Sunday, December 14, 2008

Choose Your Gift Wisely

Isaiah 9: v. 6-7 NIV
6." For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the goverment will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7. Of the increase of his goverment and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Mighty God will accomplish this."

The realization that Jesus was sent to be a permanent solution for the dilemma of mankind was completely missed by the Pharisees and the people of Israel. They wanted political freedom and freedom from bondage, but were only willing to accept that freedom for a short time. They were short sighted and didn't see beyond the "now" of their lives and their nation.

Had they really given thought to the previous reign of kings, they'd have realized there can never be any long term peace or freedom with any earthly goverment or king. Once a ruler's reign ends, who's to say will take their place, leaving them once again in a vulnerable position.

They were blinded to the words in scripture, such as "there will be no end, forever and Mighty God." Isaiah spoke of a king that would rule forever. He would also be able to deliver them from their sins because he would be divine or holy, something only God could do.

Matthew 1: v. 18, 21 NIV
18. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary .... was found to be with child through the Holy Ghost." 21. "She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

You have two packages to choose from this Christmas. One is an earthly package wrapped with fancy paper, a huge bow and gives the most sparkle. It's usually the one we reach for first. When opened it may contain an instant but temporary solution or relief to your "now" situation.

The other is a heavenly package, but it isn't wrapped with fancy paper, ribbons and doesn't sparkle.

Luke 2: v. 7 NIV
"She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manager...."

This gift will be chosen with the heart and opened by faith. It was wrapped in love and when opened will reveal in light and glory a permanent and eternal solution for all mankind.

Luke 2: v. 30-32 NIV
30." For my eyes have seen your salvation," 31." which you have prepared...." 32." a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

Which gift will you choose?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Faith Driven

Thursday, Nov. 20th my husband lost his job. Wow! What a blow in light of how I avoided thinking about the economy. Now I was faced with it on a personal level. Not only did he face not having a paycheck until he found another job, that following Monday his car wouldn't start. With perseverance though he walked several miles to get a car part, only to find it wasn't the one needed. The next day, prepared for interviews and wearing dress shoes, he walked several miles again to fill out job applications. He did this every day, walking between finding car parts and trying to find a job. Finally, this past weekend he did get his car fixed.

The Bible speaks of those who had perseverance. It was driven by faith, sometimes not seeing the end result, but trusting God for it.

Hebrews 10: v. 36 NIV
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives a long list of those who persevered through faith.

Hebrews 11: v. 7,8
7. By faith Noah, when warned about things, not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. 8. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

I admit I don't have the perseverance that some have. I don't think I'd be able or willing to walk miles as my husband did. This may be because it wasn't God's plan for me. He knows each individual and their abilities. I believe God will give us the faith, energy, courage or whatever it takes for the task at hand and at the time it's needed.

If our pursuit toward a goal, job, etc. is filled with struggles and empty gaps of energy, desire or faith, perhaps we're pursuing a path that isn't God's will. Our perseverance needs to be driven by faith-when we hear God's call. Remember, Abraham responded "when called" and Noah responded "when warned." Sometimes we're not listening.

"Listen ever so quietly." What has God put within your heart to pursue? It's something, perhaps just an idea or a dream, but it's followed by faith. Unlike desires that are worked up by human effort, fizzle out and leave us disappointed, it will be one that is God given and God driven.

My husband is still pursuing a job and we're praying God will direct him to the right one. I'm learning to stop and listen for God's voice in my life. It's a walk by faith that only God can give.

Hebrews 11: v. 1 NIV
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Call To Clown Ministry

Me, a clown? "No way," was my answer. This was back in the spring of 2001 when the grocery store where I worked asked me to dress as a clown and give out cake and balloons one Sat. They were celebrating their bakery's 25th anniversary.

That same week my church was having a Ministry Fair and the pastor had asked that everyone be in prayer about what ministry God wanted them to be used in. As I prayed, my thoughts turned to choir, teaching children, or missions. Perhaps God could use me in one of these areas.

That Sat. morning, the day before the Ministry Fair at church, I arrived at work in tow with this "stupid" outfit someone had provided and an array of makeup I'd managed to find at home. I figured white highlighter, lipsticks, and rouge would have to do. I stomped up the steps to the breakroom mumbling, "This is stupid, I hate this, I hate this," over and over to myself. I managed to get on the makeup as best I could according to what I thought a clown should look like. It was scarey to say the least. I stomped back down the steps, not a very happy clown.

I retrieved the cart from the bakery along with the balloons and started my pilgrimage through the store. Before long I noticed not only everyone's reaction to my presence, but my sudden change in attitude. I was amazed that the children, with mothers running behind, would scan every section just to find "the clown" someone had mentioned was here.

I became aware of changes in people's attitude and facial expressions. The smiles on the faces of the elderly and their need to express their graditude just touched my heart. It was as though "this clown" had made their day.

I had never heard of a "clown ministry," but by the end of the day God had opened my heart and I knew this was what He wanted. Sunday evening at church, I approached my pastor and youth director. "I believe God wants me to start a clown ministry." Out of their mouths came, "Good, we've been wanting to start one."

So "Charms," the clown was born. My name tag reads, "Not Lucky, Just Blessed." I would have never for a moment thought that I would be able to stand up in front of an audience, perform gospel illusions, do puppets, and entertain. But God equips us with what we need.

Hebrews 13: v. 20, 21 NIV

20. May the God of peace...21. equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ..."

I sought learning about clowning through books first, then I found a small group of clowns I joined called "The Funtastics." We did volunteer work in hospitals, churches, etc. including manning the phones for the MDA telethon one year. In 2002 I joined a professional clown group after taking a "clown class." Yes, there are classes you can take on clowning.

I now have my own clown ministry and I am on call for churches, retirement homes, schools, or wherever God leads this clown heart-and loving it!

Ephesians 4: v. 11

It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be "clowns" - (my calling).

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bread of Life

This past week our Sunday School class gathered to prepare boxes for "Operation Christmas Child." These are shoe boxes filled with toys, crayons, books, socks, toothbrushes, etc. to be sent around the world for children who are in need or otherwise would not receive anything for Christmas. The families, including the children, were encouraged to participate.

The class had decided to have lunch brought in and we had a time of fellowship before beginning to wrap and fill the boxes. During lunch I noticed one of the women holding her young child and rubbing her tummy. She said her daughter had a stomach ache. One minute later the child reached over to grab another bite of pizza and I heard her father say, "If your tummy hurts, you shouldn't be eating pizza." The child replied, "But daddy, I'm still hungry."

Her reply got me to thinking about how most people are. Without realizing it's spiritual hunger we have, we try to fill up on things of the world such as money, success, power or material things. We then find we're still not satisfied and though these things may cause us pain, we reach for more of the same.

1st Peter 1: v. 18 NIV "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life..."

In continuing to seek joy and fulfilment from what commercials, advertisements and society offers, you may find yourself still hungry and wanting more.

Psalm 103: v. 5 NIV "Who satisfies your desires with good things..."

We as Christians should be an example to others. When life brings difficulties and we fall short of the goals we've set, we may tend to fill empty. It is so important to make sure we are being filled with God's word so that others can see and be drawn to the bread of life.

John 6: v. 35 NIV Then Jesus declared, " I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who Am I?

I sat here this morning thinking and meditating over all God has given me, blessings and callings I feel upon my life. It's really overwhelming. I sat asking God, "How will I be able to accomplish any of it with what I have?" I work a full time job, I stay tired and I often feel inadequate for anything beyond necessity. In Exodus, chapter 3, Moses felt the same way.

Exodus 3: v. 11
"But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go...?"

First of all He had to get Moses' attention.

Exodus 3: v. 2-3 NIV
2." There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush...3. So Moses thought, " I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up."

God has to get our attention first so He can speak to our hearts and show us His calling upon our lives. This He may do through circumstances, our dreams or through His Holy Spirit consistently pressing something on our hearts and minds.

Moses was concerned about his ability to accomplish the task God had given him to do. He even voiced to God his weaknesses, but also his lack of faith.

Exodus 4: v. 10 NIV
"....Oh Lord,... I am slow of speech and tongue."

God's response:

Exodus 4: v. 11-12 NIV
11. "... Who gave man his mouth?... 12. "Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

We often focus on our inadequacies or our lack of skills to accomplish something God calls us to do. Let us remember God's promise and be ready by faith when He calls.

Isaiah 6: v. 8 NIV
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me."

P.S. In the near future, I plan on posting my story on how God called me into a "Clowning Ministry."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Standing by Faith

This past Tuesday as I listened to the numbers roll in on the elections, I've never felt more concern for where America is headed. Usually when I'm writing, I try not to be so one-sided. I have to admit also that I debated whether to post this or not. I realize though that I have to take a stand when it comes to my faith and in what God's word says. I have felt such a heaviness these last few days that weigh upon me.

I believe many have compromised their faith and values for the promise of "financial freedom and deliverance" from a "person" and have forgotton that God is their source.

Psalm 23: v. 1, 5 NIV
"1. The Lord is my shephard, I shall not be in want. 5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies."

There is nothing wrong with wanting our economy better, but we still need to choose leaders who share our faith and values. Beware, God will not tolerate second place.

2nd Timothy 3: v. 1, 2, 4 NIV
"1. But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, ....4. rather than lovers of God."

Yes, Obama may have been elected President, but he will be used by God for His glory to shake up a nation to once again seek His face.

John 14: v. 5 NIV
" can we know the way?"

God will remind us once again.

John 14: v. 6 NIV
"and Jesus answered,"I am the way, and the truth and the life."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who Do You Trust?

Well Election Day is almost here. It has been a hot topic these last few months, beginning to sizzle even more the last few weeks. What I've also noticed is that emotions are also sizzling. I've actually overheard customers in the market place throwing out accusations about each other's candidate and some of the descriptions used were very offensive. I've had to hold back myself when hearing derogatory remarks that are really unnecessary. That just proves I'm just as prone to "button pushing" as anyone else.

Proverbs 15: v. 1-2 NIV
1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."

What has become of us as a democracy and a nation that was founded on Christian principals and the Bible?

Psalm 34: v. 12 NIV
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,..."

We must remember our fate ultimately does not lie in the hands of any one person elected. This election and the one chosen to serve will be used by God for His purpose and power just as He also used Pharaoh in Egypt to deliver the Israelites.

Exodus 9: v. 16 NIV
"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

God used His own power to bend Pharaoh's will into letting His people go.

Romans 9: v. 16 NIV
"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

Who are we trusting, God or man? Are we looking to any one candidate to deliver us from whatever situation we're in or to relieve us of our fears of the future? Our actions and our words are showing what's in our hearts. Some of us have traded our values for money,(the fear of not having it) and have laid aside the love, mercy and forgiveness God has bestowed upon us.

Right now we live in a nation where we have the freedom to vote, worship, have a voice, buy, sell, trade and give with our hearts to those in need. Let's be careful though to whom we give homage and put our trust in. If we as a people fail to be a godly nation, we may find oursleves in bondage as the Israelites did begging for God's deliverance.

Ezekiel 38: v. 16
"And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sins, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they fell by the sword."

God has through His word given us instruction on how to conduct ourselves. He has shown us how and where to place those in authority.

1st Timothy 2: v. 1-2
1."I urge, then, first of all , that, requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-2. for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

As we head out to vote this Tuesday, may we do so prayerfully, considering our choices, while respecting those with a choice opposite ours. Just remember that God has the final vote.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Heart of Understanding

After I'd set up my blog, I had thought of changing the name from, "If Your Heart Could Write" to "If My Heart Could Write." I realized though that God had a purpose in the name. It wasn't about me, but the hearts of those it was meant to touch and communicate His message to.

1st Samuel 16: v.7 NIV
...."The Lord does not look at the things man looks at...but the Lord looks at the heart."

When our need to be understood is lost on those around us who only see on the surface, sometimes feelings get hurt. Just yesterday a co-worker blamed me for a situation that was beyond my control. The statement made was very offensive and almost instantly I started to recoil. To say the least I chewed on the bit awhile.

James 1: v. 19-20 NIV
...."Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

If I'd said what came to mind,(be slow to speak), in response to my anger,(be slow to anger), I would have missed(be quick to listen), what God wanted me to hear. He allowed me to see beyond the surface of her anger to her heart. Her outburst was a result of her pain to a situation also beyond her control.

Does God discount my hurt and my anger? He most definitely does not. I have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who understands.

Hebrews 4: v. 15 NIV
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin."

Does He leave me alone in my situation without an answer or a solution? He provides a way.

Hebrews 4: v. 6 NIV
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in time of need."

In leaving "self" at the "throne of grace" may our actions, not re-actions, bring about "the righteous life that God desires." James 1: v. 20

In so doing we may well lead someone in need to Jesus, the Great High Priest of understanding.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Words Reflected

Wow! My first opportunity to say something and I'm almost at a loss for words. It seems odd how we can chatter away endlessly, but when it comes to something important, our minds draw a blank. Everyday we are drawn into conversations about our co-workers, family, what the neighbors did down the street and on goes the list. I have often come home from work just exhausted from the negative conversations that have besieged me all day.
Isaiah 6: v. 5 "I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips."KJV
The sin in our heart is so much reflected in our conversations.
James 3: v. 13 "Who is a wise man among you and endued with knowledge.... let him show out of a good conversation his works."KJV
My desire is that what I speak and what is written would reflect who God is in my life, giving hope and encouragement to others.

Friday, October 24, 2008