Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prison Break

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

I have been trapped in a spirit of oppression lately. I have labeled it work because that is the easiest thing to blame. There has been much stress there, but the main stress has been within myself. Sometimes we just lock ourselves up in prison all over again, even when we know down deep, that once upon a time Christ set us free.

The circumstances of life make us forget.

And I had to be honest. I had to admit, first of all,  that there were very valid reasons why I was stressed. Sometimes it doesn't help to label all the reasons why you shouldn't be stressed, or fearful, or depressed. I acknowledged my blessings.....I do everyday.

I see the pictures of the flooding, and the wrecked houses, and lives, and I know that is not me.

And I thank God everyday for what I have, and it is a lot. And everyday I have many moments of joy, but there was something that wasn't right under the surface.

And though I don't have to worry about food, or live in a mud hut, or fear that I might be raped at any second as so many women in other countries do.......or fear for my life.

The exhaustion I felt as I held my head in my hands yesterday was real. On the way to work today I felt much the same. Head pressed to the carpet, I prayed just to get up and go in. To put a step in front of the other and keep going in that direction.

For some reason, the words kept coming back to me when I was driving........

"My chains hit the chains hit the chains hit the ground." Just like the song we sing in church just about every Sunday. Yesterday, it was the other song about freedom. "My sins are gone....I've been set God, my Savior has ransomed me..." and I didn't know why.

But now I do.

Because God wanted to tell me something. And this morning He whispered it to my heart so I could hear.
He said......."Lori, you need to embrace your freedom." Just that. And immediately I knew it was the truth because tears sprang. I had forgotten my freedom and put myself in a prison of my own making.

My chains are gone......I've been set free.

And today right now, I feel better. And another praise, a big one. Elaine passed all her Commercial driving tests today. There is now a new bus driver in the Apache Junction School District. A new path has opened for her, and I just know God is going to bless all those kids through her.

Thank you Lord!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Bee Lesson

After morning prayer I went out into the garden, hoping to catch a small breeze. It is August in Arizona, truly the dog days of summer. Eighty degrees this morning at 6 a.m. I sat and noticed that the bees were up early too. Doing their best to pollinate every last Okra bloom. I sat and watched them going about their business, doing what bees do.

Really it was a form of meditation, watching them.....and there is one thing I thought about as I kept watching.

They don't have to set an alarm to get up.
They don't decide they aren't going to work a certain day.
They just rise with the light and go, without question or thought.

And do.

What a lesson I can learn from them about residing in Christ. I tend to wrestle and war with my emotions with every decision. Everything becomes big. Stress rises within me. I lose the peace.

Jesus was kind of like those bees the garden. He got up at first light, and went about doing good. He did what His Father had created Him to do, and He did it perfectly. And my own lesson here, the one Jesus tries everyday to teach me, is that I can do the same.

I can get up and just rest in Jesus, knowing that He is willing and able to carry out the work He would have me do. And perfectly. All I have to do is take the first step, and keep walking along the path He wants me to walk that day.

And instead of striving..........I can just be.

Like the bees.....and Jesus.

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" Psalms 46:10

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." Matthew 11:29

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Counting the gifts once again......Thankful for the bee lesson today......a great day yesterday......moments where I forget to strive and live shoes......physical health......a connection made once again with old that makes spreading the Word into all the earth possible......froth on my steaming cup of coffee......fresh batch of library books coming.....#933-944

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Radical Love

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27

A Morning Prayer
God, you are the Lord......and great is Your name. All it takes is once brief glance at the Heavens and I know it. Your name is above every name, above all life and everything that moves upon the earth. You are worthy........You alone are to be praised.
Nothing is too difficult for you, no wrong is so wrong that it can't be made right again.
When I think that you would turn your attention to me, even for a moment, my heart fills with wonder and gratitude. Not only did you turn your attention to me, you put those unimaginable thought into loving, terrible and radical action.
When you died for me.
I need no more proof than that, of how great Your love is for me.
 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Friday, August 24, 2012

Letting my yes be yes

"But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil. Matthew 5:37

waf·fle 2 (wfl) Informal
v. waf·fled, waf·fling, waf·fles
To speak or write evasively.
To speak, write, or act evasively about.
Evasive or vague speech or writing.

I have learned this one the hard way. I am someone who likes things peaceful and smooth. I don't like conflict and I am many times too quick to agree or not agree with something if it means not making waves, or making someone else happy. I want to please people. But in the long run, I end up not pleasing them or myself.

Many times in life I have found myself in the uncomfortable position of volunteering or saying yes or no to someone or something and then almost immediately regretting it. In my defense, I have to say that I have gotten better in this area.

I have only come to understand and appreciate what Jesus is saying here more and more as I have gotten older. What he is saying is: "Hey, you will save yourself and others a whole lot of grief if you just give a simple "Yes" or "No." If you vacillate and agree to something you really don't agree with or want, you will compromise your character and more than that, and this is the part that's really painful:

It is poor reflection on God's character as well.

Not to say that God's character can be changed because of what I do, it can't. But if I say I am a believer and people know that? They have a right to expect a certain amount of integrity.

And if people can't trust my word?

They can't believe what I say. And what I stand for is in question too.

I had a friend who always had to pray about everything before she agreed to it. Secretly, I used to think that was kind a cop out. A way to get out of doing things. But now?

I am starting to see the wisdom in it.

It saves a lot of time and trouble in the long run when I don't have to run around doing damage control. It makes others feel much more confident in me.

And me more confident in myself.

What do you think? Have you ever agreed to something and then been really, really sorry?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I rush out of work, almost staggering...... to take a deep healing breath. I sit here and I look at these clouds rolling by and I cry for the beauty of them. And in fact, a tear has escaped. It happened before I could roll it back in, to be the strong person I need to be. But who am I fooling?
Never have I felt more rooted to this spot, tethered to this earth as when I am under this kind of stress.
And I resent it, I want to be free of it and I wonder, how did I get here again?
And what's the reason. I wonder, what part of my character has God not yet chiseled out?
 I would give anything to stay right here on this bench and not go in. To sit and dream, and let these clouds carry me away. It almost looks like I could hop from one to another......

Oh how I long to stay here for the rest of these twelve hours. Here I am again, Lord. My back against the wall......done under with stress and once again, you are the only One who can help. Others can sympathize and empathize, but only you can take this feeling away and put peace in its place.
I am waiting.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Mama's Prayers

See, I will bring them from the land of the north
    and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
    expectant mothers and women in labor;
a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping;
    they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
    on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
    and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
Jeremiah 31:8,9
Ever feel like you're in exile? I think we all do at some point in life. Maybe you are in a job you hate but you know you need to stay there until retirement. Maybe you are in school and you feel like that is exile. Maybe, God forbid, you are in jail or prison. Wherever or whatever that exile is, you are not where you want to be yet.
As I have been reading through Jeremiah, I have wanted to get to the "good part." Israel rebelled as a nation, adopted other religious practices that went against everything God and everything He stands for, even going as far as sacrificing their own children on altars to foreign gods. It is painful to read, knowing what's coming.
Knowing they will be exiled from their homeland, expelled, taken into captivity. Again.
And yet, when I read these words, I thought about Israel today. I think about all they have had to go through as a nation and how God was faithful to His word. None of the powerful nations that went against them are around anymore, and Israel is still standing as a nation, as a people.
Flash forward to my life right now. And my life up to this point. How like Israel I have been, ignoring God, thinking I knew best, thinking I didn't need church, breaking my Mom and Dad's heart when I decided to give up food. And yet......
God was so merciful. He never left me. He brought me out of exile, back home where I belong.
I am at a crossroads at work right now, and as I was praying this morning, I knew that I had to once again, give it up to the Lord. I am burned out. There is no spark left in this fire.
And yet in other parts of my life the fire is blazing.
And anytime someone invites me to write or says what I wrote helped them? I am saved a little bit more.
There was a time long ago. God brought it to me again as I was praying this morning, like a sweet balm to my soul. All at once I was back home in front of the fire with my Mom. Tears sprang to my eyes as I remembered how she would get up in the morning before I got ready for High School and start a fire. She and I would watch 700 Club together, just the two of us.
And she would take my hand in hers, voice trembling, and pray for me.
She knew High School was my exile. It was so hard for me in so many ways. My Dad would have prayed too, but he was in his own exile at that time. A job he hated. And yet God brought him out of that too. Because of his never taking sick leave, he was able to retire at 62. A free man.
And because of my Mama's prayers, I graduated and was removed from my exile too. Through it all God taught me the lesson of faithfulness, and never giving up because someone else is believing in you. And that God is with me wherever I go. And He caused some good things to happen in those four years too.
I wrote a poem for my favorite teacher back then, my music teacher Wylie Moffat. Even then words were longing to break free in me. He had it framed and it hung in his house up until he died. And my words were used on the cover of his memorial service bulletin.
Today, I am thankful for fireside prayers. They are still working.
Thank you Mom, for being so faithful.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Change a comin......

The relentless heat has tired us all out, even the birds. The desert is waiting for change, waiting to be relieved from the oppressive grip of summer which will surely come, it always does. Just not when we're ready. In the desert, you live by its rules, not your own. But there are ever so slight whispers of it nonetheless.

This morning I sat outside and there was a breeze and it was bearable. Enjoyable. I sat there thanking the Lord for moments of peace and time off after a challenging work week. The garden yielded a beautiful watermelon yesterday. When I think that this patch of green was a patch of dirt not too long ago, I think of what God does with our lives, that is when we let Him.

Elaine is off to Texas for a few days for a cherished and much anticipated visit with her Aunt Billie Ruth and her cousin Sandra. Billie Ruth is 88 years young, still active doing tours for local historical buildings and spending hours in the library doing genealogy research for others.

I have been alone with Elaine's Mom and it has been interesting. She keeps asking where Elaine is, and I keep giving the same answer. We are both learning steps to a new dance, neither one is us sure of the steps. But so far, so good. The hygiene issue is ongoing though, and I never thought I would be thankful for the absence of the sense of smell, but at times like this it does come in handy.

Work is stressful right now, and though I have a few days off now, work looms large on Thursday. The biggest challenge? How can I glorify the Lord in a place where I am fearful and anxious?

I feel it sapping my emotional, mental, and creative strength, nipping at my heels even when I am not there. And even though I am so very thankful for this time off that replenishes, Thursday feels like a steamroller and each day brings me closer to its flattening shadow.

Yet, when I think of all that the Lord has brought me through there from my very first day until now, and how He has been with me with every step, it humbles me greatly.

This will be my seventeenth year there, and while there have been countless anxiety ridden moments and nights where I have tossed and turned with worry, there have also been countless victories, and God has brought me some wonderful friends I would never have met otherwise. Friends who I know will be with me for life.

All along, each worry and fear has been calmed and tempered by His gracious Spirit who has been with me every moment, and with me still. Somehow He always keeps the wave from engulfing me totally and until such time as I am able to walk out the door for good, I want to be faithful with what He has given me.

The only possible way is by leaning on Him. Totally.

And to keep a count of all the good, and there is much that morning breezes, whispers of rain that hit my window, fresh melon from the garden, Elaine being able to make this trip, that my niece loves her new school, a wonderful Birthday, telephone conversations with friends and family that always lift spirits, fresh batch of books via Amazon, His daily grace raining down even when I don't deserve it, words that somehow come together, time off........always grateful for that. #922-932

Sunday, August 19, 2012


“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”  John Muir

I am missing the trailhead today.....I remember so vividly, the feel......the crunch of walking over the earth, scrambling over the rocks, the stab of the walking stick as each step measured, and the grand rhythm of it all. It is a constant ache in my soul that never goes away.

To get back there.

Some people say, I am a mountain person, or I am an ocean person. I am just a nature person, displaced into a town, a transplant. In some ways I think we all are, and forever trying to find our way back home.

We have this pattern we walk because we have to. And places we must go, and they are all good places, but we know it's not the pattern God originally picked for us. Not this meaningless counting out of days we work, so we can be off.

And so we go the trailhead or the shore to remember the truth of how it is supposed to be, and how one day it will be again,  when He welcomes us back home for good.

I have been there, I have stood on the shore, and climbed to the top and felt the exhilaration of being Home. That place where we recapture our soul once more, let it find wings and fly home.

Click.......I can almost hear the missing piece snap back in place.

Even the trees and the waves whisper.........Why have you waited so long?

“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. ” John Muir

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lattes in Church

It's a curious phenomenon. Ever since bigger churches have started adding bookstores and coffee stands, I have noticed more and more people carrying their lattes into church. It kinda bugs me. Now, anybody that knows me, knows I have a passion for coffee and books. Nobody loves them more than I do, I just think there is a time and place for everything. Maybe it's the Baptist in me. I think they should be able to put their latte down for an hour or so, at least in church.

Here in the desert, it is very hot and very dry, so I totally understand a bottled water in church. After all, the Pastor may have need of it. He might just have a coughing fit right in the middle of the sermon, or have a bad case of cotton mouth. You could be the hero, offering your water. But coffee is a leisurely drink. Something to have in the fellowship hall (remember those?) after church, with a bad store bought cookie or donut.

To be honest, I even have mixed feelings about having those places on the church premises, although I frequent them myself. It is confusing. I know the money goes to good causes, but even so, my legalistic side imagines Jesus coming in with a whip and tipping over the coffee cart and scattering books everywhere.

I know, I am mixed up.

That's why I blog, to share my mixed up feelings with my fellow believers, and anyone else who will listen. I have some hangups, I know. I just feel a certain decorum and reverence should accompany church attendance, and yet I love it when our Pastor uses YouTube videos to illustrate a sermon point. And I love that he uses an iPad.

I definitely believe in laughter and humor at church. My Grandmother on the other hand, didn't think laughter and church belonged in the same sentence. She also didn't think there should ever be any guitars or drums involved at any time during worship and certainly no clapping or raised hands. She didn't think church was the place to show any joy or expression of any kind.

She believed in paying attention......well, she paid attention mainly to what everyone else was doing. She sighed loudly in church and embarrassed us all. Bless her heart.

She also picked the quietest time to unwrap her Reed's peppermint candy and offer one to everyone else in the pew. It also bothered her that after Amy got her divorce, she was still allowed to be the church organist. I can still hear her to this day......"She should be in the back of the church...."

Well, now you can understand why I have all these conflicting feelings about how church should be and how you should behave in it. Just last Sunday, I saw two of the shortest skirts I have ever seen, at church. I want to ask them, "Do you know where you are?"

And I am still surprised when I see tattoos in church, though I shouldn't be. I do, however believe in drums, and guitars and raising my hands and laughing in church.

After all, if being saved from hell and living forever with Jesus isn't a reason to rejoice, I don't know what is.

Maybe I need to sit in the back of the church with Amy the organist.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Every Moment Counts

He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,  that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Acts 17:26-28

God is waiting for us to invite Him into every moment of our day, and in every aspect of our lives. Just imagine.......He is already there and ready to make every single moment a Holy moment. That is something that is entirely possible when you realize just how close He really is.

Just imagine, every moment a sacrament.....walking to work, stopping for coffee, waiting for the bus, sitting down to your desk......imagine Him there, just before the phone starts ringing.

In every real moment of our lives. He is.

I often think of those moments right before September 11, 2001. If those people had known what was about to hit?

How incredibly Holy and precious each moment would have become.

But none of us really knows at any given time what is about to happen. That is why each and every moment matters.

Each one counts......savor the day.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Please enjoy this beautiful video and song by David Nevue.....the theme at church yesterday was "Homecoming," and how God is always watching and waiting for us to come home to Him. Oh how He longs to welcome us with open arms, just as the father of that long lost son. I can just imagine how he went to that window every day and night, hoping to see a lone figure walking up the road, hoping that it was his lost son, and the joy when that day finally came.....Luke 15:11-32

And always, as you listen to this song, give a prayer of gratitude in your minds.....count the thanks along with me and Ann Voskamp, here........

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why all Birthdays are important

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9,10

Today, I celebrate two Birthdays......the one my parents gave me, and the one my Father in Heaven gave me. Because of that, I will never be too old to rejoice, to celebrate, to remember, who it is that gave me this life. I was blessed because my parents, planned me, wanted me, looked forward to my birth with eager anticipation.

Maybe it was different with you. Maybe your earthly parents didn't give much thought to having you. Maybe they didn't want you at all.....But the truth is, Somebody wanted you on this green earth. He wanted you Here because He has a grand purpose for your life.

More than that, He wants you with Him in Heaven for all eternity.

To be where He is.

That my friends, is a reason to celebrate. For all time.

Just think of it! If you are here right now, living, breathing, is because you were thought of and wanted by the Lord of all creation. Not only that, He put a deposit of His own Holy Spirit in your soul, so that you would never, ever forget how much He loves you!

Oh how He loves you.......Oh how He loves me.....Oh how He loves you and me.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A bus filled with blessing

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:3

She had almost forgotten about the application she had filled out for the bus driving position......almost but not quite. She was sitting by the computer when the phone lit up with an incoming call. The phone is turned all the way down so her Mom won't run and answer it. In the past she had agreed to things over the phone "Oh, yes, you can come and service the air conditioner...." It has happened before.

It was the Apache Junction school district calling. She couldn't believe her ears when he said, "How soon can you come in and see us?" For years, every now and then we would pass a bus and I would hear her say, "I would love to do that."

For the past year and a half, her Mom has been her full time job, and it has been hard, especially for someone who has worked all their life.

So she went, and of course they loved her. Especially when they found out about her driving experience. They wanted her so badly they even pulled strings to get her in the August session of training.

And the schedule is such that she can come home between routes to check on her Mom........and, it's only just around the corner!

"This," she said, "Is the first job that I have felt in a long time that is from God."

I have waited for this, I have prayed for this.....for my dear friend who lives her whole life for others.

Whose hands are still partially numb from her last project for someone else.

Last night we sat at a restaurant as pictures came through my phone......there were two completed Mr. Potato heads, one my brother did and one my niece did. I smiled as I read the texts. "Sometimes, you just have to take time out to play Mr. Potato head with your girl," he says.

As I scroll through, the phone rings in my hand and it's my Mom.

"I was just having a glass of wine and thinking of you," she said. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing," she said, and she laughed. "Well," I said, "I happen to think it's a good thing, since I am having one too." And we laughed together and she told me about her day. And I told her about Elaine's new job.....

She whooped and hollered over the phone........."Oh, that is so great! She is just right for that job."

Later I get a text from my brother. My Mom must have told him....."CONGRATULATIONS to Elaine, Wooooooohooooooo. Bus driver for kids? Perfect. I am so happy."

This, I think, is what it's all about.

Rejoicing with those who rejoice. And I think of what a cornucopia is life. Some days so full of hardship you just want to sit in a corner and never come out, and then, blessings so rich that all you can do is lift your hands skyward.

Praise God from who all blessings flow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The race worth running

I sometimes think of her when I see a little girl of four or five. She was my Grandma and Grandpa’s first child. I have her name in between my own first and last, and maybe that’s why I wonder after so many years, who and what she would have become.

That day must have started out like any other. Rising early, they would have had their chores. My Grandmother had given Annie a task, to put the wood on the stove and dry it out. Annie forgot about it, as a five year old will and Grandma had scolded her. After that she went outside to play with the little boy, a foster child they had taken in.

And propped up against the building was the shotgun my Grandfather had left out. Back in those days you needed guns handy then, kept loaded for coyotes, wolves…..predators that would attack your cows, horses, chickens.

The boy picked it up meaning no harm, they just were playing after all. And he was so young himself, he couldn't have known what he was doing. He pointed, and the gun went off, hitting Annie in the stomach and I can't even think of what my Grandfather thought as the shot rang out. I can scarely imagine the horror of what they found.

Back then, there were no ambulances, no 911, no cell phones, no help.

My Grandmother, held her as she suffered and died. And my Grandfather, grief stricken, went after the boy and couldn't find him. And oh how he must have suffered a lifetime of guilt after that, for leaving that gun out. I am not sure my Grandmother ever forgave him.

He died when he was only 64, of stomach cancer when I was only two. He loved me, I know this for sure. He called me his “Blonden Engel,” that's blonde-haired angel in German and I hope that when he looked in my eyes, he saw a bit of her. I hope that I eased his pain just a little bit, this good and Godly man who always asked strangers if they knew the Lord.

And I think of my Grandmother, and how she must have felt holding her little girl and knowing there was nothing at all she could do to save her. And of the guilt she must have felt the rest of her life for scolding her that day. And I wonder about that poor boy who fled. How his life turned out......he was never found or heard from again to my knowledge.

I think of the current battle over gun ownership and gun control, and how passing laws and restricting gun ownership will never keep accidents from happening, or madmen from going on shooting sprees. The criminals will still have them.

And in the final analysis, it's not guns or gun control that will ever save us, it's Jesus.

Always Jesus. And no matter how hard or crazy things get in this world? He assures me it's worth it. Because of Annie, because of my Grandpa, because of so many others.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicken Wars

They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:8

Chick-fil-a boss Dan Kathy has been taking a lot of flack these days for coming out and saying that he supports the traditional view of marriage. And those who exercised their own free right to support someone who was exercising their free right to free speech by going to buy a chicken sandwich yesterday are taking the flack too.

Yesterday, we didn't see anything at all uncommon. We saw Americans doing something that has been part of our culture ever since a group of rabble rousers threw some tea overboard in the Boston harbor. They were putting action behind their beliefs. Taking a stand....backing up someone they wanted to support.

Independence and individuality is something that flows through the veins of our country's DNA. It is built into our constitution and framework of our entire belief system. But it is not always easy to know when to step up and when to back down. At what point do we act on our beliefs?

Do we act on them even if by doing so we further widen the gulf between differing views by making it about "us" versus "them?" Someone has to be the enemy. Someone has to be wrong.

Many of the comments I read  opposing the support of Chick-fil-a were very troubling. It seems many people have very definite, and in my view, warped ideas about Christianity and Christians in general, most of them not favorable, some of them outright disturbing.

We were labeled, fundamentalist, racist, gluttonous, stupid, ignorant, hateful, uneducated and uninformed. And the Westboro Baptist Church kept popping up in comments, as though all Christians should be branded with that particular (and I use the term very loosely) church.

You could argue the point that if the church and Christians in general had done a better job historically of loving and reconciling people of differing viewpoints maybe this all wouldn't be an issue. But then again, no one ever loved and forgave and tried to reconcile more than Jesus, and they crucified Him for it.

Because they didn't want to hear the truth. They didn't want to be told what they were doing was wrong. Lets face it, none of us does.

And the very same spirit that existed then, continues to wreak havoc in the world today. He is our true enemy, and he has only one goal. To Kill, To Steal, To Destroy......Lives. That's been his goal from the beginning.

Hurting people sometimes strike out against something they may not even fully understand themselves. The enemy is the spirit behind the hate, and it is he who we must fight, always. Never the individuals.

There is a war we are in. But it's not us against them. It is God against all sin whatever the flavor.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are you ready?

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69

I had just finished reading John chapter 6 during my prayer time a few mornings ago. I closed my eyes as I digested all I had read......this chapter is swirling with action. I needed to reflect for a moment on all I had read. It was just getting light out and I heard a dove calling from a few houses away. My little candle was flickering away silently casting a reflection in the little shop window.

I was surprised by a question that was breathed into my heart.....I had just read that saddest of verses, the one where many of Jesus disciples hit the road. It was another instance where Jesus had just finished confounding people with the truth, and it wasn't want they wanted to hear.

"Are you ready to be my Disciple?" that was the question I heard.

I sat there conflicted. "Of course I am," I thought. But then I remembered how many of them ended up.

And what was required. Am I ready to take a plunge off a 500 foot drop? Am I ready to commit the rest of my life to a God who commands the wind and the rain? Who can speak the world into existence? Who is many times unpredictable and scary? Am I ready to go wherever He asks? Wherever He leads?

Then I thought about life itself. If someone would have asked me when I came into this world, knowing what I know now, all I would go through, would I have so been quick to say, "Bring it on?"  I most likely would  have said no, I am not ready. Who is ever ready? 

But do I want to do it anyway, also knowing what I know now? And has it been worth it thus far?

To that I can give a resounding, and emphatical "Yes."

God, in His great wisdom, chooses to bring us through a bit at a time. He allows some pain for growth, but also baptizes us with joy and wraps us in His love and comfort through His Holy Spirit.

That is where I stand today and rejoice along with the 12, for as Peter so rightly said,  "To where would we go?"


Thank you Lord, for giving me the chance at this wonderful adventure of following you. Everything this world has to offer pales in comparison to what You have to give. Amen

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Are online friendships real?

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Philemon 1:4-7

I had another post in mind but when I saw Duane Scott's topic I decided to chime in with  my two cents worth and answer the question he put forth. Let me give a wholehearted emphatical "Yes" to the question of whether online friendships are real.

When I entered the blogging world way back in 2009 I had no idea where it would lead. But God gave me a wonderful surprise. Along this journey, I have read heartfelt words full of laughter, tears and emotions that have moved me greatly. And as it turns out these were all attached to people. Real live living people.

And I have become very attached to some of you. In fact, I sincerely hope we are friends because that is how I think of you.  And even though we have never met? You are almost as real to me as someone dear I can touch and feel each day.

Along the way, you became real to me. Your words touched me, became a part of the fabric of my life.

Each day I know you a little bit more, and I hope you know me better too. Because in this journey toward Heaven, we are starting our eternal friendships right here.....

Right now.

You have become my prayer partners and I hope you know that in my little place of prayer at first light, when your name crosses my heart I pray for you, and I think about your life and the people in it.

I could call you all by name but you know who you are, and I don't want to leave anyone out!

I know there should be a disclaimer now, we have all heard the stories. Someone masquerades on Facebook as someone else with someone else's picture.....people are hurt, lives and relationships are destroyed, and I guess that is real too.

But that's not you.

Today as I walked down the pathway that led to work, I smiled as I passed by the spot where about  two months ago I actually talked to Duane Scott on the phone for the first time. He became more than beautiful words on a page as we talked and laughed about writing, and life, and my ineptitude on the computer.

He became a real person, and because of that conversation, that little place beside the walkway has permanantly changed for me, it has become a good memory. And it all started online.  

I remember how ill at ease and self concious I felt about calling, because I have really never escaped my shyness about meeting new people, but I smile when I remember how his friendliness and kindness put me at ease.

Online friendships I don't know about, but online friends? They are real, and I treasure every one of you.