Sunday, August 30, 2009

Passionate Patience

Ahh... Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love. Not the one in the US though. Obviously.

We are in Revelations 3, starting with verse 7. I love this description of what Christ can do with "David's key in his hand." It says, "opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open." That is a prayer I often pray. I will ask God that if it is His will that such-and-such happen, would He please open the right doors. And when something seems to be God-ordained, I will ask Him to close the door on me, if I have read the situation wrong. In other words, "lead me not into temptation."

He praises the church for being true to Him, for not denying His name during the rough spots. There are hypocrites around this church, as there were in the others. Jesus encourages the believers with these words: "watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to acknowledge it's you that I've loved." WOW! I have to admit, of all the letters, this is the one I wish God would send to me. That is a nibble of pride on the fishhook, though, isn't it? To want others to be forced to acknowledge God's love for me? I choose to hear this as encouragement for my husband's heart, in situations stemming from a painful past. His heart is true, and God does see that.

Next, God warns that a time of testing is ahead. He wants them to know He will honor their faithfulness and take care of them through the trials headed their way. The Message uses the phrase "passionate patience." 2009 is my Year of Patience, remember? So I am drawn to this verse, to this letter, in a deeply intimate way. I want to finish the year and see that I have been practicing "passionate patience." I want God to see that in me.

Jesus ends by telling the church He is coming back. Sometimes, we forget this. He will return. We need to hang on to that.

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing
through the churches. (Rev 3:13)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Felcities 8/28/09

Taking a morning break from the letters of Revelation to post my Friday Felicities in honor of Natalie. I hope you will dash over to Becky's Blog and join us in counting our blessings, just the little ones. The ones that make each day a bit brighter.



Friday Felicities

Aimee and Renee
David, this morning, saying, "Save More. Spend Less. At Walmart."
Postcard from Ashley W
Owl notebook and card from Ashley Q
Yard Sale: Lucky Junction on my iPod
My crazy dog pouncing like a lion
Burt's Bees from Melissa
Sweet words from my husband
Haydn's teacher

Heather

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wake Up!

Moving onto Revelation 3, we come to the letter to the church at Sardis. This is a great letter to read when you need some motivation. I have been there, this month, and some of these verses seemed written just to me. Sardis is another church filled with hard workers who are dead inside. God tells them He can see straight through them - through all of their service projects and committee meetings and programs for the children and youth. He sees through the fancy videos and coffee bars and bookstores... all of the building plans and fall fests... In the second verse, He says, "Up on your feet!" He can't be speaking physically, because they are obviously already on their feet physically, running around doing all this "busy work." Here, God speaks to the Spirit.

My Spirit hears Him. "Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet."

This is their wake up call. Come on Sardis, remember Me? Remember what I told you and what My prophets told you? Remember the Message you are supposed to be working for?

This is their warning. Sardis, it is time to get out of the spiritual bed, get the metaphorical blankets from over your head. If you don't do this now, you will not get another chance. I will come back. I will surprise you with my return. You will be caught off guard and left out of the celebration. You will sleep through the very event you are supposed to be hoping and planning for. Only those of you who are truly seeking after Me will be in this parade, this festival to beat all "Fall Fests." We will march before God. We will march with Angels. And you?

You will be asleep.

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. (Rev 3:6)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You Will Get What's Coming To You

The last letter in chapter 2 of Revelations is to the church at Thyatira. As a writer, I just want to share that I love the phrase, in The Message, that describes the angel for this church: eyes pouring fire-blaze. I wish I had written that.

Again, the letter starts with praise. Look at all the people are doing for Christ! They are faithful and are serving others. They persevere. He is impressed. However, there is a "Jezebel" in their midst, a false prophetess. Let me point out that the problem is not her gender. Jesus did not have John write, "How dare you allow a woman to prophesy and teach?!" No, the problem is in what she teaches. She is leading people astray and no one is doing anything to stop her. God is about to stop her. Here is a chilling line from the letter, "Then every church will know that appearances don't impress me. I x-ray every motive and make sure you get what's coming to you." *shivers* EVERY motive? I'll be honest here; my every motive has not been good. I don't WANT what is coming to me in some cases. You?

Don't worry, though, He goes on to say to those not involved in this "outrage." Life will not get harder for the innocent bystanders. No, He will reward the conquerors. I pray to be a conqueror.

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. (Rev 2:29)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheap Grace

The letter to the church in Pergamum. What an interesting name. Sort of funny sounding... but not a funny letter at all. It starts out with an angel and a sword and a tone of anger. I pray I am not deserving of such a letter from Jesus. This one makes me shiver.

Still, He starts off with a bit of positive. He understands that these people live in a place surrounded by evil. Under the very throne of Satan. Yet, they have not denied His name. They are still following Him. He is glad of this, but not happy with the ways they are willing to bend the rules and manipulate the truth to let others slide by. He wants them to stop. He is about to destroy the evil-doers and it is best that the church not be wrapped up in that mess. Like Lot fleeing from Sodom, Pergamum needs to pull away from the Nicolaitians and the Balaam crowd.

Balaam was known for his role in bringing down the people of Israel, encouraging them to become part of sexual worship and other such idolatrous practices. The Nicolaitians believed that, since Christ had redeemed them and they lived free in Him, they were free to do anything they liked, no matter how sinful. They cheapened grace and insulted the sacrifice made for our salvation. You can imagine how these people could tear apart a church.

My favorite part of this letter is the very last line, which I will end this entry with. I have no commentary on it, because I do not know what I think it signifies. There may be a post on it later, when I have had time to let it ruminate.

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing
through the churches. I'll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I'll also
give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new
name. (Rev 2:17)

Monday, August 24, 2009

It Won't Last Forever

Still in the second chapter of Revelation, we have the letter John is to write to Smyrna. Here we have a bit of hypocrisy upsetting God. He can see the church is filled with pain and poverty, but He also sees the wealthy members. He sees those who are pretending to be humble while walking around with their noses in the air.

The sin isn't in having wealth, it is in your attitude toward wealth. We visited some church members yesterday, and when I realized what neighborhood they lived in, I was surprised. Not that the neighborhood is bad, just that the houses there are huge, and the kids in this family don't seem snotty or spoiled at all. Because their family is genuine and giving and caring. They don't rub money in your face or look down on those of us who do not have as much. The church in Smyrna was filled with a mix of these people and the snobby people as well.

God writes to warn them of suffering to come. Satan is about to test and try them. It won't be pretty, but at least they now know it is coming and know what it is. This is sure to weed out the pretenders. I am comforted by this verse: It won't last forever. Praise Him, it will not last forever!

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing
through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death. (Rev
2:11)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What's The Point

Having finished Song of Solomon, I have started Revelation. It has been a long time since I read Revelation, and I have never read it in The Message. I did Chapter 2 this morning. What I am enjoying in the letters to the seven church are the concepts applicable to my own life - to anyone's life. I think, as I read, I will share some of these things here.

The first church John is directed to write to is the church at Ephesus. The beginning of the letter seems wonderful. God has seen their hard work. He likes that they do not tolerate evil. These are what one would call "good people." They stand up for their beliefs. They follow the rules and insist on those within the church having right doctrine and proper actions.

This letter reminds me of a rule I follow when editing someone else's writing. Always talk about what you like before pointing out areas that need improvement. Soften the blow, so to speak. The people of Ephesus are "good" people, but they are missing the point. John is to write, "But you walked away from your first love—why? What's going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you've fallen? A Lucifer fall!" WOW! A Lucifer fall... that is pretty heavy stuff. So, they weren't always this way. They, at one time, were not only hard workers who knew right from wrong and behaved accordingly, but also they used to be in love with Christ. Somewhere along the line, the heart left their actions. And what use are actions without pure motive?

For me, this is a reminder to run away from legalism. Not that it isn't important to do the right thing. It is very important. God praised Ephesus for how they hated evil and kept their people from it. Hard work is important. Your hard work furthers the kingdom. It is needed. But if you do not love God, eventually, the hard work will wear you down. If you didn't love your husband and continue in an intimate relationship with him, you would get pretty sick of the housework and the bills and the family gatherings. You would think, 'What is the point?'

And that is God's letter to Ephesus, in my own words. Come on Church, what is the point? You do good and act right, but you don't love me at all. I am losing you.

Heather

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing
through the churches. I'm about to call each conqueror to dinner. I'm spreading
a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God's orchard. (Rev
2:7)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Felcities 8/21/09




Friday Felicities



Written prayers to read aloud
Sharing poetry with friends
Ice cold Diet Pepsi
Ringtones
Haydn's excitement over this weekend
Encouraging note from Emily Davidson
Girlfriend time at the coffee house
Van repair cheaper than expected
Library books that just seem to jump out at me
Walking



Please drop by Becky's blog and join us in sharing our happies.



Heather

Monday, August 17, 2009

She's Got Real Chutzpah

When I saw Cheri last month, she brought me books. One quick way to become my favorite person is to bring me books. They make my heart go pitter-patter. I just finished reading The Spirit of Sweetgrass. God got a good chuckle at my expense when I picked that one up. I decided to take a break from Heaven to let what I have been learning so far sink in. Some subjects require rumination as I go along. Anywho, here I am, trying to take a break from the topic of heaven, and I pick up this piece of Southern lit lauded as good by Pat Conroy (who can always convince me a book is worthwhile) and gifted by Cheri. Halfway through the book, the main character dies and goes to... HEAVEN. She tells half the story from her new home in the afterlife. HA! Yes, God, I get it.

When I went to pick a new book off of my To Read shelf, my eye caught on In Other Words, which is also a gift from Cheri. This book is full of words from all around the world in lots of different languages. I thought I might share a few with you. Tonight, I will share some Yiddish words.

Chutzpah - Unmitigated gall, brazeness beyond imagination. The classic example is the boy who killed both his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

Bupkis: (bup-kiss) literally, beans. Colloquially, nothing. "You're gonna sue me?! You know what you'll get!!?? Bupkis!"

Kvell: to burst with pride from the achievements of your loved ones.

Mishegoss: (mish-uh-goss) neurosis, craziness, psychological shtick, insanity, wacky idea, idée fixée, foolish notion. "Did you hear his latest mishegoss? He's quitting law school to become a drummer in a heavy metal band!"


And, because I was too lazy to type the definitions out of the book, I copied them from Bubby's Yiddish Glossary.

What's YOUR favorite word from another language?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Currently: August 2009

Current Books: I just started The Spirit of Sweetgrass, which Cheri brought me last month. I love stories from the lowlands of South Carolina. Speaking of, Pat Conroy has a new book out. I will have to see if the library has it and put it on hold. I just finished The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool, both by Philippa Gregory. I now have the first season of Tudors coming from Netflix. I am partially through Heaven by Randy Alcorn.

Current Playlist: Ringtones galore. LOL! I turned on my sister's old phone, since mine was messing up. I have been downloading free rings from phonezoo.com.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Diet Coke

Current Color: red

Current Fetish: leaf motifs

Current Drink: Just discovered Diet Mt Dew Ultraviolet

Current Food: Pasta

Current Favorite Favorite: The Complete Book of Christian Prayer

Current Wishlist: Bookshelves, running shoes, armband for my iPod

Current Needs: Patience. Always a little more patience.

Current Triumph: "Preaching" on a Sunday morning. No PowerPoint slides to guide me. Just my scribbled notes and my heart. God is good.

Current Bane of my Existence: Satan's schemes and lies.

Current Celebrity Crush: Zoey Deschanel

Current Indulgence: Ben & Jerry's

Current Mood: Content and looking forward.

Current #1 Blessing: The best friends in the world. A ton of them. Only God could bless me with so many amazing people all around the world.

Current Slang or Saying: I can't think of anything. Lately, I am talking a lot about Heaven and God's plan.

Current Outfit: A red, white and blue striped Tommy Hilfiger dress. Will toss on sandals before we leave. And my new white leaf earrings, probably.

Current Excitement: School is back in!

Current Link: www.myhusbandrocks.com

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Felcities 8/14/09

In honor of Natalie. Join us at Becky's Blog.
Friday Felicities
Psalm 139
Scripture from Cat
A budding friendship (AIMEE!)
Note from Cheri
Raigan telling Corey I am her labyrinth-friend
New red streaks in my hair
Time with my sister, last week
Greeting cards galore, to send
Card from Meredith, in the mail
diet Pepsi
Breakfast with hubby and kids
Laughing at Marie Antoinette (movie)
I could name so many this week. Isn't that something? It was a rough week... maybe the roughest week of the whole year, and yet I have seen more blessings than I could begin to count. Life is funny like that, huh?
Heather

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