Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Voice

Last night we watched a documentary on Killer Whale's. I found it fascinating how God created each family unit to have their own language, special to themselves. And, they stay with their mothers all of their lives. We have come in and destroyed their families, causing pain and horrible grief. The mothers and babies have cried out with their voices for each other, yearning to be together. 
It reminded me of a sermon I heard on God's voice, and the passages I read in John 10 this morning:

The Shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they all follow, because they are familiar with His voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't use to the sound of it.

Further down it is very clearly stated:

You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them in, too. They'll recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd.

Just as God has created the whales to recognize each others own language within their family units, He has given us His Spirit so we can recognize His voice when He speaks to us. And, He does speak to us, in an audible voice, and He says we will hear Him.  He also says that when we hear the strangers voice we will scatter. 
So, the sermon I heard was intriguing because he was bringing up the culture today about how so many of us believe that God does not speak to us "that way." If someone says that they hear God speak to them in an audible voice, they are thought of as crazy. If we "hear" voices, then something is surely wrong with us! But, if we are believers in the Word of God, and we DON'T hear voices, isn't something wrong?  Doesn't He clearly say we will hear His voice? In another version, it says, "they know his voice" even then, to know his voice I'd have to hear it. 
When the Enemy is constantly throwing arrows my way, when there is a battle raging around me, I am praying. He is throwing lies at me, and when that happens, I do scatter. I scatter and run for the truth. I fall before my God to rest there in His green pastures. I do recognize His voice and it is good.
Jesus is my Shepherd, He is the Gate, He is the voice I hear, and He speaks to me. He is the truth, the way, and the light that shines through all darkness. He gathers his children and speaks to them, I will listen. Jesus, You have said that we will recognize your voice. Say That Again!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Post from my Friend

So I have a friend that writes excellent posts, she said I could post something she wrote. ---She didn't actually say I could use her name, so I'm going to call her T, until further notice.
Anyway, T, I think Jesus will call you to Say That Again!

The Business Trip

My husband just returned from a business trip, he's been away for 2 1/2 weeks. It seemed much longer than that to me. The first few days he was gone, my children were sick, and I was not exactly pleased with the way life was feeling. I was tired, and my body hurt, and it felt like I would never feel good. I remember a friend sending encouraging words to me that week reminding me that recovering from surgery takes time and then she said that she was "praying Jesus over me." It was a simple reminder to me that to have Jesus prayed over me was enough for that day. I didn't have to rush; it was okay to go slow and let my body heal.
To speak those words to me felt healing; it felt like love.  This is how I want to speak, words that heal.
My kids and I spent a lot of time on my bed. Fur Ball too. At least this is what we did the first five days my husband was gone. I tried to move myself back into the routine of life, but clearly, it was not time.
The last week went much better, it felt like we turned a corner. A friend had come to stay with us and I think that was just the boost we needed. She drove my children all about. She cooked, and she cleaned. She sat me down when I tried to get up to do to much. She was a genuine lifesaver. She was love in action. She brought healing to my heart in many ways, as so many friends have during this time in my life. She showed me the beauty of giving up ones own life for the good of another, self-sacrifice. Because she chose to love me, she gave up her own agenda and came into my life to help me. This is walking Jesus, and this is how I want to walk.
I was invited to a Christmas Tea. The setting was lovely. I only knew a couple people at my table, but as I talked to each of the ladies and learned about their lives, one theme stood out. Relationships! They all talked about the relationships in their lives, their children, their friends, or their lack of. Through out the conversation, I could hear my God gently reminding me as He so often does, "I am always with you, I will never leave you or forsake you!"  And, I felt great comfort as I always do when I hear Him tell me this. But, as I sat at the tea that day and listened, I did wonder if everyone there believed that too.
I went to a friends house to make goodies and watched her son do funny tricks. He showed me all his Lego and told me Star War stories. I smiled that day at the beauty of a child, the wonders of his imagination. I thought about the time that Jesus said we must have faith like a child, and it seemed so simple that day.
God brings so much into my life, and allows me to witness so many joys, and so many sorrows. Just this week, I cried out to Him in anger as I witnessed the worst of pain. And, through that I told Him that I did not know how I could possibly love some people! But, He was quick to respond in His gentle way, by just a simple answer. "Even this person needs you to love through me!"  Through my anger and my tears, I was caught off guard by the clarity of His voice. Once again, it is true, I cannot love, only HE can love through me.
And, now it is husband is home, my kids are excited that Christmas is so very close. I am excited that this year all my children and grandchildren will be home for Christmas. I am feeling a little better every day, my body actually moves at a normal pace, without a cringe on my face. I've had some uplifting words of encouragement about Agape Celebration and God's thoughts. He is working and weaving His way through my Sister Saints, and His love is growing through us and moving through out the community. I am praising Him for this, and thanking Him for each and every day in which I can grow and learn.
Jesus, I will Say That Again, thank you for each and every day, that I grow and learn!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Jesus Within

The word Abide has been a big topic for me lately. Jesus and I have discussed it everyday, and I continue to learn and be intrigued. In John 15, it talks about the value of abiding:

I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

The "do nothing" says a lot, I think. To me it sounds like Jesus is saying He wants to abide within my heart and function for me. So that means I have to get out of the way, this is what He and I have been discussing. I've been asking Him to allow others to see Him and not me. But of course I notice that the "I" in me rears up and feels all kinds of fleshy feelings. More prayer, less of me.

The Jesus within me can do all things. There is great power given to me through Him.

If you Abide in me, and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as my Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

Today I will continue to pray that Jesus will abide in me, and I in Him. Jesus, be my strength, words, thoughts, and all that I do today, Let others see you, not me! Say That Again!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Ponderabilities

Yesterday was a good day with my Warrior Sisters. We gathered together to cook. Agape Celebration gets to provide meals for others in need. We spent a couple hours in the kitchen making some food we could put in the freezer. It was fun!

We also ate together, and talked about our upcoming event in February, Soup for Saints. I'm curious about this event, and praying that God will bring many people from our community that love to cook and want to enter their soups. If they have the winning soup, there are great prizes!
As a team of Sisters, we have been playing secret Santa with each other; it's been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed giving gifts, and it's been fun going to my office and finding gifts on my desk. We all brought gifts to each other, and we sat on the couch and opened them. For most of us, it's not a secret anymore who brought the gift, but still for some of us, it's a mystery! We also wrote on big red Christmas ornaments, "Warrior Sister Saints" and we each signed our names, an ornament for each of us. It is a good Christmas memory.

My favorite word right now is ponder. I like to consider things deeply and thoroughly. I like to weigh them carefully in my mind, meditate and pray over them, and consider them thoughtfully. I will ponder most things.
Sometimes I feel such a battle inside of me, and I know it's the attack of the Enemy rushing his arrows right for my heart. I also know that the Keeper of my Soul has wrapped me up in His warmth and righteousness, and I am protected. Yet, there is the battlefield.
As I am stepping into the Christmas Season, surrounded by my Warrior Sister Saints, I am seeing the battle. I am praising God for the Gift of His Son, and the Victory He has given all of us. I know He has mighty plans for my Warrior Sisters, and the battle is not small. At the same time, the Victory is so very big, the gift so beautiful!
Sweet Jesus, Say That Again to me as I ponder Your gifts and Your victory. You are the Gift, You are the Victory!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Word

I'm reading in the book of Luke now, and I like it. This morning I kinda paged through all the chapters and certain things stood out to me more than others. I like the story of Jesus calling the demon out of the man, then everyone whispering about it!

Jesus shut him up "Quiet! Get out of him!"  The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them and left. The demon didn't hurt him.
That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, "what's going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?" Jesus was the talk of the town. Luke 4:36

Then there's this one:

These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on. Luke 6:46

With just a word, Jesus did everything!  And with His Word within me, building my life, things  happen. 
Every morning I pray for Him to be my words, strength, mind, heart, and to love others through me. I know He has to do all of this, because I am not capable. I pray for Him to wrap completely around me, to be my clothes and armor. I pray for His Words to penetrate my heart and soul, and then to reach someone else in such a way that they see Jesus, not me. 
The truth is, if I don't pray this, I'm not that loving. Self gets in the way every time. It's like I'm living in the homeowner improvement phase, not the build your life for eternity.
So, Jesus, put Your Words in me, the kind of Words that sets everyone back on their heels! Loving words, healing words, only Your words. I will Say That Again, Jesus, Your Word, not mine!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Big Idea

There's a number of big idea's floating around in my head, not all of them are good ideas! I've been eager to get back into the swing of things, so my big idea was to drive my kids to school, and pick them up. It seemed pretty harmless, but the reality is, it's a lot of driving, at least two hours on the road, and my body has rebelled. I'm feeling frustrated. I'm finding it very challenging to be patient with myself as my body recovers. Months of pain, now waiting around for healing from surgery, I'm feeling like a caged animal. And, it's not fun.
So, I'm finding that I have to keep bringing my big ideas to Jesus, and confessing them. He is showing me that I need to continue to ask for help and continue to reschedule my days. I need to go slow and be patient.
A friend of mine said to me that she was praying Jesus over me today, and it was so helpful. She reminded me that I am getting better, it's just not speedy, and she listened. I want to pray Jesus over others, it brings such comfort. As I write this, I'm praying for Jesus to be compassion inside of me for others, for I know how deeply needed this is. I'm praying for Him to turn my big ideas into compassionate, empathetic ideas. Ideas that bring love to others, and joy to their hearts, and Jesus to their being.
I'm reading through the Gospels. The verse that stood out this morning was in Mark 11:23
"Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say ' Go jump in the lake'---no shuffling or shilly shallying ---and its as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God life, and you'll get God's everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that its not all asking, If you have anything against someone, forgive--only then will your Heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."

For me right now, my mountain is doing less, and asking for more help. Another mountain? Not taking offense to the way I feel responded to when I'm not feeling the best.
Jesus, I know there are numerous mountains in my life, and only You can move them. You have shown me that Your Arms are around me, and it is Your strength that works through me. I will give You all my big ideas, I better Say That Again!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Walk through Life

Today was suppose to be my first big day in the office, yippee!  It felt like a big accomplishment to me when I got up this morning and I put on a pair of jeans instead of sweats. I've been moving so slow the last 2 1/2 weeks that to actually be dressed and think of driving my child to school was a big deal. My son came home sick yesterday so he still had no intentions of heading to school today, and because of that my days schedule had dwindled somewhat too.
My daughter and I headed into town and made it all the way to school. But, by the time we got inside the doors, she too was sick. We just told the lady at the desk that today was a sick day, and we turned around and went back to the car. I guess it just wasn't meant to be a school/office day.
I'm thankful for a large king sized bed. Both my children, my dog, and I all fit comfortably on the bed. They are watching "The Prince of Egypt" it's a movie that has been a favorite in our family for a long time. Fur Ball is snuggled beside us, sleeping as if he didn't get a wink all night.
I made a fire in the fireplace and as I threw the log in I questioned if it weighed more than a milk jug, my limit of weight. I think it does, but our house feels cold and our propane tank is getting low. I like the way the wood heat warms the room, and the crackle of the fire.
Life is funny, because I don't think it turns out the way we "think" it's going to. Just like today, it is different. I'm okay with different, because I know God is in my different. He has a reason for all things, a purpose for my walk. He has promised to keep His arms around me no matter what happens, so I'm going to walk through with Him.
I don't know what this week will bring, but today I am continuing to Say That Again to my Jesus, walk through life with me for I know I am the one that You love!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Insomnia

My sleep has been very good since having surgery, most of the time. There have been nights that I fall asleep at 9:00 at night, and I stay asleep, all night long. It's amazing for me, because that never happens. Then, sometimes I have nights like tonight, I just can't sleep. I feel tired, but my brain doesn't want to slow down enough to actually sleep. And, to add to the problem, my husband won't stop snoring, minor detail. I know this is all going to cause me to be very tired tomorrow, and I will want to sleep all day, consequently, making it difficult to sleep tomorrow night.
I'm thinking that I should try to eat something, it might help me sleep. I could eat Sky flakes. Or, pumpkin pie. Maybe I should eat the turkey a friend brought for my birthday, then that would make me sleepy.
I'm remembering that I drank some coffee at my birthday dinner, and that is more than likely contributing to my inability to sleep. I should only drink coffee in the morning. But, when it's brewing, and it feels festive with lots of friends, I forget that detail.
I liked my birthday lunch. Many friends gathered and brought a lot of good food. It was very nice. I enjoyed everyone's company. I felt loved. I've been thinking about love a lot lately and understanding that without that basic essential love, nothing else really falls into place. The love that others have given me, that constant steady love, is what has really moved me to change. It's the love of God that has slowly, but surely convicted me and still is convicting me. It is me seeing others love that has taught me , and it is love that has inspired me to want to be better. The more I focus on loving others, the more I realize I am learning about God, because God is love. When I am able to love outside of myself, then the truth shines through. And, of course to love outside of myself, I must allow Jesus to love through me!
Everyone needs and wants to be loved. Some of us push love away more than others, but it is still a need. With God's eyes I'd like to see through the resistance of love. I know He gave others that ability with me, and for that I will praise His name.
I think I'm going to eat now. My husband has calmed down on the snoring, so maybe I can fall asleep. Jesus, You are in me, You are Love. I'm asking You to love others through me in a wild and a radical way, big and wide. YES! Say That Again!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Smart Phone

Here's my pet peeve, I'm guilty of it myself, and I'm working to change it, the Smart Phone. It's everywhere. I'm blessed actually to have one, it come in handy in many ways. But, in other ways I've found it to be somewhat of a curse.
Everyone in our family has a smart phone, and I have noticed that sometimes instead of talking to each other, we are on our phones. And, that contributes to surface conversations, or sparse conversations. 
Of course I remember the day when we didn't each have our own phone. I remember when friends and family gathered together, we were faced with each other and pretty much had to come up with something to talk about. Yet even then, there were ways to escape. There always is.
For me, I escaped by wearing a different mask, living in a world that fit whoever I was with. It was convenient for me, and I thought it was for everyone else too. But, it wasn't honest.
The Smart Phone is another way to hide. It keeps me in a safe little world away from deeper, honest conversation. It keeps me from being known. 
It keeps my family and friends when we gather together at arms length, and sometimes we can all be in the same room, yet be lonely. At least, there are times that I feel that way. Sometimes, I can be sitting in a room while the rest of the people are on their phone, engaged in some other way, and it feels lonely.
As I said earlier, my smartphone is a blessing. It has helped me out in many ways, and kept me connected in ways that I would not have been before. For this I am grateful. However, this blessing has had a tendency to turn into something that is not so good as well; the very thing that has brought connection has caused disconnect. The very thing that has enabled me to reach out to many more friends, has seemmed to create walls with others. I don't like this. The verse that comes to mind for me is in Ephesians 4:25

What this adds up to, then is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth in Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

This is my truth. I am seeking connection, lots of it.  I'm going to continue to work at leaving my smart phone in the bedroom when my family and friends come to visit. I want to know the hearts of the people that walk through my door, and I want to love them. But, it's not just that, I want to be loved in return, I want all of us to be connected as Christ's Body. 
Jesus, I am asking You to continue to live deeply inside of me, and love others through me, speak truth through me, and walk this path through me. Jesus, monitor my smart phone! Say That Again!