Archive | February 2013

Life by the Clock

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Five months ago I went no where without my watch.  Even with a clock in my car, on the office wall, cell phone, desk phone and computer I had to wear my watch.  Referring to it often during my day was as much a part of me as breathing.  When I went into the hospital October 4, 2012 the ICU nurses asked I send it home.  When my return to work never happened I have worn it three times in five months.

Keys are another thing I have all but surrendered.  The Saturday we packed up my office and I left all things agency owned behind I left a keyring so full of keys to remove one was difficult.  It didn’t even house all of my work keys.  The ones I used repeatedly during the work day I left on a separate ring. Today I have six keys on my keyring. I miss the weight of those work key rings in my hand. Mostly I miss the trust they symbolized to me.

The badge I wore Monday through Friday when in the office and to provide proof of identity to use agency credit or discount cards was also left behind.  So were the cards. I find myself momentarily frightened when I notice it is missing from my purse.

For 13 years my identity was defined mainly by being a Believer in God, motherhood, being a wife, and my job at a nonprofit agency.  My life revolved around these roles and wove into one another in tight connection and intertwining locks.  My job was a safe place for me and the tasks often a coping mechanism when my health troubled me or life’s struggles grew difficult. 

On January 10 of this year my resignation became official and on February 19 we “celebrated” my “early retirement” on disability.  My job is no longer my job, it is split into one full time position and some of the tasks delegated to others.

It seems the watch, the keys, the job were symbolic for me of the larger losses in my life over the past four years.  I don’t mourn not being a slave to the watch, the keys, the job and juggling being a wife, mother and a Christian.  But I do mourn.

I weep over the losses as if they were family or dear, dear friends dying.  I grieve the loss because God wired me to give everything in every relationship.  I do not know how NOT to give 110% as much as humanly possible. 

By now I was assured I would see the wisdom of those making decisions that closed the doors on my employment.  By now I was supposed to be calling them to say thanks.  Yet, I don’t see the wisdom of my best interests having been accomplished.  I am not yet in the frame of mind to say thank you for leaving me only the option of disability.  Will I ever be?  I won’t say never but it sure isn’t now.

Mourning I do not do well.  It raises the depths of my depression, the strength of my anxiety attacks.  It also whispers 1001 plus reasons to stay securely in our home.  Something I give into far more than is healthy for my emotional well-being.

But I AM DETERMINED to rise up from this a better mother, a sweeter wife and a more dedicated child of God. For now I have my time to mourn, somewhere in my tomorrows God has promised a time to dance and so we shall.

I will do so free from time restraints, stressful job demands. No watch. No job daily expectations. No excuses for not writing or painting. For this I can give 110%. The rest will come, in God’s time.

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Pouring Out – Part 2

Samuel King stood 6’4 in his worn jeans, long-sleeved dark blue work shirt with his long weathered face crowned by a greasy black hair comb over, eyes as black as his hair and his 283 pounds was solid from years of manual labor.  His feet were planted a foot apart shod in cowboy boots caked in so much grease, mud and red Georgia clay that the color was hard pressed to be named.  He towered like an angry thundercloud in the front counter area of McDonald’s, totally out-of-place among the bright yellow, white and red decor.  Sam didn’t care.  He didn’t care that he didn’t fit in, he didn’t care that people were moving as far away from him as he could and he didn’t care that the 21-year-old red-haired frail looking manager was telling him that he had to leave.

“Shut up, I ain’t leavin’ ‘til Becca gits on home.”  The man shouted, blasting spittle on the managers head.

Kevin Engle was the youngest manager McDonald’s had in this restaurant and he was frantically wishing one of the other managers was on duty instead of him.  He was rightfully frightened by Sam King and suddenly aware of why Rebecca King worried when he switched her shifts or had her work late.  She had tried to explain that her father was difficult and didn’t understand she couldn’t always get off right on time or had to work a different shift than expected.  Kevin remembered her request to use the phone one more time during the last hour of her delayed departure and his own refusal to allow her.  Well, tomorrow, Kevin decided, tomorrow Rebecca’s difficult father wouldn’t be his issue anymore because he had all intentions of letting her go.

“Sir, you can’t act…” but that was as far as Kevin’s quaking voice got as tried to regain some of his authority.  Sam’s large baseball size hand reached out from the end of his leg sized arm, seized Kevin by the collar of his uniform and tossed him aside.  Before anyone could react he had swept over the front counter, uncaring of the displays he knocked down and landed beside the terrified cashiers.  “Becca!  Becca you best be gittin on out here girl ‘cause when I find you you are in for one more whoppin’!”

Kevin recovered enough to scramble to his feet and he shot out of the restaurant with a speed the coach would have admired as he ran for the fire station less than a football field away.  When he burst into the bay, panting and panicked the firemen had a hard time understanding what Kevin’s emergency was but once they heard the name of Sam King they knew it was trouble.  One of them called the police while three others went back with Kevin to McDonald’s.  Maybe they could calm Sam down although not one of them believed it possible.

Hanging back Kevin let the firemen go in first, feeling braver standing behind them than in the lead.  The customers had cleared out and so had the employees except for the ones Sam had either pushed down or knocked out.  One was laid out visible just beneath the swinging gate leading to the back of the counters, another midway down the aisle at the grill.  Sam could be heard still calling and threatening his daughter somewhere in the back, his curses loud and ugly.

One of the firemen used his walkie-talkie to request for paramedics and the other two went to help the victims.  Leaving the walkie-talkie fireman to also deal with Sam.  “Anything back there like a gun or knives?” he asked Kevin.

Kevin’s negative response helped the fireman quickly decide to wait for the police unless Sam became a threat to someone instead of property.  Already in the distance police sirens were heard.

Sam King slammed out of the McDonald’s back door and walked right into the path of Officer Macon who had his gun out and aimed.  He was subdued after only a little resistance and handcuffed before being left in the back of the patrol car.  His anger seethed within him and he added the weight of the last half hour’s events into Becca’s account.  Although some might think him to be illiterate he was shrewd.  He knew he could not afford to allow anger to pour from him now, he would wait until he had Becca in hand before venting that, but it was hard to pull himself back into control.

Twenty minutes later on the way to the police station Sam remembered that his wife was responsible for taking Becca to and from work today and he had the impression Martha had told him something about needing to stop at her mother’s to help her with something or the other.  That meant the reason Becca wasn’t home yet was because her mother had made that extra stop.  That was okay, Sam reasoned, then they would both pay.  They would both pay dearly.

To be continued…

Silence

The silence is welcome and it is comforting

Just the tick-tocking of the clock nearby

The soft glow of the laptop screen quieting

The buzzing of tasks and mind at ease.

No thoughts competing for one another

Just a soft comfort in silence woos the heart

Speak in this silence as You have to the others

Abba Father, Holy Spirit You are welcome here.

The pages of the Bible are soft to fingertips

Scripture passages underlined from times past

As reminders of Your presence previously sipped.

Of prayers prayed and answers sought.

Evidence of I Am speaking and revealing

Testimonies’ of Believers left for prosperity

Recorded evidence of God speaking

Of the insistence our lives be ones of true belief.

Into this silence comes the brush of Spirit wings

As welcome then as it is welcome now

For it is in here the Spirit speaks and sings

The whispers of Abba Father are surely heard.

Where heart is tune to gentle reprimand

Stern reminders of the price of sin

Hope is offered and takes my hand

Heart is opened to the Father’s love.

Silence yes from earthly things has fell

So can be heard what Heaven joyfully sings

With His touch heart and soul are well

Silence so sweet from earthly noise.

-Faye

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Rooting for the Cheat

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The Oxford American Dictionary defines passion as being:

  1. “strong and barely controllable emotion”
  2. “a state or outburst of such emotion”
  3. “intense sexual love”
  4. “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something”
  5. “a thing arousing enthusiasm”
  6. “(the Passion) the suffering and death of Jesus (a narrative of this from any of the Gospels or a musical setting of any of these narratives)”

One of the clichés’ often heard during motivational speeches, seminars, events, graduations is something like, “What is your passion?  That is your key to success!  Go do it!”  Nike had a successful ad campaign several years ago with the slogan, “Just do it!”®”.  Any competitive event from which a victor is proclaimed has someone attributing the success to the competitors’ passion.  A common characteristic for most of humanity is the natural instinct to be the best at something.  We want to win!  We want to win badly!  Why?  Because we have passion!  The one with the most passion wins!

Passion in some form or the other is the magical ingredient.  Skill, ability, talent are only a small part of winning a competition if we have passion!

The first four definitions of passion are about it being an emotion, a feeling.  The fifth about something (or someone) that creates a feeling or emotion so again, it’s about our motivation  which is often based on a feeling.  There’s nothing wrong or sinful about that as long as the emotion doesn’t lead you to do something sinful.  What about when your passion to win causes you to cheat?

Smiling BakerI am a fan of The Next Great Baker© and The Cake Boss© seen on TLC in the United States.  Both are supposed to be reality shows and both center on baking and cake decorating to the extreme.  The first features 12 contestants who compete to win the title of The Next Great Baker© and with that comes $100,000 and the opportunity to be employed by Carlos’ Bakery working for The Cake Boss©, among other prizes.  This season’s finale was aired last night.  Right up until the end I was questioning many things about this season’s shows.  Specifically my awareness of my own uncomfortable prick of conscience over of whether or not the two finalists and eventually the winner are contestants whose performances were greatly aided by cheating in one form or the other.  Were either truly worthy of the victory?

Gretel Ann needed the victory due to circumstances in her own bakery’s existence and her personal life.  The truth is that Gretel Ann’s skills were not as good as other contestants as shown by her sloppy work.   Besides Paul I don’t know of another contestant who needed the win more.  In time she has the potential to be great, I think.  It’s my opinion what stood in her way was her misguided passion to win by frankly, cheating.   I heard her expressing she justified actions such as turning up the oven temperatures so that her competitors bakery goods burned, hiding baking sheets so there were not enough to go around as simple good competition.  Earlier shows had us viewing her plotting to sabotage her own teams competing product by doing inferior work deliberately.  I don’t agree that her passion to win or for cake baking and decorating were keys to her success.  Her passionate strategy and actions certainly lacked good “sportsmanship”.  Most of all for me it screamed “I can’t win this because of my abilities, my skills, my passion to do my absolute best so I will win it by cheating.”

Ashley, the victor in last night’s show, is very skilled, very passionate and in my view, the possessor of a passion also misguided.  It wasn’t as much her method of winning as it was her lack of people skills.  She had no tolerance for a particular few contestants’ viewpoints, work or questions.  In particular one male contestant, Paul, and she were constantly at each other’s throats and Ashley risked her victory for one last opportunity to let Paul know how much she loathed him.  Yet the larger issue for Ashley’s victory was the appearance, from how TLC edited the footage we viewed, that Buddy (The Cake Boss©) favored Ashley above the other’s contestants.  For example during one challenge the contestants were blindfolded and told to ice, pipe a border on and create and place a rose on a small round cake.  Difficult if you can’t see!  Yet Buddy seemed to just stop short of telling Ashley what to do during the competition.

In all the competitor’s defense I don’t think the show truly represented anyone’s personality or “true self” because reality show orCake Decorated with Fresh Flowers not, it was filmed and edited by TLC to be what they wanted it to be.  Ratings were a huge consideration and the more drama TLC could make seem to be going on the better the numbers.  Sadly, the show is but a small and clear example of what America’s seems to want in their hero’s.  Win at all cost.  Win for the sake of winning and don’t worry about the causalities left behind you.

??????????Clearly it’s a competition. This means someone wins, someone loses.  I got that.  I just don’t feel comfortable watching someone win by unfair means.  By adding to TLC’s success with the show am I not agreeing with the message of the programs?  In my heart Gretel Ann’s sabotages were cheating.  Ashley’s lack of self-control and seemingly being favored by the main contests judge were unsportsmanlike behavior and also cheating.

In the Scriptures of the New Testament in John 2:13-17 Jesus responded with passion, with righteous anger because men were selling inferior animals for sacrifice in the temple courtyards and he overturned their tables, driving the men out with a whip.  He did not sin in his anger.

As a believer I struggle with my passion on this subject of competition and passions that arise due to it.  I think that the adage, “all things in moderation” adeptly applies.  Competition, regards of the event, isn’t evil – mankind’s inability to temper their wish to win or for their favored team to win while expecting fair behavior from everyone is where the potential for evil exists.

For myself, I am torn between the enjoyment I have in the creative process and methods of achieving the construction of cakesChildren looking at birthday cake that are masterpieces of art and in watching others strive to be a part of that with the awareness that the shows have entered that arena of passion gone awry.  Do I continue to watch or do I hand the remote over to my husband?

Sadder still, am I more distracted by pondering misguided passion in a TV reality show than in being passionate about Jesus Christ?  Shouldn’t the sixth definition for passion be far more important to me than whether or not the winner of a television program contest deserved the victory or not?  Wow, I just condemned myself.

-Faye

Ding-Dong – Avon Calling®

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If you recognize that slogan we share at least two things in common:  we grew up in the United States and were old enough to recall this slogan for Avon during the early 1970’s.  Back then Avon salesladies went door to door selling Avon products.

In our small group Bible study yesterday (Sunday) we covered the things or people that call us:  MP900405334

  1. The call of the wild.
  2. The telephone.
  3. Our mother, father, kids, and other family.
  4. Our friends.
  5. The lake, fishing, hunting, or other such outdoor activities.
  6. Crafting, writing, reading, relaxing.
  7. These days the ding of an email dropping into our email boxes and texts on our cell phones.
  8. That delicious chocolate cake, cookies, ice cream, candy bar – food!
  9. That great cup of coffee.
  10. And of course for parts of our population there are:  Drugs, booze, pornography, violence and other things that can become an obsession although harmful to us.
  11. Electronics – gaming, cell phones, e-readers, computers, televisions, movies – all things that plug-in, charge up or run off of batteries.
  12. Fame.
  13. Wealth.
  14. Success.

As Christians we use the word “calling” to apply to many things too:

  1. Our relationship with Jesus.
  2. A vocational career in ministry or missions.
  3. Specific types of service/ministry as volunteers such as shelters, ministries to unwed mothers, senior adults, children, youth, first responders for natural disasters etc…
  4. The use of the creative arts and media to reach those of this world who do not have God in their lives.

(These lists are not exhaustive.)

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As we sat discussing our selected text in the Scriptures, Mark 2:13-17, we also tackled the types of people who Levi (Matthew) invited to the dinner in his home that the Pharisees objected to, citing that Jesus associating with them (including Levi who was a tax collector) was wrong.  Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (v17, N.I.V.)

Fact is all of us can be labeled as belonging to a particular “unholy” group of people, for not one of us is free of sin in our lives. (Romans 3:23)  Even as the Pharisees pointed out the lack of righteousness in the lives of the people at Levi’s dinner they should have been able to recognize the lack of it in their own lives.  Yet, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (v17, N.I.V.)

My last thoughts on this discussion were these that follow.  There is a JOY to be expected in learning that we belong to the group of spiritually unhealthy people who Jesus calls.  By His sacrifice of Himself on the cross, He provides a permanent bridge to us and God the Father thus allotting to us the privilege of serving Him through some calling in our lives.  Perhaps it is evangelism, teaching, expounding upon the meaning of the Scriptures, or picking up trash in the church parking lot, making and supplying 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the youth fellowship or singing in the church choir.  Perhaps it’s using the talents and gifts God has given you to write, act, dance, relate and minister to various and any group of people.  Where God calls us to serve isn’t important.  SERVING Him is important.  To SERVE HIM we have to SERVE OTHERS.  (Matthew 25:31-40)

WHO is CALLING you?

WHAT are they CALLING you TO DO?

HOW are YOU ANSWERING?

WOULD your LIFE support YOUR ANSWER?

-Faye

Pouring Out

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The dwelling was dark and only the loud and drawn out snores of her father broke the night’s silence.  It was an hour and twelve minutes before the 2:13 train would come squealing by the mobile home park.  Inside this double-wide, four bedroom home only one person was awake.  The snores of her father weren’t what kept her up, her eyes staring at the ceiling, her thoughts churning like an washing machine.  No, it was a new awareness brought forth by one man’s testimony at church that night.

Brother Cade had once been one of the community drunks, he had even often struck his wife in his intoxicated rages.  Then his own son had stood before him, his then fourteen-year-old son, with a promising baseball future but who had a zeal for the Lord had confronted his father’s sin.  Carlton had reproached his father in love but with equal truth.  Brother Cade had refused to admit he listened, had shoved Carlton against the living room wall, and tried even to punch him in the face, missing only in his impaired condition.

Carlton had looked his father right in his eyes with tears sliding down his face and said, “I am praying for you Dad.  I love you.  I can’t be a silent witness to you wrecking your own life.  I won’t let you continue to hit Mom.  So you can hit me.  I will be the one waiting for you to make it home, you can take your anger out on me instead.  But I will always be praying for you.  Always hoping God will get through to you, even if it means taking my life to open your heart, I will ask God to do as He wills.  Mom and Mindy are praying too.”

That summer, only five months later, Brother Cade had been drinking and should never have been behind the wheel of his Ford truck as he weaved the truck toward home.  Carlton and his mother and younger sister Mindy had been returning from an away baseball game in the family station wagon.  Mindy had been asleep so she never knew before the accident that it was her father’s truck that sped through the red light toward them.  But Brother Cade had seen his wife and son’s face, they had known it was him as the two vehicles smashed into one another.  The truck had slammed the station wagon into the brick retaining wall of the park. 

In a few moments Brother Cade nearly lost his wife, his son and his daughter.  He remembered Carlton’s confrontation, his promise to ask God to open his dad’s heart even if it meant his own life.  It almost had.

Brother Cade found God that night by the side of the road in the midst of the swirling police, fire and rescue lights and controlled frenzy.  Carlton would never play baseball again he had been paralyzed from the waist down.  Mindy was spared major injury but bore a scar across her lovely face.  Their mother, Karen, had been unconscious for two weeks from head trauma. 

Brother Cade had looked at the young people and told them to never discount what God might do through them.  Carlton had been the way God got Brother Cade’s attention, for he had dared to tell his father the truth, present the gospel and offer himself as a sacrifice for his dad’s salvation.

Now in the darkness another young person pleaded for God to use her to reach the heart of another lost father.  Her prayers were silent but they were heard by the One who they were meant to be heard by. 

“Pour me out Lord, empty me, just don’t let Daddy die without You.  Use me as You will Abba Father.” She prayed as sleep claimed her at last.

The 2:13 train was right on time and as the last of its bumping, grinding and squealing died away all the residents of the green and white double-wide finally slept.  No one knew yet how the then fourteen-year-old daughter’s prayers would be answered.

To be continued…

Value in Real

Pearl in OysterPearls are formed when a grain of sand gets into an oyster (or mussel) shell and irritates the sensitive oyster whose natural abilities allow it to abstract calcium carbonate from the sea water and coats the grain of sand.  Over an extended period, the longer the time the larger the result, a pearl is created.  It doesn’t happen inside every oyster shell although every oyster has the ability to create a pearl if given a grain of sand to do so with.  Naturally created pearls are very valuable.

Man has of course learned how to stimulate oysters into making pearls.  They look-alike but they aren’t as valuable.

Neither type of pearl comes out of the oysters looking perfectly round, smooth and polished.  In fact if one didn’t know what they had they might even toss the pearl away.  Both are also fragile, not being much stronger than a fingernail.  If you know what you’re holding in your hand you will cherish it, have it polished and most likely set into some type of jewelry or sold.

The Bible speaks of pearls in Matthew:MP900177808

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.   If you do, they will trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”*  Matthew 7: 6

Here, according to the study notes in my N.I.V. translation of the Word, Jesus is speaking of teaching in accordance with the spiritual capacity of the learners.  His reference to dogs is related to the unclean dogs of the streets that were held in low esteem.  And of course swine were considered unclean by the Jewish people from their instructions in the Old Testament.

1001224892“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”*  Matthew 13:45-46

This time Jesus is trying to help His audience (which includes us) to recognize the incredible value of Heaven.  Being a resident of Heaven is so valuable to the human heart and soul that one should give up all they have to get it.  Someone seeking God, when they open themselves to His presence will be found by Him, and will recognize the value of that relationship.

In I Timothy 2:9-10 women are instructed to not use pearls, gold, braids or expensive clothes to draw attention to themselves in an inappropriate way.  Timothy calls upon women to dress modestly with good deeds that become a woman who confesses to worship God.

Revelation 21:21 tells us that the twelve gates of heaven are each made of single pearls.  Verse 12 of the same chapter tells us that on each gate one of the names of the 12 twelve tribes of Israel is carved.  God, through John tells us here that pearls are beautiful and regal enough to be used as building material in Heaven.

Earthly pearls, whether they are created naturally or forced to develop by man are beautiful once they are cleaned, shined andPearl Necklace polished.  In their natural state they are not that attractive, one has to know what one has to know its value.

How like our relationship with Jesus.  It is natural for us to have a yearning for God.  It is also natural for us to want to do evil, to want our own way, to do what feels good.  We have the ability, the capacity to find that missing relationship with our Creator or attempt to fill that role with multiple relationships with other “things”.  We can allow the irritations of this world to create a pearl of great value in our lives by seeking to draw from the presence of God around us.  Or, like the manmade pearls, we can create imitations by seeking other things that we can use to replicate what is valuable.

Which do you choose, the real pearl or the manmade one?  On the surface they may look the same, clean up the same, be used to create replicas of the same jewelry but only the ones that occur in nature are true pearls.  One is genuine.  One is a very good imitation.  “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”** the real God or the imitations of man?

-Faye

*N.I.V. translation

**Joshua 24:15

Assignment: God Stuff

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Our daughter is at that age where she is no longer a “child” but not yet a teenager.  Her special “friend” Charlie, is still as alive and real in her world as we are, and people in our life know not to refer to him as a “stuffed animal”.  Yet boys are starting to become interesting creations and a bad hair day can ruin an otherwise bright morning.  So when I’ve requested prayer for “What is it God wants me to write?” her answers, I’ve thought were well, suggestions from my eleven-year-old.  The same child who begs me to tell her stories about “squirrels being crazy funny” and “princess who love squirrels” also suggests:

 “Christian writing Mama, what else?”

“Angels and God things Mama.”

“How many times do I have to tell you?  You write “God stuff”!”

On the way to school this morning I was silently praying for our daughter when I had a clarifying moment for my own question.  Suddenly I heard her voice suggesting what I write and in the same moments I remembered one of the things I’ve been told in a multitude of ways which is “write what you know”.  If I take that with what my daughter’s advice is my direction to write would be to write “about God stuff, about the times I’ve encountered God and angels in my ordinary life”.

Returning home I pulled out my favorite Bible and prayed for as clear a direction from scripture as what I believed I had received as I drove away from school.   I started in I Corinthians 13 but it was chapter 14 that held my attention.  I read it over and over for I knew something was calling to me to pay more attention and verses 9-12 kept drawing me back.

“So it is with you.  Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?  You will just be speaking into the air.  Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.  If I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker and he is a foreigner to me.  So it is with you.  Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”

I Corinthians 14:9-12 N.I.V.

Paul was writing about the desire the Christians in Corinth were having for spiritual gifts and how those gifts they desired should be ones that build up the church.  These particular verses are about orally conveying the message of Christ in a language that the audience members can understand. (At least to the way this layperson understands them.)

Would God direct me any differently today than He did through Paul those early Corinth Christians just because my venue is the written word?  After all God did not intend that Paul’s letter would be one to encourage and instruct just the Christians at Corinth.  Even then God knew that His message through Paul would one day be devoured by Christians all over the world.  Yes, I believe even then God knew I would be in need of His words to the Corinth church.  Should I not convey the message of Jesus Christ’s love for us?  That Jesus Himself became the mediator between God and us?  Should this message not be written in a language people can understand?  Should I not be writing so that God’s people are encouraged and the body of believers is built up?

Or in a more direct understanding, should I not write about my ordinary life and encounters with God and angels with words that people understand?

Maybe this blog is my assignment at this time whether I have many followers or not.  God must have His plans and as long as He keeps inspiring me I’ll keep writing “God stuff” and pray that I use words that people understand so He is edified.

-Faye

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Parking in one of my usual spots to wait for my daughter’s school bus I intended to read a book. Instead I found myself watching a bee and a butterfly dine from some flowering weeds.

Confession, I was thinking, “Why did God make flowering weeds? Why ‘waste’ such pretty blooms on a weed?” (similar questions I’ve had about mice, snakes etc…but that’s another post!)

The buzz of the bee helped my attitude shift. The daintiness of the butterfly flitting from flower to flower opened my eyes. Neither the bee nor the butterfly seemed at all concerned that the pollen they were busily collecting was from a weed flower and not a “real” flower. They seemed to be perfectly content with their meal. It occurred to me, that neither bee nor butterfly probably knew a weed flower from a regular flower anyway. Furthermore, I don’t think they would care. They need pollen. God supplied pollen. Their needs…

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Do I Understand?

Prayer is an important part of my life.  Isn’t it?  As a Christian it should be.  It’s the focused time of communication with God.  If God is the number one priority in my life then communicating with him has to also be my priority, my primary one.

Daily requests for prayer come across my personal Facebook page and the page specifically for prayer requests I belong to.  People seeking healing for family, friends and strangers ask others and I to pray for God’s intervention.  Or prayers are sought for jobs, finances, depression, family issues.  People believe in the power of prayer.  I believe too, don’t I?

Do I?

If I do, why do I hear that voice in me say, “What?  Pray?  This little boy is being held captive and all you offer is prayer?”

Yes, I offer prayers and I request them too.  Why?  Because I know prayer is not only effective but is the best thing I can do.  Other times I can pray and help supply food, transportation, a listening heart or a hand to hold while tears are shed.  But the prayer support is of greatest value.

No matter the whisper of doubt or insufficient response that may cross my mind, prayer remains.  I know the power of prayer.  I have been uplifted in prayer by God’s people and miracles have been called forth for me.  So let us pray together so heaven rings with our faith seeking God’s will. 

For what shall we pray?

Our country and our leaders.
Our churches and our leaders.
Our schools and their teachers, administrators, the other school staff and students.
Our sons and daughters.
Our spouses.
Our families.
A 5-year-old autistic child held hostage in an underground bunker outside Dothan, Alabama for almost a week now.
Those souls who are seeking God both those aware of their search and those to be awakened.

Pray for these things and more.  Pray without ceasing. 

For the ones who pray seek God’s will and in that search find truth and God’s presence as well.