Thursday, January 27, 2011

God in Tape Recording...

Today I went to put something in a box that I have. I use this box to hold things that are important. It has become a pretty big box over the years! As I was moving something in the box aside in order to put something else in it, I noticed a small tape player all the way in the back of the box with a cassette tape next to it.

I knew immediately what it was. I had put it in the back of the box because seeing it in the front made me sad. I hadn't listened to the tape in 5 years because it was too hard. But it caught my eye today and so I thought maybe I could handle listening to it this time, and so I did.

The tape is from the end of March, beginning of April in 2004. It's a recording I made at the nursing home of my grandpa sharing his stories. When I recorded it I had no idea that a month later he would die. I haven't listened to it because hearing his voice makes me wish he was here. Today I listened and laughed through some of the familiar stories he told and then I came to the last part of the tape. I had asked him if he could give my daughter any advice what would it be. (She was 4 at the time.) His response is what has me here reflecting and blogging today. He said, "Make Jesus Christ your best friend."

So here I am reflecting on what that meant in his life, and what it means in mine. Think about it with me for a while... how do you treat your best friend? I hope with great love, admiration, and trust. Don't you just soak up every minute you can get with them? Aren't they the first one you go to for advice or to share good and bad news? Isn't your best friend someone you can be vulnerable with? Sit in silence with? Laugh hysterically with? Talk to without being judged? Share life with? And when you haven't talked to them in a while don't you find yourself missing them?

So when was the last time you couldn't wait to spend time with God in prayer and Bible study? When was the last time you were vulnerable with Him or ran to Him first with good or bad news instead of some other person? When was the last time you enjoyed the quiet with Him or shared a good laugh with Him? When you haven't spent time with Him do you miss Him?

Here's the thing about my grandpa, Jesus really was his best friend. It was evidenced by his life and the way he shared life with others. Today I saw God in a challenge to make sure for myself as well as my children that we truly make Jesus Christ our best friend.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God In A Song...

Tonight I saw God in the verse to one of my favorite hymns. I have sung this hymn many times in my life and this particular verse has never grabbed me like it did tonight. It took me by surprise!

We began to sing the first verse to the hymn Be Thou My Vision at church tonight. Then verse two started and by the end of verse two I stood there hand raised, tears flowing,and surprised to find myself that way.

Here are the words to the verse that got me: " Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word- I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord. Thou my great Father, I Thy true son- Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one."

I have been pondering why it got me the whole way home. I couldn't help but ask myself where would I be without God's wisdom and His Word? I can't imagine it! There are moments in my life where there was nothing else that I could do but plead with Him to just give me a Word because of how hurt or how confused, or how worried I was. And whatever Word He gave me became my lifeline.

Maybe I am writing this tonight because someone who will read it needs that wisdom, that Word from God, that lifeline. Ask for it. He always comes through and when He does, that Word will become one of your most precious treasures.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

God's Beautiful Handiwork...

Today was a very special day. I had the joy of seeing two special people be baptized. I know baptisms happen all the time and maybe to some of us seem ordinary. But baptism is NEVER ordinary. It is extraordinary. It is evidence of a living Savior at work in the lives of His creation. It takes courage to get baptized. It takes courage to get up in front of a whole church full of people some of which you know, plenty of which you don't know, and tell all of them about your old sinful life and how Christ has changed it. It's also a beautiful thing to witness because going under the water identifies you with Christ's death and death to that old sinful nature. Coming up from the water identifies the person with the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection and restoration that He has done in your life now.

Today two brothers shared with everyone present what their lives had been before Christ. One had been in and out of prison and institutions from the age of twelve on, and both had been former drug dealers. Then they shared how with Christ life is SO much better. And I sat there with tears of joy pondering a God of miracles, answered prayer, a God who makes all things new, and so thankful to get a front row seat to witness it all.

So today I see God in two lives made new. What I have learned is that there is nothing more beautiful than the work that God does in transforming a life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Reflections

It is now 2011. I have no idea what the year ahead holds. There are certainly things I would like to do differently this year and hopes and dreams I have. But there is nothing to write about yet. So I think I will stop and reflect on some of my favorite ways that I saw God in 2010. Perhaps some of you did this as you watched the ball drop. But I was so tired from my Christmas break activities that I fell asleep at 8pm! So please humor me as I take the time to reflect now.

A lot of 2010 was spent praying through things and for people in my life. So some of my favorite things to reflect on are the answers to prayer. Here they are in random order:

In 2010 God restored my friend's marriage, her relationship with God, her husband's relationship with God, and their relationship with their children. In fact the day after Christmas I was visiting with them and had the joy of hearing him call her "babe" and give her a kiss. She has the most beautiful smile and of course when he does this, she lights up!

In 2010 God brought two brothers to the altar to receive Him as Lord and Savior. I have had the incredible joy of watching one go from somber and distant to hugging everyone in sight with a big smile on his face. It is so precious to watch them grow and be hungry for more of God.

In 2010 despite the bad economy my husband's detailing business stayed afloat. Every need was provided for. If someone had told me when he first started this business that we would be okay, I wouldn't have believed them. But praise God, He is faithful even when my faith wavers.

I struggled with Christmas this year of 2010. I just was feeling bah- hum-buggish at times. Tired of the expectations, and commercialism. But a package arrived one day from a friend of ours whose love for the Lord and faith in the midst of extreme difficulty bless us regularly. I saw God in his gift of fruit scented markers and a rooster that crows when you throw it, for my girls. He didn't have to send these things. His life and his friendship is gift enough!

In 2010 three of the most valuable lessons I learned and now cherish are:

1. Life's battles are best fought, and most successfully fought on our knees.
2. Never give up interceding for others no matter how impossible, or dark it gets. God can and will do the impossible because He is in the business of restoration and making all things new. Nothing is more amazing than what God make beautiful from our ashes.
3. Go where God tells you to go, say what He wants you to say, or else you will have a big knot in your stomach and not be able to eat, and possibly throw up! More importantly, if you don't go and share with someone what God tells you to share, you could possibly miss the joy of seeing a life transformed by what God has to say to them.

Hope your 2011 is filled with new adventures with God. I know He never leaves me bored!