Friday, September 30, 2011

Kermit, Winter, and Ezekiel


"Maybe you don't need everyone to love you (Piggy), maybe you just need one." - Kermit The Frog.
That is it! That is the point. I heard this quote yesterday during the previews for the Muppet Movie before we saw "Dolphin Tale"; and I can't get it out of my head. Then, it was further nailed in as I watched the movie.

Ezekiel 36:26 says "I will give you anew heart and put a new Spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

Sawyer (the boy in the movie) was a boy with a heart transformed from stone to flesh. He was lifeless until he found a greater purpose. He was given a new spirit and a passion because he felt love from Winter (the dolphin) - and she, too, would do things like eat and swim, when she felt his loving presence. The movie is all about the transformation that the dolphin and the boy had when they knew the love of the other. I don't think that's a spoiler... I think it's encouragement to see it, right?

We, too have hope for this passion and "life to the full" (John 10:10). The Psalms is all about God's love for us and how He changes, protects and inspires David. Romans 5:5 talks about how "God has poured out His love to us through the Holy Spirit". "Because of His great love for us...God make us alive with Christ." (Eph 2:4-5)

God wants to transform our souls. He wants us to feel and know His love. He wants to give us a new heart and new spirit so we can be fully alive, living each day with a purpose and passion from Him!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dancing


When my middle daughter needs some space or just wants to be who God made her to be by herself; she often goes outside or to her room and teaches, sings, or dances. I think it's odd; but it's actually a great way for her to be her, and I admire that. It makes her happy.

I've enjoyed the writings of Henri Nouwen lately. He was a Roman Catholic Priest who studied psychology and religion in Holland; received a Doctoral degree in Psychology; taught Psychology at Notre Dame, and eventually taught Spirituality at Harvard and Yale. He did more, but these are some keys so you get the point.

Here's the connection; as the quote below is his:

"To heal is to let the Spirit call us to dance.
Can you feel the freedom that rises up in you when you have been stripped naked and have nothing to inhibit your movements anymore? You can dance as David danced in front of the Ark. Can you notice in your innermost being the joy of living that comes from having nothing left to lose?... Jesus enters our sadness, takes us by the hand, pulls us gently up to where we can stand, and invites us to dance."

I LOVE that! - "the joy of living that comes from having nothing left to lose... nothing to inhibit your movements anymore"; yes, it goes back to my "Naked" post - just wanted you to see how an extremely well educated priest and I think alike. My daughter is being care-free when she dances, and she comes out of it happier than when she started - consistently. I think Jesus wants to do that for us way more often than we let Him. I'm not a dancer, but today, I want to dance!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hot or Cold?


As we drove home from Wisconsin this weekend; we were cold and wet - especially the ones who played in the rain. I highly recommended they take all their wet stuff off and put on the dry clothes that were in the bag in the back. After the giggles of too much skin showing in the car; the job was complete. After a little while with the heat on full blast, one of them was not warming up. I asked her if she changed everything; and she said yes. I asked if she changed her underwear, and she said, "no; I'm not taking that off, that's gross". It was soaking wet, of course.

Are we living like that? Trying to just change some things on the outside, when deep down, we're holding onto our comfy, wet underwear? God wants to totally transform us to be His own - Are we letting Him? If we hold onto our past, who we think we are, we cannot become who He wants us to be. He want to warm us up completely; make us on fire for Him.

Oswald Chambers said: "Beware of harking back to once you once were, when God wants you to become something you have never been".

"...everything related to the old life has to go - it's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life - a God fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His Character in you." Ephesians 4:23 - 24 The Message


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Too Dirty

We just returned from a weekend soccer travel soccer tournament - in the rain. Between the stench of uniforms that had been worn 3 - 4 times (times 2) and food particles, wrappers, etc... the car was used well. It provided breaks from rain and warmth from cold, but it was disgusting. As we got in to drive home I just looked around (and smelled around), and made the immediate decision not to tackle it on my own. Monday morning, it's going in. Ahhh, the weight that was lifted off of my shoulders as I made this executive decision - I didn't have to try to clean it!!!

Then I realized, that's how God wants us to see ourselves. Too dirty to try to clean up ourselves. He doesn't want us to see ourselves as just a little dirty or even pretty clean. He wants us to see ourselves as too dirty to try to clean on our own. He wants to take that load off of us, to clean us up by His own power because WE CAN'T DO IT ON OUR OWN. That is freeing!

Yes, the car wash would cost more money - and yes, our freedom is costly; but we don't have to pay for that, it's been done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Be Different


I've learned a lot from our dog, Moose. He was one of 13 in his litter, the "mis-marked" one. He was also the most mellow (according to the breeder); so I could have cared less what he looked like; she said he'd be a good match for us; so I was all over it. When everyone else came to get their 8 wk old puppies, they saw Moose and wanted him - she said; nope, you said you wanted a "perfectly marked" Swissy; this one's taken! We're kinda like that, too. We want to look like everyone else, and stay away from those who look different, but when we really SEE them - we want that - because they're different, we're attracted to that!

We also just purchased a big wagon for him to pull the kids around in. Why? Because that's what these dogs were made for - working/pulling. That's what makes him happy. Is it normal? No. do people look at us differently? Yes. But it's only because they see how happy he is doing what he was born to do.

"God invites us to dance to a different tune because He knows what's truly going to satisfy and fulfill us." - Craig Groeschel, author of "Wierd".

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Naked


This word has intrigued me over the past year. I am not going to go move to a nudist colony; I just really like what it does for people - yes, on the inside; but it shows on the outside.
Pat Lencioni just wrote a book called "Getting Naked" for the business world. It is based on how to build trust and loyalty with others by being vulnerable - isn't that true? The guy is hilarious, I was able to hear him at the Global Leadership Summit and I laughed the whole time - why? Because he was real! It's like a breath of fresh air.
Life is much more free when we're not trying to hide anything. Like when I have all the windows open at my house in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school and while we are screaming at each other the whole street can hear. Or when we have all the windows open accidentally at night and everyone driving by can see me reading to my kids .
Hebrews 12:1 talks about "throwing off everything that hinders" so that we can run the race! Running freely, quickly, is a lot easier when we're not stuck under the weight of an image or an ego.
"The Naked Christian" by Craig Borlase is another one; "taking off religion to get into a relationship with Jesus. Shun the fake stuff and BE REAL." It can also encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Operation World

So, I purchased the book, "Operation World", pretty much because David Platt told me to in his awesome book, "Radical" ( I know I am supposed to underline book titles, but I can't find the underline button). He said it was the most important book to have aside from the Bible - and that's a pretty big claim. It's about all the nations and how to pray for each one, every day of the year.
I never really wanted to pray for the whole world before; mainly because it's always been hard for me to pray for people that I don't know. This book is amazing. I cannot believe how much I have learned. I feel like I'm in school again, but I really like it this time.
I am on the "N" countries because I started in September and it goes alphabetically. Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, Netherlands, New Caledonia... I honestly have not heard of a couple of these.
Did you know that there are 800,000 underground Christians in Nepal?
That 90% of people in nauru (which, by the way, is an island in the Pacific) are overweight and unemployed?
That Netherlands Antilles is off the coast of Venezuela?
Ok, you probably knew all this, but I, being the non-geography buff, did not.
So, in praying for these nations, a common request has been made: "that people who call themselves Christians might discover a dynamic relationship with the living Savior" AND, "that revival might make the Christians into true disciples of Jesus." Hmmm... maybe this world is not so big after all?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not About Me

Matt Chandler (Village Church in TX) seems to be on fire lately. I love listening to podcasts when I walk my dog in the morning; and he has been my recent favorite. He read Psalm 23 and emphasized one verse (3) that I never really heard before "For His Name's Sake". God protects us, takes care of us, guides us; why?? because of that! For His Name. It's all for Him. "I am not the point", Chandler says, and once we realize that - it's way easier to put ourselves last. Get ourselves and our reputations out of the way. It will be way easier to deal with life's interruptions when we get this - I'm preaching to myself, here; I can be so much less stressed about stuff when I get that it's not about me! "I can be free from myself" -(that freedom thing again...) to make much of Him." Maybe the next time my 6 year old gets up at the crack of dawn to disturb my quiet time I'll remember this instead of ripping her head off...

Freedom

2 Timothy 2:9b says that "God's word is not chained".

John 7:38 says "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

That's what I want. I want to flow with living water not being bound by anything. Hence, the title, and the picture of the white water rafting. That is true freedom.

When we allow Christ to cut the chains that bind us to "stuff" here on earth; we become free to fly!