Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ordinary People, Extraordinary God

     Hello, Songbirds! I hope you enjoyed reading my husband's (a.k.a...Captain Awesome's) post this week! He may "chime" in on occasion to share what's on his mind and heart. It will be a sure treat for all of us!
     Today I would like to share this thought with you:  What if living an ordinary life is exactly what God has intended for you? This question keeps going over in my mind since it was posed by my pastor recently one Sunday morning. He was speaking in regard to Mary, the mother of Jesus, in preparation for Christmas day. When I heard it, I thought...why didn't I think of that before now?
     I have heard countless times that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and I think I've always thought that's great and all, but it leaves something was because of my perspective on being ordinary. I want to be extraordinary. OUCH. Ordinary just doesn't seem good enough! At least it hasn't until pastor Matt posed that question!
     I believe God was telling me that that is me. I am one of the many ordinary people on this planet that will always be ordinary, and that is finally okay with me. In fact, it's a relief! I was finally ready to receive it that Sunday morning and it has been freeing.  John 8:32 NKJV
     I am reminded of good ole George Bailey, the character in the Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life. There is a particular scene (there are many) that have always been one of my favorites. It's the scene when George's father has just passed away and Mr. Potter is seeking to close down the Building & Loan. This is what George says in this scene:

     I consider myself part of the "rabble" being talked about in the clip, that's about as ordinary as you can get! When you think about it though, at least in today's world, George Bailey and his dad both would be considered ordinary folk too.Yet, as the movie progresses we see the difference these ordinary lives did make after all.
     There were two other ordinary people God used in a mighty way. In fact we are still feeling the impact of their obedience to the Father. Mary and Joseph. She was just a teen aged girl, Joseph a carpenter. Look what God did through them! As a result we have just celebrated the birth of their Son, our Savior. Amazing
     Could God have accomplished His will another way? I'm sure. Why did He choose this way? One day we will get to ask Him face to face, if we are one of His children. Yet, I have a feeling when that day comes, it may not seem important. Just a thought
     Until then, this Scripture may explain somewhat the mind of God in this matter: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 NKJV.  We have been given a Savior who was born to die. Born to die on our behalf. Willingly. Why? I believe it was all because of love. He loves us so much He would have rather died than live without us.
     For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:26-31 NKJV.  
     All for His glory! Only He is truly extraordinary. That is why I am at peace to be one of the foolish, one of the weak, one of the base, in other words, one of the ordinary...all for Him and His glory. 
     The song titled "Born to Die" by Bebo Norman is my prayer and my song for us as we celebrate and reflect on the meaning of the birth of Christ this season.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Do We Really Need a Bigger Barn?

Greetings Songbirds,
  My wife has graciously allowed me to be a guest blogger this Christmas week as I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you. So here goes nothing.
   As the Christmas holiday is upon us, I once again have found my thought process challenged as it was recently in our church's building campaign. Anytime the subject of money is raised, whether it be for the purchase of gifts at Christmas time or the giving of funds towards a campaign; there is an instinctive tendency to be afraid to spend anything and instead set it aside for a rainy day. What if I'm sacrificing my future? What if I'm giving away our security? What if retirement has to be delayed? Unfounded fear can make you ask some pretty silly questions. The truth is that to most people these questions don't sound so silly, but to the believer they are just that. Our security and our future aren't dependent on the size of our bank accounts, no instead the Lord is the provider and sustainer of all that we have and we are truly blessed to be His caretakers.  Luke 12:24 NKJV   
  So why are we tempted to be fearful? Prosperity, perhaps has blinded our eyes to the needs around us. Now don't get me wrong, we are like most folks living week to week and thankful to be employed and insured, but even with a modest salary, this time of year challenges me to look outward at the needs of others. I believe that the reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is.
  In Proverbs 6:6-8 NKJV God commends the ant's diligence, not his pursuit of security from accumulation. Contrast that in Luke 12:13-21 NKJV, it isn't the rich man's diligence God rebukes, it's his foolish self-sufficiency, seeking security in what he can store up on earth. But Jesus goes beyond telling us not to build up treasures here on earth, He says "Sell your possessions, and give to the needy". Luke 12:33 NKJV  Don't just refrain from building bigger barns, give it way (at least some of it).
     Contrary to what our little world's might have us believe, bigger barns do not equal more security. Choosing to live a life as a raven Luke 12:24 NKJV, trusting God for our provisions requires a willingness on our parts to give away what this world encourages us to seek. It sounds crazy and even making such a statement causes me unease, but trusting God in all areas of our lives, including our finances, shows that He is more than sufficient. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (vs 34)
     So here's the question I have for you Songbirds, where are your hearts? Are they  linked to your bank accounts, your homes, your jobs or perhaps something else? Christ wants our hearts to be linked with God, not with what's inside our barns. The problem with having bigger barns here on earth is that there is a huge temptation to trust in barns and not in God.
  Our compassion need not be expensive, but if it's real it will challenge us to choose a path other than our usual, predictable and comfortable way of life. I want desperately to seek first His kingdom and to trust that our Heavenly Father will continue to provide everything I need when I need it. I pray that when I'm tempted to put in my barn, my treasures that God would remind me that the day to day encounters I have with others are perhaps divine appointments rather than disruptions to my self sufficient way of life. What a wonderful blessing it is when God marries our acts of obedience with the earnest prayers of those in need.
     My prayer is that we all venture outside our own little worlds as depicted in the song  titled "My Own Little World" sung by Matthew West.

Merry Christmas and have a Blessed New Year!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Better than a Hallelujah

     I apologize for taking so long in writing this post, Songbirds. I have drafts of two separate topics I was working on when the events of last Friday took place. It seems as if our country has had the "wind" knocked out of it and we are all still just trying to remember to breathe.
     There are times when words are not sufficient, or maybe not even appropriate. This seems to be one of those times. The sorrow is so deep and the pain is so raw that it will take time to process what took place, if that is even possible. The song by Amy Grant titled Better than a Hallelujah explains it beautifully.
     We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody...If that be true, Songbirds then when we call out to our Heavenly Father in our time of sorrow and grieving, we become His song...what an awesome thought...what an awesome God.
     If the Lord leads, I will share more of what is on my heart regarding the events that took place in Connecticut last Friday, December 14th in a future post. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV Amen and Selah.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Greatest Gift

     It's been a while since we've spoken, Songbirds! 'Tis the season! I know everyone is busier these days and  I do appreciate more than I can say your taking time out of your busy schedules to peek in on me and my "rantings"!   ; )
     I have truly missed writing to you since we last spoke. I am constantly thinking of you and how I can best make sense of what I feel God may be putting on my heart to share with you. It can be overwhelming at times because it is a difficult thing for me to express my thoughts and feelings toward the Lord. He has done such great things and He continues to do so. 
     I am reminded of  the disciple, John when he wrote: "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen."  John 21:25 NKJV  
     He turned water into wine, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead back to life, set the captive free...and so much more!  These things were only made possible because of Jesus' obedience to the Father in coming to earth in the form of mankind.  
     He had to lay in a manger before He could lay down His life on a cross, as my pastor pointed out this past Sunday. He experienced first hand what His creation experiences, therefore providing "me too" experiences with Him and His creation.
     Jesus experienced abandonment, He experienced rejection, He experienced abuse, He experienced poverty, He experienced homelessness, He experienced being wrongly accused, He experienced being misunderstood...etc, etc. Sound familiar? Ever experience these things in your life? Maybe even right now? So did He!
     What does all of this mean for us? Our God has compassion on His people..."Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but as in all  points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV.
     That baby who lay in a manger would later willingly lay His life down on a cross and become
the propitiation for our sins...and so much more! WHY? His Love For us. Through it all, He still loves us. He loved us before He was born into mankind and He always will Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV. What a gift Jesus (who knew no sin) has given to us! Romans 5:15-18 NKJV....AMAZING.  
      My prayer for us this Christmas season is that we remember that our greatest need (therefore, the greatest gift we could receive) is a Savior! And on that first Christmas day that need was met, as illustrated through the song titled The Night Before Christmas  by  Brandon Heath.

Empty manger...perfect stranger...about to be born...