Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Glimpse of Grandma

She sat in Bible study slight in frame and sitting a bit lower than her younger hopeful scholars. Her Bible lay open between her elbows which rested comfortably on the table and her hands hung gracefully above the precious Word of God as I glimpsed a bit of shimmer from her pearl nail polish.

She had no resemblance to my Grandmother except she was older or should I say wiser in her years. Grandma has been gone now for almost five years and I miss her dearly. I often pray to my Jesus and talk to him about just how much I miss her. Even though she is in heaven with her Savior, I feel deep in my heart she is closer than I think…even though we may be separated for a time. Often during this prayer time with my Lord, I will ask him to tell her I said hello, I miss her, I love her, and I can’t wait to see her again! I don’t know if the message gets relayed to my Grandma or not, but I know she will be part of my welcoming committee when I get to heaven.

I had lunch at my home after the morning study. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with other women. She came to the luncheon as well walking in with her cane and light cream colored jacket. My grandma also used a cane in her last years. When I came and sat at the table where she sat, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful beaded jewelry with intense purples, soft pinks, and a hint of magenta. It matched perfectly with her sweater. She probably didn’t realize I had been watching her so much today. When she left, she turned around slightly on my brick side walk with the crunch of leaves beneath her feet and said, “I forgot to say thank you.” I walked from my font door to meet her on the walk way and embraced her with a hug. It was a sweet hug. I wished it would have lasted forever. I wished even more when I pulled my head away from hers and smiled I would have been looking at my Grandma.

Tears stream down my face this moment as I write this piece. I am thankful for Flora today. She gave me a glimpse of my Grandma this day. I am thankful that God allowed me a taste of what I have missed for almost five years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cooking in the Kitchen - A Gift from God

Today is such a blustery day in Eastern Pennsylvania. The wind whips and breaks the last few leaves off the trees causing separation from its limb of life until next spring. The rain bounces in a pitter pat against the glass of the windows and then rolls down the panes much like that of tear drops racing down the face of a broken heart.

Although it is beautiful to sit on the couch and watch the stormy day from our french doors, when it rains or snows my soul is stirred to move to the kitchen. There is nothing better to lift the spirits of a dreary day than the smell of good food. I finished the pumpkin seeds in the oven first which the kids pulled from our pumpkin carving over the weekend. Lots of salt was needed! I then made cut out sugar cookies in the shape of leaves and pumpkins and sprinkled them with orange and black gems. One fell apart when placed on the cooling rack. I'm not kidding...the cookie screamed my name and begged me to eat did. It was very tasty!

Finally lunch time rolled around and I decided to cook up some angel hair pasta. I sizzled some fresh mushrooms, red onions, green and red peppers, spinach (aren't you proud of me Michelle), with some fabulous fresh garlic. It was quick, easy, and wonderfully scrumptious!

I love days like these in the kitchen. I wonder sometimes since I love preparing food so much, what job will God have for me in heaven? Will I help prepare for banquets of celebration and joy or might I be so privileged to cook for Jesus every day. Wow! What a thought!

I believe my coffee is done and another cookie is!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hospitality - Genuine or Superficial?

Sometimes I really wonder if people understand a true relationship with Jesus. As I watch how people, even Christians, interact with each other I’m baffled and stand aghast in dismay. How can people have a relationship with an unseen God to the naked eye, when they have difficulty cultivating fellowship and hospitality with one another? Actually, when we belong to a church body a relationship turns into kinship because we are part of a family…the family of God and we often refer to ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ.

A wonderful relationship is more than simply saying,

“Yeah, she’s my friend. I’ve known her for years.”

A meaningful relationship is more than spending time together. The art of friendship is genuineness with each other and ridding yourselves of superficial talk. You’re real with each other. You support each other. You encourage each other. You even get mad and sometimes hurt by the friends choices and words, but you know you can express your pain in love, get over the hurdle, and replace tears with laughter where joy in fellowship abounds once again.

Christ desires this meaningful relationship with us as well. A true relationship with Christ is more than simply saying one believes in the Great I Am. Sure to have a this fellowship does mean spending time in prayer with our Abba, but are we genuine when we talk to the Lord or are we superficial without all the details. Are we vague at best without specifics of our honest feelings? Do we understand and realize we are allowed to get mad at God and talk through our anger and tears and allow Jesus to replace our tears with peace and joy?

Maybe the lack of hospitality I see in many churches today isn’t so much that we don’t get along with each other, but perhaps we have forgotten the relationship which should come first; our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we “get real” with Jesus, we will be able to “get real” with each other. The lessons we learn in our kinship with Immanuel will carry over to the very people we love the most and those who need to be loved when they walk through our church doors for the first time. We need to seek each other with open arms as Christ seeks us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Handshakes, Hugs, and Hellos

Sweaty palms gripped the steering wheel and an anxious heart made my foot press unknowingly further down on the gas pedal until my eyes caught glance of the speedometer. As I gradually slowed the car, I prayed and asked the Lord to ease my fretting over my children attending youth group for the first time at a new church. The onslaught of questions and statements flooded my mind as we pulled into the parking lot.

“Would anyone notice we were new?”
“I hope people are friendly.”
“I hope they don’t just stare at the new people.”
“Would this congregation be kind and welcoming to my children?”
“Is this the place where the Lord would have us worship and be fed?”

Question after question followed by statement after statement flooded my mind until at last I took a deep breath and released my grip from the wheel to enter the unknown.

My family and I have relocated several times in the past eight years and each time I know it is imperative for myself, especially as a stay at home mom, and for my family to get connected to a church body. I get very anxious (even though Paul warns us to be anxious about nothing) over the entire process of finding a new church family, but also excited for what God has in store for us as he opens doors to new friendships of everlasting proportions.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Upon entering a church for the first time, a “warm fuzzy” environment with an embrace of love which seems to envelop the entire church body in a bear hug is essential and key to my family ever attending for a second time. After entering some places of worship, we did not make it past the sanctuary doors because the glares and stares portrayed an unfriendly environment. These unfortunate Sunday’s were met with great sadness followed by brunch out to soothe our dismal encounter.

“Greet one another with a kiss of love.” I Peter 5:14

If we make it to a pew, preferably the back, I observe the people of the congregation. I want to see deep devotion, care, and love (very essential) between the parishioners. I like handshakes, hellos, and hugs, followed by a greeting of genuine friendship. A rare sighting of a greeting with “a kiss of love” as Paul speaks of scores extra points. However, I get excited when my observing is interrupted by a tap on the shoulder and a fellow brother or sister in the Lord greets and welcomes us. Hey, they noticed the new comers! Above all, I must see love! I must feel love for without love God does not exist for God is love…hands down!

“Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God, everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:7-8

Not only do I observe how the congregation interacts with each other, but I also look at the age of all who attend. If all I see are canes, walkers, and white hair a red flag goes up. I begin to look for the youth and young couples. If I don’t see them I believe I may have stumbled upon a stagnate church afraid of change. This may be judgmental on my part for which forgiveness is needed, but I have children who also need fellowship and friends with the same values. It is my God given role to raise them in the way of the Lord and to provide them with a secondary means of learning about Jesus surrounded by a church body.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Imprint your hand deeply upon my heart this day. Let me feel the hard press of your mighty love that whatever my eyes might gaze upon or sounds my ears may hear; let it make me constantly aware of your presence and cause me to lift praises of thanksgiving to my awesome God!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Remember to PRAY about your VOTE!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jesus is Coming Soon!

When I was younger and heard others talk about the end times, in my mind I always thought...."hmmmm you are just trying to scare people". I don't know what has happened to me, but within the last six weeks, I must confess, the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me often that indeed...JESUS IS COMING SOON!

I'm not writing this to cause people, especially people I love, to be afraid. Nor do I think I can predict the day when Jesus comes for no one knows the day nor the hour of His arrival. I am writing so you might be ready for the return of our Lord.

During my prayer time, I have felt very impressed to come before the Lord with a contrite heart. A heart of confessing my sin and a heart seeking to turn from an about face...look toward the light and away from wicked ways. The word “wicked” includes all deliberate, willful disobedience—not just violent crimes such as murder.

I beg you all to come and know the Lamb of God for time is short. I desire to dance on the streets of gold with all of you. I hope to meet you at the tree of life and walk the winding river of life where joy abounds for evermore. I hope for you to come to know King Jesus and for those who already have made Jesus Lord of their life...I pray you too would come before Abba our father and talk awhile having a contrite heart willing to turn from your wicked ways and walk in obedience to our Lord!

"I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16

"If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

I will continue to... "Forget what is behind and strain toward what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for that which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen! Love and Peace to all from a humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.