Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

 The business of life has kept me busy, this week I admit to being out of focus.  I am feeling much like I did before I started reading my Bible regularly.  I feel like what I will refer to as the “casual Christian.”  You know, what I am talking about… when you use your Bible like Google. For example, I have suffered the loss of a loved-one, go to the index look up verses on grief.  Or, is the world going to end May 21st, check the index for the rapture.  Then my personal favorite, I am struggling, what does the index recommend for that?

The index actually gave me one of my all time favorite verses from the Bible:

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

As a “casual Christian”, all this meant to me was it is ok to suffer because there is still hope that there is a “silver lining” somewhere.  It solidified what I already thought; that many of the best blessings come out of a bad situation.  I think in my initial reading I missed something critical.  While I find peace in that we have hope in our suffering, which will give us perseverance and character; I missed the part about love.  Verse 5 is a line from the most beautiful love story ever told.

5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I am sure I could go on and on about the role of Faith in these verses too, but for some reason the love sticks out to me this time.  I am reminded that love is really the most important thing.  Without true and unconditional love, there could be no forgiveness.  Loneliness and selfishness would be rampant.  I guess for many in our society loneliness and selfishness is a normal life, but it doesn’t have to be.  If we just took the time to love one another the way the Bible asks us to, common courtesy would come natural.  After all, when you love someone it often makes the tedious chores more bearable.  That is everything except mopping!

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, while we honor our Military and the sacrifices made for us, I pray that you will love easier.  I pray that you will accept love, give love, and show love to those whom we are called to love.  I pray also that you will remember Jesus, the one who made the first sacrifice for love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rest for the Overwhelming

28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint
Isaiah 40: 28-31

I have been thinking about this passage for a few days now.  I keep thinking, how can I find rest for the overwhelming?  There are so many needs in our world.  Just this past week, I have heard of cancer in friends, divorce, loss, injury, and work struggles.  I find that I am overwhelmed with the prayer needs of friends and family.  I wonder how Pastors get through the days with a smile, when they hear all the burdens of their congregations.  I think it is because they through faith and prayer learn to accept that GOD, “gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” The passage goes on to describe how to obtain God’s strength:” those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength.”   What a wonderful promise! All it takes is faith and HOPE.  It even tells us where to find hope = in the LORD.  

I am not sure where you are today, but I am in need of renewed strength.  I think I could use a trip on eagle’s wings.  I want to run and not grow weary.  Even more so, I want to walk and not be faint.  I am no biblical scholar.  However, I interpret this as the Lord saying that you run/race during times of struggle or challenge.  You have to pick up the pace and be more aggressive in your faith and in your life, but you will not grow weary if you HOPE in the LORD.  I interpret this description of walking as daily life and minor daily obstacles.  If you HOPE in the LORD, then you will not grow faint in the exhaustion of every day living.

Today, I am exhausted from everyday responsibilities and chores.  I am going to put my HOPE in the LORD, and see where the day takes me. I will let you know how things turn out!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Relying on Christ

Since I was a little girl, Church was part of my life.  I went to a private Christian school, and was in church nearly every Sunday.  However, I consider myself a new Christian, because it was only about 5 years ago when I really gave my life to Him and actively started to seek Him.  I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, and after living with type 1 diabetes for approximately 20 years, I was scared.  I knew the only way to have a healthy baby was to completely surrender my life to Jesus.  I knew that my discipline and abilities were not enough to survive the pregnancy without the Lord taking a leading role.

Fast forward about 4 years.  I sat at a celebration for women at our church last night.  I had been to the endocrinologist for a routine check up.  My check-up went ok, no major issues or new things to address with the Dr.  Then however, it was time to see the Diabetes Educator/ NUTRITIONIST. (Bolded and capped because this is the section of diabetes that I hate the most!)  My DE, is actually a great friend of mine who is diabetic as well.  We sat and talked about my control and the future of complications in my life.  You see with diabetes, it is not really if, it is more like when.  With great blood sugar control, you can make complications stay far away for a while, but at some point, they will occur in some form.  My overall control is not terrible, but all of the sudden, there is more at stake in my life.  I have a beautiful daughter, a very loving and generous husband.  I have wonderful in-laws, fantastic parents, and a small place in the world where most of the time everything is good.  It hit me like a rock as I sat in church last night and listened to the worship leader. When was the last time I handed this over to Jesus?  More importantly, why had I ever taken it back?

That is the way life is sometimes.  We offer things to God, we get the short-term satisfaction, and we feel blessed by God.  Then as time passes and the lesson is lost in daily life, just the place we need Him most. For me, I truly surrendered once, but after a while, I was back to, “I got this one God.”  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” I wonder how often am I really doing this?  Today I admit, not as often as I should.

What are your thoughts?  Are you relying on God or yourself?  If you are relying on yourself, how is that working for you?


My Identity

I grew up thinking that everyone had a Spanish speaking set of grandparents and a set of English speaking grandparents.  I had no idea, that I was in fact a "halfer” until I moved from a private Christian school to a public junior high.  At that point, I vividly remember a well-meaning teacher telling me that I was Mexican because that was what my last name was. (Keep in mind back then there was no politically correct police)  Through the years, I have embraced many identities.  I am a diabetic.  I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am a daughter.  I am a daughter-in-law.  I am a niece.  I was a grand daughter.  I am a Christian.  My identity has always correlated to the circumstances in my life.  Who am I today?

If you will journey with me, we will see how my life changes, as I seek to be average by the world, but great in God.