Saturday, August 31, 2013

Power thought for today: He Strengthens You For Battle

Do you feel weak today and need a little help?  Whatever obstacle is coming your way, when the Lord is on your side, you can overcome no matter how massive the situation.

"With your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall."  Psalm 18:29

Climb the wall with confidence as you realize He is your strength.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Power thought for today

Are you fearful or afraid about anything this morning?  Your God is bigger!  Think on this power verse:

"He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the       waves, and it was completely calm."  Matthew 8:26

Just remember who controls the winds and the waves of your life today and may your peace be restored.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Dominate Game Changer"

Being the only female in our family, many of our conversations revolve around sports.  What the Braves are doing, the new uniforms for all the teams, trades, coaches, who's on steroids, stats, Ichiro got 4000 hits, Sweet Sixteen, Final Four, Super Bowl, World Series, Little League World Series, Women's Softball, Olympics Ping Pong, do you get my drift?   It's not a little, it's a lot.  It's a lot of talk about the world of sports.  The point is, sports are discussed at my house like women talk about different hair products and make up colors.

Over the years, I have actually grown to love these table topics and add them to my memory bank because I know I will be asked a random question from time to time about some fact my family thinks I should know.  After all, to them, I'm just one of the guys.

On one occasion recently, my husband was sharing some thoughts about a particular football player when he used the term "Dominant Game Changer".   My thinker tank began.  Hhhmmm... "Honey, why do you say he is a "Dominant Game Changer?", I ask him.  I'm wondering, is that good or bad?  I mean, think about it, it could be either.

I'm a how kind of a girl.  If it's positive, I want to know more.  How did this guy become a "Dominant Game Changer"?  So I ask.

My other half told me the man on the field was a positive force on his team, he had influence and motivated those around him which led to the success of the team as a whole.  He encouraged the other players by his attitudes, his choices, his behaviors.  He was a game changer because his presence on and off the field brought the players to a level of play beyond what they would've experienced without him.  He was a "Dominate Game Changer" because he had an effect on the people around him that caused them to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do.  He made things happen for the better.

Suddenly my thoughts went to another "Dominant Game Changer" in a completely different time in history.  Jesus came on the scene more than 2000 years ago and was born to a virgin.  You have to agree, that's not the norm.  Dying on a cross, yea, that's pretty much a game changer circumstance, too.  The course or end of life for a Christ follower was changed because of this one event.  Let's see, One who has been the dominating presence throughout history who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who can be everywhere at all times, and who knows things past, present and in the future.  That changes everything.  Game on.  He changed the whole playing field.  Instead of life stopping at death and God saying "game over" see ya, we have all of eternity ahead of us:  that's a "Dominant Game Changer" (DGC).

While I will never be the DGC that Jesus was, I can still play a role in the game of life alongside Him.  When I am changed, I can then help others change the direction of their lives by seeking the one Dominant Game Changer for their eternal destiny and playing the game well while we are here on earth by building a relationship with Him.  It is through that relationship that we all receive positive influence and become like the man on the field.  We then have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others and do things that we could never do otherwise.  Things in our own lives like forgive when we are hurt, overcome insurmountable situations such as drugs or rape, the loss of a baby, real life junk.  This changes the game.

Where's your game?  Does your game end here on earth or did you make a choice to keep playing into eternity?  If so, you got game?  Are you running well?

"Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize."  1 Corinthians 9:24

Run to the "Dominating Game Changer" of all times, Jesus.  Let Him change the whole playing field of your life. Run to the prize!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Normal or Nuts

While watching a news show earlier today, the anchors had people call or write in to discuss if an activity someone was doing was quirky or if their behavior was considered normal.  The segment was called "Normal or Nuts" .  Once the question was posed, a doctor would respond with an answer.  One discussion was about someone who had an aversion to velvet.  The Dr. confirmed what most of you already have guessed. This behavior is nuts!   The person had a sensory related issue that was abnormal.

Another reference talked about a 9 year old girl who was still sleeping with stuffed animals at night while acting older than her age during the day.  The medical expert said, believe it or not, this one is fairly normal.

The topic, though, that piqued my attention was called "Lawn Lunacy".  The caller wanted to know if his neighbor was crazy or ok because the neighbor's lawn was always perfectly manicured.  If a petal fell to the ground, the woman would pick it up within a few hours so that nothing ever stayed on the grass. This man had even seen her shake a bush to get hanging petals to fall prematurely so she could pick them up.  Anything on the grass made the lawn look defective.  No leaves or petals on the grass meant all was well with her world.

As the reporter was talking, I was thinking, "None of us like it when something makes us look less than perfect.  However, in God's kingdom and economy, we understand, God isn't concerned with the outward appearance. None of us are perfect so why do we waste energy trying to appear anything other than what we are?  Doesn't everybody know anyway?

Dr. Ablow went on to explain, by making everything look perfect on the surface this woman was covering up a way deeper problem which would eventually erupt.  Keeping the lawn spotless wasn't fixing what was troubling her, she had a disorder that no leaf blower could blow away.  She was strangled by something bothering her within and was trying to keep the outward appearance of everything being well.

I wonder how many times I have appeared this way to others.  All looks fine on the outside but on the inside, there's a petal blowing, not on my lawn but in my head.

Do you have any areas that look like this woman?  It's all good on the surface but beneath the appearance there is a hurricane force wind coming and the leaves will soon be scattering?

This lawn keeper woman reminds me of the Pharisees in the Bible.  The Pharisees were a religious society of their time who were devoted to God but became so committed to following all the rules of the law (and the ones they instituted) that they seemed to have forgotten Jesus was in their midst working miracles and worried more about how they looked than what He was doing among them.  Instead of enjoying His presence, the joy was sucked out by their heavy burdens of appearance.  She, too, like them, was trying to follow the letter of the law, her own lawn lunacy standards!  What a burden to carry by running after every petal or rules that are impossible to follow!
As Christians, we want to follow Him because we have a heart that loves Him, not because its our duty or we want people to think we have it all together and we look good on the outside.  That's not normal, that's nuts!  We don't need a doctor to tell us that.

Had this woman simply enjoyed taking care of the lawn and basked in enjoying it's beauty, she wouldn't have been consumed with maintaining it to the point of obsessive compulsiveness.  What Jesus wants for us, is not a rule abiding relationship based on appearance but one designed for mutual pleasure.

Today, my friends, enjoy the love of a Father who desires you above all else just the way you are, leaves and all!  After all, He created you that way.  He isn't tainted by the world's standards of what's normal or nuts, or by rules and regulations that can't be met.   We meet every standard because of who we are in Him!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Ye Ole Pine Needle"

When the rain comes down and the wind blows just right, pine needles fall from the surrounding trees in our yard.  The other day, those little pixie stick lookin thingies fell on my car and covered it.  I figured when I drove on Interstate 95 the majority of them would fly away.  Most of them did, however, one of those skinny brown needles stayed in the gap between the hood of my car and the windshield wiper.

At first it wasn't a big deal but later it started bugging me.  I flipped the wiper switch to get it loose.  That didn't work.  So I figured when I got out of the car, I would reach over and pull it out.  Not a big deal.  But, when I got out of the car, I forgot, having something more important to do.

Time went on and days went by.  I would get back in the car never thinking about that twig until I sat in the drivers seat.  Each time I did, I would think to myself, "when I get out of this car,  I am taking that pine needle out of that wiper!"  Many days continued, each time was the same;  I forgot, having something more important to do.

As I got in the car today and looked at that stupid thing,  I said to myself, "Ye ole pine needle!  How like my sin you are!  I forget about you because you are out of my mind and I seem to have something more important to do (than to worry about it right now), you continue to stay when you're not wanted, and I have a hard time plucking you out!"

Thankfully, removing that sin is as easy as taking that brown twirly piece of nothing out of the blade and throwing it down!  Once I make up my mind to make it a priority, and REPENT, God will cast it to the ground!

How wonderful that our heavenly Father takes away those nagging needles of sin from our lives and throws them "as far as the east is from the west", further than any wind can find my windshield wiper!

Psalm 103:3,12  "who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases" and "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."

I wonder if there will be pine needles in heaven?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Conformity To What?

When I begin to realize I am dwelling on the things of this world instead of Jesus, one of my greatest tools to get back in alignment with Him is to study His attributes.  After I spend time recognizing His character, I can only humble myself and thank Him.  It leaves me speechless.

His Holiness points to more than the fact that He never sinned.  His actions, attitudes, and motives all pointed to flawless alignment to the will of God.  Think about what is written:

-John 6:38   He came from heaven "not to do His will but to do the will of Him who sent me"
-John 4:34  "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me"
-John 8:29  "I always do what pleases Him"

I see my lack of holiness as I read these scriptures.

The Holy Spirit makes us aware of our need of holiness, but, it is to stir us for a deeper place of commitment not to condemn us.

Once we see the need, we can turn and thank Him for our salvation and His righteousness.  We begin to think as God thinks and do the things that please Him.  He is our example as 1 Peter 2:21 shows us.

Holiness, then, is conformity to the character of God and the purpose of our salvation, Ephesians 1:4, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Have You Seen Your Father's Eyes Today?"

Her long brown hair bounced off her back as she ran to the oceans edge.  She giggled with delight.  The small preschooler never looked back but instead fearlessly got closer to the water.  Her father casually walked to where the shore line was and stood with pride while watching her play.

She moved in further, now to her knees. You could hear her squeals and laughter, see her jumping with abandonment. The pappa inched his way out but never so close that he interrupted her enjoyment.

From the look on her face you could tell she never once thought about any danger that could be below the surface of the water or that any moment a wave could knock her over. But the daddy knew what harm was around her and he was there to protect her.

Two more steps, she was waist deep. She looked at the man who was still behind her. She LOOKED straight into his eyes as He spoke and motioned to her to come closer to him.  She obeyed.  Closer to her father, closer she went.  His love and concern drew her to him.

I saw all of this as I sat in my chair on the beach and three simple things hit me. One, how our Heavenly Father must take great delight when we get pleasure and enjoyment in the things He has created.  Secondly, He is always there watching over us with protection just like this earthly Father was with his child. The third thing I was reminded of is, how easy it is to take our eyes off Jesus, our Heavenly Father, and get caught wading further into an ocean of danger.  It is only by constantly being aware of Him and focusing on Him that our eyes stay locked on Him. It is easy for Him to keep calling us but we must be close enough to hear, and close enough to gaze directly into His eyes.

I left the beach that day asking myself, have I looked into His eyes today? Am I so close that He can pick me up if the worlds waves get too close?  Or is the world around me taking me further into its ocean?

Hebrews 12:1 and 2....."Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus".....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Haven or Hive?

While sitting outside drinking coffee and having a quiet morning, I listened to the red cardinal chirp.  Another sound came buzzing by my ear, a whirling sound that made me think a helicopter might land on my head.  It was that of a bee. 

While shooing it away, I started questioning what it wanted with me.  What did I have that attracted this insect?

It wasn't my perfume because there wasn't any and there was no honey on the table.  But let me describe a picture that might be the draw.  It's my curly hair in the morning, pre shower.  It looks more like a well woven nest than locks of curls.  Could it be this little honeybee was looking for a hive?

This caused me to think.  How's my attraction?  Am I a haven for the world pointing them to Christ, a safe place from the cares of this world or an artificial hive offering nothing?  As a Christ Follower, we are either attracting or repelling others to our Lord.   2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."

Lord, today may I be the fragrance this world needs to draw them to You.  May I attract others to You by being a sweet aroma and pointing them to You as a haven away from the perishing hive this world offers.

Friday, August 2, 2013

"The Cloud of Unknowing"

Desiring More....

From "The Cloud of Unknowing", author anonymous, "God, unto whom all hearts be open...and unto whom no secret thing is hid, I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.  Amen"