Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Colossians 1: 1-8 Thanks

I love the formal greetings given in the epistles. Can you imagine if we started our emails or facebook communications the way Paul did? Crazy! These first 8 verses are about greeting and thankfulness. The more I say goodbye to people, I mean the kind of goodbye where you don't see people for months or years, the more I appreciate Paul's greetings. The more I say goodbye to people the more thankful I am for them. The last few years have seen many "goodbyes" in my life, too many for my way of thinking, but they have changed me some. It's not just in the taking of people for granted, although I did that, but its in the way God moves us around and how we are not to be too rooted or tied to any one place. It's how we are His regardless of where we are and we have family in most everywhere we go because of the gospel. This greeting reminds me of how we are at home wherever God takes us because the gospel is increasing, bearing fruit, and is present wherever we are at, because the Spirit of God is in us. I have been at this one place for a very long time, but I am more willing now than I have been for years for God to take me anywhere and do anything with me. Now writing this is a bit scary because you never know what God has in store, but I trust Him. It won't be bad, but good wherever He leads.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


"Be still and know that I am God." I think there is a thought here. To know God requires some stillness. I think I have an addictive personality. You know some of them but I am going to dare to reveal a couple more. I am addicted to noise. Sounds crazy because I love the quiet. I really do. I love to be alone at home. But I don't like it too quiet. I have to have background noise. I don't know how people survived the quiet long ago. It gives me an uneasy anxiety. Even in the car. I will turn on talk radio just to hear another human voice. Often I have the TV on and pay no attention to it at all just to hear the noise. I also like to be busy. Sometimes I think it is this feal of becoming useless, of no value. Some days, when I have been felt unproductive it has frightened me a little. I have read books on the value of being still and slowing the pace of life and they don't feel right to me. But when I read these words, the words to "be still" and understand that there is a knowing God in that stillness that I have not as yet understood, I want it. This week I will be practicing stillness. I will purposely have a quiet stillness on at least a couple evenings after work and purposely seek the God of stillness. I have gotten a taste of it in the prayer room and have been blessed, but want to seek that same experience in my home, with phones turned off, tv off, music off, dogs outside. I want to see if there is something to be found in the stillness. For some of you with kids this is still a dream, but it is hard even when the kids grow up. It is hard because we have grown used to the life we knew with them. It is also hard because we tend to value doing instead of being. I know that I do. We also live for experiences and fill our lives perhaps too easily. I know I did. I almost felt like a sinner if I had two days at home! Christianity and life aren't about doing, they just include doing, Christianity is about God, hearing His voice so we can do what He wants and not just fill our lives with tasks and noise.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Safe Path

Have you ever wanted to feel safe? Like you would know what was around every corner so you could be prepared? I love the randomness of life but today God has been convicting me of wanting to be safe. I often will choose a safe path instead of taking the adventure. I was thinking of Paul today and how incredibly passionate he was, how his passion fed who he was, what he did, and how deeply he loved his Savior. I think we love God as much as we allow Him in. It is hard to love God if He is unable to be God in your life, if you avoid the challenge. Too often we reduce God to someone we want to answer our wish lists, solve our problems, and keep us from danger. We do not plunge in and live deeply. The path God leads us on is very narrow and it is challenging. The Bible says that there are few that find it. He says that he who seeks to save his life will lose it. I think we get off the narrow road when we fail to take the challenge of living. I used to think the narrow road was about behavior and God certainly does want to change our character, but now I think that the narrow road is about living our life. It is about letting God lead and following Him. It is about embracing the work he has formed us for and about the plan He has for us. That is the narrow road. We get far too distracted with monitoring the behavior of the believers around us and too little time living the life God has for us. The gospel is hindered when we get off that narrow path. The gospel is hindered when we complain about the lack of safety and the struggles along the way. The path may be hard but it is good. It has the bread of life for sustenance, the living water for our thirst, and the Savior to supply that which we actually need. It is a good life if we will see it. I want to walk that narrow road instead of following the path of least resistance and the highway of desire.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lessons in Numbers

I am reading in Numbers at the present and am enjoying it which seems strange. Today, in chapter 18 God is talking about the offerings for the Priests and the Levites. I was struck at how God gave the priests "the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain that were given the Lord as the firstfruits of the harvest." In fact it goes on to say that "Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord is yours." That is how highly God regards those who minister on our behalf. He sets apart the best. Should we do no less? Giving our best to the Ministers who serve us is what God decided to set apart for the priests and it is what we should do also. The passage goes on to say that it is an everlasting covenant. The tithe is a great starting place but I want to start thinking of ways I can be more of a blessing to the Pastor God has given. It is a blessing to God, His church, and to those who minister to us full time. God says "You must present as the Lord's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you." Can you imagine what the church could do if believers took that to heart and gave to God first, gave to him the best, tithed as God has taught, and offered themselves and their extra in service to the Lord's work? Imagine how many we could reach with the gospel. Think of it, it is why we are here, it is and should be our focus, to serve the Lord with everything and every talent he gives us so that we can reach our world and go home, finally home, to be with Him!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Computer woes and thoughts on being Spiritual.

I have decided that the internet plays a huge part in my life. I know this because this week I have been without it in my home and it has driven me a little crazy, sort of like a broken car. I don't know how to fix it and am beginning to wonder if I ever will and have been reduced to just having access at work. It is funny how discontented I became over not being able to go on the web, how it irritated me and affected my mood and with it my week. Today I finally calmed down and feel at relative peace with it. I have access at work and someday it will get fixed.

I have thought about how God is a part of everything and how everything is spiritual. We don't have a spiritual side or do spiritual things. The truth is, that God made us spiritual beings. It states in Genesis 1:27 that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." It also says that we are the "ambassadors of Christ." That is to say we are the representation of Him upon the earth. If we are in His image and likeness and are His representation then it follows that every act has divine implications. Like what time I go to bed as an example. If I refuse to get enough sleep or rest that has implications on my mood, on what I feel like doing, even in how much time I waste or in how I choose to serve God. How about a smaller item like brushing my teeth. I think you would all agree that not brushing my teeth has divine implications. Do any of you want to be around me if I don't? Don't I limit my usefulness by choosing not to do that simple act. Likewise every decision from choosing to wisely discipline our children or spending money on a latte has a divine implication and needs some care in the making. Now, some decisions don't need a great deal of thought, such as the tooth brushing one, while others do, like making a major purchase or taking on a responsibility. It is up to me to take the appropriate thought for each one. This is not to say that everything is serious. Sometimes I am guilty of making things too serious. It just means that God is in the details, as well as the big stuff. God loves joy and desires us to be a happy, joyous, people. So that is also part of our image and likeness. God loves us to act in our design, as He does. Whatever He is, we should take after. He is good, He is joy, He is peace, He endures, He is love, He is all good, He is creative, He is life itself. That is what it is to be spiritual. It is to be like Him.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hi Friends, This post feels like it will be a little random but we'll see where it goes. As most of you know, three of our churches got hit with vandalism. It was pretty disconcerting to see the broken windows on Sunday but it turns out we were hit lightly compared to the others. They did not get in the building. Tonight there was a prayer meeting at the Baptist church with all the pastor's in town and anyone who could come. What a sweet time. It was so hard after working all day and then grocery shopping to leave the house. I tried so hard to talk myself out of it. But I could hear God asking me what I would be doing at home anyway. Doing housework or watching TV or here at the computer, all of which will wait. I could have missed it and I am so glad I didn't . Pastor Dale is a gifted speaker and I so enjoyed the reminder that we are not at home here, this is an alien land and we will not be home until we get to heaven. He encouraged us to pray for our community while we are in "exile" here. What wonderful words. I came out feeling more encouraged and energized that if I would have stayed home.

On another note. Grocery shopping Dave Ramsey style stinks. I am trying to get used to half of my former food budget. The last couple weeks we had been using up staples from the pantry but Sunday when I opened the refrigerator I realized it was time to shop. I loved the fact that every purchase was planned and carefully considered. I was thrilled at all the stuff I decided we could live without. I didn't like when I went to the cash register and was over budget by $25. I still have a long way to go on my planning and buying. I am determined to make it work and my heart goes out to you that have several children all week. Mine are only home on the weekend and in the summer. I think sometimes that along with the Dave Ramsey class we should have a Dave Ramsey support group that will last and help us to keep going.

I want to end with the thought that we are so privileged to serve our precious Lord and encourage you all to remember that life is about Him and not us. We live in the land of me and it is easy to forget. Love you all!