Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blast from the past series -10

posted 6-18-12

Recently I had the opportunity to visit an assisted living facility.  I must say I was amazed at what I saw.  I was filling in for work in helping an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s.  My job was simply to follow her around to all of her activities and make sure she didn’t wander off.

She is one of many of the people there who is in her nineties.  One couple I met during my visit had been married sixty-seven years.  Wow… what a legacy.  I was impressed at how active, alert, and engaged everyone was.  I felt old compared to them.

I spent two days there following Miss Polly around.  We worked on puzzles, went to several meals together, played cards, watched movies, played bingo, and even hit up an ice cream social.  She is an active old lady.  I had a hard time keeping up with her.  I kept asking her if she needed a nap, but she kept going like the energizer bunny.  Nothing stopped her or slowed her down.  On the other hand, I could have used a nap or two while I was there.

Miss Polly had a “special friend” who joined us often.  He picked her up and escorted her to each activity.  It was cute!  He was half blind and she had trouble remembering things.  What a pair they make!  She leads the way and he helps her remember where to go.

On Saturday we headed down to a special Father’s Day event.  The activities director brought in for the morning a Model T and an old fire truck… the very first one ever made for their town for everyone’s viewing pleasure. They sat in lawn chairs eating ice cream on the front lawn reminiscing about the good old days.

I sat back watching the people come and go.  Some talked of times they had actually participated in being on the volunteer fire fighting teams.  It was interesting.  There was no organized program of sorts, but after a while I noticed Polly’s friend stand up at the front.  I wondered what he was doing so I moved closer to listen.

Polly’s friend shared of how he was a part of a volunteer fire fighting team of sorts in the past.  He related this helping others to God helping us.  Wow… I don’t think this was planned.  He was preaching to the people!  He said he could remember four generations back and has four generations forward now of family.  All of his extended family were gone, but he was still alive for a purpose. 

He shared of how we all have a purpose in living.  He said…“We will all die some day.  It’s going to happen.  But God has a plan for us.  God knows the number of hairs on our heads and He cares about us.”  He encouraged those there to choose God and ask Him into their lives.  It was awesome!  Some listened intently while others were distracted or ignored his heart felt words.

It was a divine appointment!  An eighty-nine year old father took his moment to shine for God to impact his generation.  That just shows we are never too old to be used by God.  He was a radical dad!  I thanked him later for his obedience to God.  He took the opportunity to obey God and he will never know how many people were touched that day.

I learned a long time ago that if I feel God leading me to do something that I need to obey.  I may never know the impact my obedience could make on the life of another.  When we share the good news of God’s love with others, seeds are planted deep within their hearts.  Some day those seeds will be harvested into changed lives.

Take a lesson from this “Radical Dad” today and learn to listen to God, obey His leading, and be available to help bring people to know Him.  Your life will never be the same and neither will theirs!

Living to leave a legacy,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blast from the past series -9

Redeem YOUR Storm!!!
Posted 10/31/13

I had the impression that those in their forties had it all together.  Those I saw when I was younger seemed so calm and calculated about life.  Now that I am in my forties myself, I have come to realize that this is SO far from the truth.  I am not at ALL together!  My life is messy.  My house is messy.  My intended schedule for the day is always messed up.  My attitude is not always the best.  

My hair isn’t always in place… in fact MOST days it rebels against me with frizziness.  My life is not a pretty picture.

Regardless of what my life looks like on the outside, on the inside I am on a daily pursuit to become more like Jesus.  He is molding me and shaping me to become a better reflection of Him.  Some days the reflection is clear and you can see Him while other days the picture is blurry.  But I keep pressing forward in my pursuit to become “Jesus with skin on” for the world to see.  

Recently I was sharing with a group of people about the storms of life and God spoke to me in a fresh way on the subject.  I shared how “storms” are those times in our lives where we face seemingly impossible or overwhelming circumstances.  Several things come to mind to note when thinking about storms.  Storms are unavoidable, unpredictable, and unforgettable.

Storms are unavoidable…  They come whether we want them to or not.  Do you know anywhere in the world where there are NO storms?  I don’t.  We can’t avoid them!  All the rain gear we can buy can’t keep the storms from coming!  Life’s storms are the same way.  They are unavoidable… they happen!

John 16:33 says…
“… In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (NIV)

What do these life storms look like?  Financial hardship, chronic illness, miscarriage, addiction, unfaithfulness of a spouse, job loss, divorce, a rebellious child, family problems, the loss of a loved one, the list could go on…

When the storms of life hit us we can OVERCOME or BE OVERCOME… we can face them in FEAR or with FAITH.  The choice is up to us.  We can’t begin to dig a storm shelter in the middle of a tornado that is about to hit!  We have to prepare ahead of time for storms…   When it comes to the storms of life, we need to prepare NOW for what may be ahead so we can face them with faith.

Storms are unpredictable… They come when we least expect it and aren’t ready for them.  The sirens start going off as dinner is on the stove and where are those candles and flashlights?  Do we have batteries?  Uh, oh… we may be sitting in the dark for awhile.  Storms catch us off guard.  Life’s storms are the same way.  It is in these moments where we really need our friends and family to pray with us and for us.

Unpredictable storms can leave us shocked and unaware of HOW to respond.  Unexpected tragedies, natural disasters, car accidents, chronic illnesses that creep up quickly, and the like can surprise us and paralyze our ability to move forward.  We would hope when life catches us off guard that our first reaction would be to respond in faith, but fear is right there waiting to overtake our hearts. 

Don’t ever be afraid to ask people to lift you up in prayer when you feel your faith is WEAK.  That is what the family of God is all about.  We need to be investing spiritually for the storms ahead.  We have NO idea what will hit next so we need to be growing our faith stronger each day.  Pray, read, find a church to help you grow in your faith and go, and surround yourself with people who love God and YOU!

           “Often in trials and storms we focus on the impossibility of our circumstances 
                                                instead of the GREATNESS of our God.”

Storms are unforgettable…  Those who have lived through a tornado, hurricane, or massive storm will NEVER forget it!  It is life-changing!  The pictures stay with you.  The stories are forever etched in your mind.  For me facing life’s storms changed ME!  Trivial things didn’t matter as much.  I became more thankful for the little things and my priorities changed drastically. 

Sometimes we allow the storms we face in life to define us.  God’s desire is to help us reflect Him better as we face each storm in faith trusting Him.  

                       "It is in the messy moments of life that people are drawn to 
                                                                  Christ in us the most."  

I decided after facing my seemingly insurmountable storm of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that I WOULD NOT allow my storms to be wasted time.  I want to redeem each storm and use them as a tool to reach others. 

Whatever I face… I want God to heal it, fix it, or change whatever necessary to get me where I need to be quickly.  My desire is to turn around and use that storm to inspire others for God.  My husband said recently on this subject… “Turn that terrible time into a terrific testimony.”  God wants to redeem your storms!  Cash them in to Him and in return He will give you an inspiring story to share with others of how in faith you made it through and they can too.

Storms will come… they are unavoidable. Some will be unpredictable and life altering, but if you prepare now by growing strong roots of faith you will make it through.  Many storms are unforgettable.  Those moments where you meet the storm head on in fear, enlist friends to pray, and God shows up increasing your faith are unforgettable!  Give each storm to God.  He can turn the bad around for good to inspire others to believe God in faith for THEIR storms.  Let God be your “storm shelter” as you take on the winds, rain, and all of the elements this life may throw at you.  He will see you through!

Living to leave a legacy,

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blast from the past series -8

Are you a Worry Wart?
                Posted 4-4-11

I think if we grew warts for every time we worried, that I would be covered. Have you ever had a wart

before? They really aren’t pretty. It takes a long time to get them to go away. Sometimes only freezing it works. I think the same is true with worrying. Sometimes we have to freeze our worrying (or stop doing it) and give it to God in order to experience His peace. That’s what we really want anyway, right...His Peace.

Why do we worry? Is it a control issue? Is God not doing things the way we would expect Him to? Is He moving too slow for us? Are we filled with doubt that God will ever come through for us? What is it? I think it can be a combination of the above at different seasons in our lives. Does our worrying really change anything?

I am doing a book study presently and a phrase I read in the book has sunk deep into my spirit and won’t leave. It is, “When you hit tough circumstances… What attribute of God do you struggle to believe?” Hmmm…. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What leads ME to worry? What attribute am I not believing God for when I worry? I finally realized what it is… it is believing for His provision.

Even though God has provided over and over again for me, I still struggle in this area. I’m being open and honest with you. I guess I’m a control freak. I am also very protective and motherly. I always want to make sure everything is taken care of, but when it comes to God I need to chill. I guess it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to mother God and take care of Him. He doesn’t NEED my help. Sometimes I struggle with God’s timing. He doesn’t do things the way I think He should and I need to learn that it’s O.K.He obviously has everything under control and can see the big picture. He is trying to protect me and do what is best whether I like it or not.

Many scriptures come to mind when I think about worrying. If I am not speaking to anyone today, I am speaking to me.

Matthew 6:33-34
”Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT)

Hebrews 12:2
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever…” (MSG)

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (NLT)

How often do we only depend on our own understanding? In the long run, who would you trust more with your life? You or God? I guess I would have to say God, but my actions and attitude don’t always show it.

1 Peter 5:7
”Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (NLT)

Do we trust Him with the DETAILS of our lives? I think that is my biggest hang up. When it comes down to the details, I like to worry. He can have my life, my family, my future, but I just want to help Him with the execution of it all. Couldn’t I just be His personal assistant when it comes to my life? I am really good at assisting. But I guess God never put out a help wanted ad. He has it all covered with out me.

Philippians 4:6-7
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

God wants to make a trade with us today, our worries for His peace. It sounds like a good trade, but it’s hard to let go of what we hold onto so tightly. Making the trade means giving up the actions of worrying, the thoughts, the worry verbage, and the worry attitude. It’s an all or nothing deal. But in return, we get to experience His peace that passes all understanding that will run through every part of our being. It’s transforming.

So, what will it be? The choice is ours. We can choose worry or peace. I think I’ve decided to go for God’s peace. Worry seems like a waste of time and energy. It’s actually a trap set by Satan to distract us and pull us away from God. He will not win with me. I pray God will fill you with His peace today. Give all your worries to Him and you will never regret it.

Living to leave a legacy,