Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consider yourself welcome...

Not long ago, I noticed this plaque hanging on the wall at my church.  I just had to snap a pic and share it on Facebook.

Would you believe that this pic was one of my most popular posts ever?! exaggeration.

It got me thinking...

How often in life do we feel welcome?

We may hide behind masks that appear to make us seem like we don't care what other people think about us or our lifestyle, but really.  Really.  Even with those masks, choices of edgy lifestyles, "going against the grain"---all of it---really we are all screaming out for love and acceptance in one way or another.

Some of our screams come with purple hair, some with tattoos and tongue rings, some with a scowl on the face that appears to say, "Leave me alone...I don't need you in my space."

Regardless of the look and tone of the scream, each one is our own unique way of saying, "Dare to love me.  Dare to accept me.  I dare you to welcome me in."

Unfortunately we have gotten a bit lazy and gullible when it comes to reading the vibes sent out by these masks.  We too frequently choose to fall for the false impression the person is attempting to pull over on us.  And, even if we do have the insight to see past the clever facades, we choose not to put forth the effort it might take to get real with the people who are needing us most.

I am pointing the finger at myself as I bring this tough subject up, but I need to make the statement that tough people need tough people.

People who look and act tough to love and tough to accept need love and acceptance as much as or more than anyone else.

On that note, people who appear to "have it all together" and seem to be loved by everyone---those people need real acceptance and love too.  We would be surprised to know how many apparently "happy" people are really lonely...really.

Let this be a wake-up call to us all that we need to look past appearances ("good" or "bad") and remember that the heart beneath the surface is very similar to the heart beneath ours.

When you read the things the Lord lays on my heart to share, I pray that His message that burns on my heart gets through to you.

That message I pray you hear and feel above all is---
Consider yourself welcome.

If my words don't convince you...consider His...

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Praise Him for Freedom

Yes, this is me. :) July 4th, 2011

By name it sounds, well, free.  How easy it is to forget the enormous price tag that has been paid and is still being paid by others for our spiritual and political freedom.

Awareness of the cost of freedom is a necessity in the often oblivious life we lead.

For a reminder of what we have to be thankful for and to whom we owe the thanks, please click HERE to go over and read the rest of this post as I am blessed to be a guest blogger at New Leaf Publishing Group's blog today in their "Praise Him" series.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Captain America Sleeps

"I can't surrender.  I don't know how!" ~Captain America

Yet here he sleeps---snug as a bug in a rug.  Not a care in the world.

All heroes need their rest at some point.  They all have their weakness---their cryptonite.  They all need to recharge in order to face the next onslaught of battles they are sure to win.

As we struggle to avenge the wrongs that have been done to us and our loved ones, we often get to the point of exhaustion and frustration because this world just does not seem to be fair.  As we struggle to live in the way we think is right and do unto others...our doing just flat out does us in.

If I let go of this or don't do that, will it all come crashing down?

But, if I don't hold this up, who else will?  If I don't figure out a way to fix this, well, will it ever get fixed?  And then what?

Any of these thoughts and questions sound familiar? 

Sounds like you may need a good ole' superhero sleep.

You're worried about how all of those things will get done 
and people will get cared for and bills will get paid and...on...and...on...and...on...?

Guess what.

We have a Supernatural Superhero who never sleeps 
nor has an ounce of weakness. 

He is the Ultimate Avenger
fighting our battles for us in ways we could never do for ourselves.

He even tells us to rest---rest in Him.

For this, my fellow struggling avengers, I say we should join together and praise Him---thank Him---rest in Him.

And with that I say, "Avengers Assemble!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

BIG Book of History

"So, son, what is your favorite thing about this BIG Book of History?"

"It's FIFTEEN-FOOT FOLD-OUT!!!  That's longer than my bed!  Awesome!"

Yep, straight out of the little horse's mouth.  You heard it here first!

Seriously, though, there are several other things my son, Mystery Ranger Buster, and I like about this unique book published by Master Books.

Why is it fifteen-feet long?  Well, it has not just one timeline but four parallel timelines of our history from creation to our current day.  You'll have to check it out for yourself to see what exactly those four timelines show, but I will tell you that the subject of each one is as follows:  Biblical / Christianity, World Events, Inventions / Technology, and Civilizations / Empires.

Additionally, it has several colorful, interesting pictures (both drawings and photographs) that visually depict the time period and specific people and / or objects of interest from that time period.  One of my favorites is the literal key ring from around 750 B.C. which is an example of the "metal keys (that) were fashioned to be worn as rings - which made them much harder to lose and steal."  Wow!  I wonder why we ever got away from that.  Would have saved me much grief at times.

It was also interesting to learn that there were flush toilets as far back as over 2000 years B.C.  My plumber father-in-law could have worked in the same career back then as he does today.  Whoulda thunk it?!

My son & his grandmother looking at the BIG Book of History together.
My son loves to open this timeline up after we have read a portion of the Bible together.  He likes to try to find the time frame he just read about in the Bible on the timeline.  The timeline offers a neat perspective of what was going on in the world in addition to what we just read in the Bible.  It helps a child (and an adult) put the scripture into perspective and understand its context better.  (Helps to recognize what major world events, empires, etc. were going on at that time.)

My son also loves to look over the list of potential answers to the question, "How will you make history?" on the last page of the book.  He has several picked out including Space Exploration, Public Leadership, Missionary, Ocean Exploration, Author, Musician, Pastor, & Military Service (yes, trust me there are more he has picked out on the list, too...the boy will have to make some decisions, no doubt!).  BUT...the one thing he wants to be the most lately is not on the list---a D.E.A. Agent!  Go figure!  Maybe it will make the list in a future revised version.

And finally, when I asked him what his favorite picture or fact IN the book is, well, you can probably guess from his response to the other question...

Yep...he says he likes "ALL of it!"

So, I think that about sums up our review of Master Books' BIG Book of History.  Any questions?

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.