Category Archives: Everything Else

I am reminded of my “Babylon”

God is fully aware of our condition.  God sends us out as gift-bearers-of-light to a lost and broken world.  Think of Jeremiah 29: 4-7

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

God gives us peace in the storm and we begin to overcome.  God can use the mess of our lives to bring hope lost sheep.  Reach out.  Be a hand, a shoulder, and an embrace to the community you are in right now.  Even if your circumstances don’t change, your life can still speak of Him who came to restore us.  Even if you think God cannot use you, you can.  He loves the broken.  He loves the contrite.  He loves the messed-up.  He, God, loves perfectly and without condition.  And I believe He wants to bless your right where you are in a way you could not imagine.

I am reminded of my “Babylon.” It was several years of toil, troubles, ups-and-downs, breaking, and recovery in a place I just did not want to be.  However, there was not provided any kind of escape route.  Instead, God lead me through the valley.  It was not wasted.  I was stretched.  I grew.  My heart and mind changed.  I become less of the yuck and more of Christ’s love.  There was some dying too, but those things had to die so that God could birth new life.  Still, I am His work in progress, and still can be used by Him.  God isn’t holding our mistakes against us.  He gives us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  He makes beautiful things out of our lives – though we often think it is impossible.  With God, nothing is impossible.  So where are you at today?  What ashes would you like to leave at Christ’s feet?  Are you ready and willing to prosper where you are and let God move through you?  Are you ready to stop casting stones?  Are you ready to put down your judgments?  Are you ready for grace like you’ve never known?  Are you ready to befriend the tired, the weary, the worn, the unlovely, the unbecoming, the broken, the misfit, and the outcast?  These are those to whom Christ came (Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17).  You can be the beautiful message of hope right now, where you are, and to all who are around you.  Extend the hand of fellowship and friendship.

Let today be that day.  God can move in you.  He can restore your life even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).  He can lead you beside still waters while the storm is raging all around.  God is more than able to care for His children.  God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” as told to us in Ephesians 3.  How can God use your right-now life to draw others near to Him?  Ask Him.  Ask for His Shalom to move in and through you, and see what He will do.  With God, our lives are an adventure. Cling to faith in God.  Trust God to move in your life.  He is faithful, and He is always ever present with us on the journey.  Let God build and strengthen your faith as you live out your life in the hard places.  Shalom is with you.  It means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, and harmony” (Roth, nd).  You may not escape the storm, but you can have Peace in the storm.

Today may your faith grow deeper roots.  Today may your heart be set on the King.  Today may soul say, “yes.”  Today, may today be the day you decide to stand in the gap, seek the peace and prosperity of your community, and be the hands and feet of Jesus – our Shalom and Beautiful Message of Hope.  May today be the day your choose to press in and lean in to what God has for you no matter where you are.  Wherever you are whether working or living, let that be the place where it and you prosper.

Now we are invited to be a part of His kingdom here on the earth.  We are invited to point the way through hurt and pain.  We are invited to be a part of His work as He is the Repairer of Broken Walls and Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (Isaiah 58:12).  To think that God wants us to be a part of His work is amazing!  As Paul told the Ephesians, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  We speak of Him and not just in our words but in our actions too.  Consider what Paul told the Corinthians, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Cor. 2:12-17).  May today be the day you change your thinking about your circumstances.  May today be the day you see them from God’s perspective.  May today be the day the fragrant goodness of the King pours out on you, in you, and through you.

Think of Christ who left the comfort of heaven and entered our messy, filthy world.  He brought a peace we never had.  He bridged a gap we could not repair.  He reconciled us when it was beyond our power to do so.  He made peace for us in His body on the cross.  This is our Advent.  Christ is our Advent.  God is a Shalom-maker.  Will you be His Shalom in the earth, in your work, in your family, in your community?  There is a vibe, a human pulse longing to be connected in community to its Creator.  You can be God’s heartbeat now.

My reflections from today’s message. @Irving Bible Church.  It was really good!  I encourage you to watch or listen online.

Grace and Peace to you Beloved!

References:

From  NIV at http://www.biblegateway.com

Isaiah 61:3

Luke 19:10

Mark 2:17

Jeremiah 29: 4-7

Isaiah 58:12

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

Ephesians 3:20-21

Roth, Andrew. “Meaning of the word shalom.”  The Refiner’s Fire.  Internet. Nd.  http://www.therefinersfire.org/meaning_of_shalom.htm  Accessed December 9, 2012.

Come to the cross and be free.

Throughout recovery I have learned one thing that is more important above all else, you must be willing to be honest.  You can’t grow if you won’t be honest with yourself and with your sponsor.  I sat listening this past Thursday to a panel speak about step four of the recovery process – We make a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.  In step 5, we admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrong.  Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, but there is such freedom in this step.

I think of Step 4 as being like a surgery.  It is the beginning of the removal of the heart/soul cancer that’s plagued you for years.  The surgeon cuts out that which is causing the problem working deftly so as not to cause any damage to other body parts.  And like the surgeon who wishes to keep you from losing too much blood during your procedure is Step 5, which cauterizes the wound.  

Wikipedia (2012) explains cauterizing in this way; to [“destroys] some tissue, in an attempt to mitigate damage, remove an undesired growth, or minimize other potential medical harmful possibilities such as infections, when antibiotics are not available.”   It sounds so terrifyingly painful, but once it’s done you begin to get better.  Afterwards, there is pain and soreness, but ultimately comes complete healing, restoration, and wholeness.  Suddenly, the darkness that once held you bound flees.  Immediately, the curse is broken; and those long held secrets no longer have authority over you.  Yes!  That is the power of confession.   Think about what James  (Biblica, 2011a) wrote in the bible 2,000 plus years ago, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  God knows what He’s doing.  We can live in community and be our real selves.  We can make confession and find continual healing.  When we confess, light is piercing the darkness; and the Kingdom of God comes.  There is breakthrough. 

It is no wonder John wrote in chapter 1,

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (Biblica, 2011b). 

There is healing in the verbal act of confession.  I encourage you today to not be swayed by fear or being “found out.”  If you have a sponsor, nothing you can say will shock as the majority of the time they’ve been where you’ve come from, or at least they can identify with you.  No judgment will be passed.  Confession is about freedom and never condemnation.  Don’t be ruled by denial or fear.  Own your side of the street.  You’ll begin to see the part you may have played in the hurt.  Your verbal confession breaks the changes of the past on your future so that you can live in harmony.   I believe within each of us lays the impulse and longing to be really known and free.  Steps 4 and 5 will take you there.  You’ll never be the same.  In fact, you may just step into more of who God made and designed you to be.  Now go.  Confess, and live in freedom.

 

References:

 

Biblica.  (2011a).  James 5.  NIV.  Retrieved May 12, 2012 from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james%205&version=NIV

 

Biblica.  (2011b).  1 John 1.  NIV.  Retrieved May 12, 2012 from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%201&version=NIV

 

 

 

 

Cool Cafe

I’ve been wanting to try Mediterranean food for quite a while, and yesterday I was invited to celebrate a friends birthday at a really nice restaurant in downtown San Antonio called Cool Cafe.  Those who know me know I am a picky eater, but I tried three new things I’d never had before plus I got to sample other dishes.

I never knew what falafel was till yesterday, yummy yummy yummy.  You gotta try them.  The though occurs to me that i need to take pictures and post them.  I will work on that lr.

I had a basmati rice and turmeric dish with chicken–delicious, a little greasy, but very tasty!  The garlic bread with fresh tomato on top is refreshing.

Dessert?  Crepes.  You gotta try the Jamaican crepe with banana, caramel, and coconut.  It’s outta this world.

www.coolcafesa.com

Chocolate…..

Who doesn’t love really good chocolate? Check out these places for some delectable delicacies….

Schakolad–on Stone Oak Pkwy
www.schakolad.com/

the CoCo Lounge—off 281 North and 1604 next to Motif furniture. It’s not for kids, more like a bistro, bar. Take a ride the swing that hangs from the ceiling
www.sa-coco.com

in Fredericksburg
The only chocolate store handmaking chocolate liquor filled delights. Mmmm Mmm good.
www.chocolat-tx.us/