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Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

… lavish some love …

Thanksgiving week is upon us.  To many that means Black and pre-Black Friday. 

But in the truest sense, it is a call to return to a fundamental need of the heart…that of offering praise to something bigger, better, and greater than ourselves…praise to God. 

This will be a very full week because shortly after Thursday, a huge praise event will happen in our family…Titus will return from Afghanistan!  It’s been six long months, and these next few days will be longer. 

I was visiting facebook on Friday, shortly before lunch hour ended.  I noticed the little green dot indicating that Titus was on the system.  I messaged him quickly…no response.   Wait for it …. ugh. 

“Titus PLEASE be on here, I have to go to work soon!”   … “Titus is typing…”

YES!

 “yes! im on!
hi mom!!”

Sweet words!  It’s just been a couple of months since we chatted before, but oh such sweet words.
 
So, after pulling myself together, we had a nice little chat.
 
I am so thankful, even still, for that small amount of time with him.  A small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love. 
And a living lesson that I don’t always have to have a huge slot of time to talk with God.  He does love that too…but so He also loves a small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love.  amen amen amen.
 
Lavish some love today.
 
 

 

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… warning signs …

There are warning signs in our lives that we have moved off our purpose.

A couple of those signs are …

Planning to do it tomorrow.  Sometimes I get a great idea.  Yes!  I’ll do that tomorrow.  Sometimes I see something that I really need to do.  Yes! I’ll do that tomorrow.  Sometimes I’m prodded about a mission of mercy.  Yes! I’ll do that tomorrow.  Tomorrow promises a rich and full life, does it not?

Another sign is the loss of joy in the journey.  I love that phrase — “joy in the journey.”  I believe I first heard it from a Michael Card song.

There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

This has been my warning sign.  Loss of joy in the journey.  My purpose is muddled, mish-mashed by an array of urgent responsibilities many of which I don’t like.  From many of which I don’t receive a sense of fulfillment or validation.  So I have pushed my way through, like a highway truck without the snow plow, in an attempt to accomplish the tasks that are necessarily a part of my life.

From the first, I had begun this blog with the very firm conviction that I would not dwell upon the dark, whisper my whines, or lament life.  I have come to see that this is a noble but unworthy, unrealistic thought.  For each of our lives veer into darkness, dip into whines, and sometimes delve into lusty laments.

What in me wants to hide that from you?  At first, it was truly a desire to be an encouragement by sharing the uplifting parts of my life.  Later, it became a stubbornness to be transparent.  Two extremes, same result.

But how can you know the highpoints of what God is doing with me if I fail to reveal the low points?  And how can you believe me to be real if my life sounds like a fairytale?  Rest assured, I don’t want to be a melancholy momma.  But I also don’t want to be a flibbertigibbet.  (Ok, confession.  I just learned that word and had to use it…isn’t it great?)

Back to “joy in the journey” . . .

I think I’m finding my way again…I see snippets of joy in my journey.

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draw your prayer

Sometimes, staying focused in prayer is difficult for me.  So I tried this experiment.  I “drew” while I prayed.  Actually, the concept is based on a book entitled Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth.

I found her method of coloring to be somewhat distracting because I was frequently choosing a color and became caught up in that process.  My method forces me to to concentrate a little more on the people and the prayer.

In the photo below you will see a six-paned window.  We have several of these in our home, which is what inspired this particular picture.  Each of the panes is dedicated to one member of our family.  Where the curtain splits a pane, I also included prayers for the people my children were dating at the time.

The frame around the panes contains notes that I found to be important to us at the time.  And a Bible verse–Psalm 122:1  “Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.”

As I filled each pane with prayer requests, I was praying for that person.  After I had the inked portions laid down, I then went back and shaded the panes…praying once again for the person in that window.

This process covered my family with prayer for a couple of hours that day.  Obviously I don’t do this every day.  But when I do it, I come away feeling more focused about each person I pray for.   I have the confidence that the Lord heard my prayers–rather, the prayer of my heart, as I poured out all the thoughts, concerns, hopes, and dreams I hold for each person.

This is a very simple drawing, as you can see. (In fact, I didn’t even finish the frame on this drawing.  When I finished the panes, I had a peace and sense of completion, so I ended there.)  So you don’t need to be overly gifted in drawing.  Just willing to give it a try.  It might not be something that you connect with, but I’ve found it to be good for me sometimes.

Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Psalm 122:1

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sunday

In thinking about what I would blog about on Sundays, I started wondering about church and church attendance: who goes, why people go, what people think about church.

Going to a service on Sunday is important to many people, but others have a different view.  I’d like to hear what you have to say, via poll.  Perhaps other polls will be added in future Sundays.

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nigh

I noticed that the last two of my posts used this word “nigh” — sounds like “sigh.”

And I wondered about that word.  I know it means, in some instances, “almost.”  My grandmother would use the word often in her speech.  Oh, she had colorful speech; not vulgar at all, but colorful.  She would say thing’s like “It’s nigh onto time for getting supper.”

But this isn’t the sense that King James was speaking… “God is almost” … I don’t think so.

Rather, in the previous blogs, “nigh” refers to God being near.

Isn’t that a strange thought.  The God of the universe wanting to be near to us.  He wants to be near to you, to me.

He wants to be near to where I am.  As you study the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, you will see a picture of inexplicable nearness.

He wants to be near in relationship.  He wants to be my best Friend.  I love John 15 where Jesus talks about our relationship with him.  And the books of 1, 2, and 3 John shows Jesus’ heart for relationship with us.  But the ultimate picture of His desire to be near to us is viewing the walls He broke down to get to us.

He wants to be near in time.  Does that sound strange to you?  It’s more like He wants to be in the fiber of our present existence and our future hope.  He wants to be ever-present in our lives … the One to whom we run when things are bad, the One who hears our hopes and dreams, the One who shares our truest longings.

Being near to God is so much more than that little “nigh” implies.

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nine’s

I was looking through some of my jotted down memories from the busiest days of mothering. . . a four year old, three year old, and an infant.  Even at a young age we were trying to train up these children in the way they should go, so we were  working on memory verses.

My three year old son had his own version of James 4:8:

“Draw nine to God and He will draw nine to you.”

Nine is a pretty good number, don’t you think…I sure hope I explained the verse to him after I wrote the quote down for infamy.  And we were using an older version for this memory verse — Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.  Nigh is a very old vocabulary word for “near.”

As I think about this, I am very thankful for the promise found there.  When  I’ve pulled away, or allowed myself to be pulled away by the things of this world, I can make a correction in my course.  There is no required set of classes to take; no formula to incorporate … just draw near.

Draw near.  Stop what I’m doing and allow myself time to come near to Him.

And, guess what?  No guessing needed.  The Bible says that He will draw near to me.  He’s waiting patiently for me to recognize my busyness and my need.  I just need to run to Him; He opens His arms to bring me near.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Remember … NINE’s!

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evan

I watched a movie last spring that has come to mind recently.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  Evan Almighty.  (This isn’t a movie review or even a recommendation, you’ll have to check a review site and see if you want to watch it.)  Honestly, I watched it because Jamie Morrison, from The Power Team, kept referring to my husband as Evan.

Morgan Freeman, loosely representing the Holy Spirit, encouraged the characters to consider just what they were asking when they prayed.  If they were praying for their family to grow closer together, did they expect rosy days, sweet smiles, hugs and kisses?  The implication was, if that is what they immediately expected as a result of their prayers, they would be disappointed.

As the movie developed the idea, the family went through difficult events.  But along the way, things began to happen to shape that family into a caring unit.  The prayer was, indeed answered, but not without stretching the people involved.

It strikes me that we, in our churches, pray regularly for unity, harmony; to be in one accord.  Our fervent prayer is that God would make us one.  What a great testimony to our community to see people who love God and each other.

And we expect rosy days, sweet smiles, hugs and kisses.

Strength and bonding come from trial and pressure.   For instance, what happens when a glue stick is rubbed on the back of a photo and the photo is simply laid on the paper?  Not much, I’d say.  But when you press the photo onto the paper, the two will stay together.

So we pray this ethereal request for unity and we don’t evaluate the possible consequences of getting what we ask for.  Perhaps it will take lots of trial and pressure to transform our local body of believers into a true picture of the living and loving Lord.  Things could get really bad; they might even get really personal.

So when we pray for unity, are we also saying that we’ll stick around for the transformation process?  This is a grievous point that I don’t believe we American Christians have seriously evaluated.  Do we really mean it when we say we want to be one…or are we thinking that we want the other guys to conform to us?  Conformation, not transformation.

Transformation affects all of us, but some of those praying for it flee.  This exodus from the local church when trials and pressure come cannot be pleasing to our Lord.  But those who remain, work through it, grieve their unnecessary losses, and are stronger for having chosen to bond rather than run.

So when you pray, consider that the end result you’re seeking may actually be a process that requires time and pain.  Then decide if you mean it so much that you will remain and claim the victory of unity with your local church.

 

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