Recently the question was posed if we ever praised God for dirty dishes in the sink? NO! Was my resounding reply.
My answer was wrong because as it was pointed out to me, I need to be grateful that I have dirty dishes in the sink, it means my house had food to eat. I liked this attitude and I began to think of all the things I need to praise God for:
My bad hair day, because I am not going through chemo or radiation and my hair is still on my head.
My toilet and sinks that need cleaning because there are people who still live without such luxuries in their homes.
Laundry that needs to be done because it means I have clothing and linens to use. I don’t have to use the same thing daily.
A house to clean because in this economy it’s not a guarantee.
A car to wash.
A job to go to.
Well you get the picture! Today look around at the work your hands do and instead of complaining rejoice because you have it so good!
Growing up I was raised by a feminist woman. I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be. Limits were not placed on my achievement in education or career just because I was born female. Once in the corporate world, I was given classes on how to speak, voice inflection and command, in order to be taken seriously in a boardroom. I was taught to dress professionally, not denying the fact that I was a woman but not flaunting my sexuality because I wanted to be taken seriously. This was the legacy of the women who fought hard for their equality in the workplace.
I look around at the toddler and and tiara set of females we are raising today and am left wondering what happened? On the one hand we scream for equality and on the other hand we dress our daughters like pole dancers. Padded bras for 8 year-olds, sexually suggestive clothing and wording, and makeup way too soon, is this the legacy for the next generation? What happened?
In the Christian world, prophesy is a word that is spoken over a human being based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Yet I see so many people, myself included, that have prophetic words over our lives and yet, they haven’t manifested (at least not the WAY in which I interpreted or the person spoke it). I also know many people, myself included, where many prophetic words have come to pass exactly as they have been spoken.
My prayer for quite awhile has been to get a deeper understanding of why some prophetic words come to pass and some don’t. Was it because the person giving them was excited in the moment and spoke without the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Was it merely wishful thinking? Was it that I did something to blow it? Was I not worthy, as in God said, “On second thought…..”.
I’ve come to some conclusions, over the last while, that two of the above scenarios are correct. I believe that yes, sometimes people have wishful thinking and they say things that make them feel good, without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think it’s intentional for most people, in fact, I think they mean well but don’t know better or maybe misinterpreted what they were seeing. I remember once when a friend was in critical condition in the hospital and I received a call from another friend who said in prayer the Lord said, “Don’t worry, this isn’t death.” We were all excited knowing this friend would pull through but within hours, they died. I realized then that to God, it wasn’t death, my friend was saved and secure in their salvation. It could have been a reassurance from the Lord that we heard through our own understanding of life. The second thing I believe is that sometimes, we ourselves, blow it.
Hebrews 10:23. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.NIV
Hebrews 10:23 Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.The Message
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.NKJV
Hebrews 10:23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.Amplified
I make reference to a few different versions of the same verse because I want this word to get into your heart as it did mine and while one version may speak to me, another will speak to you. Could it be that the prophesy is not the problem but the confession and the faith it takes for it to manifest is the key?
For as a man thinks so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
Does it take some action on our part for a prophesy to be manifested in the earth?
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Do we believe the report of our friends at work or our buddies on the golf course? If so, then sometimes we drown out the word of the Lord. Listening to naysayers when the Lord has already issued his stamp of approval is self-defeating. Not confessing the promise that the Lord has given us limits it’s power. If life and death are in the power of the tongue then we must hold fast to the confession of our faith. So often I hear those who know better speak as if nothing that God has promised is true because their Aunt told them it could never happen.
What could we accomplish on the earth if we believed the word of the Lord? What could be manifested in our lives if we believed the prophesy and moved in the direction of it? What could be had if we believed that with God all things are possible. Maybe it’s time to believe that if God gave the glimpse into the future then we only need to walk towards it, speaking it out loud and living it to the fullest. Maybe we need to quit being ashamed of big impossible possibilities and just accept that it can happen to us! Then, what if we’re like Abraham who sees his promise from afar?
This word came to me at the beginning of the year. Unfettered. I sat with it. Rolled it around on my tongue. I love words and this one was special. Unfettered, what did it mean? I always thought it meant carefree. It brings about an image of a bird to my mind. Unfettered. I looked it up in the dictionary. “To be free from fetters.”
Fetter–noun – a chain or shackle placed on the feet.
Unfettered–verb(used with object) 1.to release from fetters. 2. to free from restraint; liberate.
Unfettered. I like it. I want to live it. Whatever shackles I have on my feet I want to be free from. I want to be unfettered. I decided this would be the word over me for 2011 and possibly, if I can live it for a year, can I then try for another and another? I would discover those things that had me bound and I would conquer them. I looked up the word, unfettered, in the bible. I used The Message version because I thought it would be my best shot of finding the word. I was successful. So I began the quest to find the fetters in my life.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
I am fettered to my cell phone. Would the world fall apart if I left it at home? Well, I had no sooner asked that question then I left town for two days without a phone charger. God really is a comedian, you have to love it! Guess what? The cell phone died in 5 hours. That’s how often I’m on it. After that I was dead in the water. At first, I felt a panic, what if there was an emergency, my mind went crazy, what if something important happened to someone and I didn’t know about it immediately? That first day, it was weird, I kept looking for my phone because I carry it everywhere, not having it on my person was strange, not hearing the beep was hard.
The next day, I’d like to say I felt UNFETTERED from the phone, although truthfully, I was still somewhat anxious, after all, I run a business and need to be able to communicate. I have to admit there were some things I liked about not having a phone like, I didn’t have anyone changing my plans. I got to just do what I had to do UNFETTERED by the whims or necessities of others. I discovered I had no questions to answer, no news really is good news, I was disconnected and it felt sort of good and irresponsible. Really good and really irresponsible. Wow! Remember when you could go shopping and no one called you to find out when you’d be home? Remember when you could go to a movie and not be interrupted by a buzz? Remember the time when no one knew where you were and you could just do what you wanted? Yes, remember the days before cell phone where there wasn’t a chain around us? I have to admit I had moments of being unfettered and moments of panic. I fought the urge to buy a charger because I knew it was a test.
Since then, I’ve begun to leave the phone at home every so often. The sky hasn’t fallen, although my husband has said, “Why don’t you answer the phone when I call? What do you mean you left it at home you NEVER leave it at home. What if there was an emergency? Yeah, that’s true, I do know where you work.” The days of rolling my eyes at my mother because she has a cell phone and never has it on are gone. I kind of get it. I’ll keep you posted on the other fetters I have. Hopefully, it will cause you to assess your fetters, maybe you’ll decide to free yourself of some. Above all, maybe unfettered will become your word too. Wouldn’t that be cool?
I drink tea most days but right now, there is a new drink at Starbucks that I am lovin’! It’s called a Cocoa Cappuccino and it’s delish at 200 calories per grande serving. Get an add shot (of espresso) and it will keep you amped up during the transition of the time change, and yes, if you are wondering or even care, I am having a hard time with this. I’m wide awake at 12:30 in the morning and then fast asleep at 7 when the alarm goes off. Aging has its drawbacks.
So here was an article, by Reader’s Digest Magazine on Friday March 11, 2011, that was informative about ordering your coffee out. I SOOOO agree with the writer about how the wait is prolonged by procrastinators who don’t know what they want when they get to the register. C’mon people help a tired girl out!
My husband was watching a documentary of how shepherds handle sheep during lambing season. As the ewe goes into labor, inevitably one will give birth to a lamb who dies. The shepherd quickly pulls the lamb aside because the opposite is true as well, and a ewe may die during the birthing process.
The logical thing in a human’s way of thinking is to put the baby lamb, whose mother has died, to nurse with the ewe who has lost her lamb, only the ewe will kill the lamb as it is not hers biologically. So the shepherd will skin the lamb who died and tie the skin to the lamb whose mother has died. The ewe who lost her baby during birth smells the skin of “her” lamb and allows the lamb to nurse. Thus the lamb is adopted into the family.
So it is with us. We come to the Lord our God putting on the sweet fragrance of Jesus, Romans 13:14 Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ,
so that the Father smells the scent of his son on our lives and not the stench of the flesh. We pray in the name of Jesus because no one comes to the Father except through Jesus John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
We are taught to pray in the name of Jesus by Jesus himself, and there are many, many scriptures but here are a couple: John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 16:25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
How comforting to know that the Lord covered us in our nakedness and shame even when we had failed him so miserably because he loves us even when we behave so terribly towards him. Genesis 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
How good it is to know that even today he’s made provision for us through His Son. Thank you dear heavenly Father for adoption and for the skin that hides our humanity and frailty. May we never take it for granted and may we recognize all that you have done for us.
My grandmother was born in El Paso Texas in 1908. Her parents were from Monterrey, Mexico. My mother was born in California in 1941 and so was I in 1965. When I fill out the census I check the box that says Hispanic. When I’m eyeballed by the average American read: Caucasian, Asian or Indian person, they see a Latina chick. No big deal I wear it well and am not ashamed.
However, I’m this breed of American caught between two worlds. I’m sure it happens in other cultures too, but I only know my own experience. I speak a half-way sort of Spanish. I spoke only Spanish until the age of 5 and then I went to school and English became my primary language. I still understand it well. My grandparents spoke Spanish and my parents spoke Spanglish so I grew up hearing both languages. I eat menudo and creme brulee.
Culturally, we were raised as American children who were told stories of the struggle to get to this country and make some headway. “Get an education” my grandfather said, “para no trabajar como burro” (so you won’t work like a donkey). “What college are you going to?”, my parents would ask. My mother was a professional business woman so I saw that as my future. My father cooked dinner when he was home so I saw no set chores for men and women.
Interestingly though, Hispanic immigrants who live in America both legally and illegally see me as American read: Caucasian wannabe. I don’t speak with an accent, I don’t speak Spanish as fluently as others and so therefore, I must be a racist on some level. I suppose this thought is because I don’t know the struggle of an immigrant first hand and because by the third generation immersion in the culture looks quite different.
This thought is further imbedded in their thinking when I say that in order to move forward we must learn the English language. It is the language of this country that I so love with all of my heart. Without the language you are slaves to those who can translate for you and your hope is that they translate correctly. They don’t realize that a racist would keep them in their language and take advantage of them. I don’t relate to a language being a culture, because to me, the culture of many people from all over the world is the life in which I was brought up. My ancestors story is one of many.
When I lived in Europe no one translated for me. I carried a dictionary in my purse and I butchered the language of each country I visited, and made a lot of people laugh, but I managed, and they helped me. I understand the struggle to learn a new language however I also know that when in Rome we speak Italian.
I am further criticized when I say that we must get an education. It’s not enough to occupy space on the planet but we must make it better and we each have much to offer. I don’t believe that there is a set of people born to do menial labor. I believe our ancestors paved the way for something greater and it’s up to us, those second and third generations born of immigrants to do better. To remember where we came from is important but to move forward is imperative. It’s not enough to have arrived in the land of opportunity it’s about now accessing that opportunity to better future generations.
I remember when I was a child and in Mazatlan, Mexico on vacation. The adult I was with spoke only English but she was half-Mexican American and Italian, we were in a store and she asked the price of something. The woman was so rude to her, looking at her in disgust she said with disdain in Spanish, “Look at you, you’re obviously Hispanic. Learn to speak Spanish when you come to my country.” Why the double standard? I was only nine but I remember the hypocrisy well and it is imprinted in my memory.
So, while I am not a racist, I do believe you have an obligation to learn the language of the country you live in. I do believe you have an obligation to seek wisdom and knowledge. I understand the struggle and I understand the obligation I have to do better. While the term racist is thrown in my direction, I don’t receive or accept it. In fact, I think the moment it is thrown at me, it boomerangs back at the accuser who is looking at me with their own heart issues and their own mistrust of this new people they have chosen and decided to merge with, after all we have not been brought here as slaves.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my life as a American and be proud that I live in a country that is so meshed in each other’s cultures that I can eat Asian tacos and Mexican Lasagna with gusto! This is the reality of my upbringing.
There is a character in the bible named Elijah. He was a prophet of God and he was a great servant. There is a woman named Jezebel, who Elijah has a run-in with to put it very mildly. She is angry because Elijah has proven her belief system wrong. So she tells Elijah, after he’d had this fantastic battle in which he proved victorious:
1Kings 19: 1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
So Elijah has just proved that his God was bigger than his circumstances, he conquers very matter-of-factly, and then along comes Jezebel, a woman no less, and he freaks out and runs for the desert. He even tells the Lord he’s had enough and asks God to take his life.
Now, I didn’t ask God to take my life but I did question what I was doing. It came about this way:
Having a conversation with our kids around the dinner table, I said living together without the benefit of marriage was wrong. One child said, “But you and dad are the only ones who believe that. Seriously, you two are the only ones.” I said smugly, “No, we go to a church full of people who believe that.” They answered clearly, “You think that, but it’s not true. They say they believe that but they don’t. Seriously, you and dad are the only ones.” Have you ever heard someone’s interpretation of facts and thought they might have a point? I felt flat and defeated. What did it matter if we stood for truth, if we stood alone? Would it not be better to concentrate effort on something productive? What were some in the faith showing my kids? What was I showing them? I’m not perfect or always doing the right thing either.
Then I was reminded of the end of this portion of this story when God shows up and says after a dramatic show of who God is, get up, go back and keep standing. There are seven thousand people just like you and you haven’t seen anything yet.
1 Kings 19:14 He (*Elijah) replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” *My insertion for clarification.
So it’s all good. There are those who believe what God says is for our benefit and we’ll stand together and our children will one day see that even though we weren’t part of the “in” crowd we stood for what we believe. There are people getting discipled and baptized in our church, just yesterday there were seven people who were baptized, two baby dedications. Not everyone has bowed. Yes, there are those who profess Christ and live differently, bowing and kissing the gods of the world, but that is their account to give not mine. I am to get up and go!
Sitting here this morning drinking a cup of coffee and praying over situations in my life. Japan has had a devastating earthquake and the pictures shook me. I woke up just after midnight California time and watched the reports off and on the entire night. The effect of the earthquake will be years in the making. The immediate result is a tsunami which is about to hit our coast, just miles from my home. Fortunately, we are safely far enough away and over a hill but what about those who live near the coast? What about them Lord?
On a personal note, I have my own devastations. I have a friend who is sitting on pins and needles over a situation that has us both agreeing in prayer, another friend who miscarried last night, suffering her own life shaking event, a friend whose brother we buried on Monday after a bout with kidney cancer, my uncle has just been diagnosed with kidney cancer, a good friend who died two months ago of kidney cancer, a friend who is caring for his father who has kidney cancer, Lord, what is up with kidney cancer?
I began to write this blog this morning. In the middle of writing it we got a message that the evacuees who were fleeing the California coastline, were assembling in our city parks and parking lots. You see, we’re the first city over the hill, we’re the refuge. My husband and I got into our truck and went to assess the situation. Sure enough there were people everywhere and they told a story of even more people on the top of the hill that separates our city from the coast.
We moved into action. We printed a flyer, opened the church doors and called everyone who answered their phone for help. We got sandwiches made, chocolate milk for children, water for adults, and offered a refuge for refugees. Many people were weary. What did we want from them? You see, they had blankets and precious belongings in their car. They had their animals. They were scared, they were worried. What happens if a tsunami hits and your home and livelihood are destroyed? What happens if you lose the little bit you walked away from? When they didn’t arrive at the church, we went to plan B and delivered food and water to the people. Children had sunburn on their cheeks, but they waited patiently to get some food and water. So many people just thankful that we were out there.
So the day started out with a pity party. I sat with my cup of coffee asking God WHY? Then he put me to work. We had church all day long outside the walls of the church. We SERVED. It’s a blessing to serve and I thank God for his lesson to me this day. There is a saying that I hang onto when the day goes incredibly wrong. This day started out totally wrong and ended up with service, yet the saying still stands.
“When you realize that life is just life, then nothing ever goes wrong.”
Luke 12:22″Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. 23 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.
Luke 6:25 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.
Did you ever notice that these two passages of scripture have Jesus saying, “quit fussing”.
Fuss- noun – an excessive display of anxious attention or activity
So what’s all the fuss about? Why do we worry so much about things that are so insignificant? Today I am taking a day off of work to clean my house. I am making a nice dinner for my family, and I am going to watch some television or maybe a video. Really, what else is more important than that today? Tomorrow, I go back to work and I spend some time working at the office, we have practice for the Easter musical in the evening, and the next day will hold it’s own set of directions but why complicate it?
Jesus said there was far more to our inner life. Yet that statement becomes sort of a catch-22 when it comes to our inner life. It’s hard to discover the inner life when the widow is given anti-anxiety pills and sleeping pills to not feel those things she MUST feel to grow and heal and learn. It’s hard to talk about the inner life when the teenager is giving anti-depressant medication to not feel the angst of being caught between becoming an adult and a leaving childhood behind. It’s easy to ignore the inner life when we give a boy who can’t sit still in his seat medication to settle his soul.
There are three aspects to our lives, body, mind, and spirit. If we neglect any one of these, suddenly we have a problem with our inner life, yet we seem to focus on the body and forget that if our mind isn’t transformed then the body remains the same. Just ask the woman who is trying to kick a food addiction and we can easily see the three interconnections.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, honestly it’s easier to fuss about the outward things. It’s easier to make a meal for our family then to sit and discuss real problems. It’s easier to buy a new dress then deal with the self-esteem issues going on. The fuss is about the excessive activity that keeps us away from the true realization of who we are and what God is trying to do in our lives.