Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thanks of the Day

I am so thankful . I love that God has given me life, that he has entrusted me with it. I was reminded today that I have a purpose. Sometimes I lose sight of that and get caught up with the weeks to do list and the daily's of life. He says that He will complete the good work that He has started in me. I am in awe of that. For one thing, he sees good in me, crazy huh. He says that I am His workmanship, created for Him for good works. His good works. It says that He prepared tasks for me. I wonder how many of those I have missed. I can see my selfishness, how I want my own way. I see my fear, how I doubt that He will use me. I like to pick my own tasks and shy away from the ones that are hard. This year I have taken more risks, but there are more to be taken. I am thankful for a Pastor who always leaves me feeling pushed and convicted. I am thankful to work with people who inspire me and keep me stretching forward. I am thankful for the body of Christ, especially my family at MCF. I have felt this sadness these past few weeks at one of our families moving, but I was thinking tonight how healthy that is. We love each other, we are family. I think that is a good lesson to learn and so God, I think you should let them stay! I am thankful for a family who loves me and always has my back. I am thankful for hard lessons, for people loving me in the middle of all my imperfections. I am thankful for busy weeks and am thankful for quiet. I am thankful for the prayer room. I am thankful for blessings and eventually I am thankful for storms. I am most thankful for the mercy and sacrifice of my beloved Lord Jesus. Those are some of my thanks for the day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Short Shrift

Today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as National Pancake Day. Don't worry if you don't know much about it and don't celebrate it. Is is an English holiday. It is a day where Christians are to examine their lives and see what they need to change. Shrove is to shrive, or to take counsel with a spiritual advisor to help you in what you need to change. To get short shrift is to get a counselor that will not pay attention to your excuses. It doesn't mean that they don't help you. In fact, short shrift may be just what a person needs. I know that I often get too defensive and, at least in my mind, have excuses for my bad moods, my lack of devotion, all of my way too many shortcomings. I need someone to cut through the excuses and give me good shrift, or advice. I like the idea of Shrove Tuesday and will be spending some time today examining my own walk and hopefully getting some short shrift. Where do the pancakes come in? Well, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and Christians used to put away all fat during the Lenten season. Some also gave up dairy. Thrifty housewives made pancakes to use up the dairy and fat in the house before the fasting of Lent. Come to think of it, I could use a lot less fat also. In our family, we each give up something we love for the season of Lent, to remind us of the sacrifice of Christ. Then, on Easter, we joyfully get it back celebrating the ressurection. My girls, especially Karly, love this practice and will be busy contemplating what they will want to give up for Lent. I have not yet decided, but I know it will be something I love on at least an almost daily basis. In the past I have given up chocolate, caffeine, television, movies,etc. You get the idea. It is a good thing and reminds us of just how spoiled we are by our heavenly Father and just how much He sacrifice for us.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

FPU thoughts

I feel strangely hopeful tonight. This after going to FPU. I am seated at a great table. I am able to be honest about my mistakes and failures and not feel foolish about it. This week we have to make the big cash flow budget. If you haven't heard of FPU it's the cash flow budget is a budget where every dollar of the month is spent before it is spent. In other words you know where your money is going. What a concept! It sounds hard and scary and one more place where I open myself up for failure but I'm going to do it. Whats more I feel like I can. I honestly do. Last week I was feeling less hopeful about it all. It seemed like we weren't getting started very fast but I can see the reason for preparation before starting now. Baby steps. They are important. Now I feel like we are going to start. On another note I am praying that this will be a better week. I have been sick more often this winter and for some reason have been battling some slight depression. Not major but I covet your prayers if you think of me. Also pray that I will be able to get this budget figured out. When they announced the average debt per person in the room this week I realized that I have to get my act together and that God is so good to give us this chance.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Brian

This post is dedicated to my brother. It is his birthday. I haven't talked to him but I heard he caught a really big fish and had a great day and I am so glad. My brother has always been an inspiration to me. He loves God, pure and simple. He serves in his church, is amazingly talented and is kind. What a combination! He always makes you feel important when you are having a conversation with him and listens to every word. He is very special. I was listening to a song that reminded me of him and thought I would post the words for him and for all of us. Happy Birthday Brian!

The Blessing by John Waller
Let it be said of us
While we walked among the living
Let it be said of us
By the ones we leave behind
Let it be said of us
That we lived to be a blessing for life
Let it be said of us
that we gave to reach the dying
Let it be said of us
By the fruit we leave behind
let it be said of us that our legacy is blessing for life
This day you set life, you set death right before us
This day every blessing and curse is a choice now
And we will choose to be a blessing for life
Let it be said of us
That our hearts belonged to Jesus
Let it be said of us that we spoke the words of life
Let it be said of us that our heritage is blessing for life
For your Kingdom
For your Children
For the sake of every Nation
We will choose to be a blessing for life

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How Can I?

More than anything, I want to be used of God. It is my driving force.It is with this mind that I approached my class at Life Trek tonight. How can I bring them Christ? So often I go home in despair because they don't seem to care, won't listen, and seem so far away. I have such grand ideas at times, to break through, to have just the right words. It happens sometimes, but not often enough. I love these kids so much and want them saved so deeply my heart aches at times. I was reading in Mark, chapter 10 last night, about the rich man told to sell his possessions and give them to the poor. How he left sad. We all know what Jesus said right after. He said, "How hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." But Jesus other words struck a chord with me. He looked at His amazed disciples and declared" Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!" It is not just the rich who need to give there all. It is not just the rich who have a struggle to enter. Jesus calls us to a life of radical service and obedience, a life of sacrifice, a life of relationship, and a life of struggle. This is where all of the emotions of the week come in. The joy of the Lord which is our strength comes in livin this life of service, obedience, sacrifice, and relationship. When I leave out part of the package, when I try to "save" my life instead of giving it, live on the fence, I waver. When these kids on Wednesday nights see too many adults wavering, too many adults living for themselves or their homes and families instead of living sold out to Christ and growing in Him, it makes it hard to interest them in a life of faith. I need to make sure the words I speak on Wednesday night are borne out in my life every day. These students are watching us, they are counting us. The Holy Spirit will draw them, our part is to be the best representation of Christ on the earth that we possibly can, to draw near to the God we are presenting, to be a picture worth emulating.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Bachelor

Okay, I am going to step on a few toes and that is probably fair since I am judging soleby on word of mouth and commercials. I know this program has been more popular this season since there is a guy from Kirkland who is the "bachelor." But you know what this program is. It's everything God did not design for starting our relationships and it is bothering me a little that I am hearing of Christians all caught us in watching this. First, the program is about shallowness. No one on that show, at least in the commercials looks normal. They are beautiful. Nothing wrong with beauty but the last time I went to the mall and looked around there are more plain, as opposed to beautiful, people out and about. I don't want my girls or the young ladies at church thinking that is what normal is supposed to be. God created us and His creation is good. Second, the show is about rejection. Now, I know they are setting themselves up for the rejection, but rejection is ugly. It is not Godly. God did not mean for women or men to be lined up in a dating game to be cast off one by one. I don't see any basis for this in scripture. Dads and moms often arranged marriages and while I don't see the need to go back to that I also don't see God wanting us to try people out. Third, it toys with the hearts and emotions of real people. We are made to feel emotion and to save our hearts for our husbands and wives. This playing around like it is a game cheapens love. It's not right and I don't think we should watch it. God said in ICorinthians that it is not only commiting sin that is wrong but that it is a sin to enjoy watching another commit sin. When we watch television we need to keep this in mind. I know I have to be more careful about what I allow. It does affect us whether we realize it or not and it certainly impacts our children and what they will believe later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are you Living or Dying?

We cannot live a holy life without the Spirit of God. He gives us the power to live and to serve. As my pastor states, we can either live daily, or die gradually. I think the point of this is that we will die without living in the Spirit. In Romans 8 God tells us that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God." It goes further in saying that "the mind set on the flesh is death." I had to ask the question of myself, Am I dying slowly, or growing daily? Most days I walk forward but there are enough days where my flesh gets in the way of the Spirit that it is a question I need to ask. Thankfully, that is part of the ministry of the Spirit to us. He convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. It is He who draws us, comforts us, leads us. The only danger is in ignoring Him. It is when we ignore Him that we lose that life, that we die that death. If we allow the Spirit to turn us around, if we yield to Him when He directs, we have no fear. Some days will be better than others but if we let the Spirit be in control we will grow daily with no fear of death.