Okay. This one looked fun..I found this following a link at the end of a forwarded e-mail to get to Janet's page. I decided to participate in this game of blog tag. I think I'll post it on myspace....
(Here's her page if you want to link to it too, she seems like a really cool lady!)
"I'm asking you to participate in a reading exercise. Whatever is by your computer (or that you are reading right now) is what I am interested in. I am going to tag a few people who also write blogs, but if you have a blog and want to play, you are welcome to steal it. And if you don't have a blog or don't have a blog where you play memes, play in the comments. I told you I love to know what people are reading!
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
My 3 lines are from "Persian Girls", by Nahid Rachlin. Part of my homework for Women Writers Across the Cultures class.
"Relax, breath, and when you speak, exhale to allow for pauses between words," Mohtaram told Maniheh before the weddding.
"Stand straight, enunciate your words, and make eye contact with the guests but not with the groom."
"Don't apologize for anything. If you don't highlight your mistakes, no one will notice them."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
As the year 2007 comes to a close, I find myself reading through the closing books of the New Testament. As I read First, Second and Third John, it seemed the prevailing theme was love. When I turned the page into Jude, the opening verses caught my attention:
“I am writing to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ.”
Most of the time, when I think of the calling of God in my life, I think of things I am doing. Yet, here in Jude, our calling is to live in the love of God the Father. Think about it. Our job is to LIVE IN HIS LOVE. Life can get so complicated, yet here is our calling, our mission. To be loved by God and cared for by Jesus. We tend to worry about what job we should have, what ministry we should be involved in, how to pay the bills or juggle our hectic schedule. Here he reminds us our walk is not just about DOING, it is about BEING His children, loved by our Father and cared for by our Lord.
When we are secure in His love, it will naturally follow that we pass that love on. Love is an action word, “For God so loved the world He GAVE”, and we will do the same. When the Bible tells us love is patient, love is kind, etc., those are not passive mushy feelings words. Sometimes it is downright difficult to be patient, kind, longsuffering. It’s not easy to believe the best, to endure. Love does not coast. Yes, I know the scripture says love does not boast. But hear me. Love does not coast.
When I was a girl, I used to spend time with my Aunt Carrie. She loved to drive to the top of the hill, and take her foot of the gas and coast all the way down, seeing how far we could go before she had to put her foot back on the gas. Relationships can be a lot like that. We build up momentum and get to the top of the hill, so we take our foot of the gas, stop working so hard and coast for a while. Maybe it is the “in-love” feelings that have brought us to the top of the hill, but unless we continue to apply the gas and feed the relationship, we will not have the power to make it up the next hill of difficulty.
Even after 25 years of marriage, this year has been one of putting the petal to the metal and building our relationship. It seems there has been a lot of the agonizing sound of gears grinding, as we have fought to shift into a higher gear in our marriage. We’ve had many arguments, many tears, many struggles, yet with a purpose. We are learning to communicate and working to turn a dented and life-scarred relationship into a restored classic that shines for His glory. Love is an action word, and its hard work.
This year, I have learned that love believes for the best, and works toward it. Yes, love accepts the beloved the way they are, yet challenges them to be all that they can be. I thank God for my husband, who has really opened up his heart to me this year to share his struggles, his challenges and his hopes for our relationship. He has loved me enough not to settle for the status quo, a pretty good marriage, but has continued to strive to bring the ideal marriage that God wants us to have. I can’t say this has been an easy year, its been downright heart-wrenching at times, but I know we are making progress through it all. Love is not stagnant, love grows.
We have a good foundation, and have deliberately been adding to it. We’ve been reading many helpful books on building a Christian marriage. “Rocking the Roles”, “The Five Love Languages of Your Mate”, “Love and Respect” and “Captivating”. We’re learning to speak eachother’s love language, and love eachother with knowledge. We’ve stopped coasting and are applying a steady pressure to the gas pedal, so we can consistently gain momentum and travel towards the relationship God wants us to have. That brings us full circle to the opening scripture, we are “called to live in the love of God the Father”. Yes, we receive that love, but we also GIVE that love. Love one another. They will know we are Christians by our love. Love never gives up. Beloved, let us love one another….
In His love,
The Psalms are full of questionings. How long Lord? Why Lord? The psalmists were real people with problems just like ours. They saw the wickedness around them, and wondered when God would punish it. They went through times when they felt God was far off, and wondered how long it would be like that. They questioned the pain and suffering and the injustice in the world around them, and in their own lives as well.
They searched for answers to the question why, yet in the process their hearts turned to dwell on the love and faithfulness of the Lord. Their suffering and sorrow was turned into a song.
This past week, I can relate to the psalmists. About 2 weeks after my surgery, when my prescription strength Ibuprophen had run out, I was hit with a toothache and what felt like strept throat and an ear infection. Maybe I had those symptoms for a while and never knew because of my medications. Motrin wasn’t touching the pain, so off I went to the dentist, only to find out I need a root canal, and I begin to wonder, why me, why now?
He gave me an antibiotic, 800 mg Ibuprophen, and a referral to Farmington for February 27th, since I have no dental insurance. You can guess where my income tax refund is going. (Does anyone want to drive in with me? I’m not sure I will feel like driving home after a root canal.)
Now, I realize on the grand scale of things, I have it easy compared to what many people have to face. But, as the bills for my past 2 surgeries start to filter in, and I am still on light duty around the house, I began to wonder why. My answer came in two stages.
We were at a Friday night soaker meeting, where the presence of God was especially real, and God began to speak to my heart as Darryl played the guitar. It is the pressure of the guitarist on the strings that helps make the music. Not just one string, but it takes 3 strings being squashed against the hard surface of the guitar to make a chord. There is also the repeated strumming on the strings that makes the melody. We wonder why things come in bunches, yet it is the pressure in our lives that can bring out the beautiful music the Master Musician wants to play in our lives. Sometimes we are too busy whining to cooperate with His touch, and His melody is hard to hear. When we yield to His work in our lives, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem, He can bring out the tune that glorifies Him.
The second part of my answer came from the life of Joseph. He did nothing to deserve prison, yet God had him there. God used that time to build his character, to save his family and the future nation of Israel, and to spare many Egyptian lives. Though none of it made sense to Joseph while he was suffering in jail, God had a plan. God restored his relationship with his family. He raised him to a place of power and influence, second in command over all of Egypt. He gave him a vision that his people would one day leave there to go to the Promised Land, and he made his family promise to bring his remains along. Although Joseph might not have chosen to go that way, he saw God’s hand in it all. He recognized that God’s plans were for his good.
In my last blog, I shared a bit of confusion going on with my college classes. I dropped the US History, and could not for the life of me get into Art Appreciation online. At the very last minute, I added a Tuesday night class called Women Writers Across the Cultures. We are reading 6 novels and the class is mostly discussion, and I love it! It’s so interesting, there are about 12 women in the class, and I had only missed one week so I was able to jump in and get caught up the first week. I have 2 papers to write, and a presentation to do. My World Civ class online is totally boring, but this makes up for it! It seems that God is orchestrating my schedule, as 3 of the 4 classes I have so far have been writing classes. I am hoping Creative Writing will be available this summer, it’s the one class I really wanted to take, and I only need 4 more credits. We’ll see how it fits in with the family vacation schedule.
Just a few verses from Psalm 18…
To the faithful, you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord my God, lights up my darkness.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all those to look to Him for protection.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
My God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety.
Wherever you are today, may the Lord light your path. May He be your place of safety.
May you rest in His promises and know His peace. May your life be His melody.
Love and prayers,
Last night, as I was driving to class, I was listening to the Christian radio station. A man was preaching from Romans chapter 5, verses 1 and 2.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
As he began talking about the “grace in which we stand”, he gave us a picture of standing in a field of grace. I liked the comparison. I lost where he was going with the rest of the message, as he was preaching through the chapter, but it gave me enough to think about. Picture yourself in a wide open field, surrounded by beauty, where you can see the rolling hills and the promise of the future. That is like “this grace in which we stand”. We don’t have to travel to get there, we don’t have to earn it, we are standing in grace. The problem is, most of the time we are too busy struggling and striving to realize it, to be still and experience His grace. What distracts us from it?
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom. 5:3-5
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, no, almost all the time, I have trouble glorying in tribulation. That is why I blog, to get past the “this really stinks” to the “God is good and He is going to bring me through this” stage. Sometimes I wonder why things seem to come in bunches, why things are such an uphill battle. But God promised we would have trials, and that we would overcome if we keep leaning on Him. Maybe we just need to stop flailing around like a drowning swimmer and reach out for the life preserver that He offers. It’s there for us, the grace of God, the grace in which we stand, the hope of the glory of God revealed in our character and in our lives. We have peace with God, and we have access to our Heavenly Father, we have his Spirit in us. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Stop for a minute today and look around. You are standing in a field of grace. Pause to see His provision and goodness in your life. Linger in His presence like you would in a beautiful meadow, and sing “Amazing Grace”.
With love and prayers,