Friday, May 29, 2015

A "Rewarding" Career.

Revelation 3:8  "I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have little power, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name." 

As an instructional aide for high school special ed., there are a variety of opportunities I get to participate in and create myself,  to better prepare our students. My job is rewarding and fun, and I have the liberty to be creative, using the talents and skills God gave me to encourage and help our students. Today, I did just that in three different ways. 

My 1st period class is Work Studies. All year, the lessons taught and the portfolio the kids put together,  prepares them for self-advocating as well as filling out applications, creating an account they can keep and update forever on a job search site, learn about different employment opportunities and the programs available to help them within the spectrum of their disabilities, what the expectations are in the job market, and of course setting goals. Today, I participated in a mock panel, calling in each student who hopefully  "prepared" himself/herself  for a job interview/final. We asked the student a set of 7 questions relating to their job interests. A critique of their performance will encourage them for the real thing, our hope and goal. We looked for things like a prepared and updated resume', eye contact, a little more elaboration on the questions and enthusiasm. 

Of the 5 kids in today's interview, I am happy to say they all took it seriously and did the best they could to impress us and get their "foot in the door." 

For me, it was fun pretending to be someone with "hiring power." 

For my 2nd period class, Psychology, a general ed class, the kids are preparing for their final. I have a student in the class who I assist, modifying his work. So, I prepared a "test" for him to take on the day of finals.  I know what he is capable of yet I also want him to use the best of his abilities to accomplish this assessment. When I see him moving ahead without a prompt, this is great progress!  

In our 3rd period Economic class, the kids have a "stock project." For 15 days, we've been following our chosen stocks, learning about buying shares and dividends, banks and investing, companies and profits, futures and paychecks. The kids all have smart phones now; in an instant they can pull up their market and check the price. 

Yes, I picked a few stocks too, and it's been fun pretending to be "wealthy, invested,  diversified..."

God doesn't have to "interview" us. He already knows our background. At the Cross, we received an "entry level" position when we first believed. God then gives us all the tools and training we need to work through this life. Blessings "raise" our trust in Him and along the way we receive many promotions. He makes it easy to make "eye-contact" for it is looking right at the purest of Love. His retirement package is heavenly, a promised eternal bonus. I'm grateful that He is my BOSS. 

While serving him, we most definitely receive a lot of tests, some we may even fail, but God never fails us! He knows what we are capable of and He accommodates us with His Holy Spirit, a prompter and encourager towards the righteousness, the right answers...wisdom. His teaching for us is individualized. We just need to show up to class and have the desire to learn. Yes, some days are better, some days it's over our heads, but God is available after school, actually 24-7. 

I may have little riches, but God invested His all for me. My return is life, abundant life everlasting. God's "shares" are priceless. He asks only that we split our stock and share Him with others. I don't plan on selling, but holding on for the long-haul. In that I can see His diversification in His many ways He makes Himself known. I am not of this world, but my account is full. 

Lord, thank you for your Open Door. In my weakness, You are made strong and I am HIRED with the Most High! Your tests encourage me, teach me, lead me to intimate prayer and fellowship, help me to see Your strength and encourage others when I can share and write about Your goodness to me. Thank you Lord for investing Your Son for my Eternal Portfolio. I will keep Your Word and will not deny Your Name, CEO of my heart. Amen.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Maybe...It's Because I Prayed.

II Corinthians 9:12-13. "For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all." 

A bad oil spill washes upon the shores of one of the most scenic and popular beaches in California, near Santa Barbara. It's already wreaking havoc, messing up the beaches and killing wildlife. My son, who fishes a lot near there, is Facebooking friends to accompany him in a volunteer effort to help. I am praying (and proud) for his effort in this unfortuante event. 

Last night I watched on network television, the American version of "Red Nose Day," a massive fundraiser effort to support local charities that help families and children in impoverished situations. A popular and successful event in the United Kingdom, celebrities attempt to entertain us and pull on our heart-strings, much like "Stand Up to Cancer" and the "Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon" while encouraging us to call with our pledge donations. 

I got a chance to browse through the yearbook today of the high school I work at. There were several pages, each with at least 6 clubs represented on each page. If I counted, I know there must be more than 50 clubs on campus, the majority, service clubs doing something positive for their community, their world. 

Volunteering. Giving of time. Donating. Sacrificing. Showing up. Helping. Prayer. 

You might of these things is not like the other...

How is prayer making a difference? How is that a tangible thing? We can't count it. We can't pay for things with it. It doesn't give us more daylight. Turn back the clock. If you're head is in your hands, your hands aren't helping. Your eyes aren't seeing...It doesn't do the shopping, dig the wells, buy the medicine, teach a mother a skill so she can work, rescue a child from trafficking, save a life...


You know who says all that?  Who discredits all that...who whispers it in our ears because we begin to doubt our own place in His Kingdom, and we begin to believe that lie, that we are not equipped, worthy to make a difference?    

"Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan." ~ John Bunyan

Maybe my prayer began for my son to get more involved in community, to meet more people to influence him outside of his immediate circle...

Maybe my prayer showed up in a text and encouraged someone who was on the verge of making a bad decision. 

Maybe, a prayer in a public place before a meal sparks a conversation and a chance to share, reflect your Hope. 

Maybe your prayer is as tangible as making you late and thus avoiding an accident on the freeway. 

Maybe a prayer of provision found you opening your mailbox to find a check written to you for the exact amount of the electricity about to be shut off that day, or had you writing the check. 

Maybe you want more of God in your grief, and you know others are praying. Your eyes are opened up to see a purple flower on your walk everyday, or the skies alive with butterflies. 

Maybe your humble prayer finds you asking for forgiveness. Suddenly, the clock is turned back and a relationship is healed and time begins again.  

The world is quaking, killing, terrorizing, spilling, destroying, aborting, kidnapping, abusing, corrupting...

We need to be PRAYING, living and breathing in full armour. (Eph. 6). 

Sometimes, there truly is nothing we CAN DO about a situation, but aren't you thankful we can pray! I may not even see the answers, the outcome immediately, but I know God honors my prayers. My obedience, my reaction to His grace, is to wait for His timing and to continue to draw near to Him in my pleading, my confessions, my worship, and my desire for wisdom,... my hope as well for those I love. My prayers unite me with others, an intimacy that can only be designed by God for His glory. 

I believe God is always orchestrating amazing things, miracles and Hope. He moves forward with His plan and we can be a part of all that in our prayers. He brings people together with similar passions who pray for one another, thus strengthening each other. I've seen it over and over again. I am not a little old person when I pray. I am a powerful, world-changer, a partner with the Lord. 

Lord, help me everyday to continue to pray without ceasing, devoted to prayer with an attitude of Thanksgiving. (Col. 2). Prayer is one of the mysteries, one of the privileges You give to us through Your Holy Spirit. I may not be a wealthy celebrity, a third-world missionary, a well-known philanthropist, but I know in Your eyes, I am rich, I am a fully equipped to share the Gospel world-wide, and that You know me by name. Lead me to those places where my hands can work as well, where my physical service also reflects You. I can make a difference by a humble prayer, first for my own devotion, growth and worship and then for others to also draw near to Your heart. Thank you Lord that You have called me to pray. All other things I may do in Your name start here first. To You Lord, I bring my heart and my passions. Amen.   

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Believer's Bouquet

Romans 12:4-5 "For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." 

I had the unique privilege this week to celebrate a ministry milestone of five years. "Coffee Break" at my church is a gathering of woman who come to fellowship, eat decadent desserts, sip coffee, compete in silly games, worship, then settle in to hear a woman within our own church share their compelling testimony.

Coffee Break Five Year Celebration 

Everyone has a story. If you have been redeemed by the Lord, set free, been given hope through a hopeless situation, grieved, made irreversible decisions, suffered abuse, dealt with difficult relationships, been hurt by loved ones, suffer an illness, relied on God for the impossible, stepped out in faith when others questioned your sanity, felt panicky, anxiety, depression, even the unthinkable thoughts...

If you've been angry, been betrayed, broken, failed, scared, felt unloved, ashamed, questioned your faith, ran away...

and yet, God found you and filled you with hope, laughter and purpose... JOY.

If you have sinned, been forgiven and now choose to live for Christ despite it all...

God created in you a testimony of your faith in Him. FYI: For continued healing.

Be transparent and share. It's hard stuff, but full of blessings and further healing.

Trust Him.


Tonight, my neighbor came over and asked me to put together some bouquets of flowers for the important moms in his life. Glad to do it for he blesses us with his handyman and mechanical abilities. My son got the card table out while he brought in the three large wrapped bunches of flowers,  purchased downtown this morning at the flower mart.


As I was arranging the flowers, I thought of how this is like Coffee Break, or even the Body of Christ. Some of us are beautiful mums, roses, tall daisies, or zinnias, all different in color and shape and story, the sanctification journey.  Some of us are fillers, like the babies breath or the eucalyptus branches; those little encouragers that complement and define the story, God's Word of Truth.  Some of us are the vases, open to be filled and displayed, the very foundation of our faith, our teachers, pastors and mentors.  Then, finally, there is the water which sustains us all, The Holy Spirit.

And we give in Love, because He first loved us. 

Jesus eternally loves, defines love in us, teaches us to love, died and rose again because of LOVE.

We bloom and show His love best working together in unity with all our uniqueness and purposes. He designed it that way!  So let's be a little showy! --All for His Glory in our story!

God gathers us all together and makes a gorgeous bouquet to set out openly,  even on our own welcoming table for others to see and take in the sweet aroma of our Creator, our Maker.


Thank you Lord for flowers. I sure love them,  the colors and shapes and sizes. I love the process of planting and nurturing, weeding and caring, even clipping and displaying. Thank you Lord for Your people, the Body of Christ. I sure love them, the stories and the testimony, the sharing and the caring, the trusting and gathering to sing and worship together. I love the forgiving, the moving over to make room for one more, the new little buds forming, and the sweet aroma of prayer we create together for our own seedlings. May the display of believers, the bunches of branches and petals of praise, bring You Glory in our story, in our love for one another, in our testimony of hope. Thank you Lord for planting me where I'm at and nurturing me within the Bouquet of  Belief, for I am pressed deep into the Water of Life. Amen.

P.S.  Happy Mother's Day!  

Journal prompt: Do you see yourself as part of God's Bouquet?  Where in the church is your gifts displayed for His Glory?  Where is He leading you to serve?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Despair Detour

Psalm 27: 13-14 "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

This is one of my life verses.  I am especially grateful to be writing this tonight, in preparation for continued ministry and opportunities brought my way by the Lord's goodness to me.


I would have despaired...and I had every right to do just that! We lost our home of 24 years in one wind whipped crackle of electrified air and who knows what else. Uprooted and unprepared, the house lost its status as "our home," and went the way of a house-flipper and real estate broker, eager to pocket the gold dust while we continued to clean -up the soot for months to come.

I would have despaired...BUT GOD!

The Lord met me in the smoke, the rubble, the ash. He poured His love on me through the gaping holes in the roof,  a Refiner's Fire in the purest sense of the Words. Yes, there were some despairing days...but not a lingering despairing soul, not a despairing heart and attitude. Teachable moments and new perspectives,  sifting and sorting of truth at its deepest level, worship gushing out like a fire hydrant, quenching and dousing me in spirit-filled promises and new hopes...I believed!  I felt and knew the Goodness of the Lord.  A beautiful re-built house would no longer be our home, yet God had plans in the land of the living for me.

Wait, He says. Be strong, He says.

I would have despaired...drowned my self in my tears of grief, hid myself from healthy relationships, aligned myself with anger and let it take me down...BUT GOD!

He formed me anew, sturdy in His Word and re-roofed with a righteous belief that the land of the living in Christ includes Eternity! My oldest son no longer despaired in his pain and illness. Amazing Grace heals and is an answered prayer in the bigger-God picture of His will. I would have despaired if He did not give me a glimpse of this very thing, more than a glimpse really, a continual reflection seen in the world around me. Heaven is filled with His glory and to know that His purpose for me would be one of courage...

I would have despaired...but I am in awe!  

In awe of a God who gives and takes away, and I wait. I look through eyes wide open seeing all His goodness.  Despair hides your eyes, but belief and trust opens them up wide to view and walk in the Land of the Living...all the way to Heaven. Blessed Be His Name!

Lord Jesus, Thank you for allowing me the need to see Your goodness. Thank you for eyes that search the heavens and Heaven that comes to me through Your gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for healing and insight into your plan. Help me Lord to stay strong, to have courage to continue to do Your will in the path which You have sent me. Help me find compassion and words for others who despair in this despairing world, one in need of Your Hope. Thank you Lord for a ministry in the Land of the Living and may I continue in Your strength, each day within Your grace, for Your glory. Amen.

For your own journal: Where has God given you courage?