Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Centered and Living in the eye of the storm

Center definition ( from www.webster.com ) a: a point, area, person, or thing that is most important or pivotal in relation to an indicated activity, interest, or condition b: a source from which something originates

The sermon this past Sunday was on focusing on the center and making Jesus our center, not ourselves. The pastor used Rocky 2 and a song by Aerosmith to make the point. It was done in a humorous way which helped the teenage son to pay more attention. :) We do live in a very "me" oriented society. However, when the focus is on us and we are our center....it's off of Jesus and other people's issues/needs. As the saying goes, "the world does not revolve around you"....and it shouldn't. I don't think we intentionally put ourselves there. Circumstances, advertising and society all play a part in pushing us closer to the center of our lives and making it about us.

While he was talking, I was getting an image of a hurricane with the eye of the storm at the very center. Later, I read up a little on hurricanes/cyclones. The eye of the storm is almost always warmer and calm. The storm swirls around the center, but the center is peaceful. That doesn't mean the rest of the storm won't come as the eye passes over.

Life can seem like that cyclone sometimes. Stuff happens that we can't explain or doesn't make sense. Sometimes it's hard to see the good that come out of a bad situation or life storm. BUT if we can keep God the center eye of our storm and we can keep our focus centered on the eye and not the storm, we will be able to survive the storm and rest secure centered in His love.

Revelation 5:5-6 (NIV) Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, ...

Revelation 7:16-17 (NIV) Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Praying that the eye of the storm is big enough for us to center our attention on and the swirling storms of life will not move our focus off God as our center.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Using the talents.....

Wow, it's been awhile...again. Gets nicer outside and everything seems to get even busier than normal. Our son and I have been trying to help with the lawn the end of last year and so far this year. While it is kind of relaxing, it takes awhile. Went to school camp with our daughter for 3 days. I learned a lot from watching the kids and the counselors. They were VERY clear in their expectations and what would happen if they were not followed. Communication, communication, communication (similar to the location x 3 for real estate!). I feel I do great with writing (mostly because I have time to think it through), but not so well verbally.

I have to delve deeper into my avoidance of writing lately...even in my journal which I usually enjoy. My first thought is God's got something He wants to deal with me on....and I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with it yet. So I looked up "avoid" and "lazy" on biblegateway...and didn't really find what I was looking for....at first. Now, I'm reminded of the story of the talents in the Bible and lazy is mentioned.

Back then, a talent was money. The story is in Matthew 25:14-30 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025:14-30;&version=31 and I just noticed at the end of that passage there is a note that a talent was worth more than a thousand dollars! There were 3 servants and each were given a varying amount of talents based on their ability. The 2 who got the most, used them wisely, invested and DOUBLED the amount given. The last 1 was fearful and buried the talent. When the master returned, each servant gave an account of what happened with the talents they had been given. The 2 servants got to keep the additional talents they had received. The last servant gave the master back the talent he'd been given. He was referred to as lazy, he ended up having to give it to the servant with the most talents...and was shown the door.

I don't know if it is just coincidence that the parable refers to "talents". I think this story works as a story on not wasting what we are given, whether it is money....or actual talents (physical and/or spiritual gifts). I have some work to do. How about you? Are we investing wisely...our money and our time? Are we available when God wants to meet us?

For me, this means getting back more into the (in my mind, dreaded -wrongfully so) routine and schedule that I know helps me use my time more effectively. Daily "to-do" lists so I don't forget things that I will otherwise spend twice as long trying to remember. Carrying this information with me and USING it. Making myself available when God wants to use me to bless someone else....regardless of what's in it for me.

When taken in context, Matthew 25 is 3 parables....all about when Jesus returns and us being ready. I'm working on it. Want to join me?