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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What can I do for You

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of enjoying lunch with a good friend that I don't get the chance to see that often. We always spend our short time together catching up on what’s going on with our kids, our husbands and our ministries.

After discussing all these topics with immense love, and little bragging, my friend looked at me and said, “So, how’s Tina doing?” My mind was running crazy thinking, “Who is she talking about? What Tina do I know that she knows too?”

After seeing the puzzled look on my face, I know she wanted to shake me as she said, “I’m talking about you!”

You know, we as women are always taking care of everything and everyone else that we often forget about ourselves. I know I sure do. I definitely did that day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love serving my family, friends and church but I all too often just totally forget about myself or my needs or my wants. I think the female species is just wired to think of others before we think of ourselves. But isn’t that being what we call ‘Christ-like’ or ‘other-minded’?

And the Bible does tell us to do for others first what we would want them to do for us.

But I laugh when I think of my kids coming to me and saying, “You do so much for me mom, you always put my needs first. So, today, what can I do for you?”

Although I have never fainted in my life, this would be my moment.

Oh, I am so much like my kids though, always asking God to do something for me, to meet my needs and take care of me.

But how many times have I ever stopped to ask what I could do for Him?

I know He loves providing food, clothing and a life of purpose for me; that seeing me happy makes Him happy. But it is my sincere prayer today that I would never take advantage of His good graces toward me; that I would not always be a taker and never a giver. That for sure is not being Christ-like.

Christ gave all expecting nothing in return.

I too give all expecting nothing in return... well, most of the time (smiles). But I also know how nice a little return can be.

So today, I would like to ask the One who has done everything for me, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

Oh, and God, please don’t faint if you get a lot of ladies asking the same question this week.

Tina

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Signs

Has God ever told you to do something that just did not make any sense to your rational mind?

Here is a little illustration I found today saved on my computer regarding this issue.

Dave Bosewell tells a story about Earl Weaver, former manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Weaver had a rule that no one could steal a base unless given the steal sign.

This upset one of his star players, Reggie Jackson, because he felt he knew the pitchers and catchers well enough to judge who he could and could not steal off of. So one game he decided to steal without a sign.

He got a good jump off the pitcher and easily beat the throw to second base. As he shook the dirt off his uniform, Jackson smiled with delight, feeling he had vindicated his judgment to his manager. Later Weaver took Jackson aside and explained why he hadn’t given the steal sign.

First, the next batter was Lee May, his best power hitter other than Jackson. When Jackson stole second, first base was left open, so the other team walked May intentionally, taking the bat out of his hands.

Second, the following batter hadn’t been strong against that pitcher, so Weaver felt he had to send up a pinch hitter to try to drive in the men on base. That left Weaver without bench strength later in the game.

Jackson’s problem was he saw only his relationship to the pitcher and catcher. He was only concerned with the present. But Weaver was watching the whole game, all 9 innings.

We, Ladies… and Gentleman*, see only so far, but God sees the bigger picture.

We never know what’s coming around the corner of life. Sometimes stealing 2nd base only makes sense because it gets us closer to home. But when we get out of line with God’s plans for our life we take the bat out of His hands and only handicap our own futures.

So, if God is sending us a signal, it’s wise to obey, no matter what we may think WE know.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts Isaiah 55:9

Prayer

Lord,

You see what I cannot and I trust that you know what is best for my life. Help me to always follow your signals even when I don't understand. In those times, help me to just stand still and see your salvation.

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you... Do not be afraid or discouraged... for the Lord is with you!
2 Chronicles 20:17 (NLT)

Have a great day!
Tina

*trying not to exclude the dudes who have informed me they are reading the blogs too. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Heavy Heart

On January 10th of this year I had a classmate from high school request to be my friend on Facebook.

On June 13th she passed away.

Oh how it made me feel to learn of her illness and passing. What makes me sad is not the fact of our close relationship in school, because we were mostly acquaintances, it’s the young daughter, husband, sister, mother, father and a host of friends and family who are experiencing this tragic loss that makes my heart ache.

She was so young and so full of life. She was also blessed to be surrounded by people who loved her deeply and cared for her immensely.

Pondering this sad news over these past few days has made me grateful. Yes, grateful.

I am grateful because I understand life is a gift and this reminds me to live every day that I have to the fullest.

My husband’s cousin passed away a few years ago and left behind a husband and two teenage children. One of the pastors that spoke the day of her funeral looked those two teens in the eyes and said the best way they could honor their mother’s life was to live everyday to make her proud.

A little over 2000 years ago someone died for you and me.

The best way you and I can honor Christ’s life is to live every day to make Him proud. John 10:10 tells us that He came so that we would have life and have it better than we could ever dream of. (Message)

Oh how we dishonor His life, and death, when we do not live our life to the fullest.

It’s easy for us to get sidetracked. To forget all the blessings we have. But all it takes is the understanding, of the reality that life is like a vapor, to get our eyes back on what is really important in life.

How sad it would be for me to give an amazing gift to my children and them treat it as something casual and cavalier. Our God takes great joy when we enjoy the extravagant blessing of life He has bestowed upon each and every one of us.

And it is my prayer that as we go through our day today that we would be keenly aware to not take even the smallest things for granted.

So, to the family and friends of Laura Lynch Fraser, my deepest condolences on your loss. I am so blessed to know she is now standing in the presence of her maker.

And to those of us that are left behind, don’t just exist, but live.

Amen!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Royal Pain

I am so the Queen of Complication. Simplicity is something I have had to learn to adjust to. And for me, that is a huge adjustment.

It’s not that I like things to be complicated; I just have a knack for complicating things.

Whether it is cooking a meal for company, cleaning house or working on a sermon, I just seem to always make it more detailed, more difficult, more intense than necessary.

Can anyone relate or am I the only crazy one on the planet? Why just order pizza when we can have a five course meal? Yeah… sad, I know.

I recently read about an instant cake mix that was a big flop. The instructions said all you had to do was add water and bake. The company couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell until their research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. Apparently people thought it was too easy. The company altered the formula and changed the directions to call for adding eggs and oil to the mix in addition to the water. The idea worked so well that sales jumped dramatically.

Here is my new philosophy; unnecessary complexity should be avoided at all costs.

Let yourself off the hook ladies.

Order the pizza so you can spend more quality time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen.

Less stress is best.

Listen to the words of Paul:

...I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am… Philippians 4:12-13 (MSG)

Life is crazy enough so if you are like me, take the self-imposed tension and pain out of your life and enjoy the blessings God has provided for you. Don’t get so caught up planning your life that you don’t live your life.

And all the ladies said, AMEN!

Giving up my Queenly title,
Tina