Month: May 2016

Remembered

Blog_ParkBenchSpring

Take time today to remember that God has remembered you first. You are not forgotten. You are wanted. And you are loved.

 

Source: Memorial Day

Photo Credit: File:Victoria Park bench.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

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Memorial Day

Blog_CherryBlossom.jpgFlower petals fall like snow from the tree outside my window, and I remember. I remember a time when I didn’t have a daughter telling me these flowers have come to celebrate her birthday. I remember a Memorial Day not long ago, holding her in the hospital room, falling in love with her precious face, praying that difficult prayer—“God, I so desire this child to be your answer to my prayers. Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I remember how God so faithfully carried me through the difficult years preceding, my life and my home ever filled with children, never my own. My hub and I spent a good fourteen years working with children in the inner city. Our lives had been so full with that ministry, it wasn’t until my health slowed me down that I felt a deep down yearning for the opportunity to be a mommy to a child who needed one.

We weren’t wealthy by any means, so we knew that heeding the call to adopt would involve much sacrifice and hard work along with the miraculous intervention of God. I could tell story after story of what we let go of to take hold of this little pearl of great price. And I could write story after story about God’s perfectly-timed provision all along the way.

But if there’s anything I think of on Memorial Day, it’s the great sacrifice God has made for me to be called his own. The price I paid to adopt my daughter (and now my son, as well!) is nothing compared to the price God the Father paid to adopt me into his family. The overwhelming love I have for them is nothing compared to the infinite love God has for me.

Do you know that God the Father, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, desires to adopt you as his own, as well? He has made the greatest sacrifice for this to be possible, the life of his own son that all who believe would be called his children. Take time this Memorial Day to remember that God has remembered you first. You are not forgotten. You are wanted. And you are loved.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

 

Photo Credit: Cherry blossom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Washed Away

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All we’ve done, seeming so worthy of condemnation, is written in sand, washed away by the love of God the moment we choose to turn from the lie that tells us freedom is doing whatever we please to the truth that freedom is found in a life lived for the one who created us with greater things in mind.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-3)

 

Photo Credit:  Footprints in the Sand | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Empty

Blog_EmptyRoomMy classroom is empty. And yes, I am breathing a sigh of relief, short-lived as it may be. After a few days, I’ll be going through withdrawals from my students. After a few weeks, I’ll be begging their parents to send them to summer school because I’ll miss them that much.

A year ago around this time, I was preparing my classroom for the kids. In the school where I work, we have the privilege of being as creative as we want with the materials, so it was a lot of fun setting everything up. By the end of the summer, after much hard work, everything was in place. Admitted, it was hard watching the kids mess it all up when they first plowed through the doors. I had to remind myself that’s what it’s all about—the kids, not the classroom.

It’s like that in life. We have our plans set, our schedules in order, and then life happens. Things get out of order. Our schedule gets overrun by other, more important things. And that’s how it should be.

For many years, I worked in an outreach ministry. We’d spend many hours planning and preparing for events and services. Then the people would come, and we’d have to remember…it’s not about the program, it’s about the people. Who wants a ministry full of programs yet void of people?

Days are meant to be filled, and life is meant to be full. That doesn’t always mean our schedules have to be unbendable, our plans unbreakable. When people come through and the order of our day veers from our original intent, maybe that’s how it was meant to be.

Empty rooms may be peaceful, but they are just that…empty. There are times when we need solitude and order, but there are times when we need to be interrupted by more important things. And it is in those important things that we will be filled.

 

Photo Credit: the big empty room | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Unplugged

More info about the Wellington Musicircus at http://musicircus.net.nz/Sometimes I feel invisible. I call my children multiple times with no response unless it involves cookies or ice cream. One time I asked my son why he wasn’t listening, and he told me, “Wait a minute Mommy. I can’t hear you. Let me get these fruit snacks out of my ears.”

Having children has made me more aware of how selective our hearing can be. Kids tend to hear what they want to hear, when they want to hear it. They tune in to those things that most interest them while lowering the volume on what they don’t want to hear.

It can be like that in our relationship with God. In a previous blog post I talked about what I termed “misunderhearing”. But sometimes we take it a step further and just don’t listen at all.

Maybe our ears are plugged up with fruit snacks, just like my son’s. We jam our ears with feel-good sweet-talk rather than the nourishing truth of God’s word. The media so consumes our senses that we can’t hear what our loving Creator really wants to say to us.

The Bible says, “A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear.” How true of our day and age. We live for social media likes and follows, wanting to hear what people have to say about us while completely unconcerned with what God has to say.

As a wise man so aptly stated, “You can believe in whatsoever you like, but the truth remains the truth, no matter how sweet the lie may taste” (M.B. Johnson). Do we realize what we’re missing while our ears remain plugged up with lies? Our joy is diminished, our senses dulled, when we neglect the life-giving word of God in favor of saccharine junk food.

 

Photo Credit: Ear plugs | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Slow Down and Listen

Blog_SittingByOcean

God, slow us down. Help us to listen to your still small voice, to hear what you are saying above the clamor of this world. Show yourself for who you truly are, not for what we’ve tried to make you to be. And as we rightly hear you, bring healing to our relationships with you and with others, as only you can.

 

Source: Misunderhearing

Photo Credit: Sunrise, People – Free images on Pixabay

Learning to Listen

Blog_Soundwaves

The other day, one of my four-year old students decided to step in and help mediate a conflict in which one kid accused another of name-calling. “That’s not what happened!” she said. “They just misunderheard each other.” Her vocabulary may not have been accurate, but I realize how right she is.

How many misunderstandings are really a result of “misunderhearing”? We half-listen, not hearing what the other person is trying to say because we’re already formulating what we want to say in response. Or we misinterpret what was said altogether, sifting their words through our own preconceived notions.

My old landlord always used to say, “the root of all conflict is uncommunicated and unmet expectations.” How much relational conflict would be avoided if we took to heart the Bible verse exhorting us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry?” If we just slowed down enough to hear and to respond appropriately, what needless pain would we avoid?

This applies within our human relationships, and also in our relationship with God. How many times do we misunderhear his word? We take a verse out of context, twist it as we desire then wonder why it’s not working like some magic spell over our lives. Bitterness sets in as we mistakenly believe God didn’t make good on his promise, when all along we weren’t rightly hearing what he had to say.

And how extreme has our world’s caricaturized vision of God become as it listens to lies and half-truths perpetuated by media propaganda and hypocritical churchgoers, never bothering to search his word for the truth of who he is. If only we would listen. If only we would hear. How much more would we know God for who he truly is, and not what our idolatrous hands have made him to be?

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-10)

God, slow us down. Help us to listen to your still small voice, to hear what you are saying above the clamor of this world. Show yourself for who you truly are, not for what we’ve tried to make you to be. And as we rightly hear you, bring healing to our relationships with you and with others, as only you can. In Jesus’ name.

Photo Credit: Sound Waves Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures