Monday, August 29, 2011

Lightning

While we were camping last weekend on Saturday night there was a fabulous electrical storm. I could tell that there was a storm brewing earlier in the evening so I had gotten up and put everything that couldn't get wet away. When it first started to hit, our youth and a few adults went to the top of Mt. Harrison lookout to watch the storm. Jason and I stayed behind at our campsite. We had a fire going so we did not want to leave it unattended. At first we saw a few strikes followed a few moments later by a loud crash of thunder. We oohed and awed over the fantastic light show. Then one gigantic flash of lightning happened with a thunderous boom. It was so loud and happened so sunddenly that I reached out and grabbed my husband and yelped. We decided that we had better go to the truck and watch the show from a safe location. Then came the down pour. More crashes then just as fast as it started it ended. I could see another set of clouds coming quickly. We took advantage of the break in weather to run to our tent. The lightning was even more fierce in the next storm. It was too close for comfort. One strike was so loud and bright that we could see the whole forrest from the inside of our tent! WOW!

The next day we all gathered outside. We had heard that some did not wait out the storm but left for home. The majority stayed. The youth talked about how awesome the light show was from the observatory. We all talked about how some of the strikes were way too close.

I realized at how there are a some similarities between lightning and God. Lightning is so cool at a distance. We know that it is powerful and enjoy a good electrical storm every now and then but if it gets too close it makes us uncomfortable. Some people even leave the area when it gets too close.

What about God? He is powerful. We love his power and his demonstrations of power as long as He is showing his lovie dovie side but oh how we all hate discipline especially when it becomes close and personal! He makes some of us so uncomfortable because we don't want for Him to address certain areas of our lives or to put it simply we don't want to change. When God shines the bright light in those areas of sin in our lives we back away or distance ourselves from the source of power. Are you someone who runs away from God when He gets too close? What do you do when you start to feel uncomfortable? He is the safe place. What will you do when He shines His brillant light into the dark places? Even when He is exposing something that you thought that you had hidden or feel as though your world is being shaken apart run to Him! Don't run away, don't go and hide. He will walk with you. He loves you. He desires great things for you. Don't be afraid...press in.

Pressing in,

Shanin

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tom...the Believer and Follower of Christ

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24-29 NIV


You know, I think that Thomas gets a bum rap in the christian world. He is known as "Doubting Thomas." When I read this passage what I think is that Thomas is just human. As a matter of fact let's call him Tom. Now think about it, Tom, was one of the twelve disciples. So he was one of Jesus' friends/followers. He knew that Jesus, his friend, was crucified and died a horrible death. He probably knew that they were not on the top twelve of the most popular people list either. One day his friends said that Jesus came and visited them and he wasn't dead afterall.

Okay...wait a minute...if you knew that someone was dead and you knew where he was burried (totally dead) wouldn't you be a little skeptical? I know that I would probably think, "Wow, their grief has driven them a bit crazy! They must have seen a guy who looks like Christ because I know that he is dead! I was there!" Or could it be an imposter trying to find all of the remaining twelve to cash in on a little reward money? But alive? No way, not unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side!"

Who could blame the poor guy? And how many times have you said, "Not unless I see it myself with my own eyes will I believe such in such."

But Jesus knew. He knew Tom. Jesus came and told Tom to reach right in my nail scars and touch me...believe me...it's true! I am really here! Jesus actually said, "Stop doubting and believe.” But I think that Jesus gave Tom what He knew that Tom needed. Jesus gave Tom the confirmation that yes, indeed, it is true...I have risen from the dead...it really is ME! Jesus was gracious to Tom. There have been so many people who refer to Doubting Thomas in a negative connatation but I am wondering if those very same people wouldn't have done the same thing if they were in that situation? But Jesus loved Tom enough to provide the exact evidence, of what Tom needed, to believe in Him.

After Tom touched the nail scarred hands, he immediately knew that it was true. He believed! He exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"

Then scripture says in vs. 29 that Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We are blessed! We have never seen Jesus in the flesh and we believe! Yippy! But I am here to tell you that even if we haven't seen Jesus in the flesh we have seen glimpses of Him. We have seen miraculous provision and miracles. We have seen His love displayed through others. I am truly blessed in so many ways. Jesus knows our needs and meets those very needs. He "knows" us by name. And I am truly thankful that He doesn't know me by "Doubting Shanin." He knows me by the name of Shanin, Daughter of the Most High. You noticed He never called Tom "Doubting Thomas." He didn't label or define him by that one moment or action. His name was Thomas, one of the twelve, His friend and follower of Christ. Thomas the believer :)

The world will label you. The enemy will try and tell you that you are a doubter, you are ineffective, a loser but our Father says that you are a son or daughter of Christ! You are victorious through Him. So proudly claim what He has provided for you, salvation, the crown of righteousness. Don't let people label you a doubting Suzy or John. You are a child of the King!

Shanin
Daughter of the King of kings



Monday, August 15, 2011

Whatever You Do, Do It With All Of Your Heart!

This past weekend it was our turn to clean the church. There have been times when it was our turn to clean that I let out a sigh...you know the sigh...the one that says that you wished that you didn't have to clean that big building! Well, I was cleaning the kitchen, doing the dishes. I was thinking to myself about how many dishes there were to do this week and I would have to go home and clean my own mess. Then I actually listened to myself think these thoughts.

I got to thinking about how I should change my attitude. I started worshipping as I was wiping the tables in the fellowship hall. I was singing my lungs out, (which for those of you who know me knows that this is not an uncommon thing for me to do), and the Lord started speaking to my heart. I repented about my attitude. I then realized what a privilege it was to clean GOD'S HOUSE. Not just a church building but the place where GOD'S PEOPLE come to worship Him! I started thinking about the Levites in the temple. They were in charge of caring for the temple. What an important job yet today we look at it as an nuisance something that many "do not have time to do." What a blessing that they are missing out on! I then used that time to worship and pray for God's people. I had time to pray for our city, our school, our government. What started out as a chore to get out of the way for my day, turned out to be a blessing to me!Not only did my heart change but my cleaning changed! I didn't want to do "just what was necessary" but I wanted to clean it really good because I was cleaning GOD'S HOUSE!

Then I got to thinking about my life. If I did everything that I do with the same heart reflections as I had when cleaning God's House yesterday, how much better my life would be? So I have challenged myself to try to maintain that heart attitude and look at everything that I do as doing it for the Lord. I know that we all say that we "should" do this but how many of us really do? So I hope that this gives you some motivation to examine your everyday life. Do you do everything as an act of worship unto the Lord?

Col 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.

So whatever you do, do it with all of your heart!

Shanin

Friday, August 12, 2011

Apricots

This week, behind my place of employment, I found that the apricot tree had broke in half from being so overloaded with fruit! The landlord told us that we could pick all of the fruit that we wanted because he was going to just take it and burn it. So I picked a whole box of apricots. Earlier in the day I asked the Lord to help me with a cool craft for the kids. I then had the idea of making apricot freezer jam for our craft. I would tell them the story about the tree and link it to the bible story of burning the trees that are not fruitful. We are known by our fruit. I told them how the apricot tree was not going to be able to provide fruit any longer because that part would die. The whole time we were outside cutting the fruit up and preparing it for jam. We also talked about our orphanage in Uganda. The kids have such a heart for the kids in Uganda at Cornerstone. Then one of the kids popped up and said, "Could we send our jam to Uganda to the kids?" I explained that we couldn't mail the freezer jam but that we could sell the jam and send the money to help them in Uganda. They were so excited! They had a way to help. Our youth group did a car wash but our kids are going to sell the yummy jam that they made with their own clean hands.

The great commission says to Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every living creature. We believe that our kids can be a part of that vision now, before they are grown up. And not only do they write letters to the Cornerstone Kids and pray for them but they have found a way to make money to contribute too. I am so proud of our kids. They have a ministry!

I am thankful that God provided us with apricots! I am thankful that He gave me the craft idea that launched this endeavor. I am thankful for Laurie Dickerson who was obediant to the Lord to move to Uganda and started The Cornerstone Orphanage. I am thankful for kids who are not so consumed by themselves but know that they can be world changers for the Lord not someday but now. I am so thankful that God gives me the honor of teaching these wonderful kids and for the parents that bring them to church. I am thankful for the team that teaches with me. What a big help! The list could go on and on but for now I will just end it with this. Thank You Jesus for apricots and kids that are bearing Your Fruit :)

Loving the Fruits!

Shanin

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From Generation to Generation

This weekend is my 30th year reunion for my highschool class. I am exicted to see old classmates and friends. Just going back to our old stomping grounds is exciting in itself. Of course I won't have enough time to do everything or see everyone but it will still be a lot of fun.

In preparation for this event I have pulled out a couple of our year books trying to jog the old memory. It has been fun to be reminded of people that I haven't seen in years. But I think one of the things that I am most excited about is seeing our friends, Dan and Linda Jackson. We will be staying with them.

We have a great history with Dan and Linda. When I was a little girl Linda taught me in Sunday School. Then when Jason and I grew up and we were married we taught their boys. Whenever we needed to talk to anyone safe they would be who we would think of and call. I have to smile because Dan and Linda have been such great mentors to us. I love it because whenever we do get to stay with them Linda always says to Dan, "Honey the kids are coming home!" I love the feeling of having someplace safe with great memories to go home to. Are we related to Dan and Linda? We are in Christ. They really are a part of our family. We are so blessed. What a great legacy Dan and Linda has shown us.

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; Psa. 78:4-7


May we continue this blessing for many generations. Increasing our borders and the size of our families! From generation to generation sharing the love and testimony of Jesus. Telling our children of His faithfulness to all generations. Thank you Dan and Linda for loving, and teaching us. Thanks for having us over for all of those yummy dinners and evenings of games and laughs. Thanks for teaching us the practical things of life like couponing and how the store sale ads work :) Thanks for being faithful to God even when it was hard. You mean so very much to us.

Shanin

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rule Breaker

John 5:1-14 NIV
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.


I am a rule follower. I like the rules overall. If I am honest, they comfort me. But Jesus was a rule breaker, in a good way. He didn't let the "rules" confine him into a box. I think that sometimes we, as christians, let the rules confine God into a box. He is way bigger than a box! The Pharasees missed the whole blessing of that miraculous healing simply because Jesus broke "the rules" and healed the man on the Sabbath.

How often do we miss something miraculous that Jesus could do for us because we have confined ourselves or Him to the rules? I have seen God heal people that should have never walked again or by, human limitations, was to never to see again but He did it. He is GOD. He can do anything! We need to get over ourselves and step out of our box and trust Him. Let Him be God in our lives. Look for that miracle, look for the impossible. Do not let self-pity or arrogance take over and say, "He would never do that for you (me)." He would love to do more for us if we would just make room for Him in our lives! That crippled man was so desperate. He didn't tell Jesus to not heal him because it was the Sabbath and it was against the law. He got up and walked! Jesus told him to get up and he did!

So let's let God be God. Let's trust Him and look for his greatness everywhere. Do not limit His movement in your lives. Trust Him! Don't be a pharasee and miss out on something miraculous!

Be a righteous rule breaker,


Shanin