Monday, November 29, 2010

What Kind of Weight does it Carry in Eternity?

Seriously...where did this year go? Personally, I am really glad it is almost over. It has been a rough year and I am starting into this new year of 2011 with a dark shadow of a cloud surrounding me. I don't want it but it seems to be lingering and it appears God's timing for it to dissipate is not yet. I will tolerate that the wrong attitude? If I embrace it I may find myself in a deep depression. I am praying hard that it is going to get better. My faith that God is in control is my hope for a better 2011.

Anyway, this is the time of year when I start planning, searching, praying, and creating a spiritual goal for the new year. Part of that process is reviewing the past years spiritual goal and evaluating how I did (that's the educator part of me...evaluating everything). I went here to do that. Though there has been a lot of pain in this 2010 year, my heart smiled as I read through the God-planted goal of my soul in the beginning of 2010.

I feel I did good on my goal of being faithful, however, maybe not so good with the praise goal. As darkness filled my life this past year, I was faithful to cling to my scripture memory cards, faithful to my quiet time with God, and faithful in our women's ministry. If I had not been faithful in these areas I would have been in a horrible depression. A darkness may surround me but it is not getting into my inner being. Maybe if I had been more faithful in my goal of praising Him this darkness would be gone. These last couple of months I have been singing that beloved hymn "How Great Thou Art" as I begin my morning drive to work. It's a great way to set the tone of my heart as I head into a job that hasn't matched up to my expectations.

I am asking God what He needs from me in this new year. I will continue to memorize scripture. I am thinking about beefing it up to one verse a week from one verse every two weeks or 15 days. Memorizing scripture has become the oxygen my heart and soul needs to survive. Recently I came across a verse that grab me so tight and should encourage us all as we look ahead to 2011:

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. ~2 Thes 3:5 (New Living Translation)

A "full understanding"....that's what I want. It's what we all want, right? We know Him, We know of Him, but to know Him more...better...fuller. To know Him is to be able to grasp, truly grasp His love for us, for the worst of sinners (of which I am one), saved, and redeemed through His sons blood...because of love, God's love. From a manger to a cross...I want to love like love my family like God loves me. Honestly, I am not being the wife and mother I need to be. God has laid this thought on my heart and this verse has prompted me towards changing that.As I look back over the frustrations and delights of this past year, I am sadly reminded of the many times that I was selfish. I missed radiating God's love as I chose not to be prompted by it in those moments. To know Him is to live Him, to live out His love. I want to do that in this new year.

But we cannot leave out the last part of that verse..."the patient endurance that comes from Christ". I know better than to pray for patience. If you have ever prayed for this you know the struggle that can result in one's life! Yet, I implore you to think of the patient life Christ lived and then imagine what God patiently goes through with us (probably a daily basis if we are honest here). His patience is best described as an active verb participle (did I say that right?). I mean to describe it this is an action demonstrated by Christ life and spelled "G-R-A-C-E".

I guess as I look ahead into 2011, to know the fullness of God's love requires me to also examine the patient endurance modeled by his Son while here on this earth. It requires a worthy reflection and meditation on my part throughout this new year, and maybe on your part also. I may be surrounded by a dark cloud as I walk into 2011 but as with 2010, God is with me. He has a plan.

I was so encouraged as I continued to research this verse and found this translation from the New International Readers Version:

May the Lord fill your hearts with God's love.
May Christ give you the strength to go on.

Hello! Better than chocolate (or coffee in my case) and just what this pre-menopausal women needed to guard against that looming darkness. This new year is God asking you to focus even more fully on Him and His Son?

More of Him, less of me.

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. ~ Ps 28:7 (NLT)

I challenge you to examine your heart and seek God in what He wants of you in 2011. New Year resolutions often fail, right? Since I have given these past "New Years" a spiritual focus verses a resolution focus I have only grown stronger in my faith. It's been pretty amazing. What it all comes down to with these goals we set...losing weight, eating better, committing to a new task like memorizing that you have to ask yourself "what kind of weight does it carry in eternity?"-right?

I am embracing 2011 and all that God has planned for me. I continue to seek his plan for me and I so desire to be a better servant for Him, as well as a better wife and mother. I have God on my side and His Word in my heart and mind.

Again I ask...what is God calling you to in 2011?

Believing Him~Pamela

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That was then...this is now...

Last night I was channel-surfing to avoid all the election broadcast (yes I voted but I am good to wait until the morning for the results). I landed on the show "The Walton's". Remember that show? Can you hum the tune?

Just looking at this house gives me such a warm feeling of a peace most of us don't experience today and a comfort that has been lost with the innovation of our civilization. This TV series represents how it is suppose to be, and how I want my home to be. This structure represents "home" for me, a time though simpler and maybe more difficult, so full of family.

Last nights episode took me back to a childhood that was similar to these lives...godly parents, discipline, values, rules, responsibility, and family togetherness. One of my grandparents had a farmhouse that was similar to this one. I could smell the home-grown food cooking in the kitchen, the smell of that fresh country air, and I could feel the absence of today's busyness and related anxieties. So many emotions flooded over me that the end of the show actually left tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart.

The kids fought each other but they loved each other more...

They disobeyed their parents but they also respectfully submitted to their punishment (which last night Ellen got caught smoking in the shed with her male cousin and had to memorize 10 Bible verses before supper!)....

There was no back talk (that would have cost her another 5 verses!)....

They sacrificed for each other...

They ate together...listened to the radio together...did chores together...

For the most part they were content with what they had or what they earned...

They respected each other, they respected themselves, and they respected their bodies...

Most importantly, God was a vital part of their life, He was expected to be.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.~Deut 11:18-21

Grief...what has happen to America? Could it be.....

I mean this what over 50% of our families have come into (mine included)? I am afraid I have watched a few episodes in this series too and found it amusing and humorous until I decided to look at it as God would. Is God laughing?

I am shamefully grieved at my own families failures...divorce, broken homes, loss of respect, compromised values, and a tolerance of world views has definitely invaded our life.

I am truly grieved today...grieved for what was then and what is now...wishing for "then" again...praying for those kind of days again.

I wonder if I can find the Walton's again tonight....maybe see if my girls could watch it with me..

Father God, Holy God, forgive those of us who have failed in this scared creation of

Believing Him~Pamela