Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wisdom from a 7th Grader on Friendship

Good Morning All,

I hope your day has started off smoothly and everyone is healthy. After working approximately 28 hours the past two days trying to assist in getting H1N1 shots to the public I can tell you that there are many scared people out there and hope that this message finds you well.

This morning I want to revisit a topic that is near and dear to my own heart and that is the "friend" relationship. Yesterday as I was posting on my niece's page on facebook I noticed that under her information she posted "My friends are my life, I couldn't live without them." Such wisdom from a 7th grader. Of course I think she is much older than she appears in many ways. How do all of you view friendship? Do you have many friends or do you have many acquaintances and only a select group of what you would call friends? I want to offer a couple different interpretations of a verse out of proverbs for you to ponder as I discuss this further:

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV) A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 (The Message) Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Friendship is such a strange and wonderful thing. I've found that true friendships not only withstand the test of time they withstand the tests of life. I know I'm guilty of deeply hurting some of my "friends". And I call them "friends" because they, after realizing that I'm broken and not perfect, still accept me in their lives. Many of you reading this are a part of that group and I can't begin to express my gratitude to you for being such a blessing from God. After all of the roadblocks and bumps you are still with me and for that I'm truly blessed.

Now for more on my take on friendship. My friends ARE my family. I may be in close contact with them or I may only touch base with them every now and then, but the true mark of friendship is the closeness we share. I'm sure many of you have those in your lives that you haven't talked to in 6 months or a year and then call them and pick up right where you left off and roll with it. These friendships are just as meaningful as those that you touch base with every day. I think those I would call a friend would be willing to drop anything to be there for me. They don't put conditions on our relationship and they don't have expectations. Thanks to all of you for that!

If I would like you to take anything away from the message today it would be that you would take a quick look at who you call friends. If they are truly special to you, tell them and share your feelings. You never know when they need to hear that they are special to you.

This fall is already starting out to be fun-filled and friend-filled... I'm so richly blessed... I don't deserve it!

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Talk to God Lately?

As with many of my posts I really don't know where I'm going with this so I hope you will humor me. I guess what I'm really pondering as I type is the interpersonal relationship each of us has with God. It may seem strange to some, but God and I have many chats each day. Yes, they do seem truly one sided most of the time and most of them are filled with my wants, requests, pleads, or echoes of displeasure, but nonetheless they are chats. I say this because God has a non-verbal way of communicating that is so much more powerful than our feeble human efforts at communication. What do I mean? Have you ever seen the sun shining off the snow of a mountain sunrise? Have you ever felt the peace of walking along an abandoned beach before daybreak? Or, have you ever looked into a child's eyes and witnessed the excitement from your own youth when talking about a Holiday (Halloween, Christmas, Birthdays, etc.). Well then you have heard God ... you just might not have been looking for it.

You see after the crazy week that we experienced last week I was really in need of one of those "God" filled weekends and just like every other time I've really needed it... he delivered. With the exception of a minor bump here and there this weekend was FULL of those moments above. I think I have a new definition of excitement after watching Will when he saw the carp (algae eaters) in one of the local ponds and thought we could catch them and another perspective on brotherhood watching how excited both Will and Henry get by chasing each other around our house. And finally a new appreciation for the warmth of giving after watching an elderly man's smile as he gave the boys Frosty Gift Certificates when we were eating dinner last night. (He stopped by our table and said that he and his wife live in the country and don't get many trick or treaters and he thought the boys were very well behaved and would like them as a treat). Laughter and excitement replaced a week of craziness and pain... and through it all... God is Good... All the time! I guess I lost a little sight of that and just needed another reminder ... Where are you with God? Has he reminded you of his goodness lately? I hope so and I hope that you are looking for it and recognize it when it happens.

I want to close with two different versions of a Psalm verse that I really enjoyed and think you might to:

(The Message) Psalm 27: 13-14 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God.

(NIV) Psalm 13-14 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Have a great week everyone! I'm off to the Hocking Hills tomorrow to enjoy some good times with great friends... I may have another message when I get back on parenting and life on vacation ;o)

Love in Christ,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Passing Through the Waters

Comfortably numb... what is that you ask? My disposition as I embark on this little excerpt this a.m. I think it can be attributed to the cumulative effect of a over a week with limited to no sleep at night, a sump pump malfunction that left our basement wet and musty, and the ever trying job of managing behavior issues and illness with the boys. I know I am not alone in my struggles and we all have them. Usually they don't reach this point or come all at once, but they get there at times. I'm just grateful that I have a center to carry me through. I'll start with a verse that one of my Pastors shared in a sermon back in January of 2007 and it has been burnt into my mind ever since:
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you..." - Isaiah 43:2

*Notice the word "when" in the verse... It doesn't say "if" ... It says "when"... guess times like these are inevitable. Back when I first heard this verse the demons were way different for me. I was about as immature of a Christian as you could find, but didn't know it and I was truly spinning out of control in need of an "answer". By the Grace of God I was given that "answer" through our Men's renewal program. I discovered much about myself and my faith walk at that time and where I personally was lacking. I was also given the gift of a stronger foundation and a new start.

There is so much that happens in this life that leaves us asking why. Its up to us to realize that God has a plan and we are not in control. I wonder how many times I've given him a chuckle when I've tried to do it on my own. As "it" hits the fan in my life I've let myself fall into the trap of allowing feelings and emotions steer me from truth. My own wants and needs always seem to make me stumble when I'm trying to serve a higher purpose. I truly believe we should not and cannot rely on our heart or mind, but rather our soul. God has planted those seeds deep in there, long before we were on this earth, and our faith is what delivers us time after time. I know it is what leads me when I'm going through moments like I am now and hope it is what leads you. Remember our Faith in Christ is not rooted in what we "feel", but who we are. Its more about a promise than a reaction. It is what sets us apart. I have a verse on my facebook page that was given to me through the discernment process from my Renewal Brothers, and leads me when the world fails me. Hope you let it be one of your beacons as well...

Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Please let God reveal all of his Power and Glory and give us the direction we all need to pass through the waters of life.

Love in Christ,