Monthly Archives: April 2012
Describe Him. How would you describe Jesus?
Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:
In the above picture is my husband, Jim with some of his University of Kentucky Wesley Foundation friends and leader. He was sent this picture a few days ago by an UK alumni. When I looked at the picture, I not only see Jim of what he looked like in his younger days and when I met him. I also see my now adult and married son, Drew. I re-posted the picture on Facebook over the weekend and many people said Jim looked like Drew with a beard. Yes, there is resemblance between father and son. And, if you see Drew’s eyes, you will see his mom.
In my previous post, Hide and Seek I share how God is seeking us most when we have sinned. He longs for our return to being in relationship with him. Once we quit hiding from God and accept his love and grace, the journey does not stop there. God not only wants us to come to him asking for forgiveness when we have done wrong but he wants a daily relationship with us.
As we know, to be in a healthy relationship with anyone, communication is the key. It requires daily conversation expressing with the other person expressing what is on our heart and mind. Being in relationship with God is no different. He wants to be in constant communication with us.
Prayer is the key to our relationship with God. It is through prayer where we come to the Father seeking his will, pouring our hearts out to him and giving him our request. Yes, God already knows what is on our hearts and minds but he wants us to come to him with those things so that we will be in relationship with him.
Communication is a two-way street. You can’t have a conversation without the other person or persons responding back to what we have said. The same is true when in relationship with God. Yes, we go to God in prayer with what is on our hearts but it is equally important to be still and listen to his voice. He has plans for us and he wants to tell us and direct us towards the purpose he has for us.
How does God talk to us? It could be through conversation with another person and that person saying the very thing we need to hear or giving us that push that we need to make the next move in our life. God can speak to us through music, nature, reading and in daily bible study. In order to hear the whispers of God talking to us, we must be in tuned to everything around us and how God is a part of all that we do. There are also times where we need to simply seek a quiet place and just absorb ourselves in his spirit to hear what he is telling us.
When is the last time you talked with God sharing what was on your heart? And, when was the last time you simply were in tuned to his voice to hear his purpose for you? In the business of your world, I encourage you to stop and take time to talk with God. If you haven’t already, begin that relationship with God and nurture it daily with prayer. After all, God is saying; Let’s Talk.”
“Early in the morning, Jesus got up,left the house while it was still dark outside, and went to a deserted place to pray.” Mark 1:35
“Suddenly their eyes were open to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leave into crude loincloths.” Genesis 3:7 (From The Voice Bible)
Do you know when the first Hide and Seek game took place? It took place in Genesis 3:7. Remember? God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat from the Tree of Knowledge but they instantly showed they were human and listened to the voice of the serpent. Once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, we learn that their eyes were opened and they begin to cover themselves and hide from God. But, did they really hide from God? No. God knew immediately what they had done and where they were. Hence, this Hide and Seek game became known as the moment man became separated from God.
When we were children, we have all played the Hide and Seek game. One person is chosen as the seeker and the others are to go hide. Then, the seeker counts to a number and then begins to seek the rest of the group. I remember times when playing this game where the group would try to trick the one who was the seeker.
As adults, we still play the Hide and Seek game. In this game, we are more like Adam and Eve. We do, say, or think things that we know do not meet the approval of God and His Word. When we sin, we tend to want to go run and hide from God and place the blame on someone or something else. Just as original sin separated man from God, our sin separates us from God.
Yet, when we attempt to hide due to sin, we must realize that God is seeking us. We cannot trick God while we are in hiding thinking he will never find us.He doesn’t want rationale of why we sinned. He doesn’t buy into the blame game or scapegoats because he created us and knows our hearts. It is in these moments where God is seeking us the most. God longs for us to come to him through His Son, Jesus Christ, to confess our sin and accept his forgiveness. God sent his Son so that we could be forgiven, not feel ashamed, and have life eternal. Once we seek God’s forgiveness, we must face the realities of our consequences, learn from the mistake, and ask Christ to be our strength to help us when those moments of weakness come again.
How do you want to live your life? A life of hiding or a life of seeking?
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
A couple of years ago I got hooked on the reality television show Clean House. This show focused on going into people’s homes with an insurmountable amount of clutter. The Clean House crew would go in, evaluate the situation, help the homeowners down size their possessions, and have a yard sale to raise money for improvements on the home. Once the yard sale was done, the homeowners were sent away for a couple of days to evaluate and prioritize their lives while the clean house crew began their overhaul/makeover. In the Clean House crew there was Matt who was the “go-to” guy. His job was to do build outs in closets and come up with solutions to make the home better.
Each one of us knows someone who is a “go-to” guy or gal. These are the people in our offices, homes, families and other organizations that we know we can go to in order to get something accomplished or a problem solved. It seems that these people know where to find the answers, the equipment or have sound advice. We usually hold this person in high regard with great respect. In some cases, we may be the go-to person.
Life is full of” stuff” today. For some of us our “stuff”is a never-ending schedules of commitments and responsibilities. Other stuff may involve job loss, financial difficulties, loss of family member, serious illness personally or within our circle of family and friends. No matter what the “stuff” may be in our lives, we have a “go-to” guy. This “go-to” guy is known as Jesus Christ. He is there 24/7 to listen to our needs.
Yes, Jesus is there to listen to our needs, our cries for help and to give us strength when life dishes out its stuff. However, we must realize that when we take our “stuff” to Christ that He may not answer the way we want answers nor in the time we think He should respond. Jesus will answer and He will give us the solution we need. The important thing we must do in going to our “go-to” guy, Jesus is to simply give Him our “stuff” and then trust Him and His guidance. After all, Jesus IS or SHOULD be the most respected and well-regarded person to trust in helping us in any situation that comes our way.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you grieving a loss of some kind? Do you feel like you have too much “stuff” going on right now? I highly recommend that you seek out the ultimate “go-to” guy, Jesus. Lay your “stuff” at His feet and then trust Him to supply you with what you need.
What A Friend
What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus KNOWS our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
Joseph Scriven Charles C. Converse
Until next time, may you experience His peace that passes ALL understanding.
It is Spring which means baseball season is now underway. For me, I like to follow the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. I like the Cubs because they play with such great spirit though they always seem to be the underdog. I also love watching Cub fans. When my son, Drew lived in Wrigleville, we would walk by Wrigley Field as a game would be taking place. From the sound of the fans, you would think that the Cubs were winning the World Series. My heart would pound with excitement from just hearing the cheers of the fans.
The reason I follow the Atlanta Braves is that I grew up in Georgia and in the surrounding areas of Atlanta. These days the Braves do fairly well but I do remember a time when they had to all but bribe people to come to the games. The team and the players were the source of many jokes on radio morning shows. Yet, somewhere along the way, they pulled it together and have created a fun team to watch.
Yesterday in bible study, we focused on Matthew 28:16-20 which is known as The Great Commission. In this passage Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples of ALL nations, to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As we leave the Easter Season and move towards Pentecost, we must continue to remember the teachings of Jesus, His ministry, and, most of all, this commission that He NOT only meant for His immediate disciples but for ALL future disciples. We are included in His instructions.
It is Spring. We have celebrated the Risen Savior and ALL He did for you and me. Now, it is our turn to step into the game and carry on the Good News of the Risen Saviour. Some of us may not have a lot of resources to offer in sharing the Good News but we can give with a heart of enthusiasm using the resources we are given. We can give with enthusiasm just like those Cubs fans. Our enthusiasm for Christ should be to the point that when someone passes by their heart pounds with excitement.
There are also some of us who have all kinds of resources but we are not using them in their fullest and/or we pick when to use our resources in being a disciple for Christ. We talk the talk but do we walk the talk? Does our witness having any meaning to others? Or, because we are back and forth, people doubt our abilities and our witness? In this instance, we need to step up our game. We have to start being the person God has called us to be and using the gifts and talents He has given us to bring others to Christ. It is when we do this that people will begin to listen and want to come back to learn more about having Christ in their lives.
So, how about it? It is Spring. Christ has risen! The game is on. Are you willing and ready to say; “put me in coach”? “I’m ready to play.”
In our home, you will find many bibles of many translations. Some people may question the number of bibles that are in my possession. However, I learn something new of God’s teachings, and gain different perspectives of God’s message to me through the various translations. One of my favorite study bibles that is marked, highlighted and showing some wear is the NKJ Women’s Study Bible. In this particular bible are devotionals, quotes of wisdom, historical information and insights of how the scriptures apply to me in today’s world.
This morning as I was reading my study bible. I was reading in the Psalms. In this reading, I came across a devotional reminding me of how God’s word is such a precious treasure. At the end of this devotional was this hymn that was written by John Burton ( 1773-1822). After reading through this poem, I felt lead to share it with my readers.
When reading this poem, be reminded that the Word of God is the light to our daily path. It is not only light for our every day path but it is a reminder that the Bible is a place where we will find comfort, wisdom, healing, and learn the true meaning of unconditional love. The poem also reminds us of our beautiful heritage and that we are all children of God.
After you read this poem, I encourage you to begin reading a Psalm and a Proverb each day. You may want to begin a journal where you read scripture and write what God is saying to you. Trust me, it is a wonderful way to begin your day and to draw closer to your Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Holy Bible, book divine
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.
Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward.
Mine to comfort in distress.
Suff’ring i n this wilderness;
Mine to show by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.
Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
Oh thou Holy Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.
The bible. May you not only read its words but will engrave and treasure the words of God in this precious book on your heart. I challenge you to share this precious jewel of words with those you encounter on your faith journey.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of upward call of in God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3: 14
Last night, time stood still in Kentucky. It was an intense and exciting two hours between the hours of 8:00-10:00 central time. The University of Kentucky not only made it to the “Big Dance” in New Orléans, LA but they had made it to the final game that would determine the championship of this year’s college basketball. The coaches, players and fans of both the Jayhawks and the Wildcats were all pumped and ready for the battle of the championship. It was two hours of intense playing, cheering by the fans and coaching for both teams. As the final seconds on the clock began to click away, there was not a doubt that Kentucky was about to be “The Champions.”
The song, We Are The Champions was made popular by the rock group Queen in the early 1980′s. Ever since it hit the airways it has been popular for sports teams winning championships and used in other championship venues. I am sure somewhere in the last twenty-four hours it has been played in honor of the big championship win last night.
The song, We Are The Champions reminds me of the never-ending challenges Christians face in today’s world. We awake every day and step into battle for the Kingdom of God. As I reflected on this thought, I thought of the early Christians. Early Christians were persecuted, stoned, hanged and even fed to the lions. When you look at the grand scheme of things, it is not much different today for Christians. In today’s world, Christians encounter their traditions, values, morals and beliefs are becoming more and more challenged and squeezed out. Missionaries in other countries risk their lives every day to spread the gospel to a non believing world. Christian ministers are in prison cells in other countries awaiting trial and possible execution.
Bone chilling isn’t it? Yet, the way things are changing it is easy to become desensitized to what is happening to the Christian world and simply accept it as “it is just the way things are.” Even though the easy way to deal with the world would be to just accept the changes of the world, as Christians, we must stay attentive. We must keep our eye on the goal and that is the goal of eternal life with our Creator. In keeping our eye on that goal we must dress in our armor every day. This armor includes prayer, having the scriptures engraved in our hearts, and stand up for what we believe and that is Christ is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
Each day comes and goes. And, with each day that comes and goes comes more and more challenges. But, when it that final championship game is played, we must remember that “We ARE the champions and we will NEED to keep fighting for what we believe and know is true to the end”……until the day Christ comes and takes His bride.
In a couple of months, the hubby will be turning 50. Yes, that magical number of what we call mid-life crisis. I, on the other hand, have two more years before approaching such a crisis in my life. The hubby has longed for a convertible. His choice in convertibles has always centered on a Miata. I, on the other hand, could not grasp the concept of driving down the interstate in a roller skate. Thus, I began my search of convertibles of heavier weight. In this search, I found our newest car ( at least to us) a Toyota Solara. It was the perfect match for us. A heavier car, a car that can be a classic because they are no longer manufactured and it was a convertible that would scratch that mid-life crisis itch.
Now, for me on the other hand, I don’t foresee any mid-life crisis cravings or behaviors taking place anytime soon. ( If you believe that, I have some land in Florida I will gladly sell ya!) For the last couple of years, I have wanted what the hubby calls a “fluff” dog. Hubby, on the other hand, did not see the need for us to acquire such a dog since we have a four-year old lab already living with us. But, I told him the dog would be cheaper than therapy! Yet, I still got no where!
One day it came to me. Yes, I had a flashback of that old favorite sitcom of the 80′s, Designing Women. You may recall this show centered around the lives of four interior designers; four Southern women who lived in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Along with these four women was a man by the name of Anthony who started out the series as a stranger to them on a Thanksgiving episode. He started out as their stock/delivery man to one day and, over time, his character develops into being one of their partners.
Now, you ask; “what does this have to do with mid-life crisis, a convertible and the title of this post, I Asked For a pig but Got A Dog all have in common?” Well, I will tell ya. We are all aware of the child’s game of asking for an elephant, a horse or some sort of animal of large proportion that would be impossible for most people to obtain much less care for and then wearing the parents down to that dog, cat or gold-fish that they really wanted. Hey, I have seen work with kids so why not me with the hubby on the subject of a dog? Right?
One evening, as I strolled through the paper and then the internet looking for pups to adopt, the hubby walks in and asks; “what’s up?” My response was; “oh nothing.” I thought I would just look for a pig that is up for adoption since I can’t get a dog. At this moment, I thought he was going to choke on the ice water he had just swallowed. “A pig?” “Why a pig?” were the questions that followed after he got over that brain freeze and got his breath back from inhaling the ice water. My reply back to him was simple:
“Well, you remember the television show, Designing Women don’t ya?” ” I suddenly remember that Suzanne Sugarbaker had a pet pig that was given to her by her house keeper.” “Suzanne, being the gracious Southern gal she was raised to be decided that this pig would not be put in the pen and raised for further consumption.” “But, Suzanne decided that this pig would be her beloved pet.” “I remember episodes of Suzanne and the pig coming in with matching scarves and such.” Suzanne loved that pig.” And, don’t you remember the episode when Suzanne asked Anthony to take the pig to the Dairy Queen in her convertible with the top down?” The hubby acknowledges that he remembers that episode and then quotes Anthony’s response; “I will do a lot of things for you, Suzanne, but I will NOT take no p-i-g to the Dairy Queen.” I replied back with arguing how I have heard pigs do make good pets. After all, I am a Southern girl from Atlanta, Georgia and why not a pig if I can’t have a dog?
Not long after this conversation that actually took place, the hubby and I were on the internet searching for a pup who needed a home. My criteria were that it would be a rescue dog. We weren’t on the internet long when the newest member of the family, Smokey, popped up on the screen. It was seeing his picture when Jim called the rescue home and got the adoption process going. Two days later, we were driving forty miles to pick up not a pig but a sweet bischon/frise, shih tzu mix four-month old pup. I asked for a pig and got a dog! Smokey will never grow to be the size of a pig. Nor will he ever eat the amount of food as a pig but he has been one of the biggest blessings and joy that God has sent my way.
The moral of this story: There are times when we ask God for a pig, an elephant, or a thoroughbred horse but he does not give what we think we want or need. But, he does listen to our prayer and at the right moment and place the biggest blessing God sends our way may come in the smallest of packages. Have you asked God for something and He said, “no”? But, somewhere in time, he fulfilled that need/want with a blessings and you were so ever grateful later that he didn’t send or give what you thought you needed or wanted? Goes to show that God knows our every need and want. It is in HIS time where the needs and wants will be filled and only in HIS way. Thus, making life all that more beautiful and full of wonder and glory. “And my God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
By the way, the other night it was the perfect Spring evening to go for a ride in the convertible. So, the hubby, Smokey and myself put the top down and went for a ride. We ended up at Dairy Queen where the hubby found himself not only buying ice cream for the two of us but also ice cream for Smokey. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone and/or camera and did not get this first trip to Dairy Queen captured. But, I have a feeling as Spring and Summer progresses there will be ample opportunity.