Monday, June 29, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Are We Prepared?

There is an annual poker run in our community every June. A poker run is a family day filled with motorcycle and ATV enthusiasts. Yesterday was the big day. My grandson had been eagerly awaiting his opportunity to leave tracks all over a nearby ranch. There’s nothing he loves to do more than ride motorcycles. However, he made a miscalculation in his little boy mind. He thought all he had to do was show up with his motorcycle. It never occurred to him that he ought to be prepared.

He failed to let his parents know that his riding boots are way too small. So instead of attacking the track with new boots he wore tennis shoes. His bike needed work so didn’t perform as expected. Plus while spending the prior two days with a friend he hadn’t considered how a sunburn and little to no sleep would affect him.

As you can imagine, the poker run didn’t turn out as he’d planned. And after injuring a toe (no boots) the day ended early for Corey. It could have been very different. However, he is only ten, so patience and a grandmotherly hug were in order.

Watching my miserably unhappy grandson got me to thinking. We do just what he did. We show up at the “game” unprepared. When the enemy attacks we’re not suited up for battle. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us exactly how we’re to dress for enemy encounters. And yet, we fail to dress appropriately. If we intend to stand we must be clothed in God’s armor. And 2nd Timothy 4:2 says this, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

How will we stand, how will we preach the Word, how will we encourage others if we’re overworked, spiritually undernourished, and live lives that are out of focus? Like my grandson we’ll feel wretched and the game may be over earlier than we’d intended.

So, before the next big event we need to get prepared, and then run the race in such a way that our heavenly Father will be proud.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Prayer

My last entry was a heart felt and passionate letter from a woman who fears for her country. Like her, I’m deeply concerned. And although it’s imperative that we stand up for what we believe, we must first pray—for one another, for our leaders, for our president.

Prayer is something of a puzzle to me. Certainly God can do exactly as He chooses when He chooses, and yet He tells us to pray. I know that speaking to God draws me closer to Him. Obviously prayer has a lot to do with our relationship. However, there are examples in the Bible where God didn’t move until His people prayed. I am convicted by 2nd Chronicles 7:14 where He says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” I believe this. God does not lie.

There is a word tucked inside this verse we dare not overlook. It is the word THEN. Then is an important word in scripture. It often follows the idea of, "if you—then I will". Simply wanting change isn’t enough to bring it about. God states that we must be humble, pray, seek Him and turn from our wicked ways—then He will forgive us and restore our land.

So much of God is a mystery to me. I don’t know exactly how He plans to work out His will in my life and in the lives of those I love, but I do know that His Word is true and I’d best heed what He has to say.

And so . . . I pray that I will be humble in all my ways. I pray I will seek God with a heart that longs for Him above all else. And I pray His goodness will prevail over my wickedness. And I pray that those who are called by His Name will pray for our country. God will not abandon us if we do not abandon Him.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Tips for Triumphant Living -- Stand Up

I found this letter on a friend's blog and realized I must post it. It's a bit lengthy, but is full of plain good common sense. It's time we stood up. If we don't we'll lose our country.

Here's the post from a woman in Arizona.

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me.

Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are.

Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?
Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person.

I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course.

Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance.

Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. (Mine, too!) I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making.

We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented.

You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far.

Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations.

We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now.

We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear?

We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent?

Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Caterpillars & Butterflies

Today’s blog title is Quiet moments with God. When I think about these special times with my Lord, I usually envision a devotional time—Bible Study, prayer or worship. But that’s a narrow perspective.

All of creation is formed by the very hand of my Heavenly Father. He means for you and I to enjoy all that He has made.

A couple days ago my daughter, Sarah, and I and her three children piled into the car for an adventure. We headed for a Butterfly Park not far from our home. We found all sorts of exhibits. There was a butterfly pavilion with the winged beauties where we discovered newly laid eggs on the leaves of some of the plants. There were baby caterpillars. I’d never considered a caterpillar as being cute, but these were. There were also cocoons, but none were ready to reveal the finery hidden inside. If we want to see that miracle we’ll have to go back.

My grandchildren studied butterflies and bees, gathered special stones, and talked about the wonders of the universe as we strolled through stunning gardens. I watched and laughed as they rolled down grassy hillsides, galloped through forested trails and climbed sculptures. My daughter laid down in the sweet smelling grass and the children piled on, then decided it would be fun if grandma took pictures of them pretending to sleep or playing dead. We laughed ourselves silly.

Although it was a day filled with activities it was definitely a quiet moment with God--precious time spent with the ones I love. Memories are now tucked away in my mind to be recalled again and again. Days like these are special reminders of the treasures of life, offered up by the God of the universe and made possible only because of Him. They are gifts to be opened, enjoyed and treasured.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Treasure Hunting

I remember the first time I read Proverbs 2:1-5. It gave me a different perspective on God’s Word. It says, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Sounds like a treasure hunt to me. What fun! But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. Rather, we have the ability to discover the knowledge of God! Amazing! One catch—we need to search for it. And it can't be a halfhearted investigation; it must be an intense pursuit.

If a close friend we trust and admire came to our door and told us that she has absolute proof that treasure has been buried in our back yard, we’d listen wouldn’t we? We’d head straight for the shed, grab a shovel and start digging.

Why then when we’re offered an incredible treasure--the knowledge of God—do we put off reading His Word, glance at it casually, even refuse to study it? There’s treasure to be had, but evidently we don’t believe it. I can think of no other explanation. Possibly we haven’t looked at it from God's perspective.

I’m convinced that if God said it, then it’s true. Imagine what our lives could be like if we fully grasped this basic truth. We’d be rich . . . in what truly matters. We’d possess wisdom, understanding of the Lord and the knowledge of God. Life would take on a whole new tenor.

I’m going on a treasure hunt. How about you?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Quiet Moments With Him -- Remain in Him

Oswald Chambers words in his book, My Utmost for His Highest, never cease to help me see truth. One entry says this, “Jesus never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned our Lord even the slightest degree away from His purpose to go up to Jerusalem.”

I read this and clearly saw that I’m so not like Christ. I enjoy lingering in the blessings. And I hurry through pain. And I definitely do not like spending time with people who throw stones.

It’s easy to lose sight of the Lord's purpose. There are more comfortable paths to walk. And while in the midst of suffering we often forget that momentary pain can bring blessing--if not to us then to others. Our personal dreams and desires should not motivate us one way or the other. We should care only about being smack dab in the middle of God’s will. That’s where we belong. That's where we'll find genuine reward.

His purpose may line up with our own hopes and dreams, but even when they don’t His ways are the only ones that truly matter. Remain in Him. He has you right where you belong at this moment. We are where we are for a reason. So even if it's difficult, lean hard on Him. He'll hold you up.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Dry Bones?

For several months I’ve been pushing my way through what’s felt like a marathon. I had a book due, there were several speeches to present, appearances to make, and interviews to give. Plus, there’s life. Sometimes it felt as if I were approaching the finish line, but didn’t have the strength to carry through. I’m certain God carried me the last month.

Three weeks ago my rest began. The first week off I was so exhausted that no matter how much I tried to relax it didn’t feel like rest. My adrenaline was still going. The following week the effects of pushing too hard for too long set in. Ouch!

I’m in the midst of my third week of rest and only now am beginning to feel more clear headed and the pain in my body is slowly dissipating. I'm praising God for that.

Today when I came across Ezekiel 37:1 – 14 I felt as if God were speaking directly to me. I’ve been feeling like dry bones. I failed to listen to God and the plans He intended for me. Instead I chose my own course and paid a price. I’m thankful God is merciful and patient.

He does not give up on us. In the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, the Lord asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” Ezekiel replied, “You alone know the answer to that.”

The bones represented Israel who said, “We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.”

God put those bones back together, covered them with flesh and muscle and breathed life into them. He can do that, for you and me. Our dry bones can be made new and vibrant. But if that’s to happen God must be first in our life. When He speaks we need to listen and then obey.

It hurts a bit to have your bones put back together and the flesh and muscle put back on, but the breath of life, well that’s pure joy. I’m resting in the Lord now, breathing in God’s fragrance and looking forward to HIS plans for me. I pray I listen well this time.

God's plans are the only ones we should pursue. When we do, walking with Him is a delight.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, June 01, 2009

And the Winner Is . . . .

Thank you all for your wonderful letters about God's enduring love. I've been deeply touched and encouraged.

May the Lord continue to be a powerful presence in your lives.

Our winner is Gayla Collins. Gayla I'll need your mailing address so I can send you your gifts. You can contact me by clicking on the contact button on my home page.