Monday, October 9, 2017

Faithful Friends

Last Tuesday, while reading from Francis Chan's book The Forgotten God, I heard very quiet but very distinct words in my spirit, "I want you to drop out of choir."  Anyone who truly knows me will tell you that this should have made my eyes grow large and have me standing and loudly saying, "WHAT?! WHY?!"  I truly LOVE singing God's praises to anyone who will listen.  I don't enjoy the spotlight so much, but I DO enjoy singing.  As a matter of fact, when I told two of my dear friends and coworkers at church, they even said I probably did just those things.  However, as soon as I heard those words, a peace and joy flooded my being as new words were spoken, "I want you to focus more on your Sunday school class."  Those who truly know me also know this....I live to teach God's Word.
It is not just something I really enjoy, it is what gives life to my being.  When any opportunity to do so arises, I cannot not teach. 
Years ago my husband thought I was suffering from burnout and asked me to take a year off from teaching.  What he didn't know was it wasn't burnout, but immature frustration regarding what I perceived as apathy in others. Can you say, "critical spirit?" I know that now, but didn't then, so I listened and took time off.  After two months of sitting in a class with him and him having to keep me from (in his words) "taking over" the class, he took me aside and said these remarkable words, "You HAVE to go back to teaching!!"  So, amazingly, I did NOT get upset at the thought of dropping choir, but rather excited instead.  However, even though I knew what I needed to do, I also needed to pass it before my husband, who usually tells me I need to be in choir as well as teach.  When I asked his opinion though, he told me to do what I felt needed doing. 
I once wrote an analogy of husbands and wives, where the wife is a china tea cup, very fragile if dropped, but strong enough to hold the heat of any day, especially when she knows her husband, the saucer is holding her in order to catch anything that boils over and to keep her from falling. However, she feels completely secure when she knows that her husband is held by the hands of almighty God through salvation in Jesus Christ.  My husband is such a man.  Because of this, I know I can go to him with anything.  Sometimes I need to wait until he is really awake, as his job is very demanding and makes him physically exhausted, but I know, when he is physically able, he will listen and tell me what I need to hear even if it is not what I want to hear. He is not just a good friend.  He is a best friend.
His birthday is Wednesday.  A couple of months ago I got an amazing deal on two tablets where I only paid a third of the price.  I decided these would be our birthday gifts, as we didn't need them per say, but they do come in useful at times.  He agreed.  However, now as his actual birthday is approaching, I find myself wanting to do something extra special for him.  So I went to the One with the answers and He gave me the best answer possible.  This entire article, for lack of a better word, has been written in order to pass this idea forward to anyone truly seeking to bless their spouse.  I told God that I could make my husband his favorite meal of hamburgers, potato salad, and Angel food cake with strawberries and frozen vanilla yogurt, but I wanted to do more.  SO, I asked God to bless him with a stirring of the Holy Spirit inside him; to help him feel His Presence and know that he knows God is not just sitting there, but is at work revealing a dream that is bigger than anything he has ever dreamed before.  Then I asked that He stir up joy and peace regarding that dream and a determination to see it fulfilled regardless the cost.  I can think of no better gift than this, because there simply isn't one.  So, if you really want to do something EXTRA special for your loved on, pray a similar prayer for them, then pray that God prepares your heart to receive it as well!!
God bless any and all who read Jesus' name!!
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse No More

The solar eclipse has been an ongoing topic for months. Since two of our children and one daughter-in-law are all teachers, it has been spoken of possibly more in our homes than most due to lesson planning around it. Then came the day when they announced the public schools in our area were shutting down for that day due to the expectations of 3 MILLION people heading into our state for viewing. This could cause so much congestion that students may not make it home and then there is the liability factor. If ONE child took off their glasses they could be sued to the least that is the fear.
When our daughter called to tell me about the cancellation of classes, this thought went though my mind: "An eclipse is a picture of why you cannot look in my face. You see through a mirror darkly, just as you must look through the dark glasses. If you looked without them, your retina would burn and you would go blind. This is why Moses could look at Me only from the back. I do not wish any harm on anyone, and in your present state you need protection from the power of My presence."
Jesus stands as our protection. We can approach the throne of grace boldly because Jesus went before us and became our "dark glasses" we must wear at all times until the day we shed this body for perfection. Then we can join Jesus as He presents us to the Father, only then it will be face to face.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Transplanted: To Be or Not To Be

I have discovered something about myself; while I enjoy change within the confines of my comfort zone, I have a fear of having that comfort zone itself transplanted.  I woke in the middle of the night last evening with dread filling my being.  I realized that the fear came from the idea of the remote possibility of moving away from my children and grandchildren (or them moving away from me).  I am used to being there for them at the drop of a hat.  I enjoy the re-pore we have with each other and fear losing it.  So I began praying.  I finally was able to tell God that I would go wherever He leads, but it wasn't easy.  It still makes my stomach queasy, but I WILL go wherever He leads, even if it means leaving the home I have lived in for 38 years.
This morning in my quiet time, I was meditating on Jesus being eternal and how the world in general has difficulty comprehending this.  He was born after all!  Yes, He died and rose again and NOW lives eternally, but to say He always was and IS God seems incomprehensible.  However, as I wrote out the dialogue I was having with God (I start writing and as He speaks to my heart, continue to do so until finished) this is what took place:
"In the beginning was the Word..." John 1:1
In the beginning of what?  The beginning of time, but You always were, are and will be because You do not dwell in time.
Word - Logos - something said (including thoughts) - a topic of discourse, reasoning and motive - the Divine expression.
Sometimes we forget that Jesus did not originate at His physical birth.  He has always been with You and is part of You.  It is hard for us to wrap our finite minds around infinity.  Yet You have shown us in Your creation that infinity does indeed exist.  Numbers - you can always add or subtract one more, yet zero remains constant, just as You do.  Light - the closer we get to the speed of light, which we can never reach due to the exponential need for energy to do so, the slower time becomes, intimating that at the speed of light time stands still, which means it no longer dwells IN time.  You ARE light and in You is no darkness at all.  (I John 1:5) You do not dwell in time for You are eternal.
Suddenly my thoughts and writing changed to the following:
A seed dropped in good soil dies to itself (its will to remain a seed) and grows into a plant with roots to nourish it from the earth and blades or branches and leaves that reach up for life from the light of the Sun - eternity.  When we choose, like the seed, to die to self in order to be planted where You desire, and grow as we reach to the Light of Your eternal Salvation, we become fruit bearers for Your kingdom: the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, which draw all people to us to dwell under the Light and feast on its goodness.  Sometimes, however, You transplant us.  It is for our own good.  Our soil, perhaps, has become depleted of the nutrients we need in order to flourish. You desire continued growth.  You want us to flourish!!  Help us (me) not to fear, but to rejoice in the plans You have for us, knowing we will grow stronger and produce more fruit because of the transplanting.  In Jesus' name I ask it!!
While I do not know for a certainty that any of us will be moving any time soon, I know that God desires me to be prepared, just in case, so that if and when the time comes, I do not throw a fit, but bow down to His will so that I can continue to grow and serve Him to the fullest.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Called People

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, then will I hear from heaven and heal their land.  II Chronicles 7:14

We read this and cry out for forgiveness and healing of our land, or country.  At least this is what I have witnessed throughout my life.  But a closer look reveals something a bit more intense, in my opinion.
If My people, who are called by My name...It takes a humble spirit to take on someone else's name.  To do so states that you trust that taking their name in place of your own is to your benefit.  When a wife takes her husband's name, she is saying she believes it is better to leave all she has ever known and experience life with him.
And pray and seek My face...prayer is communication with God.  We can throw words at Him and hope He hears and answers, or we can tell Him our heart's desire and then search His face in order to see His eyes and watch as He forms the words of His answer so that we REALLY hear what he has to say regarding our issues.  Seeking His face means we truly desire to hear and understand His answer.
As His bride, shouldn't we WANT to hear what He has to say?
And turn from their wicked ways...In order to really seek His face we MUST turn away from all the other faces with voices that cry out to us to do things "our way."  We must trust that whatever is not God's way is going to lead us astray.  The bride must turn from those she has been interested in in the past in order to face the future with the man she trusts most.
THEN will I hear from heaven and heal their land.  It will be an automatic response.  It is a promise.
When a wife takes her husband's name, she becomes his joint heir.  Whatever he inherits becomes hers as well.  This became abundantly clear to me over the past couple of months.  When my husband's mom passed away, He became heir to 1/6 of her estate.  I will share in that inheritance.
When a person takes on the name of Christ, they become joint heirs with Him of all that the Father owns.....EVERYTHING!!  However, just as it takes a lot of work gaining that inheritance (cleaning, selling, sharing, etc.) it takes a lot of work to gain our full inheritance from God.  We can enter heaven and hear the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant," and be placed in charge of many things (Matthew 25:21) or it can be like simply escaping through fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)
As His bride, I want to share in everything He has for me, now and forever.  Eternity began for me the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  Ephesians 5:22 tells me to submit (choose obedience - not forced) to my husband as I do to the Lord.  That tells me I can practice submitting my life to Christ by submitting to my husband.  That does NOT mean my husband is to Lord it over me as "boss man" but rather that he is to love me as Christ loved the Church and was willing to give His life for her. (Ephesians 5:25-28)
If we truly want God to heal our land, it must begin in us! If we take His name and call ourselves Christian, then we must accept the fact that He is our Groom. We must share with Him and look Him in the "eyes" through the study of His word, truly seeking what it is He has to say to us personally.  We must turn away from our selfish past and trudge joyfully alongside Him, working, playing and resting as He leads.  THEN our land will automatically be healed, at least our personal land will, as our homes begin to be filled with love and acceptance as we practice our faith through the sanctity of marriage.  As husbands give their all in order to reveal their love to their wives, wives will cheerfully choose to become all that the husband desires.  Communication will flow from eye contact and full attention.  Marriages will heal and homes (our land) will be rescued from destruction.
Lord, when I cry out to You to heal our land, help me remember that it begins with me.  I can choose to emulate all You desire for us through the way I relate to my spouse in marriage.  Help me remember that others are seeking answers through watching our lives.  May our marriage reveal the answers they need.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Don't Choke

For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feePsalm 22:16

Rebellion against God...we are all guilty, unfortunately.  Here God compares it to dogs.
Rebellion on its own is bad enough.  It makes one yip, and snarl at passersby.  It cries out words like "unfair," "mine," "I want," and all those other self-pitying words that go hand in hand with rebellion.
As it grows, we begin to bark and howl against anything that gets in our way.  And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. Isaiah 56:11  We begin to believe that if we bark loudly enough, we will instill fear into others and they will allow us to have our way.
The one thing we fail to take notice of is the leash.  You see,  our lives are on a leash (so to speak) and God is holding the other end.  We have free reign to go wherever we want as far as the leash allows. When we are walking close to Him, our desire will be to remain close to His side and we are grateful for the safety the leash represents.  But when rebellion sets in and we see something we think we have to have, be it a tangible or an intangible, we jump forward and start straining against the chain.  God is not going to let go of the other end.  We are His creation and He will allow us free reign to a point, but He decides where the leash ends.  The problem that ensues is that the further we get away from Him, the more we strain against the leash, pulling, struggling, barking, "I want, I want, I want!"  God will speak words to calm us, reach out to pet us, call our name!!  But if we choose to turn a deaf ear because we want what we want, we will continue to strain.  We make ourselves sick with the straining.  We choke, which may cause us to let up a bit then strain again.  We choke to the point of vomiting. God will remind us to stop making ourselves sick.  Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11
We may let up a bit then strain again.  If we continue to refuse God's voice, we may eventually choke ourselves to death. 
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;  Philippians 3:2
Rebellion is all around us, seeking a way to deceive and draw us away from the Good Shepherd.  If it can get us drawn away, we will stop herding in sheep and begin to strain against the chain, which is simply His perfect will for our lives, and instead chase sheep away. It is our choice, so pray for wisdom, discernment and determination to remain close to His side.
Lord, may we ever stay close to your side as those who herd sheep rather than become those who chase them away in fear.   May our love for You become so great as to make all else seem trivial in comparison.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Time to Get Moving

Jesus told this parable: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood off by himself and prayed, "God, I thank You that I am not like other people........But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified. Luke 18:9-14

I can picture this in my mind so easily, because I have been both men.  For 16 years I was too proud to admit I couldn't get to heaven of my own accord, but when I finally gave in and admitted my sinfulness and need of redemption, I was set free.
I see a man who has worked hard all his life to obey God's Law.  As an adult he looks back and sees he has done a pretty good job of it.  He feels blessed and honored to be able to go into the temple and tell God of all his achievements.  What doesn't register with him is that his pride in his personal achievement is sin itself AND that he could never have done as well as he has if God wasn't involved.
I see a second man who has come to realize that his life achievement of making money has done nothing but alienate him from his own people and his God.  So he cries out in embarrassment and
humility for God's forgiveness and receives it.
I feel badly for the Pharisees of today, as they have been blinded by their own pride.  I also feel badly for Christians, who like the tax collector, have cried out for forgiveness and have been given it, but they are still standing in that temple crying out to God about how miserable a person they are.  They have neglected to read on and see that the tax collector WENT HOME!!  Not only that, he went home JUSTIFIED by almighty God!!  He probably went home in tears of great joy, with the realization that he had been cleansed and released from the penalty of his past sins.  In his rejoicing, he most likely went home to figure out how he could give back to God in acts of generosity to others!  This would compound his joy and God's in him!!  After all, God loves a cheerful giver!! II Corinthians 9:7.
My prayer for my brothers and sisters in Christ is that they all come to realize that God wants us to walk with Him and be happy.  If we walk with anyone or anything else, our happiness will only be superficial.  But if we walk with Jesus, our happiness will be made complete in Him!!  When you sin, confess it by ALL means, but do not wallow in it!!  Wallow instead in the joy of His forgiveness, then get up and get going!!  There is much to do, and if we stay in the temple crying out for forgiveness already given, it is not going to get done!!  Rejoice!! and again I say REJOICE!! (Phil 4:4)  Paul thought we should too!! 
Be blessed!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Solar Power

Mirrors....reflectors of light.  We are told to think of ourselves as mirrors that reflect the light of Jesus.  But what happens to a mirror when it is placed in a dark corner?  Absolutely nothing.  You can no longer see that it even exists unless and until a light is shined on it.
I was thinking about this as I read Philippians 2:15.  So many thoughts went through my mind, I had to stop, take a breath and do a minute of research to make sure the thoughts were coming from God and not my flesh.
Here is what the verse says, though I am going back a verse to make it more clear:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. {NASV}
Here's the thing.  At the time of the Bible being written, a mirror was their best analogy in regards to reflecting God's light.
 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
Today we have a better one - solar powered lights.  These amazing things are powered by a battery that absorbs the sun's rays and then converts it into energy for the light itself.
This is much better than the mirror analogy, because of what happens to a mirror when it is placed in a dark corner.  It can no longer reflect light, so it remains dark. A solar powered light will absorb the light, then reflect it back out even in the darkest of places, because it is powered by the light it absorbed. It has transformed the light into power.
Many a Christian is like the mirror.  As long as they remain in God's Son light, they are great reflectors.  But the moment any darkness creeps upon them, they can no longer shine.  They only know how to reflect.  But the Christian who takes time to sit at Jesus' feet and absorb His words into their very being becomes empowered by His light.  Our minds become transformers for His glory and when the darkness comes, we are ready to shine.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Another really great thing to think about is that when many Christians who choose to be transformers rather than simple reflectors band together, the Light they pour forth can eradicate the darkness.  This is what we are called to do.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:23-25
 ( NIV)
Mirrors cannot absorb and so when the light is gone, not only is the reflection forgotten, but so is the mirror for a time, until it is needed again.  Oh that we would all chose transformation over reflection!