Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reflections from John

 I read the gospel of John over the last two days.  I am so use to reading scripture by the chapters, usually a chapter or two per day.  But this week's assigned reading for a class I'm taking was The Gospel of John - all of it.  Thought I would share some of my reflections on the big picture reading of John.

Jesus spends a lot of time in John explaining who He is.  He is the Word, the Light, the Way.  He is one with the Father and I Am.  John emphasizes that Jesus and God are One.  To know Jesus is to know God.

I have been many of the people John wrote about.  I’ve been the woman at the well trying to hide her shameful past, a life gone wrong with no idea of how to fix things.  And then I too met Jesus.  I’ve been the blind beggar living in darkness, reaching out the best I could, hoping that someone would help me.  And then I too met Jesus.  And Jesus changed everything.  

He who comes from above is above all (John 3:31).  There is nothing outside the sovereignty of Jesus.  There is no problem, no situation, no thought, no struggle that He cannot walk into.  If I will trust Him, He will walk with me and will be a light in the darkness.  He gives me life.

The fields are white for harvest (John 4:35).  Jesus gives us a job.  He gives me purpose.  There is work to be done.  He sets an example by talking with the Samaritan women.  A good Jewish male would never have spoken to an unmarried Samaritan women who was living in sin.  Jesus broke several cultural rules by sitting down alone with her and engaging her in a conversation which led to her spreading the news that the Messiah had arrived.  One thing I love about recovery ministry is the opportunity to speak into the lives of those who don't fit it and those who continue to live with the mistakes of their past.   

I love the imagery of sheep in the gospels.  Jesus, the good shepherd, calls and the sheep hear his voice.  I am praying to hear His voice more clearly and for discernment to understand His call.  One of my favorite bits of Scripture is Jesus telling Peter to “Feed my sheep.”  This has great meaning for me personally because I believe that I have been called also to help take care of His sheep.  I want to help that poor lost sheep who goes astray find its way back into the flock.  

Who am I?  I am alive.  I am loved.  I am fed by the living bread and refreshed by the living water.  I have been set free indeed by the One who is the Light of the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A thought from Psalm 81

I imagine heaven is a place filled with music!  Scripture seems to mention singing and making music a good bit. Psalm 81 begins with a call to worship God with music.

Sing aloud...
Shout for joy...
Raise a song...

Can't you just feel the excitement building as voices are raised to God?

Sound the tambourine...
The sweet lyre...
The harp...
Blow the trumpet...

An orchestra joins the choir and a mighty sound of joyful music rises to the heavens in worship and praise of The Lord our God. And the song that is sung continues as we join in today!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

From Psalm 73

Lots of wonderful thoughts on this Psalm. It is one if my favorites. For now, I will share this one sentence. 

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Blessings & Strength...

First Things First - Christine Caine - Big Dreams

First Things First - Christine Caine

"A dream, on the other hand, needs God’s supernatural power to bring it to fulfillment."

Dream BIG!   I think we often tend to dream small dreams.  Maybe we are afraid of failure or disappointment.  So we dream small, safe dreams - the kind of things that seem easy to accomplish.  The kind of things that we might be able to do ourselves with just a bit of hard work.

But - God is big!  He holds all of creation.  God has big plans and He has a part for each of us in those plans.  Big dreams reach beyond our own capabilities.  Big dreams require faith - the kind of faith that believes God will open doors and God will provide opportunities. Big dreams because God can do immeasurably more than we realize!

Dream Big!  Then God and tell the world what He has done!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From Psalm 66

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I wil tell what he has done for my soul. 
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. 
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. 
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 

And there is so much to tell of what God has done for me and for his people. Yes, God hears my prayers. He is so worthy of my praise. For I have witnessed his power to change lives. The love he has for us, his people, is amazing. 

God Is Good. Yes, He Is. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Psalm 62

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. 

God is...
Our salvation
Our rock
Our fortress
Our hope 
Our glory
Our refuge

He is the one we can always trust. Lean on Him. Tell Him your troubles. Wait for Him. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Psalm 56

This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
In The Lord, whose word I praise,
In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. 

Amen and amen. If God is for me then who can be against me?  God is bigger and stronger than any wall or mountain or any enemy that may stand in my path.  So I will praise Him in the good times. I will praise Him in the tough times when life seems dark and troubled. I trust Him and know that He will be with me always.  I have no need to fear. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!

David's prayer. My prayer too. Our problem is sin. We are stained by sin. Only God can cleanse us. 

Have mercy on us, O God. Be merciful and loving to us. Thank you for making us clean. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Psalm 49

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. (v16-17)

It is easy to get caught up in the sparkle of fame and fortune. Seems like the good life means one is always moving up to bigger and more. We live in a culture of comsuption which is never satisfied with what one has but instead is always craving more. With easy payments, no money down, and no interest due for 90 days. And it starts by wanting what someone else has. It is living with our eyes on the things of this earth. 

God calls us to a heavenly perspective, to live with our eyes focused on eternity. For rich and poor, we will each face death and all the things that money buys will be left behind. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (v1)

     He IS. Not He will be or He might be, but He is, right now, our refuge and strength. God is always there for us. Waiting. 
     Too often, I find myself leaning on me and trying to live on my strength alone. I am stubborn and I frequently have a bad case of "I can do it myself."  And all the while God is there waiting for me to lean on Him and to find strength in Him. 

Be still, and know that I am God (v10).

     One of my favorite verses and great advice. I spend too much time running around thinking of me. I need this reminder to stop. Be still. Know I Am God. 

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (v11)

Peace & Strength...


Sunday, May 11, 2014

First Things First - Christine Caine

I shared my testimony this morning in my LifeGroup at Church.  I admitted that one of my big problems before Christ was my tendency to make really bad choices.  Part of my Christian walk has been learning how to make good choices.

I came across this list today of good tips to choose.  I've printed this out and plan to put it on my wall at work.  Love #8 - I choose to mostly eat healthy.  Cause, you know, ya gotta have some chocolate cake every once in a while!

First Things First - Christine Caine

I love Christine Caine - she is such an inspiration to me!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

His work - His people

Eight words thunder in our souls: Without you, we can't; without us, you won't. You have chosen to do your work through your people. --Lloyd John Ogilvie from "For They Shall Be Fed"

Without God, we can't experience the life we were created to live. Without God, our motivation to help the needy becomes self-serving rather than God serving.

Without us, God won't. I've had to think about this for a while. One thing I have learned from being involved with recovery ministry is that God uses people to make a difference in other people's lives. God puts people in our lives at specific times for specific purposes. I am awe-struck when I realize that He has used me to touch the life of another. Amazing that He uses me for His purposes. I am absolutely humbled by that.

God also does this in big ways, which is really what the quote above is referencing. In times of disaster or need, God's people and God's church have stepped in to fill a need and to help in a crisis. The church is often able to help in ways that government programs and individuals can't. When God's people come together to do something with God and for God, mountains get moved, red tape gets cut, and action is taken.

God doesn't exactly need us but isn't it wonderful that He has chosen to use us anyway!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


How do I talk to God? Well, there are a couple of important things to note first. I believe that God wants a close relationship with each one of His children. (And we are all His children, His creations.) I also believe that God already knows. There is nothing that I can share with God about myself that He doesn't already know but yet, He wants me to come to Him with my stuff.

So I go to the One who Knows me and the One who wants me close to Him with my life. Over the last few months, I have shared frustrations, confusion, and fear with Him. During my drive to & from work, I complain and explain and attempt to reason out life with God who is much more patient with me than I will ever deserve. And I tell Him that I trust Him even though I don't understand. I believe that His way is better even when I can't see how.

To me, prayer - talking with God - also includes simply listening. Being still and knowing that He is God. I have difficulty with silence - a thousand random things can suddenly float through my head at once. I'm learning that in the silence is when God speaks back to me. One of my goals for 2014 is to spend more time simply listening and simply obeying God without making things all complicated.

I love about reading through the Psalms and there is such a great example of prayer found in many of them. David expresses strong emotions - fear, anger, weakness, groaning, despair, grief. He pretty much lays it all out - "Here is what I'm dealing with now." And then he turns it all to God. Almost every Psalm ends with expressions of faith, praise, or thankfulness to the One whom David believes is bigger and stronger. I try to read a different Psalm each night and often use them as my own prayer because I so identify with them. It is a good way to end the day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Question of Serving

Joshua 24:15 -Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the regions beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

A brand new year and it is a time of making resolutions, decisions, and plans which will we hope will guide us well through the next 12 months. 

Joshua and the Israelites faced just such a time as they prepared to enter the promised land to begin a new life there.  Joshua asked the people to make a decision.  Whom will you serve?  Will you serve the gods of the past?  Will you serve the gods you will encounter in the near future?  Or will you serve the Lord God who is here with you now - the God who has led you out of bondage and guided you to freedom?

Today is an excellent time to ask ourselves the same question.  Whom will I serve? 

Will I serve the things of the past?  Will I be unwilling to face new challenges and to embrace new ideas?  We serve the past when we continue to stubbornly do things the way they have always been done simply because that's how they've always been done.  We serve the past as we hang on to ideas, habits, and thoughts which have outlived their usefulness.  When we live life by looking backwards, when we are resistant to new and different, then we are serving the past.  Serving the past makes us stagnant, stale, and boring.

Will I serve only the new things?  Will I always be chasing after the newest, shiniest, and hottest new thing?  Will I live life hopping from one hot new fad to another?  Will I ignore past lessons learned?  Will the pursuit of more money, more prestige, and more stuff be the theme of my life this year?  We live in a culture that values having more and our self-worth can become wrapped up in trying to achieve that dream of the nice house in the right neighborhood with a new car parked in the drive.  We live in a culture that promotes tolerance over true faith, relativity over truth, and trendy over sensible.  Serving this causes us to miss the blessings of today and leads to dissatisfaction.

Will I serve the God who is?  God is an unchanging constant.  He was there as the Israelites left Egypt and He is still a real presence in the lives of His people today,  He has promised His people a future life living within His glory.  He is the Lord of now.  His very name, I AM, signifies that He is the one who is living and active today.  He is grace, mercy, peace, and joy.  He longs to give those things to me.  He forgives.  He wipes away sin and makes all things new.  Serving God changes hearts and lives.

On this start of a brand new year, I ask myself, "Whom will I serve?"  Like Joshua, my answer is that I will serve the Lord.