What are my real gifts?

 

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Each person has a point in life where he or she is challenged beyond what he/she senses capable of.  Trying to find one’s natural talents in life is not what we dreamed it would be at times.   We all have them for some it’s a mathematical gift the ability to keep the numbers straight, know what he/she spent, recording what the next spending should or should not be.  In my experience of several years, it’s working with children of many ages and sociolinguistic groups.  Together the teacher sets the learning objectives for her unique group of students, and together we learn whether or not the steps we took went well to facilitate their learning.  For the lawyer, it’s researching, finding evidence, knowing the facts to develop the strongest argument.  

Taking the role of the observer, for just a few months after teaching a year ago, I notice and I even question my own talents with the absence of a “hired role.”  Each becomes an observer at his or her own life and determines to look at all that is happening around to make a judgement on how one’s life is developing or not developing. For several months, I was guided into a dramatic and lifestyle changing remodel project to avoid moving and renovate our place to a more “energy efficient and artistically craftsman constructed home.”  That design and plan looks very different to every homeowner couple.

In the course of several months, we didn’t have a kitchen to cook in nor a place to write in.  Cooking for me is my passion in the evening; my husband and I both love new recipes.  We love to eat new dishes and our three children each have an appetite that calls out for the savory, salty, and of course, sweet!  

I began to miss my hundreds of new Spanish students.  Without my middle school Spanish students, there wouldn’t be any new faces to love.  Each week we would gather to sing “el alfabeto en español” or have students teach each other numbers 0-100.  I was missing and am missing that, for me, that was my “walking on water moment.”  Even though I was missing the years at school and my tidy home where everything had its proper room and place, I began to look forward to another leap of faith, my talents, and greater direction.  I asked, “Can God find new talents and develop other talents in an individual that he or she didn’t know he or she had because the tools and the position I have to work with, is foreign and very different to me?”  I have learned that he can and he will for each of us, but this doesn’t mean that he will change us completely.  However, he will add to us if we acknowledge the purpose he fulfills in the believer’s life.

How about you; do you recognize your God given abilities, and have you seen them changing in the recent years?  If so, continue to follow with me on our faith journeys.   

Truly,

FAITH

To Everlasting

 

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The wearied soul does not sleep

He does not find a moments rest

For, he has not done enough

The man made law has put him to test

Nor has he collected all his treasures yet

 

A test of love and faith and truth

This test was Not

The test was lust, flesh, and want

Again led to fall short of his own needs

 

To these that wait in faith, love, and truth

A lively Kingdom awaits

Murders, drunkenness, and hatred has no place

Taking the hand of another here

Time to hear, laugh, and deeply care

 

Let the days we share now be called

Everlasting

They aren’t moments, months, or years

but Everlasting

The one, Everlasting Joy and the other

Everlasting Hate

Leading by prayer

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As the days pass it only feels clearer

and then it feels murky

 

The levels of anticipation, arrival, or excitement

are growing and building

 

Waiting, praying, and asking for the

power of patience to take over

 

With the next day passing

the outcome feels more murky

 

Waiting, praying, and asking for the

power of patience to take over

 

Finally putting my mind in neutral after

much seemingly repeated prayer

 

Seeing the enjoyment after the

preparation and leading with prayer

 

 

 

Sweet and Salty Prayers

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Have you tried it?  We are offered all kinds of tastes and treats.  The candies, snacks, pops and beverages, and treats for a Pre-K student, elementary, high school or adult goes through each week are rich and draw the taste buds for more.  Looking back at this week, the tastes were just as important for the younger as they were for the older.  In Pre-K the Moms and Muffins day brought the delight of  muffins, mini cinnamon rolls, and orange juice.  The older we got, we moved to baseball snacks from the concessions like the saltier ones and more energetic kinds like popcorn and sports drinks.  The high school  youngster made his own salty snack of choice with half a bag of tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, torn tortillas, and all mixed in to be microwaved for a minute or so to melt the cheese.  He had to also take a bottle of pop with him to school also for some of the caramel colors and sweeteners as well!   On a day out, we parents didn’t fail to choose coffee, excellent chocolate, and a chai tea latte to end our afternoon lunch experience.  Each of these treats were momentary delights all worth the temporary indulgence.

Prayer, like these tastes and treats, has a delight that may seem to last for only that moment of prayer, but if we could think for a moment of the expanse of the prayer world, as well as the life long lasting effect, we would be going to God in prayer as often or more often like we would our favorite snacks.  Caring about another, our world, our country, our own families, and our very own friends could be shared more from the heart.  God and Jesus the Savior,  act in kindness, goodness, and faithfulness seeking that all may come to the knowledge of the saving grace offered but also the delight and expanse of the offer.  The action of one asking and caring already has an effect because of the compassion and love it already holds.  Even more powerful than that is to carry that prayer to the All knowing and All powerful creator who can take as many requests at a time as He wills.

What if we went to God the Father, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, with a different attitude, so maybe we have disappointment, and we shared that with him.  Wouldn’t he want to hear his child’s cry for help or one in need of a Savior?  It seems there is no need to cover up our requests and take them to the one who cares.

“You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.  You do not have because you do not ask God.”  James 4:2 (N.I.V.)

Truly,

FAITH

 

 

Halfway at Forty

 

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While one daydreams about turning that magic age of 40, one wants to celebrate what appears to be a life half lived.  This year new thoughts come to mind, but it is by this time that maybe college is far off in the past, the children are all growing and taking their own journeys, and the thought of the last decades of lasting life impact and meaning are strung out on the horizon.

Each passing day, it is funny how new personal and family expectations come to mind.  There is a point that even though I think about the daily expectations that sometimes I want to remind myself not to think of those, but instead the day doesn’t really allow that for anyone unless of course you find yourself taking a really great nap.  Thankfully, this week I had one of those days.  I am sounding older already.  I have also begun to think about what a much more condensed life might look like and what I really need in my life.  When my oldest was growing up, we would tag a lot of agenda items onto our day all for the sheer effort of trying new sports, new clubs, new experiences, to help our family develop into what was our thought of “well rounded,” and as you are constantly re-evaluating your year to year experiences, there can be a place for that, but at 40, I am sure some of these scheduled efforts are not always worth the daily consumption.

In the center of the home, I desire to look deeply for the joy and the faithfulness to a vision not merely for me arriving at my dreams in my family relationship to satisfy perhaps all of the educational, familial, and spiritual aims, which I seem to enjoy like most, but to align and realign to the growing needs and desires of my family.  In the last fifteen years, with children I see how the family runs freely.  It also trickles out into many channels in the oceans of life.

I am beginning to see, as many can relate to; it never is all about us as parents, and eventually those fifteen-year-old sons and daughters will be changing and adapting to satisfy there own relational needs with corsages, boutonnieres, new music with wireless speakers, driving lessons and much more challenging course work.  Some way, all that you thought was easy to manage for your children’s life becomes their inertia that propels your living forward.

In a book titled Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, I appreciate her explanation of the family and marriage according to Hannah More, “A happy marriage was a channel for allowing the individual to satisfactorily employ whatever gifts and talents had been bestowed on him or her by God for the benefit of all, within the family and without.”  I like this because the design of “for the benefit of all” resonates that turning forty with a family is a beneficial relationship to hold onto with joy and love.  It is also one that needs to be cherished realizing that eventually the family choices set in motion will be continued with their own inertia.

Doesn’t the family life develop and change in ways that are new and exciting and sometimes rather unexpectedly?  During those times, we can draw strength knowing that a happy life is God’s love for each member of the family and always seeking to have more of His love and joy.

“A new command I give you; love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34 (N.I.V.)

 

Truly,

 

 

FAITH

 

 

 

CATCH 22

 

fisherman-239487_1920 (1).jpgThe “Catch 22” of life has tricked us, or there is a bind on us that seems to have no exits or hidden passageways so you thought.  This past year, past week, past few days had plenty of these for all of the world.  Didn’t this past year, past week, past few days also have great moments of calm like a calm lake when you are setting your fishing pole out at the first sunset or the tender joy seeing a new youngster’s first months of life and dependence on his or her parents and family?  Often what looks like the bleakest times of life are defined before they are truly even experienced.  Can you pause your mind and your mouth at a moment’s notice to take in all of the new life experience?  Are you like I am often times reacting to the experience even before I have truly enjoyed it and understood all of it?  Perhaps, this is the desire of instant gratification.

God’s miracles can be most defined many times in the bleakest times of life.  Isn’t it His Light of tender eyes, care, and mercy that we can behold?   Even in those times there is a warmth of his presence in our faith?  Sometimes you need to just get closer to that warmth of God, His Son Jesus, and improve that relationship all over again.  It begins at the heart, and it is also what saves the heart in the process.

Consider the love you have for others, yourself, and even the Maker of the Universe, and remember His eyes are upon everyone.

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere. keeping watch on the wicked and the good” Proverbs 15:3 (N.I.V.)

Truly,

 

FAITH

Welcomed at this table

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Recently this month, I attended a conference where the Lord’s supper was given during the worship service.  The conference was held prior to Easter Sunday, and what held me in awe of God’s reach of power was that over one hundred representatives from other countries were present along with thousands of other attendees.  During the Lord’s supper each one was given time to dip their crust of bread into the grape juice.  The length of the service was obviously longer than any other service I had been to, but the metaphor for what the future awaits for all those believing and having taken of the same offer was lasting.

When I seek to gain a better appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus, I think of his pouring out of his own blood with a demonstration of honor to the people he would then and now reconcile for.  I think of those then that he thought of as not any greater than those of us now.  All were on his mind and equal in value to him by his death on an unforgiving cross among a quarrelsome crowd.  God and He were not mindless and unaware that such a sacrifice needed to be made, but perhaps the appreciation of mankind would grow for such a display of love, salvation, and deep concern.

In this everlasting sacrifice, we know Jesus loved his own disciples personally, and I believe he thought about the others in the same way around him during his crucifixion.  As it takes time for any ceremony to be carried out, the heart of Jesus was to uniquely give gratitude for the calling and ministry that was upon each one at the Last Supper with his disciples.  He also warned the betrayer and the denier that would come in His path to the cross.  No cross would be easy for him to carry, but it was required that he would make the sacrifice himself and rely upon the strength of the Almighty for all of mankind.

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (N.I.V.)

When I look at the Lord’s supper, my desire is to remember the sacrifice that was needed to be made to all that were willing to believe in God’s masterfully crafted plan for all of eternity.  Does this add to your remembrance of Him?

Truly,

 

FAITH

Math that needs a rescue

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The young man sat and listened to the math teacher explain the geometric concepts that were new to the ninth grade experience.  He had always been a boy interested in math.  His bathroom reader in PreK was a game of figuring out which number was on the page.  “What is the number he would say?”  Was is five hundred eighty five or another like one thousand two hundred and twelve?  He would point, give his guesses, and go on to another number.

Math came easy for him until about the seventh grade, and then it was time to learn more than just sixty to seventy percent of what he was learning in his mostly pre-algebra class.  The numbers and new formulas didn’t make as much sense to him as they used to and his parents couldn’t explain it well enough.  In this well meaning age of technology, he had new instructors, online ones that were useful even if they were not the preferred way of learning.  It didn’t seem necessary for him to need a tutor that early on in school.  Technology became his new way of learning that year.  The online resources helped him like homework helpers.  He saw his grades improve not tremendously, but as an example, before getting D’s on a test now he actually understood most of the concepts and had raised his D’s to more solid C’s.  He had learned to teach himself concepts that could not be explained to him by other means.

The following year, his learning experience seemed better sought at a private school as the teaching environment would facilitate more one on one instruction especially in his developing areas of mathematics.  Coming into class the first day, he was greeted by the principal and several teachers who wanted to know more about him.  We learned that day conveniently that he would need to come back for……you guessed it, a math test!  The math test and the use of a calculator that day began to rebuild not only his interest but confidence in math all over again.  He placed well for his studies that year in math and benefited from a smaller class size of around ten students.  This year his teacher offered help for students that were having difficulty and other ways to improve his grade throughout the year.  Mostly C’s in math the previous year were now B’s.

Geometry now holds it’s own keys to several mysteries and hidden mazes to be unlocked.  The classroom size has gotten larger, the need for more you tube learning is on the increase again, but he is not afraid or inexperienced with a challenge.  At the end of a semester final, the need to find a tutor became evident, and fortunately, he found one at the start of the second semester.  Sometimes you think that what looks like it will get more comprehensible for you does not, and a timely intervention keeps you from drowning.

via Daily Prompt: Timely

Flapping makes one flabby

 

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Soaring eagles do not make the most challenging flight patterns or draining exercises their favorite.  Every stage of the flight of life is filled with what makes one emotionally satisfied, drained or lonely.  Stepping out in faith, one must seek the kind of faith and trust to ask for help at any time.  Saying to God, “let me wait upon you and trust in you so I might soar like the eagles.”  It is interesting how the flight of the eagle doesn’t question his/her lack of strength, wing span, speed, or size.  However, questioning our own abilities does lack the patience and persistence to wait in the stages of life that require waiting the most.

Taking a lesson from the eagle, one can observe these eagles have great wing spans, but did you notice, as Jennifer Randell, CPN Eagle Aviary Manager details, that the wing span of the female is eight feet in contrast to the male’s six feet wing span? (Citizen Potawatomi Nation).  One can also see the size differences in the eagle as well females tend to be larger in size and weight helping with their nurturing and protecting roles over the nests.  The weight of the female is usually ten to fifteen pounds more than the male.  The males size allows for better ease of hunting and making provision for the nestlings.  Together these two establish loyalty to each other and to their offspring with rarely a recommitment to another after the death of a mate (Citizen Potawatomi Nation).

The strengthening is not just in the size of the wing,  but it is in the waiting.  When observed, the BALD EAGLE site, details the physical characteristics of the eagle’s strengths.  They have long, large wings, a short neck, and short legs.  These short legs make preparing for flight by tucking them in the safety of their own dependable feathers.  As the eagle is in flight it will take only “two minutes per hour” for the eagle to actually flap his/her wings because this is enough for the eagle to feel content and fully able to satisfy the level of energy needed. (www.learner.org)  The confidence of the eagle relies upon his physical characteristics and qualities, but he/she also remains in a positive and powered glide rather than a painstaking, flapping journey.

The upward and motivated flight of the eagle inspires a metaphor for the individual waiting upon God.  I trust that in the hoping and waiting we will learn to soar.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (N.I.V.)

Truly,

 

FAITH

A drink worth the refreshing

 

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Let my heart speak and my mind listen.  I try not to force my mind to think something but instead let my heart and mind speak for themselves.  There are times when indecision would like to complicate good and joyful choices, and sometimes it is our past that makes us sink into not making a choice that is available and there for the rightful taking.

I have been examining what this whole thought of JOY really is as I have been reading Choose Joy because Happiness Isn’t Enough by Kay Warren.  Truthfully, this author is believable because of her experiences.  She is co-founder with the pastor and her husband Rick Warren of, Saddleback church, an evangelical megachurch of several thousand members.  One key thought I take designed on my own from her book is about the heart.  The heart is mechanical in that it does it’s daily routine to pump the blood to all areas of the body; however the heart is also permeable in that it influences the thoughts of the mind and takes in a wealth of emotions like love.  When the heart wants to think the mind needs to answer and vice versa.

Sometimes we are not sure which part of our being is truly telling the truth, so we need an answer to our questions in our heart.  Kay  Warren describes in her book that this was also the life of the tribes and people of the Bible.  Take for instance the  Israelites centuries ago when they forgot the power source of God in their hearts and minds.  She explains at this time they had been freed from slavery which would have been very freeing to the heart and mind, but their heart and mind was very soon tricked to follow after other gods and make idols for themselves.  The Israelites centuries ago, may have had questions in their mind like “What is next, we’ve been fed manna from heaven daily and had a cloud to follow with us, but where are you now God?” Maybe they instead said, I am not hungry but fed, and I am just bored what can I do with myself maybe this idol will be entertaining to make, to talk to, to believe in and that will show my success?  Kay describes the human attempt to not choose God as the source of joy as Jeremiah describes relying on a “cistern for water” instead of a “living spring.”  “Cisterns, unlike living springs, Warren explains were large pits dug into rocks that were used to collect rainwater.  Not only was the water in cisterns dirty, but it could also easily run out if the rains were light that year.”

Jesus said,

“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

God offers all a true source of living water and that is Jesus.  Allowing the mind and heart to listen to his truth is cleansing and brings JOY.  What might one become by accepting his living water?

Truly,

 

 

FAITH

Brighten your night

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Fear is what we need to turn around

The fear that captivates the mind

Liking to take hold of you as if the evil of this dark world has already won

Society has its ills; there is no doubting this

There is  a need to call out societies’ troubles as humanity

Do we take the time to look at our own personal fears

Lingering on the evil that is present

Why not face fear and say “No” you will not have control over me?

Would we rather run towards fear of not believing,

Leaving the hatred, the negative power that is created by the Origin of darkness.

 

Beautifying, illuminating fear is in contrast

The fear of God

This God of the beginnings and Mightiness does not promise

One simple gift and offer a substitute that lacks faithfulness and longevity

Fearing God instead brings inner fears relieved

Promises that if I am seeking God, I am trusting in spiritual provision

Why not fear God and say “I am going to run to a true light source not an imitation”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:5

 

 

Truly,

 

FAITH