Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, December 31, 2007

"What must I do to be lost?"

Often in blogworld we share great sermons we have heard recently. Being the minister's wife, I am perhaps a bit biased --in that I think every sermon I hear is a great one! But last week, Ned gave a lesson that really touched my heart. Its message has crossed my mind several times since then and I just thought I would share it with y'all.
He began with the title question: "what must I do to be lost?" Kinda catchy, huh? ------a phraseology that sounds so familiar and yet so strange. We are used to our verses, one of which is "what I must I do to be saved?", right? So Ned begins with the question and a reminder that everyone in attendance knows what to do to be saved but few of us think about what it takes to be lost. The answer to the question is simple: "nothing". Absolutely nothing! When your conscience is pricked and you know you have a sin problem, just do nothing! When you have sinned against your brother and know you need his forgiveness, do nothing! When you have tinkered with sin and find it beginning to snowball on you, well you know what to do--right? Yep, nothing! When you are in a situation that is uncomfortable because of the language or the content or the people, just stand there, you don't have to say anything or do anything, just stand there. When you know that you have been a fake Christian, presenting yourself to others as one with high values and high standards, and yet your heart is dark with sin, your thoughts polluted with the evils of the world, your speech tainted with gossip and sarcastic barbs, don't change! When you know that you should repent, should confess, should put on Christ in baptism but feel you have some wild oats yet to sow, just do nothing. When you agree with your minister or teacher that you should pray more and you should spend more time in the Word, don't do it!
When you see someone in need, just ignore them, after all someone else will take care of them.
I am sure you get the point of the message--what must I do to be lost? Nothing. But then don't you just have to ask---------who wants to be lost?


Thursday, December 27, 2007


This morning I watched with interest as the news reported that a former Pakistani Prime Minister had been assassinated, that one of the persons killed by the tiger at San Fransisco zoo had climbed up on the fence and tormented the animal, and that a young Washington woman and her boyfriend had killed their family on Christmas Day. What a change from the news of the past few days, news of carolers, light contests, best ideas for Christmas gifts, and holiday greetings from soldiers in Iraq. It seems the "holiday" spirit has been quickly replaced by the same old violence, murder and tales of stupidity. The good news, the holiday spirit, seems to have been nothing more than an interlude.
The Israelites had many such interludes. There were times of great persecution, times in captivity, times away from their God, times that I am sure, seemed to last forever. Those times were interrupted by times of prayer and sacrifice, times of repentance and return to God. Unfortunately those times were simply short interruptions, brief interludes.
It seems to me that our society shares a similar experience. Most of the time, most of us are mostly concerned with ourselves, what we do, what we have, how we look and how we can get more. But there are times, times of tragedy or traditional times when we, as a prominently Judeo-Christian society, turn to God for a short time. Times like the 9-11 bombing when we as a nation prayed together, times like tornadoes and storms and fires when we as a society look to God, if only for a moment. Then there are times like the "holy" days, Christmas, Easter, etc, when as a country many sing of God, talk about His Son and for just that season seem to have a more spiritual focus. And so several times a year, we participated in a short spiritual interruption of our lives, lives fraught with snippets of spirituality, brief spiritual interludes.
I am glad we live in a world that has not completely forgotten about the King of Kings, the Creator of heaven and earth. I am glad we turn to Him when our hearts are heavy and our needs are great. But I wonder how we can make the interludes longer and longer until they become who we are instead of what we do? How can we increase the amount of time we think on spiritual things? How much time should Christians spend thinking about God? Shouldn't our faith be more than an interruption in our routine? I am sure for some, even the scheduled worship times are nothing more than necessary interludes, but isn't that sad? What can we as the Lord's people do to make God foremost in our thoughts?
I am convinced that until He is more than a brief interlude in our lives, He cannot be Lord! He will not be King of our hearts if He has to make an appointment to sit on the throne! There is no place in the Word that reminds us to have a sporadic faith--nowhere.
So now that another spiritual interlude has passed, I pray that we, we--God's people, will live, speak, act in manners that example to the world that God is more than interlude with us--That He is the source of all that we are, it is in Him we breathe, we act, we love and we live. His presence in our lives is not fleeting for He is not a guest in our hearts--this is where He lives!

Friday, December 21, 2007

What Would Jesus Think of Christmas?

I love this time of year! I love the snow, the music, the food, and the idea that so many people are thinking or talking or singing about Jesus Christ. Having been raised in the Church, I have heard countless sermons and arguments about whether or not this is the true birthday of the Messiah, discussions about whether we should even celebrate His birth since it is in His death and resurrection that we have life. I have witnessed heated debates about the paganism that surrounds the Christmas tree, about the commercialism that tends to make this holiday more and more materialistic and earthly, and about the hypocrisy that those who have lived purely decadent and self-serving lives all year are now thinking about and professing a belief in Jesus.
I have to tell you how tired I am of all of this! Aren't you sick of it? Just a little bit?
I have been wondering what Jesus would think of Christmas? If He came to walk among us, if He took an opportunity to visit us in person from December 15th to January 2nd, what thoughts would He have? Do you think He would turn over the gift wrapping booths and upset the decorated trees? Would He walk through town destroying the nativity scenes? Would He preach on the street corners, loudly proclaiming this was not His birthday, chastising those who were singing about Him? Would He command there be no "Christmas sermons"? Would He shake His head at our lights and decorations? Would He encourage us all to boycott school Christmas programs where children sing of His birth? Would He expound for hours on the evils of Christmas carols and the faulty thinking behind the holiday? Would He go on Fox News and tell the whole world how this is not a day to celebrate, but only a pagan holiday and should be like any other day. Would He tell us not to give each other gifts, not to take a day off work to spend with our families, and not to even make the effort for such a day? Or would He just sadly shake His head and walk about, then return to Heaven, deciding He'd just had enough of us?
I don't know what Jesus would think of Christmas, but I think He would be glad that so many are thinking about Him. I think He would see the Christmas spirit as an opportunity to teach the gospel message. Perhaps He would be happy that we do not work, but rather spend the day with our families, giving heartfelt gifts. Maybe it would also bring Him great pleasure to see families getting along, to see them laughing and eating and fellowshipping together. Perhaps He would smile as He watched His people revel in the peace that is but one day, precious! Maybe He would tell us about all the gifts His Father gives and how He loves us, not just one day but everyday! Perhaps He would remind us that although we may think of Him but once or twice a year, He has been thinking about us for all eternity! Perhaps, just perhaps, He would tell us that the joy and the beauty of this season will pale in comparison to the joy we will have when He comes again and the beauty of our heavenly home! Maybe He would tell us that what He wants for Christmas is the same thing He wants everyday----our hearts and our souls. And then maybe, just maybe we would grow to truly understand the gift that is "Immanuel".


Monday, December 17, 2007

"A History of Integrity"

Last week, as I tracked the upcoming storm via TV news, I noticed everyone seemed to be anxiously waiting to share the findings of "The Mitchell Report". While I don't watch baseball and have not really kept abreast of the investigation into the use of anabolic steroids, obviously many others are very interested. And so I listened to the list of names, (I think I recognized five of them) and I listened as sportscasters predicted the effect this report would have on the sport. Each "expert" had a different opinion, which didn't surprise me in the least. What did surprise me is that not one of them (the ones I saw anyway) doubted the validity of the report. In fact several times I heard different ones say that Senator Mitchell was chosen because of his "history of integrity".
What a powerful testimony! I don't know Mr. Mitchell, nor do I know anything of him. All I know is that those in the media who are always so quick to report faults and dishonesty have made statements regarding this man's integrity. Evidently this man is honest enough that he has consistently behaved truthfully. It isn't that he just told the truth once or twice, it seems to be a habit with him. That is amazing! I began to wonder how many of us would gain the same testimony?
Could people look back at our lives and say that we adhered to our principles? Could they say that we did not practice situational ethics? Could they? Let me get one thing straight, I don't believe that George Mitchell is perfect, that he has never made a mistake, or a bad decision. But, I do believe it says a lot for his character that his "history" is one of personal integrity. That gives him credibility! That gives his words power and validity!
God says, "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes the crooked path will be found out." (Proverbs 10:9) This man of integrity, the man who walks upright, is the man God promises to bless, to guide, to govern. The man who keeps his integrity intact in all situations is obviously a man who lives by an unchanging standard---ahhh . . . I know all you preachers are already thinking, "hey, I have preached that before"--- (grin). In a society with ever changing standards, integrity has become a very rare commodity. One of the definitions of integrity uses the phrase, "steadfast adherence to a definite set of moral values". We live in a world where very few things are "definite". God's standards are! They do not change. What He expected two thousand years ago is what He expects in 2007 and what He will expect in 2008. And those who are "walking in the light" are those who are consistently building a "history of integrity".
When I look back on my entire life, I know that my history is less than stellar. But isn't that what the blood of Christ is all about? Isn't it about taking our past and purifying our present? Isn't it about a chance to create or allow Him to create a history for us? Praise God for His patient sacrifice, for His unchanging standard and for His gift of second chance! May we all begin today working on our "history", so that as we share the gospel message, our words have credibility, they are valid because we are the kind of person who is trusted, all because of we have a "history of integrity".


Friday, December 14, 2007

Mulling . . . . . . .

I am reading a new book called "Portrait of God" by Fank Chesser. I am not very far into the book but have been struck by Mr. Chesser's rich language. I find I am reading and then needing to stop and mull some of the thoughts over in my head. So today, I am mulling over this thought:
"Obedience is love moving faith to embrace grace and appropriate its provisions to one's soul"

Hmmmmmm. . . . . .
What do you think of this?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Posturing At The Pool

I have always liked the story of the healing of the paralytic in John 5. The text tells us that somewhere in Jerusalem there was a pool called "Bethesda". It was around this pool those who were blind, lame, ill, came for healing. The writer tells us that occasionally an angel of God would come and stir the waters and the first one into the pool would be cured. Because of its use by God to heal, people gathered around this pool, watching, waiting, and hoping for a healing. The story tells us that there was an invalid, a man paralyzed for 38 years. He is asked by the Messiah why he has not been made well, to which the man replies that he has no one to help him into the pool and since he is unable to reach it by himself, he remains paralyzed. Of course, our Jesus heals him!
Since history tells us that this was a very busy pool, this pool of Bethesda, I have often wondered why someone didn't help this poor incapacitated man into the water? Surely there were people around the pool, people who were there for healing, to be sure, but what about loved ones, family members, curious onlookers? Surely there were others there. Why did no one help this man? Were they too lazy? Did they simply enjoy standing by and watching the chaotic race to the water? Had they decided in their own mind who should and who should not receive healing? Or did they sit and sun themselves selfishly basking in the gift of their own healing?
I began to think about those of us who have come to know healing. We came into contact with the power of the Lord in the waters of baptism and now we, we know health, we know wholeness. But, we are surrounded by those who are spiritually ill, disabled and in dire need of healing. Our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, some of them are dying. They feel bad every single day. Their lives are lives of spiritual void and pain. They long for healing. Some of them look other places, in new age faith, in prescription medications, in self-help books, or other places, some illicit. Some of them just need some help getting to the healing Water. (John 4:10)
Friends, I don't know why we aren't bringing the sick to the One who can heal. I don't know why we aren't taking the blind by the hand and leading them to the Giver of sight. I don't know why we aren't carrying the lame to the One who can give their feet the ability to "dance in the light". But, I do know if we are content to let those around us perish, if we keep ourselves busy so we can pretend we don't notice them, if we have decided they just don't deserve to be healed, then we should repent! I know that those who are healed are the greatest testaments to those who need healing. I believe we are responsible for the souls perishing all around us. It is not enough that we "look" like Christians. (After all, things are not always as they appear). We must behave like Christians, we must do what Christians do, not to prove anything but simply because we are Christians. We are healed! We are whole! We have access to what those debilitated by sin only hope for! Isn't it time, we brought the sick to the Water, and stopped merely posturing by the pool?


Monday, December 10, 2007

A Taste Of The Golden Calf

Exodus 32:7-8
"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go down, because your people whom you have brought up out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it."
Exodus 32:19-20"When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it into powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it."

As I read this story again, I began to think about the Israelites and their inability to worship but one God. In our Sunday morning lesson yesterday, we talked about the Ten Commandments, focusing on the first. Exodus 20:1-3 says "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods besides me." We discussed how flippantly our society throws that word, "god" around. We talked about what makes something a "god" and I began to think that the two things that make something or someone a "god" are 1) inherent unnatural power and 2) worshippers. The word, "worship" is defined as paying homage to, feelings of profound love and admiration, loving uncritically, unquestioningly, to excess. Wow! Do those words strike any chords in your heart? They do in mine and when I began to think about it, I started wondering if Moses came down from this interaction with God, if he saw the way we lived now . . . well I wonder how work, money, power, sex, sports, entertainment, internet, television, ---------well, I wonder how they would taste? Idol, anyone?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thoughts on Being Dirt

Have you ever felt like you were not important to anyone? Ever thought that no matter what you did, nothing would be good enough? Ever knew, just knew, in your heart that everyone else was better than you . . . and they all knew it? Ever felt like dirt?
Most of us have had times in our lives when our self-esteem plummeted, when our sense of self-worth abandoned us and left us feeling useless. During those times, we feel like we don't deserve the love of our family, that while we were blessed to get them, our relationship was simply a cross they must bear. Or perhaps we feel like we can never ever live up to the expectations of those we love most. We will never be smart enough, rich enough, thin enough--or even enough enough! We feel like dirt--like something that simply gets tracked in and swept out, something to walk on, so common it often goes unnoticed.
On one of the blogs I read, a discussion about marriage is taking place. I commented several days ago about the impact a flawed sense of self-worth has on a marriage. That got me thinking about the ways it impacts every aspect of our lives. While there are some who have an elevated opinion of self, there are many, especially women, who see themselves as useless--as dirt. I know that feeling as I am sure most of you readers do also. It is unpleasant, suffocating and debilitating. I was praying this morning, asking God to help us see ourselves the way He sees us, asking Him to restore in us a sense of value and purpose. As I prayed, it occurred to me that while we may sometimes feel like dirt, God---our God knows how to use dirt. Remember in Genesis 2:7? it says "the Lord made man from the dust of the earth". God was able to take some common ordinary dirt and breathe it into a human being!!!!! Not just any human being, but the one from whom not only civilization but also salvation would come! Wow!
This thought has been wandering around in my mental library for several days now. Sometimes we look at our past, we look at our present and we feel depressed, sad and ashamed. Our vision is tinted with our own humanity. Our future is just out of sight, obscured by reality, lacking in hope. Our life seems hopeless when we forget that God has also breathed life into us! It is the breath of God that makes dirt useful! It is the breath of God that makes the common holy! It is the breath of God that gives us life!
I think I am okay being dirt--so long as that dirt has been changed by God, breathed on by Him, made into a useful and eternal being. May we ever be thankful that we worship a God who does great things with dirt!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'd Planned On Being Dead By Now !

I remember our first Christmas after Eddy died! We had decided we could not be in our house and so with my parents financial assistance, we flew to Seattle to spend the holidays with my brother and his family. I remember packing our suitcases and wondering how many holidays would hurt this much. We drove to Colorado Springs and stayed with my friend, Kelli. She took us to Denver where we caught the plane to Seattle, Washington. We settled into our seats, already crowded and a little bit anxious. As soon as we were at cruising altitude, both boys put on their headsets and listened to the music they'd brought for the trip. I sat in the middle, with my eyes closed willing the tears to postpone their appearance.
The flight was uneventful, a short layover in Salt Lake City, back in the air and a smooth landing. My dad met us at the airport and took us straight to my brother's house. It was the first time I'd seen their home and it was beautiful, decorated like a winter wonderland, gigantic tree, sparkling lights, brightly wrapped packages and the smell of pine everywhere, just like Christmas should be. My entire family tried very hard to make the holidays happy for the boys and I, complete with a visit from the big red Claus, himself. The boys went sledding, played video games and waited for Christmas morning. We adults planned the menu, went shopping, wrapped gifts and visited. My brother and his wife, their two children, both my parents and my maternal grandmother were there so there was quite a houseful. Christmas morning, gifts were opened, hugs and thank yous flowed freely and preparations for a day of eating and football began. I know it sounds like the perfect holiday and it was . . . almost.
The emotional discomfort and emptiness was almost tangible. Everyone was very careful to not bring up Eddy, his death or even his life. Where once we would have sat around and talked and laughed over all the "remember whens", we now sat in a torturous silence, none of us sure what we should talk about, what would be the least painful. It was the Christmas Day that never ended. I had no idea the holidays would bring with them so much pain.
I knew that there would be no quick end to the pain. Our plans were to land in Denver and then spend New Years with Eddy's family--all of them would be there. While I thought it was very important for the boys to be with their dad's family, I knew my heart would break once again. I would see pain in his mother's eyes, I would see the brother who looked just like him, I would watch as they all tried not to think about him and I knew it would hurt. I was right!
After the festivities were all over and the discarded ribbons and gift wrap all in the appropriate trash bins, the food sent home with various family members, cars packed, children bundled up, we all made our way to our respective homes.
As the boys slept, I drove blinded by tears, praying and begging God to help me arrive home safely. During the long drive, I asked Him what possible purpose He could have for a 34 year old widow, single mother of two. After all, by the time His own Son was my age, He had finished His job and HE got to go to Heaven. As I looked in my mirror at my sleeping sons, it occurred to me that someone would need to raise them. And so, (as if I really had the power to negotiate with the Heavenly Father), I agreed to stay until the boys were raised, until they were both out of high school, doing my best to raise them up in the Lord with the morals and values of Christian men. I promised to surround them with godly Christian men who would be their examples and who would help them grow into the kind of young men God would be proud of. And while I was doing this, I promised I would lead my family by example. I would try to teach them about mercy and benevolence. I would try to teach them about love and patience. I would try to teach them about focusing on the eternal. I promised God I would do these things IF only He would take me to heaven when I was finished. I figured I should stay until my youngest completed his first year of college. By then, both of them would be young adults, they would have developed their own support network, they would have formed their own lives and would be busy living them. I would be forty years old and very happily would I die in my sleep, to begin my new life in Heaven with Him, in heaven where there is no pain, no tears and no loneliness.
I laugh now as I look back on those plans, wondering if God just listened to me ramble on, smiling and shaking His head. He must have marveled at how I had let my pain cloud not only my vision but my common sense. How could I even begin to believe I was in control? I wonder if He smiled as He thought about the things He had planned for me? I wonder if He laughed out loud at my reasoning and my feeble dreams. I wonder if He thought about all the opportunities my future would hold, all the blessings He would give me, all the people He would put into my life? I wonder if He wished I would or could believe I was still a child of His, a child with a purpose? I wonder . . .
Now seven years past my deadline, I am amazed at how wonderful my life is! What a gift I have been given! I am awed by the blessings He showers on me daily. I thrill when I think of the Bible studies and new spiritual births He has allowed me to be a part of. I smile when I think of this man, this minister, who shares his life with me, how he loves me and leads me and desires my salvation more than anything. My heart is full when I think about my family, the six beautiful grandchildren and my friends, both those I know and those I only know through the internet. I am blessed so much more than I ever deserved--more than I'd ever hoped or even imagined. I am so grateful to have a Father who plans great things for me, because I had really planned on being dead by now!


Monday, December 03, 2007

The GOADS and the Sheep

No, it isn't typo, it really does say "goad" and I really mean for it to. I have been reading and writing blogs for just over a year now. I have found some that are such great encouragements that I recommend them to everyone. I like that they see maturing the sheep as part of their e-ministry. I like that they promote reading the Bible, studying God's word, seeking the lost and being evangelistic. I am proud that they encourage us to live godly lives. I like that these bloggers seem to be concerned with the souls who might be reading. They seem to care that someone out there, some seeker, may have stumbled on to their site. These bloggers give everyday practical advice about how to be spirit-filled in a world full of the carnal. When I read the posts asking for prayers, thanking God for answers, rejoicing in the return of the prodigal, well . . .when I read those posts, I am thankful there are bloggers out there who use the gift of the internet to share the gift of the Gospel. They encourage me to think, to pray and to study. They remind me that there is a whole world of seekers out there and I need to do my part to win as many as possible for the Lord. I am proud to call these bloggers "blog-buddies" or "e-friends" and brother or sister.
However, there are also others out there---those who are "pot-stirrers", always getting in their little digs, always trying to stir up controversy, using the Word of God as a weapon to maim and hurt rather than build up. These not only spew their own kinds of sarcasm and verbal venom, they goad others into the discussions. Before long, what once was an enlightening, intelligent conversation has become nothing more than a political type mudbath. No one gets out unscathed and unsullied, neither the blog author nor those invited to comment. These "goads" seem unconcerned with the seekers, unconcerned with the sheep who are trying to learn and grow and unconcerned with the picture their comments and posts paint of Christians. (After all, billions of people a day surf the net, billions of people per day develop opinions based on what they read or see). The "goads" simply want to fuel the fire of controversy. Oh, sometimes, they call it "helpful criticism", or "witty banter" or even "thought provoking conversation" with "varied input". Their sole purpose is to 1) make their point, 2) destroy every other point of view, and 3) get as many different viewpoints to argue about it as possible. What purpose can this possibly serve? We all know we can never win with the "goads". Theirs is not a world of logic and civility but rather one of sarcasm and name-calling.
My friend Betty, once said that satan has had the internet long enough, it is time we take it for God. I believe that is true. I believe we can let our light shine even in cyberspace. I just wonder what our readers think? Do they understand that there are some true Christians out here who use their blogs for God? Or do they read and think why is Christianity any different than the world? Why would I want a "religion" full of "goads" when I work with that kind of person every day? Perhaps it is time we started looking at our blogs and our comments and really deciding if we want to be "goads" or sheep. There will come a time when we will be held accountable for our words, whether spoken or "blogged". How will we explain what "goads" we have been?