Monday, November 23, 2009

What is love?

"Divine love tender and self-sacrificing and devoted, and glad to bear and forbare, and suffer, and eager to lavish its best gifts and all blessings upon the object of its love. Put together all the tenderest love you know .... the deepest 'love' you have ever felt, and the strongest that has ever been poured out upon you, and heap it all up ... and you will begin to perhaps have some faint glimpses of the love and grace of God." The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life. Hannah Whitall Smith

Sometimes in our journey called life, we focus on the circumstances that we would not have chosen -the broken heart, the grief, the dashed hopes. We spend so much time looking back, that we lose sight of the fact that God's love is all encompassing and unconditional.
Jesus told us that unless we become as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
It is my hope that the following clip will bring you back to the simplicity of God's love.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I have so much to be grateful for. I had one cardiologist tell me that I would never see 60. I am 64 and happy. Each day is a gift.
I am married to a man who loves me unconditionally.
Recently we had a wedding at our church and at the close, they played, "Dance with me, Lord." All married couples were invited to come dance with the newly married couple. As Ray held me in his arms, I was reminded of our first date and our first dance. What a long way we have traveled.
A friend, Marcia Fisher, took a picture of us dancing. I don't usually like pictures taken of me because I am overweight. (translation:not perfect) However, there was something endearing about this picture- belly and all. So I made some copies to send to family and a 8X10 for our family wall of pictures. When I framed the 8x10 and took it to the wall, I noticed the similarity of that picture to the one that was taken 30 years ago on our wedding day as he held me in his arms. There was that same look of love for one another, that same surrender into the safety of his arms.

This 30 years has not been without sadness, even grief, rebellion and brokenness, but what matters most is we have come full circle with God's help. The key is to keep dancing. No matter what your dreams are, don't give up.
Dance as if no one were watching,
Sing as if no one were listening,
Love as though you've never been hurt,
Live every day as if it were your last.
In the attached video, Paul Wilbur opens in prayer and if you listen carefully you will hear prophetic declarations towards the end...darkness has passed...sickness has passed... Then you see a woman dance across the stage and in my mind's eye, I see a little girl dancing for her daddy and I know that is how I want to dance and live for my Father God - in abandon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where Do You Worship?

One of the most powerful thing about the gospel is that it liberates people from the concept that God dwells in any building. That will challenge some.
I can remember as a child how proud I was of our church. I thought the church was the building I went to. I had no real understanding that the church was the people.
In Acts 7 Stephen reminded the Jews of the journey of the tabernacle and how it was full of pagan idols that did please God. He reminds them of Solomon's temple.
Then he challenges them by saying, "Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven [is] my throne, and earth [is] my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what [is] the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?" Acts 7:49-50
Because he dared bring truth about worship, he was stoned to death.
Our Father wants to meet with me not in just the concrete block building I call church, but daily as I take time to thank Him for being my Father.
I will never win a perfect attendance pin or be recognized by men in this place, but my heart will be warmed by His presence.
It is leaving the business of our lives and taking time to thank Him and praise Him.
[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 1:26-27
Imagine carrying the hope of glory within you and literally spilling it on others as you make it through your day. Here a splash, there a splash. What a blessing to bring His hope to others. But we have to take time for that infilling, because sometimes the cares of this world cause us to "leak."
I love to go to church, There is time for fellowship before the service that serves to connect me to the body. Then there is corporate worship and then whatever and wherever the Holy Spirit leads. However, what I receive will be in direct proportion to what I prepared my heart for before I came.
The building isn't a filling station. The filling station is anywhere I pause to meet God. Frequent fill-ups are encouraged.

Monday, November 2, 2009


PERCEPTION (author unknown)

. . .Something To Think About. . .

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made..

How many other things are we missing?
My question is how many things has God set before us? Are we so busy doing "good" things that we totally miss the "God" things?
How many thing are we doing because we think we "ought" to do them? Yesterday I unplugged the phone, turned of my cell and watched three chick flicks on the Hallmark channel. I had laid out some jewelry findings to create some more jewelry when I thought, "No. I just need to chill. I don't need to DO anything." I put everything back up.
For SIX hours I literally struggled with being still and relaxing. I was never truly successful as I cooked dinner and folded clothes during the movies.
Why is it so hard to be still? To do nothing without feeling guilty? How many things are we missing because we are rushing through our "to do" list?
Why is it so hard to "be still and know He is God?"
Do we fear not being accepted unless we are doing? Do we get our identity from our activity? Who taught us that?
I think one of the reasons it is so hard to receive the love of the Father is because we won't be still long enough.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Do You Deserve?

A couple of weeks ago while watching a Mary Kay training video, I heard the term deserve level. Apparently the term has been out there some time, but I had never heard of this self-imposed glass ceiling. It certainly helped explain some of the restrictions and boundaries I had put on myself.
I really didn't think I deserved any more than I had in life. Oh, there would be bursts of belief, but like a boomerang, I would return to my comfortable corner.
So I began to explore (and I am still exploring) how this all came about so I can move the boundaries.
We all have a deserve level. It is ingrained in our belief system. But what is the source of those beliefs? Is it a godly source or have have a believed lies spoken over me whether in ignorance or malice?
Subconsciously, we all have a a limit on what we believe we deserve. It is a reflection of the way we see ourselves. This is our "deserve level." We find it in the work place, our home life, on the golf course, we pretty much get what we expect to get based on what we think we deserve. This is insidious, because we don't wake up in the morning and consciously say, "Today I only deserve to be able to pay half of my bills. Or I only deserve to be able to third in the sales contest."
But are we self-sabotaging to arrive at the level we deserve?
Our life experiences are all governed in quantity and quality by our own personal deserve level. When we don’t get what we deserve, we find a way to get more. When we exceed our deserve level, we find a way to lose what we perceive to be more than necessary. We rise and fall to the level we feel we deserve.
As children, we think the world revolves around us. Then through abuse or abandonment, the paradigm shifts. Our sense of security, worth, and love is threatened, we adapt to that condition. We drawn the conclusion that life just happens. We see ourselves as receiving what we deserve. After all, as children we have nothing with which to measure or compare. We emotionally accept as much or as little as we are given. We believe what our parents and others in authority tell us about ourselves. As we mature, these experiences become our internal regulators.
Some people have unreasonably high deserve levels. They may be spoiled brats, but sometimes it comes out of victimization, too. Often these are the "takers". They believe they are entitled to have anything and everything regardless of the expense to themselves or others, because the world owes them.
At the other end, are those of us, who have allowed artificially low caps to be placed on our deserve levels. We unnecessarily limit our participation in life’s abundance.
I had a friend once who bought a house beneath her ability to pay just in case something happened in the future. She always wanted to be able to afford her house. She lived in an unsafe neighborhood in a house chocked full of family heirlooms out of fear of tomorrow.
This deserve level defines our commitment level as well. It colors our attitudes and acquisitions, as well as our position and possession. What if you really knew what it was to be a child of God? You would find that He doesn't give us what we deserve, but in His mercy, He gives us all He has. Changing your deserve level by knowing your identity in Him can change your life.