Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Memory

Yesterday I went to a dear friend's memorial. It isn't the first in the last few months. Actually it was the third one of my dear friends who went to be with the Lord. These three women I have known for many years. I have laughed until I cried, cried until I laughed, walked along side long enough to see the realness of their lives and loved them as my own family. We prayed through births, marriages, children's decisions, deaths of parents and too many birthdays to count. We have shared our faith and what the Lord is doing in our lives countless times. In all of this they have taught me many, many lessons through their lives.

Caroline was the prayer warrior. She loved the Lord's word, the Bible, and loved talking to Jesus. She also loved singing hymns. It comforted her in the last few days of her life to hear those old hymns. Her concern was that she finish well for the Lord. She wanted to stay faithful to the end. Gentle and faithful woman of God.
"Let's keep praying for each other" ....Caroline Lippert

Daisy was the second to leave. Now there was what my mom used to call, a house "afire". Translation, "house of fire". A strong women of God! She wouldn't have backed down if the devil himself had stood before her. She knew her place in the Kingdom. The Lord just had to tell her once and she believed it. She stood because God told her so. Not caring to hear what man had to say but listening intently on what the Lord was saying. Prophet some would say. Transformed into his likeness was her desire.
"We are being transformed into his likeness and Christians act as though they don't know what is happening" .....Daisy Ross

Marty was the last to leave. She was a combination of strength and gentleness. A great love for her family and her Savior gave her courage beyond her own. Traveling outside her comfort zone into other lands and culture, loving people and extending hospitality to all who came across her path. Seeing others come and grow in Christ was the desire of her heart.
"The Lord wants you to trust Him" and "I am resting in Jesus arms while He fights this battle for me" ......Marty Jarrett

Trust, faith, courage, strength, believing God's word, gentleness, witnessing. I have been taught well. Lessons of their lives will not be wasted on me. I have treasured them in my heart and have applied these great gifts the Lord gave me to my own life.

Thank you, Lord, that you have provided pieces of your heart in the lives of these women. You have taught me more about you in the testimony of their lives. I pray, Lord, that when you whisper my name, I will leave lessons behind to other women who I have opened my heart to as well. Thank you for their lives, their willingness to love unconditionally, and be faithful to the end. And Lord, would you just mend this heart that has been tattered by grief and events in the last few months. Use it for your glory and my good.

Caroline, Daisy, Marty, I love y'all and I'll see you later. Now save some of that chocolate for me! No peeking at my mansion either!

II Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Get your prayin' on!

This morning I was up early to pick up my little grandson and take him to school and then off to start my usual swim and exercise class at the Y. Sometimes I jump out of bed to go and other times I drag out of bed and talk myself into going. Today was a "drag myself day". When I got there I looked for my friend, she arrives early and usually has lifted her weights and done a few laps before I even get out of the locker room. She is always ready and today was no exception.

Another friend seemed down about her weight, she asked us to pray for her. Well, she actually said, "would you girlfriends get your prayin' on about me". My friend looked at me and suddenly burst out, "hey, that's a great idea, let's pray right now for each other". Before I knew it there we were in the middle of the YMCA pool holding hands and praying that the Lord would make our bodies strong for His service, not a Madison/5th Avenue magazine look but for the Lord's service. Asking that He would bless us and add strength to our bodies to continue the good work He had for us. Now please get the full picture I don't mean some little sweet demeanor prayer, I mean a full AMEN, THANK YOU, JESUS PRAYER! This women meant business and she didn't care who was around. She was unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the word of God was living and thriving in her!

We finished praying and continued to swim and exercise. We continued as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. Like we always stand in the pool, hold hands and pray. Like that was part of our routine of exercises. When we finished praying she didn't look around to see if anyone was looking she just said, "now there we go we ask Him and He will do it". I mean completely normal. Do you understand? As I swam my heart was smiling as to what had just happened. Her words rang in my ears, "now there we go, we ask Him and He will do it". She was getting her prayin' on!

There wasn't a concern about what the outward look was. She just wanted to make sure we had strong, able bodies to carry out the Lord's work he had prepared for us. The only way she knew was to go to the one who made our bodies and ask Him. Then she entrusted the outcome to Him. She knew he would act, she knew he had heard...she knew Him.

She had her prayin' on! What about you girlfriend, "you got your prayin' on?"

I Thessalonians 5:24
The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Isolation

I Peter 5:8-9
Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Today I was flipping through some of my teaching material and came across a National Geographic magazine from years ago. It was an article about Isle Royale, a small island just off the Michigan coastline. A primitive, well some would argue this point, island filled with wolves,moose and an inn for non campers like me. After visiting I can understand why only moose and wolves would find comfort there. Beautiful, scenic, quiet, quiet, quiet and isolated. It takes about eight hours to get there by ferry, a little shorter by seaplane. So it is a place you intentionally go. Not somewhere you just stop on your way somewhere.

Anyway, in this particular issue of National Geographic it showed a herd of moose with one of the moose not quite keeping up. Maybe he was injured or just having a bad day but for whatever reason he was separated from the rest of the herd, isolated from the others. The next picture reveals a pack of wolves in the distance apparently waiting for a chance to take down just one moose. The herd got further and further away and the pack of wolves got closer and closer to the isolated moose. The moose began to panic and before long we see the moose is down and being devoured by the pack of wolves. They didn't have to do much. The pack didn't take on the whole herd because that would have risked being trampled to death. But one, alone, isolated, away from the others, NOW that was a sure thing. They would just have to wait for the right moment,circle the target and make their move.

It reminded me of our lives. We isolate ourselves from others too, just like that moose. Memories from our past, hurt feelings, resentment, pain of our circumstances, our own sin - all of these things can isolate us. Oh we may not be home with the drapes drawn, however that is my personal favorite, but we isolate ourselves just the same. Does this sound familiar? You are at church, you didn't stay home. And when asked how you are the answer is "fine". Even though inside you are falling apart. There is no one there you trust because of the past hurts in your life. So you go home just as you came...isolated. Oh it all looked perfectly "fine" but still isolated.

Jealousy of relationships and resentment begins to build? Unconfessed and isolated. The devil has convinced us that no one else could possibly understand our trials or our past. No one except us has had to endure such hellish things done to us or said to us. You are alone and no one will understand. Of course, if anyone knew they might reject you and that is a chance you can't take.

You have passed up ministering to your sisters in Christ because you would have to be real, and if they knew it would mean giving up the pain, rejection, fear and hurt. Somehow it has become safer to hold onto than to give up. It has become a familiar place. The devil has lied to you telling you this is a place of safety, when in reality it is a place of destruction and deeper pain.

I am sure that moose thought that day it was ok to stray from the others. To just lag behind and see if anyone really cared he was gone. But it didn't end well for him that day and it won't for us either. The word of the Lord in 1Peter 5:8 says, "that our enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour". Not to comfort us or calm us but destroy us. And this dear sister, is just the way it starts....ISOLATION.

We can get away from it all to pray and seek the Lord but what I am referring to is not a quiet time but a painful and lonely time. Now there may be some seasons in our lives where it is just the Lord and us, but isolation is feeling like even the God who made you doesn't care and can't help you. You know the difference, don't you. Isolation is place just like Isle Royale that you intentionally go. If that is so then you can intentionally leave, by the blood of Jesus and the power of God. Don't wait for your enemy to come to you like those wolves. Get into the Word, pray and seek fellowship with others. Ask the Lord to show you a someone who needs ministering to and maybe even a prayer partner. Ask Him, go ahead, ask Him. There are others who are crying out for the Lord to send someone their way. Is that someone you? Come on, live fearless, live free and live with the knowledge that the Lord is waiting and watching for you. It will cost you something but I promise the exchange will be worth it! So get with the herd and do great things in the Lord! And watch out for those wolves they're bad dudes!