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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

… a moment …

I told you about that facebook chat didn’t I?

  It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories. 

I shared that a little slice of time was so precious … and that God loves our little slices of time with Him.

But, as I re-read the post, I know I didn’t tell you.

It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

There are moments that shine in our lives; moments that exhilarate; moments that suffocate; moments that feel like hours; moments that sweep us off our feet.

The moment I saw Titus’ message was a moment that took my breath away.

           It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take
but by the moments that take our breath away.

~ Hilary Cooper

That was a moment … that is what life feels like.

 

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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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I needed a jump-start today–this week.

My motivation has been so low.  I tend to blame it on the weather.  The dreariness just keeps hanging on, with a deep chill that hits me hard.  Ah, but then it’s not a tsunami.  What do I have to complain about?  As I watched the destruction last week, my mind went immediately to their weather, or climate.

The Sendai area has an average 30° low with 50° high for March.  I cannot imagine being wet, homeless, devastated, and COLD.  I am blessed.  The thermostat is just here beside my desk–and it works.

Forgive me Lord.

Subject change–

There is a beautiful verse in Psalm 84. (v11)

The Lord, God is a sun and shield; he will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

That’s the Baker paraphrase.  I learned it in KJV and have altered the words slightly…but that’s how I say the verse.

The Lord is a sun:  this turns my mind toward Provider.  The sun is the source of energy that grows our plants which results in food for animals and food for us.  The sun supplies our bodies with Vitamin D.  Lack of sun results rickets.  The sun heats our planet…ah yes, heat…

The Lord is a shield:  Protector.  What else is a shield for?  Windshield, battle shield, police shield, and…

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great.  (Psalm 18:35)

Total Protection through the shield of salvation…Jesus and all He did for us.

The Lord God is my Provider and Protector… that’s the part of the verse that stays with me today.

My daughter just informed me that it’s an AWESOME day outside … so I’m going to go absorb some Vitamin D, and chase out some of that deep chill.

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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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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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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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Themed Blog

Blogs are amazing things.  We get to peer into the lives of others to learn about their success stories, their driving purpose, their failures, their opinions.  It’s a whole transparent world out there, just waiting to be explored.

Most bloggers have a theme to their site.  My friend Shari has an incredible blog with a cross stitching theme at Shari’s Sharings.  Others have bloggin’s on how to write, beautiful girlhood, femininity, family issues, etc.

I think one of my stumbling blocks to blogging is that “I have no theme” …

I homeschooled my children for a long time and believe homeschooling is a great option…but I also believe homeschooling is a great option for anyone but it’s not for everyone….  So if you do a search for homeschooling bloggers, you’ll find a great many out there with wonderful suggestions and great attitudes that will inspire you to keep going …

I have two wonderful daughters in public school now, but I’m not sure that either they or the school really want me writing about them and the experience on a daily basis.

My husband owns a funeral home and I work very closely with him there.  No body work … it’s all media.  Perhaps you’d like to hear some of my stories and opinions generated from that rich environment ???  There I have it!  When I blog on Friday’s, I can call it —  Funeral Friday!  (I truly love alliteration!  Ask our church members, our events are usually “named” by me and they usually sport alliteration!)

I am very active at church, but have no one single passion of service.  I love working with the music team in the Powerpoint capacity and I love singing when they can tolerate me.  I enjoy working with the women’s ministry and seeing women grow closer for kingdom unity.  I love decorating for dinners and such.

I have a son in the Air Force — an amazing son, I should say.  But while I pray for him and support him, I don’t really want to make him the focus of my blog.

I have a dear daughter who works at the University Library while she is getting her graduate degree in library science.  She does a wonderful job entertaining us all on Facebook, so you can check her out there.

When I look at my keywords, I find that I have a pretty broad range of ideas going here.  I suppose that gives me freedom to explore all kinds of topics, right?

Theme-less Linda, that’s OK, right?

If you want to read a marvelous blog, check out this one:  http://networkedblogs.com/ezd9Y

I see a number of themes running through this one that inspire me.  Ah!  Maybe that’s what I want to do… Inspire You!  Inspiration doesn’t need a theme because it actually already has one.

God is our theme of inspiration.  All truly inspiring things are born of God and our faith…

I’ll ponder that… a blog to inspire.

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