It Works (Pt 2)

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Once I realized that God has answered so many prayers I was humbled. When I look back over the past year I can see where things that happened would not have been possible. It was God. I did nothing but followed what I knew to be the right thing or what I believed to be the best thing at the time.

Now I can hear you already. See it was you you made the decisions. Well, sure. I believe that God presented the opportunities and I had the choice to accept it or not.

The thing is that faith is trusting even when you feel you can’t. Trusting that God is in control.  Then being thankful.

The other side to this is sometimes we pray for things to happen or not happen that God does not intend for us. We have to accept that on faith too. Remember God knows our future. He knows where we are going. That thing, person, job or whatever that we really want may not be what God has in his plans for us. Sometimes the best things that happen to us are the unanswered prayers. Despite the felling of being let down we have to trust God. Look at the blessings and be thankful.

 

Power of Prayer

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Prayer is like an extension cord to God. I am not sure how it works but I know that praying with faith changes everything. I know that I feel closer to God when I pray. When I go through a time where I don’t pray regularly I feel disconnected from God.

Not that He went anywhere, I moved spiritually.  When I find it hard to focus on life or on what is important, I stop and pray. Right there, right where I stand. Stop, drop and Pray…OK I may not drop to my knees every time depending where I am standing but I pray.

I will trust Him and put those I love in His hands.Do I always get the answer I want? No. Often I do not get an answer at all. Sometimes all I get is the peace in knowing God has heard me and He is working on it, whatever it is.  For now, that will be enough.

1 Peter 4:7-8 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another. (NIV)

The Pain of Christmas

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We as Christians hold the crucifixion of Christ as paramount to our forgiveness by God, but what we miss is that the birth of Christ was just as tragic and painful. I am not talking about the obvious that He had to be born to die. Our Father God chose to impregnate a young girl to send His son here to suffer for us. The suffering began before he was born. We all know the warm fuzzy Nativity story with lowing cows, gifts and singing angels, but what about the other side of the story? The painful and terrified side?

Mary was probably 13 years old or so and unmarried. If she had not been protected by God she would have been stoned to death as other adulterous women had been stones in the village of Nazareth. She was engaged and in that culture that was the same as being married. Even without that for a young girl to be pregnant was a death sentence unless she had a husband to claim it. Which Joseph did not at first. Was Mary suffering for Christ even at that point of the story? Yes, she had to tell her mother, father and future husband that she was pregnant and God did it. No wonder the girl left town to visit her cousin Elizabeth. While she was gone, Joseph suffered agonizing ridicule and it kept him up at night. He tossed and turned at the fact his sweet young bride was knocked up. The angel Gabriel visited him in a dream and told him to relax Mary is telling the truth. Mary and Joseph were terrified at the prospect of Mary’s pregnacy and yet, they followed God’s will. Mary very well could have said No to God, but she didn’t. Joseph could have said no to Mary’s father. He could have told him to keep his daughter, but he didn’t. Then the suffering got worse.

The couple went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, about a hundred miles on a donkey…. on a donkey. Not only was Mary in physical pain and Joseph’s feet raw from the walking, there where other dangers on the road, bandits to steal what they had, men who took women as slaves and other untold bad things. Yet, God protected them from that, but not the suffering of the journey. It was long and hard. Mary pregnant and riding on a donkey. Her back must have hurt, her feet must have swelled and she must have been sleep deprived.

Jesus was born in a manger the story says…a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was laying in the manger. A manger is a wood box for feeding animals. A smelly box with animal slobber and bugs. Where did Mary get the swaddling cloth? Mary probably ripped her own clothing, wrapped Him up and layed Him in the manger on the cleanest hay she could find. Itchy scratchy bug filled hay. No bassinet with a musical mobile spinning about his head. How many of us would ride on a donkey for a hundred miles, give birth in a barn and put our newborn in a hay box? That is suffering.

Did the suffering for our sin start at the arrest of Jesus? No it started the moment that God put the plan in motion. The Nativity story is a story of a miraculous birth and the suffering of our Savior. From the moment of conception the suffering started. However, to suffer is to be human. He suffered the experienced of human life.

So as you think about Christmas and all the fun things that go with it, remember that it is a Holy day not a holiday. Without Jesus it is just another day, with Him it is the remembrance of His coming into suffrage for us sinners.

What Do You Want for Yourself?

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A dear friend asked me tonight, “What do you want for yourself?” My first response was I want to be happy, but I am happy. I have given this question some thought and here is what I came up with…..What do you want for yourself?

I want of a simple life with sweet moments of love and respect with friends and family.

I want to sleep soundly and wake up slowly with no pressure of a place to go.

I want to be free of man-made constraints of time and space.

I want to live fully and experience all that I can one adventure after another.

I want joy and wonder in the little things.

I want to be loved and to love.

I want moments in time that stand still. You know that moment that you say, life is good and want it to stay that way.

I want to help everyone I can and pray for those who I can’t help.

I want to surround myself with happy and successful  people.

I want to be a problem solver. When something goes wrong I want to figure out a solution instead of wallowing in self pity.

I want to be successful.

I want to be limitless in thought.

I want a balanced life.

 I want passion.

I want to write.

I want to be happy.

I want to be free to be me.

I want to be committed to all of the above.

 

 

Choose Your Battles 

I am not sure who made this graphic but it’s spot on. I have tried to be as transparent as I can. What you see here on this blog and on my Facbook page is my digital fingerprint. I am who I am. I am not much of a mystery. What you see is what you get. I am not a fighter or drama queen. You won’t see me degrading someone in a comment section of any social media outlet. Even if I totally disagree with the opinion. I will try to express the truth in the situation without confrontation. There is so much negativity in the world these days and I am doing my best to keep it away from me.

I have decided to focus more on my inner being than looking at what is happening on the outside. I am writing everyday, which is challenging. There is this thing called life that gets in the way all the time. Oh and I have this other thing called a job that is necessary for other things like food and a roof.

I think that the battles we choose speak to who we are in our soul. What we fight for and about is what we value. If we value people we fight for them. If we value money we will fight for that. If we value love we will fight for it too.

The question is how to balance what we value in our souls to what we need in our life to survive. Sometimes those two things do not match and are not compatible. I think peace is found when we make the important stuff in our being and the needed stuff for our survival the same.

Something to think about during this time of year when the focus is on material things.

 

Less Church More Jesus

I have been a church slacker this Summer. I have been in Sunday services about half of the time. The strangest thing is I feel closer to God than I have in a long time. My prayer life is solid and I can feel the Spirit moving in my life, in my family’s life. I went to church this week and realized that God was calling me home. I felt a great peace sitting on the pew. It wasn’t a special service. It was a normal every Sunday regular service but I was home. What is more, my daughter, 700 plus miles away in a different state, went back to her home church and had the same experience. Nothing special happen and her church either, she was welcomed home with peace. I could over analyze the experience we both had. I could grab theology all over the place to explain it, the prodigal son comes to mind, but I choose to accept it as God pulling us back to Him.  It was time that we returned to Him for the next move. He has plans for our family and He knows we will need His strength. I know it too. I hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit in the wind, soon it will be time for action, but for now we are to rest in the shadow of His wings.

Sometimes it is not religion or church that you need but the presence of God to ground you and your life. Whatever is in our future I know that if I count on Jesus to be there, to be our fortress and our courage, we will get through it.

 

Where is God?

I have to wonder why people don’t believe in God. I can’t imagine not believing in God. How can a person look at this world and think nope, no God? It all just appeared from some big bang. (Not to be confused with the Big Bang Theory TV show that I love. Bazinga)

To me each possibility is sort of the same. Believing that a being that we never see created this place we call home and really cares about what happens with us is just as hard to wrap your head around as some of the scientific theory that  a cosmic accident created us.

The big question is where is God? In this world of war, devastating weather and evil people, where is God? Why is God, if He exists, not stopping some of this bad stuff that is happening all around us? I have one answer, free will.

We all have free will. We have the free will to call on God or not. We have the free will to talk to God or not. Are you praying? Are you asking God to come help intervene? No? Oh that’s right! You don’t’ believe He exists. So, why would you expect Him to come in to this life of yours and fix things for you if you do not believe in Him? He is not going to act in your life until you get on your knees and ask Him to be present.

All I can tell you is, I have seen God act in the lives of believers, me included. The catch is you have to ask. You have to make the move to accept God. That’s how it works. Simple act of faith. If you can believe that this world came from nothing how much more of a reach is it to think a God created it? Maybe He caused the big bang in the first place?  It isn’t that far a stretch. It’s all simple really.

Matt 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”