Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feeling Cold

I am struggling. I am tired and weepy and am struggling to feel hopeful and that is not me. It isn't about God. More about me. I am second guessing so many decisions I have made; seeing so many mistakes and failures. It is hard right now to see the light and part of me feels like running away. Of course that is silly; where would I run to? Life cannot be avoided but is to be lived; its good parts as well as the bad. It is at times like these that I am glad I have developed life habits. I am glad that I go to the Word every day. I am glad that I have tried the Lord and found Him faithful. I am glad that I start and end each day with prayer and spend much of the middle praying also. I am glad that I have started to fast, in the past year, and that it is now established in my life. Recently I have started reciting truths and promises of God each day I am continuing for they help me see God.  For without the Lord I would totally lose heart. Without the Lord I would not feel convinced that I will pull through this space of time. But I know and believe that the Lord is good, that He answers prayer, that His will is never thwarted and that He is on my side.  I know that but I am not feeling it at the time. It is good to develop your relationship with God every day because in the day of darkness it is not something you can put on quickly. My mood has been like the weather of late and for the first time ever I am longing for summer. I am feeling cold and both my body and spirit long to be warm. God is good; all the time, this to shall pass.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I was thinking about Easter today. How easy it is to push to get so many things done that you forget. I took pause for a minute today and made a mental decision, Note to self - Rejoice! It is easy to forget the reason behind all of our activity. It is easy to let other stuff crowd out this most glorious time of our year. I felt myself feeling the push this week. Telling myself, just get through the day. Concentrate on your list. Get everything done. Forgetting the joy. Forgetting that I am set free. Forgetting that the resurrection of Christ is the most significant event that has happened in all of history! I pray that each of you gets a moment to pause and reflect this week. I pray that you all have notes to self that remind you to rejoice. I am excited to see what happens in our services on  Good Friday and Easter Sunday this week. I have watched the guys working hard and can't wait to see everything. As a church we have been praying and inviting and planning and now we will see what God does.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pray without Ceasing

Today I am filled with both excitement and trepidation. I am going to our churches ladies retreat in Leavenworth. First, the trepidation. Ladies retreats scare me. I have had some bad experiences on the very few I have been on. For years I avoided them. I have also never gone over the past in my adult life when there was a hint of snow on the road. Thankfully today there is just barely a hint but there is snow in places so I am nervous. When I was a teenager going to a snow camp I was in a wreck on the pass. I think that is where my fear may come from. All this to say I am feeling a bit stretched today. Stretching is usually a good think but it does bring with it some anxiety. I spent quite a bit of time on my knees last night casting that anxiety on the Lord and getting up feeling the wash of His peace over me. A friend of mine explained it well yesterday when she told me how she was praying for peace. She knew God was trying to give her peace but she wasn't accepting it too well. I kept feeling the same way so I kept at it and it took awhile but the peace came. For a moment. That is how peace is. It waves over you but you have to keep pursuing it. It is not a by-product of a single prayer but the by-product of ceaseless praying. Anxious thoughts invade. We pray for peace. Anxious thoughts return. We pray again. Praying without ceasing is a rhythm. See a need. Lift it up. A name flits into your head. Pray for them. You notice someone in your journeys. Pray for them and for why God made you notice. What else you might do. You are nervous about something, like I am about this retreat. You pray. You notice you need an attitude adjustment. You pray. You feel hurt and alone.You pray. You are happy. You prayerfully praise and thank God. You love your family. You pray for them. Rhythm. Ceaseless. God gave us prayer because He knew we would be lost without Him and that too much of our lives we cannot do on our own. He gave us prayer because He loves to be with us. He gave us prayer because He is the answer. Pray.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

All Hat and No Cattle

Are you "all hat and no cattle?" I heard that on American Idol this week and it made me think about my life. Am I better at the "putting on" of Christianity than I am at the living it out?  Today Pastor Sean was talking about what God has called us to that would seem to be nonsense. That God calls the poor, the persecuted, the marginalized, the reviled, those who are "least"; He calls them blessed. He told us how all men struggle; some desire wealth, some live for their appetite, some long for the praise and approval of men, and some of us who are believers also struggle trying to keep our lives instead of losing them for Christ. I know that I could relate too well and found myself thinking about it this afternoon and hoping that on a daily basis I am putting on Christ and not religion. Often at night I kneel at my bed and I feel the frustration of my flesh and tell God about it. I promise to do better only to feel frustrated yet again at how short I fall. I am so thankful that God loved us while we were yet sinners and loves while we are yet clothed in our humanity. He loved us so much that He walked as one of us. For me that is a huge part of the story of Easter. He knows us; He knows our name; He knows every struggle. I love how He urges me to be perfect as He is. I love that He presses me forward and will not leave me to just "live out" my life. I don't want to just wear the trappings of my faith; going to church, maybe Wednesday nights, finding a small place to serve once or twice a year so I don't feel guilty. I want to serve God with my time, with my money,  with every effort. I say I want to.  I do want to. But I am not satisfied. Lord, help me not to just wear the outfit. Remember to push me on the days I need that push. Remind me of your love on the days I feel alone. Help me to understand Grace and extend it to those who need it most. Remind me when I forget that I am carrying Your gospel; Your Words. Help me understand fully what it means to be a light in the world. I don't want to be "all hat and no cattle." Amen

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Great is our God

 When I get physically and mentally tired one of the things that happens to me spiritually is I start doubting God’s love.
 It is then that:

I allow guilt to overwhelm me. I remember how unworthy I am and how many mistakes I have made. My failures as a wife, mother, and believer, those failures that we all have, wash over me and threaten my faith.
It is then that:
I allow doubts to sink deep. I believe in God but I start believing that voice that He does not believe in me. That somehow I am outside the paramaters of His unconditional love. That becaue I am the "chiefest of sinners" that I am over the edge of His mercy.
It is then that:
I question God’s purposes. I wonder why He has not healed. I wonder why so many parts of my life have seemed like a train wreck. I wonder in those moments why He allows so much pain and suffering.

There have been moments that I have felt this way in this particular week. Moments when I have felt pain, moments when I have questioned everything that I have done and whether any of it was worth anything at all.

It has been raining way too much. Raining outside, and sometimes hailing and snowing too. It is supposed to be spring. I have needed some spring outside and inside. I am sure many of you have too. Today the sun came out. It was warm. I got to have lunch with my wonderful daughter. I got some sleep.  My perspective changed.

I remembered these words:

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.  Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us."

 Romans 8:31-34

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."1 Peter 1:6-7
How great and amazing is the God we serve!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time to be Trendy

I was thinking today about the importance of being “trendy.” No, I am not getting a new wardrobe and I will not be sporting a tattoo anytime soon. It’s just that we are trying to reach the culture that exists now, not the culture of 20 years ago and that makes it incredibly important for churches to change and people to embrace that change. Notice I didn’t say be entirely comfortable with that change. I don’t know about you but I have been stretched almost to the snapping point more than once the past few years. I have said in my head and occasionally out loud that if I have to hear one more “hip hop” Christian song I will go mad and I sincerely mean that. Yes, I’ve been stretched and if you are over, (well let’s not talk about age, you know who you are), anyway, I bet at least some of you have been stretched as well. Brian Dodd writes a great blog on leadership over at . He had this great list of imaginary quotes from churches that have forgotten the mission of the church; reach the community around us and the world as we walk through it. Some of these quotes show just how obviously off base we can become if we refuse to change. Others aren’t bad, for example revival is a great thing, but when grouped together with the rest become an impossibility. A church cannot experience revival if nobody wants to attend it. Anyway the list got me thinking about how important it is to keep the purity of the gospel while making it accessible and relevant to the day and times that we live in so I present it to you.

1. “Isn’t it great that our music is never too loud?”

2. “Isn’t it nice seeing people in coats and ties and not disrespecting God by wearing blue jeans?”

3. “We’re more spiritual and doctrinally pure than that fast-growing, watered-down gospel, baptizing-hundreds-every-year church down the street.”

4. “Can you believe that church is stealing all our people?”

5. “I hear we’re having to cut the budget because giving is not what it used to be.”

6. “Isn’t it great having all this room on the pew to spread out.”

7. “I love singing all four verses.”

8. “Don’t worry about our attendance. Let me tell you how large our membership is.”

9. “Are you coming to Monday night visitation?”

10. “Remember the good ‘ole days.”

11. “Visitors, please stand.”

12. “I hear it’s just a show over there.”

13. “We just formed a Committee on Committees.”

14. “We don’t talk about money. We preach the Bible.”

15. “Isn’t it great getting out of the parking lot quickly?”

16. “The poor will always be with us.”

17. “I’m really tired about having to hear about lost people all the time.”

18. “Pastor, I think we need to start praying for revival.”

Friday, April 1, 2011


My eyes are dry; My faith is old
My heart is hard; My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be. 
Alive to You and dead to me.

But what can be done with an old heart like mine
Soften it up, with oil and wine.
The oil is you, your Spirit of love,
Please wash me anew, with the wine of your Blood.
                                              (Keith Green)
My last post was about reactions so of course I was tested in that area. That is how it works. And of course I failed because that is also how it works; at least with me. I have felt frustrated  lately.  It is as if I am at odds with my feelings. It is hard to care deeply and feel strongly and not get caught up in a swirl of negative emotions when it all goes badly. Sometimes I try to steel myself against feeling. Let words and actions and attitudes wash over me without affecting me. It doesn't work for long because God made me to care. Sometimes I just want to quit, thinking I am beyond being useful. I don't feel hard but I have been battling this feeling that all that I do is without purpose. Proverbs 29:11 says, A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. It's been difficult holding back lately; fighting this desire to just be blunt. Too often I am left thinking that what I do is all for nothing.  I don't want to become hard hearted and uncaring but I need to believe that my actions, emotions, and ministry are in tune with God's and that  my reactions are His and not my humanity lashing out. There is a life in our words and actions when we are in sync with God that I have been missing of late. The words of the Keith Green song have been running through my head. My life must come from God and not from me. I must keep my spirit soft by pursuing Him fully. I need a restoring of the joy that is mine in Christ. "Because I know how I ought to be; alive to you, and dead to me." I know it and I need it. Self is such a difficult and persistant enemy. The victory may be already ours but the battle is fierce and ongoing.