Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Retire or Re-fire?

Joshua 13:1 
1NOW JOSHUA was old and gone far in years [over 100], and the Lord said to him, You have grown old and are gone far in years, and very much of the land still remains to be possessed.

God has a different retirement plan for us than we have!  Here's Joshua, over 100 years old, and his commission to posses the land has not been accomplished.  God doesn't say, 
"Good job, Josh, you have really worked hard.  Time to relax and let the younger ones take over.  Go play some golf and enjoy some fishing."

No, He gives him instructions on how to divide the land among the tribes and to get going!  

I cannot seem to get away from the word the Lord gave me, to assemble the elders.  Lately, He has been putting elders in my path and telling me to encourage them to take their place in the Body.  Some of the most faithful and powerful prayer warriors we have at our healing center are over the age of 70!  We learn much from them.  Yesterday, a woman in her 90's showed up and wants to be of service!  

I have had an awakening in my own heart, that I am really just getting started, after serving the Lord for almost 40 years.  Much of my walk has been stumbling in the dark.  I have had a few falls, bloodied knees and a broken heart.  Yet I rejoice!  I have obtained much wisdom and discernment.  I have just realized that all which has gone before has been my boot-camp!  

The greatest lesson I have learned is, duh, don't walk outside of the Light!  "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

Join with me today.  Let us go out, with the Light of Jesus surrounding us, filling us and directing our path, and see what beautiful encounters we can have as we advance the Kingdom of God!  Alleluia! He is risen!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Dogs are Barkin'!

My dogs are barkin' and I am not talking about animals!  I went for a jog/walk with Katheen and the grandkids and the granddog, and my feet hurt!  Why is it always so much easier to get out of shape than to get in shape?

It is true is every area of my life.  Entropy is one of my least favorite laws of the universe!! I wonder if by the end of my life I will have learned that there is no way around it?  I must either advance or decline. Work or enter into sloth.  No wonder sloth is one of the seven deadly sins!  Becoming a couch potato leads to certain death!

So, as I entertain thoughts of competing in the Tough Mudder, I am forcing myself to get out on the road and go!  (I am seriously re-thinking this...just found out there are live wires that shock you at the end!) The dogs will just have put a muzzle on! I am not quitting!!

Huff, puff, huff, puff.......

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Terrible Price

Tonight, Jack and I, and a friend we invited, attended the Maundy Thursday service at our church.
I knew going in it would rip my heart out, and it did.

For those of you not in a liturgical church, it is the day we commemorate the Last Supper.
It is the Christian version of Passover.  This is where Jesus, after observing the Passover supper with His disciples, took the bread and broke it, and told His friends this was His Body which was broken for them.  Then He took the cup of wine and said, "This is my Blood of the new covenant. Drink this as often as you will, in remembrance of Me."

It's difficult to explain what happened to me, but I had a powerful experience with God, singing a song I learned the first year I was a Christian, 1973.  Let us Break Bread Together on our Knees.

"Let us break bread together on our knees. 
Let us break bread together on our knees. 
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 
O Lord, have mercy on me. 
Let us drink wine together on our knees. 
Let us drink wine together on our knees. 
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 
O Lord, have mercy on me. 
Let us praise God together on our knees. 
Let us praise God together on our knees. 
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 
O Lord, have mercy on me."  American Folk song

As I was singing and worshiping my Jesus, suddenly, I realized the ordeal that was facing Jesus as He said those words.  He knew the suffering He was going to go through.  If you have seen the movie the Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson, you have experienced vicariously only an i'nth of His torment.

Suddenly, I felt my spirit falling to my knees in worship as I saw myself receiving Communion.  I could have no other response.  Kneeling as a custom vanished, and my heart was overwhelmed with such gratitude, I do not have words to express.  I saw the disciples having the first Communion service after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I could see their faces in total worship, total thanksgiving, total comprehension of Jesus' words at that last meal they shared with their Lord.

All I can say is Thank You Jesus!  You paid a terrible price for me.  Oh that I may live my life in such a way that says Thank You always.... I love You, Lord.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Blog Your Thoughts?

"The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation."
~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

So true!! I love C.S. Lewis, he states the not so obvious with such beauty and elegance!  Blogging is kind of like this quote.  I love to get the reward of feedback from readers, but the true reward is the blogging itself.  There is something about putting one's thoughts down in written form that brings clarity and reality to those thoughts.

There have been thoughts that flow from the stream of words, whether through pen and paper or through the typing of the keyboard, that have ministered to me in such a way, that I have known it was not I , but my Father in heaven speaking to me. Words that challenge me to come up higher.  Words that entice me to love more and live expansively.

Writing helps me to see the beauty and the pain around me more keenly.  It has given wings to my dreams and at times brought me back from the pit of despair.  (Writing on the computer has also shown me what a lousy speller I am! LOL, and enabled me to laugh at my own jokes!)

I have discovered that I tend to fulfill those dreams I blog about.  There is an accountability that comes by sharing with the world your intentions.  I would not have run the Bluebell 5k this year if not for blogging about it.  My usual running buddies couldn't make it.  And as much as I love you know who you are... I am glad you couldn't, because spending the day with my precious grandson and enjoying his first fun run would not have happened otherwise!

So, I will continue to blog.  I will continue to run.  I will finish my race.  God willing, I will die with running shoes on my feet and a pen or camera in my hand!  Blessings Ya'll!  Anna Marie

Question: Do you blog or journal about your life and interests? Why or why not?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

I took this photo in Manitou Springs, CO. 2011.  I liked the lines!  Didn't know there would be a photo challenge about it! :))

Friday, April 15, 2011

If Only! Can Regret Be a Blessing?

If only!  Small words, big emotions. Regret is a powerful feeling.  The Bible calls it Godly sorrow that leads us to repent, or change the way we think and act.  There are few emotions that have the power to bring change into the way we act or think like regret.  I think I remember every action I have done that brought me to regret.

When I was very young, I had a teacher that I adored.  I would always hang back in class when the other kids had left, just to get to talk with her one on one for a bit.  Mrs. Holstrom.  Second grade, Glenside Weldon elementary school, Glenside , PA.  She was very grandmotherly.  On the particular day of my first big regret, we had all been coloring pictures. During recess, Mrs. Holstrom had pinned all the pictures around the room for display.  I was very proud of my coloring and was looking for a compliment.  I noticed one picture in particular that was really scribbley.
"Who colored that one?  It's not very good!" I asked smugly, expecting her to say something about how good mine was in comparison.

"I did!  Now you just run along."

Regret for my words, shame and embarrassment washed over me.  I thought I had hurt her feelings. 'If only I could take my words back.'  That regret moved me to an understanding, albeit very childlike, of how our words can wound.  I thought of this incident for years.  Always the same feeling of regret.  It wasn't until I was grown, that I realized that she had said that on purpose, and that she had been protecting a classmate. I have tried to not say things to others that would bring hurt because of this lesson.  Thank you Mrs. Holstrom.

Recently, I was driving home from Austin, to San Antonio, down Hwy 281. There is a place just across a truss bridge spanning the Guadalupe river that brings me twinges of regret every time I cross the bridge.  In fact, that regret is what got me thinking about writing this blog.

Several years ago, it was Spring, and the Texas wildflowers were the most glorious I had ever seen.  It had been a year with just the right amount of rain to bring forth rainbows of colors lining all our highways and byways.  I was on my way from San Antonio to Austin in the early morning.  As I approached the bridge, the sunlight was low in the eastern sky and hitting the tops of the incredibly lush bright yellow Primroses, dappled here and there with magenta Winecups, and pink and yellow Indian Blankets.  It looked like the field between the divided highway was on fire!  The sky was gorgeous, the road was empty and the truss bridge made a perfect backdrop.  I had the urge to pull over and take some pictures.  But, I was in a hurry.  I told myself that I would stop on the way home....

On the way home,  it was cloudy,  the flowers were not glorious.  Traffic was heavy.  I knew I had missed  my opportunity...slight regret set in. Ever the optimist,  I planned to come back the next week at the same early morning hour and try again.  Imagine my dismay the next week when I drove to my glory spot, and there, destroying the beauty, was the construction of a McDonald's restaurant and gas station!  I literally cried.  I realized, with great regret, I had missed a once in a lifetime opportunity!  I feel the regret every time I cross that bridge.  (I wonder how long it will be before they tear down the bridge and put up an ugly concrete bridge!)

Thinking of regret and how powerful a teacher it is,  I am reminded of the scripture where Jesus tells us to consider the lilies, and the grass of the field and sparrows that fall in death.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Our Father cares for them, but how much more for us.  I feel such deep regret about missing an amazing photo op, but what about the missed moments when I have seen someone in need or troubled and I walked on by or drove on by, because I was in a hurry.

These are the  missed opportunities to follow Jesus, and like the rich young ruler, I turned sorrowfully (regretfully) away, because I had too many commitments. How much more does that regret cause pain?
To think that my disobedience to the moment may have eternal consequences for someone.  I hope the memory of these regrets will prick my heart before I avert my eyes.  I thank God, that He works all things together for my good, because I love Him and am called by Him for His purposes.  And He does the same for you, too.  I am thankful for regret, because it has been my teacher.  I try to never miss opportunities.  I try to live in the moment.  I may not have another.  I pray I never shrink back from an opportunity from God to worship, to glory in His creation, to serve those in my path, daily.

There are those whose philosophy is to live life without regret, to not take a second thought for mistakes.  I think that leads to a hard heart.  And actually, I welcome regret, when I make mistakes, because it keeps me tender and humble.  Thanks Papa God for Your mercy!

Blessings, Anna Marie

Saturday, April 9, 2011

We Did It!

Brenham, TX. 8:45 am.  Chay and I were there and rarin' to go!  It was a challenge indeed.  We were late to the registration and we had to park almost a mile from the high school where the starting line was.  When we made it UP the hill to the HS we had to walk another 1/4 mile through the school to get to the registration table.  Then another 1/2 mile to the start line.  We were tired ~ The horn honked.  We were off!  Chay took off like a streak....Chay where are you in the sea of green t-shirts???  Whew, he looked over his shoulder for his gramma, and slowed down!  
We were challenged the entire way.  Do you know that Brenham is all hills?  Both ways!

Towards the end we were facing yet another hill.  There at the base of the hill were two precious high school students, members of the tennis team (the fun run was to benefit the athletic program,) Dallas and Morgan.
Dallas recognized that this little 8 year old was struggling to finish the race.  Dallas began to cheer Chay on and then he decided to run with him!  Dallas challenged Chay. "Common buddy! Let's go!"  Chay took off with Dallas encouraged and inspired. We ran in to the high school finish line and Dallas and Morgan cheered Chay to the end!

If ever I am tempted to worry about our young people today, I will remember Dallas and Morgan.  They really cared about this little stranger, Chay.  They wanted him to run his race, and they were willing to come along side him to see win.  God Bless those two.

As we crossed the finish line , we saw a huge crowd of cheering people. People that Jesus died for.  People that may or may not know Him.  People who care about others.  I was overwhelmed with the knowledge of how much He loves them all.

Thank You, Jesus for loving us so much.

Chay was so proud of finishing his first 5k.  He told several people on the looooong way back to the parking lot about it. :)   May he be as proud of running his race in serving the Lord.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tomorrow's the Run!

I haven't been able to write since mom-in-love passed.  Grief is a strange emotion.  We all experience it differently.  My tendency is go numb.  Brain feels dead, heart feels dead.  It is weird.  I want to express it, but it's just silent.  So, I decided to take the blog challenge to run a 5k race and blog or vlog about what I see when I cross the finish line.  I must confess, it will more of a walk/shuffle for me, but I can do it.  Tomorrow I am "running " the Brenham, TX Bluebonnet 5k.  It's worth it just to get the t-shirt!!

Hopefully, this will spark my creative juices once again.  I always hear the voice of Sean Connery in Finding Forrester, "Just write!" It can be true...if you blather long enough, you just may spit out a witticism. I am counting on the same to apply to  writing.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

Today I babysat my precious grandson, Joseph.  He is almost two years old.  Still likes to cuddle.  I held him on my lap as he napped for 2 1/2 hours.  I don't know a sweeter thing this side of heaven.  He was delightful all day.  I had a little fear and trepidation about keeping him that long.  He is a momma's baby for sure, but he never fussed, just giggled and jabbered.  I feel renewed.
Blessings, Anna Marie- the Marathon Grammabanana