Monday, February 25, 2013

Wow... It's Monday.

Some Mondays are harder to navigate than others, and this one is seeming a little rough from the start.

I have decided to share two songs this morning.  The first one is to gain focus, just to get my thoughts pointed in the right direction.

The second is to help me get ready to face the world, and all the junk it can throw at me.

I hope this day is a blessing to you and that you bless someone along this journey today!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Yeah, it has been....Oh what a "Long Strange Trip it's Been".

This morning I'm taking a moment to think about the past, present, future, and how it has all come together.
In this journey we have so many encounters with God that it's hard to recognize sometimes.  When bad things are happening in our lives, God is helping us through.  When good things are happening, God is right there with us in the celebration.  Is He always happy with us? Nope!  but He always Loves us. 

The following video will be heart touching and emotional.  Many of you have seen it before, but it's worth replaying as we review our lives and celebrate what God has done with us, a mere piece of Clay......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unashamed Love....

Children will make up imaginary friends and won't pretend that people that are there aren't.  Adults have developed the ability to ignore people that do exist and pretend they aren't even there.

That is a very rough quote from Under The Overpass by Mike Yankowski.  This book has several example of kids not ignoring the homeless.  Simply put, kids take things at face value.  Kids for some reason look at so much as right or wrong, they don't pick up on white lies or grey areas....It either is or it isn't.  Imagine an executive sitting in a business meeting and boldly claiming something that is clearly pushing "the" envelope as being wrong.  Just think of all the dealings you have everyday and how many times do the "grey" areas pop up during a negotiation?  Does the phrase,..."let your yes be yes, and your no be no...." sound familiar?  When the Disciples tried to send the children away, Jesus told them to bring the children to Him.  Why?  because they would take Him for who He is and would not flounder.  Children would take Jesus at His word, with a pure heart.  Adults, well.... would question and be skeptical.  This actually brings me to a point of why it's so very important to read and study the Bible, and to pray often.  This allows the relationship with our Jesus to grow, and allows Jesus to reveal Himself though others.  It is important to have a working "BS meter" or have a "gut instinct", but you can not trust them IF you have not trained them....

I can't help but think about what it means to have " a childlike faith" and how that relates to a simple life.  What difference would we make if we didn't respond to "blue" jokes? What if we just didn't get the adult humor?  What if we called something wrong if it wasn't right?  What if someone asked you to be on a committee and you simply answered no?  We can do all of this with out being rude or mean.  What if, like a child, we completely trusted Jesus?  What if I trusted Jesus the way my children trust yeah.

Renew our childlike faith
help us to follow as You lead us
and not falter in our intentions
Father, grow our discernment
that we can quickly distinguish what is from You and what is from the world
and we allow our no to be no and our yes to be yes
Use us God to bring You glory
 In Jesus name,

Matthew 18:1-6 (concentration on 3&4)

Who Is the Greatest?
1  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"   2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless      you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lessons we learn through teaching our children

Matthew 6:9-12

9 Pray then like this:
   "Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
     as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

We are currently teaching our children the "Lords Prayer".  M&L are 3 years old but it's never too early to learn how to pray, and this prayer is the example that Jesus gave us.  What better prayer to help them learn?  We've been praying with them prior to now with several rhyming prayers and teaching them how to just talk with God in prayer while keeping the highest respect for God.  Being respectful can sometimes be tough for 3 year olds, but I think God understands and smiles sometimes at their childlike giggles.  
So far we have gotten them to repeat the prayer a few words at a time.  It's funny how you question your knowledge of the words when you break it down a few words at a time.  Also we pray the version that we learned in church service and not what we read in scripture.... I guess the Lord's Prayer we say in services is arranged to flow off the tongue a little smoother.  And it's also funny that it's the King James English we use....for Thine is the Kingdom.....just think I have a hard enough time just getting my "southern drawl" right!  

All this is written to say,  Pray "The Lord's Prayer" and do so intentionally and slowly, thinking about each thing you say.  I have been, I guess meditating would be closest to appropriate although not like that of eastern religions, on each line item in this prayer....most recently I got hung up on "Our Daily Bread".   The request for daily provisions and not lifetime provisions or extravagant means really put it to me, and add to it the small group study of "Under The Overpass" it's moving!

Have a great day today as you think about Him and His prayer.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Good Friday Morning!  I love Fridays!  and the Good Friday part was a greeting, not the announcement of "GOOD FRIDAY"...... it's still just a couple days after Ash Wednesday.

This morning I have two songs echoing through my heart and my head.  I will be thinking about these two and how they complement each other.  The first is the Doxology
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

a very simple, elegant, praise hymn written by Thomas Ken way back in the day.

The second song is by David Crowder, "How He Loves " I hope these two songs give you plenty to reflect on.  One is from Us to God, the other is God to Us.........funny how building a relationship works that way!

Thank You for loving me, the unlovable.
I am unworthy, yet You have made provisions for me to enter Your kingdom,
You've made the greatest sacrifices for a tarnished sinner known as me,
You have put Your arms around me and called me Your own.
Thank You,  may I praise You all the days of my life
AMEN! (feeling a little Pentecostal this morning!)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

So the World is so confusing? Here's some clarity!

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

 For some reason I have been keeping this as a draft and haven't finished or published it until now.  Did it begin a Blog that was Apologetic in nature?  Was it something a leader in The Church said that got my attention?  I'm not sure.  I do know this Scripture has followed me for several months and I've seen it EVERY time I have written on this site.  

Today, the morning after many of you attended Ash Wednesday services, I have decided to focus on this one Scripture.   First, read the following discussion Jesus was having with His disciples in what we know as John 14:1-14

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
1"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

If you noticed in verse 5 Thomas asked "How can we know the way?".  Verse 6 is so much more than just a reply to what Thomas asked,  It is a reply to us all.   
So many times we have asked (in one way or another) "Jesus, why should I follow you, who exactly are you?".  

Jesus clearly answers many questions in that one statement..... I am not going to write all the options here.  I want you to study this verse today and really think and pray on it.  

6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I often read it like Jesus and I are having this conversation and He is speaking directly to me..... I hear Him clarify it as each statement  having "I AM" in it.  "I AM the way,  I AM the Truth, I AM the life"......

I hope this tidbit will bless you abundantly today as you re-read the verse and pray on it.  Let this be a verse you think about all day.  I would love to hear where this leads you today in your thoughts and possibly your actions.  Leave a comment!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent...not just for the Belly Button any more!!!

This is my first post of the 2013 Lenten season.  I have given up on Face Book except for a few scriptural postings and updates to a small group study I am involved with for Lent.  The reason I am giving up on Face Book is to take time to focus more my relationship with God.  There is so much junk on Face Book and I find myself getting distracted.  I get on just to wish a few folks "Happy Birthday" then next thing I know I've got 1 million likes and a free puppy......and it's time to go to bed.
This first post will be a Reading for Reflection that was taken from a book that compiled many of such readings. 

*  Ministry is service in the name of the Lord.  It is bringing the good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to the captives and new sight to the blind, setting the downtrodden free and announcing the Lord's year of favor (Luke 4:18).  Spirituality is attention to the life of the spirit in us; it is going out to the desert or up to the mountain to pray; it is standing before the Lord with open heart and open mind; it is crying out, "Abba, Father"; it is contemplating the unspeakable beauty of our loving God.
               We have fallen into the temptation of separating ministry from spirituality, service from prayer.  Our demon says: "We are too busy to pray; we have too many needs to attend to, too many people to respond to, too many wounds to heal.  Prayer is a luxury, something to do during a free hour, a day away from work or on a retreat.  The few who are exclusively concerned with prayer--such as Trappists, Poor Clares, and some isolated hermits--are really not involved in ministry.  They are set free for single-minded contemplation and leave Christian service to others."  But to think this way is harmful for ministers as well as for contemplatives.  Service and prayer can never be separated; they are related to each other as the Yin and Yang of the Japanese Circle.

~from The Living Reminder by Henri J.M. Nouwen

I hope you find this reading a blessing that will bring you closer into a relationship with God.

Luke 4:18,19
18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
     to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."