How Can I Have More God Moments?

ImageI found something really fascinating this morning when I was reading my Bible. Don’t you love it when that happens! In the introduction in the book of Luke, the first paragraph of verses is an introduction that is dedicated to Theophilus as he is describing his own witness  of the events of his time. This is what Luke says, “it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

I must have read those verses hundreds of time in my spiritual pilgrimage but they hit me differently this morning. I realized that Luke may very well be making a case here for some kind of journalling. That might be a bit of a stretch but even in the first verse he mentions that others have actually written accounts of what had happened among them as a community. Now before you tune me out, read along just a bit further and do your best to track with me. I should tell you by now that I am an out loud processor which sometimes isn’t great for writers but this is a blog, so here goes.

Here is where these thoughts connect for me, last week Jordan our middle son preached a message at his church called “Why Remember?” It was amazing, I know he’s my kid, but really and truly, it was brilliant. It left me with the reminder of how important spiritual markers are in our lives. He talked about Red Sea moments and why remembering those God-moments often helps catapault us into our future. When we get in the mud and mire with all the negative–the difficult circumstances, people stuff and just how life bogs us down, sometimes our eyes move away from remembering all the incredible miracles God downloads personally to increase our faith. In fact, that’s exactly what he said that those Red Sea moments accomplish, they cause faith to rise up inside of us, so like Luke shared with his friend Theo, let’s write them down!

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have at the end of 2013 a book full of those God moments? I love how Luke makes his case for writing it down, “so that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” I think he could be talking about being certain about our faith, what do you think? He also mentions, “writing an orderly account.” The book of Luke is an orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus and the Kingdom of God coming to earth-reading it infuses my faith.  We might take the phrase, ‘writing an orderly account’ and transfer that in today’s language as keeping those God moments in one place so you and I can “remember” allowing our faith then to “rise up within us” to quote my very wise son. I am choosing to write them down in a journalling bible I bought for 2013, so I could have my God moments in one place. I bought it before I even thought this all the way through, I wanted to combine seeing God’s word on a page with journalling this year.

You might go out and find a journal with a cover that reflects your personality. TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Winners, Chapters or Barnes and Nobles all have fabulous blank journals. If you are on a tighter budget, stores like TJ Maxx you can get one for under $10.00 leather and all, many times under $5.00. Another idea would be to use 3×5 cards and put them on a ring. That probably is a $2.00 project from the dollar store. Be creative and find a way to record your God moments.

Now you might be saying, I am just not a journaller. That’s okay, you don’t have to be an official one of those types who wake up everyday just dying to write in their journal. This is about keeping a collection of your God moments in one place to rehearse when you need a faith-builder. Let’s face it, none of us really knows what 2013 will bring. I am planning to read my God moments because I know that there will be days I am going to need my faith built up. Can I be so bold to ask you join me? Let me know your thoughts and how you plan to record your God moments to increase your faith in 2013.

Where is the Road Leading in 2013?

Back in September Kevin and I were at a marriage retreat in Colorado. It was intense. It was a difficult season and the retreat felt like an endless road of rehearsing, repairing and rebuilding. But it was good. It was necessary to crack the layers and shake off hardened habits to get to the rewards — loving deeper and giving more grace to get on a stronger path towards relational wellness. On our day off we ventured away from the lodge to head into town for a break. Actually it was Sunday and we wanted to go to church. We were late, not because we didn’t leave in time but because there was a crowd on the road stretching for miles. A sheep convention of sorts, at least that is what it looked like! They were leading and we were following, it was the only way out of Dodge! So we crawled at a snails pace waiting for the dogs and the modern sheepherder, an ATV rider to come along and move the sheep to the side of the road so we could pass carefully.

We had to do a couple of things in order to keep calm and not incur any casualties both with the sheep and the vehicle. First, we had to keep our eyes focused on the road and not the sheep. Sheep are distracting, they goof around when they are in a herd, there is no order and no rhyme or reason–they play, they prance in front of you, they turn back and walk straight into objects and don’t seem to have a clue that the goal is to move forward to get to the destination.  Second, we had to use caution and match our pace so that we wouldn’t bump into them and wait patiently for the obstacles to clear out of the way to move ahead. At first it seemed rather comical and then it was annoying because they seemed to stretch for miles! At last we were rescued as the ATV rider herded them successfully to the side of the road. Yeah! We could finally move ahead and get on with the plan.

As I think about the start of the New Year and the possibilities that are ahead, I can’t help but relive that Sunday morning as I think about planning for 2013. The past few years I’ve had my share of obstacles in the road with goofy sheep and I just want to “get on with the plan.”  I don’t know about you but I get excited about starting fresh and get anxious to move into a new season. So…. I bought a new journal to write in, a few devotionals, purchased a journalling bible and made my list of books I want to read and outlined a plan of how I wanted to grow with Jesus in 2013. I started making my list of goals and then I read today in Proverbs 16:3,9; “Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established…the heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Hmmmm, as I reflected my mind was spinning, what does this mean? Then it hit me as I looked at the picture from that Sunday morning, my heart can make a plan, but God very well may have placed sheep in the road to remind me to keep my eyes focused on Him and not get in too much of a hurry. God moves us by steps not by miles, another translation says “God directs his steps.” Sometimes the obstacles are there for a reason, if not for the simple reason to refocus and not rush ahead. It was a stark reminder that God is the one who will direct my steps or at least at the right time, clear the herd to the other side so I can take another step to move ahead. So in the meantime, as I start 2013 this is my prayer, “God help me to walk out what I believe you have placed in my heart for this year, help me to keep my eyes on you and trust that if obstacles appear to not get discouraged but that you will help me either get over them or drive by them as I keep my eyes fixed on the path ahead.”  Image

Sing Louder!!

I have to admit, I am a fan. A really BIG fan. An American Idol fan. Every Wednesday and Thursday night for the past several weeks I am glued to my flat screen TV.  I have clicked on my remote to my saved programs to indulge in some pretty amazing talent on stage this season. I am hooked. In the past I have secretly scorned others for wasting time watching these kinds of reality shows, but I have to admit I have fallen into that category of time wasters. But is it really a waste of time to appreciate the gift of music?  I love music!

Each week as I have settled in, I find myself moved. Not by all the staging and effects, but by the simple passion of each person who loves expressing their gift in song. As I listen, I have to turn up the volume. I like it loud, I like to experience it and feel it vibrating in my soul. I watch as a few of my favorite singers give it everything they have, singing louder and with greater energy as each week moves ahead to the grand finale.

There is someone else in our family who likes loud, who actually tells me, “Let’s sing louder, Grandma.” Connor and I were sitting on his bedroom floor last week before bedtime. He wanted to sing “lots of worship songs.” I think he was stalling, but it was okay I fell for it.  We sang through a few familiar ones and into the second or third song, he said, “Let’s sing louder Grandma.” It made me smile inside. So we sang as loud as we could sitting cross legged on his bedroom floor watching each other sing. At that moment, it dawned on me. This is what worship is all about. It’s not about the presentation of the song, but it’s about the passion behind the words I am singing.

There is something about listening to a two-half year old praising Jesus. It makes me cry because of the simplicity of his heartfelt desire to share his feelilngs through music. It was a moment for me, a sacred God-moment in my busy life. It was better than watching Joshua, Jessica, or Philip sing last week. Connor wasn’t on a stage, he was in his room, wearing his PJ’s hanging out. He was ending his day lifting his voice in worship. That is passion with a capital “P.”  I experienced in that moment, my soul vibrating with love for him, for my God AND to want to “sing louder!”

 

 

This is a post with post format of type Link

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus.

Post Formats is a theme feature introduced with Version 3.1. Post Formats can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus – more on WordPress.org: Post Formats

11:59 and thinking….

11:59 and thinking…..

11:59 and thinking….

The last day. The last hour. The last minutes of 2010. The last few years I have been alone with my thoughts as the midnight hour approached turning over a new year. This year is no different. I love new beginnings. I love to start new creative projects, new books, new recipes, new organizing ventures; I just love a fresh start! It helps me to move forward when I feel discouraged or lack of motivation. As I sit in my kitchen typing moments before 2011 is ushered in, I am anticipating waking up tomorrow to something new, something hopeful in a new year.

As I reflect over 2010 the word that captures my thoughts is GRACE. GRACE that made my heart sing as I understood the deeper meaning of God’s character. GRACE that covered my days that were apathetic or unproductive. GRACE that sang over my mistakes and failures. GRACE that brought healing into important relationships. GRACE that allowed me to reconnect with life long friends. GRACE that helped me to remember that nothing that touches our lives is ever wasted. GRACE reminded me once again of just how much I am loved by my Jesus. Honestly, I am in awe of GRACE and how God revealed His GRACE to me this past year.

What will 2011 bring? I don’t know. I just know that there will be new adventures. There will be new highs and new lows. God will weave in my heart a new word at this same time next year. I am not sure what that will be, but I am willing to trust Him with this new year. I am willing to let go of what once was in 2010 and embrace what will be in 2011.

What word captures your heart as you leave behind 2010?

This promise in Isaiah that I have read countless times in 2010 causes my heart at this quiet moment to beat faster, to anticipate deeper what God has in store in 2011.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new, even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

Minutes, seconds, it’s almost here. Can you see it?

Instant Read

You would think I was the best Mom ever. The very best. In a crowded  restaurant came a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, “This is awesome, thanks Mom.”

Are you kidding me? This is all it takes to get a “This is awesome, Mom?” I had just given my 23 year old son an instant read thermometer. Yes, you heard me right, no he wasn’t sick. I gave him a thermometer that measures meat temperature in a hot oven. He likes to cook. He likes accuracy. He is of the male species and no matter what hobby they take up, they like tools. This is a cooking tool, one for insuring that whatever delicacy you are making it won’t overcook, get dry, and have to be covered with a sauce if you mess up.

Little did I know how important that tool was to him. He has secretly been wanting one for several months. Instant read, instant success! At least that is how I like to think of it.

Lately I have been having trouble reading my emotions. I wish there was a tool for accurately  reading ones soul. Sometimes in a storm it’s just plain hard to see. The wind and rain whip you around and it’s all you can do to put one foot in front of another. There isn’t time or energy to even figure out if you are wet. You just know you have to keep moving so you won’t drown or get lost in the storm.

It is in those times when my head is down bracing against the elements that I remember a very important truth. Trust. Faith. Trust and Faith. Trust, Faith and God. You see, one really doesn’t coexist without the other. You can’t have faith without trust. You can’t have trust without faith. More importantly, you can’t have trust and faith without God. He is the source, he is the author and the giver of faith. When you don’t have any, you just have to ask.

I might not be able  to figure out if I am wet or cold in a storm, or what temperature my swirling emotions might be but I do know this. God is my instant read thermometer. He knows instantly what I need. He knows my temperature. He is my El Roi, the God who sees. He is my El Shaddai, the God who is enough. He is my Elohim, the creator of my soul. He knows, He sees, He is enough. He won’t subject me to the elements to destroy me or in culinary terms, let me overcook! Thank goodness, that wouldn’t be pretty.

He won’t let me walk in the storm with my head down forever. He will give blessings as Psalm 84 says, “Though I walk through the valley of weeping, there will be pools of blessings after the rain.”

The “One Thing”

My Iphone. My laptop computer. My love affair with Home Sense, TJ Maxx. Coffee with friends at Starbucks. My fully equipped fun to cook in kitchen. My obsession of chocolate. These are all just things. But any of them that overly occupy my life can be the “one thing” that keeps me from living out Psalm 27:4.

I’m asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
I’ll study at his feet.

There is a greater threat than the many “one thing” that threatens to suck my time away from getting to know God. A temptation greater said Charles Spurgeon in a sermon he delivered on a cold December in 1859:

There are many temptations, there are many suggestions and insinuations—and all these are arrows from the bow of the Evil One. But there is one temptation which exceeds all oth- ers, there is one suggestion which is more Satanic, more skillfully used in effecting the purposes of Satan than any other. That suggestion is the one referred to in these words of the Psalmist (Psalm 9:10)—the suggestion to believe that God has forsaken us. If all the other arrows of Hell could be put into one quiver, there would not be so much deadly poison in the whole as in this one.

I am coming to grips with this new thought. I will become a captive if I succumb to this great lie when I am distressed, discouraged or about to venture out in a great work for God. All the other “one thing” distractions will then smoothly fill the gaps of my life. Why? If I believe that God has forgotten me then I won’t or will become incapable of trusting Him. When you don’t trust someone, you don’t listen or spend time with that person. The relationship becomes anything but superficial. God help me to not go to that place when I am tempted.

I have spent an awful lot of time this past year mulling over “trust.” I have examined with careful eyes all that I believe about trusting in God. I have come to this conclusion. He is trustworthy. Even when I don’t understand, it is His truth that prevails and trumps my feelings. Truth seeks to realign my twisted thinking when I have hit the wall and lose perspective. It is my plumb line. Truth centers my choices and gives voice to demolish and conquer my fears of uncertainty.

Knowing God is knowing who He is, His character. So Women2Nite Study girls, let’s continue to prepare ourselves for the journey of uncovering the vast meanings of God’s names. May He reveal Himself to you this week as you invite him to be the “one thing” you desire. HIs invitation to dwell in His presence!

Have fun at your Small Group out night this coming Monday. See you on October 4th!

Because of His Grace

Cynthia

Camping Out With God

WOW! Did we have a great night yesterday or what? I was so incredibly blessed to see all you beautiful women ready to launch into an adventure in studying God’s word. I hope that you will discover new truths or be reminded of ones you are familiar with as you begin Week One.

We asked the question last night, “What do we struggle with most in trusting God?” I wrestle with the fear of not knowing the immediate future. I struggle with God not giving me the information sooner than later. Why is that? I like to KNOW things…so I can PLAN things….so I can feel like at least I am in CONTROL of some of my life. Whoa…is God pulling the rug out on me on that one! How silly of me to think that God is going let me in on more than I need to know when I need to know it! When will I learn this? So you see, like you I am on a journey of learning to trust God deeper. We can do it!

I am praying for you this week Psalm 27:4. I am asking God to give you a hunger for that “one thing”, to seek to be in his presence. To hangout with Him in His tent, as we talked about last night. Remember the promise of God in verse 5. He is “covering you” and “sheltering you” in His glory because He is crazy about who He made you to be!!

Learning to trust more!

Cynthia