Thursday, June 7, 2012

Who's your Idol?

Exodus 34:14 - Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Daily life is exhausting.  The body is tired and doesn't want to roll out of bed.  The kids may be sick or have their own issues they want to talk about. The parents may need physical care and it is your responsibility. A friend may have lost a spouse, either through infidelity or death, or even be suffering with a disease and this is a burden on your heart.  It is a true statement that life can be hard.

At work one day, I overheard a co-worker sharing with a client some struggles that were going on in her life.  She had recently had an injury and was discussing the pain of moving around and getting back into the daily grind.  The client responded at the end of their chat with an "I'll pray for you".  What a wonderfully positive statement.  It says both 'I care about you' and 'there is hope for your hurting'.  As my co-worker headed back over to me, I inquired - "is that client a Christian?"  The response she gave startled me - she said, "I don't know, but it couldn't hurt".

Actually, it could hurt. God is very clear in the Bible when He says 'Do not have any other gods except Me'.  Accepting the fact that people worship another god besides the one true God should cause sadness, not indifference.  My problems, my hurts, my struggles are real - I want them to go before a real God. 

God calls us to stand up for what is right - when we allow others and even God to think that we're 'okay' with our personal struggles being taken to someone other than our Creator, we need to say something.  It does make a difference to whom we're praying.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Graduation video from 2011

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ga Ga - not the lady.

Exodus 2:5-6: Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said. 

Our church has baby dedications once a month.  All the parents bring their new babies to the front of the sanctuary and the church gets the honor of praying for the Godly upbringing of the child. Meanwhile, I sit in the pew with my husband 'oohing and aahing' over each little bundle that comes before us.  I even go so far as to inquire of my husband if he thinks it would be nice to have another.  My husband, knowing that our child-bearing days are gone, agrees that we should definitely keep trying as much as possible.

I often feel that my emotions are common. Doesn't every woman's heart long to hold and cuddle a child?  Then I am brought back to reality when I read the news about the mother in Alaska who let her toddlers freeze to death or in Pennsylvania and after more research, I learn that this behavior is not as uncommon as we would think or hope.

Abortion and murdering of babies was not uncommon in the 1100s BC either. The pharaoh had put a law in place that all first born sons of a Hebrew woman were to be put to death. A pharoah in Egypt was powerful, his family was well cared for - this included his daughter.  One day, his daughter went down to the Nile to bathe - who bathes in a river with crocodiles?  Maybe that's why she needed the attendants.  The Pharoah's daughter saw baby Moses in a basket and took him in to her home.  She doesn't turn him over to authorities - even though she knew he was a Hebrew baby. She doesn't have him killed - even though that was the law her father had in place.  She takes him as her own and calls him Moses - even though he was not of royal blood.

We don't get to hear much more about the woman who raised Moses, we only see the results of her actions. The man who led the captives out of Egypt under God's direction.  We may never see the end results of the effort we take in raising our own children or investing our lives in someone - but God is using the mother, the Sunday school teacher, the AWANA leader, the nurse, the principal, the bus driver . . . in a big way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Where's a Burning Bush When You Need One????

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

I watched a movie today called "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow.  The movie itself was nothing really to write home about - but the plot of the movie got me to thinking about something that has been plaguing my mind.  The story begins with a woman who loses her job and as she leaves her office behind, she runs to catch the 'tube' (movie is based in England).  In the one scenario, she misses the train - and then we rewind and see another scenario where she doesn't miss the train.  In the path of her life where she catches the train, she meets a stranger and has a very casual conversation.  She lets this man know that she lost her job and is headed home to her boyfriend.  When she gets home she finds him in bed with another woman.  She immediately leaves him and her life is played out where she again bumps into the stranger that she met on the train and they spend many happy days together enjoying each other's company and falling in love.  In the other scenario, where she misses the train, she winds up getting mugged and going to the hospital and doesn't get home until after the woman with whom her boyfriend is sleeping with has left her apartment.  Here her life plays out by being continually lied to and gets two part time jobs to support this guy who is cheating on her.  A few months down the line, she does end up finding out that he was cheating on her and she leaves him, only to bump into the stranger she fell in love with in the other situation.

So in both scenarios, the end result was the same - she ended up with the new guy.  When I look at all the different situations in life, the big ones and the small ones, the ones we fervently pray over and the ones we leave to our own best judgment, one question comes to mind: "Is this truly what God wanted for me?"  When we hear people discuss parts of their life and they make the comment: "I feel this is where God is calling me" - how do they know?  How can they be certain?

I took a Bible class not too long ago in hopes of getting a better understanding of this clarification of God's voice - discernment, if you will.  While I felt like I wasn't getting anything that I didn't already know out of the class, I decided to raise my hand and ask - "What if I am wrong  and that's not what God wanted me to do?"  The answer that the leader of the class gave me was a good answer: "Do you not think, that our loving God, would guide you back to where He wanted you to be?"  And while of course I do believe that to be true - how do you avoid the "months of working two jobs and living with a cheating liar" scenario?  How can you be truly certain that it is God's voice you're hearing and not you're own?  I know God has great things planned for us - the Bible tells us that - but  Oh to have a burning bush.....

Would love to hear some stories on how you KNOW you've heard the voice of God:

Monday, August 22, 2011

The World Wide Epidemic - It's Affecting You!

Romans  5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Sin.  We have no idea the true havoc that wreaks when sin enters in.  We see it as a personal issue that we try to avoid - like overeating or going in the sun without sunscreen. But it isn't just a personal issue - it's a global problem that many ignore.

We all know what happened when Eve decided to sin - it didn't just affect her, it affected Adam as well.  It didn't just affect Adam, it affected the rest of humanity.  However, let's be realistic, if it wasn't Eve, it certainly would have been someone - we are drawn to sin naturally - so someone had to take the first bite.

That doesn't make it right to continue to let sin run a muck.  We generally think that if we sin, we're only hurting ourselves - this couldn't be further from the truth.  The wife that cheats on her husband doesn't just hurt herself.  The husband is hurt, the person who she cheated on is hurt.  The children of the marriage are hurt. The grandparents are hurt. The dynamic of the entire family is changed.

The mother who beats her children is not just affecting herself.  The father is affected by this sin.  The children, obviously, are affected.  The walls that are built up and the anger that naturally results can get transferred onto their future spouses and even their children.

There is no wonder why each generation continues to suffer as each sin from the previous generation continues on and on.  So how do we stop this world-wide epidemic?  Kill all the cheating wives and abusive mothers?  No, as seemingly simple as that might sound - one sin on another just continues the epidemic.  The answer lies in God's Word - as it always does: John 8:11 talks of Jesus' answer to the adulterer - "Go and sin no more".  Seems simple enough, doesn't it?  If every one person would recognize sin and make the effort to avoid it, we might find some time to heal and move on.  It has to start with us.  If we make that decision to fight temptation, step away from sin, the result will always be good - because it's what Christ calls us to do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Satan as Easy As The Pain in Your Back????

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 70 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life.
A few interesting facts regarding back pain: Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the United States. Back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old. Americans spend at least $50 Billion per year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.

When people catch a cold or even the flu, they may wait a few days or even longer to go see a doctor for treatment. Day One of back issues will get you to a physician. Why? Because it hurts!

A few weeks ago, I pulled my back out. I was completely incapacitated. I couldn't move without intense, sharp, jagged pain wreaking havoc on my body. Not a situation a mother of four with two part-time jobs wants to find herself in. Do I have a point to my seemingly self-absorbed pity party? Why yes, yes I do:

The very next morning after I pulled my back out, I attempted to crawl out of bed to use the restroom. I couldn't even stand once I had reached my destination. I called out to my husband who came in to help me stand up, which sent my back into excruciating muscle spasms. What happens next leads into my paralleled spiritual reference - so read on.

While my husband held me in his arms, blackness began to cover my eyes and the shallow breathing began. I warned my husband that I was passing out, in fact, I remember repeatedly saying, "I'm blacking out, I'm fainting, I'm blacking out". When I awoke, I was on the floor of the bathroom, sweating. My husband had placed me there and went to get the phone to call 911. Now what happens next is your typical 'ambulance shows up and takes you to the ER' scenario - but I'd like to focus on the actual act of 'passing out'.

What happened was this: The pain that my back was in was too much for me to handle. My body physically shut down to protect me from the pain.

What if we reacted to sin that way? What if when we come across temptation that normally causes us to sin, our body just passes out until the temptation goes away? Unfortunately, our natural instinct is to gravitate toward the sin, not shy away from it - we have to choose to step away from it. Easier said than done. However, we do still have that option to call 911: 1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

When we are faced with temptation that seems impossible, God tells us that He will provide a way out - Asking Him for the strength to do this on a daily basis is essential in keeping our spiritual health in check.

As a fairly healthy individual, prescription strength ibuprofin, oxycodone, flexerel and six weeks of physical therapy promises to get me back to tip top shape. However, when we let temptation overcome us, we run the risk of not only taking ourselves down to a level that may seem impossible to crawl out of, but we tend to drag others right down with us. Praying for God's strength in my back and against Satan!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There's Too Many Shoes In Here!

Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I have read a few books, fiction, devotional, self-help, that mention the use of a 'prayer closet'.  A private place to go to spend time alone with God in prayer.  I have often thought how nice it would be to have one.  One small room set aside to spend some alone time with God.

As a reminder, I have four children - extra space in the house is just not happening.  There is not one place I can go in the house that my children aren't willing to follow me into.  Even the bathroom is not a sacred domain.  While they may not follow me in, they are more than willing to stand outside of the door making sure they are getting updates of what I am doing or when I'll be done.

I find that if I want to have some alone time, I need to get up before everyone else and then when I get in the shower, I know that I'm alone.  So, my 'prayer closet' is my shower.  I have heard God speak to me when I take the time to get rid of everything else around me and just focus on my conversation with Him.  While that time may be short, there has been nothing more meaningful than to hear what God has to tell me and the more times I spend having a conversation with Him, the more chances I give Him to offer me His wisdom.  Where is your "prayer closet"?