Thursday, July 26, 2012

GENESIS 41-45

So I've read the bible completely through about 7 times, and some books even more, but...rereading the book more directly for my SALT program is really getting me going. I love reading the bible. As I finish each chapter I write a sentence or two about what I've read. Today's five chapters? Genesis 41-45 -

41. Joseph tells Pharoh what his dreams mean (abundance/famine), and puts him in ch...arge of everything, 7 years of abundance ended, famine began
42. Joseph's brothers come to buy grain, he sends for his youngest bother Benjamin, leaving one of his brothers in prison 

 43. His brothers return with Benamin, and the feast with Joseph, still not knowing who he is

44. Joseph sets Benjamin up to be a slave, and his brothers plea for mercy

 45. Joseph reveals who he is, then tells his brothers to go get Jacob, his father and their familes so they can share in Joseph's wealth

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

I enjoy love in my life. I strive for order in my life. I feel happiness in my life. I discern beauty in my life. There is abundance in my life. I value peace in my life. I'm grateful for health in my life. I love God in my life and all the blessings he provides my little family.

Waking up VERY grateful this morning that I have beautiful kids on the inside, and as a bonus they're pretty good looking on the outside to. I have a beautiful home, an excellent car, food at arm's length, a right to have a bible in my home, sunsine coming through the window, change in my wallet and two les to stand on.

What else is there?

Monday, July 16, 2012

READING THE BIBLE IN 10 MONTHS

While in SALT I will be required to read the bible in it's completion by April 14, 2013, only 10 months away.  While I've read the bible many times over, I haven't read it this quickly.  I also am uncertain how much I will retain while reading at least 5 chapters a day and trying to concentrate enough on the word to study it.  I can read fast.  I could probably read the bible in a week if I wanted to, but at what cost.  Reading alone won't allow me to drink it all in.

Lord, I understand that it is essential for me to gain wisdom and knowledge of your Word by reading and concentrating on it's meaning.  I ask you to allow me to approach your Word with desire, faith and an open heart so that you will bring to light any concepts you want me to understand.  I am determined to follow the SALT reading schedule and I ask you to remove obstacles, both within my own heart, and those outside influences I have no control over.  Help me to apply your Word to my personal life and be the example you want me to be to others.  Slowly sculpt me into the image you want to see.  I also ask you, fervently, to fight evil influences around me and my family and not allow them to touch oru lives.  Calm the stormy waters we have been riding lately so that I may be able to concentrate fully on your Word and the changes you want to see in me and my life.  Make me bold enough to say "No" to requests of my time that will take me away from you and my commitment to study your word this school year.  Allow me to persevere to the end of the SALT program and to the end in which I have pleased you by my actions and words.  Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings you have rained down upon my family during the past 7 difficult months.  I thank you for bringing us to our new home and for protecting us.  I thank you for calming my heart and bringing me closer to you.  I will forever endeavor to follow you and please you.  Amen

SAGEBRUSH ACADEMY for LEADERSHIP TRAINING (SALT)

For three years now I've wanted to take the SALT prgram at my church.  I've been prevented from doing so for various reasons.  This year I prayed about it again and was again called to apply for the program.  Orientation class was yesterday.

I'm excited to get started.  We were asked why we wanted to participate in this program.  I answered it was because I'm not very good at witnessing to people.  I want to have enough knowledge about my own faith to be able to have a loving and intelligent conversation with others about my faith and about their own.  I shy away from discussing religious matters with friends and family.  I want that to change.

The two bible verses I am to reflect on during my SALT class:

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

Well...I'm certainly not young any longer, but I am young at heart.  I don't think I do a very good job of being an example for others in what I say, but certainly in what I do.  I try to live my life loving others and being true to my faith.  As for purity.  The program requires I don't wantch R-rated movies or publically drink (among other things).  I can handle that, however, I love watching horror films with my son and most of them are R-rated.  I also love my wine.  I'm good at keeping rules when I have to, but I'm also known to break a few societal rules.  Other rules that won't be such an issue to deal with are; being honest and not stealing church resources, using this program dishonest personal gain, dating or being alone with someone currently in this program, or using inappropriate language or being unkind to others.  I do curse when I stub my toe, doesn't everyone?  I guess thats the point.  Does everyone who is truly following God's commandments?  I hope to see a change in myself not only in knowledge, but personal attitude and behavior.

Work hard so you can present yourself o God and receive his approval.  Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 

Our instructor spoke about whether or not we would be ashamed to face God.  Would we be called a good worker and receive his approval?  Would we be able to stand before God and state that we shared his word of truth faithfully with others?  I would not be able to do so.  I would be ashamed to admit that I shy away from sharing God's word and I didn't apply myself to this command.  I speak with neutral parties; teenagers I work with at church, strangers I come across, other adults with like beliefs and writing on my blog.  However, I shy away from from discussing God's word from my close friends and family who are not believers.  I truly want to see them saved, but don't feel it is my gift to bring them to Christ.  Perhaps this class with give me the confidence to reach out to others in a more formal way with knowledge to back up my love and desire to share God's word.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

OPEN YOUR FRONT DOOR

The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me".  Matt 25:40

I find myself again helping a young man during a hard time in his life.  I love helping those who need shelter and food and a place to call home.  I wish I could build houses or fix cars for them, but those are not my gifts.  There are so many stories of abuse and neglect out there, and of violence touching the lives of God's faithful.  I'm grateful for helping this young man from a great family whose parents have placed conditions on him which he was unable to meet.  He is getting there and doing a fine job in the process.  I know he will be home soon to his loving family.

God comes to me in quiet times, watching a mother stroll with her child along a sidewalk, the homeless man on Central Ave, the woman who flees an unhealthy relationship, the addict who stumbles once again, the man who has lost his job, the old widow sitting in church alone....

We all tend to water down the realities of life, but the words of Christ bang on my heart, "Whatever you do for the least of these..."  I realize that not doing anything IS doing something, it's turning the other cheek and ignoring the need.  Thats the truth for most of us.  I will never become a missionary, I will never help out with Habitat for Humanity, etc.  I will continue, however, to feed, shelter and clothe those God's allows me to provide for.  I will donate time, money and energy when and where I can. 

Jesus Christ walks among us, now!  The mother strolling with her child does so because she might not have a car, the homeless man on Central Ave might have been abused, the woman who flees her husband might be protecting her children as well, the addict needs love and understanding, not judgment, the widow is just lonely and a simple smile or "hello" might make his day.  God commands us to "do for the least of these".  Jesus disguises himself as a poor mother, a homeless man, an abused woman, an addict and a lonely widow.  God doesn't need to speak to me because I already know what he is saying.  "Will you help me, please?"

I have been on the receiving end of mercies untold an countless blessings when I needed them in the past 7 months.  I open my heart and my door to shelter, feed and clothe those in need.  I have had doors opened for me in my time of need BECAUSE I have been there for others in their time of need.  God calls all of us to serve, to love to help where and when we can, NOT IF we can.  We can all help in some way, even if its just praying for everyone you know who is in need. 

God enters the world through the truth of how Christians live their lives.  We are not called to help Christians who are clean, loyal, honest and wealthy.  We are called to help the down and out, the homeless, the lonely, the abused and all the children of the world.  Oh wait...we are ALL children of the world!

For the sake of the least of these, please find a place to serve God by honoring his command to go out and serve those in need. 

I have an abundant life, not because of money, but because I have loved those God has entrusted to my care.

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