Friday, June 29, 2007

The dead guy in my house.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The apostle Paul

That verse comes from the 6th chapter of Romans. The whole chapter is inspiring and worth taking a moment to read.

As a pastors daughter I've attended a lot of funerals. I get death. I understand it enough to know that I don't need to buy a birthday present for the deceased next year. This Christmas, I should take them off my Christmas card mailing list. And maybe, if I've been sending them a fruit of the month, I should cancel that subscription.

If I see a book in the store that the deceased had long since been looking for, it's probably a bad idea to pick it up for them, since they're not around to appreciate it. And, I wouldn't stop at their familiar hangouts, hoping to see them.

Sounds simple right? Sounds like normal, common sense things to do right?

Then why don't I follow common sense rules for my dead self?
Why do I still say things like the dead person would say them? Why do I still think things that the dead person would think? Why do I still laugh at the dead mans sense of humor? Why do I keep my dead mans magazine subscriptions, pay 30 bucks each month for his favorite TV channels, and why do I record his favorite shows for him?

Maybe the answer as simple as this: Because he isn't really dead.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting rid of the rest

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.... don't skim over scriptures.

Colossians 3:9-17

9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

I don't have a real post for this yet. I just came across these in my reading up on "the old man", and the writing here in these verses simply takes my breath away. He waxes eloquent, "bowels of mercy" "humbleness of mind" "peace of God rule in your hearts" "bond of perfectness". He was excessively and wonderfully poetic and wordy, God knew I'd enjoy these verses more than most.

I'm reading these verses and thinking about the process of putting on the new man and casting off the old... denouncing the ME part of me. And I'm wondering if it would be accurate to read into verse 11, "there is neither Jeanette nor John, but Christ is all, and in all".
I was reading a series about Ruth over at John Frye's blog. In his last post about Ruth he throws in a quote by Eugene Peterson that reads “For the gospel does not address a faceless, nameless mob, but persons. The history of salvation is thick with names. The name is the form of speech by which a person is singled out for personal love, particular intimacy, and exact responsibilities.”

I like that quote. God knows my name. Personal love, particular intimacy, and exact responsibilities. I like that. I'm not trying to negate my personal worth to God or others when I talk about getting rid of "ME". But so often I'd like to hide behind the defensive statement of "This is just who I am" and refuse to step outside of that.
"God made me an introvert, so He won't ask me to do extroverted things." Dare I say that idea is hogwash? He created Hannah with a love for a child that was overwhelmingly strong. And asked her to give it up.
God knows my comfort zone, how foolish would I have to be to believe He'll only ask me to do things within that zone?

There is neither Jeanette and her comfort zones, but Christ and His willingness in her.

Just a thought on my way to giving up the old woman.



One entry found for denounce.
Pronunciation: di-'naun(t)s, dE-

Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): de·nounced; de·nounc·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French
denuncier to proclaim, from Latin denuntiare,
from de- + nuntiare to report -- more at

1 : to pronounce especially publicly to be
blameworthy or evil
2: archaic a : PROCLAIM b : to announce threateningly
3 : to inform against : ACCUSE
4: obsolete : PORTEND
5 : to announce formally the termination of (as a treaty)

synonym see CRITICIZE - de·nounce·ment /-'naun(t)-sm&nt/ noun
- de·nounc·er noun


What would happen if I denounced ME?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bursting with pride.

I've been attending a revival all this week so far with my 9 yr old niece. Last nights service had her pulling out her paper and pencil to write "nots". It took all day yesterday and today for me to realize the word "nots" written on the top of each page was suppose to be Notes.
So, indulge me a moment while I have a proud aunt moment.

Her notes from the service scrawled on this paper. Her written statements are in bold, while my explainations of some are to the side.

God is not in time. (Taken from the preachers statements concerning how God was before time and after time, God is eternal.)

We are going to be set free.

The battleground is our mind.

God is not done with us.

He is yesterday, today, and forever.

God's resposeble for me.

He redems me.

God's fathful.

He takes resposobilode for his choieses.

There is a flow in our spirit.

What we do flows from our spirit. (Taken from the preachers statements that God is not concerned with what you DO as much as He is concerned with who you ARE. As what you do flows from who you are and your spirit.)

We are appart of a enternal famliy.

He is the eternal.

God's a big picture. (Take from the preachers statements that God is a "big picture God", and sees both the little things and how this moment affects you, and the big picture also.)

Did I mention this amazing kid is my niece? Her name is Angel. Her name suits her well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My own worst enemy.

This post may look a little funny, but I wanted to start at the beginning of my thought, and go all the way through, even though it means blogging comments.

In Gods Purse I stated:
I am called to be peculiar. I am called to preach the gospel. I am not just called to change the world, but I am called to change the worlds eternity. Let's just hope I'm not too busy catching CSI to do it.

SLW from The Sound of Thunder then commented on the post:
"Let's just hope I'm not too busy catching CSI to do it."
That juxtaposition is such a great way to express the American Christian's "dilemma". We are so surrounded by easy, distracting choices, that we lose, at least momentarily, sight of what's really important to us. To simplify matters, we could live the cloistered lives of hermits, but then what impact could we have? How to live in the world but not be of it?

To which I responded:
slw, your question, "How to live in the world but not be of it? " brought an example to mind that made me grin. My initial thought was to remember that all these other things are just distractions. And I thought, "how do you do that though?" and the immediate example came to mind of a family sitting in the waiting room, waiting for their child, grandchild, niece/nephew to be born. You might be watching tv, reading the readers digest, but your heart is racing for something entirely different. You're anxious to be able to put away the distraction and receive the news you've been waiting for. Or inside that delivery room, you're anxious for the moment you can bring an ice chip or coach some breathing, anxious and hopeful that you can fluff a pillow and make even the smallest of contributions/impact on the excitement around you and your purpose for being there. Everything else, from the conversations about the weather, to the e-mails and phone calls you might make while you wait, they're all simply distractions.


This conversation brought to my mind the idea of bringing God out of the closet. Working towards what we're really working towards, and letting that be known. If you found yourself talking about cars with someone, you'd have no problem saying "Yeah, I saw a car like that when I was at Auto Zone picking up a new battery."
But I don't know that I'd have the same ease saying, "Yeah, I saw a car just like that when I was outside Auto Zone praying for a family that just drove up."

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm quiet about God. I assume you don't want me to continuously throw "religion" into a conversation, and forget that even if you feel it's religion I'm throwing into the conversation, it's really not. I feel it every time I find myself in a situation where I want to mention God in a conversation. It's not religion I'd be bringing up, it's a close and loving relationship with a Savior and Father. The problem is, I still don't do it.

For God to be everything to me, I just can't stifle mentioning Him. And for God to be with me, and His presence felt, all the time I just can't be willing to throw my jacket over my invisible friend and pretend He's not there. And, all too often, I'm willing to do just that.

Looking now at some of the choices I make, and I know I've seen this in myself before, I see that I don't want to appear as though I'm trying to appear spiritual, so I shy away from saying spiritual things. The only way I'm continually able to write about spiritual issues is to convince myself, daily, that no one comes regularly enough that it would appear I wrote just so they would see it. Where's the boldness there?

What would happen if I acted on the emotions of someone sitting in that waiting room? What would happen if I took my Friend Jesus out and constantly displayed Him for the world to see, as a new grandparent would take their grandchilds photo out?

Living, as though you're living for heaven, and only distracted by earth... those words, that idea/ideal ends with a sigh of longing that only God hears.

I'm hungry.

But how long have I been blogging about being hungry? desiring more of God? And yet here I am, still, held back by the only thing you'd think I'd have the ability to control: me.

I'm my own worst enemy. God can overcome the powers of Hell. But He won't override my free will.

More than conquerors

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time. -- W.J. Davison

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gods purse

I've got to tell you, I'm pretty easily inspired.

This morning I headed over to see what's happening on my blog and Mark is there with his quote "It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.". Then the link to the book the quote was from only fed into that.

That's why I'm sitting here, right now, boldly telling you and God this:

I need God.

You thought I was going to say something powerful didn't you. So did I.

I looked and saw the only visible difference between myself and the rest of the world was salvation. But that's only part of the story.

What makes me different from the rest of the world is invisible. You can't see it, but Lord willing, one day you'll be able to feel it surrounding me. It's power. Spirit, Power, and Authority. Not my own, but His. Embedded into my life as easily as I would put my money into my purse. Just as it is not my spirit that changes lives, but His Spirit that is living in me; it is not my purses money, but my money. But, where ever my purse goes, so goes my money. It's got to be one of my more foolish examples; claiming to be Gods purse, but if you were looking for eloquent, you were at the wrong blog anyway.

If I knew that I have a tendency to lay my purse down and it would be stolen; and that the money in that purse would not be used for the important and serious need of my mortgage, but someone elses desires , I would stop carrying money in that purse.

If you were carrying a million dollars, and you knew you had to hand it to John Doe in just 30 minutes, would you really set it down on a park bench, then drive across town and pick up a newspaper since you had some time to kill? Maybe it's 30 minutes before church and you've entered into a wonderful and deep realm worshipping Him, then you remember you forgot to tell Sister so-n-so something. So many times I've walked away from the depths of Gods presence to take care of things in the shallows. And I find I don't have time to get back into the depths before it's too late to fulfill the purpose He'd intended me to be there for.

Mark over at Made To Praise Him, blogged awhile back about "The Evangelist and the Assassin", saying that if our only job was to get people to Heaven, we would only need to have one person to "evangelize" and a second to.. .well... shove them on into Glory. One of our biggest jobs is to bring Heaven to Earth. And I realize, that I spend way too much time every single day needing someone to thump my head and remind me of that.

How much importance do you really place on Gods Spirit, Gods Presence, Gods Power, Gods Anointing? Wait, let's ask that a different way. How much importance do you really place on Gods Spirit, Power, Presence, and Anointing when you're standing in line at McDonalds. Or do you leave the value of all those things at your church steps? But, without those things, really... what makes you different from every other guy in line at McDonalds? If you aren't bringing a sense of Heaven, a glimpse of His power, are you really bringing anything more than the world?

Becoming different from the world is a matter of focus. 100% focused on God, 100% of the time. It's grabbing onto a tiny portion of His Spirit and refusing to let go of it for any worldly matter. It's holding onto your portion of Him and looking for opportunities to be a most excellent steward of that Spirit. Then turning back to Him with your results and waiting for the promise He's given of faithfully rewarding good stewards. It's coveting Him, His Spirit, His Presence, His power, so much that you really do view everything else as extra.

I confess, even knowing that I should, I do not live as though I consider everything else as extra. I might be willing to say I consider it extra. But I've allowed those extras to become too important to me.

Visibly, in most ways there is no difference between me and the world. It will rain on me, and them, I will be hurt sometimes, as will they. I will experience loss right along side of them. But, it's what you'll never see that makes me different.

No matter where I am, or how much like world I might look, whether I'm working as hard to help the homeless as you, whether I give as much money to charity as you, whether I'm wearing clothes from the Goodwill, or clothes from Macy's, if you prick me, it is royal blood that will flow.

I am called to be peculiar. I am called to preach the gospel. I am not just called to change the world, but I am called to change the worlds eternity. Let's just hope I'm not too busy catching CSI to do it.

Not today

My co-worker is on vacation this week. If she weren't, I would be receiving a 2 boys (ages 3 & 7) this evening.

Seriously, who wouldn't want a life this exciting? Random, daily calls asking how many kids you can parent, how quickly are you going to finish getting another room ready? how many people can your car hold?

God is awesome.

Faith quotes

Mark commented and left me a link to the book "When Heaven Invades Earth", by Bill Johnson. It's available online (so I don't feel bad giving you the quotes) so you can read it for free. But after you read it, go buy it (I plan to) if for no other reason than people can see it on your bookshelf. If you leave me alone in your living room, I guarantee I'll be snooping around your shelves seeing what you read. I assume you have nothing to hide. You don't do you?

These quotes I found (so far) were the ones that really hit me and made me think. If I find more I'll just update this post with them. So if you like these (and don't have time to read the book for yourself) check back and there may be more later.

When we submit the things of God to the mind of man, unbelief and religion are the results. When we submit the mind of man to the things of God, we end up with faith and a renewed mind. The mind makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.


Faith is the mirror of the heart that reflects the realities of His world into ours. It is the substance of the unseen realm. This wonderful gift from God is the initial earthly manifestation of what exists in His Kingdom. It is a testimony of an invisible realm called the Kingdom of God. Through prayer we are able to pull that reality into this one—that is how faith functions.


Heaven is not moved simply by the needs of man. It’s not that God doesn’t care. It was out of His great compassion that He sent Jesus. When God is moved by human need He seldom fixes the problem outright; instead, He provides Kingdom principles that when embraced correct the problems. If God was moved solely by human need then countries like India and Haiti would become the wealthiest nations in the world. It doesn’t work like that. Heaven is moved by faith. Faith is the currency of heaven.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What a wonderful world????

I've got a mental list going. It's a list full of all the things I'm looking for to put in my house. It's not a particularly long list, and I'm in no hurry at all to get all the items - as I've told some, I've got a 30 year mortgage, I've got all the time in the world. It's just a list of things to keep my eyes peeled for when I drive past thrift stores, or a garage sale.

Last Friday, I saw one of those items. I've assumed that since I have a deck on my house, I'm duty bound to learn how to become a bbq grill kind of person. So when I drove past a garage sale and saw one, I stopped to look at it. At the time though, I was taking care of two little girls (ages 2 & 4) and that exact moment wasn't the best time to try and figure out purchasing it and getting it home. So I left it there, telling them I'd think about it, but honestly assuming that it would be gone before I had a chance to come back.

I drove past it for a week. A whole week this thing sat in the guys yard "FOR SALE" stuck on it, along with a very cheap price tag. It's only defect was that the handle to open the lid had broken off.

I'd talked myself out of it though (no matter how good the price, it was still larger than what I was looking for) (in case you're thinking it too, don't worry, my co-worker repeatedly told me such reasoning was dumb because cheap is cheap, who cares about size). But, today I drove by that same garage sale and saw they now had a bed for sale. I'm working on preparing my 3rd bedroom for a child and a bed to sleep in is pretty much #1 on the list. I stopped to look at the bed, and saw they wanted 30 bucks for the mattress/box springs, and 100 for the frame. They came over to talk to me and I told them what I was doing, why I was looking and that it was out of my price range (130 bucks for a bed?!?!... even if I were rich I wouldn't have bought it) and she began trying to 'deal' with me. Said she'd give me the mattresses for 15.

Her husband walked out the door and heard what I was doing, what I was looking for and completely surprised me.

This is the entire reason I'm telling the story, by the way.

This man, holding onto his beer, literally reeking with the scent of alcohol, gave me the mattresses for 15 dollars, said I'd need a night stand too so he led me to the 2 night stands he had for sale and told me to choose one, it would be free. Then walked me over to the videos and said "kids'll want to watch movies, do you see any you want" then proceeded to fill an entire video organizer with videos and then handed it (the videos AND the organizer) to me and said "take it, it's free". Through the whole encounter he was telling me it was for a good cause, and he was glad to help and if he saw anything else he thought I might could use, he'd let me know.

I went ahead and bought the grill, simply because I couldn't imagine not buying it from them now. And less than one hour later, they delivered the mattresses and the grill (at their own insistence - not my asking) to my door for me. They had also worked on the grill so it now had a very sturdy handle in place of the one that had broken.

I did find a spiritual application to what these people did, but it surprised me and certainly had me squinting at the implications of it. So my conclusion is a difficult one for me to accept so if you have any objection to it I'd like to hear it, because I'd really like to change my mind.

So here goes.

They loved. They were generous, kind, encouraging, selfless, giving, patient, happy, and gracious.

And as much as I hate to believe it, based on the Christians I've seen, and based on the worldly people I've seen, we all seem pretty equal. The only difference (keep in mind, I'm talking about the majority, not every single one) is that the Christians have been drawn by God and have accepted His salvation. The sinners just didn't accept.
I'd like to assume Christians are kinder, more loving, more generous, more selfless, but from the majority I've seen... they really aren't. Unsaved neighbors have taken my trash out for me. Unsaved neighbors have helped me move. Unsaved neighbors have helped me fix my car. Unsaved neighbors have helped me work on my house.
I'm not saying these are things Christians wouldn't do, but these unsaved neighbors don't hesitate like Christians (majority) do. Christians (majority) wait to be asked - my unsaved neighbors have just barged right in.

In my mind, scriptures like "a new creature in Christ" make Christians an entirely different breed, set apart from the world yes, but also infinitely better, kinder, imperfect perfection. But it's hard to correlate that when I'm surrounded by a world of sinners that are kinder, and more selfless than me. While this Christian (me) went to work, sinners everywhere just didn't show up to work and were willing to step into risky situations to rescue people during Monday's flood.
These sinners... they serve in law enforcement because they long to see justice. They serve in hospitals and nursing homes because they long to ease suffering and to help people. They serve in daycares and schools because they want to touch the lives of the children and shape the worlds future. They serve as firefighters because they long to protect and rescue those that have found themselves in situations where they cannot help themselves.
These sinners... are some really amazing people. They're just not going to Heaven.

I'm not trying to romanticize their situation or make it seem more noble than it is, really. I guess I just find what happened today as just one more example of... well, I don't know what yet.

Marks blog had a post that had a quote in it from another blog, and it just added fuel to the fire.

The quote:

It is important that we remember that the gospel is the gospel of the kingdom. It is not the gospel of the individual. Christ's message was not "Repent, and come into all the blessings of God." - though that is indeed the case - but, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." It is not a call to self-improvement, but a call for self-denial for a cause that is bigger than any individual.

I guess it all has set me to thinking.

I've heard, and understand the idea that it's not what we can do, but what God can do through us. And how by seeking God, rather than change, we find God and by finding God we become changed. But it's a hard thing to apply in my life.

And even after I apply it, will I really change into something that's better than the world? I really am beginning to question that. There are sinners that dedicate their lives to helping hurting people all around the world. Sinners that risk their own lives. Sinners that do more kindness with more selflessness, than I will probably ever even think of doing. But I will go to Heaven.

The whole gist of what I'm saying/thinking, the hard part to accept (at least for me) is this:

It doesn't seem that I'm going to be better than the world, I'm just going to be different.

And I wonder if that's really God's plan.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

15 minute standoff

Mickey, my unoriginally named mouse, has been captured.

I discovered, unpleasantly by the way, that he has (note, I say has, rather than 'had'... he's not dead yet) a particular craving for the little packets of spices I kept in the kitchen drawer. So I grabbed one of the four glue traps strategically placed around my house, and put it in the drawer with the spices.

The next day I discovered he had ingeniously figured out that walking around the trap over to the spices was just as easy as walking over the trap to the spices. So I took all the spices out of the drawer, and was going to throw them away, when I noticed that he seemed to only nibble at all the packets except for the chicken gravy packet. I don't know what chicken gravy is exactly (except what the name says) I don't know why I have it, or how long it's travelled around with me, I don't know that I've ever eaten chicken with gravy on it, or that I would cook chicken with gravy on it. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure why I have any of the packets, since I don't cook. But that's beside the point.
Since Mick seemed to like the chicken gravy, I dumped some of the packet onto my glue trap, and threw everything else away.

And then I waited.

I went to church, and sure enough by the time I came home I heard his persistent "eeep" sounding from the drawer.

Thus began my 15 minute stand off.

You see, the instructions on the box show step 1: peel the two traps apart. Step 2: place them strategically around your home. Step 3: Once mouse is caught, pick up trap and put it in the trash.

Step 1 & 2 went down easily.

Step 3 had a problem.

I've never been a girly girl, but this was one of those situations I really don't do well with. If he'd been on the floor (rather than in my kitchen drawer) I would have grabbed a broom and beat the tar out of him until he stopped "eeeep"ing. But unfortunately, there he was sitting on my trap in a kitchen drawer that I would have felt foolish explaining why it had a broom sized hole in it. He was eeping at me and upon closer inspection I saw him literally trying to bite his way away from the glue.

That worried me.

Thoughts of shutting the drawer and coming back days later when I started to smell him decaying, vanished with the idea that this little beast might get away. So, I did the only thing I could think of to do.

I grabbed another glue trap, and tried to throw it on top of him so as to stick his other side as well, doubling his chances of not getting away. Unfortunately, I have horrible aim when my eyes are closed and I'm trying to prepare to run away (in case he suddenly has one of those miracle moments people talk about where when in a desperate situation you receive unnatural strength. It could happen.) So my aim only got me his bottom half covered. Leaving me looking at his little head.

He was almost cute.


Feeling slightly more confident, with his bottom half stuck firmly to two separate traps, I then took the final step.

I got a third trap and stuck it firmly to his head. Now I couldn't see him at all... this was progress. But I still didn't want to touch the trap.

I grabbed a wad of paper towels and *finally!* attempted to pick up the trap only to hear the little booger "eeep" at me. Instinctively I dropped the trap and backed away glaring at my eeping mound of glue traps. Finally, simply staring at the drawer I took a moment to call myself a few names, making perfectly clear that I was being a complete sissy about all this. When I reached the point of calling myself a scaredy cat, I realized that I wasn't even as good as a scaredy cat, because.. even a scaredy cat would have offed this little grey monster by now.

SO, running out of options, I went to another drawer and grabbed a long set of tongs, slid it around the paper towels, held my breath, made a really bad face, and shoved the whole assortment of objects into the waiting trash bag. Quickly tied several several knots, and made it outside to the trash can.

I concede that I'm a chicken, but at least I got the job done.

Next time, I think I'll just move.

What makes God so special

Ok, take a deep breath... hold it.... hold it.... ok, now release it with a smile.
There now, doesn't that feel better?

I had a problem. I hurt for all these people here. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I forgot a key ingredient.
Last night I was at church early and I found myself playing "I can trust in You" The words say:

I can trust in You,
My God my Provider
I can trust in You
My Hope and my Friend.
You give me peace.
You give me joy.
I know for sure
I can trust in You.
I know for sure
I can trust in You.

Something about those words, made me realize the thing that is suppose to separate my grief, from their grief, is trust. Realizing that, made a world of difference.
And in trying to process it all, I realized something that happens all too easily.
You forget something that makes God so very special.
He's not just a big picture kind of God, He's a little picture God.

The thing with small personal problems, is I can more easily assume a large but personal God put this problem (or at least allowed this problem) in my path for a reason specific to me.
But a city wide problem, leaves you feeling like you just encountered the wrath of a city wide God. Not the small personal one who held two year old Makayla Marie Mollenhour, and five year old Teresa Arnett in His arms. He's the God that watched Debbie Brooks wake up in her bed surrounded by water. He's the God that watched Virginia Brinkley, myself, and several others pray our way through streets we should have refused to drive.

In city wide disasters, it's almost natural to imagine a city interested God. Not a you and your specific problems interested God. Small problems to me always seem specifically designed for me, for a specific need of growth in my life. A city wide problems makes me instinctively dismiss the idea that God had a specific plan for me, in this huge problem for the city.

A verse kept coming to my mind last night, from 1 Thessalonians about not grieving for the dead as those do that don't have hope. And I was considering how that applies to all grief, all sorrow, all sadness, all pain. We have hope. Whatever the problem, whatever the hurt, God is sovereign, He is in control, and He is using this for a purpose. That gives me the strength to get through any rough time.

This rough time, is not my own though, it is only people I know that are having a rough time. But while I can grieve with them, I needed the reminder that God gave me last night, that I cannot grieve like them. God has a plan for my friends, for these people I know, for these people I've only just met. I can grieve with hope for them. That this may very well change their life in the most outstandingly terrific way. They just don't see it now.

I feel better now. My hope, my spirit, my fire has returned (at least to an extent - I'm still covering my brothers paper route and caffeine is no longer doing the trick). As of tomorrow this blog stops being a journal of this disaster and goes back to doing what it normally does..... whatever that is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The next day after

I woke up Monday morning at 2am. And haven't gotten back to sleep since.
I'm weary, but I'm also wide-awake.

Driving home from work last night, I had to maneuver past several blocks of television trailers, huge vans with satellites, and cars and trucks with some media logo on it. Driving past, I saw three separate news people standing in front of their cameras, telling the story our city now has to tell. And I wondered, how they do it.
Do they simply turn off their emotions and forget the grief and destruction they've seen?
When they go home at night, eat dinner with family or alone, maybe watch themselves on tv, do they feel overwhelmed? How do they go from story to story, destruction to destruction, crime to crime, sin to sin, without falling apart after a time?
Those stories about the woman who hung her children, the guy that lost it and murdered his grandmother for drug money, the 9 firefighters that died fighting a blaze in Charleston, those stories were all written by human beings. Emotional, feeling human beings that go into prisons and talk to murderers. They talk to phony politicians and business owners that don't care that they swindled someone out of money. They're caring individuals that write about the older lady that was found in her home deceased - 3 days after she had passed away - and then go home and read a bedtime story to their children.

I know reporters are not generally considered in a sympathetic way. But as I began to feel overwhelmed by the stories I was being told, I began to wonder how those reporters did this every day. And, most especially, how do they do it without leaning on God? At least I have an off button on the news. At least I have God.

I wish I had words to know how to pray for all these people. But so far I've yet to make it past "Oh God". The bible describes Christ as someone who can discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts. I'm just going to rely on that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hard things to imagine.

My office? About 6 blocks on down this street and one block over.

Reading out loud.

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.

So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who succeeds the king? — Only what he has already done. Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived that the same event happens to them all. So I said in my heart, “ As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “ This also is vanity.” For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
The Preacher, son of David from the book of Ecclesiastes

I've spent this year reading my bible out loud. It's changed the stories for me some as I try and understand the feeling of what I'm reading better so the tone of my voice will accurately convey the things that only seem to come across in how a thing is said, rather than just what is said. Last night, after having spent the morning watching all the events on television, I went home and discovered Ecclesiastes.

Reading these verses from the 2nd chapter last night, by the time I had reached the next to the last paragraph I was entirely convinced, - vanity, indeed, it is all vanity. But then the last paragraph came in like a peaceful rush. It's meaning and necessity burned into my heart. Who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? I can work and work, but I cannot lay up treasures of contentment for someone else to reap. Contentment, satisfaction, joy, and enjoyment, is my harvest alone. My soul shall enjoy good in my labor.

God is good.

The day after

Reality has set in.

Grief has set in.

These are my people. And they're tired, they're hurting, and they're scared.
The majority of them have problems that can be fixed with a little elbow grease and sweat.
There are some though, who will forever mourn a loss that money could not replace.

My heart is broken for what they're suffering. May God have mercy.

Maybe you don't know my city. Maybe you don't know my people. Maybe you think this is small in the grand scheme of things. Maybe not enough people died for you to care. Maybe it's too far away, and unreal for you to care. Maybe you think my city is too full of druggies and trailer trash to care what happens to a few of them. Maybe there are too many other things for you to care about, for you to care deeply about this as well.
That's alright.
God cares.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's been a morning.

For this week's adventure, I'm filling in for my brother while he goes on vacation. And I'm doing my own work as well.
My brother has a paper route, so at 2am this morning I hopped out of bed and headed out the door. I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to go.

By 7am, the route still wasn't finished. During my route about 8 inches of rain poured from the sky, 6 inches of that is still floating around in my car. (8 inches isn't a joke either, it's what the weather channel is saying). And as for that 6 inches, that's not too much of a joke either. I was driving around, for 3 and a half hours with the window down. As if that wasn't enough, at one point from the houses on my right, to the houses on my left, all I could see was water, and through the torrents of rain I made out two reflectors which I prayed (and boy did I pray) were marking the right side of the ditch, and not the left. I was either floating my way down the street, across someones yard, or right over the ditch itself. From the safety of 9:42am, I really don't care. At one point, the road became road again, and my wheels drove me on.

It was a morning. Let me tell you that.

Unfortunately, by 7am, I had to stop. The city streets were even worse because the rain was still pouring down and some of the houses, unless I industriously decided to walk their newspaper to them, were just going to have to be out of luck.
But by that time, the highway (my route home) the street to the highway, and the interstate (another method of getting to the highway) were all closed due to flooding. I was stranded, sopping wet, 15 miles from home.

So I'm sitting here, (still stranded) at my office. I've opened up the office despite the fact that I look, feel, and probably smell like a recently drowned rat. My co-worker is stranded at home, and I'm sitting here at work, damp, with the heater on trying to not catch a cold.

One of the first phone calls I fielded this morning was from the Red Cross (I'm a volunteer) asking if I could help open up one of the two emergency shelters they're opening this morning. And on channel 11 news right now, they're showing video footage of my city, (Gainesville, Tx) with people boating around trying to rescue other people. News helicopters are flying over head as I type this.

It's been a morning. Let me tell you that.

God is good, and I'm happy, even when I'm cold and wet.

Update: 10:45am - They're still rescuing people off roofs. To clarify, people walking in water are pushing boats over to houses to collect people from their roofs. Why? Why don't these people just get down and walk to safety? Some of these people have a (now) dry front porch. If they're afraid of the water sweeping them away (it appears to be less than knee deep on the one particular section the news is focused on) why don't they take their children from the hot roof, and put them on the porch?

Update: 11:00am - News report if you want to see it. And video

Update: 11:30am - I'm still wet. Channel 11 news has begun showing reruns of old rescues, and finally a commercial. Things must be winding down.

Update: 3:57pm - I'm finally dry. The news helicopters are still circling around like vultures. I drove down the highway this afternoon and discovered a local grocery store's parking lot (a section of it, not the whole thing) pulled apart just like a jigsaw puzzle. Standing water still fills the medians so they look like huge pools in the middle of the highway. Cars and firetrucks, ambulances, police cars, in multitudes everywhere. And in unrelated news.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Passing it on.

I'm a stubborn driver when it comes to cruise control. Once it's set, it's set -barring an encounter with a red light - it takes an act of God to get me to turn it off. I'll drive through crowded Dallas streets or rainstorms and it doesn't matter. If the cruise is on... I'm (wrongly) convinced that any dangerous situation will probably pass quickly enough that it would be pointless to turn my cruise off. For the record, I'm happy to say that most of you reading this, will probably never see my car barreling steadily in your direction. I'm foolish to do this, and I know it.
The dangerous moments generally doesn't pass that quickly, but I still hold onto my cruise control.
If my foot were on the gas, I'll easily speed up and slow down based on the traffic and conditions around me. But cruise control is an entirely different matter.

I tell you that, as a intro to this:

Driving home from work today it was raining, cruise control was set at 65 and I stubbornly refused to turn it off. An 18 wheeler passes me on my left side showering me with water, making it difficult to see, stubbornly the cruise control remains on despite not being able to see very well. For some reason, I seem to stay in the trucks spray zone longer than normal, and so... amazingly, I decide I'll kill cruise control and back away from him.

Not even a full minute later, 200 feet ahead of me, at the top of a hill a pick up truck pulled out in front of the 18 wheeler from a crossover. The 18 wheeler hit his brakes and swerved to the right, the pick up truck dove off into the median, and the SUV that the 18 wheeler was currently passing jerked over to the shoulder to get away from the 18 wheeler.
200 feet away from this whole event was me, easily able to slow down and stay out of the way of those trying to right themselves and get back on the road.

It may not be locusts, or frogs, or water turning to blood, a lions den, or a fiery pit, but driving the rest of the way home I realized how dearly I need to cling to these stories where God delivers me. And I not only need to cling to them, but share them as well.

You've got stories too. And I'm not saying you have to post them here, though I would be thrilled to read them, but whatever you do, tell someone. And when you do, make sure you give the credit to Whom the credit is due.

Friday, June 15, 2007

He'll put His hands to me again.

I don't have much to say on this subject, simply because I don't know how to describe it. So hopefully this will be short.

If you see God in it, at all, He'll finish it.

That's the thought that occurred to me last night on my way home.

It began with the story of the blind man that was brought to Jesus. Jesus walked him away from the city, spit on the mans eyes, put His hands on him, then asked if he saw anything.
The man did see some things, but it wasn't very clear.
So Christ did what Christ does. He finished the work.

He doesn't do things partially. Nothing half-way done.

I need to come to expect that in my life and take confidence from it. If my loving Saviour puts His hands to something in my life, and I rise up to only a partial change, I only need to wait. He'll put His hands to me again.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

We have a tendancy to skip/skim when we see scriptures posted, because we have a general idea what they say. Don't do that.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Light, you stupid candle, light Part 3

The comments on the last post were terrific, and I loved them. Thanks guys for taking the time. Those comments alone, inspired this 3rd post on the subject. It started with the question slw asked in his comment "What's the most practical place to start telling? " and the very next line says, "Everyone who takes that commission seriously,..." he went on, but those two lines had me. The rest of his comment and Marks comment only added to what had begun.

Place to start...where do you start witnessing? where do you start telling people that Christ saves? where do you start preaching the gospel?

You start only once, right this second, where ever you are at.

And then you never stop.

Don't we stop now? You're in the middle of watching some sporting event, when an opportunity knocks right on your shoulder, and not only have we stopped ministering, but we've completely forgotten that we're ministers. We forget that we're here to preach the gospel, and not work 40 hours a week at whatever job you hold. We forget that we're here to minister to the hurting, and not keep a clean house. We forget that we're here to cast out demons, and not be current on the latest movie that just came out in theatres. We forget that we're here to seek out the lost, and not become a better writer/singer/musician/teacher/handyman/cook/gardener/sports player.

We forget that our friends need a Saviour, more than they need our friendship. And we forget that we need our friends to be saved, more than we need their friendship.

The saving knowledge of Christ should be ever on our lips. When we head to the grocery store for milk and eggs, what would happen if our mindset was set to go to the store to minister, to seek the lost and hurting, and hopefully get some milk and eggs before you return home?
When we pull over at a gas station to refuel, what if our mindset was such that we pulled over to minister, and while we're there get some gas? And before you tell me it's a matter of waiting for an opportunity, let me point out that entire city was impacted because Christ simply asked for a drink of water.

So often even when we do think about praying with someone or telling them about Christ we find ourselves picking up those milk and eggs first and then walking out realizing we completely forgot to witness to the person.
Have you ever gotten so focused on witnessing that you forgot the milk and eggs though?

What I'm talking about, ultimately, is love.

Being so fully saturated with Gods love, fully saturated in loving God, and fully saturated in loving others that you can't help but want to witness. That the milk and eggs aren't even on your mind the moment you see someone with a struggle or a pain pass you by. A love that both fills you with joy that the world can see in your actions and words, but also with an ache that the world can see in your actions and in your words.

When you tread into dangerous ground on someones heart, it's that overflowing love, that will retain your friendship. And, in some cases, it's that overflowing love that leaves you willing to lose a friendship just because God has ordained an opportunity to save their souls and you love them too much to let it pass.

It's a love for God that spills out of your words with every step you take, from the waitress, the store clerk, the co-worker, to the next door neighbor. It simply spills out. It's a love that you wouldn't hide, or be ashamed to speak of any more than you would your love for your spouse or your children. You love them. And it's as simple as that.

You don't start witnessing, simply because when that complete and utter saturation of love is there, then you have never stopped witnessing. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." It's also yet another word that I've been chanting over and over again to God. Unabashed. Unabashed. Unabashed. May God make me entirely unashamed, unembarrassed, and unhindered in my loving adoration of my King. May He give me that same unabashed love for the loud kids in my workplace, the rude waitress, the inattentive sales clerk, the unresponsive policemen, the rude church members, the hard to love and the easy to love.

The bible constantly describes Christ, and the Word of God as the "light" but it seems to me that the fuel that keeps that candle lit is love. Do you love? Do you really love everyone? Because everyone is everywhere.

I guess that's why I like reading David D'Louhy's blog (the one that started this whole thing). Because he goes out looking for people to show his love to. I've got a lot to learn. I've got a lot to learn about living this principle out in my own life. Loving, as God would love, because I just can't help it. And, to be honest, I can't make myself love everyone. But God can put it in me. So...
A conclusion to this candle series.

I'm going to love God... with everything I have.
I'm going to practice being willing to let you see my love for my Saviour.
And then, by His mercy.
I'm going to love you... with everything I have.
And I'm going to practice being willing to let you see my love for you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Light, you stupid candle, light part 2

Mark made a comment in my last post about his friends reactions if they discovered their name online in a list of people he said needed to be saved.

I'd been thinking about something along those same lines as well.

Lisa doesn't realize I believe she's bound for hell at the moment. And I don't think Lisa knows that I'm praying daily that she'll be saved. She doesn't know the many times I've mourned for the havoc that sin has played within her family. And she doesn't know the many times I prayed she would simply turn her burdens over to Christ for relief.

She should know those things.

Shouldn't all our unsaved friends know these things? Is there some good reason, a common sense reason that I'm just not seeing that we should keep these things a secret from them? Are we afraid to announce that we believe in heaven and hell? Are we afraid to proclaim that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is the only way to salvation? Are we afraid we'll lose their friendship if we do any of those things? As much as you want to live in peace with everyone, is it actually best to keep the peace by hoping they'll figure out they're going to hell without Christ on their own?
Have we stopped preaching that "there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end leads to death"? Not from our pulpits, but from our homes. From our theatre seats after a movie expounds a way that seems right. From across the table in a restaurant. From across our desk.

I'm not saying we have to bash people over the head with it every time we talk to someone. But, having them be surprised to know you believe they're going to hell seems to be even worse. A poorly done over enthusiastic witness seems to be better than no witness at all. God can at least use the poorly done one. Though I don't underestimate His ability to use the silent one.

I guess the main question I have is this: If we won't tell our friends -the ones we love -, then who will we tell?

Light, you stupid candle, light

His name is David D'Louhy and he runs the blog "Chronicles of a Healing Revivalist"

I've been reading his blog for quite awhile, and enjoyed it. He functions in ways I just can't imagine functioning. He regularly plans trips by himself, and with groups to find what he calls "legal targets" those are people with an obvious need of healing. Maybe they're limping, wearing a brace, or a hearing aide things like that. Then he approaches them to pray for them. It's also something he just incorporates into his regular tasks as well.

If I saw someone with a runny nose, I'd offer them a kleenex. If I knew they had a headache, I'd offer them a tylenol. If I saw they dropped their purse, I'd pick it up. Maybe you'd do the same. But would I be willing to stop and pray for a lady carrying an oxygen tank around the store with her?
It goes back to what Mark at Made To Praise Him, and I were saying recently about our lights. I don't want to hide my light. If I saw someone in literal darkness, I'd find a flashlight, a candle, anything to be able to help them see better. I wonder if the true problem is that we're just not convinced enough ourselves?

Do we have to literally see hell before we're willing to risk embarrassment and possible offense in a desperate attempt to win these souls?

On my Salvation Watch post, I asked for a name of someone you wanted me to pray for their salvation and I got 1 name. And that one name came from someone that has never commented before. I had 20 visits to this blog on that day. Some of those visits were repeat, but if even 10 separate people touched my blog that day, that means 9 people chose to not leave a name.

Without drawing ANY other conclusions as to why someone wouldn't leave a name I can simply draw this one. When 10 people were asked who they'd like to see saved, 9 had no response.

I can't guarantee that all 10 visitors were saved themselves, so let's say only half my visitors were actually Christians themselves.

When 5 Christians were asked who they'd like to see saved, 4 had no response.

What do you think about that?

I'm convicting myself with this post, because, sitting here considering it I realized that our Sunday School class asks for prayer requests each week and I've never mentioned Lisa's name.

That's going to change.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This moment.

I was thinking earlier about what I would post today.

I worked 7 hrs, celebrated fathers day with the whole family together, bought snow cones and a movie with the kids, then spent about 30 minutes outside drenching them with a water hose. The fire inspection went by with almost no issues whatsoever, and I can tell that my house is just about ready for the agency inspection.
The pressure is off now (it got a little stressful when the inspection was coming up and the room was all torn apart for the painting), and it's just a good day.
And through a lot of it, I realized, I have nothing spiritual to say. Nothing. No great statements about what I learned, or how to apply this event or that event to my life. No special commands or words from God telling me to do xyz. Nothing. Just, a day full of deep breaths and relaxing.
Today I don't want or need to know anything more than that God is good and I'm in His plan.

For this moment, I don't need to try and accomplish something, or comprehend some spiritual concept. I just need to sit. Enjoy being in His will. And enjoy this moment.

When is the last time you just enjoyed the moment?

Monday, June 11, 2007

A link to an excerp

Surfing around tonight, I happened across this blog, and this post. I'm quoting the entire post, so you don't really have to go there to see the post. But you might want to just wander over to his blog and see what you think. Or leave a comment on his post with this quote. Bloggers always appreciate that.

The following excerpt is from David F.Ford’s book titled “The Shape of Living”:

“Joy tests us by inviting us to be transformed by it. Most of us are deeply distrustful of the possibility of Joy. There are good reasons for our distrust: The yearning for joy opens us to repeated dissapointments, and the world is full of deceitful or over-hyped promises of joy. To be transformed by joy means trust, even surrender, and that is a massive risk. There is no avoiding risk, and once the process of transformation begins we cannot tell where it will lead - what will happen to me in marriage to this woman or as a parent to this child? Nevertheless, we make judgements about risks, and invitations of joy are not accepted without examination. The same double testing is called for in relation to resurrection joy. We need to face it as a joy that can transform our whole life, testing us by giving us something, someone, uncontainable. We also need to test it by examining it to see whether it should be trusted and surrendered to”

I'm rambling, you don't want to read this.

I just wrote this post, and wanted to let you know. It's now 11:40pm and you generally don't want to read anything I write after...say, 8:30. I suggest you skip this particular post and try to remember that everyone is entitled to write a post entirely for themselves sometimes. I made that rule, and I'm sticking to it.

It's 10:46 as I begin this post. At least according to the clock whose "set itself" feature absolutely failed me come our new daylight savings time this year. It's 8:46 according to my computer clock that randomly sets itself backwards 2 hrs. I haven't figured out why yet, haven't really cared enough to check.

The bedroom I've been working on is done. At least as done as it's going to get before it's inspected. I've moved from the bedroom to the rest of the house to make sure every thing is ready for a passing grade on inspection. The guy that is doing this inspection, doesn't seem to have done a foster care inspection before. He asked me to bring my own form. That worries me. The other guy just walked around looking for general violations and marked that there were none. This guy might actually go around checking all my wall plugs, or not trust me when I cross my heart and tell him I never intend to use the big Ashley wood burning stove sitting in the corner of my living room. Maybe when I try and sell it to him it will seem more convincing.

Friday, the inspector coming is Tameka. In class, she went through every note, on every page. When Allison (who did my last inspection) did class, we'd often get out as much as an hour early. That makes me wonder if Tameka will check every plug, and have a specific measurement standard as to what is "out of childrens reach". She's the one that said we should put all our movies behind lock and key. It's not a rule, just her preference. I'm wondering which way her enforcements will go. I don't expect to fail the inspections though. As a general rule these people want to pass you as much as you hope to pass. But it's still not pleasurable following someone around while they tell you how they wished you'd done xyz "but, it's ok".

I do have one violation though. I think my house has gained a mouse as an occupant this week, but I'm not sure. I'm praying Mickey will stay hidden at least as long as Tameka is here. No mice: _______ is actually on the checklist for the inspection.

I'm tired. I'm not in bed yet, because I'm waiting on a load of laundry because the sheets on the bunk beds needed to be washed. About 7 I talked to my sister-in-law and asked about the possibility of keeping my niece and nephew tomorrow. So tomorrow afternoon I'll gain myself 2 kids. It's going to be a great evening. They're great kids, and I'm so blessed to be able to know them.

As it gets closer to 11, I'm thinking more and more about just not going to bed. I have to get up at 1am, and it feels almost pointless. But I won't knock two hours sleep.

I was singing as I washed the dishes I dirtied making my dad's cake. We're having Fathers day celebrations a bit early because of everyones schedules. As I sang, I felt Gods presence, and even now I still feel it. It makes me want to speak in tongues. I'm so glad He filled me. I'm so thankful. Having Him give me His Holy Spirit, gives me more confidence for the other things I'm asking for now. I love Him so much.

He's given me purpose, life, joy, peace, contentment, discipline, strength, love, faith, hope, and a life worth living. Today, is a good day to be me.

Ahh, nothing beats clean sheets fresh from the dryer.

The great bee analogy

I was driving home the other day, going 70mph, with the window down when all of a sudden a bee flew in the car. He immediately flew into the backseat area, thankfully, and watching him in the rear view mirror I could see it was a full fledged bumblebee - black with yellow stripes - beautiful, but entirely unwelcome. In a matter of a few seconds I became a danger on the road. I didn't swerve or anything, but I spent more time watching him in my rear view mirror than I did watching the road.

And as I drove, watching this bee, I made the spiritual connection.

I've got a lot of bees in my life. I'm barreling down the road, (or worse, stopping my life entirely) completely preoccupied by my own personal bees. Maybe it's a job bee, maybe it's a money bee, maybe it's a house bee, but whatever bee it is, it's got my attention focused on it rather than the road before me.

I don't know that I'm able to fully explain my bee analogy, so you might need to pray before you read this.

When the bee came closer, I slowed down. How many times have I allowed circumstances to dictate my speed?

When the bee went closer to the window, I sped up hoping the wind would encourage him out the window. How many times have I tried to manipulate circumstances to work my will in them because I was troubled by them?

As these thoughts floated through my mind while I drove down the road watching my bee, I decided I wouldn't watch the bee anymore. And it was harder than it seems. And I told myself that it doesn't matter if I have a bee in my car, I still have to be a safe driver. I could hurt others if I go from being a capable driver to a fool swerving all over the road swatting at a bee. *Please see the spiritual analogy in that*

It was instinctive for me to focus on the bee. But I needed to focus on the road.
It was instinctive for me to become anxious. But I needed to stay calm with assurance trusting that the bee can only sting me, nothing more. It was just a bee for crying out loud.

It's just a bill, it's just a ticket, it's just a spot on an xray, it's just an argument, it's just a job, it's just a leaky roof, it's just a tumor, it's just someone elses opinion, it's just a bad grade, it's just a flubbed speech, it's just a failed inspection, it's just a clicking sound coming from the motor, it's just a pink slip --- for cryin' out loud.

Here's the choice I had to make, and everyone has to make: Am I going to let any thing, any one, any circumstance keep me from walking my Christian walk, doing Gods will, and chasing Gods presence as fast, and as hard, as passionately, and as single-mindedly as God would have me do it. I'm not saying all these other things will keep me from doing it completely. I'm saying they'll slow me down, and steal my focus on the goal. I choose instead to keep going with blinders on. Not caring about the bees in my life.

I can already tell, it's going to take a mighty move of God for me to be able to do that. But I have made the decision. Now it's time to drive.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sleepless night

Sleep and I are good friends. Like most everyone else, we wish we saw more of each other, but every time we get an opportunity we certainly take it.

That's why I was surprised when I laid down to sleep and found myself wide awake. Not even a hint of drowsiness.

So I spent a good hour trying to talk myself into sleeping, then gave up and got up.

I watched an infomercial on a book with "more than 5,000 health secrets that the professionals don't want you to hear" then went to the computer for awhile and took care of some e-mails, then I shut the computer off and grabbed a book to read, watched a Cosby Show rerun, then a movie. I pulled out a sponge and scrubbed a bathtub I inherited with the house that still doesn't come clean (the bathtub, not the house), and then installed a toilet tissue holder, then went back to the tv and watched an I Love Lucy rerun.

It was now a little after 4am and I was still wide awake.

Finally, and with some frustration, I said, "Ok God, why can't I sleep?"
As clear as bell He responded, "Because you haven't prayed yet."
"What was I suppose to pray for?"

After a brief grumble that He could have told me this 6 hours ago, I began praying for Lisa. It wasn't even a full minute into it when I yawned. Then I prayed for Andrea (#2 now on our watch list) yawning even more. Then I prayed for my parents, then my pastor and his wife, and because of their daughter who is currently serving in our military I then ended up praying for our troops.

I wasn't even finished when I could hardly stay awake.

This post has a lot of details that probably don't interest anyone but me. But it has a moral to it that I wanted to post. So here it is:

I didn't have this relationship with Christ last year. My relationship with Him has gotten stronger, deeper, and more trusting. He's talking to me. Do you really get that? GOD is talking to ME. I'll be the first to tell you, I'm not anything special. But He's talking to me. I told Him I wanted more, I begged for it -

And I'm getting it.

Do you have that? Do your conversations feel one-sided and stilted? Do you constantly come in with a need, then wander off to do your own thing still feeling somewhat aloof from the God who created you? Do you wonder at those talking about Jesus getting sweeter every day, and realize that you still think about God pretty much the same way you've thought about Him the last 5 years?

My pastor said this morning, that God is willing for you to have as much of Him as you want. Don't you want more? Don't you? I do. I've gotten a taste, and I see His willingness to give more than I ever imagined. He is good.

Ask Him for more. Ask Him. He'll never fail to give.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

47 minutes

I can't believe it took me 47 minutes to install a shower rod.

Seriously. What on earth could possibly make installing a SHOWER ROD so difficult? 6 screws in the wall, 2 in the rod, bang you're done.


Surely there's a word for someone so "handy-challenged". Though, there might not be a word for it... it could very well be that I am the only person in the world that could take 47 minutes to install a shower rod.

It's moments like this when I turn my head to the ceiling and image God looking right back down at me, hand over His mouth, trying to conceal a chuckle.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The way it ought to be.


I found this video when I went to Brian Mashburns blog "On Becoming Truer". He linked to this video, and his post included the spiritual element, and the spiritual inspiration as well. His post, "Resist Him" *technically* should be read first, because it leaves you all the more curious as to what is on the video.

The video as he says, is long (8:23) but was more exciting than an hour and a half with Steven Spielberg.

Seriously, read the post, then go watch this video. It's worth every second.

Salvation Watch List.

Her name is Lisa.

She's a co-worker, and a good friend to me. She's put up with me for 4 years.

When we first met, I was a 22 yr old know-it-all telling her how to live her life.
Now I'm a 26 yr old know-it-all telling her how to live her life.
She's put up with a lot from me.

Her birthday is the same day as mine, and we've jokingly concluded that that's why we seem to crave the same foods at the same time. We also decided that being born on the same day (though years apart) was why our idea of the perfect office temperature was exactly the same but then menopause hit her and we're only just now falling back into a groove where we're both comfortable.

She's been there for four years, supplying toys for my niece and nephew, random (but useful) items she's found stored away, a car when I needed one, and physical labor when I decided to redo the living room of my old house.

The one time she saw I was reaching a breaking point, she ordered me a smiley face mug filled with candy, and balloons from the florist shop, and had them delivered to me, at work.

When I told her just last week that I planned on painting the lower half of the childrens bedroom in my house canary yellow, she supported me 100% only adding the helpful advice that I could always use some of my white paint and tone down the yellow if I needed to. She said those words at least 3 different times before the time came for me to actually use the paint.
Lisa just now left to go get us caffeine. I don't know why she needs it, but I need it because I was up late last night after church toning down my canary yellow and repainting over some very bright yellow walls.

When she recently broke up with her boyfriend, she took me seriously and didn't get upset when -after he called the office asking for her- I told him I would no longer transfer his calls to her since he'd called my friend a vile name the last time I'd transferred him.

Over the course of her years she's been through more things than I can imagine going through. Been called more names than I can imagine being called. And treated worse than I can imagine being treated. And yet she'll still do almost anything, to help out almost any one.

She's struggled beneath a load I can't imagine carrying. And she does it all, without turning to God. I know where her eternity lies.
And I refuse to allow this to happen to her without a fight.

I'm asking you, people I know, people I've read their blogs, people that I don't know and haven't heard of - I'm asking you to pray with everything you've got for Lisa's salvation.
I have doubts about whether any of you will remember her, and remember to pray, so her name will appear on the front page of my blog. She is one, that I need to see saved.

In return, if you give me a name, they will be added to the front page as well. It is my fervent prayer that names will one day be transferred from the front page of my blog, to the Lambs book of Life. So, pray for Lisa. And give me a name of your friend, child, neighbor, spouse, and I will pray for them.

A change just has to come.