Friday, July 25, 2014

Seal of Approval

Matthew 26:41 "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 

Just recently a "new to us" refrigerator found its way into our kitchen do to a move by the in-laws. I don't think I've ever owned a brand new fridge. We've always managed with a second hand one. That's OK. 

This one though, seems to have a mind of its own, sort of a sense of humor...maybe.  

It seals very well.  So well in fact, I can't open it at times. 

I'll shut it after getting ice, then refill the tray. I grab the handle and pull and it doesn't budge, but my water splish-splashes out of the tray. Putting the tray down, I go for attempt two.  

Not giving.

So, then I put my foot on one door and two hands on the handle and after grimacing, pulling and tugging...the suction releases and it opens.  

I stand there wondering why I opened it in the first place...Oh yeah, the ice cube tray...haha. 

"Hey Mr. refrigerator, I'm getting ICE...not the ice cream!  

"Sure you were."  wink wink...said a talking appliance...

(Wasn't there a movie like that?)*

When temptation enters our minds, and it always does...I'm sure glad God makes it hard to open that door. Staying in prayer and the Word keeps the ice cube trays of my soul filled and refreshed. Ice Cream tastes great while indulging, and usually finds its voice to call you back for a second bowl. Why not add some whipped cream and syrup to that while I'm at it! 


UGH...regret.  There goes the 3 miles I walked this morning.

There goes my witness, my honor, my reputation, my checkbook, my ministry, my friendships, my marriage, my job, respect...

Little temptation or big one, this world encourages bad behavior and a lot of it is no longer behind closed or sealed doors.  

Lord, thank you that you close doors and tighten the seal when we start to ponder in the wrong "pond." Thank you for your Powerful Word that I have hidden in my heart so that I might not sin against thee. Thank you for your protection, for supernatural interventions and friends with godly counsel. Thank you for the church, the Body of Christ filled with sinners just like me, who strive for transparency; righteousness, and forgive one another, that through our struggles, You receive the glory.May the ice cream melt away in someone else's bowl, the frozen chocolate chips "be used for baking purposes"  and the Starbucks always ordered as a "skinny-no whip!" Where I am weak, you are strong! Amen. 


*The Brave Little Toaster 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Within These Hours

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." 

Yesterday, July 17, 2014, became a  "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." Remembering that title from a children's book*, it repeated itself in my thoughts as I listened to the news, read text messages and e-mails, talked to friends and scrolled social media. Within those hours I am shaken.


A flight plan deleted from the sky.

Terrorism vs. sovereignty.

A biopsy and a prognosis.

An addiction and a bus ticket.

A skateboard and life support.

Borders and tunnels

Ideals and bombs.

Grief and utter confusion.

Obama, Putin, Hamas, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, rebels, robbers, murder, abuse, border-crossers, gangs, cancer,  dementia, hospitals and chemo, substance abuse, missing persons, divorce, I could go on...

Yet, within those hours, I met with my writing partner and we submitted our goals for our 6th year leading "Aspiring Writer's Forum," a unique small group ministry...

and know His peace.

Within these hours, I continued to read scripture, pray longer, walk 3 miles, finish Chapter 10 of a manuscript in progress, watch the finches gathering seed in my butterfly garden, go grocery shopping, and look forward to two high school reunions...

and know His peace.

Within these hours, I stood at my kitchen window and watched the Swallowtail butterfly land on a lavendar hibiscus in the middle of a thought-prayer,  asking You for guidance.

                                                          (Swallowtail,  camera shy)

I know Your peace.

Jesus Christ, crucified on the cross: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!  Yet, we rejoice in that day!
Within these hours, stretched over three days, He overcame DEATH, even death on a cross.

Because of His sacrifice, He turns our horrible into hopeful, our terrible into triumphant, our no good into grace, and our very bad into victorious beauty. 

and We can Know His Peace!  

Stay in prayer. Share His hope, have dialog, compassion, ministry, stay informed and stay strong. Worship in quiet moments and Read His Word!  Christ came to give us Life and Hope in this ever-changing, dark and frightening world. It's that eternal perspective I've talked about so many times.  Christ shall Overcome!

Lord,  News bombards us, frightens us, makes us mad, sometimes shuts us down. Every human being,  ever created; You took all our sin, every "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days" and forgave!  You ask us to believe, love our neighbor and help us to know that same kind of forgiveness. Somedays really are just rotten and in that I am thankful that grace is always around the corner, asking for it,  receiving it and giving it as well. You never said it would be a piece of cake. What You did say:  You would never leave us nor forsake us. This, I believe. Within these hours Lord, help me to rest in Your peace and to be a peacemaker.  Thank you Lord that I can come to You with my deepest fears and draw on Your strength and pray for others in pain. Here our prayers, Oh Lord, Amen.

                                                                      ~~~  ~~~  
* Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Friday, July 11, 2014

Transforming Tears

II Corinthians 7:10-11a  For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold, what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation of yourselves, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong!

Why do we cry? 

We miss someone we no longer have around us.

 We feel physical pain. 

Our feelings get stepped on.




What kind of sorrow is "Godly sorrow"?

We long for the connection with the Lord that became short circuited. Dead. 

When our zapped strength, trying to walk this life on our own, finally recognizes our own disregard for the True power source-- that is Godly sorrow. 

It's a place God wants us to long for, but that place is our choice. In the validation of our purpose for His glory,  the longing for a restored communion,  in the recognition of our unworthiness, through Jesus Christ, the son of God, who took on our sinful nature, tears fall. An understanding of the depths of His forgiveness, all of this and more brings Godly sorrow for a moment, followed by an eternity of hope. 

It's the formation of trust in The God who is bigger than all the tears we cry.  It is a desire to want more of Him.  This is a faith that relys on God Himself. Our humbleness before God does a work within us. 

It's letting go and becoming transformed into His image.

It is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit which leads one into His righteousness.

Godly sorrow is as simple as a personal, authentic  prayer before God each day. Because we have been justified through this faith, this Godly sorrow in our hearts, produces in us the desire to want more of God, to commune with Him in a supernatural way.

Do you want more than just OK?

Looking forward to worship with each other and fellowship, His creation creates a longing for the promised beauty of Heaven and a deep desire to share His Love.  I hunger for the deepness of His Word. 

Some things are uncomfortable, for they scrape against the God skin we've grown. We are salt and light, a city set on a hill. Our "righteousness" need only be enough to flavor with His intent; God does the work. Our light brightens in the shadows of a world growing darker by the minute, God brings the lost into the fullness of that Light. Not of this World, but doing good while present, that becomes an eternal perspective. Godly sorrow's transforming tears quench a heart into His eternal peace. 

I am sorrowful to God,  because I am wretched. In that sorrow, I received the joy of my salvation, Amazing Grace. I want more than just OK, more than slipping through the Pearly Gates and releasing a sigh of relief.

Father, thank you for reaching into my heart and making me sorrowful to the point where I came to ask You to replace it with your Spirit. May I live all my days aware of my need for You every minute and prayerfully, never taking for granted the joy you produce in me because of the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus. I am only righteous because of Your Redemption, so Lord, take the  "self" out of self-righteous. Replace it with humbleness and love for the earthly sorrowful. Bless me with Your words to continue speak as salt and light. Amen.

                                            Switchfoot: More than Fine.