Saturday, November 11, 2017

When is There Ever Silence?




She didn't text. He didn't respond. They never replied. No one answered. Silence often makes us feel uncomfortable,  rejected,  unworthy or forgotten. And yet,  so often I crave it. I find,  however,  that in my silent moments,  sometimes I hear my longing to hear and be heard.

Silence can paint a colorless picture or an expectant atmosphere. In silence we speak.

There is only one time recorded in scripture of silence in heaven. Rev 8:1 "And when he had opened the seventh seal,  there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Can you imagine the anticipation? Can you imagine the stillness? All praise and song and worship stopped for the first time in eternity! The Lamb of God is about to open the seventh and last seal. The first six do not bring silence,  but the seventh does. That is the silence of hope for the redeemed.

Most know the curse of being silenced. There seems to be an outpouring today of taking back what was stolen and the raising of voices. This also brings confusion, speculation and an onslaught of opinion and argument. Sometimes I just run for a silent place to hide for awhile.

There are times to use your voice as well as times to keep still.  Ps 31:18 "Let their lying lips be silenced,  for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous." I cry that along with the Psalmist,  especially if I am the 'they'. This one thing I know,  that God is never silent in His love,  even when I am deaf to it.


    

Saturday, November 4, 2017

What is the Real Need Here?

Needs. We are all born with them. They follow us from birth to death. So it isn't a bad thing to need. Wants, those are different, and I admit it. I get my needs mixed up with my wants too often. These words are not synonymous. Jesus’ encounter with Martha in Luke 10:38-42 portrays her lack of knowing the difference. It says she was cumbered about with much serving. Cumbered means to be hampered or hindered or to have an obstacle in your way. Her serving the Lord in her home was not the problem. She had an obstacle. What was that? Well we know she just saw Mary sitting at Jesus feet listening and that  was a bone of contention. Jealousy and comparison can provide the stage for anxiety and accusation. Jesus new what she wanted but more important was what she needed and pointed it out in Mary. She had chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Now we assume Martha received this, but it doesn't tell us. What of us? Do we readily move aside our obstacles of living our life in Christ, or do we want what we want? Ps 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Sometimes we get what we want and then realize it wasn't what we wanted at all. The Lord desires that our desires are a result of our delighting in Him. One needful thing, Jesus said…just one, to hear Him, trust Him and obey Him without being careful (worried ) or troubled. Perhaps a tall order, I know, but if we keep turning to Him, Jesus will never stop picking us up when we fall, never stop calling us His, and never stop being our hope. If we see Him as our greatest need, He will provide every other need.

Sparrows fly
He sees every one
"But they are birds and not as I"

But just suppose
they view us in return
And cry to God "we're not the same"

But with our eyes
we see how he provides
For every bird of flight in nature's way

Might be the songs they sing
Their marvel and their praise
How He provides with such as have no wings


Posted in fiveminutefriday  the prompt is need




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hellos and Goodbyes

October leaves, many dying and falling to the ground before changing color and unseasonal warmer temperatures shroud our belief of a glorious, vibrant outpouring of Autumn. In late September I had been declaring;

     “The leaves are confused and late in turning”, only to be rebutted by many, leaving me asking (myself mostly),

     “Who is crazy, me or they?”

Now the authorities are pushing peak season forward into early November. I won' t say what I am thinking. God knows I have been in the “seat of the scoffers” and most likely will be there again.

Goodbyes and hellos that overlap have for me been in Autumn (second year in a row). When you are mourning the many goodbyes it is hard to greet the hellos properly. How do you let go and embrace at the same time? Perhaps we need to see that…

 “Farewells are often disguised as goodbyes, and are really bad lies.”

The thread woven throughout the Bible is the return of the risen Savior to collect His church, His bride. He never said goodbye but we saw Him die on a cross. He never said goodbye, but we saw Him ascend from the grave and again from this earth. His promise was to return and we still wait and it has been 2000 years waiting. We don't like to wait. And the longer we wait, sometimes the more we mourn what was or what might have been.

Have I mourned too long too many things and dragged them like weights upon my soul? Do I find a comfort in holding tight something or someone who is part of yesterday? Do I refuse to move forward away from them telling myself my own memory alone can keep them alive?

Jesus addressed the disciples when He preached  the sermon on the mount in Mt 5:3. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. While studying this with Bible Teacher Jen Wilkin, I realize what I am to be mourning is my neglect of repenting of my sin of self centeredness, not what has been stripped from me in what I think is an untimely manner.

There is a time and space to mourn.

Eccl 3:3 (KJV)  “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Rom 12:15 (NIV) “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

 Joshua 1:1,2 (kjv), “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the Land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

What would have happened if Joshua had not put an end to his mourning?

He would have been unable to lead the people.
The children of Israel would have no direction.

Compare this to Joseph in Gen 37:35 after he was told Joseph was dead .

“And all of his sons and all his daughters rose up and tried to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, “For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.

What is it that prevents me from going forward? Why are there areas of my life that are not being blessed? How many have been cheated because of my resistance to let go.

I take this as a time to consider what I have been carrying around, in some cases for years. It is time to say farewell, for who knows but God, when any shall meet again, be it on this earth or heaven.

And the seasons cycle. Summer will have its end. The leaves will fall, the snow will shelter and protect as a life growing in the womb, and summer will appear again at exactly the right time.

So also, the Lord will come again and His Holy Spirit is here now so lift your eyes and faint not.

May I continue to learn to live in the moment and not miss the blessings I have now.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Who is Writing Your Story?


I'm back with fiveminutefriday.com and the word is "story"

//If I could write my own story I would have written it differently. It would have successes and adventures. People would leave it at their bedside and perhaps dream to emulate it in part. There would be no endless chapters of sickness with no healing, death with no resolve, heartbreak with no mending. Questions would not be frayed, unraveling and hanging loose as a worn out garment. Of my cast of characters not a one would bear a stain for others to trace back to me and my folly. All this if I could write my own story.

But what stories do I like to read? The one I have described? No way. I enjoy the mysteries, the dramas. I like the distant settings, the eras before me and the unknowing fiction and imaginations of the future. If I wrote my own story the way I planned it, perhaps I would not even read it. It would have no taste, leave no hunger for even finishing it, never mind a sequel. It would lull my senses to sleep, not transport them to a dream.//

Controlled script is not really life. When we try to write it out, things go awry. The unexpected happens, the pages turn, bringing all the nasty, discouraging hopeless events into the story. My life is neither what I dreamed, planned or hoped for. Yet, someone else is writing on these pages. There is a bigger story than just mine going on.

NCIS, the popular crime solving show is on its fifteenth season. What makes it popular is not only the crime being solved. There are so many more stories they added into the script. Stories of relationships formed, developed and yes, some broken, just like my life. They are not all happy. But I know it's fiction and next week is another episode.

I, on the other hand, don't have complete control. How much I would miss out on if I did. I would not know what faith is, nor trust, nor forgiveness, given or received. I wouldn't learn that hate can transform to love, mercy can set someone free and a little understanding can change a life, possibly mine. All of these things are the elements of love.

I have a Savior who wants to finish writing my story. I gave Him the rights to it when I accepted Him into my life. He knows the ending and just how it will play out in other’s lives. You see, my story is not just about me, but about others. Those before me affected me, and those after me will be affected by me. God knows how, I don't.

What do you think of your life? How are you doing with it? If it's not in Jesus hand, maybe ou are trying to write your own story. If it is, then believe it is, following and trusting Him with it. He has His/story written for us. That's a true story to read!




Friday, September 22, 2017

What Are We Accepting?

Okay fiveminutefriday....
The word is accept and it took a few minutes more than five.

I finally got the hair right. I sat in the chair staring in the mirror. “I’m done with the scarves. I can’t stand it any more!” My hair has been in my face ever since I can remember. Growing up I had bangs, but they grew fast and hung thick and heavy over my glasses and when they were cut they looked too short for my face. My hairline is too low.  Then I grew them out. My hair was straight as an arrow and would hold no curl. I just brushed it all down and still continued to be hidden. That was in the late 60’s and 70’s.

Years have passed.  I have never accepted my hair. Cowlicks twist your hair into paths that flow opposite from the rest. I have spent life trying to train them. Now, sitting there, defeated by greying locks, my pride melted. “Let it grow the way it was intended to grow.” I'll spray it to hold it in place.

Surprisingly, after two weeks, I still like my hair. There is something about accepting the way you were made. We try to change it, hide who we are by rearranging ourselves, on the inside as well as on the outside. Somewhere we begin thinking (and In many cases, told) we are not acceptable to others and so we shouldn't accept our selves either.

If I could go back and change one thing in my life it would be my own dignity and respect for who I am in those situations where I know I let my fears dictate my actions. 1 Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (Esv)

I think that fear has its roots in dishonesty. When we don't know how to recognize what is true about ourselves and accept and face it, fears keep us dishonest and that is punishment. However, acceptance comes with having the courage to admit I need help. I have to accept the truth of what is right, not the lie that maybe nothing has to change.

“Scripture tells us as Christians we are accepted in the beloved. It doesn't say ‘Stay right there, don't grow.” The plant is beautiful on the table, but if you don't take care of it properly it will die.

So my challenge is the serenity prayer in its full version, posted below.

 The key line in this is “He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will.”  This is not Rom 8:28 “…He will make all things work together for good ….” Whether I surrender to His will or not, He will work things for His good and there is no condemnation, whereas my happiness in this life is based on my surrendering to His Will.


The Serenity Prayer


God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world 
As it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right 
If I surrender to His Will; 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life 
And supremely happy with Him 
Forever and ever in the next. 

Amen.

(prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)






Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Dilemma

I hear people, even Christians, talking about seeing Christ in all people. In your neighbors, strangers, coworkers, friends, family, etc., and basing our behavior toward them based on that. My dilemma is, I don't believe that Christ is in all people.  Before you delete me, let me explain.

Jesus is God's only begotten son. He is the only son that came directly out of God, out of who He is. Eternal, uncreated deity begets eternal uncreated deity. He was sent to dwell among man as a man, Jn 3:16, “For Go so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

I am a child of God only because I have been given the power to be one as a result of my free will choice to believe in and receive Jesus Christ into my heart. I base this on Jn 1:12, “As many as received him to them gave he the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. I don't believe we are all children of God. I do, however, believe we are all made in the image of God, but that is not the same as being His child. An image is a reflection, a likeness. God is Spirit. I have a Spirit. He breathed into me and made me a soul. His breath is my soul. He is love. I have a capacity to love. My child has my genetics; he is more than a reflection.  We are born in sin. My child has my sin nature. 2 Cor 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him…”

Before I acknowledged my need for Christ and my hopelessness without Him and received the forgiveness He gave to me I was not a child of God. He loved me, yet I was living with my own ideas with no thought at all about God. I had no assurance of any life outside of what I could or couldn't do for myself. Everything was based on my own goodness or moral understanding I chose to believe. My standards were for me, set by me and I judged others by them. When I did make that decision on June 22, 1974 my life radically changed, not by my own will, but by Christ's power. My heart changed and I could no longer think the same way as before. I exercised my will to receive him and he provided the power to become His child.

I believe it is a very grave stance we take when we assume another’s spiritual position. More than look for Christ in another person, I think it is wiser to “put on the new man” Eph 4:24, which is Christ and let another see Him in me. Is that not more fitting and honest before men? Then Christ would be searching the heart and seeing what is in it and not me looking and seeing what I may not even recognize correctly. If Christ sees himself in another, there will be connection; if not, then conviction. If I try and look for Him and don't find him, there may be condemnation or even guilt. God has called us to neither. He has called me to love and acknowledge the image of God in everyone and reveal the life of Christ to everyone, for even brother to brother (sister to sister), not just..." having a form of godliness , but denying the power thereof….2 Tim 3:5(a)

Isn't this what freedom in Christ means? Getting out of the way and letting him release who He is in me?






Monday, September 18, 2017

No Other Support

Really late with this fiveminutefriday prompt.
The word is support

Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live; and let me not be ashamed of My Hope. Psa 119:116

What do they want from me? Giving was never this hard. Lately I have seen evidence that the sweet fragrance is gone and the facade on the outside is beginning to show its wilted blossoms. In the midst of watching and participating in meeting other’s needs I am seeing a clearer view of my own as they remain unattended.

Sound’s like a pity party, doesn't it? I don't think it is. I believe I am being shown something about supporting and being supported. I am facing a reality where all of my concrete support systems are no longer holding me. First the fragrance goes, then the blossoms dry up and fall.
Words of encouragement can be a great support, but they hold you up only as long as they are believed and applied. The only one who really holds us is God and the only way you can really know and experience that is if you allow yourself to fall.

Not a star in the sky shines without darkness surrounding it. No one likes to admit defeat, but it is necessary. Blossoms are beautiful for a season but then they have to make way for the fruit to appear.

Do I want to continue helping people? Of course I do? But I need to face my need in all of its reality and step into a faith I know not of, a darkness I am led through with a hope that I am carried by. I am the only one who can help me by believing Him. When that happens, my support to others will be an extension of Him in me, and I will experience the fruit intended.