Archive for the ‘Random thoughts and musings’ Category

Reflections: accountability & blessings

Time to try something new.

It’s 9:30pm and my eyes are SCREAMing sleep (sorry for the yell) but all I can think of is what transpired (or didn’t today).

I read my Jesus Calling devotional (AND cross referenced Sarah’s footnotes!)

I blogged..once or twice? That would make this up to my 3rd entry – (cool ;P, but not necessarily stellar)

I went on a middle school tour – overwhelming.

I picked up a library book (Pagan Christianity), which I have been waiting a couple of weeks to dig into (digging yet to be done)

I pleaded with my (android) phone not to completely lose power…while using my “nav app.” I also spent more time than I should have using it unproductively. And by admitting that here…it is my incentive to stop doing so. I want to be a good steward of my time; because time isn’t something I can BUY Back!

I mention the above because while most of these are all worthy and necessary activities, I have 3 specific goals I’d really like to work toward this year:

Read. Write. Blog.

Like anyone, I could blog til the cows come home. But what I say here, I want to mean something. I want THE Word of God to come pouring out and drench my keyboard. I want to make life richer, for myself as the writer and you as the reader. Which means I need to stay grounded in scripture. Those words are my living water…without them, my writing will suffer.

Organize, Purge and Reset:

this is to diligently get my house cLEANed out. It’s one thing to attend funerals and it’s another to inherit item(s) that need a new home. I really don’t need any of it…but now to figure out what to do with what someone else left behind. Besides, how much is really enough? (Rhetorical question here: Matthew 6:19)

My embroidery hobby.

I love to embroider and I need to turn things up a notch. If I could get my house “in order” I might be able to pursue this secondary passion and make something of it. But only if it’s God’s will…

Seek Christ

I am searching for him in the everyday “mundane”-ness and passing along whatever I can…to light the path behind me and keep me on the straight ‘n narrow!

But while I am searching..while I am caught up in the to-do’s, must do’s and chore lists – I have to remember that the only way through the fog or the darkness is to trust Him. Where my field of vision is obscured from seeing the future; his is not. He can see everything concerning me from the beginning of my life, up to my last breath. He didn’t send me here to go it alone. He put me here to see things from his perspective and weave them into my daily life.

So, what would I change about today – looking into tomorrow? Pray more. Worry less. Trust and then dive in when He cues me.

In reflection, it really is that simple.

How were you blessed today? Were you a blessing to someone else? How? I’d love to know, share it with me and leave a comment.

Sleep well friends and remember, we are surrounded by blessings – Good night 😉

Regrets No More

Aunt Ginny’s casket sat in the middle of the church. Surrounded by friends and family we bid her farewell. I hadn’t seen her in 20 years. I blame myself for that. I certainly can’t blame God (well, I could…but that’s pointless)

The June funeral and the spontaneous trip to Boston put me in a precarious position.

Why do I blame myself for not having visited her in 20 years?

Because the last time I saw her, in ’93, I was over the moon excited about moving from the West Coast..to the East Coast. And I let that dream vaporize. I still believe the move would have given me a new lease on life, a new life on the horizon…because I had finally found my rhythm.

But life got in the way. I am still working with God on understanding how and why my life turned out the way it did.

Regret is something we all have to face, big or small. At some level, at some point in time…we WILL have to face ourselves and take a hard look at the choices we made. I’m pretty sure it’s something that happens when we’re facing our last moments of breath on this earth. A tough time to wonder as we’re letting go…..

The deal is – regret is self inflicted. Regret is NOT holy. Regret is meant to frustrate and distract us…regret is the work of the enemy.

One of my biggest moment’s of regret arrived in December of 2011. My only sister who was nearly 21 years older than I, died suddenly. She lived alone. We hadn’t spoken for almost 12 years. We had little to nothing in common; but she was still my sister. We didn’t agree on most things. But we were still sisters. We didn’t know how to get along together. Because of the wide generation gap, we had nothing in common. But the STING of that phone call that day will live in my memory..forever.

It’s going on two years since I got the bad news…and I realize this life has to count for something. Not just because I want it to. Looking back I can already see how so much of my life is not an accident (regardless of anyone else’s oerspective)

Why were we estranged? She thought it was up to me to make the first move of reconciliation. I didn’t think it was up to me to shoulder that responsibility. I suppose I should have sucked in my humility…and called a truce. But, I didn’t because I was certain she would tell me yet again..that I wasn’t good enough, or smart enough, the “accident” for all intensive purposes.

But that’s all water under the bridge now. It’s too late to ask. I don’t fault her or begrudge her for what she said and I’m willing to bet she was really hurting, too. More than anything, I feel sorry for her and I HAVE to learn from the lessons she left behind…the lessons I am learning from all those people whose funerals I have gone to.

I get ONE shot to live, breath, love AND forgive. One chance to learn who I am and why God created me.

It’s up to me to learn about Jesus, the man and understand who He is as the Savior. Jesus had every reason to resent his enemies; but he didn’t. He came here with a mission. He was keenly aware of that mission and he knew who he was. Jesus didn’t have to change because he was already perfect.

The difference for me is that I must change…not how I feel about my history, but how I’m going to approach the here and now, this moment. Am I going to seek Jesus in the every day and try to follow his model or will I subject myself to regret?

Yes, yesterday turned out much differently than I thought it would but by focusing on God’s blessing, I can say goodbye to regret and never look back. I crave peace, joy and restoration.

Don’t get caught up in the devil’s snare of regret. Don’t let regret sap you of your potential…give your regret to God; He can give you Peace, Joy and arms full of Love….

Let it Go!

 

 

 

Avoiding the Proof – A line in the Sand

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I may as well just admit it. I am avoiding writing or blogging, even though I promised myself I would try a little everyday. I need to lean on God even MORE now…

I have returned to my hobby and crafting room and am working as quickly as I can to get embroidery projects finished and “out of the way.” I’m fit to be tied trying to clean up a disastrous mess. I need to SEE results. I need to take something that APPEARS out of control and bring control to it.

The challenges of life are confusing the heck out of me, I’m searching for some organized “madness.” I am needing to do something where I HAVE to make the decisions but I don’t have to spiritually analyze it to progress. It just gets done.

I am embarrassed to say it but..spiritual growth is hard work, it’s downright exhausting…

After a nearly two year run of searing losses I am plumb tuckered out from grieving. Now, I am watching a situation unfold where someone has/is intentionally rejecting the idea of Jesus. I am certain this person considers the notion of Jesus something out of fairy tales and believes his overflowing grace card is mythical. I can’t change his mind for him. All I can do is live life as God expects – I shouldn’t let it bother me but my soul is heavy. Why?

The eyes are the windows to the soul and I’ve shuddered to see the reflection in those eyes that just won’t let Jesus in.

I AM Frustrated. For the first time ever, I’m beginning to sense what God is feeling when people turn away from him. The consequences may not seem obvious, but with basic knowledge of The Word, such a decision determines a terrible demise. To consciously decide that what we can SEE in the nOw is all there is and anything we can’t see doesn’t exist…is fallacy.

I’ve been so overwhelmed trying to make sense of this the past week… I have tried earnestly to find reason in the logic utilizing “The World” around me:

*I gaze the heavens and look at the clouds. They are “there” visually, but if you were in a plane and flew through them, they literally disappear into nothingness. BUT the clouds are still tHERE….

*The wind blows, and we FEEL it but we can’t see it. It acts as if it were a ghost. Nothingness, but it’s still tHERE.

*My heart beats, I can’t see it. But it’s still tHERE.

*Thunder rolls, it may shake your home..you can hear it, but you can’t see it.. it’s still tHERE.

Frankly, I’m less interested in the evidence about why they happen than I am about the fact that they happen at all.

The doubting Thomases need “proof,” but I would beg to differ that even then (based on the nature of man) that any proof would be a short-lived because for those who lack faith, “proof” is elusive and only leads to needing “more proof.” )And endless cycle that cannot be satiated without God’s mercy)

Avoiding “knowing” God is telling God you don’t need Him, or Heaven…even if you are just procrastinating

Religion is man made – a trap – don’t be fooled and don’t let the enemy confuse you. There is more to this life than what we SEE and religion won’t cut it when eternal assignments are handed out.

Faith IS believing without having seen. Even if you can’t see God, He can SEE YOU

Faith is based on Grace…and Grace is a GIFT. Get over your confusion and doubt – it really is THAT simple.

It doesn’t have to be scary. It just has to be real. Are you ready to get Real with God? Getting Real with Him will be the most important decision YOU ever MAKE.

Jesus is not a myth.. are you really willing to gamble your soul?

Ultimately, by waiting for “proof” you are drawing a line in the sand…

I’m gonna let Ten Avenue North to take it from here:

 

 

 

A New School Year: God College

It’s the eve of another school year. I was ready to “sack out” until I realized, I couldn’t. Now, sleep evades me. I’ve been “haunted” all week by the internet not working while we were on vacation; I didn’t bother to “report” it. I know how to get online and the connection simply wasn’t working. I gave up, because I didn’t want to feel frustrated. I found out on day 4 of 5 that the service had been having problems….which they had finally come by to “fix” 🙂

This Sunday afternoon, I found myself working in my hobby room. I got back to work on my embroidery projects. At some point, those have to get done because I’m growing tired of seeing all the stuff I’ve bought just sit around and not get used. I don’t believe in “waste” – and wasting time is what I appear to be doing…ugh.

I haven’t re-started another 1 year bible plan yet because ThIS time I want to approach it with a calculated effort. I was advised to have pen and paper at the ready to make notes, ask questions and a supply of highlighters handy. When I read it through this time, I am going for depth. The first time I was reading for the “awe” factor and OH MY…there were (what seemed like) hundreds! I don’t understand how I could have waited this long to READ GOD – to KNOW Him. In hindsight, I have missed out these 30-some odd years on His direction, His Guidance…I am now anxious and chomping at the bit to get every morsel of wisdom and clarity that is mine for the taking!

I’ve been suspicious about WHY I am taking such a lofty approach? Why I feel driven to read The Word in such a calculated manner? Because I have been praying that The Lord would bless me with my life-long pursuit of authorship. Because even though I could craft a fictional book (which may or may not be read by the masses) I sense that still small voice calmly telling me my “time has not yet come.” There are some really important messages He wants me to incorporate in this yet-to-be manuscript. Will it ever come to fruition? I have no choice but to believe that it will. Because I think this blog is a stepping stone of sorts. I think He is testing me to see if I have the “chops” to follow His lead and Just DO It. Whether or not that “Book” is in my future only He knows. But I trust Him to know best.

However, I also know that part of my responsibility as is understanding both sides of the equation. While I spent that year reading the bible I had an insatiable appetite to better understand what’s commonly referred to as “Spiritual Warfare.” 2-3 years ago I was completely engulfed in reading the Book of Revelations and I couldn’t get enough of learning about the End Times. Switching gears two years later…..my biblical priorities have shifted.

This summer alone I’ve read 3 books on spiritual warfare. They were really good. I am fairly certain they will help me to eventually write THE Book I’ve sensed God has laid on my heart to publish. I figure that at some point, God will tell me it’s time and those beautiful words will flow. I will be READY. It is clear to me that I HAD to read about spiritual warfare because we all have to deal with it in one way or another, at some point.

Most of us believe in God, Heaven, the angels, etc. But it becomes much harder to WANT to think about the exact opposite. Our nemesis: our enemy. But the truth is the enemy exists, just as his army of evil co-horts. Consider though that EVERY good book (NO! every GREAT book) has not just a wonderful protagonist…but a super antagonist. You’ve got to create some bad stuff to challenge your protagonist or you DON’T have a story. None of us like to see the protagonist face hardship or serious threat, but would a book keep your attention or your interest if life just “hummed” along? Talk about boring!

You and I are only as effective and efficient as the equipment we “arm” ourselves with. I am most certainly not done with reading scripture. I need to let it take root in my soul so it is a permanent fixture within. Remember I mentioned having read (actually, I dEvOured *pardon the pun*) 3 books this summer? They were Shadow Boxing, The Rules of Engagement and When The Enemy Strikes. All of them were excellent..but my favorites were the first two. And why does that matter?

I can’t easily write FOR God without understanding Him and knowing His heart. I need him to pour out his clarity, his wisdom so I can clearly translate His intent. I need His direction to help me make sense of the good, bad and the ugly. I need to make the reality of God’s love and mercy – real and realistic; FANTASTIC and close at hand. I need to paint a picture and show up Satan for who he is…a fallen angel with no-where to go. I need real characters, with flaws. I need interaction that will make the lost cry out to Jesus and seek “The Way, The Truth, The Light.” But I need prayer…that this will happen according to His Will, according to His plans….

Whether or not the internet is working, whether or not I am able to sit down and write, I will read. I will share what I learn. Whether or not I am blessed by simply writing this blog or someday I have the privilege of writing “The End” I am grateful.

I am in the depths of “God College,” Let the internship begin and the fruit of the spirit bloom!

His Voice: A (Biblical) Love Letter

The more I read the Bible (or Biblically based books) the more I realize I absolutely love reading about God. I love wrapping my mind around the idea of what the Holy Trinity represents. The supreme power of God, Jesus and The ever present/ever powerful Holy Spirit continue to boggle my mind.

So, I’m really wondering how MaNy of you have actually read the bible? Not just a section of it. Not just a book within. Actually READ it, cover to cover; from Genesis all the way to the end of Revelation?

I ask because as much as I am a fully devoted follower of Christ, I admit until last year I had not read it. I made every excuse up in the world (to myself).

But here are some of the “most popular” excuses that are commonly used:

I don’t get it

It’s too hard

It doesn’t make sense

It would take too long.

The Bible doesn’t apply to today (the WORST perception of all)

It would be very easy to take any of those perspectives and RUN with them. Our enemy LOVEs it when we think that way. And the reason is simple…he wants us to avoid reading God’s Word. The enemy knows as long as you put off reading the bible that you are at a disadvantage, whether or not you realize it.

If you had a boyfriend or girl friend that wrote you a love letter (or a spouse off fighting a war) they put it in the mail but you never received it..what would you think?

Well, 1st, you wouldn’t think because you would have never known they EVER sent it. You were living in ignorance of whatever news they had to share.

2nd, you would have missed hearing all the things they had to say; how they felt about you, what they thought, what THEY were feeling. You’d be lacking insight into the person they were, how you changed their life or what they wanted YOU to do

3rd: The decisions you made in your life might be (or have been toTally different) had you read the letter or even received it.

The crazy part is God uses His voice to talk to us in His Word (His Word IS The Bible). From the moment we open the first book (Genesis) right up to the last verse in Revelation…God is able to speak to every-one of us, that tries to learn about Him. The Bible is a huge compilation of love letters written to us. Yes, those love letters are centuries old. But is a love letter written from a boy friend to his girlfriend in the 1800’s any less sentimental than one that was written 20 years ago? Granted, the “jargon” may have changed or the ‘writer’s style” but the feelings involved in sharing those thoughts would not.

I started my year long study in July 2012 and finished it last month. It was THE most interesting time of study I’ve had…probably more so than going to college. And why shouldn’t it be!? College is about learning how to be successful IN THIS World. The Bible teaches us not ONLY how to LiVE in this world but how to get ourselves ready for the life after (Heaven).

God is very much ready for us to hear his voice. But He recognizes that (sadly) not everyone wants to hear from Him. While the Bible is the best place to understand the core of God (Old Testament) and how He plans to save us (New Testament) when you actively start “seeking” to have Him guide your life His Voice will materialize (or manifest itself) in Your Life…in other more subtle yet surprising ways.

When you start to acknowledge that He is REAL…He will become REAL. But He will only become Real when you give YOURSELF the chance (the gift) to read the Bible and let Him introduce Himself to YOU…. as the Holy Spirit.

I challenge you to open The Bible and actually read it. I plan to read it again. I need to read it again. I just wanted to know I had read it. But having done it once MADE me realize I am in need of MORE. And God is always ready to supply more…more understanding, more wisdom, more clarity, more Love and abundant blessings. Who couldn’t use more of any of that??

Being “able” to KNOW what His voice actually sounds like is called discernment and that is another blog post for another day. So, stay tuned!

Our Worth: Immeasurable

“You’re worthless”

“WHAT…were you thinking?”

“You’re an idiot”

“You aren’t smart enough to go to college”

“How could you do something so STUPID?”

How many times have what people have said about you affected how you look at yourself?

Too often, I’ve allowed my self worth to be dictated by the “stinging” comments others make:

to me,

about me or

in spite – anger – humor

to elevate their own self esteem.

When I was driving in the car today God reminded me of how very much this concerns Him using the Audio Adrenaline song called “Ocean Floor.”

Unfortunately, all too often, our minds “playback” the recorder of memories. Those pivotal moments when someone

said something that can never be taken back (because they are deceased)

Or, it won’t be taken back – because they don’t even realize what they said “stung”

They don’t remember they said it…

(or, worse) they remember but don’t care – even if WE do.

What YOU and I have to remember is that no matter what ANYONE says about us (whether it be to our face, or behind our back) is that we have WORTH. We are precious in the eyes of God (Isaiah 43:4). Your worth doesn’t have a value placed on it by what you DO or DON’T do.

Your life is worthwhile because YOU ARE…Jesus gave His life for you: because YOU ARE that SPECIAL.

you are a creation of God’s own making. And don’t let ANYONE ever tell OR convince you of anything different!

(You aren’t here by accident….You DO have a purpose! No matter what anyone else has ever said to you)

The tongue is a powerful tool that EACH of us can use for good or evil.

The real question is…how are you going to use your tongue?

Whatever you do, whatever choices you make…however you decide to speak (or not to) remember Matthew 12:36. because we will be held accountable for EVERY idle word we say…

My goal is to hold my tongue. I try to listen. I love to observe. And it’s when I focus on observing that I am able to hear that still small voice of God directing me with His message. The gift of observation allows me to learn so much more about the people and the world around me.

I hope that in what I write/blog that I provide some means of comfort and/or inspiration. None of us were meant to embark on this journey of life alone.

You have worth.

You are worthy of God’s Love…turn to Him and seek His forgiveness and mercy.

He has a purpose in life for each of us. All we need do is ask Him what that purpose is!

Til Next Time…You are Blessed!

(I waited two days to posted this after I wrote it. I knew there was a song I HAD to include with this message and I just found it. Both songs are very fitting but for different reasons)

I had heard this song before, but I had never seen the video. I was listening to KLOVE while I was writing my next post and as soon as I heard the melody I recognized what I needed.  I’ll say this much, I got chills up my spine as I was watching it.) But I think my favorite part is the end, when the “board” is washed clean. Amen!

This song is dedicated to All of US! We all have sin and shame dragging us down unnecessarily. Don’t give the enemy the upper hand. Let Jesus take from you from whatever is keeping you prisoner, surrender them to Him…let him “drown those sorrows.”

At The Movies: Concludes for 2013

The month of July is nearly over and along with it is the conclusion of “At The Movies.”

At The Movies is presented by LifeChurch.tv. I discovered the annual series 3-4 years ago when we visited our local “campus.”

I hadn’t thought about making mention on the blog here about the series ’til now, so I’ll at least “fill you in” on what was included.

Pastor Craig “covered” 4 movies and addressed their message from a biblical perspective:

We Bought A Zoo

The Impossible

Les Miserables

Wreck It Ralph

The Impossible and Les Mis were great God-inspired messages. I had just watched The Impossible at home (without actually knowing it was going to be one of THE movies used during this series…seriously…what are the ODDS?)  I will be checking out Les Mis from the library although the waiting list on that one is backed up.

I’d already seen We Bought a Zoo, (and because this was the only repeat from ATM 2012- I’d thought I’d gotten all I was going to get, the first time. I was so WRONG!) Watching/listening to the message was at least as good/if not better than the first time I sat through it!

This year I got even more out of the message, the presentation hit me this time like a brick wall. I should have blogged about it when it happened, but I hadn’t committed myself to daily blog posts…so next year.

Wreck It Ralph: I have not seen the movie. But based on the ATM presentation, I will be. I reserved this one at the library and was “Wow-ed” by the Biblical presentation this weekend. I’m not going to say too much about it here because I really want to see the movie before I do. But, I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can remember to post a comment once I finally do watch it! (lol)

If you haven’t seen At The Movies before, I highly recommend you do. It is a cool experience and well worth the (hour’s) time to give it a try. Make a “mental note” to check it out next summer…they provide the popcorn and candy; yeah, YUM!

See you ATM 🙂

Tidbits

Saturday morning at 3am is not what I call an acceptable time to “awaken.” But wake I did. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. Needless to say, I picked up a book and started reading. Reading is the one place where God really talks to me.

I’ve virtually stopped watching all TV. There’s very little available that I find of interest there and even less I find uplifting.

I consider myself lucky in that I can read a book fairly fast. If it’s REALLY good I can plow through it in a day or two (will I retain all that I read? That’s a topic for discussion later 😉

So, besides getting ready to read the Bible all over again…I just finished The Rules of Engagement (at 4am) and am about to get back into When the Enemy Strikes.

I just hope I don’t get another 3am wake up call to finish reading it…though I am certainly not complaining!

Time to get back to cleaning that fence….

Don’t forget…Make your day count!