Thursday, February 28, 2008

Knock, Knock, Knock

"Look, I stand at the door and knock..."

He's come to my house. He is looking for me.

"If any one hear my voice and open the door..."

The latch is on the inside, He will not force his way in, he'll only come in with my permission.

"I will come in to him and we will dine together as friends" Revelation 3:20

A meal with a friend is an intimate time: for sharing conversation, laughter, the recounting of recent events; it is a time for talking and listening.

He comes to us.
He's knocking at my heart's door.

I need not storm heaven to get his attention;
He's right here just waiting for me to invite him in.

Into my life, my concerns, my daily tasks, into where I live and am the most comfortable and honest, He waits to be invited into the house of my heart, into who I really am.

I may be too busy today, or this week, or perhaps he's been waiting outside for a longer season than that as I scurry around with all that keeps me busy.

Knock, knock, knock.

"My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me" and my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming!" Psalms 27:8

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friends

2008 has been such a relational year so far for me. I set up a Facebook account and from there discovered high school and college friends and even kids I used to baby-sit who now have growing families of their own.
It’s been a time of reconnecting to people I never knew I’d have contact with again and it’s been interesting to see how we are the same people today that we were twenty years ago; only a little more worn out from use!

When I was a child, I remember hearing in a sermon that in your life you will be lucky if you can count the number of true friends you have on one hand.
That was preposterous to me!
One hand? Five friends? I had way more than five friends!

Of course I didn’t have the perspective at twelve that I do now.
Now I understand.
My definition of friend has matured with my years and I am so blessed by those “friends” who have matured along with my definition.

Is there any thing in this world as amazing as a friend? One with whom you can open your soul and know they are trustworthy and kind?

There are so many people we brush shoulders with,those we work or play with, attend church with, do programs and worship, work on projects together, cheer on kid’s teams and complain about aching backs and knees as we endeavor to keep playing some of those sports from our youth. These relationships are great and fun and vital and fill that social need but then the project or season ends, we change jobs, or churches, or sports teams and we disconnect, and it’s okay.

Yet, I have friends who have moved far away from where I am, yet, nothing’s changed. We may not meet for lunch anymore but we’re still connected. I have a friend that will be moving soon and I hope she knows that we may communicate a little differently but our friendship will not change.

I got an email about simple and real friends and I loved it – here are the ones that ring true for me:

A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend shoulder is soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after they've gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!


Don’t you love the last one? That there are people in your world who are not thinking “what can they do for me?” but are thinking “what can I do for them?”
It’s incredible to find a friend like that, a very rare and precious thing indeed.

Are you thinking of someone right now? I hope so. If there is, stop reading,go, and let them know how important they are to you.

But before I go, I should add my own definition to this list:
A simple friend knows you write occasionally.
A real friend has a subscription to your blog, has just finished reading this, and recognized that you were talking about them!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

First Love

“I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love.” Rev. 2:4

This is a familiar verse and a common sermon to hear about how this church was rebuked because in leaving their first love they have become more distant from their Saviour and are called to repentance and restoration.

I though am wondering about the other side of that coin…not in a “contradict the Bible” sort of way, but thinking about the actual words.

I too have left my first love…

My first love was passionate and excited, pure and naïve.
I do not love like I did when I first began in the hearts and flowers type of euphoria.
I’ve left the warm fuzzy love to another kind: one that has had questions and doubts and struggles.
I do not love like I first loved.

The love that I have now for my God is one of experience and maturity, not as a flare but now as a gas fed torch. For I have seen for myself that while God is great, He is also good. And that He is good, if I understand what is happening or am totally clueless. When I’ve called, he has heard, and answered, and in doing so has assured me even more of his dependability and faithfulness. I’ve actually seen things that seemed to be nothing but disjointed fragments “work together for good” in my life.

My love is old now.
Yet it is stronger and wider than my first love.
And I hope to keep journeying away from my first love and even from the love I have now, so that in a week or a year, my love for Him will be deeper still.

“We love him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fresh

Something fresh always trumps something processed, or frozen, or from concentrate, doesn't it?

Fresh tomatoes in the summer only barely resemble what we eat as tomatoes the rest of the year. There is no comparison to the flavor of a fresh ear of corn as to the stuff out of a can. A tiny glass of orange juice that is the result of a half dozen squeezed oranges is like the nectar of the gods.

And for the rest of the year when we drink processed juice, eat canned corn, and spear things that only look like tomatoes on our salads, it's okay; good even until the season of freshness comes again.

In the same vein there is nothing like when God does a fresh work in the heart that belongs to Him. When, in His own timing, He reaches down and stirs the embers of this banked fire of love and faithfulness, and a fire blazes up again.

This is a time to savor a fresh taste of His love and presence, and a chance to once again "Taste and see that the Lord is good".

We don’t live here, always drinking fresh juice or wiping the juice of garden tomatoes off our chins; for if we did, it would no longer be as amazing. For some of us it means, as much as we'd like to, we can't drink Kona all the time, most days it's just Folgers.

But in those times, when God chooses to reveal himself to my heart in a fresh way, I am left with only one refrain on my lips.
“How great is our God!”

“How great is the Lord, and how much we should praise him.” Psalms 48:1

“Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness: let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears, those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.” Psalms 34:3-5

Friday, February 1, 2008

"I've got a guy..."

The choir director handed me several pieces of music for an upcoming special service asking if I knew one in particular, or remembered when the other soloists had done them. I didn’t and she indicated that the piece was really intense. In this stack was also a duet and another solo part in a choir number.
My response to all of these?
“No problem”

I didn’t even have to look at the pieces to know that it wouldn’t be a problem.

Because I am that good?

LOL – no, not that.

Because I’ve got a guy. And he is that is that good.

I have a voice teacher that I swear could teach a rock to sing.
He truly believes that anyone can learn to sing, on pitch and in rhythm.

I know that whatever has been handed to me, that I will hand to him and he will know how to get me from where I am to where I need to be to do these songs well.
Period.
I love knowing that there is someone who can take a musical challenge issued to me and can get me ready to face it.

And even more than that, I love knowing that I’ve got a guy who can take any challenge facing me and give me the strength to handle it.
I am God’s child. He is my father. He’s my “guy”.
Whatever is given to me, I can place in his hands and be confident that because of His help, His guidance, His power and loving watch care over me, that I will accomplish what's necessary.

Period.

"Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6