Saturday, November 29, 2014

Go to the Mountain

While reading scriptures, they tell us Jesus went 'out' to pray. Sometimes that means he separated Himself from others, the crowds, to be alone. Other times it tells us He went up into the mountains, to be alone. 

Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Matt 14:23
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Time and time again, we get so caught up in the day of 'things to do' we forget to get to pray. Jesus realized He needed to get alone to have time with the Father. We need to remember that as well, when the 'crowds' of family and friends have filled our day, to get alone with the Father. 

We need this time to keep our sanity, to fill our spirit with that of the Lord's, to be able to love one another, forgive and delight in the time we are together. Admit it, families and friends come together at the holiday celebrations, usually with stress. Food preparation, gifts, even what to wear can be challenging. The holidays, or any time with the 'crowds,' should be time of enjoyment and laughter. But, because of the pressure of everything being just right, we let it turn into a time that everyone is usually glad when it is over!

If more of us would take the time to 'go to the mountain' to be alone with God, like Jesus did, we would be more likely able to endure the crowds. Our bodies get physically exhausted due to the demands others seemingly put on us, why do we let our spiritual life get drained as well? 

Look to the upcoming days, the joy of the season, with a different perspective this year. Start the days off by setting time aside everyday alone with God...'go to the mountain' talk with Him. My mountain is on my back porch in the summer, but in the winter, it is usually by the fireplace. It doesn't matter where your mountain is, just as long as you have a place to be alone with Him. 

You will find peace and comfort in Him and it will make those 'crowds' a lot easier to deal with during the festivities of the season. It will let you see Jesus in the midst, after all the celebrations are for Him anyway, isn't it? 

Where is your mountain? If you don't have a place to go to Him, find it today, declare your mountain. 


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.