Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Believe in Today

Wow, sometimes people can just rub you the wrong way. I let someone ‘get’ to me the other day. I hate it when it happens. Or at least when I let it happen. That means I am allowing them power over who I am when I let them affect me adversely. Have you been there? Are you relinquishing control over who you are to someone else? Are you giving up power you have to live positively because you, for a moment, believed the lies of impossibility? Have you forgotten you are surrounded by abundance? That you have unleashed power within you?

I am a fortunate woman in so many ways. I have countless wonderful gifts in my life that make me rich … not materially, necessarily, but in love and loyalty and goodness and joy. One of the most wonderful gifts God has given me was the gift of a Dad who believed in living a positive lifestyle. Dad lived life with a perpetual smile in his heart and a song on his lips. Did Dad suffer, go through financial stress, have to deal with unkind people or trauma in the lives of his loved ones? Yes! However, he lived in everlasting hope of a better day – of things working out in the end – with a knowledge that whatever misery had to be gone through was only temporary.

Dad always tried to see the best in people – pointblank, there you have it. He believed with a vengeance that all people were basically good and had it in them to be better. He didn’t ever condone blatant sin – wrong was wrong. However he could give a person a break and a hand up when others might not. Even though he and Mom weren’t rich, they always had enough to share with anyone who was going through a bad time.

One of my Dad’s favorite books was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – now, that’s an oldie but a goodie! I have one of his copies and I love his markings in it and have added my own. I also have several other books that were his and it is the neatest thing to run across where he underlined places that impacted him or sometimes to see where he put a Bible verse by a particular paragraph for deeper understanding. Memories of Dad and his attitude on life, living abundantly in the now, came to the forefront and fortified me when I needed it.

Here’s a daily ‘exercise’ I adapted recently for myself and it comes from a combination of The Power of Positive Thinking but also, Better Than Medicine by Leroy Brownlow. It is a method to ensure your spiritual power – based on affirmations told to yourself throughout the day and taking to heart a dozen ‘power verses’ from the New Testament that you decide to commit to memory. I came across this at just the right time for my son, Jacob and for myself. Our life is hectic and topsy-turvy – I needed to add some oomph to my mornings just to keep my spiritual heart together. I have put the following on little cards the size of business cards and I keep them handy to re-read throughout the day.

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Here’s a couple of affirmations:
Jesus is right beside you. God is holding you in his right hand. If God is for you, who can be against you?

Here’s some gentle reminders:
Restore Belief, Positive Thinking, Faith in God, Faith in Other People, Faith in Yourself, Faith in Life!

Power Verses by the Dozen: (one per card)
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 9:29 – Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”
Matthew 17:20 – Jesus replied …I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Mark 9:23 – ” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31 – What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
II Corinthians 5:1 – We live by faith, not by sight.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
II Timothy 1:12 – … I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

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For today, I believe. I have faith that all will work out in the end. I am serene in my confidence in God and his workings in my life. Just for today, I believe.

Try this for yourself – you will not be disappointed! ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For The Next Few Days …

For the next few days I will primarily be writing on our Honduras blog. But a little for here to whet your taste buds for the upcoming adventure …
Our move to Honduras will happen before we know it. It is scary and exciting all in one.   
We are making plans and fulfilling them!
  • Tickets … We are securing tickets but because of pets, it’s a bigger process than originally anticipated. Thanks Rosann, you are the best!
  • Funding … We’ve met once with the folks who will be handling our funds while we are ‘on the field’. Thanks to Michelle and others at the Wilkesboro church! See information below for contributing to the work.
  • Roadtrip … We finally, at long last got the hitch attached, the lights wired up. My #1 hero – Lowell with 2 other heroes close behind – Jed and Jake. We got the trailer in place and … loaded up! Whoohoo! Then began our roadtrip North and West… and it was a loooonnnngggg one. 2,673 miles logged through snow, ice, and frigid temp … through NC, VA, WVa, KY, IN (yay for Bob and Joan), IL (thanks to the Phillips), MO, OK (Thank You, Shleby), AR (family, love those grandbabygirls!), TN (family), VA and finally, 6 days later, back to NC (home, sweet home)!!! So, thanks for the prayers for safety!
  • Shipment … In IL we joined others who are loading a massive wonderful shipment to Honduras … medical supplies and hospital beds, supplies for young mothers – diapers and blankets, crafts for the kids, a little bit of furniture and odds and ends for our Santa Ana home, school supplies, canning supplies for the childrens’ home, new chainsaws that will help build houses, Lauren’s goodies for the girls at La Casa, the gifts in honor of Jerlene, Lowell’s Mom and so many more wonderful, donated gifts to be used in Jesus’ name and to God’s glory … so very fantastic! Thanks to Maria and ALL the Jacksonville, IL gang!! Here’s a great article about this wonderful venture … The Mission Goes Undeterred.
  • Packing … In the meantime … our home looks like a tornado blew through … but a happy tornado. Preparation for leave-taking to live on a mission field is an amazing adventure.
Stayed tuned.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 – Out With …, In With The New – Whoa, Again!

Out With The Old generally leads to … In With The New. However, I’m not so sure all of us need to take on the ‘out with the old and in with the new’ philosophy, especially when it comes to this time of year when were re-assessing life and resoluting to do ‘better’. We’re getting a little too free with our letting go of some good stuff, like ideals, traditions and even models of behavior. It seems to me a whole lot of people are confusing just what is disposable in our society and what is NOT! Sure, I know this may be kind of opinionated and may even seem biased on account of who I am but this is my blog and I feel obligated to share a few little insights on life.

Which leads me to a few thoughts on what is Abundance … and it sure ain’t Stuff!

There seems to be more and more folks who are longing for that perfect relationship, a big-shot career, or a ‘dream job’ or they’re just getting the itch to build ‘bigger barns’. They need bigger houses, more storage areas, larger garages. What in the world do we do with all this stuff? We sleep in a bedroom, eat in a kitchen, relax in a den; we wear one pair of shoes at a time. We only sit in one comfortable chair at a time. We can only drive one car … you get the picture. We’d have to multiply our personages and the hours in our day to ever be able to be in or use up all our stuff. It’s unreal and surreal at any time, but especially now when so many are hurting in this recession.

I know, I know, stuff just accumulates, our tastes change. We hardly know where it all comes from … this longing and lusting for better and more. Well, read this about bigger barns and maybe do some re-evaluating on what’s important.

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The Parable of the Rich Fool

 13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

 14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

 16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

 18″Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

 20″But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

 21″This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

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So, yeah, this then, is the crux of the matter … RICH TOWARD GOD. And for the next verses read how it’s spelled out in The Message:

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Steep Yourself in God-Reality

 22-24He continued this subject with his disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion.    There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.    Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
 25-28″Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the   fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed    men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you   think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
 29-32″What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know     God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants                to give you the very kingdom itself.
 33-34″Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers,  a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

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  1. God-reality: This Father God knit us together in our mother’s womb. He knows us through and through and loves us more than we can imagine. Our precious Jesus-Savior gave himself so we could be counted among the redeemed in spite of ourselves. Our dear Spirit comforts us and speaks on our behalf when the rejoicing is too great, the pain is too deep, when we have no words. This is rich and this is reality!
  2.  God-initiative: This is power in its truest, most pure form. If God is for us then who can be against us? We have within our grasp the strength to move mountains. This is more initiative than imaginable or attainable from any self-help book or self-proclaimed guru on motivation!
  3.  God-provisions: Abundance is in the love we give and receive on a daily basis … our spouse, our children … all those we count dear to our heart. The traditions, deep-seeded honor and integrity passed down to us by our parents. When we’re walking the walk … God not only meets our daily needs … every good and perfect gift is from the Father. He sent His Son so that we might have not just life but, have it more abundantly!

And so, this “bank you can bank on” is … The Bank of Relationships. You deposit to it daily … you invest in it moment by moment.

  • Your relationship with God.
  • Your relationship with your spouse
  • your children
  • your family
  • your friends
  • your co-workers
  • your community    

These and only these are what will matter for eternity’s sake.

This is what amounts to NON-DISPOSABLE – God, and the people in your life. These are what you fight to keep sacred.

You can’t dispose of a marriage and get away with it. It will come back to haunt you. You can’t toss out time with your children. You will live to regret it. You can’t dispose of the sick, aged or needy – chucking them off to some institution because they cause you inconvenience … and then believe you’ve done your part. You can’t box God in a room and say I will visit you and have a relationship when it’s convenient. God is not, and never will be, the manager of some social club … this is not true religion.

So, Out With The Old, and In With The New … well, to a certain point, concerning appropriate things. Think, think, think. Use wisdom and discernment in all your resolutions but for me, myself and I …

I love Beginnings! I love Once Upon A Times! I love making decisions to better myself, my life or the life of my family. I love stories and being a part of new story, on chapter one, that’s the absolute best thing in the world!

 And here we are at the brink of making resolutions. You have within your reach the power to make a difference towards depositing into your own personal bank … investing time, energy, love and laughter into all the relationships in your own world. A time a resolve … to make the world a little bit better. We’re here at this awesome, incredible point of decision … To DO or not to do. To CREATE or not to create. To DREAM or not to dream. You can have it … the life you always dreamed of. You can do it, give another a chance at their own dreams. Inspire, encourage, enliven your loved ones. Kind of goes to your head, huh?

 Resolutions and New Beginnings! … ya gotta LOVE IT!!
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