Monday, February 23, 2015

Meeting Together

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

I love that phrase "meeting together" - low attendance in church is a big concern for me right now.  It isn't about money or numbers.  It is about this verse - I know many who enjoy going to church but make the choice to put other events or feelings above it.  Sometimes sickness hits a family and then they get out of the habit.  There are often good excuses but what is really concerning me is that often times those who are not regularly attending or getting involved are the very ones who complain about being unfulfilled or being trapped in circumstance or feeling confused.

There is a reason why Fellowship is important and why the Bible says it is necessary.  I know that there are many out there that don't like "Church" and this post isn't for you.  Those issues go a lot deeper.  But this post is for those who like their church and their church family but choose to not attend. 

We are in a time when even the most mature Christian needs to be encouraged, needs to be lifted up.  When we make choices to not put ourselves in the midst of other believers we open the door for attackes.  We get out of the routine of going till one day we are gone.  Not that it is an issue of salvation - going to church doesn't save you nor does not going unsave you.  But it sure is easier to deal with life's issues when we have encouragement from our Brethren like this verse says.  Just a thought from someone who cares...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Who Knew...

Who knew that spraining my ankle would also affect my brain?

Ever since I sprained my ankle I have been thinking differently.  I use to think in terms of "I have to do this right now" or "After I do this, I need to do that" or "Everyone is counting on me." or "If you want it done right do it yourself."

But for the last few weeks I have had to change how I think. I have had to learn to give myself grace, I have had to ask myself things like "Do I really need to accomplish that right now?" or  "What is the most important thing to accomplish today and what can wait?" or "Who can do that instead of me?".

This has been a very frustrating, painful, yet liberating experience.  I had so many plans for the month of January, however, instead I have watched approximately16 hours of The Hobbit movies with my girls. I have gone grocery shopping once - and we did not starve.  My house has been vacuumed once this month - and I am OK with it. 

You know that saying about you don't know how important something is till you loose it (or something like that).

I have learned that I need to exercise and I will not take it for granted again. I have learned that I really like shaving my legs while standing up in the shower.  I have learned that I like doing things for my family (although I have also learned that they can do for themselves also).  I have learned that I miss walking with the dogs outside. And finally, I have learned the importance of strong ankles when trying to get up from the toilet!  Sorry, but that is what is going through my brain right now.

I have not been my normal on top of everything self and that's OK...Who knew that this painful experience would be fruitful?

Isaiah 66:9New Century Version (NCV)

In the same way I will not cause pain
    without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.
“If I cause you the pain,
    I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God.

Apparently God did :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

When we are too busy...

When we are too busy....

Sometimes God will allow us to stumble so that we have to look up!

This is exactly what happened to me January 2nd.  I was bound and determined to get the Christmas decorations put back out into the garage despite the fact that we had had a winter storm come through southern Arizona.  It was about 29 degrees outside which of course means that there was a good chance that there would be ice - somewhere.

As I was going through my kitchen door onto the porch, I discovered exactly where the ice was.  Under my foot - sure enough, the next thing I know, I am hearing sickening pop and while landing on my rear I see stars and can't breathe. I hear my husband yell to me as he is rushing to my side but I couldn't answer him. They (he and my eldest daughter) pick me up, luckily both are bigger than me.

I don't even want to look - I get to the couch and immediately put my foot up and they get me ice and all I can think about it "please don't be broken".  Luckily it isn't, just a very bad sprain, but it has forced me to be on the couch.

It is very painful but I have to say that even more than that is the frustration of having to rely on others to help me.  That isn't me - I am a doer. I am the one who does for others, I am the one who takes care of all those little details. I am the one who comes through and shows up and gets it done.

Needless to say that I have had to be brought to tears and instead of looking at all the things I am not getting done, I am having to look up.  Look up and say "Lord, I need Your help to let this all go."  "Lord, I hate this but I am going to learn something from it."  "Lord, give me peace and patience."

I also was greatly blessed by my family who jumped in to take care of me and my girls even laid hands on me and prayed for me (that was awesome).  I still have a lot to do but I know that none of it is going to get done without me looking up first. God is good all the time.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Exceedingly Abundantly - 2015

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I love these verses – but normally my focus has been on the word “power”.  I would read these when I felt helpless and I would read them when I felt fired-up.  I loved the fact that these verses tell us that we have power in Christ Jesus.

The last time however, my attention was brought to the phrase - exceedingly abundantly!  

For weeks I have been so focused on these 2 words. 

We have a habit of limiting God in our lives because we try so hard to understand intellectually everything about Him.
But when you think about what verse 20 is saying - 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

There is no way that we can understand all that God can do because what He can do exceeds what we are capable of thinking. 

This verse is also telling us that He is going to do these immeasurable acts through us.  We are going to be used to do these exceedingly abundantly acts, acts that we cannot even imagine. And we will do this with His supernatural power.

So let’s really think about this:

1 missionary could walk into a village and because of the presence of God in his life, the entire village could be saved.
1 person could walk in a hospital and instantly because of God’s supernatural power that is dwelling in that person – every patient is instantly healed and saved.
1 teenager who is born again – walks into their high school, and because of the Dunami Power that he/she is filled with, every student and teacher is saved.

But wait a minute – I thought of these, and this verse says that He can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.  Any one of these acts could happen plus abundantly more. Isn’t that amazing!  We can’t even think of what He will use us for. And yet how many times in our lives do we think that something is impossible, that we won’t be able to accomplish something. 

Think about events on your life that you are just amazed at – that you know without a doubt that God had His hand in them and you think back now and can’t believe that it happened.

We need to understand that we may not understand everything about God, but that we need to understand that He can do exceedingly abundantly with us and through us.

Think about the most beautiful yet outrageous act that would glorify God and then understand that He can use you to exceed that.

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We can’t think like the world and be able to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The world thinks in “impossibles” – Renewing your mind in this instance means that you start thinking in “possibilities” instead.

The world thinks “You have to understand it” – Renewing our mind means, you believe it even when you don’t understand it.

If you think about it – I don’t want to know all that God can do, I love being amazed. I love it when something happens and He blows my mind.  I don’t want to understand everything because I love those moments when He wows me and you know what?  I think He likes them too!

How do you feel when you do something amazing for someone and you get to see their reaction – He likes that too!

So I challenge you:

During 2015– let’s make the choice to focus on these phrases instead of the things that frustrate us, let us dwell on what God can do instead of what we can’t do. 

Ask God to use you to do exceedingly abundantly more this New Year through His dynamite power. Give Him the go ahead to blow your mind at how He will use you.

Let’s stop settling for what the world thinks and let’s start thinking exceedingly abundantly.