Posted in Uncategorized

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

This phrase came to mind today as I was reading a book by Andy Andrews, The Traveler’s Gift. In the book “The Traveler” has an encounter from the past with Abraham Lincoln (if you want to know more, get the book, it’s great!) and it was at the time when Lincoln was preparing to give his, now famous, “Gettysburg Address”. The speech is quoted in the story and as I read it, it brought tears to my eyes.

You see, the speech was written and delivered in the midst of the Civil War, when our nation was divided, North and South, Democrat and Republican, families divided and brothers fighting against brothers! There was so much hate among men.

I thought about how our nation is not so very different now! Yet, inspite of that, I found encouragement in President Lincoln’s message. The war ended after many lives were lost but the country slowly but surely, began to heal and people began to care about one another again and together we built back our nation, not perfect but we were blessed by God in the work.

It gives me hope for our nation now. I know there are still problems in our nation, big problems, but I still believe it is the greatest nation in the world and I believe, God being our help, we can bring and end to the hate and division again; to forgive and rise up to be the nation we were created to be.

I hope you will be encouraged, as I was, as you read the Gettysburg Address with a fresh look. It is posted below:

And may God bless America!!!

Posted in Uncategorized

“Missing Aunt Faith”

I recently attended a service for my Aunt Faith, a celebration of her life. As the pastor opened up the service, he introduced himself and then offered an opportunity to anyone who would like to share a special thought or memory about my aunt. No one moved or spoke.

As I sat there waiting I felt my heart race a little and thought of so many things I wanted to say, should say, about all she had meant to me and all she had done to help me and so many others. All I could think about is how I get emotional and cry whenever I share my heart and make a fool of myself. I decided I would share anyway, but as I raised my hand, the pastor had started his message and didn’t see it. It was too late! I missed an opportunity and was already regretting it. 

I have been thinking a lot about my Aunt Faith ever since that day. I remembered how I tried to tell her how she had impacted my life over the years, but I just didn’t seem to be able to find the right words. And later as her memory seemed to fail her I wondered if she remembered.

Did she remember:?

How when we were just teens, she danced with my sister and I in her living room and taught us how to do the cha cha?

How she and Uncle Bob made sure my sibling and I got to church and youth group each week?

How she taught me, as a new wife, how to make a menu for the week and shop for groceries and do a budget?

When I went into labor for my first baby and my husband was at work and my mom couldn’t get there, she had me stay at her house until my husband came home so I wouldn’t be alone?

The many times we had tea together and just talked about life, our struggles and victories, and a lot about God and HIs goodness through them all.

When she invited me to her Bible Study on Genesis and she presented the study in a way that opened up my heart and mind, for the first time, to how exciting the old testament really was?

I watched her live by example the faith she had in God, how she loved and cared for her family and ours. How she taught me to pray and read God’s Word regularly and prayed with me. How she loved her church family and her Lord, most of all.

She loved me unconditionally and oh how I loved her. I wanted her to know how much. I want all who may read this to know how much!

I praise God and am so thankful to Christ Jesus that I will have another chance to tell her how much she meant to me. And her mind will be clear and my words will be just right. And we might even dance the cha cha and celebrate our reunion together. But for sure we will be praising and worshiping our Lord God together!!

I am missing my Aunt Faith!

Is there someone you want to tell how much you love and appreciate them? Or is there someone who needsand would appreciate your help and encouragement?

Don’t wait!

Don’t miss the chance!

Posted in Uncategorized

Complete Forgiveness

A Message for Believers and Unbelievers Alike

There Is Complete Forgiveness; a message for believers and unbelievers alike.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature(or in the flesh) a slave to the law of sin.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 7:24 – 8:2 NIV)

Because we live in these bodies of flesh, we all too often fail in being the best we can be and as a result may be guilty of the sin of doing wrong against God or to another person, whether inadvertently or purposely. This may be due to a any number of feelings such as anger, jealousy, resentment or pride. Or it could just be a lack of consideration for another person’s feelings or thinking about how what we say and how we say it may affect others before we speak.

Even if others forgive us for the wrong, we committed against them they cannot take away our feelings of guilt and shame that often remain because we can’t forgive ourselves. Only a gracious and loving God can do that for us.

God has made a way for the help and healing for all through the sacrifice of His Son! So that we no longer have to be defined by our past but instead defined by our relationship with Christ.

I am a living example of His mercy, grace, forgiveness and healing because you see; Jesus Christ took all my sin and the sins of all mankind along with the guilt and shame on himself when he was nailed to the cross of Calvary, nailing it to the cross, paying the price for all my transgression (wrong doing) and for all of mankind. To receive His forgiveness and healing we need only come with a repentant heart surrendered and laid before Him, sins and all, and we can receive His forgiveness and His sacrifice which covers our sin, guilt and shame. 

When I think of my past now, I am no longer defined by my past, no longer carrying guilt and shame. Instead, when I think of my past I am overwhelmed by the forgiveness, mercy and grace I have been given and receive daily. I rejoice in who I am in Christ, as Paul puts it, a new creation. My regrets have become stepping stones of learning and growing in my faith.

 With Paul I say: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  (Philippians 3:12 – NIV)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a](OR that person is a new creation) The old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

(emphasis mine)

Are you in need of God’s forgiveness?

Do you have a problem with forgiveness for yourself?

Is guilt or shame for something from your past that God has forgiven keeping you from growing in your faith?

Take heart God has promised:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9  

Posted in character study, faith stages, forgiveness, peace, Promises, self-examination, Weary encouragement hope

Perspective Versus Perception

CatAndMirror111 Perception

This is a repost from July 2017. A reminder to self. We all need them from time to time.

Ever felt like you really had nothing to offer? Everyone around you seems to be moving ahead in the world and you can’t even move your way into a better job or any job, a better car, or a nicer place to live.

You say to yourself, “This is just my lot in life and I just have to learn to live with it. For many, to many years this was my perspective on life.

I would tell myself there are the haves and the have-nots and that is just the way life is. I saw myself as unimportant in the grand scheme of life. Having an average appearance, straight brown hair, brown eyes and  painfully shy and insecure. Nope, nothing exceptional about me.

Living in a dysfunctional family, in a rented house, wearing outdated clothes from Sally’s Boutique (Salvation Army) and riding in an old beat up car. I wasn’t exactly a sought after individual by my peers. Oh, I made a few friends and did fair in school but there were no extra curricular activities (ECAs) other than chorus for a year in Jr high (I think it was required?). I found my own ECA’s. with others in my own league, the-down-and-outers league (Not a reflection on the person of my friends, just my perception of where we all were in life at the time). One thing I did like was dancing and was told I was pretty good at it by some. I had a brief glimmer of hope that I might become a professional choreographer, but alas, I was told later in my teen years that my legs were to short to be a professional dancer. Chalk it off as another flaw!

My perception through all of these experiences was that I didn’t have anything of value to offer therefore could expect little in the way of return or success. This brought about years of just settling for less than God’s best. And also became a good excuse for not trying to do better. Yup, that’s where it takes you!

You see our perception, how we see ourselves and our abilities, has a definite effect on our perspective, the outcome that we expect. And the outcome we expect will, more than likely be the outcome we get.

If we perceive ourselves as victims, we will expect to be a victimized by others so we don’t trust.

If we perceive ourselves as  failures we don’t expect to succeed therefore we don’t try.

If we perceive there is no way out of a relationship, a financial crisis, or a struggle with self control  in some area then we expect nothing will change and we give up, we lose hope.

a different perspective

In the Bible we see a perfect example of how perception affects perspective and visa-versa. God promised Abraham that He would give his offspring the land of Canaan in Genesis 12:7, 17:1-8 and again reminded Moses and the Israelites of His promise in Exodus 3:7-8.

But when the time came to prepare to enter the promised land the twelve members of the reconnaissance team, sent out by Moses to scope out the land, came back with conflicting recommendations. Oh, they all agreed it was for sure a land that “flowed with milk and honey” and they even brought back a sample of the beautiful fruit that was there. But ten of the twelve quickly followed up with; “However  (a fancier word for but), the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large….we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” God said He would give them the land but they let fear take control of their perspective and it kept them from claiming the promised land.

Yet two of the twelve were ready to take the giants on! These two, Joshua and Caleb, saw their God as much bigger than those they saw in the land. God said that He was going to give them the land and they believed He would do just that. Most will remember the name of the two, but who remembers the name of the other ten?

The difference in the two reports was not accuracy in what all twelve saw but in their perception of how they saw it in light of their own understanding. The two believing their God could and would keep His promise trusted Him with the difficulties they might face. The ten could only see defeat, forgetting God’s promises to “give” them the land.

The good news is that a change in our perception can also change our perspective and a changed perspective can change our life, our world! When we can look at Scripture and study it we begin to see God’s perception of us and that is a real game changer!

We see that God sees potential in us and we begin to believe things can change.

We understand “in the world we will have trouble” but also are promised that God has overcome the world and will be with us, therefore if we can believe and have courage to change. (John 16:33 – NIV)

We begin to see in hind-site how God has been working behind the scenes in our lives and can believe His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even if we fall He will pick us up.  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

We can even believe that we “can do all things through Christ who is our strength”, so we step out in faith and try. (Philippians 4:23)

If we perceive God is good, and He is, and we believe He keeps His promises, and He does, then we can have faith and believe that He will. For we know that God can do all things; no plan of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

“For nothing is impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)

Yes, we remember the rejection and pain we have experienced at the hands of others or as a result of our own choices in life, but we can believe God loves us, forgives us and promises to restores us, and He does.

Steven Furtick writes in his book: Crash the Chatterbox – Hearing God’s Voice Above All the Others: “The Enemy can’t do a thing to diminish God’s promises – that ability is decidedly beyond the limits of his power. So instead he lures you into places where your perspective of God’s promises will be diminished.”

For Adam and Eve it was near a the tree of life, the very tree God had forbidden them to eat from.  (It’s never a good idea to get that close to forbidden fruit!) Genesis 3:1-7

For the ten spies it was a land of giants. (There are giants in every land.) (Numbers 13:31-33)

For  Elijah it was seclusion in a cave. (We can’t hide from God) (1 Kings 19:1-14)

Where has he been luring you? Has the Enemy taken you places in your own head or heart that are altering your perception of who God is and who you are in Him?

Are you close to forbidden fruit, fearing the giants, or hiding from God in seclusion?

Go to the quiet place and listen for God’s voice. Read His Word and search out His promises. Read about how much He loves you and longs to help you become all He has for you to be. Tell him about your fears, insecurities, anxieties.

He is waiting for you, even pursuing you. In all these things He is able to bring you into a better place, for your good and His glory! Seek Him!!

Posted in assignment, communication, Discipleship, enjoyment, Family

About This Blog Site

Welcome to Jean’s Bird House!

As a retired nurse, part-time church secretary, wife, mom and grandmother, I’ve been provided with countless situations and circumstances where I have learned a lot of life’s lessons. My blogs are pieces and parts of it all. Some silly, some thought provoking, but hopefully all encouraging, helpful, and even some fun.

As I develop our conversations on this site it is my hope that you will see, as I have, how our lives can be filled with experiences that are teachable moments and valuable, to say the least.

The Bird House, like most, is a home that has been and still is, at times, full of activities, situations and circumstances (good and bad). In each one there have been lessons to learn and memories made. It is a place where children and grandchildren come and go and come back again. A place where friends and strangers have been welcomed. Where some come for a season and then are gone, and some remained becoming close friends, even family. But none have come by coincidence but by the divine providence of God. Each one providing opportunities for learning, blessings and being blessed, although we did not always recognized them at the time.

This house has seen laughter and tears; struggles and times of contentment; victories and defeats. We have worked through many of life’s challenges together and shared in many of life’s blessings.

I can tell you, this has not always been my attitude and because of that I have probably missed some real opportunities to bless others and be blessed. But, as I yield to my heavenly Father’s promptings (sometimes more slowly than others) and I serve, in obedience, those He brings to the Bird House, biologically or selectively, I find there will always be blessings in spite of and even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. And I am grateful for each and every one!

So I am hoping you will come along and learn with me, laugh with me, cry with me, and even commiserate with me at times.

Come and join in those blessings!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Posted in character study, communication, Darkness, Discipleship, Light, self-examination

So, What’s Your Angle?

Every morning my husband and I have our coffee at the kitchen table and share in some casual conversation which varies from day to day. It may be about past or future events, our children or grandchildren, the message the pastor preached last week, or any number of things. It’s kind of our way of waking up to the day together. A few days, ago as we sat chatting, our conversation moved to an observation my husband made outside our kitchen window.

We live in a lovely mobile home park and outside our window is a large grassy area we call the green space. On school days some of the children in the park cut across the green space to go to the bus stop. On this particular day my husband commented, “Hey, that kid is going the wrong way.” I didn’t actually see the boy but simply responded “He probably forgot something or isn’t feeling good.” We went on to other topics but after a few minutes I noticed a boy walking across the green space toward the bus stop and the conversation that followed went like this:

Me: Looking out the window, “Is that the same boy you saw earlier going in the wrong direction?”

Husband: Also looking out the window, “What boy?”

Me: Pointing in the direction of the boy, “That boy right there!”

Husband: “I don’t see anyone.”

Me: “How can you not see him, he’s right there!” (pointing out the window again)

Then getting up and going to his side of the table (to prove my point) I found that I couldn’t see the boy at first either and it finally dawned on me that we had been looking out the same window but from two different angles.

After that first cup of coffee to wake us up we are ready for our devotional time looking for some insights from God’s Word, but today it became clear that God was already speaking clearly and giving us some insight, or at least me, from this observation about angles.

Following our discussion regarding the differences in what we could see from out two different views, two lessons emerged for me.

First, God can speak to us from anyplace He wants, even in the ordinary, seemingly insignificant events of our life. Those, often obvious, things we sometimes overlook can be great teaching moments.

Second, we can only see a part of the picture and what we see depends a great deal on which angle we are looking from. We actually never really see the whole picture at once because even if it is right in front of us we must look up and down, side to side and even behind to get the whole picture. Only God, from his view, sees the whole picture including the past, present and future.

When my husband and I were sitting at opposite ends of the table our views were determined by the angle which we were looking at through the window. I couldn’t see the boy going in one direction and he couldn’t see the boy coming from a different direction. Until I went to his side of the table we were at odds with what we saw out the same window. Only when we looked out the window together, from the same vantage point could we see clearly. It was when I made the move to come along side of him that I could see his view and the conversation could continue and come to the conclusion, there was a boy. On that we could agree.

Whether strangers or friends; fellow believers or unbelievers; as God gives us opportunity we who are followers of Jesus Christ need to be the first to go to the other side of the table, walk across a room, or whatever it takes to come alongside and listen. In order to try to see from the other persons perspective we must let Christ lead us as we share His love and light from our own view, our testimony.

In our relationships with people we must remember we are all, as born again believers, in the process of getting to know God. There are some who have very obstructed views of God for various reasons related to past experiences and they may not be as far along in the process as we are. There are some who are much farther along in the process than we are as they have been changed by God in the process in such a way that they have changed position and are able to see from a new angle out of a larger window.

For those who are not yet believers, they are not only looking through a distorted angle that has been drawn by lies, but they are looking into darkness and unable to see the true light and love of Christ.

In the case of the schoolboy, the fact was that he was there. I knew he was there. But until he came into view for my husband it wasn’t a fact for him. He couldn’t see him.

Those living in darkness, not yet believers, have no point of reference, the angle of their view is distorted by the darkness. They, most of all, need someone to come to the table and let the light and love of Christ shine into their darkness so they can see God’s truths.

So, what’s your angle?

Is there someone your sitting at opposite ends of the table with, at school, at work, in the board room, or maybe at church?

The good news is that God is good and He is patient with each of us.

Scripture tells us:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” 2Peter 3:9 (NIV)

“In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (NIV

 

 

 

Posted in character study, faith stages, music, Promises, responsibility, Weary encouragement hope, Work

“This Old House”

 

old house

 

If you are a DIY TV addict like me you will more than likely remember, first a magazine, called “This Old House” which in more recent years is better know by the TV show of the same name.

Having a large family and a pretty small income our family lived most of our years in two story fixer uppers. I attribute the start of my DIY addiction to those years. However it didn’t start during those years. All that time I had been hoping to have a new home one day that didn’t need any work done. After all the kids left home I finally got my wish  and we were able to build a new home with everything on one floor, functionality, comfort and all new, just the way I wanted it!

Yet something was missing ?

After several years the new house began to show some wear and the realization of how much work it was going to be to keep it looking new hit me. I thought back to the old fixer uppers. Once they were new, functional for their day and comfortable for large families. But over years of wear and tear they needed to be taken care of and updated in order to keep them that way for the generations who would come to make a home there later. Some of the work we tried to do by ourselves but when we were in over our heads we had to call in the experts.

The stress of many seasons of wind and weather were evident on the outside of each house but the foundations were still strong.  The old houses had a lot of character but also needed a lot of care and updating to return them to at least some of their former beauty. But a closer look revealed that it was in the aging of the house and the wear and tear it carried that it’s  character was built. And I realized it was the character of the house I was missing most in that new house.

Although, in the process, the houses sometimes changed in their form and function  they remained faithful in their purpose, to provide a safe and comfortable home for our family.  We put a lot of time and energy in those old houses in order to keep them functioning to meet our growing needs and though they continued to creek and groan at times they remained true to their purpose.

As we moved from one house to the next, only to start the work of fixing and updating again, the house we left behind would be taken up by another who would continue to care for and update to meet their own needs. But as long as the house was cared for it remained stable,with it’s foundation strong and ready to continue in its purpose for yet another season, another generation.        Related image

I turned 70 this year and I was awakened to the similarities between myself and those old houses. As I have moved from one season in my life to the next the wind and storms of this life have left this old house weary and worn at times, but along the way they were, unknown to me, building  character in me. As I moved from one season to the next another generation would come and build on, repair and update the foundations I had left behind.

This old house was once new as well, created by God in my mother’s womb with a purpose. The care and maintenance of this house was taken up by my parents from infancy through adolescence. Their care began to mold me and shape me, sometimes in positive ways and sometimes not so much. But, as a young adult the care of this house and the work of maintaining it fell to me.  At first it was exciting. I had it all youth, energy and freedom to make my own choices, There were those times of struggles and uncertainty but after 19 years of marriage, having 5 children and having a good job, I had arrived, I had all I wanted.

But something was still missing!

The house and all that was in it began to deteriorate and life and maintenance as usual was no longer able to keep it together. I needed help. I needed the expert builder and restorer of broken things to come in and do a complete “gut job” and remodel  on this house.

Since that day when I surrendered this house and all of it’s rooms to Jesus Christ, He has been doing an amazing repair, and update on me. He is making me new inside and outside. He has assured me that what will change on the outside is actions and reactions that come from what He is changing on the inside in my heart and mind. He is using all the bumps and bruises and all the wear and tear over the years to build His character in me. Though my body is wasting away my spirit is renewed day by day!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  (2 Corinthians 4:16)

My foundation has remained strong because it is built on Jesus Christ. Over the years my form and functions have changed (especially my form) as daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and now great grandmother. But my purpose has not. From the day I was born it is to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, body and strength and love my neighbor as myself. I have not always been faithful to that purpose but the purpose was always the same and God has remained faithful to me.

I still like to watch “This Old House” on occasion but now I live in a nice mobile home that needs little maintenance. Now I am looking forward to that new body and a mansion in heaven, neither of which will ever see decay from the cares of this life.

What an amazing journey living in this house is and I wouldn’t trade one day of it because of where it has brought me and where it is yet to take me. I have been changed in times of blessing and even more in those times of struggle. And the character that is being produced in me is the very character of Jesus.

By faith, like Abraham,  I dwell in this land, an heir with past, present and future believers who have the same promises from God, the same promises that are available to all who will trust Christ. I am now waiting for my purpose to be fulfilled and to go to my home in that city “which has foundations whose builder and maker are God! ”   (see Hebrews 11:8-10) But until it is His time for me I will continue the work in and through this old house for God’s glory and praise!

Posted in accountability, character study, Discipleship, faith stages, humility, Light, Promises, responsibility, Weary encouragement hope

Why We Serve Matters

Image result for serving others
Serving is generally the action of helping or doing work for someone. It could be at a job or just doing a favor; a kindness; a good turn or giving a helping
hand.
Ever since I was a small child I have found pleasure in serving others, making them happy, helping them out. I wanted everyone to be happy. But I later found that, because of my own insecurities, what I really wanted was for everyone to like me; to be happy with me.
In the last several years I’ve become more and more aware of what motivates me to serve and I have to say it has in some ways been a pretty rude awakening.
The desire to serve has afforded me many blessings and opportunities in many places and ways, some by choice and some by chance. In some situations there were blessings reaped but some went on without any notice or recognition at all. And I would say to myself “It doesn’t matter.” but underneath I was hurt and I let it define me in both situation.
In part, I believe there is genuine concern for people, especially those who are what some call “down and outers” and probably because, at least in my observation at the time, that was my own social status most of my life. The other side of it isn’t quite as noble.
Recognizing several years ago that my service, though I did enjoy helping others, was born of a deeper desire to be liked, accepted by others, and to be significant in some way in this life . In other words, to feel better about myself and get recognition and confirmation from other people.
At times there would be brief feelings of superiority over those “down and outers”  After all  I was doing better now, more educated and yet willing to help them. Wasn’t that grand of me? When I received the kudos, ata girls and pats on the back for something I had done pride would sneak in. Oh, beware when pride comes in, it takes over and it is followed by a great fall!
However these feeling of superiority were short-lived Soon I would be beating my self up for feeling prideful and it would confirm, in my own mind, that I really wasn’t worthy of the love and acceptance I was looking for. I couldn’t win on the superiority or the humility stage.
In this bodies of flesh we are prone to serve not necessarily seeking but expecting something in return, maybe a gift, a favor in return or recognition. However the old saying,”you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” does not apply in serving others in Jesus name. It is often difficult to recognize what our motives are and even more so to address them. But as we ask God to search our hearts and show us any wrong motives He will. And He will also change move and work in our hearts so we recognize the right motives, the same motive Jesus had for serving us, LOVE!
We can write our own script and rehearse it for the applause of men, playing to the wrong audience for sure! Not realizing God has written the Script-ure for us to read that reveals our part in His plan and that part is for the audience of only one, God himself.
God will reveal to each of us that real significance doesn’t come through the accolades of people; how much we do; or how much we have or know. It comes through knowing Christ and who we are in Him. We are His children and therefore  loved and significant in His eyes. Recognition isn’t gained through how much or how many are served. It doesn’t come from the approval of men and women. As His children, who have accepted Christ and His gift of salvation, we are free to serve out of the love He  pours into us. That love is unlimited. We can love others without conditions and it doesn’t take anything away from who we are in Christ but instead enhances our lives and our love of others and Him.
As for me, I’m learning that I can and should use the gifts and abilities God has given me to serve others; to make people smile and to encourage and maybe even make life a little more bearable for them in some way. But I must follow God’s script, His part for me. With regular prayer and self-examination regarding the motives of my heart and remembering it isn’t about doing, it is more about my being. I will serve less out of compulsion, to meet my own need to be needed or guilt. And more to be who God made me to be. Then the motivation to serve will be out of God’s love for me and His command to love and serve one another.
God’s Word tells me and He shows me daily that I am significant to Him and loved by Him all at all times. He makes me aware that He is a good Father and leads me in what He would have me do to be His hands and feet in this world. I need only to let Him lead.
Like Paul says in the New Testament, I have not arrived but “I press on” to make sure that my purpose in serving is to show the love of Christ to others as He has shown love to me and with the expectation being that my life might be an example of God’s service, love and mercy and to direct others to Him, doing all things for the praise of His glory.  (Philippians 3:12-14)
We don’t always get to choose where, how, or who we serve but we always have the choice of how we serve. Sometimes our service matters to many people, sometimes to only a few or may go unnoticed all together. Whether we serve those who appreciate or those who don’t; when it benefits us and when it doesn’t; when serving hinders us or even hurts us or if no one even notices. What matters is obedience in serving and the motivation of the heart that drives us.
I’m not saying it is wrong to receive blessings when we bless others for that is God’s blessing to us, but the key is that we are to bless them not expecting anything in return. Serving even when we know the other person can not give anything back. Our return on our investments will be paid out in huge dividends when Christ returns. And don’t you know we are blessed daily in the here and now whether we are able to serve or not.  Our service is for our good, the good of others and for God’s glory.
Our motivation and our purpose in all things is to serve out of love, sincerely and “to the praise of God’s glory.” (Eph 1:13-14) then there will be joy in place of self centeredness in the service, whether serving at work, play, in relationships, in learning, in teaching; with friends and enemies and in times of blessing and trials. For men may look at the service and the benefits, but God is more concerned with our motivation, purpose and expectations. He looks at our heart attitude. (1 Samuel 16:7) NIV
What motivates you?
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides,    1 Peter 4:10-11  (NIV) (emphasis mine)

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.   2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

 


 

Posted in communication, humility, Promises, responsibility, self-examination, Weary encouragement hope

“The Road Back”

writing

I don’t know if you have you ever felt a call from God to do something that ignited a passion in you, but I got that call several years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get a phone call from God or even hear an audible voice. However, I am convinced it came through a series of things orchestrated by God.

Through a class on writing using the book Write His Answers – by Marlene Bagnull and taught by Lori Hoose; as well as prayer and conversations with trusted Christian friends and writers, I felt confirmation that God wanted me to write. Not just write, but to write for Him. I had done some writing; college papers, a eulogy, and daily in my journal and I liked writing. So, starting with a great deal of enthusiasm and feeling sure this was the place in the world where God meant for me to minister, I decided to become a writer.

The little writing I had done in the past had brought some good feedback, but nothing big for sure. Since writing words of encouragement that directed others to seek God and His call on their lives was the goal, I started a blog in order to reach a larger audience, which resulted in the one I’m writing from now.  It was well received and there was much encouragement and even some positive feedback.

But then there came some bumps in the road along the way to fulfilling that calling and I began to wonder; “Was I mistaken?” “I don’t feel inspired today.” “Not as many readers this week or positive comments?” “Was it just wishful thinking  or misplaced enthusiasm?” Doubt began to creep in and soon it became a dreaded chore instead of a passion. Now what?  I had told everyone it was God’s call and it appeared I was failing and losing my desire to continue. Gradually the work of writing declined until there were months that would go by without anything happening at all.

Yet all this time thoughts of writing kept knocking at my door.

In the meanwhile, I decided I must have made a mistake and chose to seek a different ministry. As a matter of fact I tried multiple ministries, including a year and four weeks in Georgia working at a children’s home. Let me clarify that the work at the children’s home was definitely ordained by God but had a double purpose. My husband and I were blessed serving there and I would do it again. It afforded a lot of time evenings and weekends to walk the campus in quiet meditation. It was during that time that God began to reveal the things I needed to see and hear. I was taken to the woodshed for correction but also taken into His lap with His arms around me for comfort and love.

I began to realize I was really just keeping busy so I could say “I am too busy, I don’t have time to write. After all, there are my family obligations and my church obligations.” Then, “What about my friends and housework, laundry, groceries & meals, and the dog, what about the poor helpless dog, who is going to take care of the dog if I don’t! O, dear Lord you know how busy I am!!!” In reality now I believe that the underlying problem was the fear of failure and the fear of not measuring up as a writer. If I could just keep busy enough I wouldn’t be expected to write.

Sound ridiculous? It is sad but true. Fear is likely the number one thing that keeps us from answering God’s call on our lives and busyness may be number two. When God places a call on our lives it isn’t a suggestion it is part of His plan and purpose for us. A perfect plan when orchestrated by Him.

I began that journey back to where I had taken a wrong turn, but still I couldn’t seem to get back on track. It is hard to go back when you have been gone so long! I lacked inspiration and motivation. After much prayer and counsel with a close friend I received a call from another close friend. She had just called to catch up on how we were now that we were back from Georgia. Then in the middle of the conversation she asked me, “Are you writing? I haven’t seen anything for a while on your blog.” I explained, “I haven’t really had time.” As soon as we were off the phone I felt convicted and that statement has stayed with me ever since, both hers and mine.

God reminded me He had not removed the call to write but if I chose not to be obedient He would call another, and I would lose the blessing of seeing Him work through this gift He had given me. Someone else would receive it. Another confirmation for me, that some may choose to write but for those of us who are called to write for Him, and don’t, it is not a choice it is disobedience.

So bear with me dear blogging friends and family. I am back and ready to share more views from the Bird House. With our family growing every year there are a lot of stories to tell and lessons to learn here and I will be sharing as we learn and grow together.

It is good to be back!

God has a plan and a call for every one of us. We only need to seek Him and He will reveal it to us and we can trust that He will supply all we need to answer the call. The road may not always be easy and we will have bumps and maybe even some bruises along the way but God will be with us to the end of the road. Are you missing out on a blessing because you have chosen to take another road?

He is calling you to use the gifts and abilities He has given you, whatever they are, “to the praise of His glory”.

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:11-12)

Therefore pray then, “that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”                                                                                                                2 Thessalonians 1:11- 12 (NIV)

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Ephesians 4:1 (NIV)