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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Lesson In Service

My father wrote this devotional yesterday.  It touched my heart so profoundly that I wanted to share it with my readers.  

Chapel Devotions, with Bishop Ron Estep
Doing What Is At Hand, As Unto The Lord:
Saved to Serve!

Ecc. 9:10 (NKJV) “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
Col. 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not to men.
In the south Bronx this week, a man was attacked by two Pit Bull dogs, and for over seven minutes, they tore clothes and flesh apart, as they dragged the man around in the street. Brave passerby’s put their lives on the line as they frantically tried to free the man from the dogs viscous attack! A local catholic priest, who was waiting on the man to do some work in his parish church, ran out into the street- just as the man was freed and struggling to get to his feet. The man was ashen in color, bleeding extremely from gashes in his neck and arm… with his arm needing a tourniquet very badly! The priest ripped off his clergy shirt and tied it around the man’s arm, as they prayed together and waited for the Ambulance.

Someone took a picture of the shirtless priest ministering and praying with this devastated man, and word began to spread through-out south Bronx, that they have a priest- that will literally take the shirt off his own back to help someone! Other news has emerged about this ministering priest: He had a cushy job at the Cathedral, but asked to be reassigned to a poor parish, where the needs dictate the plan, and not the plan dictating the needs!

Once there in the south Bronx, he walked twice a day through-out his assigned community, praying for God’s grace over them, and letting this hard pressed area know- through the silent witness of clergy-collar and cross, that God loved them, and he was available and on duty for them!

Little did he realize, how this prayer and commitment to serve- would be fleshed-out in the days ahead!

Neither greatness nor holiness, consist of doing exceptional things… they are made up of doing ordinary things heartily as unto the Lord! Letting the need dictate the plan, and our salvation’s gratitude- the motivation of our service!

Father, help us to surrender more to these opportunities of service, and less to the strategies of success, that have so saturated our Sanctuary’s, in Jesus name I pray.

If we all could have the heart of this priest.  I passed this story by on social media.  I didn't take the time to read it until my father wrote about it. It gripped me with such conviction of what is important.  I love what Daddy (yes,that's what I call him even at 44...) says, "Neither greatness nor holiness, consist of doing exceptional things...they are made up of doing ordinary things heartily as unto the Lord!" 

Are we willing to give our brother or sister on the street all that we have?  Are we willing to humble ourselves to the point of being "naked" or "exposed" to save a life?  Are we willing to take a "lower position" in our career because our business is not us but others?  

So much to think about and time to examine our hearts and motives.  
Thank you Daddy for this Word, straight from the heart of God, I believe.

I want to serve this water town with such a heart.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

24 Hours Is All?

How quick or often do we question the authority of God?

If we take a look at ourselves and be brutally honest, I think we would be surprised.  I had this "AHA!" moment yesterday as I was reading my devotional on YouVersion (link). The devotional is a 5 day study of "The Lies Of Busyness: Devotions From Time Of Grace".  I want to share with you what spoke to me...convicted me...exposed me...to transform me.

"There aren't enough hours in a day."
Have you ever said something like that?  I totally understand.  Sometimes life feels like you're running on a treadmill while someone keeps pushing the button to increase the speed faster and faster.
Twenty-four hours never feels like enough.  If only we had more time!  A couple extra hours a day would make all the difference!  Or maybe an extra week to able to catch up, right?  (How do I know your thoughts?  Because I have the exact same thoughts myself.)
The truth is God will accomplish through you what he needs to accomplish in the time available.  Our almighty God is the one who came up with 24-hour days after all.  If God thinks that's good enough, it is.  I love the end of the book of Job when God challenges Job's frustrations and puts him in his place for questioning God: "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?  Tell me, if you understand...Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn it's place?" (Job 38:4, 12)
In other words, God's the boss man and he knows what he is doing.  You can wish for more time, but you're not going to get it.  You can't make your days longer.  What you can do is your best and leave the rest in God's hands.  After all, if everything in life depended on us, no amount of hours would ever, ever be enough.

When I read this, I felt pity for Job...I felt like Job must have felt when God put him in his place.  He is God...KIMI IS NOT!!!  

How many times to I question his authority in my life and in the world?  I think I do it absentmindedly with words like, "I wish", "God, I think", "I am only one person"...etc.  

How about I put my trust in my source...the source of life...JESUS.  The author of this devotional had it right..."if everything in life depended on us, no amount of hours would ever, ever be enough."  

The conclusion I came up with was, I must learn to rest in His authority.  Knowing who He is and who I am.  It's okay that I can't do everything, He didn't make me to be superwoman, super-daughter, supermom, super-pastor, super-teacher...He made me to do my best and let Him do the rest.  After all, He's the Master Creator.

It's comforting to know that the buck does not stop here, as long as I do my best.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Roots and Wings= Wisdom and Life

My husband made a statement to me the other day, "songs from the past (hymns) sang about the LORD, songs of today (in the church) sing to Him."
Not that we know all the hymns from the past.  But a lot of them were written about the LORD...there are exceptions.

I found his words to be true.  The Church goes through stages/phases just like any other living thing.  In each stage/phase, you have some who embrace it and others who don't want the change.  I truly believe that each person, in each stage, is desperately needed.  There is a popular saying..."Roots and Wings".  The Church needs to keep it's roots while using it's wings.  We need the grounding, foundation, pillars of those who have been through it and we need the vision, excitement, energy of the young and young at heart.  

So many times, the young try and throw out the wisdom of the experienced and the experienced try to dismiss the vision of the young.  But when you take the experience and mix it with the vision...you can have magic!  Things will get done and the vision will become a reality.  

God was in it yesterday, 
He is in it today, 
and He will be in it tomorrow. 

Don't become too attached to any stage in your personal life or in The Church.  I have seen our church and life change so much over the years.  Each stage has a purpose and it's own excitement.  Each stage has it's own challenges and difficulties. 

 Philippians 4:11 AMP says,

"Not that I speak from 
[any personal] need, 
for I have learned 
to be content 
[and self-sufficient through Christ, 
satisfied to the point 
where I am not 
disturbed or uneasy] 
regardless of my circumstances."

Oh, to really grab hold of that principle.  To truly be able to see God's hand working no matter what stage or circumstance we are in.  To feel His presence at all times in our Church and lives.  That takes trust...trust in God.  

Are you content today?  Do you see the purpose and good in your circumstance? Whether it is good or bad, God will show up if you invite Him.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

All Wrapped Up In Him

I must always be aware of Who God is.

When I lose sight of Him, I lose sight of me.

There are many parts to me that make me, me.  Things that are not always evident but are always there.  Different times call for different gifts, strengths, qualities...different parts.

You see blog world, when I need to be Creative...I look to Him.  He after all created all things.  Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...And God saw that is was good."

When I need to get things in proper Order...I look to Him.  Even His first acts to create the earth was done in order.  In Genesis 1 we see that He created the water before He created the fish and aquatic life.  Order gives creation purpose and life.

When I need Love...I look to Him.  God is Love.  It's not something He learned, it's who He is.  1 John 4:8, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Everything I am is all wrapped up in who He is.  Without Him, I do not exist.  

I will fall and I will get back up as long as I remember who He is.  When others look at me and see my imperfections or when I look at myself and focus on my imperfections, He looks at me and sees my potential. Micah 7:8 says, "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light."  Even in my fallen state, the LORD is my salvation and my deliverer.  

If we can keep our focus on Who He IS and not on who we aren't, our lives will forever be changed.  If you don't know who He is, search it out.  Become a disciple of Jesus.  Learn His ways...how...read His word, talk to Him, open your ears to hear from Him.  He still speaks today...we just have to listen.

If you feel like you have lost your way, look to Him.  He said, I am the way, the truth, the life...Our very breath and life comes from Him.  We are created in His image, everything we are is all wrapped up in Him.  You were created for this!  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Always Celebrate New Life

This weekend we had beautiful weather and almost every minute was full of something to do.  Thankfully, Saturday evening, our activity was outside in the beautiful backyard of my older sister.  She threw a Sprinkle (small shower) for her son and daughter in law...baby number two will be here any day.

CeCe and baby Micah Levi

I was so proud of my sister, Christian and her husband, Patrick.  They decorated their garden area just beautifully.  I wanted to share some of the photos I took.  

These looked so good but I was a good girl and didn't eat one bite!!!
Truthfully, I probably couldn't have stopped at one bite...lol

The theme was Peter Rabbit/ Mr. McGregor's Garden

Patrick built a bench that day

and they took drop cloths, hung them on the old swing set poles (that my father in law and husband put up 20 years ago...those suckers will outlast the 100 year old house.  They cemented them in like 6 feet deep...men and their cement).  They draped them like curtains...so beautiful.

 We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous night to celebrate this new life getting ready to enter the world.  

Look at the clouds...My baby sister Cheryl (standing)
My daughter Juliana in the jeans and CeCe by the flowers

Sorry its so blurry but Christian is just gorgeous here.

view across the field.  Amazing sunset Saturday night

One of my favorites.

The big brother and daddy

The Big Brother...Landon

Juliana and CeCe

Now, here you go...IT'S BO!!! He loves his auntie JuJu.

Bo and Aunt JuJu

Patrick and Micah's Great Grandma Grapes...Polly

Our Scovia...beautiful always

Baby Micah's Aunt Faith, Great Grandma Estep and Uncle Jon

I hope you enjoyed the photos from Micah's shower.  I think it so important that we always celebrate NEW LIFE!!  A baby is a gift straight from the heart of God.  When we grab fast to that truth, we will always welcome it with open arms and dreams.