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Archive for July, 2012

It’s often said that we need to forget the past and move forward. In a sense I think that is right, but even God had the Israelites erect pillars.  When their children saw the pillar of rocks  the parents would be able to  give an account of what God had done for them. By telling the story, it would give hope and build their children’s faith for when the hard times came their trust would be in God. Joshua instructed the pillar to be a memorial for the Israelites (Joshua 4:1-7).

Allow me share one of mine.

A few days ago my mother brought over several of my report cards. Ugh! In elementary school they were curses. As I looked at them the tears welled up. D-, C-, D+ and a B here and there. In most cases they were earned, but in fourth grade they weren’t. Some should have been F’s, but I cheated, blatantly. I’m surprised no one tattled.

Granted it was wrong, but at that time it was survival. You see, I had a learning disability, a form of Dyslexia. In those days Dyslexia wasn’t a “real” issue. Others like me were labeled as rebellious, immature and having an attitude of not wanting to learn. I hated school so much I punched  myself in the stomach, so I wouldn’t have to lie about having tummy aches.

In fifth grade I changed schools and entered a program called the Discovery Center. My teacher, Ms. Lydia, met with me twice a week and helped re-train my brain so I could learn better.  She treated me with respect, love, and patience.  I ended up graduating high school fifteenth in my class, and with high honors.

For Christmas one year I made her a sampler of some of the exercises we use to do on the chalk board.

Cross stitch sampler

 A couple of years ago Lydia sent me the sampler. I framed it and put it on my desk as a pillar of remembrance.  When I sit at my desk I see the sampler it and I’m reminded of two things. First, if God could help me through a learning disability, He could help me through anything.

Secondly, it keeps me humble. There is no way I would be where I am today if God did not provide a teacher who understood what I needed and a program that would help me overcome the challenges I faced.  It would probably still be a great effort to read, or even memorize one verse never mind the whole book of James, which I am in the process of doing.

It doesn’t mean I dwell on the negative aspects of poor grades and special classes, but I can certainly praise Him for them. I have been able to share those times with my children to help them understand God does work in amazing ways.

Are there pillars in your life that once were a negative experience for you, but now can see where God worked in your life?   Thank God for them and share them when the opportunity presents itself. It may draw someone to seek God.

“…These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4: 7 (NIV 1984)

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Fear be Gone

My stomach is turning like my dryer tumbles the clothes. “What if this publishing house accepts my manuscript? Then what? How am I going to do this? It means getting out of my comfort zone. It might mean Facebook which I’ve been fighting against or seeking well-known authors for endorsements, not to mention what affect this may have on my family.

My pastor has been teaching on Elijah’s life. This week’s sermon was about when he fled from Jezebel because she threatened his life. God had just given Elijah a victory at Mount Carmel over the prophets of Baal. He then killed all them. But when the queen threatened his life he fled in fear and fell into a depression. After finding a hiding place he told God he wanted to die.

The part that really struck me was what God said to Elijah. God asked, “What are you doing here?” My pastor pointed out “It’s like he had forgotten what had just occurred and all the other miracles God worked in and through him.”

I felt God was saying the same thing to me. “Christine what are you doing in this cave of “fear” and “what ifs”? Have you not seen what I just did, this past week?”

He is right of course. I went from sending a query letter to submitting a proposal. This could not have happened without God. So what makes me think He won’t help with all the other things if this manuscript is to be published?

The sad thing is that fear doesn’t occur in the area of writing. For me it comes when my husband doesn’t sleep solidly for weeks on end. It overwhelms me when I get the phone call “Your mole is abnormal” or when one of my daughters is not immediately visible when it is pick up time at the mall.

The what if game begins. Much like “The Hunger Game” story the arrows of “should haves”, the knives of “incompetence” and the spears of “I can’t do this” tear through my body and I am rendered useless. Then the Sponsor, my Heavenly Father says, “Christine what are you doing here? Of course you can’t do this; that’s what I’m here for.” So instead of sending me a ointment He comes and fights for me. He does the work.

My job is to turn my focus back to God, take my fears to Him, let go of them and leave them there by walking away from them. I know this is easier said then done. But that is trust, which allows Him to work. Then I can praise Him whatever the result and move forward.

What fears wreak havoc in your life? Have you been obedient to God and suddenly fear shows up and your doubting, frozen dead in your tracks?

Take it to God. Seek others out to pray with you and claim this promise with me:

“For I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

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For me the hardest discipline in my spiritual walk is prayer. Sitting down to read His word is easy. Of course when God uses it like a 2×4 then it’s not that easy, but to see words on the page is like sitting and reading a book. Why is prayer so hard? I think for me it’s because God is not here in flesh and blood and the “prayer programs” become, after awhile, impersonal.

Let me take you on the journey of my prayer life. I have done the prayer programs such as ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) or the prayer journal with all the different sections. Then I would get side tracked easily due to a lack of focus so I started to write my prayers out in letter form. I even had my calendar organized on what to pray for each day.
Prayer soon became meaningless to a point there was no joy. Then I read Diane Moody’s Confessions of a Prayer Slacker. She likened her prayer time to that of visiting Jesus in a father’s office to talk to Him.

Friend, I tell you I felt freed. First because I had started a year prior to write a series of pieces called The Father’s Study. These are allegories of conversations between the Christian as a child talking with their Heavenly Father as if He were in flesh and blood. I doubted that these were even “theologically” correct. She confirmed that I was on the right path.

Secondly, I became aware that the Father wants a relationship with me His child, so why not talk to Him in that way? The most important thing He desires is for me to talk to Him and share my heart and be myself. I let the Spirit lead me in what to pray for.

I like praying out loud. When I was angry or upset I found myself pacing while I prayed. There were other times I would talk to a chair just to have a focus point so I wouldn’t get distracted.
Does that mean the other tools are wrong? Absolutely not. For some, that is they way they pray everyday. Tools–like the Lord’s Prayer — are guidelines for me. God bless them who use them all the time. Others like to pray with the old English ‘Thou”, “hast”. That is not me. I would rather say “Help me, please!” I do need to be careful that my prayers are not just asking the “Divine Genie” for things but thanking and praising Him too.

But does the order matter? I don’t think so. I do confess first, because I don’t want sin standing in the way of Him answering. However, I have found that sometimes half way through my prayer time He impresses on my heart a sin I need to confess or reminds me of a blessing to thank Him for.

Do I still struggle even now that I have found a way to pray that fits me? You bet. Prayer requires intentionally taking the time. He wants to hear from me.

Do you struggle with prayer time? Are you intimidated or not sure where to start?

Tell it to your Heavenly Father allow Him to guide the conversation. In fact, let Him teach you how He wants you pray.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6 (NIV 1984)

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