While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Where Faith Begins

I went out on bus route tonight, to visit my kids before Sunday. At my last house, there was quite a large conglomeration of people sitting outside and chatting.  As Ty and I approached, everyone stopped to look at us. I greeted them and proceeded to ask if the kids were coming to church this Sunday.  There was a guy hanging out in the back of the group who spoke up and said his son had come the previous Sunday...and asked if I remembered.  I told him I did (my friends joke that I have the memory of a computer). Then I looked at the guy and said "You're name is Michael, right?" He said "Yeah! How do you remember that?!" So I proceeded to tell him when and where we met, which opened up the conversation for us to talk a little bit.

After we had gotten in the car to leave, I told Ty, "People love to be remembered.  If you can remember someone's name, you have won half the battle of winning them over" He laughed at me, but as serious as I was I gently felt God prick my heart.

Yes, I may have remembered Michael's name, and I remembered where we met, but honestly, I can't tell you ONE thing about him.

I quietly pondered this nudging.

How many times am I simply satisfied with just recognizing people; to know their face, but not their story?  How can I truly love someone without ever knowing them?

That's when I felt God nudge me again. How many times have I settled with Him?

All too often I am perfectly content with just recognizing Him.  I can acknowledge His creation, I can be in awe of His blessings, I can even respond to His presence....all while only recognizing Him.

This is a greater calling. This is a "deep calls to deep".  It's about knowing God's heart.  It's about hearing His voice.  It's walking in His perfect will.  Truly knowing God is more than feeling His love for people, it's about demonstrating it.

This is where Faith begins.  The point of letting go of all reserve.  Faith comes when you hear the word "walk" but see no path. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finding a heartbeat

In November I went with a small group to Wichita. It was a group from my church and we were going to see their different ministries and how they run them. Laurie and I were supposed to help out with bus route, and see how the buses/classes run smoothly with several hundred kids in attendance.

First Sunday on the bus!
Saturday morning we met at the church for prayer. We were introduced to Saul and Katrina, imagine my surprise to know that they are both my age and run their own route! For roughly 4 hours, we drove around, walking down streets, stopping houses that people shouldn't be living in,  and visiting with people to come to church on Sunday.
Some kids were very happy to see us.
The children wanted to play hide & seek with us.

 For four hours I was in shock. I've been blessed my entire life! To see these children, and these living conditions...my heart ached.

However, for those four hours I saw so much love. These children squealed with delight when they saw who was at the door. Little children would run to Saul as he knelt down and they would hop right up on his knee. Children would shout "PRAISE JESUS" as they greeted us.

For the first time in my life, I didn't have words to describe what I was seeing/feeling. 
Matthew 19:14 says "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Relentless Pursuit of a Promise

Well, it's been almost 2 months since I've written! Sorry, it's been a super hectic summer.

I officially have a second job. Teaching... High Schoolers. It's been an absolute joy! My students always bring a smile to my face.  In fact they're away at camp this week, and I'm missing them terribly!

I just want to write a little thought I had, I hope it impacts someone as much as it has touched my heart.

The other day I was at the gym.  I've started a new training routine, it mainly focuses on running.  Anyway I was running and I glanced down at the timer, 3 minutes to go.

"keep running, keep running"

glance down at the time............ 2:30.

"Are you serious?! It's only been 30 seconds?! I've already seen 3 commercials on the TV! Let me just keep on pushing"

glance down at the time..........2:15

"This is taking forever!! Why is time passing so slowly?"

time check...... 2:00

"ok. I'm going to stop looking at the timer. I've got to just push through the pain. Focus on the ending. I'm almost there! Keep running!"

time check......1:00

"Alright. I give up. I'm admitting defeat. I feel like I'm dying!! There's no way I can run for a whole minute longer!! I'll just work on that next time........WAIT. Did Israel just come on in my ipod??

suddenly my feet are moving to the beat of the music my mind is on the words. 

I just ran 5 minutes longer than my timer.

The writer of Hebrews says "let us run with patience the race that is set before us"

I think it's interesting that he chose to use the word patience. Running a race takes time.  It doesn't just happen in a few seconds.  In fact, even if you make up your mind to run, there's a little more than that.

A race takes training, building up stamina.  It's not about being first.  It's about having the endearance to finish.

The NLT of Ecclesiastes 9:11 says "I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

I love this scripture. It fits so well with Matthew 5:45.  Good things happen to bad people, and likewise, bad things happen to good people.

If the fastest runner doesn't win the race, who does?
If the strongest warrior doesn't win the battle, who does?

the runner who doesn't  stop running is who wins the race.

the warrior who doesn't give up when the battle doesn't look so good is who comes out victorious.

The physical race is no different from the spiritual. Maybe it's hard to pray for 15 minutes. Have patience, keep pressing. Suddenly you realize, you just spent two hours lost in the Spirit, and time flew by.

I used to say "My goal is to make heaven and bring as many people with me." I can't actually take people to heaven, but I can encourage them to keep running the race. I can push them. I can rejoice with their victories. If Heaven can rejoice over one sinner, then I can rejoice with them!

The Message translation of Hebrews 12:1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Jesus is our ultimate goal! When we grow tired, what is our weariness compared to His sufferings. What is our suffering compared to that of those we don't reach in time?!

Imagine for a moment: You're running a race. There are crowds of people lining the streets cheering for you! You come upon a runner struggling, limping along. Oh, how he is struggling! You help him out until he gets his strength back. You glance in the crowd and there's Paul, cheering that you helped someone! You keep running, suddenly you trip and fall. Your mind races...oh the embarrassment! How easy it would be to just walk away, blend in to the crowd. But you look over, there's David. His face is so hopeful!  He's pleading for you to just get up! Come on! You have the strength! Finally, you're back up and running. It hasn't been long, and people are trying to distract you from your race! You haven't even finished and they want you to come with them. Suddenly, straight ahead, you see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They're encouraging you to stick to your course. To keep running. You've run too far to still be the same! Listen, the crowd is sending up a roar, people are following you! They're running with you, your pace is influencing others. There's Abraham and even Daniel. In the distance you can even see Zaccaeus, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, Esther. These great people of old are rejoicing in your persistence. Finally, you see the finish line. You run, encouraged by the exuberance of the crowd. You cross the finish line, having finished your race. Jesus looks at  you and says "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Spending eternity with your Creator and Savior, joining in with the Saints of Old in the Hosanna Song, Dancing on the Streets of Gold. It was worth all the sweat, blood, every long mile, every heartache, every trial, every tear.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

To All People, Everywhere!

My heart is aching.  Families are being torn apart.  Friends have become bitter enemies.  Political stance determines how civil people are to each other.

Is this really what it is coming to?

All for what? Religion??

I still support companies that have opposing view points than me.  I use products made by companies who contribute to political candidates that I don't agree with. You may or may not have a problem with all of that.

But, let me address the bigger issue.

As a person who believes that the Bible is the infallible word of God, let me remind you.... Jesus was not at all pleased with the "religious folk" of His day.

In fact, in Matthew 23:13-15, He says, "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either. You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned." (The Message Translation)

Stop. Take it in. Read it again.

Refuse to enter God's Kingdom, and keeping other people out also??? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of being a "Christian"?!

Maybe it's time for a long, critical examination of ourselves.  I don't want to cause someone to miss out on what they need! 

I hope Christians are equally or greater burdened for commandments in the bible, than supporting, in masses, a company who didn't give in to society's views.

Would "christians" designate a particular day for everyone to help the poor and the widowed?
Would "christians" show up by the masses to volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Would they spend an hour and a half talking to a homeless person who needs a friend?

John 13 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.


Yeah, that really says, If you don't have love for others, then people don't even know you follow Christ.

Can I just linger here a minute?

Mark 12:31 says The second GREATEST commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

I feel to clarify, to love someone does not mean to agree with them all the time. Rick Warren said,
"Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

1 Corinithians 13 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I think that is the greatest definition of love. Nowhere in there does it say to agree, but it endures through every circumstance!

To people who claim to be Christians: Don't judge people who sin differently from you.

That's God's job, and certainly not your responsibility to help him.

1 John 4:8
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Since God is love, and we claim to be christians AKA Christ-like we should be demonstrating the same love towards others that He shows to us.

others means: Rich, Poor, Every Nationality, Every Language, Every Skin Color, Every sexual orientation, Every personality, every political persuasion, every religion, every past, every criminal....etc. There Are No Exceptions!!!

To love someone is to Leave Our Vain Existence

You may not agree with me. You may not look like me.  You may not believe the same way I do. But, you are a person, the same as me. You deserve love, the same as me.
With that, I say: 

I love you! Te quiero! Je t'aime! أحبك! Jeg elsker dig! Ik hou van je! Mahal kita! Ich liebe dich! אני אוהב אותך! Is breá liom tú! Ti amo! Seni seviyorum! నేను నిన్ను ప్రేమిస్తున్నాను!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gethsemane Oil

A couple Sunday mornings ago, Pastor told a little story.

A man had a house to sell, he offered to sell it to a family for $1,000 on ONE condition.
They took ownership of the entire house, with the exception of one nail over the front door. That nail remained under the control of the original owner.

Time passed and the original owner came back and decided he wanted to buy the house back.
The family didn't want to sell the house. So the owner goes out and finds a dead animal and hangs it on the nail.

I'm taking a Spanish class this summer. My professor, Bonn, (as in James Bond hah! J/k) was sharing some of his stories from his travels. I delight in hearing these stories, mainly because I relate, I have plenty of my own!

In this particular case he was staying with a family in Spain, for some odd reason he simply couldn't eat the food. Come to find out the woman was cooking everything with olive oil. Really not a big deal, except she made her own.

There are 4 basic steps to making Olive Oil:
1. Clean the Olives
2. Grind the Olives into a paste
3. Malaxing (Mixing) the paste
4. Separating the oil from the vegetable water and solids

In Bonn's case, the woman eliminated the last step. I mean, you'd think all the solids would sink to the bottom, leaving the oil on top to be fine. This isn't the case, the solids spoil, fermenting the oil and ruining the WHOLE batch.

I got to thinking about this in terms of a parable...

The first step in the oil extraction process is cleaning the olives and removing the stems, leaves, twigs, and other debris left with the olives. The olives should be washed with water to remove pesticides, dirt, etc. Light contaminants are removed by a heavy air flow (blower) and heavy objects sink in the water bath. Similarly, we, as Christians have to be cleaned. The "outside" the obvious stuff that everyone can see. However this is just the beginning.

The second step is crushing the olives into a paste. The purpose of crushing is to tear the flesh cells to facilitate the release of the oil from the vacuoles. I can't explain to you the impact this had on my heart. The Bible says that our flesh hates God (Rom. 8:8) When we fast we can destroy our flesh, that we can grow in the spirit. My dear friends at Olive Tree Works (awesome business/ministry, check them out!) pointed out "It is no coincidence that the Lord Jesus agonized with His human will, situated in the Garden of Gethsemane, which literally means 'Olive Press.' It was the ultimate, upon ultimate crushing and oil pressing experiences ever encountered by a human being. He agonized hour upon hour. He asked, is there another way? "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39"

The third step is entirely indispensable. Malaxing (mixing) the paste for 20 to 45 minutes allows small oil droplets to combine into bigger ones. Longer mixing times increase oil yield. Notice that mixing isn't a quick process. The same is to be said in the Spiritual Realm. In the Garden, Jesus asked His disciples to TARRY. Once our flesh is out of the way, we can become covered with the anointed oil of the Lord. Not just a little drop, but anointing flowing out of His willing vessel.

The last step consists in separating the oil from the rest of the olive components. In most cases, the oil is further filtered to eliminate any remaining water and solids. We are never completely pure. The Lord continues to use His Spirit, His Word, and circumstances to further cleanse us.

Beware of the little things. They can destroy you. Galatians 5:9 says A little leaven leavens the whole loaf. Tiny solids WILL ruin a whole barrel of oil. One nail can make a house unlivable. Sin will destroy you. Romans 6 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

My prayer is that of David in Psalm 139:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.