Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

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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DEEP POOL   Leave a comment

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, as I’ve posted here before.  But this year I seem led to seek God’s will and plan and purpose for my life to a level I have not experienced before.  I want to live the way He wants me to live, and be the kind of light that He wants me to be, where He has placed me.

As I was praying today I thought about a deep pool.  Picture a tall hillside.  It is rocky, but covered densely in trees and brush.  There is a tall waterfall, seeming to come down from heaven.  It is falling straight into a natural pool.  The pool is wide and deep, and at the far end where it narrows a bit, the water spills out into another waterfall that falls into another pool, which falls into another pool, and so on.

The first waterfall is the presence of God, His blessings, the empowerment of God to me.  He pours down His wisdom, his discernment, his knowledge.  His blessings flow, and His peace, and His grace.  The water is His love and patience (oh, so much patience!) flowing down, pouring into the pool.  The water is the presence of the Holy Spirit, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The pool holds the water, swirls all of it around, and embraces it between the banks.  But it does not keep all this.  No, all those things make their way to the far end of the pool, where they find an opening, an outlet, and flow and splash down to others.

As I was praying today I saw the pool, and the waterfall, and the other waterfalls flowing down.  And I pictured myself in the pool.  I’m not a good swimmer, but in my prayer I was swimming down, deeper in the pool.  I embraced the water all around me, going deeper.  I could feel the water pressing in and the purity of it as I went deeper.  Though I was deep, I wasn’t afraid.  Though I was deep, it wasn’t too dark.  I could look up, and through the grace and love and peace and wisdom and blessings I was surrounded by, and I could see the light above.

And I wanted to go deeper still.  I think I will get there.  Maybe not this year, but someday.  In the Narnia series of books that C.S. Lewis wrote, in the last book, after the characters have entered Aslan’s land (though they don’t know it yet), one of them states “Further up and further in!”  I have always remembered that phrase. It is what I feel led to do.  Go further up in my walk; go further in, closer to God.

Posted January 24, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Randomness

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OPENING   Leave a comment

Have you been opening your gifts this month?  The gifts that God is waiting to give you, that He has all ready and wrapped for you?

I had a small gift opening last week. I have a friend, a former co-worker.  She is out on disability, which is a long story I won’t get into.  She was raised Catholic but rejected that once she became an adult.  Now in her 60’s I’m not sure what she believes, but she has stated clearly that she thinks people who go to church are stupid.

And yet she does not object to my asking her if I can pray for her, or telling her I prayed for her.  She admits she prays.  At any rate, we recently had a bad wind and rain storm and during the course of about an hour and a half the power went out and came back on several times.  The longest time was about 25 minutes.

I realized how grateful I was that Randy was not there.  My dear husband, the past few years of his life, was on supplemental oxygen.  When he was in the house we had an oxygen concentrator and a long tube (really, a series of tubes) that connected to his cannula and he could be on the oxygen anywhere in the house.  When he had to leave the house, he used portable tanks.  He could last about 45 minutes without oxygen, but that would be cutting it close.  It was always very, very stressful and frightening when he ran out of oxygen when we were going somewhere and we had to switch tanks.  And ditto for when the power went out, or the concentrator died for other reasons.

And now I don’t have that worry.   Now my stress and anxiety don’t spike when the power goes out.  I shared this with my friend, and I told her that it was a little funny to me that after almost 10 months of him being gone, I could find something to be grateful for that he was not there.

She wrote back and thanked me for sharing that, and told me it gave her a new outlook on her own situation with work and being on disability.  I really felt that was a gift from God.  Out of my pain and loss, I was able to help someone else.  It blessed my heart.

Posted January 18, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Stories

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