Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Forgiveness, shall we?

Matthew 6:14-15  The Message

"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part."  ~ Jesus

This past week someone hurled poisonous darts at me with his eyes and tongue.  Even though I knew this person has serious issues, something rose up in me (I believe it's called the Flesh) and I saw myself as Squire Will Danaher (The Quiet Man) taking out my little black book, writing this person's name in it and then scratching it out in determination.

I even dedicated my magnetic refrigerator words to this cad. "The screaming purple monkey's tongue aches!"  (Yeah, I know...)

My husband, Jack, reminded me that we have to pray for this soul.  My response, "I will not waste my breath! I will ask God to bless him, but God knows I won't like it!" 

Fast forward: Sunday morning, sitting in church, communion time is approaching. Repentance hits me, I lean over to Jack and say, "I guess I have to forgive him?"  Jack just smiles. So I did, and asked the Lord to forgive me for taking offense and being unwilling to pray for this person.  I asked Him to bless him and heal him.

Immediately, God downloaded a love for this person. I started laughing and Jack looks at me questioningly.  "I just forgave ... and God gave me a love for him"

I could not quit giggling. I did my part and God did His!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Is the Fruit of Our Lips Singing Praise?

Hebrews 13:15 NKJV

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

The birds are cooing loudly outside this morning.  Even though it seems a mournful tune, I always hear a song of praise calling out to Abba God. This morning, as I sat quietly listening to the dove choir, and thinking about prayer, a memory popped into my head:

It was a Saturday morning. I was 16 years old and vacuuming our living room for my mom.  Crash!  I spun around to see what had happened, and was dismayed to see one of my mother's most treasured porcelain figurines lying shattered on the floor.  The delicate little ballerina was destroyed.  The tiny pink and white treasure had been given to my mom as a young girl by someone she loved dearly.

I began to cry and my mom flew into the room to see what was happening.  She looked at the sight and her face showed a moment of pain, but she reached out to me and hugged me, and said,

"Anna Marie, it is only a thing.  You are more important to me than any thing.  Don't cry."

I pondered why that memory would surface in my time with the Lord.  I felt like He was reminding me of His love towards us, even when we mess things up.  Even when our messes lead to destruction of precious things, He never stops loving us, never stops cherishing us, and wipes away our tears.

As I remember all the messes I have made in my life,  what I really feel is the overwhelming love of my Heavenly Father as He has held me and comforted me and forgiven me.  It is a feeling like my heart must explode because it cannot contain all the gratitude and wonder from His heart to mine.

The birds are still cooing loudly outside...sounds like their hearts must explode, as well....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Are You on Your Journey?

Deuteronomy 1:29-33  The Message
 (Moses speaking) I tried to relieve your fears: "Don't be terrified of them. GOD, your God, is leading the way; he's fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how GOD, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you're here, you won't trust GOD, your God--this same GOD who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go."

2013 marks the 40th year of my journey with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My husband and I have witnessed extraordinary exploits and extreme tenderness of our God in His people. He has led us through the valley of the shadow of death to the glory-covered mountain peaks of joy and has never left us alone.  And yet, if honesty must speak, I still have my moments of doubt, despair and grumbling.

How can this be?  I can only say, I live in the world that is broken and hurting, as well as in the kingdom of God.  I have to choose every day, every moment which reality I will walk in.

This morning I am rejoicing in knowing that my choice more often than not is the kingdom of God. And when I choose poorly, I have brothers and sisters who help me up.  As I am approaching the end of my 5th decade of life, I have been recognizing a peace that I know comes only through living and experiencing the journey.   My heart is over-flowing with love towards you, my fellowman. You have walked with me on this journey.  You have been Christ with skin on for me. And even if you hurt me, I learned humility through the pain, so, thank you.

If today was my last day in this world, I would want to leave behind this exhortation. Never give up; choose this day to live for Him.  Rejoice in Him!  He will be with you to the end!