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… 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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… 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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Behold, the valet went to retrieve the woman’s purse, and as he gathered it, he pondered that a woman’s life is like a purse.

He came upon the AUSTERE PURSE and raised his brows.  In this purse is found only the barest of necessities.  Driver’s license, money, and maybe a plastic card or two giving the Wegman’s Discount or entrance into the gym.

As the valet continued, he encountered the PLETHORIC PURSE and prepared to lift carefully as he was not wearing a lifter’s belt.  Looking inside this purse is truly an adventure.  Of course there is found inside the driver’s license, money, and a variety of plastic cards.  Perhaps there are old ticket stubs, a box of Kleenex, salt packets, grocery store receipts, make-up, hair brush, comb, and hair pick; last week’s church bulletin or the church phone list, this year’s photo brag book, dental floss, safety pins, enough ink pens to hand out to everyone during prayer time, old to-do lists, an assortment of chewing gums and a first-aid kit.  The PLETHORIC purse might also have a bib and an extra un-opened pacifier, even though the baby-stage is long past. Some of these types of purses also have collapsible cups, a poncho or two, a lighter, and perhaps even one of those silver blankets that are supposed to keep you warm, but seem too thin to actually do anything.  In the truly PLETHORIC purse, you will even find a fuel filter, two packages of instant hot chocolate and a roll of duct tape.

Finally the valet came upon the USEFUL PURSE, and the valet smiled.  Once again, the money, driver’s license and plastic cards.  But also a few coupons for today’s trip to the store, enough make-up to freshen up, pocket package of Kleenex, a single package of gum or breath mints, one hair utensil to get the job done, and a digital photo key chain.

She who has ears, let her hear.

Hear then, the parable of the purse.

The woman who carries the AUSTERE PURSE may be in too much of a hurry to enjoy life.  Her goal is to get there, legally with her driver’s license, pay for her purchase, and get home.  She is not in the mindset for a spontaneous stop to visit with a friend.  She is not prepared for those little emergencies that arise; therefore they become crises.  Her life is organized, but perhaps lacking beauty and wonder.

The woman who wields the PLETHORIC PURSE thinks she’s prepared for everything life throws at her.  She believes she has taken care to have a response for every problem, a cure for every ailment, and a word of encouragement for every down soul she meets.  In fact, she’s continually flustered and frustrated, so she’s ineffective with what she has.  If she could just find that hot chocolate she could have a meaningful visit with a friend.  This woman could be a blessing, but she’s too busy digging around the junk in her life to understand the real needs of those around her so her ministry is usually weak.  She wants to be helpful and available, but her burdensome approach to life is a hindrance to sincere ministry.  She has mistaken stuff for substance.

The woman toting the USEFUL PURSE is not burdened, but prepared.  She knows where she’s going and has the needed items to get the job done.  She is equipped to effectively handle emergencies, to be spontaneous in her response to events of the day, and react sincerely to opportunities for ministry.

So, what’s in your purse?  What is your approach to life, friends, and ministry?  Do you have things so streamlined that your ministry is shallow and your friends feel processed?  Are you so concerned with “getting it right” that you never get down to ministry or friendship?  Or are you the woman with the USEFUL PURSE?  Just ready to fulfill the call the Lord has put on your life, not stripping the call to the bare minimum nor losing the call in the midst of the stuff of life.

Linda Baker

For Women’s Ministry 2010

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backwards

Catherine Martin has written a great book that our women’s class is working through, “Trusting in the Names of God.”  So far it has been different from other books on this same topic as I expected her to list names and do a study on each of them. 

Rather, this book, though I haven’t finished it yet, seems to be leading us to study the names for ourselves and then will be providing supporting evidence on just why we can trust in the name of the Lord.   I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I’ve actually completed the book.  But don’t hold your breath.  While it’s meant to be a 30 day book, our class is taking it much slower than that. 

What has caused me to pause this week is the following statement that she makes on page 80:  “When the Old Testament people of  God made their declaration to God, their heart commitment influenced their relationship with the Lord, leading them to trust and obedience.”

What I am currently most interested in is the phrase: “their heart commitment influenced their relationship with the Lord”.  This is very revealing as you study the relationship and the significance of a personal commitment. 

Because they had made the commitment to Him, they were irrevocably bound into a relationship with Him.  That makes perfect sense to us, right?  Isn’t that the way it is now?  Hmm, is it?

Saying we’re His is easy to do.  But what about when the toilet backs up, or your car breaks down, or your seasonal work has expired, or when your economic situation has led you to despair? 

Or for some, what about when all the bills are paid, or you’ve just found out that you are the heiress to a large fortune, or business is booming?

Are your circumstances controlling your relationship with the Lord?  When things are bad, have you decided that the Lord has forsaken you and therefore you avoid Him?  When times are good, have you fallen prey to believing that you don’t need Him?  Do events, people, or economics influence your relationship with the Lord?

Or, as in the quoted statement, does your heart commitment influence your relationship with the Lord?  Have you, have I, decided that no matter what–good times or bad–my relationship with the Lord is most important?  This is, honestly, a difficult thing to write because I find myself falling short of that level of commitment.  I do find my relationship influenced by other things.  Things like how I feel physically, who hurt my feelings, my schedule, economics and the list can go on.  Perhaps you even have your own list.

With no foundation for the relationship, meaning a firm commitment, how then can I progress to the next part, “trust and obedience”? 

Too many of us are playing with the relationship part, looking for the warm fuzzy, without a firm and unmoveable heart commitment.

What I’m seeking to articulate may be helped as we look a human relationships.  Consider  a couple who know each other on a surface basis, they flirt and joke and have a pretty good time when they happen to meet.  But they have not commited their hearts to one another, so any real relationship is not happening.  Just shallow bantering. 

Compared with a couple who has made a heart commitment to one another who also flirts and has a fun relationship.  What is the difference?  The second couple trusts one another and the relationship is much richer and fuller and has substance incomparable to that of the first couple.

How different things could be if I were able to maintain my firm heart commitment, never wavering.  But many of us get it backwards sometimes.  We forget that a rich full relationship has to start with the commitment to belong.  It has to have a foundation that declares that all parties invloved are bound together, no matter what. 

God has made that declaration very clear.  Now, have I?

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hints of heaven

I realized it some time ago.

When there was no church calendar, when a missions conference was needed, when Kingdom Kid’s pre-school co-op needed field trips.  I realized that I have the spiritual gift of administration.

I truly love organizing events, groups, functions and watching the moments unfold with hints of heaven hidden within.  The newest administration thing I’m working on is the women’s ministry.  This is one, however, that is challenging in ways that I didn’t foresee so the dynamic of pulling this together is quite different.

But the reward is IMMENSE!

We had a gathering on Saturday.  Our gatherings have been a variety of things: game night, scrap book night, spa night which included a journey into the experience of foot washing, and Operation Christmas Child box compiling night–complete with piles and piles of wrapping!

Saturday was a prayer emphasis night with a dear sister sharing some of her insights about prayer–and then we prayed.  We prayed for the hurting nation of Haiti and we prayed for the college/military young people of our church.  What a blessing that was to join our hearts together for these things!

And then we enjoyed our “hang out” time.

There were numerous humorous moments during the evening.  There were serious discussions.  There was sharing of information.  But the thrill to my heart, as I observed first one group then another, was the underlying foundation of love — and the strengthened bond as we took time to just be together.

As we laughed, shared, cried and prayed I believe we each experienced moments with hints of heaven hidden within.

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I was thinking about this question today.  It’s interesting isn’t it?  I’m wondering what you would answer to this?  Please as you think about it, I would like to know what you think.

In the meantime, what does seeking God look like?

Well, I have observed that seeking God is taller than I am, by several inches in fact.  Sometimes, I am intimidated by the height of others.  But in this case, the height isn’t an issue because the heart is humble.  There is no desire whatsoever to tower above others, to appear larger than life.

Seeking God has dark hair and lively eyes.  Sometimes those eyes are dimmed by pain, but always those eyes are loving and observant.  Those eyes are reading the Bible, they’re watching–looking for Godly role models, closing in serious prayer.  Never do those eyes judge me; they question me sometimes, seeking to know the heart of the matter.

The character of seeking God — what a character!  Loving friends, enjoying good times and good pranks, helping others, praying, laughing.  Always willing to be a help.

The heart …seeking God has a hungry heart.  A heart that longs to know Him more, to be with Him, and to do things His way.  I have seen few hearts so hungry as this one.  It is amazing to me the eagerness and growth I’ve seen in this heart.

When I picture seeking God, I picture my friend Charlotte.  I pray for her often and am amazed as I watch God work in her life.  In the time I’ve known her I’ve been blessed to see someone who truly wants to be what God wants her to be.  She is continually aware that we need to “lay aside the old man” and become a new creature. 

As I think of Char, I think of a butterfly breaking out of the cocoon.  What a struggle it is sometimes to shed that skin; but what beauty awaits when that glorious creature finally takes to the skies.

Seeking God, seeing Char.  You Go Girl!

28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

From Isaiah 40

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trip saver

While we were away for our anniversary we did something kind of different for us.  As we were at the rental car desk, the agent asked if we wanted a GPS.  We looked at each other as we considered the daily cost of the little gadget and nearly simultaneously reached the conclusion that we’d buy our own.

So upon leaving the airport, we stopped immediately and bought one of those darling little things.  I thought it was just going to be a toy for Bud, but it turned out to be peace of mind for me.  I don’t navigate well; let me rethink that.  I don’t navigate well quickly.  I need time to ponder the map and understand what is happening where we currently are driving compared with where we need to be.

And usually something happens to require a “snap decision” — I’m not sure where that phrase comes from.   But it’s an accurate description of the process that occurs as you’re zooming along in the midst of traffic, see a sign that seems to be telling you the information you need and suddenly you find yourself following it.  And the navigator must find that place on the map and verify the accuracy of the decision–and if she’s not quick enough she will have to navigate an alternate route in the event decision was wrong.

I don’t know how those responsibilities are shared in your vehicle, but I suppose you’re getting the idea of how it works in our car.  And I usually don’t respond well.

So, back to the GPS.  We got our handy, dandy little gadget and found ourselves amazed and RELAXED!  San Antonio is definitely a city with highways and interstates coming from multiple directions, veering and overlapping.  It can be a truly crazy experience!  But “Tom” handled the situation quite nicely.

Of course, a couple of times we just couldn’t bring ourselves to trust him.  One of those times, we were trying to get to our hotel and Tom decided that we needed to see a different part of town than we had when we made the original drive from the airport over to the hotel.  The area looked too questionable, so we turned around and tried it ourselves.  In the end, we gave up and did it Tom’s way and found that if we’d just waited a minute longer we would have been in the back entrance of our hotel, rather than the front “one way” entrance. 

At times, we found ourselves making comparisons with our spiritual life.  We continue on our path as we think the Lord would have us.  But then something comes up that looks questionable so, in a panic, we turn around and try to navigate the process on our own…leaving our purpose just one or two intersections short of fulfilled. 

When we did those trip diversions, Tom didn’t say anything until it was evident that we didn’t take the instruction.  Then the gadget would just calmly say, “As soon as possible, turn around.”  And if we went beyond those directions, it would launch a recalculation…calmly, of course.  Sometimes we had to go some distance out of our way or through some areas of which we were unsure.  I guess that’s the price you pay for not listening.

And once we were back on the right track, the gadget just picked up the route as though nothing had happened…no berating, no condemnation. 

When we make mistakes in life, God urges us to repent, to follow His direction.  He is always waiting for us to come back onto His path and come into line with His directions.  Sometimes there are consequences to our diversions, but never condemnation in Christ.

It is an interesting analogy, not meant to diminish our Great God.  Our God is truly an infinite, all knowing God.  But isn’t it amazing that He allows us to make choices — whether good or bad –along the way?  He is always there to affirm His love even when we didn’t do things right.  Never, never is there condemnation.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, . . . Romans 8:1″

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