Sunday, July 28, 2013

Living in the Moment

I recently spent three days and three nights attending an Emmaus Walk at a local church. I had heard about them for years, but never felt nudged to attend one until several weeks ago. It was described to me, prior to my attendance, as little blessings and surprises wrapped in love that kept building upon each other. Of course I tried hard to figure that out, but there was no way I could’ve been prepared for what transpired—especially in my own heart. I won’t share any of those major surprises with you (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else), but I will say I was blown away. Not immediately, but well into the second day it seemed I couldn’t quit crying from the joy and overwhelming love, I continuously felt from God.

The stress of daily life had crept up on me to the point where I had been doing very little ministry, including inspirational writing. I had drifted away from the Lord, and hadn’t even realized it. I had let myself become increasingly busy trying to make up for my husband’s job loss, and to emotionally be there for him through his chronic pain. Having time set aside just to hear from God was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Right off the bat, the most refreshing thing I heard from the leaders was, we wouldn’t see any clocks and not to wear a watch so we could “live in the moment.”  That proved to be a lot harder for some than for others. For me, not only was it refreshing, but it was humbling to realize how little I had been trusting God, and how much I had been trying to control my own life. I had been missing out on living today, because I was so worried about tomorrow.

I had forgotten to put (and keep) first things first. We are not here to make money and have nice houses. Yes, we do need some money and a decent dwelling, but the buying and caring for stuff should never mean more to us than serving God by loving and ministering to others. When we keep our priorities right, God blesses us and uses us to be a blessing.

How about you? Are you living in the moment? Are you trusting God with the small stuff?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stop and Pray

            Kathy lived in a nearby city and one evening it was announced on our local news that she was missing, along with the family’s minivan. Fortunately, she was discovered the next day, unharmed and several hundred miles from home. It seems she had driven to a nearby highway and then continued driving mindlessly for hours. 
            The reason was soon discovered:  life had become too much to deal with and she had “run away.”  The stress of being everything to everyone had taken its toll. 
            I think each one of us, at some point in our life, could relate to this woman. Sometimes life gets too complicated and painful— we’d love to purchase a one-way ticket to nowhere.  For most of us, it is a sense of hopelessness and despair that prompts us to want to flee; we are despondent about our situation and can’t see a way out. 
            Maybe it’s a bad marriage and the enemy of your soul keeps whispering, “Get a divorce and solve all your problems.” It seems it would be the easy way out; after all, your mate is never going to change….
It’s at those crucial moments that we need to stop and pray. The One who created us knows and understands our longing to escape. He knows how tough this life can be.  When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane and cried out, “…nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done,” His human flesh wanted to run, but God’s power enabled him to stay and pray. (Luke 22:42)
            That same power can enable you to stay and pray, too. Keep your hand in the Father’s hand and hang on tight. He will guide you through this maze called life. He will walk beside you and never leave you, no matter how tough it gets.

            Lord, remind us that You are with us, even when we don’t feel Your presence.  Amen.

“And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Seeing Eye of God

I don’t know about you, but when I shop, walk inside a bank, get gas for my car, or attend a public gathering, I often forget I’m being watched on a camera. I forget that what I am doing has the potential to be viewed by many. And in this day and age, anything we do could be put on You Tube and possibly viewed by millions— without our knowledge or permission. It is a mind-boggling thought, and one that makes most of us uncomfortable. Being observed by others without our knowledge, or consent, seems just plain wrong.
The flip side to this, however, is that lots of criminals get caught thanks to all these cameras. It’s hard to deny in a court of law that you did something when your face and actions are plastered on a screen. And who would argue the worth of film records when a terrorist or a horrible babysitter gets caught because of a hidden camera?
I’m not a You Tube junkie, but a while back there was a short video circulating of people getting caught in the act of kindness. It was wonderfully refreshing. We forget there are lots of good people in this world whose daily acts of kindness quite often go unnoticed. There are many dedicated caregivers who go the extra mile caring for people and keeping order in their home. They offer words of encouragement and hugs when they don’t have to. There are shoppers who pick up clothes on the floor left by others and hang them up. There are patient people in line who let strangers behind them go ahead. Many of these actions are filmed on camera, but seldom do they show up on the 6:00 news or get praised on a large scale…by man anyway.
Yet, our all-knowing, all-seeing God doesn’t miss a one. He doesn’t miss anything we say, do, or think. Our heavenly Father knows the good about us and the bad; yet loves us anyway. He seeks only our time, our attention, and especially our love.
Maybe we should be less worried about humans watching us and more concerned about our Holy God, the One whom we will stand before on Judgment Day. How do we live in front of Him?
God cares about the small stuff, and sees it. What if we lived like we truly believe He knows everything we say, do, or think? What difference would that make in our life?

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