Monday, September 26, 2011

Am I cursed?

Haven't we all wondered this at one time? Am I cursed?

I was reading Deuteronomy chapter 11 last week and the idea of curses and blessings stuck to my brain from that chapter. I highly recommend you read it.

Basically Israel is poised to cross into the promised land- the descriptions of it are glowing. A paradise, a place with abundance around every corner. But... Danger Will Robinson, temptations around every corner as well. Blessings and Curses.

For them the danger was not in lack but in the available options.

Following the advice of Gilbert to Anne in Anne of Greengables- I write about what I know.

I know a life very similar to what the promised land sounds like. I am an American Christian. I have a home (Cozy and dry), access to clean water, food, medical care, loving family and friends, freedom to worship, etc...basically more abundance than 90% of the world population.

But I have to navigate some major issues daily related to that abundance that can have dire consequences on my character. Frankly- I can rain down curses on myself in a snap.

One such example- Mommyhood. Last week one blog I follow discussed the delimma of fitting it all in.

She tries to address the guilt and comparisons that happen between mothers and that we internally inflict on ourselves.

Moms have more options now than in anytime in history yet all that abundance has led to a shower of curses in the place of blessings.

The Israelites has to keep perspective. They had been freed by the very hand of God from Egypt- hence the wise perspective was:
He got to call all the shots captivity and He also gets to in the promised land
Ditto for us.  Our circumstances do not get to call the shots.
Because you can Work, not Work, homeschool, not homeschool, buy something, not buy something, marry, divorce, eat, diet, run, watch TV, etc... Does not mean you should.
Ask God, read His word, let Him guide you- avoid the curse of trying to have it all just because you can.

There are Idols hidden in all that abundance.
Caveat/Flipside/"oops lets not go there" of it all-
Because you cannot be healthy, work, run, marry, have a child, speak without a stutter, muscle out of depression, obsessive thoughts, etc... also does mean that loss gets to call the shots about who you are or what you mean to God.
You might say, "Well those things really are curses!".
If you have a loss wholly out of your control it is not a curse.
The curses of Deuteronomy were chosen. They were chosen option to forsake God's direction. And Bonus, repentance and faithfulness were the cure to that curse. (Deut.11:26)

The key wasn't the abundance, it was the heart attitude. Same key for times of loss.
You have to ask God, "Do I have a choice here?, in my actions, in my attitudes?" and really seek God's answer.
Christian unless you have the Joy of knowing God is in charge of your life and you can trust Him abundance or famine then you will feel cursed even when you are not. 

We are in revival this week and our guest Pastor gave his testimony last night. He had stomach cancer in his 30's. His doctors gave him a terminal diagnosis but he prayed to have a few years to raise his young children. An experimental surgeon saw him and did an experimental procedure and he lived to raise his children. He had to put a rubber tube down his throat several times a day for the rest of his life but he lived and he had joy. He preached the gospel. The cancer has returned in multiple areas of his body. Both of is retina's have detached. One was repaired but the other has not been. It looks grim. But he preaches with such joy and passion it washes over you like a wave. He revels in the abundance of his 9 grandchildren and he is only in his late 50's or early 60's.
He makes choices every day about how to view and interact with his world. So do I. So do you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Bad Guy

Funny how this happens.
Apparently any effort to point out inconsistency is right up there with eating baby sea turtles.
The fast train to "unpopularville" is fueled by by statements like "Hey, I don't think the Bible supports that".

But really it's nothing new. Jesus got the same feed back.
He was not a guy to over look "little" lapses in behavior. He called people out on lazy belief (Matt. 23:23), sexual indulgence (John 4:17) and multiple other examples of sin.

The social leaders of his day had the whole "Where does He get off?" attitude too. The indignation got to the degree they decided the world would just be better off with out Him.

I am not blind to why truth speaking has a bad wrap. I know people use it to beat people over the head, to lift themselves up and take advantage of the supposed moral high ground.

The only way truth speaking can cut it, is if it's done in a ricochet approach. I have to be as hard hitting on myself about all the truth of the Bible, if I want anything I say to someone else can be taken seriously.

That's why Jesus could pull it off and that's why we only have a shot with the Holy Spirit in us.
But if we deny our Christ given example of calling sin what it is and take the coward's road, the friend filled, life's a great party road, - we will make the most powerful force in the universe look weak.
He (Jesus) is The Way, The Truth and The Life.

I can play the villain of Satan's little soap opera. I can be cast as the starched collar or the crazed radical- whatever.

But if one word I say opens a person's eyes to the freedom that waits just beyond the razor wire sin has erected in their life- Boom! Holy Ghost explosion.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Luke 21

The Widow’s Offering
 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

I recently finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan. It was as powerful as Crazy Love but in a different way. When he pointed out the story of the Widow as our example of sacrificial (painful) giving, it really struck a chord in me.

"She gave out of her poverty"

What was I poor in? The truth is it ain't money. God has blessed the heck out of us in that corner. Even by the insane American standards. We give money to the Lord, even sometimes when it causes us to give up something we wanted but we stay fed, clothed, primped and pampered without too much worry.

Deep down I had a admit I am poor in patience, restraint, and humility.
So how can I give from those areas of poverty?
Ironically God provided me the way before I ever read the book.

Like most times in my life, I do something good by accident. I think God plans it that way so I can clearly see He gets all the credit. My husband and I were talking and some how the topic of clothing came up. Shopping for clothes is my hobby. He stated that I could never go a whole year with out buying clothing. I, being one of the most stubborn people ever born, said I will show you buddy old pal. I proudly decreed "I shall not buy one item of clothing for a year". If I succeed I get to shave his head.

Now jump to me reading the book. I can clearly see God actually orchestrated that conversation. One area were I admittedly ignored God was buying clothing. I would sneak things, hide receipts and refuse to return items even though my careful and financially responsible husband would ask me to. I don't even work outside my home to justify these purchases. I just like clothes.

Now I have to face up to what is going through my head. I am making list of what I need to buy when the bet is over on 8/2/2012. I have to abstain from browsing ebay, TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, Wal-mart, Chadwicks, etc...
It scares me a bit how hard this actually is. I have to stop thinking I am going to make up for lost time when this is over. I have to realize how twisted my view of clothes has become.

I really think that is what giving out of poverty means for me. Looking at Christ/God/the Holy Spirit and then seeing everything else in the shadow of Him. Now, in that place give something.

It might be a hobby, a career, a possession, money, a relationship, the one thing you would not even let you mind consider giving to him. Go there.

Freedom is seeing the jail cell never actually had a lock on it in the first place. Take the Holy Spirit's hand and step out.

Friday, September 9, 2011

One of those days

Blue Skies- nice to see you old friend
Let's visit for a while.
Let me introduce my pal, Black seedless grapes.

We can just sit a spell and catch up.

Have you been tossed on the waves of rolling emotion this week?
Take a minute, park it in the sunshine and soak in some goodness.
May I suggest a theme song: Hold Me by Jamie Grace

Happy Friday.
What's your favorite Friday treat?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Faking it

Faking it- I'm for it.

Here's why, I am uptight. Look up uptight white lady and you will find me in the illustration photo. I am a neat freak. I like my pillows neatly stacked on my sofa, my floor vacuumed and my house free of clutter. I am an introvert. I like to be left alone with a good book or movie. I hate it when I hear a curse word (cringe) or see someone type "LMAO" (alphabet soup cursing). 

My natural tendencies make for a very poor hostess, bad friend and miserable mother.

So, I started faking it. I started inviting groups of people to my home even if it made me a nervous wreck. Oddly after a while, it stopped making me nervous.

I started trying to be the friend who actually listened to what people said instead of getting my next sentence ready in my head. Still working on that one but hopefully "Good listener" might actually be uttered with my name some where in the universe.

I have played games of Guess Who, Candy land and Monopoly that probably resulted in TMJ from the grinding of my teeth. I have listened to long video game sagas, puppy stories and episodes of Zach and Cody. I may not have looked like I was having the time of my life but I was present and engaged.

The key to faking it is to be sincere. Ironically ironic isn't it.
Don't pretend to be thrilled, just keep an open mind. Act out of love and let the person be what keeps your interest.

Faking it rarely succeeds with out one very essential secret weapon.
Pray that God will change you to be more like Him before you embark on faking it. That's when faking it morphs into obedience and God really likes to bless that.

Have to go my son is begging me to watch Suite Life on Deck with him, sigh.