Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Good Thing

Today marks a momentous occasion. I am resting. For the first time in at least 7 years - there is nothing on my calendar. Nothing to prepare for. Nothing to attend. Nothing to schedule around. Three more weeks with n-o-t-h-i-n-g - NOTHING, outside of going to work and home life.

Reading some books, enjoying much needed and desired time with my husband, and relaxing. It's a good thing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sometimes I Forget

Sometimes I forget the magnitude of God's power and goodness and so he reminds me. Whenever I find myself focusing on the trivial, God sends a variety of people to me. Today it was a gentleman I know from Cambodia. He and his family will soon be heading to California to start a church for Cambodians and others. As soon as I saw him I was reminded of the most amazing testimony of God's faithfulness that he shared with me not too long ago. I pray I don't mess it up too bad in the translation.

A few months ago he had gone to California to meet with the pastor or others who would be helping him get started with the church. While he is there they tell him he needs to find a place for he and his family to live and that they need it to be free of charge. Okay - recap. Man from Cambodia knows no one in that part of California and he is to find a place to live for free for he and his wife and children near the church.

He leaves the church and begins to walk around the block or blocks numerous times just praying to God. He is asking God what he is to do. Not long after - he calls his uncle, who is not from California, and tells him the situation. The uncle then says didn't you know you have an auntie that lives there somewhere. He says "An auntie? I didn't know I had an auntie." His uncle gives him the number and he calls her. He introduces himself for the first time to her and she gives him her address. As God would have it - right near the church. He goes to visit her for the first time in his life and she offers he and his family a place to stay for free as long as they need.

She doesn't know Jesus yet. She is a buddhist. I have a feeling she is going to know Jesus soon.

May it be recorded for you oh Lord of your faithfulness and honor - lest we forget.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Little Respect Please

There I am sitting in the same room with this nice young lady when she looks straight at me and says the "B" word. Did she have no respect at all? Did she not wonder how I might feel? Did it not occur to her that maybe I would have some sort of reaction to her words? No. It came off the tip of her tongue as though she said it several times a day. There was nothing that even led into it that might cause me to think it was coming.

Bifocal. She said "bifocal" as though it was perfectly normal. Barely my daughter's age and now she is my eye doctor.

Did it not occur to her that I was already pondering such things as: "maybe I need more calcium" and "who knew your skin has less elasticity after 40"? Did she not wonder if maybe I was already in a funk over a slowing down metabolism. Mercy - have some mercy and sensitivity before you go throwing around such strong words!

If I'm going to get dumped into a category of age that is now considered "getting older", then let's have some respect for our elders please.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eating Humble Pie

God & I have been having some 'discussions' about where He is leading me and what He wants me to do with my life. Except He isn't speaking to me about it. I am a list person so my conversation goes like this: "Lord, what do you want me to do, what kind of ministry should I be involved in, how long will I be doing that, how are we going to do this, etc.?" No answer. Repeat: "Lord, pleeeeeease I NEED to know". Still no answer.

Then my Chinese friend comes to see me today and I am now enjoying a fresh piece of humble pie. She came to the U.S. to attend seminary. She came with her young daughter while her husband stayed behind for the 3 - 4 years she will be here. When she arrived, she could not speak one sentence in English. Not one. So not only is she alone in a foreign country, with a small child, doesn't speak any English, knows no one - she is going to graduate school. She amazes me. Humble as can be.

I asked her one day what she was going to do after she graduated and returned to China. She looked at me puzzled and responded "I do not know. I will ask the Lord what He wants me to do when I am done here." She tells me that God sent her here to go to school so she didn't need to be concerned about what was next. She knew God would tell her when it was time. It's not time.

Now get this - not only has she learned English, enrolled her daughter in school, works, takes classes, is basically a single mom for the next few years - she started a bible study for Chinese students who attend a local college and she started a Chinese church. Wait there is more. She made the arrangements for the Chinese church, preaches there sometimes, and she makes food for all the people who attend every week. You read that right, she came from China to be a missionary to the Chinese people here. That might not have been part of the original plan, but that is how God works. Several have received Christ, several have been baptized and more keep coming. Please don't forget she is a full-time graduate student who still has some problems with English.

God sends her to see me every time I start to get ahead of myself and Him. So for today, I will do what God tells me and when He tells me to do something different, then I will. It will save us both a lot of trouble.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Wheel

Have you ever been the hamster in the wheel? Not the running part, but rather, only seeing the inside of your own little world? It is so easy to get caught up in what is familiar to us and then staying there. I've been there. If we get off the wheel - OH MY - what might happen??? Perhaps we would see people they way Jesus sees them. Perhaps Christ would lead us on an adventure of a lifetime. Perhaps we would find the joy in learning new things as we walk closer to Christ. Perhaps others would see more of Jesus in us.

I have heard way too many conversations lately where I listened to people so caught up in their own lives. Lives that were being lived without any meaning other than: get up, get dressed, work, eat, work, eat, sleep - repeat. While those are necessary, that isn't all there is.

Sometimes staying on the 'wheel' means that we have traded our souls for a life of complacency, apathy, indifference. Sometimes staying on the 'wheel' makes it easier to pretend that everything in life is just fine. Sometimes staying on the 'wheel' means we don't have to face what we have hidden in the deep recesses of our soul. Sometimes staying on the 'wheel' is just plain selfish. Christ has called us to more than that.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 NIV

Perhaps it is time to trade in the 'wheel' for a life with more soul.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Biggest Loser

What do these two pictures have in common? LOTS.

Last week I was reading this blog and immediately thought "that's what I need - the 30 Day Shred dvd". I will lose weight and get into shape if I have it. I honestly got on Amazon and went to Best Buy to check on prices. In the Best Buy parking lot I came to my senses. If I don't use the exercise videos I already own, why do I think this one would suddenly cause me to get up at 4 a.m. and exercise. Did I seriously believe that I could buy it and lose the same 10 lbs. I have been trying to lose for the last 2 years in just 30 days? Here's the deal. No exercise after 40 = no weight loss.

So it goes with the shelves of bibles, commentaries and other books I have. I love books, bibles and commentaries. Some women collect shoes - I collect books. I enjoy reading a good bible commentary. The bible offers endless opportunities for reading and learning. But just like my exercise videos, if I don't do something with my bible I won't grow spiritually. I can own 100 bibles in every translation, but if I don't read it, study it, and apply it to my life I won't see any change. No study of the Word = no growth.

I complain about not losing weight and being out of shape. Bottom line is that I need to commit to exercising and start with the dvds and running shoes I already own. I need to start using what I've got.

I want to grow closer to the Lord. I want to see radical transformation in my spiritual life. Bottom line is that I need to commit to getting up earlier to spend more time with the Lord. I already have the equipment I need and I need to use it.

Oh there is one big difference between the pictures. If I use the equipment in the first picture, I will lose something. If I don't use the equipment in the second picture, I will lose a whole lot more.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Anybody else?

Have you ever gone to church and were just utterly convinced you were the only one who had problems? Or maybe your season of grievous sin is behind you, but somehow you are sure you might be the only one who hasn't lived a perfect life? Me too. I grew up in a church where no one had any problems. I was thoroughly convinced the only 'sinner' in the church was me. And I was only 9. At 23 - I sought the grace and guidance of another church only to discover that the 'plastic people' lived there too. At 43 - I find myself sometimes still wondering if I am the only one whose repentant heart had so much to repent of over the course of my life. The closer I get to God - the more I feel like I need to confess. If I know the truth of God's Word and the lies that satan wants me to get caught up in and I still feel this way from time to time, I have to wonder how many people outside of the church find themselves living in the shadow of the perfect plastic people. People need to know Christians hurt, bleed and mess up and that God forgives, loves and heals.

So who will you be real with today? People need to see the grace of Christ lived out in our lives.