Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is the Source of Our "Wisdom?"

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.

Wouldn't it be nice if we were only able to hear advice from God? If we were able to filter out all of the bad advice and only hear advice and wisdom that would be helpful to our lives? In our world of instant knowledge, opinion & "wisdom" via the internet, media, etc., it can be difficult to sift through the trash to find the treasure. It seems impossible to figure out who to listen to, what advice is good, helpful. But here's the thing: God gives us the tools to determine the truth from the lies, the good from the bad, His wisdom as opposed to the wisdom of this world. He tells us what to look for so that we can find the truth.

What does the wisdom of the world look like? Here's the verse in context:

James 3:13 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom.14 But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don't sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom.15 Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic.16 Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil.

Wisdom from that source clearly stinks. Bottom line.

Then the contrast in verse 17 & 18: 17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.18 And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

In verse 17 He gives us the characteristics we need to see to know the "wisdom" that we behold is from God. Does the advice or "wisdom" we hear contain those characteristics? If so, it's Godly wisdom.

Are we receiving advice that doesn't have those characteristics? If it doesn't have those characteristics, it's not from God. Does it have the characteristics in verse 14 & 15? Then it's not from God. End of story.

This is also helpful (to me) when I consider the "wisdom" that I impart to others. It's not always from God (just ask my kids - haha). I blow it. I say stupid things, so I consider these verses to be a necessary filter - filtering what we say AND what we hear.

We are not completely stumbling in the dark without a guide. God gives us the tools we need to survive and thrive in this world. Check this out:

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

Bottom line is that God's got us covered. He gives us the answers we need. He loves us. He wants us to know what to think, where to go, how to really live. He doesn't keep these things hidden from us. He gives us all that we need and more - we just need to crack open that Bible and read what He has to tell us.

As an addendum to this devotion - Do you every wonder if God loves you enough to take the time to teach you all that you need to know? Maybe that's why we, at times, listen to the world's wisdom - maybe it's because it's easily accessible and maybe we forget that God really does love us SO much that He gave us a manual for our lives - His Word!

Do you need to be reminded of His love, sometimes? I do! So, here you go:


He has wonderful plans for you:
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He loves you so much that He has your name written on the palms of His hands:
Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

He is with you. He will save you. He delights in you. He LOVES you:
Zephaniah 3:17The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

His love for you is EVERLASTING:
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

His love for you is so great. His compassion for you never fails. It is renewed every single day:
Lamentations 3:22 – 25 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.

He knows everything about you. You are of such great value to God. He even knows ever hair on your head:
Luke 12: 6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

He loves you so much that He wants you to be with Him forever. For this to happen, He sent His son to Earth to pay for your sins:
1 John 4:9-10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

It's good to be truly loved. :D

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unexpected Blessings in the Air

“Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”

Matthew 28:19-20

I travel often for business, flying to various cities across the US.  Understandably, many of my friends find this cool, and I understand why, but it's far from glamorous. The trips are packed full of business meetings, events and little sleep.  Though God goes on the trips with me, as I get older, it breaks my heart to be away from my family, friends, those I love, my home and my church.  And of course the logistics of travel - late flights, hotel rooms not ready, taxi drivers who get lost, etc. - can add to the stress as well.

This is why I make sure even when I disrupt my home routine by traveling that I pray, talk to God, read my Bible (thank you Kindle for Android!) and look for opportunities to do his work.  Frequently, unexpected blessings come my way.

One of which is something I discovered flying Alaska Airlines.  Now this is not meant to be a commercial at all, but compared to most other airlines, I find Alaska's service to be quite good and their flights to be comfortable.  

But there is something else.

The first time I flew on Alaska, and the flight attendant served me my meal, I found something on the tray that shocked me - a small slip, about the size of a business card, with a nature shot AND A LINE OF SCRIPTURE FROM THE BIBLE!

I could not believe it but it was truly a blessing.  And every time now that I fly Alaska I look forward to those little pieces of paper with God's will and the opportunity to share them with others.

Upon the recommendation of a Christian friend, I sent the following note to the airline:

I have flown Alaska on a few business flights so far this year. I am always impressed by your service. However I am quite grateful that you place small scripture cards with your meals.

As one who seeks to follow Him and be close to the word, I appreciate this gesture by your organization. Sometimes flying can be stressful; your cards are a blessing - and I have shared them with others once I'm back on the ground.

God bless,
Michael Higby

In a time of political correctness and attacks on our faith from many quarters, what a blessing indeed it is to see an organization like this share the word with others.  Amen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture-esque: An Open Letter to the Media

Just watching the "post rapture" news and, frankly, bemused at the lack of acknowledgement by the media that 99% of Christians knew this guy was full of it. Shaking my head. So, apparently, some news reporters are saying "most Christians" believed yesterday was the rapture??? Really. So, here's my open letter to the media:

Dear Talking Bubble-Heads:

So, I see you're reporting that "most Christians" thought May 21, 2011 was some sort of "rapture" day. Um, not so, For the record (and I looked, researched and asked), I don't know about any Christians (beyond some tiny fringe group of followers of Harold Camping) that bought in. I know this kills you (take deep breaths. It'll be okay), but Christians are a savvy bunch. We read. Our belief system is BASED on the Bible so since the Bible says NO MAN will know the date of the rapture, we pretty much figured out that NO MAN can predict this date. Wanna peek? Here you go:

Matthew 24:36 No one kn
ows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Want further assurance that 99% of Christians KNEW Harold Camping has a few screws loose?

Here's another couple of widely know verses:

Mark 13:32 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Acts 1:7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority."

So, sorry media folks. "Most Christians" were not duped. Of course the media doesn't want to admit that - it's much more fun to pretend that all Christians are a bunch of rubes who follow any hair-brained scheme - as long as it's about "Jesus." See, it's painfully obvious you're not so big on God, Christianity and Jesus. Anything that you think might make God look bad? You're all over it (and, admittedly, sometimes we Christians make it easy for you to poke us with a stick). But on this one, guys, you shot and you missed. Nice try, though.

Don't worry, I'm sure you're already on the hunt for some other ridiculous headliner on those wacky people who have the unmitigated gall to believe in another god besides the media god (YOURSELVES), that you want us all to worship. Good luck with all that.

Meanwhile, the Christians - well, we sit and giggle at YOU. We're used to your ignorance about us and the true God - and we really don't care. He rules - literally. And yes, we're certain the rapture will come, someday. We're pretty psyched about that - and you're welcome to join us, by the way.

Until then, I guess we'll both just have to tolerate one another.

Sorry to have taken so much of your time. I'm done, here. Feel free to go back to reporting the real news - like Kim Kardashian sound bytes, Lindsay Lohan's court antics or Diddy's latest name change. Your depth, by the way? Breathtaking.

Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth. :)

~ Erin Farrell

PS: Props to some writers for actually TRYING to be reasonable. My hat, were I wearing one (it was raptured, yesterday, along with thousands of missing socks) is off to you. Check out this article:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Praying for Ricky Gervais - and chatting-up Chewbacca on the side

I know. It sounds weird. It sounds kind of "church-y" and perhaps even smug....

But I pray for Ricky Gervais regularly. Because he and I go WAY back. (Kidding). Okay, so here's the real reason:

Christians, as of late (as in, say, oh, hundreds of years), have had a bad rap. I mean, well, we have. We're portrayed as judgmental (with the focus on MENTAL), persnickety, hypocritical, backbiting, insufferable (while pretending to suffer - as long as it makes you feel guilty.. . Well, does it? Oh, good, then), prudish philanderers (you know who you are) and overall pious gasbags. I say all of this with love (I am SO magnanimous. Sigh... Why can't you ALL just be more like ME? Ch.).

But seriously (and, sadly, I was... being.... um, serious...).... We all need to work on this. And I know this well because I'm made it a lifelong mission to beat myself up repeatedly at every turn. After all, I was taught by the church that EVERYTHING I did, with the exception of saying "Praise the Lord," was bad. And even while I am praising Him - am I REALLY? Or am I just trying to gain the attention of others? "Ha! We thought so! Ten more lashes for you, Erin, you big phony!" So, I am such a complete wretch that I can't even praise my God without worrying I might just be trying to gain brownie-points for Lent. So, on some counts, the perceptions aren't so far off.

When I'm not glorying in martyrdom, I enjoy sci-fi and comedy. I LOVE comedy. I feast on the expressions of the SNL crowd, Tina Fey (Yeah, yeah, the Sarah Palin thing gets old but she's funny. Leave me alone. "10 more lashes, Erin." Gulp), Seth Rogan (Pineapple Express was hilARIOUS - "THAT filth? About DRUGS? NOT very CHRISTIAN-like, Erin! You disgust me. TWENTY lashes."), Will Farrell, Steve Carell - which brings me to Ricky Gervais ("100 beatings, 300 Hail Mary's and you clean the rectory bathroom - yes, the one that Father Joe uses after chili potluck - just for mentioning the FOUL NAME!").... I like Ricky. He's funny. He's smart. He's an Atheist with a capital A and he's loud and proud about HIS faith. But he's hilarious and brilliant. There's no denying this, no matter how we slice it - the man's a genius. So, uh, why not get him on our side?

Look, people, our PR's been pretty bad.. We need this guy. Did you hear him at the Academy's? At the very least, if he's on our side, he'll scare doubters into silence. "Stephen Hawking, you better shut your trap Er, wait. I mean. Stop your... whatever it is you do to communicate your misguided ideas about a universe without God or I'll... I'll...."

Okay, fine. So maybe he wasn't the example I'm looking for - but if Ricky Gervais were a Christian, I think he'd still be a funny guy with a sharp wit. And, folks, I'm not seeing a whole lot of funny Christians 'round here. Yeah, yeah - we have our handful of Christian comedians (love them) but for the most part, we're scared SILENT. We've stepped on so many toes we've taken our shoes off and cut off our feet - and our hands. We're, now, sitting in a wheelchair on Venice Beach with a sign that says, "Feed me, My Name Is Bob" strapped to our necks! We're mute. We're timid. We just want to be nice and maybe the bad people will go away and let us alone to play with our Rosary.

Well, they won't. They are all up in our faces with their hate! It's one thing to be an atheist and quite another to bash God, Christians and religion, in general, at every turn. And that's what's being done, peeps! Look, I'm as conflicted as the next guy - but I'm a Christian. I'm not perfect ("Duh!?! 30 lashes for stating the obvious. Dork.") but I refuse to hide behind my Bob sign, ever again! I have legs. I will KICK you if you slander my God! Figuratively - especially within City limits- but, still. I'm done sitting around playing "nice." I'm on the offence, Baybee. Waiting at every corner for Margaret Cho to say ONE MORE crappy comment about my faith, on stand-by for Jack Black's next irreverent portrayal of Christ and RIGHT HERE, baybee, ready to STORM the gates of ABC and their "Good Christian Bitches." Now, I'm exaggerating (Nooooooo?) to make a point, here. I'm not suggesting we resort to physical violence to defend our faith - but when you hear someone mouthing off about your FAITH - SHUT THEM UP. There is nothing wrong with standing up for your faith. You don't need to go postal. Just stand up and say something. Please.

Meanwhile - Dude. We seriously need a re-frame. We need some stand-up Christians who are loud and proud on GOD'S SIDE. Ricky's been good to Atheism - So I've been praying for Ricky Gervais. Of course, I'd love for him to enter into a personal relationship with Christ but I would also like him to SEE that we're not ALL like the church that wants to beat me continuously - while raping my wallet and attempting to force me to dress like Marge Simpson, hair and all. Not all Christians are like that, Ricky. Let me introduce you to my friends. Well, some of my friends. SMILE, you're on Christan camera!

You see, I've been fortunate (I was going to say, "blessed" but my aversion to Church-ese lingers) to come across some awesome Christian people who are normal! ("Normal? We won't have it! Thirty.." SMACK! Shu-HUT up, Churchee! I'm on the right track with God. He loves me where I am. Yeah, I screw up, I fall, I get back up and continue on. He accepts me. He helps me. You don't like that? I've got a Cee-Lo song for ya.) Ahem. Anyway. Yeah, so I have NORMAL Christian friends who are not the kind we see on TV! No heavy mascar-y. No air-conditioned dog houses. That I know of. They're relate-able. They are just normal, down-to-earth people who happen to believe in God and in Christ. Besides that - and including that - they're a lot of fun! They're hip. Silly. Funny. Weird. They dress in all different kinds of apparel - eclectic-chic to thrift-store tacky (I put the "ack!" in tacky).

I never would have believed such people existed - especially since Hollywood kept telling me they didn't! They insisted, they PREACHED THEIR GOSPEL of BAD, Hypocritical Christians - insisting that every Christian was like the ones at my old church! Well, guess what - they're NOT. I have friends of many races, religions and "lifestyle choices" and we don't hate each other. It's amazing! We're actually cool with one another - loving, accepting, happy.... Imagine THAT. Happy! Kind. CHRIST-like. Who knew Christians could be this way? And, hey - these people are good - they put up with MY crap so clearly they're a tolerant, patient, non-judgmental bunch (focus is still on the mental - but I'd say that for any group).

So, I'm praying for Ricky Gervais. I'm praying that he - and the rest of the world - sees Jesus for who He is and what He taught. I'm praying he learns that there are many (and we are a widening circle - and not just because we're eating way too much Easter candy, either) Christians who do our darnedest to adhere to the principles of Christ. Yeah, we blow it. But we know that and we are okay with that. We're working on it, on ourselves, to spread the true gospel of Christ -- that's a gospel of love, by the way - with no room for lashes, mascara'd or otherwise.

And if Ricky won't have us, I'll just have to move on to my other entertainment joy - sci-fi. ET is really smart, so there's a possibility... It wouldn't be bad to have Predator on our side - oh, wait. The PR image. Yeah - no. But Spock would be good. VERY analytical. I like it.. Darth Vader.... Nah. He'd split churches (literally). CHEWBACCA! YES. Anyone know how to reach him? Chewy! Call me! I'll take you out to the Cantina. My treat!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Taking it to the Cross is easy. Leaving it there requires faith.

Lately, one of my spiritual go-to friends has been trying to teach me a valuable lesson that I thought I'd learned ages ago. I didn't realize until earlier this week just what they were up to.

Whenever I had a look of frustration, voiced words of doubt, expressed fear or anxiety in any way, or started to question something, they'd simply look at me and say, "take it to the Cross, Kriss." If you know me well enough, you can probably guess that it took all of three times of them saying that before I was ready to mouth-off and explain how I'd ALREADY taken it to the Cross... I'd prayed about it, I'd journaled about it, I talked it over with Jesus, etc, and just what exactly did they mean?!

Finally, after weeks of hearing this reply to everything, it dawned on me... I may immediately take things TO the Cross, but do I really LEAVE them there? Am I truly surrendering ALL to Him?

When Christ hung on the cross, He took all of my sin... all of it. That includes my fears, my anger, my shame, my doubts, my sadness... any of the things that keep me from focusing on His face.

Colossians 2:13b-15 He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

He forgave ALL of our sins. He canceled our debt. He took the condemnation away. He took away the power and authority of these sins in our lives. He didn't just take them away either! After He took them away, He made a spectacle of them and triumphed over them. They are powerless. They are NOTHING. He eliminated them.

As sins pop up in our lives, we must give them over to Him. We must surrender them to Him. When I take my sins and burdens to the Cross, I'm meeting Him there, asking Him to take these things from me and free me of their oppression in my life. Jesus gladly takes the burdens upon Himself and sends me back on my way to keep working for Him in this world.

1 John 3:4-6 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

If I fail to give Him each and every part of the things I bring to the Cross, I am neglecting to fully surrender all to Him. I am not trusting Him to carry the entire weight of these burdens. I am failing to LEAVE these items at the Cross. Taking it to the Cross is easy. Leaving it there requires faith. Once they are left at the Cross, they are gone. They do not exist. God has cast them as far as the east is to the west (Psalm 103:12). They are GONE.

As frustrated as I became with the constant answer of "take it to the Cross, Kriss", I am so very thankful for this reply now. Now, it's my immediate response to any situation. Now, I don't just take it to the Cross, I leave it there. Jesus is big enough to handle any and all of these burdens. It's not my job to carry these things around. My job is to keep my gaze on Jesus' face and live out His purpose in my life. It's not my job to fear, doubt, get angry, judge, question or blame. It's my job to share the Gospel and to love others. Once they are completely left in Jesus' hands, these burdens and sins have absolutely no control over my life anymore.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

So, go ahead, TAKE it to the Cross. But, be sure you LEAVE it there! Then, burdens eliminated, go joyfully back into the world and GET BACK TO WORK!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grab Your Gear!!

I admit it. I am absolutely addicted to outdoor adventure activities. I could never get enough backpacking, climbing, canoeing, kayaking, caving, camping, hiking or mountain biking in one lifetime.

When I was blessed with twins, my outdoor adventures took a back-burner to mommyhood. However, when the boys were just over three years old, I was granted the opportunity to spend a week backpacking through Yosemite's wilderness area on an Outward Bound trip. The trip absolutely nourished my body, mind and soul, though it was SO different, because I spent the entire time missing my baby boys! It was a incredible learning experience and something I'd never trade for anything in the world. (Read more on my Outward Bound blog)

Before I could get another small taste of outdoor adventure, we found that we were expecting another little blessing. This poor baby girl of mine has no idea what's in store for her with this adventure-loving, outdoorsy, tomboy of a momma...

We just made plans for our first family camping trip. I am bouncing off the walls with excitement. I get to experience both Acadia National Park and the state of Maine for the first time, AND I FINALLY get to introduce my children to the world of outdoor fun. I've taken the boys on little hiking excursions, taught them to climb, and have taken them on other little jaunts in the outdoors, which they have loved, but this will be the first time that we will be completely immersing our entire family into the outdoors for four entire days. No phones. No electricity. No showers. No technology. No buildings. Back to the absolute basics. Us, God and God's creation. I cannot wait.

Do you know what makes any outdoor adventure activity successful? It's not the experience itself, though that is a huge part of it. It's the PLANNING. The PREPARATION. If you take the time to plan ahead and prepare for every scenario, you can absolutely relax and enjoy the experience, knowing that everything is ready, taken care of, and completely in God's hands. As we all know, even the best-laid plans can go kerpluey, but as long as it's all in His hands, you know you'll be just fine.

There are some key basic things you need to pack for any extended trip to the great outdoors.

What's in my backpack?

Well, the essentials. I have food, water (or a way to keep the water filtered), shelter, the correct gear, and the proper attitude.

We obviously need food to sustain us physically during our time outside. It may not be the same food we'd make at home, but I have turned into quite the gourmet chef with nothing more than a camping stove, fuel, matches and basic ingredients that are easily portable & packable.

Just as important as food is water - or some means to filter water found along the way. Although we can bring things to help flavor the water, they aren't essential. Water is a MUST though. No matter what. Without water, there is no trip.

Shelter. Okay, those who have been on an Outward Bound or NOLS course, don't slam me here. YES, I am FULLY aware that you don't absolutely have to carry any form of shelter with you. I have been forced to sleep under the stars with no tent or canopy and I survived. However, for the not-so-hardcore, you should bring some form of shelter. You aren't going to be guaranteed of sunny, clear, dry weather. And sleeping under the stars may be nice, but not when it's pouring down rain. Trust me.

The correct gear is of the upmost importance. Yes, you could get away without some of it, but you probably wouldn't want to try. We're not talking Survivor here. We're talking enjoyable excursion to the outdoors. So, you'll want to have a map, compass, first aid kit, a campstove, fuel, light, and the correct clothing/shoes. The map and compass will keep you from getting lost. The first aid kit doesn't have to be elaborate, but your blisters will thank you if you at least have some bandaids with you. Campstoves are essential if you want to eat more than bread and fresh fruits or nuts. Fuel, well, if you want to use that handy dandy campstove to fix some food that's actually hot (or at least warm), you need fuel. A source of light may not be an absolute necessity, but it is a great source of comfort and can come in handy for middle-of-the-night bathroom trips (or searching through a dark bag for a bandaid for that blister). The correct clothing/shoes... well... you can actually prevent the blister this way! If it's going to be in the 90s and humid, you do not want to have to carry or deal with heavy pants, coats, shirts and more. However, if the lows are going to dip down near 0, that tank top and shorts aren't going to be too comfortable. Plus, if you're in the middle of nowhere, who's really going to care that your clothes aren't that fashionable, don't really match, or are the same ones you wore yesterday? You should plan to dress in layers, and have clothing appropriate to the environment and weather conditions. This includes having rain gear, unless you're a die-hard true-to-nature person who thinks if it rains you are supposed to get wet. The correct shoes, just like the correct clothing, will keep you comfortable and ready for your adventure. Wearing those fancy sandals while hiking over rocks and through mud probably wouldn't help much. Good hiking boots and an old, comfortable pair of shoes to wear around camp at night are a good plan.

The correct attitude, though it cannot be physically packed into your bag, is so incredibly essential when heading to the great outdoors. As a Girl Scout, I was taught to leave a place better than I found it. Outward Bound also strongly emphasizes this concept. So, when I head outdoors, I go with the plan of service. I plan to find a way to serve others or make a place better. I also go with an attitude of submission - to God's plan for the trip. I go expecting the unexpected and anticipating a wonderfully inspiring, great time. Although the pre-planning may be extensive, once I get out there in the midst of nowhere, there are no longer any schedules, deadlines, rigid structures or other elements of the technologically-overloaded world I left behind.

As I've planned and prepared trip after trip in the past, I came to the realization that our Christian lives are much like my excursions to the world outdoors. We, as Christians, should be prepared and plan ahead. We should be ready for our adventure. Each of the five basics I listed above correlates to something we should have in our "spiritual backpack" each day.

Food: As a Christian, our food is God's word. The Bible gives us the wisdom, knowledge and examples we need to be successful on our adventure. His truths enable us to face any situation or trial along the way. The Bible makes several references to God's word being like food. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that He sustains "all things by his powerful word".

Water: Worship and the Holy Spirit are water for our souls. When we allow the Spirit to work within us, He quenches our thirst. When we allow our hearts open up in worshipping the Father, we are blessed with a river flowing through us and a spring of life welling up and overflowing inside us, filling us with peace, joy, love and eternal life. John 7:38 - "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 4:14 - "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.”

Shelter: God is our shelter in this world. When we need shelter from the storms of life, we pray. We find our safety and security in the shelter of God's protection through prayer. There are so many verses, especially in the Psalms, that refer God as our shelter. Our salvation also falls under this category. In order to rest in the comfort of God's shelter, we must first know Him and allow Him to be Lord in our lives.

The correct gear: The Armour of God is our correct gear in this world. Just as we had a list of necessary gear for heading outdoors, there is a list of necessary battle gear found in Ephesians 6. We should put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, fit our feet with readiness and peace, and take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. This gear enables us to firmly stand our ground and extinguish all "flaming arrows" from the devil. With the proper gear in place, we are prepared to battle evil and promote good.

Correct attitude: An attitude of service is just as important in this busy, technology-driven world as it is in the middle of the greatest wilderness. Romans 15:15 tells us we should have the same attitude towards each other as Christ had towards us. Christ gave us His grace so that we are equipped "for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-13). Facing each day with an attitude of service enables God to use us and work through us as we come in contact with others.

Each and every day, Christians should fill their Spiritual backpack with these five things: God's word (food), worship/Holy Spirit (water), God via prayer & salvation (shelter), the Armour of God (correct gear), and an attitude of service. If we have these things within us, we will be packed, prepared and ready for this great adventure called life. We can relax and enjoy the experience - even the trials - because we know it's all in His hands and He will take care of us. We can then go forward fearlessly, telling others of God's unending love, grace and mercy, and helping them find their way into the shelter of His wings.

So, Christians, grab your gear and let's go!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mommy, how can I get to Heaven?

"Oh you can't get to Heaven... on roller skates..."

As a kid that was the one camp song that I dreaded. Why? Because it seemed to go on FOREVER and EVER and EVER and...

Anyways... I was thinking about this song today because my inquisitive son asked me how he could go to Heaven and visit with Jesus. He didn't want to stay there, mind you, he just wanted to pop in for a quick chat with God and come back home to Mommy and Daddy in time for dinner. This led to a great conversation about prayer and about Jesus being here with us so we don't have to physically go up to Heaven to talk to Him. It also led to the discussion of "being good isn't good enough" and that we must have Jesus in our hearts to be able to go to Heaven one day.

My son's heart has been completely opened to Jesus in the past couple of weeks. Just yesterday he asked me if Jesus lives inside Him. I asked him, "Did you ask Him to?" He said, "Not yet. But I want to. Mommy - will you help me ask Jesus if He'll come and live in my heart forever?" Fighting back the urge to dance around in circles shouting praises to God for this moment (and of course fighting back the happy tears) I said "of course!" and we prayed together. That was the absolute sweetest prayer I have ever shared with another human being. Ever. I have looked forward to that moment with each of my children, and was not surprised in the least by which one was the first to open himself to Jesus' love. This is the same child who for WEEKS was asking us questions about death, dying and Heaven. The same child who has been staying up past bedtime every night for the past week reading his Devotional Bible (THANK YOU Sheila Walsh & cousin April). He has been so excited that he can read now and doesn't have to wait for someone to read the Bible to him. This is also the same child who asked me a thousand times a day if he could do his "Jesus book" (a little boy's devotional activity book). He can't get enough of God, Jesus, the Bible, information about Heaven, etc. He is so open and excited. When I think of "childlike faith" from now on, I am going to picture these days Patrick is journeying through.

Do you have a childlike curiosity to learn as much as you can about Jesus?

Do you want to know how YOU can get to Heaven?

Do you want to sit and just have a chat with God?

You can. You can. And you can.

Open yourself up to Jesus. Read His word. Get to know Him. Spend time with Him. Talk to Him.

And please - be sure to get your passport. (Thank you Pastor Teddy) If you want to know what that means - go watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-xqPuOn5Qg

Now... about those roller skates... you KNOW you can't get to Heaven on roller skates... 'cause you'd just roll past those pearly gates...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rosebud

This is an old story & poem that is relevant, to me - and to all of us, really - every day:

The Rosebud

A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a rose bush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.

It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem...

It is only a tiny rosebud
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petal
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
Then in my hands they die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I'll trust in Him for leading
Each moment of my day.

I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hanging On To The Hope I Have in God

written: April 2010

My story begins with a dream. I had a dream a few weeks ago that to this day I haven’t been able to shake. The day after I had this dream, I just HAD to tell someone, so I told my boys about it. I felt as though I had had a spiritual dream. I’ve heard stories of how God speaks to His children, through prophecy, an encouraging word from a brother and sister, God directly or through dreams. Considering how strong I felt after I woke up, I was certain it was God speaking to me.

My dream started with me getting a day off from work, for no reason at all. I was just told by management that I should take a day off. Who can resist that huh? So here I was, coming up with ideas on how to use this glorious free day of freedom!! Shopping, “me” time, movies, etc etc. The possibilities were endless!

Somehow, reason took over and I realized that I had business to take care of in downtown. For whatever purpose, I had to go down to the federal building, a trek I was not looking forward to. But onward I went, to take care of business. On my way down, I noticed that the sunshine was no longer visible in the midst of tall buildings. It was also cold and windy, and that really stayed with me, the quick change in weather.

While I was walking down a main road towards my destination, I heard shouts and screaming. Sounded almost like what in my dreams would be utter chaos. I then realized that people were running around like crazy; people screaming and crying and pointing. My eyes followed towards their pointing and saw a man on a corner, wearing a trench coat (how cliché huh?), holding a young woman hostage while holding what appeared to be a rifle. He was yelling at people to get down or he would shoot. I can’t tell you what he was aiming for, his rifle was pointing all over the place with his poor hostage crying.

At this point I remember someone from the ground yelling at me to get down or else he was going to shoot at me. If you were standing, you were a target. I calmly told them that I had business to tend to and kept walking. Sure enough, seconds later the assailant started shouting in my direction, calling me filthy names and commanding me to get on the ground. I remember turning to look at him, making eye contact and returning to my walk up the stairs of this federal building. I wasn’t about to let him stop me. I have no idea where this boldness came from, but he was not at all too happy with me. He yelled at me (again with the ugly words) and asked me if I wanted to die. This time I didn’t give him the time of day and just kept walking and walking. In my dream, I made it inside the safety of the building where there was still chaos, but I was safe.

At first, I didn’t know what to think of this dream, other than my lack of sleep was playing with my mind. But after I kept revisiting it and replaying it in my mind over and over again, I quickly applied it to my walk with God. The weather may turn, it may get cold and windy, and I may be the only one standing; but if I have a goal to reach, I can’t let that stop me. The enemy will (not may but will) want me to fall short of reaching my goal, he will try to trip me up, will try to kill me (spiritually, emotionally, and even physically) but with God as my guide, I WILL make it to my appointed time and place where I am destined to be.

Isaiah 54:17 says: “Weapons made to attack you won't be successful; words spoken against you won't hurt at all. My servants, Jerusalem is yours! I, the LORD, promise to bless you with victory.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life is precious

Yesterday one of Don's relatives called to let me know they would be unable to come to Emma's birthday party. As we were talking and catching up, she shared with me about her daughter and son-in-law's new baby boy. When they first found out they were pregnant, they were, of course, overjoyed. Within the first two months, doctors realized something was wrong with the child. The doctors tried to convince the parents that it might be in everyone's best interest to terminate the pregnancy and try again later. Shocking as this seems, it happens every day.

The parents were immediately confronted with an uneasy feeling about the doctor's advice. They made it clear that this child was a life, a human being, already formed by God's own hands and ALIVE. No matter what happened when the child was born, they were determined to give him a chance at life.

The doctors performed multiple tests over the months of pregnancy. The baby boy was "sitting" Indian style in the womb. A c-section was planned for the end of March. However, the baby decided he wanted to come early, so the c-section was done last Monday. At birth, the baby was diagnosed with some type of musculoskeletal dysfunction and was born with both femurs fractured. His little feet were turned in significantly. He was, from the waist up, a perfectly formed, healthy, newborn baby boy. The doctors labored over his lower body and placed him in a cast from the waist down. Then the doctors told the parents, "Everything that is wrong with him can be fixed. None of it is permanent and none of it will affect his life." You can imagine the waves of relief and thanksgiving that came over the parents at that point. You can also imagine the thanks they gave to God for His Spirit intervening and prohibiting them from terminating this life several months ago. Trusting Him, they endured the several months of unknowns and were rewarded with a precious new life.

How often in today's world we hear stories of young lives being thrown away, or babies terminated before taking their first breath. I was so overjoyed to hear this story of parents "taking the risks" as the doctors said, and leaving it in God's hands. When we hung up the phone I just sat and cried out my thanks to God for this little boy's life. It was just 34 years ago that my own mother was faced with the decision of what to do about her pregnancy and chose life. I was again reminded of the grace and mercy of our father, and gave praise again for the life He gave.

"Life is precious, life is sweet, like the earth beneath my feet, though I know I'm passing through, I know I belong to You, life is precious, life is sweet, and this truth makes it complete, knowing Jesus died for me, life is precious, life is precious, life is sweet" (Wes King)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just ONE step!

As I was watching Emma take her unsteady little steps into my arms last night, I was reminded of myself. Emma is scared to just let go and walk. She is so steady standing on her own and FLIES around the room holding onto stuff. But when it comes to fully letting go and trusting her feet to carry her across the floor, she balks. She will stand and lean as far as she can trying to reach my hand. As soon as one tiny fingertip touches my hand she starts walking. I am constantly reassuring her - "Come on Emma - you can do it - it's ok - you're fine - I'll catch you". The funny thing is - she's already taken 5-10 steps at a time NUMEROUS times before. I realized last night how perfectly God used her to illustrate a concept with me. I am the exact same way when it comes to God asking me to just let go, fully trust Him and take a step. I want to hold on tight. I want that extra reassurance and the physical touch of His hand before I move one foot forward. I want to know it's ok - that I'm fine - that He's going to catch me. It doesn't matter how many times I've taken a first step into a part of His plan and seen that He really isn't going to let me fall and that He IS going to catch me - I still hesitate. I turn back into that wobbly toddler - reaching as far as she can for the hand to reassure her. Watching Emma and encouraging her to walk... well... I can imagine now how God feels when I hesitate every time. The thoughts of "you've already DONE this a hundred times - you KNOW you can do this - you KNOW I'm here and I'm not going to let you fall"... I'm so sure my Father says the same things to me each time I hesitate. Though the amount of time I spend hesitating has drastically reduced in the past year as I've worked through the issues of trust and obedience with Him, I still do it. It's my goal to learn that when He says "walk this way" - that I immediately move. Like the disciples who AT ONCE left their nets and followed (Matt 4:20). When He says "Come. Follow Me." I want to drop everything and immediately go. No fear. No doubt. No hesitation.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Vessel

I am a vessel. This vessel is a temple which contains the spirit of God. Within me dwells the same God who created the universe. I have become a part of His divine nature. I am united in spirit with Him. Therefore, I become a visual representation of Him to the world. That can be downright scary. How could I ever be a living example of God? Well, God gave us a perfect living example of Him when He sent Christ to this world. When people look at me they should see Christ manifested in me. But even Jesus said He could do nothing on His own but was led by the Spirit of God (John 5:19-20, 30). To manifest Christ I need to learn to be led by that same Spirit. I need to learn to live as Jesus did - doing and saying only what I see and hear the Father doing and saying. I need to quiet myself and tune into the movement of God within me. I need to be into God - not into my own mind or my own heart. It's no longer my strength or my will. It's God's inner strength coming through my spirit and God's inner will coming from discernment deep within my heart. He fills my entire soul. His river flows through me, consuming me and drowning me to self and bubbling up with Him. It's not about what I can do but what I can (and will) let God do through me. Life isn't about self-actualization. It's about Spirit-actualization. I need to eliminate self-effort. This doesn't mean I need to eliminate my personality or my uniqueness. It just means I need to let God use me just the way I am. I need in faith to yield my mind, my mouth, my heart, my hands and my eyes to His flow. Only then can I truly be the vessel completely void of self and fully consumed by and exuding God.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How BIG is God?

Lately it seems God has been moving in mighty ways in many lives, my own included. As I've watched His hand sweep obstacles out of the way, stop assaults in their tracks, push troubles aside, heal deep wounds, wipe tears and comfort those hurting beyond anyone's imagination - a thought occurred to me.

Often times we are overwhelmed at how God moves. There is no doubt in our mind that He HAS moved, but we are blown away at HOW. We struggle to grasp how He so perfectly puts the pieces of the puzzle together in seconds - when we've been trying for years to figure out that same small step. I have been awed and dumbstruck so many times at how perfect God's plan is when I've seen just tiny little glimpses of it. If we are THAT overwhelmed at seeing one sweep of His hand move NO WONDER we can't phathom how great He is. If ONE hand of His sweeping through our lives is beyond comprehension - HOW BIG is Our God?! I've seen miracles unfold by the power of His hand. If just one hand of God can do such immeasurable things, imagine HOW MUCH MORE He as a whole is capable of. It's mind-boggling to say the least. We can't conceive everything that He has in store for us (1 Cor 2:9). We can't imagine His all-knowing, all-powerful, all-presence... His majesty, His righteousness, His goodness, His grace, His mercy... His LOVE... His being all in all. It's beyond defintion.

If my God is capable of such incredible feats with one hand - WHY do I allow myself to doubt? Why do I allow myself to fear? Why do I continuously struggle with trust? Why don't I let myself just rest in His arms? Someone pointed out a simple concept that so many of us miss. If it isn't Truth, it's a lie. Therefore, doubts and fears are lies. They are sins. They are not of God. We are commanded to fear not (Is 43:1-2, Prov 3:25-26, Is 41:10,13, Matt 10:29-31, Luke 12:32, Deut 31:8, Heb 13:6). If we have been perfected in His love, there is no fear (1 John 4:18). The same God of the Bible - God of Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Matthew, Paul, Peter and all of the rest - is the SAME God today. The same God who moved mountains, calmed stormy seas, parted water, multiplied loaves and fish, and provided manna in the wilderness is the SAME God who is still working miracles today. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). Why do we find it so difficult to accept today? He is still God, still moving, still working and still caring for our every need. Why should we fear? He's still there and the battle has already been won.

There is a song that has been echoing through my soul since I first heard it yesterday. It's a new release from worship artist Jared Anderson. The lyrics blew me away - especially since it was a concept I was already discussing with our wonderful Father God. He IS the Great I AM. He is God Almighty. He is Holy. He is Worthy. King. Majesty. He is Powerful. EVERY knee shall bow in His presence. There is none besides Him. None. Not one. He IS. There aren't enough words in every language in human existence combined to describe Him. He deserves our praise just because He is. Whenever the lies of fear, doubt, mistrust, inferiority, death and other heartaches cross our paths, we need to stop and praise Him. He is the Truth. He is the Light. He can sweep one hand across our lives and wipe every single one of those lies out of our way. I asked a praise leader what he does on days he just doesn't feel like singing - when troubles of the world are pressing in and the last thing he wanted to do was sing praise and he thought for a second, half-laughed, half-smiled and said "I sing". It's so true. No matter what we are going through we can still sing praise. We can still glorify our Creator and our Father. He is greater than our troubles. As my children will tell you - God is bigger than the Boogie Man. :) You have the Mightiest of Mighty, the most Powerful of Powerful, the King of KINGS walking beside you and within you. Don't let the lies of satan trip you. Your God is bigger than that. Be bold, be brave, live fearlessly and live for Him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sometimes You're The Bug

A reminder of God's love and grace.

This morning, while basking in God’s glorious Palm Springs weather I believe I may have had a spiritual moment. But then again, when we least expect it, we see God’s majesty around us. The sad thing is that if we “stop and smell the roses” as our cliché friends like to say, we can see God’s majesty in everyday life. The birds that sing in the background are part of life’s soundtrack. Stop and listen once in a while.

Now, back to my story. While I was in the pool, I saw a moth-looking creature attempting to flap its wings in the water. The old me would’ve first of all freaked out…secondly would’ve done enough splashing to make it go to the opposite end of the pool as far away as possible from me to die a horrendous death, for as you know, moths are evil deadly bugs. The new me did something I think is extraordinary. Extraordinary? Well, yes, extraordinary for me at least. I started to have a conversation with it. He didn’t respond, but somehow I kept talking. It went something like this:

“Oh sweetie, what are you doing?” while I cupped it in my hands and gently placed it on the safe dry land surrounding us. Although as gently as I handled it, I somehow ended up landing him upside down. Now, I knew I had to flip him around because he kept trying on his own and just wasn’t succeeding. Again, if you knew the old me, you’d know I’d have left him to die, but I couldn’t do that. I used my fingernail to flip him over….yes it was gross, but I felt sorry for him. He turned around and started flapping away…drying himself off I assumed. But he was walking straight for the pool water! I thought to myself “Why would God give you such a small brain? Why do you want to go back into the pool?” I blew it away from me and it started to stumble towards dry land again.

Somehow, while I wasn’t looking, he’d jumped back into the water. So there I go again, to the rescue of Mothy. Again telling him, “What is wrong with you? It can’t be that bad!” That last comment made me laugh out loud while I attempted to shoo him away further this time. It was at that moment that I realized that that is probably the way God feels about us, His precious children. The many times He’s given us opportunity to get back on dry land, away from the depths of the ‘pools’ we suffer in. No matter how many times we give in and dive right back into these pools of depression and suffering and addiction, He’s right there to say, “Oh sweetheart, come on out of there.” At this realization I was overcome with peace. Mothy had started to walk away from the water.

I decided to go back to sun a bit prior to having to leave the resort but by 10AM the sun was so hot that I had to get back in the water and guess who was there, flapping his wings trying to get out of it; Mothy. This time around the conversation went something like this as I cupped him back safely to the side, “What are you going to do when I’m not here to save you huh? I’m leaving soon and can’t take you with me.” The thought of having an insect as a pet repulses me but I had a connection with Mothy. Again my thoughts turned to God and how He will be there with us no matter where we go. He will never, ever leave us even though we may sometimes feel He’s deservedly taking a break from us and our non-stop whining. By this time Mothy had lost one of his antennae and God only knew how much longer his little life would stretch. I had to surrender to the fact that I couldn’t keep saving him from drowning. It was at this time that I blew at him one more time, attempting to get him farther away from the water. This time however, he flew. He flew around a little, unfortunately towards water, but he gained altitude and all I kept saying was “Go baby go!” And, he went…higher and higher until he found the safety of a palm tree trunk. I knew he was going to be ok now.

I wonder if that’s how God feels like when He sees us going in the right direction. Instead of the “no, no child, not that way,” I wonder if He says, “go baby go?” I sure like to think so.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Working for GEICO or GOD?

If you are one of my teens, try to contain your groans because I'm going to say it again. YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THOSE YOU NEVER KNEW WERE WATCHING OR LISTENING. Just 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes could change someone's life forever. No, I'm not talking about buying car insurance from Geico. I'm talking about how by taking 15 minutes to reach out in godlike love and attitude, you can save a life. Millions are searching for love. Hurting to be held. Aching for a hug. Yearning for someone just to show that they care. Don't let life get too busy to reach out to someone. You may be the one person that keeps them from giving up.

Many years ago when I was still an undergrad, I went hiking with some friends from work. We were on a fairly difficult trail - Dragon's Tooth - and were very close to the top. We came across a little boy sitting on the side of the trail crying. His dad was standing there pleading with the boy. "Please get up. Please. We are almost there. It's just up ahead. Please get up." The boy wasn't moving. He was spent. I had seen it a million times before with my campers and didn't even think about the fact that we weren't at camp and I didn't know this kid. I just walked over, sat down beside him and started chatting. I don't remember this at all. One of my coworkers wrote a reference letter for me a few years after this and included this story in his letter. I recently came across the letter, contacted the guy and asked him to remind me about it. He said I asked the boy his name, told him mine and was saying "wow that was a hard hike! I can't believe you made it all the way here! You are such a big boy!" Apparently I just started building the kid up with praise. Then, I stood up and said something along the lines of "Come on, let's go to the top. It's right there. I can see it." The boy hesitated but I reached my hand out and said I'd hold his hand and we'd count the steps. I said if we got to 50 and weren't there he could sit back down. The boy then reached out, took my hand and started counting steps with me. Before we got to 50 he saw his mom at the top and took off running towards her. The dad thanked me over and over. I brushed it off and told them to have a nice day. My coworkers and I went on about our day, enjoying the view for a while, hiked back down and went to dinner. At dinner my coworkers were talking about the kid and how awesome that was. I again shrugged it off as nothing. It was just me doing what I'd done so many times before - getting a kid to walk further than they thought they possibly could.

Ten years later, a young man in army fatigues came up to me at a store. He asked if I remembered helping a little boy hike to the top of Dragon's Tooth. At the time, I didn't. I had no idea what this guy was talking about. He then told me he didn't think I'd remember him, but he never forgot me. He said I taught him that day to never give up because the peak could be just ahead. It gave me cold chills. I wondered what on earth I could have possibly done to have impacted a kid so much. The young man shook my hand and left. I never saw him again. I don't even know his name. I couldn't pick him out of a picture if someone labeled it for me. God bless him - whoever and wherever he is!

A couple years later I had the opportunity to reach out to someone who had taken the time to say something profound to me when I was just a kid. I was 11 years old and at a very difficult time in my life. This man was a celebrity and I just knew he'd never remember me. I wrote him an email and told him thank you - just for being him. I knew he wouldn't remember the day or what he said, so I didn't mention it. I just said thank you. It made me start thinking of the little boy on the trail again. How many times do we experience things just like that? How many times do we say or do something and then brush it off and forget about it? How many 15 minute experiences do we have in life? 15 minutes that mean nothing to us, but mean the world to the other person involved? Just like with this celebrity when I was little. It meant nothing to him or any of his family members, but it changed my life. Thankfully, I had the chance to meet this man again and thank him in person. I shared briefly about the day we'd met so many years ago. A friend that was with us shared his response with me later. He had the same type of reaction I'd had with that young man in uniform. "Wow - that must have really had a big affect on her." We weren't quite sure what we'd said or done - but we knew we'd made a difference. Me in the life of a little boy sitting on the side of a trail and him on a little girl who desperately needed to know there was hope for her.

Don't underestimate the power of 15 minutes. Or even 15 seconds. Every smile you give a stranger, every pat on the back you give a child, every word of encouragement you share with a friend... they are examples of God reaching out and loving us. Let Him use you in those little moments. Let Him shine through in those experiences. It could change a life forever. It could save a life. For eternity.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Obedience is Not Just for Dogs

There are never any coincidences in God's world, are there? 

Amongst my daily bible readings are one psalm and one proverb. I read through Psalms starting at the beginning, getting the end and starting over again.  Currently, I am on Psalm 19.

For Proverbs, I read the proverb of the day - for example, today was the 8 so I read Proverbs 8.

Reading the psalm first, I ran across some scripture that was meaningful to me, and each day I share that which I find such on my Facebook page.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11, King James Version

The topic here, one that is recurrent for this particular individual, is to OBEY.  God said it so I'll do it right? Seeking His will and following His law is job one for Christians.  We don't even have to necessarily know why we obey, we just do it because we have faith in HIM.  Simon knew this when, even though he had been having a less than stellar time fishing all night long, when Jesus commanded him to oddly cast out their nets late at night and in deep water.  

"And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." Luke 5:5, King James Version

Because I do believe there are no coincidences - and that God gives me lessons everywhere I am at - I was pleased once I moved onto Proverbs to get this message, again.

17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Proverbs 8:17-21, King James Version

Obeying God and seeking his ultimately fulfill's God's mission for us, glorifies his name and can help to make you happier.  We know God is good! Therefore, obeying HIM is the best thing we can do!