Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Blessing of Peace

I just spent a couple of days at the Disney resort with my mom, aunt and youngest son. We didn't go into any of the parks, didn't buy any souvenirs, and didn't even see Mickey (gasp!), but it was a great time. After dinner on Sunday my aunt and I were standing on the boardwalk enjoying the cool breeze and gazing across the lake as the lights came on. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I had almost forgotten that feeling. It is funny to me that in the midst of the hustle and bustle that is Disney World, I was reminded that I was created for peace, a peace that reaches the very depths of my soul and nourishes me.

With 4 kids at home who are all involved in sports, homeschooling, and church, I all too often just move down my daily to-do list, running as fast as I can so that I fall only a little behind each day. I forget my purpose. I forget my God. I forget His peace. Disney World is not where most people are reminded of that. It sure isn't where I expected to hear that message, but then again, God does move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Sometimes getting a busy mom to slow down and remember Him is quite a wonder. Thank you God for reminding me. I hope it is a lesson that I take to heart.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Repent and Be Worshipful

"We do not always think of repentance as worship, but it can be much easier to sing a rousing hymn than to turn away from our favorite sin. A sinful act involves worship of the wrong kind, submitting ourselves at that moment to serve the appetites of our pride or lust, and so repentance is literally a transfer of our worship back to the One who rightfully owns it... Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which comes upon you, but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. The feelings, the joy of having been forgiven, follow on as a consequence of our reunion with Him." Graham Kendrick

I have been ruminating on this quote for a while now. I want to give my thoughts, but they are all over the place. Do I confess that I worship things that are not worthwhile rather than God? Do I discuss how worship is an intentional act, not a feel good moment? Do I ponder how difficult it is to turn from our sinful desires to offer ourselves up to the Lord? I think, instead, I will just leave you with these awesome words and allow you to meditate on them for a while. Read over them a few times. Reflect. Ask God to reveal His thoughts to you here. Then, let's join together to worship God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

My dictionary says that a valentine is a sweetheart and that a sweetheart is one who is loved by and loves another. The Bible tells us that "Love is patient, love is kind..it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects,...always perseveres. Love never fails." Sounds awesome, doesn't it? and unattainable. Where could you possibly find such a valentine?

So many stress this time of year, especially, it seems, young women. How will they make it through the day without some guy fawning all over them telling them how much he loves them and cares for them. I know, it is probably unfair for me to write about that because I have a loving husband. I don't have to spend this day alone, but then, neither do they. God is there, ready to meet our deepest needs, patiently and tenderly watching over His children. He loves us. He loves us perfectly. He never fails.

This year why not make God your valentine? Love Him and be loved by Him. Seek Him first in all that you do and you may be surprised at how He fills your every need and grants the desires of your heart. God is the perfect valentine whether you have someone special in your life or not. He is never going to let you down. His love is truly and everlasting love that will delight you all of your days.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

"The right to hold religious beliefs and to act in keeping with one's faith, is being set against the right not to be offended, and is losing." This quote is from an article in The Telegraph (London) concerning the court case of the owners of a bed and breakfast who refuse to rent rooms to unmarried couples. Why should they not be allowed to rent rooms as they desire? Why do the courts feel the need to be involved in such business decisions? If you do not like the policies of a certain business, don't frequent them. Tell your friends not to go there. Affect their bottom line, but don't bring the courts into it.

This reminds me of the posts I have been seeing on Facebook concerning Chik-fil-A and their "ties to fundamentalist, anti-gay groups". If you don't like the groups that a company gives their money to, buy your chicken elsewhere. No one is forcing you to eat at Chik-fil-A or stay at a particular bed and breakfast. No one makes you buy certain magazines or watch particular movies. Don't give your freedom to choose over to the government.

We do not send our children to public school. Some of the things taught there are offensive to our family. That means that we must make other arrangements. We might have to suffer a bit of inconvenience in order to avoid the things that offend, but we are okay with that. It is the price we pay to live in a free society. Not everyone is going to agree with how you do everything. It is our right to pick and choose. I'd like very much to keep that right. Wouldn't you.

Just in case you are wondering about the British couple with the B&B, they lost the case and are planning to close their establishment rather than go against their beliefs. Way to go. Another couple(at least) out of work.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gift Card or Mom

So, I read just the other day that hundreds of teens were surveyed and 95% of them would rather spend the day with their parents than to have a $200 gift card. I really did not think that was the way the answers were going to fall. It sure didn't go that way in our house. All three of my teens chose the gift card. My feelings were almost hurt until one of them said, "We get to spend all day, every day with you, so we might as well take the gift card and just spend tomorrow with you again." Did you get that? They GET to spend time with me. That put a smile on my face for sure.

Maybe those teens that were surveyed don't have that opportunity. I don't really know, but it sure does seem to send a message to those of us who are parents of teens. In spite of what we see in the media, our teens really do want to spend time with us. We are still an important part of their lives. They haven't stopped needing our input and guidance. The issues aren't the same as they were when they were eight, they are much bigger, life altering, and sometimes scary. They need our wisdom and support now more than ever.

This just might be a good day to make a date with the teen in your life. Go to the beach, window shop at the mall, have dessert at a local restaurant. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to be time. With you. To listen. Don't let this slip away from you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heavenly Disney World

A couple of days ago, Stan was sharing with me why he thinks we all love Disney World. As I considered what he said, I realized that he had some good points.

All of us, believer and unbeliever alike, were created in the image of God, and, like Adam and Eve, were made to be holy and happy. Because of that, we are all looking to heaven for our ultimate fulfillment. In some ways, Disney World is like heaven. Like all analogies, this one breaks down, but there are similarities to consider.

Disney World is all about happiness, worldly happiness to be sure, but happiness is the goal all the same. The Disney Resort is all about filling your every need and desire. There are a variety of parks, rides, food venues, and recreation options so that everyone will find something to please them. Disney is about no more sorrow, pain or tears. Of course, we have all seen crying kids and exasperated parents there, but what can you expect, we are all sinners after all. Disney properties are beautiful, reminiscent of the Garden, flowers bloom, grass is trimmed and trees even grow in the shape of animals and people.

Disney is not heaven by any means. Not even close, but I see his point. Here on Earth in this life, we are all looking for something more. Instinctively, we realize we were made for more than this. Our souls long for the shalom of heaven. Even though Disney World isn't heaven, I am happy enough to spend some of my time on Earth there, enjoying what it is until I can have the real thing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Cahoots With Satan

I applauded as I listened to MacArthur, Piper and Washer talk about Osteen and others who preach a prosperity gospel(in my heart, anyway). They bring to mind the robot from the old TV series "Lost in Space". Those of you without any gray hairs will have to ask your parents about that. I remember none of the story lines from this show, but I do remember that robot waving his arms around saying, "Danger, Will Robinson", and he was always right. No amount of justifying actions ever averted the danger that the robot predicted. These men are warning America and the church that there is danger in following the path of the prosperity gospel.

The other thing that struck me as they talked was that the same danger warning needs to be sounded to the church as it goes about seeking to make our worship services comfortable for those in the neighborhood. Are we just giving the people what they want? Dramas, contemporary music, and hi tech presentations are not sinful in and of themselves, but we do want to be careful as a church to make sure that those things are speaking truth and glorifying God. The church needs to be teaching that we are all wretched sinners with no hope save for a loving and merciful God who sees us through the saving blood of His son, Jesus Christ. Proclaiming to one and all that "there is none righteous, not one" and "I am the way, truth and life. No one comes to the Father but by me" is not a comfortable thing to do, but it is the job of the church to preach the whole truth. Let's be sure that we are not "in cahoots with Satan".