Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Cleansing" Thoughts

The best inspiration  appears when I am  least expecting it.  That is what I tell my writing group all the time when they speak of frustration with their creativity.  I am thankful that the silly things in my life, the everyday routines that sometimes go awry, the unexpected things that pop up, connect to a message God streams into my heart.  So today for my "Momentous Monday" posting, I'd like to share with you one of those moments which happened Sunday afternoon.  

While unloading the dishwasher,  previously and rarely loaded I may  add, by my husband Ted the night before; I took out one of his numerous travel mugs.  While some "species" don't rinse off the dishes before they load them particular lovable one went one step farther.  

Stuffed inside the coffee mug was his chip bag.  He  literally placed the mug upside down on the rack, trash still inside the cup.  Under the chip bag,  his tangerine peels. I just had to crack up, but carefully without using my ever present critical spirit, I laughingly went and showed him and then thanked him for giving me a blog subject.  He  just shook his head. I  don't know if that was towards me or him or both.   What I do know,  is that he had good intentions, but guess what?  The mug needed to go back through another cycle.  

Do you ever feel like you are not getting through to God?  You are pretty sure you followed all the right procedures,  you've placed yourself at His feet, accepted the cleansing blood, rinsed clean of your sin and grime, appeared on the outside as all sparkley and clean only to kid yourself.  What you thought you had given over to God was really just the easy stuff. The deep, dark pain and burdens, your true self, still  stuffed inside.  You were not quite honest with God and He cannot make you whole until this trash is  emptied at the cross as well. 

Speaking personally, God convicts me  with these insightful situations.  I am not immune.  I am just glad I can share them for it holds me ever so  more accountable.  Sometimes,  only  a little doubt, a pity-party attitude, a need to rush God and try and do things on my own,   a failure to confess that which I know; it is these things which keep  me from feeling every glistening grace bubble.  These  all lead to a clogged up spirit.  It's Jesus who reaches in and pulls out our trash and tosses it as far as the East is from the West. Hopefully we recognize it quick before we try to tackle this world with a dirty mug.   

Let me ask you today...What is your chip bag...what are  your tangerine peels?  Are they taking up space in a vessel that God wants to fill?  

Take the time to double check.  Ask God to reveal to you what may be hindering your ability to feel his Spiritual cleansing.  Jesus will turn you upside down and place you in His warm grace, gently washing away your sticky fingerprints of your own doing.  When we are ready to be used of Him, we will be all that He planned!  

Acts 10:15..."What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

Monday, April 12, 2010

"I Can Only Imagine"...

"...will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall.  Will I sing Hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all...?  I Can Only Imagine"

Ten years has passed  since Bart from the Christian rock band Mercy Me wrote that song.  Every time I hear this song, I still tend to tear up a little. It's probably one of Mercy Me's best known and requested songs.    I chose not to have this song played at my son's memorial, not because I do not love it or Mercy Me. The songs I chose were very personal for Tim and spoke more of his time on Earth and the hope we can have in Jesus rather than Heaven itself.   Now that I am reflecting on all this as I am writing, maybe I wasn't ready to even think about Tim actually being in Heaven, away from me.  I most certainly was in a different state of mind for many days and it took deliberate thought, considerable thought, to finally begin to picture and acknowledge Tim actually there in Heaven.

  I knew he was saved.  I knew God had given me a gift before Tim  was unable to communicate with me. It was the tiniest bit of change in my spirit everyday with the Comforter indwelling within me that began to transform my thinking to where  my whole life began taking  on a more eternal perspective.  Today this song has even more meaning.  What do you imagine it will be like when we actually encounter God, to stand next to Jesus?    Will we be able to speak at all?  Can we imagine ourselves to have that same kind of awe, that same healthy "fear of the Lord" as we walk this walk here on Earth?  How different we might be if Jesus stood behind us while we were getting ready for work in the morning, while we were in line for our morning latte's, while we were complaining about some dumb thing a family member did, while we were making unhealthy choices.  The thing is...if you are His Child...He is standing next to you...we can encounter His love,  mercies and grace every day. Let's not just imagine what it would be like...(in Heaven)... Let's live with eternal perspective today, making our life and those around us more "heavenly."

I am sharing this blog with some other links for  "Momentous Monday".  I thank God for two radio stations filled with  positive Christian music that we as a family listen to.  My husband, Ted,  is a freeway traveler, sometimes having a 2-3 hour commute home with traffic.  It is never fun.  He listens loyally to his two radio stations and always is relaying a new song to me he likes.

 One particular afternoon he came home to tell me that he had heard that  Mercy Me had an e-mail campaign for their song "I Can Only Imagine."  He told me the web address and I logged on to see Bart's U-Tube video asking for families or friends to send in pictures of themselves holding up pictures of their loved ones who have gone on to be with God.  The plan was to use these pictures in their concert production.  So, Ted and I got Timmy's large picture we have on the shelf in the living room and Corey snapped a few takes.  I picked the best one and attached to the e-mail and sent it in.  Last Friday, Ted and I and another couple, his x-boss,  Brent and Claudia went to the Rock and Worship Road Show here locally.

 The featured star performers were Mercy Me.  About the fourth song in, Bart stopped to explain the video that would be playing behind him as he sang "I Can Only Imagine."  Ted and I did not know if Tim's picture would be shown, after all Bart said their were close to 1000 e-mailed.  As we watched the screen, sure enough there it was, right in the middle frame, Ted and I holding our son Tim's picture while Bart sang.  This was my momentous moment last week and I thank Mercy Me for honoring all of the families and inspiring us with their music.
John 6:27  "Do not work for the food which perishes  but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set his seal."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fooling Around, ...but seriously...

The 1st of April, 2010, a day belonging to the fool.  When you think of the word fool, what comes to your mind?  Maybe it is a court jester who entertained a  Royal Court and it's  entourage.  (This guy is a little creepy, I think)...

Maybe you think of all those dumb blond jokes...

Remember the movie "Dumb and Dumber"?
Aston Kutcher gained more popularity with his TV show "Punk'd", an updated version of Candid Camera except Ashton played tricks on his own peers in the entertainment industry.  The word "punked" now has an additional multiple meaning:  to be tricked or scammed, as a joke by a friend.  

Do you remember the Spaghetti Tree?  
(...Couldn't find one in the garden dept. at Home Depot).

#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
spaghetti harvest1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

So far this year the winner of biggest fool (in my book) has to go to "Balloon Boy's Dad.  (Just what kind of example was he setting here?)  Although there are many others that come real close.   

With all that said and done, I am sure you can think of some personal experience where you were duped and made  to look like a fool, as in a practical joke or maybe you just made a wrong choice and felt the consequences of being "unwise."  Either way, I hope you can recall those times and laugh at yourself, and/or use it as an object lesson for the next time or for someone else.  God has quite a bit to say about foolishness and what he thinks a fool does.  Let's take a look at a few:

Ecclesiastes 5: 1,3  Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than offer the sacrifice of fools. For the dream comes through much effort, and the voice of a fool  through many words.  

Ecclesiastes 9:17     The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among   fools.  

Proverbs 1:7            The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Proverbs 14:8-9       The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.  Fools mock sin, but among the upright there is goodwill.
Proverbs 29:11        A fool always loses his temper; but a wise man holds it back

Psalms 14:1             A fool says in his heart, "There is no God."...

Romans 1:22           Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of the birds and four footed animals and crawling creatures.  

Ephesians 5:17        So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.   

All of us at time are fools, we do and say foolish things, trust in the wrong thing, trip over our own feet.  Isn't it nice to know that God is not up in heaven laughing at us but instead loves us through our blunders. When we confess, when we humble ourselves before Him and when we seek out His will, He holds out His hand, pulls us up off our backside and strengthens us to move into wisdom, leaving folly behind.  That is a picture of Grace.  

Proverbs 3:23:  Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble