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Showing posts from February, 2012

Let Loose!

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About three years ago, a wise woman said, "Consistent Time and Effort Produce Results". She was strong and healthy, pushing herself on the last mile of a six mile run. She realized that anything she set her mind to do, if done consistently - could be accomplished. It was about determination and will, endurance and confidence. It became her mantra and she posted it proudly on her office wall, knowing that it was a truth to live by not just physically, but with her work, studies, prayers, even sleep - everything would be in harmony by never giving up.

Now fast forward. Having just returned from the gym, I sit at my desk staring at that poster. Yes, that "wise" woman was me. It's evening now and while on the treadmill (conveniently located in front of the window), I could see my reflection. Within the last three years I've gotten divorced, been estranged from my children, and gained thirty pounds. "What the hell happened to you?" I scolded the reflect…

Conduct Unbecoming

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A good friend who read my last blog Shaking Like a Leaf made a valuable comment that I will never forget. He noted that those leaves which hold on, afraid to fall - are dead. And they must, in fact, let go. Resistance is futile. He then pointed out that although I may feel "dead" at times, I have been grafted into the Tree of Life and must never lose hope. No matter what emotions rage within, the truth remains that I am alive! There is no need to fear and no need to let go. This friend also sees me as an angel with a broken wing on the mend. Although I am no angel, his point is well taken. I am "on the mend".

Another friend who received my recent Christmas letter in which I lamented my age, among other things, candidly commented, "dude, that letter was depressing!" 

Thank God for my honest, loving, caring, valuable friends who will speak the truth in love!

I am determined  by God's grace, to achieve my 2012 New Year's Resolution: to live the life of …

Shaking Like A Leaf

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The heavy early Colorado snow storms always damage our trees. The leaves are not quite off when the storm hits and the weight is just too much. The streets are lined with broken branches as drivers dodge through the obstacle courses and city workers try feverishly to clear the way. 

I looked out the window and noticed even still, the day after Thanksgiving, there are a few stubborn leaves desperately hanging on for dear life. When the wind comes up, they shake before finally letting go and fluttering to the ground. But in doing so, they relieve the trees for the next storm.

I sometimes I hold on to things with a fear of letting go, even though I know that if I would just take the risk of falling, it would relieve others of heavy burden. I may be shaking like a leaf - but God, give me the courage to let go of things that are better off without me.

"So hold me, Jesus, cuz I'm shaking like a leaf.
You have been King of my glory, won't You be my Prince of Peace?"   - Rich Mu…

Body Parts

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Today I turned 50 and can I just say that it feels like my body is falling apart? Places hurt for no apparent reason and demand my attention no matter how hard I try to ignore it.

Two weeks ago, I stubbed my left pinky toe (actually I think I broke it). Suddenly that tiny little extremity took total control of the rest of my body. It turned a fantastic shade of purple and blew up like a little balloon. It still screams the minute I stick it in a shoe. I limp around all day, then favor and pamper it at night. Meanwhile, it dictates when I work out (or not) so basically gets priority over all other parts because it's hurting!

The Scriptures call those who belong to Jesus Christ the "body" of Christ, while Jesus Himself is referred to as the "Head". The Apostle Paul uses this analogy to explain the importance of each member of the body, regardless of how insignificant some of us may seem. There are people who quietly serve the other members of the body basically unn…

Full Plate

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After going through the ala cart smorgasbord in the café, I arrived at the cash register with my heaping plate of food where it was placed on a scale. Not only were my eyes bigger than my stomach, but bigger than my pocketbook. The cashier held out her hand, smiling patiently. Embarrassed, I began dumping out the lint, paperclips, and wrappers from my pockets for the world to see, as the line grew and I heard an audible sigh directly behind me.
Finally, back at my desk to begin my “working lunch”, I went into my ever familiar overwhelmed mode when my auto reminder popped up with the meeting in 10 minutes. I instantly felt another hot flash coming on. Not wanting to walk into the meeting dripping with sweat, I scrambled to find my little battery operated hand held fan. “I’ve got too much on my plate!” I thought.

During the meeting, the color coded action item list was handed out and the woman next to me leaned over said, “who signed you up for all of this?” I rolled my eyes and whispere…

Boundaries

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The Colorado air is growing colder and the leaves are turning their familiar gold color, signaling the beginning of fall. Standing before a large, 5 foot square fire pit, I noticed how children played all around it without a care in the world, intuitively knowing they were protected by the rot iron fence. Mesmerized by the flames, I thought about how that fence created not only a sense of safety for them, but comfort and warmth for me.

During a recent trip to the zoo with a friend, in the reptile area, there was an extremely large boa constrictor coiled up against wall of its cage. A tiny girl bounced up next to me and calmly placed her hand on the glass. Her Daddy smiled and said, "he's almost as big as you are!" I immediately thought about how quickly he could devour her as a tasty appetizer. That glass represented the same feeling of safety as the fence around the fire.

Imagine the utter hysteria of both scenes without the rot iron fencing and the glass boundaries. I w…

Sense of Direction

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I recently heard an interesting statistic about people who use GPS systems in their automobile. A survey revealed that on average, most people prefer a male voice rather than that of a female. The general consensus was that the male voice was more authoritative and people tended to trust it more.
Ironically, a friend of mine told me about a time when she was driving to an unfamiliar destination when her elderly mother began arguing with her GPS (affectionately named “Bruce”). “Mom got so irritated with him, saying ‘I don’t know why he told you to turn there, he’s just wrong!’” my friend laughed. She went on to tell me how she couldn’t even hear what Bruce was saying because her mother was arguing with him so loudly. Finally, she said, “okay, Mom, you win. I will turn Bruce off and go wherever you think is right.” Of course, they ended up completely lost.
The Holy Spirit (also known as the conscience) is our built-in GPS. Question is - do we trust Him enough to follow His direction or d…

Come As You Are

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"I'm going to be a grandma!" Pam was more excited than I'd ever seen her when she told me of her daughter's pregnancy. She described every detail of the nursery, right down to the trim. Every color was carefully selected and walls are carefully painted to match the butterfly decor. Frilly dresses are already hanging in the closet and color coordinated blankets are folded neatly on the dresser as family and friends wait anxiously for the baby's arrival. She will soon be welcomed to a place prepared special just for her.

Who doesn't love coming to a place where we're accepted exactly for who we are? No judging, no expectations. I'm reminded of that 80's sitcomm Cheers' theme song. Sadly, many of us feel more welcome in a bar, (the setting of this TV series) - than anywhere else we can find. There's a reason why this program was so successful:

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your w…

Swimming Upstream

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What makes me feel good about myself? That often depends on my spiritual thermostat.
 When I distance myself from God, the things that begin to matter most to me are the things furthest from Him. Superficial offerings entrap my heart and consume my mind. I begin to believe marketing slogans such as, “Because I’m worth it” and “Have it your way” – created for the sole purpose of enticement. The goal, of course, is to make us believe that we need those things in order to look and feel great. When we place high value on material things rather than on things that really matter like relationships, our demise is exponential on the downside and we begin teetering on the brink of spiritual destruction from within.
When we presume upon God’s grace we become desensitized, thinking that because He is gracious, we now have a license to sin. This is most dangerous and exactly why King David prayed, “Keep your servant also from presumptuous sin; may it not have dominion over me!” (Psalm 19:13). The c…

Paper Armor

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The Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians to put on the "full armor of God" so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to stand our ground. (Ephesians 6:13). He then details the spiritual relevance of each piece of that armor: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

I searched the term Roman Armor and discovered some thought provoking information. When a soldier was equipped with the “full” armor – not just partially – he had everything he needed to defend, protect, and conquer.
The armor was not only used for offensive and defensive protection, but it was also meant to intimidate. For instance, helmets were made with a ring of three black or purple feathers about 45cm high to make each man appear twice his height.

I also found it interesting that the soldiers would lock their shields and move forward as a unit. Brethren, we must remember that as an army…

Thank You Jesus

Thank You Jesus for becoming weak so I don't have to be strong.

Thank You for being willing to be considered imperfect and strange, so I don't have to be perfect and normal.

Thank You for being willing to be disapproved of, so I don't have to try so hard to be approved and liked.

Thank You for being considered a failure, so I don't have to give my life trying to pretend I'm a success.

Thank You for being wrong by the standards of religion and state, so I don't have to be right anywhere, even in my own mind.

Deep Roots

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When my husband informed me that he cut down our large cottonwood tree, to say I was upset would be a major understatement. It was, after all, the most mature tree in the newly developed area. It provided shade over our entire front yard every summer and was home to a variety of birds.

When he explained that the roots were breaking our sprinkler system, I thought, "then we replace the sprinkler system!" Determined to defend his actions, He proceeded to explain that they would also crack our foundation eventually. "eventually?", I thought, "who knows if we'll even live here that long?"

It was too late. Arguing for the life of that poor tree was pointless. The deed was already done. Sensing my anger, he gave it a few days and then we talked about it again. He explained how tree roots, (cottonwoods especially), seek water underground. They are known to wrap around underground pipes because of the moisture until they burst. He pointed out how they thrive al…

Temporary Visa

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Last night my husband and I attended the funeral of a classmate friend we had gone to school with since 7th grade. As family and friends shared memories and a slideshow began, it became evident that he had touched countless others with just his broad, bright smile alone -not to mention his wit and charm. He had a contagious, positive outlook on life and was always eager to share it even in his illness.

During this life on earth, we carry a temporary visa and we are actually being prepared now for eternity!

I thank God that this is not our permenant address.

Unlike this German passport stamped "denied entry", all who have received the gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be warmly welcomed to the place "prepared for us".

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they w…

God's Symphony

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I recently attended my first symphony when my husband surprised me with tickets for my birthday.  The orchestra was warming up when we sat down, only 5 rows from the stage.

What struck me was the utter chaos of noise. Not music - noise. All instruments doing their own thing (I'm sure each one with his/her own purpose in mind). There was no order, only loud confusion and painful screeching.

Then came the dignified conductor. It became silent as all eyes and attention were fixed on him. I could feel the anticipation as he raised his arms, like bridled horses anxiously waiting for the trumpet blast.

As he motioned softly for the musicians to begin, they came in together, as one - according to his direction. Then he gave permission for another section to join in, then another. It was so masterful and he was in such control. Nothing was done apart from his direction and as long as they followed him, all was beautiful and harmonious. The talent and skill of each member was displayed perfec…

Let Your Light Shine

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During Halloween season, we cut off the tops of pumpkins, pull out all the goop, carve a design into the side, and place a candle inside to shine in the darkness.

This seems to me a perfect picture of what God desires to do within our hearts. If we will allow, He will gently clean out the seeds of hurt, wounds, anger, distrust, lust, insecurity, guilt, etc. Basically, anything within us that would prevent His light from shining through our lives.

Unless we invite the Great Physician to perform this open heart surgery, we can never experience freedom from the muck that weighs us down and holds us captive to our own destructive attitudes and behaviors.

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16



Seen By Men

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"They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men" (Matt. 6:5).

This is the working definition of hypocrisy: "to be seen by men." The Greek word for hypocrite, hypokrits, originally meant "actor." First-century actors wore masks. A hypocrite, then, is one who puts on a mask, a false face.

Jesus did not say, "Do not do good works." Nor did he instruct, "Do not let your works be seen." We must do good works, and some works, such as benevolence or teaching, must be seen in order to have an impact. So let's be clear. To do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not. In fact, to do good to be seen is a serious offense. Here's why.

Hypocrisy turns people away from God. When God-hungry souls walk into a congregation of wannabe superstars, what happens? When God seekers see singers strut like Las Vegas entertainers . . . When they hear the preacher—a man of slick …

Twice Adopted

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Sitting at the airport, I observed the warm embrace of children, lovers, parents, and friends. I saw tears flow. Tears of happiness and sadness. Greetings and farewells rang through the air. The intensity of human emotion struck me like never before. Clearly, we were meant for relationships; not loneliness.

A year ago, in July of 2009, the long search for my birth mother ended when my 19 year old daughter found her obituary on the internet, along with her photograph. Even at 85 years old, I immediately saw the resemblance and knew without a doubt that she was my mother. She had passed away only two months prior.

The obituary listed her six older brothers. Five were described as "preceded in death" and one was still living at age ninety seven. I discovered that one, a twin, had passed away at age 14 from a misdiagnosed ruptured appendix. The other five served in the military for years. One had been a pilot and had made a heroic emergency water landing in the Pacific Ocean. It …

Into His Arms

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Soon after the birth of our son, we enrolled him in swimming lessons. He swam instinctively. The water provided a familiar and comfortable environment. Then came the day when he stood on the edge of the pool and jumped in. Without even a hint of fear or hesitation, he happily jumped into his father's arms. His expression remains emblazoned in my mind. It was that of sheer delight! And he wanted to do it again and again. As long as Daddy was there with his arms outstretched, he was more than ready to jump.


Jesus' disciples were terrified as the boat was tossed about like a toothpick (Mark 4:35-41). Meanwhile, Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. How was He in such peace while His disciples were in fear of losing their very lives? Remember, these were experienced fishermen. It's not like they weren't accustomed to storms. The answer: He was resting in His Father's arms. 


How comfortable am I jumping into the arms of my Heavenly Father? Do I really trust Him?…

Train Them Up

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I can always count on God meeting me in the classroom of my flower garden. The place where my Teacher can actually capture my attention and impress upon me unforgettable lessons. 


This one came from my purple Clematis. It climbs up the wooden lattice, weaving in and out, through and around the openings. This flowering vine must be guided gently in the desired direction while it's growing. If not consistently directed, the Clematis - like any other vine - will quickly become unruly. After only a short time, it had latched onto the nearby aspens.


I stood gazing up, shaking my head. This was the result of my own neglect. Although beautiful and healthy, it was completely out of control!  What followed was the painful and tedious task of prying it away from the aspen grove back onto it's intended boundary.


Then it came. The subtle tap on the shoulder accompanied by His familiar voice. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."…

Straight Talk on Legislation

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.


 Adrian Rogers, 1931 - 2005

WTF?

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Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Ps 42:4-6

I draw comfort from these words of the Psalmist, especially when my soul is "downcast". 

David was a shepherd who loved and protected every lamb in his fold.  Sometimes, when they would lay down, they would roll too far and end up with their hooves up in the air and no way to turn back over. Perfect prey for nearby wolves who were just waiting for the opportunity to attack. This predicament was known as "downcast" by shepherds.  A good shepherd was one who was watchful and ready to run to the rescue, gently turning him over.  David mentioned fighting off enemies of the flock when he fearlessly stood up to Goliath. Although young and small, he was unafraid - knowing that God always accompanied him, directing the stones he flung, ensuring precision

I draw comfort from these words of the Psalmist, especially when my soul is…

Spring Forward

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I allow work to overtake my life at times, like neglecting my flower garden and suddenly it's overcome with weeds. Then I will suddenly wake up and say "oh my gosh - how did this happen?" and begin pulling out the things that weigh me down inside. Springtime, when new life is popping up all around and the Robins start their joyful song - is the perfect time to re-evaluate our priorities, make a new start, call up old friends, travel to new places, begin reading a good book, open the windows of the heart and let the fresh air in!