Good Morning

I recently moved from the city to a very new neighborhood that for now is in the country. There are no buildings, tall or otherwise as far as I can see out my back windows… just a clear view of the horizon.

My very first morning in our home, I woke very early. I was too excited to stay in bed. I got up well before the sun. As I sat in my favorite chair in the living room I noticed something happening outside. The pitch black sky with tiny little dots like diamonds set in it began to change. Black was slowly becoming indigo and a deep, deep purple. Slowly the purple began to melt into a rich red and brilliant orange, but the main attraction was yet to be seen. I saw the brilliant colors but the sun was still hiding just below my fence line.

As I watched this amazing display, I thought to myself I don’t remember the last time I watched the sun rise. I sat on the edge of my chair waiting for what seemed eternity for the sun to peek over my fence, but even as the colors kept changing, still the sun remained hidden.

I’m sorry to say that I began to get a little impatient. I had a house full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. I didn’t want to miss this first sunrise, but it seemed to be taking its own sweet time. So, I decided to stand up on something to finally catch a glimpse of the sun and just as I was about to stand up, I heard God the Father gently say, “Wait.”

The Love of my life had spoken. So I sat and waited. The colors became even more beautiful. As I sat and watched a few scriptures began to drift around in my heart and mind.

Be still and know that I am God… (Psalms 46:10)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31)

Just before God had spoken I was impatient to see the sun because I wanted to start unpacking. Slowly as the colors grew more and more brilliant, I found anticipation and excitement growing in my heart. I could hardly wait to see the sun now because of the joy bursting in my heart and then God said, “You can peek now.”

The sun shone so brilliant and bright my heart was thrilled, but I was only able to look for a moment and then had to turn my eyes from the flaming light. It was amazing. It was special. It was a very good morning spent with God.

We’ve been in our new home just short of a month now and I put temporary shades up throughout the house, but not on my back windows in the living room. Everyday I have gotten up before the sun. Every morning I sit with the One Who made the sun. Everyday as they sun rises I am reminded that He is God. Morning by morning I sit and wait as He renews my strength.

To Love is to Pray

I’ve shared in the past about well-known people such as celebrities that were tabloid train wrecks, always in the news for the wrong reasons. I’d pass the magazines at the checkout and see their picture with a shocking headline. I’d see the headlines and photos of on-line articles that I never read, but there before me was presented their steady decline. Then finally the headline stating what we all knew was coming, that this celebrity train wreck had tragically died.

I’m so very sorry to say that many times that was the moment that I realized that I had watched this person’s decline and had never once thought to pray for them.

Lord, Help me to truly see them and not judge them but pray for them!

So this morning I was thinking about a person in my life. I won’t say who it is but I will say it is not someone I live with. This person seems to make a lot of careless decisions and their decisions always seem to be made to their benefit without regard for others. I’ve often had the thought this person is irresponsible and selfish. I don’t think thoughts like this often, but somehow when a person is directly in our lives or related to us we seem free to make judgements on them and their behavior. Probably because their poor decisions can have an affect on our own lives.

So as this person came to mind this morning I suddenly felt convicted. I have seen this person and his/her actions. I have judged this person and his/her actions. But I don’t recall praying for this person.

Maybe they’re not a train wreck currently on the road to a tragic death. Maybe they are just really annoying friends or family. But do I really see them? Do I see them through His eyes? Am I seeing them to judge them or to pray for them? Am I praying for their peace and well-being for their sake and not my own?

How do you see your spouse? How do your see your family members? How do you see your in-laws? How do you see your boss or co-worker? How do you see others? Do you judge or do you pray?

 Lord, Help me to truly see them and not judge them but pray for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

PS… Thank you to those who truly see me and pray for me!

The Elephant in the Room

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down… Psalm 133:1-2, KJV

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25 NIV

I have attended many churches throughout my life. I attended two Catholic churches with my parents. I attended a small Pentecostal church with my husband and his family. My husband and I attended a Methodist church while in college. We were part of an Evangelical Word of Faith church for 14 years. Three years ago we moved to another church at the Lord’s direction and with our previous pastors’ blessings. It’s been an amazing journey. At each church I saw a unique facet of our amazing and multi-faceted God. Each church added another brushstroke to the canvas that holds the masterpiece God is painting… me. At each church I grew in my relationship with God. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

I entitled this post, the elephant in the room, because recently I have encountered something that is obvious to so many, yet unspoken. Ignored, but still there. I think it’s time we talk about it.

Since moving from my previous church to my current church, I have noticed something that I find very disturbing. When I speak to friends from my previous church, there is tension. There is awkwardness. There is this subtle undercurrent of competition regarding the two churches. I love everyone regardless of which church we go to. No matter how many church moves we’ve made, I still consider the people in each church family and friends. Each move we made was at God’s direction and I would not ask anyone to leave one church to come to another. That is between them and God.

I have invited friends to special events at our new church, not for the purpose of getting them to change churches, but because I love my friends and feel that they will be blessed and grow from the experience. They are always free to simply say, ‘no’. Yet, the response is often tension and then an account of what God is doing in their church.

I also come in contact with people that also attended and left my previous church. Some of them had an experience that left them hurt. When I talk to them about friends that are still there, once again the tension begins to build. I encourage those friends to let God heal their hearts of those hurts.

Can I just say that my church affiliation is not my identity. I didn’t feel that when I left one church to go to another that I was in my heart leaving the people of each church. My identity is not in the name on the building I choose to worship in. My identity is in being a part of the Body of Christ. When I was at the Catholic churches I was a part of the Body of Christ. When I was at the Pentecostal church, the Methodist church, the Word of Faith church I was still a part of the same body, the Body of Christ. Since coming to this new church, guess what I am still a part of the same Body that I became a part of when I gave my heart to Jesus 38 years ago, while a member of a Catholic church. I am still connected to the believers at each of these churches.

When we allow ourselves to be separated based on denomination, based on church affiliation, understand that we are not just allowing ourselves to be divided from another church body. We are allowing ourselves to be divided from a part of Christ’s Body.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-21

Whether we realize it or not, we need each other. The enemy would love to divide us. He knows a house divided cannot stand. He would love to divide Christ’s body. Let’s each examine our hearts and refuse to be divided from one another. This post is not just for those who attend my previous church, but also to any who have not attended my previous churches yet feel free to say unkind things about them or about any church or denomination for that matter. We can disagree, but we don’t have to be divided from one another in our hearts.

Jesus Himself said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I think it’s time we stop judging, rejecting and condemning one another and start loving one another. A lost, hurt and dying world is watching.

And I end this by praying for myself, “Lord, search me.”

I’m Not Who I Was

I’ve heard the song “I’m Not Who I Was” by Brandon Heath on the radio many times. Very catchy tune. Good and interesting lyrics. But just haven’t thought about it much.

Today as I worked around the house, I heard that song come up in my heart and the words, “I’m not who I was” brought a smile to my face.

I’m not who I was and it’s entirely because of my God, because of His Presence, His Word and His love in my life.

I was the one who got in trouble a lot in my family. I tested all the limits.

I was the one who was mostly depressed from a very young age.

I was the one who was scared of just about everything. Literally, it was easier to name the things I was not afraid of than to list those I did fear.

I was the one who many believed was least likely to succeed.

I was the ‘fragile’ one, emotionally and physically.

I was the weak one.

Then I found out who I was in Christ.

When trials, tribulations and tragedies struck our family, I turned out to be the strong one that helped the rest of the family stay strong and stay together. Only because He is My Strength.

When attacks came and fear tried to take control, I was the one who did not fear and helped others not to fear. Why? Because His love had driven all fear out of my heart.

The emotionally weak one had become the strongest and today I help to strengthen others through His Word and through His grace.

The physically sick and weak one become the healed and healthy one and daily I help others to receive their healing from God.

The one least likely to succeed has become very successful. Measured not only by material possessions, but  by the joy, the peace, and the love in my life.

The one who swore to never love again due to fear of being hurt, today is teaching others about God’s unconditional and overwhelming love.

The one who was sad and depressed is now full of joy and can hardly keep from smiling and bursting out in song throughout the day.

Because of My God, I’m not who I was.

For Me

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

“Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 5;36-40, NKJV)

You did it for Me. Selah.

“…do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs.”

“…do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

“Tend My sheep.”

“Do you love Me?”

“You know that I love You.”

“Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17, NKJV)

Will you do it for Me? Selah.