Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Friday, June 29, 2012

This Dance of Life

Five Minute Friday
 1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Dance” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
 2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Go:

This dance of life...sometimes whirling, twirling, excited and fun.  Sometimes slow, and lingering, and holding close.  Sometimes furious, and jerky and out of control.  Sometimes happy.  Sometimes sad.  Sometimes under the sun and other times in the rain or storm.

Dancing to a rhythm you feel deep inside...or from without.  Dancing with your eyes wide open....or squeezed tightly closed.

Trust.  Faith.  Truth.

David danced before the Lord with all His might.

2 Samuel 6:14
And David danced before the Lord with all his might.


Miriam danced for the joy of safety and following the Lord.

                                                                    Exodus 15:20 
Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

 
Children dance.  Young men and women.  Old men and women.  Couples.  Some even dance alone.

And God watches over all these dances.  Holding us.  Keeping us close.  Longing to pull us back when we dance too far away.  Holding us up when the strength is gone.

Stop.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Who is blessed?

Last week I went on a mission trip with several youth from our church and three other adults to an Indian Reservation in Montana. I wrote this post on the way there....

"As we drove toward Lodge Grass, Montana, yesterday I received a message from a good friend, a missionary who has served the Lord many times in other countries, and whom I respect and love so much.  Her message said, "Praying for a safe trip and 'so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.' Malachi 3:10b"

Needing to see the whole verse, I pulled out my Bible and read these words:

Malachi 3:10 NIV
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
...and another version....
Malachi 3:10 ESV
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

In this passage, God is speaking to Israel thru Malachi.  He says to them "return to me and I will return to you."  I love the sound of those words...return to me and I will return to you.  God wants His children back and will welcome them with open arms.  They respond with the question, "How?"  In this dialogue between God and Israel, we learn that Israel has turned from following His statutes, not tithed, spoken harshly against God, and even said it is in vain to serve God.

God challenges His people...return to Me, follow my ways, fulfill your tithes, serve me, and see what happens!  When you do these things, He says He will "open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings until there is no more need...until there is not enough room to store it."  

Until there is no more need.  Until there is not enough room for it all.  Until you are so blessed you can't fathom it.  Grace.  Love.  Forgiveness. Blessing.  It's all there...waiting for you to return to Him.  Do we dare test Him?  "Put me to the test..."

He calls His people, His children, His beloved back - back to daily relationship with Him, back to living and serving Him...back to being blessed by Him beyond our need.

It's so easy to turn from Him....to slowly drift from His path, to turn away from serving.  By doing so, we deny His blessings by our behavior.  We walk away from all that He has to offer...all that He freely gives.

As we set out to serve Him this week, we already know that we will be blessed by the very people we go to serve.  Some of us have been there before..we know this community, we know many of the children, we know how much love they have to share and how much love they need....and we know that as we share His love with them, that we, too, will be blessed beyond measure."

And so we were....God is good.  Serve Him humbly, daily...by serving your brothers and sisters around you.  Love God, love others....

Tune for Tuesday


In Christ Alone....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What is security?

security [sɪˈkjʊərɪtɪ]n pl -ties
1. the state of being secure
2. assured freedom from poverty or want he needs the security of a permanent job
3. a person or thing that secures, guarantees, etc.
4. precautions taken to ensure against theft, espionage, etc. the security in the government offices was not very good

There you are...the state of being secure, assured freedom from poverty or want, a person or thing that secures, precautions taken.  Security.  Seems solid sometimes...and at others...very, very tenuous.
I crave security.  I crave the knowledge that things will be ok.  That the people I love will always be there, that my "stuff" is safe, that there will always be money when I need it....  Umm, yeah.  All those things can be wiped out in seconds.  People we love leave or die, our stuff can disappear for various reasons, money comes and goes.  None of it is really lasting.  I mean, look at Job!  He lost everything important to him...no security there!  But he also knew the secret to true security.


Job 17:3
 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?"


So how does one live this life when things can come and go so easily?  When people go in and out of our lives?  When it seems that there are just too many bills and obligations and nowhere near enough money to take care of them all?  When one moment our home is standing there full of our things...and the next it's gone from a fire or other natural disaster?  How do we cope?  How do we hope for anything?

Where can we be secure?  I'll tell you.  In the loving arms of our heavenly Father.  In Him.  He gives hope, security.  He is faithful to keep His Word, and all His promises.  He is always there.  Always...when you feel lonely, you are not alone.  He promises eternal security to those who believe.   Yes, this life will still have it's ups and downs...its bad days and good days...things that come and things that get taken away...people to love and people to miss...financial gain and financial ruin...good and bad...but you can always count on the Rock, on the grace of our Lord God, the love of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  

What greater security is there than the promise of eternal security to those who believe?  Do you know where you are going after this life?  I do.  I know that with a full sense of security.  I have been sealed with His mark, saved to be with Him in heaven.  I don't have to bargain for it, pay for it, hope for it...I know that I will be among those praising Him, singing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord almighty."  I need only accept the gift of grace given when Christ allowed himself to be sacrificed for me...for you...for all of us...every person, every tribe, every nation, every tongue, every color....all of us who believe.   Period.  No question.  Secure.
Revelation 7:9-17
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

Edited to note:  Funny how one topic seems to be on your mind more than once...here's another post from earlier in the year on security...even started it much the same way with the definition....hmmm....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Words we say...

Lately, it's been on my mind a lot...thinking about the words that come out of my mouth.  The words we say.  The words we mean.  The words we don't mean.  The way other people perceive those words....maybe in the way we meant them and maybe in a completely different way that hurts them or makes them angry...that we didn't intend.  The words that are meant to hurt, aimed like an arrow to the heart.  Words...that  we should use to uplift, encourage, show respect...  Words can make such a difference.

I find that sometimes I can control what comes out of my mouth better than others.  You, too?  Does it ever amaze you how some people have such very good filters that they speak words that are uplifting and encouraging and leave the words that hurt and tear down unsaid?  I wish I was more like that!  Sometimes we make comments that seem small and unimportant, but to another person are huge and painful and have an impact we don't expect.  There are moments I wish I could just stuff a sock in my mouth...or pull back the words that just exploded out of it...or push a delete button and make them disappear forever...

Sometimes we use words on purpose to cause hurt, fear, anger.  Why?  We have let our emotions guide our tongues.

Psalm 64:3
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
 
You might read that verse and think, "I never do that,"  but are you being honest with yourself?  I know I am guilty of "rehearsing" conversations...and not always nice ones.  Now, hopefully, I don't actually have those conversations out loud!!  Yikes! But sometimes, it's true...we go into a conversation bent on getting our point across...whether it's nice or not.  Our mouths full of deceit, half truths, accusations...the Bible warns us of how our tongues can be weapons.  Just go to Biblegateway.com and put the word "tongues" in the search box....it will give you a huge list of scriptures that point to this very thing....


Proverbs gives us this insight:

Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

I like the sound of that so much more.  So how do we control our tongue?  How do we make sure that the words we use are not meant to harm, deceive, anger, etc?  
 

James 3:9-12
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


We need help.  We need to ask God to help us control our tongue.  We need to stop, to think, to consider what words are coming out of our mouths before we say them.  To deliberately put a filter over our lips.  I may have to ask God to help me with this several times a day...to give me the right words to say...to help me hold in the wrong words.  The greatest assurance is that He will listen, He will help...we must be willing to go that extra step to seek Him first.  


Ephesians 4:29
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.