Friday, May 27, 2011

Be a Burden Bearer

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Quite frankly, I have struggled today to decide what to blog about.  My heart has been heavy for the people in our nation (and beyond) who are going through very tough times.  There have been huge tornadoes, and the waters of the Mississippi are still overflowing its banks.  Japan is still trying to recover from the massive earthquake that hit them in March while facing large aftershocks on a daily basis.  The nuclear plant has made the area a health hazard as well. 

The videos I've seen help me see my life in an entirely different light.  Trials I have encountered are nothing compared to the difficulties of some.  Although I'm not close enough to help practically, I'm so glad there is no distance in prayer.  Join me today to pray for all those who have lost everything they own.  May those who don't know the Lord find Him during their biggest crisis.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Celebrating Marriage!

Song of Solomon 8:6
…Love burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Tomorrow is our 34th wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe it has been that long since Jerry and I walked down the aisle.  We were married in Raleigh, NC, on an unusually hot day for May.  The church was extremely crowded. 

We made a decision to include singing to worship music, and people greeted one another just as we did in our church services.  Our desire was to see the presence of God in our midst, and He was definitely there.   It was that day that my aunt came to know the Lord. 

Now our desire is to have the presence of God in our home.  He has always been number one in our lives.  It is the Lord who teaches us how to be in a relationship with each other.  I’m grateful God brought us together, and I don’t want to take Jerry for granted.

Allow me to brag on him a little.  Jerry has always loved me sacrificially, putting my needs above his own.    He is warm, friendly and most of all an encourager to everyone he meets.  He puts the fun in my life, as I’m the serious one.  He’s my best friend, and we love to spend time together. 

My love for Jerry has grown through the years.  Our marriage is not perfect.  Just like everyone else, we have our ups and downs, but we have stayed committed to each other through it all. 

In today’s world, it’s difficult to keep a relationship sizzling.  In many cases, busy schedules have caused distance instead of intimacy.  Jerry and I have learned we must be deliberate to stay connected.

This weekend we are dedicating to each other.  No yard work, no cleaning or cooking, no business as usual.  We intend to focus on each other, do some fun things and maybe even take a little stroll down memory lane. 

If you are married, let me challenge you to keep your own flame burning.  Never take your spouse for granted, and create an atmosphere of passion in your home!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Great Escape

Matthew 2:13-14
When they (the wise men) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Joseph’s world had really been turned upside down.  First Mary was pregnant out of wedlock, and even though Jesus was the Son of God, to many it must have looked like a cover up.    

Now after Jesus’ birth, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee the country and escape to Egypt.  He had no clue how long they would be there.     

This morning I was trying to imagine myself in Mary's place.  What must Mary have been thinking?  The angel appeared to Joseph – not her.  Do you think she was excited about getting up in the middle of the night and sliding out of town without one word to her relatives and friends?  She probably wasn’t too thrilled about leaving her home and possessions either.

If Jerry woke me up in the night and told me we had to leave town immediately, would I be able to make a decision to follow his leading?  I would hope so, but I will admit, I’m not much for sudden change.  

I know there are times when we must move quickly or we will deal with costly repercussions.   Just think of all the recent flood victims in our country.  If they had not gotten out of their homes, many would have lost their lives. 

I've always heard, "Delayed obedience is disobedience."   I know it's true, and I'm challenged by that phrase today.  I want to be one who hears God's voice and immediately responds. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Challenge: Let God be God

Psalm 139:23-24
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.

This is the last week of our Jonah Bible study at church.  It has challenged me to let God be God in every situation.  In the homework I did today three questions were asked:

1       Are you becoming aware of a deal you have made with God?
2       Are you seeking/hoping to control or manipulate God in any way?
  Are you disappointed with God about an outcome He 
      has allowed?

(questions from "Jonah:  Navigating a Life Interrupted" by Priscilla Shirer, pg. 133)

At first, my thought is I am not aware of a deal I have made with God.  I am not trying to manipulate Him in any way, but then I thought about my journal.  Maybe in the deep corners of my heart, I thought if I surrendered completely God would respond in a certain way.  Will I ever learn to quit trying to figure out how He will act?
Our family came to Arizona in 1999, and God made it extremely clear that was the path we were to take.   My husband and I decided we would move when our house sold.  Then a friend challenged us by asking if we were basing our obedience to God on our house selling.  We recognized then we just needed to set a date and plan towards it. 

My thought was since we were moving forward, God would sell our house and provide employment for Jerry in Arizona.  Instead we were in an apartment for 11 months, and the Jerry's office in North Carolina flew him back and forth for six months until he was able to get a job here.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We learned to trust God.  He provided for our needs, and we made some connections with people in the apartment complex we are still close to today.  I have very fond memories of that season of our lives.  

Today I am reminding myself that God knows best.  He sees the bigger picture.
 Today, I surrender, Lord, that part of my heart that expects you to intervene in my life in a certain way.  You have proven yourself faithful, and I trust you to do what is best for me today just as you did in the past. 

Forgive me for putting you in a box.  Your ways are higher than mine, and in the end, I love your ways best.  Thank you for not doing things my way but yours.  Amen.