Thursday, September 29, 2011

Too Much Of A “Good” Thing

JunkWell, we are finishing our move into the trailer . . . I HOPE!  It has been a LONG journey, stalled by school starting, and many other distractions both joyful and frustrating.  And ya know what?  WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!!

Is this a complete and utter shock to me?  No!  Although, the scary part is that we have actually gotten rid of a lot the past couple years.  Glad we did that ;)

So, again we go through the process of deciding what we REALLY need as opposed to what we don’t need and can pass along.  Do we really need the shish kabob skewers that we have never used other then maybe a couple of times as (really sharp) marshmallow toasting sticks?  No.  Pass them along!  Do I really need like three world maps?  No.  Pass them along.

And then there is the box that remained packed the whole 2 1/2 years that we lived in the last house.  I CONQUERED IT!!!  Receipts from three years ago?  GONE!  And guess what?  I even found a $50 grocery gift card that we haven’t been able to find all during that time, among the worthless receipts and other stuff fit for recycling.  Yay!  I really needed that right now!  Thanks God!

Two verses come to mind right now for me that deal specifically with this.  They are Matthew 6:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

If I have a house full of stuff, but cannot use my gift of hospitality in my own home, then I have let Satan lessen my effectiveness as a follower of Christ.  And while I can keep every kitchen tool and clothing item I own, one can definitely have too much of a “good” thing.  But the best “thing” is the peace that God offers when I let go of the rest.

Thank you God for providing all that I need . . . and more.  Please help me to know when to hang on to something and when to let go, and bless others.  I want to give my life to you in service in ALL areas of my life.  I want peace for my family, and especially my husband when he comes home from work.  Thank you for your guidance in this area.  I love you Lord.  Amen

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If God Is The “I AM”, Who Am I?

This is a question that I’ve had so many times on my journey to adulthood spiritual maturity.  (Read 1 Peter 2:1-3)

Who am I?  I know that I have a purpose, but what is it?  As a young adult of about 20, I had a moment of calling.  It was a day like any other day, but at the same time beautiful and sunny.  As I drove down the road, in the car by myself, suddenly something felt different.  I felt called to do something great for God, but I had no idea what.  The feeling was weird and amazing all at once.  And my reaction was much like Moses’ reaction when called to lead the Israelites.  “Me?!  But I’m broken!”  I didn’t feel qualified to do something great in my own life, let alone something great for God.

In that moment He gave me the vision of men’s work boots pulverizing glass on a concrete floor.  Then the glass was loaded into a furnace and formed into the most beautiful and colorful vase that I have ever seen.  I felt that God was telling me that any brokenness that He was to allow in my life was simply a means of making me into the beautiful work of art that He’d meant for me to be.  I wouldn’t fully realize the true meaning of this until I had gone through the first 12 years of marriage with my husband.

We have now run the gamut of our original marital vows to each other.  We have been richer, poorer, better, worse, sick, and in health.  We’ve had a lot of the good, some of the bad, and a little of the ugly in our life and marriage together.  However just as “a cord of three strands is not easily broken”, so a marriage with God as the third strand will be able to find growth and learning even in adversity.  Even after 12 years of marriage, depression, post-partum depression, two lay-offs, bankruptcy, and other financial challenges, I can still say honestly that my husband is my soul mate, best friend, and partner in ministry.  We are a team, my hubby, God, and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After 11 years of marriage my husband and I decided to join a push to involve more church members in a small group bible study.  Needless to say God’s plan was a little different.  We have now hosted a bible study for the homeless and needy in our church for over a year now, and are loving it!  We spend time with our friends there during the study, and afterwards during dinner.  And our three beautiful children join us, and are not afraid to say hi or talk to someone that is homeless.  Everything we have been through in the 11 years before this has trained and prepared us to serve in “such a time as this”.

Thank you Lord for all of the experiences, details, and plans that help to create the masterpiece that you see in me.  Please guide me in times of stress or trouble during my “training”, and help me to glean whatever wisdom you wish for me to learn and use to grow for you.  I love you Lord!  Thank you for being my guidance and provision in everything that comes my way. Amen

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parallels, Prophesies, and Other God Stuff

Parallel and perpendicular

God amazes me!  I have heard Him described as many things artistic.  He is everything creative, and complex, and beautiful.  He is love.  He is justice and righteousness.  He is . . . everything!  In Exodus 3 Moses even asks God who He is.  And God refers to Himself as “I AM”.

God has His hand in everything.  He uses the good.  He uses the bad.  In all circumstances He is there, and He uses all people for His purpose.  Even Satan reports to Him for permission in all things.  (See Job 1)  God orchestrates every last detail to work within this symphony of His creation and purpose.  Think about that!

Interesting, but have you noticed the parallels in the bible and in life?  Events in the Old Testament parallel events in the New Testament, and Heavenly concepts parallel things on Earth.  Truths are revealed in the study of these parallels.  This is so complex, yet so simple.

For instance, there is the story of Abraham and Isaac and the life of Jesus.  Abraham was called on by God to sacrifice his only son, whom God has given him after decades of his wife being barren.  Because of Abraham’s willingness to obey, even to the point of lifting a knife to kill his son, God stopped him and provided a ram (or male lamb) instead.  Generations later God provided the lamb of God, Jesus, as a substitute sacrifice for His children here on earth.  And in doing so, God sacrificed His only son.  Wrap your brain around that one!

Then there's the parallel between our marriage relationship to our spouse, and Jesus’ relationship with his bride, the church.  Or what about the parallel between our relationships with our children, and the relationship that God has with us as His children? 

What about the connection that we have with nature?  Not mother nature, but nature as in God’s creation.  Did you know that pineapple is a natural decongestant?  Or that many natural or whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain phytosterols which naturally help regulate cholesterol?  God is in every detail of all of His creation!  Which begs the question, “Why do we keep looking to chemicals, scientists, and companies to keep us healthy?” 

God, the I AM, has it ALL handled!  This truth has been revealed to me time, and time, AND TIME AGAIN!  God IS and I am NOT!  Phew! What a relief!

But in the meantime,  you’ll find me continuing to study His word while listening for that “still small voice” of His ;)

Lord God you are in all things, and you ARE ALL THINGS!  Thank you for your truths.  Thank you for your guidance and your word.  Please continue to reveal to me the things that you see fit to reveal, and help me to follow you and continue to live in your will.  Thank you for taking care of all the details in my life, and thank you for the gentle reminder that I need not worry about it.  You have it all handled.  Amen.

God Bless ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Always With Us

The Road

It is hard to say goodbye to those we love, especially when they have been with us most or all of our lives.  They are special, and they leave an enormous void when they leave.

My Uncle Johnnie was one such person . . . his wife another.  Not only did they mean a lot in their own right, but they filled a void left by two people that I had never even met . . . my grandparents.

So understandably, we were all sad when we knew that he was going to die.  But I think we were much more sad for us then for him.  He lived a good long life.  His wife was already gone.  His health was starting to fail. The one time butcher who made the best kielbasa around, and the man who loved golf with a passion, could no longer enjoy either food or golf.  However he played his jokes and pranks almost until the very end. 

And then Uncle Johnnie was gone . . . or was he? 

I saw him as relatives recounted all of his famous jokes and pranks at the visitation, and there were more laughs than tears.

I saw him in my son’s story of the hand he saw waving out of the stained glass during the funeral.  That sounds like something that he’d do.

Then there was the time that we passed the golfer teeing up on a green on the way to the cemetery, while in the funeral procession.  Turning to my husband I commented on what a nice place “that would be to golf”, and then turned back to realize that we were actually driving past part of the cemetery that we were headed to. 

And last but not least there was the pigeon that we saw actually using the crosswalk on the way from the dinner after the funeral.

Is Uncle Johnnie gone?  No, I believe he’s made it perfectly clear that he’s still with us. His body, like all of our bodies, was just a tent.  His soul and spirit live on.

Lord, it is hard to not be able to see and talk to the ones we love here on earth.  We love so many of those that you have put into our lives, and we miss them when they are gone.  Help us to see them living on in our lives.  Thank you for always being there for us when we need you.  Amen

Blessings ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

God Keeps His Promises


We finally did what I wasn’t looking forward to doing again.  We bought the trailer.

God has given me a peace about this move.  You know that peace that transcends all human understanding? (See Philippians 4:4-9)  Got it!  Even when the woman selling the trailer started threatening to drive me nuts in the whole process of buying the trailer, there was a measure of peace.  Mild annoyance at times, yes, but peaceful annoyance . . . if that even makes sense.

But never the less, through it all, the biggest fear through all of this was still in the back of my head taunting me.  Satan likes to do that, you know.  “Don’t do it, you’ll be stuck.  You know that you don’t want to do it, so don’t do it.  God wouldn’t really ask you to do this, would He?”

Then I would remind myself of all of the prayers that my husband and I have offered up together throughout all of this.  I was reminded of the provision that God gave us when the trailers that we looked at became nicer as they became less expensive.  I was reminded of the extreme and overwhelming peace that He gave me when I truly gave this all to Him in submission to His will.  And I was reminded of the time that He led me to look up the name of the street that we will be moving to and found out that it meant “Of God”, “Lord”, or “Of the Lord”.  How can you argue with that?!  I believe my response to that one was, “Well alrighty then!”

The irony is that it was shortly after we began this journey into buying a trailer that my husband was called in to interview for a job.  But this wasn’t just any job, it was a job that would pay enough to allow us the freedom to live somewhere other than this trailer.  Interestingly enough, three different people asked me during this time if I would move somewhere else given the chance to be able to afford more.  Three times I answered the same.  “We would still buy the trailer.  This is what God wants, and that is the important thing.  He has His reasons for wanting us here.  I just need to work through my feelings about this.”  Within a few days of the third person asking my husband got the job!  It didn’t occur to me until later that Jesus did much the same thing in speaking to the apostle Peter after his resurrection when he asked three times, “Do you love me?”  And then Jesus called him to follow him. (Read about it here in the book of John.)

So we have acted in obedience, even when it didn’t make sense.  We have bought another trailer, when I swore we would NEVER buy one again.  And wouldn’t you know it, we hadn’t been home more than a couple hours when it started to rain.  But it was still bright and sunny!  “I wonder if there is a rainbow.”  And there was!

“Do you remember why God made a rainbow appear to Noah?”, my husband asked.  The rainbow had appeared as God’s promise that He would never destroy the earth with a flood again.  Was this His promise to me that He would never allow our finances to be destroyed because of the foolish purchase of a trailer?

Maybe you think the connection is kind of a stretch, but this one’s between me and God.  And He ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Lord, we thank you again for your provision.  We thank you for your guidance, and we thank you for your confirmation when we choose to do things in obedience to you.  You are God, and I am not.  Your ways are not always my ways, but they are ALWAYS for the best, in your understanding of the greater plan that you have for all of us.  I praise you Lord that you take care of us.  I praise the fact that the God that you are in the bible is the God that you still are, you are unchanging.  Thank you for ALWAYS keeping your promises, even when we as humans sometimes fail to.  Amen.

Blessings ;)