Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Fear?

Matthew 8:26
Good News Translation (GNT)
26 “Why are you so frightened?” Jesus answered. “What little faith you have!” Then he got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.

I am inspired by some particular friends to write today.  Thanks to them, I have seen something in the Word that I have never seen before.  Maybe I'm just a late bloomer...

Anyway, I've always felt like when my faith is weak, that I hold God back.  Like my faith needs to be strong and courageous in order to move Him to do whatever it is I think He needs to do.  For a long time I've had this sneaking suspicion that I'm running in circles with this sort of thinking, but haven't felt there was any solution other than to pray for stronger faith.  

While probably not a bad thing to do at all...there was a man in the Bible who asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief...there are times in your life that you are so much in the middle of a problem that it is really humanly impossible to have the kind of faith that just flat out takes courage.  There are times when things are really frightening.  Whether it be sickness, finances, circumstances, emotional/mental struggles...those things can be scary!  As humans, we do tend to worry and fret, and yes, we know we shouldn't!  

When I read this scripture, I sort of pictured the scene of the disciples in the boat with the storm going on, frantically asking Jesus to do something about it.  (I know I'd be scared!)  Maybe I'm the only one, but I've always seen this story as a sort of chewing out by Jesus for their lack of faith.  But I look at it a little differently today.  I don't think He was chewing them out.  Maybe He was surprised that after the things He had already done they were still so easily frightened and lacking in faith. (Does that sound like anyone you know??)  I think He was more likely filled with compassion by the weakness they portrayed.

He recognized and acknowledged their fear and lack of faith...and STILL got up and did what they had asked Him to do.  He still calmed the storm.  It comes to me that our fear does not scare God and our lack of faith does not limit His ability.  Even when we are weak and fearful and having a hard time believing...He will still listen and do the work in our lives.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Worth Every Minute

3 John 1:4
Complete Jewish Bible

4 Nothing gives me greater joy than hearing that my children are living in the truth.

As Thanksgiving Day draws near, I decided that I would take a moment to express my thankfulness for my children.  So much of what we deal with on a day to day basis can overshadow our appreciation for those closest to us.  I am no exception...have you read any of my other posts?!?!  It is so easy to get distracted by those pesky daily life problems!

I clearly remember being a young mother with two little toddlers and thinking that those days of diapers and no privacy (bathroom door always open) were never going to end.  I thought for a little while that my boys might grow up to be juvenile delinquents because I couldn't get them to mind all the time.  I would go to church and spend the majority of the time, it seemed, in the nursery.  I would wonder, why am I even here?  Why?

Well, this is why.  With my oldest son already moved out of the house and my youngest son nearing adulthood, I see them making their own commitments to God and living in truth.  I am so proud of those two boys and the men they are becoming.  I look back at those days of sitting in the nursery, the worry about whether or not I was doing a good enough job being a mom and feeling like I had lost my own identity, with thankfulness.   There was a purpose and it was worth every minute.

P.S.  Please note, this is just and expression of my own experiences and feelings, I would like to point out that I couldn't have done it without my one and only, the Father of my Children.  I love you!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Voice

2 Timothy 3:16
(New Life Version)


16 All the Holy Writings are God-given and are made alive by Him. Man is helped when he is taught God’s Word. It shows what is wrong. It changes the way of a man’s life. It shows him how to be right with God.

After a little over a year into this blog, this is not the first time I have contemplated the whole thing and been a little uncomfortable with how it may come across to people.  It started out as a way to voice my angst and heartbreak over having my oldest child leave home and go off to college.  I soon discovered that there was a certain amount of relief that accompanied the "voicing" and so have continued to use this blog for that purpose. 

The regular reader knows that every post starts off with a scripture or two, followed by my particular rambling (thought, feeling and/or perspective) of that moment.  I have had the thought throughout that I should post here and there without the scriptures so as not to give anyone the wrong idea.  I am not super-spiritual.  I'm not a theologian.  I claim no special insight or knowledge of the Word.  

But...I don't know how to look at the challenges or joys of life without the scripture!  It is the lifeline to me.  I don't always have it together.  Sometimes I look at the footprints in the sand and wonder why God is making me walk it alone.  Sometimes things around me distract me from my purpose.  Sometimes I cry from hurt and frustration.  Sometimes life just seems too hard to handle.  

So, while there is certainly a spiritual perspective and application to all of my posts, it is only because I can't do life without the guidance and divine intervention that only God's Word can give.  I need reminders of who He is, who I am, and that those are His footprints - I'm in His arms. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Comfort


Psalm 23
King James Version

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Anyone who knows about David knows that when he wrote this Psalm, he knew what he was talking about. Most of us can identify with him in one form or fashion at some point in our life.  Whether it is his failures, his sense of injustice or his joy in the presence of the Almighty God.

Sounds a lot like me, in fact.  I have failed in more ways than I'd like to think about.  I've definitely felt like life has been unfair at times.  But, oh, how I have also felt the comfort that can only be felt in the presence of that very same God that David rejoiced in.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Healing Touch

Matthew 14:35-36
English Standard Version (ESV)

35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment.  And as many as touched it were made well.

My heart goes out to those around me who are in a physical and/or emotional need of healing.  When you know someone is hurting, saying, "I'm praying for you" just doesn't seem like enough.  And whether someone is healed or not healed, sometimes seems like a mystery.

I read this scripture passage and I felt like a little bit of the mystery involved opened up to me.  If we could travel to a particular place and touch a particular thing or person and be healed, wouldn't we?  Yes, we all would.  We would pay whatever the cost is and go.  The people in this story did just that and they received their healing...just by touching the hem of His clothes.  I don't imagine that it was a calm line that formed or there was a number to take...when they heard that Jesus was nearby, what I imagine is a mad dash...or crawl...to reach out and touch Him.

I'm sure by now, some of you know where I'm going.  I believe we still need to reach out and touch to receive our healing.  And just like we can imagine the crowd around Him - the distractions and doubts of life - it may be that we have to scramble and crawl and push our way to His feet.

If you are reading this and you need your healing, of any kind...don't give up. Scramble, push, crawl your way past the distractions until you touch Him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Namesake

Luke 8:1-3
New Life Version (NLV)

After this Jesus went to all the cities and towns preaching and telling the Good News about the holy nation of God. The twelve followers were with Him. 2 Some women who had been healed of demons and diseases were with Him. Mary Magdalene, who had had seven demons put out of her, was one of them. 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza who was one of Herod’s helpers, was another one. Susanna and many others also cared for Jesus by using what they had.

Who wouldn't want to find their name in the Bible?  Not only is mine in there, but it's only in there once. Well, for some reason the other day, I decided to just glance at it again.  I read that last phrase and it jumped out at me.  Some, who know me, know that I have never been completely comfortable in the some of the roles I have found myself fulfilling.  I'm kind of the type to likes to blend in with the crowd.  I don't like public speaking, I don't like being the center of attention, in fact, I'm rather shy and reserved.  All of that sort of explains my feelings of angst when it comes to some of the roles I fulfill.  There have even been times, and still are some times, when I have raised an eyebrow at God, as in - what, exactly, are You thinking?

I've looked around me and seen examples of what/who I thought I should be like...and that just makes me feel like I am playing dress-up.  So, for reasons of His own, I have continued to fulfill certain roles and functions in my life. Comfortable or not.  I have already come to this conclusion, of course, but as I read this scripture, I saw exactly what He has been teaching me all this time.  I may not do it like someone else, or like I think someone should do it, but that isn't what He wants.  If He has assigned me a certain task, then all He is asking is that I use what I have and who I am to fulfill that task.  

Each of us are different.  Differently personalities, different strengths, different quirks, different struggles.  Not only does the Word say not to compare ourselves to other people, it really is a completely pointless thing to do.  I think we are all safe in assuming that God made us different because that's the way He wanted us.  And just like the Susanna in the book of Luke, we should serve Him by using what we have, what He gave us.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Momentary Flare


Psalm 62:1

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only he can rescue me.

Sometimes there are days, even weeks of chaos in one's life.  Sometimes it just a momentary flare.  I find myself having those moments every now and then.  Usually because I let myself dwell on things that I cannot change - whether it be circumstances or what someone else thinks.  

Forgiveness is a pathway to freedom, no doubt.  And as I have let Him, God has shown me that path.  But can I just be honest right now and say that while the choice to forgive frees one from unnecessary bondage, it doesn't always take away the hurt and disappointment that one may have.  It doesn't make you forget the people you once loved and counted on, that helped make your life complete.  It doesn't give back innocence or that face-value trust that one might have had.  

I know that I am not the only one who has those "momentary flares".  We all rub shoulders with those who either maliciously or ignorantly have caused us to feel hurt, loss, disappointment.  Most of us go ahead and put the smile on (thankfully!) and forge ahead...life does go on!  

But on that forgiveness pathway I know there is also the healing and rescue if we turn towards it. I think a deep breath is in order. Calm - God - Rescue.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nothing!!

Romans 8:37-39
New Life Version (NLV)
 
37 But we have power over all these things through Jesus Who loves us so much. 38 For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot! 39 The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

None of us are islands unto ourselves, even if you think you are...you're not.  Everything around us affects us.  And we affect everything around us.  Our society, our family, our church, our friends, our not so friendly's, even sometimes ourselves.  Good or bad, positive or negative.  It's all there.  It's all part of life. 

I live in the same spot as everyone else.  Affected by everything around me.  And I've had a day or two where those things have touched my life in such a way as to make me almost forget who, what, where, when and how.  But according to the Word, nothing, nothing! can separate us from God, who is love.  Nothing!!  (I chose the NLV version because of all the exclamation points!) 

So, think about the people who have hurt or offended you.  Think about the situations and circumstances that are seemingly not going your way.  Think about the doubt you may be experiencing yourself.  Got all that handy?  Well, now insert those things and people into this scripture and put an exclamation point at the end of them.  And then remind yourself - they cannot! keep you from the Love of God. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Braggin' Rights

 2 Corinthians 19:17:18
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

17 “Whoever boasts should boast only about the Lord.”  18 What people say about themselves means nothing. What counts is whether the Lord says they have done well.

I read this the other day and had a strong urge to get up on a high horse.  It's a tricky thing to feel like you see something clearly...more clearly than someone else...and still stay within the bounds of what you saw so clearly in the first place.  Exactly...one of life's riddles. 

It is easy to point out and recognise when someone is boasting and bragging about the things they've done and accomplished.  And per this scripture, it doesn't get them anywhere.  But whenever I start to climb onto one those high horses, and I have several available, just waiting for a ride, I can't even get a foot into a stirrup and I see the other side of the riddle. 

It is the false humility side of this that jumps off that horses back and right into my face.  You see, that's the tricky part.  I read this verse and automatically start pointing fingers...but I am aware enough to realize this puts me on that same level of the boaster. 

It's not what one says about themselves, or even what someone else says about someone that matters.  It's what God says.  The way I see it, if we find ourselves boasting, whether it's true or even if it's just about how humble we are, we've just made it worthless. 

This might take me the rest of my life to perfect...but I want my braggin' to be about God and I want God to be the one braggin' on me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Worth Something

Matthew 18:10
New Century Version (NCV)
 
10 "Be careful. Don't think these little children are worth nothing. I tell you that they have angels in heaven who are always with my Father in heaven.
 
After another long week of work, a long day of wearing shoes that were too cute (i.e. uncomfortable) all I really wanted to do was was head home, kick off my shoes and start relaxing. 
 
The kids that I pick up for church on Sunday were in a bind, though.  The family was out of food and no way of getting any for a few days.  So, instead of going straight home, I stopped at the store and spent a few more minutes in those cute shoes.  I dropped the groceries off, said "hi" to the kids, "no problem" to the parents and finally headed home. 
 
A lot of people would discount the value of these children and/or their parents.  The kids aren't always clean.  The house is messy.  And the children are destined to continue the life they are being raised in on into adulthood. 
 
Except - they have people in their lives who have read Matthew 18:10.  The sweetness and innocence of these children shines even through the dirt.  They just need need someone to care about them, to hug them, to say, "I love you", to go thirty minutes out of their way to make sure they have food.  This all became very clear as I drove home, the small inconvenience of it that I had felt faded with thoughts of compassion and thankfulness. 
 
Look around you, find a child that society has put on the lowest rung and be an earthly angel to them.  They are worth something

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Don't Move!

Psalm 16:8
King James Version (KJV)

8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

The further back I put God, the less stable my life becomes.  This goes much deeper than just day to day activities.  Whether or not you are committed to a church.  Even if you read a Bible chapter a day.  Or pray an allotted time every day.   

I read this scripture and what struck me was the mention of the "right hand".  In scripture, this is generally known as a symbolism of power.  Now, I am not Bible scholar, nor do I claim anything other than an average I.Q.  But, it seems to me that if we put God into the "power" position in our lives...yeah, we won't move. 

Of course, I advocate for church, reading the Word and praying.  The problem is when those things become the replacement for the power.  But if He is put in that power position, church, the Word and prayer come alive and no longer are just activities.

So, if one is feeling unstable and like the everyday things are lacking, maybe some prioritizing is in order.  Put God first and forefront and let Him have the power position. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not for Nothing

Romans 5:3-4
New Life Version (NLV)

3 We are glad for our troubles also. We know that troubles help us learn not to give up. 4 When we have learned not to give up, it shows we have stood the test. When we have stood the test, it gives us hope.

I was sitting here feeling a little bit sorry for myself about a few things and decided it was time to put some of my feelings to words.  So, I went to a place where I occasionally make a notes of scriptures, thinking that I should be able to find something that would apply to how I'm feeling right now.

Well, once again, God does His thing.  The very first scripture I looked at was this one.  Initially, this selection makes me want to shout "I am NOT glad for my troubles!!!"  But, as I read through I realize, of course,  that's not the point.  I am confident that God understands my initial reaction....He's not dumb...no one is "glad" for troubles or down times or dry times, etc. 

I don't like trouble.  Or anything that smacks of it.  The glad part is knowing there is a process and a purpose.   That changes my perspective quite a bit.  With the strength of God, I can press on and not give up.  I can stand the test.  I can have hope. 

I am very glad for things that give me hope.  And for the all patient One who knows just when to "say" the right thing and remind me that it is not all for nothing. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Head In Hands

Philippians 3:12-14
New Century Version (NCV)

12 I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his.13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead,14 I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
Doesn't this just say it like it is?  A conversation today inspired me to write tonight, but my mind has already been thinking along these lines.  The past, whether it is our own mistakes or whether it is hurt that someone else has caused, can be a huge distraction.  Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over things that we can't go back and change.   I guess, that's why we do the beating - it feels like the only thing we can do about it.  And it is a recipe for defeat and bitterness.
In any kind of race, if one is always looking back, you can be guaranteed to not be the winner!  Your pace will slow and you will go off track.  Looking back and/or inflicting punishment on ourselves for bad choices, missed opportunities, or whatever it is that one has to look back at will cause the same thing. 
The only way to move forward towards something is to let what is behind you go.  It doesn't seem to be human nature to do this, as I mentioned, most of us have given ourselves a few bruises here and there.  So, when we feel the inclination to kick ourselves, look back and remind ourselves of what we did or what someone else did to us, we need to take our head in our hands and turn our face towards the goal, forget the past, keep reaching for the prize. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Main Thing

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Sometimes this is a hard one to wrap your head around.  We get so stuck on doing the right thing, we leave out the main thing.  Doing the right thing is obviously important, but apparently, it doesn't impress God too much if you leave out love.  I think it is safe to assume that this directly relates to the two greatest commandments, love God, love your neighbor.  The other eight commandments are important, but here's the thing, if you are obeying the two greatest, the other eight fall into place. 

Same with gifts of the Spirit, etc.  If you have love, those gifts mean a lot more.  I've personally known people who have great gifts and seem pretty well accomplished (spiritually) and yet some of their actions leave you wondering.  (i.e. The List) 

It would seem that operating the gifts and obeying the other eight is fairly simple...and that must be why the two greatest are about love.  That can seem complicated at times.  I will be the first to admit that I certainly have not perfected the whole love thing...but am working on putting it in it's rightful place.  First. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The List

Matthew 5:44-45
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

44But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

The reader may have noticed that my blog has been silent for a couple of months, I've lost track of exactly how long, actually.  This has not been for lack of inspiration or opinion.  (heavy on the opinion, I'm sure)  But for lack of time!  And I do believe that it has to do with the scripture above.

Forgiveness has long been a confusing thing to me.  Well, I did finally figure out what it is.  It is to not hold someone accountable for the wrong they have done.  But how does one do it? How does one feel it?  These questions have burdened me for some time.  There have been "things" that I have had a hard time moving past and letting go of.  And I've had a unsettling suspicion that this could mean there was not true forgiveness on my part. 

Through a couple of different people and some prayer, this portion of scripture was brought to my mind to the point of me finally being honest with God about it.  I can't pray for people/situations that I'd really rather not think about at all!  But if I am pushing something out of my mind and basically ignoring it, what is that?  Obviously, that it is not moving on, not letting go and certainly not allowing the healing power of God to take care of it. 

So, sparing the boring details, as I became honest with God about my feelings about praying for those who have mistreated me, the answers to my questions was right there in front of me.  Obedience.  Don't hold your "enemies" accountable for what they do.  (Don't worry, this doesn't mean they aren't accountable...just not to you)  And pray for those who have hurt you.  I realized that all this took was for me to obey it...sounds easy.  Not!  To phyically speak the names on The List took just about all the energy and intestinal fortitude I had! 

Since then I have not even had time to post on my blog.  Life has gotten very busy...with really good things.  I can't help but see that obedience to the Word of God is so important.  What will be released in your life when you obey?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking for the New

Isaiah 43:18-19
New Century Version (NCV)

18 The Lord says, "Forget what happened before,
and do not think about the past.
19 Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening. Don't you see it?
I will make a road in the desert
and rivers in the dry land.

The past.  Those words can be heavy sounding depending on how you view your own past.  Most everyone has a thing or two they'd either like to change or at least forget about...if you don't have anything like that, I'm surprised gravity is still holding you down. 

Well, I am well grounded by gravity...I would change a few things, for sure.  But because time goes on marching forward, we don't have the opportunity to go back and fix things. 

There is another aspect to "The Past".  In fact, the scriptures above aren't talking about the "bad" past, but the things that God has done already.  We can't live just on the past victories and miracles.  They are mile stones, but they become memories.  We need to live in the moment.

I think we should learn to look for the new things that God has for us.  The new ways He is making for us.  The new refreshing He is giving.  Moment by moment. 

So, my New Year's Resolution is just that.  Put the past...good and bad...where it is supposed to be, and look for the new things that God is doing every day.