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)