Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Have I really been crucified with Christ? Do I truly no longer live? To be crucified with Christ requires radical change. Do we begin changing and then get to a comfortable place and stop, happy with who we are? I think we do. We have to be constantly reminded that God's not happy with where we are. He still wants us to change and grow into the person he created us. But that change can't ever stop, it won't be complete until the day we are with him.
How difficult it must have been for Jesus not to come down off the cross. he could have done it. They were daring him to do it. They were double dog daring him! But he didn't. He allowed himself to be beaten, tortured and completely humiliated...for us. Could I have suffered so much pain and humiliation and not come back with an "oh yeah! well watch this!"?
Let's not become complacent. God's not done growing us. Seek the growth opportunities even though it may be excrutiating and leave stretch marks!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Those of you who know me will be very shocked to hear this. I know this will be difficult to believe but I enjoy being active. I don't want to just sit at home on the couch eating bon bons. I want to be out in the world, doing everything I can, tasting and enjoying life, playing with the kids, charity work, laughing with friends and even talking with people.
I told you that you'd be shocked!
Ok, so it probably wasn't much of a shock but keep reading anyway.
I was watching a commercial the other day for this program called Saving Grace. She was saying she liked to embrace life, laugh, play practical jokes, enjoy life and at the end she said "Embrace your Grace". So I was curious and I watched one of her programs. She is violent, seemingly immoral, I was very shocked by her behavior. I don't want to embrace that. The premise of the show, I really like, she has this angel following her around trying to save her and bring her to God. I love that! We all need someone trying to save us that just will never give up. But at this point in my life I embrace life a little differently than she does.
I love to hang out with my friends. My best friend Katie, we homeschool together, I just love going and hanging out with her. We go to the gym, shopping, shows, movies, shopping, you name it. It's always fun hanging out with her. We share each other's lives and I'm better for it. I love hanging out with all my friends, we just enjoy each other's company. I love going and serving at church. I think I have the best church in Vegas, the people are wonderful, the atmosphere is amazing. I go there and feel God's presence and see Him in the faces of those around me. I also enjoy charity work. You name, I'll do it. Some ministries near and dear to my heart are the homeless, victims of domestic violence, violence against children, I will participate in a run or walk, give money, time and energy. Right now I'm planning a garage sale and all the proceeds are going to charity right here in las vegas. Ok, I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. Give God the glory for everything. I am only able to do these things because he puts the desire in my heart and gives me the energy and resources I need. I'm not doing these things God is. But I love to do them. I could fill my days giving in outreach to the community and I would be the happiest person on earth. I love reaching out to the community. Why, because the community is full of Grace's that need to be saved. They need an angel that is going to keep giving even when you seem to be a lost cause and never give up. People are hurting and are in places they don't really want to be but can't seem to get out. They have lost hope because they don't see their angel. My desire is that everyone sees God. Hopefully it's through me but they need to see God in the faces of many.
I guess I do "embrace my Grace". Grace is tenacious. When she's trying to solve a crime she won't give up. Her methods are less than desirable sometimes but she doesn't give up. I hope my methods are little better but my point is I'm not giving up. I will "embrace my Grace" by being tenacious/persistent doing God's work. I will keep working until He tells me I'm through. That's one of things my mom had a problem with toward the end of her life. She felt like she couldn't do the work anymore and she so badly wanted to keep working. She didn't realize He just had her working in a different way.
You have a purpose. God has a plan for you.
"Embrace your Grace"
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ok, so I just received an email about someone who is facing the "jump and the net will appear" but what happens when you have multiple ways to jump and you don't know which way God is leading you. This is a very real question. Even for the seasoned Christian this can be tough. You think you are hearing from God but you're never quite sure.
Recently, one of our elders spoke about how you hear God. Now we all experience God is different ways, and "hear" him differently. Some hear God through all different types of books, some hear God through music, or through His written word in the Bible, others feel a tugging on the Spirit and can sometimes almost audibly hear God. However you hear God, first you have to be silent. Our elder spoke on meditating with God.
I love this part, get away some place alone and free of distraction. Clear your mind and focus on God. Breathe deeply and slowly and just focus on God. Many things will try and distract you. The first time I tried this I was interrupted by children who woke up way too early and just had to know the lyrics to the song There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. Another time I tried it, I fell asleep and got some much needed rest but didn't hear from God. Don't give up! It will be worth it. Give yourself 20 minutes a day of just being still and quiet and focusing your attention on God. When you are silent and still and focused on the Conductor, you will hear the music. Remember, when the Conductor approaches the his musicians and lifts his little stick he finds musicians that are completely silent and still, focused on him, ready to perform. Are you poised?
If anyone tries this, share your stories with me. The funny ones are great to hear and the ones where you hear from God are even better.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I was recently reading something about locusts. I know it sounds disgusting but it was not so much about locusts as it was about me. Apparently, locusts wait until the wind blows and then jumps, and the wind carries him to his destination. A locust cannot navigate where he goes or fly against the wind, change his direction, he just goes where the wind takes him. He's completely dependent on the wind. I want to be like a locust. Before you say the same thing, remember to be careful what you pray for. It might be hard. God might put you in a situation where you have to depend solely on him.
So here is what I'm thinking when I think about the locust. I fill my life with books and try and learn as much as I can and make informed and logical decisions. But there comes a time when I have to let go and let God. I must at some point stop thinking and when God moves, move with Him. There comes a time when I have to trust Him, recognize it's His timing, not mine, and just take a leap of faith.
I was watching an episode of Monk the other day and one of the characters said "jump and the net will appear". That struck me. It didn't say, wait until you see the net and then jump. It didn't say pray about it for a month, discuss it with joe, john and sally. It said jump and the net will appear. God is the net. The net is always there, but sometimes from our perspective or view we can't see the net, it doesn't mean it's not there.
Now imagine, you are at the circus and you see the highwire act. Before the acrobat jumps out onto the bar swinging in the air they wait for their cue to the music. They are so in tune with the music and so sensitive to the music, they really aren't paying much attention to the bars they have to catch and twirl on, they are focused completely on the music. God is the music. Be sensitive to His Spirit leading you. If you are sensitive to the Spirit you will hear the music, you will feel His wind and you will know when to "jump and the net will appear".
Don't focus on your past or what you think you can or cannot do or should or shouldn't do. Focus on the music. Let it guide you. "be strong and courageous for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go". People will think you are crazy, jumping before you see the net, people thought Jesus was crazy too. When God moves he doesn't call for a vote or take an opinion poll, he just moves and he's looking for strong and courageous people who will jump before seeing the net. People who will say "here I am! Send me!" without knowing where they are going.
I want to be courageous! I want to be like a locust or an acrobat and fly with the wind.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Now I know this is hard to believe but as a mother, a Christian, a wife, at 35+ year old woman I do still know how to have fun. Our mom's nights are a lot of fun. We don't drink, we just go out and let our hair down, enjoy each other's company and have fun. So the question is, who wouldn't want to be part of that?
I know that life gets in the way and people have husbands and children and can't always get away on the same night to have some fun but certainly more people should have been able to come out and play with us. So what's the problem?
We were talking the other night at church about creating a spirit of community at church where people didn't just go to church together but were friends with each other and we could go to the movies together or arrange to go for a hike as a group or something like that. So what stops us from doing that? I think it comes down to the very basic belief that we are just too busy. We are so busy with work and family and serving and whatever else that we don't have time to stop and have a little fun, smell the flowers so to speak. God didn't create us to work like a dog and isolate ourselves from other people. He created us with a zest for life. When Jesus came to earth he had some fun! Yes he was here to do serious work but I'm sure you can imagine Jesus as a child playing with his brothers and sisters, wrestling with them on the floor, being a kid. There were times when Jesus left the crowd to be alone. He needed to pray, He needed to talk to his father, maybe he just needed to get away from it for a minute.
My son is stressing out because he's 17 and he thinks he has to grow up and be this stuffy adult. Who is he kidding? Yes, the amount of responsibility does need to increase. Yes, he should have a job and college will be a bit harder. Yes, there will be bills to pay. But if I have taught him nothing in this life it is that you have to stop and smell the roses. Make some time in your schedule to enjoy something. Does it mean you have to do something completely selfish? No, I often have a wonderful time and feel very refreshed after feeding the homeless or helping a friend move, or decorating for a wedding. But there are also times when I go off by myself with a friend or 2, leave the kids at home and take care of that little part of me that needs to be let her hair down.
Life is too short, dance, laugh, live, love. Make a friend and make sure they know they are special. Go out on a mom's night or a dad's night, or a teen night or a singles night or for a hike with friends. Whatever the case may be or the option that is presented that applies to you. Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. And have a little fun! Life is more fun when you have a community to share it with.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Then he says the following in verses 17-19
"Fig trees may not grow figs, and there may be no grapes on the vines. There may be no olives growing and no food growing in the fields. There may be no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the barns. But I will still be glad in the Lord, I will rejoin in God my savior. The Lord God is my strength."
in other words, we may be starving to death, our carcasses left out for the buzzards but I will be glad because this is God's plan and He will give us the strength we need.
Suddenly, I feel petty. I feel like my problems, although they seem tough to me, don't even compare to this and although, I do cry out to God and I do believe that his will is perfect, I wouldn't say I always rejoice in it. That's where I need to grow. Perhaps I am in the midst of growing in that area now. Whatever the case, I will rejoin in the Lord for He alone is my Savior and He alone gives me strength for whatever comes my way.
Monday, August 4, 2008
In a poll, In exchange for ten million dollars (really, right here, right now $10Million in cash):
25% of people would abandon their family
25% would abandon their church
23% would become a prostitute for a week
16% would give up their American citizenship
16% would leave their spouse
13% would put their children up for adoption
I know this adds up to more than 100%, that is because there was an alarming amount of people who said they would do more than one of those options for 10 million dollars. Two thirds of people polled would do at least one of those things.
That is astounding! two thirds of people would do at least one. I can imagine the people that are justifying it.
abandon your family, ok, i'd do it, i can send them money and they'd be better off
abandon your church, well, i'd still tithe, can you imagine the tithe check for my church
become a prostitute, it's only my body, it's not my heart, think of all the good i could do with 10 million dollars.
Is it really so easy to cast aside things that we have claimed are important in our lives. That's just nothing more than greed. The Word says "where your treasure is there your heart will be also". What do you treasure? do you treasure your children, your spouse, your church?
I know it's a crazy question, it won't ever happen. But think about it seriously...if it did...what would your answer be. Be honest with yourself, be honest with God. do you entertain the thought for just a moment? or do you quickly say, no amount of money on this earth, be it 10 million or 10 trillion is worth my family, my heart, or my soul?
What would your answer be?