Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How Often Do You Consult the Map?

It happened again.

The map and memory thing.

Before I started my current day job, I consulted the maps to figure out the best way to get to work. I tried a few different routes over my first few weeks and pretty much settled in to one path to and one path from work.


I'm always on the look out for the best route that doesn't violate my 'rules for the road'. So I was driving to work and I remembered that there was a side road that I could take that would cut off a little bit of my driving distance. It might be slower because it might be residential which is why I had never tried it. Going this same path for over a month, I knew it was one of two roads. I was pretty sure it wasn't the first one, so I took the second. Nice easy side road. One stop sign, no problem. Got back the main road and thought "WOW! That was good!" Turned to the right, as you would expect to do if this path was correct and started smiling at my new found short cut.


Then I looked up and realized, oops!, I was NOT on the road I thought I was AND I was heading in the opposite direction from the direction I needed to be going. I guess that side road turned without me realizing it. Phooey! So I drove until I could turn around. I got going in the right direction and made it to my destination. Now if I just re-consulted that map!

How often do we do this with the Road Map of Life? How often do we say "I know the Bible says this or that because I read it once?" Or do we just read the Bible in church and think to ourselves "I get it. I know which way to go. I don't need to look at that again"? Just as there are many details on a map and we must pay careful attention to them, there are details in God's Word and we need to consult it each and every day ...sometimes multiple times in a day. If we don't we may find that life has thrown a curve we were not prepared for. We may find ourselves going in the opposite direction.

What will you do today? Will you rely on your memory of what you read as a child? Will you recall what you 'think' the Bible says about this or that? Or will you open the Map and search for the right directions?

1 Kings 2:3 (The Message): Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you'll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.

(Note to the readers who are getting this via the mailing list. I have found that this nice relaxing layout does not carry through to the email. You may want to go to the web page at stowebear.blogspot.com to read the posts. You may just want to use the daily email as a reminder to go to the web page.)

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Monday, October 30, 2006


(Note to the readers who are getting this via the mailing list. I have found that this nice relaxing layout does not carry through to the email. You may want to go to the web page at stowebear.blogspot.com to read the posts. You may just want to use the daily email as a reminder to go to the web page.)

For any of you who don't know me well, let me explain one of the areas of my life where I have quirks. Driving. Now I love to drive ... on my own terms. I don't like traffic. I don't like highways/freeways/interstates in crowded cities. I don't like turning left at a red light without a protected left arrow. I only like the left turns that have a sign saying "Left turn on green arrow only." I don't like turning left unless there is a four-way stop and everyone understands the rules. I know, I know, I'm quirky in that area.

So due to the above, I usually try to plan my travel from point A to point B prior to leaving my house and I try to abide by my internal set of rules (no freeway, no left turns, etc.)

Well the first time I visited HMCC, the church I went to yesterday, I just knew that I knew how to get there. I had checked a map online (the day before). I was running late that Sunday and it was raining so I relied on my memory. Simple just go down Harwood, turn left on Martin and that would take me to the road the church is on. In fact, by my memory it would take me to the corner where the church is. But Martin dead-ended before getting to the church. I had to detour and rely on instincts and memory of the area to get me to the road the church is on and then to ultimately get me to the church. I did make it and made it on time.

So when I decided to visit there again yesterday, I checked the map again. Aha! I found out that there IS a road that does go from Harwood directly to the church. I tucked it away in my memory bank. (Have I told those of you that don't know me that I'm getting older and my memory is failing me at times?) Then Sunday morning I headed out. Turned left on the road I remembered that would take me straight there. And I wound up on ANOTHER road that I had not wanted to be on.

So even with a map...even with checking a map twice and verifying that I 'knew' where to go...I still had detours on my way to church. (When I got home I checked the map again. Next time I really, really, really do know which road to take.)

You know what? Both of those 'incorrect' routes where good for me. The first one, on a rainy Sunday morning, all alone in my car, with no Mapsco available, there was only one thing I could do...Trust. Trust my Loving Lord to direct me to the church. I left it in his hands. I prayed "God, if you don't want me to go to HMCC today, direct me where you do want me to go and if you DO want me to go to HMCC then help me find it." In the detour, God was to be trusted.

Yesterday, in the detour, God spoke peace and direction in my life. Through the detour, I found new ways to praise Him one-on-one. I had already experienced joyful worship before I ever reached the church door. In the detour, God was to be worshipped.

What detours are you taking today? Why are those detours there? What is God asking you to do with Him in your detours?

Psalm 18:30 What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

When Will You Listen?

As I've written before, I'm currently searching for a new church home. I'm really trying to listen and hear God's voice as I search. This is NOT easy! :-) I know what I want but I want what HE wants for me and my family.

I'm also praying that my husband's work situation will change so that he can be off on Sundays and not adversely affect our family financial situation. I know my God is big enough to make this happen.

So this 'new church' journey actually started over a year ago. At that time I had responsibilities at my current church that did not let me miss very often to 'try out' other churches. But one Sunday I did sneak away. I went to a church that I really like. The interesting thing was that I really liked the preacher and his sermon in spite of what he preached on. Can you guess what his topic was? That's right, tithing. I don't know about you but there are not many times that I know of where people have loved a church on the first visit when the pastor spoke on tithing.
Over the last year I have had the privilege of visiting that church about three other times. No other mention of tithing in those sermons.

I recently visited another church for the 1st time since they got a new pastor. Know what HE preached on? Yep! Giving. And I would gladly go back and hear him again.

This was starting to be a pattern at the various churches I was visiting. I know some people think all preachers talk about money all the time. That has not been my experience. Actually, I rarely hear preachers preach on tithing anymore. Hmmm....My experience is rarely but nearly every preacher is doing it now. Hmmm...

Then two weeks ago on Saturday night, I was deciding where to visit that Sunday. Normally my sister-in-law visits with me but that Sunday she was out of town. So researching on the Internet, I found a church that I was really interested in checking out. I felt sure that this was the church I was to visit. On their website, they had an announcement about the new sermon series the pastor was starting. Can you guess? The ABC's of Finance. This series was sure to include tithing!

So hmmm. I went anyway. I liked it! A lot! And of course that is where I met the women who encouraged me to action which is why this blog was started.

Perhaps I'm thick-headed. (Dad, if you are reading this...no comments from the peanut gallery!) :-) Anyway, it took me a while but I finally thought "Maybe it's not that all preachers preach on giving, maybe, just maybe, God is trying to say something directly to ME! Maybe it takes many preachers preaching many sermons to get through this thick skull."

As I said, that last preacher was starting a SERIES on finance. This meant I could hear about money for like five weeks in a row. Well last Sunday I visited a different church. And no the topic was not giving. I guess God was 'giving' me a break. Then this Sunday I went back to the church where the series on finance is being preached. And today's sermon was fully, completely on tithing! And I had heard. Really heard. I wrote out an offering of an amount larger than we had been giving.

You know what? It felt good! It felt right. It felt like I had finally HEARD what I was listening to. Now I'm not a 'prosperity gospel' kind of girl. But I do believe that you can't out give God. I fully believed that, in His own way, He would 'bless the gift and the giver'. I gave having no idea if God would bless that act of obedience in a day, a week, a month, a year, or more.

Tonight my husband came home from work and said "I have something I want you to add to your prayer list and to really pray about." I said "OK. What?" He said "There is a lead position that MIGHT come open at work and I have my paperwork in for it. I'm not sure that it is what I want to do, that's why I need you to pray." I said "I can do that." Then knowing that everything in his company is seniority based, I asked "Where would you fall in the seniority order with the other leads?" He said "I'd be number 2 out of 4" So I asked "Do you know what days off you could hold?"

Do I really need to tell you the rest of the conversation?

He said "The guy that might be leaving has Saturday/Sunday off."

Now, dear readers, he does not have the position or the days off, yet. But is that clear indication that God does hear our prayers? Isn't that a beautiful illustration of Him taking care of the desires of our hearts when we simply obey Him? Keep my husband and all the decision makers regarding this position in your prayers. Thanks!

How many times
will God have to repeat himself to reach you? Are your ears open? When will you listen?
Psalm18:6 A hostile world! I call to God,
I cry to God to help me.
From his palace he hears my call;
my cry brings me right into his presence—
a private audience!

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Football and Real Life

If you realize that I did not post yesterday, let me explain. :-) ... Not that I have to explain because I think it is OK to take a day off now and then... However! I had a busy day and by the time I could have sat at the PC and wrote, I was so tired that I'm sure it wouldn't have made any sense! See, aren't you glad I skipped a day???

Anyway, one of the things that kept me from writing was that as a family we attended the homecoming football game for the high school my son graduated from. And it is from that game that I write today.

In football, you have three main things that you want to do:
  1. Keep possession of the ball.
  2. Score points.
  3. Win the game.

The first is key to the second and the second and key to the third. So the when the other team has the ball, you want to get it back. Then when you get it back you want to take it into the end zone. When you do that enough times, you finish well. You win the game.

But what if the other team has the ball? You can wait it out. Hope they don't score. Hope that they will miss on 4th down and punt the ball back to you. OR! Or you can aggressively go after the ball. When they throw it, you grab it. INTERCEPTION! When they run with the ball, hit 'em hard and knock the ball out of their hands. FUMBLE! Now go after the ball and recover the fumble. TURNOVER! Now you have control of the ball and if you have a great coach and you listen to him and hold fast to his instruction, you have the chance to score and eventually win.

So what does this have to do with Little Lessons from my Loving Lord? Some of you may already be learning how to see the lesson in the activities of our lives. For the rest, here it is...

We are athletes in the game of life. Your very soul is sought after by two teams. God's and Satan's. If Satan has your soul you need a turnover! When he is trying to toss your life up in the air, reach up and with God's help grab it back. INTERCEPTION! Or when he is trying to run you into the ground, hit him hard with the Word of God, force a FUMBLE! With both of these, TURNOVER control to the ultimate life Coach. Listen to your Coach prior to every play. Study His play Book. Stay in the game to the very end. Don't give up! With the Coach you have, this is a game you can win!!!

Psalms 119:31-32(New International Version)

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

When Will You Drum?

My son is a drummer. He loves his drums. He also plays guitar. And has taught himself how to play both. He truly has a gift for music. Oh and did I tell you I love to hear him sing as well.

Anyway, he gets home from work about 2 hours before my husband and I do. And during this time he does other things that he wants to do...but he does not usually play or sing.

So we get home. I fix dinner. We eat then do whatever. Then about 9:00 at night...when I'm ready to wind down and get ready for bed...what does he do? Yep! He starts banging, um, I mean, playing his drums. This happens at least four nights a week.

He has all the time in the late afternoon to play. He can even play when I'm fixing dinner. But no, he waits until the end of the day. THEN he plays as long as he possibly can...almost as if has to make up for the lost time from earlier in the day. When I finally get ready to for bed, I insist he quit. But he still wants to make music so he to fights 'the end' of the music, he turns to his guitar.

As I was driving to work this morning, I was thinking about this ongoing situation. And my loving Lord clearly showed me the parallel.

What is your talent? How are you using it for God's glory throughout your life? I have read of many people who spend their lives living for themselves then when they think their life is close to ending they scramble to do all they can to store up crowns in Heaven. They waste the 'day time' and try to play catch up when the night is drawing near.

So what will YOU do? Will you continue to focus on what you want now and hope there will be enough time later in your life to use your talents? Or will you play your drums and your guitar throughout your life? Use your talents on a daily basis? The choice is yours.

1 Chronicles 29:9 (Amplified Bible): Then the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with a whole and blameless heart they had offered freely to the Lord.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's About Timing

I started this blog with BIG expectations and BIG dreams.

I thought "WOW! If God put one of His precious servants in my path to encourage me to action then this must be the time He is ready to do something powerful through my life." I thought I'd start writing and the comments would come flooding in. (Yes I'm still a bit naive even at my age.)

So I wrote! And I sent an email to the same precious servant and I was sure SHE would comment or write me or something. Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Over a week I waited. I was tempted to think "Hmmm... maybe this stuff isn't any good after all" but nah, I had received a few emails from friends that are reading my blog and I new that it was at least "OK" So I persevered. After all we were only talking a week and I know this lady is busy with the ministry God has placed her in charge of.

Then this week I got an email from her...You know why she didn't email earlier? She was hoping to see me back at her church this past Sunday. Hoping that she could tell me in person that she was excited that God was moving me forward in this way. Hmmm... In my timing she would have written me right back. In God's timing He knew the encouragement would mean even more after a week of writing than after just one day.

Then today I saw another friend online that I had sent an email about the blog to. Rose is the type that would have emailed after reading the blog if she had read it. So I sent her an IM and asked her if she had seen the blog yet and included the URL in the IM. She had not seen the blog so she went online to check it out. Of course the link took her to the post for yesterday...the one that talks about cancer.

Moments later she IM'd back...she is having surgery this Friday for a precancerous condition. WOW! In my timing she would have read my first posts and came back each day when/if she had time. In God's timing, He knew what I would write yesterday and He knew that it would be an encouragement to her. (In reality, she encouraged ME!)

What are you waiting on today? Are you expecting something from someone that "hasn't delivered"? Do you feel that something should have happened already but it hasn't? Are you willing to trust that God's timing is perfect? Are you willing to wait for Him?

Isaiah 40:31 (King James Version): But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

1) Isaiah 40:31 is the verse my husband and I call "our verse".
2) I've been caught. I cheat. But I really think this is OK. I don't have all of these verses that I use
memorized in all these versions. I use gospelcom.net to find the exact verse in the exact version that I feel God wants me to share with you. I encourage you to try it out. The topical index search is great! Actually the Bible search part is http://www.biblegateway.com/topical/ but I get to it through gospelcom.net. I trust you will still let our Loving Lord speak to you through the blog :-)
3) I'd love to hear how God touched your life through this blog. Please leave a comment. Your comments may in turn touch someone elses life. (Comments may take up to a day to appear.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Diagnosis?

One small two-syllable word.
Something that happens to 'other people'.

You hear it a lot. What does it mean?
It's not much of an encouraging topic, so why am I writing about it?

Well, to be honest, too many people on my prayer list are living with cancer in their lives. Brenda who is a cousin has advanced cancer. Annette my neighbor and friend found out she had cancer two weeks ago and it was found early enough that they took her into surgery and 'got it all'. My other neighbor and friend Lynn battles this thing everyday. Just today I found out my long time friend Leroy has a brain tumor. He has known this for a while but I just found out.

So what is cancer? We know the pathology description "a malignant and invasive growth or tumor," but there is another definition as well "A pernicious, spreading evil"

As I learned about Leroy's tumor, I thought to myself "Does EVERYONE have cancer or something?" And I thought of my layman's concept of cancer and it went something like "something that gets in your body and destroys you from the inside out" and then I thought: Yep! We are all susceptible to that! Then that's when I went to the dictionary and saw the spreading evil definition. Hmmm.

My list of 'cancers' that we are susceptible to: lying, cheating, stealing, gossip, gluttony, disrespect... These things get in the body of Christ and try to destroy it from the inside out.

So now we must ask ourselves: Are we invader, the invaded, or the ones who point to the cure?

The Invader: Am I creating cancer within the body of Christ by bringing in lies about others? Am I spreading evil by stealing from others?

The Invaded: Am I dealing with the invasion of a cheating spouse? Am I fighting against things others have gossiped about me?

The Cure: Regardless of how the enemy tries to bring cancers/evils into my life or the lives of those I care about, am I daily seeking the only One who can cure our spiritual, emotional, and psychological 'cancers'?

So how will you deal with this cancer today?

James 1:19 (The Message): Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with
your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Monday, October 23, 2006

All for One, One for All

I am a drug addict and I've never taken drugs.
I am an alcoholic and I don't drink.
I am an abuser and I don't abuse.
I am abused and I do not experience abuse.
I've had abortions and I've never had the experience of having an abortion.
I am a murderer and I've never killed anyone.

Are you asking "How?" or are you saying "Stop contradicting yourself" or are you already in the place where you are saying "Ah ha! I get it! I know where she is going"?

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Sandy Stiles speak at a Ladies banquet. We couldn't be more different. And we couldn't be more the same. Sandy has what many in the church call "a testimony with a history." I've always been more of the type that is accused of being a "goody-two shoes". Neither of us are perfect in our own right. I fall short of the glory of God on a daily basis. I experience unrighteous anger. I am tempted to gossip. I am (at times) lazy. Sandy has her list that I won't list here so that when you get a chance to hear her speak, you get it fresh from her perspective. Let me just say that her testimony is more likely to bring you to tears than mine. And that is really OK.

So what do our similarities and differences have to do with the list of transgressions I opened with today? Sandy is my sister in Christ. We are both part of the body of Christ. If my foot is broken, my body is broken. My hand can't say "Well, I'm not the foot. I'm not broken. I'm OK." In fact my hand may have to do extra work because my foot is broken. My hand may need to steady me where my foot used to have that duty. So if one part of the body is dealing with 'a past' then the whole body is dealing with that past. The whole body has to help with the healing process. The whole body has to help the one part move forward and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

There was one older woman that sat through the whole banquet speech and the look on her face seemed to say "What does this have to do with me? I never experienced that pain. I never did this sin or that sin." I hope so much that I misread her expression. In case I didn't misread it, will you pray for her? I don't know her name but our Lord does. Pray that she realizes that she is part of the same body with Sandy...unless she doesn't know the Lord, in which case pray about that.

How about you? What do you think when someone comes in your church that has been in a worldly, sinful lifestyle but is seeking to live for Christ now? Do you rejoice that you are 'better than that' and stand pious and say "I made the better choices" or do you say "Welcome to the body! I'll heal along side you if you let me?"

I have so many thought for today's verse that I have to have more than one.

Romans 3:23 (Amplified Bible): Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

Romans 12:4-6 (The Message): In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Where He leads me, will I go?

B.B. McKinney wrote the words "He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know, And in that will I now abide, Where ever He leads I'll go."

I have long loved that song. But the 1st question is "will I?" and the 2nd is"where DOES He want me to go?"

I'm currently in a search for a new church home. My heart says "Go where God wants you to be." My head asks "Where DOES God want me to be?"

So this morning I visited Life Connection Church in Euless TX. The pastor Royal Farris told a story of when God was leading him to change careers from counselor to pastor, he wrote down the job description that God gave him. (About a year later that was the exact job that he was offered.) That inspired me to write down what I am looking for in a church. It scares me to do this because some people who may read this may disagree with what I'm looking for. You know what? That is OK. There is a reason that we have many different types of Bible-teaching churches...we have many different types of Bible-believing Christians.

And before anyone decides to fill me in, I already know...If I were to find a perfect church, it wouldn't be a perfect church any longer because I'm imperfect and as soon as I join it, it would be imperfect too.

So...here's the list of some of the things I feel are important as I look for a new church home...

  • Bible-believing
  • Bible-teaching
  • Teaches that the Bible is the infallible word of God
  • Teaches that Jesus is the only way to Heaven
  • Teaches the God-head, 3 in 1
  • Believers baptism (Baptism is an act of obedience not an act of salvation)
  • Expository preaching
  • Use the Bible as part of the worship. By this I mean that the pastor says "turn in your Bible to ..." It's nice, really nice, that the scriptures are in the bulletin and on the screen, now just invite the congregation to bring and USE their Bibles .
  • Blended worship that values the tradition hymns with their original melody as well has scripture based praise and worship songs
  • Evangelistic

Ok the list is not all inclusive. It is the list of the things that are foremost in my thoughts.

So if I find a church that is everything above but only hymns, if God makes me feel I'm at "home" when I get to that church, "will I" stay?

Or if I find everything else that is listed above but the pastor preaches topically instead of expositorily and God leads me to that church, "will I" stay?

What are you seeking God's will about today? What do you hear Him saying to you? Do you like what He is saying? Will you follow His leading anyway? Where He leads, will you go?

Jonah 2:9 (The Message): But I'm worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving!And I'll do what I promised I'd do! Salvation belongs to God!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

Are you there?

I am still working on my post for today. So while I think and gather my thoughts...if you read my blog...will you do me a favor...will you leave a comment...just so I know someone is on the other side? Thanks!

Now before I get anybody asking otherwise...no I don't write this for YOU...I write it for HIM...and I do know that He knows what I write...I'm just wondering if any of His precious children are out there reading along too. :-)


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rarely Early, Never Late

Two familiar phrases...

1) Timing is everything

2) God is rarely early but He is never late

The first phrase puts the emphasis on me, you, us. The second puts the emphasis on God.

I really prefer the second. And today is a perfect example why.

Rewind to this summer. Part of our fence fell down and we started looking to replace that side of our fence. Estimates, budgets, making sure the neighbors where in agreement.

While we were getting estimates and such, I put in a sell order for a small amount of stock that I acquired at my last job. I set the price I wanted to sell it at and I waited.

And I waited.

And we ordered the fence and it was scheduled to start being installed on ... October 19.

And I waited for the stock to sell.

The stock went on a nice roller-coaster ride and came close, very close, but did not reach that sell price. Rick and I discussed lowering our target sell price but it just did not seem right.

We had enough in savings to pay for our part of the fence but felt strongly that the stock was how we should pay for the fence.

And the week the fence was scheduled to start had arrived. And we still owned the stock. The day before they were to start the fence work, the stock got within 5 cents a share of the price we wanted to sell it at.

Welcome to today. October 19th. The day the fence work is set to start. Start the day and we still have the stock. Then.

Then less than half an hour into the stock trading day, today, on the day the fence work started, the stock hit our target price and the sell executed.

Wow! Not one day early, not one day late, right on time.

Can you trust God to know your future? To take care of your needs? Can you trust Him to be right on time and not worry when it looks like He might be late?

Proverbs 16:20 (The Message): It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.
Proverbs 16:20 (The Message): Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust God to bring victory

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sticky Messes

A few months back I made some delicious cookies.

Peanut Butter Milky Way cookies.


As I rolled the cookies out and placed them on the pan, they looked so innocent.. So I placed them in the hot oven to cook. The heat not only cooked them but the gooey Milky Way middles oozed out on the pan and seemed to turn to glue when I tried to remove them.

I really wished that I had either sprayed the pan with Pam or lined it with aluminum foil so that I wouldn’t have this sticky mess to clean up.

It didn’t take me long to see the little lesson that my loving Lord taught me. Can you see one?

So, what sticky situations do we get into because we don’t prepare our day with prayer and don’t line our lives with consistent Bible Study? Is the 'mess' worth the time we 'gained' because we didn't sit with God this morning?

Romans 9:30-33 (The Message) How can we sum this up? All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives.

And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:

Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can't get around.
But the stone is me! If you're looking for me,
you'll find me on the way, not in the way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Use it or loose it?

For so long I've had these stories I wanted to write and for so long I put it off. It seemed like everyday, I saw a new 'little lesson' in the everyday things of life. So now I'm doing something about it.

And now I'm coming up dry.

Writer's block? I don't think so. I know the lessons are still right in front of me. However it's like my eyes have blinders on them.

In each of those situations in days gone by I clearly saw the lesson that God what teaching. So this morning, I asked God "What is the lesson in me NOT seeing the little lessons?"

My mind was flooded with answers "Be still and know that I am God", "What took you so long to do what I commanded you to do?", "Did you bury that talent I gave you to use and now you want to unbury it?"...

And then my mind settled down to this: Encourage others to do what they know to do...NOW!!! And trust Me to give you the words to write when you need them, just in time.

So, my friend, what does God have for you to do today?
Call a sick friend?
Check your email and reply to someone who wrote you?
Bake a cake for a neighbor?
Give money to a family in need?
Pray for your family, friends, co-workers?

Philippians 3:15 (The Message) So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What Moves Me to Action?

In recent days, we learned of more devastating events happening around our great country. These events include the deaths in the Amish Community (get to know these wonderful people through the books by Beverly Lewis), the earthquake in Hawaii, the small plane that crashed into a building in New York reminding us of 9/11 (as if we could forget)...

Well this blog is meant to be encouraging so forgive me for bringing up these sad events...HOWEVER...these events reminded me of a challenge I wrote over a year ago back on the 4th anniversary of 9/11. And since I did not have this blog at that time, most of you have not read it :-) It's a little long but it's an easy read.

So fresh from my archives...just for you...as you read this, ask yourself "What moves me to action?"

(But first a note to my precious neighbor who is walking with God through a challening journey called cancer: Forgive me for not having done more for you through this battle. Thanks!)

Where were you when you first heard about the events of 9/11/01?
What were your first thoughts? What were your first actions?
Did you immediately start to pray for all of those involved thinking that it was the least you could? That prayer was something you could do immediately regardless of your available time or money?
As you found out more about those affected by the events did you find ways to ‘do your part’ to help your fellow countrymen?
As you remember them today four years later, is there something you wish you would have done but didn’t or is there something you wish you had done differently?

Where were you when you first heard about the Tsunami?
What were your first thoughts? What were your first actions?
Did you immediately start to pray for all of those involved thinking that it was the least you could? That prayer was something you could do immediately regardless of your available time or money?
As you found out more about those affected by the huge wave did you find ways to ‘do your part’ to help those in the uttermost parts of the earth?
When you think back on the tsunami, is there something you wish you would have done but didn’t or is there something you wish you had done differently?

Where were you when you first heard Katrina‘s devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi?
What were your first thoughts? What were your first actions?
Did you immediately start to pray for all of those involved thinking that it was the least you could? That prayer was something you could do immediately regardless of your available time or money?
As you found out more about those affected by the large hurricane, did you find ways to ‘do your part’ to help people in your neighboring states?
When you think back on Katrina, is there something you wish you would have done but didn’t or is there something you wish you had done differently?

Where were you when you first heard about a need of a friend at work, or your neighbor, or a child in your local school, or a member of our church?
What were your first thoughts? What were your first actions?
Did you immediately start to pray for all of those involved thinking that it was the least you could? That prayer was something you could do immediately regardless of your available time or money?
As you found out more about how this person was affected, did you find ways to ‘do your part’ to help a neighbor that is right in front of you?
When you think back on that need, will there be something you wish you would have done but didn’t or something you wish you had done differently?

Does it take a terror attack, tsunami, or hurricane to move you to action? While those events are big reminders of Gods command to love your neighbor as yourself, what are you doing to love the neighbor in need that you see everyday? Their need may be tangible (clothes, food, money) or intangible (a listening ear, a ride to the doctor, help painting a room). As we pause today to remember all of those who lost love ones or were adversely affected by the terror attacks, look around your life and see if someone’s life has been hit by a plane of: depression, job loss, divorce, death of a spouse, or something else, look to see if their life is falling down in pieces all around them. You won’t be able to do everything they need, but can you do something? Can you pray? Can you be there to listen? Can you take them to dinner and let them talk? Can you help in some small way to ease their need?

My challenge to you today is: find one special way to love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 25:34-36 (The Message) Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

On to the Little Lessons

Over the years, God has taught me many little lessons as I go through normal every day events. I hope to share some of those lessons with you through this blog. I will post some as they come to me (those are the ones I have not yet experienced) as well as share some of the ones that have learned in the past. This is one from the past:

I was going to the doctor’s office one day. It was possible I was going to make it on time but I was cutting it rather close. I was cruising along and hitting all the lights green. I was even singing along to the KCBI (a local Christian station) on the radio. And all of the sudden the light turned red. And it slowed me down and now I would probably be late. So I stopped. Looked to see what was going on around me while I waited for the light to turn green. Then I looked up at the street sign by the red light. This was the street that I was supposed to turn on to get to my Dr’s office. Wow! The ‘inconvenience’ of the red light saved me time and allowed me to get to my appointment on time.

That’s the ‘story’ … Do you see the practical application or "Little Lesson" that God taught me that day? Many times we are cruising along in life going the direction we think we need to be going but we miss the signs we need to see…Then God stops us in our tracks…redirects us … slows us down… and after we experience that ‘distraction’ we realize that had we continued on our own path, we would have missed what God had in store for us or we would have taken much longer to reach the blessing He wanted to give us.

What road signs are you missing as you journey this road? What red light is God putting in your path? Will you stop and look around and see what He has in store for you today?

Matthew 28:9-10 (The Message) Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. "Good morning!" he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, "You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there.

I can't sing but God can inspire songs

Three years ago this month, I was walking down the hall at work. I was in my own little world. Singing praise songs in my mind, but not out loud of course. (See my post "Different than what I thought, already" if you need that explained.) I was so caught up in my internal worship that I felt like doing handsprings down the hall. Not a pretty sight for any woman over 40. Especially for an uncoordinated, over-weight woman over 40. So I thought to myself "Someday I'll do handsprings in heaven." I thought back to the only time I every tried out for cheer leading. It was in that try out that I did the only perfect cartwheel in my life. Those two thoughts led to God inspiring me to write the following song. I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm sure someone out there can relate to this girls life:

(verse 1)
There was a little girl who, in her mind, was
talented and strong, winning all the time.
Her friends didn't see it, It just didn't stick,
At recess time she'd be the last ... they'd ... pick.

(chorus 1)
She could see herself doing
Handspings before them.
Perfect cartwheels all the time.
She never let them know how she felt
about being the last in line.

(verse 2)
She grew up in the Lord
and became a wife and mom.
Facing the usual struggles
She taught her children about the love of the Lord
...and they'd... snuggle

(chorus 2)
She could see them doing
Handsprings before her.
Perfect cartwheels all the time.
She encourage them to do their best
and not to worry
IF they were the last in line.

(verse 3)
Her body wore with age and
movement became tough.
She was always weak
Yet she kept her spirit strong
looking forward to being
with the One we all seek.

(chorus 3)
She'll be doing Handsprings before Him
Perfect cartwheels all the time
She'll be dancing and flipping before her Lord
until she's the last in the line.

Do you know someone who needs to be reminded of this hope today? Will you share your Hope with them?

John 14:3 (NIV) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and
take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Different than what I thought, already

I really thought my 2nd post would be the story I shared with the woman who encouraged me about God's Red Lights. I guess now that will be my 3rd post. Why? Well in-between posting my introduction post and starting to write this one, I updated my profile and then browsed around blogspot a bit. One of the bloggers wrote that her interest is singing solos in church.

Talk about me having a dream! Singing a solo in church would definitely be a dream of mine. Singing a solo is something I look forward to doing ... in Heaven. There is a song the congregation used to sing at my maternal grand-parents church that went "Free from every imperfection, youthful and happy I shall be, I'll have a new body, Praise the Lord, I'll have a new life." For me those 'imperfections' include not being able to carry a tune in a bucket. :-) I learned at a young age that it is just fine to "make a joyful NOISE unto the Lord". So when I get my new body when I'm with my Lord, it should come fully equipped with a perfected signing voice.

Now the odd thing is that I have a real knack for remembering words to song. This is a skill a professional singer would need, right? I have yet to figure out why I have the talent to remember the words but not the talent to sing them. What I do know is that many, many, many times God has brought those words to mind to give me peace in certain situations and He has brought the words to mind for me to share with others. So I guess I 'do' know why I have the talent to remember the words. It is so that God can bless my life and others through those words.

What skills or talents do you have today that God can use to do His work here on earth? Are you letting Him?

What skills or talents do you lack that you wish you had? Are you focusing on what you don't have or on what you do have?

1 Peter 4:10-11 (The Message) Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything -- encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Starting the Journey

For years I have said I have books inside me that need to get out. I have said that when I retire, I'm going to write a book called "How I used technology to weasel my way out of work". Why? Because I have been fortunate enough through the years to be able to find shortcuts that make my work life easier. I basically hate doing redundant tasks.

To those that know me best, YES, that includes housework. (sigh)

So, as I have learned more and more about PCs, I have let them do the redundant menial tasks for me. And what exactly does this have to do with why I'm starting my blogging journey, here, right now, today? Well, writing, really writing, like on paper, well, that is w-o-r-k...and it to get it just right you sometimes have to write the same thing over and over making tweaks as you go along. Enter technology and viola! Now I can just change what needs to be changed. No scratching out and making notes in the margin. No copying from a marked up sheet to a clean, correct copy. And NO I have not been living in a cave, I do realize that this 'new' technology has been around for a couple of decades now. So I might as well admit another weakness of mine...procrastination. Remember the old adage "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" That's me!!!! Maybe it's because my best inspirations come either when I'm driving or when I'm falling asleep at night. (Lest you think any less of me, I DO KNOW the adage above is transposed!)

Ok. Ok. My Dad always said that if you ask me what time it is, I'd tell you how to build a clock before I got to the point. I guess I'm doing that here. LOL!

Why am I finally starting to write? Why now? I asked that already, didn't I? Well the answer is this: My Loving Lord put one of His precious servants in my path this morning and had her issue me a direct challenge which boils down to "Do what God wants you to do and start now!" She reminded me that we must use the gifts God gives us and she challenged me to, are you ready for this, use the internet! ... Can you say technology???

Now this precious woman did not know me and I did not know her. We met by God's hand because I visited the church she attends and she was working a welcome center. She did not know me and did not know how much I embrace technology AND I did not know her nor anything about her. We exchanged email addresses because I asked her to keep me in prayer as I start this journey and she gave me hers because she wants to see the first devotional that I write.

Do you want to know how cool our Loving Lord is? When I got home I checked out the part after the @ in her email address. This precious woman is the "founder and Chairman of the Board" of a ministry that "exists to encourage and equip individuals in the establishment and development of an ongoing, deeply personal relationship with God that is increasingly intense, intimate, and interactive." A divine appointment if you ask me.

So I've started this blogspot to fulfill the desire that God has placed in my heart to write. My prayer is that it will bless you and encourage you. Remember that God is in the details of our lives and He is probably providing you Little Lessons as you travel along. I encourage you to look for them.