a day changes everything

So I recently decided to try exercising a little.  (and by recently, I mean Monday.)  I don't mind exercise, and I usually enjoy the feeling I get from having done something, but I have a very hard time motivating myself.

But on Monday I got to wondering what my life would be like if I tried a little harder with my body - how I fill it, how I use it.  I felt like I got the 'go-ahead' from the Lord and so....I went ahead!

Today is Thursday and I'm already struggling.  I have done workout dvds, gone for walks in our city's beautiful park, and used the quality equipment at the Y (where we've had a membership since SEPTEMBER and I only JUST stepped on that side of the building TUESDAY!).

My problem is not my body, the stiff muscles actually feel kind of good.

My problem is my heart.

Yesterday morning a phonecall came to the house to let me know that my Grandmother is in the hospital.  But I didn't get that phonecall because I was at the Y on the eliptical machine.  There was no message - I found out today through my sister-in-law.

I know most people would say "you have to take time for yourself" and "exercise is important."  But today I wonder.  I have a preschooler who's at home 3 1/2 days of the school week, and while she enjoys exercising with me, it's really hard in a small space and I usually try to do it while she watches tv or is at school.  I also have a part time job with very flexible hours, which is great but also requires discpline to spend my time working.  I also have a home to take care of and a family to feed....

....oh yeah, and pay attention to.

I've recently been wondering if people see me as selfish, or like the world revolves around me.  (Not in a pity-party kind of way, because of some remarks I've heard.)

My body is not in bad shape.  Sure, I'd like to lose a couple of pounds but I know I don't NEED to.  I really just wanted to see if anything would happen to my thighs if I tried exercising.

Now I don't think it's worth it.

My house is a mess because for 3 DAYS I prioritized exercise.  I feel frustrated trying to find the right time do it (being neither an early morning OR late night kind of girl).  My Grandma is in the hospital and I wasn't home to get the call because I was "taking care of myself."

for what?

This is one of those days I wish the Lord were right beside me so I could talk to Him and hear Him talk right back to me.  So He could help me work it out.  (haha, play on words.)

I know Paul says: "physical training has some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Tim 4:8)

Does that mean exercise is ok if it doesn't take away from other things?  Should it be on the priority list at all for me?   Perhaps this is the Lord's way of pointing out my vanity.

But I really was enjoying it.


reflecting on Easter morning

He is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!

Does this make a difference in my life?   It sure should.  The Bible says there is

"incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of His mighty strength
which He exerted in Christ when
He raised Him from the dead."
(Eph. 1:19-20)

The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the source by which I can conquer the sin in my life!

Oh, I need it!

I want it to be evident in my life that my faith works.  I want people to see it from near or far, and I hope they'll want the same kind of faith in their own lives.

This song is on my daughter's ipod.  My hope is that the truth of these great Hillsong lyrics (based on scripture) will flood her heart and soul and help her to realize the opportunity she (and we all) have to access God's great power!

Be blessed, live in belief.


reflecting on Good Friday

I think my husband is a great preacher.  I know this is true because when he's at the pulpit (or in our case, music stand), the things he says no longer come from the mouth of the man who forgets to take out the garbage or waits too long to cut the grass.  I hear the words of the Lord - the words that have the power to make a difference in my life.

But great preachers aren't always born that way!  I remember with distinct clarity one of my husband's first messages at a small country church.  He had been attending seminary for about a year and chose to speak on "the Hypostatic Union of Christ."

say wha-??

He proceeded to READ an essay he'd written on how Jesus was fully God and fully man during his time on earth.  I'm not sure what was more memorable: the glazed expressions of the congregation or the fact that my sweet hubby sweated through to the outside of the cuffs on his dress shirt!

A learning experience, indeed, but it came to my mind this Good Friday as I considered what it meant for Jesus to be both God and human as He instituted the Lord's supper.

1 Corinthians 11 
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

As I read these familiar words, I suddenly could see Jesus around the table, talking with His friends.   He reaches for some bread and explains why they should see this bread as different from any other they've eaten.  "This is my body, broken for you."  He passes it to the man beside him who breaks off a piece and begins to slowly chew it, contemplating what the Lord has just said.

And as Jesus sees His friends each take a turn breaking off some of this bread, He shudders.  He is God - He knows what's coming.  He is man - He wishes to not know such pain.

I think that I've diminished God at times around the communion table.  Like somehow, because He was God and could see the big picture, He could look beyond the pain He knew was coming.  

Have I thought Gethsemane was just for show?

When we read:

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

we read it in one breath - as though He wasn't really asking for a way out.     

But He was fully human.  Of course He wanted a way out.  I would be looking for the nearest exit!  

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) 

Fear is not a sin.  Anxiety is not a sin.  Struggling to surrender is not a sin.

Jesus understands.

For me the most meaningful part of our Good Friday service was my dear friend singing a song written by Greg Sczebel called "Perhaps."

Take time to savour the lyrics and know that our Saviour understands and has been with us all along.
do you think that I'd forget
the kiss of death that was left on my face?
do you think I did not hear the people mock
the soliders sneer on that day?
do you think that I don't cry
when The Very World For Which I Died
just Tries To Wipe My Name From History?
child, It Reminds Me Of Gethsemane

do You Think That I'm Immune
to The Pain You Put Me Through
when You Close Your Heart And Walk Away
and Disregard The Price I Paid?
do You Think That I Didn't Cry All Day?

you See You're Not The Only One
who Understands Where You're Coming From
i've Been There All Along


reflecting on Maundy Thursday

March is always a busy month for me, and this year was the same!  I have much to do in the ministry, particularly leading up to Holy Week.  The downside of this is that I don't have alot of time to really reflect on each of the special services we have at our church.  Over the past few days, I've been thinking alot about what happened Easter weekend.  This year, the Lord used my imagination to see things in a new way and I want to spend the next couple of posts reflecting on it all.  I hope it's not too 'been there, done that' for you!

The first time I participated in a Maundy Thursday service was in 2006.  At our small church in Durham, we held a foot washing service that was to celebrate and recall Jesus washing the feet of His disciples right before He was arrested and led to the cross.  I was nervous!  Should I get a pedicure?  Who exactly will be touching my feet?  ick.

It turned out to be a very beautifully intimate time as the pastor invited people to come up in pairs (of our own choosing!)  and wash each other's feet.  I watched as an elderly man came with his adult daughter....a woman, full-bloom with baby #3 came with her husband.....our worship leader came with his soon-to-be-married daughter....  My husband and I went together and I was surprised how humbling it was to have him wash my feet - I don't usually have trouble letting him serve me! ;)

At our current church, we do it a little differently.  We wash each other's feet around the circle, women washing women and men washing men.  This year the senior pastor's wife washed my feet and while it certainly felt a little awkward for me, she graciously poured the warm water over my feet and dried them with a clean, white towel.  As she knelt down in front of me, she looked up and smiled.

And suddenly, I had a clear image of my Saviour, looking up and smiling at me.  My eyes filled with tears as I realized how far I fall short of such tender love.  I thought of Jesus, His own mind whirling with what was to come and yet taking the time to serve me.

How many times have I considered service a burden?

How many time have I told my kids, 'I'm not your slave!'

How many times have I *sighed* either inwardly or outwardly, as I've been forced to put aside my own desires for the needs of someone else.

Mark 10 tells the story of Jesus encoutering a rich young man.  The man wanted the eternal life God was offering, yet struggled with claiming it.  Jesus knew the man's heart, and could see what was blocking him from really making a change in his life.  He didn't *sigh* frustrated to have to explain it all again, He didn't tell the man to go ask someone else, or ask again later...

"Jesus looked at him and loved him."
Mark 10:21

Jesus knows my limitations and He also knows my heart.  He looks at me and loves me.  He patiently leads me toward Himself, guiding me and lovingly correcting my wrong thinking.  His plans for the world are so big, and yet He cares about my journey, my little problems!

Jesus looked up at me and smiled, as He tenderly poured warm water over my feet and dried them with a clean white towel.  Better than a pedicure at the finest spa! 


deconstructing criticism

I recently finished a 10 week bible study course by a well-known author.  I had read her books before, but didn't even know she had a bible study!  Week after week we gathered and watched a video of the author speaking on what we studied and then shared the insights we gained from the daily homework.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Beth Moore!  I love to delve into her bible study workbooks and am always amazed by what I learn.  Even more than that, I LOVE her preaching style!  I've heard others say that she's "a little much" for them, but I am so moved by her passion and love of the Lord and His Word!

The study I just finished was not one of Beth's.

I shouldn't have done it, but I compared this other lovely woman to Beth...

and I was critical...

so critical.

More than once I commented on the speaker's awkward speaking style.  I questioned how it was even possible that such a well-know author, who had obviously done many speaking engagements could have so many "flaws" in her communication style.

Then my girlfriend gave me this author's autobiography.  It told of a little girl who was raised by a mentally ill mother and locked in a closet for hours at a time.  The story went on to describe a young woman who spent hours with a vocal coach, trying to straighten out her speech.  As she found freedom in the Lord, she was delivered from much of the hurt of her past - praise the Lord!


Another painful reminder about being judgmental.
 'He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness."'
2 Corinthians 12:9

If His grace is enough for me, why would it not be enough for me to extend to others?  How sorry I am that I allowed the devil to use a critical spirit to distract me from what the Lord may have taught me.....

or maybe this is the lesson.

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