Saturday, June 30, 2012
A few more drops of Living Water.... about commitment.
Yesterday I shared with you from the text Ezra10:4 "Rise up...take courage and do it." Today I would like to include a few more excerpts from that devotional writing because I can't say it any better and I don't want to be guilty of plagiarism. So I will quote the thoughts that stood out to me. "Commitment is a willingness to do whatever it takes; it's a promise to yourself, from which you refuse to back down. There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested you do it only when it's convenient, but when you're committed you accept no excuses--only results....Commitment means paying your dues. It also means disregarding your critics. Jesus did that." Think about those lines; digest them. It truly lays a clear difference between the things we will do over the long term and the multitudinous interests we may pursue along the way and just as quickly leave behind.
So what is it that is defined by the above characteristics in your life? All of us probably have a few things we can say that we have carried out in that fashion. For me, when I returned to the field of Academia and got my GED at 40 it was the beginning of an adventure that I feel very good about today. After obtaining that long delayed certificate of completion, I then applied for college and put my nose to the grindstone for the next three and a half years. It was hard, but I was committed and I did what it took and one day I walked across that stage to receive the long awaited reward.
Later I went back and obtained my Masters degree at age 50. That was even harder and there were times when I thought I wouldn't make it. Talk about events to distract you from your goal - my precious mother died during those years after a sickness of two years. I was privileged to take off from school and spend her last days with her. One priority over ruled the other. I did, however, return to complete that degree and it is still a wonderful sense of accomplishment to me. Besides I think Mom is pretty proud of me too.
Following graduation, a whole new life began for me and for the first time I felt that I was able to do what I was created to do in this life. God called on me to start a women's ministry from nothing. Nothing material, that is, but I had Him and He had called me to do it! That ministry was a profound success! Were there times when things happened in my life that could have been good reasons to quit? Yes! Were there times when I felt like giving up? You bet! Were there times when others gave me counsel contrary to what I heard from God. Sure were! But because I had heard His call clearly, I was always able to keep going! I knew it was His will for me up until the time that His will changed.
So, for me, it is about hearing from the Lord regarding His plan for me. What have you heard from Him? Where are you with implementing what you heard? Have you allowed yourself to be sidetracked? That's OK! You probably were not ready and you have learned some things since your last attempt! Do not allow the enemy to convince you that you have missed the boat. It is too late! No, if there is life in your body and a longing to do what you heard Him call you to do, it is never too late!
So, today, I rose up and took courage and wrote because I'm sure that is what He wants me to be doing today! Thanks for reading this blog and as I pray for all of you to be encouraged to reevaluate what you are doing with your time and energy I hope you will be praying for me to continue to respond to His call for me.
Blessings on you and yours today and always,
Friday, June 29, 2012
Good afternoon blogger friends!
Hope all is well with you all and you are surviving the heat wave here in the South. I would like to introduce a new idea...Daily Drops of Living Water!. I love blogging in the way that I have in the last 10 posts, but the unfortunate thing is that I don't seem to find the time as often as I would like to write such a lengthy blog and include beautiful and appropriate pictures as I really enjoy doing. It grieves me not to be able to do that more, but "it is what it is" as the saying goes. So, if you will bear with me, here is the first dose of Daily Drops coming at ya.
My reading this morning came from a devotional called Word for Today that is given out free at my church. Over the last several years I have found it to be meaningful on more occasions than not. The text was Ezra 10:4 "Rise up..take courage and do it." This verse spoke to me where I am today. There are many things calling for my time, energy and actions every day. What will I choose today? Today, for this moment, I choose to take the time to share my thoughts in response to this reading.
The topic was stated as "Commitment and Courage". Commitment is a favorite subject of mine only I now think of it as Covenant! But let's start with commitment! Let me ask you, what are you committed to in your life? Do you have a battle with carrying out your commitments? Of what do the battlefields consist? Do you question if what you want to do is the Lord's will or your own, especially when you experience such opposition?
Let me personally respond to my own questions. I am committed to doing what the Lord created me and put me on the earth to do before I am called to leave it. I am not always sure what that is for a certain day. That is why it is important to me to know what I am committed to and what is my "mission statement" for my life. When I ran a ministry years ago, having a mission statement helped me to make so many decisions. If it was in line with the vision, then it was open for consideration. If it was not, no matter how worthwhile it was, it was not for us.
I do have a battle everyday carrying out even what I know I want to do that is in line with my personal mission statement. One of those things is writing! The battlefield for me is everyday situations like what might be happening in the lives of the people who are dear to me. When these battles come consistently I do often question if I am trying to do something the Lord is not in and is He allowing me to be deterred.
So, I guess you are hoping I have an answer. No, I don't! At least not a simple one. But picking up a daily reading that says "Rise up..take courage and do it", is an impetus to continue to pursue direction from the Lord. Opposition does not mean that it is not the right thing or even the best thing for me or you. It may mean the very opposite..that, in fact, what I am attempting is God's plan for me and it is being thwarted by an enemy who knows that and fears that I will accomplish my God-given task in spite of all opposition.
I pray God that I will rise up and do it, whatever it is, and that you will too. I invite my readers to share with us what your struggles have been and some of the answers that have come to you. I'd love to hear from you and I know the other readers would too. If you experience problems posting to this blog, please, take courage and stick with it until you are successful in posting!
Blessings to all today!
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Happy Father’s Day! Is it exclamation point or a question mark?
For some it is a blessed day in which they have opportunity to bless and/or be blessed. But for some there have been no Happy Father’s Days! Like Mother’s Day, it brings the folks to my mind who would rather not think about it. When they see others celebrating it will leave a sick feeling in their stomach. There are people who will be looking for a card that fits. Some, thankfully, will find that there is no card that says anything like how great their Dad has been to them. And some, hoping to honor a dad who deserves none, will struggle to find one that says something close to the truth without being a complete farce.
The new beginning I want to talk about in this blog is the possibility of having a new father. My father was absent from my life as a child and it was a very detrimental experience for me. I remember longing for him with all my heart. My folks divorced when I was quite small after my Dad finished a long tour in the marines. I really don’t remember him ever being around. He remarried and moved away. I rarely even got to see him in my very young years.
I can still remember with joy when I first understood the scripture that says “When my father and mother forsook me, God took me up!” Ps.27:10. Suddenly I realized that I had not been a fatherless child at all. In fact, because I did not have an earthly Dad who was around, I got to have the BEST DADDY OF THEM ALL!
I am wondering about you out there, the readers of this blog. How does Father’s Day feel to you? Does it illicit good feelings or bad feelings? There are some of you who had great Dads. My husband is such a father type. He loves unconditionally; he extends mercy and grace until he is given no other choice; he really just wants all the people he loves to be happy! I celebrate him this year! I hope you had one like this. But if you didn’t, then I hope that you have become a child of the Father who is the best One ever!
Perhaps you are His child but you have not yet begun to experience it as a real relationship. That is sad because that is what He wants with all of us, a vital and living relationship. I have found that I can talk to Him and He actually listens to me and He cares about everything that I care about. I know this because the evidence is the way things change once I have taken my concerns to Him in prayer! WOW! I’ll say it backwards. WOW!
Perhaps you think you cannot talk to your Heavenly Father! You can! There is a concept known in parenting literature as mirroring. It is also found in the holy scripture at 2 Cor. 3:18. "But we all, with unveiled faces, behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." We can get into the presence of God and gaze into His eyes and be changed!
Some of you may have had less than satisfactory dads and by some miracle have become the kind of Dad that people are meant to have in this earthly life. That would be one who models for his children the meaning of Father so they will be able to transition to having that relationship with the Heavenly Father. Congratulations to You! Few people really understand what the odds were against that happening. Few people really know how that earthly relationship will impact the possibility of a heavenly one.
Some of you, statistics say about fifteen percent, had really awesome fathers of your own, but now have had a bad experience with the father of your own children. That is very sad, because you really know what they are missing and your heart aches for them. Even in this case, you have the hope of helping them to avail themselves of the loving relationship that is available with God Almighty!
Fatherless children exist, that is unmistakably true! It can be ignored, but it cannot be denied! It is a devastating thing to not have a dad with the Father’s heart! But there is no reason for any one of us to remain fatherless or orphans when the God of the whole universe has extended His invitation to be adopted by Him. John 14:18 “I will not leave you orphans”. He wants to come to us. But we have to come to Him first by responding to His invitation.
Ephesians 1 lays it out for us like this: The God and Father of Jesus wants to bless us with spiritual blessings because He chose us and planned ahead of time that we would be adopted by Him and be accepted in His Son, Jesus, the Beloved. And not only that, but it goes on to say He has an inheritance for us and a purpose for us to carry out in this world – to be the praise of His glory!
There is more, so much more! I hope that you will take the time to read it. Let it be a reverse father’s day card to you about your real Father in heaven!
If He is your Father but you have not experienced Him as vitally alive to you, come to Him today! He is waiting! And He will be excited to see you! Just see yourself with Him, face to face with your eyes on His and He will mirror back to you who you are to Him. You will see love and acceptances, respect and delight in His eyes for you. And yes, you will be changed! I know because that is how I have been changed from a fatherless child to His child.
I pray that not one of you will close out this father’s day feeling lost or alone! No one needs to be fatherless one day longer! If you have never had a father, come to Him today! Put your hand in His and look into His face of love! If you would like to know about how to do this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to share with you!