Category Archives: Faith/Christianity

Hello 2015

Hello again. It’s been awhile since I’ve written here on the blog. Honestly as I write this I can’t even remember when I really wrote last. I need to go back and read my last post. A year of change will do that to your mind I think.

How can we be in 2015? (I actually started this post as an end of 2014 post, but the time got away from me to finish it.)

In some ways 2014 was a year that seemed to crawl along. And yet it also whizzed past.

I guess that’s how they all are I suppose. But this one especially.

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I’m still not sure I have found a word for 2015 yet. Usually a word has found me by now. There is one that is there, but I’m not sure it’s the word. At least not yet. Maybe this year will be different and the word will develop over time.

But my mind drifts back to my word for 2014. Nuach. Rest.

As with any of the past words that have found me this one was hard.

It’s hard to rest in His process when you are waiting.

Did I pass the year with my one word with flying colors? Maybe. There were moments of frustration and exhaustion. Then there were others of peace and rest. Even in those frustrating moments I knew I could still rest in His plan.

As November arrived, we were unpacking in our new home. Blessed beyond what we could have ever imagined. Still it blows my mind how God answered every prayer and more. Of course life changes are filled with nervousness, but how can you be nervous when you can see God’s hand over every part? Just so very thankful.

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So hello 2015. I’m looking forward to what you hold. Because as sure as I know anything I know there is extraordinary in the everyday ordinary if we just look, and I know God will do more than we can possibly imagine.

Keep Serving, Stay Faithful

Some dreams you spend years praying for. Dreams that are not even your own. A dream that is so apparent you can’t help but want to see it realized. When you see a friend use their gifts, there is no doubt it is what God created them to do.

You watch as a friend struggles, though. You watch as they wonder if this dream will ever become more than something in the distance, something they struggle to grasp.

You know where this friend’a heart is. You know their love for their gift, their craft, and for the place they hold so dear to their heart. You know their deepest desire is to use their gift for God’s purpose.

So you pray. Almost daily you pray. Praying God will cover them with encouragement and to open the doors that only He can open. You think of Joseph and how it took twenty years or more for the dream God gave him to be completely revealed. You pray God’s timing isn’t so long for this friend.

Some times it is easier for others to see glimpses of God’s plan for us before we can.

You watch as they feel as if they are close to the mountain top, almost reaching their dream, but not quite there. Other times they seem so low you pray they remember to keep looking up. Even though you can’t explain it, deep down you know that dream will see fruition. Yet you can not tell them you see it coming, that you see the dream for which they have been praying for almost four years, will be realized. Because you fear giving them false hope. Because what they’ve dreamed of for so long isn’t something to be spoken of flippantly.

Of course you also doubt. What if this intuition God has given you is wrong? So you stand in the shadows. Praying day after day. Wondering when God will reveal His plan, when you this friend will see this dream come true.

The timing never seems to be what we would choose though. We don’t get to choose the timing of a dream realized. But that’s okay. Because His choosing is always perfect.

One day you sense that the time is near, that God is setting things in place for this friend. You wait ever so hopefully.

Then the news is shared. That long awaited dream is reality.

And all you can do is whisper words of gratitude and thank you. His perfect timing never fails. Even when years seem to drag by and we wonder how Joseph stayed faithful for so many years the dreams He gives us are for His purpose.

All we have to do in the waiting is keep serving and remain faithful.

Keep serving. Stay faithful.

What dream or goal are you waiting to be fulfilled?

Answer Not Argue

I stood smiling although I truly had no desire to smile. The words coming from the other person felt too much like an attack. (Sometimes being a highly sensitive person has it pitfalls.) I have had this conversation in my head many times, though. I have known the conversation would eventually come up with someone so I prepared myself. I knew what my answer would be, and I knew I would only share my own story and reasons, never going on the attack.

As soon as I could get a word in edge wise, I simply shared my story and why I made the choice I did. I never defended my choice. I didn’t need to.

In the beginning I wasn’t sure where this person was going with this conversation, but whatever direction he was taking, he was going about it the wrong way. Instead of simply inviting me to something, he assumed I would decline due to a difference in choice on something. Having never met me, he immediately went on the defensive about his own choice arguing that “we should all work together.” I don’t disagree with him on that matter.

The entire experience caused me to think about the difference in having a posture of defensiveness as opposed to being prepared with an answer. Especially with matters of faith.Too many times I believe we are quick to become defensive. Too quick.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

There are translations that use the word defend in place of ‘give an answer.’ Translation from the original can get tricky some times, and I am certainly not a theologian.

But I wonder if too often people forget the part that says “for the hope that you have.”

I wonder if we too often mistake ‘defend’ or ‘have an answer for’ with arguing.

God is our Magen, our shield. He is our Metsuda, our fortress. He is our Migdal-Oz, our strong tower.

He defends us. We are to defend, to have an answer, for the hope we find in Him.

Do we mistake defending the hope we have in Christ for arguing with people, for being God’s defense attorney, even with other Christians, about our differences? Does arguing show gentleness and respect? I have been guilty of this, and I’m sure there will be moments I will be again.

Maybe age and gaining some wisdom along the way gives us perspective, though. I hope to remember that He only needs me to have an answer for the hope I find in Him; to remember He is Metsuda, Magen, Migdal-Oz. Having an answer for the hope I have through my story, in gentleness and respect, and without a defensive spirit, is all the defense He needs. Somehow, I don’t think I need to be the defense attorney for the One who is the fortress, shield, and strong tower.

 

Don’t Waste Good

Optimism seems very rare these days. I catch negativity seeping from my own words as well. The media, social and otherwise, bombard us with stories that seem void of hope.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Why do we focus on our flaws instead of  the good ways God has made us? Why do we forget to consider the gifts and talents He has given us?

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. – 1 Timothy 1:7 (Message)

Humility is of utmost importance. Letting our egos swell is not lovely, but if we are to grow in our gifts and the purpose a God has for us we must see the gifts and abilities He has given us as good things. The enemy would love nothing better than for our minds to be so focused on our flaws and how we’ve messed up that we never realize our purpose.

Using the gifts God has given us with confidence and love is fulfilling His plan for each of us, and we cannot do that if we continually focus on the negative we can find in ourselves or in others.

We will always be able to find something negative about ourselves. Always. We are imperfect humans. Focusing not only on the good He does for us, but also the good gifts and abilities He gives us can encourage others if we do so with humility knowing that only because of His grace do we have the gifts He gives.

Gibb’s Rule #5 – Don’t waste good.

When we weigh our spirits down with the flaws and imperfections, not only of ourselves, but of others, we are wasting the good. We are wasting the good gifts He has blessed us and others with to fulfill the purpose only He can give us.

How can you not waste the good He gives?

Four Cups – A Giveaway

What if God has had a plan for your life since the very beginning? Not just the beginning of your life, but from the foundations of faith itself? In Four Cups, pastor and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hodges shares an astonishing truth: The key to your spiritual fulfillment is found in four promises that God first spoke to His people in the Old Testament, and that are still at the core of his heart and his plans for you today. God wants to rescue you; to deliver you from whatever holds you back; for you to live out His plan for your life; and for you to be part of a family that is making a difference. Steeped in Jewish history and tradition, yet breathing the transforming hope of Christ on every page, Four Cups will help you move forward on your spiritual journey. You’ll understand the four stages of faith, believe the promises of God for your life . . . and discover what it means to be truly fulfilled.

I’m giving away one copy of Four Cups today. I am a bit biased since Chris Hodges is my church’s senior pastor, but it’s definitely a book worth reading. Four Cups refers to the four cups from the Jewish Seder connecting the four cups of Passover to four important aspects of Christianity: freedom, deliverance, purpose, and fulfillment.

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment below. Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway winner will be chosen Wednesday, July 30th.

I was not provided a copy of this book to review or giveaway.