Sunday, July 31, 2011

Say So!

No sermon. No usual church formalities. This weekend was "Camp Day" at church. The only voices heard were those of children re-living their experiences at different church sponsored camps held over the summer.

Decked out in their camp T-shirts, the children reminisced about sleeping in bunk beds, hiking mountain trails, casting a fishing line, tackling the challenge course, making new friends, dodging rain drops, and worshipping God. As they spoke, photos of their adventure brought their memories to life once again.

And...with each story shared...excitement and enthusiasm grew!

It was almost as if the children were back at camp again. As the morning went on, shy voices became bold. Stories lengthened and included more and more details. And everywhere, eyes twinkled and lips smiled.

It was obvious by the oohs and aahs (and occasional chuckle) from the congregation that the enthusiasm of these campers was contagious. Grandmas and grandpas, neighbors and friends, pastors and deacons. They all "got it". The entire church became caught up in the moment, in the celebration, in the experience. It was truly amazing to witness.

As the service ended, however, you could begin to feel the let down. The same let down that we felt the day it was time to leave the camp and come down off the mountain.

The moment was over....or was it?

As everyone filed out of church, I found myself surrounded by enthusiastic onlookers who now wanted to know how THEY could be involved next summer. Some mentioned they would try to get time off from work to be camp counselors. Some shared names of children who "need to be there next year". Elderly members of our church family offered to provide "campership" money to ensure no one would be left behind.

As I witnessed the status of the "pew sitters" change from onlooker to participant, I couldn't help think about the "power to change" we have in our own personal testimony.

When was the last time you shared your testimony?

It doesn't matter if your earliest memory is singing Jesus Loves Me or if the fact that Jesus loves you now has you making brand new memories. We each have a story. We have something to share. God has touched each of us and we have something to say.

But....do we?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As I added the question mark to that last sentence, my husband came running in from our front yard. Moments before, He had been sitting outside enjoying an amazing light show over the mountains that stand tall and proud to our East. As several lightening strikes lit up the sky, my husband noticed a small, than a larger glow of orange. FIRE! I ran outside to see this sometimes horrific, yet absolutely normal occurrence in nature.

One spark.

One lightening strike.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Remember the old camp favorite, Pass It On?




It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone
You want to pass it on

Your testimony, your words of God's faithfulness in your life, your experience with the King of Kings is the spark that the Holy Spirit can use to start a holy-fire in the heart of someone "who needs to know". By proclaiming God's transforming power through your own life experience others can begin to experience God's transforming power in their life.

The spark you light can turn onlookers into participants; hearers into doers, sinners into saints; grace-less people into graceFULL.

But....we've got to open our mouth and speak. We have to be willing to open our lives and share our HIS-story.

We've

got

to

say

so!

So.....

what do you have to say?

The world is listening.

The world is waiting.

Go on....

go out and light your world~





Linking up today with:

Soli Deo Gloria

Hop on over there and see what God has waiting for your heart today~

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Minute Fridays: Still

Today, I am linking up with (In)Courage for Five Minute Friday. Today's topic: Still

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I sit alone in the stillness of this moment, I am suddenly aware that my mind is anything but still. Even in moments of intentional stillness, my thoughts are STILL racing.

One thought is zipping down Commitment Avenue, one has me headed up Don't Forget Boulevard, while yet another thought has already merged onto the Guilt Expressway.

Lord, How can I capture my thoughts and hand them over to you? How do I gather them all in the same place long enough to quiet them and subdue them?

How can I possibly hear you?

And yet...I do.

In the midst of this chaos, you are here, still.

As I meander through the musings of my mind, I sense your presence. My heart listens and it hears....YOU~

Through the rambling and the rubble, I hear your still small voice.

Ever faithful...strong and yet, oh so tender.

You are mine.

I am yours.

Still.


Monday, July 25, 2011

His Perfect Plans~

Plans. We all have them. Some are grandiose like climbing Mt. Everest. Some are simple like what to fix for dinner. Some happen. Some don't.

As a child, whenever a plan fell through and disappointment flooded my heart, my mom would always turn to this old familiar quote:

the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray
(a paraphrase from the poem by Robert Burns called To a Mouse.)

I can't speak for mice, but I can speak for me, and in my lifetime, plans have often gone astray, awry, and everywhere else!

My plans, that is.

Not God's.

His plans are always in place.

Like the time I was engaged to someone who became engaged to someone else while still engaged to me. (True story! You cannot make this kind of stuff up!)

Or the time I ended up losing my job after twelve years of sacrifice, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. (Ok...no blood was involved, but my heart hurt so bad over this it felt like it was bleeding.)

Or the time I was expecting and miscarried.

Or the time I was expecting for the second time and miscarried.

Or the time I was expecting for the third time and miscarried.

My plans have gone astray. My plans have taken detours and led me to places I never thought I would be or ever hope to go again. My plans have twisted and turned until sometimes they were no longer recognizable. But...in the end...my plans have always led me to God.

Sometimes the road to God was sweet. Sometimes, it was bitter and full of doubt, questions, resentment and anger. Sometimes, it left me bitter and feeling hollow inside. But....at the end....God was there.

Looking back, I can see God's hand in some of the twists and turns.

When I think I could have married the "man of my dreams" (well, if he hadn't gotten engaged to someone else), and missed out on the husband I have now, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.

God knew best.

When I think I could have stayed at that job and missed out on re-locating near my parents and spending time with my precious Daddy during his last days on this earth, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.

God knew best.

When I think about those three precious little babies....I cry. Still. And, I fold my hands in prayer and give my sorrow to the Lord once again. I have not yet seen the "why" behind this, but I have felt His love comfort me.

I have to trust that God knows best.

Our plans are not God's plans. Our ways are not His ways. But, His ways are perfectly perfect.

I can't speak for mice, but I can speak for me. When my plans falter, when disappointment and sorrow flood my heart, I turn to the truth found in God's word.

‎For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
... “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."
~ Isaiah 55:8

In all things, God's ways are perfect and for this, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.



I'm linking this post with SHANDRA for my first ever "On Your Heart Tuesdays!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Little About Me~

I finally got around to adding "A Little About Me" to my site. Just in case you are interested, you can read "a little about me".........HERE.

May God bless your week above and beyond all you can think or imagine~

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Planting Seeds of Worthiness

For the past few months, God has been speaking to my heart, over and over, about one thing:

planting seeds of worthiness

The first time this phrase captured my heart was while I was watching a short video highlighting "Little Dresses for Africa". This ministry transforms pillowcases into beautiful dresses for little girls in poverty-stricken Africa. The mission of this ministry is two-fold: providing clean clothing AND planting seeds of worthiness in the heart of each girl receiving a beautiful pillowcase dress.

planting seeds of worthiness

The phrase echoed over and over in my heart.

God was speaking.

Then, came Vacation Bible School. Months before, I had decided on the program for this year's summer extravaganza: PandaMania - Where God is Wild About You. The entire curriculum was based on Psalms 139 and was all about finding our worth in our creator.

planting seeds of worthiness

And, most recently, a week long trip to the mountains to serve as a camp counselor at a week long Christian camp for children in 5th - 7th grade. Again, the curriculum was based on finding our worth in Christ...not the world.

planting seeds of worthiness

When we begin to catch even the tiniest glimpse of who we are in Christ, chains of bondage, oppression and fear break loose.

The world is full of people who don't know who they are. Everywhere you look, people, young and old, are looking to the world for their identity, their self-worth, their value and for acceptance.

Tattoos

Piercings

Addictions

Suicide

Society is reaping a harvest, but sadly, it is not the harvest of hearts where seeds of worthiness have been planted. Quite the opposite.

It is up to you and me to be the sowers of these life-changing seeds.

By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, you and I have discovered not only who we are, but WHOSE we are. Our worthiness comes from our adoption into the family of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus. Our value is seen unmistakably in the dying and suffering our of Saviour. Our self-esteem comes from knowing we were created, cell by cell, tissue by tissue, by the creator of the universe and that we were created in His image. You and I look to God to find our worth, not the world, and this makes all the difference in the way we live our life, the choices we make, and the person we become.

Heartache

Empty searching

Life without Christ

Hearts that were created to know their creator are crying out for something more.

planting seeds of worthiness

God is speaking.

He is calling you and I to reach others with His love.

Where do you need to plant seeds of worthiness?

Who do you know whose heart is ready to receive the Good news found in Christ?

It's time to start planting.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Free At Last~

Free.

Free to be me...whoever "me" might turn out to be.

This has always been the deepest desire of my heart.

From the sidelines of life, I stood watching the rest of the world march to the beat of its own drum while aimlessly stumbling around in the dark to hear the beat of my own heart.

Everyone else seemed to have it all together. Everyone seemed so confident in who they were, in what they were doing, in living their life. Nothing in my life felt normal or comfortable.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up in a beautiful family. The trouble with me, was....well.....in me!

My search for me has been a long, lonely, and often, frustrating journey. It's not easy lugging around heavy suitcases laden with insecurity, fear and a whole lot of other "unmentionables" day in and day out.

My search for me has led me on many "goose chases", too. After all, I was looking for me. Me was searching for I. Talk about spinning in circles and getting nowhere.

But then, God stepped in.

From a prayer spoken in my heart, God started leading me on a path of self-discovery. As I began to search for God, little by little, I began to see glimpses of the real me; the me God created me to be.

I began to see myself through the eyes of my creator.

I began to realize that the emotions I feel, along with my personality, my talents, all 5 feet nine inches of me was intentionally, meticulously, lovingly crafted by God.

AND...in His eyes....it is good. I am good. Not good in myself, mind you, but good in the undeniable truth that God does ALL things well!

Any accomplishment I achieve, any award I win, any head I might turn, has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my Heavenly Father. It is He who has created me and it is He who is at work through me.

I can't be boastful about who I am.

Any "peculiarity" I have, any idiosyncrasy I have, any distinction I may have, has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my Heavenly Father. It is He who has created me and it is He who has made me who I am.

I can't be embarrassed about who I am.

I can simply be who I am.

The balance for my life is found in Christ. The answer to who I am is found in Christ. The answer to why I was created is found in Christ.

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. Ephesians 2:10, NCV

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. Ephesians 2:10, The Amplified Bible

I'm no longer concerned about fitting in or joining the "human band". While others continue marching to the beat of their own drum, I have found the harmony of my life in Christ. As long as I am marching to the beat of God's heart, I know who I am.

I am free.

Free to be me.

Free to be who God created me to be.

Free to march to the beat of God's own heart.

What could be more freeing than that?

And guess what?

It IS good. Life in and through Christ is good~