Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Legend OR The True Valentine?

With sickness in the house, hospital visits for family these last few weeks, taxes, and doing re-writes on my most current book, Lost Song, this blog has been put on the wayside.

So, I am bringing out an oldie from a few years ago to share with you once again.

I hope you enjoy it and know that you truly are someone's special Valentine... 

I was reading the history of Valentine’s Day, and from what I found, romance is not its true root beginning. So they say.
From the information I gathered, it was a day to honor a Christian martyr that was named Valentine. Now a martyr is someone who faces death rather than renouncing his religious beliefs. I’d say there had to be a lot of love and conviction to face death for anything. Still, it’s not romantic love.
I also found various versions of one legend that I particularly like. I’ll give you the paraphrased version.
There was this mean, horrible emperor who wanted men to be in his military, but he couldn’t get people to sign up. He figured it was because they didn’t want to leave their loved ones. So the guy banned marriage. (Whatever!) Still a priest named Valentine married people in secret. When he was caught, he was sentenced to death, and while in prison fell in love with a girl that visited him often, who may have been the jailors daughter.
Before his death, he wrote her a letter and signed it, “From Your Valentine”.
So I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that’s a pretty romantic story and would even be a great movie.
Whatever the start, Valentines Day is when people make card industries, “RICH” by buying over priced Valentine cards with sweet sentiments. And one of the best parts, CHOCOLATE is everywhere. I think that is an incredible part of this day.
And it’s a day to give fun presents that make people feel good. And some people get engaged and may be getting engaged today! 
But in reality, whatever the reason, it’s a day where in the hustle and bustle, we actually spend the entire day showing people through our gifts and actions exactly what God commands us to do in His Word.
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest, He answered, to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love other’s as we love ourselves.
The Word also says to love one another, forgive one another.
The fruit’s of the Spirit are love, kindness, goodness, patience, joy, peace, PATIENCE, (that’s a toughie in this day and age) faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22)
And the hardest one of all…to LOVE our enemies!
The Bible is the best Valentine book ever. It is filled with a love story that is unexplainable.
The wonderful thing about it is…today there are romantic, movies, books, and stories, where we hear about people finding love; a person is either a participant, or an observer. But when a person hears about the love story in the Bible, they can move from observer to participant, and say I want that love in my life, too. I want to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night and have this love that never changes or goes away, no matter if I’m having a good or bad day. And Jesus says okay. I’m here for you for ETERNITY.
While doing a study on the book of James the half-brother of Jesus, it appears that James and his brothers didn’t believe in who Jesus was before his death. But after Jesus resurrection the Word shows James and his brothers in the upper room with the disciples the day of Pentecost. James is the leader of the church in Jerusalem. James writes a letter to the believers that becomes an incredible book of the Bible.
How did that happen? The Bible tells us that Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection. It doesn’t let us know what the conversation between the two of them was, but it clearly was a good one because it changed James life. And through James testimony of Jesus love, many other lives are changed, including mine.
To me, what happened in James life is a wonderful example of how Jesus wants us to be in our own relationships, to go the extra mile for the people in our lives.
I mean, He loved us so much, He let them pierce his hands and feet with nails so HE could die and pay the price for the wrong things we do.
If there ever was an example of love, He gives it.
Galations 5:13-14 “….Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love, for the whole law can be summed up in this one command; “love your neighbor as yourself.”
My prayer for you today, is that you will walk filled with the love that can only come from Him. And that someone else will be blessed too, because of it.
Happy belated Valentine’s Day.
Bible verses from the NLT

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ishmael or Isaac?

The women’s group I attend, called “Serious Coffee” at my church is currently doing a study on the book of James.
James 1:14 really struck me “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
I thought to myself what are my deepest desires that would lead to sinful actions and cause sin to grow?
Not that I don’t already have enough weaknesses that I deal with throughout the day, but I really wanted to know if my desires were leading me away from God’s plan for my life.
Was I being misled, like it says NOT to be in James 1: 16?
A couple of months ago, during a conversation with a friend, I shared how I was praying about an issue and what I was doing to try to resolve it. No matter what I did or tried, nothing came through. The issue was still there.
She said, “You better watch out, you may end up getting an Ishmael instead of an Isaac.”
Well, that stopped me dead in my thought process.
In the book of Genesis, God promised Sarah and Abraham a son. They waited and waited and …no son. So Sarrah took matters into her own hands and had her husband sleep with her maidservant Hagar so she could become pregnant and then they’d have a son.
Well, when Hagar became pregnant, life got bad for both Sarah and Hagar. I doubt if Sarah wants anyone to ask her, “How did that work out for you?”
Then a day came when God did just what He promised he would do for Abraham and Sarah. She became pregnant and gave Abraham a son, named Isaac.
I mean, I can only imagine she probably had those moments of saying, “if only I’d waited” or “if only I’d trusted God”, then those other bad things wouldn’t have happened.
I suppose everyone has their own, “if only”.  I know I have mine. Isn’t it easier to get out there and “fix” the problem instead of waiting to see what direction God would lead or what He would provide? Or to become a complainer and start doubting He is really going to do something in this matter. After all, there are lots of other matters God deals with besides…me.
Sometimes waiting to follow the one who is leading is just plain hard. I mean especially when I really want what I’m praying for then it’s easy to take over and step into the lead. But then I may end up with an Ishmael situation instead of an Isaac.
James 1: 5 tells us if we lack wisdom, to ask God who gives GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault. But James 1:6 and 7 tells us if we doubt we’re not going to get any wisdom. (Paraphrased)
So after reading through this beginning part of James, my pray would be, to be able to resist the temptation and to endure the testing, so I don’t chase after those desires that would lead to sin.
And to wait before I knock down any doors that might open up to “Ishmael!”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where Is The Answer?

When my daughter was really young she was given a Cinderella doll that sang a couple of songs about your dreams coming true. She also had a sing along toy and a hand held Cinderella game that played the same song.
At the end of the song, of the sing along toy, Cinderella gets her dream puppy.
One day I found my daughter in her room with a sad look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me the song wasn’t true. That dreams don’t come true.
She explained to me she had dreamed of getting a puppy and it never happened.
How do you explain to a three or four year old that they are “only” a few years old?
It just so happened that after years of hoping, I had recently seen my dream come true of being published. So I was able to explain that sometimes dreams don’t happen right away. And look how old mommy was before her dream came true. Well, to a little kid, my age can seem, well…a long ways away.
I also explained I wasn’t a mommy until later in life. And yes, it felt like that dream would never come true, but it happened.
I can honestly tell you, there were days, when I was waiting that I felt just like my daughter did when she was so sad about her dreams.
The Bible tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Jesus also tells us the story about a lady who keeps going before a mean judge over and over again until finally he gives her the request. And Jesus asked if your children ask for bread will you give them a stone instead? How much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?
There are plenty of other verses that say pretty much the same thing.
But, what about those times when you pray and pray and pray with no answer in sight?
The answer could be, “NO”, but “no” isn’t being accepted. God may have a completely different plan.  
I’ve had those “no” answers that are sometimes hard to figure out. And I finally reach the conclusion to trust that He is God, He is the one in control. And to believe what the Bible says, about all things work for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Or the answer could be, WAIT, it’s not the proper time yet.  
I remember when I had loud noises in my head. It was so loud I could hardly think, sometimes I’d be on my knees pleading for it to go away. Day after day I prayed. I tried to fix it myself. I tried all sorts of different things, but nothing worked. And then one day, we went to a doctor someone had told us about. I really didn’t expect what happened, but when we left his office a few hours later, the noise was GONE! I’ve had to return to him here and there, but I had an answer to my prayer.
I’ve also had those “wait” answers that seem like a “no” and then surprise a long time prayer is answered.
But I’ve also had answers that I am surprised about how they are answered. The prayer is answered in a way I never even imagined. And sometimes I don’t realize it until later.
I had that happen to me quite a few times, whether the prayer is a big request or small. Recently I had one of my prayers answered in that way.
Years ago, I used to receive the magazine, Today’s Christian Woman. I could hardly wait to read some of the regular writer’s articles. I daydreamed about writing for this magazine, but I couldn’t even figure out a way to send a query letter to them.
Then one day I found a way in. I wrote a query letter and was even emailed back that they received it and would be passing it on. I was so excited. And then…the magazine stopped printing.
Talk about disappointed. I was.
Until one day I was sending in a blog-post to my editor and it hit me. My editor used to be an editor for Today’s Christian Women and I was sending her a post.
My heart jumped with joy. Although I wasn’t writing for the “magazine” I was writing for the editor. And I even had an open door to send her more work and communicate with her through emails on a personnel level.
God answered my heart’s desire in a different way than I expected, but still He answered.
There always seem to be a time when there doesn’t seem to be an answer’s in sight, but maybe it was answered, just not in a way you thought it would be answered.
So don’t stop going before the King, who loves you and asks you to bring your cares to Him. I mean, how can we refuse to bring our cares to Him when He wants us to bring them to Him?
A song from Psalm 121 usually comes to mind when I’m waiting for an answer or start getting stressed out.
“1 I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there?
2My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” NLT version
Waiting can be hard, but for those who wait is a promise…
Isaiah 40:31
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” KJV
Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” NLT
He is God and answers prayers.
For further encouragement from His word, Psalm 130:5, Psalm 27, Psalm 37:4, Micah 7:7