Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bring honor to whom honor is due

I went to the funeral of an old friend today.

I was blessed to be there remembering him with so many old friends.

There is sadness for our loss. No more new memories are coming our way. We have to be content with the old ones. At least till we cross over into eternity.

There is joy and hope that is so much bigger than the sadness. It so great to be a Christian.

For those who spent time with him daily and weekly I'll pray for them that the transition to a different life without his daily and weekly presence will go as smoothly as it possibly can.

A funeral of a friend that you respected and believe lived well, really is a great opportunity to do a priority check.

Just before going to the funeral, I told a friend that I believe that a life well lived is one where you have loved God and you have loved people. I really hope that sticks with me as I prayerfully consider the priorities of each day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Appreciating Boldness

This week in Bible Study we were hanging out with Miriam. She is Moses' big sister. She is described as a prophetess. There was this time when God did something really big, she responded by dancing and singing and leading others to do the same. What a great picture! Especially to those of us who walk around in culture that has trouble with even saying Amen out loud in a service.

Think about this has reminded me of a time when I was watching an African American preacher, preaching on TV. It was a stadium sized meeting. In this particular groups culture, they did something I have never seen before. When they could identify with what the preacher was saying they would stand up. As the preacher finished his point they would sit back down. It wasn't in any flashy way that they did this. To me it looked like just a different form of shouting Amen in agreement. It was a testimony without words. Their facial expressions and body movements spoke volumes.

Why do I love the way Miriam responded and the way this group demonstrated their faith? Because it takes boldness. It takes confidence in who you believe in to celebrate and believe God in a public way.

Likewise, I love it when our youth in the 5:00pm service rise to their feet in the middle of a song. They are both practicing and preparing their hearts to have that same kind of boldness when they cross the thresholds of their schools or jobs.

I think my generation and those above me need to have more and more respect for how much those younger than us face when they encounter our American culture.

I like loving and bold believers. I want to keep growing in my ability to be both loving and bold.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Midlife Crisis

Those words used to be so superficial to me. It used to create many cliched visions. Things like fast cars with their tops down. Heart breaking visions as well. Families that just didn't survive the crisis in tact.

I used to wonder what on earth motivated the despair and irrational behaviors until I went through my own. For me it was a sense that I had not found a to do list that matched up with what mattered to me most. In part that was true because I didn't even know what mattered to me most. I was also feeling extremely sad because others had found a to do list that matched up. I could see the joy and fulfillment they were walking in. I didn't know whether to believe that a joyful and fulfilling life could be available to me or not? Was that something that some people got and others did not? So many honest anguished prayers were prayed in those days.

The other large issue for me was that even though I thought I wasn't looking for things to make me happy. I was frustrated that I never seemed able to be content with things just the way they were.

The journey the Lord has taken me on to address all this stuff and more could literally fill a book. One of the bottom line helps has been understanding that Jesus wanted to have a very personal relationship with me. So to be helped through my crisis, I had to learn to walk with Him as my friend and leader. He has become much more to me than my beloved Savior. As I walked more closely I understood that He wanted me to be willing to give up my expectations which were largely based in worldly perspectives about how life "should" be. He wanted to show me what matters to me most. As I have testified here before that process has not been easy. Dying to self and living for God have become very real words to me. Giving up a long held worldly beliefs feels like dying. The irony is that if you don't give them up you die. If you do give them up you live.

One of the most exciting things that has happened in this process is that as God has brought a to my attention a way that I was thinking he has also been very generous in making known to me eternal ways of seeing. Then He has asked me to walk in obedience to Him. As I have chosen submission and obedience I have seen the words on the pages of scripture come alive. I can't tell you how many times I have walked away from situations now thinking, "Wow, all this stuff that God has told us is really true."

Dear Lord,

For all my brothers and sisters who are disillusioned with their lives and who they believe You are, I pray that you would make your presence in their lives known to them. I pray that you would break down thinking that prevents them from trusting you. I pray you will break down thinking that allows us to trust in ourselves more than we trust in you. Thank you God that when you ask us to come and die to ourselves and live for you that you are with us in that. Thank you that you never abandon us. Help us all to learn how to abide with you, walk with you, hang out with you every moment of every day. Thank you for never giving up on us even when we feel like giving up on You.

Thank you for using the boredom and disillusionment and depression to bring us looking to you for answers. Thank you for promising to answer all our questions. May we embrace you and your answers and choose the life that comes from following you.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wednesday night at 7:30 pm there were eight guys and two leaders sitting around my dining room table telling each other why they were bothering to show up to study God's word, pray together and be friends to one another. It was awesome. It was an answer to prayer live and in living color. It was beautiful.

I started a bible study this week subtitled - Walking from fear to faith. I realized this week how much I walk in fear related to raising Matt. I realized how much those fears are related to really ridiculous reactions on my part to certain things. I'm grateful God's getting my attention on this one. I'm looking forward to my heart changing in this area.

I chose Proverbs 3:5&6 for Matt this week. I prayed that he would, "Trust the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own way of understanding things." Then it seemed like the Lord was showing me that the odds are better for Matt to actually have that perspective if I model it as I parent him. I need to trust the Lord with all my heart in matters that relate to going through the day with Matt.

Dear God,

I have never been so aware that I am so in over my head when it comes to raising Matt. I'm grateful for that feeling because its leading me to you. So Lord I pray that all of us that are raising kids right now that you will help us to trust that you have every intention of letting us in on what we need to know. That as we walk in step with your Spirit that we will be empowered by you to provide what you know our kids need. I thank you in advance for the answers to prayer we will get to witness live and in living color. God you are so good to us. We thank you for being good. We love you and we want to love you more. We want our kids to love you with all their hearts, their souls, their minds and their muscles and their gifts. All these things, which are the very biggest of things, we ask in Jesus name.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

I can't believe how long it has been since I last submitted a post. Time is flying.

This last week I watched my son leave for his first day of High School. I spent my week being reunited with old friends and meeting new friends. The hand of God just kept showing up in such meaningful ways. What a ride!

I'd like to tell you about two of them. My friend W**** invited me to a prayer group called Moms In Touch. This same friend said casually out loud in a gathering of Marching Band Moms that she would be attending this group the next day. One of the Mom's that heard her comment came. As we were being introduced to each other as new to the area we explained where we had come from etc. It turns out her husband and my husband and I all went to the same small college in East Texas. I never meet anyone who has attending my school. Not only did we attend the same school but at the same time and I remembered who her husband is. She has become friends with my freshman roommate who I had lost track of and needed a new address for. So much fun!!!

That wasn't the only great conversation that took place at that meeting. But I want to tell you about something else instead. Four years ago I did a Bible study this summer I have been going over the material again. For my birthday, my mother in law gave me a book called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. I have wanted to read that book for years. I realized in the last few days that it had been quoted in the bible study I am now redoing and that is why I have wanted to read it all this time. Will I ever stop being shocked at how detailed God gets in my life? What a marvel God is?!

So I started reading this book over the last four days, I wish every believer who wonders why they face more roadblocks than green lights at church would be able to read this book. It is a 200 page or so defense of why talking to the Lord, crying out to the Lord, being a community that does this together is a necessary piece of a congregations life. I really do mean the word necessary.

So now I'm praying. Lord, how do you want me specifically to participate in prayer for and with this congregation of believers I call my church home? I can't wait to find out what the answer is.

So how is God showing you He's involved in your day?