Monday, May 25, 2009

Faith and Prayer #24

As a church body, we all have gifts and talents to offer which lift up, enhance and exhort our family members to keep up the good faith, to keep running the race, to not grow weary or give up.

Marianne Paulus is a part of my church family. Nearly every week, she sends out these Faith and Prayer messages to encourage us. I simply love them and wanted to share them here, with you. I hope you find some little nugget in them, and I have faith that you will.

Dear Glorious Saints,

I love the story of Jesus on the boat in the middle of the storm (Luke 8). But as many times as I have read it I have never really connected it to the story after it about the man who was tormented by the legion of demons. In looking at it several things stand out to me.

First, Jesus was the one who initiated the boat trip: “One day Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.’” He did not say why, but it was not a random or capricious request; He had a reason.

Then He was not alarmed or even disturbed when the storm arose. He slept while His disciples, seasoned and experienced fishermen panicked in fear. He chided them, “Where is your faith?” Where was it? It was buried in fear, overcome by circumstances. Rather than approach Him in trust and confidence, they cried out in terror. Even so, He rebuked the storm, calmed the sea and left them in amazement as to who He was who could command the wind and the waves. Certainly this was one of His purposes in prompting the boat trip. They needed to see that He was no ordinary man.

But it seems like there was more. Upon reaching their destination they were met by the demoniac. Jesus delivered him from his tormentors and sent them into a herd of pigs that went careening down a steep bank and into the lake. And the man, restored to his right mind, begged Jesus to let him go with Him. But Jesus said this, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Luke 8:38-39)

Jesus had a purpose for this journey. Not only did He wish to reveal more about who He was, but He also wanted to deliver a tortured soul from his torment and then have him spread the word about the goodness of God and all that God did for him. It is no wonder that His plan was met with the kind of opposition that could not only capsize the boat but thwart the good He would do and the glory that would go to God.

How often has this been true in my life? He sets me off in a direction and then the storm hits. Sometime I actually do have the faith I need but other times the circumstances seem overwhelming and I cry out to Him in fear and not in faith. I am grateful for His compassion to deliver me anyway, but I long to grow in the kind of trust that has confidence even when the waves seem to be swamping the boat. How I desire to recognize quickly that He has a good plan and a purpose that goes beyond what I can see, that He desires not only to reveal more of Himself, to do good for me and others but also to bring greater glory to the Father.

Next time He invites me for a boat ride I want to be ready. How about you?



Marianne Paulus is a marriage and family educator. She offers weekly classes in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on Marriage Preparation. She also teaches at the Mid-Cities Pregnancy Center.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walking With God - John Eldredge

A journey of learning to walk with God...
One Sunday afternoon last fall, I strolled through the Barnes and Noble bookstore, biding time until daughter was done with her youth group. I love browsing bookstores, touching the sleek, shiny covers, taking in the scents of coffee and new, hot-of-the-press book pages. Fingers run over raised titles, wondering what treasures are hidden within the inky insides.... I waited patiently for one to jump out at me, catch my eye in a most enticing way, challenge me to take a closer look.

That particular day, it was John Eldredge's newest book, Walking With God. The title itself caused my breath to catch. I'd been earnestly seeking God, wanting to learn to hear his voice, walk closer.

Like a child excited to see a parent at the end of a long day, the book seemed to leap into my hands and after a few pages I knew I'd found my newest adoptee.

The first page wrapped itself around my heartstrings and wouldn't let go. Here's a short paragraph on the opening page:

It is our deepest need, as human beings, to learn to live intimately with God.
It is what we were made for. Back in the beginning of our story, before the fall
of man, before we sent the world spinning off its axis, there was a paradise
called Eden. In that garden of life as it was meant to be, there lived the first
man and woman. Their story is important to us because whatever it was they were,
and whatever it was they had, we also were meant to be and to have. And what
they enjoyed above all the other delights of that place was this--they walked
with God. They talked with him, and he with them.

For this you and I were made. And this we must recover.

The book isn't written in chapters. As Eldredge says, life isn't made up of neat chapters, with summary points at the end of the day. We live through seasons and that's how the book is divided up. Within each season, Eldredge shares his own stories, his own experiences of learning to walk with God.

There's something about sharing your own personal stories that helps others see and understand the basic truths this world is founded on. We all experience them. And we can help each other out most by sharing what we've experienced, learned, and fought for on our own journey.

I didn't sit down and consume the book in a couple of weeks. And it's not meant to be read that way. In truth, I read some, then set it down for awhile and kind of forgot about it. Every once in awhile, I'd pick it up and read a little more. Each time, it seemed to speak to a need or challenge happening in my own life at the time. Finally, a few weeks ago, I felt God stirring my heart to open it once again right where I left off. It was spring break and I had free time to go into a more in depth study, which isn't something that often happens while school is in session.

Laughter filled my small, morning-quiet office as I read the heading: Spring. A glance down at my calendar confirmed my question. The first day of spring had begun the day before. And such are the ways of God, I've been finding over the course of my own journey with him.

Does God still speak to us?

Listen to Eldredge speak through a series of videos (click the link above) about how God still speaks and directs us, even today.

He's also set up a website that expands on what the book says. There are videos, podcast, and audio teachings. Throughout the book is the link to show you where there's more on what he's talking about for those who want to go in deeper for more understanding.

If you're interested in learning what it means to hear God, walk closer to him and understand what it means to have such a life, then I suggest this book. It's opened my own eyes to so many freeing truths and most of all, it's helped me draw closer to my best, most kindest and generous friend- The Lord Almighty himself.

Product Details
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785206965
ISBN-13: 978-0785206965
Amazon's link for Walking With God

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mom sayings

You may want to stop the music player while you listen to this. Hope you get a good laugh.

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