading this ha!) I have to spend time with Him... So much so that I start to say some of the current phrases always on the tip of his tongue (key word being current... I need a current relationship with Him so He can tell me what's on his mind about today...  And I am in no way saying the Bible is not current, just the opposite, I need to read it every day so he can make His word new!)  Enough that I don't spend hours creeping on Facebook because I don't want to be rude to the person in the room with me (being God,) talking to me.  I should be around Him enough to know how He moves, how He's going to finish His next sentence, what makes Him smile or the things I do that annoy Him (yes I do think God is annoyed at times.  He did, after all turn a few tables over when people trampled his house with goats to sell and disrespect on their tongues.)

I suppose I'm just sharing all this to confirm your own dreaded thoughts.  You can do this just as well as I can, we're just hoping there is an easier way... And there's not.  A relationship with God is like any other in that we need to "work" on it too... The good news is the hard part is over, He's taken care of the risk, He told us he loves us first and all we have to do is respond.  The not so good news is, we've hurt him time and time again and will continue to do so because "that's just human nature" but the Bible says "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" if we "confess" (1 John 1:9) so we already have a guarantee of a relationship as long as we are striving (a.k.a working or putting in the time) for it... 

So I challenge you to work on it... Try... Strive... It's all about spending time with God, "getting to know him."  Ask him questions, just talk to him (that's what praying is... You start out with the general and expected small talk but it grows into deep and meaningful conversation/communication as you continue building a relationship every day), read the Bible, just be with Him...  Whatever you're doing know He's there just say "hi" or "I'm thinking about you" once in a while... Maybe the problem is that it's so simple, but God is interested in all that!  I love it when I get a random text from a friend saying "thinking about you" or "just wanted to say hi" and He loves it when we do those little things for Him!  As small as the steps may be, take them with me!  Accept the challenge, give it a while (sometimes it takes more time than we prefer) and I promise it will be worth it!

P.S.  I have set up comments here so I have to approve them before they are published... Let me know that you're accepting the challenge and I'll not even publish it if you would prefer I don't!  If you have questions about it ask and I'll get back to you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Heaven's Wall Street

I was reading my friend's (Teri-Lyn) blog today "" and thought I would share the response I posted with my part of the "blog world!" 
A quote inlcuded in Teri-Lyn's blog from Because of the Times 2010 really made me think...  "We take nothing into eternity with us...  Except who we are and what we've done...  If we haven't done well, He won't say 'well done'...  We will all stand before God unsupported by family, friends, spouses, pastors, counselors, etc. would you want to stand before Him today as exactly who you are right now and with what you've done?" - Vesta Mangun

Teri-Lyn also shared a parable I mentioned in one of my latest Blogs and it reminded me of a lesson I think we all need to learn... the master entrusted his servants with his money to look after while he was gone. in his absence, 2 servants invested what they'd been given so that when the master returned he was "full of praise. 'well done, my good and faithful servant...let's celebrate together!'" the 3rd servant, being afraid to lose the master's money, hid it, and "the master replied, 'you wicked and lazy servant...why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? at least it could have gotten some interest on it?' to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. but from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."

One part of the three servant parable that always stands out to me is the two who "invested" the masters treasure ended up with different returns however they received the same praise from the master...  The implication is clear to me, it's the "investing" that counts, not the returns...  It's a hard lesson to learn, especially when you are "investing" in people and you want so much for them to show great return, harder still when we are so customized to comparing ourselves with others... Keeping up with the Joneses will kill you! The lesson may be hard but it's definitely life changing once you've got it so here it is:  your job is to "invest" not enforce the return... Remember God said his word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11) so once we've sent the word out the return is in His hands. The truth is we may never see the return ourselves but it is promised to be profitable! 

We must do our job with diligence and our job is to "invest!"  We are heaven's wall street the so the only question left is "when the boss walks in do you want to be on the floor working or standing around the water-cooler?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out of the Grey

Grey areas are something we came up with all on our own... I never could understand why the Bible says there are no grey areas with God, but now I think I have a suitable answer (at least it was good enough for me to shut up about the injustice of no grey areas.)
Quite a while ago someone disregarded the consequences and released information I had told them in confidence, that person didn't think it was a big deal and in fact it probably wasn't... But if I can't trust them with the small issues how can they expect me to trust them with anything else? Matthew 25:21, 23  His lord said unto him, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (KJV)  I never did approach the issue with the person who spoke out of turn and we still hold a relationship, it's just not and will never be as close as it could have been.  Thankfully if we mess up with God he not only forgives but forgets and we can be just as close with Him after a mistake as before.  Isaiah 43:25  "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."  Hebrews 8:12  "And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins."   Hebrews 10:17  "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."  Speaking the words to others I had revealed in confidence to a friend was a "grey area" to them, I had not specifically asked the person not to share the information, was a given by the nature of the comment... Still, that mistake affected our relationship as a whole and without the person even realizing the consequence.

Translating the above experience into a relationship with God (because the natural mirrors the spiritual):  

  • Things that may seem to be a "grey area" to us, just a little sin, small white lie or things not really seeming "wrong" may not be to God...  But why aren't they, how can He say everything is black and white, either a sin or right?  Let's assume there is not an answer, He just decided and that's it, kind of like when our parents used to say "because I said so, that's why!" even if that's all it is do we really still want to risk the consequences unknown to us?

  • I sometimes look at it this way, if I gave my life for all humanity I would hope that if some of them decided to disregard my sacrifice it would be for something "big" (they were so angry because someone hurt their child that they killed that person in a fit of rage) rather than a "small" or in "grey area" (they were too embarrassed or uncomfortable when asked a question to answer truthfully so they told a "white lie" or they denied me by denying their relationship with me...)  It would say something to me that the person was willing to risk our relationship for something so trivial, it would hurt me and my sacrifice would have been disrespected whether that's what they intended or not... Wouldn't you feel that way? 
So my resolution to the whole "grey area" maybe I can "get by with or without this" question...  I don't want to stand before God one day and have him ask "So why wasn't the Crucifixion enough for you to (fill in the blank here)?" At that point it's too late to suck it up and take the embarrassment or to convince him the "grey area" decision didn't have anything to do with the Cross.  At this point the disregard, disrespect, hurt, disappointment, embarrassment, denial and/or "grey area" mistake would speak much louder than I, with all my explanations and excuses, ever could... After all, as the old adage goes "actions speak louder than words."  I have decided not to risk it, what will you decide?  By the way, not taking that kind of risk doesn't make you a "goodie goodie" or prude it makes you respectful (to His sacrifice) and prudent.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anything you can do I can do Better!

I don't think I'm better than anyone else... But I find that thought becoming disgustingly prevelant in my generation and that's what I want to tackle...

First of all, we need to be careful what we say about others.  The opinions we form based on a person's choice in any given life situations not being "the same" (which really denotes the decision not being as good or being incorrect) as the decision we would arrive at given the same circumstance has got to stop... After all, we are not in the same circumstances and cannot possibly understand the battle waged on that person's mind...  We can't be given the same circumstance as another, without going back in time and reliving our life with the same people, places and thoughts as the person we are judging (I know we are getting really great at candy coating everything to make others think we are not judgmental but, unless our conscience is seared, we know that is exactly the way we are acting at times.) So let's just be honest, if only with ourselves (don't worry this is not something you have to voice outside your own soul) we are innately judgmental, it doesn't make you a horrible person, it makes us human... But the fact "it's human nature" doesn't excuse the behavior and we need to become aware of it so we can fight against it in our own lives. If you remember this scripture it should help... Call it Karma if you want to, it's all in God's word - Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." - NIV.

I saw a challenge/quote on a friend's FaceBook status today, I'm going to do it and I challenge you to try it as well!  "There are two types of fasting for the tongue. One food and the other criticism. Try fasting one day from saying anything critical." -TF Tenney

Another issue I would like to write about is if someone is doing what you deem to be unnecessary in their relationship with God, unless it's harmful to others or that person, "BE QUIET!!" Seriously, if they are wrong and they really don't have to "go that far" in serving God, if he really doesn't care about a particular issue, they will still come to the same end result as they would if they had not followed through with that particular habit.  If an action is not taking someone away from God who are you to tell them not to continue going a possibly extra mile for Him? Let's say you refuse to listen to reason and you tell them not to continue going that "extra mile"...  What if they end up coming short in the end?  Are you prepared to take responsibility for your words?  I'm sure there are things I do for my family that aren't necessary for me to earn their love but that doesn't mean I should stop "going out of my way" for my family; most times it's more about me wanting show my love or to make them proud rather than things I believe I "need" to do to earn their respect and acceptance. 

We are a generation obsessed with the lives of others.  Some of the personal moments we watch on TV would get us arrested if it were our neighbors window we were watching... And I'm not bashing "reality TV,"  trust me, I can keep up with the best of them!  But in our own reality we have got to get the common sense of when things are "none of our business" back and react accordingly...  It's ok to back away from a conversation, thought or action if, even in the middle, we get that familiar whisper of "should I?"   No, we've silenced our emotions and conscience to make us stronger but instead of the desired result it's only lead to our attacks within our own camp...  We lose friendships, morals, respect, reputation and for what?  So we can "get it off our chest" and pillow our head on regret?  Maybe you don't feel regretful at this point, maybe you've passed that stage but there was a time, remember it, those moments tried to save you from the place you've now arrived.  Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  So let's stop the insanity and let others be.

Each person is at a different stage in the same existence. I am very lucky to have been raised in the way I have been and equally as lucky to be part of the family I am.  I've chosen my friends carefully and had to make choices to lose relationships that once meant a lot to me so that the people I'm surrounded with are more likely to build me up and help me through rather than tear me down and drag me out. It's taken many hard choices and moments of surrender to get me to this place; I'm now surrounded with people who posses characteristics I desire to cultivate in my own life. If I (and you) choose to listen there is much to gain from every relationship in life. Because of the people I've chosen to surround me being supportive and trustworthy the life decisions I've been faced with have been made much easier.

After everything I've written here I come to the conclusion that I'm not better (and neither are you if you come from a "good background" or have an amazing heritage and have had "good sense" poured into your mind) but I am blessed! If you're reading thinking "well good for you" I'm only telling you of my blessing for you to realize it's not just designed for me, the opportunity presented to me is now presented to you... I'm "paying it forward"...  I can't tell you it will "come easy" and "sometimes the cross gets hard to bear" but make the right choices (even when they are the hard choices, which they usually are) and then think of where you were (or could have been) to where you are just a while down life's path you will know it's worth every struggled step.  Another point: being blessed has nothing to do with who I am, who you are or who either of us try to be:  it has everything to do with who and what we choose to serve, follow after, give our time to and try to be close to!  Let's make our decisions count for our own lives and while hoping others do as well not judge the painting by one stroke on the canvas, we cannot know the future or the past of another, give the benefit of the doubt and offer any support and love you can but, it must be without judgement or criticism.

Joshua 24:15 "But if you think it evil to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!" - CEV

Monday, January 25, 2010

I've been Kicked to the curb - and I LOVE IT!

Ok, this is probably not what you're thinking, but there's a whole new meaning to this expression after Pastor Woodward and Leaman's messages on Sunday!  I wanted to share it with you because it's important!  I am glad to be "kicked to the curb" and will never go back inside again!

In Luke 10:2 Jesus said to His followers (which now includes us) "What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands."  And that's usually where we hear it stop... It's almost an excuse we use to pray and not go.  But the very next few words out of Jesus mouth were "On your way! But be careful—this is hazardous work. You're like lambs in a wolf pack."  So are we?  Are we on our way in reaching?

In Acts 1:7 a few "churchies" (disciples) asked Jesus if He was going to bless their church (Judaea) in order to show the world around them He was the one true God and to draw those people in... In essence, to show the rest of the world they were right all along (and yes they probably would have held themselves in high regard for being right).  Jesus' response was quite "in your face" and definitely to the point of where the question had originated...  It's as if He heard them saying "Listen those people are dirty, low, they are uneducated in your ways and if we actually move out of our comfort zone to try and reach them we may get pulled into their disgusting culture!"  I'm not quite sure what they were thinking by asking Jesus this question in this particular way, probably trying to sugar coat and make it sound innocent as we so often do.  Jesus always sees the reason behind the question, there is no use pretending something comes from a pure heart if you're really just trying to justify your own actions, or lack thereof...  Jesus responded to the "churchies" by saying "GET OUT!  YOU go be a witness, that's what I called you to do in the first place!  Stop asking if I will bless you and draw people into my own church, are you drawing any in?  You say I am the most important thing in your life and I should be lifted high, but you don't even lift me high enough for others to see me, you only lift me high in the church building and what good can that do for anyone who needs me other than yourselves?!  I came to show you how to witness and give you power to witness but you're refusing to use it!  It's your calling to lead people to me, you are directed to go outside this building and into their territory, yes their "dirty, low, uneducated in my ways, disgusting" places and follow my example. Love them!" (Suzie paraphrase)

John 4:3-4  "He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.  And he must needs go through Samaria."  Must needs in this phrase indicated urgency... Samaria was considered to inhabit the lowest of low, people who had been just like the "churchies" but had married pagans and mixed cultures and religions with them, defiling God and themselves... But Jesus wanted to go there, and more than that he stopped to rest at a well where he met a Samaritan woman who was now with her 5th man, he talked with her, cared for her problems and even allowed her to give him water from the well (which in those days would be unthinkable and would be considered as defiling Jesus)...  

Matthew 9:10 "Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them." (Message paraphrase) We can conclude that Jesus was happy to eat with these people, if not he could and most likely would have asked them to leave, and if they did not he certainly would have; it was common practice for the kind of people Jesus was sitting with to be ostracized...  Those kinds of people would not even think of trying to associate with "churchies" but somehow Jesus made them feel comfortable enough to crash his dinner party, sit beside Him, eat and talk with Him...  It would stand to reason they only felt this comfortable after Jesus extended His hand to them (more than likely on many unrecorded occasions).  We also know the "churchies" were upset by the next verse Matthew 9:11 "When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers.  "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?" (Message paraphrase)  But Jesus' answer was quick and cutting... Matthew 9:12-13 "Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Message paraphrase) He made no bones about the fact that He was here to do the work of God and that the "churchies" were not doing their work...  I wonder what He would have to say about our work...

Back to the same story line of the disciples' question and Jesus' response... Acts 11:20-21 happens after the discussion of them asking that question and Jesus telling them to go... They did go, well, sort of...  Most witnessed to the one percent of people most like them...  But in verse 21 there were "a few reached for the rest, the whole world, anyone, no matter their color, culture, look, status, standing, lifestyle or creed...  And The Lord was with them, helping them and blessing their efforts." (Suzie paraphrase, again).  God loves people, all people, so we mustWe must LOVE them, REACH them, HELP them, BLESS them...WE MUST!!

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If you're wanting the attention of God to be on you, His ears listening to your words, His eyes on your situation and His spirit moving in your life... Then get your attention on His heart beat!  They say if you truly love with someone and spend time with them, eventually your hearts will beat in sync...  If you want His attention make sure you really are in love with Him, spending time with Him and that your heart beats in sync with His...   His heart beats for them, He loves them so we must!  Show your love and commitment toward Him through loving, blessing and REACHING for them, those,  ALL He loves (and He loves ALL).  Matthew 25:40 "Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'" (Message Paraphrase).  2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent."  (NLT)

"The mission field doesn't start at the airport, it starts at the curb." - Rev. R. Woodward.  I have been "kicked to the curb" by God because that's where I can be of most benefit to others... I am doing these things for Him, and to Him therefore I am blessed and more than happy to be "Kicked to the Curb!"  Are you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Never Catch Up

I'm a very practical, "hands-on" kind of girl. I look for solutions. I like to always be striving for something. I'm always aware of how I, personally, need to be made better and I work toward becoming better everyday. I specifically try to keep my relationship with God on solid ground (probably the most difficult to keep on a practical level) and search for practical things I can do everyday.

I treat my relationship with God as if he were living in the same house as me (which, by the way, he is), I find it helps me to communicate my thoughts and feelings to a God I would otherwise not have the courage to approach... It reminds me, he wants to be here as much as I want him to be with me. Also, I can't live in the same space as someone without talking to them regularly. I don't treat God as if he can read my thoughts (although he can.) I don't treat him as my "911" call (although he has been.) Most of all, I try not to take him for granted just because I know he loves me and he's there, I try to take steps, on my own, to get closer to him... And when I get that "why do I have to do all the work, can't he take a step" thought running through my mind, I think of the Cross, it doesn't take long to realize he really would not have to take another step and I would still never "catch up."

But I try to express my gratitude...

"God, I just want to take a couple of minutes out of my hectic day to thank you for being everything I need and for reasons I can't even imagine loving me in spite of me!  You are wonderful and I don't tell you that or other people about you half as much as I should. So let everyone who reads these words know YOU ARE the One and Only God, My God, the One who reigns over all, All Mighty, All Powerful, Uncomparable, Undeniable, Beautiful, Purest One, Lamb that was Slain, Risen Savior, Everlasting God!  The Great I AM, Life Giver, Soul healer, Heart Mender, Striped healer, Wounded transgression Forgiver, Comforter, Strong Tower, Deliverer of Israel from Egypt and my soul from Bondage, Addiction Breaker, Chain Breaker, Way Maker, World Shaker, Storm Calmer, Light Giver!  There never has been, is not now, and never will be One that can come close to your Magnificent Meekness and Pre-Eminent Power!  Thank you for being my father and friend!  I love you always!"