Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Upside the Head

Every so often God will just smack me 'upside the head'. Happened this week - yesterday to be exact. I cannot for the life of me remember who I was talking to, so I pray that it wasn't just a random conversation with myself. (How embarrassing!) Anyway, God's message came through loud and clear.

In the last couple of days, God has been showing his grace and mercy to me in very some obvious ways. I am seeing Him working so clearly in my life right now. That's when I said to someone (again, I hope not myself) that "God has really been working lately". SMACK! God works all the time - not just when I see or sense movement from Him. In fact, I had to wonder today if the reality is that when we don't feel or see God moving is exactly when He is most at work.

Again this morning I was thanking God for some very specific and timely answers to prayer that I had seen. I thanked Him for how He was working in our lives. SMACK! Didn't get the point yesterday, so God had to give it to me again today. Today's lesson: I need to express my gratitude and thanks to God everyday for all that He is doing in my life. It doesn't matter if I see it or sense it or think He forgot to check my prayer requests. If I feel His presence strongly or I don't feel it at all, He is just as much a part of my life and working and interceding on my behalf.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you."- God (Joshua 1:5 NIV)

Oh Lord, thank you for life lessons. Thank you for listening and for caring enough to bring things to my attention. Thank you for making me teachable and for being my Teacher.

Humbly His,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not for Sale - Human Trafficking

Sometimes our hearts are broken over injustices in life. I find mine laying on the floor. This week the table, a magazine printed by Ashland Theological Seminary, was issued. The topic - Human Trafficking.

The first article really got me thinking as the author wrote about the various reactions to the term "sanctity of life." Heard it many times, but today for some reason, it hit me in the middle of my ribs. With all the Presidential election press, topics such as abortion, homosexuality, and equal rights are at the forefront of our minds. All politics aside, I was struck with awe at how many 'christians' I know who cast their vote only for candidates who are pro-life, but then cast aside the HIV patient because he or she is a homosexual. Something just doesn't seem right there. A life is a life is a life. Don't get me wrong, I stand strong with the Word of God on these issues, but that doesn't change the heart that beats inside of each and every person.

I had lunch this week with a young woman from South America whose heart has been changed by the six months she spent in Cambodia serving in an orphanage and home for HIV infected women. A place where the sick sleep on the floor without any cots or blankets. God is raising her up and calling her to reach out to women and children who have been sold into Human Trafficking rings.

Think this is only a third world problem? Think again. Toledo, Ohio - about two hours from my house - ranks fifth in the United States for human trafficking. Not sure what all this human trafficking talk is about. Then check out this video from Love146.org. If you think that this has nothing to do with you because you aren't involved in sexual immorality, then think again. The carpet you are standing on may very well have been made by a child sold into slavery through human trafficking.

One of the articles in the magazine so pointedly says "We can stop assuming that every woman and girl on a 'street corner' wants to be there and that every runaway deserves what waits for her on the street." (Mitzi Smith, Ph.D., pg. 8 - the table). The entire issue of the table is available on-line to read. It is worth your time!

As Christians, as people, we need to open our eyes. We need to know what goes on in the world around us. No - you can't save every child and feed every hungry person. But you can pray. You can be aware and educated on these matters. You can look the problems in the eye and not just look the other way. God called us to reach out to the oppressed and the imprisoned. He created us for such a time as this. What is God calling you to do? Listen carefully - you just might make a difference.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Alone with Jesus

For the second week in a row our women's bible study has been canceled due to weather. I am disappointed to say the least. I absolutely love studying the Word of God with these women and the fact that we are starting a new study on Esther thrills me even more.

My type-A personality would demand that I come home and do something. My husband is in the living room now with a group of men for a bible study. So certainly I should do something productive with my time. We have a women's retreat coming up in 6 weeks. I have several notes I need to write and send. I need to work on devotionals. I have more than one bible study sitting by my bed that could use my attention. Not to mention, more than one book that needs to be read and another stack that I need to study for the retreat. On top of that there is still a room in the basement that needs some straightening up.

But you know what I want to do? What I really want to do. I want to sit down on the floor with my bible, a pen, a hi-liter, a cup of coffee and my notecards. I want to dig into the Word. Today God just kept giving me "Isaiah 46". I very flippantly thought that was the part in Isaiah that talks about waiting and so I began a blog in my head about being strengthened as we wait on the Lord. Not the right scripture. So I will 'wait' for that one until another day.

The lists will have to wait. The to-dos and the wannas are going to have to be put off until tomorrow. Tonight I am going to be Alone with Jesus. Just me and my Savior. I'm not sure what He wants to show me in Isaiah 46. I will never know if I don't stop and spend some time there. So coffee, pen, notecards, hi-liter and bible in hand - I head to the floor to sit with the Lord.

Lord, teach me. Make me teachable. Still my thoughts long enough to hear you. I want to know you not just know about you. I want you to fill my heart, my mind and my soul. I want to learn about who you are. So Rabbi, teach me. Your humble student and cherished child - Kim

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Do Not Enter

DO NOT ENTER. The sign reads very clearly and prominently at the on/off ramp of a local highway that I pass on my way to work. This week those words just struck me like a handwritten message from God.

How many of us would ever think about intentionally going the wrong way on the exit ramp? Do not enter - simple enough. Why would we want to? After all, we are likely to get hurt or to hurt someone else. Can you imagine the stress of going the wrong way down the freeway with cars and semis coming at you at speeds well over 65 mph? If we happened on there by chance, I believe most of us would pull over, back up or do whatever we needed to do to get going in the right direction.

So why is that when God gives us directions, we decide to go the wrong way anyway. It seems to me that when we go the wrong way in life we are probably going to get hurt or we will hurt someone else. It certainly has been my own experience in life. My decision to go in the wrong direction at various points in my life has caused plenty of dings and outright crashes along the way. I've hurt people.

The government posts a sign and we heed its warning. God not only gives us directions, but he shows us the blessings and the promises of obedience to Him and we still intentionally get on the wrong ramp - even going full speed ahead at times. Just who do you suppose has our best interest at heart. If the government cares enough to tell us which direction not to go for own safety, don't you suppose that God might care a little more.

Galatians 1:3-4a "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age." Seriously - it is still good to know that if and when we find ourselves going the wrong way down the highway of life that God is there to rescue us.

Humbly Seeking His direction,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pass the Peace

The last Christmas meal is over. There are still dishes in the sink that may just have to wait until morning to find their way to the dishwasher. My social and hospitality tanks are running low. The only thing I really long to have passed to me at the table right now is a huge helping of peace. Anybody else out there just looking for a moment of solitude with the Prince of Peace?

In this fast paced world in which we live, we are offered a buffet of opportunities to keep ourselves busy and occupied. There is an abundance of entertainment choices for our minds and eyes. No sooner do you stop doing something, than there is a commercial, a cell phone, an ipod, a website that is available for you to clench your teeth into to feed your mind and soul. It is as though we might shrivel up and cease to exist if we stop long enough to be still. Contrary to what the enemy wants us to believe, our minds will be just fine if we stop for a moment and aren't finding new and creative ways to fill it up with whatever is in front of us. We wonder why we don't have peace and yet we don't stop long enough to let it rest on us. Keep moving, keep busy, keep talking, keep doing something - anything.

I love people. I love to be busy and to be productive. I love life and I love a full life. But I'm full enough of all that has been passed around the table for the last few days. I am just fine with sitting at the table prepared for me by my Savior and taking in whatever he wants to offer me. I could go for some one-on-one conversation with my Lord. I could go for someone passing me some peace and a double portion would be just fine.

Hungry for Him alone