Thursday, February 22, 2018

God is working in you


Philippians 2:13 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

My Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please work in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases You.  Amen

“Write, write, write.  I hear you, lord, but what should I write about.”  Every time I get quiet, these are the words that I hear running through my head over and over again.  I am not much of a writer.  English and writing were my worst subjects in school.  When the other girls my age were aspiring to be poets and writers, I was playing with wrenches and screw drivers.  So, why me and why now?  I honestly don’t have any answers.  But the bible verse above assures me that He will work in me to do what pleases him.  He has a reason.

We’ve lost a huge spiritual leader this week in Reverend Billy Graham.  I never saw him speak but I remember his name well from growing up.  He was everywhere, all the time.  You could hardly turn on TV and not hear about him.  I’ve been watching interviews with various Priests and Pastors on news programs and they all are speaking such kind words about him.  Now that he’s passed, I wish I would have paid more attention and listened to him.

For lent I was going to go into my bible and do my bible study.  A little more than 1 week later and I haven’t done a very good job.  I’m disappointed with myself.  But rather than give up and throw the baby out with the bathwater, I’ll keep trying.  If I have to, I’ll start over each day.  One day at a time, each hour at a time, each minute at a time, I will find my way towards living in God’s word and having a relationship with Him.


May God’s peace be with you,

Crystal

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jumble of Randomness


My brain is a jumble of thoughts today.  I don’t know why, but I am struggling to hold a single thought in my head.  My mind is running and jumping from topic to topic like a parkour athlete.  So here are some of my random thoughts, in no particular order:

1.       Florida school shooting:  My heart, prayers and thoughts are with that community, those friends, the parents and families.  I keep hearing media voices talking about fixing it so it never happens again.  Boy, wouldn’t that be nice.  But sadly in my heart of hearts I’m not sure it’s possible and if it were, would we want the unintended consequences.  There is no magic wand.  For now, I think we should focus on the survivors and what we can do to help them and this country through this tragedy.  Let’s stop pointing fingers and start holding hands for a while.

2.       Responsibility:  Lately, it feels as if America wants to give up our responsibility for our health, welfare and safety.  Just like small children want their parents to do everything for them, we want the government or someone, anyone, to take care of us.  So that we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves.  And if we adults are behaving this way, what does that teach our children?
 
3.       Not my fault:  It feels as if no one wants to take the blame for mistakes or bad decisions.  “The buck stops here” is a forgotten platitude.  Accepting blame, or responsibility, gives us power.  It gives us the power to change things.  Saying I made a mistake is not a bad thing.  It’s something everyone does but it seems to be unforgiveable these days.  Watch the news and the finger pointing that is ruining careers.  Sometimes, I’m sorry should be good enough.  I think we have gotten so sensitive to slights by others because we don’t want to look at our own lives.

4.       My reflection in God’s mirror:  This is a tough one.  If I were to use God’s word as a mirror, I sure don’t like my reflection very much.  I am opinionated, and some of my opinions can be less than kind.  I often say and do things without thinking, only to later realize that I could have really hurt someone’s feelings.  I try to do better.  But just like those bad hair days that make it hard to check yourself in the bathroom mirror, my sins make it hard to read the Bible and check myself in God’s mirror.  Thank goodness God sent His son, Jesus to carry those sins for me.

5.       Anything goes:  The 80s were supposed to be the decade of excess.  I often hear the anything goes attitudes of the decade criticized.  But I look around and think how mild our excesses were compared to today.  It seems as if anything is acceptable, as long as it’s not conservative or Christian.

I read today on Twitter, that the Vice President was called mentally ill by a media person, because he said he hears God.  I have to wonder if this person would have said the same to a Muslim or Buddhist.  It breaks my heart to see this kind of divisiveness. But that’s what the devil does, doesn’t he.  His job is to make us doubt God.  His job is to make us feel defeated.  But we don't have to buy into the devils lies.  We can hold tight to God and his word.

I’ll leave with the verse that is on my heart today. 
Acts 4:12 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
God’s Peace be with you,

Crystal

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday, 2018


Good Afternoon,
 Today is Ash Wednesday.  Although I’m a little late, I am sitting here trying to decide what to give up for Lent.  I want it to meaningful, I am reminded that the reason we give up something is to make room for the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.
So, rather than give up something like chocolate or swearing, I am going to make time every day for my bible study and to meditate on God's word. 
This is what I wrote in the notebook, plastered with post-its of bible verses that I use for a journal and bible studies, earlier today.  As I shared the above thoughts with my journal, I was struck by the need to write for the blog. 
 
I haven't written for a long time because frankly the idea of sharing my thoughts and myself with you scares the heck out of me.  Who am I to share my thoughts?  I’m not a teacher or preacher.  I have no formal education. I am a middle aged wife and mother.  I’d like to think of myself as a born rebel!  But a lot of my rebelliousness has drifted away in exchange for the responsibilities of life. 
 
I was raised Lutheran and went to parochial schools for most of my grade school, and high school years.  Even with that background I have spent a good part of life running away from faith, only to be pulled back time and again.  As odd as it seems to me, I have to assume that God really wants or needs a tomboy with a love of motorcycles and old cars, who also happens to love to knit and spin yarn.  It's okay to shake your head in disbelief, I do.
 
So for today, I’m taking just one step and listening to the Holy Spirit and writing even though it’s hard.
 
Psalm 25:4 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths” is taped to the front of my dog eared notebook.  This verse encourages me that God will find me where I am.  And even though I may be afraid that I will never be able to live up to His vision for me, it also reminds me that He will teach me what I need to know.
 

God's peace be with you,

Crystal

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

James 3:13

NLT


If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

NIV

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

I find it interesting that the same passage can elicit such different responses in my heart.

When I read the first version, it makes me want to be a better person. I want to try to live a good life not because it’ll get me to heaven or earn me special favor but because it’s the right thing to do as a Christian. It's a way to show God that I love Him.

When I read the second version, I think of the Pharisees and feel like giving up. I am not wise or have a lot of understanding, so why should I bother trying. I am a simple person just trying to muddle through this life the best that I can.

This exercise proved to me that it is worthwhile, useful and a good practice to look at different bible versions when reading even what seems like a simple verse. It really can make a difference to how my heart hears God's word.


Do you do this?



God's Peace,

Crystal










Thursday, March 3, 2016

Following God's Timing



Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.


This morning I am trying to answer the question "When do I find it the hardest and the easiest to wait for God's timing?"

Think about that for just a minute. I have to admit that I never find it easy to wait, not as a child for Christmas and certainly not as an adult. I want it all and I want it now. Waiting has always seemed the hardest for me when life is difficult.


There was an 8-10 year stretch in my career, where I wanted a certain job title very badly. I did everything, that I could think of and was within my morals (no, this wasn't like an episode of “The Apprentice”), to get that job title. My supervisor promised me the promotion for years. Every year at review time, he came up with another excuse. As the excuses built, I became more and more frustrated. Our department was reorganized and I was eventually moved to another department. My job gradually turned into something completely different. As people retired I was given more and more responsibility but still the dream title never came. I went back to school because I thought maybe an education would finally do the trick. It didn’t. I finally gave up trying and took a different career path, when I saw the opportunity . A funny thing happened, once I moved into the alternate career path I very quickly got several promotions. I wasn’t terribly happy with the work but, in a matter of a couple years I was at an equivalent level to my dream title. 

Then I finally saw a job posting for my dream position and it was even in an office that I really wanted to work. I applied, interviewed and was offered the position. I’ve been doing work the work I dreamed of and love for a couple years. As I look back, if I had been given the title 10 years ago, I don't think I would have been able to do the job as well. So much of the experiences that I had during the years I spent struggling have been crucial to excelling in my current position. The waiting wasn't fun but it was worth it.

I probably I owe all those people who I felt held me back or that I thought were deliberately hurting me an apology for the dark thoughts I had about them. Because now it all seems like it worked out in Gods timing. Well, maybe I won't apologize but I'll say a little prayer for them. I only hope that the next time God says "just a minute, you're not ready yet" I'll have ears ready to hear him and the patience to wait.

I try to wake up and say "Good Morning, Lord what do you want of me today?" And I will continue to muddle through life, just like the millions (or are we up to billions) of other people who are on this planet.

May God's Peace be with you,

Crystal

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

An Introduction


Welcome Dear Friends or anyone else who happens by.

This blog is being started in large part due to a Bible Study that I'm doing.  If you aren't already familiar with Proverb 31 Ministries, I suggest that you go over there and check them out.  Go ahead, I'll wait....

Are you back now?  Isn't their site amazing!  A few weeks ago I decided, somewhat skeptically, to take part in their online Bible study "Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl."  This is based on the book by Lysa Terkeurst.  I am not exactly a girl anymore, in fact I am well out of girlhood by 20 or 30 years.  But I was moved to participate anyway.

I have followed the study and done the work.  Then a funny thing happened.  God started working in my life.  A couple weeks ago Lysa mentioned starting a blog as part of bible study.  At that time, I thought phewy, I've done the blog thing and wasn't very successful.  By successful, I mean that I didn't write in it consistently and the content was not very interesting. I wasn't going to blog, a pen and paper would work just fine for me.

Then this afternoon as I was reading chapter 16 "Finding God in Unlikely Places,"  It occurred to me pray, now I am sure that God put it on my heart to pray. The prayer I said was about God helping me find my way out of my personal wilderness.  I have never considered myself a Godly Woman. I struggle with all sorts of things on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.  But as I read a bit further, the idea of a blog came up again.  Then it occurred to me that I am probably not the only one who struggles.  And that if my struggle could help one person to know they aren't alone, they aren't crazy for wanting something more from their relationship with God, then it would be worth while.

My reading today was Romans 8:28-33.  What spoke to me most about these verses is that God chose me!  That he loves me and has a plan for me, just as He had a plan for his Son, Jesus.

Many people have the impression that a call from God is like the burning bush.  Something loud and flashy, something that you just can't miss, they are waiting for a call to start a ministry, to become a teacher or a preacher.  But I think a call from God is much subtler than that.  I don't believe for most of us that there is one single call but rather many small ones every day.  I believe that for the vast majority of us, we are asked to do small assignments, like helping a neighbor shovel their sidewalk, being kind to a coworker, or simply cooking dinner for your family.

So this is my assignment for today, starting this blog.  I'm not sure where it will go, but I promise that I will try to post regularly about whatever God puts on my heart.

God's Peace be with you,

Crystal