Not Natural, Supernatural

Christianity revolves around the supernatural.

At the weekly Bible study that I attend, we have been talking about the Gospel of Matthew. This week we were talking about the, “eye for an eye” and the “love your enemies,” part found in chapter five. I don’t know about you, but I have always found those verses a little tough to swallow.

Is it truly possible to love those who want to harm us? We can try. One of the ladies in our study pointed out that when we fail, we can just keep on trying. But, is that enough? Can we succeed in loving the unloveable by sheer human grit and determination alone?

I don’t think it’s humanly possible. Forgiveness is not in our nature. Thankfulness is not in our nature. Humility is not in our nature. Selflessness is not in our nature. If you don’t believe me, casually observe any two-year-old child. Me, my, and mine are their battle cry. If we look around, we will find many adults aren’t much different.

But, my pastor tossed out a phrase that really stayed with me. “It’s not natural, but supernatural to walk differently.”

Isn’t that at the heart of what we believe?

While revenge may be our natural tendency, we are able and called as Christians, to tap into the supernatural. Jesus said that, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

So, if we truly want to practice forgiveness, love and thankfulness, then we have to more than strive. We have to pray. We have to read the Bible. Those are the practices that allow us access to the supernatural. Those are the practices that set us apart.

We won’t always get it right, but when we walk with Jesus, we ask for forgiveness and we get back up and continue on a little stronger and wiser and a little more at peace. The beauty of our faith journey is that we never finish on this side of Heaven, but we get to draw a little closer to Jesus with each step along the way.

That thought gives me a lot of hope. Maybe you needed some today too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

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A Call to Actively Seek

The same God who called the universe into being, called the tiniest of flowers into being too.

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One, is though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”

Those are wise and deep words spoken by one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. It’s interesting to me that so often, Christians are criticized for our faith because we believe in what we can’t see, yet one of the smartest men who ever lived, believed in God and miracles.

Most of us will acknowledge the big miracles that we often find ourselves praying for, the healing, the deliverance, the redemption, but what about the smaller ones that we so often miss?

What about that friendship that helped us through a really rough time? Do we openly acknowledge that God was planting those seeds of friendship all along because He knew how important they would be down the road?

What about the stray dog or cat that just happens to cross our paths at the right time and ends up being a beloved member of the family who brings endless joy to our lives? Do we acknowledge that God actively put His creature in our path?

What about the job offer that comes out of the blue that feeds your family and your heart?

What about an unexpected call or encounter with an old friend that lifts your spirits?

Are all of those scenarios simply coincidence or is something Divine going on?

What if we all were to actively seek the everyday miracles in our daily lives? What if we were to ask God to show us where He is working, remembering that the God who called the universe into being, also called the daffodils into being.

It’s easy to see Him in the glory of a sunrise, but He’s also in the gentle butterfly. Our chaotic, busy lives, often leave little room for wonder or for seeking. We prefer a God who would speak to us in burning bush moments and huge gestures. He certainly can and sometimes He does.

But, if we honestly seek Him, knowing that He is involved in our lives, we can find Him in the quiet and in the small, making the active choice to live our lives as if everything is a miracle.

A quote from Albert Einstein reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

 

Categories: Choosing to See the Bright Side, Trusting God, Watching for God | 2 Comments

Keeping the Right Focus

When your focus is always right in front of you, you sometimes miss the beauty.

My hubby, my kids and I, have been working on remodeling our deck, since the summer. Being do-it-yourselfers, requires lots of time and patience. Getting any work done requires the weather to cooperate, as well as open schedules, which tend to be rare when you are raising teenagers.

But, lately, we have had spring weather in February, and we have been making loads of progress. Last weekend, we finally got to the point where we could nail new boards down. My hubby was on a roll and spent hours nailing. We worked on Saturday, until we ran out of daylight.

On Sunday morning, before church, he came in with a big smile and asked me if I had walked out on the new boards yet. I told him I had not. He told me it was like being in a tree house and that he hadn’t taken the time to notice and certainly not to appreciate, the scenery, because he had been working so hard and looking down at the nails, the entire time.

I joined him outside and I was impressed.

Looking up, completely changed the scenery.

I thought about our conversation all day long. I thought about how focused we can get on what we are working on. Sometimes it’s a project. Sometimes it’s a problem. Sometimes it’s a goal. Whatever it is, we can put all of our time and energy on getting finished and we miss the beauty along the way.

Sometimes that beauty is actual scenery. Sometimes that beauty is a relationship that needs our attention, whether we are busy are not. Sometimes that beauty is a gentle tap from God, who wants to show us something that we are missing.

Whatever the case may be, I think it’s always important to strive to keep what happens to be driving us at the moment, in some kind of perspective. It’s important to remember what is most important and what will still be important, long after whatever we are focused on, has passed.

A Sunday morning conversation with my hubby reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

 

Categories: Watching for God | Leave a comment

The Light After the Darkness

Sometimes we get to see something amazing after the dark times.

The Bible study that my hubby and I attend, recently focused on the temptation of Jesus, out in the wilderness, found in Matthew. There are certain aspects of that account, that always jump out at me.

One is that Satan doesn’t even go after Jesus until He’s at His weakest, nothing to eat for forty days. I mean, let’s face it, most of us get cranky when we have to do fasting blood work. The first thing he tries to get Jesus to do is to turn rocks into bread and alleviate His suffering.

I think that scenario is true for many of us. We are often not tempted to sin when everything is going well, but when we are tired, in pain, lonely, or desperate for relief, that’s when we can become targets. I always find the temptation story an important reminder that Jesus, Himself was tempted, so He gets it when we are too. But, that’s also when we can cling tightly to, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

My pastor put a new angle on the account that I hadn’t thought of before. He pointed out that the angels didn’t appear to help, that the supernatural didn’t enter into the fray, until Jesus resisted the temptation on His own. We don’t find the angels attending to Him until He tells the devil, “no.”

My pastor asked us if we had ever found ourselves in a dark situation and wondered if God was really there. Was God really listening? Did He even care?

These questions gave me some serious food for thought.

I can say in my own faith walk that there have been times when God has seemed silent, times when I desperately wanted answers and none seemed to come.

As I look back on those times, I can see that God used them to grow my faith. Do we believe that God is at work when all seems lost? Do we believe that He walks with us when we are at our lowest? Do we believe that He’s present when we see no evidence of it?

When we can answer that question with a yes, our faith grows, which is what it is supposed to do. We can tell our children all day long that they can ride a bike without training wheels, but at some point, we have to let go so they can see for themselves. After they complete that ride, we celebrate with them with some major pride and joy.

Maybe our faith walk is the same. Maybe from time-to-time, God lets go so that we can see how much He has taught us and how much we have grown. Β Like any good father, He’s close by and afterwards, He celebrates with us and shows us something new and special that we couldn’t have possibly understood or appreciated Β without the struggle.

That little nugget just happened to be something I needed to wrap my heart and mind around. Perhaps you needed to as well.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

Categories: Biblical Wisdom, Building Christian Character, Trusting God | Leave a comment

Soaking Up Blessings

My kids have today off for a winter break. I really have no idea why, but I’m super thankful for an extra day to spend with them. I’ve learned in my faith walk to just give thanks when blessings happen, even when they don’t make sense. I am taking the opportunity to soak up every moment with them, so I don’t have an official post today. I hope that you have a great day and that you seek to see God somewhere today and that you seek to show His love to others somewhere today. I hope to meet you back here soon.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

 

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Prepare the Way

What do we need to do to prepare the way?

My hubby and I have been attending a Bible study at our church. This one is focusing on the close relationship between the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.

It’s fascinating stuff. When we are able to look back across centuries and see how God weaves His plan throughout history. There’s no way the people living it could see it at the time, but God was at work.

When Isaiah was talking about, preparing the way of the Lord, “Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain,” the people of the time had no way of knowing that he was talking about John the Baptist who would point to Jesus.

In our study, we talked about how we can prepare our hearts for the Lord. What valleys do we find ourselves in that keep us from Jesus? Are they valleys of despair or depression? Are they valleys of guilt? Are they valleys of feeling not good enough? Maybe the valleys are filled with pain.

The Bible says that those valleys will be raised.

What about our mountains? What blocks our path to Jesus? What hinders us? Is it our busyness? Is it pride? Is it anger? Maybe we have been hurt by people of Β the church before and just refuse to trust.

The Bible says those mountains will be made low.

The rough and rugged ground may be things that trip us up in our walk. These are things that might interfere with our best intentions. They could be simple things like fatigue or excuses. We have every intention of attending worship services or reading our Bibles, but something always comes up to keep us from it.

The Bible says the rough ground shall become level and the rugged places plain.

It’s amazing how words written thousands of years ago can speak so clearly today and be so timely. When we give our hearts to Jesus, when we surrender our hearts to Jesus, He raises up or lowers, or smooths out. He does whatever heart work that needs to be done.

He did all of that through the cross and because of that sacrifice, He prepared a way for us to be with God. So, now the question becomes what do we need to do to prepare our hearts?

It’s never too late. A Bible study reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

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Super Bowl Revelations

Prayer can unite.

Last Sunday night, the world was treated to Super Bowl 51. The entire state of Georgia was atwitter with the possibility of the Falcons winning a Super Bowl. Schools all over the state had Falcons Day. Offices across the state encouraged their employees to dress in Falcons garb. There were even churches who got in on Falcons fever.

The first half was fantastic as the Falcons looked unstoppable. But, alas, the Patriots made the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history and walked away victorious.

I always enjoy the pomp and circumstance of a game that is so uniquely American. Ever since my Daddy and I watched the Chicago Bears do the Super Bowl Shuffle in 1985, I have been hooked. I rarely care about which team wins. It’s just usually fun to watch. Even the commercials are entertaining.

This year was a little different for me. I really wanted Georgia’s home team to win and they didn’t. I was also disappointed by, for the most part, with the less than entertaining commercials. But, there were other events last Sunday, that I will always remember.

When former President Bush and his wife Barbara, came onto the field in a wheelchair and a golf cart and the crowd went wild, I was proud to be an American. When President Bush tossed the coin and the crowd went wild, I fought back tears and when members of both teams shook the former president’s hand, I could feel unity, even though the teams were opponents.

I saw every member of each team stand for the National Anthem and I could feel unity.

At half-time, when Lady Gaga took the stage, I held my breath. Honestly, I have never been a very big fan of hers and lately, members of Hollywood have made it their business to preach their views rather than to entertain. Gaga had a choice to make and she could have gone either way. Would she use the biggest moment of her life to unite or divide?

She began with classic patriotic songs, “Good Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land,” and then actually recited part of the Pledge of Allegiance including the lately controversial part, one nation under God, and then she entertained. She did a few things that showed her idea of the importance of inclusion, but she made a choice to unite and not divide.

I could feel unity.

As divided as we have been, there have been many prayer warriors, praying for peace and unity. I feel that I was blessed to get a glimpse of the fruition of some of those prayers on Super Bowl Sunday. Although the game did not turn out as I had hoped, there are aspects of that game that will stay as close to my heart and as alive in my memory as the Super Bowl Shuffle has for all of those years.

May we all remember that we are one nation under God and may we all strive to stay that way. The Super Bowl reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy

Categories: Building Christian Character | Leave a comment

He’s in the In-Between Too

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I have always found February to be a particularly tiring month. Christmas has come and gone. The idea of a brand new year has worn off. It’s cold outside. I struggle with an exercise routine. There’s nothing new on the horizon at the moment. Spring is a couple of months away and I’m tired.

My daughter and I have been discussing graduation and college orientation dates, but she’s still stuck in the doldrums of her high school schedule and all of the stress that it entails. She’s tired.

This time of year is one of those in-between times. The trees are bare and the earth is asleep. Intellectually, we know spring is coming, but it seems far away.

Life can get like that too. Sometimes we find ourselves trudging through day after day, with no excitement and no big plans. We feel like tomorrow will be just another repeat of today. There’s nothing tragic going on, but nothing exciting either.

We may yearn for change. We may pray for change and yet, we find ourselves wandering from day-to-day. We wonder if God hears us or if He can even use us anymore. Is He done with us?

The Bible is full of people in similar predicaments. Joseph was stuck in Egypt as a slave or a prisoner for thirteen years before God delivered him. Moses was a simple shepherd for around forty years before the burning bush incident when God called him to lead the Israelites out of captivity. After David was anointed by Samuel to become the king of Israel, it would be around twenty years before he actually became the king.

One of the most amazing things about the Bible, is that it is filled with imperfect people who can give us hope. When we read the stories of the people in it, we find flawed humans like ourselves, who often spend a lot of time in-between. Some of them were promised big things and had to wait. Some of them never even dreamed of being used by God in big ways. Some of them simply lived simple lives that were disrupted by something huge.

Whatever the individual case is, we can always see God at work in their stories. We can see Him arranging things in ways that would be impossible for them to have ever imagined, much less created on their own. All He required is faithfulness and obedience, a willingness to be used.

And so it is with us today. No matter where we are in our journey, whether we are at the top of our game, or in a pit, or just stuck in the in-between, if we woke up today, God is not done with us. He has a plan. He is at work.

If we need a reminder, we can crack open a Bible. It’s full of them. A cold and dreary February day reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

Categories: Building Christian Character | 2 Comments

Conversational Prayer

Returning to God in prayer is always a good choice.

There’s a mama with children at our school who speaks almost no English. She doesn’t come into the office very often, but when she does, I try desperately to communicate with her. I took five Spanish courses in college, and at one point, I was fairly conversational, but that was when I was speaking it often.

It’s been well over twenty years since college and I have rarely spoken Spanish. To say my skills are rusty, is a major understatement and it frustrates me when I need them. The mama that comes into our office, always smiles patiently as I search for the right words to communicate with her and thanks to Google, we usually get it figured out.

After she came in a couple of days ago, I thought about how very important communication is across all of our relationships. Strong communication can save partnerships, friendships and marriages. Poor communication can break them.

Our communication with God, is equally important on our faith journey. If we never talk to God and never pause to listen, how can we possibly learn what His plan is for us?

If we never pray, how can we expect our prayers to be answered?

I think that prayer can become particularly tricky, when we have allowed ourselves to stray away from talking with God for long stretches of time, whatever the reason may be. Just like my rusty Spanish skills, we find ourselves feeling awkward as we try to communicate.

Thankfully, God doesn’t need Google Translate to understand our needs or are hearts. The Bible tells us that He knows our needs before we even ask. Just like that sweet mama, in my office, He patiently waits as we struggle for the words. He doesn’t get frustrated when we try.

The beautiful truth is that the more we try to talk to God, the better we get at it and with every effort, He draws us in a little closer to Him, which is where He has wanted us to be all along. Unlike my Spanish skills, we can get comfortable with prayer quickly.

The more we pray, the more peace we feel. There’s never a situation that can’t be helped with prayer. It’s never too late to pray. Our prayer skills are never too rusty for God to understand and we are never too far gone to reach out for Him.

A clumsy attempt at speaking Spanish reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

Categories: Building Christian Character | Leave a comment

Choosing Peace

Living in peace is a choice.

Lately our world has been very chaotic. It’s as if somehow the spirit of division and unrest has picked up a megaphone and refused to be silenced. Peace seems like a far away dream at the moment and it is, if we focus on the earthly battles raging 24/7 on our televisions.

But, what if our focus was elsewhere? What if we weren’t focused on electronic media? What if we weren’t focused on the here and now? What if we chose to believe that all of the chaos is a smoke screen delivered by an enemy who wants us to have anything but peace?

Jesus told His disciples that, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10

What if we are allowing Satan to steal our peace?

If our peace comes from knowing Jesus, then earthly chaos can’t take it from us. If we become sick, we stay at peace, because we know God has a plan and that we are travelers here. In the end, when our bodies eventually die, our souls go home to glory.

If we see storms blowing all around us, we stay at peace because we know that God loves us and will use us in any situation to draw us closer to Him and bring Him glory. Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians? Isn’t that what Jesus taught during His entire ministry?

“Not my will, but yours;” could possibly be the toughest phrase for any human being ever to utter. It goes against every bit of our nature, but yet, it led Jonah to help save the people of Nineveh. It led Moses to lead the people of Israel out of captivity. It led Christ to the cross that would save us all.

Jesus told His disciples that He offered a different kind of peace, a peace that they could always hold on to and trust.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we truly believe His words were true. Do we believe that Jesus calls us to live in peace and without fear? This may take a little soul searching because if the answer is yes, then buying into any kind of panic and chaos is contrary to our faith.

So maybe we should ask ourselves what is it we believe, and then make a choice.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy πŸ™‚

 

Categories: Biblical Wisdom, Building Christian Character | 2 Comments