January 31, 2011
An attention grabber a prominent social networking site advertises, “Find out who is searching for you!” Your imagination kicks into high gear and you start thinking about long lost friends, class mates and loves. Too bad those who are estranged from God can’t be as easily inspired and intrigued by something as simple. No doubt the Spirit has suggested to their heart, ‘Find out Who is searching for you!
January 28, 2011
The other day at 2:30 in the morning the phone rang with a reverse 911 call. In the frigid weather an at-risk elderly man was missing. The operator descried his physical characteristics, stated that he might be carrying a green blanket and requested people to be alert and look around buildings in their area. I doubt if anyone got dressed, grab a flashlight and join the search party. However the call was not totally wasted. Those believers crawling back into bed no doubt sent up prayers for the situation. I understand that the gentleman was missing for about two hours, however he is now safely back in his environment. “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph 5:14b NIV)
January 27, 2011
I hold a couple of different roles where I have to guard my position of authority. Often someone either tries to take authority away from me, or else they want me to freely relinquish it to them. It seems the more others try to take my authority, the more territorial I become. Sadly, when it comes to Christian authority I don’t always portray that same boldness. “…Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” (Titus 2:15b NIV)
January 26, 2011
One of my prayer chains periodically sends out updates on past prayer requests. I like seeing the results of prayer, but I also appreciate having my memory jogged. I’m sorry to say, but if it’s been over a week some prayer situations can inadvertently fall off my prayer list…or get bumped from the list by seemingly more urgent situations. I think Paul’s thoughts on prayer are easier said than done, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph 6:18 NIV)
January 25, 2011
I saw a recent news segment on diet companies that use packaged meals for their customers. The expert panelist explained, “These companies aren’t selling diet food, but rather they’re selling portion control.” I tried to wrap my head around buying will-power, but I realized that God too has a formula for portion control…it’s called the Holy Spirit. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 Jn 4:4 NIV)
January 24, 2011
When a person gets passionate about their ministry they want everyone around them to get caught up in that same zeal. I’ve noticed that if I fail to jump on-board someone’s enthusiasm-train, they take it personal…as though I’m rejecting them and their God-ordained ministry. The reality is that when others don’t appear gung-ho about a particular ministry, it’s not a rejection - it’s simply that the Spirit hasn’t laid that burden on their heart. We have a local contingent of folks who want to have a homeless shelter in our community and I’m not a supporter of the project. Not that I don’t wish them well in their endeavor, but I feel a homeless shelter has shades of a safe haven for people who want to avoid taking responsibility. I suppose that comes from having a father who would rather live in homelessness than get a job and support his family.
January 21, 2011
I have a Christian brother who unabashedly tells others, ‘XYZ Organization has too many Mormons and there’s a group of people who are getting ready to do something about it.’ The first time I heard his comments I put him in the Christian Redneck category and mentally looked the other way. Recently however, this Christian brother actually went so far as to tell my young Mormon friend these same views. I’m not sure if I should interject myself into the situation or how to approach it if I did. However, I am sure about one thing…the thought, ‘And you call yourself a Christian’, is hard for me to take captive.
January 20, 2011
A flamboyant 90 year old with flaming red hair was sitting in a wheelchair at the radiology department of the hospital. Discussing her hair color with the receptionist she said, “I’m just not ready to go grey yet.” I so wanted to ask, ‘And just when DO you suppose you might be ready?’ Sadly, we often hear folks resist the Spirit by using the same reasoning.
January 19, 2011
Relationships in the political arena are a mystery to me. One day you can see two people battling it out in fierce opposition to one another and then the next day they are having lunch together. Voters really want bipartisanship, but when you see Republicans and Democrats in each other’s political camp you start wondering about motive. I’m reminded of Jesus standing before rivals Pilate and Herod. Herod ridiculed and mocked Jesus and then sent him back to his Pilate. “That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.” (Luke 23:12 NIV) Apparently it only takes a common enemy for enemies to become friends.
January 18, 2011
When a person says or does something that’s inappropriate, such as having a foul mouth or telling an off-color joke, my normal reaction is to avert my eyes and turn my head away from them. God seems to do something similar with the disobedience of the house of Israel. “And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them...” (Eze 39:23 NIV)
January 17, 2011
Many years ago my mother lived in another state so we didn’t see each other on a regular basis. One time when she came back for a visit she asked, “What’s wrong with your neck? You’ve got a big lump on your throat.” It was news to me. As it turned out, my thyroid was out of whack and a goiter had started to form. What amazed me was that every day I looked in the mirror to do my hair and put on make-up, but I never noticed the enlarging Adam’s apple. Scripture tell us of the need to examine ourselves, but sometimes we just need to allow another believer give us the once-over.
January 14, 2011
Many people read and took to heart, The Prayer of Jabez, a book written by Bruce Wlikinson. The basis of the book comes from Jabez asking God to bless him and enlarge his territory. The theme for believers is to increase their spiritual territory. Ezekiel gives us another passage to consider when the Lord says, “So I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over to the greed of your enemies…” (Eze 16:27 NIV) We sometimes forget that any increase or decrease in territory comes not from our abilities and desires, but from God.
January 13, 2011
A man in a neighboring community has the same name as my husband. It’s interesting when the ‘other’ Bill Marvel makes news, because my Bill gets kudos for being a pilot (he’s not) or writing a great letter-to-the-editor (he didn’t). John the Baptist was confronted with a similar situation when the priests and Levites asked who he was. Are you Elijah? (I am not.) Are you the Prophet? (No). John, the voice calling ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’ confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” (Jn1:19-28)
January 12, 2011
My normal battle ground for fighting with an enemy is when I’m trying to get to sleep. I know I should focus on loving them, but that’s hard to do when I’m poking them with pins by replaying conversations, questioning their motivations and designing a plan of defense. Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt5:43-44 NIV) In a quirky way it’s a relief to know were not expected to live an enemy-free life.
January 11, 2011
I’ve had family members who’ve struggled with drugs, alcohol and homelessness, but none of them ever dropped off the radar for 20 years. In their addictions they always resurface for a handout or a hand up, but then returned to their lifestyle of choice. Ted Williams (now sober) was reunited with his mother after 20 years and is quoted, “Hi mommy, I’m home. I told you I was coming this year. I don’t look the best, but I’m home.” I can picture some late-blooming saints, maybe even some of my relatives, standing before the Lord saying, “I’m home, I don’t look the best, but I’m home.” Paul writes, “…he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”(1 Cor 3:13-15 NIV)
January 10, 2011
We just had the funeral for a member of our church family and I’ve been lamenting his untimely passing. Sixty-three year-old Ken really didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of retirement (fishing, camping and traveling) because he began his battle with cancer just a few short months after retiring. While I was telling another believer, ‘What a bummer’, they were quick to remind me that Ken has a better retirement package now than he had a week ago.
January 07, 2011
A Super Nova exploded 240 million years ago and the visual light spectrum just now reached earth. I’m struck by God taking millions of years to reveal His handiwork and the ‘a-ha’ that mankind gets with the revelation. I find it similar to reading the Bible for years and then suddenly a passage of Scripture jumps off the page when the Spirit opens my eyes to a Scriptural Super Nova of understanding.
January 06, 2011
Norton just alerted me to an infection in my cousins Paula’s email address book. I’m praising the Lord that my antivirus system worked like it was supposed to. My initial response it to alert other family members and caution them about opening any emails that come from her computer. It’s interesting that I respond quickly to a computer attack, but yet when the Spirit sends me an alert about Satan, I’m often slow to respond or I don’t comprehend the seriousness of the infection.
January 05, 2011
The City Council in a neighboring community has a tradition of offering an invocation prior to their meetings. An atheist group is objecting on the grounds that the practice is most often centered on Christianity. According to Webster’s an invocation is: the act or process of petitioning for help or support; a prayer of entreaty (as at the beginning of a service of worship), a calling upon for authority or justification. Bless their hearts the Council has agreed to let the atheists take a turn at the invocation. …I wonder who they’ll petition.
January 04, 2011
We’ve been told that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but that wasn’t the view given by an antique expert I recently watched on TV. The authority talked about the need to authenticate antiques for value, but he also noted the harm caused by reproductions because they devalue the original. Jesus warned, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” (Mark 13:22-23 NIV)
January 03, 2011
We’re hearing a lot about earmarks lately and there is some confusion about what that actually is. Politically speaking there are those pet projects that a lawmaker slips into a bill at the last minute – the quintessential earmark. Then there are also different ‘pots of money’ set aside in which all the states, counties and municipalities go through a competitive committee process for funding. Both situations give politicians boasting rights about what they have brought back to their constituents. Scripture too records an earmark of sorts. “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (Ex 21:5-6 NIV) Now that’s something to boast about.