Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friends of Jesus?

One thing that always intrigues me about the Salvation Army is the way that everyone accepts those who do not always look like perfect 'church goers'. We know from scripture, that Jesus ran with prostitutes, thieves, drunks, and tax collectors. His disciples were not theologians, or even well educated, but simpe fisherman. Today, more than ever, we need to remember that our Founder, William Booth, began the Salvation Army for 'the least of these'--those who were not wanted or accepted by other churches.

In our daily walks, how often do we reach outside our circle of influence and friends to interact with someone who may be struggling with addiction? Perhaps a single mom without a job living on welfare? Or even approach a homeless person? Maybe our neighbor or co-worker seems to be a bit hard to get along with and rather than show them genuine love and concern, we gossip about them or just avoid them. Jesus did not agree with the pharisees of his time, but He confronted them and stood firm on what was true--God's love for all people and forgiveness for even the worst sinner. Who are we to judge or refuse forgiveness?

Luke 6:27-28 "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you."

May God be glorified through us all, to all men and women, that they might come to know Him!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Free Indeed!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Well we have begun a new journey in our lives in another new town, new state, new appointment, with new duties. But our primary function and purpose remains the same--"Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus told us these were the two greatest commandments. No matter where you are, if you "Fix your eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2a), you will feel a sense of His presence and His peace. Nothing can compare to the love God has in store for you. It's been quite some time since I've blogged, but I am committing to the ministry and potential it has-plus it helps me to remember. . .

Today marks the first night of our division's Recovery Camp. This is a special weekend for those who suffer from alcoholism and addiction to really take a look at their lives, the choices God gives to each of us, and to truly turn our will and surrender to His great plan for each of us. I am excited as many people from our church, including my husband, traveled to Estes Park to be a part of this weekend. It is so easy in today's world, to be caught up with what is 'cool' or to not want to be seen as 'weird' or not part of the crowd. The apostle Paul in speaking to the church in Galatia was directing them to take a STAND and not fall into the crowd. Basically, he was saying choose now--the cross or the crowd. Yes the cross may lead to hard times. It may lead to being ridiculed. But it will take you to a new life; one full of riches being stored in heaven, filled with friends and a new family who come around to surround you with love--all in the name of Jesus.

The church's function is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. If you are struggling in your life, are caught up in a habit or just feeling down, reach out! You can't do it  on your own. But God can give you the strength. Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." I will not forget how overwhelmed I felt in trying to pack to move to Colorado. But once I admitted my frustration, how blessed I was to have a dozen people from the church come to my aid and assist in packing and cleaning the house. If God is for us, who can be against us? I'm loving the song  Our God by Chris Tomlin . I suggest everyone check it out for inspiration and encouragement by clicking on the link. 
But the Lord's Word is even better,
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fear Not!

Well I titled this post, fear not, thinking about all the worrying I've been doing in my brief time as an adult. Jesus says, "Don't be afraid; just believe." and again in Mark 4 to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" And I wonder, what's wrong with me? I believe. I have faith. But when faced with the freeways of Los Angeles or thinking about having to fly 30,000 miles over the mountains or seas in an airplane, I get a sudden onset of total panic in which I feel that my heart is beating so strongly out of my chest, that I must be having a heart attack. I guess I've always been the kind of woman who wants to have control. Being in the midst of millions of other cars on the CA-91 or having zero effect on whether the pilot has enough rest and competency to land us safely, does not assure me that I have any options or controls of how the situation will play out.

Of course, as a parent, I wonder about my children's well being, how they will make friends at different schools along their journeys through life, picking the right college, whether they will meet the right mate to marry for life, and if my grandchildren will be taken care of. And then there's me. Will I ever pay off all those student loans? Will people like me? Am I really a good wife/mother/daughter/friend? These sorts of thoughts keep me awake at night and I am GRATEFUL that I had the good wisdom to start really searching my Bible for peace--real peace, that only comes from a omnipotent, omnipresent God. He lead me to feel out a few verses and to try a couple different recovery meetings recently where it hit me that I am also powerless over my anxiety, and I must turn it over to Him to handle. 

Last week, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Basically, my body feels pain in multiple places at random times- like my back, neck, head, knee, and chest, with very few physical tangible reasons.Another group of symptoms involve depression, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. There is no cure or cause. But I will not let this rule over me, holding me back, and stealing my joy. My hope is in the Lord. I have been through so much, yet have been given such freedom and happiness in having a renewed relationship with Jesus, my family, and having good friends. The Psalmist wrote, "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Psalm 91:4-7 NLT

So I will keep my chin up, remembering that His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!!! The day may seem hard, the night even longer, you might feel lonely at times, but God is with you wherever you are. We can ruin a chance to sit at Jesus' feet by fretting over a meal and what others are doing, just as Martha did. Or we can choose to rest in the love of God and have faith like a child. I leave you with this verse my family and I just spent time memorizing last week.

 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Phil. 4:8