halt! who goes there?!?

I recently was working on dealing w Matt 7:1-5, where Jesus talks about not judging & trying to take the speck out of somone else’s eye while neglecting to remove the beam in our own eye.  There are HEAPS  of things all of us could learn from these 4 verses, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religious persuasions, etc.  What Jesus says to us in these verses applies to every person on the planet & its been EXTREMELY helpful to me.  if you’re interested, check out the messages at:  marilynandsarah 

something work considering is:  what’s the difference between observation & judgment???

things i like about summer

i like that summer seems to be more casual.  i like that people seem to talk w each other more – i think the weather makes people more friendly, maybe.  i like that we can open the windows & hear the birds.  i like that there’s lots of light & not as much darkness.  i like ALL of the summer fruit:  peaches, rhubarb, cherries, apricots,etc.  i like going to the pool & playing w my kids but also wearing a big hat & reading a book.  i like the simplified clothing – don’t need heavy coats, etc.  i like that we get motivated to clean our house more thoroughly.  i like driving w the windows down & loud music playing.  i like it, that i have a “reasonable” excuse for someone else to paint my toenails.  i like watching our tomatoes grow.  i like it when the kids play in an afternoon rain storm & come in soaking wet, but REALLY happy!  i like that my kids have time to read good books, relax, explore, play w their friends, be creative, sleep in & also grow.

i used to not be such a big summer fan, but i’m becoming a convert 😉

just for fun

my grandma was an extraordinary cook – she could whip up the best fried chix in the world & her pies were borderline sinful 😉

To honor her, i thought i’d post one of my favorite things she cooked:  rhubarb torte. Pls understand that this recipe doesn’t attempt, in any way, to be healthy so be forewarned that its just plain fattening & totally DELICIOUS!!  That being said, here you go:

preheat oven to 325

crust:  mix everything below into a crumbly state & toast in oven for about 20-30 min

1cup flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, dash salt & 1/2cup butter

 

filling:  cook over medium heat until thick (about 15-20min)

1.5cups sugar, 3 Tbspn flour, 3 egg yolks beatn, 1/3cup cream or half-and-half, 2.25cup chopped rhubarb

 

meringue:  whip w electric blender until stiff peaks

3 egg whites, 6 Tspn sugar

 

Spread filling over crust, top w meringue, brown, cool & serve.  Enjoy!

expected versus exceptional

When I was speaking in Germany a few years ago, I was at an event where everyone knew what was to be expected.  People were to behave w polite decorum, everyone looked freshly laundered & ironed & everything seemed sanitized & sterilized.  There was some nice background music, the exchanges among people were un-noteworthy, the presentations were given in the expected manner & after the event, everyone left w possibly no memory of what had happened.  For me, the event got lost in the white noise of life.  I was one of the presenters at this event & when i drove home, i felt hollow & somewhat disappointed.

When i talked w God about this, He challenged me with the contrast between expected & exceptional.  Exceptional living doesn’t always go w the flow.  Exceptional living is when we have a normal conversation & something comes up that says, “except . . . ”  Exceptional is the stand out – distinct from the crowd, different from the norm, noteworthy & uncommon.  The path of least resistence is the expected.  But for me, when i walk this path, i feel disingenuous, unauthentic & in disonance.  Now clearly, there’s a time to live as expected, but a question worth considering is:  do we live the “expected life” too often???

Pls be sure to pray for the people of Iran today.

summer is in full SWING

What a totally crazy couple of weeks!!  Too crazy to describe – too many whirling (not spinning) plates!!!

The big BUT in all of this busy-ness is some really rich & sweet fellowship.  I’m finding this to cause my head to tilt at present because my previous experiences have been then when i get insanely busy it seems that my interactions w God get lost in the whirlwind dust somewhere.  BUT, these last few weeks have been different – i’ve had a richness & sweetness w God that’s continued below the surface frenzy.  its been most interesting to still sense some very deep & rich fellowship w God in the midst of seriously crazy schedules, demands, etc.  What this says to me is that God is pretty intent about having a relationship w us.  On the human side & being dreadfully honest, i’ve also been in a really needy state of being – needing God in all the stratas of life where i interact.  maybe i’m getting over any personal dignity & accepting that at ground zero, i’m a needy person, even if that puts me in the pariah category. 

i just need God, plain & simple – whether i’m busy or bored, popular or pariah, floundering or fulfilled – i just need God

Jesus on a weekday

we had a super good church service yesterday – great preaching, wonderful worship, cool membership presentation, great connections – all sublime.  I love it when we walk out of church having experienced God & having a bit of a divine glow from being in God’s presence.  I find it interesting for myself that when i’m in the middle of totally worshipping God, i rarely want to be mad at someone or think about how to get back at someone for a rude comment, etc. 

However, come Monday morning, or Tues afternoon, or some other time during the week, i can’t always say that i have the same sublime interactions.  A couple of months ago, i had a rather unpleasant  public conversation with a fellow believer who was very upset about something that was really hard to accept.  I totally understand this person’s frustrations, but their conversation wasn’t Christ-like & their demeanor was rather offensive.  While I didn’t confront this person, here’s the thing that bugs me in this experience:  i don’t want to only be a Sunday Christian.  I want the life of Jesus to permeate my daily living so that my conversations & interactions are 1st & foremost pleasing to God.  I am obviously not living a perfect life & don’t want to throw stones when i live in a glass house myself.  However, i do want to learn from others & endeavor with the help of the Holy Spirit to let Jesus live through me in my family interactions, throughout my weekdays & in my private thoughts.  Let’s always be letting Jesus grow in us.

love is in the air

I’ve been thinking about love lately & its been an interesting journey in my brain.  i’ve been thinking about the differences between God’s love & our love.  Here are some thoughts i’m bouncing around:

  • is it possible for human love to be pure??
  • is God’s love the only pure love known to humanity?
  • does my love become more pure the closer i am to God?
  • i think that no one loves me more purely than God

I think its good to consider some of these things – particularly in light of Jesus’ instructions to love God & love people. 🙂

lots of love to you!

change

Change can be frustrating, exhilarating, empowering, difficult & fun – all at the same time 🙂

Lots of things are in a state of flux right now, with uncertain outcomes.  This morning in my prayer time, i found myself thinking about a variety of things that are really bothering me at the present – areas needing & undergoing changes.  Unfortunately, these things seemed to get more of my attention than praying.  Now of course i brought these various issues to God & asked for His help, but i found myself still dwelling on these things & trying to figure out ways to fix & improve various situations.  When we’re in the middle of change (in small or big ways), its really easy to fixate on problems, needs, frustrations, etc. 

The truth is that we desperately need to focus on God, especially in seasons of change.  Lately, i’ve been reading about Paul & the shipwreck he endured in Acts 27.  Paul was in a tremendous season of stress & change – but if you watch his words & behavior, he was totally aware of his circumstances, but kept his eyes on God.  Truthfully, i don’t think he had any alternative. 

So here’s my bottom line – in the middle of change, we’ve got to keep our eyes, attention & heart set on God.  What are some things, actions, ways that help you do this???

walking on broken glass

broken_glassEver been in a situation where things are really dicey?  Have you been around people or in settings where the weather conversation was over & then there was the awkward silence because no one could think of things to discuss that weren’t volatile or hurtful?  I’ve been in some situations where i knew that people were testing me with the topics they brought up to see if i’d “take the bait.”  i hate these awkward times, situations & interactions. 

Here’s a possible solution – a few weeks ago i was reading 1 Corinthians 2 & in verse 2 it says, “I determined to know nothing among you except Christ & Him crucified.”  This verse has really helped me because if i’m around other believers w a tricky conversation, i decide in my brain that i’m not going to be part of any gossip or negative discussions, but rather that I’m going to steer the dialogue to talking about Jesus & what He’s doing.  This strategy has really helped keep my priorities & conversations to be godly!  In the event that you’re around non-Christians, i think you can still make this determination by steering conversations to constructive topics (a quote from Mother Teresa, something positive you heard on the news, something good you’ve heard about a company or a positive way of looking at life). 

I understand that from time to time, you’ve got to make confrontations & address problems, situations, communication strategies, etc.  Nevertheless, i still think that making the decision to aim at knowing Christ & making Him known through various conversations is always a safe way to keep from walking on broken glass!! 🙂

God’s goodness in many different ways!

Can i just say that this weekend has been thoroughly cool & i’m serious!  Yesterday, our church (orcc) had a clean up day & more than 70 folks showed up to transform our building.  It was in desperate need of some tlc & they even pulled out 3 tree stumps!  Reece & the kids came home pretty grungy, but SUPER fulfilled, getting to do something meaningful  w our uber cool church fam!!

Next, mom is in Detroit & held a healing symposium at one of the largest mosques in America.  This is a totally ground breaking event & there’s been great synergy between her the & imam of the mosque.  She sent me a text this morning & said it went SUPER well & she was extremely pleased!!  A Congressman came to the event, as well as Bishop Winans.  This was a total God win! 🙂

As for me, i had the honor of getting to promote saving moses on the int’l tv network, Daystar.  This is the 1st time i’ve had the honor to do this & i was blown away by the generosity of Marcus & Joni Lamb – simply amazing.

Its seriously breathtaking to watch God work.  I’m in awe