Saturday, December 31, 2011

Discipline in 2012

I am not always one for making resolutions on New Year's Eve, but sometimes setting goals helps me to focus. So, I figure if I put it into writing here, I can always come back and remind myself of what I set out to do in the year 2012.

"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong." -1 Cor. 16:13

I am feeling very strong about the need to stand on guard in this world today. And standing on guard requires discipline. And that is my goal....resolution....for 2012. To be more disciplined.

I am a haphazard kind of girl. I go in and out of modes of interests and focused activity. I believe without that focus and routine in some areas, I am allowing my guard to come down. So, in 2012, I will attempt to take the unorganized, unroutine, undisciplined me and try to create some habits that will focus me. There are a few areas in particular I plan to work on.

1. Scripture Reading: I really wanted to read through the whole bible this year. I began it, but didn't stick to it. So this year to help, I found an accountability partner and a website to help me focus on it. To be on guard and firm in the faith I need the word in my heart and soul, every day. I do like to pick up the bible and read random scripture (that is a part of my haphazard self), but I feel I need more focused study.

2. Money and budgeting: Tough one! But as my paycheck continues to move in the wrong direction with health insurance and paying retirement, I really need to be more focused and budgeted. I love flying out to Nebraska to see my grandchildren. I want to give 6 grandchildren a fun Christmas next year. I will never give up my tithes. I enjoy easy-relaxing-I-don't-have-to-cook-dinners on the weekends with my honey. And now I have a Nook I want to get books for. I am not real bad with impulse buying, but I have to be careful. So, I want to begin a budget this year. Sets limits and set aside for those things I care most about. Disciplined money spending. Using that which he has blessed me with in a purposed and mindful way.

3. My writing: I love it, enjoy it, want to do it....and then I go months without a word. I am not sure how that happens to me. I think I just allow silly, mundane, brainless activity to suck up my time, like facebook games (lack of discipline and routine). So I also need to set up a plan and routine for my writing. Devoting daily time to write. I know some of my writing has helped me to grow spiritually. I do feel God has blessed me with the desire to write, and I feel He wants me to exercise it.

So...as I say goodbye to 2011 and think about the things I have learned and experienced, I look forward to using that to make 2012 even better. Learning and growing is fascinating. Applying it even better. I publicly thank my heavenly Father for walking me through this year, carrying me through pain and sorrow, leading me through twists and turns, guiding me down His paths, and blessing me with amazing love, mercy and grace. May you continue to shape me and make me into the person you purposed and doing your work while I am here and on this earth. I love you my Lord!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be Alert...You May Lose Your Heat

Our hot water heater was not working properly and my talented husband was able to fix it on his own.
Suddenly, now that we have water this hot again, we realize this must have been slipping for quite some time. We really didn't notice, until the heat was gone. When things happen slowly, we tend not to notice as much.

Satan loves that, doesn't he? He doesn't have to get all loud, in our face, letting us know he is here and taking from us. He is sneaky and slips in through cracks, and he works slowly. We may not notice and before long our HEAT is gone...or our faith, our joy, our peace. He steals from us constantly, and we are unaware.

I just looked at the dates of my postings on this blog. This blog that I was so excited about, this blog where I could share my faith and where I felt God was calling me to write. And sure enough, it dropped off slowly, but eventually I was not writing, I was not using my love of writing to share my faith. I have not posted here since August 28th. I could blame work, filled moments, other ways I am involved in ministry, life....but I know in reality,  I could find time to do this.

I blame my lack of alertness. And that is what we are instructed to do...be alert!

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings." 1 Peter 5:8, 9

When we feel God at work in our lives we need to guard those things. We have an enemy who doesn't want us spreading light and salt, and he will slip in and subtly take from us. A pin hole leak into our spirituality can eventually empty us.

What about you? What is filling your time? What is keeping you from sharing your salt and light in this dark world?

The holidays are about to take over....we could easily get swallowed up in the hustle and bustle of the things that are not as spiritual. Let us all be alert and ready....let us enter into this season with alertness, ready to be thankful and full of praise and to remember that we are celebrating the Light that entered into this world, let's share that light, and let us season this world with His love.

May God bless my words as salt and light to you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Word of God

How much is the Word of God, the bible, a part of your spiritual life? Seems like a crazy question to ask someone who has a spiritual life, but I had to question myself on this, and I am not real comfortable with the honest answer.

When I stop and really think about this book that sits beside me, that I pick up and read daily, what it really is...I do not give it anywhere the need and attention I should. It is the WORD of God. His words, sitting here beside me. I read it. I carry it to church and I turn to the scripture and even take notes on it. But do I spend the time and devotion I should? Do I study it, learn it, meditate on it?

Sadly, the answer is no.

I spend more time listening to others speak their words about the scripture, through lessons and sermons. I spend more time thinking about the characters of the bible, and not what it means to me and my life. I wander around in this dark world with the light at my fingertips. I wander down paths trying to find my way with a map unopened. I should have hunger for this book, it is my spiritual food.

The only thing I can imagine stands in the way would be the deceiver. He lies to me and makes me think those daily readings, and taking notes has been enough. But tonight, the Spirit speaks to me. Tonight I am praying for a hunger for the word. I am praying that this reality that hits me this evening, grabs me throughout the day.

I want to read the word, as it is, the WORDS of my heavenly father, his love letter to me and you. I want to see what he wants for my life, the light to be shining and the road signs to direct me. I want to meditate on it, and learn from it. I want the words of scripture to have more power in my life than the words of men. I want the Spirit to speak to me directly. I want to know it so well, that I can share the treasures with others.

What about you? How important is the Word of God in your life?

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet, and a light for my path."  Psalm 119:105

May God use His words to be light and salt to you. May He bless my words to compliment His words.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love By Choice

Last night a question was asked in our youth group...why did God create Satan? They asked if He knew the outcome, why did he continue?

So many of us ask questions like this...wondering why God does as He does. But sometimes we can answer our questions by looking at ourselves...we are made in His image. We have many of his characteristics and ways.

So...think about love. If you had the ability to MAKE everyone love you, would that feel like love? Of course, when we feel love for someone and it is not returned, it hurts. We know God hurts. I am sure when God looks at many faces of his creation, the lack of love, the lack of obedience, the lack of faith, the lack of acknowledegment....it all must hurt. But...the alternative was to create beings without a choice. He could have had all creation love him, obey him, and sing praises to him all day long. But he would also know, that it is not real....without the choice, it is a created love, not a chosen love.

How much more it must mean to him, when we turn away from the world, turn away from sin, turn from the temptation and look towards him, choosing to love him, choosing to follow him. This is the love I would want. I want to be loved by choice. How much more must our heavenly father want this same kind of love?

Are you choosing to love him today?

May you find salt and light in my words.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Surrender

Surrendering is so difficult for us in so many different ways. Surrendering to God's will, God's timing...and the toughest one, surrendering ourselves to God, especially not knowing how He is going to move and work with it. We have things we want to hang on to. Thing we believe can give us happiness, pleasure and love. In the Old Testament, it was their idols...today we have our own idols. Money, media, drugs, alcohol, relationships, careers....and we hold them tightly, believing our life is better with these things. We think we know best.

We constantly want to keep our hands in feet in. We want that control. Not just of our own lives...but the lives of those we love as well. It is so hard to let go, to put our hands in the air, and just surrender. We have the fight within us, we won't allow that feeling of release, feeling as if it is a sign of weakness. We hang tightly to these things, and we are fooled by deceit and momentary pleasure.

And yet, when we do, when we let go, release and surrender, that is freedom. It is amazing, empowering, and comforting...if we are surrendering to God. And it doesn't matter what the struggle is...no matter how big, or how small. We need to let go of everything, and allow God to have that control. If He is asking for our time, our talents, our money, careers and habits...our idols, we need to let go, hand it over, and watch the blessing that comes in return.

What are you trying to control? What are you trying to handle? What is it that you are hanging on to? Are you ready....lift your hands, turn it over, allow Him to take control? Experience your freedom. Watch what happens, watch it enfold. In His perfect timing and His perfect way, allow Him to be first in your life. He who is truth, justice and righteousness.

Let us learn from those who came before;
"O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord...." Jeremiah 4: 4

May my words always be salt and light to you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Who Reigns?

I wish when I gave my life over to Christ that I could have "left the building".

I wish I no longer was there to try and slide myself into the place of leadership and bump him out of the way.

 I wish I could no longer could fall prey to temptations or give in to sin.

I wish that when others looked at my life, my actions, my decisions...they only saw Christ. His choices. His decisions. His reactions.

Then, when others who see me often, watched me over the years, they wouldn't question his existence in my life. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their words and their questions.

And if it isn't my life their examining, then it is another. We speak of this Christ who entered our lives, our hearts, we gave our lives over to His reign....and yet our lives so often look just like their own.

We make bad decisions. We move away from commitments. We get angry. We lie and gossip. We hurt others. We become full of pride. We spend wasted hours on our own pleasures, looking away from others and their needs. We judge. We have bad habits.

We look so much like so many other humans.

Those times...we have tried to take over the throne. We decide to try and reign again. And when we do...we sin.

So, the difference? We will not stay stuck in sin. We can not keep sinning. We have the spirit of God residing in our hearts. If we are staying there, then we should be examining our lives and hearts. Not everyone who calls themselves Christians are. There are some who confess with their mouths, but not believe and commit with their hearts.

God is still there...He is still in control. We may think we have control...but no way. He allows us to make these choices, and he also allows the consequences. But, in his wisdom and love....He moves us out of the way, and reminds us..."I AM IN CONTROL". He grabs our hearts and convicts us, not allowing us to wallow in sin.

It is here where we grow, where we see God. We learn how powerless we are, how weak, and we cling to him. And for us, He is right there. Ready to clean up and use it to glorify Him.

Without him...you stay stuck there. You continue in sin, and you can't pull yourself from its grip. You may try...and you will attempt to control it. But, you will never do it alone. You have no where to turn, no promise to hang on to. There is only you. But I am here to tell you...He is right there. His hand is held out.  He is waiting for you. He just wants you to call out, recognize that is is just you...and that you need Him. He wants to sit on the throne, He wants to reign.

And he reigns with wisdom, love, and forgiveness. He reigns with mercy and grace.

So...please don't look at me...or at him. Look to the King. We still struggle with the same things you do. We will still disappoint. But watch, watch when we put Him where He belongs. Watch as we move from the throne. Look at what He has done in our lives. It is his power, glory and kingdom we wish for you to see. We still stand in awe of Him, not in ourselves.

"Those who have been born into God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. " 1 John 3:9

May you find salt and light in my words.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Small is Your World?

God has really been dealing with this summer about how small my world is. I have really kept some boundaries on it and have done little to reach out.

He first started to deal with me with the internet, and my writing. He allowed me to see how big of an audience is out there, and that I had something to share. So that is how I started blogging. But typed words is not enough.

God is now calling me to more. To action. I love how God works. He first puts these little curious desires, or wonderings in your heart. He grows them. He spoke to me in my summer reading. And He always backs his thoughts and desires for me with scripture, his word. Then he shares experiences. He gives you glimpses.

He lays it out your feet and asks you to take the steps. He is always prepared for our doubts and questions. He knows us. Knows our fears.

And this morning, He answered those.

"I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down th the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me." Psalm 139:7-10 (NLT)

So, as he makes my world bigger, and he calls me beyond this little circle, whether it is here in typing, or at the pregnancy center in town...or in the Domincan Republic, he will be there with me. This morning that image was so clear in my mind. What can I fear? Seeing God walk beside me, guiding, supporting and strengthening leaves me asking, Where can't I go? What can't I do? How empowering, the omnipresence of God, and his love that guides, strengthens and supports.

May my word be salt and light to you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Being a Parent a Tough Job

Being a parent gives you a perspective of our Heavenly Father, how he views our lives. How often we can please him...and how often we can break his heart.

As a parent, you have desires for your children. You want them to be happy, successful, satisfied...and in God's will. I am sure our Heavenly Father has those wishes and more for our lives.

And just like He does, we guide our children, point them in the right direction, warn them...but knowing we have to allow their choices and sometimes watch them fail, we see them hurt, lost and lying in the consequences of their choices. Oh how that breaks our heart....and oh how we must break the heart of our Heavenly Father. And the more they walk into the same walls, making the same mistakes, not learning from their consequences, it is hard to understand. How often have I done this to my Heavenly Father? I know there have been mistakes I have made over and over again.

Today is one of those days I wish I had the view God has. The view down the road. I want to have the power God has to line things up, put things in the path of my child. I want to pull my child from the darkness, the twisting path that just keeps moving in a downward spiral.

What I need to remember tonight...I have access to that power. I just need to place that child into my Heavenly Father's hands, let go. I need to pray.

Tonight I mourn with my Heavenly Father...for the child we both love so much. But we can both know that the seeds within his heart are there...and I will lean on His understanding, his power, and have faith that he will continue to work in our child's life.

Luke 11:13  "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

May you find salt and light in my words!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Their Faith

Most of us who have attended church, bible study or read bible stories have heard the story of Jesus on the boat with his disciples. He is sleeping, a storm comes up, and they wake him up. If you haven't you can read it here: Luke 8: 22-28, or Matthew 23-27,  or Mark 4:35-41.

I have heard many different sermons on this scripture focused on Jesus calming the storm.

But last week, the sermon spoke of them waking him. And that Jesus was rebuking them for their lack of faith. And it is true..if we think of the boat as our life, and if we have Jesus in our boat (if we have invited him there), ...do we need to worry about the storms? We have Jesus in the boat! What should we worry about if Christ is in the boat?  And as many sermons have taught, our eyes should be on Jesus....not on the storms that are raging.

So, that got me to wondering...the what if.  What if the disciples had had the faith and had looked at the storm, and then looked at who was in the boat....and chose to go to sleep. Not worry about the storm. Not worry about what could happen. Not think about all the possibilities. But....just had the faith to go to sleep. What did they miss out on?

And I wonder about us. What storms have we begged and begged to stop...and Jesus stopped them. What could those storms have done in our life? How would it have shaped us? What possibilities did we let go of?

When storms rage against our lives...they toss us into new directions. They give us new perspectives. They grow us. They change us. They make us more dependent on Christ. We should not be shouting so soon to wake up Jesus. He knows exactly what is going on. He is fully aware. If he can sleep through it, we should rest as well. He knows all, and sees all.

I am not sure what they missed out on that day. But I think of the storms I have endured...and what they did for me. They were tough to go through and they were very scary. But, I look at who I am today because of those storms, and I am so thankful.

So don't miss out, endure your storms. Remember, he will only allow what we can endure...so hold on tight, be alert and steadfast, and see where your storms will take you.

2 Corinthians 1: 3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort."

May my words always bring salt and light.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Determination

It was  raining, not a nice day at all. However, this young man wanted to play soccer. He was determined, and would not be stopped. What a lesson he gives to us as Christians!
I heard something on the radio this week about some studies being done, deciding if church services should be shortened to 50 minutes! "People are just not able to hang for longer than that."

I really was saddened by this. We have truly become so lazy, so unmotivated in our walk as Christians. Imagine, if we were like this little boy. God does give us the raincoats, the hats, the knee pads...we have all the equipment we need...yet we let obstacles stand in our way.

How often do we take the armor of God, put it on, and walk as Christians are meant to walk? How often do we look at the obstacle and walk away? Leaving the "equipment" sitting there, shelved, ready for dust.

What is keeping you from a determined walk with God?
 people? circumstances? money? selfishness? fear? Laziness? time?

We need to watch how this society is changing us as Christians. In a world of fast and furious, spending time with God, fellowshipping with Christians, taking time to listen to the hurting, spending time with our youth and children teaching them Godly values....it is all slipping away from us. We want instant, obstacle free  Christianity. We must all remember what  it was that we promised in becoming a Christian. We gave these lives of ours to God...how is that looking now?

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Ephesians 6:11

May you find salt and light on my words.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"I'm Exploring"

Yesterday was a day for me to listen to today's youth. No matter who we are, we look back on our youth and see how many choices, how many temptations, and how confusing it could all be. But yesterday, I had to wonder...what about today's youth?

Youth is a time to explore..what do you want to do with your life? Will I get married, have kids? What career do I want to go for? Where will I settle?

And yesterday, a young lady shared with me, "I'm exploring." However, her exploring wasn't about any of the above....it was about God, or gods, or.....

And I listened, and I shared. But then as I had time to reflect and think about our youth today, and their choices in the realm of what to believe, what to set their focus on, I think our world has really opened up the options. It has given them quite a bit to "explore". 

I heard her sharing with me, and was a little baffled. This is a young lady who has attended church, and that is where the conversation started. She said, "yes, I still go to church, but I am not a Christian." Which, did not phase me or surprise me. Plenty of people may answer that way. But as I delved further, I learned she believed in God, believed the bible was true and inspired by God....however, wasn't certain she likes the narrow path part. She is looking for a god who will love her, and not judge her......and from the sounds of it not have too many rules for her.

And that is what makes me wonder....do our youth today think it should be easy and they deserve things given to them? Little sacrifice. Lots of gain. A very wide path, open to several interpretations, and lots of ways in. And actually...do we have a lot of adults thinking the same way? And is this where the actual problem lies, within our society, that continues to shift. I really think it does.

I went from this conversation to a youth group at church. It was refreshing and inspiring to listen to some of them. Their biblical knowledge amazed me. Their sharing of making choices and decisions that was difficult for them, but knowing it was the right thing to do.

The difference between these kids? Not really sure. Upbringing? Life experiences? Personality types?

I am thankful this young lady is exploring. And as I told her....I hope she finds the truth, and I hope she prays and asks God to show it to her. We should never be followers of men....we should seek and find the truth from God and his word.

I am concerned with all the paths out there, and so many things with their neon signs calling our youth in. And if they are hurting, searching, looking for love and to fit in...Christianity may appear judgemental and tough, when these other signs scream acceptance and love.

The web of deception is simple to get caught up in. I think we need to be there for our youth, be leaders, imitators of God and his love...and maybe not sound so judgemental at times. Let's raise our neon signs higher and brighter, and help them find their way as they explore.

Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."

May you find salt and light in my words, always.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reflections from the Week


I am having a little bit of trouble getting back to routine, and part of my routine had been writing. We went away for a week on a fast forward yet amazing family vacation. It was quite a precursor to the 4th of July celebration. We went to visit my son, one of the two in the military, and his family. So always being around him, thinking about his life, his sacrifice and his family's sacrifice makes me grateful and appreciative of him and others who work hard to defend our country and freedom.

To add to this, we also went to a few amazing sites. One being Mt. Rushmore. At night they have a ceremony and it is done so well. Reminding us of our history. These four men and their impact on this nation. A movie was shown, and then they honored past and present military before lighting up the mountain. You can't help but leave full of pride and patriotism.

So not only did we see that magnificent creation of man, we also made a stop to see the Badlands, South Dakota, the beautiful artwork of our creator. My photos could never do it justice. But I can tell you I stood in awe, absolute awe. I had no idea of the beauty I would encounter as I entered into this national park. With each turn, a new landscape etched into the earth by God. His powerful forces of wind and weather creating this natural canvas. The words to a song I love came to mind "with all creation I sing, praise to the mighty King".

We made it home in time for Sunday's service, and it was the perfect wrap to this week. A reminder of the blessing we have to live in this nation. Once again, our military was honored. And then a look back...to the standards and beliefs that we began with over 225 years ago. Then in turn,  a reflection on where we are now. I can't help but be concerned as I look around and think about where we were...and where we are headed. How much more will we allow and I wonder why we no longer see a clear standard? There is so much more gray within our red, white and blue. God is being edged out. The freedom we wanted when we began has a new view/vision....it is to worship who and what we want, not the God we once were seeking in a daily walk and talk, our text books and in our courtrooms.

I am thankful for a nation that has been blessed by God. I absolutely believe those blessings came from our historical beginnings. I am thankful for God's hand on our nation, our military, our leadership. My concern is what will happen if we continue to allow a little more gray in each day to our red, white and blue. If we allow God to be removed a little more each day. Where will we be?

We as Christians need to speak up as our forefathers. We need to be present. We can't sit by idle and quiet and allow this to happen. We need to pray for our country, our leaders and our fellow Christians. We need to pray for our  fathers who need to turn to God and raise their families knowing who God is and what His standards are. We need to eliminate the cracks in our foundation, repair them, make us strong in the Lord again. If it isn't us as Christians....there will be no one else who will.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14:34



May you find salt and light in my words.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back Away...But Slowly

I am hoping you chose to read this today, even though you were pretty sure I was going to mention Christ, or Christianity....or something about those things. Or maybe I caught you with the title and you had no idea what you were getting into here. Don't back away...not just yet.

You see,  I am finding...most people shy away, or actually back away, and sometimes even run from this blog. Not really this blog...but the name of Christ. It isn't something they want to discuss...or comment on. Maybe they don't want to think about it, or they have their beliefs and just don't feel the need to read anything like this. I really don't know. It has kind of boggled me. But I know it should be expected...we were told it would happen.

I think of all the things I could post on this page and you would read on. I could probably talk about Buddha or some mystical creature god that I make up...and you would read on. I could even talk about politics or evil desires...you would read on. But at the mere mention of Christ...people want to run.

Well, I hope I haven't lost you yet...because today I would love to hear your side. I know where I stand, and I know how I walk through my days and how I am handling life here on this earth. But what about you? I have always had a curiosity about the beliefs and thoughts of others...what makes us tick. I was ready for debate. I was ready for challenge. I guess I didn't expect silence. So, now my curiosity is about the silence...why do people run from the name of Christ? Or at least, why do we move to silence or awkwardness? It happens to me as well.

Why do you stay away from these type of writings...or conversations?

Where does your hope come from?

What exactly do you feel when you hear the name of Christ? Why do you think that is?

As a writer I really would love to reach my audience, and I actually want to write for them. If no one ever read my writing, I am pretty sure I would discontinue pretty quickly. I write, to be read. At least here in public that is my purpose. Writers write for a myriad of reasons. Here, on a public blog, I write to be read...that seems to be how we writers are. We are looking for a connection with our readers. We want a reaction.

My audience seems limited. It seems to be like-minded people.  However, honestly....I had hoped my writing would introduce you, reintroduce you, or at least make you stop and think about Christ...and all that his name captures. I had hoped to give hope to hurt. Peace to chaos. Joy to grief. Answers to questions. Faith to doubt.

Of course, as I draw to the end of this post...I look at the "I"s throughout the writing. What I want...what I hoped...and in there more than likely lies the problem. It shouldn't be about what I want...this writing should be about what God wants.

You see, that is how I try "to tick". I try to walk and align myself with what God wants, the path he chose for me. Not always easy...but sometimes it is the easiest. To just let go, and let God.
But we all deal with that constant battle...no matter who we are or what we believe....we are all in that same boat. We are creatures of sin. We all live in that same boat together. So...how do we each deal with that differently?
I really would love to hear how you "tick"....what brings you here? What makes you want to run? Why do you read, and leave silently? Today, break the silence. Let me sneak a peek at my audience.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19: 14

That is my hope...that my words will be pleasing to God. And in doing so, it is my hope that they will be salt and light to you, my reader.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Faith of Children

What a wonderful place to be this week...in the presence of children. To listen to their innocent questions, unwavering faith, and deep thoughtful questions. Oh yeah, and of course their silly little comments in the middle of a bible story, "did you know your eyes are brown?"

It has been a very busy week and I have missed my writing. However, I had to step away for a moment from the chaos just to remind all of us, sometimes we should just stop and listen to a child. They so easily accept and believe God's word. No questions. No buts.... They listen to his word, and accept. It is truth, no gray areas. No... well maybe.

We become polluted by the world and its teachings as we grow older. We want to try and figure things out on our own. We want physical proof, and faith is so much more difficult.

Take some time, sit with a child. Listen to their thoughts...and their faith. See if you can remember!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Marriage

"Give honor to marriage..." Hebrews 13:4

My husband and I recently started a devotional which focuses on marriage and the relationship. Tonight I am thinking about that relationship...and the relationship we have with Christ.

The bible refers to us as Christ's bride. So, in thinking about our marriage relationship with our spouse, we can learn from examining our relationship with Christ.

First, I think about sanctification. Our relationship with Christ continues to grow over time. It is not a straight path from us to him. It seems to have some ups and downs. But we never seem to go back to where we began, each dip down is a valley, but we do continue to grow as we make our way towards heaven.  So, in our marriages we can expect some valleys, but the valleys will never take us back to those first days in our marriage. But we will never arrive to a final destination in our marriages...we can expect to always grow.

What does that process require from us? With Christ it takes us making the time to pray...communicate. Communication is important in our marriage, probably the MOST important factor. We need to express our hopes, dreams, desires, concerns, frustrations, mistakes....and we need to listen. We know the Lord is listening when we pray. He is paying attention. It is a two-way communication. We need to have that same kind of communication with our spouses...talking and listening.

Our relationship with Christ also requires for us to get to know more and more about him. We do not stay as we are in the relationship. We do this through study and by reading his word. In marriage, we need to get to know our spouse, and as they grow and change as a person we need to continue to get to know them. We need to ask questions. We need to  pay attention to body language and moods. We need to listen as they express hopes and desires. We need to encourage and support them. People are not stagnant, and neither should our relationships be.


All relationships take work, but God has asked us to honor the convenant of marriage. If married we should be constantly moving in a direction to improve, and allowing God to always be in the center, leading and directing.

May you find salt and light in my words.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Persistence with Patience

Persistence with Patience...Those two words can often get a reaction. Not giving up....but having to wait?

However, God calls us to do both.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:1,2

"But I tell you this- though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence." Luke 11:8

I usually use these two words to describe my personal characteristics. But neither of them came easy. Both were learned over time, and through difficult times. Faith was the fire that burned through me as I had to keep moving on.

My eyes had to be on the place I believe God wanted me. I had to see beyond the middle of my turmoil. I needed to see what it would be like when I moved out of the circle, and into the peace beyond.

I also need to confess that I didn't keep my eyes there. I allowed them to wander. I started to look at the circumstances....and then I listened to the world. So, the vision I had of what God wanted, and where He wanted me...I never got there. Not in the place that was in His perfect will.

However, God with his unfailing love, still rewarded me. He brought me through, and he gave me peace, out of the turmoil. He forgave me for where I faultered, and yet, still honored my persistence and patience.

So, you may be reading and this and asking...then why try? If he will reward you, even if you get tired and give up...then why not give up?

As I said, I was outside his will. Being outside of God's will has consequences. It requires asking forgiveness and repentance. It requires for us to admit we did not persevere...and we lost our patience. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like...had I persevered with patience. As sweet and wonderful as my blessings are, how much more could they be within God's perfect will?

So, if you are in the midst of turmoil, my advice is persevere as God has called you...He wants you in His will. Follow His direction, not that of this world. Remember the enemy who will lie and deceive. Wait patiently.

If you did as I did...you faultered, you gave up. Ask for forgiveness, repent. Align yourself with his will and receive his blessings.

To do all this...stay close to God, His people, and His word. It is harder to hear the world in the midst of God's presence!

May you find light and salt in my words.

Monday, June 13, 2011

God Speaks in the Strangest Places

So, as I was cleaning out my refrigerator today,  I was thinking about this scripture:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms 139: 23, 24

Why you ask would  I be thinking about this scripture? Well, I was imagining God cleaning out my heart, as I was cleaning out my refrigerator...and I found some likenesses.

For instance, I found some things that were lost, they were lost behind the good things. Unnoticed. Forgotten. And it was because the good things were at the front. And I thought of the good things in my heart, they may have some other not-so-good-things hidden behind it...such as motives, emotions, pride, and lack of faith. What are the good things in your heart hiding? Search us O God.

Oh, then there were things that were just forgotten. I forgot they were there. I am sure God finds those things in my heart, and he brings them out to the surface so we can deal with them. Maybe a sin that didn't feel like a sin when it was done, but now the conviction brings it forth. Or a consequence of a choice I was unaware of or chose to forget. What do you have hidden in your heart? Search us O God.

Then there are always those things that are covered up in containers or wrappings. I think many of our hearts have the covered up things. Just buried deep inside. Things we don't care to discuss or look at or be reminded of. So we cover them up...but when God is cleaning up and cleaning out...he will open those up for us and allow us to discard them.  What do you have covered up? Bring forth what is offensive O God.

Once in a while you find something you had a desire for. You brought it home, craved it and hid it to enjoy later. Only to find out when you are cleaning up...it no longer had that appeal. Those opportunities set before us, God gave us the desire, called it to our attentions and we craved for it. But we do not always act on it. Sometimes we tend to hide it and save it for later. I believe God will remind us of those lost opportunities, hoping we will learn from our mistakes. We should act on the call at hand, move with the desires to be light to this world when he places them before us. What has God called you to do, what desire has he laid on your heart? Search us O God.

Which brings us to the expired dates. Things in our refrigerator have a shelf life and so do some of the things in our spiritual life. God presents us with opportunities, open doors and makes the way for us. But those doors will eventually close. We could be dealing with someone's lost soul. Hardened hearts. When God goes in to search our hearts, may He not find things we have allowed to sit and go wasted. Expired dates. What should you be doing before the expired date? What door could be closed? Search us O God.

Aren't you thankful for a God who will speak to us? Aren't you thankful for a God who will search our hearts...and lead us in the way everlasting. We only need to listen!

May you find salt and light in my words, always.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Loss

Today alone I read two blogs, freshly written about loss. The loss of life.

Loss of life leaves one twisted. 
Leaves questions.
Leaves one "upside down"
and it leaves some emptiness.

These posts brought me back to February when I lost my mother. The loss is still so alive for me. Still a little unreal. I believe I am still being carried through.

But today when I read these posts, I thought of the peace I found. I know I had so many prayers being sent from mouths, rising up to a heavenly throne, and He graciously covered me in peace. Through the turmoil I felt his mercy. He picked me up and carried me, as He has done before. He comforted me and took me through the steps of loss.

He allowed the time I needed in anger. He allowed the time of tears and grief. But He didn't allow me  to settle there, to be caught up and driven down into the pain.

Tonight I pray for all those effected by these losses I read of today. I pray for that peace that is beyond the things of this world. May you be covered in mercy and grace. May you find hope in His love. May you be lifted and carried through.

"Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance" Jude 2

This is my prayer for you tonight. May you find salt and light in my words!

Friday, June 10, 2011

God's View

A year ago my youngest left for bootcamp. His wife and I were thinking back, back to that day and days before. Recently I found a church bulletin from 2001, his wife's name was in there. She had been baptized that day. We were there. I didn't know her, but God knew one day she would be my daughter in law, one day she would be the mother of my grandson. We do not know the days ahead, where we will be, or what we will be doing. I think He gives us glimpses.

My husband had played for a local symphony. Years ago they came to play on my school's campus. We brought the students over to see. We didn't know each other. And we wouldn't meet for many years after. But I think He gives us glimpses.

It makes me think of the view God has. How he connects the dots and can see behind the scenes. He has such a different view. He sees before, He sees within, and then He looks beyond. To think He even knew my days before I was in my mother's womb!

So, it make me wonder, who did I walk beside today who may be an impact in my life? Who has he placed beside me, brought me to, and aligned with with? How is he working in my life today that will impact a future? I think He is giving me glimpses.

The hard part continues to be, not knowing. But the part I can place confidence is, He does. There are ideas, hopes and dreams that filter through, I stop and wonder and pray. Are they from God? 

Seeking His will is my goal. Discerning what is coming from His plan is not always easy. Sometime I recognize immediately that this was not HIS plan, it was mine. I have to back away. I did that with this blog. I wanted to go a different direction...and He let me know quickly, that what I am doing here, these random thoughts and sharing my questions, my wanderings, my reactions...that is all He needs from me here. He is working the scenes. If I am not followed or commented on, I need to let that go. His plan is for me to write (Pride is a terrible thing). He gave me a place to settle and create, move around my words and try to share my message. He will do with it what He wants. He will do with it when He wants.

So, I am thankful for a God with a view of it all. I am thankful that He is control. And I love how he shows me that He gave me glimpses...and that it all works together, for His good!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called  according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

May you always find salt and light in my words!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Thank You

Over the last two weeks I have had a little more time...a little more time to write. I have rediscovered that love I have for writing. How I try to find a message and share it in words. I twist them, turn them, change them, rearrange them. It is an art, and to be able to do it, is a gift.
I am thankful for this gift of creativity. I think many of us have it, we just each share it differently. We have creative musicians, painters, sculpters, speakers, scrapbookers, designers, and the list goes on. This creativity is a gift from God, he blessed us with it for a specific purpose. We need to seek out the purpose and create.
Thank you Lord for helping me settle into a place where I can create, where I can share. May it be a blessing to you. May I use it always to be light and salt to this world!

"Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and the knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftmanship." Exodus 35:30-33

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is it Enough to Place Him in the Driver's Seat?

I remember when my daughter was first driving. I would hand her the keys, allow her to sit in the driver's seat, and I would sit beside her....trying to drive from there. I would smash my foot on the floor as if brakes were there. I would make noises and shout directions trying to control her every decision. I would fling my body left and right in the direction I thought she should go. I gave her the keys, put her in the seat...but letting go of the control, a whole different story.

I am sure most of you know where I was headed with this. We do this with God, don't we? We make that first step, turn the seat over to him, and give him the keys. And then, we proceed to tell him how to drive, where to drive, and which turns to take, and let Him know when we will be stopping.

So, let me ask you this....did we ever actually make him the driver? Is this what is wrong with most proclaimed Christians today....have we really made the ultimate decision in our lives, or is it in word only, and not a commitment from our hearts and soul? Did we fool ourselves by handing him the keys and is Satan sitting in the backseat smiling?

I want to believe it is human nature to question these things and human nature that makes us grasp for control of the drive once in a while. But today I am not sure. I have completed reading a book I mentioned several times here in my blog, Radical, Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt. It is a very thought- provoking, life examining book....and as he compares our cushy lives to those of the disciples and other believers who lived since and are living now, it causes some analysis. It really makes me examine our sacrifice...and when I place mine up against the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, it is pitiful...or worse, nonexistent. In his book David points out that many Christians today preach and teach about the blessings we deserve. And this is true. I have read those books too. But as scripture reveals....really we are asked to sacrifice. We are here temporary and we have a commission to share a message to the world.
He ends his book with a call for a one year commitment. I am letting that sit today, simmer and resonate in my soul. I am going to share this book with my husband. If it was just his writing that had me feeling this conviction, I could toss it away easier....but he backed his every thought with scripture. I am very afraid of where we are today in our country. How far we have walked from where we were. It may take a radical change, and maybe it needs to begin with me....and maybe you too.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." John 14: 12, 13

Those blessings we can ask for...they are for doing. For doing even greater things than Christ did. All to bring glory to God.

May you find salt and light in my words.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Obedience....For Real?

So often I claim I am trying to walk in obedience. But then something comes along and I question just where do I get that I walk in obedience. True obedience is total submission, and the dictionary defines that as "yielding to the authority and power of another".
Isn't the reality often more like I will give this up, or I will do this...because I can. I am willing.
But how often am I really yielding to the power of God?
What are the things He is asking me to do, and I could do if I was truly submitting to his power rather than relying on my own power. Because when I look at the reality of MY obedience, I only do what I can do within my own power. I do not really pay much attention to be the things He may be calling me to do that I can't quite imagine how I would do it.
There is so much to do, so I can't imagine that if I were really listening, there would be a list of things I am not hearing. When I tune in and get a real glimpse of the condition of this world....the hunger, the pain, the loneliness, the addictions, the crime, the poverty, and the number of people who do not know or have even heard of Christ...then the reality is He is asking many of us to do much more than most of us are doing. We make the circle so small for our influence.
Today I was wondering how I will feel in the presence of God as He shows me the lost opportunities He presented me with. I wonder how obedient I will feel at that moment.
So my challenge for myself today, and yes for you too...how can we broaden our circle? What is He asking of us that we can do, if we are obedient with his power in mind?
"Submit to God and be at peace with him, in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart." Job 22: 21, 22

May you find salt and light in my words.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Church and Today's Culture

There is something I am struggling with a little...and I have heard both messages in books, the church, bible classes...and both points make perfect sense to me. I think the greatest reason I am questioning this tonight is because of a book I am reading, Radical by David Platt. It has been a wonderful book and it has me really looking at and thinking about some things...mostly our churches today.
So the wrestling match going on here...how much should the church be different from the church we saw in scripture? How much of today's culture should the church adopt? And then it also boils down to us, how set apart should we be from the world and its culture? I know we must be set apart from the darkness and sin, but what about the culture?
So, here is my big question...if Jesus walked the earth today, what would that look like? Would his disciples blog? Would they use computers and facebook? Would they listen to the Newsboys? Would they travel by subway, airplanes and buses? What kind of church building would He plan, or would He not want a church building?
To think about this, I thought about how Jesus used the culture of His time. He did meet people where they were. He fellowshipped with them and ate with them. He would go out on the boat and fish with them.  There were dark pieces of his culture we never saw Jesus near. He fellowshipped with sinners and had compassion for the helpless. He did not join in on the sin, but He met them where they were at. And what about his disciples once he was gone. They traveled to reach people. They were there in the midst of community, but again, not in dark places. Their mode of travel of their time was used.
Neither of them sat back in churches and awaited people to come in. They didn't just go out and invite people to come to a church. They didn't throw big events and send out invitations. So, when I think about that, we are missing the mark in most churches.
The churches seemed to be only for believers, to build and edify through teaching.
So, I am not sure it is important what we are doing inside our churches (other than teach believers and take care of one another) as it is important what we are doing outside our churches. I may be totally off the mark....but when I look at God's word, I can't find Jesus focusing or His disciples focusing on what is going on inside a building. They are always out and about with the people and sharing the good news. No programs, no concerts, no lights and comfy seats. And when I try to imagine Jesus here, today, I do not see Him in the church building. I see him down the road, outside the grocery store, or down on the river at a fishing tournament, at the basketball court shooting hoops and sharing, or in the waiting area at the beauty shop! I see him always on the move. I think I can see Him tweeting and using an IPhone before I could see Him in the church building waiting for people to come see Him.
I'd love to hear others thoughts. If you have a scripture to share that is where our answers should come from. I am totally just sharing some thinking here.
I can tell you what, if He did write a blog, I would be following that one!!!
May you always find light and salt in my words!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Greatest Tool

I have spent four days in training to counsel with woman in a pregnancy center. The training was awesome, and the woman who led was definitely annointed by God. There were a lot of aha moments for me, a lot of learning and a lot of looking at my weaknesses.
Some of my learning allowed me to see that some of the muck and hurt I have been through gives me a compassion and love for woman who are hurting. That compassion and love comes despite what brought them here. We all make poor choices, and we all know poor choices can bring tough consequences. I am so thankful for the people God placed in my life as I faced my consequences, so thankful for him picking me up and carrying me through those painful times, and thankful that there are three places in consequences, the before, the during and the after. I am looking forward to helping others see the after, and with God how much easier the during is.

I also learned a lot about our culture and how far we are slipping into a very dark place. The lack of holiness when it comes to life. I thought I knew, but I had no idea.

The toughest thing I had to deal with though, is my lack of knowledge in God's Word. I saw the importance of knowing his Word as I would so many other things. I claim I do not have a great memory, but I just completed writing a piece about words in a children's book that I read in first grade and I still have those words locked in my memory. There is no better tool in this world for helping ourselves or others. No matter how many wonderful Pastors, teachers or mentors we have in our life, it is the Word we need to test all other things. It needs to be burned into my heart, mind and soul, just like it was a hardrive.

As we heard about different scenarios we could be faced with I heard others around me calling out scripture to answer those hurts and consequences. The perfect words of hope, healing and redemption. When they would start to read them, I could complete the reading, I knew the words. But I need to know the addresses too. I need to study and learn God's word. We have the whole story, from beginning to end in our hands. We need to wrap our minds, hearts and souls around it, and use it as the best tool that it is. It is God's Word we hold in our hands.

"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

May you always find salt and light in my words.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What do you want?

Changing things up a bit this week. I am going to use this blog for some fiction writing as well, where my characters will be dealing with some spiritual issues. Today's post is in response to Red Writing Hood's prompt: All about character development.
We'd like you to write about what your character wants most.
Do you know what you want most? Does your character? Write a piece of 600 words or less and come back to link up here Friday.


It is not a complete piece, just me trying to get to know my character.


 Hannah heard the bellowing voice deep in your heart, "What do you want?"
The valley between them was wide, yet when He called to her she could feel it in the depths of her soul.
She searched for answers. What did she want...?

In a whisper she answered, "The hurts to be healed. The emptiness to be full. The weakness to be strengthened. And, the questions to be answered...all the whys and hows."

Her eyes turned toward the giggles intertwined with whining. She knew she tried to use their lives to fill hers. And in many ways they had. She could get lost in the caring and fulfillment of parenthood. But the obvious leakage of hurts, emptiness and weakness spilled into their lives as well. Which shadows would they carry with them as they grew?

She didn't want out from the situation, she wanted the situation changed. It was one of those days where it all felt so heavy. The burdens were outweighing her blessings today, the sins outweighing her faith, the distance between her and God today were out of her vision. She knew it was her who had created that distance, and it is why he was calling to her, ready to give her what she wanted. He was still there and waiting for her.

Maybe it was the other voices around her that made it heavy. They lacked understanding of her faith. They lacked forgiveness when she chose to forgive. Or maybe today it was because she was looking through their eyes, not wanting to keep forgiving, wanting to walk from the faith that sustained her here in this situation.

This time louder she called out, “I want a marriage free of drugs, free of alcohol. I want a husband who comes home every night. I want a man who can be faithful to me. I want to walk daily in a marriage where I don’t feel like the lone fighter.”

Then back to a whisper, “Or I want to know it is okay to give up. I want to know I will be okay on the other side.”

It felt as if she took another step backwards away from Him. Anytime she allowed the thought of giving in, to enter in, it felt as if she was letting Him down.

As if drawn to them, she pulled an album from the stack. As she flipped the pages she smiled. Even as an insider who knew the pain not shown, she could smile at the images and recall moments of happiness. They seemed to be the moments weaved in between that kept her holding on. A “normal” day here and there, a family, a husband and wife who loved and was loved. Those were the days that held her, the glimpses of what could be, what was.

But she wanted more of them. They were real. They happened. But days like today darkened them.

Again she heard him. With all His compassion, with all of His love, He questioned, “What do you want?”

She smiled, she knew. He already knew. She could sense it happening. He would pick her up, carry her through some more. Protect her from the hurt that wanted to envelop her heart. Pulled her up from the darkness and carried her beyond today. In His arms there was the light. She wanted the light, wanted to be lifted from the darkness.

What did she want?….she wanted Him. The only way she could sustain. The only hope she had. In his arms she could do it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dots Connected

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you have planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and to tell of them, they would be too many to declare." Psalms 40:5
A little follow up to my thinking from yesterday.

Dots Connected
He lays the plans and chooses the paths
Of where, and when, or how.
We are the players who follow through
Without question of the route.

                                                  Sometimes we want to see behind the curtain
See the working of His hand.
But tonight the Master is waiting
For all the players who need to enter in,

And then He follows through.

He lines them up and connects them
His map is always planned.
We just have to wait in faith
And walk the streets He chose.

When all the lines have been connected
The paths and acts unveiled.
The picture that has been hidden
Is a masterpiece revealed.
 May you find light and salt in my words!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Seeing Behind the Scenes

I think I have posted about this before, so it must be something that does challenge me a little. I have faith, and I know God IS at work. But sometimes I wish I could see behind the scenes. Where is He connecting the dots?
One of the reasons I am thinking about this is because of this blog. I have two going, one is more of a place to practice fiction and I have some followers there. But here on this blog, I rarely know who is reading or what they are thinking about what they are reading. I post it to my facebook account so sometimes a friend or two will comment about something I wrote and I am excited.  I am writing this because I want God to use it. So when I hear someone share it is touching them, teaching them or making them question and think about God I am thrilled.
Then of course I get all human and start to question, do I really have anything here He can use?
And then I go back to the faith. God did lay this on my heart to do. So, I am  guessing   knowing it will be used. But I know God, He can hang on to these words out there in the cyber world and pull them out and use them when He needs them for someone. I just need to follow in obedience and do the writing. I think He is actually happier when we continue to work and we don't see the fruits. That is faith in action. He does bless us and allows us to see the fruit sometimes. But I look at some from biblical times, some never saw the promises, it was their future generations who did.
However, maybe because I am getting a little challenged by this task, I am going to change it up a bit. I am going to do some different things on different days. I haven't worked it all out yet. One thing I want to try is Fiction Fridays. I do love to write fiction, and I thought I could practice with characters with struggles in need of God.
 I also read something in a book tonight about when we sit in church we can be "receivers or reproducers" and the book described the purpose in church is not only to receive, but we should take what we receive and share, reproduce what we hear for the world around us. I have a wonderful pastor who preaches the bible....and I want to share what he is teaching, so one day a week I think I will be a reproducer.
Also, I have been reading a lot of blogs, and many have a wordless Wednesday where they share photos. There is a song I LOVE, and one of the lines that I love is "with all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings" and I can see creation praising God. He has spoke into existence a beautiful world with incredible living and nonliving creations.  I want to start using my love of photography to capture some of these images to praise our creator on my Wordless Wednesdays (starting next week I guess). Right now I am just throwing some ideas out there.
 I want to be obedient. So, if I begin to discern He wants something else, I will move in that direction. I am not sure what hearts will be touched by my words, that is up to Him. If it is only one, then that is a blessing. God has given me a love for writing, and He has given me a place to play with it. I want to use these blessings for his glory.
So, as always I pray that my words are light and salt within this cyber world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Quickly the Clouds Come In

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe"
Philippians 2:14, 15

In a crooked and depraved generation, the clouds can quickly come in and cover up the stars we are suppose to be. Without persistence and work, we can get swallowed up in the darkness of the world, hidden by the clouds. It happens as quickly and easily as a cloud can enter a sunny day. Blameless, pure, without fault is a difficult aim, and working towards it without complaining and arguing even more difficult for our human frailty. But we have to remember where the light comes from that lights up the sky, all things in the sky do not light on their own power. It comes from another much more powerful source. To be lit up in the sky, they need to be in direct line with the source. We need to learn from the creations of God. As long as we attempt to be the light from our own weak and imperfect power, we will fail. We need to align with the Son. We need to be where He needs us to be.

I am finding I do not have to be very far out of alignment to lose the light. Just a few degrees to the left or right and I lose the same light. Sometimes I can even be fulled by some dim light thinking I am okay. Okay is not good enough, and just makes it easier to slip into the darkness.  With a little more alignment I can really shine. I need to watch what blocks me from the source, creating shadows or even blocking the light.

A continual process we are in.

May you find salt and light in my words.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prayers in Heaven

Riding on a thought I had last night...I was imagining what our prayers will be like in a glorified body. And the only thing I come up with is praise. Can you imagine....just spending time in praise?
We wouldn't have any reason to petition the Father on behalf of others. Everything would be taken care of. No more sickness, no debt, no sin, no relationship problems.
We wouldn't have a need to pray for his will. His will will have been done. No need for guidance, we will be walking in the spirit of God at all times.
No need for forgiveness! Can you imagine, our bodies will no longer have the desire to sin. No more wrestling between the flesh and the spirit. I can't wait to climb into the "skin" of a glorified body. No more fleshly desires, or slipping so easily into the ways of this world.
So as we walk in the presence of God...we will spend time singing and praising God together. I am imagining that our glorified bodies will have beautiful voices. A song of praise beyond my imagination...and heaven will be a place beyond my imagination as well.
"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13
May you find light and salt in my words!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Our Flesh

I didn't post last night. I tried coming up with something, and I was feeling flat. All day flat. Tired. Missed my quiet time. Busy. Very much in the skin of myself.
All of the above, a description of where I live...in the flesh. I didn't like how I was feeling or how I was reacting to it all day long, and then again today. I was starting the debatewith myself,  if I would attempt this tonight, or just wait until next week when I am done with work.
But I am going to share the spiritual lows, as I would my spiritual highs. We all find ourselves where I am. We have this constant battle going on within us. While we remain here in the flesh of this world, we will be tired, have spiritual lows, pain, frustration....and sin. Our body still wants to sin. Though there was a day I turned my life over to Christ, I am still in the same flesh which desires to remain the same as it was before. It is a constant battle going on within me. And sometimes my flesh wins that wrestling match, in fact too often. Until the day I leave this Earth and receive my glorified body.
Tonight when I went to church, as awesome as God is, the message dealt with this exactly.
And on the way home from church I was reflecting on how much I do not like when I feel like this. It is so uncomfortable...and that is when it hit me. What a wonderful thing... to be uncomfortable in this flesh. If it were not for justification, I would be completely okay with it. I wouldn't know any different. However, due to my uncomfortableness, God will continue to work it out. I am comfortable because of the other end of the battle. I have God's spirit.
I know what I need to do...plug back in to the power...recharge, and keep my eyes focused on Him.
"And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long to be released from sin and suffering. We too wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us." Romans 8:23
May you find light and salt in my words!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tolerance

Society's ways sometimes leak into our Christian life and beliefs and I do not think we even always notice. I thought about this when it comes to tolerance. How much should we tolerate as Christians? I am a true believer in there being a right and wrong with God, a black and white, an on the fence and off the fence....there is no in between. But society and culture are very different from that....everyone has rights, everyone can be who they want, we should not push our ways and beliefs on others, to each his own.
As a Christian I find this difficult sometimes....I want to show love, and I don't want to sound judgemental. But I know God has clear definitions as to what we should tolerate. And how as Christians do we draw the lines, what will that look like? How do we show God's love to a group of people who will look at that very differently.

Just like everything else with God, I think we have to depend on His power in these situations. We can not sugar coat the black, and hide the white, but it doesn't mean we need to stand with picket signs letting those who are not in obedience to God's law and point it out to them. I have to look at Christ's example. He did not walk around all the time pointing fingers at sin. There was a time and place for this. He walked and showed love, shared truths to people through speaking to them, and he did a lot of asking questions of people. He wanted them to examine their own ways. He did not sit beside them in their sin, and show acceptance of it. He walked away from sin, and he shared love. He walked a life that made others want to follow. He was the Light which revealed the sin and darkness.
I need to carefully examine my walk in this world. I need to look at the ultimate model and walk as He did.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible for it is light that makes things visible."
Ephesians 5:8-14
May you always find salt and light in my words.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

After the Hype

On Friday I wrote about the upcoming weekend and the hype around the rapture.
Tonight I can't help but wonder how people were affected and how many. Are some laughing about Christianity? I do know there are plenty of jokes floating around. Did it make some question their relationship with God and now they are searching? And what of those who followed blindly, where are their hearts and minds tonight? And what about those of us who believe that rapture will come....are we moving with urgency to share with this world how they can be a part of it?
God can take something as crazy as this weekend and He can use it for His glory. We need to be the waiting recipients of His plan and move it into action. With all the talk about a rapture, we have open doors for communication out there. People stand before us with questions, are we ready with answers?
We are to be obedient to the plans of God. We must not allow the plans of a man to interfere with what God has planned. We do still have time, and none of us know how much. It could be tomorrow, or maybe not in my lifetime. But, while I can, I need to share the good news that God has asked us to. We need to reveal the truth to the deceived.
"And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Room for Apathy

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1.2

The word apathy came up this week and it really made me think about my Christian life. A very sad confession to make, there were times I showed this even as a Christian. Not intentional...but it happened. When I read the above scripture, I thought how this happens to us...we get so easily tangled in sin, we allow things of this world to hinder us. I also thought of those witnesses who looked on as I did this...and it makes me even more sad.
They watched as I stopped attending church. I didn't open a bible. I didn't speak much of Christ. I looked like anyone else in the world. To the witnesses looking at me, I appeared apathetic. Like I just didn't care.
Now....even worse, I admit I still get caught up and hindered. I can't say I always run with perseverance. I do not always  run where it is MARKED for me. I take detours. I have days where I do not open the Word. I don't tell others about Christ.
It is my prayer that God would search me and show me the things that are hindering me. What is keeping me from being totally sold out. I want to hunger and thirst for Christ all day, every day. I want to be that runner totally focused on my mark, Christ, and I want to be free. Sometimes I see myself wandering the track, looking for the marks, with things hanging from me, slowing me down, holding me back. My shoelaces tangled together. Lord, help me to see the marks and leave those things behind. I want to race.....I want to run freely towards you with perseverance.
What about you? Are you running the race? I would love for us to run the race together.
May you find light and salt in my words.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Rapture Hype

I guess I had heard rumors this week about the end of the world but didn't really know (or pay attention) to where it was coming from. Today though I was saddened to see it was coming from someone connecting themselves to Christ. I do not understand how someone who says they are connected to Christ would ever speak a date aloud as to when Christ is coming. But of course, Satan loves to strip any kind of reputation from Christians, and what better way to do it. Those who already have little hope or are unbelievers could balk at Christians when false teaching is presented so loudly and boldly.
Tonight I am going to share little of my thought. I am going to pray for those who doubt Christianity...and share the Word of God. It is the only absolute truth there is:
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." Matthew 7:15
"and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people" Matt 24:11
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible" Matt 24:24
"If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deut. 18:22
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven" Matt 24:36

A time will come, and we need to be ready. All the time, every day, every night, be ready. Are you ready? Do you know what would happen to you, without a doubt?
I was sad to see some of the comments today from people...wanting to catch those last sins, those last human desires...party one last time. Yes, they were joking, but to mock the coming of Christ breaks my heart for this world, for the people lost  within it.
The whole hype was a downer for me, the evil that lurks, and the apathy that surrounds it.
May you find light in the darkness and in these words.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How is your self-esteem?

One of the things I have to be very careful with is pride. We are in a world that really asks us to take pride in our work, take pride in ourselves, believe in yourself and you will go far....and the list goes on and on. For a long time I focused a lot on what I wasn't accomplishing or compared myselves to others, and I did not have very high self-esteem at all, in fact it was pretty low.
God really helped me in my weaknesses. I look over the last 30 years, and I can see where he has taken my weaknesses and with his power he has taken me places, taught me, grew me, and I have changed. The problem with this, I sometimes forget where those changes came from, pride starts to sneak through my veins, to my heart and right up to my head.
I didn't think I was ever going to be able to teach. There were so many obstacles, walls, that I could not possibly get over, and He got me over them. Not only did he get me over them, but he has blessed me tremendously in my teaching career. To him goes all the glory!
I was always a pretty shy and quiet person and in many ways I still am, but I would never imagine myself as a public speaker. That was not remotely possible. In my own power that is true. But now I have trained staff at school and in the district, presented at conferences and conventions. It blows my mind how God took me to that point. To him goes all the glory!
So, I can get a little caught up in the change in me sometimes, and I feel the pride in myself creeping in. But I know beyond a doubt, none of this happened without God. He was and is the power behind it. And he took the impossible and made it possible. He takes us places we can never imagine, because in our own power we would never get there. There is probably no other scripture I speak aloud more often than, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  I am very aware of my need for Christ, but once He takes me to these heights, I have to remember not to start trusting in my own power. I have to remember not to get caught up in the pride. Our world does breed it. You get compliments and feedback leading you to believe in yourself. We need to remember to give God the glory for the things he has done. We need to remind the world where those accomplishments came from.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
When I think of a vine, I think it is the strength and the life of that plant. It is the part of the plant that will decide the height and direction. The branches are dependent on it for everything. I can cut off a branch and the vine will still survive and grow and have new branches. The branch however would not survive away from the vine. We need our vine, and we need to be thankful for the heights and directions He takes us!
May you always find salt and light in my words!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is our freedom holding us back?

I have started reading a new book, Radical by David Platt. I was told it will change my thinking, and after reading less than two chapters, I know I will have a lot of moments that make me go...hmmm.
In my classroom, I have been reading a novel about a child living in Afghanistan. The story is devastating, but her perseverance is amazing. Then we had a guest speaker come in and talk to the kids about woman and children in Afghanistan and we are packing boxes to send over. One of the young ladies in my class wrote to the author of the book and she said something about how spoiled she feels as an American. I was so touched by her comment, and also proud that she noticed that.
I had that on my mind as I started reading the book Radical....and wow, we are so spoiled as Americans. He speaks of some time he spends with groups in Asia, meeting secretly for hours a day with only their bible...hungry for the Word and wanting to learn. He mentions, "no music, no air condition, no soft cushy chairs" but hungry for the word and a complete surrender to everything else to get that word.
I am also reading the book of Acts, and I look at the dedication of the men and woman who began our churches. They gave up their lives, totally and absolutely dedicated to sharing the message of Christ.
And then I compare all of these people tome, to us. Oh my. I am proud of spending a little bit of time typing a blog and a quiet time before I leave for work...and that is so little, and no sacrifice at all. I can't help but wonder if I began to persevere like those in war ridden environments, hungered and thirsted for the Word like those in Asia, or shared the gospel without a selfish thought and with a vigor like the early disciples, what kind of difference could I make? And what if...what if...all Christians in America did. Could you imagine the revival?
What keeps us from this? Is it our freedom that actually holds us back? Is it our freedom that spoils us? In each circumstance above, they did not have the freedom, they had to fight for it? They had to break down the barriers. Our freedoms have spoiled us, and they are holding us back as Christians. I, as an American Christian, need to wake up to this. What about you?
"For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil." 1 Peter 2:16
May you find salt and light in my words!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jars of Clay

Daily I am reminded of who I am. I make mistakes all day long. I suffer from indecision and tiredness. I lack creativity as I sit down and try to write, my head spinning and looking for words. A constant reminder when I try to rely on me, I am powerless. I have no abilities. I can not love those who are hurtful and mean.I am confused and need direction with decisions.  I want my own way and I want it now.
Then I tap in, I enter into prayer and I remember who resides within me. I know who waits and is ready, and is actually working all around my tiredness and indecision. There to give me power, light that surrounds me when I open up and reveal what is there inside.
It is like a plain wooden box, when opened it is spilling over with jewels, sparkling and bright. Or opening a room without light or windows and allowing sun to come pouring in.
We are but mere humans. But when God appears we become so much more. He is our strength in weakness. Our light in the darkness. Our confidence in difficulties. Our wisdom when there is no understanding.  Faith in unbelief. Our grace, mercy and love. The power we hold in our jars of clay.
"But we have treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7
May you find that the words that pour from this jar of clay contain the light and salt of God!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Every Little Thing You Do

Do you know one thing I look forward to?....finding out about all the little things I have done that have impacted God's kingdom. I think about the things people have done in my life...they have had major impacts on my life, and they have no idea. But I do believe it will be revealed to us on judgement day.
I hope I do not sound too prideful...I am not trying to. I have such a compassion for people, I hate to see hurt of any kind. My prayer list grows and grows.
When I see someone in a bad mood, I want to try and make it better. In my family, I tend to be the peacemaker. I always want to defend the weak. When one of my students is really hard to love (Human "Be"ings) I want to find out why, I want to fix them.

So with all that said, I do hope I make a difference, I hope I do it often. Especially, when God is using me as his vessel, I want to be the delivery girl of His love.

Those who have impacted me...wow, such a long list. Lately, since I am writing blogs, I am reading them. I daily find such hope and inspiration from what I read. Little messages I needed to hear. From coworkers, words they say, a look, a smile....a compliment that I needed to hear. I remember once a man at church handed me a letter. I knew him, but didn't speak to him much, he didn't know what I was going through....but his letter could have been a letter from God directly to me. I want to be like that man...I want to be so in tune with God that I will hear him tell me what I need to do to help those around me. I think of the church messages that stay with me, or events that are sunk in my heart and soul and I pull it up when I need it. Or just those quiet wise people who set an example, who live a life that is an example. They are the light in my world, they are always there somewhere. All these people, all this impact.
So tonight I share thanks to those who made an impact on my life....and to God for anytime he uses me, may I be every more sensitive to your call to be light.
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
If you find salt and light in my words....praise God!