Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eat Pray Love

I watched this movie, Eat Pray Love, with my husband recently. The main character goes on this year long, self-discovery journey and lands in a different location around the world for each part. Neither of us liked it very much, but the scenery was beautiful. It definitely made us want to go to Rome one day.

Real life in our house doesn't allow for a year long journey, but every day does! Every day we have an opportunity to eat, pray and love with the ones we're surrounded by.

Eat-Our daily journey usually culminates at the dinner table each night. Our children are still fairly young, so we can have a family meal almost daily. It's a good time for us and much conversation happens around the table. We've been intentional about making this work, but I know it won't last forever.

Pray-This is probably the weakest link of the three parts for us. We talk about people, things or situations that we need to pray over, but we don't necessarily pray for them together. Prayer is such an intimate thing I think that it is hard sometimes to have others hear us. We feel like we're listening in on a private conversation. Thankfully God hears us, and so we pray individually.

Love-Every day as a work at home Mom, I can love my family quite easily. Whether it's by doing the laundry, cleaning the house or making a good meal, serving my family is loving them. Making our home a warm, safe place that builds their confidence and encourages them in their life is a blessing.

Make every day count. Be intentional about eating, praying and loving with the ones you're surrounded by.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here and Now...There and Then

Have you ever done something knowing it would be good for you, but all the while feeling your stomach turn? Your hands are trembling and your palms are sweaty. You keep taking deep breaths hoping that your body will calm down. That was me a couple of months ago as I began leading a group of ladies through "Here and Now...There and Then." It's a lecture series on Revelation by Beth Moore.

Now I know that any time spent in God's Word will be good for me, but I was a wreck with worry over this particular one. My friend, Kelli, and I lead this community group together. We decided last summer that Revelation was what God was calling us to offer this Fall. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I had never led any Bible study on Revelation. Frankly in the 20+ years of teaching and leading Bible studies, I never wanted to. It scared me and made me quite uncomfortable. There was just too much that I didn't know or understand. Too many questions and a lot of "I don't knows."

God had a different plan. We had been praying for God to bring new ladies to our group; ladies who weren't in a Bible study anywhere. And He did, of course He did! I think this was the biggest group we've ever had and I didn't know the majority of them. Funny how God does that. I had seriously sweaty palms now, but we were already committed. So we started and to paraphrase a famous movie line, "He had me at Hello."

Revelation 1:3 says, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."

After reading that verse I was no longer afraid, but ready to receive all that God wanted to teach me and show me through this series. Even if it meant having more "I don't knows" to say, I wanted to read and hear every word of Revelation. So I dug my heels in and went through every chapter. Rest assured I have seriously more questions than answers now. But that's o-k, because I also have a bigger picture of who Jesus is now.

In the final chapter Jesus calls himself the "Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." He began all this and He will one day end all of this. However, what struck me the most was from the beginning of Revelation to the end, He fights for us. Jesus is our Advocate-from creation to the completion of His Kingdom, He's fighting for us. Nothing that happens in my life or yours occurs without His knowledge. He's our one true Advocate, here and now, there and then.

Ever wanted to study Revelation? Go ahead, get your blessing. I got mine!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Escape Clauses

Wikipedia defines an escape clause as "any clause, term or condition in a contract that allows a party to that contract to avoid having to perform the contract." In other words, it's a way to get out of doing what you promise to do. Some might say a loop hole! God's Word is full of His promises to us. Praying those should be easy. However, lately I find myself praying with escape clauses.

For instance, I'm praying for a friend who has been sick for quite a while. It's nothing terminal, but just nagging and bothersome. I know God is our healer. So I pray and ask God to make her healthy, but then I add, "If you don't, please help her to endure with understanding and grace." I'm praying for another friend whose husband needs a job. I know God is our provider. I ask God to give them a job, but then I add, "If you choose not to, help them to be wise and make good choices." Obviously God does not need my escape clauses, but I pray like He does. Do you? I want to be a prayer who believes God. Period.

In John Ortberg's book If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat, he says "But I want trust to be stronger. I never want the no of fear to trump the yes of faith." That's good stuff! (Take a moment and read it again.) The escape clauses I'm praying are out of fear. Fear that God may not answer the way I want Him to. Fear that I may be embarrassed or that I've somehow failed to have enough faith. God is Faithful and True. I can trust Him and so can you. God help us to pray that way from now on. Amen.