Tag Archive | Family

Books That Changed My Life #3

         Eucharisteo. Thankfulness. Live Eucharisteo.

Philippians 4:11-12 (RSV)

11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. (Thankful) 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.

one thousand gifts

I never ever thought to be thankful. I was too busy guarding myself from the pain of what I didn’t have.

Through her book, Ann taught me that it is indeed “Holy work” to list what we are thankful for.

Name those things. When you name them, the things you think you lack, cannot haunt you anymore.

Some of the things you may lists, seem inconsequential. Too small to even note. Note them anyway. One to One Thousand. Some will seem larger and more important than others, list them all, you will see, they will add up. The more they add up, the freer you become!

Begin with a pen, or a crayon, or a marker. Use your voice. Use the shutter on your camera. Every word of thanks is a sacred act.

I consider myself a woman of prayer, but Ann showed me that the only way to really BE that, is to be a woman of thanks. I had no chip for that, so it took a while. One gratitude at a time.

And now, I am most grateful for every day. Every breath. Every thing that goes well, and even for every aggravation. Why? Because it gives opportunity to practice EVEN MORE thankfulness.

What are you thankful for? Coffee in your cup? Nuzzling soft baby hair against your cheek? A quiet sunrise? Shoes on your feet? The ability to take a breath or the very fact the you even woke up this morning? ………………………………………

I could go on and on, but it’s your turn. Care to share?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Love Letters

 

“I will read your letters over and over and over and over again.”

Justin Rizzo –  Worship With the Word –

http://www.ihop.org/prayerroom/archives/
(Wednesday February 5, 8:00 am, 19:01 -24:50)

International House of Prayer – Kansas City

These words were enough to make my inquiring mind want to know.

I had a need to know what God’s word says about “letters”.

I recall first, that the Bible is literally a letter to mankind.

It is a letter recalling the times of man from the beginning.

It is a letter journaling the days and times of God’s people, their enemies and the ways, during thick and thin, that God took care of their needs.

It is a letter describing how to live a better life by living wisely.

In total, it is a love letter of insight and provision to the children of a loving father.

Some of its “paragraphs” may be simple to understand while others are difficult and cryptic.

It is in the deciphering that we become engaged in the unfolding relationship with our “Abba” daddy.

It is in that relationship that we learn exactly WHO He is and exactly who WE are in Him.

2 Corinthians 3:2 (NIV1984)  You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.

If we spend time pouring over His letters, we become like His words, like Him.

2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV1984) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Keeping time with His letters transforms us, and we become able to speak the life of His words to others.

2 Corinthians 10:10  (NIV1984)  For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”

We do not speak His words so that people can be impressed with us, but that they may be impressed with Him.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 (MSG)  If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it.  Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading.  Maybe then he’ll think twice.  But don’t treat him as an enemy.  Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

People who do not know Him or read His letters are not our enemies.

Romans 2:4 (ESV) Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to to lead you to repentance?

Our time with His letters gives us the kindness, forbearance and patience required to gently lead them to God.

*

Don’t know Him yet?

You can have that Significant Encounter by clicking on the “Rescue” tab at the top of this page.

Not enjoying His letters and His company yet?

The internet is full of free letters (Bibles) for you to begin your relationship with your Father in Heaven.

Won’t you try one?

What do you have to lose but your loneliness?

*

Kansas City, Missouri. Front of the Internatio...

Image via Wikipedia

Significant Encounter Friday #9

Significant Encounters of the Closest Kind – The Last of the Sisters

 It’s been a sad/happy week.

The last of the sisters was laid to rest.

Aunt Kit In Jersey

Image by Steve Bowbrick via Flickr

 Born in 1927, 1930 and 1937.

The eldest, my Aunt, had her second most significant encounter this week.

The middle, my Aunt, had hers in 2007.

The youngest, my Mom, had hers in 2001.

Second significant encounter you ask?

What was the first?

The moment when they trusted their lives to Christ.

The second , the day they got to enter into His presence forever.

unhindered by sick bodies and the cares of this world.

Entering into the joy of their Lord.

We will miss you.

Daughters, Sisters, Wives, Mothers, Aunts, Grandmothers,

Great Grandmothers.

Isaiah 57:2 (NIV)   Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.

 Philippians 1:21 (NIV)   For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Colossians 3:3  (NIV)  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

*

Significant Encounter Friday

What is a Significant Encounter?

We all have had, and will have a Significant Encounter at some point in our lives.

A Significant Encounter can be defined as an important or noteworthy event that happens to us.

Many times, these events are quite by accident.  We bump into, or stumble into them unaware.

The Significant Encounter has the power to alter us, to change us to some degree.  It could be large or it could be small.

Several Significant Encounters, during a short or long period of time , can help us to transform into something better than we were before.

One example of a Significant Encounter is found in the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The news that she would bear a child when she had never been with a man was a no doubt unexpected event.

Consider how this news altered her relationship with her betrothed, Joseph, and all those who were part of her family and friends.

Think if you will about the modifications that she had to make to her life in order to have this baby.

Reflect on how she must have felt, knowing and believing, that she was carrying in her womb the very Savior of mankind.

Look ahead to the transformations of countless lives because they too, believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Precious Lamb of God, who saves them from an eternity in hell.

I’m going to call this Significant Encounter Friday, and ask you to share with us, a Significant Encounter that you may have had in your lifetime.

You can leave your story in the comments, with your name and email address.  I will be the only one to see them, and will not post your address.

After I’ve been able to review and approve your story, I’ll post it here on Fridays.

It will be amazing to hear what Significant Encounters have changed the direction in your life.

Please consider joining us, we each have something worth sharing, something noteworthy, something to help others. 

We never know which of our words could be someone else’s,

 

                                                                              Significant Encounter

 

 

True Brother

I never cease to be amazed by the Word of God.              

The Holy Bible.

Each and every time I read it, I learn something new.

Even if I have read the same story ten times,

Something new will always shine through.

Since school began, our church has been studying the parables in the book of Luke.

-In case you don’t know, parables are just stories, told to make a point-

I can’t even say how many times I’ve read those stories.

What I can tell you is that this time around,

A couple of things stood out to me in a different way.

I would like to share them with you here.

The first parable Jesus tells us about in Luke 15,

is about sheep.

This parable is about one hundred sheep.

                Actually, it is about one sheep.

Here’s the way the story unfolds;

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The second parable in Luke 15 is about a coin, and it goes like this;

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The third and final parable in Luke 15 is about a prodigal son. 

A run-a-way.

Jesus tells it like this;

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

I’ll start with the last one first.

As I said before, I have heard this story many, many times.

I have heard it preached as “The Prodigal Son”.

The son ran away and it seems like he had to do that to understand how good he really already had it.

I have heard it taught as “The Running Father”.

The father was so overwhelmed with joy at his sons return, that he ran to meet him.  (Very undignified, by the way, for a Jewish man in stately robes!)

I have heard it presented as “The Jealous Son”.

The older son stayed home and worked for his father, but had a pretty bad attitude about it, and was royally upset that his run-a-way brother got the party.

This time, the story was told very differently.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have come up with it myself.

This time it was taught as “The Missing Older Brother”.

Who was this missing older brother? 

He was the one telling the story.

He was Jesus.

If we have trusted Jesus, then He is our older brother.

He is our Brother, because when we are rescued by God,

Then we become His children.

Brothers and sisters of Christ.

*In the parable of the coin, the woman rejoiced with her friends because she found it again.

*In the parable of the sheep, the shepherd rejoiced because what was once lost was found.

*In the parable of the prodigal son, there was a great party and celebration because of the sons return.

*In our own parable, there is rejoicing in heaven when we choose to follow Jesus, when we choose to become His family.

Please note; in the coin story, the woman lit a lamp to help to find her coin, and rejoiced with her friends when she found it.

Please note; in the sheep story, the shepherd went to retrieve his lost sheep, then returned to the flock of ninety-nine.

In the story of the run-a-way son,

The son had to choose to come home.

I never noticed that before, so it made me ask why?

The answer was so simple; I didn’t know how I missed it.

He (God) chose us from the beginning.

We must choose Him.

We must choose to make our home with Him.

We must choose to be His family.

If He made us be His family, then we would be like robots.

He wants us to choose Him, so that we can be happy with our choice. 

We want a Significant Encounter with Him.

He does not want to keep us as slaves with Him against our will.

That makes the choosing so much more important, really significant.

And the celebration in heaven and on earth much bigger and better!

Have you chosen Him today?

Have you encountered Him yet?

If you have – We all rejoice!

                If you have not but would like to,

                                Please click on the “Rescue” tab on the

Top of this page.

Oh and, Welcome to the family!  We celebrate you this day!

Your Value

 

What do you value?

What is your treasure?

In the hallway of the school my second grade granddaughter attends, there is a sign. 

I pass it on Thursdays as I go to help in her classroom.

It says this;

“The most valuable things in the world aren’t things”.

What a truth, simply stated.

Our relationships with God and people should carry more value than anything else we could ever have or do.

I have a friend who raised her children to consider what she calls “The preciousness of others”.

I had never heard that phrase before, nor had I ever considered any remotely like that.

“The preciousness of others”.  Selah.  Stop and think of that.

Isn’t that the very thing that the world we live in does not do? 

Isn’t that the very thing that each of us has a longing for?

To be of value to someone.

To be a treasure to someone.

To be precious.

I never sensed that growing up.

I know that I am not alone in that.

Quite the opposite actually.

It’s not a very exclusive club.

The club of the undervalued, the un-treasured, the un-precious.

Look around.  We see it everywhere.

The importance of our personal comfort outweighs the importance of helping others along who just need a hand or a kind word. 

It’s true. Helping others can be way uncomfortable.

The importance of having the latest gadget outweighs the importance of living with less and loving our families more.  

They don’t want more gadgets.  They want us.  They want to know that they matter.

The importance convenience outweighs the value of giving and nurturing new life. 

This has left our hearts so confused that there is almost no hope left in them.

But someone gave up His comfort, so that we could be valued.

That same Someone loves us with His whole heart. 

In fact, He treasures us above all creation.

We were created to be precious in His sight.

All the things that our hearts so long for, those are the reasons He came.

He came to speak truth to us in the midst of our confusion.

The lie we have believed in;

The lie of comfort.

The lie of dying with the best toys.

The lie that we don’t matter.

He came to refute those lies with the truth.

 

Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.

 Little ones to Him belong;  They are weak, but He is strong.

 Chorus:

 Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!

 Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know, As He loved so long ago,

 Taking children on His knee,  Saying, “Let them come to Me.”

 Chorus

 Jesus loves me when I’m good,  When I do the things I should,

 Jesus loves me when I’m bad,  Though it makes Him very sad.

 Chorus

 Jesus loves me still today, Walking with me on my way,

 Wanting as a friend to give Light and love to all who live.

 Chorus

 Jesus loves me! He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide;

 He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in.

 Chorus

 Jesus loves me! Loves me still Tho’ I’m very weak and ill;

 That I might from sin be free Bled and died upon the tree.

 Chorus

 Jesus loves me! He will stay Close beside me all the way;

 Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee.

 Chorus

 

Little ones.  Weak ones. Sick ones.  We ones. 

Walking by our side.

When we’re good.  When we’re bad. 

He came for that.  He came for us.

We are valued by Him.

We are treasured by Him.

We are precious in His sight.

 

If you have a relationship with Jesus, remember no matter what, your value is always in Him.

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet, then please click on the “Rescue” tab above.

You’ll find all you need right there on that page.

He loves you.

He’s waiting.   

 

Are You a Good Girl?

After my mom and dad were divorced, and after my grandmother died, my grandfather came to live with us.

He needed to be needed and we needed the financial help. Two problems were solved at the same time.

I didn’t have much to say to him, but I always liked having him around. He didn’t say much, but he didn’t yell or hit me either. Ours was a quiet relationship.

There was one question however, that he would always ask me.

I truly never understood why he kept asking the same question over and over.

I never asked him why he kept asking.

I always felt shamed by my dad whenever I asked questions.

Just one simple, confusing question.

“Are you a good girl?”

So here’s the story.

Mom had to work to feed all of us, and she worked hard. She worked long hours to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, even with grandpas’ help.

I was just about eleven or twelve then with lots of free time on my hands.

I made up for my dad’s absence with acting out in school. I never stood still and never ever stopped talking.

In my earlier years, I acted the same, that’s a different issue, but at least I got my school work finished.

Now I only did enough school work to get a passing grade.

My classmates never gave me any time without tormenting me about something.

This only agitated me more and brought on more activity and loud talking. Kinetically speaking, I was all over the place!

It seemed the principal’s office would be my second home.

My mom was at her wit’s end. She didn’t know what to do with me.

She called my bio-dad. He said he would be glad to help her out.

So I got all packed up and shipped off to his house.

The dynamic at this house was very different.

Although the number of people was the same, I noted closeness between the kids that I had not known with my own siblings.

Bio-dad had a girlfriend too. She seemed only about twenty or so to me.

Even at my age, I knew her to be very young as well.

It seemed odd to me, but I didn’t know why.

By the third day of my arrival, I knew that my time here was to be like nothing I had experienced before.

Stories of odd occurrences were told to me by the other kids that lived there, and a harrowing incident with a puppy took place.

These other kids, my half siblings, appeared nonplussed by the whole stream of events.

This all seemed quite normal to them, a part of everyday life.

I had to wonder what kind of a normal this was.

Little did I know that abnormal for me was about to get worse.

Early morning visits from my bio-dad were my new norm.

I would tremble and shake with the fear of his appearing, and his making me do things I did not understand and that caused me great pain.

I was a hopeless child in a circumstance I had no power to control.

In all the stories my half siblings told me, this one was not included.

I’ll never forget the words he said to me.

At sometime during my visit, an older half-sister of mine found out somehow that I was there, and she contacted my mom and told her to get me out of there.

I do not know what she told her exactly, but I didn’t stay there more than a month, but alas, it was already too late. The damage had already been done.

I had no understanding about what was going on, but at the same time felt guilt for leaving, or for being taken back out of that place.

The guilt was for the fact that even in my naïve little heart, I knew that the others would be back in line after I was gone.

I had no opportunity for a while to see my Grampa, but sometime later, when I did, there in the kitchen, by the frig, he asked me that fateful question,

 “Are you a good girl?”

Instantly my eyes hit the floor between us.

I finally knew what that question meant, and I really wished I didn’t.

Has something taken place in your life that you were powerless to control?

Do you feel guilty?

Do you feel shame?

Do you wonder where God was?

Or why He allowed it to happen?

Of course you do. You would not be normal if you didn’t have these questions.

I have some things to say to you;

You are not guilty.

    The enemy of your soul saw to it that you would be overpowered by evil.

The shame does not belong to you.

              It belongs to the one that was party to such evil.

Know that God was there.

              It’s a bit inconceivable and a bit maddening at first to realize that He

              could have allowed it, that He knew about it.  That it was not a surprise.

You can be mad at Him if you want.

He is big enough to take it.

Then you will have a choice to make.

When you’re done being mad, you can crawl up in His lap, and He will show you just how important you and all of your history are to Him, and to someone else in the future who will need your help.

OR

You can walk away mad, and perhaps someone else will not be helped because your voice, your special voice, was the only one their ears could hear.

God was in the same place when His Precious Son Jesus was crucified on the cross. God knew, and Jesus did too, that the future of countless many was at stake, at the moment of Christ’s torture and death.

Evil tried to overpower Him, but it could not win.