Friday, December 31, 2010
This is not a goal necessarily. More a way of reminding myself to change where I place my focus. So often I get caught up in "what if" this or that happens. You know what? Most of the what ifs I worry about? Don't happen. Think of the time I can gain (?!?!?) by only dealing with what is and what I would like to see happen. If I add to that speaking out loud positive words instead of whining about the negative, I will also be better off.
Life seems to continue to go faster and faster. Wasting time on what if isn't going to slow it down any. Live in the moment. Enjoy time with family and friends. Be grateful for what is.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Unfortunately, reading this? Many enter the easier, more accessible gate. The narrower gate leads to LIFE, but few find it.
Praying that we can bring a light to the gateway and usher others through that narrow gate to life. Then all who will enter.....will win.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I started thinking of all the gifts that were bought for today. Some with a lot of thought....some just to say it was done or the "perfect" gift could not be found. Tomorrow the lines will start with the return of the gifts that might not be the right size.....or right color.....or just not what we wanted.
We were given a gift for Christmas, but it may not always look like what we wanted....or needed. Sometimes we get so busy thinking about what we want we forget about sharing what we have already received. A gift unopened is a gift not enjoyed by the receiver.......or the giver.
Praying for us that when we are aware of someone that has not opened the gift of eternal life that we will not be afraid to let them know what happened when we unwrapped that gift. Go tell it on the mountain and everywhere!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Everything is right with the world. Or is it?
The tree was knocked over by the pets. Some lights are out. More snow. Another gift to buy? The hustle and bustle of overfilled parking lots and long lines at stores. Hark the Herald Angels....AGAIN? Who's coming over? Burned batches of Christmas cookies. Stomach ache from eating too many cookies. Who cares if they're slightly crispy?
Try and make it to church to hear the Christmas story and be reminded of why we really celebrate.
I heard a song on the radio today: While You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns. Maybe I've heard it before, but today it sunk in. The song talks about Bethlehem and the city not realizing who they did not make room for. The city of Jerusalem not realizing the fact that they killed the Savior. The United States of America - will we be ready when we get another chance to make room for Jesus when He returns?
It was not only the innkeeper or the town of Bethlehem that did not make room. It was not only the city of Jerusalem that crucified their Savior. It is not only the nation of the USA that is not making room or spreading the news of His coming again. It is me.....and maybe you....getting to caught up in the season and all its busy-ness that we have forgotten.....Jesus needs room.....still.
Will you be sleeping? Will you recognize Him? Will you make room?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
That was my UGH moment. Channel changed. The thought and question lingered...and still does. I know it does for a lot of people - and not about elves. When things go badly in our own lives or the world, we are quick to question God...even if He was not a consideration before. It becomes a convenient way of dodging the possibility of God. A loving God would be more in control. He would not let these things happen. People get caught up in "religion" and the actions of people that may not be the best example of a believer.
Relationship is what God wants with us....not religion. Often, God is referred to as a heavenly father. This is hard for someone to picture if their earthly father is not a great example of love and kindness. They let this taint their relationship with God. The teenager/parents relationship remind me of this. We want to do our own thing, but we want mom and dad there to clean up the messes we get in along the way. We don't always want to be responsible for the choices we make.
We don't always consider seeking Him BEFORE we make a decision that could end up badly, but we are quick to place blame when it doesn't turn out as we'd hoped.
I think the "loving God" comments come from things we feel like we can't control and we feel that SOMEBODY should. However, is that really true? Did God decide to "genetically enhance" our foods and products? Did God decide that women really don't need to be inconvenienced with a monthly period....so we'll just take some meds and skip it? Did God decide to put up huge cell towers and create technology that can pull us further away or push us closer (depending on how it is used)?
I could argue myself right into a corner. I guess my point is that sometimes as humans, WE have DECIDED to "improve" upon God's plan. Some of the improvements can prove hazardous to our health. Is that God's fault or ours? Does that mean He is not loving?
When you need to fight a battle, do you need Mr. Nice Guy OR do you need a knight in shining armor willing to lay down His life for yours? When you screw up, do you need somebody that constantly reminds you of your mistake OR somebody that forgives you and loves you anyway?
We can be LOVED through anything that this life throws at us. God promises us everlasting love. Love that we don't have to earn. We just have to be. What kind of loving God does that?
Expect love, love, and more love!
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Matthew 12:33-35 (The Message)
33"If you grow a healthy tree, you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.34-37"You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation."
Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
"We have met the enemy and he is us" Walt Kelly
I'm thinking lately of all the things and excuses that I have let stand in my way of getting to where I want to be....or better yet, where God wants me to be. The dictionary definition refers to being antagonistic to another. However, I am coming to the conclusion that sometimes I become overly disappointed with myself. I am my own worst enemy...hence the eneME.
Eventually (I would like to say that it is taking less and less time, but still a work in progress), I start to realize that I am not as content. My feelings start to rule, and I start to believe that it's easier to give up then continue to fight. It takes courage to face our discouragement.
I have definitely noticed though that what I focus on can be used against me. When I get too busy to take time for devotions or I listen too much to music that doesn't lift me up, I start feeling like I'm losing the battle. The enemy starts to win and gains ground. Thankfully, God loves me (and you) too much to leave us alone to fight this battle.
The battle for our mind is ongoing. We need to remember and keep reminding ourselves that we already have an enemy pursuing us. Resist and stand firm. Realize that God helps us fight ALL enemies....even the one within ourselves.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
it covers the feelings we don't think we should show.
We may feel sad or bad inside
or those feelings of anger we think we can hide.
But, we cover them up with the mask we wear.
Sometimes other people we're trying to spare
from the feelings of pain that don't go away.
We struggle and make it through one more day
Why does life sometimes seem so tough?
That no matter what we do it just isn't enough?
We try so hard to be what we think others want us to be
and in the process, we lose our me.
We might be an adult, but still feel like a child
inside where we hide our inside wild with our mask of mild.
The mask shows a smile when we'd rather cry.
Friends and family might try
to help us see......
it's enough "just" being me.
We hang around people with a smile on their face.
Our mask quickly slips back into place.
But what if their smile is also their mask?
We'll never know if we don't take time to ask.
When we stop being what we think people want or need us to be,
we find the mask can come off. It's enough to be me.
Friday, October 01, 2010
Pain: physical, mental, emotional. Pain can have a good result as in the birth of a baby. That pain is sometimes quickly forgotten when we see that little one we have been waiting for. Pain can keep us from further hurting ourselves as in feeling a hot stove and knowing we need to keep our hand away....or get burned.
"I feel your pain" Bill Clinton
Pain is unique to the person. What brings pain to one of us might not cause someone else to even think twice about it. While we can empathize with someone else going through a painful situation, it is impossible for us to know exactly what that person feels. Some people refer to themselves as having a high pain tolerance.
However, it seems we have become a people eager to dull or remove our pain....or find evasive action as listed in the dictionary. There is a pill for everything that ails you. We can get so busy running around and keeping busy that the only way we slow down is when something starts to hurt. Pain can serve a greater purpose by letting us know there's something wrong. We need to feel our own individual pains before we can reach out to others and help them through their pain.
We are promised a coming day though when there will be no more pain. Until then, may our pain never be wasted. May we learn and grow through it and bring it to the ultimate healer.
Revelation 21:4 (NIV) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Friday, September 24, 2010
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
May we all be blessed with strength today and remind ourselves that we are not flying alone....flapping or gliding.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
2 Corinthians12 7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised and hope that this movie makes its way into more theaters in the country. Many times, movies that make you think don't tend to do that great in theaters. It seems people want to sit and be entertained or horrified by what takes place on the screen.
This movie has a little bit of everything: sports (hockey), college life, guy and a girl, believers and non-believers/questioning faith, science, gun shots, life support and the whole realm of questions that brings up.....
The movie seeks to answer the often asked question of how Genesis states the earth was created in 6 days, yet science can "prove" that the earth is indeed billions of years old....and what about dinosaurs?
The movie has some "stars". A lot of the people I did not recognize, but still good acting. It was a well produced movie....and if you live around Grand Rapids, it is interesting to try and recognize where they filmed.
This would be a great movie for middle school/high school age as well. It deals with the pressure of being a believer among very politically correct friends, teachers and family. It seems like the characters are supposed to be tolerant of everything and everyone (EXCEPT for Christians) as each person finds their own version of right and wrong. Her "academic adviser" advises her that there is no absolute truth. The adviser's viewpoint will give you much to think about what you believe and why. Later, the adviser meets with the reverend and that is a great conversation as well.
Overall, it is a movie that will get you thinking and hopefully discussing with fellow viewers. I usually have a hard time justifying the cost of seeing a movie in the theater. However, if we want more movies that do more than just entertain and horrify, we need to support the film makers. If you can't get to the theater, it will definitely be a great movie to watch as a church group, small study group, etc.
Monday, August 30, 2010
We worked in our yard recently. This is somewhat unusual as our yard is big and lots of things grow and live in it. Unless our yard has been mowed recently, it is probably the yard that bugs neighbors and people who really love yard work. I rarely appreciate more than the entrance way to our front door. I get busy, have to much to do....the yard just doesn't always seem at the top of the list. I guess it would be safe to say that I always wanted a garden....until I got one....and realized how much work it is.
When I actually took a walk around the yard with trimmers to cut down the plants that threaten to take over more than their fair share of space, I really looked. I don't know why, but I always feel bad cutting stuff off. Even if it is weeds. Some weeds really are quite pretty. Some are horribly ugly with some nice features like the prickly plant that gets bigger and bigger, but has some neat purple flowers that open eventually.
My goal for this yard excursion was to trim the vines that grow up through the cracks of the deck. They are actually rather nice looking, but they grow out of control. They grab onto the rails of the deck and work their way up. This time I caught them early enough that their grip had not tightened to much.
Upon further inspection of some of the trees at the backside of the house, I noticed that there were similar vines in the tree. I started pulling. Many of the vines required me pulling back with all my weight....and I still could barely move them. I looked closer and was amazed to see the detail of curves and grip and the toughness of the vine. One vine would have many offshoots and had wound itself around the branches of the tree.
I was reminded of the verse of the vine and the branches in the Bible. I debated how I was going to write this so it tied together because I was focusing on the vine being in the tree...instead of the vine. I started reading up some on vines. Most don't like shade, they want the sun. They grow upward and outward. Some spread very quickly. They are STRONG! (as I found out when I wrestled).
Jesus wants to be our vine, our support in our faith. We doesn't want us to stay in the shadows and darkness. He wants us to keep growing toward the light of the Son. As branches and offshoots, we are supposed to stay connected to the vine to keep growing. We need to be careful what we're clinging to and wrapping ourselves around.
Tonight, was the rest of my lesson. I had successfully wrestled and cut vines. I left them laying in the yard and the hot sun. They were removed from the source. Instead of being green and leafy, they had dried and died.
As an offshoot of the vine, I've removed myself many times. I've loosened my grip. I don't pray as much. I don't read the Bible as much. I don't take time for devotions/quiet time. I start to wither. If anyone wrestled with me, I'd pull away easily.
How about you? Are you a strong and healthy offshoot branch? or Are you feeling a little withered and in need of some help from THE Master Gardener?
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
2 Kings 4 (NIV)
The Widow's Oil1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."
"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."
I am thinking of this story because of the message of using what you have. When asked what she had, the widow responded she had nothing except some oil. From the response, it's easy to see she is focusing on the nothing....not the except or focusing on what she does have. When she uses what she has, she is given more. The limit becomes one of how many jars she has to fill up. Elisha even told her to plan big and not just ask for a few.
During these tough economic times, it is easy to look around and say we have little or nothing. What we do have is not always monetary. We may have family and friends that are willing to stand with us through the feelings of fear and frustration of not being able to provide for our family the way we would like to.
We live in a time of bigger, better, more. We need to realize that sometimes we need to use what we have to get to where God wants us to be.
God deals in exceptions. Even if we have nothing, EXCEPT God....that can be enough. Time to change our focus from what we do not have to what we do have. Even when it seems we have little or nothing, that exception is something when it is in the right hands.
Father in heaven: So many times we limit you on what you can do and want to accomplish in our lives and through us to bless others. Help us to realize that you are not a God of limits, you are a God of more than enough. Help us know that often we don't need more, we need to use what we have and are already blessed with.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin in.
You're all invited back again to this locality
To have a heapin helpin of their hospitality