Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life is a Dream in the Making

I'm reading a book entitled Soul Cravings. I'm enjoying the book and just read something that struck me.

"Life is a dream in the making". I love that statement.

I remember watching my kids grow. As babies, they began to crawl. Once they tackled crawling, they began to walk. The obvious next steps were running and climbing. They weren't afraid of anything! The world was out there just waiting for them and they were ready to take it on and nothing was going to stop them. My boys saw a tree and they dreamed of climbing it and that's exactly what they did. As they grow older, they begin to dream of a career and a family and they start a course to complete that. Their life is a dream in the making.

But too often, we give up on our dreams or we end up sleeping through them. Life gets in the way, we settle into a routine, and we give up on our dream. Bad things happen and instead of continuing on our charted course, we give up on our dream. We meet with resistance to our dream, and we give up. We sought God about the dream, we made a plan, and then life happened and we just gave up.

And why is that exactly? Because we grew out of our childlike faith and no longer believe in the impossible. God loves to give us dreams that seem outrageous so we have to give Him the glory when we achieve it. Start believing again in the impossible. Turn on the Rocky theme music and practice having fierce faith. So you've taken a few punches, who cares! In Christ you are more than a conqueror! If you haven't achieved your God given dream, then God's not done yet!

Keep fighting for your dream! Keep seeking God about your dream. He will direct you and if you submit to God, you WILL be victorious!

Don't sleep through your life! God has great things planned for you and you can step into that today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lounging by the pool

Today, I learned the following lesson. Lounging by the pool is good medicine and can help you gain perspective. I highly recommend it.

This week I've had a bit of a frustrating week. I've been running a lot and since I came back from vacation, I had committed to not making a habit of that anymore. So today, I took the day off and went to visit a dear friend. We lounged by the pool and talked. We swam and played with the kids and talked some more.

I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. Too often we keep up such a fast pace that we never have a chance to relax. I used to be that person. I was so busy all the time and then I went on vacation. Oh, I won't go back to that busyness again. When we build margin and relaxation into our lives, we have time for refreshing. We have time to hear from God because we've taken a moment to shut up and sit down for a minute.

I used to fill so much of my time that I never had a moment to really rest and when I layed my head down to rest at night, I still didn't rest. My head was already onto the next thing, busily making lists and thinking about the schedule for the next day. When do you have time to sit and listen to God? Not talk to God and pray and ask for things, but just sit and truly LISTEN for Him.

My advice, get up a few minutes early and have your time with God. That piece of advice is obvious but often not followed. My other advice, build margin into your life, lounge by the pool, spend time with a good friend. And don't forget to thank God for the time of refreshing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

attitude of gratitude

This past weeken at church, the message was all about gratitude. Too often in today's society we feel entitled and therefore have ungrateful hearts. Too often, instead of being thankful for what we have been blessed with, we complain about what we don't have. So I'm trying to practice being thankful this week.

Yesterday, while at work, my computer was acting up. It's rather old and incredibly slow. I seriously have to click on something, go work on something else and then come back to see if it responded. And yesterday it seemed to be worse. So in keeping with the message this weekend, I thanked God for the computer. It may be slow, but at least I had one. And then I proceded to ask God to give me patience since I was growing more impatient by the moment.

As you can imagine, that was a BIG MISTAKE. It seems everything since then has taken two to three times longer than it should. The trip to the bank yesterday took longer. It took longer to get home, which put dinner behind, which put everything else behind. This morning on the way to pick up Kanani and then go to the bank and run the many errands I had before staff meeting, the light took forever and I think it even skipped a cycle! I was undone at that. I threw my hands up in the air and said "Really" knowing that God was somehow mocking me for asking for patience. Then my darling 9 year old son said, "what mom". And feeling completely justified by my attitude I said proudly, "this light is taking forever and I have places to be!" to which he replied, "so does everyone else but they're not complaining". Now I would like to say that I immediately saw how I was wrong and repented on the spot, prayed and had a wonderful teaching time with my son. I'd be lying.

I zipped my mouth closed and just said with my lips tightly shut together, "you're right, sorry". but in my mind all I can think is, how does he know they aren't complaining and i'll be sure to remember this the next time he's complaining about something.

I mean sure, we did have that wonderful teaching moment about five minutes later when i was ready to receive it, but at that moment, every piece of my flesh wanted to stomp my feet because it just wasn't fair, this is what i get for praying for patience. The rest of the day went much the same. I went to the bank where I learned that they had lost my cash deposit from the day before and had to take time to find it before I could send the western union payment for the purse order. Traffic was insane, i was constantly stuck behind someone doing (not even joking or exaggerating) 25 in a 45 mph zone.

Except through the rest of the day, I kept a better attitude. Sure, my nerves were a little on edge thinking about what would be delayed next, but when the delay came, I breathed through and tried to maintain patience and positive attitude. Instead of complaining, I tried to exercise my faith and do thank ups.

It's so easy to just complain and let it be, because it's unfair or its taking too long, or who really needs patience anyway right, things should just be in my timing. Our sinful nature, makes it all too easy to go to that place. But in the words of Casting Crowns "somewhere between who i was and who you're making me, somewhere in the middle you'll find me"

You see, I'm not happy with who I used to be and i'm not happy with somewhere in the middle. A couple of years ago I realized who God wanted me to be and all the work that had to be done in order to get there. Now I know that I won't be complete until His return, but I also know that He doesn't want me to just be happy with who I am right now and sit around waiting for Him. He wants me to be constantly working and growing. And sometimes that means, praying for patience, when your flesh screams, "NO DON'T DO IT! YOU'LL ONLY BE GIVEN SITUATIONS IN WHICH YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT!"

I believe that God will give me the patience I asked for. I believe I'll be tested. I also believe, that whether I ask for patience or not, I'll still be tested, so I might as well ask Him to equip me for it. So today, after my day of problems and impatience. I pray once again for God to equip me with patience. That I would learn, in the middle of circumstances that would cause me to grumble, I would stop and quickly have an attitude of gratitude.

Today I am thankful for my son, who represented God very well today in multiple circumstances that could have caused him to react poorly. I am thankful for my husband, who is a wonderful example of a man and father to our kids. I am thankful for my friends, for my church and leadership staff, I am thankful for my vehicle with air conditioning. It may not be beautiful but its functional. I am thankful for my computer at work. I am thankful for the home we have, God's continued provision. And I'm so very thankful for God's patience with me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

purity on tv

The focus at church this week is purity. I've tried to be careful about what I've watched on tv. I've had my eyes opened to a new level on what is impure. Well, today I had some free time and I saw there was a movie on the civil rights movement. It was an old movie so I felt secure it wouldn't have any impurity in it. The movie wasn't bad but after the movie was over I let the credits roll because I liked the music and started to straighten up the house. All of a sudden this commercial comes on and flashes pictures of male actors and asks "who do you fantasize about?"

I promptly replied, "my husband!" and turned off the tv before anymore could pass by my eyes.

No wonder the divorce rate is so high today. If we fantasize about actors, we are holding our spouses to an unrealistic expectation. Believe me when I say that not even the actors are that way in real life.

Let's get our heads out of the books and turn away from the tv screen and turn toward our husbands. Tell your husband today how grateful you are for him. How wonderfully made by God he is. And remember when he is imperfect, so are you. I mean really, I am no more of a picnic to live with than my husband is. I thank God for my husband. He is an amazing, thoughtful, loving man.

Who do I fantasize about? My husband! And he is so much better than a fantasy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Loving Life

One of the leaders of my church is reading through the Bible and he's posting on what he's reading every day. Today his reading should include Romans 12. Now, I am actually reading in Hebrews, but I love Romans 12 so I thought I would include it in my reading today. Oh what a treat! It's full of such goodness, such wonderful advice on how to live your life.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed any longer by the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I love that verse. Whatever has happened in the past, whatever thoughts, memories plague your mind, God can renew your mind if you'll let Him. And when you do, your entire life will change. You will learn to love what God loves, desire what He desires, and yes, even love the people he loves.

"do not think of yourself more highly than you ought but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you"

We all think rather highly of ourselves don't we? Especially when things are going well and we've had a few successes. It's easy to think of ourselves highly. But we must remember that every success is from God, we wouldn't have it without him. But I think we could also go so far, with this verse, as to say don't think of yourself as too low either. So many of us are filled with self contempt but I believe this verse is telling us to cut that out. We are to think of ourselves with sober judgment. That means to look at ourselves with reality, see us the way God sees us. Well God sees us as His children. As His child, I wouldn't be worthless. I wouldn't "suck", or whatever you tell yourself when you put yourself down. You are a child of God and He loves you.

I love 17-21 where it tells you to love your enemies. Pastor Chris gave a sermon once that told us to "love the hell out of them". We are to love them, not for the purpose of "heaping burning coals on their head" in an act of vengeance but to love the hell out of them and transform their lives.

And what about the phrase "heap burning coals on their heads". In my study Bible it said that this may refer to an Egyptian tradition of carrying a pan of burning coals on their head as a public act of repentence. This would mean that when they use that phrase, we are loving them to bring them to a place where they would be repentent and have their lives transformed by God.

I love Romans 12. Such a wonderful picture of how we should represent Christ. Something I'm making a regular habit of asking myself and my kids whenever I'm speaking or perhaps reacting to something. How well am I representing Christ right now? If I react this way, will I represent Him well?

How well are you representing Christ today? Read Romans 12, you'll love it.