iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Bible”

3 to 1


1 out of 3 Gives
     Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

1 out of 3 Saves
     John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

1 out of 3 Dwells within
     John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

3 out of 3 are 1

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Celebrate Life


Daily Prompt: Dearly Departed
Write your own eulogy.

Read more…

Here Am I, Send Me!


Lord, please use me in any way you need me.

Prayer of St. Francis

By Sebastian Temple

Verse 1:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Verse 2:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there’s sadness ever joy.

Refrain:
Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Verse 3:
Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

1 Samuel 3:8-10 (NIV)
A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Family Paws


Vacation! The time spent together is priceless.

I am lying in bed, looking up information on my iPhone amidst a pile of sleeping cats. Family time such as this keeps me grounded, literrally.

Alli, my 13-year old, claims my lap every chance she gets. We call it the coveted spot in the house. If I have my legs crossed she headbutts the intruding leg until it gives in and repositions allowing her the access she demanded. If my laptop claims that space, she will pace back and forth across the keyboard until I move it off to the side, inconvenient only to me, just so my teen-ager can sit with her mommy. Human teen-agers are just the opposite, so I consider myself very blessed by Alli’s need to be with me.

If and when my lap is free, Zoe claims the coveted space. If any of the other cats even look Zoe’s way, she lets out a deep-seeded growl warning them that she is there and is not planning to move anytime soon. Put into words that growl says, “keep walkin’ “.

Mojo is content with curling up close. He always has to touch. He recently was on duty, making sure there was no riff-raff going on in the house. When he jumped on the bed, he put both front paws on my arm and laid his head softly on his arms and quickly fell asleep. I could tell he was back from making his rounds as there was a chill to his little furry paws. His paws lost their chill as they sucked away the heat from my body. Quickly asleep he started to dream. Mojo’s face started to twitch and his paws made movements as if he were running. His once relaxed breathing pattern sped up. He woke startled, probably wondering if he was dreaming.

Bean is the tiniest cat of the group. Mojo tends to dominate her which kicks me into protector mode. I think I would lay down my life for her as she is so innocent and sweet. Her big green eyes make me melt. When Mojo is not up close and personal with me, then that is where Bean stations herself.

Vacation! Time spent together as a family is priceless.

Genesis 2:19(NIV)
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

Interim Endings


Pastor Mike

The church I attend has been without a permanent Pastor for approximately two years.  Our Bishop called Pastor Michael Kemper, who is a full-time Interim Pastor, to fill in and shepherd our flock. 

After the entrance hymn, opening prayers, and before the readings, Pastor Mike invites the little children to join him on the steps to the altar to sit around him as he shares a story, on their level, based on the Bible readings for the day.  Pastor Mike’s first children’s sermon was a little longer than our church family had ever heard.  The second week, a little boy asked Pastor if he was going to tell them a long story again.  Oh, such honesty.  🙂  As time pressed forward, Pastor Mike told his stories at whatever length was necessary to get the message across and I feel that no one, young or old, concerned themselves with a time limit as he is an engaging story-teller.   My inner child would always run up to the altar, with the little children, to hear their special sermon.   

Pastor Mike never gave a bad sermon to the adults either.  Truly, I wish he would write books as I know he would be my favorite author. 

On October 2, 2011, we will blot tears from our eyes as we wave good-bye to Pastor Mike and his lovely wife, Jane.  The Bishop has a new assignment for our favorite Interim Pastor.  My inner child is throwing a tantrum because I do not want him to leave.  My adult self understands that people must pass through our lives as they serve God’s purpose for our growth as well as their own.  If I feel this way about my Interim Pastor, just think how the people felt in the towns that Jesus passed through during his ministry.  I hope our paths will cross again on this earth, but if not, I will look for Pastor Mike in heaven some day. 

Pastor Mike, you have given our church stability at a time we felt broken, prayed for us when we could not, and shared your smile every time we saw you.  Our congregation is blessed to have been under your leadership.  I pray the church(es) you serve will realize you are a blessing from God.

Mark 1:35-38 (NIV)

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Prodigal Seeking God’s Forgiveness


Dear God:

When I am in your Word, I feel you close to me.  When I sit silently, I hear your sweet voice.

Please forgive me for taking a vacation from you this summer.  Rattling off excuses will be of no use.  The bottom line, I was selfish with my time.  Apple got it right when they named their products iPhone and iPad as they are hand-held me-focused toys with a few business uses.  I spent my time intertwined on the web commenting to friends on facebook and reading email after email in Yahoo all while my Bible sat on the end table in the front window getting a sunburn.

Please forgive me for taking you for granted.  I feel like I wasted this beautiful season without you near.  Recent days have not been good for me.  My smile flipped into a frown.  My aches turned into pains and when loneliness crept in, I realized I had not spoken with you in quite a while. 

I am sincerely sorry for neglecting you.  Thank you that you meet me where I am.  You are the Father running to meet His prodigal child.  I am going to end this blog to spend time with you. 

In Jesus’s Name I Am Forever Yours,

Kristine

I God

Acts 13:38 (NIV)

 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

Father’s Day


Hi Papason!

It has been nearly two years since we last saw each other. From what Jesus said in the Bible, you are experiencing great weather, you are walking around, dancing, running, enjoying time with your family and friends, no tears, no fears, you are living in a mansion, you get to see Jesus face to face, and spend time praising God with all the angels and saints. You are living the life that was prepared for you.

Life has gone on since your departure. I cannot lie; I was really in a funk for the first year after you left. I attempted grad school, but I could not concentrate. My mind’s eye focused on your final years of suffering as your earthly body deteriorated from illness. Time heals, if you let it, and I let it work for me.

Last night, I was looking at pictures from our time together. Oh, how I miss visiting with you! I wish I could hear your voice and your laugh just once more. You had such a great demeanor. You took on your Heavenly Father’s characteristic of unconditional love. You followed His leading on how to be a great father to your children and a loving husband to your wife.

Thank you, Papason, for the life you gave me. Thank you for many, many great memories.

Happy Father’s day! I look forward to seeing you again. I hope my room in the Heavenly mansion is next to yours.

Love,
Anna B

Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV)
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Surrender


I can’t.

                You can.

                                        I will follow.

I must decrease so Christ can increase.

Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

 

April – Child Abuse Awareness Month


I was present at the birth of my great-niece almost eight years ago.  I was standing next to the crib where she was placed within seconds of entering the world.  I watched wide-eyed in amazement at how the nurse cleaned her up, cleared out her nostrils, mouth and eyes.  She was so little and dependent on everyone around her.  This precious child of God will need food, clothing and shelter, I thought, and I knew her needs would be met by the loving family who waited for her arrival. 

Under the veil of protection, some children do not receive the proper food, clothing and shelter they deserve.  Some families do not realize children are a gift from God and so the children are mistreated as objects instead of humans. 

My first encounter with child abuse was by reading the book A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, written by Dave Pelzer about his own experience.  Dave’s mother was mentally disturbed and an alcoholic.  She mentally and physically abused him with tortuous games only she thought were amusing.  Child abuse is often cyclical.  Once abused, that person will abuse and that person will abuse, and so the ripple effect moves on.  Dave was able to overcome and broke this chain of destruction in his family.

Some children are sexually abused.  Usually the abused knows the abuser.  Sexually abused children are threatened to remain silent and this silence may bring about behavioral changes.  The following is taken from http://www.stopitnow.org/warning_signs_child_behavior   April 9, 2011. 

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent

       Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation

       Seems distracted or distant at odd times

       Has a sudden change in eating habits

       Refuses to eat

       Loses or drastically increases appetite

       Has trouble swallowing

       Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal

       Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues

       Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images

       Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places

       Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child

       Talks about a new older friend

       Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason

       Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad

       Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge

Signs more typical of younger children

       An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)

       Has new words for private body parts

       Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)

       Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games

       Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal

       Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs more typical in adolescents

       Self-injury (cutting, burning)

       Inadequate personal hygiene

       Drug and alcohol abuse

       Sexual promiscuity

       Running away from home

       Depression, anxiety

       Suicide attempts

       Fear of intimacy or closeness

       Compulsive eating or dieting

You cannot pick a child abuser out of a crowd, but you can pick up on the warning signs listed above.  Reach out to a child or adolescent, they need you to be their silent voice.  

I witnessed my beautiful great-niece coming into the world and I know she is a gift from God.  I would do everything in my power to protect her and her siblings. 

 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (New International Version, ©2011)

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

Silence is the Retreat


My drive from Michigan to Ohio was absolutely beautiful.  Michigan had experienced an ice-storm and every branch of the crystalized trees glittered for miles, superior to any display of Christmas lights I have ever seen, as the sunshine brought them to life.  My simple little camera would not have captured the beauty that was before me; therefore, the photo album is etched in my memory. 

To silence oneself for a few days is not as hard as imagined; I accomplished this during the last weekend in March in a most serene setting in Ohio at a silent directed retreat.  About 25 others attended this quiet-time to contemplate and discern God in our lives.  We were blessed with trained Spiritual Directors to guide us in this journey.   

The first evening, we were able to speak with others while sharing a meal.  I was one of three participants from Michigan, and I met some awesome Ohioans.  We may have talked for 45 minutes or so, but much was shared within those precious minutes.  After the meal, we met in a room together to share what was on our hearts this weekend.  When it was my turn to speak, I explained that about a month ago, I had a very vivid dream of someone telling me to “minister to the church”.  My personal task then was to spend time with God to see just what that meant.

We were assigned one of four Spiritual Directors and we broke into smaller groups to meet with them for further instruction about the weekend and to set up our personal meeting times.  After this short meeting, we were excused to begin our journey into silence.

Back in my room, I had a hard time settling in.  Earlier that morning, my mother was rushed to emergency and diagnosed with a treatable form of congestive heart failure.  It was on my mother’s urging that I go ahead and make my journey to Ohio as I had planned for months.  I silently kept in contact with my siblings by receiving updates about my mother’s condition via text messaging. 

One awesome cook made all of our meals.  Eating in silence was an experience I had never encountered.  We acknowledged each other with smiles, but then focused on our food before us and the beauty of the landscape that surrounded us through all the windows in the dining area.  We took turns cleaning up the kitchen after each meal.  I signed up for clean up duty after breakfast on Saturday morning.  I broke the silence in the dining area when I accidently dropped a drinking glass onto the ceramic tiled floor.

Spring was not in the air; however, God gave us sunshine every day.  I bundled up and took a walk along the paths in the woods and I walked around the pond and next to a stream.  I spotted beautiful birds that I never see in Michigan, I heard the jack-hammer pounding of the Woodpeckers high up in the trees, and two sets of geese were making their homes near the pond.  It was so beautiful.

Sitting in silence and letting the Holy Spirit speak to my heart was quite an amazing experience.  Spending time in prayer, God’s word, in His creation, and simply resting in Him, made me realize that He is not quiet at all. 

During our closing session, we went around the room, as we had at the beginning, and shared what the Holy Spirit spoke to us in our silent journey.  This is what I said:

On Thursday, I announced that I wanted to know what my dream meant to “minister to the church”.  I found out that answer this weekend.

To minister means to care for others.  The church are people everywhere.

The Holy Spirit allowed me to search deep inside of me to remind myself that I love to help people.  I have sewing skills, listening skills, writing skills and support skills that I can creatively use to serve God’s people.  Although I have ideas on how to utilize my passions and skills, it will be the Holy Spirit that will lead me.  I will spend more time in prayer and in God’s word as they will strengthen me.

Philippians 4:13 is my take-away verse:

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

I did not want to leave the serenity of the weekend.  My Spiritual Director explained that this is an experience.  I can take this experience with me, lean on it, remember it and be thankful for it.  I can create new experiences to spend quality, quiet-time with the Holy Spirit.  When she said this to me, it didn’t make sense.  Only after being immersed into the world once again, do I understand.  It is important for all of us to sneak away, quiet ourselves and let the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts as it is true nourishment for the soul.  Now I understand why Jesus took time alone to pray to his Father.  He was being strengthened for His journey to the cross.

A special Thank You to Sister Virginia, my Spiritual Director.  May God continue to use you for His good works.   

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