This year is FLYING by! Already the holidays are approaching with all the bustling activity that goes along with them. I’m no Betty Crocker, I would rather re-roof a house than work in my kitchen. Even so, there is one dish I manage to make fairly well. It’s easy, tasty, and if I can make it ANYONE can!!! Consider this an early holiday gift from me to you!
Note: This was an entry in my personal journal on January 3, 2010 – Felt led to share it now.
I seem to be noticing a recurring theme lately…journey, growth and learning. I know it’s been said many times that life is a journey. I think God is calling us to be more proactive in it. I’m hearing that we need to continually seek to learn. To seek to know more of God and have a deeper relationship with Him. That if we want to keep having what we have we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing…time to change, break out of the rut and reach for more. I’m learning that I am not alone in deciding to do something different from what I’ve always done. To make or take a change of direction. Some of us are trying to simplify and let go of extra burdens…even if they do have a seemingly good purpose, to not be spread too thin. Some of us are seeking a higher ground, a new path. Taking a risk and facing fear or uncertainty. To do this we have to get up and move out of our comfort zones. To place our trust outside of ourselves, to trust God.
I, and many others, came to the altars tonight at the invitation of our guest speaker, Mike Hadinger. His sermon was about asking ourselves how close we are to God. Are we living in the ‘servant’ mode? Have we advanced to the ‘sons’ mode or are we living as we should, as the ‘bride’ of Christ. That’s where I want to be. To have a relationship with God on that intimate a level. To have a burning passion for Him and His kingdom and will. To long for and chase after Him and know that He too is pursuing me…because He loves me! To find my worth is Christ and not in what others think of me – or what I may think of myself. I need to stay in the ‘meat’ and away from the ‘milk’. If I truly want to grow I must no longer settle for the same old, same old. I must be willing to WORK and wait, not just wait. A relationship is a two-way street, I must want to do my part to meet and court God if I really want the intimacy with Him I say I want. I must act upon this desire, not just sit and wait for Him to come to me. I must listen more than I talk. I must be willing to study, not just read. To learn and then APPLY what I learn and USE it for His GLORY!!!
Is this the year of change for many of us? I don’t mean the Obama variety either…empty promises, selfish motives, corrupt power. I mean taking on the likeness of Christ. Having servant’s hearts, humbleness yet strength. Seeking to do the work of God’s Kingdom. Seeking God’s will above our own. Putting ourselves in action, allowing God to use us as He will. Am I happy staying right were I am? No. I want more and I know I must DO and SEEK, MOVE and KNOCK and pray without ceasing to get it!
God grant me the ability to hear Your voice above the noise of the world. The courage to go where You lead me. The strength to stay on the harder path. The skills to do what You ask of me. The boldness to proclaim Your authority and Your salvation. Teach me to be a teacher. Sing over me that I might sing Your song to others. Help me to show real love, Your love, to those who do not know You or have strayed away. Help me to do these things in Your power, in Your anointing and for Your glory.
As was said and sang tonight….I need Your presence to go before me. And if Your presence is not there, I will not go.
Lord, I dedicate my life to You. All that I am and have You have given to me…I give it back to You. I give this year and whatever it may hold to You. I give my family to You. I give my ministry to You. I give my struggles and weaknesses to You that Your strength will be shown. Help me to be honest with myself in my relationship with You and in my self-examination. To dig deeper than I have been willing to go before, no matter how uncomfortable I may feel in doing so. To face my past, present and future with Your help and Your hope. I ask for You leading and direction on this ‘journey’ I am traveling. Go before me and be with me I pray!
The song, “How You Live”, by Point of Grace says a lot. If you have the time, listen closely to the lyrics of the song. We miss a lot of great opportunities through our “busyness” and, once gone, we can’t get those opportunities back. We may get another chance though! Don’t take for granted your family and friends, the things that you love, things that you have, or yourself. Take the time to be involved in the lives of your loved ones and don’t look past what you’ve got, thinking others have more or the “grass is greener” on the other side. I’m sure you already have much more than you think! Guard your heart and the people and things that mean the most to you. Be true to your values, beliefs, and honor the commitments you have made. Be “real” in this life, not wearing masks just to fit in or please others. Live your life so that others will know what you are really made of and believe, no matter where you are or who you are with. Try your best not to be what I call a “Chameleon Christian” (or Chameleon anything else for that matter), acting one way in church or with other Christians but acting totally different at work, school or other activities. You either are a Christian or you aren’t…don’t pretend either way. Our lives should reflect who we are in such a way that people will know without us even having to tell them. So, be true to yourself and those around you and be known as a person of integrity, honesty and value. Believe me…you’ll like yourself more if you do!
I, and many of my family members and friends, seem to be going through a lot these days. Illnesses, depression, stress…it sometimes seems to much to bear. It is easy to let oneself give in to defeat, despair or hopelessness. Part of the problem (a big part!) is that we, in our human limitations, are very shortsighted. We can easily see the problems and the present results of those problems. We can feel the pain, shed the tears and feel like giving up. Sometimes we even believe we deserve everything we are going through – or believe we don’t deserve to be delivered from it. All of that is actually easy! It’s not hard to see what we are in the midst of. The difficulty comes in seeing our life’s circumstances through God’s eyes, to see the big picture.
What possible good can come out of cancer? What good can come out of a spouse of 70+ years, because of dementia, now feeling that he or she was never loved by the one they married? What good can come out of losing a job or career after 20 or more years? What good can come out of the loss of a child? None of these things seem as though there could be anything good about them. Especially while we are in the middle of the storm. We focus on the problem, the pain, the loss. The harder thing to do is to see past these things and ourselves. To look to the Creator who holds the universe, and our lives, in His hands. When we are in the midst of crisis we don’t always want to hear, ‘struggle makes you stronger’ or ‘there’s always a silver lining’. We would rather have relief…now! But the truth is, struggles do make us stronger. An easy life was never promised to us. Good things happen to the just and unjust (the good and the bad people), as well as bad things also happen to each. A life with no challenges, no temptations, no pain or suffering would be a life void of testimony. We can personally testify to God’s grace, only if we experience that grace. We can testify to healing sincerely if we have experienced healing. We can testify of our deliverance from addiction, only if we were at one time an addict. And we can help others who are going through the same things that we have in a way that someone else would not be able to…because we’ve been there and came through it. I couldn’t offer an alcoholic much help outside of support and prayer…I’ve never been drunk. I wouldn’t really know exactly what they are going through. But another (recovering/delivered) alcoholic can be a tremendous help to another person struggling with the same battle that they have fought and are fighting. It’s our life’s experiences, good and bad, that equip us to minister to others.
Try to see past the storm (I’m preaching to myself here) and see the One who can tame the storm. The One who gives us strength for today and hope for tomorrow. He promises that He will never give us more than we can bear. And He is the One who carries us when we can no longer walk on our own. See your struggles through the eyes of God and trust Him to work it all out for good. He won’t let you down!
“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28)
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. NIV
I seem to be the type of person who thinks about things…a lot! My social networking friends are probably growing tired of my sometimes long posts and I seem to have a lot on my mind lately so I decided to add a blog to communicate my thoughts and pondering. Sometimes I wonder why I wonder so much! I guess it is a good thing and putting my thoughts down in a tangible way is just as much for my own therapeutic reasons as it is to share with others. Don’t worry, I’ll keep my private stuff in my journal and just share things here that might get us thinking, or seeing things from a different perspective. I don’t profess to be an author so please don’t expect perfection in my writing abilities…I’m working toward being a better communicator but I have a long way to go. Let’s start the journey!