Friday, February 24, 2012

Working On Love

Here’s a familiar verse of scripture, in fact, so familiar, many who don’t know God personally, can quote it better than a line from Shakespeare. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

True, we can replace the word “love” with “God” – because God IS love.

When being honest with myself, if I put myself in place of the word “love”, it goes more like this:

I am often impatient and unkind, I’m rude. If I’m proud and boasting, I don’t even recognize it, so what does that say? I seek liberty for myself above that of others. I’m far too easily angered, even by petty things, I repeatedly rehearse the wrongs of others that give voice to my complaints in life. I could be accused and found guilty of being over-protective at times, yet I can excuse wrongs done, if I’m the one doing them. I’m probably more trusting of people than I am of God. I do hope, but sometimes I wonder if my hope is misplaced. My perseverance can be paper thin. And yes, I fail.

So, though love is in me, I quench it. I look for excuses (and call them reasons) to be selfish with it. But because I’ve invited God to live in and through me, I grow in Him daily, and He grows in me – we’re becoming One. And the more I give place to Him and yield to His love for me, the more He loves through me.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7&8 (KJV)

Letting Him love me is key, even when feelings of selfishness or unworthiness try to overtake me; He loves me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


“See, I knew it! I knew you’d do it again,” she screamed in a fit of rage, storming out of the room. “Once a cheater, always a cheater," her voice trailed off behind the slammed door.
What do you harbor in your heart – so that you can be “right” later? What do you hide there “just in case” you might need to fall back on it later?
You can’t truly trust someone if you’ve tucked that fear into the back corners of your heart.  You don’t want to be “right” later, you want that fear to never come to pass. You want to be free of it. Letting it go won’t necessarily be easy, but waiting for it to show up and slap you in the faced hinders your ability to live in the here and now.
Do you remember what Job said? “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”  Job 3:25 (KJV)
Don’t collect fears in your heart, there’s too much life to be lived in trust.
Hurts may come your way again, cross those bridges when you come to them. But the hurt you’re secretly dreading may never happen. And honestly, if you’re hanging onto that fear, you’re not living in trust, and if you’re not trusting, you’re not really living.
Pull that fear weed out of the garden of your life – and give it over to God or it may grow and consume you. Once it’s gone, you’ll be able to see beauty blossoming everywhere. A negative, “I knew it!” is a blinder keeping the finer things in life at a distance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Loving Promise

A familiar scripture makes its way to our ears from sermon after sermon, but until Sunday – I missed such a very important piece of it. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
When discussions of how the world is ‘going to hell-in-a-hand-basket’ and spiraling out of control, it’s easy to give examples of things that are going wrong, violence that is off the charts, man’s evil devices bringing down mankind and speculation of impending disasters. It’s easy to sometimes panic, asking ourselves questions like, “What will we do? What’s to become of our children and their children? Are we close to the end of the world as we know it?” No president or world leader has the power it takes to fix all the things that are wrong. Nations war against each other, hatred is rampant and our lands are bruised and bloodied beyond repair. Or are they?
Sunday morning at church we had a special speaker, Fred Markert, share a few things with us that opened my eyes to incredible possibilities. He made me aware of a lot of things that made me marvel. But my biggest take away was when he pointed out a two letter word in that famous scripture I mentioned earlier.
How in the world can we get an entire nation – let alone the whole world to turn to God, to repent of their wrong doing and get right with Him? A great majority of the people on this planet don’t even acknowledge God – why would they cry out to Him?
That two letter word is the word “My”. The scripture doesn’t indicate at all that we need to rally the world and turn their hearts to heaven. God says, “if My people….” We are focusing on the wrong group of people. If WEGod’s people, the people who already profess to be children of God, if WE … who are called by God’s Name WILL HUMBLE OURSELVES, and PRAY and SEEK HIS FACE, and TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS, then HE WILL hear from heaven, and will FORGIVE OUR SIN AND HEAL OUR LAND!
~~~~~WE~~~~~ can DO this!

(Another link to Fred Markert )

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unsettling Vision

I shared this with a dear friend the other day, and thought I’d share it with you, too.
Years ago I had a vision of a little girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old. She was huddled in the hallway of a ghetto building I apparently helping a woman move from. We carried boxes down stairs and saw her in underneath the steps too afraid to even cry. She’d been violated and was badly hurt. I wept for her and held her in my arms. I was angry at the boy that did this to her. I wanted him to pay, I wanted him to die. I was then whisked away to the top of a fence overlooking a nearby ghetto neighborhood. I was standing on a pipe. Two women approached me, wearing colorful skirts, but naked to the waist, one with a child on her hip. They asked why I stood on the water pipe, insisting that I was going to break it. They told me that this pipe was their lifeline – and if I remained on it and it broke, they would die.
I looked out into the nasty apartments, clotheslines strewn from one to another sporting dingy clothes not worth washing. The wall to the apartment complex disappeared and I could see into the apartments. There he was; the boy that had trashed the little girl in the stairwell. My anger flared when I saw him. A big man with a shirtless pot belly was beating the boy with a cord or belt. His screams were blood-curdling. At first I thought, “Good, he deserves it! How did the man know what the boy had done already?” But then I noticed a half dressed, heavy set woman smoking a cigarette and laughing at the boy. Somehow I knew that his beating was for her sexual pleasure. I grieved for the boy and longed to take him in my arms and hold him like I had the little girl, but couldn’t get to him.
The topless women still beckoned me to get off the pipe before it broke. I climbed down and they hugged me.
I’m not sure what the whole vision means. But I know there’s healing in it for me, and perhaps for you. I know the water in the pipeline is the life-giving Living Water that only Jesus can provide..... Can you lend insight?

Romans 3:10 - As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…” (NKJV)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Me? Complain?

Today in an exercise in being grateful, I paid attention to things around me in a focused way. While driving around to do my errands I sought convenient parking places and grumbled at the cars parked closest to where I wanted to be; then I stopped. Thank You God that I don’t have a handicapped placard to hang in my window – thank You that I’m able to walk the distance from my car parked in Timbuktu.
As I braced myself against the cold, shivering and complaining that my coat wasn’t keeping me warm; I stopped. Thank You God that I have a coat and I’m not out in the cold shivering like this all the time. A man stood at the door I needed to go through but didn’t open the door for me, “Some gentleman,” I mumbled under my breath.

As I walked into the building a woman on crutches approached the door so I held it opened for her with a smile even though I was racing myself to the bathroom. I looked down at her bare feet and shuddered, Thank You God that I don’t have a broken leg and bare feet.
I dashed over to the ladies room angry with my tiny, weak bladder, bursting through the door like I was on official business. Sigh. Thank You God, I made it in time.
I scurried up the stairs to my second floor appointment and noticed a gray-haired lady hunched over heading my way with a scowl on her face. Thank You God that I can smile at strangers and stand up straight when I walk.
I couldn’t help but notice that every single murmuring complaint was countered by at least one thing to be grateful for. As the afternoon passed I looked for, and found, even more things to be grateful for on the shadow of my complaints. Sheesh. Who knew I complained so much? And those were only internal complaints!
Thank You, God, You love me anyways. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. (NKJV)