Friday, December 27, 2013

Resolved to Pursue

Romans 14:19 "So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." 

How many of you already are contemplating your "New Year's Resolutions?" Are they the same ones as last year? 

HA!  I say that because one of mine is!  Guilty. 

When I think back on 2013, a crazy, violent, polarizing--sad year for our country, our world,  I believe, one has to reflect on the personal. We've all been faced with taking a stand, judging others and a continued debate on many moral and ethical issues. If you're active at all in social media and I assume you are if you're reading this, you know what I mean. 

As the yearend approaches, these questions arise as I ponder the next year. 

What has changed for me, what am I doing better, what do I need to pursue more of? What changes need to be made? Where do I place my passion? Am I actively preparing, equipping myself for the battle that continues to ramp up? 

It's simple really. Pursue MORE of GOD. Let Him continue to change me. 

How can I know Him more intimately? Serve Him, be more Christ-like?

 ...Reflect Him in this darkened world. 

Like a car that needs a tune-up and oil change, rotation of the tires and an alignment, it sure isn't going to happen if it stays parked in the driveway. 

To pursue requires an action, movement towards something, towards the Source of our very existance; molded and fitted into His Will.  

Debating, complaining, wordy explanations, attempts at convincing, justifying and co-dependancy; all our positive Facebook posts and good intentions will not spark change unless I am pursuing the Holy Spirit first. Change in myself and others will not happen through any of the above, but through the super-natural. Prayer wafts up to stir the Super Natural Will of God. In my giving up of my will, I receive His. To pursue is to sacrifice. 

And God gets the Glory for He is seen as the Divine Transformer, the One to be pursued. 

Do you know someone who could use a little "building up?"  

Is peace of mind possible in a world gone stark-raving mad?

Pursue Holiness and allow Him to lovingly pursue you. Watch, wait and be willing... change begins to happen and you become one little domino standing ready to tap the next.  

Thank you followers for a great year of Footnotes.  I am blessed.  

I wish you Joy in the New Year.
Deep, peaceful, mindful of God's-in-Control-Joy! 

Father God, I pray for this New Year. For the pursuit and the pursuer of Holiness. May this resolute journey take us to places where the unexplained are revealed, where weariness is restored. Let us look to a horizon shining with promise. Let our meandering walk become a run towards You.  I pray for fellowship and friendship to encourage that pursuit. Light us up Lord, with shining Words coming forth from the Holy Scriptures, words that melt and cling like warm wax dripping from desire of more of You in the Holy Spirit. Indwell us with Your power, Your Love. May our pursuit light the way for others to know You and make Your Son known, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the One who is to come. Amen. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Letter Perfect

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NASB)

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;  being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Right after Thanksgiving,  I received something very unusual in my mailbox. Not my mailbox. Stuck amongst the circulars, the Christmas adds and general junk mail,  a remnant of days past appeared. The feel of it in my hands made me anxious to view its contents. 

Colorful, happy with its sun sticker, the envelope's instructions included the To: and a From: 

I opened the side and carefully pulled out the stationary viewing the beautiful script of a handwritten letter.  

From my friend Soo, I've only known her these last two years.  She is a young mother, home schooler, crafter, gardener and fellow Pinterest enthusiast. She attended my church. Thankfully, because of ministry that brings different woman in all different stages of life together, we connected. Sometimes, woman  remain in their own swirling hoola-hoop of clicks, and nobody can see a way in. God's circle of fellowship never closes off, but expands, pulls us in, empowers us to move out. I am blessed Soo tossed a hoop my way.  She is a joy to know, beautiful and spunky. 

The Apostle Paul compared the Church in Corinth like an open letter, (in another translation), reflecting transformed and transparent lives. The movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church was evident!   In Soo's letter, she wrote of her new family adventure, moving to the Oregon back country, living in a small trailer with her family. They wait and plan for their new house to be built and more importantly, their patient wait on the Lord for a new and exciting purpose. In a down-sized lifestyle, this new forest of opportunity awaits them.  Her letter encouraged me to trust in God's plan and continue to venture out! 

Have you written a "letter" lately to someone? Maybe you still send out Christmas cards. If you do, I encourage you to write a little hand-written personal note. Yes, it takes time. Yes, stamps cost more money these days. Soon obsolete, antiquated, the gift of cursive writing in a sealed envelope is fleeting. Write one to your kids, your grandkids and mail it. What a treasure!  

Lord, You communicated to us in so many beautiful ways. The Ten Commandments were written on slabs of stone with Your finger and presented to Israel by Moses. David composed Psalms and prayers to speak to You and praise You. Solomon spoke his wisdom through the Ecclesiastes, I imagine his thoughts in a journal.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the churches to exhort and encourage.  Though we are thankful for our keyboards, the excitement of a personal letter is a blessing. Thank you Lord for this blessing, this friend. Encourage us to take the time to bless others with the written word...the hand written word.  Thank you for writing Your love on our hearts. Amen.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Am...Thankful

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Some of us took on an assignment on our Facebook Status updates: 30 Days of Gratitude.  Postings require a certain shout-out to those “things” we probably thank God for every day, (well, we should anyways) like our family, our provision, forgiveness-- to the not so recognized, like a washed car, the Star Spangled Banner, angels.  I’ve enjoyed reading others’ posts while listing mine. 

In this season of thankfulness, I received a reminder. Let’s be thankful not just for our stuff, not for what we do, what others do, but just for the shear knowledge and humble thought of who God is.  For doesn’t all of that stuff, the doing, the receiving come from Him? 

Subtract, cross out, delete all the stuff, all the blessings, the job, even the people…your health, even your family…

Can Thanksgiving still dwell in your heart?

Let’s look to God and God alone in all His Glory; all His sovereignty and say Thank You!

because (and He doesn't need a because) 

…I AM.   

And If God received a “number?”

Three things you may not know about Me…

#1) I thought about you and loved you when I was making the Earth.

#2) I thought about you and loved you when My Father sent Me. I knew your name when as a babe, Mary beheld My Glory.

#3). I thought about you and loved you when I bled and died on the cross and because of those thoughts, that love, I conquered death…for you.

Thank you Lord, for you are All-Powerful, Beautiful, Caring and Compassionate, Divine, Enormous and Eternal, Faithful and Forgiving, Great, Holy, Hopeful and Healing, Indescribable, Just, King, Love, Magnificent and Mindful of us, Nurturing, Omnificent and Omnipresent, Powerful and Personal, Qualified, Renewing and Righteous, Saving and Strong, Trustworthy and True, Unveiling and Unwavering, Victorious, Wonderful, eXcellent, Yielding for us, Zealous to Redeem. You are my God, My Savior, my Portion, and my Deliverer. May I rest only in this knowledge and may it bring an eternal peace to my soul, whatever my status. Amen.  

 Psalm 95:2-3 "Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God."  

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Wonder of it All!

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Thy wonders.

The seasons take their sweet time coming upon us here in the Southland. Fall seems to be officially here when the Halloween candy disappears and the pyramid display of Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing is teetering at the entrance of every favorite grocery store.  

Just once I'd like to...nah...

This week the sun shined bright and a few records were set in the high 80's and even the 90's. Finally, Friday felt like fall.  I missed snapping a picture, but the leaves piled everywhere on campus; thick and rustling underfoot. I thought of my good friend and co-worker traveling back to Indianapolis this week, supporting her daughter and our high school band and color guard at the National's, the major high school band competition. Christina and her husband took some time to see "fall" in the midwest (or is that back east?) and she sent me this picture. 

My niece who attends ASU in Tempe, sent me this desert perspective of the Arizona sky. 


Capturing the full moon last night, a glowing ring around it and a smattering of clouds starting to form, a promise of sprinkles made me hope for more. My skin begs for it.   

Today, while leaving campus, the trees clapping and shedding, blackbirds swooping in, unafraid of teenagers, I looked to the Heavens and captured this moment. 

A lesson in a short, beautifully depicted video shared this week in one class, benign of any deep spiritual stand (for that could not happen), encouraged one to look at all that surrounds and take in the WONDER, the specialness. Let's be intentional in recognizing that every day, every moment for some...for all of us, lies a gift. God in His Word said it very clear, "Be still, and known that I am God." 

I agree. While some seemed amazed by this "revelation," this inspirational wisdom, it only confirmed to me what I already know and soak in everyday through God's Word.  No cinemotographer scripted this.  God's Word says it loud and clear. 

Gratefulness births peace. 
Thanksgiving heals. 
Everyday miracles around us, humbles.
The Heavens declare His Glory
And in His Wonders, I bring Worship.  

Thank you Lord, that peace, healing, humbleness, and true worship comes in fluttering fall leaves and the chipper of a blackbird, in the swirling orange sherbert and angel contrails of a desert sky, in the moonbeam reflection of a nightime canvas painted by Your hands, and in the promise of a soaking of Your love, billowed up in graceful clouds framing Your Light, the Light in which I count my blessings and tell of Your Wonders.  Amen. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

King-Size Goodness

Psalm 119: 103 "How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Yesterday, Halloween crept onto the calendar page; October 31st lit up our pumpkin's carved up smiles and filled up bags with sugary delight and the utterance of...

Sweets or Threats!  

Yep, we teach our little ones to say it...TRICK or TREAT?  

So whatcha got?  My bag is open, I'm expecting something and it better be good and it better be what I like and big and...

How many spotted the BIG KIDS at your door, more than the adorable cutie pies? 

It's not hard. They may cover their face with a mask but we know because they are tall, self assured with their thrusting-open bag,  and quick-to-make-an-exit to the next house.  

Today, in a class survey, the question of last nights escapades came up. "

"Did you go out and where did you go?"

Yes, the high schoolers I work with went out. They go to a specific gated community that is known for giving out FULL-SIZE candy bars and FULL SIZE fun.  

The thing is, some were complaining that this particular gated community, known for its mansions and high-end lifestyles, "closed shop" at 8:00p.m!    

We're done, Good night! See you in another year. Close the gate. Turn out the lights! 

When we come to the Lord's door, we come humbled.  He lit the way with His sovereign grace and we followed the path. Some of us come with parents, some with friends, some brave it alone. 

With a gentle knock, He is waiting and ready to give us the desires of our heart and of course, the Big Size of Blessings, no doubt. 

What does your treat bag look like?

Do you stand shyly with a small paper bag or do you have the KING-sized pillow case anxious for all He wants to give you?  

God knows the face behind the mask. He knows what's been stuffed into a costume, what props we use to pretend we have authority, control in our life.  He knows our hidden monsters, our demons and what gives us bad dreams and anxiety. His blood  washes our fears away for He conquered death. Stop living as a zombie. Enter His gates which never close, never lock up or lock out. 

He's waiting for you to ring the bell of forgiveness, and He's already picked out what he wants to put into your treat bag, the Fruits of the Spirit!  

 Mr. GoodBar- GOD, He melts hearts, and then uses our hands for His purpose.  Come,  taste the rainbow of His promises. He is the Creator of the Milky Way and the Starbursts.  His grace gives us a break from our sin even when we feel like a nut and even when we don't. The Holy Spirit refreshes us with the sensation of His Love. We are the apple of His eye and His Words are sweeter than the 'Bit O  Honey to our mouth. Come to God on any day of the week, and that day becomes our Pay Day.  We can be assured that mounds of  treats await us. God does not snicker at us but delights in us. We cannot trick God. Whether big or small, creepy or cute, funny or freaky, the Lord wants us all to knock and enter His Gates for an eternal Harvest Celebration. 

Thank you Father God for waiting by the door and filling my heart with your goodness when I took the step of faith and knocked.  Your sweet salvation assures my soul and satisfies what I crave. May I dump the bag of Your goodness at the feet of others and always have the desire to share.  Thank you for angel butterflies (my friends) who give candy kisses in my life. Your "candy bowl" is endless and I will never get a cavity!  Amen. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What a Pain!

Psalm 34:19-20   Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 

Last Saturday I slammed my little toe into the corner of my big, bulky dresser. 
Big and bulky now describes the top half of my foot.  

Don't think you can tell much from the picture
but the little toe is purple
and across the top, swollen 
I donned tennis shoes to walk Disneyland the next day. Very sore, my pace slowed down.  My friend mustered up amazing patience as we navigated the park. 

I don't know if I broke it or not. After googling "broken toe," there wasn't much advice I didn't already consider; buddy tape, elevate, ice.  

Six days later, it is still swollen, very sore and annoying. 

Things could be worse. 

While walking to my first period class on Thursday, a student sat on the sidewalk between the grass and the lunch area, his friend standing above him, both with puzzled looks on their faces. As I approached them, the boy on the ground called out to me. 

"Can you help me?"

Sensing something anyway, my steps already turned in that direction.   He was sitting, well, sort of, with his legs under him and one leg looked somewhat misplaced...crooked. 

"I fell, he said. We were throwing the tennis ball and I slipped on the grass and now my leg won't work."

He did not seem panicked, in any excrutiating pain, maybe a tad embarrased or concerned.  

Telling his friend to stay with him, most students were now in their classrooms, the tardy bell announcing the begining of classes for the day. I left and walked up to the Administration building, getting the V. P's secretary to get help for this young man. She quickly called campus security. 

Walking back to encourage the young student that help was on the way, I stayed until others began assisting him. Soon, a fire truck and paramedic pulled up in front of the school and the injured kid left in an ambulance for the nearest hospital. ( A REAL injury, I surmised). 

Later I would find out that he had snapped his femur completely through and cracked another bone!

I couldn't believe it; so calm and the nondescript!  Not one kid walking around him noticed, or stopped, only his one friend who he sported with.  

While sitting on the couch tonight, feeling my toe and its surrounding buddies throbbing and distracting me, I thought of the boy and his smashed up leg. Me? Whining, limping, complaining all week about my dumb little toe while many live daily in constant chronic pain. 

Perspective. I need a good dose of this medicine. 

Sometimes, the quiet ones, the ones everyone walks around, the ones who slip easily and stay down are the ones we need to pay attention to, have more compassion for.  I see it everyday in the kids I work with. Some sort of pain, whether obvious or not, exists in all of us.  Pain that is unplanned, unintentional, life changing, sobering, throbbing... Pain demands attention. 

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  C.S. Lewis 

I know throbbing pain and it's not my toe.  God binded my wounds, tenderly cared for me and paid literally, divine attention to both my loud complaints and my quiet, personal aches. His perscription for me provided a promise to deliver me, send his Comforter and give me strong legs to stand on. In that, I am called to see other's pain, empathize and encourage.  

Maybe someday, an app, touched on one of our devices will instantly "self-x-ray" our boo-boos and "Suri" in her electronic voice will suggest our ailment and our remedy. I know that my God already does that. With a call in to Him in prayer, He sees my pain, my injury, and writes out the perscription of love. In my time and in His time, healing begins. 

Heavenly Father, Why do I sometimes run into things and hurt myself? Oh, yeah, I am human. Why do I worry and complain when things become a bother, annoy, make things difficult. Really? That human thing again?  Please help me Lord to have better perspective. I need Your perspective to see the obstacles in front of me and the hearts of others. When someone calls for help, allow me to be sensitive and wise. You are the Great Physician. Thank you Lord for your Healing Hands on my heart throbs and my toe throbs. Amen. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ticket Master

II Peter 1:11  And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   

Tomorrow night is Homecoming and I am working the gate. Investing in a warm pull over sweatshirt with my school mascot on it, I wanted to look the part, be official, rally school spirit--stay warm!  

I received a page of instructions of "how to be a ticket taker." 

1.) Arrival time to start my job. 

2.) Do not let anyone in without a ticket!  

3.) Recognition of special passes for Boosters. 

4.) Students cannot come and go as they please. Once inside, they stay inside until the game is over. 

5.) No wandering over to the visitors side, must stay on Home Side Only. 

Do you think there are ticket-takers in Heaven? 

I read my instructional manual and studied it well Lord. You've given me a time of arrival, only You know. 

God made special tickets, personalized with the Believer's name on it.   

There they are!  Elijah and Moses waiting to take my ticket stained with the blood of Christ. I've got a crown with my colors on it. I'm official!  

And the Boosters? I see Gabriel, Michael...and all the whole cheering section!  

Why would anyone want to leave the Home Side? We've got a great view, watching and listening to the Heavenly Band, David leading each section. Keep an eye on the scoreboard as more and more of God's glory points flash. God's record is perfect, every season a winner, with a Holy Spirited coach orchestrating sovereign plays through His team members. Well padded and equipped in the huddle on Earth, the Super Bowl of Saints draws crowds every Sunday. 

One booster, in his arrogance, thought his presence on the other side might bring him into the same league. Thing is, the Gates closed on him. Eventually, that Gate closes for eternity, chained up, forgotten. In the meantime, he tries to throw the game by bad calls and fumbles. What a Loser! 

Sometimes a penalty may set us back a few yards, but by trust and faith, good defense in prayer and encouragement, we'll gain the first down, ready to move on toward's the End Zone of this life game. 

There is a Ticket with your name on it, reserved for you. Christ holds it in His nail-scarred hands. Come, join the cheering crowd. We've all experienced losing but that is not how the stats of God add up. He picks every one of us to be on His team--no fantasy!   

Father, thank you for not selling out the stands in Heaven, but instead preparing for me a Suite, the best seat in the House. Thank you for picking up my fumbles, tackling the enemy and promising me Victory. Your grace-filled practices help me to see the Goal Line clearly. Thank you for team mates I can count on and a spirited cheering section. Amen. 

In honor of Ayala High School Bulldogs!  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finding the Pass

 Job 9:5a  "It is God who removes the mountains; they know not how..."

They call it "Capital Hill," but it seems like Mt. Everest. Today, as I write this, the U.S. Government is closed, furloughed, shut down, unplugged, somewhat dysfunctional. 

In the U.S. of A., we embrace a democratic system of government, set up by our forefathers in the Constitution with checks and balances. One branch of government should not become more powerful then another and accountability to constituents is paramount. 

In this age with instant communication in technology, real words of exchange are lost in a cave of ego.  Harmony packed up his belongings, shut off his utilities, grabbed his passport and sailed away to some island in the middle of nowhere. Impasse moved in, set up shop, ordered Chinese take-out, and sent the kids to grandma's. 

Compromise...Harmony, Peace, where are you guys?  

Possibly hanging out with Wisdom, in the realm of the Almighty.

I am sure there are some representitives who bow there heads and call on God to deliver this country. I am sure that there are some representitives who will be in tomorrow's headlines and scandal sheets for their "tweets or vines."  Which one will be immortalized in the history books? 

Everyday I say the Pledge of Allegiance in my 3rd period class. Usually, myself and the teacher are the only ones articulating every word. Most students barely utter. 

One nation, under God...indivisible...


The government is divided by a mountain of uncertainty, greed, debt, pride, rhetoric and waste. I love my country, I truly do. It is beautiful, full of heroes, and diverse. I still believe one can achieve thier dreams and that opportunity exists, God willing, with perserverance and faith. 

Return to Me, scriptures say, and I will heal your land. 

May this be our prayer in every utterance. 

Heavenly Father, giver of life, liberty, and the ability to pursue Your goodness, I pray for the senators, the congressmen, our President. I ask you Father to grant wisdom to those who call on Your Name in Washington D.C. I pray for peace, for fair negotiations and a quick solution. I pray for Your protection as many continue to feel hopeless. Open a pass through the rockslide of legislation to a clear view of a meadow where a deer pants for the water, American Souls longing to return to You. May our passions lie not in our "party," but in ideals like unity, truth, justice, freedom, and compassion and may that shine a beacon of Hope onto Capital Hill. Let us once again be a  government who embraces the motto, "In God We Trust." Amen.