Friday, October 10, 2008
So, to begin, this is Day 2 since he left. Yesterday was very difficult for me. I am currently in shock. To think that 2 days ago, my son was my dependant and now I can't even send him a letter. I won't hear from him at all for the next 2-3 weeks. I have no idea how he is doing and I miss him so much.
My faith will have to be firmly grounded in the Word of Truth to get us through this. So many changes are taking place at home. We are now a military family. That changes a lot more than I realized...and it's a much bigger sacrifice than I ever understood before now.
I have to adjust to him not being there when I say goodnight...and his empty room. I have to adjust to having only one child at home to look after and I have to learn how to help her cope with being an only child. She misses her brother too.
I must stand firm on the promises of God.
So, now, I need to be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet 1 Thessalonians 5:8
We are in this together. We fight the greatest battle within. We are both warriors.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
I have been reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. This was a required reading from my New Testament class. We were only required to read a portion of the book but it's so good that I have continued to read it. I highly recommend it!
Recently, in reading about the Ascension, my eyes were opened to yet another paradox of the Bible. According to Yancey, we are living in the meantime. This is the centuries long time that we currently live in…the time when God appears to be absent. (How's that for a play on words?) To the contrary, God is not absent at all. He is ever present in the unlikely disguise of the sick, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the prisoners. He is the single mom, the elderly in the nursing homes, the grieving daughter, the man dying with cancer, and so many more.
The one thing I found powerfully intriguing is when Yancey writes, "Since we cannot express our love by doing anything to profit God directly, God wants us to do something profitable for the poor, who have been delegated the task of receiving Christian love." ….Amazing Grace.
I found it curious that he used the word "task" when referring to the receiving of Christian love. A task is defined as a definite piece of work assigned to, falling to, or expected of a person; duty. It is also defined as a matter of considerable labor or difficulty. So, according to Yancey, receiving Christian love is a duty of which involves considerable labor or difficulty.
Here's the paradox. In the world we live it makes sense that giving would be the task and receiving would be the blessing, right? But, in the Christian realm, the blessing is the giving and the receiving is the difficult part.Blessed are the meek, and the poor. I see this in a different light. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I understand!
To give sacrificially to the poor and needy is to encounter God's presence during the "meantime" while we wait for Christ's triumphant return. To receive is a blessing because the one who is receiving has been delegated that difficult task in order that God's presence might be known. It is an opportunity to allow others to receive the blessing of service to Christ. This sure sheds a new light to the question, "How can a loving God allow suffering?" It is our suffering that draws us to depend on Him. It is through reaching out through the hurting of others that Christians can have a personal encounter with God. Is this the good spoken of in Romans 8:28?
"God has designated the poor to be His receivers." – Philip Yancey
Today's Shot of flavor:
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me" - Jesus
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am seeking answers for many decisions that I need to make in this life. I am unsure of so many things right now. The only thing I'm really sure of is that God has placed me on this planet to worship Him and to be a witness to His glory so that the lost might come to know Him. It's my responsibility to go into the entire world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the "meantime" I am supposed to trust Him with the plans for my life. All of these things that I am unsure of, He knows the answers for. He has a plan and a purpose that will unfold in His time. So, while I wait…it's imperative that I be still and let go of my concerns…lifting them up to the only One who really knows what to do with them. His burden is light and mine is so heavy. He wants to carry that load for me. So, why is it so hard to let go and trust? Why do I focus on the waves in the storm instead of the peace resting in the bottom of the boat? He alone can speak peace into the chaos of life. In order to have peace, I must rely on the Peace Speaker. I have to stop watching the storm. I have to trust that He already knows the outcome of my circumstances and He is in control of it all.
Today's shot of flavor
Known to God from eternity are all His works. –Acts 15:18
Here's an extra kick...in my next post, I will elaborate more on the "meantime"
Saturday, June 7, 2008
During my devotion time, I read a book called Power Prayers to Start Your Day by Donna K. Maltese. In it she writes, "It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the offender to die". I never looked at it like that before and it helped me see my attitude in a much different light.
Unforgiveness does nothing to the offender and accomplishes nothing positive at all...ever. It only eats away at the human soul like a cancer. Normally I am quick to forgive those who offend me, but this one particular time I was really caught off guard and knocked for a loop! I was swallowed up by envy and jealousy so quickly that I didn't even see it coming and I'm still working hard to overcome. God is so patient and so good. I am so blessed that He still loves me and gently chastises me back into His grace.
Maltese goes on futher to say, "When you release the wrongdoer from your wrath, you cut a malignant tumor out of your own life. You set a prisoner free...and discover that the prisoner you freed was yourself."
There have been many times I have granted forgiveness to those who have offended me ...without batting an eye. I can let things go and give them to God. Why is this time so much harder? Is it because of the value of the treasure I stood to lose? Maybe that's what makes a difference. One thing I know I've learned is that any treasure I have been given is a gift from God. I need not worship the treasure over the Giver and that is what I have been doing. I am the one in need of forgiveness and grace. I have chosen to turn from God in my wasted efforts to hold tight to the gift He gave me and call it MINE MINE MINE! May He have mercy on me.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins- Mark 11:25 NIV
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. - Proverbs 28:13 NLT
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Flavor Shot for Today:
Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much would we? Romans 12:4-5 The Message
It is not uncommon to hear a message of encouragment geared towards those who don't feel like they have a significant part in the body. Some people think that because they don't have one of the "noticable" gifts or because they are not great theologians, they have no place in the body. Their function is not necessary and the church will survive just fine without them. The Word of God tells us that the body needs every part to function right. This is often a message preached to encourage those who feel insignificant to take their place no matter how "big" or "small" it may appear to be. It is necessary for God's purpose.
When one part of the body is hurting, the rest of the body suffers. Our bodies react to injuries. It is part of the body's natural function for blood to rush to an injury. Blood cells and mucus to work together to fight off a cold. Nobody has to tell the body to do this. It just does. It's natural. Shouldn't it be that way in the body of Christ? Natural instinct to rush to the part that is sick or hurting...instead of cutting it off?
Sometimes a part of the human body becomes amputated. For the rest of the life of that body, the rest of its parts will have to adjust. The body cannot heal the part that has been removed because it is severed and cannot function anymore.
We learn in church that we are all needed in order for the body to funciton properly. What if that member of the body is sick and the body says, "You are too much work, I don't need you...go away"?
Are we, the body of Christ, inflicting further injury to already wounded body parts so that they don't function properly anymore? Are we chopping off our own fingers and toes?
Friday, May 30, 2008
"We are not saved by good works but for good works."
It is common for Christians to point out to others that it is by grace we are saved through faith alone...not by anything we have done. If we are to boast, it should be in the One who deems us worthy...not in ourselves. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Nothing. Mankind is and will always be unworthy of the grace of God bestowed on us by the sacrifice of His One and Only Begotten.
So, since we don't have to do anything to receive the gift of salvation, then does that mean we can get saved and go back to a selfish lifestyle? Does it mean we can sin because we know that we are forgiven? I don't think so. There is evidence that a person has been saved and that's not it! The evidence I speak of is what the Bible refers to as fruit. The fruit is produced through how we work out our faith. Our good works bring forth the fruit of the Spirit for all the world to see.
Good works produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The motivation to do good works comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Our works are the visual display of an unseen faith. We are saved for good works, not by them. The work we do as Christians is a testimony to the world of Whose we are.
Today's shot of flavor:
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. - Eph. 2:10
Monday, May 5, 2008
Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest clan. Yet, God chose him and led him into battle with only 300 soldiers!!!! (He chooses the weak because when we are weak we are strong.)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
This is one of many incidences that supports my previous post regarding God's logic being so far beyond that of the human race! Three hundred soldiers faced an army that was as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea shore and they had victory! The one thing I found so intriguing about it all is that the enemy KNEW that the God of the Isrealites was all powerful and that they would be defeated by His army! And they were very much afraid!
What if Christians were empowered like that today? What if God's power was so evident in us that even unbelievers knew that the Christian God was one that they need not mess around with?
I think the enemies in Gideon's time realized God's power more than many Christians of today....now that's convicting! What if we finally do get a clue? What if we all really and completely surrender to Him and let Him fight the battles for us? What kind of power would we have?
As believers, we have access to the same power that rose Christ from the dead! Problem is, most of us either don't believe it, don't understand it, don't know what to do with it, or we simply believe that it's just a metaphor and doesn't mean that we can actually do what God says we can do.
Flavor Shot for today:
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. -1 Corinthians 1:27
No mending of her pain
In a thread
Three nails two hands two feet
How many nails does it take
To stop a man
From rising from the dead
He can heal her pain
He'll come back again
Angry mob, accusations, stones in hand
First stone never thrown
'Cause there is no pure man
Virgin girl, changed the world, birthed the Godman
Born to die
Life to you and I
Looking down, sees the crowd
Blind to their hate
He dies to lift the veils
For those who pound the nails
How can I look into the face of an enemy
And bless him as he spits at me
His love, His power, His strength
I can do all things
My spirit sings
His love never ends, is never more nor ever less
He gives me wings to fly
An eagle in the sky
He set me free, now I can see
There is only One
Who will always love me
Flavor of the day: Love
But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-for it is by grace you have been saved. -Ephesians 2:4-6
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Isn't that something? So many spend their lives dreaming of that fairy tale happily ever after. We search the world over trying to find our dreams. We envy those who seem to be living out their dreams...but they are without the Prince who is Jesus Christ. They are living in a fantasy that only brings temporary satisfaction. Their earthly dreams will come to an end...but for the bride of Christ..happily ever after begins when life in this world is no longer where we live. What is being missed by those who do not take time to even meet THE Prince is the true, eternal happily ever after.
The Prince of Peace is searching his Kingdom on Earth for His bride. Each of us has the opportunity for a happily ever after but many will miss out due to being caught up in the world's fantasy of happy endings. We don't see the glory in sacrifice and suffering...the glory of the cross.
When I think about Cinderella's magical outward transformation before the grand ball, it reminds me of the transformation that takes place when we are clothed in righteousness. The Fairy Godmother just brought to the surface the beauty that was within. Cinderella saw her inner beauty come to the surface for a brief time. But, then she remembered her rags. That makes me ponder how often as a Christian, I drag out my past sins and judge myself according to the deeds God has washed away.
I wonder what would have happened if Cinderella had stayed with the prince when she returned to her rags? Would the prince have loved her any less? Would he had even noticed any difference at all? She thought the prince loved her because of her outward appearance. But, his love for her was deeper than that. He would not stop searching until he found her...and so he did...in the midst of her ashes and soot. I'm willing to bet that in this fairy tale, what we don't know is that the prince knew the slipper would fit before he ever put it on her foot because he recognized the beauty that stood before him the night of the ball.
Christ knows His beloved. He has always known us. He has always loved us. When we accept Him, we are clothed in the perfect beauty of His righteousness. He finds us in our lowly state and loves us right where we are. There is only one true happily ever after and it begins with accepting the invitation of the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!!!!! I AM a princess!!!!!!!! I have found my Happily Ever After! Just call me Cindy!
Today's shot of flavor:
What about you?
For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! John 3:16.
Will you accept His invitation to believe?
For instance, how many kings were present at the stable when Jesus was a "babe in a manger"?
There were no kings and no wisemen present when Jesus was born. Wisemen came to see King Jesus when he was a toddler and he wasn't in a manger! There is only one King who really stands out to me and he didn't come to present Jesus with gifts!
This is just one simple example of many many stories that have been passed down through the ages amongst Christians...folklore presented as truth for the sake of tradition. For years...even now, I find myself guilty of falling into patterns of living for tradition's sake. Where does that leave God?
I have to question....
Is it harmless? What if Jesus came to visit a local church at Christmas time to see the portrayal of His birth? Would he sit silently or would he correct our misinterpretations?
Where does this leave me? What will I do differently?
I don't have an answer at this time. I only know that I will continue on my quest...while searching my heart and seeking God for answers.
When asking religious leaders why Christians continue to practice things that are not true and teach them as if they are, they don't seem to think there is anything wrong with it. They think it's okay as long as the point is made.
Is it okay to create confusion for a new believer right from the start?
Lies, lies and more lies:
A friend made an excellent point. He said that we indirectly teach our children to worship Santa, the Easter Bunny, even the Tooth Fairy...eventually they learn that it's all a lie. Then we tell them about Jesus and expect them to believe?
My words are not written in judgement or accusation. Perhaps they are written from personal conviciton. Or perhaps they are simply the ponderings of my heart as I hunger for Truth.
Today's Flavor Shot:
Deuteronomy 13: 29-32
Don't worship the Lord your God the way pagan nations worship their Gods.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Start your morning with the aroma of firmly grounded faith and a latte of heaven!
Now for today's shot of flavor:
For my first post, I would like to quote something I read in the outline for the class which inspired this blog. I love how my professor gives us devotionals for each class.
One thing Professor Dossman mentions that really grabs my attention, is the part about our argument seeming more logical than what God has revealed. So often human logic out of balance with faith can stunt a Christian's growth. It can even keep the lost from accepting salvation which can only be received through faith (Romans 3:22, 5:1, Gal. 3:14, Eph. 2:8) ...like a child.Today's Scripture: Psalms 78-83"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." - Jeremiah 29:11
One of the greatest hindrances to the people of God is longing for "the good old days." Why? Because in the midst of a faith journey, whenever we look back and long for the comfort and security of things gone by, we limit God. We see this in Psalm 78 where we read that in the desert the children of Israel "turned back and tempted [tested] God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (78:41, KJV).
How on earth could someone limit an all-powerful God? Could a person stand on a railroad track and limit the progress of an oncoming freight train by holding out his hand to stop it? Yet the psalmist tells us these people whom God was leading through the wilderness were actually able to limit Him. For one thing, they despised the food God gave them and longed for the leeks and garlic of Egypt. By that act,they claimed they knew better than God what was good for them. God was fulfilling His promise to feed them, but they wanted a more interesting menu.
Pride and rebellion became a way of life as they doubted God's power and ridiculed His wisdom. They were constant grumblers because God did not always grant their desires. That was Israel's sin.
One lesson from this passage comes forth loud and clear. We had better stop arguing with God, even if our argument seems more logical than what He has revealed. When God calls us to move ahead in faith, let us not hang back in fear, clinging to a comfortable memory of the past. ( Oliver Dossman, Information Systems in the Workplace Student Guide)
In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." He isn't saying we should be immature, but that our faith should be like a child...completely trusting. Faith is believing in what we cannot necessarily see, touch, taste, or feel. So the paradox here is that maturity requires that we trust as if we are children.
There is only one sure way to understand the Truths written in the Holy Scriptures. They are inspired by God (2Tim. 3:16). Therefore, God reveals Himself to us through His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:4-6, John 14:26). Human logic is good and should be used as long as it doesn't prevent Godly wisdom (which more often than not, appears illogical to the human mind) from moving us forward. Does fear of using "uncommon" sense keep you from moving forward in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ?