Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mountain Climbing for Lent...

No, I am not Catholic, but I am observing lent this year.

My mom brought us up observing it for some reason, and I kinda like it.  One of the things I am giving up is Facebooking.  I may post something every now and then, but I am giving up the time-consuming action of scrolling down the page - hence, the profile picture of climbing a mountain looking UP!  I think God has asked me to use this time to seek Him alone, and let Him show me who I am, rather than other people.  We cannot climb forever, so when I reach the end, I will take a break and see how my friends are doing, and remind myself not to let my identity come from that...

Jason Gray sings a song called "Remind Me Who I Am".  I love just sitting, basking in it.
"Tell me once again who I am to You, tell me, lest I forget who I am to You, I belong to You...
I'm the one You love, I'm the one You love, that will be enough, I'm the one You love!"

In Mark Powley's Consumer Detox, he says:
*"What if we are wanted by Someone?  Someone whose desire for us is steady and unyielding, more stable than any human wanting, despite knowing our worst failings.  Yet this wanting doesn't seek to possess or control us; it seeks only our freedom and our flourishing.  THIS is how we are wanted by God...  If this is how we are wanted, then we needn't crave social connection in the same way...

*There is a button on my phone that opens up a new world - OFF...

*Technology makes us poorer when it interrupts life...

*Who you are is a generous gift that doesn't depend on the size of your inbox"

This is why I want to look up for a little while; maybe you will, too - to look to the Someone who really wants us to flourish and experience all life has to offer!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mean Girls and Angels

I fielded an invite for a play date today for one of my kids that I politely declined.  Why?  Because the girl is mean.  She has put my child to tears more than once, and the next day they want to play together?  Very confusing. Yes, it's good to forgive, but, hello!!!  Here's my heart, wanna smash it...

From what the Bible says that is what God does this all the time.  He is our shield, our protector.

"Yes, Because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.."
Ps 91:11-12

There is so much that we don't even know about that God protects us from.  Yes, some things we must go through, we are not protected from everything - that's not something the Christian life promises.  But have you ever recognized God's hand of protection on you afterwards?  Like when you almost got in a car accident, or almost fell in the middle of a busy street while rollerblading, or when the neighbor extinguished the bag of flaming ashes in front of your door when you weren't home??  Stuff like that...

No, we should not depend on being shielded from every little thing; because that's not gonna happen.  But it sure is comforting to know He answers the phone calls first.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jumping on Trampolines

I took the girls to one of those big trampoline warehouses the other day.  They each brought friends accept one.  She, for a second, felt neglected, but then her eyes started to twinkle and her smile re-appeared "But now I can do whatever I want!"
No one was going to hold her back.  She wasn't bound to anyone.  She was "unchained".

We went rollerblading, too, (lots of days off this week), and one brought a friend - who couldn't skate...  so this daughter was "chained" and didn't have a ton of fun.

Lay aside the whole idea of being a good friend, or preferring others and work with me here...

Bob Hamp defines freedom as:  "The ability to act and react in life as the person you were created to be."  With this definition, a kid alone in a trampoline place sure fits.  That's how free God wants us to feel.  That's how He designed us.  But when we choose to bind ourselves to someone else (unhealthy relationships), or something else (addictions), we make a chain.  All over the Bible God is breaking chains;   Peter's, Paul's, Silas's fell off in prison - literally, but on the rest of us, they just resemble a prison - which can be worse, because we don't know we're in it.
You were created to skate free and fast - what is holding you back?

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have a pair of mittens/gloves that I LOVE!  They look like mittens, but have fleece lined separation for each finger inside.  They are the warmest I have found; and given my circulation issues - worth it!
However, nothing can protect against frozen fingers when it's really cold.  In these cases, I have to take my fingers out of their spots and make a fist inside of the mittens to warm them up a couple times on each walk.  I would leave them there the whole time if I didn't have to hold the leash, but they have to go out into their little spots and work eventually.

Can you see where I'm going with this?

We are the body.  We need each other.  We come together to keep HIS blood flowing in us...  for fellowship, friendship, encouragement.  But we can't stay there forever.  We have to get out and be the hands of Jesus, doing His work.  The "colder" it is, the more we need to come together, but I often need to remind myself that I was created for a purpose, too.  There are seasons when I will need the body more than usual, and seasons when it's summer and the flow is good!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Consumer Detox

I've been reading this book by Mark Powley lately that I am amazed by.  The quotes are so right on and so deep; I just have to share some of them, so far, since I'm not done and am trying to read it slowly so it doesn't end...

"We tend to think of freedom as the absence of all containment...
We tend to think our happiness increases the more we keep our options open.
But that can't be right.
For many people what is the happiest day of their life?
A wedding.
At a wedding you limit your options to one.
You embrace limitation.
But through that decision a whole world of faithful love opens up."

"If we enter into a relationship like this with God - then there's nothing more to prove to anyone.
Our identity becomes the beginning, the source of what we do, not the fragile prize we're always running after...
We become resistant to consumerism
Begin to love our enemies
and give up the chase for more
because (we) have heard someone whisper - "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

These are Mark's quotes and I don't want to ruin them by now talking about them.
I'm going to eventually finish this great book, and I'll come back with a synopsis, maybe - but for now; I think the reason it's titled Consumer Detox is that when we know we are loved by the God of the Universe, we don't need to go after anything else to make us "happy"...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Which Key Are You Holding Onto?

I had some free time yesterday and didn't want to go shopping, didn't want to clean the house; and wanted to just get away a little bit, so I went to a movie.  I chose "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" because there really wasn't that much to choose from, and I wanted to be moved.

- Spoiler Alert -

I wasn't, really. While I am fortunate enough not to know anyone who lost loved ones on 9/11, it did open my eyes up to the afflictions of those who did, and it was cool to see all types of people coming together, without prejudices in a common bond.  I left feeling deflated (not a reason I go to a movie, and probably a reason I will hold onto for not going to another one for a while).
Oscar, the main character, tragically lost his father.  While going through his closet, he found a key.  The movie is spent while he clutches onto the key, trying to find what it fits.  That's it.  He doesn't know what it fits, but still spends all his time and energy trying to find the matching lock.  And when he eventually finds it; it's nothing exciting.

"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the KEYS of death and Hades" - Revelation 1:18

"The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the KEY to this treasure."  Isaiah 33:5-6

Now, this is a key worth holding onto - and wrapping our lives around - and chasing after.  It is something we can know with certainty!!  Are we holding onto a key that we are unsure of, or are we holding onto the One who holds The Key?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Rock

No, not Dwayne Johnson.  Way cooler!

My assignment from Belief Changers this week was to study The Rock.  From Exodus to John and several places in between (and afterwards, actually), we see that Jesus is the spiritual rock that accompanied Moses and still satisfies the thirsty today.  He is God's fountain.  The rock that sprung water for the thirsty Israelites is the same rock that gives living water in John 10.

As our Rock, He is a hiding place, a fortress of comfort, a firm place to stand, and He is also known as the rock that makes men stumble:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 9:33)

I looked to Webster to see what else I could learn about rocks, and I accidentally read the (v.) definition instead of the (n.); but I don't think it was really an accident...
"To rock" is "to bring into a condition by moving this way and that in a gentle, quieting manner", and it is also to "cause to tremble or upset emotionally".

I think that is exactly what God is trying to say in Romans 9.  Jesus can either be our comfort, our fortress, our firm place to stand in the storm, or, He can upset us, and bring unrest to our souls when we reject Him.  "The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way." (Isaiah 8:14, MSG)  Do we fall on Our Rock, letting ourselves be broken so He can come in and fill us with Himself, or are we crushed?
Is this stone causing us to stumble?  Or is He precious to us and worth holding onto with all we've got...