All posts filed under “Spiritual Reflections

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Of Children and Church

We attend a fairly large church in Minneapolis that has approximately 400+ people.  It’s quite different than the previous church I attended which has 25-30 members.

So ~ it’s no wonder that trying to adapt and fit into a “group” has been challenging, especially when these groups seem so tight knit.

One day it was announced that one of the members of the church was transferring to a smaller church which is closer to where we live. I hadn’t even know it was there ~ a new church plant.

So one day we decided to attend this church just to check it out.

This church plant rents space from another church but signs were visible as to where to go. The greeter was quite friendly and pointed us in the direction we should go along with handing us a church bulletin.

When we arrived at the entry to the sanctuary, there was a Bible study class in session so we decided to wait until that was finished.  That’s when we met the Pastor who was also friendly.  He told us that the church had mailed letters to the surrounding area inviting people to attend and he wasn’t sure why we hadn’t received one.

Soon enough the service started and everything went as planned per the bulletin handed to us.

Right after the closing song was sung, a child of about three came over to where we were sitting and handed me a handmade card.

Child's Handmade Card

Child’s Handmade Card

It brought such a huge smile to my face.

Child's Handmade Card

Child’s Handmade Card

Smaller churches certainly have a more personal feel to them.  Hmmm … wonder if we should continue attending “where everybody knows your name.”

Thoughts?

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Of Judgment & A Roadrunner

New Mexico Roadrunner

New Mexico Roadrunner

This roadrunner looks large, so how can this man hold it in one hand?

Well, as you probably have guessed, he’s not holding it in his hand but the photo is taken as if he was.

This New Mexico Roadrunner Sculpture is actually 20 feet tall and 40 feet long.  It was built by artist Olin Calk back in 1993.

At first glance you can’t really tell what it’s made of, can you?

So, let’s take a closer look …  But, before I show you a picture that has a little more detail, see if you can take a good guess just by looking at the picture below.

Las Cruces, New Mexico Roadrunner

Las Cruces, New Mexico Roadrunner

Are you guessing?

It’s hard to tell from afar, isn’t it?

Let’s take a look at it’s beak ~  what do you see?

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Here’s a closer look at the tail section ~

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

And a few more pictures for you to view this interesting sculpture ~

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

Recycled Roadrunner, New Mexico

From ironing boards, shoes, keyboards and crutches, this roadrunner is made up of a lot of what people would consider junk or garbage.

It reminds me of humanity.  Sometimes we look at people from afar, see them at their best and really want to get to know them.  Once we get closer though, we see that they are made up of the same thing everyone else is made up of ~ basic human needs, put together as best as possible (although in some instances not put together very well at all).

The question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we want to get to know them better in spite of their weaknesses and flaws (recycled lives as it were) or would we rather just drive by and hope we find someone who doesn’t have so much stuff crammed into their life.

It’s not really a tough choice if we remember that we have struggles and flaws also.  Our desire, need and hope is that someone “out there” will give us a second look in spite of all we have been recycled out of ~

Humanity is not always at it’s best (especially the closer you get to someone) ~ that’s a given.  I’m not always at mine either.  Seeing past the outer core of people isn’t easy yet sometimes the best reward is when you dig deeper and are able to experience their (and your own) potential.

” … The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

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A Vision

Sunsest

Sunsest

It’s Friday evening.  My body and mind slow down in preparation for Sabbath.  It used to surprise me that this happened ~ the calmness that occurs as Sabbath draws near. I look forward in anticipation to this rest and can’t imagine life any other way.

Settling into bed as the evening draws on, I choose a Christian playlist on my iPod and wirelessly play the songs on the Bose speaker. Ahhh ~ the sounds of nature.  No words only music.

Turning off the light, I kiss my husband goodnight and wait the 5 minutes it takes for him to fall asleep.

Lying back in bed, I close my eyes and start to silently pray. Everything is dark.

Then it happens. As if I’m watching the beginning of a Star Wars movie, I feel myself being propelled through space. Darkness and movement. I’m moving quickly but I don’t feel afraid.

I see light. Suddenly a man sitting on a throne with a crown on His head is directly in front of me. I can’t make out His features.

Silently I tell myself “This can’t be God for no man has seen God and lived.”

Quickly realization strikes: “It’s Jesus!” my mind says.

And just as quickly as it appeared, the vision disappears.

I close my eyes tighter to see if I can make it reappear but it doesn’t. Then I fall asleep.

The next day I remember what I saw, what I felt.

Oh Jesus ~ the things you do to remind me to keep my eyes on You.

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Prayer

A few months ago (yes, I’m a slow reader), I picked up a book called Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey.

I have to say, this book has a LOT of golden nuggets and I thought that every now and again, I’d share some of them with you.

I’ve often had people ask me “Will you pray for …….?”  I always say yes as I feel prayer is powerful. And yet, in the pit of my stomach, I’ve sometimes wondered if some of my prayers are lost in the air above my head.

It’s not that I don’t believe in God ~ no, not at all. He has expressed Himself to me in so many ways. But sometimes, when prayers don’t appear to be answered, I wonder what happened. Did I lose the connection somehow?

And so … this book was/is quite appropriate for those types of moments in my life.

One of the very first golden nuggets I ran into was something I had never thought of:

There were no closets in Jesus’ day. So ~ why did Jesus (in the King James version of the Bible) instruct us to pray in our closets?

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6

Different versions of the Bible use “go to your room and close the door” or “go away by yourself and close the door behind you.”

The original Hebrew word for closet here means a storage chamber or a secret room. So, the KJV is not quite as accurate as it should be.

Jesus’ main concern here was that people were praying in public to show off. And people can have a tendency to do that when asked to pray publicly. Perhaps they feel pressured to say the “right” words or not to forget to say something.

Sometimes when I’m at church and I hear really long prayers I wonder why they have to be so long and my thoughts trail off into something else.  Has that ever happened to you?

Our prayers should express the relationship we have with God so that it can free us to pray with people and for people. More often than not though, we need to have more one-on-one intimate conversations (prayers) with God as those are the times when our relationship with Him can grow the best.

I find that when I have the radio on in the background, I can’t “hear” God as well as if it’s quiet with absolutely no distractions. What works best for you?

So ~ have you had all of your prayers answered? I know I have even though sometimes it doesn’t “feel” that way.  Yet I’ve learned that we can’t trust our feelings all the time. Sometimes the answer will be no, other times yes and still other times God asks us to wait. But each time, if I’m patient, I know He has made the best decision for me.

So, find your “closet” and pray. He’s definitely listening.

Japanese Garden, MN

Japanese Garden, MN

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Getting To Know Each Other

Surface relationships. Have you ever had one? Are you in one now?

As Christians we sometimes wear masks to appear godly ~ to appear as if we are in control of our own lives.

The trouble with this facade is that people don’t really get to know us and the relationship is dwarfed.

I came across this Scripture in my reading today:

“… because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”  1 Thessalonians 2:8

Paul hits the nail on the head when he embraces a fuller relationship with others.

It’s not enough for us to share the gospel with each other. The real “meat” in a relationship comes when we are able to share our lives with each other thus being able to uplift and encourage and yes, have those belly laughs together.

Weaknesses, strengths, hurts, joys, temptations ~ why do we hide behind facades of joy most of the time?

Our journey on this earth is short. Trust me ~ time truly does appear to fly the older you get.

Don’t be afraid to share who you are.

Just as Jesus accepts us where we are, we too need to accept people where they are and hopefully be accepted in the same way.

Is this risky? Sure ~ you may be hurt if you’re rejected or misunderstood. But what if you’re not?

Food for thought:  “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Let’s try to love ~ truly love ~ and come out from behind our masks.

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Faith and Trust

Five jumbo jets flying in formation.

When I looked at this video it reminded me of our spiritual lives as we “study to show ourselves approved” like the pilots studied to perform this maneuver.

But there are times when we, like the pilots, can’t “see” what’s around us. The pilots heard a voice telling them to “go” and they moved out in faith and trust just as we must do at times.

God is always showing us the way. We just have to listen.

I hope you enjoy the video.

 

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How To Pray

I recently came across an article called Be Yourself in Prayer on the Desiring God Blog and I found it quite refreshing.

Many times I hear people praying in the old English as if they had memorized the King James Version of the Bible. And they probably have as their prayers start with something akin to “O Most High Father in Heaven , thou art …”

How a person prays is a personal matter but I do like the way this article expresses a more simple way to pray as if talking to a friend when moments of silence don’t matter between friends.

I recommend you read the article ~ you’ll truly be blessed.

Be Yourself in Prayer

 

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