Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ready to Bust!!!

I feel about ready to bust! And not in a bad way. In a breaking free, breaking out, scary-cause-it's-new way. I am excited and apprehensive and happy and scared spitless. (Where did that saying come from anyway?)

Last night I was having a dream. I don't remember all the details but I remember enough to know the message. Throughout the dream I was in the midst of others but I was the only one experiencing certain things. At one point wind, strong wind, was blowing on me. I was bent over because of it. I couldn't understand why no one else noticed or felt it, but it was obvious that they didn't. I said something to them and they all seemed shocked. The dream went on like this. Experience after experience where I was the only one who was experiencing something different. I woke up in the middle of the night and before I even had the whole question of what it meant out to God, He answered. He was telling me that I was set apart for some things. I was to do some things differently. Others may not notice, but that it was from Him.

The last few months I have been set apart literally by listening to His call to leave the church I attended. I thought I should look for a new church, but God said, "no!" I went with my Mom and Rick, my stepdad, to a gathering of their Home Church but it wasn't right. I went to a women's prayer time with ladies from this same group and I felt uncertain, unsettled. I knew that God was telling me, "no!" But I missed being with others, even though my time with Him has been deeper and more peaceful than ever. I felt He was preparing me, and that in its self is exciting and scary.

When I bought this house I knew it was not just for me. Which has perplexed me since it has been a little over a year and it is still just mine. Now I am no Martha Stewart, thankfully because she bugs me, and I am a bit of a clutter bug. God told me some time back to clean out. I had a pretty big yard sale and donated the leftovers and a lot was gone. But not everything. I want to be organized, but get overwhelmed in the how and expense, it isn't cheap. My kitchen is too small for all my kitchen stuff, but I know that food is somehow an important part of this house.

When I bought the house my Mom, Rick, and I prayed in each room of the house. In the dining area Rick prayed specifically for the people who would be there eating. Now, that sounds normal since it is the dinning room, but the gist of the prayer was beyond just normal meals in the room, and I felt a pricking in my heart. A glimmer of a desire that I had had for feeding others. I kind of sort that was interesting, but pushed it back in my mind for sometime, since I had painting and moving and unpacking to focus on.

Well, coming to the ready to bust part. As I prayed this morning I confessed my selfishness to God. I confessed that I wanted this and that, not bad things, just my way. I then took those things and turned them over to Him and that is when something started to grow in me. I started to feel overwhelmed by this idea, this coming together of thoughts and dreams and this preparing time. I started to do a few things to get ready, but the need to burst feeling was getting to the point where I had to burst. I knew that by sitting down and typing this I would be putting it out there, no take backs. So here goes...

I am opening up my home. I am opening it up to anyone who wants to come and have dinner with me. I am opening it up to people who want to fellowship around a meal and then spend time in God's Word together. Not a group that has a set study or lesson in mind, but rather we read His Word and listen to His Voice as He reveals Himself through it. A time to listen and share what He says through the Word. A time to pray with and for each other. A time to be more reflective of His early church.

I have written before about this desire to know more about the church. Not so much for the amazing miracles that He preformed through them, but rather how they lived. They went about their day, their work, their serving others without it being planned and broadcast, just done. They gathered for meals every day, because well every day you need to eat. They went to work at their jobs, speaking to the crowds or building in their carpenter shops or selling in their booths or washing clothes or whatever. they didn't stop doing their life, yes so were called from the occupations to speak, like Peter and John, but many went about doing what they were made to do and gathered together and ate, prayed, and teaching or being taught. They lived life. It wasn't a separate part of them that set aside time for church or groups or classes. It was a part of their everyday.

Now, I  may not be able to open my home to others everyday, at least not in the beginning, but I will start with a little time and let God grow it as He will. When? When will it start? Good question! I still have some work to do to make the house ready, but it will be soon. Who? Who can come? Anyone! Family, friends, adults, children, those who know God and those who don't.

I am excited and I feel the pressure within my decrease as I let myself burst all over this post. So soon, very soon, be looking for a post where I say, "come" because it will be soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Risk Taker?

This might be shocking, but I don't like to take risks. I do not like to step into the unknown. I don't like to take a chance. I like everything to be predictable, to know the outcome. Life, unfortunately, is not like that. A walk of faith is definitely not predictable. It is full of the unknown and risks.

There are things that I will avoid because I play the worst-case scenario in my mind. Sometimes when I finally do it the results turn out better than I thought. Sometimes better than just "better", sometimes it turns out great. Sometimes it turns out badly. Sometimes the results I feared actually happen. Yesterday I had to take care of something I have been avoiding.

Yesterday I had to take Riley to the vet. Okay, she loves the vets! I know that might sound weird but she loves the attention and since she has a very high tolerance for pain the shots don't even phase her. Now, Riley is a chubby girl so I was a little concerned that she would weigh more than I thought. She does but she has lost a lot since her last visit,11 pounds, so the vet was pleased with that. She is on a diet and needs to workout as often as the temperature allows.

What I really worried about was her health. She is 9 years old and slowing down. One of her favorite things is a nap. She was acting very, very old about 2 months ago. Her hip seemed to bother her and she was even more lethargic than usual. The most concerning thing was that she had bumps on her sides. My fear? Cancer. I worried that she was dying and I couldn't face that idea.

Her results, she is chubby and has fat lumps. The vet said that there are soft and squishy and that if they were tumors they would be hard and difficult to move. So she doesn't have cancer.

Then I worried about the results of her tests. In the winter I don't usually give her heartworm/flea medicine. I had read that resistance to working out, including walking was a symptom of heartworms. She tends to lie down when she doesn' want to walk anymore. Also wide ribs was a sign and she has wide ribs. Mind you she has always had wide ribs, but when you are thinking the worst-case reasoning goes out the window. Her test result? Clear.

So I put off taking my poor old pup to the vet because I feared she was sick, that she was dying. Riley is not sick. The vet said she is healthy considering her age and weight. He mentioned "years from now", and I couldn't wipe the smile from my face.

Then I got in my car, prayed a quick thank you prayer and a prayer of repentance. I had to repent for letting fear be the voice I listened to and acted on, or didn't act because of. I realized that this is a pattern for me and talked to God about it on the way home.

This isn't news to me. I have always been this way, remember I like predictable, safe. But I want a life, a spiritual life, that is full and abundant and I don't think safe and predictable are words that describe that kind of life. So the next time I struggle with either listening to fear based on the unknown or risk I hope that I remember that I have a Voice that I can listen to and turn to Him.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have mentioned before that I have recently been fascinated by the early church. Reading about them in the Bible captivates me with the things they did, but more about how close they were to God. I know the original ones actually knew Jesus. I can only imagine what it was like to have known Him. Have to admit it makes me a little envious. Oh, I know He lives within me, but to have walked and talked and listened to Him, that must have been so amazing.

I have been reading a series written by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke called Acts of Faith. I am currently deep in the second book of the three book series. The first one I bought because I needed to finish my obligation to a book club and I have almost all of Janette Oke's books and I enjoy them. I liked it so much I went ahead and bought the second and third books.

What I love about these books is that the authors did their research, including visiting Israel. I love the history books of the Bible and wish that I understood more about the culture and history so I can better understand the stories. When I learn more about it I find so much understanding of the stories.

As I read through these books I can better visualize and understand what it was like in Jerusalem during the time of the very early church. I can understand the way that people interacted with each other, like men with women and Jews with Romans. I know these stories are not history books, although many of the events of the Bible are included in them, but they give me more to think about.

One of the not major characters is Peter. He is mentioned briefly in the first book and a few more times in the second. I have always been fascinated by him. Jesus told him that His Church would be built on Peter but so much of the New Testament isn't even about Peter. Actually it's mostly about Paul. I always think that is odd. Why is the Church built upon one guy who doesn't even get mention in the rest of the Bible? I don't know, but I am sure some day God will reveal that to me, even if it isn't in this world.

Off track for a moment, anyway, in the second book some of the things that Peter is known for saying and doing are mentioned in it. One thing is when people would bring their sick and lay them along the way and he would walk by and where his shadow fell people were healed. Can you even imagine? (Check it out and pick your translation at

I long to have to kind of relationship people like Peter had with God. The kind of relationship, closeness to Him, that allowed His power to travel from them to others even with their shadow. Obviously not everyone in the early church had shadow powers (please understand I know it is the Holy Spirit's power and not Peter's). If they did then healings and other miracles would happen all the time and everywhere. Yet, I long to be so close with God that He could use all of me, even my shadow to do His will. I know that the Spirit in me is the same one that was in Peter so that isn't the difference. The difference has to be the vessel.

The only way to become a vessel like that and it is to spend time with Jesus. I can't spend time with Him the way that Peter did, but He lives in me and His Spirit dwells in me. I have His Word that I can read and learn to be more like Him through it. I know this draw to the early church is from Him and I know it will lead me to a closer relationship with Him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get Your Nose Out of the Book and Look Out for the Stone

Last night I read something that stuck with me. I read The Message Bible but will often look at other translations to see how it is written in them. Sometimes it is very similar and sometimes not so much. Anyway, I was reading in Romans and something from chapter 9 struck me.

I read a few different versions and decided on NIV
"What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone."
Romans 9:30-32

The Message
"How can we sum this up? All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embrace what God was doing as He straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And they stumbled into him and went sprawling." Romans 9:30-32

Here's what struck me about The Message version is it doesn't mean back then. It can be read as right now. I know that it was not written just to reflect the people of that time, that it does pertain to any time since. Yet, the Message version says nothing about Gentiles and Jews and just lends itself to be placed into today. Which is part of the point of The Message.

So thinking about today I see this. I see it everywhere. I have even seen it in me. What? The ones so wrapped up in reading and talking about God and having my "God projects". I am quilting of being more interested in reading books about God than actually reading The Word. I have even been more interested in read my Bible to check it off the list. I mean that's what Christians do right? I have even done things that should look good, they should look like God projects. Unfortunately, I see this in Christianity as well. Not just the, let me be frank, the boring groups of Christians who just read and talk about God but can barely see outside their own little worlds. Yup, there are plenty of churches and Christians like this. But also in the churches with the lights, sound effects, and mega crowds. They are also into talking about God and doing projects and programs and they don't see the Jesus right in front of them.

Am, I saying all old-school churches and/or modern churches are in this boat? No! But the Bible tells us that we are known by our fruit and if the church seems more like the Jews who tried to get it right by following the law then there won't be much fruit. As well if the church is full of God projects and seems to be on fire on Sunday, but there is no fruit then what's the point. Both ways are missing out on Jesus. They run right into Him and as The Message says they "went sprawling".

For me this means I need to make sure that I focus on Jesus, focus on my faith walk. I need to read His Word, but make sure it isn't just to read it, but to increase my faith. Now when I read I pray first. I pray for Wisdom and Discernment and Truth. I pray that my eyes will be open and my heart soft to the Word. This has helped me as I read. It helps me realize that it's not about just reading about Him but it helps me to know Him and grow in Him. I pray that I never again get sucked into just reading and talking about Him and that I never get so focused on my "God project" that I miss seeing Him.