Monday, October 07, 2013

Somedays I Just Miss You

Some days I Just Miss You

I have been blessed to have a large family and lots of friends. Because my parents (pastor/missionaries) moved a lot when I was a child, I was blessed to make meaningful relationships all over the country. Like most people, many of my family and friends no longer live near me. With things like face book, it is fun to connect with many of them via the Internet. But, connecting with others via Internet, text, and even a phone call just isn't the same as living life together with people. You know, sharing life together at church, in each others homes, and at other activities (kids sports, recitals, etc.). So there are days that I just miss sharing those moments with others.

Two of my sisters are both living in western Kansas right now. There are days I just wish we could pack up and move too. I want my kids to hang with their kids, I want to see my nieces and nephews grow and experience new things. I want to discuss God's Word with my sister's and their husbands. I want to serve in their community and church with them. Some days I just miss them.

My In Laws live in Indiana, and there are days I wish we lived near them. Days when I know my nieces and nephews are doing sports, and I want to go to the game. I want to discuss with them what books they are reading, and help them with their homework (not that they need it). I want to have my in laws over for Sunday dinner, and back yard fires. Oh, there are just those days that I miss them.

My closest childhood friend lives in Texas. She and her husband come back to visit in Michigan a couple times a year, but there is never enough time to visit everyone. Oh, I wish I could sit and have a cup of coffee with her and discuss how God is working in our kids lives. I want to encourage her and her husband as they wait to see where the Lord is taking them next in life. Oh, there are just those days I miss her.

Two of my closets friends both live in Cincinnati. They are both married and have children now. I wish I could just sit and watch their families interact. I wish I could get to know their husbands. Oh, how I wish I could sing and worship God with them again. There are days I think I could just get in the car and drive there for a visit. Oh, how I miss just sitting and sharing life with them both, through the good and bad days.

There is a church in Pennsylvania full of some of the most wonderful people God ever placed in my life. There are Sunday's I just wish I could be there in the worship service with them all. Oh, how I miss them.

I could go on and on. There are cousins I miss, aunts, uncles, friends, there are even new online friends that I have never met in person, and yet I miss them too.

Maybe you have loved ones in life like that. Maybe some of the people you miss, like me, have died and are no longer even here on this earth. Maybe some of the people you miss are not so far away, but never have time to spend with you, or you with them. Life moves on, and it moves faster and faster as we get older.

Yes, I miss all of these people that God has blessed me to know. But, instead of sitting and missing them. I am going to celebrate those whom God has blessed me to be with today, and I am going to look forward to that glorious day when we will all be together in His Glory.

How about you? Are you focusing on those days gone by, or are you looking forward with anticipation to the day of the Lord? Are you celebrating the lives God has placed in your path today? Look around and rejoice. Today is the Day of the Lord.

So to all of you whom I miss dearly, I leave you with these words from Paul written to those he missed and loved.

Philippians 4:1, 4-9

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I am rejoicing in the Lord today that each of you are a part of my life. May He bless you richly today.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


In my last post I talked about how I often struggle with being critical, complaining, and comparing.  So, I decided I was going to really work on this problem area in my life.  I really want to be a positive influence in the lives of those around me, so I decided I am going to, "Be Nice."  I thought a lot about it and prayed, and thought some more.  As I thought I remembered attending my grandma's funeral so many years ago.  I didn't spend a lot of time with my grandma as a child.  She lived in Michigan and most of my childhood I lived in Arizona and Indiana.  But, I do remember spending some time with her.  But, the thing I remember about her funeral is that, person after person mentioned that she was not only a prayer warrior, but a woman who never had a negative word to say.  Wow, what an amazing thing to say about someone.  So, as I was thinking about how to be more positive and "nice"  I asked my dad if it was true.  I asked him if he ever remembered his mom losing her temper, being unkind, or talking badly about anyone.  He said no, that she and all of her sisters were known for not gossiping and not speaking ill of others.  Again, I was in awe.  How did they do that?  Then I realized that even though my dad sometimes was loud or direct with us kids, he actually wasn't a negative person either.  Then it dawned on me, I know the trick, it is holding your tongue. 
In that moment a light went on and a flood of verses came to me. 
Verses from James chapter 1 and Ephesians chapter 4, verse from Proverbs all came to mind.  Verses that talked about being quiet in anger, speaking only what is good, etc.  But then the verse that really hit me was this: 2 Corithians 10:5-6
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

But, I have to admit I didn't understand what this passage truly was saying, and I wasn't sure what it had to do with me being nice.  I mean Paul is talking about himself and the other leaders of the new church here.  He is talking about his witness and example to the church.  What does this have to do with me?  Paul is defending his words written to the Corinthian church.  He is saying that it is necessary to speak out against wrong teaching, but then there comes the part that God was trying to show me.  "Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"  What does this mean?  Paul is not talking only of his thoughts, he is talking about the thoughts and questions of the church.  He is saying that they, the leaders, have heard a great deal of crazy, misleading, and wrong thoughts being taught in the church.  But rather than just harshly and rashly coming down on the people for their wrong thoughts, he and the other leaders are taking the time to think through these ideas and thoughts before they start showing them their disobedience.  Yes, they are going to speak truth, and point out wrong thinking and disobedience, but first they are going to stop and weigh their response against Christ and His WORD. 
Wow, I got it.  Being Nice is not letting people get away with wrong behavior.  No, being nice is taking the time to think and pray and seek Christ's way of handling a situation.  So, when I feel like being critical, complaining, or comparing instead I need to stop and capture that thought and see if it is in line with obedience to Christ.  Sometimes, when I am in the middle of a discussion I just want to speak the first thing that comes to my mind.  But if I slow down and capture my thoughts and weigh them against Christ's word, then I may find that my thoughts were not of Him, but wholly my own. 
So now I am on a mission to stop and take every thought captive.  This is not an easy task, but with Christ all things are possible. 
What about you?  What is God showing you in his Word, where is he trying to mold and shape you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Loving the Bride

This video was shared last night during our lesson on Colossians, by our pastor.  I have to say it made me think good and hard about how I feel about the church (all of her).  I don't know about you, but often I find people to be annoying, and I just would rather not deal with them.  Don't get me wrong, I love them, I just can't always tolerate them.   Especially, those in the church.  I guess I offer more grace and forgiveness to those whom I think don't know any better.  You know what  I mean.  When you meet someone who is for sure totally "lost,"  It is so much easier to offer compassion, grace, and forgiveness.  But, when you know someone is a part of the body of Christ, and especially when they have been a believer a long time, it is so much harder to offer that same love to them. 
Do you struggle with this too?  I especially struggle with those in the church that spend a lot of time comparing, complaining, and criticizing.  Yet, I am often one of those people too.  How strange is that?  I may be more private about it.  You know only talking to my spouse, family, or close friends, but still it is not different than anyone else.  Just because I don't make a dramatic scene, doesn't mean I am not causing division or bitterness in the church.  So, what is one to do?  How in the world are we to love these people, this body, Christ's Bride?  I am so glad Christ gave an example to follow.  Oh, it isn't an easy answer, but it is the only answer.

Sacrificially, Whole heartedly, Selflessly, with reckless abandonment.  This is the example Christ gave us as he lived and died for us.  I feel challenged to go for it.  How about you?

Ephesians 5:1-2
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let peace reign in Suffering

This Sunday in our life group we discussed the passage in 1 Peter 5.  It was a great discussion on humility, leadership, and suffering.  If you take a look at the complete letter Peter write to these saints in the book of 1 Peter, it is quickly understood that suffering is expected in the life of a believer.  The whole book is about suffering for the cause of Christ. 

1 Peter 5

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Serve God Willingly

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over [a]those allotted to your charge, but [b]proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading [c]crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [d]But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your [e]brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother [f](for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! 13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

Since Sunday, I have thought on this closing chapter of this letter over and over.  It is beautifully written and easy to understand.  The chapter opens with speaking to leaders.  He says leaders you are to lead by example.  Then he says to the young to follow in humility.  He then goes on to tell everyone to be humble, not to worry, be alert, and prepared.  He concludes with saying though we will all suffer for a while in the end Christ will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.  So, stand firm and love one another, and rely on Christ's peace. 

So are you a leader?  Are you humble?  Do you listen well?  Do you set a good example?  Are you worrying?  Are you on the alert for the attack of the evil one?  Are you prepared to fight the Good fight and to share the gospel at all cost?  These are questions I have been asking myself this week.

Can you imagine what it will be like to be made perfect?  To be confirmed by Christ?  To know what it is like to be truly established and full of all Christ strength?    What a glorious day that will be.

I can't wait, but until that day, I will with His strength stand firm and love others as Christ loved me. 

I hope you know the peace of Christ in your life, and that you too will Stand up for Christ in this life of suffering. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Does Scripture ever overwhelm you?

Does Scripture ever overwhelm you?  It does me.  You know those verse with "always," "never," and "everything."  Here I will give you a few examples of the ones that ALWAYS seem to get me.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 2:14-16
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,"

Ok, so you get the point.  These verse are challenging to say the least.  In reality, these verses are completely impossible.  So, what do you do about such verses.  Do you just do your best to follow them?  Do you convince yourself these verses don't apply to you?  Do you come up with a step by step plan to be successful at obeying these verses? 
Can we do these impossible tasks?

Yes, we can.  Here is the answer to how to be successful.

1.  Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

2.  Luke 1:27 "For nothing is impossible with God."

3.  Romans 8:37 "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."

4.  Galatians 5:16 " But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."

I am so glad that it is not up to me to do the mighty work of the Spirit in my life.  I could never live according to the scripture on my own.  But with Christ in me, I am able to do the Impossible.  What a great and loving God.  I am so thankful He provides the answers for every situation
To really think deep on this topic go to Romans 8 and meditate on it for a day or two.