Christian, Uncategorized

The Heart

Hearts in Concrete

Sunday would be a day like no other. My family left for church ahead of me, something that a family in ministry sometimes does, because we all have to be at church at different times. With limited time during the week, sometimes grabbing that last minute coffee , throwing a load of laundry into the machine or spending a little more time with the dogs, needs to be done.

Just for a little backdrop, we live out in the country and it takes quite a bit of time to get to our home or to get to one of the main roads. Just recently, the water company began construction on a new water line that needed to be added to our community so that it can provide the new homes or future homes with water. These new zones have come with road closures and detours. So what would normally take about 5 minutes to get to our house from the main entrance of our neighborhood, now takes about 10 minutes. The closest EMT station is about 30 minutes away, then you add on the construction and you are looking at 40 minutes. Well, Christy, this is not that big of a difference. And in the big scheme of things, it probably isn’t, unless it means the difference between life and death because the new construction might become an obstacle for the EMT’s, firemen, or police officers  who have not traveled that route and have to get to people that are in dire need. And on this day, God knew that I was going to need them in the area sooner.

I had woken up a bit more tired than usual, but did not think too much about it, mainly because I am a very active person and I always seem to be on the move. Going to sleep late and waking up early have become a norm for me, so again, nothing unusual about me being a little tired. I said goodbye to my kids who left before my husband and then said goodbye to my husband who left before me.  I then began a mental countdown of how much time I had left before I began my drive to church. I was already dressed for the day and went outside to throw away the recycled items.  As I turned to head back inside the house, is when a curtain of black fell over my right eye, leaving me completely blind. I also began to feel rather dizzy and sick to my stomach all at once. Little did I know that my blood pressure was at an all time high. My normal numbers are 90/60, so them climbing to 152/88 was extremely high for me or for anyone really. My pupils were highly dilated and I became helpless.

I was able to get to my phone, call 911, call my husband and daughter during this entire process. Praise the Lord that I made it inside the house, because the concrete outside would not have been forgiving if I fell on it. I pondered driving myself to the doctor, thank goodness that I did not. Remember earlier when I said that all of the new construction might thwart time, and what would normally take the EMT’s 30 minutes to get to our home, only took 5 from the time that I spoke with them to them pounding on my door. They said that they were already in the area because of another call and were able to get to me right away. Coincidence? I think not. Thank You Lord for knowing that I was going to need them on that day and sooner than later. Not too long after the EMT’s arrived and shared that I needed to get to the hospital right away, my husband came on the scene and of course, he is the one that I wanted to take me to the doctor. In hindsight, I really did not think that the situation was as bad as it could have been or it actually was.

We arrived to the hospital and not even a minute later, I was bombarded by doctors and nurses that were flocking in from all over the place. Every speciality was there and they began to work up what seemed like a mountain of assessments. I was poked and prodded in every location and direction that they could get a hold of. I was then wheeled to Ophthalmology, the eye doctor, where my eyes were put through a slew of numbing dilations to see if there was any sign of hemorrhaging in my eye. To their surprise, everything appeared to be in tact and working normally. Test after test were run and a shadow fell over me and them as to what could be causing this abnormal loss of sight.

Just when I thought all of the testing was coming to and end, a slew of others would begin. The next machine that they rolled into my room, the one that I think really had me realize just how precious my life really is, admire the creation of God and see a piece of how He has intricately knitted me together, was the echogram machine. This magnificent machine was rather large in size and the work that it did could magnify something within us that is so small onto a screen so clearly. It was such an amazing machine, that it didn’t have any need or use of the measly little EKG lines that were placed upon my chest when I arrived at the hospital. This machine came with its own wiring and gadgets needed to go a little deeper than what the EKG could pick up on.

It was here when the technician began looking for any probable cause as to what might check me into a luxury stay at the local hospital. It was then that I saw it. Not only was it clear as day, it was right in front of me, shouting, here I am, look. No, I am not talking about what caused my vision loss or the aneurysm that I would later find out that I had. It was in this moment that I saw something so magnificent as the machine that was magnifying it. It was the radiance of God found in this one location that “for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever…” rests (Romans 11:36). It is the place that daily pumps the blood of joy, sorrow, pain, love, and regret straight to a person that calls Jesus their Lord and Savior. It is the place where Jesus draws us near to Him and offers forgiveness of sins for a life that is undeserving and gives His life freely for the ransom of my sins.  It is the place that houses the Holy Spirit and according to Ephesians 3:16-19 is a place “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” It is a place where time can flow for the next 10 years or for only the next few seconds leaving the question, if it were to stop today, do you know if you would spend eternity with Him?

As I continued to lay on the hospital bed, watching the blood flow through each chamber, I was quickly reminded of just how precious life is and how short our numbered days are. I woke up that morning thinking it was a day like any other day and after being tossed into a reality check, I was quickly mistaken. Sometimes, God needs to get our attention, and most of the time, He does so in a still small voice. Other times, He needs to get us off of our feet and remind us that we can do nothing apart from Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End to everything, including this fragile life.  Have I done all that I can to share with my family and friends about God and His wonderful heart, that out of it flows love (oh, so much love), joy, peace, patience (oh so much patience), kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that He sent His Son to die a death, a death that He did not deserve, and offered Him up freely for you and for me, “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)?

Father, I am so humbled by Your great Love that flows down from Heaven and into my life. Thank you for letting me physically see the love that went into creating me and the love that flows from a heart that was once broken in sin, but has a redemptive purpose to live in this life for as long as that is thanks to Your Son Jesus. I didn’t die that day in a hospital room and I am not sure what day You will call me home, but until then, until my heart stops pumping the blood through my entire body, I will continue to live and serve You my Lord and do it giving You all of the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

February 2010

It’s all in our attitude

Story of the day: It’s all in our attitude

There’s a story about a man and his wife who were on a long trip stopped at a full-service gas station. After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the man in the car said to the station attendant, “It’s still dirty. Wash it again.”

So the station attendant complied. After washing it again, the man in the car angrily said, “It’s still dirty. Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?”

Just then the man’s wife reached over, removed her husband’s glasses from his face, and cleaned them with a tissue. Then he put them back on and behold–the windshield was clean!

Our attitude has a great deal to do with how we look at things. The whole world can seem pretty bleak if we have a negative attitude. Yet how bright the world can appear if we have a joyful attitude of hope. [Green, M. 2005. The Expositor’s Illustration File and Index. Baker Books Publishing.]

Quote of the day: Chuck Swindoll

“I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude.”

Bible verse of the day: Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I humble myself before You and pray that my attitude reflects the joy that You have placed within my life. I know that everyday will bring its challenges, and as they come, I pray to make the right choices in how to handle things, and that the things that I do bring You honor, glory, and praise. I love You Father and I am thankful for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

January 2010

His Great Plan to Reach the World

Story of the day:  His Great Plan to Reach the World

God’s great plan to reach the world is for us is to go, weep, sow, and reap.  These simple words bring us to the definition of what is means to evangelize.  So how does one evangelize?  It’s simple, God shares with us in Matthew 28:18-20 what that means and that is to go and teach all nations, or another way is found in Mark 16:15, which simply says to go ye into all the world.  Well if it’s that simple, why do we make it so complicated?

One of the reasons the church has largely forgotten this mission may be because we are giving our attention to lesser things.  These things could be something like running the corporation, raising money, building things, etc.  With the focus on these things, it puts us in a predicament where few go and no grow. Did you know that most church growth results from trading its members?  So it’s like me leaving another church to join a new church.  One church may have gained a new member, but another lost a member, resulting in no actual growth for the Kingdom.  In order to get back to the mission of evangelism, we must get back to God’s plan to reach the world, which can be found in Psalm 126:6.

The first part of God’s plan to reach the world is the Going (Psalm 126:6-He that goes forth). It is easier to do almost anything else in the church.  It’s easier to serve on a board, easier to give money to send others, easier to nit-pick and grumble, and easier to be a part of the fraction, than to get into the action.  When a church begins to go, the church begins to grow.

The second part of God’s plan to reach the world is the Weeping (Psalm 126:6-Goes out weeping). Sad as it may be, many don’t go, because they don’t care.  There needs to be a genuine concern for souls.  Romans 9:1-3 tells us that Paul had great sorrow and an unceasing anguish in his heart for souls.  This simply means to have tears of the heart:  seeing the lost as God sees them.

The third part of God’s plan to reach the world is the Sowing (Psalm 126:6-Carrying seed to sow). Sowing the seed, with the seed being the Word of God is to carry it out into the world.(Luke 8:11).  There’s a story that Jesus shares with us in Matthew 13:3-23, about the sower of the seed.  Jesus tells us that some of the seed that the farmer sowed fell by the wayside, some fell on stony ground, some fell among thorns, and some fell on good soil…which brought forth fruit.  So how do we as Christ Followers sow the good seed?  We sow by speaking to others about Christ, by living consistent Christian lives, sharing the Word of God, or by other ways that God has shared with you.

The fourth and final part of God’s plan to reach the world is the Reaping (Psalm 126:6-Will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.) We must make efforts to reap:  win people to Christ, not by shouting, yelling, or pounding them over the head, but by simply loving them to Christ.  As your part of being a Christ follower, don’t leave sharing the Gospel to others, instead get into the blessing that God has for you.

Let’s return to the basics of the Christian Message to reach this world simply by going, weeping, sowing, and reaping with others God’s plan of Salvation.  Let’s be a part of God’s Great Plan to reach this world and win souls for the Kingdom, after all, winning souls brings present rejoicing and future joy (Luke 15:10).

Quote of the day: Hess

“The seeds we sow today determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.”

Bible verse of the day: Psalm 126:6 (NIV)

“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today as I go out into the world, may my heart shed tears for the lost and see others as You do.  May Your love pour out of me and into a world that is in need of a Savior.  May the seeds that I sow be done all for Your Glory!  I thank You for sharing with me, through Your Word, how to love others and share with them Your Great Message.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

August 2009

His Canvas

quote of the day mountains                                                                                                                                                Story of the day:  His canvas

There are so many wonderful and beautiful things to see here in New Mexico. Whether it be the tall standing mountains, white billowy clouds shading the crystal blue sky, or the sun that rises and sets with the most beautiful shades of purple and pink, I am in total awe of His magnificent work.  Each and every day, I awaken to a new canvas that God paints on.  His artwork display hangs for the world to see and is a reminder of His Creative Touch.  He hangs rainbows at just the right time as a constant reminder of His promise and love for His children.   

Today as you are out and about, take a moment to stop and witness the canvas of artwork that God has painted just for you.

Quote of the day:  Clyde S. Kilby

“I shall open my eyes and ears.  Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person.  I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are.”

Bible verse of the day:  Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)

“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.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for displaying Your Artwork each and everyday.  There is so much in Your Creation that is so beautiful.  I am humbled by the mountains, the blue sky, the sunrises and sunsets, but most importantly by Your Grace to share it all with me.  You have placed the stars in all the right places to light up the dark sky in my life and I am forever changed.  Thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

October 2008

Joy

Story of the day:  Joy

     Sherwood Wirt wrote in Jesus, Man of Joy, about a conversation that he had with C.S. Lewis.  He says, “there is too much solemnity and intensity in dealing with sacred matters, too much speaking in holy tones.  The tragic loss in all this pious gamesmanship is to the individual in the pew, who begins to feel that in the midst of the religious razzle-dazzle he cannot get through to the Lord Himself.

     We have learned that joy is more than a sense of the comic, more than earthly pleasure, and to a believer even more than what we call happiness.  Joy is the enjoyment of God and the good things that come from the hand of God.  If our new freedom in Christ is a piece of angel food cake, joy is the frosting.  If the Bible gives us the wonderful words of life, joy supplies the music.  If the way to Heaven turn out to be an arduous steep climb, joy sets up the chair lift.”

Quote of the day:  Author Unknown

“Joy is a winsome magnet that draws people in because it is one thing they do not have.”

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 16:11

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today I will think about the joyful abundance that is mine when I follow Christ.  I will follow the path of life that You reveal to me and as I do, Your Word says that in Your presence, I will find the fullness of joy.  I thank You for this beautiful day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

May 2008

Keep things humorous.

                                                                                                                     Story of the day:  Keep things humorous

   Chuck Swindoll wrote an interesting piece in his book titled Finishing Touch.  He touches on an important topic that I just love.  He asks in this book, “How is your sense of humor?  Are the times in which we live beginning to be reflected in your attitude, your face, your outlook?  Solomon talks straight, friend.  He (under the Holy Spirit’s direction) says three things will occur when we have lost our sense of humor:  a broken spirit, a lack of inner healing, and dried-up-bones (Prov. 15:13, 15; 17:22).  What a barren portrait!

   Have you begun to shrivel into a bitter, impatient, critical Christian?  The Lord tells us that the solution is simple:  “A joyful heart” is what we need…and if we ever needed it, it is now.

   By a sense of humor I am not referring to distasteful or vulgar jesting, nor to foolish and silly talk that is ill-timed, offensive, and tactless.  I mean that necessary ingredient of wit:  those humorous, enjoyable, and delightful expressions or thoughts that lift our spirits and lighten our day.  When we lose our ability to laugh–I mean really laugh–life’s oppressive assaults confine us to the dark dungeon of defeat. 

    Humor is not a sin.  It is a God-given escape hatch, a safety valve.  Being able to see the lighter side of life is rare, vital virtue.  Personally, I think a healthy sense of humor is determined by at least four abilities:

   The ability to laugh at our own mistakes.  The ability to accept justified criticism–and get over it!  The ability to interject (or at least enjoy) wholesome humor when surrounded by a tense heated situation.  The ability to control those statements that would be unfit–even though they may be funny.

   James M. Gray and William Houghton were two great, godly men of the Word.  Dr.  Houghton writes of an occasion when he and Dr. Gray were praying together.  Dr. Grey, though getting up in years, was still interested in being an effective witness and expositor.  He concluded his prayer by saying:  “And, Lord, keep me cheerful.  Keep me from becoming a cranky, old man!”

   You and I should pray the same prayer.”

Quote of the day:  Fred Allen

“It is bad to suppress your laughter because when you do, it goes back down and spreads to your hips.”

Bible verse of the day:  Proverbs 15:13

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You continue to teach me how to laugh!!  I want to enjoy life in every way possible and do so in a way that honors You.  Father, joy and laughter is something that is dear to my heart and at times, I may tend to lose sight of that funny side of me.  Father, I don’t want to be cranky the older I get.  Instead, I want to embrace all the moments of life that have made me smile and laugh and share them with others.  I pray for wisdom in knowing when to be funny and when not to be.  I don’t want the portrait of my life to be portrayed as a life that was a broken spirit to all that I came across.   Instead may I be remembered as one that always laughed and enjoyed the life that You have blessed me with!  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

March 2008

Have you lost your joy?

sunset.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                     Quote of the day:  Have you lost your joy?

    When we start working for God and doing the things that He has asked of us, we can get so focused on the task that we lose sight of the One that has asked us to do the task in the first place.  It’s like filling our car at the gas station.  We start out great, but after a while of trying to use our own gas, we eventually can’t run anymore except on the fumes that are remaining.  Doing things on your own and not truly seeking God’s wisdom in the matter is the quickest way to get burned out and to lose your joy.  

    My friend, when we are full of Jesus, and are continuously walking with Him, God will always be there to replenish your joy.  There may be times that you will feel like your joy is about to run out, because our flesh is weak, but God’s promise in Psalm 16:11 says that “He will show me the path of life; in His presence is fullness of joy; and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

    I love what Bruce Larson said: 

Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God.  The bottom line for you and me is simply this:  grimness is not a Christian virtue.  There are no sad saints.  If God really is the center of one’s life and being, joy in inevitable.  If we have no joy, we have missed the heart of the Good News, and our bodies as much as our souls will suffer the consequences. [There’s a Lot More to Health Than Not Being Sick]

Quote of the day:  Alexander MacLaren

“To pursue joy is to lose it.  The only way to get it is to follow steadily the path of duty, without thinking of joy, and then, like sheep, it comes most surely, unsought, and we “being in the way,” the angel of God, fair-haired joy, is sure to meet us.”

Bible verse of the day:  John 16:31

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that Your joy radiates deep within my soul.  God I know that it is Your promise to me that if I am walking in Your path that there is going to be joy in my life.  God I pray that I don’t steer from the path and continue following the way that You have set before me.  God, at times it can be a challenge to stay focused, with so many distractions in my life that can come my way, I pray that when they do, I am able to recognize them, and not let them hinder me in any way.  I thank You Father for joy and for sharing it with me.  I pray to be filled with it daily and to share it with others.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen