Friday, November 21, 2008

Missing the Miracle

The other day I was reading the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den to my 3 year old daughter, Taylor. She loves story time and is always so engrossed in to what you are reading to her. So, we are in to the heart of the story where Daniel is thrown in to the lion's den. I tell Taylor that God caused a miracle to happen by closing the mouths of the lions so that they wouldn't bite Daniel. Taylor is quiet for a minute and I'm thinking how she is just taking it all in...then she lets out a huge laugh and says "Daniel is wearing a girls dress!!" I look at her and said "Taylor, honey you're missing the miracle!" Again, she points out that boys don't wear dresses...

So, I thought about that and thought about how many times God reveals to me miracles and I am completely distracted by one simple thing that I can't even enjoy the miracle He's showing me! Think about it:
**The sun is shining and warming the Earth - but I can't find my sunglasses and get annoyed at how bright it is.
**My baby is crying in the middle of the night and I groan because I have to get up -While I have friends who would do anything to hear their baby cry again.
**I can't decide what in the world I want to wear today - while there are people that woke up this morning and will have to wear the same thing they did yesterday because that is all they own.
**I sinned today - Jesus already paid the cost of that sin on Calvary.

I see the miracle afterwards but in the moment I'm distracted. Why do we do this? Why do we not see the miracles? If we could only see things through the lenses of God, what a sight life would be!! I love this verse (The Message) - 1 Corinthians 13:12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us.

So many wonderful things God is trying to show us each day. Why not stop for one second and truly enjoy them. Hug your sister, watch the sunset, rock a baby to sleep, listen to the wind rustle the leaves, salute an American flag, think of the cross!

I pray that at least once today the fog will be lifted, my distractions will be removed and I will finally see the miracles that God is blessing me with!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Pink Kitty-Cat

This morning as I was dropping the kids off at their preschool, Taylor tried to take her pink kitty-cat inside with her. There is a rule at her school that says you can not take personal toys inside and I am definitely a rule follower so I told Taylor we had to leave it in the car. Well, you would have thought that I was strangling my child! She started screaming that she needed her kitty, she was wailing, she was stomping and I was determined to not give in! So, with one child in my arms, a bag on my shoulder and holding on to Taylor by her wrist, I finally got inside the preschool. When I opened the door her cries and screams stunned the secretary. I politely said "Good morning" and kept walking by her praying she would understand the desperate look of a mother of an almost 3 year old and not ask me any questions. Thankfully, she just smiled and kept her mouth shut - even though I think I saw a hint of a grin on her face...

So, after I got Morgan settled in to his class I took Taylor aside to talk to her about her behavior. She was hysterical! I tried to explain the rule, the importance of being obedient and tell her that her pink kitty would be in the car waiting for her this afternoon. She didn't want anything to do with that talk and ran and hid under a table. So much for that approach. But, she went to her class with out her pink kitty-cat and I went to my car unhappy that she was acting like that and hoping she would quickly understand and have a good day.

Oh how much we are like Taylor! We have things that we desperately think we need to have with us and God says "Oh no you don't" There are rules that our Bible has clearly given us. "Thou shalt nots" are all over the place as well as the "Thou shalts". So, why do we pitch such fits over things that we want that God has revealed to us that we don't need? It's all about control! We have that desire in our lives to control anything and everything. We will even use the old passage of "I feel God calling me this direction" just to make ourselves feel better about doing something God hasn't called you to do.

Can you imagine what our temper tantrums look like from Heaven? All the angels are gathered around the edge of a cloud looking down, shaking their heads while God is calmly trying to explain why He's not letting us have something we want. We cry out, we stomp our feet, we yell and even run and hide. But ultimately God finishes His perfect will in our lives and lets us suffer for a season (not really suffer but we think being with held from something we want is suffering) and He steps back and waits for us to come to our senses, seek understanding and enjoy living under His protection and grace.

What is God asking you to leave behind, to give Him control over? Anybody can walk around with a stuffed pink kitty-cat under their arm but it takes a mature, Godly person to leave it at the alter and learn to live with out it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A greedy kindness

I recently read an article about a college softball game betweem Western Oregon University and Central Washington. Sarah, a senior for Western Oregon, had hit her first career homerun, the ball soared over the center field fence. This was a huge moment in her life and as she was proudly heading to first base the dream quickly shattered. She collapsed with a knee injury. Not being able to get up and move she looks at her team who is counting on her to round the rest of the bases for a score. The umpire says if her teammates help her the run doesn't count and if they put in a pinch runner it would only be counted as a single. And that's when the unthinkable happened. Mallory, the firstbaseman for the opposing team (who also leads the conference for career homeruns) and her teammate shortstop Liz, go to Sara and place her arms around their shoulders. They ran with her in their arms, allowing Sarah to lower her left leg and touch each base. While being carried over the final base Sarah thanked the two girls to which Mallory responded "You deserve it, you hit it over the fence."

Have you been on the right track only to come to a complete stop? The pressure in your life just gets too much for you to handle, you've ruined your reputation or your heart has just been taken over by some deep seeded sin? How many times have you wished someone would come and sweep you up and carry you to the finish line? But somehow you persevere, you get through it and you wonder how you got there? While the umpires in your life are telling you that you can never make it to the finish line somewhere along the way someone got out of their comfort zone and came along side you and helped you. Whether they were friend or foe they saw a need and met it. It could have been through prayer, an email letting you know they were thinking about you, a hug or just the age-old act of being kind. What ever it may be it was the simple gesture that carried you to a homerun ending.

Why is it that we sometimes act like the umpire and only focus on the things that can't be done? Why not be like Mallory and Liz and go running out to minister and help carry the load of those around us in need? Sometimes we can be so greedy with our kindness even though God clearly states to us that the greatest commandmnet is to love one another.

Think how differently your life would be if God withheld His kindness from you?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What are you missing?

Sunday morning Taylor, my 2 year old, was drinking chocolate milk while we were getting dressed for church. As we were all heading out to the car she asked for some more. So, I went and refilled her cup and also filled another cup with juice to put in her bag for Sunday school. When I gave her the cup I also told her about the juice. As we were driving to church I noticed she was just holding on to her cup, not drinking it. When I was getting her out of the car I asked her why she didn't drink any of her chocolate milk. She said "It's not chocolate milk, it's juice!" I told her it wasn't juice and then I took off the lid and showed her. Her face lit up with a smile and she squeeled "It is chocolate milk!" I asked her "Taylor, you held on to that cup the whole way here because you thought it had juice in it instead of chocolate milk?" She shook her head yes as she pranced off drinking her chocolate milk.

How many times have we asked God for something we wanted or needed and He graciously answers us but we mistake it for something else? You ask God for His will in your life and He shows you a path you're afraid of taking. You ask Him for a Godly boyfriend and the one you're currently dating breaks up with you. You ask Him for peace at work and you lose your job but quickly find a new one. So many times we can't see that God is giving us exactly what we have been asking for because we have an idea in our mind of how the answer should look. Just like Taylor, we assume that what we are holding in our hands (experiancing in our lives) is not what we asked for. We hold on to it, doing nothing with it, letting the milk spoil, when all the while we could have been drinking it up and enjoying every bit of it.

Mark 11:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Do you have answers?

Most people are aware about this new movement Oprah is doing about "A New Earth". She is holding on-line classes which include meditations, readings and spiritual insights from a best selling author named Eckhart Tolle. It's a part of the new age movement where no Heaven or Hell exist except for that which you create by living in the now. I sent an email out to some friends recently explaining some of this and I was amazed how little people knew about it. Most people blindly follow a popular crowd, book, movement, friends without really understanding what that person is for or about. I, of course, was not trying to make a decision for anyone to stop watching her show or buying her books however I was opening their eyes to the real side of her. I feel we should always be looking for the truth behind people and then after seeing it allowing yourself to come to a conclusion as to if participating in this persons life, being associated with a certain group of people, etc is the best for your life.

With that said a young lady I work with was speaking to me yesterday about living in the now (another title by the infamous Eckhart Tolle) and she began to praise his work on "A New Earth" I politely told her I did not believe nor care for his teachings. She was astounded but interested. For the next 45 minutes I was able to explain my belief system that it comes from the scriptures and that my peace is from Jesus. She stopped me there and said well does your peace come from Jesus or from God? Excellent question with an easy answer....they are one in the same! She just couldn't grasp that. So I asked "You can't grasp that but you can grasp that you alone can create your Heaven or Hell?" She laughed at that and wanted me to continue. I explained the Trinity and that there is not a line in my Bible that I disagree with. She asked questions which thankfully, I have had amazing teaching and upbringing, to where I was able to recall scriptures and have an aswer ready. We ended our conversation (yes, a conversation...the Bible clearly teaches and warns about getting in to arguments about religion/teachings...we are to lovingly love those who disagree) She said she would love to resume it later over lunch.

Too many times we are approached with questions about the Bible and we are tongue tied. Sometimes we don't even talk about Christ with others because we are fearful we won't be able to answer their questions. How do you remy that? GET IN TO THE WORD LADIES!!!! Open a Bible, get it in your face and start reading it. Don't be caught like a deer in a headlight when someone ask you what the Trinity means? Search it out in the scripture and boldly tell others its meaning.

Lets just not be guided by others teaching us...but allow the main teacher, the big guy on campus, the world renoun author, the Christ, teach us through a personal time of study in His best selling book...The Bible!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm proud of you

I got a call today from one of mine and my husband's close friends, someone I actually love like one of my own children. He had to take a physc test today for the Alachua County Sheriffs Department. He called me after the test and we were laughing about some of the random questions he was asked. Several hundred questions were on this test! Then he said he got to this one question where it asked him if anyone has ever told him they were proud of him? He said he thought of me. It totally brought a smile to my heart :) On numerous occasions I have sat with him discussing life's problems, consulted break-ups, talked about his spiritual walk, his friendships or have just laughed because he thought the 4th of July was the 24th of July! I can't count how many times I have told him that I was proud of him. Proud of him for doing the right thing, walking away from temptations, sticking to a commitment, apologizing to someone, going ahead with his get the picture. Sometimes you never know what people really hear when you speak to them. I know my husband only listens to half of my conservations (hahahaha) but really, what sinks in and what doesn't? In a world where people seem to be holding on to grudges rather than encouragement I saw a little light today that made me smile.

Words really do make a difference. Encouragement sticks. Compliments go a long way. Kindness is not an after thought it's a command from Jesus. When was the last time you told someone you were proud of them? When was the last time you heard those 4 sweet words?

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What to do?

So many students are stressing out right now over finals, which college to attend, do I get a summer job, who am I going to go to prom with or should I even go to my prom? So, many choices you are faced with and sometimes with very little guidance, if any guidance at all. And with choices come consequences. Consequences are not always bad so I don't want you to fixate on that word for too long. But I do want you to focus on what choices you are making. Are they in line with God's Word? Are you seeking God with your decisions? Are you following His path for your life?

In the next few weeks we are going to talk about God's Will in your life. How to seek it, how to know it, how to be obedient to it.

Stay tuned...