Thursday, July 26, 2012

His answer is love.

Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, is a farmer’s wife. She and her neighbors are living through a drought that is threatening their entire year’s work and income.

Standing in their yard overlooking their corn fields, watching clouds drop rain to the north, to the west, and to the south, she is shaken inside by worry. Her husband turns to her and says, “When you know your Father’s loving – what can you fear losing? He hears us. He loves us. He has us. So whatever happens, He’s good and we’re good.”

 Please click there and read her words, soft and full and pure.

How many times did we as children say to a parent, “If you love me, you will do ___ for me.” (Let me go to the movies with my friends…give me that special thing for my birthday/Christmas…) 
How many times as adults do we think to ourselves, “If ___ really loves me, he/she would ___.”

How many times as children of God have we used these very words to Him?
Oh, we don’t actually say them, but we think them when we pray, asking for things.
“Lord, please, don’t let me lose my job,” when the pink slips are passed around.
“Oh, God, keep my car running until I can afford another.”
“Please, heal Aunt Dorothy of cancer.”

The words, “If You love me,” are not in the question, but they are in the expecting. They are in the air of the heart when the answer is not what we wanted.
I must not be good enough. I must not have enough faith. I must not be loved by God enough to get what I want – what I believe I need.

His answer is love. It always was. It always will be.
What can we fear losing if all our hearts are tied up in Him? He is the one thing we can never lose, as long as He is the one thing we desire.

Jer 29:13  And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Heb 13:5-6  Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never abandon you." Let us be bold, then, and say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"

Oh, how our hearts can go a-wandering after other loves!

Mat 6:31-33  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Our primary goal … shouldn’t it be to become, not to obtain?
Eph 4:13  This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.

So, let us become like Him who received the full cup, not turning away, even though it was not what He wanted.
Luk 22:42  saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.

Monday, January 30, 2012

1000 Gifts # 9 - 11

9. practicing "Blessings" by Laura Story with my son
10. a busy day, making time go faster
11. sons who are able and willing to do all sorts of little things that make life easier

and tomorrow:
a gift found on a paper, in a person, in a picture

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

to say it out loud

Have I told you about my middle son's fiancee'?

I should say this to her face. Why is it so hard to say the nice things?
to say it out loud?

Well, if you know her, you know that she is

I could learn a lot from her, for I have far to go down this path

she willingly helps family and friends
she is great with kids

smart as a whip!
she is constantly learning new skills, trying new things, and doing it all the right way

once again, I could use a dose of this

new job
- twice in the last year!
new city
new apartment
no problem!

faithful and fiercely loyal

hard working

she has been chef's assistant at our New Year's Eve dinner (with 70+ guests) for three years running, working two plus days straight side by side with him, her fiance'

with excellence
with humility
and patience


she doesn't hear it enough
not from me, anyway

one goal of mine this year: to say it out loud

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Women, what do you want in a man? Do you have a list?

Does it look something like this:
* romantic
* funny
* tall
* strong
* looks equally good in a jacket and tie or jeans and t-shirt
* always there for me
* sensitive
* can grow a good beard

What do you like to do together? Long walks on the beach, holding hands...gazing intently into each other's eyes...

Are you longing for a knight in shining armor to sweep you off your feet and take you to his castle far away (but not too far away).

What do you want with a boyfriend? Spend endless hours on the phone or Skype talking about every detail of your day? Dream about your future? Go out to movies? Celebrate your anniversary every month? Cuddle on the couch watching movies?

Men, is this where you are, too? 

Gazing for hours with your chin on her laptop, puppy dog eyes, getting scratched behind the ears?
Have you willingly stuck your neck out for that collar and leash? Are you at her beck and call...only to get zapped in the collar if your attention should wander, or your family needs you, or you have to work an extra shift, or...

Listen up:

Men, if you really, truly care about her (even if you do not know who she is yet), then you will work your A$$ OFF fingers to the bone to slay that debt dragon and win that castle. If you want to be that knight in shining armor, then get your wagging tail out there and work two jobs if you have to, get that education, pay it off, buy that house or chock it all into savings for a down payment. Buy a junker car that will get you to work until you can afford the nicer car. You cannot have it all now, but you can work for it -- that's the American dream.

Women, if you really want that fairy tale life, then get rid of the puppy dog boyfriend, and look for the man who is willing to give everything he has for you. The one who will put the dreaming on hold long enough to build the reality that becomes the dream.

He is out there, but he won't wear a collar.  
You don't have to worry about where he will go, though, 
because he is doing it all for you, and when he has it all together, he is going to sweep you off your feet and build that life with you. That life that he gave all he had for. That life that he dreamed of sharing with you.

Oh, yes, he is dreaming. Every minute that he is not studying for that exam, every time he drives to and from that crappy job that will get him through until he has the career he worked hard for, every lunch hour when he sees that boy co-worker across the break room (who is spending his entire lunch time texting and not having enough time to make lunch because she demands his entire focus),
yes, he is dreaming...

dreaming of you

dreaming of the children he would love to have with you
dreaming of the swing set and jungle gym in the back yard that he longs to build, because he had one (or didn't have one) of his own
while the boy guy across the room dreams of the new exhaust system he is going to put on the car he owes more on than it is worth any more

Yes, he is dreaming, all right. He isn't likely to talk about those dreams too much, though. He is waiting to make them happen. He is waiting for you. He is waiting to surprise and delight you with their reality.
He is wary of the bumps in the road and the bends around which he cannot see.

He wants to be trusted.
He wants to be believed in.
He wants to be loved

He is strong, a little wild, and fiercely loyal.

He will 
defend you
cherish you
provide for your needs (and even your wants)

He will not
abandon his family for you (remember, he is fiercely loyal)
be controlled (but you won't need to)
abandon you
be able to read your mind
give you the very best money can buy -- not yet (you do want something to look forward to, don't you?)

So, women, don't settle for the puppy dog boy
Hold out for the bull dog man

Here is how you will know the difference:
He doesn't have a cool car (it will probably have a bit of rust, and maybe the door knob doesn't always work...)
He doesn't wear designer clothes (unless they are handed down)
He doesn't hang out at the
movie theater
He is busy
volunteering at church
watching the nieces and nephews
shoveling mom and dad's driveway, mowing the lawn, fixing the steps
working two jobs
You will find him.
He is out there.
Waiting for you.
Looking at the top of the tree, not on the ground.

If you are there, he will find you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bible in a Year Jan 7

Crudely copied from Facebook, my thoughts today on the Bible in a year reading...
God alone receives glory when a situation is impossible with man//And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. // Any thoughts on why he told the demon-possessed man to tell people what happened, but told this woman not to?
Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.// Lot lost much later on because of his association with Sodom and its sins.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thoughts on January 5 Bible reading

Luke 7:30 "But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves"...
47 "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

Every one of us, if we forget how much we ourselves have been forgiven, is capable of becoming like Simon in Luke 7, looking down upon another child of God, because we do not understand or approve of their life or their way of worshiping God.

Jesus openly opposed the spiritual leaders who looked upon "sinners" without love and compassion. As the spiritual leaders in our generation, Rev. 1:6 "and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father", it is our duty to show God's love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and grace to those in need of His touch. Judgement is not our role, Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." 

The woman in Luke 7, weeping at Jesus' feet, was worshiping Him for the forgiveness she received and the change it made in her life. What humble gratitude! She was not named, but her act is still remembered today. If someone behaved like that in church, what would I think? How would I respond? Would I join her in humble adoration of the One who took the burden of my sins and gave me righteousness, glorious riches, and made me His royal daughter (princess)? Would I rejoice with the angels at one repentant heart? Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday Setlist

Sunday Setlist at The Worship Community

January 1, 2012 was my debut into worship leading at a regular Sunday service. I had asked our main worship leader (my husband) to let me lead on Wednesdays for a while before doing a Sunday. Yesterday was not what I thought my first time would be - he asked me Saturday night to lead, because his voice was suffering from some sinus/allergy symptoms, and he didn't feel he would be able to lead. I had hopes of much more notice, but immediately sought God on it. After two minor revisions, this is the list I used:

  • Here for You (Jesse Reeves/Matt Redman)
  • --welcome/opening prayer
  • Famous One (Chris Tomlin/Jesse Reeves)
  • God is Great (Hillsong/Marty Sampson)
  • I Will Follow (Reuben Morgan/Chris Tomlin)
  • God of Wonders (Mark Byrd)
  • When I Speak Your Name (Elizabeth Clark/Klaus Kuehn)
  • --communion, announcements
  • offering song: Give Me a Passion (High Above All Things, Mark Altrogge)
  • --dismissal of children to classrooms (I also taught the 1-3 graders)
  • --Pastor's message (I will have to catch it online, after my husband puts it out there)

I so appreciate The Worship Community for all the resources available for new and veteran worship leaders! I soak up every post, even the older ones - keep it coming, please!

Humility and a New Year

All sorts of things fly about in my mind and heart at the start of a new year. They fly upward, sometimes fall, some collide with each other, some simply burn out or are snuffed by the biggest one: fear.

Or, is it lies? Perhaps the fear opens the door to the lies; perhaps it's the other way around.

You know the lies, don't you? You must have heard them.
"What if I will always be (overweight, in debt, selfish)?"
"What if I cannot change?"
"What if ..." you fill in the blank.

A couple of blogs have caught my attention this week.
She posts of making goals, confronting the lies, diligence and success.
He speaks of humility and its relationship to understanding God's power with our dependence on Him.
And this man gives us a way to confront our self-sufficiency and lack of humility - through fasting.

What about humility? Does it mean believing the lies? Hardly. Believing in our dependence or failure does not equal humility. It equals impotence. God gives grace to the humble, and that is not a place of impotence, but of His power manifest in our weakness.

How do I plug into that power when I am understanding my weakness? Faith.
Believing that He wants to be successful in my life; not because of what I did or believed or thought, but because of my utter dependence on His power. Only there does He get the glory. And He is a jealous God, not wanting to share His glory. Really, I don't think of that as jealousy, but as a real evaluation of His power and our utter frailty.

So, I will take both into account: His power coupled with my dependency, and the daily decision to be carried on that wind, setting my jaw to see the task completed in me, to His glory.

Set sail with me, and we shall see the glory of God in our lives, advancing forcefully.