Coals, 30 OCT (a follow up to PLUS) – #450

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Coals, 30 OCT (a follow up to PLUS)

Coals, YEAH coals… the Roman 12 scriptures that added  good instructions in my PLUS devotion piece also covers what to do about evil – and what NOT to do… Scripture reminds us to keep the peace… to remind us that it’s GOD who fights the battles, we are to just keep doing what we are doing… don’t curse back… don’t even wish the coals on the people – just let God handle it and keep yourself in JOY or at least peace… Keep the peace that was given to us in Jesus.

It is a mercy thing to sit back and watch coals being heaped, because we try to be within God’s law, and we see those terrible coals heaped on those who are perishing… and we pray for mercy for ourselves – Jesus asked for mercy for those who were not knowing how they sinned…  We ask for mercy so that we are not the ones feeling distanced from the Lord – we ask for mercy for the consequences of life – and of course of His judgement.

Keeping the peace is also self-preservation, to not let stress keep us from doing HIS work…  let God do the coal work, not us… our job is to keep shining the LIGHT… His LIGHT…

Let the blessings shining on you speak for themselves… No boasting, just witness to how you have been blessed… Walk with the Lord… Humbly…

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NIV

A pastor-friend posted on his Facebook video devotions about 2 Samuel 16:5-14 – about David hearing and tolerating the cursing directed at him… David just let the person curse and David just kept on walking…
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1201033946644021&id=763963397017747

Thank you Lord for when you looked upon me and restored to me to receiving your blessings.

Amen


Here are the scriptures – so meaty and worth feasting on…

Romans 12:14-20 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


2 Samuel 16:5-14 (NIV)

Shimei Curses David
As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”

But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”

David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.

 

GOD’S LOVE PLUS… 28-29OCT – #449

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After I wrote this, more scriptures reinforced my devotion that God teams us up – we are together we work as witnesses. Plus I was blessed with one more witness of sharing God’s LOVE – this simply came my way so tenderly blessing me – reminding me that the Holy Spirit abounds in our midst… I was picking my son up from the Friday night school dance, there were hundreds of tiny tiny kids running past… Crazy… But one boy, with down’s syndrome, actually turned to say hi specifically JUST to me – just at a moment when I felt a little alone in a crowd… That’s special targeted LOVE from God… and I connect this piece which I wrote just after opening my present from my special cousin who also has downs… A plus of an extra chromosome gives true displays of love – WOW – Holy Spirit blessed…

GOD’S LOVE PLUS… 28-29OCT

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

Over the last week I was spiritually paired up with so many of God’s children in projects (retreat organizing, visitation, connecting, praise singing, scripture sharing, and smile sharing and grief sharing, etc…). Truly teamwork for God… These projects intended us to share excess LOVE… HIS work thru us… I always praise these people connections – I praise sharing HIS LOVE…

My special cousin gave me this beautiful cross necklace and earrings he made for me… how wonderful to share our birthdays for 47yrs, just one day apart… how even better to share our Faith…

To feel cherished is a precious feeling indeed. The love shared from God right into our hearts is precious… And we are blessed knowing that this LOVE was placed there specifically to share with the world – it’s a directive of course, and so often a JOY. Therefore, LOVE shared back to you is a PLUS…

The cross represents physical angst for eternal peace… LOVE so strong from God… HIS desire to bring help in the form of Jesus to teach us how to LOVE… LOVE intended to show us how to LIVE… We lift our own crosses and follow HIM in order to live according to His will not ours.

Additionally, the cross contains a shape of a PLUS symbol, it represents God’s mathematical adding of you plus Jesus together for WHOLENESS…. Our weaknesses for beautification of HIS strength –  WHOLENESS made only with HIS hands.

And the PLUS is that we share the feeling of Jesus’s healing.  Our brokenness intended to display HIS repair.

PLUS means God often has beaded those who LOVE the Lord together – like beads on a necklace – people networked in a web – gathered together for HIS strength – praising together HIS beauty – we team up for God’s work – for HIS glorification…

Love from Jesus’s death by the cross brought us the PLUS of everlasting LIFE

P eace…
L ove…
U nderstanding…
S alvation…

All one body… Different gifts… It’s teamwork – each of us PLUS the other… So many servants of God working hard – together!

 

Romans 12 (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Hope in the Lord, 26OCT – #448

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Hope in the Lord, 26OCT

Last night I reminded my pre-teen son that God is always with us, He agrees… He thinks about and prays to God often… Today he was wearing his red plastic cross. God gives him HOPE.

Up at five AM today, I had to make up lost time at work and was able to see the gifted sunrise Subaru style… A ten hour day, plus two hour driving, scouts, errands, home… finally got to sit with my son at 9pm… Hopeful that I can crack either the whip or crack the puzzle of getting him to do his homework…

I let him color for half an hour before I forced him to start overdue work – six assignments behind in English. He’s smart and “knows it already”, and has got better things to do… Yup, he’s pulled back the curtain on the educational system wizard and doesn’t like the overworked old-fashioned man standing there telling him what homework to do, or what hoops to jump thru… Sigh, God gave me a smarty pants, but my son would rather wear shorts…

So tonight, it’s nice seeing him intently working on his gifted bible coloring book (my daughter finished her book already)…It’s purposeful therapy with hopeful hope-filled messages… (and he likes having sharpee markers like his sister’s)…

Finally a breakthrough and we find online the homework rubric which he lost – and he starts working with ease – if I help just a little then there is HOPE for homework to work… I HOPE as God finds ways for me to renew my focus – to be there more often as his company during homework hope-work… HOPE to work on sharing in the Lord’s work of encouragement… I pray to show my son HOPE not just hoops.

This is like how we can place our HOPE in the Lord, not in man or machines, but in eternal teachings… In God’s plan…

Lord knows we hope for many things, never knowing what will come true – but we can always HOPE, simply and solely, in the Lord because He is true, steadfast, all-knowing, and has our best interest in mind!

I’m exhausted tonight, but I have HOPE…
HOPE in sleep, HOPE in a future… Something shifted for me two weeks ago, and the WORD “HOPE” repeats and repeats…

I have HOPE in tomorrow as another chance to see my HOPE in the Lord grow, to love more deeply His ways. “As surely as the sun rises, he will appear”

God knows what He plans; He knows which seeds to water.

I yearn to learn – to understand Him more every dawn… to feel HIS nourishing rains, and to see my children grow… They are HIS children that He graciously lent to me for raising up to HIS glorification…

Thank You Lord, for extending time…
Thank You Lord, for my children…
Thank you Lord, for the HOPE everlasting…

——-
Hosea 6:3 (NIV)

3 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”

God’s Validation is for Real!!!! 24OCT – #447

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God’s Validation is for Real!!!! 24OCT

You never usually go to the driver’s license place at lunch time – usually crazy lines -but I knew I gotta get this license renewed today because tomorrow is my birthday, and I was in between tasks, and I was also stressing about lots of things – the whole day I felt the Lord was delaying me by doing HIS work, not my work work…

In hindsight it must have been God who just said “Let’s go NOW to the license center”…

No lines!!!

Always God’s timing and I got my ticket, went right up to the counter and pleasantly got my new license.. at the end she says congratulations on your weight loss (she must have seen it in my photos because I didn’t mention it)… so I start my 5 minute elevator speech about how God says your body is a temple so start taking care of it – and explained putting a scoop of protein in my oatmeal to get extra protein and a few other quick health tips…

She (Angie) smiled and immediately says “God must send messages – because this morning I put a scoop of protein in my oatmeal just thinking maybe I should do this, but for no good reason!”

Boom, I bent to my knee in delight – wow wow wow…. We both giggled in the delight of God’s timing… WOW… I babbled on – protein at lunch – nuts, peanut butter – lots of fruit and veggies – and pulled this apple out of my pocket and she pulled an apple out of hers – dang….

Shine your LIGHT Lord – meet us here in this place! – HOLY IS THE LORD – You are a good and all powerful and awesome God!!! You tickle me with delight in YOUR ways…

I shared my health Facebook page link with her (please keep her in prayers for better health)…

I am SO BLESSED to work for God in this line of witness – we don’t always know what skills of ours He uses – so it’s bonus to feel HIS affirmations!!! Like those repeat scriptures and words that keep coming up…

LORD, THANKS for validating my license ticket and my PRAISE ticket. . .

Validated – Thanks Lord…
LOVED LOVED LOVED by YOU

Thru my soul; Isaiah 55, 20OCT – #446

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Thru my soul; Isaiah 55, 20OCT

Thru my soul…

“My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55

It’s a loop – love from God comes “THRU my soul” – that’s the lyric that touches me greatly when I sing “Loved by You” in praise band – one of my favorites… not only does the song speak of a healing flood (yup my soul had a Christmas flood come down from heaven) but it also sings of asking the Lord to “quiet me” (yeah I need that)… and the lyric “THRU my soul” means don’t ONLY deliver healing to me and stop there but push it THRU me… Use me for others… Yes we ask for healing but we are to ask the Lord to use us – shine HIS HOPE THRU our healing cracks of brokenness…

I can only guess that I was called into this renewed life – to speak, to write, to sing – because God loves me and continually places me into a position where God has asked me (forced me) to funnel HIS praise back out… not to boast in my “blarney stone-powered voice” but use my voice for HIS WORD… Always I am called to drop my agenda and pick up my cross instead…

We are to ask God to thread our hearts into HIS net – again and again I see that people are called to work HIS net/web designed to allow us to be supportive of each other – using HIS WORD to feed people on HOPE… We need to seek God to move us over the net strings – just like a bead on an abacus… Our ride thru life can be fueled more easily by the Holy Spirit when this string also acts like dental floss cleaning some of the old junk out of our hearts – purifying our souls, making us slide more freely…

Remember our joy of connecting with people – joy is a loop too…. “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55

It’s a loop… Thru our souls…
God is good…
God wants to send SMILES THRU our souls…

———–
Isaiah 55
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

—–
“Loved By You” Paul Balouche
https://youtu.be/SaMVcq7WvCI

River flow from Your throne
From Your heart through my soul
Healing flood, God of peace
Speak Your word and quiet me

I was made to be loved by You
To be loved by You, to be loved by You, Jesus….

Decompression from delivering our Laity Sunday Message, 17Oct – #445

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Decompression from delivering our Laity Sunday Message

I sat down at the outside lunch table today and realized it was a spider web design – sigh – God has my number- I will remain open to where He takes me – gladly using the web(s) He gave me – placing me in Jesus’s arms lovingly looking to the Holy Spirit for direction…   it’s as comforting as it is unnerving at times – eye of the hurricane! but I am so blessed!

I was so last minute nervous – knew I would be – I wrote it a month ago and purposefully put it aside – until a couple days ago and while speaking it the night before (with the full moon in view) I had to rewrite because I speak so differently than I write and vice versa – yup! But I remember this Babe Ruth quote – “Never let fear of striking out get in your way”.  Also Wayne Gretzky – “you will miss all the shots you never take”. Of course Proverbs 3: from VBS: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

During the first service I sat on the organ bench with K, it was nice, we are buddies, and he played “Let there be peace on earth”, which I mentioned in the service, I sang it with him while at the organ bench – good decompression in the moment… Just after my message in each service I got a big needed hug…  Our youth group leader had a big smile when I mentioned the part about Spider-Man, the web and not being a lukewarm Christian as he looked over to his wife and told me later that that that is the EXACT scripture they were using that night and youth group and they had just discussed it… Yeah, that’s how God works. Cool…

After the 11, after the sermon and before our last song my praise band leader caught my eye and winked and gave me a nice affirmation nod… later I decompressed about the message with him and about the craft of delivering sermons… We talked about sermon structures and the Levites doing their best for God… I needed the decompression and I was so thankful.

I cherish all the people God has blessed me with, the resources God lays in front of me are astounding!!! … and oh those kids today, yeah, all the children of God awesome – 5 year old M.Z. wore his Spider-Man shirt for me just like I asked, he was an anchor point for me – knowingly I planted into the audience, and the biggest hug at the beginning was from our pastor’s granddaughter and I got another hug outside… Those running hugs from kids are the best.

Just before contemporary a beautiful brain injured woman told me how much she loved the Lord and even though she had an accident with a tractor trailer hitting her, she still loves the Lord so much and her mom loves the Lord too – and I joyfully told her that I love the Lord very much too – and then she called us sisters, and sweetly she looked at our skins – black and white – and she said we are still sisters in the Lord… I was absolutely absorbing blessing from God in that moment, oh it felt like a movie scene with her encouragement, wow… Yeah, God is good!!! And to watch her dance clapping with the music, sweet – she had the rhythm and allowed the spirit of God to dance…

It had been a very very busy day –  I was at church from 8:30 till 1:15  then went to the park for an art festival… I walked in and our lay leader was there, so amazing as we had just seen each other at church, and she was the one who asked me to speak. That is God’s timing for extra decompression…

At the park I saw these most amazing web designs made from cost hangers – instantly web designs caught and will probably always catch my eye – this web God has us in – He has us just where He wants us – doing our best and letting the good news speak for itself…

His plan His net – our blessing to be in it!

445 net hangers 2445 net from wire hangers

Laity Sunday Message Oct 16 – #444

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How blessed I was to deliver this message at my church!

Laity Sunday Message Oct 16

“Keep going deeper in the Word and the Word will go deeper within you! 🙂 “

To know deep, lasting joy, we have to truly know Christ.    1 John 1:1-4

Psalm 19:14    “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

444 outline guidance

Good morning!
What a thrill it is to be able to share GOD’S WORD with you this morning – a thrill! A joy!!!!

I was humbled but tickled when our Lay Leader asked me to share today – to speak about how we together are Laity – HOW WE ARE THE CHURCH – as Pastor reminds us.

We all have a role in God’s plan

I find such JOY in sharing God’s WORD because I know firsthand the amazing transforming powers of His guidance.

So let me start this morning by sharing a passage of JOY – Psalm 95

“Come, let us sing for JOY to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for HE is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,”

Laity Sunday is a wonderful opportunity for us to take stock of how we are “the people of his pasture” –  God’s flock under HIS care

  • Worship IS God’s GIFT to us – We are to look to HIM and draw upon HIS strength – to be moved by the HOLY SPIRIT – and to look for the JOY that comes from devotion. We worship God because God LOVES us!

In the Methodist tradition, I have been asked to share four specific scriptures which demonstrate how we are called to actively worship:
1) worship with love      2) worship humbly seeking justice
3) worship with discipline
4) worship by living and sharing the GOOD NEWS!

And WHY? It’s because – as you all know – we are in this TOGETHER…1 Corinthians 12:27 “You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.


First

Worship as LOVE

Matthew 22: 36 to 39

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

To worship actively living God’s WORD we are called to LOVE…

Worship Is Loving God – it is a loop…  God loves us – sends Jesus to teach us how to love – and Jesus brings us to God for eternal life

We can love God by loving his people. – putting ourselves last, by our praise for Him and only Him – then sharing that love with others.

we may put in hard work as volunteers in love-based activities – perhaps you would like to join  some of these activities here or in the world – running youth group – volunteering at Vacation Bible School – reaching out visiting the homebound – like our shared Meal Ministry for the homeless where they are invited once a month for a hot meatloaf dinner and spicy conversation –  reaching out to prisoners and their families with letters – perhaps inviting a lonely neighbor to our Christmas Band Concert …  seemingly endless ways to LOVE inside the building and especially out…

We love because we are loved – we forgive because we are forgiven – this can be tough sometimes but knowing that our Lord has forgiven us, we are called to show compassion for all, even the fringes of society… even our enemies…. YUP… even our enemies…

There are so many more are active ways we can worship God   BY LOVING HIM AND LOVING HIS FLOCK


Second

Worship as justice

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”

Our scripture speaks of seeking justice as a form of worship… But justice for Jesus’s mission of love and mercy, but NOT for our own gain…
We as a church are called to social action, to act for justice, to do what we can do to improve the lives of ALL of God’s people, including us –

For example there is a great UMC Social principles book which helps direct our efforts…

we must count our own blessings and act upon larger issues

At church, our organist often plays the classic hymn: “Let there be peace on Earth – and Let it Begin with Me” – I get to sing this song as well each month with Joe, my nursing home friend at our monthly communion service.

To walk humbly means we must listen to the directions – be eager to hear God’s WORD and obey…  To walk humbly with God requires us to walk and not rest idle.

When God gives us eternal life it is like He hit a homerun for us, we have scored a free Grace trip to Heaven BUT we cannot rest on our laurels and return to our regularly scheduled life – WE MUST WALK THE BASES… we must walk humbly with God and worship him by serving him, listening to him and being as Christ-like as we can…

 


Third

Worship as discipline

Matthew 16:24

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

The words discipline and disciples are linked – God wants our discipline and when we devote ourselves to worshiping HIM

To work together as a church we best first work on ourselves  – worship personally with discipline and reconcile OUR OWN-SELVES to God’s will.

2nd timothy – Paul says: 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you….. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline….

14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Proverb 19:
20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

When God drew me close, it wasn’t because I was perfect, it was because I was so very flawed – so broken in so many ways that God wanted to work on –

I was broken – I am broken –  we are all broken – but who is the one who came to the rescue? JESUS…

Jesus holds our brokenness together and makes us whole…  I can feel him holding my heart in his hands squeezing it together…

——-

Before accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior almost 2 years ago now –  I see where I was and now I see where I still need to go…

As continuous sinners, God knows we seriously needed discipline…. I needed to listen and discern and I needed Jesus to lift me from my from my many denials – I even denied that Jesus existed as the Son of God…. I was so content in life without knowing HIM in me – I heard and taught all the stories but I didn’t feel Him – – I was ignorant and ignoring Him – and I was NOT feeding Him the LOVE He was giving me…   I needed discipline and now I strive to worship with discipline

Discipline means recognizing the SPIRIT placed in you, feeding and guarding the SPIRIT…  there is no greater discipline to follow than to spend time in the WORD – read the bible and absorb the bible teachings – to immerse yourselves in trusting the path Jesus sets out for you…

—–

See the beauty of my situation was that I was already in the network of ALL OF YOU – the church – you were already tending to God’s net, feeding His sheep, repairing the net, setting up new networks – and when God said “It’s time” – being with all of you truly allowed me to reach out for stability because God said: “watch this – let’s make Debbie’s head spin” … if I were Spider-Man, it’s like I sent out my own stabilizing web when I realized what God was asking me to do – I shot it out – stabilizing my web to the people I knew in the church – a dozen pastors – hundreds of laity… here in the church and those outside, BUT – even though I sent out that stabilizing web  – I had to do what Spiderman is called to do – in order to follow God’s will – I had to let go – I had to swing on my own – I had to get off the wall – no more lukewarm believing in Jesus – I had to let go – swing like Spiderman –  and know that Jesus was going to catch me – and He did – He caught me with the biggest open arms ever –

We all have long roads to travel still – and it is narrow – but it is sure… and we can worship with discipline

As I became devoted and compelled to spending time in god’s word, and reconciling it with my life  –

God made me write it out – HE still does – nearly 500 BLOGS

God cut my excuses  – He moved the mountain that was me!!!!   He started healing me – told me to treat my body as a temple for God  – enabled me to drop 65lbs –  NOT for my own glorification, but in order for me to show that HE is my Lord!

He is the one who gives me HOPE – He is the one who focuses me…. we can all worship by finding that focus, by being disciplined disciples.

He has blessed me with discipline to learn how to sing when I wasn’t  singer in order to sing HIS PRAISES – I have to listen in order to sing – to stay in tune – in music and in life I must LISTEN and be disciplined

And God placed me with the most amazing support system of Christians who understand me – who understand how earth-shattering my awakening has been to me – all these things are beyond my wildest dreams…

And now He is disciplining me to learn how to go out into the world to tell of His good works …

Who does that?  God does that – why? Because  God loves us – God loves me – God loves you too!!!!

Am I done? – FAR FROM IT – God pushes us out of our comfort zones and He always will –   Even Paul acknowledged in the Bible that he also was STILL WORKING ON THIS!!!  Philippians 3: 12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

We, the whole church, are to worship as disciples

from Titus 2
“…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

I urge us all to be like Spiderman – and get off that wall.

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This brings me to my last example of active worship:

Worship as Sharing the Good News…

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We worship God by walking humbly, loving others and spreading justice and being disciples – we remember that living the bible is God’s desire for us…  we are called to make disciples and share and especially to remember that God is with us always…

To share that message with our actions inside and out –

Our friend Wayne shared great advice he received: “Most people will never pick up a bible – it’s our actions are the only bible they will ever read” That’s the great commission – living the bible… We don’t have to freak people out, no need to sell it to people, just LIVE and LOVE knowing the grace and forgiveness gifted to you, AND THEN extend God’s gift of grace and forgiveness to all you meet….-

So to feed the world on the HOPE – is to be a witness – is to share how you have been blessed – share the immense blessing of PEACE …

It our duty and our privilege as laity  – as the church – to participate in God’s plan- to worship and actively love God by being the church, by being the salt, to work on our sections of God’s net – to network and take every opportunity to “feed God’s sheep”…


Let me close with how Jesus gives us direction to share the good news –  instruction by Jesus Himself to beloved but very flawed disciple Peter to reconcile him after denying Jesus three times  – See God had a plan for Peter like he has a plan for us: From John 21: 15-17

….Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said,“Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time,“Do you love me?”He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said,“Feed my sheep.”


AMEN

Thank You

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Camping, it is IN this World, but NOT OF this World, 15Oct – #443

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Camping, it is IN this World, but NOT OF this World, 15Oct

I saved this writing specifically for this early morning moment, God popped it into my head earlier this week, but I said “wait Lord! Let me be camping when I write it…”

Now I am camping, ahhh…. oh, chilly 38 degrees, 6 AM, and not a creature stirring… Awake since 5 and blissful peace abounds… Saw the Pleiades in the sky, sharp Orion. And watched a satellite skirt across…

I found it so sad yesterday when someone told me they NEVER were camping, only saw it once in a display… WOW…. she was a city kid for sure… WOW, many of us take this practically free adventure freedom for granted… Others spend thousands to get away, but camping is just $14 plus dinner, $1 handwarmers, ten cents for hot cocoa, and oh so priceless for that smell of campfire.  Time being silly with my big young son and letting him take the lead on adventure planning, that is truely priceless… Now the feeling of a warm sleeping bag – sharing and spreading the warmth…

Camping – it’s not for everyone, but it’s clearly for me… It takes you away, and yet you decide how plugged in you want to be… Today easy camping, dry… It’s not always that way though – it could be raining – well snowing… 😉

Going camping is JUST like Jesus said ” ‘We are IN this world – but not OF this world’ “… Camping is temporary, knowing at some point you will get home for a shower and comfort (and heat)… Because you look firmly towards home, like Jesus looked towards home, you can tough out the rain, the bugs, the cold… You enjoy the JOY while here in God’s creation, partaking in the beauty of nature… That’s finding JOY in everyday life… That also means tolerating hardship in everyday life because home for us who follow Jesus is Heaven not here… Heaven is home… Jesus knew His path, knew His home, and wants us all to come home…

John 17:13-16 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [my disciples] may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

I shared with a Christ-loving camping friend this notion of temporary earth life because I can’t help but to make these connections… And because I also need to remember that God loves us even if the world will hate us for our faith… Yeah, the evil one will try to take you down… But we need to persevere just as Jesus looked towards Jerusalem, knowing His mission incurred eventual torture and death, He kept moving, kept listening… Jesus kept the faith… We should too…

We too can keep the faith because God has faith in us as continuing disciples to keep moving forward, to keep sharing the JOY…

Home in Heaven, but camping here for the short time now… Spreading the warmth of God’s LOVE! Pitch your tent and spread that good news…


John 17 (NIV)

Jesus Prays to Be Glorified
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Brokenness, “My Grace is Sufficient for You”, 13Oct – #442

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FYI  – I wrote this piecemeal – I kept editing – I really know that processing pieces take longer and joy pieces are quicker – I really did ask God to stop my writing but He said no…. and so I write… oh well – I guess there are worse ways to deal with life LOL – I write as I process all that God is… and trust me He is EVERYTHING.

Brokenness, “My Grace is Sufficient for You”, 13Oct

There something to be said about God using our brokenness for HIS glorification… Everyone should see how this is true in their own lives – how their brokenness has helped others see how God shows His healing on you…  I re-read a piece from last year (July 2015) which mentions one of my “throw-up-on-paper” preawakening pieces… The three Mary’s piece –  1) brave Mary – Jesus’s mother, 2) listening Mary – sitting at Jesus’s feet, and 3)  the changed bold Mary Magdalene… I strive to pull inspiration from all three, but it is clear that God just wants me to be me … God wants to love us even as “island of misfit toys” kind of folks…. He wants to give each of us peace… He want to remind us that “My Grace is sufficient for you”…

The best thing I feel while Jesus still is growing in me is to accept my brokenness, and I ask God to heal me. It is not a passive healing, we all have to actively embrace that willingness to be healed by the peace ONLY Jesus can bring… It’s a physical feeling of Jesus’s fingers wrapped around my heart, squeezing, supporting… Yes we are called by God not because we are perfect, but because we ARE flawed, broken, weak, convictable and fixable… We are all lovable by God… His GRACE is sufficient for us…

We have thorns, but God gives us the peace to overcome….In  2nd Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul writes: “…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

One of my earliest writings (apparently to convict-convince myself): “Let’s not hesitate to embrace our Mary Magdalene – to be willing to be healed by God for all our sins and imperfections, to witness to the miracles of the Lord, to perform our dutiful callings even in the times of greatest crisis, to be willing to be bold and enter the tomb – and most of all: to tell others of the risen Christ.” https://debbieupper.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/mary-and-mary-dec-22/

Romans 12:3 speaks of  our “Humble Service in the Body of Christ: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

HIS faith was instilled in us to move us to change ourselves… We take our thorns, we look for the path, we change… God calls each of us on purpose, out of love and discipline… We need to both want to acknowledge our brokenness and acknowledge His GRACE is sufficient to heal us…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

AMEN

HOPE, BROKENNESS, and JOY, 12OCT – #441

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HOPE, BROKENNESS, and JOY, 12OCT

Last night a Godly woman spoke that she saw or heard repeating words or actions from people and wondered if it was a sign of God… I am sure it is! We were talking about beatitude blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God… And of course I was so excited because the words HOPE, BROKENNESS, and JOY are my repeat words during these last 2 weeks… repeating word HOPE on Monday was one of those God things that tickled my senses, especially when you see a license plate with the word HOPE after conversing with God the whole car ride home…The word Brokenness has been in so many conversations this week and applied to so many places and so many people…  Of course repeating word “joy” didn’t even raise an eyebrow with me because that word is like constant in my life…

Fittingly I was singing a “new song” yesterday… I hear those words again… I sing and live those words… “We bring our HOPE – we bring our JOY – our BROKENNESS to you…”

Yeah, I love God repeats, the key of “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” is that when we start to look for God in childlike wonders He does not disappoint…

My Jewish friend and I discussed Yom Kippur and fasting – I love our diverse faith discussions – so today I will fast and pray as well… And I will remember that Jesus came to give us HOPE, to squeeze our BROKENNESS together in order to make us whole and lift us to JOY… I have so much Joy… Paul Simon writes: “I’m just jittery, that’s just the way of dealing with my joy!”

I’m glad I don’t have to explain seeing the face of Jesus on a potato chip like they tried in the 1970’s; people already think I’m crazy but potato chips is a tough sell… Therefore I am so blessed that I can just say God is in everything good…

When I look at God in everything, God smiles back…. repeatedly…