Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God's Lap is Big Enough

It is hard to believe it is Christmas Time, 2010. As usual, the things we think of at this special time of the year include: family, friends, food, gifts, joy, happiness, decorations and so much more. I love seeing the pictures of family members in the woods or at the local tree farm picking out that “just right” one for the living room or family room. A few Christmas Carols along with some hot cider or cocoa and/or a nice hot latte and in no time, the lights are lit and the ornaments sparkling. When all is set and we view our creativity, we who believe take the time to focus on the real meaning of the Season for us, none other than the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Most families enjoy nothing more than celebrating birthdays. We not only celebrate the day as special but the person as well. We marvel at their accomplishments; as children, how they’ve grown. It is truly a celebration of who they are! As Children of the Most High God, Creator of the Universe and everything within, we celebrate the birth, miracles, salvation, deliverance, life, beauty, glory, healing, ALL that has been given us through the Gift, the ONE in whom we are now joint heirs of the PROMISE of eternal life. Unfortunately, there are some things that can affect a “Merry” Christmas no matter how we look at it. Divorce, death of a family member or close friend, loss of finances, loss of home, sickness… the list goes on and on of the circumstances that can hamper or threaten to ruin our celebration. Most of these point back to the importance of family to all of us. My husband is in the process of researching his family history and is like a kid in a candy store when he discovers any new tidbit of information. Psalm 68:5&6 tells us that God is a Father to the Fatherless. He is a Defender of Widows and that “He sets the lonely in Families”. John 1:12, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--” Family is important to God. He has the capacity to spread his love evenly throughout the ENTIRE family. I have a little brown, long-haired Chihuahua named Rusty. He came first to my husband and I. Then about three and a half years later, Teva, our lavender calico kitten came along. There isn’t much difference in disposition between pets and children sometimes. We learned before we got Rusty that if you don’t want a lap dog, don’t get a Chihuahua. Well, that is so true. He loves to be in our laps. When he is in mine, all curled up and comfortable, he is quite content with the whole world. Well, little Teva wants lap time. As she approaches to curl up as well and get some attention, Rusty moves into his actor mode. He becomes “Alpha Dog” and expels the most vicious growl he can attain as he lunges forward to attack, only to be corrected as Teva is placed next to him. As long as Teva doesn’t attempt to be on the lap, they spend hours chasing one another throughout the house and giving their toys and food to one another. Well, competition, jealousy, intimidation, shyness, feelings of inferiority… none of these things can affect God’s love for us. Father God/Creator God’s Lap is big enough. Santa Claus is a finite part of Christmas and his lap can hold one or two or maybe three at the most and listen to the dreams and wishes of the children. Father God, the Infinite One, will reach down, pick us up and SET us in the position of family and not only listen to the desires of our hearts but give them to us as well. So, let’s be held by the ONE who has, through His Birth, Death, and Resurrection, fulfilled the PROMISE and given us the GIFT OF LIFE! “Merry Christmas!”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

His Love Endures Forever

Contemplating a Thanksgiving Blog Post, the contents of Psalm 136 came to mind. I had to enlist the aid of my sister, a wonderful Bible Teacher, to lead me to the address. I knew it was a Psalm and I knew the general vicinity. Of course, this gave us a chance to talk about Jesus! Our favorite subject of conversation! The words that kept echoing through my mind were, "His Love Endures Forever". These words contain the most valuable possession of my life. Yes, I possess Jesus within my entire being. Jesus, as a man, was God incarnate and GOD is LOVE. Jesus, who is God, sent His Spirit, who is God, to dwell within me. I POSSESS LOVE! It is that LOVE, that infinite; unending; universal; forever; all encompassing; all comforting; all strengthening; all consuming; all forgiving; all merciful; all understanding; eternal LOVE that I am most grateful for on this Thanksgiving Eve and every day thereafter. We love Him because He first loved us. He drew us, he wooed us, he wanted us to be with him FOREVER! "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Send Reinforcements

May God Bless our Veterans today! I am thinking of a troop of soldiers trapped by the enemy, surrounded, with seemingly no way out and things are looking quite bleak. Then, out of the blue, literally, comes a squadron of their own country's air forces and behind the enemy troops, reinforcements on the ground. The enemy is destroyed and the entrapped soldiers, elated, shout with triumphant glee. They couldn't have been victorious without Reinforcements. Within the word Reinforcements, we have relief, rescue, sustenance, treatment, service, aid, encouragement, salvation and much more. There is an account in the Bible where Israel is fighting against Amalek. Moses, the leader of the Israelites is holding up the rod of the Lord in his hands. As long as he keeps that rod in the air, the Israelites prevail. If he drops his hands, the enemy moves into victorious position. Moses grows weary and cannot continue. Behold, Reinforcements arrive in the form of Aaron and Hur who take hold of Moses's hands and arms and lift them high into the air. They hold this position until sunset and the Israelites are delivered out of the hands of the enemy. We are called in the Book of Jude to "Contend for the Faith". There are days we become weary and feel surrounded by enemies of many kinds. We cry out for help as those troops, through our communication system. In our spiritual battle, our system is nothing greater than prayer itself. Freedom is the objective of the battle. Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has freed me from the law of sin and of death." This is the Freedom we have received because of the sacrifice of God giving His Son, Jesus Christ for us. We become Reinforcements for one another in our daily "contending". James 5:16 Amplified Bible, "Confess to one another therefore your faults--your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins; and pray (also) for one another, that you may be healed and restored--to a spiritual tone of mind and heart. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available--dynamic in its working." At any time in life, we can either be the soldier held under fire by lies, accusations, guilt, shame, sin, all brought on by our enemy or the one coming over the hill to bring aid in the form of spoken Truth, encouragement, edification, comfort through our Risen Lord. Instead of being "given into the hands" of the enemy, let us be "rescued out of the hands" of the enemy by the weapons of confession (admitting we are weak and need support) and prayer (lifting one another up to the one who Himself admitted His own need for sufficiency through His Father and in turn intercedes for us daily). Ephesians 6:18 Amplified Bible, "Pray at all times--on every occasion, in every season--in the Spirit, with all (manner of) prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding on behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people)". ...lifting one another up until "sunset". Then we can rest from the battle at His Return. "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

"You have known me in good and bad times. You have seen me when I was happy and when I was sad. You have listened to me when what I said was intelligent and when I talked nonsense. You have understood me when I knew what I was doing and when I made mistakes. Thank you for believing in me, for supporting me and for always being ready to share thoughts together. You are a perfect friend." Susan Polis Schutz
I often think of the warm sentiments this message contains. The mug on which it is written used to hold the warm coffee I would sip as I thought of the fun times my friend and I had together. This mug has long since lost its handle and become a holder for my many pens and pencils. I don't drink out of it any more nor do I use many of the items found inside. It has been a long time since I have talked to the special friend who gave this to me. I tried to call her tonight but the phone was busy. I am sure I will reach her soon. This little saying, in my opinion, does describe the perfect friend. I began to think about how many people in my life actually fall into this catagory. I believe the catagory of friend can include your spouse, your sibling, your child, your parent, your boss and more. The role may be one thing and the friendship another. It's the ingredients that count. Then my mind went to social networking. We call these people friends, but how many of them really fit the description of friend. Probably most of them to one degree or another. A friend can be someone to whom you are emotionally attached, someone who helps or supports you, even someone who simply is not your enemy. There are several Bible verses that describe friendship. In John 15:15 Jesus told his disciples that he no longer called them servants but friends because he shared everything he learned from the Father with them. Of course, that now applies to us as we walk with him as His friends. In John 15:14, He says we are His friends if we do what He commands. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that a friend loves us all the time. And in Proverbs 27:10, not to forsake your friend or your father's friend. Lastly, that "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother", Proverbs 18:24. I am thankful for all my friends and want to always be a good friend. I believe we need each degree of friendship we receive. I must say though that when we are privileged to have a friend or friends that reach the depth of the above saying and the afore mentioned Scriptures, we are truly blessed. I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Fishing Story

There I was on the dock fishing from millions and millions of gallons of water imprisoned within the banks of Bryan Lake in the state of Washington. My line was cast and it was time to remove the slack. I reeled in a little, then a little more. Hmmm. Feels like a fish on, albeit a small one. I continued to reel in. Soon, the weight appeared above the water. What? What in the world was dangling from my #4 hook? I blinked my eyes once, then twice. It was. Yes, it was... a pair of black sunglasses spinning as the swivel unwound the fishing line. Not only was it a pair of sunglasses, the name Oakley appeared in bright white lettering. That was only the beginning of the significance of my “catch”. I cleaned them off and tried them on. They were bent perfectly to fit my face, as, like most people, one ear is a tad higher than the other. I heard from the Lord instantly. “Don’t you think that if I can put those sunglasses on the end of your line, I can take care of all your needs no matter how big or how small?” After some research on line (not fishing), I discovered this particular style of Oakley sunglasses are worth over a hundred dollars. Naturally, I had to spread the “good news” of how God provides. I love it when he uses object lessons from His creation to illustrate a truth from his Word.
Today is my 38th birthday. Before you say, “Hmm, does not compute,” let me elaborate. 38 years ago I was Born Again, just like it says in John Chapter 3. I can say before that time I had become emotionally dull being dead in my trespasses and sins, Ephesians Chapter 2. I think I had moved beyond the ability to worry about anything. I just didn’t care anymore. After I became alive in Christ, my emotions became alive as well. With that new life, came the ability to worry. A definition of worry is: to feel uneasy or anxious; torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret (Websters Dictionary). You’ll notice worry is an action word or verb. It takes effort to worry.
What stands out to me in that definition is the word, torment. Why in the world would anyone in their right mind want to torment oneself? The only way we can be right minded is to be like minded with the Word of God and stand in a position of trusting what He says. God means it when he says he will provide all our needs, protect us, teach us, never leave us, guide us, counsel us, comfort us, etc..
As with the sunglasses, not only did they fit my face, they were no ordinary sunglasses, they were top of the line. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us the best. He does answer prayer. As we walk with him through the years, we learn to trust that ALL things are truly working for the good for our lives even though we may not know the reason for everything that happens. The key to that trust which has no room for worry, is His love for us. Something to note is that where worry is a verb, trust is a noun meaning: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence (Websters Dictionary).
Love and trust are both nouns: PERSON, place or thing. Ponder the fact that God is Love. It takes work to worry, it takes rest to trust. As we abide in Love itself, trust becomes an outcome.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

On this day, I remember my Father who was in the Navy and part of the cleanup crew after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He rarely spoke of it. However, it had a profound influence on him the rest of his life upon this earth. He dealt with depression and was hospitalized not just once but several times. I watch the History Channel and weep with the old veterans as they reminisce. So much sacrifice. It seems as though freedom requires a constant contending. It does not come cheap or easy. My heart cries over all the white crosses, past, present and future. Yes, future. We would not be human if we denied the fact that sacrifice has always been involved in freedom. It is for human freedom life is given. As Americans we can recount the freedoms for which we fight: religion; speech; the press; right to protect ourselves; right to assemble; to vote, etc. Mainly, the right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Christians we understand that over 2,000 years ago, the ultimate sacrifice was given by God of His only Son so that mankind could be set free and receive true life, not only in this time frame but in eternity as well. The freedom we have received is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And Love your neighbor as yourself." The right to be in "right relationship" with our Creator, our Father God and the freedom to walk in unbroken fellowship with one another. Then again comes the contending. Just as in the physical realm we must contend for our freedom or it will be taken from us, the spiritual realm holds the same dangers. In the Book of Jude we are told to contend for the faith which has been given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. As we realize our American freedom does not depend on the strength of man alone but through the Grace of Almighty God, our freedom as human beings comes as we believe in none other than the Lord Jesus Christ as the Only Way to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So, please take time to pray today and in the days to come not only for our great country of America, "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave", but for our Troops who are fighting to make it so and our Veterans who understand the price. Let us love one another deeply through our mutual faith in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and pray for one another as we contend for that which brings Freedom.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

From Darkness to Rejoicing

A few thoughts regarding the Cross for this precious Easter: There is so much activity around this Holiday. Many rushing about to find the right Easter basket and goodies to add to it. Then, of course, the right dress or suit and tie. For me, it is another opportunity to rejoice in what our Saviour has done for us. I can't help but be amazed when I consider the utter darkness that surrounded the crucifixion, even to the crying out, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Jesus took every mentionable and unmentionable sin, suffering and sickness upon himself. While hanging there, he even refused a drink that would have not only quenched a bit of his thirst, but also dulled his pain for a moment. He accepted the full extent of darkness for our sake. In my line of work I see people all day long. Many have their necks adorned with a chain of one kind or another and on that chain, a cross. Men and women, boys and girls. I see many types of crosses from diamond studded to wooden. What stands out most to me is that some of the crosses hold a replica of the body of Christ and some do not. There are three specific crosses that come to mind. The one that bore our Lord Jesus and the ones on either side of him that bore the two thieves. Those thieves were experiencing their own darkness at that time. They knew it was the end for them and they knew why. They were indeed guilty. Unbeknown to them, the one hanging between the two was the one that at that very moment was bearing their guilt and shame right along with them even though he himself was guilty of nothing. What a deep, dark hole of fear, pain and separation was before them. The inner agony must have been unbearable. Then, a last flicker of hope and faith arose in the heart of the one thief and from his lips he spoke, "Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom." Jesus replied, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." Only at that time did the Lord admit to thirst as he proclaimed, "It is Finished" and gave up his Spirit to the Father. Through the excruciating pain he was suffering, the rush of emotion that must have gone through this thief! To know that his sin was forgiven, his guilt removed. Eternal life was his. To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. The thief was with Christ that very day. Three days later Jesus did exactly what he said he would. He rose from the dead victorious over death and the grave. All of this to fulfill his purpose. No more guilt, shame or separation. The plan was complete to reunite us with the Father and give us the gift of eternal life. The Cross I wear is empty. Jesus is no longer suffering on the cross nor is he in the grave. He is Risen as He said! He is Risen Indeed! Because of that Cross, occupied then empty, we have gone from Darkness to Rejoicing. HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOURS! "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Building Tabernacles

As some of you already know, I am quite fond of pink trees. It has become quite a tradition for me to announce the sighting of my first one to anyone who will listen. Of course, whomever is with me at that moment, if it happens while they are driving (sorry Honey) would think we were about to hit something with the car. I literally scream, "LOOK! THERE IT IS! THE FIRST ONE!" Well, it happened. I spotted my first one. I proceeded to call and make my proud proclaimation to my daughter who in turn announced that she had spotted one three hours earlier. I determined it mattered not which one of us made our discovery before the other. What mattered was, that they really existed and that meant only one thing. Spring has Sprung! I don't care what the calendar says, to me they are a sign of Spring to arrive once more. You might be wondering what Building Tabernacles has to do with Spring. Let me explain what I have been thinking. The pink tree in itself points to the real target, that of the wonderful, warm, colorful, newness of life brought on by the Season of Spring! Spring means the beginning of spending time outside, children laughing, lawnmowers running, birds singing, picnics, fishing, boating, etc., etc. It is the SEASON I am looking for. Then I began to think of the time Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain. He was transfigured before their eyes and Moses and Elijah showed up as well. They witnessed His glory and two men who according to their standards, were no longer among the living. Wow! Talk about an exclamation, "LOOK!" And then came the idea, "Let's build three tabernacles. One for you, Jesus and one for Moses and one for Elijah." "This is great!" ( A bit of a paraphrase here.) Then came the cloud that enveloped them and God spoke, "This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!" As there are so many amazing things that the Season of Spring encompasses, it is really Spring that we focus on. Everything else is a result of it. We may try to capture all the activities, aromas and sounds but they are only passing. The wonderful thing we can count on in this world is that Spring itself will return. Sometimes we can "build tabernacles" when it comes to our walk with the Lord. He does something incredible in our midst, like the transfiguration and we want to stay right there. I believe it is our human nature. He thrills us and we enjoy it so much that we fix our eyes on the amazing situation. We want to soak it up and keep it close to us and in our hearts and never lose it. We become comfortable with it and it may even become an object of worship without our even realizing. God is saying, "This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!" We can't hang on to the results of Spring. The flowers fade, the leaves eventually die and all turns gray and we focus on those things and lose the life that is in the other seasons because we want it to be like Spring all the time. We can't build a tabernacle to the great things we see God doing or we will never move on to the next step of what he wants to do. "Present interpretation and fresh revelation are always needed for life with a living God." (a quote from a book I once read) The pillar moved; the cloud moved. Let us always be ready to move. A tabernacle sounds permanent. Again, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." and move on to the next "season" he has for us. Let us exclaim loudly, "LOOK! There HE is!" And, as we are so doing, let's enjoy this earthly Season of Spring to the fullest!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stand in Awe

I love to memorize Scripture. I began doing it as a new Christian. We used to have Scripture quoting "contests" during Sunday morning services. It was a wonderful way to get the Word in our hearts and lift our Faith level. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God", Romans 10:17. Recently I memorized Hebrews 12:28 and 29, "Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and AWE, for our God is a comsuming fire." Everything around us can be shaken, life can be turned upside down literaly as we know, but the Kingdom we belong to which is not of this world, can never be. It is solid and unmoveable because the King is solid and unmoveable. "He is the same yesterday, today and forever" Hebrews 13:8. I woke up singing, "I stand, I stand in awe of you. I stand I stand in awe of you. Holy God to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of you." Let us fix our eyes on Jesus today and not on our circumstances and let him AWE us as we watch what he does in our lives and in behalf of those we love. What a wonderful, AWESOME God we serve!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thanks to my beautiful Daughter Kim, "The Ungourmet" who is also having a Bloggy Birthday, I began blogging a year ago this month. I don't blog as often as a lot of my Bloggy Friends. However, I love having the opportunity to share the things that inspire. My plan this year is to post more often to hopefully encourge and "spur" others on in their relationship with the Lord and those whose lives they touch from day to day. Life puts us all in the same Bloggy Boat so to speak and as the saying goes on a little greeting card I have, "Life is just so Daily" so I believe we need to encourage one another daily as we wait for the return of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My passion remains the same as it reads in "about me".

Blessings to all my Friends who have left comments over the past year. You have certainly blessed me. I love visiting each of your blogs and learning from each of you.

Love, joy and peace be yours this day!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

After the Storm

Have you ever noticed how clean and crisp the air feels and smells after a rain storm? It is so refreshing! You just close your eyes and breathe it in. It even has a way of "lifting your spirit" so to speak. For a day or two you feel happy; you're smiling and you sense the same from those around you. In like manner, the storms of life have an impact on our inner being. Recently, one of those storms hit my life out of the blue. I was blind sided. I knew there was an incomprehensible tension I had been experiencing for some time but couldn't put my finger on it. In one moment a very close relative exploded in anger and expressed that they could not deal with my "drama queen" actions any longer and were going home, cutting short a visit that had been intended to last a bit longer. I was crushed at first and burst into tears. I had no idea what was happening. Well, having learned through many years of walking with the Lord that everything happens for the good and being open to growth, I did the only thing I could and cried out to God and said, "What in the world is happening here?" Now, I will digress a little bit. Years ago, I asked the Lord to help me be like Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she was told by the angel what was to happen to her regarding pregnancy, carrying the Savior of the world, etc., she "pondered all these things in her heart". I have the tendency to get excited and blurt out everything the Lord shows me and THAT'S A LOT OF BLURTING! I had made some progress in the "pondering in my heart" part. The part I wasn't doing so well with was harnessing the need to process my thoughts out loud. I had not realized how much I did this until this particular "storm" hit. By processing out loud this way, in other words, expressing what I needed to get done for the day; what was broken and needed fixing; how tired I was; how I had to go to work that day; needed to walk the dog; forgot to call so and so; didn't get the dishes done; needed to help so and so do this or that; had to cook dinner; forgot an item at the store; wish I had more time to..., etc., you get the picture, I was creating an atmosphere of constant turmoil. Wow! I really did not realize what an impact I was having with something that had become shear habit and the pressure I was unwittingly putting on others to deliver me from my "dilema" which was really no "dilema" at all. God is so gracious to give Wisdom if you ask him and you "count it all joy when you encounter trials of many kinds". The Book of James teaches us this and says all these trials will give us patience and "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Chapter 1 verse 4) My desire is to continually grow in the Lord and mature and have his nature expressed through my life as I walk in relationship with Him. His Word says that he promises to perfect that which concerns us. So, back to my recent storm. All is well, the clouds lifted, restoration reigned, smiles returned. There will be many visits to come. And I am learning that as I ponder things in my heart more and reason together with the Lord regarding my days activities, peace is able to rule in greater proportion in my heart and home. The air is fresh again and the Son is Shining! My resolution for 2010 is to be a "peacemaker" in and out of my home. It brings added meaning to the Scripture that says. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue". "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you my Lord."