Do you ever feel invisible?
Do you find yourself getting your feelings hurt?
When you are asked to do something are you “all in” and then expect others to be “all in” too?

Right now I feel invisible. My feelings are hurt. I am always “all in” because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right? Therefore, I expect that from others too. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. How do we learn not to expect “all in” from others?
How do we protect our hearts and our feelings?

I am not invisible. God sees me. God knows my heart. Getting my feelings hurt is not a surprise to God. But how does knowing that God sees me and is not surprised by these things help me to not feel invisible?

It is my flesh, my human nature that makes me feel this way, but Jesus said:

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)

So, I need to trust that:
HE sees me!
HE chose me!
HE loves me!
I am NOT invisible!
I am HIS beloved!

The Lord is fighting for you! So be still!” Exodus 14:14

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that HE fights for me and I just need to be still and trust HIM, keeping my hands open and ready to receive the next thing HE has for me. Life is sometimes hard. Life is sometimes joy. Life IS texture, which makes us all HIS beautiful masterpiece.

When I am feeling invisible I am focusing on myself. I make myself a victim of my own behavior, I am being selfish. Instead, I need to be still, calm my heart and ask HIM two questions:

What are you teaching me through this moment, this situation?
How can I glorify you through it?

Then keep my heart and my hands open ready to receive what HE says and trust that I am NOT invisible!

Blessing & Cursing

Our job as parents is to train and teach our kids the right way to go and how to make decisions and to show them what is important by our actions. As long as they are considered underage we need to provide for them and keep them safe, which isn’t always possible. Once our kids reach the age when they are making their own decisions, we need to realize that those decisions are their’s whether good or bad and they are the ones that will have to live with them. What we need to recognize are the curses that we hand them. We have issues of our own and if they happen to be issues with our own parents they will learn from us and the issues that they have with us are usually more severe. If we do not model what a relationship with Christ looks like how will they know what to do. Whatever our kids see us doing we have to remember that is the same as giving them permission to do likewise and in their case it is usually to a higher degree.
Just because we have passed sin or curses onto our children doesn’t mean it’s too late, it’s never too late to bless them. We have to bring our own shortcomings, our own sin, into the Light and let them see it and let them know we were wrong, one reason is because this is what they will have to do, as do all who profess to be Christians. And then we need to ask God to help us change what we are doing, change will only come with His help and our kids need to see these things in us if we ever expect them to understand or change.
Many of the issues we have with our faith can stem from our parents, if our dad was an absent father we can easily struggle with not thinking we matter to God or that He can hear us. Our first example of a father comes from our dad and if that is messed up we struggle with a relationship with God. Most of what we learn is modeled first and foremost in the home and guess what, we all make mistakes and we all bless and curse our children. But it’s never too late to change those curses to blessings and we shouldn’t get discouraged because it’s not on our timetable, and just because we are obedient doesn’t mean that God will undo all the consequences of our past actions. We need be vulnerable with our kids and be the example they need or they will take the example of the world and we know where that leads.

There’s No Place You Can Go

I was born in 1970 almost a year after the moon landing. Everyone has seen pictures or even video of this historic event and I believe the magnitude of this moment in history is lost on those of us who did not witness the event as it occurred. I believe this because my dad and uncle always spoke about this event with a passion you can only have as one who was there.

A story has emerged out of this watershed moment, the story comes directly from Buzz Aldrin. An elder in a Presbyterian Church in Houston, Aldrin wanted to mark the occasion as a tribute to God, the Creator, and as a blessing for the rest of the world. (You can look this up in Aldrin’s book, “Magnificent Desolation”.) After consulting his minister, he decided the sacrament of Communion would be the most appropriate. Don’t ask me how this worked in one-sixth gravity, but I am sure it was interesting.

During a break in the transmission and conversation with the rest of the U.S., Aldrin took out the bread and the wine. He received the meal Jesus had given us two thousand years prior, when I am sure no one could have possibly imagined space travel.

Aldrin read the words of Jesus, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He also read Psalm 8: “You have set your glory in the heavens . . . When I consider the heavens, the words of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place. Who are we that you are mindful of us, human beings that you care for us?”

The first food ever consumed on the moon the bread. The first liquid, wine. In Aldrin’s own words: “It’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the ‘Love that moves the Sun and other stars.’”

We all have moments in our lives that are sacred, have you thought about how you will respond? Will you make them honoring to God or yourself?

I can’t think of a better way than; Bread and wine, and a thankful heart.

Like the prophet Jonah, Aldrin and Armstrong learned what he already knew, there’s nowhere in creation that you can go that God isn’t, not even the moon.

Praying For Your Spouse

There is an unusual contest in the Finnish town of Sonkajärvi, it is the “Wife Carrying World Championships”. During the contest, men tote their wives a full 831 feet through gravel, grass, and sand, over two obstacles and through water. Dropping your wife means a 15 second penalty; not to mention dealing with an angry woman.

​You might be thinking; okay where are we going with this but I believe it is a good illustration for marriage, because I believe that men need to carry their wives, and wives need to carry their husbands or so to speak. One important way to “carry” your spouse is through prayer.

​If your spouse isn’t near the top of your prayer list maybe it’s time for a new list. One idea is to ask God to give your spouse “knowledge and wisdom of His will” (Colossians 1:9). Don’t we all want more wisdom in family related decisions?

Besides knowing God’s wisdom, most of us need strength to meet life’s challenges. Paul prayed for the early believers to be “strengthened with all [God’s] glorious power” so they would have “all the endurance and patience [they would] need.” If your spouse needs help in some area, ask God to give him or her staying power to deal with the problem. And let’s not forget to pray for joy and a spirit of thankfulness. Gratefulness can make molehills out of the proverbial mountains. When our spouse knows we are praying for them, it brings them comfort not to mention an assurance in our marriages. Now can you imagine if you actually prayed together. Praying together can be one of the most intimate experiences. Lifting each other up while holding hands and letting God speak through and to both of you is an amazing experience. When you pray with your spouse you will come to find that more often than not you will become in agreement with each other where you were once in disagreement. Miracles can happen, attitudes changed, love deepened and a better understanding of the Father’s will can happen when you pray with your spouse.

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth ; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God ; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience ; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

It’s Not About Me

​Today I heard something on the radio; it was an excerpt from an upcoming discussion they were going to have. It was about why young adults are leaving the church today. They played a few responses which all boiled down to people not wanting to be told what to do. Unfortunately I missed the discussion, but it did get me thinking and the first thing that came to mind was Matthew 23.

Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you–but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

When we read the bible it’s easy to forget that it is all relative to us today, it is written for all of us regardless of whom, where and when we are. In Matthew 23 Jesus is really letting the scribes and Pharisees have it but what He is also saying is that it’s not about us and it’s not about religion and if we make it about either it can morph into elevating ourselves and what we can do for ourselves rather than for God or our neighbors. It’s not about us, or how much wealth and power we can accumulate. It’s simply about the two greatest commandments; Love God and love your neighbor in all that we are and have.

We have heard about how people these days have a sense of entitlement about them. I think it is easier and even truer to simply say they are selfish. We could discuss how putting ourselves first is idol worship. Do you think that Jesus wants us to be focused on finding more ways for us to be happy and successful? I think Jesus wants us to be people who are filled with joy and who are doing the best we can but it should not be what we are about or what we are focusing on. We should be looking for ways to bring others joy and help them to do the best they can.
Jesus didn’t just criticize the faith of the scribes and Pharisees; he showed them and us what real love, humility and what loving others looks like. The manifestation of Faith that is Christ’s was shown by, not serving himself, by not looking to His own happiness, it was shown upon a cross and then a few days later Jesus shares the words of Matthew 23 with us.

All too often our first actions or thoughts are for ourselves and our own concerns. We make sure we take care of those that matter most, unfortunately that is ourselves. When we continually put ourselves first, the cost is high.

Jesus has shown us authentic love, which is selfless and He wants us to share that with others. Jesus was beaten, tortured and executed not for Himself but for God and for us. He loved us with His life and His death and that is what he wants us to do.

The funny thing is when we love others and we are able to help bring them alongside of us in all the joy that Christ gives us and they are doing the best they can. We end up focusing on them and not on ourselves.