Sunday, May 31, 2009
"Many people could claim to know me because they've read some very intimate details of my life in books I've written. But to know me through a book can't compare with how my friend knows me so personally and intimately.
Suddenly I sensed God saying, Uh-huh! That's exactly how I feel, Shannon. Lots of people know many things about Me because they've read My Book, but they have yet to experience the joy of being in an intimate relationship with Me.
Think about it. Would you enter a room where your closest friend was waiting, sit down near her, pick up a book about her life and read a chapter or two, then stand up and leave without personally interacting with her? Of course not. So why are we tempted to do that with God?"
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm trying, Lord. I'm trying.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So I wonder how God feels to be in that position. He has written us an entire book of advice and wisdom on how to conduct our lives. Jesus has lived as a human and knows what it means to suffer and be tempted. He loves us and only wants the best for our lives. But we are able to exercise our free will. We can choose to follow his path or leave it. Do we trust Him enough to follow His counsel even when we don't understand it? And what happens when we make a poor decision? Some people may think that God is a judge and is quick to condemn and say "I told you so". But if he loves me even more than I love my children, then I know he would hurt when I hurt. And he would pick me up off my feet and encourage me to do better the next time.
Monday, May 25, 2009
1. You don't need to go out and buy an outfit like the one pictured above (which by the way is NOT what we wore). Although if you really want to wear a frilly dress, this would be a good occasion!
2. It's ok if you don't know how to dance. There are lots of beginners and the callers walk you through the steps. Learning is half the fun.
3. If you arrive right at 7:00 and feel weird because it is an older crowd, rest assured that the younger generation shows up "fashionably late".
4. Be prepared to be spun...a lot. Thankfully there are breaks after every couple of dances or I wouldn't have been able to stay on my feet!
Go ahead...be brave and give it a try!
To view dates of future Barn Dances check out: http://malabarfarm.org/activities_content.cfm?coverpageid=3&storynbr=2
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
As God is preparing Ezekiel to become a prophet in Israel He tells him, "Your job is to speak. Whether they listen is not your concern." (Ezekiel 2:7 msg) Then God promises to strengthen Ezekiel in verse 3:8.
What is interesting to me is that even though God is going to directly give Ezekiel the words to say to his people, he still has a choice as to whether to speak them. The same choice that we have everyday. So God lets Ezekiel know that if he chooses NOT to speak the message that he's been given, God would hold him accountable for the ruin of the people. (Ezekiel 3:20-21) I wouldn't want to be responsible for that.
While you or I, as Christians, may not be commissioned as prophets, we have been commissioned to "go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20 msg) I think there are different ways to reach different people. But when I feel that stirring inside me, telling me to share something about my faith with a particular person, I hope to always say "Yes, Lord. I will not fear, for the outcome is up to you. Give me the right words to speak."
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Children can teach us to love without judgement or prejudice.
Children can teach us to fully enjoy the moment, instead of thinking about everything else that needs to be done.
Children can teach us to play sports for the love of the game. I enjoy watching Jacob's t-ball practice because the kids care about each other and having fun more than the competition (which may drive all the fathers crazy during games..lol)
And when it comes to faith, Mark 10:15 tells us to "receive the Kingdom of God like a little child". My kids are so trusting and have complete faith in me to care for all their needs. They don't worry because they know they are loved and in capable hands. If only we all trusted our Heavenly Father the same way...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Yesterday was Mother's Day. I could have expected to wake up to a hot homemade breakfast, flowers, and heartfelt cards telling me how wonderful I am :) I could have expected to get the "day off" and do no chores of any kind...a day of total relaxation. I could have expected that someone else would do those chores so they wouldn't all be waiting for me Monday morning. I could have expected that my children would be perfect angels and would cease to argue and disobey. But those expectations would have led to disappointment. They wouldn't be grounded in reality.
I have learned that I have the tendency to daydream and "anticipate" certain events in my life. While all anticipation isn't bad...what happens when expectations aren't met? Disappointment and discontentment. I find that much of my unhappiness in life comes from unmet expectations. And that is something I have control over! If my expectations of how life "should be" are coming from fictional movies or books, or my own imagination, then I am setting myself up for a fall. It's a difficult thing to separate myself from because I really enjoy those types of entertainment! However, I know what is best for me. Real life. Real people. Real experiences. And most importantly...God's truth and perspective. Is there an area of your life that is causing you unhappiness? A change of attitude and expectation might be a good place to start.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
God used the testimonies of these women as reminders to me. It brought back memories of my own Emmaus experiences and what God had taught me. It also reminded me of the power of God's love and how he can use us to show that love to others if we're willing. There were women there who had recently buried loved ones, who had been hurt by the church, who had drifted away from God, who didn't feel loved...all kinds of pain. And these women found restoration. They had joy. They had hope. They felt the love of Jesus because of a group of people who were willing to sacrifice their time to invest in the lives of others. It was beautiful.
One story I heard from one of the ladies (we'll call her Jen) echoes something I struggle with...being quick to judge based on appearances. Jen says that there was a girl on the Walk who she was critical of. This girl had some physical deformities and a speech impediment. Jen was nice to her, but held feelings of judgement in her heart. Well, there came a time later in the weekend that Jen was overcome with emotion and was at the altar crying. Suddenly she felt a set of arms around her and heard someone praying words of comfort...it was this girl. Jen learned a powerful lesson and said she will never view people in the same way again.
It was an awesome reminder to me as well that we are all children of God. We share the same hopes, dreams, fears, and hurts. We may look at another person and think that we have nothing in common. Maybe because of how they look or act, or how we perceive their life to be. But there is so much that goes on beneath the surface. May we all take the time to see others for who they really are. Thank you God for the reminder.