Happy Valentine’s Day!
This day has nothing to do with Christian love, yet everything about Christian love is what it should celebrate!
Consider these verses from the New International Version of the Bible:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
May God bless you as you love those around you today in the name of Jesus Christ!
Being Quiet is Challenging!
I was driving in the car with two small peeps. One of the small peeps said, “I like the quiet in here.” “Me too,” I said.
Apparently when this little man gets in his dad’s car oft times it is filled with loud music and commotion, so he was enjoying the peace that came with the quiet as well.
Caught my attention, how easily noise fills our American lifestyle and culture. Everywhere we go elevator music is playing, closed circuit T.V. screens stream commercials and infomercials 24/7 while standing in most grocery store lines. T.V.’s play continuously in most households (I enter into anyway). Radio’s, IPod’s, MP3 players, and even old fashioned boom boxes.
When did we lose the art of silence?
When did that noise take over?
Quiet provides us an opportunity to listen to Holy Spirit and seek a calm that can be retrieved when we purpose to do that. Listen, that is.
Let the words of the “Word” come back into memory and do that promised work, you know the good work He started and promised to complete.
I am challenged by how much more I need the quiet than I even realized.
How refreshed I am in the presence of peace, again His peace, that really does surpass understanding, unless you have experienced it, it is hard to explain.
Lord bring back the art of quiet; heal us from the need to constantly fill the so called background with noise. Let us become familiar with Holy Spirit and communion with peace.
Time Mutated to the Max
I work at an elementary school, part time, in a special education classroom. I am a para educator and I thoroughly enjoy my job. It is delightful and exhausting. My shift is in the afternoon so I am there until the end of the school day. (this is a re-post, brought to mind by a current conversation, thanks Pastor Chris.)
I had completed my day and had just got to my car. Sitting in the driver’s seat and stretching my legs, taking a deep sigh and just getting buckled in. I was hurrying because if you don’t get out of the parking lot by 3:20 you’ll be stuck in the congestion for 10 or more minutes. Nothing like what you find on Highway 405 at 5 pm, but stuck none the less. I was struck right between the eyes with the realization that so many others here were doing the very same thing. Shoving to get in and then get out. Jostling their vehicles in just the right position to pick up the child and get out. Get on to the next task. Funny we are so polite to others until our parking spot or time has been absorbed.
I began to think about the process of multi-tasking and getting every possible ounce of productivity out of each and every moment that we breathe. I mean really sometimes that is how some of us live. We are a success if we can describe in detail the very best and most productive use of each minute in any family, job, even vacation or relaxation moment of time.
I think the fact that I had just read a job announcement from a company with a complete and ridiculous cold calling expectation might have had some impact on what was bringing this thought around. The advertisement on craigslist for the job had how long it took to dial a number, how often you would get a voice mail and the time it took to leave a message and then if you got a real person the average call would last 4 minutes and their goal for you was to make 800 calls a day. Now mathematically speaking it works out, but having done this as a job I can tell you 120 calls a day is really good.
So back to my point and thought: God created time way back in Genesis. As soon as He created day and then night a calendar began. Not before that – but just at that very moment. God created time for man, as a way to keep things in order and help prevent chaos. Seems we, man, have taken time and tried to micro-manage any of the freedom out of it we can. We are trying to be the god of time, instead of allowing God to be our time-clock. No longer can we stop and help someone, what if we are late? We have lost the value of craftsmanship and creativity to machinery that churns out 30K identical items per hour to be sold and reordered the same for the next shopper.
I think we have surpassed the line of productivity and entered into the twilight zone of a mutation of time. When will it end?
A funny thing happened today while on the way to the forum. Well ok I wasn’t on the way to the forum, but on my way to “Soaking Prayer”. Once a month Set Free Ministries and Chapel in Lakewood has an hour set aside for congregational prayer. There is something sweet about coming together with other believers and basking in a quiet hour to pray for the church/s, healing, direction, or you name it.
I had just left the house and was barely even a mile from home when my cell phone rang. It was my sister-in-law so I answered it. (Yes I know I was driving!) Usually she communicates via text, but I figured it must be important and it was.
Hi Jean, are you home?
No, I am on my way to an appointment and then work, why?
Well I forgot my license in my purse and my purse is in Janice’s car and I can’t get a hold of her because she does not have a cell phone right now. I can’t do my job here at Auto House unless I have my license. So I need a ride home. I will try someone else because I am sure your appointment is far more important than giving me a ride home.
Well important it is, I had been anticipating the quiet time in prayer for some time and really was hoping to lift before God again the upcoming Prayer Conference and all of us on the team and some of the challenges and concerns that have been presenting themselves.
Laura was talking in my right ear (through my cell) and I in a sense could hear Holy Spirit speaking in my left ear. The conversation went a little different than you might think.
Jean I know you are on your way to “prayer” but I have let someone call you so you can be an answer to their prayer. How effective do you think going to prayer would be and how silly would it sound to say I can’t answer your prayer need for a ride because I need to be at prayer right now?
I am always amazed at how quickly conversations like this take place in our hearts and minds.
I told Laura no worries I will be there in 20 minutes, I was already in route.
About an hour earlier I had asked a friend about meeting her for lunch and she declined. I had wanted to take YO to lunch for quite some time as kind of a blessing for all the times she had taken me out while I was unemployed. But alas she could not make it. I was disappointed at first, but after the call from Laura kind of relieved, because it would have been real hard to take her home and be back in time to meet YO for lunch.
See God knows our days and plans ahead, even before we do.
I picked Laura up and took her home and enjoyed very much the conversation, it had been awhile since we had really had any time to talk and catch up. When we got to her house I came in to greet her husband and Zitto the dog. Then I used the rest room and was back out on the road.
Wondering ok what next Lord? This day has been totally different then what I thought. I grabbed a bite to eat and slowly started heading toward my job looking for some form of a distraction as I had about 2 hours before I needed to clock in. I like being early, but I did not want to be that early!
I received another call this time from a buddy of mine in a panic about how to find the “playlist” she had created on RealPlayer for the worship service on this coming Sunday. I smiled and saw a place two blocks ahead to pull over and listen. I knew I was going to need to give full attention to this one.
As she was explaining her dilemma and frustration I remembered I had taken my laptop with me as I had planned on working on my workshop for the Prayer Conference. So I told her, hey wait a minute, let me open up my computer and my RealPlayer program so I can walk you through the process.
After a few minutes of fumbling trying not to hang up on my cell and getting my laptop unpacked I was ready to co-pilot her through it. We figured out what she needed and got the songs on the playlist in order and set up for service.
I am smiling again as I think about just the small things that God intervenes in, in our lives.
I left that morning really needing prayer and desiring some time on my laptop to complete my workshop presentation. Instead I got to be used by God to be a prayer answered twice all while sitting in the comfort of our “Nox” and learning to be flexible with my day.
What would God do for you or someone else if you allowed him to reshuffle time and intrude on your destinations?
Today my Honey and I celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss. OK maybe not always bliss. We have been married more than half of my life. I have known him since I was almost 12.
Many of you know our story, but some of you don’t.
Rod and I met when I was in foster care. His sister Fay was my foster parent, who later became known as mom, and to this very day is my mom! When we came into her care way back when, Rod was then considered my uncle and he was the cool kind of uncle that always brought his guitar and played songs we could hear off the radio and some goofy ones I’d never heard before. One of which I heard on a cassette tape (yes this was back in the day) and I fell in love his voice from that point on. I had a crush on him when I was 12 which I eventually out grew, since he was 12 years older than me and was committed to someone else at the time.
After I graduated and got a place of my own I became engaged and had asked Rod if he would sing at the wedding. He refused. I was heartbroken and very disappointed. How could my cool uncle Rod not sing, he did it for all the rest of the family!
A couple months more went by and I called off the engagement. I discovered that being espoused to someone addicted to pot and an alcoholic was not a healthy choice and God got me out of there!
Another few months later Fay, me, and Rod started hanging out on Friday and Saturday evenings going bowling, out to eat, and enjoying each other’s company. Rod began coming over and we would tinker around in my dad’s workshop. I was attempting to build a shelf and Rod had volunteered to help me. I needed an oil change done on my Ford Torino and he went with me to K-Mart to get the supplies. Simple adventures and a romance between Rod and I began. We were kind of keeping it quiet for a while because of the age difference and knowing that once it was out, that I was dating my uncle, the family may be a bit undone.
We were right about being concerned. It was hard at first. Rod’s daughter was only 3 and a half when we started dating and people wanted to make sure she would not be confused and unsettled. Many wondered how 2 people with the track record we each had could even be successful at dating, let alone getting married.
I have told many family members, friends, and others over the years the testimony of Rod and I. How God is so good about turning things around. He took two people that did everything backwards and created a new direction of forwards for us. We are together today because of the great love we share for each other and in Jesus Christ.
We could never have surpassed the odds of still being married without the hope we have and belief we share in a Savior that heals and provides a way for each and every one of us.
Our life together is fairly simple in that we don’t do much in spending for celebration, but we do, do much, in recognizing the moment, each other, and God for such an incredible journey. We will probably go grab a cup of coffee and take a brief walk to commemorate our day. We have agreed to do the fancy meal after Valentine’s Day has come and gone and the prices return to somewhat normal. (Part of the hazard of choosing a wedding date so close to the sweetheart’s day.)
Remember I mentioned above Rod not wanting to sing at my wedding to another man. Well the truth about this came out later after Rod and I had been married for some time. Rod confessed that he did not want to sing because he discovered he was jealous and did not want me to marry that man, but him. (Ah how sweet)
Happy Anniversary to my Honey and Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who are reading this, may God bless you and keep you always!
Here is a great story about keeping romance alive and well by an acquaintance of mine Jodi Dietrick
Man’s Wedding Band Lost
Rod my husband lost his wedding band about 3 weeks ago. We were both very bummed. We will celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss this February and it was just something that I really did not want to hear, “Honey I lost my wedding band. I have looked everywhere and I cannot find it anywhere!”
We tore apart the bedroom looking under the bed, in the dresser drawers, through the things on his nightstand, in shirt pockets and coat pockets. In his tote bag and around the guitars and equipment. Near and around his computer area and throughout the garage. Anywhere we could think of.
He and I prayed and asked God please, please, please let us find this ring!
It is not about the cost, though I did wonder what if someone else found it would they just turn it in, exchange the gold for cash. It would not have any of the sentimental meaning that it has for the two of us. He has worn it sense we married and it has been part of him and us and that whole illustration of a band being like the circle of love, and now it is somewhere out there just rolling around. Ugh!
So we were disappointed, yet Rod continued to pray, I did too, but he more than me maybe because I lost the emerald that was in my ring. A gift Rod had given me for our 10th Wedding Anniversary while wrapping items for location closure in a warehouse while at work. And it took me two weeks to tell him about that! I was so scared to say hey guess what I lost? It was not found and my heart still aches over it. God did however provide a replacement stone. I certainly do not wear it while doing any laborious stuff anymore though!
Rod called me the other night and said, “guess where I…” that was all he got out of his mouth before I blurted out, “Where did you find it?!” Funny being married so long it doesn’t take many words to know what is coming next.
He did find it, or I should say Big Bird found it. Big Bird is one of the guys he works with, obviously not his real name.
Rod and Big Bird were in the warehouse unloading product and there it was lying on the floor as the fork lift moved another pallet full parts the gold shimmered and glistened and caught the eye of Big Bird.
God works that way, he glistens and shimmers and catches the eyes of those who are near. The testimony of finding the ring is better because someone else found it. I told Rod how wonderful is that, that Big Bird found it right there and could know that God answers the prayers of those he loves.
Rod could have found it somewhere on his own and he and I would have been grateful for it. But God revealed the ring to someone else so that a bit of who He is could be shared for the testimony of His name!
Wedding band lost and found!
Become encircled by the one who sent his only son just for you!
BTW his name is Jesus, do you know him?
Snow and a reflection of His light…
(12.17.08 original post date)
Well it snowed where we live, a little earlier in the season than normal. As I got out of my car at 8:45 last Saturday evening I noticed how bright out it was. Funny how much lighter out at night is seems when snow is covering the ground. It’s amazing the reflection and luminescence that lit up the street. If it wasn’t so cold we could have gone for a walk in the snow. Then I had a thought, you hear children describe God as being everywhere. Hmm, maybe like snow when it falls, anything and everything gets covered, as far as you can see. So the bible says through Jesus are sins are forgiven and we are clean, white as snow and that now we are to be a light unto the world. If we shined, like snow shines in the dark wouldn’t that be incredible.
David wrote in Psalm 139:11-12 (NIV) “If I say, surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like day, for the darkness is as light to you.” It was shining like day, the other night. How come I don’t always shine like day for Jesus? How can I get to the point of saturation where I am always reflecting his light? The next day I was driving home from work and the sun was getting ready to set and beamed even more light off of the snow. Shouldn’t I be that reflective in my witness for Christ? Almost to the point of obnoxious? Not to anger people but to reflect hope in such a way that it can’t be missed. I look at snow a little different now, and do believe that God is everywhere, covering us with his light, through his son Jesus Christ.
I received an email from a friend this morning that at first read caused me to scream (in my head of course) another chain email, REALLY!? I am just so tired of the well meaning blessing threatening in the name of Jesus or for the sake of Jesus emails I receive.
First and foremost: I am a Christian. A bible believing born again, bible thumping Christian. And I am a Pastor, Co-Pastor to be exact. My husband and I minister in a sweet family home fellowship called tfc or That Fish Church ><((((*> .
So it is not the fact that the emails are Christ based, but the offense comes in for me at the point of saying I must not be a believer or I must not want others blessed if I don’t forward this to at least 7 others. Or whatever other statement of disaster is posted in the closing. I have become so critical of these that frankly I don’t read them with an open heart anymore or read them at all.
Until this morning.
I read the email and my heart was initially offended.
I went up to take a shower and get myself ready for the day.
(I have some great moments of thought and revelation in the shower, maybe that is T.M.I., but wonder how many of you would agree that it’s a great place for thinking?)
And it dawned on me…
Holy Spirit is a catalyst to us, prompts people to write books or a blog, give great sermons and talks, brings us to pray, unction’s us to just go visit, many things we are prompted to do by Holy Spirit’s intervening. Can we not be prompted to send an email?
All things work for the glory of God…right?
So I re-read the email. I had to laugh at myself. It wasn’t a chain email at all. In fact it was a sweet prayer and gesture to “Dear Woman of God,” that’s me and so many other wonderful ladies I know. (and be sure to include the Dear Men of God)
The point of this blog?
Do you maybe need to re-visit something/someone that initially offended you?
Is that really what it/they said?
What if your heart’s attitude was more like Christ requested? They will know we are Christians by our love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)
Let us look past the offense and see more of Christ in them and us.
It is my grandson’s birthday today. I was not able to see him to wish him face to face a Happy Birthday but here is something I was able to do.
Since we live in the age of technology, I texted him, just after 6:00 a.m.and wanting to be the first or one of the first to say that to him this morning. What tickled me about that was he responded back so soon with a thank you! Gotta love that!
Tonight on my way home from work I was going through the list of things to remember in my head while driving home and looked up into the sky to see the big beautiful full orange moon. It happens just a few times of the year around here and is just so marvelous to view especially when the sky was as clear and as cold as it was this evening. I was telling myself to remember to call my grandson when I got home to have a voice to voice conversation before his special day ends.
As I was thinking this I was again taken by what I could view in the sky. God created some really amazing and wonderful eye candy. We look into the heavens and wow, stars and clouds and a big orange moon.
The title of a book came to mind, “Happy Birthday Moon”. Though Reydyn is much too old for this story anymore, the title fit and that’s what I called it. I said thanks God for placing his present in the sky tonight.
When I got home safe and sound I came in and gave Rey a call.
Hey Rey Happy Birthday! What are you doing? He told me about the brownie chocolate chip bars they were making. (They, being him, his dad and his sister, his mom’s at school tonight.) And that it was a fine day today.
I said Rey did you see it?
See what Nana?
The moon I ordered for you.
You need to look outside Rey and see the moon God has in the sky for your birthday, it is a great big orange moon, just for you! It’s a Happy Birthday Moon!
(Here is where I know we serve such an awesome God that cares about the little things. Rey and the family had moved to a new place not too long ago and I have not yet been there to know if he could even see out into the sky. What if the view was blocked by another building or huge trees? What if somehow the moon wasn’t at the level in the sky that he could see it even if the view was clear? But I took a chance anyway in the asking and well…)
Rey said hold on and yes Nana I see it!!!
Thank you Nana it is beautiful!
God loves us so much and lets us share that beauty with others.
Rey called to his sister and said, “Hey see that, that’s my Birthday Moon :)”.
He sent me a picture of it via his cell phone.
As I understand it a blogger should have some consistent topic or format they use. Mine is a jumble of things because that is the life I live. This is not in complaint, but matter-of-fact statement: My Life is a Myriad of Hats.
Some of the hats I wear:
I am bi-vocational again, officially as of today. I begin a new position this afternoon and so my brain is trying to muster and manufacture the thoughts and energy needed to be creative, intuitive, and productive for that. I am continuing to craft the sermon for this upcoming week and get the points needed from my heart and head to speech format. I am in the process of tweaking a story my Honey wrote for our children when they were young and looking for the correct illustrations. I am trying to continue my quest for changing my dietary and exercising habits to better my health and longevity. I ponder and try to be as purposeful as possible in building relationships with our family; whether it is our grown children, their kids, nieces/nephews, etc.
The point: a lot going on in this head so who can limit a blog to just one topic?!
Today as per the norm on a Wednesday morning I met my gal friends at the mall to do our 2 laps of walking which is about 2 miles. They had to tell me to slow down! I so appreciate having them as partners in this endeavor of life. After I came home I was hungry and I am trying hard to stick to eating a more plant based food diet. With that in mind I had a terrific breakfast made from a Morning Star roasted black bean patty with blanched fresh green beans and some enchilada peppers. Delish! Oh and a glass of black cherry juice in a goblet of course.
I am really learning to understand and grasp the idea of the journey. So often we want the results as Veruca Salt would have demanded in the movie “Willy Wonka” screaming, “I want it now!” I am coming to the point in life where I am learning to be more accepting and comfortable with the process. (I did not say I have arrived yet, but I am getting better at it.)
Paul tells us to run the race well and keep our eyes on the prize (1Cor. 9:24).
In Hebrews we read: “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.” (Heb12:1 NIV)
So whether your life is a streamline of efficiency or more like mine a myriad of hats ~ enjoy it with and in the perseverance. Carpe” Diem!
For several days now I have been prepping myself for the “New Year”. How about you? How much time do you spend wondering about the year to come and how you will be spending it? And what your Resolution(s) will be?
tfc or That Fish Church is the church my husband and I pastor. We lead a small family fellowship on Sunday evenings and I have been getting ready for the “New Year’s” day sermon. I have been reviewing top lists of the most often stated New Year’s Resolutions and spending time reading scriptures about regret, resolved, relationships, and restitution. There are so many “R” words to consider.
John Maxwell gave me another “R” word as I listened to “A Minute with Maxwell” the word reflection. (http://johnmaxwellteam.com/reflection/)
This is the first year in many, very many, that I personally do not feel as defeated in the area of weight loss and healthy choices. Not because I have even come close to reaching the goal, but because I have actually managed to stay focused and somewhat committed to the goal. Thanks to some wonderful gal friends of mine I am walking 2 or 3 times a week. I have been to the gym, not consistently, but I have been! I have modified my eating habits and it has helped me to hate the scale less. Instead of gaining the dreaded 10 pounds through the Holidays, I lost 10. So my resolve is improving and that is encouraging!
I read an article this morning in the Tacoma News Tribune about a Fircrest teacher Wendy McConkey that lost 302 pounds; she began her process in 2006. Her journey really was a 5 year goal and how wonderful and amazing her transformation is and how impacting for those of us who struggle with weight.
Here is another link to view as you decide and consider your New Year’s Resolution(s) for 2012 it is a discussion on not regretting regret by Kathryn Schulz (http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_don_t_regret_regret.html) and the value of making a decision and regretting it almost immediately, but learning not to regret regret.
I read a blog post by Laura Anderson about her 2011 resolution (http://adventureswithlaura.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/i-kept-my-2011-new-years-resolution/#comment-188) and how she had made it her goal this year to blog at least once a week, and she did it!
The point of this blog? Well I have not done a blog entry since last April (that resolution went by the way side way to fast) and it is time to get back to it and to not regret having failed at it. To not give up! To keep running the race as Paul would say in the New Testament book of Philippians.
Choose your resolutions with resolve. Huh? Daniel 1:8 (NIV) “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” He purposed in his heart and went forward with that purpose. He asked permission because it was needed for his request. Sometimes we need permission from our spouse, family, friends, or employer to pursue that which is before us such as going back to school or changing careers. Certainly seek God’s wisdom in your choice; “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor 7:10 (NIV)
Wishing you a very blessed and accomplished 2012. Consider the “R” choices and choose wisely my friends.