Friday, June 19, 2009

About Faith

I found my faith at the bottom of my purse the other day. You see, my granddaughter gave me a necklace just before my mom's funeral. It was the word "Faith", with a bit of bling in it.

After the memorial service, when I packed to move back home, I slipped it into a special pocket in my purse and forgot about it.

This week I was cleaning out the frass of life from my purse while waiting in my parking spot for someone to ride with me...receipts, shopping lists, notes to self, rubber bands...then something hit my fingertips. It was the necklace. When I pulled it out of the pocket, it was a bit tangled but still as bright and sparkly as when I first received it. I detangled it and hung it from my rearview mirror. It's always in front of me, like a compass with bling.

It has been a difficult few months since my mom passed away. I have had flashbacks from the hospital, memories of camping trips and dread for upcoming holidays. My faith was pushed to the bottom of my soul...covered by the frass of life.

But when I take time to order my life and really dig deep in my heart, I can reach the Faith that has never left me. It remains, even when I think I've lost it.

The Bible calls Faith a shield. (Ephesians 6:16) It is something that you indeed keep in front of you. It guards you from the fiery arrows of the enemy. Christians live by Faith. It is essential to our surviving this broken world.

So my question for you is, do you think you've lost your faith? Dig deep dear reader, search with all your might. Ask God for more faith, pray and seek His will for your life. I truly believe you will find that shining faith that is a compass to point you Home.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pieces for Peace

I joined a sewing group recently. They are getting together gifts for our team from church who are traveling to Israel this summer. So far the group has made 300 backpacks for kids, and several quilts for a nursing home. The colors are beautiful, the handiwork is wonderful too. (If you have material to donate, let me know!)

After some of the piecing, there are scraps left over...bags and boxes of remnants. A good quilter never throws away material. She reworks it into another quilt somehow.

My favorite part is putting together the colors. It appeals to my artistic side. I could see how my mom really loved to quilt. She was so good with colors, always mixing shades that make the key color really show well.

As I started to put together my first quilt, I found it interesting that as we pull remnants together for quilts, God is calling together His own remnants back to Israel.

You see, if you read in your Bible, there is talk of a remnant being called back to Israel. Here are just two of 700 scriptures...

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Isaiah 11:12

"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:3-4

It is as if God is gathering up those remnants that everyone forgot about. He's painstakingly piecing them back together. Stitch by stitch, the pieces and colors go together in a pattern only He knows. And when the last knot of thread is tied, a glorious thing will be done with a nation that was once in tatters.

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! Isaiah 43:1

He can do it with your life too. Do you find your world torn in two? Do you find scraps here and there of a life that has seemed to fall apart? Give your pieces to Jesus. It is the remnant, the castoff and the forgotten that He redeems.

When that life is put back together in a new way, the pattern and colors reveal the handiwork of a Creator who does not castoff anyone who simply comes to Him. I am one of those human quilts. I was sewn back together by a loving hand. He doesn't ask us to come with new material, just bring your box of remnants and let Him do the work.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Last weekend I attended a packing party...and it was fun. My friend is moving back to Iowa soon, and her hubby is already out there. I figured she needed some help. I put out a call and some wonderful volunteers stepped up.

My friend was very humbled by the offer to help. She was reluctant to let us in. It wasn't the state of her house but the state of her heart that was a big deal to us. Most of us had been where she was. It was clear she felt overwhelmed by the job. Especially from just having a tooth pulled the day before.

We entered and discussed the best plan of attack. We decided to stack the packed boxes in the dining area. One volunteer had to be careful of her back, so we found a comfy chair and made her the breakables specialist. The rest of us started carefully sorting, tossing and organizing.

We had the kids take their stuff to their rooms so those items wouldn't get packed with living room stuff. Keeping like items together would keep valuable Pokemon cards from getting mysteriously lost.

When my friend came back from a smoothies run, she was amazed at the change in her home's first floor. Boxes were neatly stacked, cupboards and shelves were empty.

This is also true spiritually. When you become a Christian, you join a family of people who are willing to help you "do life".

Christians are people who have been redeemed by Christ. A lot of us are either survivors of abuse, depression, drug problems, alcohol addiction, or just used to have a ton of baggage locked away in storage somewhere. They have been where you are and know your struggles. (Most of us are still a work in progress!) They are willing to be the hands and feet of Christ to help where they can. Even if it's just to listen to your heart.

The first step is to realize you can't do it alone. One time I was so bogged down with worry and depression, I couldn't get out of bed. It took the love and prayers of my sister in Christ that sent a ray of "Sonshine" into my life when I needed it the most.

Then you put out a call for help. You want someone who will be discreet, not gossip about what you need help with. They should have an outside perspective of your life and may ask difficult questions. They will also know when it's time to just cry with you. (James 5:16)

Celebrate Recovery is excellent for this! They have a Step Group program that helps you really deal with your hurts, hang-ups or addictions. Check for meetings in your area.

Then it's time to sort out your life. What are old tapes you don't want to listen to anymore? What is the old behavior you really don't want gathering dust in your life? What does the Bible say about it?

Time to pack up those old sins and realize you are forgiven and they don't have any power over you unless you open up that box and let it back in. Time to know that Jesus has moved them out of your life to never return...and that means no storage facility that you pay rent on every month!

Then when the dust has settled and you look at your life, you realize you have room to bloom in Christ. When you deal with the stuff that was stealing your Joy, your "house" gets put back in order.

Just remember, it's easy to start collecting new stuff. Or, that ol'devil may come knocking at your door trying to sell you an old suitcase full of stuff that looks familiar. If you don't let Jesus answer that knock, before long you can be back to where you were. (Matthew 12:43-45)

It's a good friend in Christ who is not afraid to ask, "Do you really need that?" Who do you know that's got your back like that?

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not {merely} look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4