Friday, November 21, 2014

My Attitude Adjustment

As I sit down to write this blog, my mind is overwhelmed by the times we have seen God's Presence working in people's lives. I think of all the times He must have been there, but we were not aware. I think of all the whys and why nots, in our lives, and how God plays a part in all of them. The deciding factors, of course, are our choices. He will lead, guide and nudge me and sometimes He gives me a push, just to keep me on track.

I remember once, not wanting to go on visitation with my husband, an incident I really am not proud to share with you. He was a deacon in our church and the deacons rotated for Sunday afternoon visitation. We had four children at home and Sunday mornings were usually hectic, feeding and dressing the children, making sure we were not late for Sunday School. By the time we were home and finished with lunch, I was usually exhausted. But he insisted that I go on visitation with him, since it was a mother with three children that had been at church that morning. Her husband was in the navy and was on deployment at sea. 

Complaining and whining, but still dressed in my Sunday dress and shoes, I tagged along. My attitude was not one that God was happy with, I am sure...and I know my husband was not
happy with me. 

When we arrived at the small trailer, at the back of the trailer park, I still was not feeling excited, much less happy, about going in to meet this lady. 

It had started to drizzle rain....more whining."I don't want to go into someones house and track in with wet shoes," I said, trying to make a good sounding excuse. My husband insisted we go to the door and see if she was home. 

Knocking on the door, we heard the chatter of little girls inside the house. As the door opened, a very young mother was standing there looking pleasantly surprised. She welcomed us into her meek home. We sat at the small kitchen table, where the young children were drawing and coloring. 

The mother shared with us that their family was in another state and her husband's military service had brought them to our town, Virginia Beach. Since he had been deployed, she had meet only a few neighbors, none that went to church. She had been raised in church and said she knew she would be welcomed in God's house that morning, but had never expected anyone to come and visit her so quickly. She was so grateful that someone cared enough to come and see them. 

She wanted us to stay and visit as long as possible, but having others to visit, we needed to be on our way. She hugged us, with tears in her eyes, and said, "I am so thankful God sent you all today. He heard my prayers!" 

The rain had started to come down pretty hard, so she closed the door. The wooden deck porch had gotten pretty wet and slick. As I started down the wooden steps, I slid down, landing on my knees on the grass below. As my husband passed by, he said, "Yep, God smacked you in the head for that one!" 

Sometimes I hate to admit he was right, but I guess this was one of those times that I needed an attitude adjustment. I did not literally 'see' God that day, but felt Him discipline me in my heart and physically too if you ask my husband! 

I have tried to learn to accept things as they are in my life. This is not always easy, because I want to fix things. When I slow down enough to allow God to show up, not complain about what is going on, let life unfold according to His plan, things go much smoother. These are the times that I have found I have a much better attitude. There should not be any 'whys or why nots,' because the answers are grounded in faith. 

Paul says in Romans 7:15 "For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate." It is a continual battle to trust God in all things, because we live in the flesh. But just one hour at a time, day by day, He will see us through the battles.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Fan the Fire

As I sit here in the comfort of my home warmed by the fire, I watch the flames flicker, as they lap up the cold air and send out the warm air. The color of the flames varies from a warm blue on the embers to a bright, hot orange at the top. 

Anyone, who wants to feel the heat, can only stand close to the fireplace for a few moments before having to back away. Sometimes we turn as if we are on a spit! 

When our family gets together, we sometimes have a bon fire, roasting hotdogs or marshmallows. I fondly have memories of when I catch my marshmallow on fire, because I love the taste of the crisp, toasted, gooey mess.

Why is it that fire mesmerizes us? It is there and then it is gone. But is it really gone? 

I think the Holy Spirit gets left out of our Christian lives so much when we pray or praise. Knowing what the scriptures say about the Holy Spirit and its description of Him, He reminds me of fire or a flame. 

We know the Spirit was present in the beginning, Genesis 1:2 "and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." We also know that He was present in the Old Testament many times. 

But, look at when the Spirit came to live inside man. When the Holy Spirit began His ministry of indwelling the early church, He chose to appear as “tongues of fire” resting on each of the believers. At that moment, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” Acts 2:3-4. John the Baptist had predicted that Jesus would be the One to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matt 3:11

When I walk close to God and have a good relationship with Him, the Spirit inside me glows, like having the flames fanned by the Word. When I do not take time to communicate with God or read His Word, the embers of the Spirit is still within me, but they are not filling my soul with the warmth. 

We all enjoy being filled with warmth, inside and out. There is even a saying, "A warm, fuzzy feeling." I am not sure where that saying came from, but I do like the comfort of feeling that way. 

Let us all cozy up to the fireplace of sitting by Him and letting the Spirit fill us inside with His Presence. Let us fan the flames so His warmth may be felt by others and want to join us around fire!



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day is Over

Whew! I say I am glad the election is over, but at the same time, I am thankful we have the freedom to have an election. What I am really saying is that I am glad we don't have to listen, read and see all the politicians and news media everywhere we turn. 

This blog has started a little different than most of my blogs, because I NEVER am one to talk politics (ask my husband who says I don't listen to it either!) But, now that it is over, I do have a few comments. Yes, this is still a free country, anyone can run for any office and the citizens have the right to vote for whomever they want. There were amendments (that I read about the night before the vote) on the ballot in my state. 

Of the many, many things that I could list that I do not like about politics, there are two which make my stomach roll with anguish. First, I do not like the daggers the opponents throw at each other. Second, I am amazed at the amount of money which goes into the 'run' for office, as they stand there and tell us how much money they are going to 'save' and cut taxes, etc. This just seems a little ironic to me. 

Now, let us move on from being a citizen of this land to being a citizen of our eternal home. 

Jesus went around the countryside, much like our politicians do, sharing Who He was and what He believed in with the people. Jesus told them His 'line' of salvation and the upcoming kingdom. He shared with them, that which would give them peace, joy and comfort. Some people understood what He was saying and followed Him.

What His followers didn't understand was the full picture of His kingdom. Much like voters today, we hear what is said, but don't always get the full idea of what was told to us or what they are actually going to do once they are in office. But, Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." John 14:6 He gave them hope. 

Jesus did not spend campaign money that He had raised. He borrowed fish and bread and fed the crowds. Jesus did not talk about evil, He cast it out. He told of the joy and peace and comfort He could give. He gives us hope in John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." We will be with Him, not like politicians of today, who often stay away from the people. 

There is a lot of difference in the earthly home we have and the heavenly home promised. Yes, we have freedoms, living here in America, but are we really free? 

I think that answer is clear in the scriptures. Romans 8:1-4 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit"

Let us live on this earth as citizens of heaven, that which Christ has promised us. Let us pray for our country, thankful for the freedoms. Let us pray for the Spirit of God to sweep over this nation and touch the heart and souls of our leaders, that they may know Christ. 

Yes, this election day is over. We will now hold our breaths to hear the results. We will survive this next year, no matter who wins or loses. We should pray for all of them. We should keep our eyes focused on the One true King and let us 'run the race' that is set before us.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Did God Mess Up?

When we look into the Bible, we see several instances where things happened and we wonder why God didn't 'fix' it. 

We look at our own lives sometimes with illnesses, finances, death, divorce and many other troubles we go through, and wonder why God doesn't 'fix' it. It sometimes makes me wonder, "Did God mess up?" I know He hears and answers prayers. 

1 John 5:14 "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us."

When reading scripture, I wonder why things happened the way they did, when often times I see no immediate benefit.  For instance, there are things we read where we are not sure 
exactly what happened or details of 'the rest of the story' as Paul Harvey would say.

  • When God put Jacob's hip out of joint and left him with a permanent, painful limp 
  • When Jesus caused a minor panic among the disciples by telling them to feed a hungry crowd . . .
  • When three times the Lord refused Paul's request for healing....
Was it to keep Jacob in pain, so that as he walked he would praise God? I don't think that is why. 

Was He trying to pull a trick or embarrass the disciples in front of the crowd? I do not think that was it at all.

Did he not hear Paul's request and he had to ask over and over? No, I am sure He heard Paul, loud and clear. 
However, we often have things happen in our lives and wonder, "What is going on here? Is God not seeing this? My world has just turned upside down!" 
First, there is nothing that surprises God. He knows what is coming upon our lives, He is aware of the troubles we are going through and He walks with us through them. 

Sometimes we come out humbled, like Jacob, and continue in life with scars (or limps) to remind  us of those troubled times. 

Maybe we see God perform a miracle in the middle of our panic, like He did with the disciples and the fish and bread, and we can praise and give Him glory immediately. 

Maybe He hears our repeated prayers and requests, but His timing for answers is not always our timing. 

Some answered prayers may not be completed until after we are gone from this earthly life. (read blog: God Answers Prayers, even after we are gone? )
In any event in our life, God never messes up. He knows right where you are, hurting in pain, hungry for answers, or pleading with Him over and over.
Luke 12:28 "But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O  men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. 30 For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well. 32 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom it is not hid from you."
God 'fixed' us completely when He forgave us and we received Him as our Lord and Savior. We need not worry about anything else, period. We should focus on Him and serving Him. If we do that, start everyday focusing on Him, He will take care of any needs we have that really matter. We should allow His priorities to become our priorities. 
We may mess up our priorities, but thank goodness, our God never messes up!! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What's in A Name?

When our children were little, we gave them little fun nicknames...such as Beegee (B.J.) or Todd-a-Rod (Todd). They always knew when they were in trouble when their real names were called and really bad trouble when their full, first and middle, names were used. It just never seemed right getting on to them using a nickname! I am sure you all can remember when your full names were used by a parent, grandparent or teacher, it was never good.  

I love it, where in scriptures, even Jesus corrected Peter by using either Simon or Simon Peter.

Then, as they grew older and started going off with their friends, their dad would always remind them, "Remember who you are!" This meant you are a Sanders and do not embarrass or ruin our name. When they became Christians, this meant that they were not only Sanders, but a child of God. 

When our daughter married, she accepted the name of her husband. Our daughter was adopted from S. Korea and had been given a Korean name at the orphanage of Kung Hee Park. Park was the President of S. Korea at that time (he was later assassinated.) When we brought her to our home, our little gift from God, we called her Kara. She then became an American citizen and her last name was changed to Sanders. Now she has taken another name for the man she loves. 

We realize that the last name carries a 'brand' or 'trade' with it from earlier times. If your last name is 'Carpenter' for instance, your grandparents, way back, were probably carpenters. The 'Cook' family were probably chefs and so on..

We know that God has many names for His many characteristics and His nature. We know many names for Jesus are used for different prayers at different stages in our lives. But I guess my personal favorite of all His names would be 'I Am', for that says it all. 

Exodus 3:14 
 God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you’

"Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" John 8:58

Looking at our world today, the news about the beheading of Christians, makes me think of what our future holds for names. Will it someday be required to add the tag 'Christian' to our names? Hmmm..... Ginger Sanders, Christian. Who knows what the future holds for us, except Christ will return someday and our 'tag/name' better be there. 

The names on this earth have little meaning actually. They are all nicknames or whatever we are called. The name that will be important will be the name in the Book of Life. I have a 'legal' name and then the nickname that my husband and friends call me. It does not matter to me which name Jesus has in that book, as long as He sees it was written there the very night I accepted Him as my Savior.

What about you? What is your name and where is it written? Are you ready to be called out by Him? 

Signing off today with 
gsanders 'Christian'

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Where is GOD?

Remember the days of lying in the grass, looking at the sky and 'seeing' things in the clouds? Oooo, there is a dog, a rabbit, and sometimes, if we looked close enough, there would be a face! Could it be the face of Jesus or even God Himself? 

We seek to be close to God, but be we just seek Him when times are hard, when we are going through the troubles and valleys of this life? It is so easy to talk to Him when we are hurting and searching for answers. Why, I bet many of you reading this, have already laid your burdens at His feet this day. 

Once, I heard a little boy answer his grandmother, in the innocent voice of a child, about what was in his pocket. He told her it was a biscuit for God that was tucked inside his pants pocket. When she questioned him further, he answered, "But, Grammy, you said God was everywhere and He may get hungry today!"

The scriptures say He is with us always.  

Zephaniah 3:16-17 " In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: "Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

We are His people. He cares for us in the good times as well as the bad times. Have you ever sat in perfect stillness in the mountains, or along the waters, just listening to nature? He is with us no matter what emotions we may be filled with: sadness, grief, joy, peace, or contentment. He loves us unconditional, without any respect to our personal feelings. Why can we not understand that He never leaves us? He walks with us continually, to be our guide, comforter and friend. 

We get so caught up in our own emotions, do we forget He is there? He is the peace in times of turmoil, the joy in the time of sadness, the peace in the time of grief, He is there. He knows what is in our minds, the scrambling of the thoughts running rampant. He even said "Be still and know that I AM GOD" Psalm 46:10. We need to 'be still' sometimes to find Him. 

He is there for you in all circumstances. Let us just pause a moment today and 'be still' and remember Him as He is....The Great I AM. Let's all just look to the heavens and see what we can see, there and in our hearts. Look to the clouds and the sky, look at the stillness and the peace He gives us. 

Doing all of this, maybe we will see His face, maybe we can keep Him in our pocket (heart)! 



Friday, September 12, 2014

Questions About God

God has blessed me with friends that love to share the gospel and we love to dig deeper in His Word. Often someone comes up with a question or two about the bible or God or heaven. We put the option for our College and Career class to come up with questions they have about those things. We have ended up having some very interesting conversations in that class. 

This past week I heard several questions and the discussions were great. I love to talk about the scriptures and God's character. 

One of the questions today, (some of you may have read it on my facebook page 'Ginger Sanders') was "How do we know for sure if it was God we heard speaking? It has not come to past and it has been a long time."

Several times we have all wondered, "Is this what I want or is this really God speaking?" Is it truely His Will for us or we just hoping that He wants us to have that new job/house/car or whatever it is we are wanting.  How do we know? 

When we are in a close and right relationship with Christ, I think He does speak to us. I think there needs to be several factors in play to enable this. We must be ready to hear and receive what He is saying is the first. We must stay in His Word and be in prayer about all things. 

Second, we know that He speaks through His Word, through His teachings and examples and all the scriptures. We also know that our relationship with other Christians is important, to aid and encourage us along in life. He uses other Christians and often speaks through them. It is easier to live a faith filled lifestyle, when surrounded by others that are like minded. 

Third, I believe it is important for Christians to grow in Him, to be nurtured in their Christian walk. We must start living the walk. Christians should actively seek opportunities to tell others about what they are learning from and about God. By sharing your thoughts about God, the internal becomes external, and the lessons learned in private become part of an outward lifestyle that is changing toward God’s purposes.This helps us and others grow more in Him as we seek answers about Him. 

God does not want to be a mystery to us, but to be our Father. We cannot comprehend all He is, but we can continue to learn.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 ' then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.'

Ecclesiastes 11:5 ' As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.'

Let us not grow weary in learning about Him! Let's think more about Him and learn together! Yearn for Him and His Word! 

I welcome all comments!!