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Monday, May 27, 2013

Choose carefully
each letter, each diphthong and conjunction.
 
Be cautious
with an affirmative, a concord and interjection.
 
Be wise
when dangling participles,
don't underestimate their potential.
And watch yourself with each and every
thrown in third conditional.
 
Some may say, "Your usage doesn't matter!
Put commas anywhere you  please!"
 
But those who understand
the power of their words
do not play games and tease.
 
They are aware of indirect objects
and refuse to bring a person down.
They understand that verbs can
bruise and make
 
 a person frown. 
 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Games and Gambling

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie -- a casino where you do not bet with money and chips, but with human life.  It makes me squirm even to think of such a concept.  Forgive the imagery as I imagine the gore... (though, maybe sci-fi is your cup of tea -- it's not mine! :)

Players come in, pick their game, and begin placing their bets.  They are required to pick a card that has a picture of a body part on it.  They place their card on the table -- the body part they wish to bet with.  If they lose in the game, they lose that body part.  The more games they lose, the more parts they sacrifice.  If they don't stop and continue gambling, they will eventually gamble their very lives away -- literally. 

Gross.  Sorry.

But, this is the best way for me to describe what many people are doing with their souls.  They are playing games in a Casino that requires the Players to bet their very lives on the games they play.  And when lose, they have literally bet their souls on it. 

Those that practice witchcraft and all that goes with it (palm reading, voodoo and the like...).  Those that hold onto religions that worship false gods.  Those that hold onto self-righteousness and bet their lives on the chance that they have enough good deeds under their belt to gain them access into heaven.  Games and Gambling.  Foolishness.  Dangerous.

Consider your life.  Are you gambling in such a Casino?  Are you gambling yourself away little by little until finally it claims your very life?

Romans 3:30 (NLT) says: "There is only one God, and He makes people right with Himself only by faith..."

You do not need to guess and wonder about your eternal life.  He is able to make you confident and sure of where you are going when you die.  When we believe in the True and Living God, we can put all our chips and our entire self into this faith because with the True God we are all guaranteed winners. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Abba!

Maybe this is a picture of you and God:

A father, who is sitting in his living room, calls for his son who is playing outside.  The boy hears the father calling but pretends he doesn't and continues playing.  He hears his father's voice again.  The son stops for a moment, looks toward the house, ponders, then turns back to his playing.  The father calls a third time.  This time a bit louder.  The boy stops again and looks toward the door slowly.  He considers the consequence of not responding.  In fear, he walks sluggishly toward the house.  He decides it would be better to face his fear of approaching his father than suffer the consequence of not coming at all. 

Or, maybe this is a picture of you and God:

A father, who is sitting in his living room, calls for his son who is playing outside.  The boy hears the father calling and looks up.  He tunes in to listen.  He hears his father's voice again.  The boy smiles.  The sound of his father's voice brings a warm feeling over him.  He begins to walk toward the house.  The father calls a third time.  This time a bit louder.  The boy's step quickens.  His heart begins to fill with joy.  His smile grows bigger.  "Abba!" the boy says to himself.  "Daddy!" the son whispers out loud.  "ABBA!" he shouts as his skip turns into a run toward his father.

If you relate more to the first son than the second son, you are not alone.  Many of us feel this way toward our Heavenly Father.  The mention of Him triggers guilt.  Coming to Him stirs up feelings of fear, anxiety, and even worthlessness.  Maybe we see Him as a disappointed Daddy or a harsh authority.  

But, this is so far from the Truth.  See, the Truth is that He loves us.  The Truth is that He'd rather die on a tree than live without us.  The Truth is He passionately pursues us and wants our love, affection and friendship.

The problem does not lie with Him.  The problem lies with our thinking and the fact that we have believed the lies.  Lies of condemnation.  Lies that say, "Who are you to talk to God.  Who are you to ask anything of Him?  Who are you to come to Him?  Do you know how disappointed he is in you?  Do you know how angry He is with you?" 

NOT ONE represents God's heart toward you!

One thing we must understand, though.  We are not right before Him by ourselves.  We are not righteous on our own.  We can not come to Him with our own righteousness.  We must come to Him knowing that Jesus did what we couldn't and because of His sacrifice, we can now come without fear.

See, the second boy who came running with joy toward his father in the scenario above didn't come because he had done everything right.  He came running because he knew his Brother had done everything right. 

And we can come running, too.
 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

All Aboard!

There's an understanding among passengers. Their bus, train or plane has its own schedule.  They do not determine when it will come and when it will go.  Their place is simply to position themselves to be ready for it when it comes.

My husband understands this very well.  He spends most of his traveling hours dependent on public transportation.  He doesn't call the bus company every morning and let them know he'd like to sleep in.  No.  He awakes and he gets ready.  When he travels by train or plane for business, he must be even more aware of the time and goes out of his way to be sure he's on board.  It would be foolish and arrogant of him to think that things will happen in his timing. 

God's Train has Its timing, too.  And, if we are listening, we can hear the Train Conductor calling,
"All aboard!"
Noah understood the importance of boarding.  He knew the flood was coming.  God told Him so. 
"Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth.  He went on board the boat to escape the flood -- he and his wife and his sons and their wives."  (Genesis  7:6-7 NLT)
Are you on board?


https://youtu.be/IJiPUBgSF5s

The gospel train is a comin'
I hear it yes at hand
I hear the car was movin'
And a rumblin' through the land
Oh get on board, get on board, get on board
There's room for many a more
I hear the bell and twinkle
A coming around the curve
She's playing all her steaming power
And straining every nerve
Oh get on board, get on board, get on board
There's room for many a more
The fare is cheap and all can go
The rich and poor are there
No second class on board this train
No difference in the fare
Oh get on board, get on board, get on board
There's room for many a more
She's there and now the station
Or better don't be late
But come and get your ticket
And be ready for this train
Oh get on board, get on board, get on board
There's room for many a more
Oh get on board, get on board, get on board
Little children
There's room for many a more
"Get On Board"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

By The Handful

I remember the first time we fed the ducks.

My girls and I stood on the wooden bridge over the pond.  We held our huge bag of bread crumbs in our hands and looked down at the hungry little feathered friends below.  I remember it being a picture perfect day with not a cloud in the sky.  It was just us, the ducks, and their lunch. 

"Let's not use it all at once girls," I cautioned them.  "We want to be careful how much we give away at one time."

So, we all took a baby pinch of bread from our bags, aimed carefully, and dropped our gifts into the water.  All the ducks came swimming over as fast as they could and began to eat up.  Pinch by pinch we distributed our bread. 

But, I started to realize that it was going to take forever to feed these ducks if we continued on pinch by pinch.  So, I told the girls to start grabbing a half of a handful at a time.  And instead of aiming and dropping, we began to throw the bread in the air as far as we could.  We realized that our controlled drops weren't reaching the ducks that were farther away from us in the pond. 

The girls started giggling.  Tossing was much more fun than dropping.  Suddenly, our half handfuls turning into full handfuls and we were now moving from one side of the bridge to the other, throwing our bread and distributing it until it filled the whole pond and reached every hungry duck.

When we were done, we felt just as thrilled and satisfied as the ducks most likely felt.


***
 
We are Bread distributors in the Kingdom. 
We are told to go and tell the Good News. 
We are told to go and feed the people.
 
***
 
How do you approach your Bread distribution?
Are you a cautious and controlled/controlling server? 
Are you picky with whom you offer Bread to? 
Are you only allowing the Bread to be shared pinch by pinch?
 
Or, are you more childlike?
Do you distribute the Bread with Joy -- throwing it to whomever will receive it?
Do you look around your 'pond'
and make sure every 'duck' is getting what it needs?
 
What we have to give is not ours to just keep for ourselves.
It was freely given to us to eat and then to freely share.

And we don't have worry --
Our Bread bag will never run out of Bread Crumbs.

It's okay to share it by the handful!
 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Artist Behind the Art

Imagine with me for a moment.

You and I go and visit an art gallery together.  We spend the day admiring the beauty of each painting and sculpture.  We are inspired.  We are moved -- even to tears at times.  We are caught up in its wonderland. 

As we are leaving, we ask the attendant of the art gallery, who is standing at the door, why the art had not been labeled.  Not one gave credit to its artist.

The attendant, looking confused, says to us, "There are no artists.  It just happened."

How ridiculous, right?  But, that is how some of us perceive Creation.

We look at the seas, the mountains, the natural wonders of the earth, our fingernails, caterpillars, space, the birth of our children, the workings of a human eye and ear, the wonders of digestion... The list goes on and on.  We live in God's beautiful Art Gallery.  Everyday we look upon all He has made.  We, in fact, rely on it.  Yet, in our blindness, we look, but do not see.  We chock it up to 'it just happened'.

I encourage you today.  Let God bring His Gallery into living color for you.  Ask Him to open your eyes.  He is happy to show you Who the Artist is behind the Art.

 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I would want to know.

If someone could tell me...


...there was a way to get free movie tickets, I would want to know.

...the secret recipe for my favorite food, I would want to know.
 
...there were certain foods I should avoid because they contained harmful ingredients, I would want to know.

...important information I was ignorant to that pertained to my future and the future of my children, I would want to know.

...I had inheritance money waiting for me somewhere, I would want to know.


I would want to know.

Why wouldn't I?  If it was for my benefit and the benefit of my family, of course I would want to know.  

And if I would want to know these temporary things that could benefit me and are important to me in this life, how much more would I then appreciate someone telling me important things that pertain to my eternal life?

I would want to know.
 


So, don't be afraid to share.
Don't be afraid to scatter the seeds of Life.  
Don't be afraid to offer the Bread of Truth. 


If you didn't know what you know now,
wouldn't you want someone to tell you?

I would.
 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Some Direction, Please

I can remember how disoriented I was.

The CPR class I was taking was being held in a cabin-like building located in a wooded area.  It was daylight when I got to the class and walked through the dirt path from the parking lot, but it was pitch black when I left.  I started out in the direction I thought I was supposed to go, but suddenly I realized that I was slowly getting disoriented.  I started to question my surroundings as I tried hard to determine where I was and if I was even headed in the right direction.  Determined and relaxed, at first, I squinted through the darkness to gain my bearings.  I looked back at the cabin and then back into the forest.

"Did I come from this direction or this direction," I said to myself, as I looked east and then west.  I walked a bit further, then turned and walked a bit more.  I was getting no where and no one else was around.  Panic began to set in like a growing ache. 

I looked back again toward the cabin, but there was darkness behind me now, too.  This was not looking good for me. 

"God, help." I whispered.

Not a moment later, I literally 'saw the light.'

Headlights from a parked car in the parking lot were suddenly shining through the forest trees like a lighthouse.  I've never been so happy to see a car turn on! 
 
God heard my prayer in my darkest, most lost hour.
God will always hear our cry for help
and He's happy to shine some light on the subject. :)

******
 
 



 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

So, who are you, really?

It's easy to compare.

Actually, it's supposed to represent.  Our earthly father to our Heavenly Father.  Our earthly husband to our Heavenly Groom.  It's meant to be a picture.  It's meant to bring us closer to Him and help us see who He is.

But, our human dysfunction can cloud it.  It can confuse.  It misrepresents.  Those relationships that do not even come close to showing us the Love of God.  Fathers that have hurt us.  Husbands that disappoint. 

When we come into right relationship with God, many of us transfer our ideas of what we think a father and a husband are onto God.  We might conclude that God must be continuously disappointed in us because that is how our earthly fathers have been toward us.  We might think that it's not safe to be vulnerable with our Groom because we feel that way with our earthly husbands.

We have to get one thing straight. 

Our fathers and our husbands are not God.  God is who He is.  We can not define Him by our own ideas of who we think He is.  Instead, we have to come to Him and ask Him to show us who He is.  We have to let Him renew our minds -- 'get our heads on straight', so to speak.

And here is what many of us find out through His Word:  
 
God is Love.  God is slow to anger.  God is patient with even the most rebellious child.  God is Lover of our Souls.  God will never abandon us.  God has a great plan for our lives.  God sees and understands us deeply without us even explaining ourselves.  God cherishes us.  God is forgiving.  God has a sense of humor.  God is generous and lavishes.  God cheers for us and sings over us.  God is an optimist.  God has our backs.  God is gentle with the broken hearted.  God doesn't mince words.  God doesn't lie.  God won't trick us.  God can take nothing and make something.  God can do anything.  God is not worried about things.  God is not dysfunctional.  God has a timing for things because He is making all things beautiful.  God is not a bully.  God is near.  God breathes Hope.  God cries with us.  God hides us and protects us.  God tucks us in at night, stays with us through the darkness, and welcomes us in the morning. God empowers.  God is for us.  God is not against us......

GOD IS IN LOVE WITH US.


 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hugging Your Opponent

Maybe...

It's the person you've been avoiding.

It's the relative that loves you with their lips but their actions betray you.

It's the driver in back of you who honks when they don't like how you're driving.

It's the political figure whom you don't agree with.

It's the person that makes you cringe or roll your eyes when their name comes up on your caller ID.  

It's the neighbor next door who ignites your anger.

It's the person who never tips you when you wait on them.

It's the guy that lives upstairs that refuses to be polite and lower his music.

It's the woman who bumps into you at the store and keeps going without an 'excuse me'.

It's the person that judges you with their eyes. (You can just feel it!)

It's the one that tries to cheat you and trick you.

It's the one who demands to be loved but refuses to return it (and knows it.)

It's the one who's words cut instead of encourage.

It's the employer who's harsh with you.

It's the co-worker who gossips about you. 

It's the bully you fear.

It's the one you might be thinking about right now...
 
******************

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. (Matthew 5:43-47 NLT)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Greater Things

A man prayed to God and said, "God, I am ready to do your work.  Take me to the front lines!  I am ready to do great things!"

Pleased with the man's zeal, God replied, "Go to the widow and make her a meal."

The man was confused.  "Lord, I am ready for greater things than cooking soup.  Lead me on!"

The Lord replied, "When you are done with the meal, go and help your brother in his rice fields and do not ask to be paid.

The man said urgently, "God.  I am a warrior for you.  I have graduated from all such mundane things.  I am ready for greater things!"

The Lord looked lovingly at the man and said, "These are greater things, son.  If you love Me, you will love others.  And, as you love others, you will be loving Me.  These are among the greater things."
 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Convenient Food

Restaurants have gotten smart.

Many have made their food available to their customers in a new, more convenient way. They are packaging their products and putting them right into our grocery stores. (Even as I write this, my children are eating ice cream, we purchased at the grocery store, that was made for Friendly's Restaurants.)

I'm imagining the business meeting that went on when they first made the decision to launch their products into stores. It probably went something like this:

"Look. We have a great product here. People love our food. We love our food. So, why limit the means in which it is distributed? Instead of always waiting for them to come to us, we should step out and go to them."

Smart move. So much more of their food is now being consumed and it's a win – win for both the company and the consumer.

********

In the Kingdom, we've got Bread that is delicious and Life giving. It is The Sustenance that we all need to live on. It is the Bread that the world is looking for.

People can find it if they go "out to eat" on Sundays. But, we realize that such Life Food should not be limited in how it is distributed.

So we go. We take our "Product" to the people. We don't wait for them to come to us.

In the end, it is a win – win. More Food is consumed and more lives are saved, changed and nourished.