Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving

     Thanksgiving the time of year were we stop and think about what we are thankful for. Family, friends, and food are usually at the top of the list. But have you ever been thankful for the testings? Have you ever truly thanked God for the trials in your life?
     James 1:2-3 says "My brethren, count it all Joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience."  What does this look like? I mean in the middle off the trials I have read this verse and thought "How is this going to work patience?"  And "This! This is supposed to be for my good?" 
    Recently I heard a new song by We Are Messengers called Maybe It's Okay.  The chorus goes      
                     " Maybe it's ok if I'm not ok
        'Cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me
                    Maybe it's all right if I'm not all right
       'Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life"
In a world today we are told "don't let anyone so you not at your best."  "Fake it till you make it."  But God tell us "Trust me." "Lean on me." " Let me carry you through."  When we understand that God uses things we don't understand to grow us we can thank him for the trials. Most often we thank him for the blessings that follow the trial, but not during the trial. (Guilty as charged)
      This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for
         1. The hard things I have gone through trying to find my way in the "real" world. It lead me to being able to help my sister.
        2. My car having to go to the shop. It means I get to spend time with Abby and Ava!
        3. Long, hard days at work. I have money in my pocket, well money to help spend on those I love.
      

Friday, September 28, 2018

Identity

Identity, we all have one. Who we are and how we portray our selves. Upon first meeting me you see a young adult, early 20s, short and slightly round in figure. You see my dark hair and blue eyes and depending on the day a put together outfit. As you talk to me you learn things like my name, work place, college I graduated from, where I grew up and how big my family is.  The more we talk the more you learn about me. Maybe you learn that I love to bake, my favorite color is blue, that I love dogs more then cats, or any number of thing that make me who I am. One thing I hope it does not take you long to learn about me and my identity is that I am a Christian and that is where my identity starts and is rooted.
     In church since the beginning of the year the sermons have more or less focused on identity and what a gospel centered identity looks and acts like. Through these messages I have begun to see how God is using events in my life to fill out details about me. Each change, for good or not, has been a chance to learn and be molded into the image of his son.  Each lesson has allowed me the opportunity to grow closer to God, the source of my identity. With each step closer I find a greater sense of peace in trials and a great sense of confidence in every day life.
   Don't get me wrong there are mistakes that I wish I never made, things I wished happened differently, but I have found God faithful through it all. I can now look back on some of the hardest times in the last 22 (ish ) years and see that everything had a bit of good in it. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This verse is hard to swallow in the middle of the trial, but the promise is still there. Once we get far enough away that we can turn and look back and see God's hand, that is when we see the fulfillment of this promise.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ripples

Last Sunday's theme in church was ripples. In Sunday school we talked about sin makes ripples but so does grace.  When you sin, lie lie or lose your temper, it makes ripples and has effects you could never see. I forget who frist said this but hurt people hurt people. But just as sin and hurt ripple through us grace and love cause ripples in our lives. To see this we only have to look at the pay it coward movement.  We all have moments that shape us, those ripples from others. Some we can trace others we can't.
      Let me give you an example. My salvation story starts before I was born.  My salvation ripples  from my moms salvation. My moms salvation ripples out from the influence of a person she met on her high school bus. A lady I may never met, but she influenced my life. This just goes to show how your actions can change the life of someone you may never met, for good or bad.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fear and Love

     Fear and love,  Those ideas have been in the front of my mind the last few days. The more I thought about it the more I saw how they are connected. When we love there is no room for fear. 1 John 4:18 " There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  When we love someone we trust them, leaving no room for fear, but fear destroys trust and smothers love. In the movie Star Wars episode 1: The Phantom Menace Yoda says to young Anakin Skywalker, in the evaluation if he should train as a Jedi, “Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” This is a fact that we see every day. We fear those that are different, so we get angry. Then that anger grows and becomes hate. That hate festers and boils till it bubbles out of us and we hurt those we fear and sometimes those who are totally innocent. Which just breeds more fear, the the cycle counties. To stop the cycle we need love, perfect love. So what is "perfect love"? Perfect Love is everything 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says " Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." Perfect love is a sacrificial love, John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." From these two passages we see what perfect love is, I could go on all night, so I will close this post with this thought. The perfect example of this kind of love is found in Jesus Christ. He loved us so much at the cross, that 2000 years later fear still can't survive at the foot of the cross. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

brokenness

        Broken, defective, out of date and just plain wrong. Those are just a few of the reasons we give for not liking, returning and trowing out the material things in our lives. The sad thing is these are also the reasons we give for not loving, caring, and doing away with the people that come in to our lives. What a sad picture! This world is full of people hating others for being different, full of abortion of kids that might have a "defect", and full of humans being thrown to the side because we have deemed them to far broken.
        What if we could take the picture and flip it? Just like we can take the material things that get broken and fix them, might  I say restore them. What if we had a place where the heart of  the issues in this world could get fixed, restored?  You laugh and say "There is no place that all of the things we call defects and brokenness in a person could be fixed." I tell you there is. Now it might not be a place one can physically see, but a place of the soul. That place is at the feet of Jesus. We are told that one day God will make a new heaven and a new earth with no suffering, no tears, and no pain. So we need to sit and wait for this future day when God make all things new? NO! We don't. We cannot change the everything right now, but what if we changed the way we look at life? What if we look at others as God looks at us? What would happen if instead of broken we saw the healing God could do? Instead of defective we saw God's strength? How this world would change! The bible tells many many stores of how God took the weak and even the broken to accomplish great things. So I pose rather then looking at the world like men that we should look at men with Gods eyes. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 looking forward

It is that time of year every makes new years resolutions. For me, I never remember them past March. So this year I am going to use songs that I hear on the radio to help me remember my 2018 goals. Here we go!
1. I desire to become a better prayer warrior. 
"You'll never stop me I'm a warrior
When I fall down I get stronger
Faith is my shield His love is the armor"
~Warrior by Hannah Kerr
2. Be true to who I am in Christ -no matter what. 
"When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me" 
~ This is Me from The Greatest Showman
3. To praise God no matter what happens.
"When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul"
~It is Well With My Soul by Horatio G. Spafford, 

Above all everything make awesome memories with my family. That is probably the most important one of all! My prayer for you all (and myself) is that we would be sensitive to God`s will and leading in our lives.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dear Uncle John

Dear Uncle John,
     It has been 5 years. I can say the pain of losing you ever really goes away, but there good time a bad. Lately there have been more of the good times, like this year when your great neice and my niece Ava was born. Man, would you love her! But sometimes the pain of losing you comes, washing over me like a huge wave. Yesterday was a mixed day. Yesterday I went to New York to meet up with a friend. From the time I was in the tunnels pulling into Grand Central station you were on my mind. It started with thinking about what you said about the size of rats in NYC!! As I walked around New York with my friend I remembered the time you took Abby and me to the city with Uncle Tom and Aunt Lisa. We had such a great time that day! You would be proud of me, I think, we only got lost once. But with my friend's and my track record with getting on the wrong bus it was bound to happen. When it came time to pick a place to find dinner, I wanted so  to call you and ask you for help, Where to go and where not to go kind of stuff, but I couldn't. The other time I really wanted you there was after I left my friend, her bus stop was no where near Grand Central station, and walked back to the train station. I want you to make me feel safe, oh felt a level of safety but nothing like where you were with me. As I drove home from the train station in New Haven that night I decided when Ava gets a bit older (and any neices or nephews that come a long ) I am going to take them to New York like you did with me. My desire is to be an aunt like you were a n uncle.
      Merry Christmas,
                  Nathalie