Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"This charger isn't plugged in!"

We have cell phone chargers placed in strategic locations all over our house.  This is a necessity with four adults and two kids living under one roof all using devices that need to be charged. 

The other day, I plugged in my cell phone to charge it at my favorite location--the end table in the living room.  A few hours later, I returned to see if the phone had reached 100%, but before I picked up my phone, I accidentally knocked something off the back of the end table.  As I moved the table out from the wall to retrieve what had fallen, I was surprised to see that the plug for my charger was lying on the floor.  Someone had knocked it out of the wall. 

I said out loud in disgust, "This charger isn't plugged in!"  
I plugged the charger back into the socket without checking the battery life on my phone.   Since it wasn't connected to a power source, I knew it was still depleted.  I thought I'd done the right thing by connecting my phone to the charging cord, but I didn't notice behind the end table the plug was disengaged.  

In my spiritual walk, I’ve experienced something like this, and maybe you have too.  I believe I'm doing everything right.  I'm plugged into my source to draw a steady flow of spiritual power while I'm going full throttle engaged in ministry, but what if that plug is really just lying on the floor hidden behind the table.  

Yes, it can happen!  And when it does, don't fret.  We're in good company.  Jesus also recognized that ministry is a battery zapper.  When ministry was going great and miracles were happening, He withdraw from the crowds to plug into His source.  When he pushed away from the shore, it was to reconnect with the Father.    

My personality understands how easy it is to be busy about the work of the Lord, then suddenly there's a bump in the road.  I realize by my own reaction that maybe, just maybe, I've been connected to a powerless cord.   In reality, my spiritual battery isn’t being charged but dropping dangerously low because I've forgotten my first calling which happens to be the only thing that can recharge a depleted spiritual battery.

In Mark 3:14 the source of our power is clearly revealed.  

And he ordained twelve, 
that they should be with him
and that he might send them forth to preach...

I've heard my husband preach many times from this passage of scripture, and his words still ring in my heart. 
First, we are called to be with Him, then go out and preach!”

Lord, help me be sensitive to know when my connection with you has been interrupted.  I know that even good things can keep me from my first calling...to be with You.  Help me remember that time spent with You is the only way to recharge my spiritual battery.  Without plugging into You, I will eventually become ineffective and unable to do what You called me to do.

Today, you may want to take a moment and follow the cord of your life to be sure...you’re connected.  




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2-Day Shipping

I love Amazon Prime.  

I admit, the 2-day shipping has spoiled me.  I no longer have to get into a cold car and drive on snowy roads to go shopping.  I can cozy-up with a blanket in my favorite place on the couch, turn on the electric fireplace and watch TV while I shop on my iPad.  

This kind of shopping is crowd free, no lines, no coat, boots or gloves and no wobbly shopping carts.  (Don't you just hate it when you get a bad shopping cart?)  

Checking out couldn’t be easier. I simply push two buttons and I’m out the door, so-to-speak.  With that awesome 2-day shipping, most of the things my order will be in my hand within 48-hours. 

Wouldn't it be amazing if prayer worked like 2-Day Shipping?   How awesome would it be to shop through the list of all that God can do, make my selections, then proceed to the one click check-out?  Done!  I'd immediately get my conformation email that said, "Your prayer will be answered in 2-days.  You may track the progress of your pray by following this tracking number 777-777-777."  

That would be sweet, if prayer worked the same as Amazon Prime, but we know that's not how prayer works.  

In the Bible, answered prayer seems to take much longer than 2-Day Shipping.  Just because we ask, doesn't necessarily mean we get!
  • David fasted and prayed for 7-days for his son to live, but the baby died.
  • Daniel prayed 21-days and still was held in captivity.
  • Jesus spent 40-days in prayer and fasting that ended with temptations orchestrated by none other than Satan and all this happened when Jesus was at His weakest physically.    
  • The 120 prayed in the upper room for 10-days waiting for the promise.  And that was 10-days well spent! 
In my lifetime, I've seen many answered prayers, some answers came fast, some evolved over time while others simply didn't turn out the way I’d hoped-at all. 

Waiting isn't  something I do particularly well.  When the customer service places me on hold, or the line is so long I can't see the cashier or the restaurant says there's a 45-minute wait to be seated, my first response is, "Nope, not waiting!"  My life is in a constant state of hurry with a sprinkle of impatiences.    

But when it comes to meeting with the Lord, this is what Psalm 27:14 (NLT) says...

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

When we learn the treasure of waiting patiently for the Lord, we'd probably all opt out on that 2-day Shipping  because after all prayer is more about meeting with God than it is about asking and receiving.





Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I should be kind.

For the past few weeks, the preschool class I teach on Wednesday nights has been working on the Giraffe Badge.  It stands for, "I should be kind."   

Mark Twain said this about kindness. 

"Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear, and the blind can see." 

In the 1970's, there was a comedy show that I use to watch, and one of the characters said this, “It's nice, to be nice, to the nice."  

True words!  It's easier to show kindness to a kind person, but what if someone isn't nice?  What if a person is undeserving in our opinion?  Does it give us a free pass to withhold kindness when it's within our power to give it? 

I'm glad that God doesn't measure how He will show kindness according to that principle.

In 2 Samuel 9, David was at a great place in life.  He was at peace with his enemies.  His Kingdom was established. He had trusted people surrounding him.  David must of recognized his good fortune was only because of God's great kindness.  

While David kicked back and enjoyed his good life, the Bible tells us that he remembered Jonathan, and asked this question. “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?”  If you have time today to read the whole chapter of 2 Samuel 9--do it, you'll be blessed.  

David was true to his word and blessed the son of his friend with kindness to the point of welcoming him to sit at his table.  The last phrase of this chapter amazes me.  It says,  But both his feet were crippled.  

Now, why did we need to know that, I wonder?

The son of Jonathan was called Mephibosheth.  His crippled feet would have made him an outcast in that day.  Yet, David showed kindness to him by giving him a place at his table.  That sounds a lot like something Jesus would do, give an outcast a seat at His table.

The thing about kindness is...it should be extend to all.  That includes the annoying telemarketer that calls at dinner time, the cashier who messed up the order, the waitress who dropped coffee in your lap, your annoying family members, the imperfect folks at church, the pastor and even the person you need to rebuild relationship with.  I don't know who that is, but you do.  

This week, slow down and ask yourself the same question David asked, "Who can I show kindness to?"  Let the Lord lay that person on your heart...then repeat after me, "I should be kind."






Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Giving Birth

Me with my youngest granddaughter.
I've given birth three times and not one of these births were the same.  My first birth experiences was in 1978 and at that time the hospital policy was to strap down the mother's hands during the birth.  Barbaric! 

My second was in 1980 and  things had improved.  Now you labored and gave birth in the same room with unrestrained hands.    

Then came baby #3 in 1986.   The doors were fling wide open.  "Come one, come all."  And this included video cameras.   (Just for the record, the non-medical staff consisted of my husband and one of my sisters and the camera came out after the birth.)  Just say'n.

Each one of my birth experiences lasted a different amounts of time, varying from two amazingly short hours, to twenty-four long agonizing hours.  Still, to the best of my fading memory, one thing was the same with each one of my birth experiences--there was pain followed by joy.
The very words Giving Birth paints the picture of pain regardless if the person has experienced giving birth or not.  

John 16:21 says it like this, "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world."

Metaphorically speaking, some of us have been Giving Birth for a very long time.  We may be experiencing the lingering pains of failure, harsh judgments, grief, self pity, sickness, emotional cruelty, financial setbacks even the pains of miscommunication.  

At this very moment, your pain may be so great that you feel as if you are in the throes of Giving Birth

Just like in the actual process of Giving Birth, we never know exactly how long it's going to last, but here's a piece of great news from  Roman 8:18 (NIV), 


“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing 
with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Whatever you are going through right now, don't give up.  Don't give in.  Cling tightly to your birth coach--Jesus.  God is going to reveal in you and through you, His glory.

Breath in.  Breath out. Repeat!  J




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Notification

I can't recall the exact date or moment that I lost ownership of myself to my iPhone and iPad.  How long ago was it, that life existed before these tiny super computers became permanent  appendages?

Over the years, I have grown quite familiar with these hand-held communication devices.  One of the new terms that has become a part of my ever budding vocabulary is Apps.   When I first set up a new App on one of my devices, I had to choose to turn on or turn off The Notifications I allow only a few select applications to send me Notifications. 

For anyone who may not know what The Notification is, it's a little red circle attached to most Apps with a number inside that signals the amount of messages awaiting your attention.  All you have to do is click on that circle to find out if you have a message from someone on Facebook, an email that needs your attention or an amazing photo from someone's vacation. 

When I see one of these numbered circles, I simply can't help myself.  They draw me in every time.  I really don't want to click...because I'm a very busy person, but that red circle with the white number is trolling for me, and I take the bait every time.

I must click, click, click.

I can't help but wonder, if God had an App for my heart, what number would be inside the red circle? Surely, the number would be very low, let's say, a 1 or 2, after all God and me communicate on a daily basis...or do we?

Is it possible that God's notifications slip by me without notice?  Is that number growing bigger and bigger and I'm totally oblivious?

There are so many ways God has to communicate with me.  I'm sure HIS Notifications are coming through loud and clear.

Right? 

He speaks through his Word, prayer, even difficult life situations or through individuals of His choosing. But wait, this would require something from me...like reading the Bible, talking and listening to the Lord, being aware of my surroundings, and even being open to teachable moments from others.

Okay, The Notification from God may be piling up.  I'm feeling a strong urge right now to click, click, click.

Will you join me in 2018 and be sure that God’s notifications to you get your first line of attention?  He has so many wonderful things to tell us, if we take the time to CLICK.

My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 NET









It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that o...