Thursday, December 25, 2014

And He Showed Up - Merry Christmas


The song, “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” has real meaning in the Pacific Northwest. If a lawn has a snowman adorning it, it was bought at a store. Rarely does snow show up for the PNW’er unless they go up to the mountains. Except this year, the mountain doesn’t have snow like it usually does. Not even the tourist town of Leavenworth is covered with snow.

Snow rarely shows up.

Quite a few years ago my family faced the unexpected death of my Uncle. After his death, a group from church made their way to my Aunt’s house, and spent the day helping her with yard work.
I remember her explaining that it touched her, because they “showed up.”

A few thousand years ago, on a starry night, that is what God did. He “showed up.”

“Immanuel” – God with us, appeared on the earth, in the form of a baby, named Jesus, God’s son.

The birth of a baby is such a wonderful thing. What makes Jesus birth even more exciting, is this is not where His life started.

The Bible says Jesus always has been.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.

The Bible also tells us in Phillipians 2:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus showed up, and He walked among us. He is still here today, by His Spirit, that lives within us.
That’s what this awesome holiday is really all about.

It’s the greatest gift that ever was given to the entire world. You just have to open up your heart and receive it.

From my house to yours, have a Merry Christmas! And may you be filled with the love and joy that comes from above.





Friday, December 19, 2014

Why Haven't You Shown Up Yet...

One day, I got my daughter out of school earlier than her usual time.

"I was worried you weren't coming," she said as she got in the car.

"Why? I've never missed picking you up from anything, and I'm here at the time I told you I would be."

"Because, I had told you that I wanted to get out earlier than this." She answered.

I smiled and told her this was definitely a blog moment.

How many times do I pray and wonder why God doesn't show up when and how I want Him to?

I've had my moments where I've been pretty good at acting like the "God director" when I pray. I've also had my moments of frustration, while I wait for Him to answer them, when and how I wanted the prayers answered.

I know I'm not the only one to do this.

Over the last few years we've been praying for a prisoner in the mid-east to be freed and returned to America to be with his family. There are updates on him on the radio and face book. He is even in the news at times. 

Even with all of the prayers, he still isn't freed.

My daughter asked me about this, why God isn't answering this prayer.

I had to think for a minute, because I wondered this too. I know God is capable of it. He freed Peter from prison in the middle of the night and the prison guards didn't even know it.

This man, Saeed, is suffering quite a bit physically from the treatment he is receiving in prison. As the reports come out about him, there are many, many prayer vigils that go on for his release. 

Yet...he is still in prison.

I learned through a study called "Experiencing God" to look around your circumstance and see what God is doing and how you are to be involved. What is HE doing? What is HIS plan?

So, we changed our prayers, or rather added to them. We still pray for God to free Saeed. But my daughter now prays that Saeed would not give up on God's love for him. And she prays for his family. We've added that the people around him would come to know the one True God, and be saved. Prayers are added for his healing, comfort, and other things.

Yes, we want God to show up and free him very soon, but until then we've learned to cover him in prayer to be able to deal with his situation.

I'm sure back in Biblical times when it took years for the people to see God answer their prayers, they got discouraged. Like, Abraham and Sarah, the Israelites who were under Pharaohs rule for a couple hundred years after Joseph died, the Jewish people who longed for the promised Messiah who was to come and be their King.

When He did come - he didn't do things in the way the people thought he should...instead, he walked with the people, people that the deemed righteous ones wouldn't hang out with. He ate with them, healed them, and showed them the true love of God through a human touch.

Then he went and died. He didn't get himself off the cross and become the ruler of the world. Instead, he died and rose again, and became the ruler of eternity.

God always has a bigger plan than what we see.

His ways are so much higher than our ways.

It's so hard to deal with that when we are truly struggling, hurting, and desperate for the immediate answer to our situation.

Still, His ways are higher, and filled with more love than we can ever comprehend.

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

My prayer for you this day is that God will answer your prayers, more than you could ever ask or ever imagine for yourself.

Even though you may have prayed, and it may look as though God hasn't shown up yet...He will.


Believe it. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Is Here!

Thanksgiving is here already! It’s hard to believe there is just, over a month, left to 2014. I blinked and zoom it’s close to the end of the year.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, I love this season as far as the weather goes, I love how things look outside, I love the clothes we get to wear, boots, sweaters, and scarves.

Most of all, I love that this is the beginning of the time that people purpose to get together. Despite the work the 

Thanksgiving meal takes, to prepare, it is a time to really enjoy eating, and conversing with others.

Typically I would be writing something, that had to do with Thanksgiving, but this year... it will be a stretch.  Maybe, what I want to write about this week in my blog, will lead people to take a moment, and think about the relationships in their own lives, before they do sit down at that Thanksgiving table. 

Ephesians 4:26 “…Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

I have a really mature reaction to this part of verse twenty-six in chapter four of Ephesians. Ugh! And “groan.” I have to admit I really struggle with this. 

Sometimes, I’m so tired and grumpy at night, that it’s way too hard to have a forgiving heart for all of the things that bugged me during the day that didn’t get dealt with earlier. I roll over and go to sleep. Usually, things do look much better in the morning.

This part of the verse is stressful to obey. In our house when the sun goes down, and it gets close to bed time, we can all get cranky. We need to get our heads on our pillows and not mess around.

Being cranky, feeling grumpy, okay, it’s hard not to take it out on the ones closest to you, but it’s something a person has to learn - Not to dump their garbage in other people’s emotional yards.

I’ve noticed, from my own experience, and from watching and talking to others - the closer a person gets to another person there will be things that are just plain irritating. Especially, the things that attracted people to hang out with each other in the first place, those things tend to grate on the nerves.

My opinion - if a person is coasting through life and they don’t ever get frustrated with anyone or any situation, they need to get closer to people. Because everyone has their differences and the cool thing about all of the relational ins and outs is…As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 NKV.


I’m not talking about when a person loses their head at other drivers who are on the road, or other shoppers in the check-out line, or the lack of customer service kind of irritation. I think when a person is reacting to those things, a mood elevator herb, or taking more B vitamins, or getting more sleep, or just having some grace will take care of that.   


I am talking about the type of irritation that comes from building relationships, when suddenly people who are building relationships, or working together, or volunteering together - well…Aargh!

When people reach a moment where they can’t communicate. They can’t hear each other. And to be honest, they don’t want to hear each other.  

And then…

A person can feel so mad! Or feelings can get hurt!

Which can lead to – SILENCE, which is so LOUD and it can go on for a few minutes, hours, days, or for a very longtime.

Or Yelling, where everyone wants to be heard and NO ONE is listening.

Or a person just needs to do some feel good things like - Throwing - sometimes it just feels good to throw down that set of keys in your hand, my personal favorite - a pillow, whatever, just so it’s not harmful and not meant to hurt, it can be so relieving when frustrated.

When anger moments happen, it can sometimes take forever to get back to that warm, fuzzy, place in a relationship. Sad thing is - some people never do.

Those moments become the end of a relationship.

“…Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”

When anger takes root, bitterness grows if not taken care of, but forgiveness always leads to the road of reconciliation, whether with the situation or with the person. Sometimes, the relationship never gets reconciled. Sometimes, it just takes time for all of the hurt and mis-communication to be worked out. Sometimes, it’s just plain over.

But we still need to forgive, as Jesus forgives us, even when there isn't reconciliation.

Paul, who wrote the book of Ephesians and was the one who said for us, to not let the sun go down on our anger, had a period in his life that Christians feared him. Paul would round them up and have them killed. He was on his way to round up some Christians when Jesus called out to him, right from heaven, on a dusty road, and told him to stop what he was doing.

Paul went through some major heart changes, and became a believer in Jesus, which is cool, but the Christians didn’t trust him. I mean do you blame them? He could have been tricking them, just to get into their circle, and then wipe them all out.

But…He had a friend named Barnabas –

Acts 9:26-28New King James Version (NKJV)
Saul at Jerusalem
26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.
Barnabas and Saul then went on to do ministry together, they were beaten together, and they saw people come to believe in Jesus together.
They went on a mission and they brought along a young guy named, Mark.

Acts 12

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

At Antioch in Pisidia Acts 13

13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 

Division over John Mark Acts 15

36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
After all they had been through, Barnabas and Paul departed ways over John called Mark. Now, there isn’t a recorded reconciliation of Paul and Barnabas, and we don’t hear about Barnabas again outright. But we do hear about his work through another story about Paul and Mark.
2 Timothy 4: (I bolded the sentence)
Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.
Barnabas had been right to not give up on Mark. After all of that, Paul ended up wanting Mark with him to do ministry. I don’t know if Barnabas and Paul ever met again and reconciled, but I do know from this story that somehow Paul and Mark came back together. And Barnabas made a good move to mentor Mark despite what his good friend thought.
Didn’t Barnabas do that very same thing for Paul when the other Christians didn’t want him around? Barnabas was being true to himself. It seems that he was the type of guy that no matter what it cost him, he was there for the underdog.
When Paul was in chains in Ephesus he wrote;
Ephesians 4
Do Not Grieve the Spirit
25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and do not sin”:[f] do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Be angry and do not sin. It’s okay to be angry, just don’t sin when you are angry. Don’t do something evil. And don’t hold on to it. Forgive. Work for reconciliation, if reconciliation doesn’t come and you have to make the decision to just let it go…really let it go, and forgive the person and the situation.


Maybe, just maybe, reconciliation will happen later on.
I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Everything Has Its Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.
The God-Given Task
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.

Tomorrow is a time the Reinhardt family remembers together the life of William Reinhardt, as a husband, dad, brother, grandpa, and friend.        

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, Bill had time throughout his life for things, he had his time to be born and put into the waiting arms of his parents. To be taken care of as a child, and led into adulthood.

He had his moments to love, to hate, to plant, to tear apart, to hurt, and to heal. And all of his moments, threaded together with other peoples' moments, the people who were in and out of his life, and the people who were in his life always.

It’s funny when you sit with someone on their last days, and you hope for a few more moments with that person. Of course you hope for good moments, even if the last moments you had with the person were not good.

Still, you want to be able to love, and to share. And you hope…you hope the next breath turns the tide to life instead of continuing toward death.

And then it’s time.

It’s time to die.

Death leaves a feeling like a heavy anchor weighing down on a person’s heart as you realize that no matter what-what was said, or what was done between you and that person-this is it.

It’s over.

There isn’t another chance. It is the end, with no rewind button included.

And you sit there wanting more. Good or bad you just want more time. You sit there dealing with the memories of that person’s part in your life.

And then they're taken away; and now forever, a hole remains.

As you stand up. You go on with your life doing the best you can.

It would all be so dark and horrible, except for one fact. Jesus.

Jesus is the light in the darkest situation.

When death knocks on the door of life, or the door of relationships, or the door of hopes, and dreams, it brings a darkness that includes pain.

But Jesus brings a light that brings life again.

A believer who lays on a deathbed, after they take their last breath here, they take their first breath in heaven with Jesus.

And other believers are there ahead of the person. All together in a place where there is no more tears, no more pain.

So as we have a time of crying tears here, Bill is having his time where all of his tears are wiped away forever. 

God has a time for everything. In our pain, He brings the healing. In our times of hate, He brings the love. In our times of fighting, He brings the peace.

He brings the good.

When taking a look back at the time a person has had here on earth…look and see despite our failings, (because we all fail) https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifwhat did Jesus do during that time? He covered our mistakes by shedding HIS blood on the cross for our sins.

It’s a time of death - it’s a time of life. It’s a time of pain, and then…there will be a time of healing.
Because of the One who has the name above all names…

Jesus.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do these boots match?

“Do these boots match?” My middle school daughter asked just before it was time to walk out the door.

Good question, because a girl has to have the right boots on to complete her ensemble.



She asked this question after trying on more than one outfit. A girl not only has to look just right, but feel just right. Everyone around her, can give a compliment about the way a girl looks, but if she doesn’t feel right in what she is wearing…forget it…compliment’s are worthless.

Also a favorite pair of jeans one day, may feel like you’re wearing someone else’s jeans another day.
I've learned not to get rid of her clothes very quick like, because she will ask me where I put the shirt or pair of pants she hated a few days prior, but now they are suddenly her favorites again.

I go through the same thing. One day, I needed to get dressed to have some pictures taken...



Finally…after trying on one thing after another...something not only felt right, but covered up what I wanted covered, and I liked what I saw in the mirror.

Now my husband…he usually does pretty well, but sometimes he needs my assistance, he has a pair of shoes that he thinks goes with anything, and can be worn at anytime…NOT!

But…when he hops on his motorcycle…he has to have the right boots on...
 ...jacket, AND pants, too. Not, just to complete his ensemble, but to keep dry when it rains and to have some sort of protection.

Me...I love clothes, I have lots of favorites, and I like to have a good pair of boots, well more than one pair of boots. It is so fun to put on a shirt that feels just right, and has some personality.

The clothes a person wears hangs in their closets or are folded in their dresser drawers. Sometimes a person dresses fancy, sometimes athletic, or casual, and sometimes just plain comfortable – like I am right now while sitting here writing this blog – a person usually wears whatever fits the call for the day. Each day we pick out an outfit to wear.

In the Bible Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Ephesus and told them a way to dress that doesn’t change every day. The clothing he instructed the believer to wear was not outer garments, but rather spiritual garments.

Being guarded by Roman soldiers he used their attire to explain how a believer should dress spiritually. Though, these things are not technically visible to the human eye, they are visible in the way we respond to things during our day.

Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
During this last summer we visited a small, very charismatic church. The preacher came up to the podium and her voice rang out with strength and power from deep within her. It took her awhile to move her message along, because she kept reiterating what she had previously spoken, but before we left, she made it clear, we need to put the full armor of God on…not just part of it.

We wouldn’t walk out of the house half-dressed, would we? We wouldn’t go without our shoes, shirt, or pants when we go to work, or to the store right?

Ephesians 6:10-18The Message (MSG)
A Fight to the Finish
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Believe in your salvation through Jesus Christ, walk in righteousness, truth, and peace. Pick up the Bible and listen to what the Lord has to say to you.
And pray…pray for yourself and one another.

Phillipians 1: 9-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Love Moment

            I held my daughter close on my lap, as I watched my husband hold his white haired Dad’s hand, while he sat beside his hospital bed having a heartfelt conversation.
           
My husband spoke loud and clear. His Dad answered slowly, and yes, he did believe that Jesus Christ died for his sins.

            “That’s the best gift you could ever give me, Dad,” my husband smiled.

            In response, his Dad brought their two clasped hands to his face, and gave my husband’s hand a long kiss.

            Tears rolled from my eyes. I felt honored to be a witness of this interaction of love between a Dad and his son.

            Then to add to the moment, a few seconds later, he brought their hands up to his face again, and kissed his son’s hand once more.

            So precious…

            It was possibly one of their final moments together, and it was filled with love, and a guarantee they would see each other once again in heaven.

            No goodbyes…rather a, “I’ll see you there when it’s my turn.”

             All because…God gave us His Son, Jesus, who is the greatest gift ever given to those who believe in Him.


            John 3:16-19New International Version (NIV)

 

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

Hebrews 10 New International Version (NIV)

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[c]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
All because...God loves!