Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Water, water, everywhere

The ocean is my happy place.
It's where my mind wanders to on cold, winter days.
It's where I long to be when life gets tough.

I have so many great memories by the seashore.
Memories that will never leave me.
Memories that comfort me in the hard times.

I know we all have a place like that. 
A place that is a kind of escape from reality.
A place that offers us time to breathe and relax.

Sometimes, I long deep down in my soul for a day by the water.
Sometimes, I ache in my heart for the joy that the sun and sand bring me.

I know it sounds silly to say that I long and ache for this place.
But, I'm willing to bet that most of you understand just what I mean.

You see, it's not the place alone that has so intensely captured my heart.
It's not the individual moments that I've had there.
It's not even the singular sights and smells that come with it.

It's the total experience that makes me come alive.
When all of these features work together, I can't help but be drawn in.
I can't help but feel connected to the CREATOR.

I can't expect you to understand my love for the ocean if you've never been there yourself.
Because you haven't experienced what I have.

The sunrise over the water.
The ebb and flow of the tides.
The wild wind and crystal sea.
They all work together to create an experience that is too irresistible....
...too amazing to ignore. 

And, my dear sisters, that is how it is supposed to be with the church.

Each of us have a part to play.
Each of us have an experience to participate in.
Each of us have something to add, to give, to do.

We need each other!
Just like the sand needs the sea.
Just like the wind needs the waves.
You need me.
I need you.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 14-15 (msg)
 "God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 
I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together."

We are all beautiful, important, and necessary to the body of Christ.
We were all created to function together...in rhythm, in harmony, in a dance.

And when we do ...
We, the church, beckon the world to see what makes us come alive!
We become too amazing to ignore!
We become IRRESISTIBLE....and God gets all the glory! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Live in the Moment

How good are you at living in the moment? 

Well, lately, I have let the past get the best of me and the future frighten me.
It's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Yesterday I was praying about this dilemma and God said, "Be Here Now."

Psalm 118:24 

"This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Why is it so hard sometimes to live in the here and now?

For me, it's the reality that things will never be like they used to be.
It's also the fact that the future holds the unseen and unknown.

The Past vs. The Future-

Both places are really holding cells keeping us bound from the Present!

What happens if things go back to the way they used to be? 

No change + No growth = Stuck!

What happens if you could somehow predict the future?

Worry + Anticipation = Helpless!

Right now life is going on all around you and me.

The "present" is only here for 24 hrs. 
You can't change yesterday and you can't predict tomorrow.
All you have is today!

I've heard it said that the reason we call today the "present" is because it's a gift.

Think about that. 
Today is a gift. 
We're not promised tomorrow.

I struggle with this truth!

I want to go back and fix so many yesterdays.
I want to leap ahead and skip the mundane cycle of today.

But alas, God calls us to "Be Here Now."

So close your eyes, take a deep breath, and lift those hands to the heavens.
Ask Him to strengthen you and energize you to enjoy this moment.
Surrender what was and allow the presence of God to fill you with peace about the unknowns.
He will do it ya know. 

Don't allow the past to steal one more second from your present!

Enjoying the present will always make for a happier future!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seasons come, Seasons go

Have you endured a long, hard winter?
Has the cold numbed your soul?

Sometimes it can seem like the sun won't shine again to melt away all the ice in our hearts.
Sometimes it can seem like we are surrounded by death because we just don't see any signs of life.

It can look like the snow is covering up the fertile earth and freezing the soil where seeds are planted.
But, just because it "looks" like that doesn't mean that is actually happening.
In fact, the snow is doing it's very important task of watering those seeds....those seeds that you forgot you planted because you couldn't "see" them growing.

Isaiah 55:10-11 says,
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with My word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it."

And now, Spring is here!
What is Spring all about?

New Growth
Rainbows of Promise
Showers of Blessing
Flowers Blooming
Warm Sunshine
Winds of Change

All the things that you've been waiting for....the hopes and dreams long forgotten....are ready to grow!
They are calling out from the cold, damp earth that the time has come for them to be born...or reborn!

Think about how long this past winter seemed...so much ice and snow...it felt like it wouldn't end!
But do you know what that means?
That there were a lot of seeds that needed to be watered and prepared for birth in the spring!
And some seeds may have needed more time, love ,and attention than others.
God knew what He was doing even though we may not have understood it.

So, don't lose heart now.
The cold winds are blowing in the warm, spring air and fresh rain is on it's way!
It's time to raise our hands to the heavens in expectation of fulfilled promises and abundant blessings!
Downpours of grace are coming your way.
The warmth of God's love is melting away the icicles from your soul.
Fresh sprouts are bursting up from the soil of your life.

Let's give God praise for this change of seasons!
I know I am.
Winter may have been tough, but Spring will be full of life and favor.
Because God always brings joy to replace the pain!
You can count on it!

Hebrews 10:23
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."