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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triggered to Love

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Trapped in the middle of going forward, staying where you are and backtracking is a state that seems to perplex the mind relentlessly.  For those of us that like to hold to a very strong conviction to serve others in our community, school, workplace, church sometimes these areas of service can be very difficult in measuring success or growth for others.  Following through on our convictions to serve, there will be times when it doesn’t all look positive.  One of the books that I ran to in my faith research was a book titled, Willing to Walk on Water, by Caroline Barnett.

To introduce her and recommend her book, Caroline Barnett married Senior Pastor Matthew Barnett and the two currently serve thousands of inner-city families and individuals with the basic necessities of life at the Dream Center in Los Angeles.  Her story is beyond miraculous as to how God has grown this ministry in “God sized” ways including the support of volunteers and financial resources that have been provided.  With all of the growth and visible favor, she describes the challenges that come with not always being able to calculate the good that is actually accomplished.  She recounts stories of families that have been greatly impacted by the ministry as well as those that seem to have relapsed.

While reading, Willing to Walk on Water, there were a couple of key reminders that one in a state of indecision needs to resort to and gather concretely in the constructs of the spiritual mind.

First, don’t let your mind play tricks on you.  What is healthy is that you love wherever you are and much of the time you will be asked to love in “less than lovable” circumstances.  Just as you go about loving them, go knowing God loves you dearly.

Second, let God love you.  Being willing to fall in love with who God is and that you were a part of his plan all along to bring him glory.  You can be one to show his handiwork, his interest in your soul, and his patient plan from the beginning to bring a Great Savior to redeem the souls of man.

Third, read God’s truth because it will put your mind at ease if you believe it to be the word of God.   His word is the source of all timeless truth.  I can remember plenty of times in sorrow that I found Jesus to be a Savior that sorrows with those that sorrow.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.  Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Isaiah 53:3 (N.I.V.)

Indecision and lack of self-assurance can creep up on us, but I find when I lack control, God is willing to direct me if I submit to his ways which are better than my own.  Have you become at times less than assured of God’s providential care; I pray you will find rest of mind as you go to him.

Truly,

 

FAITH

 

 

 

 

 

The developing masterpiece

 

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Everyday we are challenged with feats of courage for ourselves and others.   I know we are able to gain understanding from each other during the process.  One of the greatest feats of life is to determine and continue to determine which way to raise the blessed little ones that are given to us for our instructing.  The reality that one strategy does not work for all children haunts even the most well-informed parents.  Always the question comes did I try enough with this little one, elementary child, and eventually high school masterpiece?

One of the strategies that I seek to encourage more and even more at night is prayer and reading.  Yes, the children have spent most of their days in school, but they have read about what their schools and their teachers are interested in.  It is the parent that influences much of the children’s own personal interests, their priority to read, their developing psychology, theology, and common everyday habits.

It is during our evening conversations and readings together that the parent begins to cut past the surface of the routine.  Each evening there are general tasks that have to be done that weigh heavily on the events of the parent and children’s evening.  Homework is to be accomplished usually taking at least twenty minutes or more to complete, showers, dinner, and if there aren’t any other sports or extracurricular events, some reading to do before bedtime.  When the parent accounts for the children’s free-time after school, he and she notices there really isn’t very much.

During my prayer time and Bible reading with my children, I have begun to notice what takes place that I would not have mysteriously uncovered any other way.  It is during our reading of the the Bible, discussion, and prayer, that most quiet, concentrated time I have to hear their thoughts.  One conversation was really very special.  In one of my children’s prayers after talking about faith he said that he wanted to be better about living out his faith.  He said how happy he was that he did not have to have a faith in God that is found all at once so to speak, but that he prayed to have “faith ablaze.”

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (N.I.V.)

As parents, we have the joy of mysteriously “cracking the code” and discovering who our children are becoming each day through our interactions with them.  Praying and reading the Holy word of God brings up discussions that test the integrity of the their development and ours.  What will we discover about our children over this year that would not been revealed without that quiet space built into our routines?

 

Truly,

 

FAITH

Dream discussions

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How does a dream begin?  Dare to look back on your life and think of your greatest dreams.  We must begin back where we started at times especially if you or I are at a loss for new dreams to be found.  When our remodel project began, I did not know that was truly a dream of mine.  At the time, it was more of my husband’s.

The start to our dream began with me saying, “I think you need to put a bit of money on something you think is needed.”  This dream started small, and it began with a closet and the laundry room rebuild needless to say.  Gratefully, the dream is for the most part complete outside of decorations and curtains.

The demolition is never the greatest part of the project, and at that time it felt like a “natural disaster.”  It was at the demolition stage that I became the most out of touch and wanting to take control of a dream that I was not gifted to complete.  Truly, the responsibility of the execution of this dream was my husband’s since he has the construction background.  So, we talked about the closets as I wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do with them.  Just brainstorming about the closet, it occurred to us that we rarely use our dining area which is ill-equipped without enough seating for our family of five.

Soon we were planning our kitchen remodel, and oftentimes, a dream begins just like that.  For me, I believe everyone has unique God-given talents that each has been given for work , and what I liked most about this project is that even though I do not have my husband’s construction talent, I was happy to complete tasks with him that allowed me to share a dream with him that I could not have shared had I not been open enough to learn some new interests like home design and decoration.

The process of this dream was a long one especially at the demolition stage.  Just being a part of it taught me how to exercise a lot more patience remodeling, which had never been a natural talent of mine.  Remodeling is not for everyone, but dreaming is.  I hope you have a dream that you think God and his son would be hoping that you would pursue.  I know God truly does care so much about the way he designed us.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”  Ephesians 3:20-21

Truly,

 

FAITH