"When you're down to nothing, God is up to something."
There is something at work right now pertaining to you. It may be months, years or decades down the road, but if you will stop the chaos of negativity then you might just start to hear that He is near and working on good things for you. Sometimes when we are deep in the pit and darkness is all around we never think to look up to see a glimpse of even the faintest of light because once you look up the light grows brighter and brighter until you are surrounded by acceptance, love, grace and mercy.
Monday, October 21, 2013
I am leading a Jonah bible study at my church this fall. I am not really a leader, just a facilitator. I am much better at writing than leading. The bible study is "Jonah - Navigating a Life Interrupted" by Priscilla Shirer. If you have never done this study I highly recommend it, she is powerful on the DVD videos (you can watch online for a fee or through your church if they have it) and the workbook you fill out makes you reevaluate choices in your life. I will be using this study along with the bible for the book of Jonah, although I will not be using everything from Priscilla's book because I would love if you got the book yourself to do with a group or even by yourself and I want to be respectful to the author.
I have read Jonah many times and after really diving into this study I now know that I am Jonah, probably along with many of you. God has told me to do many things and I like Jonah made a choice to go in the other direction.
The interruptions in our lives we see as annoying pests, they derail us from the track we were on, the track we thought was right for us. Many times God has other plans that we could never see, never dare to hope for or something that we would never want to do. We can never get away from the distractions of life, there will be seasons in our life that we are distracted constantly. There are two different kinds of interruptions: the distractions from this world and Godly interruptions. We choose which ones we will follow every day. I hope you will see yourself in this man just like I have and when God calls us to do something that from now on we will choose Him instead of going with our thoughts or feelings.
Here are some the people in the bible who were interrupted -
Moses - was taken away from his family and adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter, God sent him to Pharaoh (not his step grandpa) to free the Israelite's
Abraham/Sarah - God told him that his wife Sarah would have a baby at the age of 90 and he was 100
Joseph - his brother's betrayed him and sold him as a slave, he was thrown into jail, he was put in charge of all of Egypt
Mary - she was planning a wedding and was told that she would give birth to Jesus
All of these people and many others had lives that were interrupted on such a large scale sometimes it is hard to see comparisons in their lives and ours, but I think that if we look back on our lives then we will start to see some massive interruptions that will line up with similar experiences with people in the bible.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
I saw this pic on Pinterest, the note said that this is a church in France, St. Etienne. Even though this is altered (original photo doesn't have this river & greenery) I think this is a beautiful picture of what some churches look like under the surface. This dreary dark building abandoned by people has a serene river that we tend to not see, all we see is a dim building with no life. Yet before our eyes there is life and motion. Churches all over the world may seem old fashion and void of life, but there is life and light all around us. There are those people who when you see them there is something different about them, we may not be able to distinguish at first what that is, but after a while their consistency will draw people in. I am always amazed at watching people who I call super Christians. I don't go down the jealous road, but I want to emulate them and be like them when I grow up. Many will think that when Christians mess up that we are hypocrites, we are trying to do our best to live a life and we fail just like anyone else.
Will we be able to see the river of living water through all the rules and regulations that are placed upon us?
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I have been away due to the death of my brother Bryan. I got the call on Oct. 1st that he died on Sept. 30th. My mom & I drove up to Columbus, Ohio for the funeral. We had to be there the next morning for the funeral so it was just the two of us going to Ohio. Bryan and I share the same mom, but not the same dad. So we headed up Tuesday evening. The funeral really wasn't a funeral, it was a showing for immediate family only. If it had been a funeral for everyone to come and pay their respects I'm not sure if there would have been a funeral home that could hold everyone that would want to come and say goodbye. Bryan was much needed in our lives and he touched everyone that he met in a profound way.
My brother had been in the hospital for over a week and we didn't know about it nor did we know about his prior stroke and health problems. I'm not sure why no call was made to my mom to let her know or to my brother that was living in Columbus. We were not able to say goodbye to him in the hospital. Some would be furious, but I was not. I don't have any control over the decisions of others and I would not want to devote my energy to anything other than remembering my brother. After hearing the story of what happened, yes I got the details again, it would have been one of the hardest things to see. There was pain and some seriously crappy circumstances when he got to the hospital that I would have lost any composure I had in those moments. Although, near the end he was on pain medication and at the end he was waving and blowing kisses. This was my brother, such a happy person. I think that in those moments he was saying goodbye to those in the room and hello to those who were coming to help him along to the next part of his journey.
Bryan was 49 years old. My brother was one of the most amazing and sweetest people that I have ever known. He had Down Syndrome, but was not defined by it. For those of you that don't know much about this it's considered a birth defect, but it is no defect at all. God doesn't make anything that is defective, everything He makes is on purpose and for a reason. John 9:1-3 "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" It is a shame that many miss what God is doing in the lives of people with special needs, they make fun of them for being different, yet they probably won't be as "perfect" in Jesus as those they make fun of. In many countries, even America, there is an image problem with our ability is see beyond some one's disability and be able to see them as they are meant to be seen. Someone told my mom to put Bryan in a home, thankfully she never listened to anyone, but God. Those people saw him as a challenge. What if God sent him to us as a challenge? To challenge our ideas of the right kind of child, sibling, student or friend. To challenge our beliefs, our thoughts and our minds.
The difference between us & those with Down Syndrome is just one extra chromosome, they have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. I'm a bit OCD and think a lot about numbers. Seven is the number associated with Jesus, the perfect number. 7 x 3 = 21, 7 (the number of perfection) x 3 (the number of the trinity & # of chromosomes) = 21 (21st chromosome). OK, this might be a bit out there, but it just came to me and I never would have thought of that before. God has the longest symphony in history and He uses all instruments to create a masterpiece.
I did not see him as often as I would have liked, but he is such an important part of who I am. He taught me to love others regardless of looks, beliefs or abilities. To laugh often and have joy. He made such a deep impact in the lives of those around him that he would never know the blessings that he bestowed on all of our hearts.