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Showing posts from February, 2014

You get the part?

I spent a few years in the theater in high school and then into the military as part of my career there.  I was not a "performer" in the theater, although I did have a small part in a production once, but it was really not my forte.  I was a "behind the scenes" kind of person - building sets, finding just the right props, etc.  I liked the challenge of taking a totally flat surface of canvas stretched taught over a frame and turning it into the backdrop resembling old structures, hillsides, or the inside of a 1930's parlor.  It intrigued me to see the sets come together and then stand back to see the "effect" they created.  Two dimensional flats gave the appearance of three dimension and took you into worlds you might not have traveled otherwise.  What made theater so interesting for others was the ability to "perform" the parts of the characters in the production.  They enjoyed the challenge of getting the role down, including the accent, a…

Tapped in

I have never really lived in an area where we have "well-water" to draw from, but my sister did in Napa Valley.  I remember the "sweetness" of the water, how cool it was when it came out of the faucet, and the just "freshness" it had.  Being a city girl, this was quite an experience for me because I was used to the fluoride, strong taste of chemicals like chlorine, and the like.  To take "pure" water was almost a shock to my body!  If you are also a city gal, you know what I mean!  Now, think about the well within each of us - that well of refreshing, purity, and sweetness which is cultivated there by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  No well is ever benefit until it drawn from - wells serve their purpose only when something comes forth.  What comes forth in your life is based on who "taps" the well and how frequently the well is "stirred" within!
Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;a wise person dra…

Say what????

Do you ever complain to God?  I do!  In fact, I find myself ranging from complaint to praise, from disappointment to celebration.  The good news is that God doesn't judge me for this honest exchange of my emotions - in fact, he encourages me!  David was another one who made this frequent honest exchange of emotions ranging from up to down, "all in" to "holding back a little".  Many of the psalms within the Book of Psalms actually are a record of David's "honest exchanges" between God and David.  In turn, these exchanges are placed in the middle of our Bible as a means of helping us connect with God on some level of "honest" exchange.  If we see and hear others engaging in this honest exchange of emotion, we are more likely to "try our hand" at being just as forthright with God, as well.  
The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him.  And those who do what is right will praise him.  (Psalm 64:10 NLT)
In the midst of…

Putting the "past" into perspective

Remembering our history might just give us a moment to pause.  Some of what may be there might just not be something we are very delighted to remember.  I think there is much to memory - most of it is pretty "okay" - but there is some of our "history" we'd all like to forget.  When it comes to our "family tree", there are probably some "Charlie Brown Christmas Trees" in the mix - you know - the ones kind of scraggly and just kind of like the ones we'd probably rather reject than own up to!  Yet, even though they don't "fit" like the rest of us, we cannot discount their importance in our family tree.  The most unlikely candidates have a place in our history - no particular action or characteristic we can deny or discount.  For all we know, they hold a place in our history just so we can look back and be warned about what could so easily entrap us in the same behavior.  In this respect, we'd do well to consider even their…

Lessons we probably all need to learn

The end of the day has come, labors have all just about ended, and you are envisioning a nice bit of sea bass cooked over the fire with a side of some freshly harvested vegetable from your garden.  Then all of a sudden, you vision is broken in upon by an "outsider" almost putting himself upon you to get you to back at work.  At first, it doesn't seem like much - he only wants to use your boat - not too far from shore - so dinner will be a little delayed, but you can soak up a few rays and enjoy the gentle rocking of the boat as it drifts on the still waters.  So, why not?  After all, he is quite popular and he tells stories people really like to hear.  As you lay there gently lulled by the slight lapping of the waters against the side of your boat, your ease is interrupted by another request - this time a little harder to take than his first. At first, you complain a little - something we all are given to at times.  Then you go about explaining how this request is a lit…

"BE"

If you have ever had one of those days where being agreeable and loving just seem to be the most difficult response to muster, then you are not alone. Every now and then, these days seem to creep up and the testing of our patience almost overwhelms us - sometimes it even does!  When we have these days back-to-back, there seems to be no helping us - for every response we have is less than kind!  Learning to bless when we just don't feel like it is a difficult thing to do - especially when we are relying upon our own self effort to accomplish it!  Truth is - we are all pretty disagreeable at times - some of us more than others.  When I run into someone who just seems to be disagreeable every time I see them, I have to wonder what made them so "sour" on life.  Maybe they just haven't recovered from some hurt in their past, or someone keeps opening up their "healing wounds" and now all they can do is "fester" in their misery.  Regardless, the very bes…

About or From - You Choose

There is a vast difference between learning "about" something or someone and learning "from" that object or person.  When we learn "about" someone, we are learning things that are closely associated with that individual, but we are not necessarily learning what makes that person "tick".  When we get to learn "from" them, we get to know the "original" and nothing is quite the same as getting to know the "original".  Anything less just doesn't quite reach the same level of experience.  The thing which makes "about" and "from" very distinct as it comes to our relationship with Christ is the danger of never drawing close enough to recognize the real thing when we see it.  As long as we are just learning "about" Christ, we get familiar with some of the nuances of his character, but we don't sense the action of that character within us. When we are learning "from" Christ, it…

Products of Grace

When a company is just about ready to introduce a new product, the term "going public" might be used to suggest the steps they take in revealing their new concept.  Much effort is put into putting forth the right message so that the public at large will be aware of the new product, beginning to form the impression of "need" which will cause them to desire the product.  As the new product is finally readied for market, the public will have a curiosity as a result of "having gone public" some time prior - a technique we call marketing. There are times when the best "marketing" we can actually experience is the "marketing" of a life transformed because of something.  When we see the advertisements for the surgery which lifts the wrinkles away and draws the loose skin tight again on our faces, making us look 20 years younger, there is an appeal because the "transformation" was so totally apparent.  Before and after pictures speak…

A shiny new appliance

All scripture is given for our benefit - all truth given for our use.  Yet, something given is not of value until it is put into use, is it?  When you receive a gift of a new blender for the kitchen, or perhaps a new toaster, the small appliance looks pretty in the box.  You can even open the box and place the new appliance on the kitchen counter, but if this is as far as you ever get to using the new appliance, it really doesn't serve you any purpose.  You could even plug it into the outlet to be "hooked up" to electrical power, but if the appliance is never turned to the "on" position, all the electrical power could do is of no benefit.  Even if you put a couple pieces of bread into the toaster, or some berries into the blender, until you engage the "on" switch, the appliance still doesn't do all it could do.  Once the toast is popped up, nicely golden, or the berries are swirled into a smoothie, even those promising things contained within the …

Getting it all out on the table

None of us relishes the idea of being disciplined, do we?  In fact, we'd probably rather avoid it at all cost, especially when we are feeling a little guilt load because of what we have done which really deserves the discipline. When it is hardest is when we don't feel we need the discipline - those are the times we probably resist it the most.  It is during these moments that we begin to feel sorry for ourselves - thinking we don't deserve what we are experiencing - all the while forgetting that discipline is not judgment. Discipline is training which is aimed at improving us - not judging us.  Too many of us equate discipline with judgment - like when we stole cookies from the cookie jar, got caught, and then ended up paying the price by being restricted from watching TV or the like.  We got caught - a price had to be paid for our disobedience - and we get to feeling sorry for ourselves, not because we disobeyed, but more likely because we got caught!  Maybe it is time w…

You have family?

There are times when the time it takes to engage in what you might see as "necessary" confrontation is sometimes just not worth it, or it seems to come back to reflect badly on you somehow.  These are usually the times when you are attempting to say something to someone just not willing to hear anything which might be shared - especially if it is against whatever they are thinking at the moment.  In those times, it is almost better to hold your peace than to attempt to engage in any kind of "confrontation" with them.  Why?  They aren't going to hear you!  Their mind is set - their attitude is determined - their choices have been made.  No amount of "help" from us is going to change the one who just cannot accept they need "help" in the first place! The cynic sees all "outside" help as really being offered from some kind of selfish motivation - believing no one could be interested in the outcome of another's life unless there wa…

You one of the herd?

When I was a young girl in grade school you would have probably called me a "follower" - I went along with the crowd, but was too shy to actually take the lead myself.  Anyone who knows me now would say just the opposite.  In looking back at the difference which Christ made in my life, I would have to say one of the clearest things is this transition from being a "follower" of others.  In fact, if you were to look back, "going along" with the crowd got me into more pickles than I really want to give an accounting of right now!  Trying to win the attention and approval of others, striving to have some degree of "popularity", etc. all ended up in some pretty bad decisions in my life.  You may have been one of the "crowd followers", as well, so you know what I am saying here.  It doesn't pay to follow the crowd - we need good role models to follow, not just popular ones!  
Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person wh…

Paint anyone?

It is an act of seeing which allows us to perceive many times.  We could become alert to something happening through our other senses of hearing, touch, or smell, but seeing is what often "connects the dots" for us.  Some call this being a "visual learner" - we can read all about it, but once we see it done a couple of times, we've got it!  Without seeing, we just don't have the same perception, do we?  Yet, it is possible to "bypass" this element of perception - functioning pretty well, as a matter of fact - but...we miss out on the splendor of color, the mystery of the twinkle in someone's eye, and the awing wonder of following the trail of a jet high up in the sky.  We function, but we don't "get the full picture" when our seeing is not connected to our perceiving.
If people can’t see what God is doing,they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. (Proverbs 29:18 MSG)
Seeing wh…