Thursday, September 30, 2010

Out With The Old

Do you have junk? Not the kind inside your soul, but in your personal surroundings. Do you ever think about how stuff can weigh you down, hold you back, keep you from being all that God created you to be?

Old Items with New Purpose
This is exactly what God is teaching me. I went on a craze, almost a passionate obsession of seeing everything as re-usable. It sounds really green to be recycling old things into new usable items, and a lot of fun. My only problem is a kept picking up broken, discarded, unwanted items and saw a purpose for them, a new life. (Sounds like some people I know, llike me...)

Maybe that is why I had such an overall compassion for seeing the good in what most regarded as trash. But collecting trash, old, broken, worn-out, needy things doesn't work if you never have the time or energy to spend with each item to allow it to become a usable treasure. It just stays junk.

I think God is showing me quite a few spiritual applications in my life, but I don't want to spoil the applications that He may be bringing to your mind. Have you been here?

Today I feel great because I was able to fill up two cars with the "old" stuff in my garage and the recipients were so grateful. It was a delight to me, being able to release what is burying me, to allow someone else the opportunity to give it a new life. "You could make money on this," Michael sincerely spoke. "No, no, no, I want to give freely of what I have and in turn God will bless me." I said with delight.

Michael returned from his car with a gift... a large basket-like collection of bath soaps/lotions/salts. Oh, I was so surprised with the instant blessing flowing back. It is just God's way.

"Thank you, thank you, come back and get more anytime. Thank you," I called out as the two young adults pulled out of my driveway. It is refreshing to let go.... Out with the Old... and no, I will not be bringing in anything new. It is time to reduce, not replace.

Have you been doing this lately? Do you need anything that I might have.... you never know?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Greatest of These

Enjoying a day with my husband of 26 years is something I don't get enough of during this stage of our raising teens life, but yesterday I was with him and he poked fun at me being the only person in the world that would be as excited about reading a 1917 book I found in an antique store.

I unofficially call myself a historian, because I LOVE to read real life accounts of people - not fiction, but true impressions of life as they lived it. I know no better way to experience history in its purest form. And in turn to gain a deeper understanding of what the world must have been like with an eye witness account.

The author, Owen Wister. The book, The Penecost of Calamity. The topic, Germany before and right after world war I. The insight, Hatred was the motivation.

And what was the creed of the German people, their declaration of faith, of decades to be only ratified by actions of destruction of human life...

"The German claim must be: Educate to hate.... Organization of hatred.... Education to the desire for hatred. Let us abolish unripe and false shame.... To us is given faith, hope and hatred; but hatred is the greatest among them."

And it was there, at those last few words, that I paused, recognizing the words and hand of Satan, the destroyer of old, twisting what was pure, lovely, holy to a religion of destruction .... yes, a "religion" and a claim of "God" but not The GOD of the Bible... another "God" altogether different, that likes to masquerade about as Him, always wanting to be superior to Him.
God Teaches Us in Words

Did you hear it, as you read those words? Faith, hope and ...

God - Jehovah God - the One True God of Jesus Christ our Lord...

1 Corinthians 13:13 - "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

How often do we get duped because we don't know God's Word?

Hatred replaced with Love, and it was gone unnoticed by generations of people ignorant to essential truths of God's Word.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Much To Share?

 I have been doing some contemplating. Anyone that knows me deeply is now rolling eyes and possibly fallen off their chair and about the ground... because that is an understatement of my life... contemplating...

Bits of Information Mulling Around
Do others mull as much as I? I do not know because I only really know what goes on in my own soul. Thoughts, ideas, passion... are ever moving... like dough being kneaded over and over... given time to rise in thought and then punched down to rise again... Do you constantly do this too?

It is not that I doubt my soul. It is that my receptors are usually open, taking in odd bits of information, sensing all about inside and out, and trying to let what doesn't grab me pass along to another day or time.

How much do you share? Do you think it is a result of what you take in ....  think about... read... see? Are am I an endless circle of data on overload? Thinking too much about thinking...

Writing Inside Out

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friends Again - Finding Golden Friends

“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold.” As a little girl I sang this traditional Girl Scout song. Long after the meetings, campfires, and badges are a distant memory of my life, I recall singing with a smile on my face and a warmness in my heart, but as a child its lasting value evaded my understanding.

Every occasion presents a new opportunity for God to bring spiritual blessings to our life. We should live life always expecting, in anticipation of what God is going to do. Just a few weeks ago, I stood in the church parking lot so hurt, sharing my heart, crushed by a person in church who lacked grace. After listening, my wise pastor told me not to worry about it, that the person did lack grace, but to hold on because "God is doing a new thing!" Those few words gave me hope to hang my heart on as I walked to my car smiling knowingly repeating those words inside... "God is doing a new thing!"

As Christians we are called to walk in faith and not by sight, a faith that God is always working in our life, always bringing good out of what initially seems bad, like a recent mandatory cleaning day at my children's school. Cleaning a building may not initially sound like good, but it depends on your outlook, and more importantly your sensitivity to God.

The night before, I was with a group of moms that were coming up with every reason in the world to not attend. A conscientious friend, with little enthusiasm, confessed, "I will be going." So I nabbed this as perfect timing provided by God, suggesting, "I can pick you up." "Oh, I would like that because you are always late," she smiled. We laughed at the thought of someone cherishing the fact that they would be not on time.
I have been taught that two things on earth are eternal - people and God's Word. This knowledge has been a foundational building block for my life. When I think about how I am spending my time, I remember to invest in eternity. To accomplish this, I must spent time with people and in God's Word, the true "silver and gold" treasures to cherish in life.

Friend ends I have learned that friends tend to draw near and then over time drift away, with a kind of ebb and flow. I treasure friends, but never entwine so tightly to become dependent. Following a cyclical pattern of close and distant, some friendships end in painful disasters, often through my lacking relationship skills, my desperate desire to have a "best friend", or constantly seeking happiness in others' acceptance.
God has allowed me to bungled more friendships then I care to recall. But in the fallout of each, I endeavor to learn something new so that I will not travel down the same old friendship fallout again.

I have learned I can't always satisfy others' needs. Some people can't take disappointments nor walk along-side a friend through hard times. Some drift due to a disparity in finances, goals or values.   Thankfully not all relationships die a permanent death. Some fall into the pattern of the lyrics of Girl Scout song, "Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the others gold."

The ones that make it to "gold" are the few priceless people who love you even with all of your faults, in spite of all of your weaknesses and withstanding all of your "strengths". They understand that none of us are perfected on this side of heaven. We are a work in construction. We need to be encouraged by God knowing, "He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it."

"Friends Again" are the people who allow us to go through hard growing seasons even if they can't walk through them with us. They put up with our fads, changes in life, and new-found quest. They see value in us even when most people think we are ready to be tossed to the curb. They delight in knowing someone that is authentic - in good times and bad. They allow themselves space to grow, and expect this in others.
Forgiveness is a way of life for anyone that can be a "Friends Again" type of person. They know they are safe to mess up, frustrate, and disappoint; and they extend the same grace to others. They are vulnerable enough to hug, laugh, and cry, knowing life brings a rainbow of emotions that color each of our lives, especially after the floods.

Friends againSo I surprised my friend by pulling up in her driveway right on time to pick her up for our mandatory cleaning day. With smiles, love and chatter we spent three memorable hours cleaning a filthy kitchen and catching up with the lives of other moms and friends. Work is a pleasure when it is shared with the love of friendship.

This particular lady has been too busy for the past few years to meet me for a cup of coffee or a casual visit. She has struggled deeply with the death of her sister to cancer, a move and feeling ineffective as a mom of two teenagers. This plunged her into business to fill the void and provide structure to keep her going.

When we are patient with each other, faithful to remain in the sparse times, we have the blessed gift of becoming "Friends Again". While we are not new friends, we are better. We are friends tested by the purifying fires to make gold! We get the joy of unconditional enduring love.