Saturday, August 30, 2008

Christ-like Quality

My friend Edie, at Rich Gifts, has posted her Friday Question: What quality of Christ's do you most see in yourself?

I've read the Mr. Linky links on her blog, and the self-reflections. I am so impressed with what I've read. These girls are on target. I have struggled with my own answer. My most biblical quality would be joyfulness. (Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit). But I don't think Joy is a Christ-like quality. I struggle to think of a biblical reference of Jesus being "elated" or joyful. He seems more gentle, especially than high-strung me.

So I guess my Christ-like quality would be teaching. I have a real heart for teaching women. I have led a bible study for stay-home moms for 9 years. I love it! I love being in leadership. Of course it comes with big responsibility. It scares me to think I might mislead someone unintentionally. But I always stress for everyone to test what they learn from any teacher with the bible. That goes for this blog too! Don't take my word for it. Check out the facts in your own bible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Something else keeps coming to mind, so I will share it, although it is not a "quality." But something I see in my life, that I feel was in Christ's life is a difficult relationship with my mother. This is an arguable point (remember - check your bible and draw your own conclusions!).

I think of the instance when he was 13 and was in the temple. (Luke 2) His mother chastens him "we were so worried." And he responds "Didn't you know I'd be at my father's house?" He did obediently go with them, but it says they didn't understand what he was saying.

Later at a wedding, she tries to get Jesus to do something about the wine running out. He responds "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." (John 2) Still he did perform his first miracle, turning water into wine.

In Mark 3, we hear the story of Jesus' family trying to get him to come out from where he was teaching. They said "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." Jesus tells them "Here are my mother and brothers!" referring to those sitting with him.

Like Jesus, my relationship with my mother is complicated. It is filled with misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I certainly am not trying to say I'm "just like Jesus." My mother is mentally ill, and in general not a very nice person. But like Jesus, who on the cross said to John "Son, here is your mother" (John 19) so his mother would always be cared for, I do try to ensure my mom will always be cared for even in our complicated and painful relationship.

My heart felt heavy to share that. I don't know if anyone will benefit from it, but I hope someone will. Perhaps like me someone is struggling with finding a "Christ-like" quality they possess. And by realizing that Jesus experienced everything we experience (temptation, rejection, persecution, and even difficult relationships!), perhaps you will be able to find that you are more Christ-like than you think. We all are the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27 -- Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sing a Song!

"Sing, sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song." These popular lyrics were sung by the Carpenters, Perry Como and Johnny Mathis to name a few.

I've had several bloggy friends point out to me that they often leave my blog singing or humming a tune. I do reference songs often. I love music! I am blessed with an uncanny ability to remember lyrics as well. Unfortunately, I am not blessed with the ability to carry a tune, which makes my lyric memory a bit of a moot point. Except I'm not shy, so I don't "worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear." I might even be a rock star at Vacation Bible School!

Lyrics speak to me in a certain way nothing else does. It evokes a feeling I can't explain. One of the reasons I love contemporary Christian music is the fact that many of the lyrics are taken right from scripture. Amy Grant's "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" comes right from Psalm 119:105. In Praise You Through the Storm, Casting Crowns sings "I lift my eyes onto the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth " which is Psalm 121: 1, 2. "As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee" - Psalm 42:1. Michael W. Smith: ‘Great Is The Lord’ is from Psalm 145:3. These are just a very few.

Sometimes in your prayer life, perhaps you need help in getting started. I encourage you to SING - sing a song! As Psalm 146:2 says "I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." In the words of Rich Mullin "Sing your praise to the lord, Come on everybody, stand up and sing one more Hallelujah. Give your praise to the lord, I can never tell you, Just how much good...that its Gonna do ya."

Psalm 98:4 (KJV) says: "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." I guess my singing could be labeled as a loud and joyful noise. So, even if you can't carry a tune, join me in praising God! Don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song!

Psalm 33:3 -- Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

1 Corinthians 14:15 -- So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.

Colossians 3:16 -- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Jonas Sister

I hate my new haircut. With all the rain we've had, it has curled up so much I look like Nick Jonas.

So I straightened my hair. Now I look like Joe Jonas.

I am so getting a new hair dresser. "ohhh, this is an S.O.S."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Signs, Signs

"Sign, Sign, Everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?" This is the chorus from the 1971 hit single Signs, by Five Man Electrical Band.

As a Christian, I tend to look for signs (from God) every where. Having a real and relevant heavenly Father means that I believe nothing happens by coincidence. Yet do I sometimes put too much credence into "signs?" For instance, I have lost the bible study book I was thinking of doing for my Fall study group. Is this a sign from God to select another book? Or simply a sign of my lack of organization?

In the book of Judges, there is a man named Gideon. The Lord sent Gideon out to save Israel. When the Lord begins talking to Gideon, Gideon says "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me." (Judges 6:17) Not only does he ask for this sign, but he then asks for confirmation that he will indeed save Israel. He asks that he place a wool fleece on the floor and if there is dew only on the fleece but the ground is dry, then he will know that God will save Israel through his hand.

There was indeed only dew on the fleece. But Gideon said to God (v39) "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." And God did so. He provided Gideon will all the signs he needed.

However, in the New Testament Jesus says ""A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!" when the Pharisees were trying to test in Matthew 12. Is it wrong to look for a sign?

I believe the difference is Gideon looked for a sign in faith. He wanted to make sure his step in faith was the correct step in following God. (And yes, I think he was a bit scared too). The Pharisees on the other hand, we not asking for signs because of their faith, but their lack of faith. The were hoping to prove that Jesus was not the Son of God.

We also have to be careful to test our signs. Jesus goes on in Matthew 24 saying, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible." After all, the devil is the father of lies and comes to deceive and devour.

There are signs, signs, every where signs. We just need to make sure we're reading them the right way.

"And the sign said, 'Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray' But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a penny to pay. So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, 'Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine.'" (Final verse, Signs song).

Monday, August 25, 2008

No Tip Tuesday

It's Tuesday! You know what that means don't you? Well, nothing. After last week, I decided not to do Tuesday Tips anymore. So in case you're here for that, I just wanted to let you know I'm not doing it. But I did want to share that my sweet friend Patterson 5, did share a tip, in case I changed my mind. (Isn't she a sweet friend?) So please go to the Patterson 5 Blog to read her tip on a "Date Escape."

Also, since you're here anyway, Let's play "Works for Me Wednesday - backwards edition." I wonder if you have a tip for me. I'm looking for healthy snacks to pack for school lunches. I've got the regular celery sticks & carrots, and my new creative idea is hard boiled eggs. If anyone else has any creative ideas that travel well in a lunch box, I'd love to know. Or a healthy after school snack. Just leave it in the comments. No Mr. Linky. My daughter thanks you in advance. She's not excited about either of my ideas.

God - So Fabulous!

About a month ago, I blogged about my "ministry so fabulous" (stealing my title from another website by the same title). I was searching for direction from God about whether to continue my bible study for stay home moms at my former church.

Sunday we visited my former church. It was good to see all of my old friends and there were hugs all around. Pastor T., whom we adore, is leaving the church as we did. This was his final sermon there, and we didn't want to miss it.

It was hard to go back. In some ways, it reminded me of what we were missing at our new church, like the awesome praise and worship music. In other ways, it reminded me of what we have gained, like an awesome children's ministry. It felt odd to be there. I was not sure where I fit in anymore.

But God answered my prayer, right while I was standing there. Pastor B., who is taking over the ministries under Pastor T. asked me if I was going to continue my ministry there. He encouraged me to do so, asking what he could do to facilitate it and even offering to reserve the room for me! He wanted to find out more about the group, so he could send more women my way. This was the most encouragement I'd ever received regarding my group there. (And I've been there for 9 years!)

To be perfectly transparent, I had never connected with Pastor B. Not that we didn't get along, but he ministered to families with middle schoolers and older kids. My kids were in the younger children's group, so Pastor B. & I never really interacted. So to get all the positive feedback from him, was more a sign from God than if Pastor T. had said so.

So in the words of my former blog posting, I will continue my ministry so fabulous there. Because really, who am I not to be fabulous, gorgeous, talented and brilliant? Well, I'm not. But I serve a God who is!

Jeremiah 33:2,3 -- "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'

Psalm 17:6 -- I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.

Matthew 21:22 -- If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.