28 February 2012

Tuesday Teachings - "Focus" Part One


The following post is an updated teaching of a earlier post.  It will be featured in several parts over the next week.

The story of Nehemiah is chock full of lessons for the believer. One of those many lessons is how to overcome the challenge of distraction.

In the book of Nehemiah, he has gone, with the blessing of the Persian king, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

It is good if you read the whole story so you can get an idea of the whole scope of things. Some of it is a lot of names. If those names are a challenge for you, I think God will let you slide by if you call Jedaiah, 'Jed' and Harumaph, 'Harry'. Really, don't you think God would like you to get the message He has for you before you get discouraged because you can't read all the names. When you decide to do a full study on it, then you can go back and look up all the names. Until then...

Chapter 3 talks about where everyone was working on the wall. Let's look at 3:28
From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.
Nehemiah 3:28
Each person was working on the part of the wall that was near their house. This is how we should be in this world as well as in the church. There are a lot of walls that need to be rebuilt. There are walls of this nation that need repair.

There are all different sections of the wall. Those who 'live' on that part of the wall are responsible for its repair.

Your calling is your 'home'. If your calling is blogging on certain topics, then perhaps that is your part of the wall. If your 'home' is politics, start rebuilding. If your 'home' is ministry, start repairing the breaches.

If you are going to undertake this task with the rest of us, you must be aware of one thing: you can not do it without calling on God first. I will address that in a future post.

Repairing the wall requires going back to the original plan. Only someone who knows the original layout of that part of the wall is qualified to rebuild that part of the wall. It is the responsibility of people that live on that part of the wall to fix it. Wherever you call 'home', it is your responsibility to fix that part of the wall. You may be a preacher, a missionary, someone who shares their faith on the job or a pray-er. Your home is on that part of the wall. Your security in the city depends on that part of the wall. Walls enable you to see the enemy from afar. It's your responsibility to repair that part of the wall.

Part of the reason that I had such trouble blogging in the past is that during the election season, I was so drawn to the political realm and had so many opinions on the various goings-on from a godly perspective, but didn't know how to separate the two. So, here I am, on my part of the wall. And I am here to stay.

Rebuilding the part of the wall that is near your house is also a personal matter. Take care of the wall near your home; your personal life, your marriage, your children. If everyone saw to the repair of their own part of the wall, the wall would be fixed.

Some parts of the wall have too many people working on them. Stick to your own portion and leave others' alone.


27 February 2012

Not Just for the End of the Tunnel


Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”  So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

Exodus 10 : 21 - 23

"There's light at the end of the tunnel."  Have you ever heard that?  It's supposed to be comforting.  For the believer, it should be disconcerting.  

Usually that saying is used to emphasize that there will be an end to your current bad situation, your current discomfort, or your current struggle, shortage and lack.  For the believer, there is no need for an end of the tunnel.  Yes it would be nice to have an end to struggle and trials - and we all will someday.  But even if your 'current' does not allow you to view the light at the end of the tunnel, have hope!

Just as the Israelites "had light in the places where they lived", we too, as believers have that light.

If the only light you are looking for is at the end, your "current" is going to stink.  You are supposed to have light in your "current" - your here and now.  When Jesus lights up your current situation, you won't even realize that you are in a tunnel!

He is in you.


17 February 2012

...but I am Still Double Proud

Cecilia has a blog here.  She has struggled on and off with what to blog, how much to blog, if to blog.  She has gone on breaks from blogging and come back again.  In the middle of all of this, she has turned 18 - a challenge in anyone's book.

We have all made mistakes when growing up.  She is doing well.  I know in my own more recent "growing up" experiences (so what if I'm in my 40's?!), I have made mistakes also.  Haven't we all?  Cecilia, you're not alone in the learning curve.  You just can't see us because we are around the curve, but we're there.

Anyway, Cecilia's most recent post is very well written and spoke volumes to me.  I am glad she wrote it.  I have posted it here, so it can speak to you too.



Double Lives Means Double MealsBy Cecilia As teens we want to be able to make our own decisions (no matter how destructive), live our own lives (without limits), to choose words (no matter how profane). If we feel restricted or stifled by someone, we defy. Some of us rebel in a way that can be seen. We’re told to do one thing and we intentionally do it the opposite way. Others, are more subtle in their defiance. We form another life. Secret and unseen. Within it we are who we want to be, without another’s influence on us.

As I think about my past I ponder:There’s a problem, though, with this second life. It has no rules, limits or boundaries. When living a life without the protection of wisdom and reason self destruction is inevitable. Yep, it may seem like freedom now, but in the long run the things I did: broke the trust, rose the guilt and took me far from God. Before I knew it, I didn’t know who “Cecilia” was. Was she the “good girl” who listened to the latest Christian music releases? Or was she that girl who secretly did things that would keep her from sleeping at night? Nope. She was both. I was burdened with living two lives. Two very real lives but two very real lies. Long story short, this is what I did:But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 
I renounced it and thanked God for his redeeming power along with super supportive parents. My life isn’t perfect nowadays. I have my mistakes, my bad decisions, but I live one life now.  And if I pursue something that might introduce “another” life, I get back in check.  Because really, who wants to eat 6 meals a day...double meals?  

15 February 2012

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times


A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalms 34:1 KJV

...at all times...?

Really?

I have found that most believers (and I'm including myself here), don't really follow this verse, although it is quoted many times over.

...at all times...?

in sickness?

when there's more month at the end of the money?

when your children are disobedient?

when your marriage is struggling?

when you lose your job?

when your parents seem unreasonable?

when all you can do is cry?

when you are so very overwhelmed?

when there is no sight of hope?

when you are hungry?

when you are angry?

when you are lonely?

when you are tired?

when your boss is difficult?

when your teacher is difficult?

when your sibling is difficult?

when life...

...is difficult?

So, that's my challenge for this week: to bless the Lord...

                                    ...at all times...

11 February 2012

05 February 2012

2e


1 Corinthians 6:19
“ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you,
whom you have received from God? 
You are not your own. ”


Weekend Worship

These three are teenagers now, and still singing.  This is an earlier video they made.  You can find them here.

They are anointed for worship.  I hope they bless you as much as they did me.

03 February 2012

Everything Will be Alright


It is true that you planned to do something bad to me. But really, God was planning good things. God's plan was to use me to save the lives of many people. And that is what happened. 
Genesis 50:20


Sometimes things don't turn out as planned. When that happens we still need to trust God. He knows that when things go wrong, He can still make them right.

I for one, am glad He can.

We continue to move forward in God's plans for our life.  We appreciate your prayers as we do just that - move forward.

I know there are some who really want to know what's next.  As soon as we know, we will share it all with you because you've been so supportive along the way.

Just because things don't work the way you expected them to does not mean you were not, or are not, in the Will of God.  The course of events do not only depend upon your obedience and God's Hand, but also upon what others may or may not do.

No, things didn't turn out as we had planned; as God had planned.  But God has planned good things. And that is what will happen.

It would be inaccurate to say that we are forgetting that which is behind, because there is really more positive than negative behind us, however we are pressing forward.



02 February 2012

Throwback Thursday - "We Made It!"



I received the following from a wonderful woman in my life through an email. I have made some adjustments and posted it here.

To Those of You Born

1925 - 1983

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE
1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick - up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, white rice, white pasta, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times,we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet, no Facebook, no Twitter and no IM.

Old Fashioned Cell Phone
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

No one had ADD or ADHD. We were disciplined to pay attention and learned self-discipline. Some just needed more of the 'discipline' than others.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Our generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, send a link to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.


Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?