Monday, December 5, 2011
It's December 5 and I've done all my Christmas shopping. That's pretty unusual. The cards are also ready and waiting to be written and sent. Again, unusual. There are songs filling my heart, new ones, about miracles and Christmas. One song I wrote and sang is being played around the world this Christmas. More than unusual, extraordinary. Today may be the unusual day when all the songs on my new album, well SEASONED, come back from mastering and ship right off for duplication. This morning, I awoke to find that 20 people had "liked" my facebook music ministry page, Livingwell Seed Co. That's a 33% increase overnight! Now maybe some of those people have come from hearing Rock of Ages Lullaby on the radio somewhere in the country or the world, but it's an unusually extraordinary increase. But I have a dozen new people following this little blog, too!
This year, I've bumped into an extraordinary bunch of people 'outside the walls'. They're just out there doing what we all should do: helping one another. But that, too can be pretty unusual. They're bloggers, and my unusual friend, the Miki of Miki's Hope thought I might like to join them in the blessing of giving... in the miracle of people helping people. And, I'm happy to participate in their unusual blogging and giving away... (Read more about it at: http://www.onebusymoma.net/2011/12/bloggers-giving-back-christmas-for-kids.html).
Lots of people need help this year. Why not get together with someone else and go out and do whatever you can. If everyone does a little something for someone, God will be unusually pleased!
Have a blessed week!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The big dinner is planned, the pie crusts are rolling and the rolls are rising.
Well, maybe not. For some, it is the beginning of a seasonal struggle. Inundated with Norman Rockwell-ian images of family feasts, their hearts begin to sink through the sidewalks. We have heard it said that it is “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” (Tennyson, 1851). Surely, once we have tasted love, it is never forgotten, even though its absence can be painful. But, this absence can be a sinkhole in the midst of the joyous landscape.
There are soup lines and community feasts for those that want to go. But, that may not be the answer for you. After all, you don’t really know anybody, so you can still feel alone. “God knows,” you shrug. “He must have a reason for wanting me to be go through this.”
I’m sure He does, but it may not be the reason you have in mind.
First and foremost, recognizing that He really does have a plan for you is vital. If you don’t know that, you are going to drift out of the harbor. So, put down your anchor in the hope of His goodness and His plan. “I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” Jeremiah 29:11, The Message.
He’s not making light of your pain and neither am I. But, it won’t go away unless you fill it with something else. And that is His never ending love for you. I’m not talking about denying the emptiness. I’m talking about not denying that His plan is good. If it isn’t good, it’s not His plan.
So, find a quiet spot and sit there for a few minutes. Re-focus. Look at things from His perspective. He is ready to show you that you are just the person He needs to go visit some folks in the hospital and bring them a smile. Maybe you are the one that should be serving the mashed potatoes at the soup kitchen. I don’t know what God will show you, but I do know this: He won’t show you anything unless you really want to see. And when you do see it and you go do it, you will be wondering what happened to the sinkhole!
God is all about doing new things, you see. He has never resigned as the Creator. Don’t waste time looking back at what was. Look forward to His plan for you… with thanksgiving!
Intrapersonal Learning is the blogspot of Livingwell Seed Co.
Monday, November 21, 2011
It was not a time to run the risk of praying ineffectively. We were not about wringing our hands and pacing the floor, for where is the faith in that? So, every thought of our beloved granddaughter brought the promises of Psalm 91 to mind and to mouth in thanks to God for His faithfulness. Her car had broken down 118 miles from home on her way home from college for Thanksgiving. “She dwells in the shelter of the Most High God… He gives His angels charge over her to keep her in all her ways… No evil befalls her…” It was four hours before her dad arrived. She sat outside a convenience store in a “sketchy” area, watching, in her words, “A few minor drug deals” go down.
When things are out of your control, do you automatically assume that they are in God’s control? Do you just assume He is going to work everything out alright? Certainly, God wants to work in the earth He created, He loves us and He wants His will to come to pass here. But God has always worked through covenants and we ignore that to our peril.
These agreements between two parties are not the kind of ‘promise anything today and forget it tomorrow’ thing we see in our day. They were for life or they meant death. Since the betrayal in the garden (the breaking of the first covenant), God has instituted many covenants of peace with Human-Kind, where He promised to provide, protect and prosper (among other things). But there has always been a clearly stated “if” clause. There was always something Human-Kind had to do. And the only time it ever worked or went well was when Human-Kind (HK) did his or her part.
God, you see, has already done His part. Our part is to believe it.
We do not have to ask if God wants to protect our dear ones. We knew that He did. We just began to give Him thanks for it according to that promise, and all the airwaves of the universe carried the message, “Leave this one alone, she belongs to the Most High.”
Look in His promises and you will find a God who cares for and loves you beyond anything you can imagine. He has already provided the very best for you.
Welcome to Intrapersonal Learning, the blogspot of Livingwell Seed Co.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Sometimes it seems like things fall right into place and then other times... well, you know. When the pummeling starts, you just think, "I'll be ok." But before you realize it you've lost your bearings and the room starts spinning. You lay there flat on your back wondering where you went wrong.
You may have done nothing wrong. You may have been doing a lot of things right and the spiritual hornets aren't happy about it. So, the onslaught begins. Something beyond your control was overlooked and it meant a set back for you. Disappointed, but not discouraged, you smooth your ruffled hair, get up and go on. You make the best of it. Then comes another blow, and another and another. "They're just little things," you say to yourself. God's bigger and He has a better plan. It will be o.k. Then your car gets rear ended. "I'm fine, really." But you are beginning to wonder... You're tired, you're not very happy, and nothing seems to be going right. You can't seem to figure it out.
Then, you sit down for your devotions and come face to face with: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." And after a little while it hits you. You have not been very thankful for all of this. You haven't been very thankful for very much of anything.
And, you see, when you aren't thankful you aren't experiencing the wonderful will of God in the Anointed one for you. So, you may not feel very thankful, and you may not like what's going on, but the most amazing things begin to happen when you begin to put your mouth in gear and say "Thank you, Father."
The world begins to come back to order again, and before you know it. You really are thankful!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
This week, an email from an “underground” group about the Leaven of the Pharisees appeared in my inbox. I had always acknowledged that the Pharisees were, uhhm, pharisaical – straining at gnats and swallowing camels in their Letter of the Law Legalism, but I never considered exactly what the Leaven was. It fits perfectly with all that Jesus said about them, however, to consider that the Leaven was hypocrisy itself. He warned us to “Beware of Leaven of the Pharisees, because just a Little bit of it would Leaven the whole Lump of dough. How easy it is to become tainted with hypocrisy, the “holier than thou” mentality that poisons Life itself and makes us Law breakers instead of Love makers. We have opportunities daily!
Last night, for example as I was Looking at books in a Local discount store, I encountered a man Loudly accusing his wife that she “must have spent” a Lot more money on some perfume than she had admitted. A few minutes Later, they stood near the Bibles where he criticized the selections, saying that the average person wouldn’t know the difference between the King James Bible and the New King James Bible. When they moved on, I Looked to see what could have sparked such a comment, but could only surmise that he was a King James-only believer.
Replaying the scene in my mind this morning I thought about confronting the man and asking him if he thought the translators paid by the British Monarch, James in 1611 were more Learned or Loved God more than those who Live in modern times. I could have even asked him if he thought the Dead Sea Scrolls and recent archeological discoveries that informed more recent translations, were inferior to the subjects of James, who was at the Least, a superstitious despot, who claimed, along with many others in the monarchy, to have divine power. His point of view seemed to Lack a factual foundation. It then occurred to me that I had an immediate distaste for the man who publicly spoke out against and embarrassed his wife. I could easily have asked him if he believed his brand of Christianity was one that Led others to the Love of God.
Then I considered a recent visit with a Lovely Lady who had been born and raised in the Jewish faith. She asked me if I could get help from my church in promoting my new album. My response was that I did not currently “have” a church. Whether this was to be a permanent or a temporary condition was irrelevant at the time, so I Left it at that. Was it because of the “born againers?” she inquired. Leaving hardly a moment for me to answer, she Launched into a story about a client who had come to her house for bookkeeping services and told her that he wanted to be the one to convert her. She was not amused. It was apparent that her guest had no sensitivity to any spirit but the one that drove her further away from the Love of God. She very carefully explained what she really believed about Jesus and very graciously dismissed this “born againer” along with all the others. It Left me speechless.
Earlier yesterday, I stood in the hall with a fellow teacher, who took the opportunity to mention her own struggle with Lawbreakers in our midst: those who think that rules are merely suggestions meant for others. I understood, of course, but acknowledged that I had to Learn to Look the other way so as to maintain my focus on my own business. “Sometimes,” I added, “I just have to keep to myself.” She smiled, and said she was glad I was there, and remembered another friend’s words to her, that “some people are just put in our paths to teach us grace.”
Indeed, even though Jesus protested Loudly, and publicly Laid into the Law-Lovers, we, his followers, are Left vulnerable by even righteous indignation, which very rapidly (overnight, as it were) inflates us with the very Leaven we decry.
We are Left with only one solution, and that is to Let Jesus do the scourging, while we focus on His Love. It is the “new” commandment against which there is no Law. Speak the truth in that Love if we are Led to do so, Leave if we must, but we can only render the Leaven powerless by Laying down our Lives so that the Lord who has Loved can Live through us.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The subject line of the email from a particular training institute made me smile this morning: “Certificate in Spiritual Direction.” Like the contents of the fortune cookie Gary handed across the table the night before last, these were signs “following.” What happened between these two events was yesterday.
With the exception of the driving and shopping experiences, I’m not led by signs. But when they follow after a decision or choice has been made and acted upon, I become very alert. Some would call it “confirmation.” When we effectively pray and believe that God will answer, then proceed to act upon what He reveals to us, this obedient faith brings many rewards. Among these is the continued assurance that everything around us is congruously aligned, because we are in the right place at the right time and we’re hearing, seeing and doing what is right —right down to fortune cookies and emails. It’s called “peace.” This peace I’m referring to is the peace whose root is in the Hebrew word “Shalom,” and a simplified paraphrase of that multifaceted word is: “nothing missing, nothing broken.”
Getting back to yesterday’s decision making. The need arose the day before when things that had been painstakingly aligned began to fall apart. Imagine if you will, trying to hold a house of cards together in a wind storm. Instead of trying to hold it together, sometimes you have to let it fall apart, look at what’s left and figure out what God wants you to do with it.
In this case, it was transportation plans for a conference in Virginia Beach that fell through, leaving me wondering what to do. After receiving the news, that the family I was supposed to ride with had a very sick child and wasn’t going to go, I began praying and reviewing options. None of them seemed to produce the efficient and smooth results of which I have grown fond. By dinner time, I had decided to leave it alone and let God show me, knowing the answer would probably come in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
Taking the first fortune cookie after our meal at the Chinese buffet, Gary admitted his fault and handed me the paper with a smile, “This is for you.” I realize now that they could well have just been a poor translation into English, but at that time they seemed quite clear. “Good decisions will only be made tomorrow.” Exactly as I had already determined, I repeated aloud. “Yep, the only good decision I will make about this is going to come tomorrow,” and smiled back.
When tomorrow arrived (yesterday), I began looking for the answers in every leading, whether it resembled inspiration or not. But, after researching every possible mode of transportation and weighing all the aspects of driving myself, only one fact was clear. Anyway I looked at it I was going to lose something financially. More important was the loss of the peace I have come to greatly value. It was time for a heart-to-heart talk.
“What’s wrong here, Lord? What am I missing? Where is the connection broken? If I’m not supposed to go, I won’t go. But if I’m supposed to go and this is just enemy opposition, I need to know what I’m dealing with. I’ll believe you to restore the money that’s been spent, like I believe You’ll restore other things that were stolen or destroyed. But I thought You wanted me to go. I would rather repent now than to go where You aren’t leading me.”
One thing was immediately clear. I wasn’t going anywhere in my nightgown. So, I began to dress and do the chores, and things began to get clearer. I began to follow each little piece of the tangled strands to see how it was connected and where it led. When I pulled out the one that led to not going to the conference I found my peace.
I counted the cost. The hotel alone was $200. The conference was only $69. But the peace was (you guessed it) priceless. The burden began to instantly lift. I didn’t know just why I wasn’t supposed to go. I just knew I wasn’t supposed to go. A couple of hours of peace passed before the thought occurred to me to call the hotel to cancel. When I did, I simply explained that the family I was coming with had a very sick child and I wasn’t going to be able to come. What would I owe them? “Under the circumstances,” the clerk replied, “Nothing.” Add to the peace, joy!
As the day went on the peace lasted and I really didn’t feel like I was missing anything. There was certainly plenty to do and now I could focus on those things. It was that simple. The subject line in the inbox today was exactly what it stated, my Certificate of Spiritual Direction, God’s loving way of saying, “well done!” It makes me wonder why anyone would want to live any other way.