Saturday, February 21, 2009

Leaving Your Mark OR Being Marked On

I was riding home the other day from doing my Community Education for work and, as usual I was thinking. I was thinking about myself, my walk with God, my testimony.

I was thinking about all that has changed, thinking about some of the things I have learned about others in this walk, thinking about all the things that have been let go.

When I was a teenager in high school in Sulphur, Louisiana there were a few Apostolics that I came in contact with in school. I was not raised going to church although I knew I needed God and felt there was something beyond what I had experienced in the churches I had attended.

I remember one girl that was in Chorus with me. She had the voice of an angel. I knew she had something I could not even begin to understand. I watched her and wondered at what it was that she had experienced. But I was too afraid to ask.

Then another girl in my typing class was Apostolic. I did ask her some questions. Knowing what I know now, I realize she was rebellious. I remember even then, listening to the things she said, I was thinking "Man, if I had what you have, I would not want to throw it away."

I saw her again a year or so later and she looked just like me, and do you know what? I felt so let down and hurt. I was disappointed because I couldn't believe she would just walk away from something that seemed so incredible to me.

My brother is the one who really got me into church. He and my sister-in-law started going to an Assembly of God. It was so different from anything I had ever been to. But still, I did not feel satisfied.

A few years later, after I had given up altogether, my brother found something else, and he was changed, really changed. It was radical and I longed to know.

I cannot put into words what an impact that first Apostolic service had on me. I had no idea that such joy existed. It was mind blowing! And the revelation that Jesus WAS God manifested in the flesh, that there weren't 3 Gods but only ONE, amazing!

Then I was baptized in the Name of Jesus, and just like in the book of Acts, I received the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues just like they did that long ago day and I was forever changed.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures where there is something hidden but once you see it you can never look at it again without seeing it? I have never looked at the Word the same. My eyes have been forever opened. I am so thankful.

Now I have an obligation. I have an obligation to get out and make my mark on the world at large for the One who left His mark on me.

I want to see lives changed, hope renewed, the church increased. I want to live my life in such a way that I am lifting Him up in all things, because if I lift Him up, HE will draw them in.

I think about that girl from high school today. I think about all that she had and all that she gave up. I think about her longing to experience the things of the world, the things she thought she was missing out on, and I think about the mark the world left on her. Gone was her reverence, gone was her awe, gone was her love of the things of God. Gone also was the glory that had once filled her face, the anointing that had covered her, the sweetness that had surrounded her.

My Pastor's wife used a wonderful illustration to our youth one day that my children still talk about. She came in dressed in a white robe and stood in the class and began to talk to the class. As she spoke about different situations and how they didn't matter she began to smear mud on her gown. Finally she turned to a full length mirror and was looking at herself, not seeing seeing her own filth.

That is what happens to us, is it not? Either we make our mark for Him on the world, or the world makes it mark on us. There is no in-between. It is either black or white, hot or cold. There is NO easy way.

I challenge you today, find the sinner's prayer in the Bible. Find where it says you shake the preacher's hand and you are saved. Find evidence that once you do this you are forever saved. I can tell you, it's not there.

I have an obligation because I bear His mark. I have searched the Word, and I know that if just believing were enough that heaven would be full of devils (James 2:19 Thou believest that there is ONE God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.) I know it goes further than believing only (James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead).

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

The world needs to see His mark, or it see you as an empty canvas, awaiting the hand of its master.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Musings of a Reluctant Drama Queen

You know, all I long for is a nice, quiet existence, my family around me, my home orderly and neat, being with my church family and hearing the anointed Word of God, nothing extravagant, nothing out of the ordinary, just peace.

I have known people that crave excitement, daredevils at heart, always on the look out for the next big adventure. Me, not so much.

Now, I am going to tell you all about my life in the past, oh let's say 2 and a half months. What I am about to disclose is real, unvarnished and maybe even unbelievable, but let me guarantee that every word is true.

If you do not know me you may think I am on a quest for pity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even I am overwhelmed and unbelieving of everything that has taken place, and will expound on the events merely for the illustration.

First, as you probably know, my son was hit by a truck on December 23 while skate boarding home from a friends house and he had several injuries. We have been bringing him back and forth to school since he has been in a wheelchair. He also had surgery on his ankle last month, and ended up with a stress ulcer and lost 20 pounds because he was throwing up.

My parents had been in Louisiana with my sister, and my mother was actually in the *hospital* for 7 weeks. My husband went to pick them up from Louisiana toward the end of January and since then we have had my Dad in the ER with chest pain, my Mom was admitted for a questionable infection. She has fallen several times and has some very notable bruises. Dad has also developed some sores on his *good leg* that I have been trying to help him get under control this past week.

Thursday night my Grandmother fell at home and we convinced the Doctor to keep her even though the x rays were negative. Turns out she had a hip fracture and after being transferred to ICU last night for low heart rate she had her hip replaced tonight.

Add into this mix some personal issues such as finding out I have some extra health issues that I could have easily done without and it becomes thick and hard to maneuver in.

I don't know why these things happen, but they do, and we will just have to hang on till the end, never giving up on what is vital and important, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

Believe it or not, I have faced other situations that make my current pale in comparison. Always I make it, though sometimes it seems He drags me along kicking and screaming.

And I have thought of running away to the remote reaches of Montana, you know, just dropping my cell phone off on my way out the door and disappearing into the fog.

Now THAT's drama. Maybe I could write a book about that!

But, unfortunately troubles can't be dropped off at the door, but they can be dropped at His feet.

Enough dramatic thoughts for one night, folks, I'm hitting the sack. All this stuff has worn me out....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

THEN I will...

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit with me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.

I feel revival bubbling up in the midst of the church, great revival. I feel the anticipation of things that I have, as of yet, not experienced. That excitement hums around me, that energy that comes from knowing that I haven't seen anything yet.

There are times in my walk with God that I have reached a stagnant place. If you have never been around a stagnant body of water let me describe it for you what I have observed about it.

The water becomes stagnant when there is no movement in the water, no water flowing in or out. The water that is there just sits there. Soon it begins to evaporate as there is no rain to bring in fresh water and as it evaporates it begins to emit a stench.

There are times in my walk with God that we become stagnant. Nothing moves us, nothing is coming in and nothing is going out, and in time we feel our faith evaporating, leaving the stench of sin behind.

And I cry out to him from the stench, "Create in me a CLEAN heart, O God; and renew a right spirit with me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. RESTORE unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit."

There is something wonderful that happens during that restoration. Once He restores the JOY of salvation, once we remember how precious and powerful it is, once our joy is again within us something miraculous takes place.

Psalm 51:13 THEN will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Once our joy is restored we find ourselves again reaching out, telling people, teaching the Word.

Stagnant water does not realize it is stagnant, it does not realize that life has ceased to exist in it. It doesn't smell the stench. Fresh water has to be added.

There comes a time when we have to realize our condition, whether through prayer or through the preached Word, there comes a time when we have to break down whatever is damming up the flow of the Spirit in our own lives.

Psalm 51:16-17 For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

It is through that broken spirit and contrite heart that God can work, restoring us to something He can use to reach the lost. "THEN will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinner shall be converted unto thee."

That is my prayer today: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit with me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Round And Round

I remember when I was a little girl playing with this metal top with a rod in the top that you could push up and down to make the top spin.

I loved that top. I played with it until the metal was worn on the bottom. I always wanted to get it going faster and faster, so that the colors blurred together and it would spin and spin and spin at my hand.

It just fascinated me, captured my attention far longer than it should have, just to see the beauty of it as it spun wildly, almost out of control.

I am now a grown woman, much older than that little girl, though the wiser part would be questionable at times. Now I feel more like the top than that little girl, as life causes me to spin around and around.

And just like that top of long ago, when my life is spinning wildly, I see the beauty of it. It captures me, wraps around my heart, fills the longings and empty places.

I don't know what life would be like without the spinning. I was called to spin, maybe that explains my early fascination.

I have told my children over and over throughout the years that *happiness is a choice.* I believe that will all of my heart. Circumstances will continue to arise in every one's lives, but we can choose how we deal with them.

So as I write tonight, my Mom is in ICU. She will be fine, I know. My Dad is home with his shoulders bent under the weight of illness. And even in the sadness of their situation I feel hope. My mouth is lifted in a smile when I remember all that He has already brought us through.

But, for just an instant, I miss that little girl, with nothing more pressing in her life that making her top spin faster and faster, round and round.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Something Old...Something New

Life has a funny way of continuing, doesn't it?

Lately I have been bombarded by events that have left me punch drunk. There have honestly been times when I have longed for a period of cease fire on the battlefield of life. I have thought how nice it would be to run away for a time, just step out of my problems and disappear.

I have lived long enough to know, though that when I run from one set of problems another set is waiting to take its place.

I have been dealing with the unexpected of late, and although I can clearly see His hand in the situation I long for the resolution.

In the midst of this I have found myself coping with the proverbial thorn in my side. The thorn is not unwanted, but causes me so much pain and discomfort that it is almost unbearable at times.

I long for normality in life, but then I am no longer certain what normal is.

So instead of running away, I will run to Him. I will hide in the shelter of His wings, if only for a time.

I'm not afraid, not in the least, and that would seem strange to someone who does not know Him.

While I cope with situations that I have been coping with for some time now, and learn the steps of this new path I am on, I think on the things of the Word.

I think of the times that my Father has had to scoop me up and carry me in His arms, I think of the times He infused me with His strength to face my giants, I think of His comfort when my strength was gone and I wept at His feet.

And I press on, knowing that this too shall pass, and I will begin again on a new adventure, a new calling, a new time, and the old things will pass away, and all things will be made new.

He is still the BEST thing that ever happened to Love, my Life, my All.