Sunday, July 29, 2012

A quick post!

This past week has been filled with a lot of activity. Wednesday through Saturday we spent most of the day at the church building in preparation for vbs. We went a little nuts with the decorating.:-)

Some people were there every day. Others popped in for an hour here or there. The thing that impresses upon my heart is the amount of teamwork that went into everything. People of various talents and walks of life came together to put this together. It was refreshing.

People were leaders and workers. There was no fighting or arguing. We all had a common goal and worked as one to achieve it.

While I worked it occurred to me how much I was enjoying it. Not only the work but seeing Christians work together the way they were meant to. I felt like we were unstoppable. Mind you all we were doing was working on VBS stuff, all I could think about was how powerful Christians can be when they work together. Just think of the things we could accomplish! Consider the possibilities!! If we could truly function as one, it would be amazing.
If we could REALLY do what Christ asked us to. If we all lost our self entitled attitudes and actually worked.

I will cut this short and leave you with that thought, as I have much to do. Go get busy!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No wax left and the oil is low.

Did you ever think of the expression,"I'm burned out"? Did you ever consider what it means? Think of a candle, the wax is the fuel which drives it on. Yet, the candle does not burn for its own purposes. Rather it burns to shine light for those around. It, in a way, sacrifices itself for those around it. That makes it very applicable, doesn't it? Or think of an oil lamp who's fuel needs constant renewing. We are much like that, are we not?

"I'm burned out." It is something I hear more and more from people. Those I don't hear it from, often you can see it on their weary faces. They are the ones who work endlessly to serve others, often without thanks. We all know one of these people or have been one at some time. My heart goes out to them, as I have been there.

It weighs on my heart to see so many people growing weary of doing good. Often a simple thank you would make all the difference. But there are times when people have to fight to do good and it becomes exhausting. Some things burn us up more quickly than others because we must burn more brightly.

What has happened to the workers? Where have they gone? I see so many who sit idly by with self-entitled attitudes. It seems more prevalent then ever. Sometimes I find myself wondering if the general population will ever stop serving themselves and look at the people around them. This is nothing new though. In the Bible we find several instances where people felt alone in their work. This feeling of "woe is me" is a tool being used against us. It is a a pool of dangerous self pity in which we will drown.

Please, encourage someone today. Write a note, send a card, write a text, make a call. Words are powerful. They can cause irreparable damage or they can be a source hope for a lifetime. Aren't sure what to say? That's what hallmark is for! Or simply write "thinking of you". Slap it in an envelope and send it away. If you could save a persons heart from despair, for less than 50 cents, would you? It seems such a small price to pay. Or you can pay a stranger a compliment. Perhaps they have nobody to encourage them.
If you are on the verge of being burned out, you can relate even more and should find a fellow worker to encourage. It will help you too.

To those who feel they have nothing left, you are not alone. Take heart in the fact that I pray for you. I may not know your name or what you do, but God does. Keep your light burning brightly for those around you. Do not conserve your light or keep it dim. Look at the prophet Elijah. He thought he was alone but God told him there were thousands others just like him. Ones who were still doing right and not bowing to idols. Read this in 1 Kings chapter 19.

So please, look at those around you and find someone who needs to be encouraged and step up and encourage them. We are all in this together, so let's help each other make it through. Encourage each other and pray for each other, TODAY.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rain, brought out the sun.

Where we live it has been several weeks since we have seen rain. The large storm I spoke of a few weeks ago hit south of here while I was visiting but missed our home. As in a lot of other places, our grass has been brown, lifeless and very crunchy. Our garden is always looking sad. Every cloud that goes by, passes with a prayer to drop some rain.

It has been said that this is one of the worst droughts in over 50 years. It makes me think of all the famines the bible speaks of. We had hoped to have been feasting out of our garden by now, but everything is growing so slowly, if at all. We water once in a while, but need to conserve the water we have. Now the word famine makes my mouth feel dry and my stomach growl.

Well, yesterday I was driving home from a dentist appt., when in the distance I saw a dark cloud. Seeing a dark cloud really gets you excited around here. I kept my eye on in and saw that if it kept up, it just might hit us. The cloud grew quite large and and was now worthy or being called a storm cell. Beautiful rain shafts could be seen in the distance.

As I got closer to home, people were out on their lawns in groups. Some were standing and pointing. Others sitting in lawn chairs. All were watching the storm. It looked like it would actually hit us. All the other storms went just north or south of us, but there was hope that this one would make it.

Soon we heard thunder in the distance and my kids started squealing with delight. Even they knew how badly we needed rain.

I pulled into my driveway to find my husband standing outside watching as so many others. The kids and I piled out of the car and joined him. It was so close now that the sky was very dark and the sun and its rays were blotted from view. At this point we felt our hearts would break if the storm didn't reach us.

The wind picked up and blew in some deliciously cool air. Our AC has been broken, so this coolness was welcomed with great thanks.

Dark clouds were over and around us now. Lightening, thunder, rain. I prayed within me for rain...any rain. Then it sprinkled. Then grew into rain and a great downpour.


My husband and I were sending up prayers of thanks. The kids were dancing and singing. Rain. It brought out the sun in a way for us. It went on for a good half hour, much to our delight. We were so happy.

Praise God for the rain.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Be careful what you pray for.....

Monday night I lay in my bed crying. I had reached a low point. My weight has continued to climb despite my efforts. I was at my wits end praying that God would give me a way. I told myself that if God gave me direction on this I would follow it, no matter how difficult or crazy. I prayed for help because obviously whatever I was doing wasn't working and now I had to rely on God(Prov. 3:5-6), as I should've done from day one.
I kept telling myself I was relying on God. I kept building the illusion that I had everything under control. I didnt and I don't.
Lately life has been dealing us one blow after another and I can scarcely catch my breath. Things going wrong with the house, storms, illness, injury, debt, and so on. I tend to take all my worries and focus my frustration at my personal faults, such as my weight. So with all of this going on I was zeroed in on my weight. I tip the scales at 242 lbs, so it was an easy target.
Well, Tuesday afternoon I had an appt. with my neurosurgeon. I always dread going to see a doctor, they are expensive, you have to be weighed, and they take one look at you and think they know who you are.
I arrived at my doctors office with my kids in tow. We waited in the waiting area for quite a while. Finally we were called back.
We sat in the room and waited. Then the doctor came in. He was a thin, short man with snow white hair and a cheerful bounce in his step. He whirled into the room and greeted me and my kids. Then he sat down at a small countertop in the room. We talked about my migraines and my family history. We also discussed the calcium in my brain. Then we turned and looked at me and said that we needed to discuss my weight.
I felt my face get hot and a lump form in my throat. I hate having my faults pointed out when I am TRYING to fix them. Actually I hate having my faults pointed out at all. I think most people would feel the same. I felt tears welling up and my throat ached. I was only half listening to him. I didn't want to hear what he had to say. I didn't care.
As I sat there fighting back tears of hurt and pride, I remembered my prayer. I had asked for this very thing. This wasn't how I expected it but is it ever? How often do we look the answer to our prayers in the face then reject it? I fought back and swallowed my pride and prayed for the strength to listen and be kind.
The doctor was being gentle with his comments. He wasn't frustrating like when you've gained 50 lbs and people claim they can't tell. He wasn't accusing like I had never tried to change. He was forward, informative and sympathetic. It was amazing.
I listened carefully and he wanted me to get a book that he wrote and read it, then follow it. He told me some of the ideas of the diet, or non-diet as he called it. I have to eat mostly fruits and veggies. Some beans, nuts, and whole grains. The tricky part is NO MEAT. So I have to become a vegetarian. No dairy, processed foods and no oils either. So I can expect to be growing a fluffy white tail and long ears any day.
This is what I asked for. It is going to be SO HARD. I said I would do it though. I asked, God answered and now I have to act on it. I will update you on how it goes. Even though it will be really hard, if it works, it will be worth it.
God hears our prayers. He answers prayers. It is up to us to listen and watch for the answers. When we see them, we must act on them, even when its not the answer you were expecting. What are you praying for?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's God's, mama.

It's Sunday. The Lords day. In this family it means nothing is planned (except on rare occasion) other than worship, bible class, and family time.

This quarter I am teaching a class for 3-5th grades. Sometimes they spring questions on me that catch me off guard....and I love it. It shows me that they are thinking. Today they asked me "who made God?"

I tried explaining that EVERYTHING on this earth and in our universe has a beginning and an end.. I told them that this is why it is so difficult for people to comprehend that God just always has been. I went on to say that most adults have a hard time understanding. I think it's good for kids to know that adults don't always understand things either.

Well, class continued and we had a good time looking things up in the bible to answer questions. I try to teach the kids that they need to be sure that what they learn is actually the truth, and the way they check is by looking it up in the bible.

After class dismissed it was time to go to the auditorium for worship. So, we seated ourselves and got situated. Rachel went up to sit with the youth group, while Gabe stayed back with my husband and I.

Gabe is your typical 6 yr old little boy. He can't sit still or pay attention for long. He likes anything that has to do with transportation, or construction. Once in a while he does something or says something that lets me know he is taking it all in.

Today he was in question mode. Why? How? Who? So many questions from him!! I kept having to remind him to whisper as worship started.

We sang a few songs, had a devotional before communion, then communion. After communion we have offering, where we can give a portion of what we have been blessed with.

I give each of my kids a small allowance each week. I give it to them with the understanding that part of it goes into the offering and part of it gets saved. The rest they can spend.

Well it was time for offering and I pulled Gabe's dollar out of my wallet. I handed it to him and said ,"YOUR money is in my purse."

Without hesitation he said,"It's God's, mama. It's all really His, he just let's us use it. Isn't that nice?"

Wow. I was speechless. It's humbling to get set straight by your 6yr old.

I had to sit and process the smack down I had just received! He was so right, and I knew it. I kissed him on the head as he smiled and put his dollar folded into an airplane into the offering.

So often we sit there and try to be greedy with our money. I had heard, and even have told my children the very thing that Gabe told me. Yet we forget it so quickly. God is entrusting us with what we have, to see how we will handle it. We are stewards of His money. How would we want someone to use the money we gave them?

As soon as worship was over he was out the door and playing with the other kids. People sometimes look down on kids. It's sad. I think 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (or the entire chapter:-)), says something very applicable to this situation. It also reminds us that we aren't "all that and a bag of chips". Mark 9:35-37 also comes to mind.

What really got me was my son wasn't saying what he said to show he was better. He didn't say it to make me look dumb or for any prideful motive. He was simply stating the truth, and he did it with love.

I hope we will ask the tough questions, like my class, and not just believe any answer given. I hope everything we say will be out of love. And I hope the next time we look at our bank accounts, we will remember, "it's God's, Mama."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oak Trees From Acorns

We had some heavy storms go through our area on Friday. I'll admit it was frightening. I was driving through it with my two children in the car. The winds reached over 90mph during this storm. Trees were falling, business signs were sailing across the road in front of us. Pieces of trees were slamming into the side of my car and at one point I was concerned that my car would blow over.
We really need some rain around here. That storm was like all the prayers for rain hit at once!
After everything was over and I had time to reflect on the events, a scene came to my mind. A storm, a boat, a man, and a little faith.

"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:22-31 NASB)

This has to be one of my favorites. Most people look at it this and call it the story of Jesus walking on the water, or the story of Peter doubting. What if we spin that around? What if we say it is the story where Peter tried, or where Peter had faith.
Wait, Peter had faith in this story?? Uh, yes, actually he did. It's so easy for us to sit back and judge, isn't it? We want to stand proud and beat our fists on our chest and declare 'I'd NEVER doubt like Peter'! Yet when money is tight and we don't know how we will ever make it, we doubt. When politicians lie and leaders abandon, we doubt. Even after God proves himself time and time again.....we doubt. We are human and it is our nature to doubt. Lets be honest, everyone is a hypocrite, to some degree. The story is not there for us to sit back and wag our heads at Peter. There are many lessons in this story.
Faith is a simple concept, and we practice it every day. We have faith in gravity. If we didn't, we would constantly be afraid of flying off into space. We have faith in the chair we sit in or the floor we walk on. Faith is believing in what you cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1).
So, back to the story. The boys are in the boat and they see Jesus coming towards them, walking on the water. They think he's a ghost, which I can't say I'd feel much different. Then he let's them know it's ok and that it is Him.
So, then every one starts jumping up and down and asking for a turn to walk on water. Ha! No! Peter, asks For Christ to prove who he is by commanding him to come onto the water. Christ simply says, "come".
Peter dared to step out and take a risk. A big risk. A risk that would strengthen His faith.
Who are we? Are we sitting in the boat watching? Do we show up on Sunday and watch everything happen all week? Or are we taking action and stepping out? Are we willing to try even if it means we fail?
We like our comfort zones. Who doesn't? But sometimes it has to hurt if we want to grow. Sometimes we have to have growing pains.
Well, Peter gets freaked out by the wind and waves and starts to sink. There are 'winds' and 'waves' in our lives that cause us to sink too. Yet, what Peter does here is interesting. Does he just start swimming, or try to save himself? Nope. He calls out to Christ. Then IMMEDIATELY Christ reaches down to help him. He doesn't wait 'til he's near drowning. Peter called out for help, and help is what he got. I think all too often we try to solve our own problems, don't you? Perhaps we need to call on Him for help more often than we do.
Christ says to Peter, "You of little faith. Why did you doubt"? You of LITTLE faith. Not you of NO faith. Peter becomes a key figure and leader in the new testament church. He continues to mess up along the way but God did great things through him.
Sometimes all we need is a little faith because if we have a little, it will grow. A little faith can turn into a big faith if you nurture it. Oak trees grow from acorns, don't they?
Faith is a simple concept, but that doesn't mean it's easy to act out. We need to challenge ourselves and those around us to be like Peter was in the boat. We need to step out of the boat and take the risk. We need to serve others and be workers. Faith needs to be put into action. There will be wind. There will be waves. Yet, if we have just a little faith we can do much.