Thursday, July 20, 2006

Falling short of a 5 yr old

In my last post, I was talking about how pure the love of my nephew was. How I wish I were as capable as him of loving God more than I despise my own discomfort. Well, I'm sad to say I'm not doing so well.
I prayed God would help me get out of debt, so He gave me work to do.


I prayed God would bless my company with more contracts. So He gave me two new contracts.

Unfortunately, He did that just as my co-worker went on vacation and I'm left here with 15 jobs to fill and no people that want to work.


I prayed God would impress on everyone in my church and family how important witnessing is, that we'd have a hunger and a burning desire to bring others to the foot of the cross.
Good news is, this week I actually saw the fruit of my witness (and several others witness) to a man and was able to personally pray with him to ask and accept salvation.
Bad news is that He impressed the urgency of the needs by taking my sister-in-laws Grandmother from us unexpectedly in the middle of the night. She was a good good woman, but I can only pray she had come to a point where she turned her heart to God. The rest of the family needs to know the fear of what can happen to them if they fail to listen to Gods call and repent. You never know what will happen in the middle of the night. You never know what might happen driving down the road. You don't know that the next tornado that passes through Texas, or the next hurricane that slams Florida or NO, or MS, or AL won't bring you to an unexpected end.
You don't know that the next time you go to the dr, he won't find a lump, an irregularity, an abnormality - something and say the dreaded words "I'd like to run more tests".
You don't know.
Here is the good news though, GOD DOES KNOW. Ask yourself the next time you feel the urge to go to the altar "What if He's urging me now because He knows there won't be a later?"
The same standard applies to witnessing. Next time you feel the urge to witness to your co-worker, friend, loved one, grocery store clerk, salesman, beautician, mechanic, neighbor... "What if He wants me to share the gospel today, because there won't be a tomorrow?"
God knows what he's doing. And when you're walking with someone that knows the future of you and everyone else in the world... only one rule applies
Do what He says, when He says it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The devotion of a child

It was 103 degrees Saturday afternoon. I was working in a metal building that was literally trying to cook me. Sitting on the huge work table was David, my 5 yr old nephew. He was mostly chatting, helping occassionally, hopping down from the table to play every now and then, and then climbing back up and watching me work while he chattered away. His parents were in the same warehouse working and sweating in their own corner. Finally they finished (long before me because there are two of them and they have less of a load to work on) and they were about to go home. David said he wanted to stay with me. Both I and his parents explained to him that I was going to be there at least 2 more hours, and if he went home it would be cooler and he could have lunch (it was already nearly 2pm and he was hungry). He persisted, saying only that he wanted to stay with me. We finished around 4:30pm. 4 hrs after we'd arrived. He had never once complained. Finally finished, I kept an earlier promise and we went to Braums. He ate until he could eat no more. He was refreshed, content and happy.
Let me ask you this, would you have sat in that metal building baking yourself, sweating, hungry, and nothing to do --------------------------- to be in the presence of God? How many times have we been with God in a difficult situation and all we focused on was the situation?
I had the most amazing afternoon with David while we were working and then after we left. I gave him good things, but I was far more blessed by his love and devotion to me. As I knelt to pray that night, I took my thoughts concerning the day to God and suddenly my heart was pierced. Oh that we could be the people that bless God by our love and devotion! That we would know He is good and gracious to us, that He will feed us and refresh us. I want to love Him so fully, that I desire and enjoy His presence more than I despise my own discomfort. As I receive daily, His many gifts to me, I pray I am able to bless Him so fully and so markedly that His gifts come from an overflowing of His delight in me.
You don't know how to read yet David, but one day I hope to show you this, and to thank you for teaching me such a powerful lesson, and so that you'll know one day that by loving me, you taught me how to love better myself. I love you Davie

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A confession

I'm starting to realize that I should never blog at night. Those are my most contemplative hours and my thoughts during those hours need to be processed quite a bit before I even consider sharing them. But unfortunately, I don't even follow my own advice in this area, because I feel the need to share this, and now.
There's a song that I truly enjoy called "Draw me close to You". I'm sure there are many variations to the title, but if you've heard it, then you know which one I'm talking about. The chorus to it starts off "You're all I want, You're all I've ever needed"
And at some point tonight, I realized, that as emotionally as I sing those words, they aren't true - this would be the confession part of the post.
God isn't all I want. He is most definitely and undeniably all I need but He isn't all I want.
I want to be out of debt
- I want to have my own home
- I want my parents to be happy and no longer hurting
- I want a stress free relationship with everyone in my family, most particularly my brother, with whom I can't seem to agree with on any topic.
- I want.... too much to name. I've already got 8 other things in my mind that I want. I want God as well, I want that depth of relationship, I want to hear His voice, but to be honest I want so much more than Him.
Maybe the song writer was more spiritual than I am. Maybe s/he really did only want God. I'm probably just feeling defensive about the idea now, but I'm wondering why it would be such a bad thing to want other things. And if it isn't a bad thing, why would you put words that aren't true in a song.
I guess I've gotten the brunt of this off my chest. If you have any ideas on the subject, feel free to comment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Oh, Lord, I am nobody!

I know me. At least I know me as well as God has given me insight to know me. Some things about me still remain a mystery. I often wonder if I'm not quite grasping something. Then at other times I wonder (due to my sinful prideful nature) if I'm one of the few that does grasp this. Then I return to thinking that I don't know what to think. Are you curious yet?
I'm unworthy, I'm wretched, and even my best intentions are full of selfish, prideful, critical and self seeking motivations. I play the piano at church, silently begging God that He would somehow bless someone with my music, despite the fact that I don't know what I'm doing. I've done puppets, praying that God would somehow use the foolish words that pop out of my mouth to teach a child of God's love. I spend so much energy of every action praying that somehow God would take my feeble, foolish actions and somehow make something good from it.
I have little to no creative talent when it comes to decorating things and my co-worker most definitely does, yet my co-worker always sends me out to get the supplies to make gift baskets for our clients. I always come back with bags full of various things, just hoping and praying that she will make something good out of it. That's how I feel about God. It comes naturally to me to hurt people, even when I'm not wanting to, it comes naturally to me to not love people that hurt or anger me, it comes natural to me to go with my first instincts rather than wait for God's will to become evident to me and worst of all, it comes as natural to me as breathing to speak my opinions trying to sway others rather than to hold my peace and simply pray that God would sway them.
The reason I question my beliefs on this is it seems like I should be living in some sort of joyous victory, that He has made me worthy and so now I am. And in a way I grasp that, because that is what gives me the greatest understanding of His love. But my beliefs concerning my unworthiness are what now hold me back from actions. It is what reminds me to not go with my first instincts, all the time, but to wait for God's leading and direction. It is what reminds me when I'm contemplating someone else's unworthiness for them, that God loves them, with the same love and mercy He's given me. And that, just like whoever I'm trying to criticize, I don't deserve that love.
Despite how serious a thought process this is for me, I wanted to leave you with a joke that I found in the comments of a new blog I've discovered. I'll be visiting there often, and would recommend you give it a look as well.

There's a joke I heard a long time ago, that comes from the definition of a Yiddish word:

Shamus, n. [Yiddish]: A shamus is a guy who takes care of handyman tasks around the temple, and makes sure everything is in working order. A shamus is at the bottom of the pecking order of synagogue functionaries, and there's a joke about that: A rabbi, to show his humility before God, cries out in the middle of a service, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The cantor, not to be bested, also cries out, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The shamus, deeply moved, follows suit and cries, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The rabbi turns to the cantor and says, "Look who thinks he's nobody!"
-Arthur Naiman, "Every Goy's Guide to Yiddish"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Offbeat off topic

This is kind of off topic for the things I usually post, but I was contemplating something the other day, and thought I would share it. What good is a blog if I don't share stuff on it right?
Well, one of my desires/goals in life is to take in foster children. One of the first thing people tell me when they find this out is that a child should have a mother AND a father. And, I have the highest respect for a fathers contribution to raising a child, and the necessity of one being around, my response is always the same: In the absence of any good parents, I'm as good as any. For all the foster children out there that need a place to stay, they outnumber the foster parents by a frightening number.

A major issue concerns the nation’s shortage of caring foster homes. In much of the nation foster parents are in short supply, especially in large cities. While the number of foster children has increased, the number of foster homes decreases. There is such a shortage that the average number of children per home is 3.7 - up from about 1.4 in 1983 and estimates show that tens of thousands foster parents care for six, seven, and eight youth at a time.

But, to connect this whole thing to the idea that has been festering in my mind, I have to tell you something else seemingly off topic. If you stay with me however, I'll tie this whole thing together.
I don't / didn't believe in women preachers. At least not in the idea of them being the head of a church. The man is suppose to be the head of the home, and the man is suppose to be the head of a church. And while women could hold many roles within the church, I didn't believe being the head of the church aka "Pastor" should be one of them.
My own desires, to be a head of my home with foster children in tow seem God given, and unshakable. And I'm sure some women Pastors out there feel the exact same way about their call to preach.
The world isn't all that it should be, and Christians aren't all that they could be, so I'm wondering if maybe God didn't intend for a women to be the pastor of a church originally, but in the absence of obedient called servants, He is calling the willing, and qualifying them.
I'm not trying to throw stones at all the Christian men out there, saying obviously we women have to do all this stuff because you're just not stepping up. But the idea is out there.
Next time you go to church, take a calculated look around. What is the ratio of men to women?
I'm not saying I'm right about any of this. It was just an idea so, take it and see what you think.