Have you ever thought about the correlation between our need for water and our need for God? I know. I’m being analytical here again, but just go with me for a minute.
Did you know that an average adult body is 50 to 65 percent water? That's roughly 45 quarts. That’s a lot of water! Blood is made up of 83 percent water, bones are 22 percent water, and muscle is 75 percent water.
Water plays several crucial roles in the body. It helps regulate temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen, and removes waste. It also cushions joints and organs.
Our relationship with God can be similar to how we view our need for water.
When you first start to consume more water, you can barely get it down. You might yearn for something that has more sugar or fat content. Things that may initially taste good, but aren’t good for you. In our lives, we may be tempted by opportunities that may look fun, but are contrary to what God tells us the best - or healthiest way to live.
We often don't realize that we're dehydrated and in need of water until the effects of not having enough takes a toll on our bodies. Likewise, we may occasionally go to church or pray and not realize how much we need God in our lives until we're in the midst of a crisis. When we run into a difficult situation, we may start to feel a thirst for more of God. We realize we need Him to survive.
Just like discovering a craving for water, the clean and refreshing liquid that sustains our life…we can also develop a craving to spend more and more time with God, the giver of life.
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4: 13-14
He wants to satisfy your thirst.
I didn’t see the point.
Why should I be forced to lay down and rest when I didn’t feel tired?
Summer evenings were brutal.
I’d toss and turn in bed while the sun still shone for another hour.
What a waste.
From an open bedroom window I could hear older children in the neighborhood still playing outside.
My parents would tell me that when I grew up I’d feel differently about bedtime.
I’d look forward to it.
I didn’t believe them.
As a busy adult I tend to push the limits.
There is often more things to do in the day than there is time to accomplish them.
How differently I feel now when I crawl under the covers and lay my head on the pillow.
I sigh with contentment at how good it feels to rest.
My parents were right.
God knew how important it was for us to rest.
He told us to devote one day a week to it.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day, you shall rest.”
Exodus 34:12 (NIV)
It’s a good reminder for me that it’s okay to rest.
A Choice of Path
To forgive...or not to forgive.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and felt you were reliving pieces of your own life?
The other night I watched a TV movie produced by Hallmark called “Crossroads – A Story of Forgiveness.” It told the true story of Bruce Murakami, a man who lost his wife and young daughter in a car accident.
Bruce and his two sons were torn apart as they grieved their loss and struggled to make any sense out of the tragedy.
The police stated Bruce's wife was to blame for pulling out from a mall parking lot in front of another car. But, there were conflicting statements from witnesses and some thought street racing had been involved.
Bruce fought until he found a lawyer who was willing to help him discover what really happened. After investing further, they found proof that street racing had been the cause of the collision. Bruce was filled with anger and revenge.
After given the opportunity during the trial to meet and talk to the Justin, the teenager responsible, Bruce realized not only how remorseful the young man felt, but how willing he was to be punished for taking two lives.
Bruce asked the court not sentence the teen to prison for many years, but instead require that Justin go with Bruce to speak to high school students about the dangers of reckless driving. They’ve shared their personal story in many schools, making an impact on other teens.
Four and half years ago my stepdaughter was killed in an auto accident at the age of nineteen. It happened in another state while she visited friends. A state trooper hit the passenger side of the car she was riding in so hard that she flew out of her seat belt and through the sunroof. She was killed instantly.
We dealt with anger, grief, and frustration at not being given the answers to our questions. Lawyers wanted to take the case to help us find the truth as to what happened that day, but were afraid to go up against the law enforcement of that state.
We didn’t have a chance to sit across from the person, like Bruce Murakami did, and see the driver as a person. Or hear any statement of remorse from him.
But, just as Bruce Murakami, we discovered that in order to heal, we needed to forgive.
Forgiveness frees us so much more than it frees the offender.
To hold on to anger and resentment is like drinking a slow killing poison and hoping it will bring death to the person who hurt us.
I applaud Hallmark Hall of Fame for bringing this movie into our homes. And I applaud Bruce Murakami for the work he and Justin have done to reach teenagers.
You can find out more about Bruce’s story by going to http://www.hallmark.com/ and clicking on the box pertaining to this movie. You can access a video of Bruce sharing pieces of his story, email Bruce, and download a discussion guide to the movie and personal reflection on forgiveness.
You can also find out more about the program founded by Bruce to promote safe driving by teens at www.safeteendriver.org
I received the following prayer in an email the other day.
It’s a reminder that we need to “lighten up” and let go...
cause we don’t always know…
what’s going in the life of the person standing next to us…
Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares, or may just be down on his luck and just needs a break.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love.
It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear.
Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.
Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Was your subconscious trying to send you a message?
Was God speaking to you through a dream because you weren’t receptive to what you were hearing or experiencing while awake?
I had a dream this morning and I woke up asking, “What was that all about?”
Dreams are always difficult to explain to someone else because of how a scene can suddenly shift to another. So, I won’t even try to explain the details, but everything was vivid…colors, textures, and emotions.
I stood at the top of a cliff overlooking a huge, very blue lake. Below me were aluminum platforms descending beneath each other down to a larger platform.
On impulse (there’s that word again) I followed another person and dropped to the platform below me. But, then realized that move was a huge mistake and decided I needed to climb back to the top. I grasped iron rungs that had been pounded into the rock wall and tried to pull myself up. But, once I reached the midpoint to the top of the cliff, I could go no further.
Above me a construction worker kept yelling in an angry voice to hurry because they had to close the area for the day. I looked below and saw that what had once been water was now a large construction site.
I looked to the right and saw that all along there had been a road from the bottom of the site to the top of the cliff. A road that had a slight slope and could be was easily taken to the top.
All I needed to do was let go and drop to the ground.
I let go and fell below (unhurt, of course) and with ease walked up the road to the top of the cliff. People I knew greeted me and we celebrated the end of the day by eating popcorn and drinking champagne. (Weird, I know. But, I love both popcorn and champagne.)
These are questions I’ve been asking myself.
Am I trying to make some things in my life too difficult?
Am I trying too hard to make things happen?
Do I need to let go and allow God do His thing?
And when I’m able to fully release some things to Him, will He show me a less stressful path to take?
What do you think I’m supposed to take away from this dream?
Do you purchase things you can’t afford, don’t need, or may not even like once you get them home?
Do you get caught up in the moment and volunteer without checking your calendar to see if you have the time?
This morning I managed to rouse myself out of bed earlier enough to get on the treadmill before work. I put on the headphones and turned on the small TV attached to the wall in front of me.
I enjoy watching Joyce Meyers, Christian author and speaker. She has a way of talking straight and laying things out on the table, but with humor laced throughout, her message is also entertaining.
This week she’s speaking on emotions and how we can either control them or allow them to control us. Today’s message focused on impulsiveness and the connection to our emotions.
Hmmmm…am I impulsive?
There have been times in my life when I’ve volunteered to help someone, a group, or an organization when clearly my schedule was already overloaded. Not that activities, projects, or experiences with people are bad. I just said yes to so many things that I became drained. And when you become exhausted you become ineffective.
Why did I say yes without thinking it through?
Was it because I wanted to please people?
Make a good impression?
Did I think no one else could do it as well as I could?
Was I afraid of letting someone down or hurting their feelings?
Did I need to prove something to them or myself?
At various times…any or all of the above.
I’ve gotten much better at saying no the last few years. Maybe it comes with figuring out that it’s okay to have priorities…and it’s okay to stick to those priorities without taking on more. Maybe it’s realizing that people will still like me…even if I occasionally say no to them.
We can be so quick to say things without thinking.
We can be so quick to make decisions that we end up making bad choices.
But, if we just slow down for a minute and take the time to ask God’s direction, we may find that it makes life easier.
I still need to work on that…
Waiting to move until He tells me which way to go.
If I can be patient and wait a minute, He’ll tell me…
Learning to wait before acting,
But, there is an exception. I love watching Extreme Makeover...Home Edition. I cry every time. And yes, I can get a little teary over Hallmark commercials, too.
I know. Much of the show is probably staged. I’m not naïve. It’s still the world of television. The producers and directors know what will tug on America’s heartstrings.
But, despite the staged elements and overly dramatized pieces, it brings an hour of hope into our homes. Hope because there are people willing to help others. Hope because in the midst of hard times, good things can still happen.
My husband and I recently finished remodeling our home. The job took six months and during that time we lived in a disaster area. Our house was not a haven and it affected our ability to relax and find a sense of peace.
My environment is very important to me. We’ve designed our home to be peaceful, but also warm and welcoming to friends and family. It’s my sanctuary from the outside world and every day I’m thankful for how blessed I am.
Maybe that’s why it gives me such joy to watch struggling families be able to move from unlivable conditions into a home that will bring them comfort and their own haven.
Many of the people chosen for home makeovers seem to have faith in God. That faith has kept them going. They’re close-knit families who serve their communities and give more than what they ever personally ask for. As with the case of the last family, they’ve gone to great lengths to help others while not disclosing their own dire situations.
Families chosen for home makeovers don’t ask for much. The young girl from last Sunday night’s family just wanted a functioning toilet. It was hurtful and embarrassing to have her friends ask to use the bathroom. Her mother, overwhelmed, almost dropped to the ground sobbing when taken into her own bathroom in the new home.
For me, this show is a tangible way in how God works. If we are faithful, He gives us so much more than what we can dream or ask for. Sometimes it requires patience and perseverance, but He doesn’t let us down.
Good things do happen to good people.
As a child I looked forward to coloring eggs in preparation for the holiday. On Easter morning my siblings and I would rise early to search for our baskets full of chocolate eggs and jellybeans. Sometimes I’d find a jump rope or a new coloring book and box of crayons.
I’d put on my new patent leather shoes, dress, hat, and gloves to attend church. We’d walk the few blocks to worship early enough to attend the breakfast served before the service. The church would be full of beautiful white lilies.
Easter is a time of joy. It’s a reminder of why we can live each day with hope. Because Jesus died for our sins and rose again, we’re able to have the gift of eternal life.
I do enjoy Easter…but as I’ve grown older, I've come to appreciate Good Friday even more. It's become my favorite day in the Christian faith.
Good Friday is the day we take time to worship and think about what Christ went through on the cross. His suffering and terrible death.
It’s not that I’m morbid.
It’s not that I get off on thinking about someone being beaten, tortured, and killed.
But, there’s no other day that reminds me in such a deep and gripping way how much I’m loved and forgiven by my Savior and God. It’s on that day, more than any other day, that I’m able to put myself at the feet of the cross with a heart full of understanding and thankfulness for what He was willing to do for me.
May you be blessed this Easter.
I’m just not one of them.
I admire those who can rise with the sun and function at full capacity. My husband is one of THOSE people. He gets up at 4:30 am to get ready for work. Mornings are the best time of the day for him.
I used to envy…and feel slightly inferior…to THOSE people who could get up early enough to start their day with reading the Bible and praying. I just couldn’t do it. Even if I did manage to rouse myself out of bed, I couldn’t focus.
I like the THOUGHT of rising early and listening to the birds as the sun comes up, but actually doing it is brutal. Once I’m up, I kind of enjoy it. Just don’t talk to me or expect any conversation in return. I’m not ready to participate in any dialogue until after 8:00 am. And then it’s minimal and I better have had some strong coffee.
I’ve begun setting my alarm for 5:00 am so I have time to get on the treadmill before leaving for work. That doesn’t mean I leap out of bed. It takes me at fifteen minutes to get up. Then in a semi-comatose state, with my headphones on, I watch a small TV my husband attached to the wall in front of the treadmill. I switch to autopilot and don’t concern myself with thinking for the following thirty minutes.
My commute time to and from work can be up to forty-five minutes one way. I often use this time to talk to God. I speak to Him frequently throughout my day and I’m striving to listen more. If I want to know what He has to say to me, I better be willing to be quiet long enough to hear it.
Isn’t God great? He doesn’t require that I become a morning person to spend time with Him. I can enjoy His presence all day and evening long. Prayer doesn’t have to take place in a church or other designated location. He’s willing to meet me wherever I am. He’s available ANY time of the day…or night.
A forever night person,