It was the summer of 2008 and I was one of the adult leaders at our yearly Jr. High summer camp. Camp was nestled in the majestic redwoods of Northern California just off Bohemian Highway. The location isn’t important but I like the word Bohemian and as the word implies, camp was a bit unconventional that year. In the least, it wasn’t what I had expected or experienced in the past. Perhaps, the only expectation I should have had was that God would be present, which He was, in more ways than one.Continue reading “Blessed To Be A Blessing”
She stood just outside the make believe perimeter. A part of, yet not. She longed for their companionship, their understanding, their love and their acceptance. She doesn’t remember, really, how she came to be where she currently found herself—on the outside.
She had known this group for years. Her children grew up with their children. They had shared graduations, children getting married, the birth of grandchildren along with close calls and the grief of losing loved ones.
These were her people, her community, her tribe. Yet somehow she felt so disconnected from them. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Was anyone praying for her? Would anyone reach out to her?
In this moment she felt like the one lost sheep that unknowingly wandered away from the flock and couldn’t find her way home. She needed help, yearned for it, for someone in her tribe to help her find her way back into the fold.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is addressing the lost sheep as a sinner that is found and saved. But what about those within the Body of Christ? The ones that aren’t lost physically or spiritually rather emotionally. The ones that once were included but now feel disconnected not sure why nor how to reconnect.
Surely Jesus wants us to go after those within our believing communities that have lost their way, to ‘find’ them and carry them back to the fold.
Jesus wants us to be inclusive not exclusive.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20.
Who is Jesus asking you to include in your circle of friends/influence? More importantly, what will you do?
Here is the link to the hope being found in the Camp Fire in Butte County, California.
When I was in elementary school I had a great group of friends, even still, I was teased. Today we would call it bullying.
God and I have completely worked through this but I wonder how many years of image shame could have been avoided had I been seen as created in the image of God? True, elementary aged children most likely don’t understand this concept. But you see, it starts with us. With the Body of Christ.
How many of us in the Body blatantly or inadvertently shame others simply because they don’t yet believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Raising my hand here because I am a former legalistic queen, that is, until God opened my eyes to His unending grace. What would it look like if believers around the world joined together as one and viewed every single human being as created in His image? The lies of piousness and holier than thou would fade away and be replaced with who God is––Love.
Tether yourself daily to Jesus and He will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3). Tuck these truths into your heart, write them on 3×5 cards and beautiful scraps of paper, placing them around your house and carry them with you wherever you go, but most importantly, teach them to your children, your children’s children and to every generation you are blessed to be alive for.
Teach them that all humankind is made in the image of God, therefore God loves His entire creation and so ought we.
Restoration. The word holds hope and joy and of things yet to come.
When my husband was a teenager his stepdad bought this 1960 356B Porsche Cabriolet. At the time it was in perfect working condition, or so we thought. My husband has always wanted this car and his stepdad told him one day it would be his. A few years ago, after we had comfortably settled my father-in-law into assisted living, we brought the car home. The car had sat garaged for many years and began to fall into disrepair. My husband’s intention was to always restore the 356 to its former beauty.
Here are some things we’ve discovered in the process. It is by the grace of God alone that whenever my father-in-law drove this car he was safe. The ‘mechanic’ that had originally restored the car had done so in such a way that if it weren’t for Providence, driving this car could have resulted in a catastrophe.
The other thing we have learned is restoration takes time. A.LOT.OF.TIME. My husband completely gutted the inside of the car, has taken apart all mechanical and moving parts and has spent countless hours cataloguing all parts, researching and locating original or close to original parts as possible, networking with other Porsche restorers and finally coming to the point of putting it all back together. Please don’t misunderstand me, even though many times this task can be frustrating and seem daunting, it brings my husband joy. He loves working with his hands and God has uniquely gifted him with knowledge, wisdom and passion for this type of work. By trade he is an aircraft system engineer and aircraft mechanic.
Restoration. It can be the same in our own life can’t it? Allowing Holy Spirit to completely empty us of who we thought we were in Christ. Taking apart all the working pieces only to make room for the putting back together with a newness in our minds. It isn’t easy and it most definitely can be messy, it can take countless hours of prayer and crying out to God and may even require godly counsel for spiritual and emotional healing.
But, God promises that after suffering for a little while HE will RESTORE you. He will make you stronger, firmer AND more steadfast.
Precious One, that is truly good news!
It didn’t take me long to embrace this season of restoration. In fact, I jumped and was caught in a bed of springtime flowers. “Here I am Lord, restore me!” Reality check. Restoration is a process.
The saying “Let go and let God” comes to mind. Hmm, letting go. Sometimes I think we hold on so tightly to the way we think things ought to be we actually lose sight of Who God is and what HE is doing! The current conversation I am having with God; “But God, I’m such a good helper!” “My child, I don’t require your help.” “But God” “My daughter there are not ‘buts’, just be.”
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
I can be such a creature of habit. Every morning I arrive at the gym at least a half hour before class starts. My reasoning for this is these morning classes are quite popular and I have my favorite spot and want to set up my weights and mat and anything other equipment we might be using. This leaves me with about 10 to 15 minutes before class starts. I burned 458 calories this morning! But, I digress.
Most mornings I sit in the lobby area and either read “Power Of A Praying Parent” or the huge stack of colored 3×5 cards that have Scripture that I have turned into prayers for my family. Over the past several weeks my gym friends have been asking me what I am studying and I have had the awesome opportunity to share that I am praying for my family. If you know me you know I love the opportunity to share my faith. My intent wasn’t to share my faith in this way but it was for God! I simply wanted to spend my time before class in a constructive way rather than on my phone, which is exactly what I would be doing.
Since this all began I have learned that one of my favorite instructors is also a believer and shares the same passion of studying God’s word that I do. I even shared with her the awesome Bible software that I blogged about not long ago.
I discovered that one of my new gym friends is a believer as well and she asked me to pray for her. Today we exchanged numbers so we can encourage one another and meet every now and then for coffee.
Last week another gym friend asked me what I was studying and after I told her I was praying, she immediately asked me to pray for her best friend who was having a procedure. Today she told me her friend’s procedure went well! Praise God and thank you Jesus!
Just this morning another ‘classmate’ asked me what I was studying. He was so cute, when I told him I was praying for my children, he smiled and said, “Well, I’ll see you in class.”
Faith in motion.
Precious One, NEVER underestimate how God will work through you. Take a leap of faith with open eyes, open ears and an open heart.
This morning I woke up singing the song “Same Power” by Jeremy Camp. Specifically, these words.
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us
These words remind me of Romans 8:11. If you are a believer in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior then HIS Spirit lives in you! The same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the grave. If you grab a hold of nothing else today, may it be the truth that the Supernatural power of Christ lives in you and you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you. Not some things but all things.
Precious One, dig deep into God’s word, He’s waiting there for you.