Sunday, May 28, 2017

Unsung Hero - Andrew

"The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is Christ)."  John 1:41 (NIV)

The white tombstones.  The red, white and blue flags.  All lined up in a row.  There is something about the picture above that has always brought the words Unsung Heroes to my mind.  Each Memorial Day, it is hard not to be grateful for the thousands of men and women who have unselfishly given their lives to let us have the freedoms we have in the United States.  Yes, I agree, every day should be Memorial Day.  Yet, this last Monday of May has always brought reflection, and thanks, to the many who have died so we could have the freedoms we enjoy.

It made me think about the unsung heroes in the Bible.  There are so many who have given unselfishly of themselves in honor of God.  I thought it would be fun to explore some of these unsung heroes during the next 4-5 weeks.  I am certain that there are hundreds, but let's take a look into a few.

Today, I would like to focus on Andrew.  We don't hear a lot about him.  Yes, we know he was a disciple, but Andrew tended to take a backseat to his brother, Peter.  We read much about Peter and know at times he was a pivotal disciple.  Yet, Peter would have never have known Jesus if it wasn't for Andrew.  As our Bible verse shares, the FIRST thing that Andrew did was tell his brother, Simon Peter, that Jesus was there.  

Andrew was known as the one who brought people to Jesus.  He brought Simon Peter.  He brought the little boy who had the bread and fish to Jesus to feed the thousands.  Many times throughout the Bible he is referred to as Peter's brother, typically not referred to as just Andrew.  It seems as if Peter got the "limelight" and Andrew was in the background.  Yet, he brought many to Jesus and was more interested in saving lives than the notoriety.  

Remember, when we believe that we don't have what it takes to bring people to Jesus, let us be like Andrew.  He stood out in faith and just told people.  He shared the good news and brought the necessary people to Jesus to do outstanding things.  Yes, Peter may have been a primary figure in Christianity, but he never would have been without Andrew.  We all have Andrew moments - when we can bring those to Jesus.  We never know what those good people will do.  On this Memorial Day, please remember the unsung heroes of our military.  Also, remember Andrew - an unsung hero of the Bible.

"Dearest Jesus, please be with all the families that have lost loved ones who died in service to our country.  Those men and women fought for our freedoms, that we might be able to say your name proudly today.  We also want to thank you for the great examples we have of unsung heroes in the Bible.  Let us be like Andrew, bringing people to Jesus so that they can do mighty things.  In your name we pray.  Amen!"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Solar Faith

Image result for solar panels
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  John 1:1 (NIV)

Everywhere I look these days, I see solar panels.  They may be on a house or on a company building, but they seem to be everywhere I look.  I went to Home Depot yesterday and there was a company selling them.  I thought about these panels, what they are meant to do, and how they service us today.

As you are probably aware, they help to generate energy.  The panels attract the light and they store it in batteries until you need to use the energy.  Actually, it's a pretty neat idea.  It's unbelievable what the sun can do for us, but better yet, that there is a way to store the energy from the sun to a time and place when your family or company needs the energy.

It made me think about God's word.  No really, stay with me on this one.  I thought about how the intent of these panels was to collect the sun's energy every day and store it until it is needed.  Let's think about the incredible power and energy of God's word.  When I read God's word, there is an energy that fills me up - it helps me to see things differently and provides me the energy to do what needs to get done.  It may be rising up from a difficult situation, gaining strength when I am weak, or putting love back into a broken heart.  Whatever is on my plate or in my heart, God's word gives me the energy to get things done.

If we steep ourselves into God's word, read it every day, we are doing what the solar panels are doing. We are storing up the energy that comes from God's word so it is available when we need it.  There have been days when my morning time with God can't happen.  Yet, when I'm driving to work, I remember something that I read from that great book or how it impacted my life and a smile passes over my lips and warmth drips into my heart.  Our Dear Lord is good, so good, each and every day.  When we read His word, and let it fill our hearts, we KNOW He will be there for us.  Simple Faith. 

It can be hard to find time to open our Bibles every day.  Yet, when we do, see it as Solar Faith, Simple Faith.  Get filled up with His Word, tuck those words away like stored energy, and bring it out and use it when your energy is low.  The words of God have been selected just for us.  For you, for me, and even for those who have yet to experience the love of Jesus.  Those words are for our hearts.  I pray that you find solar faith, simple faith.

"Heavenly Father, we thank you for The Word you have given to us.  We know the power that those words have in our lives.  Help us to continue to steep ourselves in your word, knowing that there will be days when we will need to call upon those words for energy in our lives.  Also, please guide actions in our days so that we might be able to share your word with others.  In your name we graciously pray.  Amen."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Silent Friendship

"Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was."  Job 2:13 (NIV)

Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there!  This Mother's Day, I am in Chicago preparing for a workshop I will be attending.  It was a bit odd not being able to see my mom and children this day, but that certainly didn't take my thoughts away from the day at hand.

As always, I have a story to share.  The other day, I was speaking to someone about what she could do for a friend of hers that was battling cancer.  I thought back on those days with many differing opinions.  There is a part of me that is very grateful for all the wonderful ways God blessed me through friends and family during that time.  Yet, I thought about a different way that was just as impactful, "Silent Friendship".  At first the person looked at me with an odd expression - of course I asked to explain.  

Sometimes, when the trials and tribulations of the day come knocking upon our door, many around us want to provide advice and counsel.  Nobody does this with malicious intent.  People like to help, and I can certainly relate.  Yet, some of the most profound times when I have needed help have come with someone just sitting by my side.  It's okay not to have words to say - many times we aren't supposed to say anything - especially when things are at their lowest.  Reflect above.  Job had absolutely nothing left in his life - NOTHING.  Yet, his friends came by and sat next to him - just "being".  They did that for SEVEN days - just sitting and letting Job know they were there for him.

The same happens today.  When trials hit us, many times as friends, we just don't know what to say.  Yes, even I struggle with the right words.  Yet, I don't think that's what God wants us to give each other all the time.  He just wants us to be there for each other - just like He is always there for us.  He knows our thoughts, he understands - yes he even gives us hugs and holds our hands - as our friends do for us.  Silent Friendship can be golden.

On this note, I have many wonderful people who have done this for me over the years - just were "being" with me.  One has been my mom.  When I was sick and days were tough - she just came over and was there for me.  That was EXACTLY what I needed.  Maybe she made a silent cup of tea.  Maybe she just sat and read her book - and just let me read mine.  Much was said in those days of no conversation.  The beautiful flowers in the picture are roses my mom gave me for Mother's Day.  Here's to you, Mom - and our silent friendship.

The next time you find yourself wanting to DO something or SAY something to a friend, contemplate that the greatest you may give them is just you "being".  God fills in for the conversation that isn't said.  Let him do what he does best - and may we do what we do best.  For all the mothers out there, I pray that you were blessed with a special day.  Let's face it, as moms, every day is a special one.

"Heavenly Father, help us to know that sometimes silent friendship can be the greatest give we can give to each other.  Just "being" can lead us to feel you, God, among us.  And there is NO greater person to have among friends that YOU.  Please bless all those who need some silent friendship today."

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Art of God


"Yet you, Lord are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."  Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

I received a rare blessing today.  I am travelling on business to Charlotte, North Carolina.  I've never been here before and since I got in a few hours early, I thought I would select one "tourist" spot to visit.  There were many to chose from, but today I headed to the Mint Museum (pictured above).  I'm not sure why the GPS had this address plugged in.  I'm not a huge museum person.   I can't remember the last time I was in a museum.

I will walk through a museum, but I've rarely been able to truly appreciate the art.  I admire those individuals who can look at art and it inspires them - I've never been drawn to art that way.  Yet, today for some reason, my heart took me to the Mint Museum.  My experience was dramatically different.  I truly believe God wanted me to see something I hadn't seen before.

As I viewed the beautiful sculptures and paintings, the craft and design work, my eyes were drawn to the stories printed beside the art.  I read about these artists.  Some artists were from the 1800's.  Some were more recent.  Yet, each artist had a story - a reason to capture the world as they saw it.  All of the sudden, the art had meaning.  I found a new beauty in the art that I had not seen before.  As I walked through the rooms, so silent and quiet, it brought my heart to my Lord and the wonderful passage for today.

Just as the artists I read about today had a story to tell with their art, so our Lord has a story to tell through us.  He is the artist, we are His canvas.  He created us with His hands to be able to tell a story - HIS story.  Through our lives, He has worked us, through the joys and tribulations, to create a masterpiece - HIS masterpiece.  Imagine - being God's masterpiece.  The more I thought about this, the greater my heart was drawn to God.  I owe it to God to be the best piece of art I can be. 

If my life tells His story, then I want to ensure it is a great story.  I want to be the best piece of art I can be - so that He, the artist, is glorified.  That means making good choices, living in God's light - the artist's light.  It means reflecting His greatness to those who view me.  It means I need to work on becoming His masterpiece.  That may seem like a tall order.  Yet, there is GREAT news with this tall order - He will be there with us, to guide us, to help us, and to encourage us.  There is no better artist than our Lord.  Will you join me in becoming a great masterpiece?  

"Dearest God, I ask your help as I try to be the masterpiece that you have created.  As the artist, you have a vision of what I should be to the world.  I ask your help in making that possible.  Help me to reflect the art that you want the world to see.  May your grace and mercy help me to achieve this.  In your artist's name I pray, Amen."

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.