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Saturday, April 30, 2011

WHAT DO YOU DO?



What do you do...when you hear many voices calling for you and needing you and you need some time to recharge without that guilty feeling? 

I have learned the hard way that putting myself last all the time has taken its toll.  I know that I cannot love others as myself if I don't take time to love myself, first.

One thing I need that does not cost money is time alone.  I relish time when I can explore ideas, learn new things, reach out in words to write my children, friends, to express my heart towards God.  I feel free and like I am being my true self.

Other times I am so energized by being near the ones I love.  I love to have time alone with my hubby, or one on one time with one of my kids, sister, or parents.  I also love the house popping full of people.  My husband and I get energized with the love pouring through the house as little ones totter, bigger ones whoop it up, going for walks to get out for a bit with grandchildren in tow as I listen to their cheerful chatter.

Exuberant worship is another arena of freedom and flying high in my spirit.  I love to move and be moved.  I am awed at such a being that is so full of pure love and I desire to be more like Him everyday.  I have so much to learn.  I am eager to be with Him and I want Him to ooze out of my life, my pores, my mouth, my actions, my every thought...first and last...I want to please my Lord and I cannot wait to see Him clearly face to face.  For now, I must love my neighbor as myself, so here I go!

First I will soak up love from Him alone in my closet, get refreshed or take up a challenge that will energize and stretch me, and then I will pour it out on those nearby.

Ready, set, go!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

"You Are God",  was the theme of our musical worship this Easter.  Woven into the music were four videos of members in the church who were living their lives right, wonderful Christians, when calamity struck.

Lance had a load fall on him when he was in his twenties and crippled him waist down for life.  He thought his life was over, but years later, he was able to have children, and he has prospered at business, and never missed a beat with God.  He is one of the front line singers and rolled out for the end of the pastor's message along with the others for a standing ovation by 4,000 in the crowd last night.

Martha and Josh Lopez were next.  They had been expecting their first, who they were going to name Josh, when they miscarried.  His sister, who was in drugs and was living in sin got pregnant with another baby, and planned to call it Joshua.  Josh and Marsha were heart broken still and this seemed very insensitive of her, since that was their choice for their first child.  They looked to God for healing and peace.  Then out of the blue months later they were contacted by a relative who told them that the baby was in Florida and had been abandoned by his mother.  They did not hesitate.  They went to rescue Josh and later adopted him.  So, their first child WAS named Josh and he has brought such joy into their household.  God was preparing hearts as well as a place for this little guy.

Next, there was Mark, who is a photographer, who one day was leaving his studio and was hurt so bad in an accident right outside, on a Saturday afternoon, that they thought he was dying.  Out of nowhere came a military young man who called for emergency help and then a cab driver stopped, prayed with him for his salvation, fearing the worst, and would not stop laying hands on him until the EMTs arrived.  Actually, Mark said that the man's whole body was very hot from the Holy Ghost.  He was so thankful that this young man persisted.  He has a scarred face, but God healed and restored him.

Then there is Meka.  She said goodbye to her husband as he went off to work.  He was a high ranking officer in the army and took a flight on a Black Hawk helicopter that went down in Europe.  He left that morning and did not return home.  Now she is raising two little boys, ages 4 and 10.  She stood by me in the choir on Thursday night.  I know she has had three and a half years to heal, but I was sensing that her wounds were opened up and hurting afresh.  

I reached out and patted her back. She smiled a painful smile and said she was okay at the end of the video of her testimony.  Then we sang "When I Don't Know What to Do". Cindy Magsig sang this with such clarity as her soul poured out through her solo.  

I praise God for these brave saints who shared their pain, their faith in God, and who have stood firm in their walk with God to encourage us to look up for our strength and peace.

We all know that things happen to everyone and yet sometimes as new Christians we think we will be immune because we're God's kids, but more often than not, that is why we are targeted.

So, I want to encourage you to be patient.  Let God weave his perfect tapestry.  You are a culmination of many events that are orchestrated to make you just who you were intended to be.  

Be content to know that God stands back and says, "See that place in your life when you thought it was the pits?  That night when you were crying because your heart was breaking?  That was when we had that special moment and you saw how my heart breaks because all of my beloved on earth don't spend time loving me."

Family, things, entertainment, work, pleasure, the lure of sin, all get in the way and become more important.  How His heart aches to bring us all into His kingdom of love.  

I am thankful to be a funnel on this Earth and I pray that I will always be faithful and demonstrate back to God how much I truly love and honor Him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

Like the dove which finds the cage door ajar and flies away
Like the prisoner who has satisfied the sentence and walks out freely
Like a butterfly captured in a child's net-then released
Like a young heifer tangled in the brush and set free

Like words of affirmation held back from our ears that finally flow our way
Like stern looks, frowns, and scowls changed to joy and peaceful countenances
Like phantoms that once hid and jumped -now stalwart-transformed from fear to faith
Like cursing, verbal torment now bubbling with kindness to gently uplift

Like a raging lion quiets down after having the painful thorn removed
Like an imprisoned princess when released by a valiant knight
Like a dry, dusty, travel wearied elephant plunging into river waters
Like a staked out family dog which is released when the guests leave

Like a city under siege when the marauding bandits are defeated
Like a hot sterile desert, now watered, blooming with life and sustenance
Like a bruised, battered child who now feels the tender love and nurturing deserved all along
Like a voice which had no reason to, but sings uncontrollably with deep felt joy

It is well, it is well with my soul

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ROLLER COASTER EVENTS


My emotions have raced like on a roller coaster for the past six months.   

My husband works so hard and to find success as a reward. My oldest son who sent off to Afghanistan, then returned safely back to his family. I watched my husband struggle with the absence of his mother after her death. I retired from a career that I love and wondered what would follow.  A new granddaughter was just born, but too far away and I have not yet held her in my arms.

I have watched my oldest daughter work, study, keep her faith, and love well through tough times. We enjoyed building stronger family ties with my middle son while he was stationed nearby for a seven months.

We almost lost a dear daughter, son-in-law, and four dear grandchildren to a faraway place, then (sigh) changes kept them nearby. I let go of my youngest daughter as she returned to minister in South Africa to reach, teach, and be a loving hand of God, then picked up the pieces from traumatic events happening to her there.

I launched my youngest son into middle school. New relationships have forged and old friendships were renewed.

I have a new awareness of injustices that I cannot ignore, so I am writing to shed light on them and educate teens.

I am spending more time to spend with family. A grandson underwent through surgery.

Now I am experiencing a new life style that demands restructuring and prioritizing.  

Change is expected, but when changes stare us in the face, well, we have the opportunity to adjust, center ourselves, and look up for a hand from God with the road map.  Better yet, rest and go with the flow and let Him carry you through.

Fight the good fight.  Change what you can.  Pray for the rest and God who can do all things well, will work in your behalf.  Keep the faith and look up. 

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We are his children, and that makes us joint heirs with Jesus.  Do you even dare to think what that means to us? 

Let's begin to delight and rejoice in life.  Let us be compassionate and lift the load of a neighbor, or of a needy one afar off.  Let us be a light, the salt, and a breath of fresh air to a waiting world that needs the love of God in their midst.



Saturday, April 2, 2011

RAGING AGAINST DIVINE LOVE

The enemy is raging away during this holy time of year.  He hates the preparations, the glory given to God.  He hates our love for Jesus.  Let Him roar, for his time is short.



"What Wondrous Love Is This O My Soul"
(an American folk hymn that soothes and sings a love song to our great Lord and Savior, Jesus) 

1. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, O my soul
What wondrous love is this
that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul

2.  When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down
Beneath God's righteous frown
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul
Christ laid aside His Crown for my soul

3.  To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing
To God and to the Lamb I will sing
To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great I AM
While millions join the theme I will sing, I will sing
While millions join the theme I will sing

4.  And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing and joyful be
And through eternity, I'll sing on, I'll sing on
And through eternity, I'll sing on