Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Rich Young Ruler

Well, the Olympics are over. I am a little sad but mostly ready. They kept me company during this long illness I have been struggling with. My last post taught me to never write when I am sick, wayyyyy toooooo depressing! So I have been waiting patiently to get well, not that I have anything profound to share. I just miss typing words. I love to write and I love to read, blogs, books, magazines. When I have a free minute I like to write. I just finished a book titled, "The Big Idea." I loved the whole book but there was one part that especially inspired me. The writer was talking about Jesus challenge to the rich young ruler and he made the observation that what the guy wanted was deeper teaching, not a life challenge. He wanted to get teaching, not instruction. It got me wondering if I am not that rich young ruler. I may not have much to sell and I'm not much for stuff but I think that sometimes I would rather learn some new fact and new insight in scripture rather than be inspired to be transformed. I am so thankful that our Pastor majors on transformation. Don't get me wrong, I learn a lot also, but mostly I am getting inspired to change and learning how much change I need. It is easier to hear a great word than to change my life and habits, but it is my life and habits that need the transforming power of Christ. There are several areas in my life that I am feeling challenged in and I will share them as I go through the hard work of change but I challenge you. What is Jesus calling you to change in your life. What big idea is He speaking into your life? What ministry opportunity is He trying to challenge you with? It is good to study the word of God but necessary to allow it to change us. Hard, but worth it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sick Day

I've been struggling with disappointment lately. It is a hard thing to admit as I try to not have expectations. Expectations of anything except what God has promised only lead to disappointment. I thought today of the many times I have disappointed others and myself, when I have failed to meet the standards that seem basic to me. But that's the point. We cannot meet the mark without God and His Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that commends us. It is the Spirit of God that works good in us. All of our righteousness is dirty. I think of it this way. With my own efforts I may have a good day or two, maybe even three, but then I will blow it and blow it badly. Someone will act in a way I don't like; I will be tempted by that bag of chocolate in the pantry; I won't feel like reading God's word. Sound familiar? It happens so often. I cannot live the way God desires and the way I desire without the Spirit of God. I cannot have the Spirit of God unless I choose to follow His leading. He's always there but I have to choose to yield to Him. Today I was sick. I hate being sick or even admitting I am sick but I am. I did not feel like doing anything so most of the day I didn't but later today I got tired of accomplishing nothing and did a few minor chores. That is how it is when I ignore the Spirit. It is like feeling sick. Eventually I get tired of it and get my heart right and step back into the battle. I am a soldier and when I do not appropriate the Spirit it is like being sick and losing my armor. I fall and the enemy gets control. I put expectations on people who fail me instead of keeping my eyes on Christ and letting Him be enough. I feel the full weight of life's burden instead of letting Christ carry it. I don't like being sick physically or spiritually. The physical will run its course but I need to change direction purposefully to become spiritually healthy. I am thankful the mercies of God take only a moment to receive and are always available to us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Kids desperately want parents who show them Jesus. If I could say one thing to parents about what bothers their kids and what turns so many of them from church and from God I would tell them this. Kids know when you don't show them the character of God and in time they will reject God because of it. Now I know it is not that simple, that kids make their own choices and at some point need to take responsibility for their own choices but we don't need to make it harder for them.

Kids want parents who love each other. They want to see their daddy love their mom, even when she is difficult, even when she is less than lovable. You chose her, you chose God, obey Him. Love your wife. They want to see their mom respect dad. Even when dad is making bad decisions, even when it seems he is just another kids to clean up after. Respect him and love him.

Mom's, I believe that Proverbs says that the "law of kindness" is always on your tongue. Are you kind, in your discipline, in your treatment of your husband, in how you talk about others? Your kids desperately want kindness, a soft spot to land in a hard world. Dad's, are you exasperating your kids, are you consistent in your expectations? Do you enjoy them? Do you spend time with them and lead them? Your kids need to see you as a man of God. Are you obviously a man of God or would you have to try and dig up evidence to convict you of your relationship with Jesus? How about you mom? Is your life about Christ or something else?

As parents and as families are you serving God or living your life? Many times I hear the kids on Wednesday night verbalize how they do not want their lives to be ordinary. How they want to make a difference and feel a sense of purpose. How about you? Have you lost that sense of wanting more and don't quite know how to get it back again? Say yes to God this year. As He brings opportunities your way, purpose to say yes. Give up a few of life's distractions and make time for ministry. Your kids are learning how life is to be lived from you.

Life is hard and God is going to allow us to go through difficulties. These are our opportunities to show our faith in God and grow in it. During your hard times are you as parents trusting in God or giving in to worry and despair? Your kids are watching.

None of us are perfect. Speaking of those imperfections, our kids can handle our imperfections if they see us confess our sins, admit them, say we're sorry, and repent and live differently. They will forgive us over and over if that is true about us. Funny how that is what God expects too. You see, all our kids really want is to see their parents follow what God says and put Him first. They may not verbalize that. They want to live in a house where they can experience the love of God. If we give them that I think many more of them will follow in His direction.

As I write this I am full of regrets. I certainly did not do all of this right and I am so thankful that God is merciful. None of us will get it all right but we can all aim for the mark. Even though my children are grown I am still aiming for that mark because my life is His and I so want to be found perfect and complete at the end of my journey. I am grateful for each new day that I can press forward and do better. I am praying for us all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Looking Back

I had one of those days today. I didn't sleep well last night so I was feeling sensitive which is never good. The struggles of the last year overwhelmed me and all I wanted was relief. from pressure. from responsibility. from problems I cannot solve that loom over me. I felt weary and tired and so I came home and turned on the television. Bad plan. Television does not make anything feel better. I will tell you what helps. I can tell you this not because I am smart but because God knew this day was coming for me and had my Pastor preach a sermon just for me on Sunday. Pretty amazing. He preached about the importance of looking back. I remembered this rather late this afternoon and in obedience to that word I looked back. I looked back on all the times God has been faithful to me. I looked back at the way He saved me. I looked back at what I was before Him. I have written before about how I love the parts of the Bible where the Children of Israel marked the great events God did in their lives by building an altar of stones. In this day, when life is so hard and sin grows worse and worse, we need to build those altars. We need to look back and remember that we are not the same as we were, that God is building us into a holy people for His own possession. We need to remember His goodness. Whether it is a bad day, a bad month, or a bad year, we have good things to remember and to give us hope. I'm not sure what the year has in store for me but glancing back at the past, I know I need not fear. He is with me. He is faithful. His mercies never cease.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

He is Enough

I decided to wait a week before posting a post-fast blog. I wanted to be able to gauge better what happened in my life and how the experience affected me. I am sorry to say that I noticed my appetite coming back today. I had enjoyed not being able to eat much all week and was hoping it would last. I wish I had some momentous insights to share but the biggest insight I came away with came from last weeks sermon. God is my reward and He is enough. Whatever your circumstance in this moment, He is enough. Whatever happens this coming week, my God is enough! For my children and husband, He is enough. When I am afraid, He is enough. I serve the God of the universe, creator of all and He is enough! Fasting is not a formula and I am still waiting for God to answer many of my prayers, but He is enough. I believe Him for big answers still. I am waiting expectantly still. God will not be put on a time limit. He asks that I trust Him to be enough and I will, Lord help my unbelief. God is God. His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways. He is big enough to handle all my stuff and all of yours too. I need some miracles. I am waiting. I believe. He will answer in due time. He is enough.