Monday, January 30, 2012

Fall and Rise.... I sit all snuggled up in my warm blanket with my "Atlanta" Starbucks coffee cup, filled to the brim with that morning wake me up warmth, I read my Bible. This year our church has chosen to go through the Bible in a different way. We are studying from Genesis to Revelations with the Bible called "The Story." Written by Randy Frazee this Bible is straight from the NIV, no chapter/verse, just novel form.

This way of studying the Bible has shown our church amazing things in the lives of our community of believers. In small groups all over our city people are opening up and seeing , some for the first time, their relationship of their lower story compared and how it connects to God's upper story.

Today I read Chapter 17 "The Kingdoms' Fall" The bio of all the kings who worshiped idols and their sons who (some) chose not to worship idols. The prophetic words of Ezekial and Jeremiah. The clear end to Jerusalem, the tears of Jeremiah and the rising up of the dry bones to complete an army to bring glory to God. It was a lot to absorb.  The weeping prophet had much to weep for, his beloved city Jerusalem was going to be seiged, people were going to die, they would not return to their God. After all their evil ways, in their desperation King Zedekiah begged Jeremiah "Inquire of the Lord for us, King Nebuchadnezzar is coming for us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us."  ..........REALLY?  After all the evil they did through all those years and years?  After they found themselves backed into a corner...NOW they want God to intervene?

God reveals His story, his plan to Jeremiah. (my paraphrase) Even though Judah had turned their backs from God for years and years, God was going to come in and save the day...NOT because of their pleas but because of His name sake, for His glory. He wanted to (once again...remember the Red Sea, burning bush, etc. etc.) prove His power and mighty hand. God went on to say that He was going to cleanse them from their sins, resettle their towns and their ruins would be rebuilt. God said, "I will put my Spirit in you  and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it."

My mind went to America...where are we in this story of God? Are we like Judah? Do we worship, respect, honor God with our lives until we see an attractive idol of our own making? We play with it for awhile, get tired, become broken, call out to God for rescue? God sweeps in like our hero and fills us with His Spirit again and we are free, whole and cleansed from our sin once more.  We recognize God for who He really is and all is good.  Maybe until the next time our eyes rove toward an attractive idol?

God's story is one of promise.  He promised that the Messiah would come from  Judah, so although Israel and the 10 lost tribes were and always would be in disarray, Judah would bring forth the coming God kept His promise to Judah...and He kept His promise to all mankind. Jesus!

Praying for my life, praying for America! God is our constant. Our source of strength, the one who loves us more than life itself.  Focusing on Jesus today, how about you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hippy beads and conversations....

.....Today I spent 1.5 hrs in a bead store. I had started this bead bracelet thing for each of the granddaughters birthdays back in July 2011. Needless to say, life got so busy that I forgot the December birthday bracelet. So off to town I go, to the Hippy Bead Shop. Inside you can smell incense burning, the Beatles softly playing in the background, the cuties little dog and a very nice employee. She was so warm and friendly on a very cold Ohio morning. I asked forgiveness for my public singing of these familiar tunes...b/c  I just had to sing along. We both went about doing our thing. I searched high and literally low for the right beads to emphasis the bracelet for our KK.

Then I sat down to start threading the (very curly) wire with the right mix of beads. I am not sure how our conversation got onto drugs and addictions but it did. I  confessed certain wrong judgments I made as a young 19-21 yr old. She confessed her own stupid decisions of life before 30. One thing she said she never did was get hooked on drugs or alcohol. I agreed with her on that subject as well.  She then proceeded to tell me that her parents were hippies in the early 70's and b/c of their years of addictions she made her mind up to not go that route in life. However she shared that her parents started going to church about 10 yrs ago and the addiction stopped. This employee emphasized that she believes that there is a God but she also believes that other gods of peoples choice is not wrong as well. The typical wordage of "Who am I to judge" mindset fell from her lips.

That is when God impressed upon me to say "The Bible says there is only One True God and that is God-creator." She nodded her head and said, "I think we can worship God anywhere, we don't have to be in a church to do so." I nodded. She doesn't like to be around those who worship on Sundays and act differently the rest of the week. I nodded again.

Then she spoke about religion. I had to speak.  I told her that my view is: I also hate religion! This statement shocked her b/c I told her my husband was a pastor. I continued. I hate religion but love a relationship!  Religion puts God in a box that only allows Him to comes out in worship...but a relationship makes God as big as He really is.  I explained that where her dad is in his walk as a believer is a different level than I am. It is relational to where we are in life and where God wants us to be. She nodded then said "wow, I have never heard it spoken like that before. I like that!" I continued sharing my testimony and began to checkout. She then invited me to come back anytime to just talk.  As I was leaving she said, "it is so refreshing to talk about God with a person who is not judging or combative."

I left the store praising God for sending me there today of all days...and for giving me the words to speak.  Ya'll this witnessing thing is NOT AS SCARY as you may think.  I invited her to church, she invited me back and we both left thinking about God!

ps...I wonder how many other people out there do not share their views b/c they feel they will be met with hostility and non-compassion?  What are we as believers showing the world, in which we live, about this "God-thing?" more thing, this morning I needed to confess to God a wrong doing (attitude) I had at another store. He is gracious to forgive and then gave me an opportunity to redeem myself at the Hippy Store.  WOW, God is awesome!

Decisions about time.....

....I had no idea my blog was so NOT updated.  I do however know that my time has been crazy wild, like a roller coaster since September 2011.  Lucky for anyone reading this, I am NOT going to recap the past 5 months.

It is now 2012! Yeah!  Life is different now b/c we are sharing space with our daughter, husband and 4 beautiful grands! No more quiet morning cups of coffee b/c now you can hear the patter of feet coming down the stairs every morning! Fridays use to be a nice long day but these days  you will hear Steve say, "Kitchen's Open" to which you can  hear the girls reply, "I want scrambled eggs please." Time use to find me reading a good book in the afternoons but now I am enjoying time with my daughter b/c I don't know how long I get to enjoy these days. God will be moving them one day into their own home so until God decides, we are going to enjoy every day He gives us with our family.

Steve and I also made a decision to move me to my mothers condo until! Just until! Her body is deteriorating, her mind is deteriorating, but her spirit continues to live day by day.  I live 5 of 7 days with her in another town and it seems to be doing her good. So as long as God decides I am enjoying every day He gives me with my mom.

So this is all the updating you will find of the last 5 months. Moving onto 2012.