Friday, February 25, 2011

Wrestling for our God's Right

Posted on the Focus on the Family website: Since all of us from Iowa have had this conversation with someone over the past week.

My comment: we have another opportunity to show an example of faith over society: and again in Iowa !!

Joel was right in picking his faith and morals over societies “equality” of all. Like all of the other issues that have to do with “equal” treatment and fairness—God did not make us equal, and life is not fair.

God created men and women differently, for a reason, we have a purpose, Genesis, Ephesians etc.. We were not created equal. The only thing that is “equal is God’s love for us. The rest is about service to/for each other and taking care of each other to elevate us to God’s standards. It may be in good “fun” but God isn’t about “fun” or “fair” he is about love and joy; service and sacrifice. That is what Joel did—he sacrificed his personal goals and pleasure for God.

We have to start drawing the line somewhere: equal rights in “gay” marriage; freedom of choice for abortions; equality in sports—it all speaks of the same societal freedoms that are not really freedoms but free will choosing society instead of God.

May God give us the courage to choose His will, not ours.
Love and Blessings to you all,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Life isn't Fair

Women of Faith:

We’ve all told someone at sometime: “Life isn’t fair.” And then when adversity strikes in our own life, that’s exactly what we seek--“fairness.” Why is it that we want and seek fairness for ourselves, yet when our children, a friend or family member complains to us that “life isn’t fair” it is easy to see just that… that we all must bear more than our fair share sometimes.

I read this week that I must bear my OWN crosses, that they are “shaped” for me. While we can help our friends and loved ones carry their crosses by being supportive, we can’t completely take on someone else’s burdens, sorrows or pain.

Our crosses were made for us, just like braces on our teeth, God makes our crosses to shape us and strengthen us. Our crosses are made to straighten out the crooked, and bend back the places that are supposed to be straight. They are designed to help me conform to be “God’s person”—not fairly, not evenly, but as God desires me to be.

Some of us will wear braces, others will wear glasses, and others hearing aids. And just as not everyone has to wear braces for the same length of time, some will suffer longer than others, and yet others will be asked to be of service to those who are suffering—the “doctors and nurses” of life.

For any of us who have worn or wear these aids, they are not only an aid, but a burden. They look and feel different; both from the inside—to those who are wearing them--and from the outside, to those of us that can physically see them. But just as life isn’t fair, each of these aids that burden us also shape us, change us, and make us better in some way, if we accept their help.

We also wish we could lessen the pain those “braces” have in someone else’s life. We wish we could take on the burdens of our friends and that life wouldn’t treat our children and our friends “unfairly.” It hurts to watch those we love suffer and to watch them bear their crosses. We can help by lightening their load, by being there for them, but we can’t take on their burdens. It’s not possible.

And just as someone else’s braces, glasses, or hearing aids won’t work in our lives, nor will someone else’s cross help us to grow as God wants us to grow. Just as braces hurt while they are on, only our teeth can be straightened.

Our cross becomes lighter when we allow God to become our strength, when we are not too proud to ask God (and our friends) to help lighten the load. God will always be there for us, so that when we give up our cross to God, we will become straighter: truer: stronger.

“For whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.” Mk 8:34-9:1

Dear God: Praise be the strength you have given me to bear the “unfairness” of life. Help me to always remember to ask for your grace when life’s burdens, life’s crosses start to weigh me down. Give strength to my family and friends who are suffering physically and mentally today. Thank you for your comfort and peace in each of our lives. Amen.

At times God asks us to be Simon of Cyrene, to help carry someone’s cross, to be the supporting friend; and at other times we are asked to be like Jesus, to “bear our cross,” to “give up our lives for our Father” and to suffer just as He did for us.

But just when we think we have our role down…. Well, life will probably change, and we may be put on the other side of the cross; because life isn’t fair. Are we ready?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Women of Faith:
Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s all about Love. Our love for each other, but more importantly about God’s love for us. Both loves are the same—in one Christ died for us; in the other, we must die for each other because that is what love is all about ; the giving, about being selfless and about serving our spouses, our families and our community.

At our couples of faith date night we shared the song, Lead Me by Sanctus Real in which a wife asks her husband to help lead her to Christ AND the husband asks for help to be led BY Christ. (Some of the words of the song follow—and if you haven’t heard the song, the link to the rest of the words.)

"…Lead me with strong hands, Stand up when I can't, Don't leave me hungry for love, …

So Father, give me the strength, To be everything I am called to be, Oh, Father, show me the way, To lead them, Won't you lead me?

To lead them with strong hands, To stand up when they can't, … chasing dreams that I could give up.

I'll show them I'm willing to fight, And give them the best of my life, So we can call this our home, Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone.

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone.”

These words are for all—married and unmarried—not words just from a wife to a husband, but words from each of us to our heavenly Father—to be led, carried, and guided by His love.

Love means that we will “GIVE Them & Him THE BEST OF OUR LIVES.” And Love is in what we give up—for Christ and for each other.

God tells us to LOVE one another as He has loved us. When our lives are going well it seems like giving God our love would be easy; and sometimes when our lives hurt turning to God, believing in His love can be difficult.

Yet, when do our prayers seem to be the loudest? When we suffer; because that is when we cannot find our own answers, when there are no easy answers, when we most need His strength to carry us and to lead us. And because we trust and believe, we are guided and comforted; led and carried. God hears our prayers.

And when do we most often forget to pray? When our lives are going well—because in our human nature we think we are creating our own happiness. We forget to “give Him the BEST of our lives.”

God’s love is here for all of us; in the highs and in the lows. God created the love we have and share with each other. We should give HIM “the best of our lives,” because He has already given us the “Best of His Life,” in giving us His child, His son, Jesus.

We are helped thru our trials and sorrows by the love given to us by God, thru our friends and families. And we find the most joy in our lives when we give our gifts, our life, back to God; by our thoughts, by our words and by our actions, by letting our lives be led by Christ.

Heavenly Father: Praise be Your love in my life in good times and bad. Give me the courage to always follow your lead. Thank You for Your love, for Your comfort, for Your caring, and for Your carrying me in both the highs and the lows of each day. Help all of us, as Your children, to seek and to be led by Your love. Amen.

Happy Valentine’s Day. This is God’s Day. This is a day for His Love to be shared humanly and divinely.

Give Him Your Day! With Love and Blessings,

Monday, February 7, 2011

God's Super Bowl

Women of Faith:

What would happen to the world if we celebrated God in the same way as we celebrated the Super Bowl?

What if we had the same excitement, the same anticipation, the same parties that we had yesterday during the Super Bowl, when we came out of church on Sunday morning? Or even if we had as many people at church as we had watching the Super Bowl—all with one purpose and one goal?

Or what if our marriages had the same good natured arguments as two friends cheering, one for the Packers and one for the Steelers—and ending up with a pat on the back, and a “we’ll” be back for more tomorrow?

No, I am not saying it is wrong to enjoy the Super Bowl. But when I woke up this morning I really didn’t care whether my side won or lost last night.

But in God’s game, winning or losing, is heaven or hell. That matters, now I care.
And while I get a second chance every day when I wake up, when the game is over, God’s decision, God’s judgment of what I have done with my life; of which quarterback I have followed—Jesus or another, will be final.

My goal is to win God’s Super Bowl. I have faith and hope that I will be a winner if I follow Him.

God’s super bowl has a game plan. It is the bible and the interpretation of His church, given to us all to read and follow. These were some of His instructions this week:

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you. Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me? Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

“Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Mt 5:13-16

Do we want to be like the bowl games performers, the quarterbacks, and the actors in the commercials? Are they our role models? Are their “goals” becoming our goals? Are their lights “brighter” and set on “higher” lampstands than those of God’s followers, of those who see and seek the truth? Who do we imitate? Who do we follow?

Who are our role models? And who is our quarterback?

What would change in the world if everyone attended church the way they attended the Super Bowl (in person or on TV)? God’s commercials would ask us to serve the poor, the widowed, the orphaned and the children. The commercials would ask us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, shelter the homeless etc. They would ask us to be unselfish and to die to our own selfish ways and desires for our spouses and our marriages, just as Christ died for his spouse, the Church.

What if we knew, understood and studied Gods game and “players” of as well as the players of the NFL, all their stats, all of their history. How much do we know about the Hall of Famers “Saints” in God’s game?

Are we following a false quarterback, a societal god? Do we follow those who say we should have freedom of choice for life, marriages of equality, a need to be rich and famous, or the “it must be right, everyone is doing it attitude?”

Or are we following God’s quarterback, Jesus? Do we imitate His selfless service to believers and non believers alike, loving each other in good times and bad, for richer, for poorer? Do our choices in life recognize that God’s bowl game has the ultimate, the SUPER outcome?

Heavenly Father: Praise be the real game, that of life itself. Please bless us, the players of the game, so that we will know the truth and follow the one you sent, Jesus Christ, as our coach. Praise be Jesus who was sent here to make us winners of Your gift of eternity. I am sorry for the times when I have allowed myself to be influenced by the rich and famous, when it is your riches that I desire. Thank you for being my guiding light. Amen.

Put God into Your Super Bowl game. Make Jesus Christ your coach. May we be led by His play book.