Sunday, May 31, 2009
I found myself FIRED UP! I don't know if it was because of the red. I don't know if it was because of the lesson in Sunday school. I don't know if it was because of the music. I don't know if it was the energy from the youth. I just know I was fired up!
As I noticed the red and how fired up I was, I began to think. "What comes to mind when I see red in a church?" Blood. Blood that was shed 2000 years ago for me. Innocent blood that cleansed an ugly spirit and has made me white. Blood from flogging, thorns, nails, spears, sweat, prayers, and tears.
Sacrificial blood that saves.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Can you name best friends from your childhood? High School? College? Adulthood?
As you start to think about these folks, I am sure that a smile comes to your face. And I know if you are anything like me, as you start to remember them lots of stories come to mind. Great memories with people that we have shared different parts of our life with.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I was wanting to reflect on Memorial Day and relate it back to reading Beth Moore's blog as she wrote about the National Day of Prayer! If you remember I wrote about that a week or so ago and it came back to me last weekend. Lots of times I think we usually think of Memorial Day weekend mostly as a time to get together with family and friends for a cook out. It is always exciting in the Wilson family because it is the beginning of the summer season at 'The Cottage'!!! This year we had lots to celebrate because we had two new babies since last summer ( one being my new granddaughter, Ava and a new great niece, Leila) and we can't forget, the new pier!
Anyways, as I read Beth's blog ( of Saturday, May 9th called 'Oh, What a Week...at Living Proof Ministry's) she talked about all the different celebrations she attended that day and many of the things that struck her about the speakers or people she met, or traveled with and how awesome it was to be in prayer with all those people no matter what their political affiliation or agenda was any other day. That their faith was the same and all believed in the power of prayer and they were all praying for our great country!! We all see and feel the struggle our country and people are in, some worse than others. Sometimes I think the only way we can make it and I believe have made it this far, is because there are many people bold enough to stand up and say they believe in God and pray to him.
I think one of the reasons Beth's words struck a cord with me was she spoke about Washington D.C., the Pentagon, etc and it reminded me of the trip I took as a chaperone when my youngest daughter, Alexis was in 8th grade. It was in October right after the attack on the world trade center on 9/11. Patriotism was very high and I was so impressed to see our government in action. It truly made you 'proud to be an american!'
I remember singing a song when I was a kidd and my kidds singing it some, too, about being in the Lord's army. And altho that sounded funnie to me sometime, being in an army for God, we really need to be!! As I thought of all this, I also thought about putting on the armor of God. I was thinking that pray was part of that armor but must not be. Either way, it does say in Ephesians 6:18 (after talking about putting on the armor of God...) "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints."
So as we begin the summer, celebrating Memorial Day with family time, let us remember the opportunity we have as Americans to pray for our country and also, to be in 'God's army' wherever that finds you in your every day life. Doing whatever God is calling you to do, having put on the armor of God each day, and being in prayer for our country and it's leaders, for our military people, for our local government, for our churches, families, and 'all the saints'.
Dear God, I praise you that you made a way by dieing on the cross for us, that we would be able to come to you in prayer, that you would be available to us 24/7 to listen to all our prayers. Help us to remember to rely on you in everything, to come to you, and seek your guidance. I also pray for our country and the many people that need our help. Show us what it is you would have us do. Help us to be your hands and feet.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
What is a covenant? According to the dictionary, it is a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment. When a man and woman get married, they enter a covenant agreement with God. They make vows to honor, respect, love and care for each other in all circumstances. I would like to share with you an excerpt from our Fireproof your Marriage book:
"The vast majority of adults find someone to fill their need for a partner and companion- approximately 90% will eventually marry. Unfortunately, around half of all marriages end in divorce. Most perish from what is called 'irreconcilable differences' which is a catch-all phrase for 'it's just not working out anymore.' Other common explanations include 'I've fallen out of love' or 'We're just two different people now.' In reality, there are days in every relationship where there are irreconcilable differences. But God intended marriage to last a lifetime.. marriage is a covenant. In our culture, however, marriage is sometimes treated more like a 50/50 contract- spouses do their part IF they feel the other partner is doing his/her part."
There are two points that I really love in this:
1. Marriage is hard work. Do you enter into it lightly? Do you enter into it with God as the center of it? Do you view your marriage as a lifelong commitment or a if-it-works-then-great attitude? I believe that too many people get married without fully contemplating or understanding the commitment God intended when he made marriage a covenant.
2. God wants each person in a marriage to give 100% of who they are to their spouse, no strings attached. It should not be "Well, if he does this, then I get that." That can be so hard to do!! As humans, we feel a certain sense of equality is needed. We want things to be fair, darn it!! But God does not view marriage this way. He wants us to fully, unconditionally love our spouse, even if we feel we are not being loved the same way.
Now, I am not going to delve topic of divorce and when God says it's okay and when it is not. (Not in this post anyway!) But overall, I believe that there are so many unnecessary divorces in our world today that could have been avoided if God was the center of the marriage.
I would like to end with a passage from Ecclesiastes dealing with vows.
"When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it". (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)
If you are married, take a few moments to think about the vows you made to your spouse. I have included some common ones below. Rate how well you feel you have kept each vow in your marriage. ( These also came from the Fireproof book.)
*To have and to hold (how well have you bonded and held to your spouse?)
*For better and for worse (how stable is your treatment of your husband, regardless of circumstances?)
*For richer or poorer (how well does your marriage stand up to financial pressures?)
*In sickness and in health (is your marriage affected by health struggles?)
* To love and to cherish (do you show your spouse unconditional love?)
*I pledge my faithfulness (are you faithful to your spouse?)
I would love to hear what you think about this topic. If you feel comfortable, please leave a comment about how your marriage has or has not held up to the vows you took. In my marriage, the hardest vow for me to uphold is "the better and worse". How often do I treat my husband differently (harshly) because of the tough times we are going through? because of the little things he does that annoy me? Does my snapping at him about not listening to me help our marriage? NOPE!!!! These vows are reminders of how God wants our marriage to look.
Dear Father God, help me to love my husband unconditionally, just as you love me, despite my innumerable faults. Pour your holy love into my heart so it overflows to those around me, most importantly my spouse.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Friday, May 22, 2009
"We know we are not all that we long to be, all that God longs for us to be, but instead of coming up for grace-filled air and asking God what he things of us, shame keeps us pinned down and gasping, believing that we deserve to suffocate."
"Women are beautiful, every single one of us. It is one of the glorious ways that we bear the image of God. But few of us believe we are beautiful , and fewer still are comfortable with it."
I know I am just a little late and maybe a little short, but I hope you will take this chance to come up for some air and ask God what He sees in you and what He wants for you today!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Let your creative juices flow!
“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father
We are the clay, you are the potter;
We are all the work of your hand.”
You are invited to a night of creativity and conversation.
When: June 2, 2009 6-9 PM
Where: Creative Fish, Syracuse, IN
What: You can choose any of the pottery to design and paint.
Cost: $5.00 (due when registering)
Please note that cost of pottery is not included.
If you would like information to register please contact Shannon at email@example.com. Registration must be complete by May 31st!
Hosted by: God Loving Ordinary Women Ministries (GLOW)-the ministry that brings you Beth Moore Bible Studies and the Loving Well Retreat and this blog!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Our first week of discussion was titled "He Said, She Said". I know that not all of you readers are married, but I think that this discussion can apply to any male in your life ... father, brother, friend, boyfriend. It basically touches on the fact that God created us male and female for a reason, and we need to appreciate and nurture these God-designed differences.
For example, throughout our discussion it became clear that men and women need different things in a marriage. Primarily, women want to feel loved. For some women, this means they crave compliments from their spouse. Others just want to feel like their husbands are listening to them. Others brought up feeling understood and appreciated in their roles as wives and mothers. Men, on the other hand, want to feel respected by their mates. They long to feel useful and needed. They want their wives to acknowledge what they do for their families.
Undoubtedly, men and women are two very different creations! But God created us to complement each other. Our strengths as women are often weaknesses in our spouses, and vice versa. God knew exactly what he was doing when He created men to be task-driven and women to be more emotional creatures. We work well together..... if we let God be the center of our unity.
As women, I think we sometimes forget that our husbands need our words of support just as much as we need them to listen to us. I challenge you (and myself) this week to find a small way to build your spouse up... whether it is a note or a quick word of encouragement or thanks. Pray for your spouse. It is amazing how much little gestures can make a big difference in your marriage. (just a side note, I have to tell you I left Jason a sticky note on the treadmill telling him how proud I am of him for getting up to exercise. He hugged me and thanked me for the note which is still sticking on the outside of his Bible.) I am going to make an effort to appreciate him for who he is, not complain about what he isn't.
I would love to hear about the results you have with your spouse.... how did he respond to your little gestures of love?
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.... Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Being a teacher is no easy task, let alone in the last days of school. Monday I was ready to count up my sick days to see if I had 17 that I could take to close out the school year. I have tried and tried and TRIED, but I can't think of one good thing that happened at school on Monday. (I know it was 6 days ago, but I have been trying since Monday night!) My day was spent correcting behavior, being told "Miss C., I think you hate me!" by 3 students, chasing late work, dealing with other teachers that had to repremand my students, and talking with a parent.
I left school feeling totally defeated and not looking forward to Tuesday. My thoughts were flooded with, "this was only Monday! What if they are worse tomorrow? What if we don't get everything done? I am going to shut K and C up as soon as they walk in tomorrow. I know that there will be more late work. Why can't they get stuff done? The 6th grade teachers are going to talk bad about Miss C.'s students next year."
Negativity. It is such a crappy thing. I was totally ready for the week to get worse and to seriously take a personal day to get away from it.
Tuesday was better at school (as was the rest of the week). Thank you Jesus!!!! However, I had some personal stuff to deal with. I need to go to the doctor to get some things figured out. So I immediately got the negative thoughts going again. "I must have some serious physical problem. He's just going to tell me to lose weight...again. What if there is something majorly wrong with me and ...." Immediate negative thoughts.
So, why so negative? Well, I will tell you. Satan knows exactly where to attack me: 1. my job 2. my self-image. And I actually listened. I was out of tune with Jesus this week. I can honestly say that I didn't open my Bible once, NOT ONCE, until today. I didn't really even pray this week, I mean really converse with God, until today. I didn't step back from me until today.
Guess what? I am learning. I am learning that I NEED Jesus every day. I need to be addicted to HIM, so much that it pains me to go without. He reminded me of this today as I was reading. I can't make it through life without him, so why try.
Precious Jesus, I want to NEED you all the time. I want to be in pain without you. I want you to be first in my day, every day. Thank you for reminding me of this today. Thank you for the time to just hang out with you and talk and experience the love and grace you give. Thank you.
Friday, May 15, 2009
As Christians, we need to get our practice in too. Our game is a spiritual one with much higher stakes - in fact, the Bible often refers to it as a spiritual war. This game of life is indeed the ultimate game and the ultimate gig so we should practice even more fervently for it. In Hebrews it says, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25 NIV) For some christians this is attending church, personal or group bible study, sunday school, small groups, church choir practice, worship band practice, or a combination of these. Regardless of the name, we all need to make sure we are practicing because we are all in the game and "practice makes perfect".
I am encouraging you tonight to practice, I pray that you will find time this weekend to talk with our Heavenly Coach! I know that I intend on a practice, so I am always ready to play!
Kristi had concern about her children and as women, many of us mothers, we probably have been there ourselves worrying about our own children or others we come in contact with. We are so lucky to have a God who in the business of loving children - ALL children!! Let me tell you I have hung on to God's promises for my children many times over the years and still do even tho they are grown. What do people do that don't have God to lean on or pray to about their children?
I was visiting my mom last Sunday (the mother of 8 children, with 19 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild!!!) and had given her a little devotional book which I had written in the front cover. It made me cry as she read it, when I wrote it and I'm even getting teary eyed now as I remember. (boy, do I cry alot!!) I had thanked her for teaching me by example, to teach my children the importance of having faith in God. She even said then that she wondered if she could have done more or should have done some things different to do a better job. I know she did her best and I tried to do my best as we all do, all the while depending on God to take what we do and use that to work His plan!! (Jeremiah 29:11)
We have to remember that God also has a plan for our lives. We are one of God's children. No matter where you are in your life - a student, a young adult just starting out in the working world and living on your own, a young mother with young children, an older mother with older children, an empty nester, a granma of one or of many, some of us work full time out of the home as well as in the home, some work part time... God meets you where you are. He can help you to be the best you can be at whatever it is you do and do it with the right attitude. He has this unbelievable love that can help you to conquer anything. You can rely on that love, it can fill you up so that you can be used by God - so that all we do is for God. We do whatever so much better because we are doing it for God even our everyday things.
I heard Beth Moore say in her Loving Well study that God is like a well that we need to draw from every day. (hense the importance of daily Bible study and spending time with God!) We need to dip into that well to be filled up with His love so that we can pour it out, maybe it will even spill out because we are so full of His love. This love can help us to do things we don't think we ever could or to do the very mundane or thankless things with the best of attitudes. It can help us to love all of His children, the lovely, the testy, the stranger, and even, our foes.
He calls us to do all of this because we love Him and want to serve Him. That love will help us!! So wherever you find yourself, remember to dip into God's loving well each day so that you can depend on and share God's love.
Ephesians 3:16-21 " I pray that out of His glorius riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
- The time while my baby is crawling around is not the time to crack open my Bible
- The time when she's napping isn't either. I either need to clean, work on projects, or I want to get online! (is this the part where I should just walk away from the computer.. she's napping now!?!)
- The time at night when all I want to do is crawl in bed is not the time for me. It's too tempting to just drift off..
Monday, May 11, 2009
How often do I believe God when He says that He has plans for my children? Good plans. Great plans for them. Plans to bring HIM glory in the process of what has occurred and will occur in their lives. Do I trust Him with the lives of my kids? Do I hand them over to God? Or do I think I can control their destinies? I think I do the latter more often.
For example, right now I am "worried" about the following: How are they doing in school? Do they have friends? Are they good friends? Do they get along with others? Are they in too many activities? Do I push them too much? Do I not push them enough? Have I taught them to love Jesus? Am I a good example for them? Do I let them watch too much t.v.? Am I too strict? Am I overprotective? Am I not protective enough? Am I consistent in my enforcement of house rules? Do I treat them equally? Is public school the right means of education for them? Why don't they appreciate what they have? How can I change that? Are they spoiled brats? Will they grow up to be lazy? Will they grow up to do drugs? What if I am a grandma too soon? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!
Okay, can any of you relate to this? The list could go on and on. So, after reading Jeremiah 29:11 again, I inserted my children's names into the verse.
"For I know the plans I have for Alex, plans to prosper Alex and not to harm Alex, plans to give Alex a hope and a future."
God knows His plans for my children. It will not be all happy times--there will be struggles. But they will be struggles with a purpose behind them. I get that. It's not always easy to totally surrender to God's will for my children, but it makes sense. He is the I AM. He knows for sure, without a doubt, not only what will happen in my children's lives, but also the reason for it.
But if you read on in Jeremiah 29:12, a very crucial point is made in actually taking that step in giving your children's lives over to God.
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
Instead of worrying about these issues, I need to call upon God. I need to go to Him in prayer, often, for my children. Instead of giving in to my "mommy fears", I should go to my Father with my petitions and lay them at His feet. He will listen and He will answer (maybe not in the way I want, or maybe no answer will be his answer for now).
One of my favorite parenting books is by Carol Kuykendall, who is director of communications for MOPS. It is called Loving and Letting Go.
I want to end this post with an excerpt from the book. This list really helps me pray for my children.
I would love to hear from all of you reading-- How do you let go of your "Mommy fears"?
A Prayer for Our Children
I pray that they will know Jesus.
I pray that they will learn to love others with kindness and compassion.
I pray they will know the difference between right and wrong and will pursue what is right.
I pray they will develop self-control and discipline.
I pray that they will respect authority.
I pray they will desire the right kinds of friends.
I pray they will resist temptation and hold fast to the truth.
I pray they will find joy in the right mate and be saved in purity for that person.
I pray that they will be filled with God's hope.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
And then the nagging question pops into my head, "What's wrong with me?"
The question wasn't just in regards to the crying. It was also due to struggling with losing weight - why can't I? Why am I still single? Why do people not "notice" me? What's wrong with me?
I seem to be a fairly confident, happy person. Truth be told..I really (I mean REALLY) struggle to like myself. This always comes as a shock to those who know me, but it is true. It isn't something I am proud of, but it is a huge part of me.
I went to bed Tuesday night, cried myself to sleep, got up Wednesday, and the question still lingered. I had emailed 2 close friends just to be in prayer for me.
Wednesday, God spoke to me! He answered my questions ("What's wrong with me?") Here is what he said: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11) It was on the coffee mug that I used Wednesday morning - given to me by a dear friend. What's wrong with me is that I have not been resting in these words. I have not been trusting that God is in control, he knows my heart, he knows my desires, and he has my best.
Sure I have some stuff to work through, wrestle with, turn over to Jesus - WHO DOESN'T! But in answer to the question, "What's wrong with me?" - I am too quick to focus on ME and not focus on God.
I realize that Monica also had this verse in her post. Amazing how one verse can speak differently. Please share if you have a scripture that speaks to you...I always love hearing.
Friday, May 8, 2009
I know that they are one of my favorite things!
**My family, friends, and boyfriend (Mike) surprised me for my 25th birthday.
**Mike also surprised me with tickets to the Reba and Kelly Clarkson concert last fall.
**My parents and friends threw me a surprise party when I was leaving my position at church.
But do you know what I love more than getting surprised? It's giving surprises!
I love the feeling of knowing that a person will be anxious, excited and then so happy because of the surprise that I have planned. I like spending time thinking about what that special someone will love! Thinking about their likes and dislikes, and even trying to anticipate what they will enjoy. When I do this, for the most part, I think of nothing except that person....and after it is all planned, I am bursting to tell someone, anyone (even sometimes the suprisee) about my plans.
I think this is what God was experiencing when he spoke the words in Jeremiah 29:11:
This is one of my favorite parts of scripture but it wasn't until this week that I thought of it with such excitement. Before I thought it was just a promise, that God would be good to me! Which is amazing but now I think of this promise with much more of an edge. God probably gets so much more excited when He is about to reveal a surprise to me, He watches and waits for His plan to fall into place so that He can see me experiencing all of the blessings He knows are coming my way!
Now I know that each new day is a blessing. I just wish that I could start each day with this excitement. I know that He approaches each new day with excitement for me.
Heavenly Father - I praise you for the simple blessings of each new day. I thank you for thinking of me throughout each breath of my life and even long before that. I am in awe of the consistency you have in supplying me with what I need. I want all the surprises that you have in store for me. I am recognizing in this moment that nothing comes as a surprise to you, what an awesome God you are! I love you! And I thank you and praise you for loving me first! Ahmen
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I looked up on the website for the Day of Prayer and was excited to see that Beth Moore was the honorary chairman. (I just love Beth Moore but then that's another whole posting in itself!) It said they've been organizing a Day of Prayer since 1952 and that this year's theme was "Prayer...America's Hope" taken from Psalm 33:22 where it says "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." I pray that our country can put its hope in God!! I believe God will continue to bless America if we will continue to pray!!
I'm a firm believer in prayer. I read an article recently where the author said she thought she was a failure at prayer and I think many times we think that about our own prayers, wondering if we do it 'right'? I feel like I stumble over my words sometimes when I pray especially when I pray out loud in a group setting. I figure someone else could do a much better job. I feel like many of my prayers are for the things 'I need.' Many times I've got it all figured out for God ahead of time - just in case He needs some ideas!? I was talking with a few friends about something we would be praying about and we laughed about the fact that we sometimes tried to help God and didn't know why He didn't do things our way. One said she wondered 'what we would do if we got everything we prayed for' and the other said 'what if we got what we deserved?'
I'm reminded so often that God knows more of what I need and if I would just let him take over, my life would be so much better. We need to remember that God knows and sees the whole picture of which we can only see part. He loves us sooo much and wants only the best for us. God knows what is in our hearts, even before we pray. As Paul writes about prayer in Romans 8:26-27 saying "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." I think we need to just pour out our heart to God in all and any circumstances as praise! He will hear us and know what we mean!
Dear God, Help us to not be so concerned about what we say in our prayers but to continue to share our thoughts and prayers with you knowing you will hear us and give us what we truly need. Amen.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Acts 20:24 "I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me"
1 Corinthians 9:24 -25 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
I love this analogy of how just like a runner concentrates on the finish line, we as Christians should concentrate on Jesus. He is our finish line. At the end of our lives here on earth, we will get to stand in awe of His glory. What an awesome prize!!!
I want to go beyond the finish line, though. I want to focus on the race itself today, and this is why:
I had an opportunity this weekend to walk/run in the Indy500 mini marathon. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget. Close to 40, ooo people lined up to compete in this race. Thousands of volunteers and loved ones lined the streets to cheer participants on and hand out drinks. The spirit that surrounded the event was intoxicating. Even though my mind was clearly set on the finish line, I couldn't help but get caught up the excitement around me. I set out to walk in the race, but actually ended up running some of it because I was inspired by the other runners.
Also, I had forgotten my ipod, and thought I might get bored along the way. I need my David Crowder Band to get me through the thirteen miles! To my surprise, however, the participants around me and the people on the street were my source of strength and perserverance.
For example, I saw an elderly man and his wife walking, holding hands. He was hunched over, barely moving his feet. Yet, I heard several runners go by with an encouraging word to them. One woman said, "I am proud of you." I also saw a young woman in tears, about to give up. Her friend grabbed her by the arm and said to her, "You can do this! Only a few more miles left. Let's do it together." Strangers along the way cheered and clapped and rang cow bells, yelling our names, "Kristi, you are doing a great job! Keep going!" (Our names were on our bibs.) Little kids held their hands out to be high-fived.
I loved looking around me and seeing people encouraging each other. If I had worn my ipod and focused just on finishing the race, I would have missed out on this part of the experience. I think my race as as a follower of Jesus is similar. Christ wants us to see the people around us during our race. He wants us to focus on the finish line, but also reach out and support one another as we go.
Also, if we are excited about Christ, people we see every day will be more likely to want what we have, and may start running the race too!
Christ definitely wants us to focus on Him as the prize for fighting the good fight, but He also wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and share that part of Him with others along the way. One of my favorite Scriptures is in Hebrews. I have it on a post it note in the bathroom (okay, don't laugh..... it's a place you visit often, right?)
"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.... let us encourage one another" (Hebrews 10:24-25)
In your race, don't forget to look around you. Some days you may be inspired by other believers, and other days, you may be the one doing the encouraging.
How can you spur on someone today?
Father God, you are the beginning and the end of our race. We thank you for placing people in our lives to encourage us. Please help us to open our eyes to those who need our encouragement today.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
You know when you have a CD in your car and it seems that every time you turn on the car, that song is cued up....yeah that's what's happening. The song is titled: Little is Much. The lyrics are great and allow the listener, or the person singing as if they were a finalist in American Idol (that's me!) to really experience the fact that without God we are nothing.
Without God we are ugly, poor, worthless, dirty, stinky, stupid...we aren't good enough, or smart enough, or funny enough. Without God we are simply a continuous spin out of control, a constant fall, a neverending bad dream.
I have God and I am sometimes all of these things.
I guess I used to think that "little is much" was in reference to your income or the worldly stuff you have. I thought that "little is much" referred to the amount of faith you displayed in your day-to-day life. In the song lyrics, it says little is much when God's in it... this week God has opened my eyes to see that a little of Him, what little understanding, knowledge and faith I can muster up in this human heart and mind is nothing compared to the how MUCH He is willing to give me in return.
Now don't misunderstand me: I am not saying that we should settle for the little amount of faith we are comfortable having. No, we should definitely live our every breath striving for a closer relationship with Christ almost to the point where it's uncomfortable. To take the little that we started with and turn it into the much He wants to bless us with. The last verse
God, Thank you for being more than enough and so much more than we could even fathom. I praise you for opening my eyes to see what I risk being without you. I will never understand why it is that you would save me.