Monday, October 27, 2008

Concrete Faith

Hebrews 11: 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see. (MSG)

I have a problem with judging distance....always have as far as I know. Overall, this has not caused too many problems except some with driving and parking (as my family will attest to!) :) One of my biggest problems has always been with parking ramps. I try to avoid them at all costs.

For the last week, my mom has been in the hospital. The hospital has a parking ramp. A couple of days during the week, I had no choice but to park in the ramp (and bonus, the hospital validates so it's free). The first day, I cautiously approached the ramp. I drive a van. The bar hangs at 7'. My head knows that in most ramps, the van will fit. My eyes tell me a different story. My eyes make me think that I will be bashing my way through IF I get in at all.

I have had to learn that my eyes are not always my most accurate source of information. Sometimes I need to lean on the fact that there is more to something than what my eyes see. As I was pulling into the ramp that first day, I was reminded that faith is often like that and I remembered the above verse. There are many versions. Basically, it boils down to the fact that faith is not based on what we see. It is believing in what we don't/can't/won't see.

Our family has had to have a lot of faith over the past week. Faith that God has the best interest of our mom as his main focus. We knew that whatever happened she was going to be fine. She still will. She's one of the main reasons for my faith. This week just reminded me that faith is much more firm and structured than I thought and had been feeling.

Faith is what my heart knows, but my head (logic) and eyes try to convince me otherwise. Keep your eyes and heart open for those little ways that God uses to let you know he's there. One other way last week? A car moved over in front of me on one of those rough days. The license plate? LORDGOD I smile.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Balance or Float? UNSINKABLE

Balance is quite the buzz word. If we can just achieve balance...between home and work, family and friends, our money and bills...and the list goes on. The thing about balance is it is similar to a teeter totter. If anything gets on either end? Bye bye balance. We tilt to one side or the other.

I'm reading a book "Lessons in Buoyancy: Letting Go of the Perfect Proverbs 31 Woman" by Kathy Vick. Actually, I'm reading it for the 2nd time. I still hold on to perfectionism a little to tightly. Perfection seeking can REALLY mess up any balance thought to be achieved.

In the book, she mentions buoyancy - floating. If we can float, we don't need to worry so much about balance. When things come our way - good or bad - we ride it out, over the troubled waters of life. With God as our life ring, we can relax a little knowing that He is in control. Even when the waves look too big and we're afraid we're going down, God helps us to be UNSINKABLE.

Genesis 7:17-18 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

Friday, October 17, 2008

God is there....and He cares about even the little details!

“The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”- Psalm 25:14-15 (NIV)

Wow, did I need that today (it was the verse of the day). I SO love God's timing. It is so much better than mine.

One of my struggles with keeping busy is because I feel like if I get quiet, God starts to deal with my mind and heart....which is truly a good thing, but it's still kind of scary. The first part of this verse deals with that. He WANTS to confide in us during those times. So instead of pushing away, we should pull closer. It's during those times of quiet that we're able to seek and find God.

Lately, I've felt myself slipping back toward not feeling like myself. I hate the feeling of falling back into that hole where it's hard to see the light. However, during those times I realize I have not been keeping my eyes on God so he can release "my feet from the snare".

When I do something I consider dumb, I replay it in my head over and over....what a waste of precious time. God forgives me, why am I so hard on myself? I suppose if I keep my eyes on God, I wouldn't have to replay it. My lesson learned for today.

Give yourself a break. God's up all night anyway and he is MORE THAN capable of handling our worries and concerns...and there will be more things tomorrow to worry about anyway.

Matthew 6:27 (NIV) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Matthew 6:34 (NIV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So in shampoo terms: Let Go, Let God, repeat

OR in math terms: God > me

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Simple Pleasure, K.I.S.S.

1 Corinthians 7:29 (MSG) I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple —in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.

Sometimes it takes us realizing the cost of something to treasure it more. I needed the above reminder to keep me on my toes about the 24 hours I have in a day. I kept track of my 24 hour days for two weeks (kind of like a food journal...but for time!) What an eye opener. I waste more time than I thought. I need to be more selective with the activities I pursue. Which ones will really make a long-term/eternal impact? There are times I have overcomplicated relationships by being worried what the other person thought of me. Should it matter? For years, I've thought of sleep as a timewaster....but how effective am I if I stay up too long and let my body run down? Sleep is not the enemy. It is a time of rest to re-energize for another day.

Too many days I am waiting for the NEXT big thing instead of enjoying what I'm doing right then. Living for tomorrow as today slips away! I will be on the lookout for the simple pleasures that bring joy to me or let me be a joy to others.

So, note to by the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Sweet & Simple)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Another Fear Fighter....THE Fear Fighter

Hebrews 2:14-16 (NIV) 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
A little corny, but worth the watch. I got goose bumps. Holy ghost power!

Psalm 23:4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1[ Of David. ] The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 34:4I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Luke 8:25He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fighting fear with PEACE

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”- Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)

Let's admit it....especially lately, there are a lot of things that can drag our fears out into the open. Wall Street, stock market, election (the end of political ads, YEAH!), other countries, etc. AND that's just the stuff that affects everybody....not even the stuff that affects our own personal lives and family.

The verse above states what trips us up: fear of man. All the things listed are "us" created they are not from God.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."John 16:33 (NIV)

God knew we would have troubles and fears here. However, he sent Jesus so we could regain peace. He has overcome death AND the world. So where do you want your focus?

We can fight and struggle on our own, or accept the peace God offers. Then even when the troubles of this world seem overwhelming and our emotions are getting the best of us, there is still peace to fall back on.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

What a great picture, God's peace TRANSCENDS (/ to rise above or go beyond the limits of b: to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of : overcome, c: to be prior to, beyond, and above limits) our anxiousness. Just ask.

We heard a sermon on peace Sunday. I was reminded of a song from Sunday School (another verse of Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my Heart)

I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart
I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

And I'm so happy, so very happy,
I've got the love of Jesus in my heart!

Look beyond your own understanding. God stands with arms open wide to welcome us back to fear-free living. Take Him up on it! :)