Archive | May 2015

Kalalau Trail

  

Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Good morning from Kauai! Yep, it’s like 6:45 AM here. I know on the mainland that it is afternoon or so. 

This is a picture from the 2 mile mark at Kalalau trail. It is amazing! We hiked it the other day, very steep and quite narrow in some spots. 

So, I am guessing that you are wondering what this verse has to do with this picture. Like I said, the trail can be very step and narrow at times. You have to let people pass one at a time. Now, don’t be scared. Our life was never in danger. We would never do that to our children. But, there were times that the terrain was so steep and wet that we would have to go VERY slow and go one at a time down the slippery rocks. That was a little freaky. But the people on the trail were all so nice. I don’t think you could find a group of total strangers so willing to be patient and helpful that the people you will find on the Kalalau trail. 

I don’t know that every one we met was a follower of Christ, but they exuded this verse. They were kind – they offered to take family photos for us. Where could they possibly go with our camera? 😉 They were tenderhearted  – people were making sure that the ones around them were safe. People were also watching out for one another while at the beach or while on the trail. People were forgiving – sometimes you are looking down at the trail and forget that there might be someone else who needs to get by. 

My point in all of this is that we need to show people Christ no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing. People need to see that followers of Christ are a different breed. Just like you go out onto this trail anticipating difficult terrain and an arduous journey, you should go through life with the anticipation of difficult situations and a long, arduous trip home to Heaven. We need to be willing to be kind, to be tenderhearted and to be forgiving because you see, that is what makes us different. That is what shows others that we have Someone special leading our life – Jesus. 

Mighty Man of Valour

Joshua 10:7-10 – “So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.”

Happy Memorial Day from Kauai!

I just finished my morning perusal of Facebook and was admiring all the posts relating to this day. All the pictures of the soldiers. All the pictures of the families crying next to their loved one’s tombstone. It makes me so sad. I think about all those families who have lost loved ones and who have loved ones on the front lines. I appreciate all those people who willingly put their lives on the line for me every single day. Their sacrifice amazes and encourages me. 

And I know this day is a day we set aside to remember our military and their sacrifice, but I also want to remember the military of the past – the long ago past, say, Biblical times. 

Joshua was a warrior. He was devoted to the Lord and he was devoted to Moses. He was one of the scouts to the Promised Land that said, “Come boys! We got this!” when all the others said “No way!”. He was a “mighty man of valour”. 

I want you to take a close look at this passage. You see, Joshua went up to fight these guys. But I want you to look at Who went up before them – the LORD. Now, when you see “LORD”, the writer is talking about Yaweh. This is the Most Holy Name of God. This name is not used frequently. When the writer wrote it, they had a very specific ritual they had to go through just to write it. 

But my point is this – Joshua was not a mighty man of valour on his own. What made him so was his firm belief and confidence in God. He knew that God + him equals more than any one person or army could conquer. He knew that with God on his side that nothing was impossible. He diligently asked God what He wanted him to do. He determined in his heart to follow after God no matter how crazy or ridiculous the plan sounded (remember Jericho?).  This was a true mighty man of valour. 

So to all our military personnel and their families, I salute you and I encourage you to seek out the One who makes you a true hero – Jesus Christ. He is the one who can make you mighty man of valour as well. And remember, you don’t have to be in the military to be this mighty man of valour. You can be a mighty princess of valour too! All it takes is a firm determination to seek out Christ in all that you do and follow Him no matter what. 

The Airport

1 Corinthians 15:45 – “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

Yep, I’m at the airport. We are on our way to Kauai. We are taking the whole family to visit this tropical island for our 20th wedding anniversary celebration. We are so excited!

So as I’m sitting here admiring all the colors of the rainbow both in skin and hair color, I can’t help but remember that all these people came from two people – Adam and Eve. All of them. All however many billion of them! I know, I think about weird and crazy stuff like that. But truly, I wonder if all these people ever stop and consider these things. But more importantly, do they stop and consider the “last Adam”? 

One would think that it would be so easy to share the Gospel with all these people, but it’s not so easy. All these people are carrying around baggage, both literally and figuratively. All these people are carrying around all these preconceived ideas of Jesus. Some are true, some are false. Some think that He was just a man. Some think that He was a prophet. But there are some that see Him as the True Son of God. 

It is our challenge to share Him as He truly is with everyone we come in contact with. So, the question is will I share Him with the person I sit next to on the plane? Will you share Him with the person in the checkout line? Will you share Him with the mailman or the UPS man who comes to your door today?

Every day is a challenge. Every day is an opportunity to share Him and bring another fellow sinner into the Kingdom. You see, we are no better than anyone else. But we are a Child of the King. And that, friend, is something worth sharing. 

20 years

Matthew 19:5,6 – “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

May 20, 1995 dawned bright and beautiful. It was the day I had been waiting for my entire life. I was going to marry my best friend. I remember bits and pieces of that day very clearly and other parts just run together. I remember going to the salon and getting my hair done. It was huge. I remember getting my makeup done – it was a lot. I remember going to the old farmhouse where we had our reception and hammering stakes into the yard for the balloons up the walkway with my big hair and veil. I remember getting shooed away from that task because everyone was afraid I would get eaten up by fire ants. I remember sitting on the stairs leading up to the bridal room eating a turkey sandwich and an apple. I remember giggling all the way the through the ceremony because I was so nervous. 

I remember going to sleep that night and hearing my new husband say, “I’ll see you in the morning.” And I said, “I’ll see you any time I dang well please!” And he responded, “Just the way I like it, pretty baby.” And thus has been said every night for the past twenty years just before we fall asleep together. 

But I think my fondest memory of that day was actually the next morning when I awoke to my new husband smiling at me. 

These last twenty years have been filled with ups and downs, ins and outs, laughter and tears. But I wouldn’t trade any moment for any thing in the world. God gave him to me for a reason. He keeps me balanced. He keeps me sane. He helps to carry my load. He loves me unconditionally. He builds me up. I pray I never have to imagine life without him. 

But the most important thing is he is my best friend to this day. He is my brother in Christ. He leads our home spiritually and physically and emotionally. He loves our children fiercely. 

Our marriage has been an amazing gift from God. We are not perfect by any stretch of the means, but God has set a love in our hearts for one another that is unbelievable. You see, we trusted Him first. We chose to walk His path together. We have chosen to give Him the say so in our marriage, in our decisions and in our future. God brought us together and only God can take us apart. But that is our choice to make. And we have chosen it every single day – for the last twenty years. 

I didn’t really write this blog this morning for any one else but him. But I hope that you have enjoyed a glimpse into my life and my love. And to my husband, I love you more than I can tell you. You have given me the best of my life and I am excited to see what God has in store for us in the next 20+ years. 

Anger management

Ephesians 4:26,27 – “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

Do people ever make you angry? 

Well, duh, Melissa. Of course they do! Do people ever make you act in your anger? Probably at least sometimes, right? 

Being angry with people is a part of life that we all have to deal with. We will get frustrated with our spouse, our kids, our co-workers, our classmates, our parents – you name it! Every person you ever meet will eventually make you angry at some point or another. Guaranteed. But it is how we deal with that anger that is important. 

You see, when you get angry you have a choice – you can either forgive and forget or you can you can hold onto that wrong forever. The first option is what God would have you to do. The second is what the devil would have you to do. The devil wants you seething. He wants you to take that wrong against you and wear it as a badge of honor that everyone should know about and experience. He wants you to carry that grudge day after day, week after week, year after year. Eventually, that grudge gets mighty heavy. You feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. And you begin to notice that this horrible grudge is beginning to effect the rest of your life. It may take days to take effect or it may take years. Either way, eventually it will corrode your joy, your happiness, your peace. This is exactly what the devil wants. He wants your joy gone – you are more susceptible to more anger that way. He wants your happiness gone – without it, you are looking for people to be angry at.  He wants you peace gone – it keeps you on edge that way. 

All of this yuck is exactly why God instructed Paul to encourage the Ephesians to not let the sun go down on their anger. He didn’t say to not get mad or angry. He knows better than to ask something that is not attainable. He did say to not go to bed angry. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to wake up the next morning mad. It will do no one any good. When you go to bed angry, you are saying to the devil, “Welcome. Come on in and stay a while.” And let me emphasize, this is your choice. You choose to let him stay. You choose to invite him in. Sounds harsh, right? But you know it’s true. We have all been in a situation where we have to choose to let our anger go. We have to decide that we are not going to let the situation effect us. We have to choose to deal with the anger issue before we can rest properly. 

So let me encourage you this week to guard your heart against anger. I know better than to request that you don’t get angry. But when you do, choose to get rid of it before you rest. Do give the devil an opportunity to take up residence in your heart. 

Be a wake

Proverbs 4:18 – “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

I was walking around a lake the other day. It was a beautiful night and the boaters were out. Everywhere they went, they left a little wake behind them. It was a small ripple in a great big pond. Everyone knew that someone had been there. 

Wednesday, my program manager and I cleaned and rearranged the therapy room at work. It was a significant change. Everyone who walked in was amazed at the amount of space we were able to conjure up!

What kind of wake are you leaving every day? Can people actually see that you have been there? And not just by the mess you have made. Are you leaving behind progress and making your world a little better place to be? Are you shining your light so that others are drawn to your changing behaviors?

As followers of Christ, we are supposed to be weird. We are supposed to be different in a way that draws people to us. We should be leaving a wake each and every day at each and every place we go. 

Have you ever walked past someone and you could smell their perfume for a good twenty feet before it finally faded? I’m not sure how someone can wear that much perfumed body stuff but people do it! We should be leaving behind the “scent” of Christ. People should see Him in everything we do and feel His presences long after we leave. 

Let me encourage you today to make a wake. Be the weirdo. Be the kind of person that people are drawn to. Let them see Jesus in your life so brightly that the Light doesn’t fade when you leave. 

12

1 Peter 3:10,11 – “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

Today is my daughter’s twelfth birthday. I can’t believe she is that old. I was just thinking this morning that it doesn’t seem that long ago that she was this chubby face little angel blowing spit bubbles with those perfect little lips. And now, she is becoming a beautiful young woman. 

We call my daughter our “party waiting to happen”. She is so full of life. She is always smiling and always has something to say. She is very sensitive to the needs of her friends and the problems that they face. She is always seeking counsel on how to best handle a situation and problem. She wants the people she spends her time with to love her, to laugh with her and to share everything with her. She is an individual. She doesn’t have to follow the crowd to fit in with her peers. 

And the most important thing I can say about my daughter is she is God’s girl. She accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was very young. She is just like the rest of us – she fails but she keeps going back to Him. She is not perfect. She talks ALL THE TIME! When she was a baby, she would talk herself to sleep. She can have times where her confidence falters, even when she is doing an amazing job. She can be a bit nosy. I am constantly telling that if she is going to eavesdrop that she has to pay attention. 

But I love her. I love her so much. She is the first girl on my husband’s side of the family in four generations. God meant for me to have her in my life. 

So, what does all this bragging on my little girl have to do with this verse? It reminds me of my daughter. I know she is not perfect. I know that she fails. I know she drives me crazy sometimes. But she loves life. She tries to guard her tongue. She tries to stay away from evil and she is always seeking peace. She makes me want to be a better mom. She makes me want to be a better example to her. She makes me want to be a better follower of Jesus. 

God wants us to appreciate all the people in our life. He has given each and every person you come in contact with a special purpose to fulfill in your life. Let me encourage you today to identify those special purposes and let God manifest them in your life. Let Him show you what He is trying to teach you. And soak it all up. We are never promised tomorrow.