Monday, May 30, 2011

One moment in time


Gently wafting sunshine brushing hair
Oceans of earth caressing souls
Summers breeze breaking stalks of green
Stumbling words, slipping lips

Tussled and tangled the roots
Angel hair pasta in the breeze
Mini me dancing one step at a time
Hearts warm like cocoa in snow

An empty lot of once dead trees
Fixated vision and shovelled plastic
A shower filled with God and peace
Dirt flowing down the drain

Feeding my soul with comfort
Sleep a humming bird in spring
As Golden hearts surround and fill
And I.. I am not worthy

Let Freedom Ring, but at what cost?

All to often Memorial day becomes a party. We spend all year saving up so that we can spend money on a new grill, a new patio etc. We spend time with our families while 'they' are still in the trenches. Crying tears of blood. Dying that we can turn our ac's up and grill some dead flesh. Today I try to remember that they fought for me. Not because I deserve it, much like Christ, they did it because they loved me. Or loved our country enough to sacrifice themselves for me. That's humbling.

Who Am I?

Who am I? That your blood should spill for me
Soaked in the rain of my own greed
Lose your life when the third match sparks
All for a big screen television?

As the thunder marches and the tide turns
The tank rolls through a garden distraught
A baby doll cracked in the sun of the desert
For organic broccoli and steamed greens

Helmets etched with phosphorus streams
As locust from hell chatter in the sky
Sign of the cross on a blood smeared head
So I can believe... or not.

Freedom rings from sea to sea
Over the corpses of the past
Star bedazzled crimson and blue
Each thread written for me and you

Yet like Nike on a billboard
Trudging beaten and bruised
The toy soldiers march on
Through sun and snow

Not for their own acclaim
Or even for glory or wealth
Like a lamb without blemish
On a cross of battered steel

A sacrifice of heart and soul
So the AC can keep going
And the SUV sparkle in the sun
A battle never won, but only begun

They march on. And on.

© Brian Mullins 2011

A Living Sacrifice

Have you ever rested easy? Knowing that you had put in a hard days work? Gotten into the shower and watched as the hot water rolled across your skinning, taking with it a film of dark dirt and soap? There's something about an honest, hard days work. A day in which you have done everything you can and at the end, you know you couldn't have done it better. Nor could you have done anymore than what you'd already done.

I used to hate going out and mowing the yard. Yard work was just another thing on my list that I needed to do, but I had put in a good 12 or 16 hours at work, why come home and do more? I lived that way for many years, indeed doing nothing but coming home and hitting the computer. It wasn't much of a life really, but I thought I was being a good man. I worked, I paid for the roof over our heads, and I came home after work. No going out with the guys for a drink. But you know? It wasn't enough. It requires more than just a job to be a good husband. It also requires more than just doing what you 'have' too to get by. (That goes for wives too.)

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In 2007 I had my spine fused from T3 to L3. 3 feet of titanium on each side of my back, with 26 3 inch titanium screws holding it in place. Now to get out and simply mow the yard is almost more than I can do. But I relish it. Every single time. I miss going out and having a job, but there aren't many people will hire a man who can't work on his knees or climb a ladder for more than a few minutes at a time. Nor do they want a man who can't really lift. And in our society you would be surprised the looks a person like me gets when it the super market my wife has to get the pack of water and put it on the bottom of the cart, while I stand and just hold the cart. To be honest, I know why those looks are there. I don't look sick, I look healthy. It looks to many like I'm just to lazy to help. That drives me at times to do things I shouldn't, because I don't want to stand and watch. I want to participate and work with others. Then I spend a day in the bed or sitting on the couch doing nothing, because I'm in too much pain to do anything.

My point is not that I want sympathy, I dislike pity more than just about anything. What I want is for people to realize how much of a blessing it is to do something simple, like mowing the yard. To go out in the sun and dig a ditch or plant some veggies. What used to take me a few hours now takes me a week or more. The one difference between then and now is I have truly learned the phrase, "Everything you do, do for the Lord." I may not get a third of what another person gets done, but when I do I feel a sense of accomplishment. I know without a doubt when I finish I did the best I could, as fast as I could and with as much skill and effort as I can muster. Are there times I don't get the house clean? Yes. There are days I can't physically stand long enough to do the dishes. Granted some days are better than others. But in the end, I want to know that I didn't sit down and not do the dishes out of sheer laziness. That when I can, I do. That in every single action I am working as hard as I can, and doing it not for myself but to serve others and to serve God.

1 Peter 4:11 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, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I miss work. I miss going out and hanging lights. Driving and running a bucket truck to work on neon signs 30+ feet in the air. Simply climbing a ladder to change a ballast or bulbs. I miss finishing the day covered in sweat, and being able to look back at what I had accomplished and saying, "I did that." But I also know that I am now working for God more than I ever did then. So I encourage you to go out each and every day and serve God. To give 100% and earn every penny that you are making. To be content with what you are making, for there are many out there making nothing. To cherish every single moment with your families and friends, and to teach your children and your children's children how to do the things every person should know. The future is never certain, but serving our God is. He is the same yesterday, and today, and tomorrow. Let us worship Him not just in our prayers and songs, but in our very breath. Our life itself a living sacrifice to the King of Kings.

In Christ,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A lamp in a basket, or a spotlight in the forest?

The world is a scary place. To Christians that should mean we want to share the gospel with as many as we can. After all if we truly believe that Jesus Christ is the messiah, then we should want everyone to have what he offers. To free them from the fear of life, to free them from the darkness.

You see people are out there in the world, lost in the dark. It's like a dense jungle of sin. Everywhere around them are pitfalls, places they can fall and get hurt, and yes death. They can't see because they don't have a light. Outside of the jungle in the light of Christ is where we are, but that's not where we are called to stay. You see Jesus has commissioned each one of us as a rescue team member. We are to go into the jungle with our trusty light and help light the way to the real source of light, Jesus Christ.

We have that light inside of us. How are we using it though? Jesus told us "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light. For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light." Luke 8:16-17 Jesus was telling us that once we have our light, our lives should change! They should change in a way that others are seeing our light, and want to go where it shines as well.

But to me there is another problem we often have, especially when we are just coming to God. We get so excited, and rightly so! But then we turn on our spotlights and go out into the dark. The people in the dark, just like in a dark room, have adjusted their eyes. A bright light hurts, but a spotlight blinds! They see the spotlight and the move away, often falling into another pit or down a hill. They don't want anything to do with that light because it hurts! It's not the light that hurt! It's the presentation of that light.

We need to be more like a candle, a soft and gentle, warm and welcoming light! One that gently illuminates the ground, and shows them that the hand of the Holy Spirit is right there reaching out to them. All they need to do is see that hand, that offer of hope, and then their eyes are opened. The Holy Spirit leads them to Jesus and then He gives him a light of their own. You meanwhile keep going, and finding other lost people in the darkness. So how are you reaching others? Are you showing them love and gentleness? The hope that is found in Christ? Or are you blinding them with a spotlight of anger and condemnation, that never lets them see past the blaring light to the source of that light?

Just something to think about.

In Christ,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I cannot find the words

Tonight at our study group we are talking about divorce and annulments. To me it's less about divorce and more about the sanctity of marriage, less about an annulment and more about the permanent mark on our souls. I tried many times to write specifically about marriage.. but instead.. I found I don't have the words. I cannot express how my wife makes me feel in mere words, but it requires actions.. I have to live them, live the love I feel and show it. Because it's more than a word can express.

I cannot find the words

I want to write about love,
But my heart can't form the words.
Sent from our God up above,
To deep to express that unheard.

I want to tell others about you,
the other part of what is me.
But no word will ever do
Even from bended knee.

I want to express that look
In your eyes as you search my face
That part would take many a book
to express that simple grace.

I want to sing to the world
A song about my heart complete
The wings of a dove unfurled
The love of my lover, replete

I want to dry away your tears
The pain of which I cannot abide
I want to share in your fears
To bring you to safety and hide

More precious than gold your smile
More lovely than silver your hair
The paths of your heart my aisle
The touch of your hand my fare

But I cannot express that completeness
Not in mere words or images today
Your heart fills mine with sweetness
Your very words of your mouth my sleigh

Let us never be seperate in heart
Even if we must be in life a while
These five years just a start
You will always be my life, my smile.

Monday, May 23, 2011

True Friends

What is a friend? It's much different than an aqauintance, or an associate. In our world of social networking we often think of friends as someone who is on our list, and some of those we wouldn't even recognize if they were to talk to us face to face. It doesn't mean there isn't some level of comradarie there or a level of friendship, just that there are some defining charactaristics of friends.

A friend is someone who is always there for you. Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother

You see a true friend doesn't need things from you to be present. When I was going to college I was very poor. I lived in a small house that was often dirty, and I do not mean just a little but filthy. I didn't have money to eat everyday and often ate with my parents instead. On the weekends it was a popular place! There were always people there eating whatever I had gathered for the parties, drinking the alcohol, and having a blast. They were my 'friends'. Then I stopped drinking, and began to try to live for God. It was amazing how few people came by anymore. How many of them didn't even talk to me in the hallways at college. I wasn't even one of those bold Christians, I was shy about my faith. That's when I realized that they weren't freinds... they were there as long as they got something out of it.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken

True friendship is a two way street. It doesn't have to be earned or purchased. It also ins't just one person 'needing' the other all the time. There should be conversations on both sides! We all have problems, but it's very draining when we attach ourselves to a 'friend' who never wants to know how we are, or even bothers to ask. They simply send us messages or comments about their life, and never about each others. There should be days when you think of your friend and call them or send them an email and say, I haven't heard from you in a long time. I was worried about you! Or we send them a private message and say "Hey I was thinking about you today! God put you on my heart, and I just wanted to say I really do cherish you as a friend."

Proverbs 17:17 A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need

You see a friend is someone who gives as much as they take, if not more so. If both friends are giving, neither will have want for anything in the relationship. It's just as important that you learn what is bothering your friends, as it is for your friends to learn what is bothering you. It's also important to realize there ARE draining spirits out there. These are those friendships where you never get any give or take, only take. Where that 'friend' never cares about you and how you are doing, but is always complaining, whining about their life, and never listening to a word you say. They aren't using you for comfort, they just want to have a sounding board.. someone to listen to 'me me me.' Friendship isn't about 'me'. It's about 'us'. Part of us is you! It's ok to tell someone when you're genuinely hurting, but you need to listen to what they say! You need to try to feel better and at some point, even if you're not feeling better say "enough about me! Let's talk about you now!"

Proverbs 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Friends are honest with one another. We don't tell each other things only to make us feel better... we tell them because it's the truth. We come out and say 'You're problem is this!' Tact is important, becaues we shouldn't casually hurt one another. But sugar coating, or lying to make someone feel better will not help them! They need the truth, and they need to accept it. WE also need the truth, and should be willing to listen to our friends.. because our true friends are coming from their heart. They are telling us the truth BECAUSE they love us.

John 15:13–15 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me

And finally, true friendship is about sacrifice! It's about doing things we don't want to do, because our friends need us! It's about being there when the friend needs us, and about our friends being there for us as well! A true friend will offer to help when you have a problem. He will take you out when you're sad and sit and listen. And most of all, he'll sacrifice his time. Time seems to be the most valuable thing in our society. We hear 'time is money' or 'my time isn't free.' That makes it even more important to give your time! A few moments of just listening, or being a shoulder to cry on can be a moment that lasts a life time.

Are you a true friend? Do you listen to your friends talk? Or are you simply waiting for your 'turn' to speak. Do you genuinely know your friends and what they do? What makes them happy? What makes them sad? Do you spend time with them? Or only come around when 'you' need something. Remember two things, a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend is not just a person, but a friend. They need you as much as you should need them. You should spend time with them, speak to them, love them! Secondly, Jesus Christ is your friend. Have you been spending time with Him? Do you pray only when you need something? Or do you pray when everything is wonderful and simply say, Thank you Lord! Do you spend your time speaking at God, but not to? Is it only a one way street? When was the last time you 'stopped' and 'listened?'

In Christ,

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's just a joke!

One of the signs of true friendship is defense in the face of adversity. It is not friendship to stand by and justify someone's hurtful actions towards your friend, by saying 'He doesn't really mean it' or 'She's just kidding.' A true friend understands that when someone says something hurtful towards your friends, they also are admitting that your interests are not important to the, only their own.

A cousin of mine was dating a fellow who kept calling her friend names. They were quite vulgar and unkind, but when she mentioned it hurt her feelings to my cousin, she kept saying "He's just teasing you, he doesn't really mean it." In the end they were no longer friends anymore. She justified the new fellows behavior because she was attracted to him, and neglected her dear friends feelings. Instead of saying, 'Don't call my girl friend that, it hurts her feelings.' she said to her girl friend, 'suck it up.'

"without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6)

In the end it's also a lesson to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We often sit around and listen to people make fun of our God, or call Him names. We laugh it off, saying Ahh they don't mean it, they are making a joke! But do we truly love God if we allow our friends to make fun of Him and never say Hey, God deserves better. He deserves our respect.

I'm just as bad as the next person, even often watching comedies with irreverent tones. Lately though I've become sensitive to certain jokes, some are in good humour, but there is a line. A line that goes from joking with people about religion, society, etc and instead making fun of God.

When we love someone, we show it by not only caring about them but what interests them as well. We care for their friends, their family, their job, even when we don't particularly like those people. We should make an effort to get to like them, or at least to accept that they are part of their life. The same with God. We should look to find what makes Him happy, and what makes Him sad. What interests Him! Then go about trying to make that part of our life too!

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

In Christ,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meal Time

Deuteronomy 8:10 And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and shalt bless the Lord thy God for the goodly land which he has given thee.

There was a young man that I had the privledge of being an uncle to for many years. I'm not sure if he even remembers me, but I still think of him from time to time. His name is Dustin and he is a very fun and energetic child. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him, mostly from my own fault of working and then being a recluse. I used to come home from work and want to go nowhere, or do anything. That's another story though.

I want to talk about saying grace before meals. In our secular and money driven world we often forget to thank God for the little things. We are in such a hurry to get a meal down so we can go on and do other things, that many times we don't even turn off the television or even sit down. Often even getting our meal while behind the steering wheel of the car, and consuming it while driving to do something else. We've become a society where people are measured by their monetary worth and how much they have. If you have a big house, lots of cars, and many bathrooms you're considered 'well off.'

I used to live in a much slower place. Where dinner is still often served at the table, and people stop what they are doing, especially on a Sunday afternoon, to spend time with family talking and eating. Dinner time prayer was a big part of that life. Often we become very ritualistic or formulaic, saying the same prayer before dinner every night. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing! As long as the prayer hasn't lost it's meaning. My grandfather, Delmon, used to say (forgive me if my wording is off, it's been many years since he passed), Lord we want to thank for the food before us, bless and sanctify the hands that prepared it for the nourishment of our bodies, in Jesus Name, Amen.

It's a beautiful prayer. I still remember him saying it every single night before dinner. My family also tries to pray before dinner, and we use a standard dinner time prayer. Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Both are beautiful prayers, and both have their place. Just remember to say them with reverence, attention and devotion. Never allow it to become just simple rote, where you say it without really thinking about what you are saying, and only to get it out of way so you can eat.

I also encourage people to begin saying a prayer AFTER the meal. It's much easier to remember to thank God for his bounty when our stomach is growling, and we want to fill it. How much more difficult is it to remember to say thank you, after we are satiated, and ready for a nap.

Back to Dustin. We were about to begin eating dinner one night and Dustin wanted to say grace for us. Everyone gathered around the table and we bowed our heads, and waited patiently for him to pray for a blessing over the food. His words were simple, but full of passion. He said everything that needed to be said, and from the innocence of his heart, we knew he meant it. "Yay God! Let's eat!"

In Christ,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Luke 7:37-50

She Washed His Feet with Her Tears

Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand
It's solar winds caressing your face like a morning breeze
As drops of your soul fell helplessly onto it's surface
And tendril's of your glory softly eased past

Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand
While envy bored holes through the surface of minds
As shouts of outrage and tearing of robes distracted
And your past tried to swell in the murky depths

Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand
Forgiveness as pure as a cold mountain stream
As love itself flowed forth a rainbow through tears
The light of the universe looked directly into yours

Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand
Humbling your soul for a debt that was not His to pay
As the turmoil of your soul becomes simply rest
And your lips touch the source of all that is made

Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand
Reeling in the acceptance that you have never received
As God himself looks down at you with trust and love
Can you imagine the Sun resting in the palm of your hand?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is love?

1 Corinthians 13:4 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

What is love? That sounds like such an innocent question. Everyone has their own answer as well. In today's society we often throw the word out for things that we don't truly love. I mean there are degrees of love as well. I love my friends less than I love my wife. I love my children more than I do myself. I might love my third cousin once removed that I haven't seen in ten years, but my best friend I love more.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22

I think one of the defining aspects of love is presence of mind. Thinking about the person, not only when they are right there beside you but also when they are absent for a while. There is a saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." When my wife was working in Mississippi for a few months I really experienced this saying to be true. The more she was away, the more I missed her. I would turn to say something to her, and she wasn't there. Or I would go to find her and realize she's not home this week.

Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I don't know that it actually makes the heart grow fonder, but it reminds us where our hearts truly are. Could I truly say I love my wife, and then she take a month away from home for work and I say "I didn't miss her at all." Or if I were asked where is my wife, and I said, "I'm not sure. We got married and then went our seperate ways. I really love that girl." How can I say I love her if I don't know where she is? If I don't know what makes her happy? If I don't know what she hates or dislikes, or what her favorite color is. Or even the food she is allergic to? Is that love?

Yet we seem to hold God to a different standard. Many of us say we love God, but we don't look for Him. We don't search Him out or find out what makes Him happy. We don't look for what He dislikes or what He wants from us. We simply go to church once in a while, and then the rest of the week we live our lives for ourself. Is that love? Shouldn't someone who claims they love God spend their time trying to make God happy? Making sure that what they are doing is God's will? That every chance they get they can spend a little time with Him. How many of us actually set aside a little time each day just for God? And then actually do it? It's easy to say I'm going to give 10 minutes every morning to prayer and time with God, but then ACTUALLY doing it becomes a chore. It shouldn't seem like a chore, but we get busy with life and start worrying about what we could be doing instead.

Proverbs 23:26 - My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.

Each morning as I begin my devotions, I begin with this small prayer. I think it should be said, or one similar, before beginning any time with God. Bible study, prayer, even sacred silence.

Lord, open my lips to praise your holy name. Cleanse my heart of any worthless, evil or distracting thoughts. Give me the wisdom and love necessary to spend time with you in (prayer, study, thought) with attention, reverence and devotion. Father, let my prayer be heard in your presence, for it is offered through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you say this prayer, say it slowly and reflect what each word means. What it truly means to have your attention on God. What does it truly mean to spend time in reverence? How do you show your devotion to God? Make your prayer time, study time, and all things with God in a manner that truly reflects your love for Him.

What is love?

I cannot say that I love you
Unless I have walked your dreams
Showered in your kisses
Tasted your streams

I cannot say I love you
Till I have rested in your dawn
Your words showered like dew
Your gossling turned swan

I cannot say I love you
Without gazing in your eyes
Swinging backwards my apathy
Flying through your skies

I cannot say I love you
When your heart I don't know
As your distance draws near
My yearning for you grows

I cannot say I love you
And not hang on each word
That from my mouth be proclaimed
My God and My Lord!

I cannot say I love you
Without first being taught
That no great love has man
Than to do what you wrought

I cannot say I love you
Because my love is not perfect
But you can shape me and mold me
Till your love I reflect

I cannot say I love you
If I do not love myself
So I can love my neighbor
Love given from true wealth

I pray God will open each and every persons heart that reads this blog and this poem, and teach them to love Him fully. To open their minds to the acceptance, forgiveness, and love that God is pouring out on them each and everyday. And teach them to love each other as freely, and fully as God loves them. That they will learn to pass on the grace that God has given them, and to encourage a world of peace, a world of love, and a world of the will of God!

In Christ,

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Communion of Saints

I believe in the communion of saints. I know that will make some cringe, and others will wonder what the phrase means. First I want to explain what my understanding of the communion of saints is, and let you know this is what I believe. I believe it because it is biblical. I believe it, because I feel it in my soul.

The communion of saints is not worshipping a saint. Nor is it thinking that a saint by his or her own ability can make things happen for us. It is instead believeing that the body of Christ transcends both time, and death. It's believing that when someone dies in the Lord, he/she reigns with the Lord. They are alive in Heaven with Jesus Christ, in the place He has provided for us. When someone asks a saint to pray for them, it's a beautiful thing. It shows two things, one that they believe that what God said is true! They believe that when we die in the Lord, we live forever! Second, it shows that you think that person is close to God, and can pray for you. That that person lived a wonderful life, and emulated Christ in what they did. The saint doesn't make what you want happen anymore than you praying does, the saint petitions Jesus through prayer just as you do, and prays on your behalf. God does the answering. God decides if you get what you ask for or not.

Saints aren't limited to canonized saints, or even a time period. Your mother or father, grandmother, grandfather, all of them if they were Christian are saints. Which means that you can indeed still talk to your relatives, because they aren't dead. They are still very much alive, and always will be. You can ask Mathew, Mark, Luke and John to pray for you, just as you might send me an email and say Brian, will you pray for me. You can pray for your relatives too. I truly believe that God transcends time and that prayer isn't limited to our lifetime. It's not limited anymore than God is limited, but it has to be His will.

That being said, I truly believe that Mary, the mother of Christ should be a very important figure in our lives. That doesn't mean we should worship her, but we should hold her in a place of honor and learn from her example. What do you mean? Learn from Mary's example? Well I mean that there are lessons to learn from Mary's recorded part in the Bible. I'll go into two of them that really have made a difference in my life.

Luke 1:26 - 38 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledc the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

I don't think there are many left alive who have not heard the story of Jesus birth. But there is a huge lesson to be learned from Mary in her response. An angel came to her and said, God is going to give you a child. Imagine how you would react if a man walked up to you today, and you were a young unwed woman, and said, You're pregnant, with God's baby.

Most of us would freak out. Mary probably was a little bewildered to when she said, "But I'm a virgin, how can I have a child?" Then the angel said, this is God's will. And she responded, simply: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Lesson 1 to learn from Mary - Obedience. Mary didn't say "do you know what this will do to my life? I'm not even married. They'll stone me! How can you do this to me God? Don't you know how this will affect ME? My family!?" No, Mary simply accepted it. She found out it was God's will and she said, I am your servant Lord, do to me as you have said. We should do the same. When God tells us to give money to someone, we shouldn't hold it in our hand arguing over what it will do to our funds. If he tells us to brush someones hair, then we should brush their hair. If he tells you to get on your knees and pray in the middle of a crowded air port, get on your knees and pray. Mary gives us an example of humble obedience. Simply doing what God wants us to do, when he says.

The second lesson I think of when I think of Mary, the Mother of God, is simply this. Mary was the vessel through which God came into the world. Physically. Through her body, Christ was brought into this world. That is our lesson in and of itself. We are the body of Christ. It is through us, not because we are special, not because we have any power, but because God has chosen us to be His vessels, that Christ can come into the world daily. It is our job as the body of Christ to do things. To help the poor. To lift up the broken. To feed the hungry, to nurse the sick. We are to reach out and through our own pain, suffering, and trials edify and lift up our brothers and sisters! We are to bring Christ into the world, no matter what pain, what cost, what inconvenience it may cause to ourselves. Just as Mary humbly accepted, and then delivered the Baby Jesus into this world through her own suffering, sweat and blood.. so should we. We should be willing to shed our sweat, our tears, our blood in order to bring Jesus to others. To deliver His message into this world.

I do not worship Mary, no one is supposed to. But I do hold her in a place of honor. I also learn from her. I learn from her examples in the Bible, and from her humility and meekness. I learn that I am here to bring not my will about, but God's will. I pray that you find this message as beautiful as I do.

In Christ,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A prayer from the Psalms

I found much comfort in the following words today in my prayers, I hope they bring you the same comfort that they brought me.

You once favored, LORD, your land, restored the good fortune of Jacob. You forgave the guilt of your people, pardoned all their sins. Selah You withdrew all your wrath, turned back your burning anger. Restore us once more, God our savior; abandon your wrath against us.

Will you be angry with us forever, drag out your anger for all generations? Please give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you. Show us, LORD, your love; grant us your salvation. I will listen for the word of God; surely the LORD will proclaim peace To his people, to the faithful, to those who trust in him. Near indeed is salvation for the loyal; prosperity will fill our land.

Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven. The LORD will surely grant abundance; our land will yield its increase. Prosperity will march before the Lord, and good fortune will follow behind.

In Christ,

P.S. a little poetry verse for the day, We each walk from a different place, at a different pace, some running as in a race, and others climbing a mountain that they think they cannot face. But in the end we are all going to the same place.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Body of Christ

I don't care what your denomination is,
Or if you believe exactly as I do
For our denomination will not Heaven make
Nor will your works save you.

I don't care if you baptize with a drizzle
Ten, fifty, or a thousand drops
You can use a river or a stream
Full emersion or even a belly flop

Just that you have been baptized
By the water and by the fire
In his precious name born again
That your life edifies and inspires

You can worship at mass or service
Inside a church or in the forest
As long as it is the one true God
Of Abraham, Isaace and Jacob your rest

I'm not interested in converting you
To my particular brand of Christianity
Just that you follow Christ my Lord
And avoid self righteous vanity

You can worship on Saturday or Sunday
Or you can worship every single day
You can preach or sing, dance or shout
Fall out in the spirit, or tongues spout

Just put your faith in Christ,
And give your life to him!
Leaving behind this world
And dying to sin.

Turn your eyes to Heaven,
And sing praise unto our King!
Leave the Winter of death behind
And grow in God's newborn Spring!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A light on a hill, not under a basket.

A few weeks ago at church we had a beautiful fellow come by named Sean. He had a glow in his eye and an excitement about him, that really spoke volumes about this young mans heart. He was carrying around a torch from the special Olympics and eagerly sharing with everyone. The first thing he asked me as I was introduced was, Do you want to hold the torch? He put it in my hands and just smiled. A smile that said it's amazing isn't it?

It was amazing. I've seen the ceremony on tv, but I've never actually thought about it what it must be like to hold that torch. It was heavier than I imagined, and I could still smell the acrid smell of smoke from where the flame once glistened. I thought about what it must be like to carry that torch through the crowd, and to put it on top of the pillar and light the fire for the start of the games. The cheers, the silence, the faces looking up to you. What an honor for this young man, to be the one to do that.

What was even more amazing was his eagerness to share that moment with us! He didn't stand up and say Here is my torch that I carried, look at it. He said here, hold this! He didn't think it something to boast or brag about, but a beautiful moment that he could share with others. A torch not to be put on display out of arrogance or pride, but a humble torch that every person in the room could hold.

We too are carrying a torch. A torch for Christ. We have the ability to show others that torch, to be a light unto the world, not hidden under a basket but proudly displayed for all to see the way. Yet we also should be like Sean. We shouldn't be holding our torch up in front of everyone and saying, look what I have! Look what you do not! Instead we should be saying, look what God has given me freely! Look at this gift that I have the honor and privledge of carrying! Here, you can hold it too! All you have to do it believe! Reach out to Jesus, take hold of Him! And you too can carry this torch!

We should want to share our faith! We should be out actively searching God's face! Not simply looking for things to argue about, or for moments to pick apart because of doctrinal differences. Instead we should be gladly going into a room of people and saying, here is my torch, do you want to hold it?

In Christ,