Friday, January 24, 2014

31 Days of Restoration: FAITH

I’m really bad at keeping plants alive; try as I might, when it comes to plants, I just don’t have the midas touch.  Sometimes I’ll be walking around a store and a beautiful plant catches my eye and I tell myself, as I’m approaching the checkout counter, this time it’s going to be different.  I’m going to take good care of my plant.  I’m not going to forget to water it – ever!  I’m going to turn over the soil.  I’m going to nurture my plant and talk to it so it will grow.   My intentions are good, but my follow through, not so much….And sadly once again, I’m stuck with a dead plant.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.   James 2: 14-26

Faith is like a plant – if we want it to flourish, we must do the work required.  Water is to a plant what the word of God is to faith – it’s food and the best way to sustain our faith!  When we feed our spirit the word of God, we are in fact feeding and growing our faith.   The moments when I’m knee-deep in an issue and fearing that it’s not going to work out, I have to remind myself that there have been other times when I’ve been here and God saw me through; I have to remind myself to turn it over (that’s the soil) to God and He will work it out!  Most importantly, I am a witness that my faith flourishes when I nurture it.  For me, that means building my relationship with God.  I imagine that some people think it’s crazy to talk to a plant.  And those same people likely think it’s crazy to talk to God.  I talk to God in my car ALOT.  I talk to God when I’m walking around in the store.  I talk to God all throughout the day – it’s my follow-through; my way of ensuring a flourishing faith.

PRAYER OF RESTORATION:  Inspire in me, O Lord, a brand new faith!  A faith that flourishes like a simple, potted plant develops into a beautiful, healthy tree.  When I’m lacking in faith, God, remind me that I have everything I need to grow my faith bigger and stronger.  Amen

Sunday, January 19, 2014

31 Days of Restoration: REVERENCE

Driving home last night from the store and the snow had fallen fresh.  A layer of snow blanketed the ground, car tops and the barren trees.  Simply beautiful!  I got out of my car and snapped this picture and took a moment to take it all in – the pure, fresh, untouched snow, the crisp, winter air, the silence and serene of night….  The street lights cast an enchanting glow upon the snow giving it the illusion of a glittery landscape.  And in that moment, I could do nothing but worship Him…..

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”  Hebrews 12:28

How blessed are we to inherit the unshakeable kingdom of God!  Truly we serve an AWESOME God!  When we stop to not only notice but appreciate the blood-orange rays of sun streaking across the sky or the enchantment of a freshly, fallen glittery snow scape, we are displaying reverence to God.  What is acceptable worship with reverence and awe?   We show God reverence with the sincerity of our uninhibited worship; we show God reverence when we stand humble in His presence, but worship Him with our whole heart! It is worship that comes from a place of being both amazed and inspired by the might, the love, the goodness and the beauty of God.  We could choose to whine and complain about the harsh elements we experience with each season – those things we think will break us.  But instead, let us choose to revere God for showing us the beauty of each season both in nature and in our everyday lives.  Thank God for the inheritance of His unshakeable kingdom.

PRAYER OF RESTORATION:  Lord, I love you!  I adore you!  I worship your holy name!  Thank you God for the beauty of this day – for the rising of your golden sun and the enchantment of glittery stars set against a midnight sky.  Lord, I bow down before you in awe of your glory.  Help me to appreciate every aspect of the seasons of my life.  Amen

Friday, January 10, 2014

31 Days of Restoration: COMPASSION

It irritates me ever so slightly when people come up to me and ask, “What happened to him?  Is there something I can do to help?” They are referring to Malachi.  They see all of the tubes, his ventilator and his wheelchair- it’s a lot to take in, I suppose…. I want to shield his heart – and mine too.  I want to protect him from what I perceive as misunderstanding, pity or judgment. And I sometimes feel like I have to make everything okay for the curious stranger. So, I stand on guard by his side with a fixed smile upon my face and a frown upon my brow WILLING them to see that Malachi is a beautiful blessing and not a burden; WILLING them to stand in Malachi’s shoes; WILLING them to walk away in awe, instead of sorrow…..

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us all in our tribulations that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

The word of God calls for the believers to be a compassionate people.  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2   That means more than simply feeling empathetic to someone’s suffering or hardship, but more importantly, being motivated to help them.   The compulsion to help comes from the heart, not the mind.  If we believe that God is at the center of the heart, then we are open to accept another person’s intent as heart-felt, genuine, care and concern.  Perception is not fact; it’s based on thought or intuition.  What we often perceive as pity or judgment is our own fear of what others may think; we project that fear unto others. Compassion, on the other hand, is a gift sewn into the heart of man by God, modeled by Jesus Christ and summoned by the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER OF RESTORATION:  Search me, O Lord and if you find anything not resembling you,  cast it out of my spirit.   Mend my heart, O Lord, that I may receive others’ good intentions as love and kindness.  Renew a right spirit in me that your light may shine in the forefront of my heart forever more.  Amen!