Category Archives: Faith

Rainbows…

I understand the science behind the optical phenomenon of reflection and refraction of light through water droplets resulting in a rainbow.  Nevertheless, rainbows are a magical experience.

Did you know…A primary rainbow arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner.  On a double rainbow, the second arc has its colors reversed.  I know the second rainbow is barely visible, but I think I was lucky to see it at all.

double rainbow

According to Genesis, after Noah saved the animals from the Great Flood, a rainbow appeared. As the flood had killed all other living beings, the rainbow came to symbolize God’s promise that he would never send another flood to destroy all of the earth and that never again would all living things be killed in the waters of a flood.

As much as I believe in the existence of rainbows, I also believe the Biblical story of the great flood to be true and accurate.

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I will carry your burden but not your load…

my load

Recently someone posed this question to me…Is there a difference between your load and your burden?

My answer was…yes of course there is a difference. But when I tried to articulate the difference I found I struggled to give a clear explanation.

A load is something with substantial weight. Something you can physically see, touch and feel. It is something that can be weighed.  On the other hand a burden is something that weighs you down emotionally. It’s a perceived load. It doesn’t have physical traits. You cannot see it, touch it or feel it.

Yes, a load can be burdensome but that isn’t what I am talking about here…

According to God’s word, in Galatians 6, we are to carry each others burdens and we are to carry our own load.  We should have empathy and sympathy for those who are hurting physically and struggling emotionally with the things that are out if their control.  We should be there to help them carry their burden. However, we should not be expected to carry someone’s load…bail them out of situations that were caused by their choices.

The more we carry someones load for them the less likely they are to learn to carry it for themselves. The more dependent they will become.  It will be difficult in the beginning…the load will seem too heavy for them but over time they will grow stronger in their abilities and their belief that they can do it. Empathize with their burden but encourage them to pick up their load and walk.

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SAVE SAEED, FREE SAEED! Use your voice – he can’t…

Step up…this is not a political issue. This is a human rights issue. Be Saeed’s voice. Let this be your random act of kindness today. Use your social medium platform today for something other than posting what you had for lunch. #FREESAEED

 

thesisterslice

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year for the crime of being a Christian.saeed-abedini-with-SONIn recent negotiations with the government of Iran over their nuclear program, his plight was left unresolved by our administration.Use your platform to speak out and demand his release. Don’t have a platform? If you have a voice or a cell phone or email or twitter account or face book page or instagram or linkedin or blog, etc – you have a platform. Use the hashtag: #freesaeed and/or #savesaeed on all your platforms today!What if it were you? What if it was your spouse, son, brother, father?

And lest you think that he is being cared for as a political prisoner know that he is in a horrific, over crowded prison. A prison in the middle of nowhere built to house 5,000 currently holds over 20,000. He…

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Counter-productive…

Today I spent more time doing less and accomplished more in the end…

Time spent in thoughtful reflection can bring you to a place that no amount of rushing and running around will ever do…being busy can be counter-productive.

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Filed under 2013 Photo Journal, Faith, Fall Time

Public Service Announcement….

every little thing

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October 21, 2013 · 11:13 pm

Hello Mornings!

I am neither a self-professed early riser or a night owl.  I enjoy the peacefulness that either time of the day offers.  How can I choose between the beauty of a golden sunrise or a majestic purple sunset?  One offers me an opportunity to rejoice with the coming of the new day.  While the other gives me time to reflect and be thankful for all that the day was.

There is something to be said about starting the day off in the presence of the Lord…Jesus started his day off by meeting with the Lord and therefore set an example for how our day should begin.

I am embarking on a journey this summer.  A journey that will begin at dawn each day.  Each morning will begin with prayer, include a devotional reading and finish up with a time of quiet and stillness.

I am feeling most challenged by the commitment to the time of quiet and stillness…typically when my feet hit the floor my mind is racing…making my own plan for the day, week, month…rarely checking in with the Lord to see what His plan is for my day.

I have found that it’s easier for me to stay focused when I have a plan in place.  Otherwise, I find myself distracted and rambling. I have been known to chase a squirrel or two…  I have found the simple ACTS prayer model works for me…This also follows the pattern of the Lords prayer…

  • Adoration: proclaiming who God is and the attributes of HIS character
  • Confession: personal cleansing, repentance, putting on Christs nature
  • Thanksgiving: praise offering, meditation
  • Supplication: asking, intercession and petitioning according to God’s will

I have created a place that I hope will become my thin place, where heaven meets earth (check out the explanation at 6:00 minutes) …my meeting place with the Lord…If you would like to join the summer session of Hello Mornings click here to find a group.

I am looking forward to developing a great new habit of rising early and meeting with the Lord.  This could be the best summer of my life! Let the journey begin…

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Reflection: The Stain of Love!

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This week has given me many opportunities for reflection.  A dear sweet friend and co-worker passed from this life into the next on Sunday morning @ 8:00am.  And at 8:00:01am she opened them in the presence of God.  This is what I believe and it is not up for debate.

As I have gone through my week thinking of her at every turn, my days have been filled with smiles and laughter, a few tears but only because of the kind remembrances of her and the unselfish life she led.

She leaves behind a beautiful family with hearts filled with wonderful memories and wisdom only a woman of God can instill in the lives of her children.

I have reflected on how this woman born in the Ukraine came to be a part of God’s plan in my life.  I am a city girl from the Southern United States and she a beautiful woman from a small farming village in Russia.  Only God could have seen how we needed one another for this season of our lives.

I have heard it said that people come into our lives for a moment, a season or a lifetime.  You would think that the person who comes into our life for a lifetime would make the biggest impact on us.  But I do not believe that to always be the case.

There are those people who come into our lives and they make an impression.  They can either make a good impression or a bad impression.  But impressions are easily forgotten as time passes.

There are those individuals who come into our life and they make a mark.  A mark sticks with you longer than an impression.  When I think of a mark I think of a scar.  Scars are made by cutting into our flesh, they hurt and make us bleed.  Some marks are deeper than others but they heal, the pain goes away and eventually you are left with a faded mark.  There are good scars and not so good scars…A good scar could be one left from a surgical procedure that saved your life or delivered your child into your loving arms.  A bad scar…there are too many to mention…

Then there are those who come into our lives and leave a stain.  They pour themselves out all over us and when they are no longer with us we see a reflection of them in our own lives.  I realize there are good stains as well as bad stains…A bad stain that comes to mind is red wine spilled on white carpet…A good stain is the perfect walnut stain applied to a beautiful hand crafted wooden cabinet.  To better illustrate my point here is the definition of how “staining” works;

The primary method of stain formation is surface stains, where the staining substance is spilled out onto the surface or material and is trapped in the fibers, pores, indentations, or other capillary structures on the surface.  The material that is trapped coats the underlying material, and the stain reflects back light according to its own color.”

My sweet beautiful friend was a “stainer”…she stained everyone she met with her color.  She didn’t just spill a little of herself into your life, she poured herself into your life.  It was subtle and sweet.  Her intentions were always meant for good.  Her grace and goodness had a way of making you stop and realize how blessed we were just to be standing up, walking around, able to work…my sweet beautiful friend seeped into my pours, she filled every indentation of my being with warmth and love.

This is one stain I will never try to remove or cover up…it is the stain of love.

Other Reflections of Love:

Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror

This Man’s Journey

Christine M Grote

Fabulous 50’s

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Speak Life…

Be a lamp

When is the last time you stopped to consider the words you speak?  I think about it quite often.  I have witnessed the power of the spoken word and how it can lift someones spirit or tear them down. I have seen  the crushing blow of a parents angry words to a child over a missed pitch in a baseball game.  I have seen a beautiful vibrant woman turned into a sad shell of herself due to the constant insults leveled at her by her husband.  I have also witnessed a husband lose his sense of self-worth because his hard work goes unnoticed by his family.   Then on the other hand,  I have seen tears replaced with laughter, desperation replaced with hope.  I have seen anger replaced with peace,  rejection replaced with acceptance.  I have seen a lost soul find their purpose.  All because of the spoken word.

This week one of my young volunteers lost his life in a horrific accident.  As you can imagine the family and everyone who knew him are devastated.  When the Pastor met with the family the grandmother recounted a story of how one particular person had spoken words of encouragement to this young man while he was volunteering and the incredibly positive affect it had on him. “Her words lifted his spirit!”

Every conversation and interaction we have is an opportunity to speak hope  into someone’s life. Recently, Toby Mac released a new CD, Eye On It.  There is one particular song that I listen to almost everyday on my to work…Speak Life.  The lyrics remind me that I have the power to speak hope, love and life into someone’s world…

“It’s Crazy to imaging that the words from our lips as the arms of compassion. Mountains crumble with every syllable. Hope can live or die. So speak life. Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted. watch them come alive as soon as you speak love, speak hope, speak life.”

What will you do with your words today…tear someone down or Speak Life?

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I Plead the Fifth…

I would like to plead the fifth when someone asks me what I do for a living…It’s not that I don’t like what I do, as a matter of fact I love my work. It is my dream job! However, when the dreaded question is asked…my answer never seems to encompass the importance of what I do. Usually when I give a short answer like, I work for the church”, people get this strange look on their face and the conversation ends with a “OH, that’s nice”.

I am not trying to embellish what I do but I would like for people to know what I do makes a difference in people’s lives and sometimes that is hard to communicate…

I am the Director of the Welcome Ministry, a ministry of first impressions for New Hope Church. I am the book and gift buyer for the New Hope Bookstore. I oversee 6 volunteer ministries that include the Bookstore,Cafe, Connect, Greeter, Usher and Information volunteers. These teams consist of over 400 volunteers who serve on a bi-weekly rotation. My job also encompasses special projects that take place in the church lobby and auditorium.

The Ministry of First Impressions is made up of hundreds of tiny little details that work hand in hand to make a great first and  lasting impression on a visitor or a regular attendee. We greet people with a warm smile and an encouraging word. We provide a tour of the campus to help people feel like family instead of a visitor or intruder. We offer them a hot cup of coffee and a pastry on the house. We make sure they have a listening guide so they can follow along with the announcements and the lesson. We help them find a comfortable seat. We provide a wide variety of bibles, books and gifts that will help them with their spiritual walk. And the experts tell us that we only have 7 minutes to make a great first impression. No pressure. Right?!

When we get it right, people feel like that have found a place where they belong and are among friends and family. When we get it right people find a place of peace where there is hope and encouragement in difficult times. When we get it right people’s hearts are ready to hear a Word from God and that can be life changing…

So you see pleading the fifth is not really an option…I just would like to find a way to express what I do in a way that leaves people thinking, WOW! instead of “oh”…

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Reflection

This past week was spent getting ready for a special weekend at church. Not that they aren’t all special in some way or another, because they are. But this weekend we were going to take communion as a church. We take communion corporately once each quarter, which is a time of reflection in itself.  However, we were trying out a new setup in the auditorium and I was overseeing the project.
There were many hands and feet that worked together to make the communion experience special and memorable. Pastor Tim brought the message, the Worship songs were perfect for the moment, the volunteers served selflessly and the staff filled in the gaps. We were many parts but we were one body!

And at the end of the day on Saturday God painted a glorious sunset that said… “Well done my good and faithful servant” …lets do it again tomorrow and we did!

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Filed under Faith, Snapshots of Life, Weekly Photo Challenge