Category Archives: Power

Losing Everything to Gain Everything

“Pretend your family has to leave your home quickly.  You may take only one suitcase.  What would you pack?”

This was the question on an assignment my boys had to complete and that I am just now grading.  I chuckled when I read their answers:

  1. Cloths (I believe this should be “clothes” 😉
  2. Toby (the family dog)
  3. Toby’s food
  4. Action figure
  5. bible
  6. toys
  7. pants
  8. underwear (yes, I agree….these are VERY important!)
  9. shirts
  10. books
  11. DS
  12. yogurt covered raisins
  13. charger for DS

LOL!  My how priorities remain different for each of us!  What was on your list? 

I was thinking about pictures, important documents, my purse, etc.  yet to young boys, action figures and video games remain as one of the most important things they own.

Recent tornadic events have swept away what alot of people would consider important.  The residents of Diamond Creek in Forney, Texas  are still picking through what is left of their material possessions.  What may have seemed so important at the beginning of the year is probably very different for most right now. 

Realizing that no one died or was seriously injured surely has caused our community to come back to the importance of life.  Having our families, friends, and neighbors well and healthy brings about a new appreciation for the protection, love, and intervention of God.

Now that the clean up is mostly done and the rebuild is going on, what will we do with this memory?  Will we do what we can to go back to life as it was before the tornado?  Will we build our houses, both physically and spiritually, in such a way that we duplicate what was the “norm”?  Just how long will it take for us to forget the blessings of the past weeks, and start to replace all the “stuff” God allowed to vanish?

I’m not just talking about houses, cars, clothes, and video games.  The “stuff” I’m referring to is our need to gather all those things  — the American dream, the desire toward pridefulness and power and position, and our insistence to keep up with “The Joneses”. 

Stuff like the comfortableness in which we live, or perhaps the wastefulness of our time…the hoarding of treasures and memories.  The stuff we take for granted.  Stuff that pales in comparison to life and relationships.  Stuff comes in lots of forms:  money, position, technology, business, paper, plastic, convenience, procrastination, beautiful colors, memoriable events, books, and ideals.  It can permeate our lives before we even stop to realize that most of it is just “stuff”.

A pastor of the local church we have recently visited took time to speak of such stuff and the effects it can have on our lives.  His thought provoking question was “Is it eternal?” 

The absolute answer to most of our “stuff” is “No, it’s not.”

We often, even unknowingly, use our stuff to set an image to others of what our life is like.  These images are usually false and not at all a real representation.

Years ago, I realized that good friends in my life actually thought I was much more than I am.  They were surprised to hear that my house is not always clean, my children do not always behave, and I, even I, made mistakes.  {gasp!}  I guess because of my quest for perfection at work, they believed my personal life was also that way. 

(And now I just feel the need to break here and laugh out loud!!!  Bwa hahahahaha!)

What my friends had no clue about was that I frequently mess up.  I have baggage.  My house is pretty much always a wreck  (at least until I know someone is coming over, lol).  Try as I may, I cannot clean enough around here.  Try as I might, stuff creeps into my time and thoughts and many times prevents me from being what I know I should be.

Right now in my living room there are mounds of toys, video games,  and a tent set up and encompassing the small amount of space still visible on the floor.  There’s dust on the ceiling fan and furniture, something stuck on the floor under the rocking chair, and toe prints from where the boys and grandchild have endlessly walked on the wooden floor.  I have two sinks full of dirty dishes, things scattered across the kitchen counter, and a whole stack of papers to grade on the table.  Outside, within my current view, is a bag of lawn clippings that need to be thrown out.  There is also bits of fuzz scattered all over the back lawn from where the puppy decided to shred our grill cover…..again. 

This is everyday life around here.  If you called and said you were on the way to our house, I would most assuredly rush to put away all this stuff! 

Still, even though rushing to clean up the house for you, I would hope that our lives represent a real-ness from the Lord.  Even if you came unannounced, I would invite you in, longing to make you feel welcome and be attentive to the purpose for your visit.  I would hope that even surrounded in my stuff, you would enjoy being here and look past my failures as a Domestic Engineer.

I wasn’t always this way.  I used to put only my best foot forward trying to impress and amaze.  During that time, only the best of my stuff was on display.  Nice dishes, perfectly folded towels, trophies, perfectly dressed children pre-scolded about their behavior lined up at the door to greet all who enter… these were part of the stuff I wanted people to see.

What hides behind a perfectly displayed life?  How many times do we greet others masking the events of our personal life with a smile and a nod?  Do we really expect our stuff to effectively shield true lives? 

Our life is messy.  I am definately not perfect.  We have too much non-eternal stuff around here, and what I have figured out is that I don’t have time to lead a non-eternal, stuff-filled life anymore.

Learning to look past stuff, taking moments to address stuff, and talking about how less important alot of stuff is in our lives has led us to alot of decisions.  We have purposefully tried to let go of stuff and look toward only what God would set before us.  These past few years have led us to leave alot behind.  Whether purposefully removed by us or by God, we have found that our lives are becoming more of what they should be. 

This is still transforming even now as we seek our next residence and ministry, but all I can say is “Wow, God really is better than our stuff!”  His stuff is lasting.  His provision is real.  He really does know what it is we should be doing and how we should be doing it.  We just have to lose our stuff to gain His.

There’s still alot of unanswered questions about our immediate future but I honestly believe that wherever He takes us, it will be the right place.  His allowing us to lose stuff in our lives is leading us to a better place.  Although a bit painful at times, the journey is proving more eye-opening every day. 

Sometimes we have to lose everything as we know it, or aspire it to be in order to gain just what He wants, and it is then that the eternal stuff starts to matter a great deal more.

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Children, Church, Faith, Family, God, Home School, Homeschool, homeschooling, Humor, Life, money, Obedience, Parenting, Power, Priorities, Sin, Weather

He is Glorious!

When you need a reminder that God still cares…

When you need to remember all that He has done for you…

When you find yourself wondering just who’s in control of this crazy world…

Watch this: 

“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”  Hebrews 3:4

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”  Hebrews 1:10-12

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Filed under Bible, Blessings, Christ, Creation, Faith, God, Grace, Life, Power, Trials, Worship

Acts, Chapter 4.

Persecution.  Have you faced any?  Do you think persecution still exists? 

Acts, chapter four, shows Peter and John as they face the courts over the healing of the lame man in chapter three.  Actually, it wasn’t the healing that got them in trouble with the court, it was the credit given to Jesus.  The court did not want them to speak “in the name of Jesus”.  They were even released after an overnight stay in jail, but were told to not speak in that name again.

Little did the court know what would happen….

Enter the Holy Spirit again! 

Encouraging, uplifting, pointing the way to Christ and all He is, and giving boldness…boldness that quickly multiplied among the believers and jump started a whole new movement for the Lord.

These are the basic details of chapter four.  I don’t feel like I can expound on them in any better way than to explain the details of yesterday’s gathering at Cornerstone.

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Filed under Acts, Bible, Bible Study, Children, Christ, Church, Faith, Family, Friends, Gifts, God, Grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Power, Reaching the Lost, Worship

Acts, Chapter 3.

“Peter and John went to pray.

They met a lame man on the way.

He asked for alms and held out his palms,

and this is what Peter did say.

Silver and gold have I none,

but such as I have, give I thee.

In the name of Jesus Christ

of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

He went walking and leaping and praising God!

Walking and leaping and praising God!

In the name of Jesus Christ

of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

This chapter reminds me of the song I used to sing as a child.  The words explain verses 1-10 of chapter 3. 

The lame man was lame from birth.  This was not a trick.  Because the lame man was brought to the temple daily, most people recognized him and were familiar with his disabilities.  It was especially peaking to their interest when he was healed, because they had personal knowledge of his life before the healing. 

Peter and John acted “in the name of Jesus Christ”, not crediting self, but pointing the action and the power of the miracle to the appropriate owner.  Jesus was the One who healed the man. 

Also note that the lame man instinctively gave praise and credit back to God.  He went “walking and leaping and praising God”.  It was a natural response.  He was excited.  He was grateful.  He didn’t thank Peter or John, he thanked God.  The healed man gave immediate testimony of the miracle to all those present that day.  There was no doubt that the man was healed, and there was no doubt who was responsible for the healing because the man, himself, gave credit to God.  Who better to know the Healer’s name, but the one who has been healed?

The name of Jesus holds immeasurable power.  Have you ever just expressed your faith by audibly speaking in the name of Jesus Christ?

There are times in my life where I remember Christ’s name, audibly spoken, evoking power over the situation.   One such time was during a 5 1/2 minute seizure my son was having.  We were practicing with the praise team when he fell to the ground seizing uncontrollably.  My husband ran toward us holding him and screaming my son’s name.  It was horrific.  I had never seen my husband that scared.

I took Brett, laid him down on the floor, called his name over and over, trying to figure out what we could do to help him.  I think there was several people who were near us, others trying to keep children away, one running to call an ambulance.  A lot of the ordeal was subconsciously blanked out, but what I remember is someone saying they called 911, the images of him jerking violently, his lips turning blue, then hearing the words of one of our paramedic friends say, “There’s just nothing we can do for him right now“……time just ticking by, still seizing, praying in my mind, “Lord, he’s only two…God, please help him, help him Lord“….then, suddenly I hear Cherie’s voice,

“In the name of Jesus……through the power of Your Name….”

Her prayer will always be a remembrance of that day, because the name of Jesus echoes over and over in my mind.  It was Jesus who heard our cries.  It was the name of Jesus that calmed my motherly panic and assured me that Brett would be okay.  The name of Jesus rang out, bursting through all the chaos and noise and confusion, as if it were blasted through a loud speaker in my ear.   Even now, 2 years later, I cannot fully describe the whole power that His name gave over that whole situation.  It is just wonderfully unexplainable.  

The name of Jesus is a powerful weapon.  It cuts through fear and doubt and hurt.  It reminds us that we don’t have to face situations alone.  It brings our ally, the most powerful and victorious One, to our side to comfort, strengthen, heal, and destroy the futile attempts of satan against us.  

This reminds me of another song:

“There is power, power in the name of Jesus.

There is power, power in Jesus’ name.

Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess

The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Son of Righteousness.

Hell is trembling at the strength we possess.

We have power, power, power in Jesus’ name.”

Jesus’ name gives us power, just as we receive through the Holy Spirit, to face each day.  Verse 16 points out that Jesus’ name, through faith in His name, makes us strong.   

Hell trembles at the sound of it.  We have nothing more to fear.  Praise the Lord for the freedom to use the name of Jesus!   

 

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Filed under Acts, Bible, Bible Study, Children, Christ, Church, Faith, Family, Febrile Seizure, God, Grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Power, Traditional