iBelieve

Jesus said to her, " I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." John 11:25-28

Archive for the category “Friendship”

Where is God?


I have a hard time with God sometimes. I can pray to Him and I can also talk as if He was right next to me, like talking to a friend or a parent. But there are so many times I just want to see Him, though, you know? I confess often that I wish I had someone just like Him in the flesh to talk to, to share my troubles with and physically put my head on their shoulder while embracing in a hug.

I feel so bad for confessing that because spiritually, I know God is right here with me. Always. Putting his arm around me and comforting me. Spiritually I feel it, but physically I want to feel it more.

Then, out of the blue, a friend sends me a message telling me her “God sighting”, telling me that she thought of me when it happened.

It didn’t take long to have it hit me that God was speaking to me through my friend. The story she shared was so filled with the word of God to me, even though it was her own encounter with God. God answered my prayer and became a human.

I have a hard time with God sometimes, but am so thankful that he doesn’t feel the same about me.
Thank you God.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Pearl of Great Value


via Daily Prompt: Value

 

Have we met?  Read more…

Dream Wedding


John 2:1-11 (NIV)

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

No doubt about it, weddings are expensive.  The bride and groom hope to have enough food and drink for their guests to enjoy themselves.  At the wedding at Cana in Galilee, the wine ran out.  With Jesus’ help, water was turned into wine and it was better than the best wine they had already served.

Our local television news station, eightWest, is hosting a Dream Wedding contest.  The winning couple will be awarded $25,000 in gift certificates to be used toward everything they need for a Dream Wedding to be performed on 12-12-12.  The top three couples were revealed on the show today and my friends, Megan and Erik, have been selected!

The viewers have until October 8, 2012 to place their vote online for the winning couple to be revealed on October 10, 2012.  After the couple is selected, the viewers will vote on the dress, the menu and the honeymoon destination as well as a few other wedding details.

Would you please take a moment to look at this website, read the submission that Erik wrote, register your email address and place a vote for Megan and Erik?  I know that Jesus is going to be on their guest list and he is going to be in their lives forever.

Vote for Megan and Erik!!

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.”

Exiting the Closet


On November 9, 2010 I came out of the closet on this blog. Not the typical closet that most are accustomed to hearing about; I came out of an even more secret closet…the childless closet. This is the blog Blessing in Disguise, if you have not read it before.

It was a very vulnerable move on my part as only select people were privy to this information in the past. So why did I do it? I did it because I made peace with this part of my life.

I am a charter member of ChildlessNotByChoice, a childless website begun in 2002. I owe so much to Diane and Kimberly who founded the site out of their own need for a childless community. I thank the members there for their virtual hand-holding and understanding of the pain, fears, and frustrations of being childless not by choice. With all of their support, I have been able to make peace with my surgically removed dreams of motherhood.

For years I focused on the fact that children are a gift from God, and I wasn’t given this gift. I felt left out and I allowed this to block my view of all of the other blessings that God has given me. I realized this week that even though I am a parent to none, God’s children are everywhere and every age. I am able to share His word and love with God’s children I never bore.

I made my exit from the childless closet to let you know that while I was in there, I struggled with what I thought should have been my blessing. In my humanness, I was angry and confused with God.

Today, I am walking in faith, by the grace of God, knowing that I am right where I should be. I extend to you my virtual hand to hold, along with my virtual shoulder to lean on, from this day forward. I am willing to listen to you without judging, walk along side you without running away, and pray for you unceasingly. Whatever burden you carry, I want you to know the love of God.

This is a confidential invitation. I will only share your burdens in prayer with God.

Ephesians 3:14-19(NIV)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In Memory of My Dad


Your sparkling blue eyes and friendly smile always lit up a room.

Your strong hands built bikes, fixed everything broken, threw an awesome knuckle ball, and changed into the best back-scratcher ever.

Your character, integrity, and wit cannot be duplicated.

Your time, talents, and treasures you shared gave every indication that Jesus lived in your heart.

I love you and miss you Dad.

My Dad, 1927-2009

1 Timothy 5:4(NIV)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

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.

 

The Power of a Droplet of Water


Imagine sitting at a window on a rainy day.  You notice one small droplet at the top of the window is motivated by gravity.  Rolling down the window, it zigs left and it zags right, left, right, left right… picking up other droplets on its journey.  This once small droplet has turned into a bigger mass of water landing as a puddle at the base of the window.  One final tug from gravity and it drops to the ground below, next to a flower in bloom. 

What if this droplet is your hunger for God in your life?  The Holy Spirit ignites desire in your heart to know more about God and the life of Jesus.  You begin searching for answers.  The droplets of information could come from Bible Studies, church sermons, Christian mentors, personal prayer time, service work and fellowship with other Christians.  The momentum from this desire in your heart begins to overflow and you cannot help but share it with others. 

Do not imagine watching the droplet zig-zag down the window; be the droplet to the world.

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Preyed Upon / Prayed Upon


Living amongst four cats makes life interesting.  I often watch when one cat stalks an unsuspecting cat while they are in the midst of rolling around the floor playing with a toy or dutifully cleaning themselves.  The stalker walks ever so slowly, being sure not to be noticed.  Each step is orchestrated pace-by-pace with moments of statuesque poise until the opportune moment arises and they are able to pounce and attack their prey. 

I attempt to distract the stalker because I care about the unsuspecting cat enough to protect them.  When the attack happens before I can intervene, I rush to comfort the cat that was preyed upon; assuring them that they are okay and that they need not fear the other cat.  Although this type of activity is in their nature, I prefer a peaceful dwelling.

My cats are not demons, but this activity gives me a visual of how demonic forces prey upon humans.

We go about our lives, enjoying times with family, friends and even alone time.  At each moment, the devil sits waiting in the shadows for his opportunity to prey upon our weaknesses.  Have you felt envious of your friend’s success?  Have you become filled with despair because you lost your job?  Have you started to record a list of wrongs so you can have ammunition to throw at your spouse during the next fight?  Do you invite anger to ride along with you as you drive from point A to point B?  Do you numb emotional pain by over-indulging in alcohol?  Has gossip slipped through your lips?  These circumstances are not all-inclusive, but they are examples of weaknesses that the devil preys upon. 

Jesus restored a demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-20.  He called out the legion of demons from the man and sent them into a herd of about 2,000 swine grazing nearby.  The swine went crazy and rushed into a nearby lake and drowned.

Angels may run interference numerous times for us every day, but it only takes one small crack in a weakness and the devil slips in and starts to wreak havoc in our lives.  When we cannot control our envy, despair, recorded lists of wrongs, road-rage, addictions, gossiping, or anything else that is a personal weakness, remember that we do not have to lie down and give up.  Call out to Jesus.  He will rush in and comfort, he will assure us that we will be okay because he prefers to live in a peaceful dwelling.

Let me take this time to pray upon you, in the words of Paul to the Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In Jesus’s name.  Amen.

Uniformity


Twelve years of my formative years were spent in a Catholic school uniform. My plaid jumper along with the white button-down blouse with a collar and knee socks were always laid out the night before a school day. Although our school colors were blue and gold, the uniform color did not conform. From first to third grade, we wore a brown plaid jumper. Fourth to sixth grade, we wore a maroon plaid jumper. In seventh and eighth grade the girls were allowed to wear a plaid skirt with a vest and white button-down blouse with a collar and knee socks. In those years the color changed to a green plaid.

At my high school, all the girls had to wear a uniform consisting of either plain green pants or plain green skirts. We were allowed to pair them up with whatever top matched and looked nice. The school administration did not consider the difficult shopping requirements since local stores were not made aware that 500 girls would be in search of the same thing.

Recently I received a comment about how big and baggy my pants look on me. I am a thin woman and find that pants with any kind of stretch will tend to look baggy after sitting and standing numerous times a day.

I subscribe to InStyle magazine because I struggle with putting outfits together. I blame this handicap on having to wear a uniform in my formative years. I can imagine myself in many of the stylish looks from the pages of the magazine, but in reality, I gravitate to comfort…blue jeans and t-shirts or sweaters.

I realize I am not a fashionista and the comment about my pants was enlightening. There are days I wish I could return to wearing a uniform because I would rather have people notice what is in my heart rather than what is covering my outer shell.

Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV)
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.”

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