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.