Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Light from the Lamp Exposes Darkness

Our Wednesday night class is studying the book of Luke and in preparing for class I read the following passage.

Luke 11:33-36 "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.  Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.  See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.  Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, a when the light of a lamp shines on you."

The most important part of this passage to me is that my eyes have to be good in order for me to see the Light correctly.  Good is meant as "sound"; Greek: "single." That is focused, single-minded.  I am to keep my eyes focused on Christ and the Word. When my eyes are not focused on HIM, looking around at the things of the world that I think are ok and putting more time into things that do not bring me closer to the Lord, I have opened my eyes and allowed things that are not of God to enter my mind.

I have also created dark places where I don't want the light to shine because if it does then the evil within me is exposed.  The darkness of a critical spirit, selfishness, greed, the list could go on.  But I want to be a women after God's own heart and full of His Light.  Conviction from the Holy Spirit has already begun and it stirs within me a desire to read the Bible more to be single-minded.

Am I a living interpretation of His light? Forgive me Lord! Please fill me with spiritual understanding and insight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Good News from Pedicure Chair

Recently a young lady who is struggling with life and her lifestyle, told me of her encounter with God at the most unlikely place.  She was fired from her job for being tardy and even though she knew her employer was justified to take that action it still took her into deep depression.  She spent one full day in the bed with the covers over her head and pain in her heart.  But the next day, the single mother of four realized she had to get up and get going and so she got her hair cut, a manicure and a pedicure.

When she entered the nail salon she was met by a man with tattoos and piercings and she really didn't want him to touch her. But then again, he didn't know her and so when he asked how she was, she let it all out and told him her life was in shambles.  Much to her surprise and delight this man told her God was there for her and that she needed to let go of the past and push forward into the future. She said it was if God Himself was talking to her and guiding her.

That encounter would have been a blessing enough but then the lady sitting in the next chair said she had overheard the conversation and while listening called in a favor...she had set up an interview for my friend with a new establishment in town.

"When?" she asked.

"As soon as your toes dry!"

And so my friend went to an interview and is waiting to be called for the second one.  God works in such a crazy way sometimes when you least expect it. You just never know through whom He will talk to you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Being Content with Life

My hubby and I have a standing lunch date on Fridays.  We have been doing this for 15 years and today my hubby asked me if I enjoy it as much as he does.   Funny how after 28 years of marriage...soon to be 29...I still enjoy being pampered by him and treated like the most important entry on his calendar. There were times when both of us were in managerial positions and we had small children and little time to be together, but now the kids are out of the house and we have so much more free time.  Sure we fill up our days and evenings with church events and community meetings but we also have the freedom to say "no can do!" 

I enjoy sitting here blogging or reading interesting information on the web as he watches football and reads the newspaper. We just can't seem to do one thing at a time though, unless we are watching a movie in the theater, (although he sometimes falls asleep unless it is a really good movie like the one we saw last night).  "Joyful Noise" had wonderful music and it was a cute movie.  Not one that sent me home wanting to better my life but it wasn't one that left me feeling blah.  It was a feel good movie with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Just wish Dolly wouldn't have messed with her face so much.

Getting older isn't something that I am afraid of or feel I have to get a face lift to be accepted in society.  I realize Dolly is in the public but what ever happened to just aging naturally? She was trying to play the part of a hot grandma and it just made the hubby and I both feel sorry for her in real life. I don't know much about her life but I hope she has a good man that loves her no matter how she looks.

Being content with life is a gift from God and a maturity in His ways. I remember the days when I worried about all kinds of things but now....I enjoy my life just the way it is!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kingdom First then Food and Clothes

Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 12: 22-23, "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."

What do you think about when you wake up? Still in the dreamy stage I whisper, "This is the day the Lord has made...I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT." Sometimes I have to say this as a command to myself so that I will not focus on the problems that need to be taken care of but that I will be thankful that I have the ability to take care of them.  For business laptop crashed yesterday which means that my cash flow reports from the last 3 months are now gone and the end of the year reports for 2 businesses are now gone and all the emails I have sent cannot be retrieved.  A techie friend told me to go to our local Computer Guy and he should be able to help me.  So this morning saying my morning breath prayer was to remind me that I am to rejoice and be glad in every day that the Lord allows me to spend here on earth.

The very next thing I think about though is what will I eat and wear.  I must eat to have energy for the day and clothes are kinda important if you know what I mean.  I must confess though the older I get the more my life seems to be centered around food.  What should I eat ...what shouldn't I eat.  Only a few seasons of my life did I really get into cooking and though I did enjoy making gourmet meals for my mom and dad as their monthly Christmas gift, it took a lot of time and money.  And for what?  one hour of pleasure. 

But there is something about sitting down with family and friends over a good meal.  And it does seem like fellowship in the Bible and at church is centered around food.  But I do understand how I stress and worry over what to fix when we have company.  Sometimes the anxiety level dampens my desire to entertain more and maybe that is the point.  First I am not fixing a meal to entertain but a meal to serve along with conversation and friendship.  The food is not the important element of the gathering.

Now to clothes.  Well I really don't like to shop and in 2007 after my mission trip to Haiti I didn't buy clothes for a year, but I can't honestly say that I don't think about clothes and how some items make me look fat (surely it isn't that I have gained weight!). I don't think I am overly concerned with my looks but then on a Sunday morning after trying on 3 outfits, I get so disgusted with myself and how I look that I just want to stay home. That shows me just how much attention I put on my clothes and appearance.  When in fact very few people even notice me.

Jesus said. "For the pagan world runs after all such things, and you Father in heaven knows that you need them.  But seek His kingdom first and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also."'s time to eat my breakfast, get dressed and exercise....then take a shower, get dressed, work at home with Quick Books Online and go to lunch with a dear friend.  Ok so twice I am eating and putting on clothes .....but I won't worry about it and praise God that He has provided and I will try to seek His ways all day in everything.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Don't Worry About the End Times

When Jesus talks to the disciples about the end times in Luke 12, He sure doesn't sugar coat it.

 "8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." 10 Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them.

This will result in your being witnesses to them!  We will go through all of the horrible events above to be a witness to them?  How will we do that? 

14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life. 

Well that makes me feel better, how about you? I hear people almost daily talk about how the times are getting so bad and the time is near for Jesus to return and we need to be ready.  But they are usually talking about having cans of food ready in the pantry and items stored away that can be bartered for things needed.  And especially needed is a gun to protect your family and belongings.  Those preparations should be made but Jesus tells us not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  It will be with words and wisdom not from what is within our heads but what comes from our spirits as He gives us His words and wisdom.  

Lord, help me to listen to YOU and stand firm!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Widow's Lesson

I have been randomly opening my Bible and reading in the morning and lately it seems everything has something to do with end times.  Today my Bible opened to Luke 21 where Jesus talks to the disciples about the future, about his return and about us remaining faithful.  It starts out though with the story about the widow...

1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small  copper coins. 3 And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to  live on."

I wish I could be more like this widow (not the widow part) but that I could truly offer out of my poverty and not my surplus.  What would that really feel like to know that you are giving unto the Lord all that you had to live on.  There are days in my past that I as a single mom had very little resources to use to provide for my 2 sons but during that time I didn't go to church on a regular basis and if I did I never tithed because I thought I had to have every penny in order to live.  After my husband and I married and became a part of a church, he decided that we should tithe and not that I didn't think we should ( I grew with a father that strongly believed in tithing) I was just so afraid of not having enough to pay bills and feed my children.  I had to really trust God and my husband.  God blessed me with contentment and security and after 28 years of marriage, He has proved over and over that if I surrender my money to Him, He will continue to provide what I need! Not only money but everything!

Why do I worry about the future when this women wildly gave all she had? I want to give more...more money to help people like those in Haiti, more time to help people that are all alone, more use of  skills and talents to help the church....more glory to HIM and not to me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Many or Few Blows?

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for the servants whose master find them watching when he comes."  Luke 12:35-36

"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:40

"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.  But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:47-48

In my Study Bible it reads:
People who are ready for their Lord's return are:

  1. not hypocritical, but sincere
  2. not fearful, but ready to witness
  3. not worried, but trusting
  4. not greedy, but generous
  5. not lazy, but diligent
May your life be more like Christ's so that when he comes, you will be ready to greet him joyfully.

I am not ready....I have a lot of changes to make so that I will be better prepared for HIS return!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Twenty Twelve - Anticipating the New Year!

WOW! 2012 is here and all the hoopla regarding the end times has hit even the secular news.  Interesting times we live in but for me right at this moment I want to concentrate on what God wants me to be DOING to promote HIS KINGDOM here on earth.  I also realize that I am nothing without HIM and can do nothing without HIM.  He is the vine and I am but one small branch.  Even so, I don't want to be unproductive but fruitful and it is in that context that I want to start the year out with some alone time with the Lord.

I have been blessed with three days of no one at home but little 'ole me and the Lord.  This may have been the first time since I have been married to my hubby of 28 years that I was alone on New Year's Eve. It was a quiet evening and I truly tried to keep the day covered in prayer and meditation but well...the laundry needed done and the Christmas decorations begged to be taken down and put away.  This Christmas was one of the best as all my children and grandchildren were with us but that also makes for cleaning and that's alright...but it can wait until my alone time with God is over. I just have too push it out of my line of vision and keep my head down with my eyes on God's word.

So Saturday was wonderful and Sunday was filled with God's goodness; a  time of musical worship, a great sermon from my pastor, a wedding feast for 2 friends, and a visit to the funeral home to show respects for the mother of a friend.  Then as I settled down in the evening in my new comfortable chair I asked the Lord to reveal to me what I need to change...about me....about my daily activities....about my ministries.  How can I change for the better to serve Him with my best.  (There's so much to change...where will He start?)

This morning He gave me Hebrews 12:1a-3 ( I like to read it as if it is written to me personally so I will write it as such) "...let me throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let me run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Let me fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endures such opposition from sinful men, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart."

Today I will meditate on what is hindering me (it could be good things), what sin is entangling me (sin I don't recognize as sin), and what race I am running that is not mine to race (I have a tendency to do that).  That should take me all day!!  But I have all day and I know that if I ask Him He will deliver. As Hebrews 12:10a-11, "..but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  I want peace that comes from His righteousness therefore I am ready to take the discipline.  Hebrews 12:12 says, "Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees."

Well it's time for me to get in my exercise feeble, flabby arms and weak knees need to be strengthened so I can be strong enough to do His biding!  Discipline!  Just not that excited about it though! But praise God that I am able to do so!! I want to be a living interpretation of what I believe!