Because I love them

Put me in a room with a child and fifteen minutes later I will love them.  Some kids it doesn't take fifteen seconds.  When I find adults difficult to take I imagine them at five years of age and that almost always helps.  I love the mysteries in each person, and I'm hooked on watching them unfold.

I grew up in a very structured world that had very clear ideas about what kind of people God made and how everyone should express the character God had given them.  The older I get and the more people I watch blooming and growing, the more I realize we really are too limited to know what God would do and how he would do it.  I'm  trying to give up categorizing and controlling in favor of observing and appreciating other people.  
I know how much I love it when someone does that for me.

Grateful

Life has been so very busy lately.  Working, running North for church and band performances, South for family and band rehearsals and ministry and more work...busy, busy, busy!!!  At times it seems as though my husband and I are constantly heading in opposite directions and barely have time to speak to one another.  


A few nights ago Philip spent the night away from home, and when he called to tell me goodnight, I told him that it was reminiscent of when we were courting.  My heart leaped when he said, "I'd court you all over again!"  As a matter of fact, those words resound in my head on a daily basis.  I cherish every moment that we have together, and I love that he does the same.  We recently discovered that we had a weekend with no commitments and when I was checking with him to see if we had anything planned, he responded with, "SHHH!!!  Don't tell anyone!"  Five minutes later he had three people try to make plans, and he turned them down, telling them that we were going into hiding for the weekend.  That speaks volumes to me, as one of my love languages is "quality time".  When I see him purposely set aside time and guard it fiercely against the onslaught of endless activities,  nobody could ever convince me that I was anything other than deeply loved and highly valued!  I am so very grateful, and I breathe a prayer of thanks to the Lord every day for blessing me with a love that has shown itself to be "exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or imagine..." 

Surprise!

    Three weeks ago, we drove my mom back to where she lives with my sister in Va. As we did, our car broke down. My sister and her husband graciously offered their van to take to FL to complete our trip. There were no rental cars available, so we took them up on it. Our car has been there ever since, and we needed to go get the car. Conveniently, the weekend after our return was also the weekend of my mom's surprise 70th birthday party. My sister Cheryl had also planed to get Sarah that weekend to go to her home. So, we were all at Lynn's home for very good reasons but the most important was mom's party. However she was completely unaware of this at the time.
    My mom's friend was to come get her and take her some place while we went to the church to set up. Her friend was late and it made us late getting to the church. However, when we got there, we had our choice of where to have the event. An air conditioned room that was already set up, or a pavilion that was totally not. We took the room.  All was set up & the last person arrived, just before mom got there. Mom was very surprised. It turned out perfectly.
    Only God could plan our car to brake down, Cheryl to have time off and want to get Sarah, Sarah to have stayed with Lynn while Paul and I went back home, all necessitated going to Lynn's home, and the church only had that weekend available. This all worked out for mom's party to be a total surprise. Sometimes God surprises us too.
    A man makes his plans, but his steps are ordered by The Lord.

The Same.

     This morning I read several Bible passages about love. I need more in my life. The fact that I have become too dogmatic and isolating for my own good, has recently become apparent to me. Love has nothing to do with being right all the time, but everything to do with what God wants.
     I hear all the time from people who have not really read the Bible deeply that the vengeful God of Israel could not possibly be the same as the God who sent us Jesus in the Christian Bible. This morning's paassages spoke the exact opposite. This God is One. This God loves profoundly.
     From Exekiel 33:10 and on God makes an passionate plea for the wicked to turn from sin because He is not willing that any should perish. He sent Exekiel to be a watchman and warn that God was upset with His people's sin. He sent Exekiel to plead for them to return to God and forsake idols of unrighteousness. His reasons are, He loves His people, wants to feed them personally, and like a father speaking to a child He says, "Do not make me punish you for this, turn away from wrong."
     In Romans 8 Paul tells us we can not turn from wrong doing, but on this point, God again made a way. Not wanting that any should perish, God gave us His righteousness. The worst of all sinners, even I, can have flat out righteousness that gains salvation from the death of Jesus and belief in His resurrection. Out of love, He said our past was over we could have His life. To read of grace and love in both parts of the Bible is to truly understand the plan God has for us. Believe and be saved today.

   Here is the passage from Exekiel 33:10-16 that shows us the loving God of Israel:

10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GodI have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways,for why will you die, O house of Israel?
12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousnesswhen he sins. 13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. 14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die.16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

Running on Empty

   

There are many days that I roll out of bed and hit the ground running. I fly from one task or appointment to the next rarely breaking stride. Lately, however, I find myself simply running out of steam. I fail to accomplish what I set out to do and end up frustrated. This is one of those days.
    I was late for my first appointment thanks to an uncooperative child. I had to cancel my next appointment due to locking myself out of the house and having to send my daughter through a window. My third appointment lasted longer than I had planned for. After losing my keys for the second time in one day and then driving 35 minutes (arriving 15 minutes late), my fourth appointment was cancelled due to an illness.
   In the midst of all of this, I was dealing with a whole mess of what I will call "stuff". Today feels like a total bust. Nothing accomplished. Nothing resolved. Exhausted. Depleted. Defeated.
   Today is coming to a close, and I am already trying to plan for what is to come when my eyes open tomorrow morning. These are the times when I desperately need to be refilled and recharged with hope for a new day. So for tonight, I will find comfort in Romans 15:13 which says "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit".

As Big as Christmas

Secrets are always a burden, even the good ones. Right now I have a secret the size of Christmas. All I want to do is talk about it, but the minute I do, it's over. So, I'm sitting on the secret like a dragon sits on its gold horde, zealously refusing to allow a peep to escape and roaring with fire when anyone else makes a peep. The secret is tattered and torn with such loving care, but still mine, mostly.

Spiritual secrets can be like that. You have a new insight into God, or your relationship with him takes on a new dimension. A spiritual practice begins a deep renewal in your life. All you want to do is share your secret. The burden of carrying such joy seems unbearable, but the moment you let it go, it's gone. You haven't allowed it its full time to work. You shared before you understood. It can feel like you'll never understand.
Have faith that even imperfectly kept secrets will have their perfect work in you. After all he who began the good work in you is known for perfection, to imperfectly quote a phrase. Keep going even when your bubble is burst. 

The Passion of His Heart


We are beginning a journey to reach the hearts of the broken, the outcast, and the hurting.  Our heartbeat in general has been to share the absolute goodness and grace of God, and to allow His life and love to flow through us to those who may not feel comfortable walking into a church.  
In gathering together to seek the face of God and His direction for this new venture, the question has been put to us, "If you had the world's ear for just 5 minutes, what would you want to say?"  A few have begun to share what the Lord has placed on their hearts, and I have been seeking how to share what is on mine. Many times, my inspiration comes from music and movement, and this time is no different.  The song Hung The Moon speaks from the perspective of the Uncreated One, who created us for the purpose of living in intimate relationship with Him, and reveals His passion and desire for that relationship, and His willingness to do whatever it takes to remove all barriers and to restore that level of intimacy with us.  Please take a moment to close your eyes and listen to the song, and hear His heartbeat for you...




Beauty in His Sight

    As a child I craved attention. As I grew up I learned that being an attractive female gained the attention I craved. So I dressed as provocatively as allowed by my parents, which was not at all really. I was a size 4 at 22 years old and blessed with attractive looks. I was not blessed with confidence though. I thought if men liked me and wanted me, I was worth something.
    Then God changed me and I didn't want that attention. Desiring attention from all men went away and I became disgusted to the point of being ill, when guys would leer at me. I gained weight, I guess subconsciously, to better avoid unwanted attention. Now I'm a size 12, dress very modestly and don't take as much time with my looks. I don't get as much attention. I don't like my size but it's comfortable.
    The other day a young attractive guy winked at me. I was like, What? I said something to my coworker about it. She said, of course he winked at you, your beautiful. I said, I use to be beautiful, but not now. Her mouth opened as she breathed in loud and hard. She said, you ARE beautiful, stop putting yourself down! Later that night I thought about my earlier life and how I had been utterly vain, on many diets, spent thousands of dollars on beauty products and expected every man's attention, then wondered why, if I didn't have it. Was something wrong with me, was my hair not in place, what? Later, I was seriously bothered by getting attention. Could I find a middle ground?
    Then it came to me. I, can look at an attractive guy and say, "Wow, great handy work God, what an artist You are". I can simply appreciate what He has made without desiring. I can't control what others do with their eyes or thoughts. So why try to eliminate, possible problems, with extra weight that could cause me to be unhealthy? God made my body and He doesn't make mistakes. I don't need extra weight to guard against looks from men. I can dress modestly but attractively, and let God deal with others thoughts. Then it really hit me. I better get with that program, cause I just turned 40 and I may not have my looks much longer. So with God's help, I am going to be comfortable in my own skin, and say thank you to God for His handy work in me. When I say I am not beautiful, I insult my maker. I am a princess, so I may as well look like one. May we all see through God's eyes and appreciate His handy work, we are beautiful in His sight.