What it looks like at our house

I don’t know what being a follower of Christ looks like at your house, but let me give you a glimpse of what it looks like at ours.  I came home from work the other day to a very excited husband!  About a year ago, he enlisted my help in redoing his 1965 Chevelle.  He took the engine out, then put me to work sand blasting the rust.  Yesterday, after many hours of work, my husband finally got the engine compartment, frame, and wheels painted!

He was proud as a peach and you would have thought he just did a major marathon.  He was talking a mile a minute about his task.  It looked fabulous!  Knowing what a tedious job it was to sand blast, I appreciated what it must have been to paint it.  He was telling me how the special thick paint that we had gotten was getting stuck in the spray can and he says, excitedly, ‘I was like … ohhh Jesus! Please help me!’  He continued to share how he kept appealing to Jesus to help him get the task done.  And with Jesus’ help, complete it he did!

Of course, it doesn’t always look as fun, and sometimes we struggle because we know we may not have hit the mark.  Sometimes, when I’ve been a bit cranky, my husband will ask me, ‘Have you prayed today?’  Jesus is always there in the really tough moments, but maybe in those moments, we lose sight of Him until after the dust has settled.  But once the dust settles, we spend time asking for forgiveness .. not just to Jesus, but to each other.

Sometimes following Jesus at our house is just lying in bed, listening to my husband at 4 in the morning because he can’t sleep.  I hear him softly whispering prayers to Jesus.  Sometimes it’s listening to my hubby sing the good ole’ Jesus songs that speak of the Cross and the power of Jesus’ blood.

I guess at our house, we figure that following Jesus means including Him in on the little things in our life just as much as the big things when we really need Him.

 

Advertisements

I never knew you

Does Jesus know you?  In Matthew 7:23, Jesus gets pretty bold when telling of a parable of a man who didn’t make it in the kingdom of heaven because he was never ‘known.’  Despite that the ‘signs’ were all there, the man was not known of God.

So what does that mean?  If I see the power of God working through me, doesn’t that mean He knows me?  If I am able to administer His gifts using the powerful ‘name of Jesus,’ doesn’t that mean He knows me?  But the signs are all there!  Doesn’t that mean He knows me?  I went to church!  I walked with the brethren!  I preached about Him!  I gave to the poor!  I tithed and gave alms!  I went through crap for Him and dealt with all kinds of garbage for Him!  Doesn’t that mean He knows me?

The answer is … emphatically .. no!

So if it has nothing to do with signs and the works I did, what does Jesus ‘knowing’ you mean?

My guess, it has to do with spending time with Him.  Not just talking to Him and asking Him for this and that, but the word ‘know’ used in this context denotes intimacy.  Thinking about marriage, we know our spouses not just because we were sexually intimate, but because we let our walls down.  We shared our intimate selves  .. our fears, our anger, our hurts, our joys, all of the things that we allow only that one special someone to see.

So I do believe it is possible to do all the things I’ve listed above and still, Jesus might not know us.  It’s like the man in the marriage who couldn’t understand why his marriage had fallen apart.  Wasn’t he doing all that he was supposed to do?  Wasn’t he kind, courteous, respectful, helpful around the house, a good provider?  But if he was all those things, why did his wife leave him?  Because he never took time to let his wife know who he really was behind the facade of being ‘that perfect husband.’

I think this is what Jesus expects of us.  Not to put on a facade and show just what a perfect ‘bride’ we would be for Him.  But that we took time to put our own walls down and let Him know us.  It’s then that He can wrap His arms around us and be our everything.  He desires intimacy just as much as we do.  After all, we were made in His image.

Is anyone else noticing this?

I’ve done a few blogs about movies recently.  Both of them considered apocalyptic type movies.  Honestly, prior to knowing Christ, I didn’t pay much attention to End of the World type movies.  I guess I was too busy living the life I had to think about anything other than that.  It’s almost as if I had tunnel vision.

Certainly there were times when my attention was captured for a moment, but honestly, it had less to do with God and His return.  I just simply did not know.  I didn’t know Jesus was coming back.  I knew nothing of the Rapture.  I’m certain it was spoken of to or at me throughout my life, but it just never clicked as something I needed to actually know.

When 9/11 happened, I remember feeling fear.  I feared most for my family.  I was an adult and a young mom at that.  Despite that I had done well in school and even had some college under my belt, I don’t remember even thinking about things like the Holocaust and the Nazi German control.  I didn’t know anything about the New World Order.  I say that because now that I know God, I am aware of so much that is happening around me.  I can ‘see the signs of the times’ if you will.  I can see how we are edging closer and closer to One World Government.  I can see how we are edging closer and closer to Jesus’ return.

How did I make it thirty something years and miss such important things?  I suppose when I think of that, it’s not hard to see why so many people seem to be in that same place .. simply unaware of the spiritual realities of where we are on God’s calendar.  I watch as my son is being taught these things in school and really, it just simply doesn’t mean anything to him because it’s not happening to him or someone he knows.  To him it seems irrelevant. Oh that he would understand!

I did a search on the list of apocalyptic movies that are out there.  Wikipedia, the source of all sources < grin > actually shows a very nice list, all laid out according to ten-year increments.  The list contains 176 films to date with the  first listed in 1933 called Deluge.  What really caught my attention is that 40% .. 70 … of these types of movies have been created in the last 12 years.  I’m wondering, is anyone else starting to notice this?

I’m not referring to those that are already aware.  I’m speaking of those that are still in their own little bubble.  Is there attention starting to peak a little?  I still feel like I’m in that place .. that slow motion place that I blogged about yesterday.  I can see the ‘Matrix’ if you will .. I can also see how God can be heard if you are listening to His voice through the very same system.  BUT, how do we get people to listen?  Understanding is great .. but this is always the place of dilemma for me.  What do you do with the truth you know?

Call me crazy, but the only thing I know to do is pray for the WHOLE world.  Call me crazy, but the only one I know that can fix this is Jesus.  Call me crazy, but I really believe that my prayers can make a difference.  I know what’s it like to be on the inside of the tunnel.  I wasn’t ignoring God on purpose when I was in the tunnel.  I just didn’t know that He was a living God that was accessible in the here and now.  I didn’t realize His voice.  I just figured I would contend with Him when I died.  The things that were happening around me seemed irrelevant to me.  My guess, there’s a whole lot of people in that same boat.

Call me crazy, but I’m praying that the WHOLE world begins to take notice.  Because regardless of whether they do or not, He’s coming … soon.

Let the walls be shaken!

As I was lying here waiting to get out of my comfy cozy bed, I was replaying some of the events of the past couple days.  Unfortunately, I was revisiting some of the challenges I’ve been experiencing.

I could feel myself wanting to replay the negative emotions that come with challenges.  As I recalled each situation, I did my best to pray through these emotions and memories and ask God to truly help me move past and beyond the garbage.  Not always an easy task.

Then I had a thought.  I remember Paul and Silas, the story where they were in prison and at midnight, they began to praise Jesus.  As they praised Him, the shackles were undone and the walls caved so they were free to walk out if they so chose to.  So I politely asked Jesus to help me look up instead of around and began praying the Lord’s prayer, then moved on to sing some worship songs in my head.

As I began to let my soul sing, I began to feel the weight lift.  It was getting a little easier to move beyond the situation.  I then began recalling some of the thoughts of hope that God has given me regarding the future and what’s to come.

I got to thinking that unfortunately, when I have those bad vision moments, what it really does is suck the joy out of me.  And when the joy is sucked out, all that happens is pretty much nothing .. stagnation .. like Paul and Silas, seeing myself in prison.

However, through God’s grace, when I get through the moment by praising Jesus and getting beyond, not only is my joy restored, but God grants us the ability to actually help others.  It’s as if joy is the energy that allows us to walk on the water and reach down and help others walk on the water too.

Paul and Silas didn’t simply walk out of the prison, they actually stayed and ministered to the prison guard, saving him from suicide and then saving the man and his house through baptism.

The really amazing part .. get this .. if I’m reading the scripture correctly, Act 16:35 tells us they must have gone back to the jail because it tells us the next day that the magistrates sent the serjeants to set the men free!  They didn’t run while they had the chance .. they actually waited for God’s prompting to be released!  This amazes me!

Not only did praising God create an earthquake to give the men the allowance to be free, but because the men waited on God, ministering through the challenge, the men were not only released, but the incident created a wave to let people know without doubt .. this was God’s doing.

Sometimes, we are so quick to want to move through the trial that we forget about the importance of the tool of praise and joy through the bad.

Wow!  Let the walls be shaken!

Divine Encounter

Sometimes these happen .. and when they do, you know, God’s talking directly to you.  No mistake about it, you heard His voice.  I’m speaking of divine encounters.

Yesterday, I had this urge to call and make amends with someone, but the only way I knew to connect with this person, was professionally.  I really didn’t feel comfortable contacting the person from the perspective of me being a fellow client.  Seemed to set up the wrong scenario.  After all, our last encounter hadn’t gone so well.  Certainly wouldn’t be fair for me to expect him to be receptive to my apology if I’m approaching him as a client.  He’d have to accept simply because of how I approached.  I didn’t like that thought.

So I ignored the urge, but kept the thought that given the chance, I would make amends.  Then left it at that.

Of course, I never see this person.  The last time I had seen him was at his job, so the likely hood of me encountering him without trying was pretty slim.  I mean seriously, it probably just wouldn’t happen.  But wouldn’t you know it, I go to the grocery store after work and guess who I spot .. him .. the guy .. the one I just promised God I would make amends with.  Well, technically, it wasn’t really a promise because I counted it more as just a thought.  Sigh .. 

Maybe it wasn’t him.  No, it sure looked like him.  So before I gave it too much more thought, I just walked up and asked him if it was him.  Yep.  It was him.  .. gulp

I introduced myself .. he didn’t seem to remember me.  This was going to go better than I expected!  I refreshed his memory about our last encounter and while he played like he didn’t recall, I could tell, he recalled.  Uh oh ..  However, thankfully, God’s grace somehow got me through because he quickly took the hand that I held out, shook it and said that all has been forgiven.  I thanked him and wished him a good day.

He moved away rather quickly.  I’m guessing the reminder of our last encounter was probably not pleasant, but I did what I had set out to do and somehow, God got us both through.  And now I know, the next time I see him in town, I can walk without trying to hide my head if I see him headed my way.

Divine encounters .. maybe God has a sense of humor.  Or maybe He really does care about cleaning up the condition of our hearts.

Either way, I’m grateful for His mercy and grace and His unmistakable voice.  🙂

The Great Outdoors

Since I’ve started hunting, I’ve enjoyed being outdoors, however, I have discovered that there is a lot of idle time where not much is happening.  Truthfully, my passion lies more in ministry than it does hunting.  Spending so much time in the woods recently, I’ve discovered a great way to connect with God in the outdoors .. it’s looking for the analogy to ministry.

This weekend, after several hours in the woods .. God gave me a revelation.  The bible talks about the harvest being full, but that we are to pray for more workers.  I haven’t found anyplace where the Bible speaks of people being deer, but I had the thought today that hunting for the ‘big buck’ could be like trying to find workers for the harvest.

To clarify, I believe it’s less of what we do and all of what God’s doing that involves others.  I believe it really is a partnership with God where He uses and involves us in His work and I figure I’d rather have it be fun and enjoyable.  I had the revelation today that there are many similarities to hunting.

For instance, I like my husband’s idea of management hunting.  In this, you don’t shoot a buck unless its rack is beyond it’s ears.  Doing so allows the buck to live longer, produce more, and of course, put a nicer size rack on your wall.  It not only adds to the challenge of the hunt, but personally, it just seems that deer should be allowed to live longer than just their first year or two.  There’s a few other rules that apply, but for the purpose of this particular blog, my focus is on the big buck.

I had the epiphany that the big buck is like finding that one person that once converted, jumps in right away to do the work of the Lord .. like a Paul or a Peter.  See, these men didn’t suddenly develop all the skills to be successful in ministry, they developed them in the world and had an awesome conversion experience.  Then they jumped in full force .. ready to do the ministry.  These men are like the big buck that skilled hunters work towards.

Like ministry, hunting takes time.  Most of the time is in preparation and then, it’s wait on the Lord.  Just like in ministry.  We spend a lot of time preparing .. we study the Word, we listen to preachers, we may even attend classes .. but ultimately, it’s up to God to put people in your path that are ready to be discipled.  Just like hunting.  There’s all kinds of cool gadgets to get, things to learn, tracking to do, and on and on, however, it’s really up to God to bring those deer in your path.  Certainly you can plan the perfect stand with the perfect wind, plant fields of soy beans, create paths for the deer, attempt to call them in with grunt calls and rattling, but still … it’s a waiting on the Lord to do His part .. that ultimately brings that buck in your path.

Seeing the big buck takes much time and patience .. then there’s shooting it.  These big guys are smart!  They have been around the block a time or two and can smell a hunter from miles away!  The Paul’s and Peter’s of the world are just like that.  Paul, before his conversion, was killing Christians.  It literally took an act of God to open his eyes!  Think about the people that we see out in the world, we can recognize a big buck from miles away!  The ones who have the skills and gifts that were originally designed to propel God’s Kingdom forward.  However, it’s as if instinctively, they know someone’s trying to ‘get’ them .. so they avert spiritual places or people until one day, at the perfect timing … God positions the perfect scenario and then … BANG!  It’s instant conversion.

Regarding the shoot .. my husband taught me that it’s really best to focus on the pin and let the target or deer get a little fuzzy in your vision.  This is a bit frightening, but somehow, it really does give a better shot.  Just like getting that big conversion.  Ultimately, it’s God who guides the shot.  My brother ‘got me’ if you will but he didn’t even realize he was aiming!  His gun happened to be a 4 minute You Tube video that he felt compelled to send me and little did he realize at the time, but all stars were in alignment and his shot was perfect!  BANG!  Instant conversion!

From there where the analogy goes, I’m not sure yet.  I figure I have plenty of hours in the woods for God to reveal things to me.

See?  Having a relationship with God doesn’t always have to be about the ‘churchy’ things and it’s certainly NOT boring!  He’ll reveal Himself in ALL things if you ask Him!  Prov 3:5-6

Man I love Him!  🙂

Brotherly Love

As I was getting my children up for school and watching them talk to and at each other, I couldn’t help but think of brotherly love in the church.  As their mom, I have had the privilege of watching my children from the start, interact with one another.

I can assure you that 10 years ago, my littlest guy was a living doll for my little girl.  She was there to tend to his every need.  She hugged him, loved him, played with him, tried her best to feed him, and made sure mom knew when it was time to change his stinky diaper.  He of course, didn’t have much choice, but loved all the attention.  He figured out pretty quickly that if he wanted something, she was his ‘go to’ gal.  Everything was wonderful.

That is, until my little guy started growing up and getting his own opinion on things.  Until the day he started wanting to do things ‘his self.’  Until the day he started to infringe on her space or her choices.  I’d have to tell her things like, ‘Now honey, we do need to let your brother have a turn too.’  Of course, she never minded before he could do things like talk or make his own decision, but when his decisions started infringing on her own, well, I would watch my  normally sweet and helpful little girl become something … err, not so sweet.

I know, this is a normal part of growing up.  Truthfully, in my case, it really isn’t so bad because their squabbles are short lived.  I can give a stern warning and that takes care of it, for the most part.  Certainly however, there is some friction as these two young ones learn not only their way in life, but also, learn the responsibility of respecting their sibling.

I was thinking that it isn’t much different in the church, where brotherly and sisterly love are supposed to reside.  We start out all excited about the new spiritual ‘baby.’  It’s wonderful having the baby follow you and learn from you.  However, one day the baby grows up.  The baby starts making his/her own decisions and suddenly, that baby is no longer a baby.  The baby is now on the same level as you .. sometimes even challenging you.  How can they think differently than you?  Didn’t you teach them everything you know?  Many opportunities for growth for the two arise during such situations.

Of course, I look at my children from the same perspective God does us, I can see both sides .. really it’s just two kids; both valuable individuals.  Both have valuable ideas.  Both have the right to learn and grow and develop their own opinion.  But both, need to learn to respect the other without bullying or harming the other.  Sometimes mom needs to step in and clarify if one of the two has a skewed idea, but then it’s mom stepping in.

And just like real life, God does the same for us.  We may not always agree with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  As babies, we grow up and learn that sometimes we see things differently than those that we were taught from.  Or as the older ‘spiritual’ sister, we may find that our ‘younger siblings’ may develop thoughts different from our own.  What a blessing it is that we get to learn how to respect others opinions, learn how to be a guide, learn how to be a student, and learn how to get along with people completely different from us.  And sometimes, God has to step in and clarify because maybe one of us has an idea that is a bit skewed.

I’m thankful today that His yoke is easy and that it is He who leads and guides.  I’m also thankful that He really is all about family.  So many opportunities to learn and grow from one another ….  ahhh yes,  Brotherly love.