Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Special Post and pray request.

I have learned that today on Oprah, the Mooney family will be sharing the story of their son Eliot (99 Balloons). If you are not familiar with his story, he was born with Trisomy 18 and lived on this earth for 99 days before our heavenly father took him home to be with him. One of my Son's friends (actually my son grew up in church with both the husband and wife) also had a son born with Trisomy 18 on December 3, 2007 and the Lord blessed them with Tristan for 56 days. I know that the segment has already been filmed but please join me in praying that it will be presented and received in a way that will give the honor and glory of this little boy's life to God.

Also I am thankful that Trisomy 18 is be on the spotlighted on the show as until Tristan I had not heard of it. More people need to be made aware that is exist and that there are others who have walked the road that are willing to help them walk down it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ms. Spirituality

Well, its Thursday not Tuesday but this week in our Yes to God Bible Study Lisa Whittle's Book 'Behind Those Eyes" hosted by Lelia Chealey we are looking at Ms. Spirituality. Text taken directly from the book will appear in blue. I put off reading this chapter until Monday night because I wasn't real sure I wanted to met her or hear what God wanted to reveal to me. On page 78 Lisa gave us a check list for Ms. Spirituality and as I read this list and also the 2nd list for when Ms. Spirituality really wanted to impress people I saw things on there that I am doing as I am sure we all did but as Lisa goes on to say "The point is not that she does these things, rather, why she does these things."

One item that really hit was 'knows proper "Christianese" and uses it frequently. This is something our ladies leadership team has been talking about lately how we use Christianese terms because we have been in church awhile and are familiar with them but many new Christian have no idea what they mean, so the thought that came to my mind are we using the terms because we are so familiar with them or is it to impress people. If asked to explain or define some of my "Christianese'' terms could I? Some I probably could but to quite honest I would also probably stumble over a few.

Have there been times in my life when I have said or done things so people would think I was walking closer to God then I really was, absolutely. I was raised in the church even though my parents did not always go, as a young girl in a small town in Virginia I remember walking home on Sunday night with my mother, brother and sister singing songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and This little light of mine". As a teenager my mother had to work a lot of Sundays or it was her only day off but she made sure that we went to church. I was in GA and sang in the choir, at 14 I walked the aisle and accepted Jesus as my savior but as I got older and graduated from HS I started wandering away from what I was taught. When my son was about 5 I though about the memories I had and I wanted him to have some of the same ones so we started going back to church. (Now I remind you I didn't really need to go because I new all the stories about Noah, Jonah, Jesus feeding the 5000 and him coming to earth as a baby and died for my sin. HA HA, was I ever wrong and thankfully Jesus showed me that not only did he want to be my savior but he wanted me have a relationship with him as well). I remember going out with my friends on Saturday to the bars for so we could dance and have a good time and then say "I got to go; I have to go to Church in the morning" somehow as I look back on that I do not really think that was giving God the glory but it was sure acting spiritual.

There is nothing wrong with being Spiritual we should all strive to be more like Jesus but as Lisa says "the problem comes when our performance of these characteristics takes precedence over the actual condition of our hearts" and nothing says it better then the quote she used from Ravi Zacharias book "RECAPTURE the WONDER": It is not about ritual; it is about a relationship. It is not about the posture of the body; it is about the need of the soul. It is not about the times of the day; it is about the timelessness of his presence. It is not about appeasing God; it is about resting in His provision. It is not about culture; it is about truth. It is not about earning peace; it is the wonder-working power of God.

Lisa also reminded us that the bible tells us in James 1:22 that some spiritual muscle is requred in our relationship with God. I looked this verse in several different verison but like the one in the messeage best 'Don't fool yourself into thinking you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear.' I know if I said that once to my son when he was growing up I must have said it 1000 times and I remember how fustrated I would get with him; as I sit here typing I am wondering how many times God has felt this way with me, when I have not listen or done things his way but "my way".

God revealed so much to me in the study of this chapter so if you're still reading this please bear with me a little longer. As I reread about the woman who had so much faith that she knew if she could just touch Jesus's garment she would be healed I saw her in a different light. ( I had always seen her as a woman of faith) As I read the verses 42-48 in the Message version of the bible like Lisa suggested I saw her differently. In verse 48 it reads "Jesus said; "Daugther, you took a risk trusting me, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed.'" I read that Tuesday morning before leaving for work and thought what risk, she was faithful and knew if she could just get to Jesus she would be healed. As I pondered on this all day, I saw her differently, I saw her as a woman who had tried all the world had to offer and found it lacking and unable to heal her; she knew Jesus was her last chance. The risk of being riduculed by the Religious(spiritual) leaders was far less to her then the risk on never reaching out and knowing his touch. She was ready for that real relationship with Jesus all she had to do was reach out and he was there waiting for her offering her the healing that she needed.

The other thing that keep coming to mind after I finished this chapter was the prable about the Pharisee and tax man in Luke 18:9-14 who were both in the temple praying. The Pharisee prayed bosting about himself and that he was not like others expecially the tax man after all he fasted twice a week and gave his tithe while the tax man humbled himself and asked for God's mercy. Jesus ends the parable is versse 14 with "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted" NIV.

Jesus, please keep me humble (like the tax man) and resting in your presence and provision not boastful (like the Pharisee.). Help me to be real in my relationship with you and others, may they not see me as "Spiritual" but as someone different and the difference being you. Thank you for leading me to this study which is truly opening my eyes and drawing me closer to you. Amen.
Want to see what others have to say about Ms. Spirituality click here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ms. Happiness and Ms. Confidence

Ms Confidence was Chapter 3, which was last week and Ms. Happiness is Chapter 4 in "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle. When I tried to post last week I had so many thoughts going through my head that they just wouldn't come out right when I tried to put them down. I thought I would get back to it later when my mind quieted down but this past weekend was our 4th annual Ladies Fall retreat, which is the one event that I am responsible for heading up. Usually I only handle reservations, child care and help with the publicity for our events but when it comes to the retreat, the buck stops with me. I actually think Ms Perfection, Ms. Confidence and Ms. Procrastination all met up and threw me in a tailspin.

God keep reminding me all week that he was in control and that my confidence came from him. You see I do not have a lot of self-confidence and I know that comes from being the middle child of an alcoholic father and hating conflict. There are some things I have a lot of confidence in; That Jesus saved me by dying on the cross; that he is in control if I will just let go. I think sometimes I appear confident because of my procrastination, when really I am not all that sure of myself. If I really know what I am talking about or doing I have a lot of confidence but if it is something new then I usually want a 2nd opinion on everything.

I found it funny last week that Lelia mention having a pajama party at Lisa, as we always have one at our retreat. It is a time for us to meet back together on Friday night, in the conference room , for sharing our thoughts and snacks that we have brought. This year to get the sharing started we asked each lady to finish the sentence "I feel God's presence in my life when______________"

Anyway on to Ms. Happiness, (quotes from the book will be in blue). What is true happiness, I don't know that there is really any such thing as true happiness because as Lisa says " A lot of things can make us feel happy for a time. But a lot of things can let us down almost as quickly as they perked us up." Happiness is just a feeling, like being sad, or lonely and if we are truthful we all have these feelings its just some days we feel one more than the other. The problem is that the world expects to always be happy, especially since we are Christian, so we feel that we have to act like we are happy all the time instead of showing our true feelings.

The one thing I am really enjoying about this study is that I am getting to know ladies that are not afraid to share their hurts and emotional needs with each other. God lead me to this study because he is trying to teach me something about being still and listening to him. About being real in him. I loved when Lisa pointed out that the Bible doesn't talk about Happiness but JOY. Our Joy does come in him and even when we are sad or lonely and we know he is walking right besides us and feeling those things right along with him. Being a christian doesn't mean that we will always be happy but it does mean we have a comforter walking beside us, holding our hand and yes even carrying us when he needs to.

There are a lot of things in life that make me happy, spending time with my family, teaching toddlers on Sunday morning, seeing a dear friend make a decision for Christ, knowing that people are praying for me, spending time with my friends.

Our retreat this weekend was on "Forever Faithful" and God is always "Forever Faithful" even when I feel like he has forgotten me. I would like to share some things that he revealed to me in a different light this past weekend.

1. His grace is sovereign; not only does it lift me it up but it also covers me (It is like he has me in the palm of his left hand and then he uses his right hand to cover me like a blanket.

2. We all know there are consequences to our choices; when we make the choice we want for our lives then we are responsible for all the consequences from that choice but if we make the choice God wants us to make then he is responsible for the consequences.

3. Nothing and I mean nothing takes God by surprise. It may take us by surprise but God already knows what is going to happen. (Our main speaker was rushed to the emergency room on Friday but God was in control and her daughter stepped in and shared God's Forever Faithfulness in her mother's life)

As a side note in one of my comments Amy asked if I created this blog just for this bible study and the answer is yes. I have been wanting to do a blog for a while but didn't feel like I had the time to keep it up but when I started this study I knew it was time, hence the name Pat's Tuesdays ( I couldn't come up with anything else that wasn't already being used. I am praying that God will led me to a more appropriate tittle but for now this is all he has given me.)

Thank you Jesus for being the Joy in my heart even when I don't feel particularly happy. As the song from this weekend keeps coming to mind "Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord" I pray that you will open the eyes of my heart to you wider that I may always keep you 1st in my life and that others will see the real me and that in seeing me they make get a glimpse of you.

To see what the other Ladies doing this study have to say about Ms. Happiness click here