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!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Need for Each Other

After being away from church for a while, upon return, there is something I miss...relationships with Christians. I can tell we are building them, but it takes time. It is a change in the church I really see, we have or at least we give less time to one another. Time to build relationships.
Possibly a part of the change is how we communicate now. We use facebook, email, cell phones, texting, and yes, even blogs. I have seen how using these things can be used as tools to build the kingdom, I also see it as a way Satan is breaking down relationships. Not only in church relationships, but our families as well.
There are positives to all these gadgets, I love being able to Skype with my long distance grandchildren, or text a quick message to someone to pass along information, I have loved finding people and getting  in touch on facebook, and you all know I am loving my time to write and blog nightly.
But I miss the fellowship of sharing a meal or a game night. Dinner on the grounds. Laughter and talking, sharing our struggles and celebrating our successes. I like the face to face contact, like a family meal around the table.
I am as guilty as others. I do not think of entertaining or making arrangements to get together.
I think we must use our tools for a purpose, and not allow them to take the place of things we need. I think we need to speak out, be friendly and be more hospitable with one another. There are some wonderful relationships we are missing out on. We must not stay so busy we forget our need to fellowship.
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:8,9
May you always find salt and light in my words!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What skin are you in?

Sometimes I notice something in someone else first, and then realize I am just as bad. I have noticed how people act differently, depending on their surroundings. We are like chameleons, changing our skin to fit in.
I act different, I speak different or I just keep quiet.
It is not a major difference...just a slight change of the skin. If I am around a group at work who are sharing gossip, I tend to slip right into that skin and add my two cents. I listen and participate.
I think I may be worse with people who have known me for a long time. They knew me in all sorts of skin. So, to speak of God, my faith and how He is changing me daily, doesn't seem like something they would believe. So I say nothing. This is especially true if they are someone who doesn't believe as I do. I am afraid to offend them. As I sit here and type this I realize how foolish that is, but if I am to be honest, I know this is something I do. These are people I love and care about, and I am not sharing with them the things I feel are the most important. I am hurting them.
I think more than anything, I tend to slip on the skin of trying to be unnoticed, blending into the background. I keep too quiet about my faith, too selfish to share the best news I can.
So tonight I am very transparent...revealing a part of me I want to improve. I want to slip into the skin of a good and faithful servant, and wear it all the time, in all situations and surroundings. Typing it out on a screen and hitting publish and share isn't enough.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5, 6
May my words, written and oral, be salt and light in this world!

Friday, May 13, 2011

God's Armor

A day's walk in this world is a reminder always of all the evil that walks within it. Evil shows up in several different ways...it doesn't always appear as dark as you would read in books or see in movies. What is really sad, it is so prevalent, we do not always see or notice it. It becomes a part of what we expect, it becomes natural. However, as I find myself spending more time with my mind, heart and soul in the light, the more I notice the darkness.
I have always loved this scripture:
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Now if I stopped reading there, it would leave me scared to leave my bed in the morning. These words describe evil in its true sense...and honestly, if it ended here, I would be so fearful.
But, it doesn't stop there.
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with youur feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:11-18
When I read these words I feel so equipped for walking within this world of evil. I know all too well, if I am where God wants me and doing what He is asking, I can count on a battle from the 'powers of the dark'. But when I read about the armor I have available to me, I know I can walk through the battles and continue to do as God has asked me.
What I need to remember, is to put my armor on. I can't walk into this world with any of it missing. I need to use each piece of armor correctly and effectively. I look at each item and I know, without one, I leave myself unguarded and prey for the enemy.
I am thankful for a God who equips me for battle. I pray I can be a ready soldier, fully guarded and alert.
What about you, are you missing any pieces of the armor?
May you find salt and light in my words!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Growing Pains

Yesterday I received quite the challenge from God...and today it was hard to follow through. I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow is even harder.
It seems when God calls us to do something, it is usually to help us grow. He finds the weakness he wants to strengthen. and then he keeps moving the mark closer to Him. Our goal is always to be more like Him...so as he moves the mark closer and closer to Himself., I feel those growing pains here in my human frailty.
But here is the exciting part. Remember when you were little, and mom marked your height periodically on a wall or door jam in your house. Do you remember how excited you were to see how you had grown? To look at those marks and compare them. We need to be like that with our spiritual growth. We do not move from our height as a child to adult height, we grow in spurts. Sometimes there seems like long periods of time where we sit and see little growth. So step back and look at the marks...where have you seen growth? What areas can you mark the growth in? Be excited and celebrate it...and continue grow. And when you feel the pain...it is a sign of growth...so celebrate that as well. Accept his challenges knowing they will nourish your growth.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Human "Be"ing

Yesterday I watched a little video done by the SkitGuys....and they said something that really stayed with me. God created human beings...not human doers.
Fast forward to this morning with that still on my mind...and thinking about heading into another day in the classroom. It is May...11days left and I am tired. The kids are a handful, and I am reflecting on the year, wondering why they didn't learn this or that...and I hear that quiet voice of God.
I know I didn't hear these words loud and clear, but this is basically what He told me,
"Terry, you have a very small portion of what I deal with. You have set your rules...and they don't follow them. Sinners. 18 little sinners. 18 little children of God who don't seem to be listening. 18 little children who want to do things their way and not listen to your way. 18 little children who give you glimpses of what they can and will do, and it's gone again. It sounds much like my world. I gave a few rules...and not one of you can follow them. You are selfish and want things your way. I try to teach you...over and over again. "
I am following...I am hearing him.
"And what do I do Terry?...I love them. I love you. I love you all the time....even when you are doing all these things. I need you to be a human "being"....you need to let them see me through you. You need to love them...all of them. Love takes discipline too. You love them first, I will help you with the rest. "
And all through the day I heard it again, and again. Love them. Love them all. Love the ones that are hard to love, even more. Let them know they are loved.
I believe one is called into teaching. I think this is why. I believe every one of my 18 are there for a reason, I believe he specifically chose them to be there. I can not do what he asked me in my own power...so I will submit this to prayer every day. I will be with these same children next year....and I need to learn to love, and believe He will take care of the rest. This is my mission field. This is where I am to "be".
I know I learned more about God once I was in a relationship with him, I was more capable of listening and following his lead when I knew how much he loved me. I must be guided by his example.
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us..."
Ephesians 5:1-2
May you find salt and light in my words!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Those Hearts of Ours

Last night my heart just wasn't right...I used the word tangled. It is amazing what happens to the rest of me when my heart isn't just right. I just wasn't myself all day, and it affected everything I did or tried to do. Thus the reason I couldn't write. It is no wonder God warns us to "guard our hearts". 
So how do I go about guarding my heart? The first thing I had to do was turn it over to Christ.
But once I did that, I need to continually allow God to search it, cleanse it, and renew it.
I need to recognize when it is tangled. Our heart can get tangled up with our spiritual beliefs, our knowledge, our emotions and our own will. If I try to untangle it, it can get even more tangled. Kind of like some thin gold chains I have. If I am not careful with them, they get all tangled, and I try to pull it apart and it becomes worse. Eventually I go back to the source, and begin to unravel it. I think we need to do that with our tangled hearts too. What is the source? Is God trying to show me something, or am I allowing things of this world to take me off center?
In order to guard my heart I need to watch my focus. And I need to stay in the Word. If I start to focus on the things of this world I know my heart will follow. I believe my heart can deceive me.
For me, what starts in the heart, heads to the mind. I believe my mind can fertilize it and make it grow. So, whether it is negative or positive it will take root in my mind.
So, last night, when my heart was tangled, I went to the Lord in prayer. He knew my emotions, knew my beliefs and he knew what my knowledge was telling me. He untangled the mess, and reminded me of my faith and hope. Is all my hurt gone? No. But it isn't all tangled in there, it is there reminding me of what we face...and that we have a Comforter who takes care of our hearts.
So, tonight I can share my tangles..and God's untangling.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
May you find salt and light in my words.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Hearts

Our hearts, they're a sneaky kind of thing. They are capable of so much and they are really where all our battles take place. They all begin in the heart.
My heart has been heavy today. Missing my mom. So the battle of mourning still resides there.
I have felt the same way about God sometimes. Sometimes he feels so far away from me. His presence is always there, just like mom. However, sometimes the distance is stronger than the presence.
This is going to be a quiet kind of Sunday for words. I almost chose to make it a silent one. But I know I want to do this every day. I want to to be able to look back and see where my head and my heart were every day.
This one may not make sense to most who read it. Just random thoughts.
And the more I try to write tonight, the more I am feeling my heart is a little tangled.
Laying down my weapon and walking away from this battle tonight.
Going to cover myself in prayer.
"Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous hand." Isaiah 41:10
And that is why I will sleep peacefully tonight and know that God has a hold of me. He understands my tangled feelings, He is right there. The distance comes from me, not him.
May you find salt and light in God's word tonight!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Gift My Mother Left Me

Tomorrow will be the first mother's day without my mom. I miss her every day, and tomorrow will not be different. So, tonight I think of one of the gifts she left me with. A heart of empathy. Mom could find good in everyone, and somehow could always put herself inside their shoes. I can't remember a time she judged anyone...she just loved them, accepted them, and tried to help them with their needs.
She had it perfected...I am still in practice mode.
Mom could listen and understand all kinds of situations. It didn't matter how deep in trouble they were, or what they looked like, or what it would require of her...she was there, and would truly listen. I mean eye to eye, focused, and not pretending kind of listening. She listened with both her heart and her ears.
She didn't hesitate. If a need was presented, she would help, or look for ways to help.
Mom saw the world was hurting and loved to entertain. I think this was a piece of her empathetic heart...she wanted to give joy to a hurting world... friendship, and acceptance.
This kind of love was not always accepted by everyone. Not everyone understood. Those who couldn't love as she could...they wanted her to have boundaries on her love. But with mom, that wasn't possible.
You see, Mom loved as Christ did. What a gift and model that was to leave me with.
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harrassed and helpless, like sheep without a sheperd." Matthew 9:36
Thank you Lord for weaving me into my mother's womb. Thank you mom for showing me how to love as Christ did with compassion.
Thinking of so many of us without our moms this weekend...may we all remember the salt and light they left to us in this world where we remain without them. May our mother's gifts to us be used to make our world a better place. We will make them proud.

Friday, May 6, 2011

If Jesus Walked the Earth Today

I am not sure why, but lately, I have been wondering how Jesus would walk in our world today and how he would react to our culture. Of course, I mean physically walk the earth. I think one reason I wonder this is because in Sunday School we discuss the need to put things into perspective of the life and culture of biblical times when we read scripture....and I have to admit I have some trouble doing that. It is so far removed from our world today....in fact, our world is changing so rapidly, my childhood world feels so removed from the world as it is today.
So, I have been trying to imagine putting Christ and his disciples in this world today. How would he/they handle some of the things of this world?
I think they would avoid a lot of the things we spend a lot of time with...there are so many things sin has really tainted. Most entertainment we have available to us is full of ideas and images that are so dirty if you imagine it through the eyes of holiness. I have become so accustomed to our world, I do not react as Jesus would...and that bothers me.
When I worked with the youth, a visiting minister did a lesson with the kids one night that really stuck with me. It was during messy week, and this night was one of the events. He had all kinds of food available....ketchup, eggs, flour....lots of messy things. The idea was to have a food fight. At first we all sat there afraid to get dirty and avoided going near the food. Then slowly but surely we started to grab something...and eventually we could care less. All rules went out the window and we could care less how much or how messy we were. He ended the night by sharing a message.....this is how sin works in our life. We sat there covered from head to toe...and the message was so visible to us. At first it seemed so dirty and we try to remain clean. We might let one little thing in, then another, and then another...and eventually we are dripping in it, and we don't care.
I think that is what has happened and continues to happen in our world. We are just allowing little things to get by...one by one...and now we hardly react to the sin. It is so drenched into our daily lives....it just doesn't seem to be as nasty or as dirty to us. But when we imagine our holy and perfect Lord here, he would be disgusted...and so should we.
It is my prayer that the closer I walk with God, steady in prayer, and in the Word, the more I will be sensitive to the sin and turn away from it. I want to feel uncomfortable with sin. It is a reality of our culture and what we have allowed to happen. But it has also happened to me as an individual. I want to be more like Jesus, I do not want to conform to this world.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17
May you always find salt and light in my words!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tuning In

I continue to try and tune in to what God has to say. So many areas I want to hear his voice on...what is His will? Where  is He guiding me? What does he need to remove from my life to move me towards holiness?
Sometimes the world can be so loud. It demands so much attention from me. So, as I tune in, I have to tune some of that out. I know He is in it all...He is a part of all I do. All the demands that shout from the world, He is a part of it, every aspect.
But I have found I need those quiet times. I need to tune in to his Word, and enter into prayer. Even then, I am interrupted....but I am growing in those times. He is speaking to me, I am finding direction. There are decisions I have made due to those times...things that I feel on my heart. He reveals his plans and design for my life. He builds my faith and my trust. He reminds me of His love and the power I have through Him.
He also uses others...and they can be right where you would expect them...or pop up totally unexpected. My time in church and Sunday school has been feeding me, and the words ring in my heart all through the week. I find encouragement, knowledge, support and direction.
Then there is the unexpected, in the midst of the noise...something a child does, a blog I read or a post on facebook, a coworker situation, and I realize I receive messages from God in those circumstances. If He has something for me to learn, something for me to think on, He will find a way to present it to me.
I just need to tune in, have a receptive heart, and be holy spirit sensitive. Even in the static....I can hear Him, and He can find me.
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5
May my words always be salt and light to you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Share Your History

My Daily Dose blog has given me a chance to reflect back on a past, sink my teeth into the present, and look forward to the future. God is in it all. He has brought me through so much, taught me in every situation, allowed me to fall and was there to pick me up.
We all share stories of our past with children, it is part of their story now. But if we fail to share how God was a part of it, they can't learn about the struggle and the faith that brought us through. If we fail to mention the hurt and the healing that God provided, they will miss the importance of the pain. If we do not share the stories of when we made plans and failed, and when we followed God's plan and found success, then we do not teach them how to trust and obey.
They can learn from our triumphs and our failures. So, when we set out to teach them spiritual things, we must use our experiences, our history with God and our journey to teach them as well.
"O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will hutter hidden things, things from old- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation the praisworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would telll their children. Then they would put their trust in God, and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands." Psalm 78:1-7

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Gift, Our Responsibility

Yesterday I spoke of the gift of children.
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." (Psalms 127:3)
 An amazing miracle prepared and placed in our care by a Holy God. With that comes an awesome responsibility. When God places these rewards in our care, He expects us to care for them, in all ways. We are to take care of their physical...and their spiritual needs.
We do recognize that responsibility in many ways, especially to prepare them for their walk within this world. We teach them the alphabet, their colors, manners, all those things that will help them to be successful in this world.
Sadly, we do not always accept that same responsibility for preparing them for eternity. We don't devote the same amount of time and energy for their eternal life,  that we do to prepare them for their days on this earth.
I know as I think about my children, I reflect upon what I did, and I know it wasn't enough. Like so many things, I think, if only I could do it over again. Before this world was so present in their hearts and minds, I would fill it to the brim with the things of God. I would teach them how to praise, how to pray and how to study the Word of God. I would teach them the importance of church and fellowship of Christians. I would teach them that there is an enemy of God who seeks to destroy them, and how to prepare and fight those battles. I would teach them how to put God first in their lives, and to seek Him in all that they do for his will and guidance. But I didn't. I gave them some, I modeled a little...but I did not give them enough. It is my hope and prayer that those small seeds I did plant would take root, and grow.
Because now, it falls on their children. My descendants...that I spoke of in yesterday's post.  My children now have that responsibility for my grandchildren's eternity. It is my prayer on this week of mother's day that God would hear the prayer of forgiveness for a mother and grandmother who wished she did more. A prayer from a mother and grandmother who wants her grandchildren and children to know the ways of God and His love for them. A prayer of a mother and grandmother who wishes success on this earth for her children and grandchildren...but more importantly security for their eternity.
Our gift is quite a responsibility, not just for those in our care....but for our future generations.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6, 7
May you always find salt and light in my words.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Descendants

Descendants seems like such a proper word when we are speaking of our children, and our grandchildren. But it is a proper..and important responsibility. In honor of our upcoming Mother's Day I want to focus on the responsibility and joys of motherhood some this week.
I was very young when I began my mothering. In fact by age 25 I had 4 children! It always amazes me to think about that and realize now the reality of what that means. However, I think because I was so young I had no idea about the unbelievable and amazing miracles involved in having those children. But now, as a grandma, it is really something to realize and witness that miracle.
I have had the privilege of watching a sonogram and seeing that child moments after their birth. That in itself is a miracle. To see that little life as it begins in the womb, and then the miracle of birth as that child enters in the world. How everything that baby needs is perfectly planned and programmed to support their life, developing and growing, getting all it needs from its mother. As you read all the little bits of information of how they are forming and growing each week, and already learning how to live outside their womb. It really is a miraculous thing to set your heart on, and think wow, how can someone not see a heavenly creator involved in this?
But even more amazing to me tonight as I sit and write this...God knows my grandchildren not yet conceived. I was thinking of that this morning and I broke into tears. He has already chosen the timing for that child to be placed in the womb, and He already knows their souls. It amazes me to think how much He already knows about this grandchild! And when He is ready and it is His timing He will place that baby into the womb. When it is time, God is going to take that soul and knit it right into the womb. His eyes can already see that child. He already knows how He will form the child that I do not know.
I know we don't always understand God's reasons or means for doing things, or his timing. Sometimes those babies are not able to move from the womb into the world. Though I never had that happen to me as a mother, I have as a grandmother. I rejoice that God already knew that child, He knew that child would not be known to us in this world. I do believe one day I will meet that baby.
I also know there are woman who are waiting to conceive. I can only believe for each of those woman, God in his ALL knowing power, knows the when and the if, and His ALL knowing knowledge makes the right decision, though there are times we do not understand. We have to trust in what He knows.
I am so thankful for each of my children and grandchildren...and the grandchildren yet to be placed in our lives. I am amazed at the miracle and thankful for a creator who does it all so perfectly.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be."
Psalms 139: 13-16
May you always find salt and light in my words!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Our Weakness

My life is changing, and I know why. I am plugged in again, and God has the reins. It is an incredible feeling, and it makes a difference in everything.
Sundays are energizing. We spend time in church, fellowship with Christians, and it seems every Sunday new revelations are revealed. I do not think this is only happening in me. I am looking and listening and I am seeing God has called many to return, or to come for the first time and He is leading us into new and different territory.
As this happens we have to be ready. There will be a battle. I am no longer sitting on the couch playing Facebook games. He is opening doors and showing me where He wants and what He wants me to do. These writings are one thing that has changed. And every day I feel the battle. I feel my weakness of being tired, or not really knowing what to say each day. Even doubting if I am saying the right thing, worrying I am saying the wrong thing. But I am reminded if I feel the battle, then I am doing good. If it was worthless, Satan would leave me alone, he would allow me to only believe I am doing good. He is the one who seeks to destroy and steal.
Each time I feel a door is open or a road appears to be from God....and I am reminded of a weakness, I need to rejoice. The trials and tribulations...that is where God appears. That is where we see good works being done.
Our churches are the same. We need to engage, we need to feel the discomfort. We need to ask ourselves if the doors of our church closed today...would it make a difference in our communities? If the answer is no, then we are not engaged in the battle. We are not pleasing God.
So as individuals and as congregations we need to be seeking God, seeking what He wants. If an idea sounds like it will be difficult, REJOICE! If an idea sounds like we are unequipped, REJOICE! If we feel like we are going to make people uncomfortable, REJOICE!
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
 "Be he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
It almost makes you want to feel weak...to have Christ's power rest on us. Imagine what we as individuals and as groups can do. Isn't that something to get excited about?
May my words always be salt and light to you!