Friday, January 25, 2013

Grace Abiding Citizen

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Although not a naturalized citizen yet, my husband enjoys most the privleges of living in the United States. Educated here, he pays taxes, travels freely, and wears a hard hat at work with a JESUS sticker on it. I hope one day to cross off MY bucket list: "help Ted study for the US Ctizenship test."  If our lives ever settle down just a little, maybe I'll begin the conversation again. It's never something he did not want, just always one of those things that seemed to elude us for whatever reason.  

On Wednesday of this week I watched on the news, 5000 new citizens wave their little American flags at their swearing-in ceremony. So many tearful, happy faces, proud of their accomplishment.  How I'd love to listen to their stories of their journey, the physical, and more importantly, the emotional and spiritual yearning for a place to call home where opportunity, success and dreams still define our American Spirit.  

I read another story too, one of an aging rock legend, Tina Turner who is denouncing her citizenship in America to gain citizenship in Switzerland, the country she has lived in since 1995.  She probably must give up one to gain another. 

 The 73-year-old singer will surrender her US passport. She lives in Kuesnacht, just outside of Zurich.

Pres. Obama enjoyed his 2nd inauguration this week. We all know the controversy and speculation involved in his "citizenship." 

While I am very proud and blessed to be an American citizen, my  Heavenly citizenship takes priority and hopefully makes me a better citizen on earth. Stamping my passport, carrying my baggage and building me a mansion,  Christ took the test for me, planned out an escape, and showed me safe passage. God gave up His Son, so that my life outside the borders of grace CROSSED over into forgiveness. There is no doubt about our citizenship because God's Word is Truth. Boundaries now serve only to guide me towards His will, soaring on wings like eagles.

Heavenly Father, Keep me focused on what is eternal, not on the things of this earth that quickly disappoint and fade away. Thankful for the promise of Heaven, I delight in the glimpses you give, blessing me with your personal love and sovereign grace. Help me to be a citizen worthy to be used by You, sponsoring others into Your kingdom. Amen.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Warming Trend

Ezekiel  36:26(NIV)  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone (cold) and give you a heart of flesh.

Brrrrrrrrrrr!  Hovering over the Southland for several days, bone-chilling dry air, encouraged by a breeze, brought the temps down to below freezing in some areas at night; rising only slightly for daytime activities. Unless you live in the desert or mountains, we "valley-ites" shivered while we tried to figure out how to remove the layer of ice off our windshield. 

While my feet tend to get cold first no matter how many pairs of socks I roll on, my skin really suffers. Worse than an itch,  it tightens and burns and becomes very uncomfortable.  My normal routine finds me lathering lotion typically, but in this weather the care needed for my skin may possibly require a special lotion and more applications during the day. That's an effort! 

Do you ever feel your spiritual life suffering a cold snap? 

It blows in under cover of darkness.

Relationships wither.

Heart blood slows, arteries freeze. 

Layered, the hoodie is pulled up. 

Hands stay inside our pockets; hugging ourselves so tight, we forget that warmth comes from fellowship with one another. 

Our fear keeps us from returning to a warm House of Worship, picturing the black ice we might have slipped on at another time.

Our spiritual gifts lie buried under the perma-frost.  God, can you just plug in a giant blow-dryer from heaven and melt this "season?" 

Our skin longs for the moisturizing healing of The Word of God. 

Step inside my friend,  come close to the Fire.

Stay awhile.

Shed your layers and apply the Word, let it absorb into your skin-soul.

Cuddle-up and raise your praise to the wind.

Let it carry to the Heavens where the Son longs to fill you with warmth from the inside out. 

Keep that Fire stoked. There's lot of firewood where that came from.  

Spring awaits. Let's pray for the Holy Spirit to bring us an early thaw. 

Heavenly Father, I thank you that Your Word warms me with hope. Fellowship and purpose keeps my feet moving and blood circulating. When my heartbeat seems slow, I know that spending time in meditation, clears the ice from my path. Lavish and lather me with your love,  your grace, the perfect lotion for the Winter blues. Amen. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Light Switch"

John 12:36 "Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light."

Did you receive some cool gifts this Christmas? I received two similar gifts from two different friends I really like.  In fact, I think sharing them with you today seems like a good idea!

Flameless candles. Turning upside down, move the switch to “on”, and the light begins giving a soft glow, flame-like, without the worry of wax melting down onto your tablecloth or forgetting to blow out the flame and leaving the house.

The first one I put in my front windowsill. After cleaning up Christmas decorations, packing it up just didn’t seem right. I enjoyed the ambience and mood it gave to my front room. It came from our friend Eileen who shares the same heartache, the loss of her adult son from an accident a few years back.

The second one arrived just this week, coming from my east coast best friend, Diane. Her unique, thoughtful gifts always display a love of vintage Americana or something hand- crafted. This year, a “burnt marshmallow” flameless candle arrived, which cleverly, once  switched on, remains on for 5 hours then switches off, only to automatically switch back on the next day.  That initial “switching-on” sets a timer for it to carry on its purpose.

One candle glows to remind me of everlasting life. Though two loved “flames” came to an early than ever hoped for end to earthly life, we continue to keep a hope burning in our hearts, knowing that one day, a reunion awaits us in a bright and beautiful eternity. 

The other candle reminds me of this life. Despite the world’s harshness and disappointment, God’s toasty-sweetness of promise fills me as I wait to take a “bite” everyday. Counting on His timing once I’ve pushed the switch in my heart to “on”, God always provides a way for me to see in my darkest hours. 

The reflection, magnificent, unique, beautiful and purposeful--gifts that keeps giving.

If I want the glow to continue, I must keep them energized, powered up. I will need supplies and effort to do that. That’s certainly not hard, for the directions are easily accessible and I am just blessed with friends who won't let me go "dim" for long!   

Lord, You came into this world to be our Light, to be THE Light of the world. I ask that the flame of your will for my life keeps burning with strength and a desire for obedience and willingness to be a light myself in whatever I do and say.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.