Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

DIRT / CLEAN   Leave a comment

I got my car washed last weekend.  My white car.  (her name is Shadowfax).  My white car that hasn’t been washed in months.  Yes, she was pretty dirty.

For the past week it is like I have a new view on life.  I can see!  My windows are clear!  Clean!  And my backup camera is showing such a clear, sharp picture now!

I truly had no idea 1) how dirty my windows had gotten or 2) how it had affected how I saw things outside the car.  I had grown used to the dirt.  I thought it was normal.  It was something I accepted and just kind of worked around or ignored.

Kind of like sin.  It seeps in.  It grows slowly.  We let a little in, and don’t confess it.  And more gets attracted to the first part.  And before we even know it, we are used to the way things are in sin.  They seem normal.  We can’t see how dirty we are, we just think everything is fine and pretty much the way things have always been.

Until we confess our sin(s) to God.  And we ask Him to cleanse us and free us.  And suddenly we can see how dirty we were.  We can see how clean we are now that the sin has been forgiven.

 

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16

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Posted July 14, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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GOD CHUCKLED   Leave a comment

This past week we had another week of early morning prayer at the church I attend.  6:00am to 7:00am.

I did my usual thing — I wander.  It is hard for me to sit and pray, or kneel and pray. I need to stand, to walk around.  In circles, or up and down the aisles.  Its a kinetic thing, is the only explanation I can come up with for why I pray that way.

One day this week I was at the front of the church and I remembered to stop talking TO God and just stand and listen to what God might have to say to me.  But being me, I had to preface that with once again asking God to lead me and guide me according to His will, and to keep me in the path of His commands.  Then I said (this is all internal, you understand) what I usually say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

And God said, “You’re doing a good job.  Keep it up.”  I am always taken aback when I get a word from God, and I feel Him talk to me.  It is an awesome feeling to have the God of the universe talk to you.  Being me, I started in again, “Oh – thank you God.  I love you so much.  Please let me know if there is anything I need to be doing, or not doing.”

And God chuckled.  And He told me He loved me, and once again told me I was doing a good job and to just keep on doing it.

I’m so glad God understands me and puts up with me, and can chuckle at my foolishness.

Posted July 8, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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What You Can   Leave a comment

There are so many things I don’t know how to do.  There are things I can’t do.  And sure, there are things I don’t want to do.  Currently it is vacuuming.  I have always believed that if there is something we see needs doing and we are able to do it, then we should.

When I was called to go on my first missions trip, it was a different experience for me.  I was sitting in the morning service, listening to the missionary.  I always love listening to missionaries talk about their mission field and the stories they have to tell.  As I was sitting there, I thought to myself, “I could do that.”  As the missionary talked on, I thought to myself, “I should do that.”  And by the time the missionary was done, I was saying to myself, “I will do that.”

What do you see needing to be done around you?  Can you do it?  Are you able?  Then do it, if you can.  Not for recognition or praise.  But because it needs doing.

Posted June 24, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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BLUES   Leave a comment

Have you ever attended a church camp or retreat, and the leader(s) warned you about the “let down” after you went home?  You get all pumped up and fired up and hopefully Holy Spirit-filled and inspired while away, and then you come back home and you don’t sustain that same feeling.

I get the Sunday blues.  So many years I’ve battled the Sunday blues.  When Randy was alive I didn’t have to worry – I had him as company and we often did something or talked after church.  Now that he’s gone, the Sunday Blues are back.

The whole afternoon and evening seem to stretch before me, without anything to keep me busy and take my mind away from how much I miss him and my grief.  I had forgotten to make plans, to make a list of things to do.  So I came home today and all I want to do is crawl back into bed.

I’m not going to.  I will continue to struggle the rest of today.  There is always something to do around the apartment.  I am blessed that I have a church that I can go to in freedom and be lifted up, spiritually, and taught and grow in my relationship with God.  Just, the blues are hard.

Posted May 28, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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NOTES FROM LENT REFLECTIONS   Leave a comment

I may have mentioned this before, but a few years ago I signed up for Lent and Advent daily devotional/reflections from Goshen College.  I so enjoy it!  I recommend signing up — you can get a gem in your email inbox during Lent and/or Advent.  I have been super busy at work and have met myself coming and going and have not had time to write blog posts like I want to.  But I did pull from the Lent devotionals a few things from just this week alone that I’d like to share with you.  Think about it, reflect on it.  Make it personal for your life.

“Remember how you were sustained before.  Remember”
Exodus 17

“No one party ever has a monopoly on Truth.  It is with this sense of wonder that I accept neither a sedating grace, nor a self-bestowed grace, but a “costly grace” that simultaneously comforts, discomforts, and calls us to follow the Incarnate God.”
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

“Brokenness happens in life.  It is not what we desire or hope for, but challenges and fractures befall us.  Looking at restorative processes in nature is a helpful reminder that renewal in the midst of brokenness does happen.  Jesus is the orchardist who is committed to acting in our lives.  Christ is the one who brings salve to our wounds. We are made right by the loving, Creator God.”
Romans 5:1-11

“This Lent, may we be able to see the strangeness of Jesus, the ways in which he pushes cultural boundaries.  May we be able to look beyond the surface of the familiar stories and be drawn in by Jesus, who confuses our expectations.  May we be so compelled that our lives speak of this Jesus.”
John 4:5-42

Posted March 17, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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Greet Me Moon   1 comment

I returned last night from a conference in Long Beach.  As tired as I was, as anxious to get home as I was, as excited to see my kitties — I just had to stop and take a picture of this moon over San Francisco Bay.

full-moon-1

Posted February 11, 2017 by Maureen in Randomness

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Daniel’s Parents   Leave a comment

The church I attend is starting “The Daniel Plan”, based on the Rick Warren book.  As part of that, we are studying the book of Daniel and talking about it.

My mind many times goes to ‘the story behind the story’ when reading the Bible.  And I was struck by how Daniel’s parents must have influenced him.  His friends also, but I’ll focus on Daniel.

As near as we can guess, he and the other young men that were taken to Babylon with the first invasion of Jerusalem were probably around 15 years old.  Daniel was born during King Josiah’s reign, so there was a great revival in Israel during that time which much have influenced his parents and him in his early years.

I like to think of Daniel’s parents being friends and even perhaps business associates of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s parents.  I picture all the boys as being friends, perhaps living in the same district in Jerusalem.  Playing together, going to temple together, being taught by their parents.  Celebrating Passover together, and the other feasts.  Living a good, carefree (one would hope) life.  Until the years before the first invasion by the Babylonians, when it must have been difficult to continue to live as an orthodox Jew.  The people were falling away from their worship of God and following other gods.  They must have seen shrines, and idols.  They probably saw and heard rituals and practices of those who worshiped the other gods.  Maybe some of their friends stopped coming to temple with them, stopped talking to them, because their parents started following these other gods.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to hear of and then see the Babylonian army come against Jerusalem.  How frightening that must have been!  And yet, I think that Daniel’s parents had started planning for this.  Instilling in their son the teachings of the Torah, and helping him to learn as much as he could.  I think they knew what an exceptional son they had.  And I think they knew it was a good chance this son of theirs would be taken from them and be brought to Babylon.

I’m imagining that Daniel’s parents, his father especially, had talked to traders and anyone else he could.  Asking them about the Babylonians.  Asking about what happened to people taken to Babylon.  And so he prepared his son.  I think he exhorted his son in the strongest terms to hold tight to his faith and belief in Yahweh, and no matter what, to  continue to pray and live as he should as a follower of God.  As the army came against Jerusalem and there was no more hope that God would save them as He had done before, I imagine that Daniel’s father, as well as the fathers of his three friends, took the boys and talked with them about what was to come.

They would make a long journey.  They would be taken care of, since they were to go into service for the King of Babylon.  They would be brought to the palace grounds, into the service of the chief of the eunuchs.  I am sure they explained to these boys they would never father children.  The King would want them to be eunuchs so they would devote all their time and energy to his kingdom and its business.  Can you imagine a teenage boy hearing that?  What must have gone through their minds?  What they must have been thinking?

I think the fathers encouraged the boys and told them to use the gifts Yahweh had given them to bring glory to Him.  To do the best they could.  To stand firm.  And these boys, being intelligent and quick to learn, used to following their parents and obeying, probably drew strength from their fathers.

There must have been tears.  Everyone must have been frightened. But the Babylonians did take the boys, just as the fathers said they would.  And everything happened as they had been told.  They made a long trip, but they were taken care of.  I imagine on the trip the four boys continued to pray and worship Yahweh, talking among themselves and helping each other to stay positive.

When they arrived and were made eunuchs, Daniel became their spokesperson.  He knew they should not be eating the food or drinking the wine that had been offered to idols and were unclean.  I’m sure he sent up prayers to God for help, and then he boldly spoke up, and was granted favor.  While the other young men ate the unclean food and drank the wine, Daniel and his friends stayed strong.  And they flourished.

If you notice, Daniel and his three friends are talked about during the book of Daniel, but all the other young men “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand” – they were never heard about again.

 

Hold tight to God!

Posted February 3, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Stories

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