Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Christian’

Be A Light In The Dark

Candle in the night

Image by jcarlosn via Flickr

Halloween has many memories for me. Like any other child of my generation, I remember when it was safe to go trick or treating. Oh there was the general “scare” about razor blades in apples, and you weren’t supposed to eat any “homemade” candy. But all in all – it was pretty tame.

What’s even more amusing to me – our church youth group used to have a haunted houses complete with zombies and ghouls to scare us and make us scream as we went through it. Our youth pastor was the biggest kid among us. No one thought anything about it. It was just good clean fun.

I even remember singing “The Monster Mash” as a part of a Halloween celebration at our church one year. We had a really goofy guy doing the solo and then a few of us girls backed him up – I must have been in junior high then. Again – good clean fun – not meant to conjure up evil spirits or somehow celebrate a demonic holiday with satan.

It was not until college that I heard any controversy about Halloween. And I learned that some of these students had never gone trick or treating – nor did they celebrate in any way, unless it was a harvest festival or equivalent at their church. They did not hand out candy to children, even turned their lights out in their home to avoid people all together.

We did not agree and always let our kids dress up and go out on Halloween, with us along, of course. It was fun for them – as it had been for us – and I did not see any reason to darken their world with horror stories and controversy over it. Children only know that they are getting candy – LOTS OF IT. And they are excited!

Some years ago our children’s pastor spoke about this subject, and I thought he had wonderful things to say in addressing this issue that the church has been faced with. Do we – or don’t we? His insight was really great – he said, “this is an opportunity – how often do you have CHILDREN and their parents coming to your door?”  He was of the opinion that we as Christians should embrace the moment – impact our neighborhood and shine the light of Jesus everywhere we go – on EVERY day of the year – including Halloween.  He had tracts that he handed out with candy in hopes that the family would get a positive message from a Christian family on the block – with information and numbers of the church and him personally.

It was great advice – and I know MANY people who also practice this.  And although we don’t pass out a tract to children – we DO have our lights on shining brightly and we greet each one with a smile and a welcome – letting our light shine out in a dark world – impacting one child and one family – one at a time.

I challenge you to do the same – be a light in the dark.  You never know who may come to your door that needs – you.

 

Below – enjoy a trip back to my youth group days – with a video of “Monster Mash”.

Have a safe Halloween.

 

God Bless

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Blog Sharing Friday – Ladies Only

The two women friends are shocked at a third w...

Image via Wikipedia

I have some AWESOME women I want to share with you this week.

1) Marni Arnold of Relevant Brokenness is someone I have connected with on twitter, google+ and mostly on both our blog sites.  I love Marni’s articles and her great testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and what brought her there.  I had the honor of doing a guest spot a few months back on her blog (the article is at the bottom of this article) and she is generous to share her site with others who have something to contribute and share with others.  She is one of the nicest and most generous people I have met online – always the encourager.

2) Laura Miles of In The Midst is the mom of David Miles, a personal friend and former staff associate of ours – while my husband and I were on staff at New Life Church in Renton, Washington.  I have never met Laura in person – but have been loving her blog, first introduced to me by David several months ago on his blog – where he featured her.  Laura is down to earth and very honest in her approach to life, her relationship with Jesus and her struggles as well.  I feel like we are kindred spirits and it is always fun to have her comments on my articles.

3)  Diana Savage of Hope For Wounded Christians is someone I have had the privilege of knowing for 15 years.  Diana served on staff as well at New Life Church when my husband was on staff.  She is a gifted author and communicator.  She has survived tragedy and heartache in her own life and has become a beautiful and strong woman of God – encouraging others to find ‘hope’ in Jesus Christ.  Her blog has many wonderful nuggets of truth and encouragement from the word of God – as she shares her journey with others.  Diana is also one of the nicest and most beautiful human beings I know, very humble and unassuming in person.

4)  Heather Murdock of heathersfaith is another kindred spirit whom I got to know first on twitter and then our blog sites.  She writes with beautiful clarity – has a testimony to tell of God’s amazing grace and even shares her incredible gift of love and encouragement on a local Christian TV program in the city where she lives.  I have caught a few of these programs, as she interviews others with testimonies of what God is doing in their lives – and she is straightforward, interested and caring.  Heather is also very beautiful inside and out and I know people are just drawn to her.

 

I encourage you to check out each of these blogs sites – I know you will be blessed and encouraged by them – just as I have been.

 

God Bless

Coincidence or Providence?

Cover of "Water for Elephants: A Novel"

Cover of Water for Elephants: A Novel

Greg and I went to see “Water for Elephants” the other night – and while it is not my favorite movie of all time, there were some very thought-provoking things in it.

For starters – a young man after losing his parents in a tragic car accident, starts to walk away from everything he’s known in search of another life.  He chances on a train and jumps on – not just any train – a train of circus performers.  And he finds himself caught up in the life of the circus and meets the woman who will ultimately change his life.

Now while I believe that we make our own choices in life and there are no coincidences – I also have to believe that things happen the way they do for a reason.  I was reading a quote from C.S. Lewis today.

In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, I can truly say to every group of Christian friends, Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another. The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.

And so if this is true – that people are put in our path to help us through our journey – maybe we should look at adversities in the same way – as a means for helping us on our path – bringing something that we need at that very moment in time.  And maybe I should spend less time in wondering, lamenting, searching for the reasons, blaming and feeling ill-used when things don’t go the way I think they should – and when my path isn’t as smooth as I think it should be.  Maybe – just maybe – these things and people are God’s wonderful providence – provided for me by His great love.

What adversity are you facing today?  What difficult people do you have to deal with?  Coincidence – or Providence?

God Bless

Mansion Builder

Here is a blast from the past with “Second Chapter of Acts” – a popular Christian singing group from the 70’s composed of two sisters and their younger brother.  My favorite song from them is this one.

Enjoy and God Bless

I’ve been told that there are those
Who will learn how to fly
And I’ve been told that there are those
Who will never die
And I’ve been told that there are stars
That will never lose their shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind

So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
‘Cause I’ve got a Mansion Builder
Who ain’t through with me yet

And I’ve been told that there’s a
Crystal lake in the sky
And every tear from my eyes
Is saved when I cry
And I’ve been told there’ll come a time
When the sun will cease to shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind

Heaven’s Rain

The best thing one can do when it's raining is...

Image by Krikit ♥ via Flickr

Tonight, Greg and I watched the incredible true story as told on ‘Dateline’ about the horrific murders in October of 1979 of an Oklahoma Baptist pastor and his wife – while their two teenage children watched and amazingly – although wounded themselves – survived.

It is incredible and heart wrenching.  It is also a story of forgiveness. Some 15 years after the murders – the older of the two children, Brooks Douglass faced the  man who had shot his parents, serving life in prison at the time.  As he told the story on Dateline – he was very emotional when he told this part of the story.  He said he made a decision to forgive the man.  When he did – something inside of him broke – and all the years of pent-up anger and emotion – were released.  All because of being willing to forgive.  He did it for his parents, his sister – but mostly he did it for him.

It is powerful.  Raw and Gritty.  And I was amazed at his courage – and the courage of his young teenage sister who repeatedly had to testify in court over the next 15 years to have the men put away for good.

Brooks eventually ran for Oklahoma senate – and won – passing a bill that would usher in new ‘victim’s rights’.  And he began to write his story – and  eventually wrote the screen play for the movie of these events called ‘Heaven’s Rain’ – due to come out in February.

The subject of forgiveness is a difficult one.  Especially when we have been wronged.  I have a difficult time with it – and I have never had anything so hideous done to me personally or any of my family members.  But it doesn’t matter.  If we withhold forgiveness from another person who has wronged us – it is like poison and will eat us up inside.  The bible says to ‘forgive’ – not for them – but for us.  And showing mercy and grace to others is so necessary for our own personal healing – that’s why there is so much emphasis on this in scripture.

I encourage you to watch the special about this amazing true story as told on Dateline.

Below is the movie trailer in which Brooks – now in his 40’s plays the role of his father.  Very moving.

God Bless

Safety In Numbers

Sueños rotos / Broken dreams

Image by Tomás Rotger via Flickr

Our pastor had another excellent message this morning on “How To Deal with Broken Dreams”.

I was aware of the fact, as he was speaking – that I have had a few dreams and things I thought would turn out differently from what they have.  I think if we are honest – we would all say the same thing.

And it is in a world of broken or unfilled dreams – that you and I can become restless and discouraged.  The most common reaction to heartbreak is to pull away from others.  To isolate ourselves and try to make it on our own.  This is when we need be very aware that when we are pulling away from others –  Satan can have a grip on us – catching us when we are weak and alone.  And pulling us down.

1 Peter 5 says this:

8-11Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

I’m so glad He has the last word.  His hand of protection is always on me.  There is also ‘safety in numbers’.  When we rely on good council from strong Christian brothers and sisters – and are accountable to them – we are less likely to fall away – make unwise choices and stray off the path.

I admit – I like to pull away and be alone – it is in my nature to do so.  I’ve always been somewhat of a ‘loner’.  This is why – although I enjoy my friendships – it is always easier and more comfortable for me to pull away from the crowd.  Being in a married situation – and a mom  – took real discipline for me as a person – because many times when I would prefer to be alone – my circumstances were not conducive to it – nor would my family hear of it!  But my very patient husband was wonderful in understanding this about me – and at times when our children were very young – he would tell me he was going to watch them and that I could just go somewhere for several hours – to give me a much-needed break.

And although this may be a positive in many ways to like to be alone – and be able to refuel and recharge – it is not always healthy.  I need people – the friendships in my life are very important to me – so I have to work at them.  The things we value – we will make time for.  It is the same way in my marriage to Greg.  I value my time alone – but I also make time for him – because it is healthy for me to do so.  He keeps me grounded.  His love allows me to be who I am – and it is a safe place.

I have also learned that I have to let go of some of the strongholds in my life – people who haven’t treated me right – my chance for complete restoration with an old friend – etc., etc.  In letting go and not expecting anything in return – and in fact –  never seeing things the way I would like them to be.   I decided something today.  This is a ‘broken dream’ and I need to let go of it.  Period.  No more wishing and dreaming of the day that things will be put to right.  No more waiting to ask the questions and find the answers – to hear that I’m not crazy after all.  Just forgiving and letting it go.  Stephen said it so well this morning.  ‘Forgive and ask questions later’.  How simple this sounds.  How true it is.  But how humbling and challenging.  And yet – I know I have to lead my heart in this area.  I have to live with my own choices and my response to the way others have treated me.  I’m very aware that this puts me in a vulnerable position to NOT have those walls of protections around me – yes – I could be hurt again.  But it is a risk I’m willing to take – because it’s the right thing to do.

Colossians 3 says this:

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Peace and thankfulness.  So much to be thankful for.  So much.

And so on this Halloween day – my prayer for you is the same.  Let go of it – all of it.  And God will bless you for it.  Forgive and ask questions later.

Here’s hoping and praying that you will do just that.  Stay close to God – and stay close to each other.

God Bless

Being The Right Person

Love for Arts

Image via Wikipedia

When we’re young we think we’re going to find the ‘perfect’ person to fall in love with – and eventually (hopefully) they will love us back – and then want to get married.

This is on a woman’s mind from very early on.

Love is the great ‘romantic’ idea.  She wants someone who will adore and love her – move heaven and earth to be with her – and be her ‘hero’.

Men have something very different on their minds when they start thinking about the opposite sex.  It is not usually about ‘love’ or romantic thoughts – and they can compartmentalize feelings (or lack of them) in lieu of physical attraction and sex.

When love finally hits a man – goes straight to his heart and he cannot get that girl out of his head – then he knows he is in trouble.  For good.  And he tries to be everything he can be – to say and do what he must for ‘win’ her.

She is looking for someone to save her – complete her and love her.

He is looking for someone to love him – respect and adore him.

There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s normal and natural.  But what I’ve learned through life is this:  Finding the right person is not nearly as important as being the right person.

We can enter into a love relationship expecting someone to make up for our lack.  To ‘fill in’ where we are not strong.  To be able to save us from our past.  No one can.  There is no perfect person – at least I’ve never met one yet.  And if you enter in to love or marriage thinking this – you will be very disappointed.

I’ve even heard of women (and men) saying, “when they marry me – I’ll be able to change them”.  You can’t.

Change in behavior can seem to be happening when the relationship is new and exciting – but long-lasting change is impossible.  No one changes anyone else – permanently.

Oh we see it on TV and in the movies – some of the best literature has it in there too – the ‘wild – untamed’ man – who falls helplessly in love with a woman and is willing to change for her.  And while I put great faith in love and the power of it – ultimately you are setting yourself up for a fall if that’s what you believe.

Develop a friendship with your partner.  Friendship is an easy give and take.  Ask  yourself, “would I still be their friend if I wasn’t involved with them – didn’t love them – wasn’t married to them? – Do they make me laugh?  Do I want to know them deeper and spend more time with them? – Am I the kind of person that they would want as a friend?”

Be the right person.  Fix things that are going on inside of yourself – insecurities, bad habits and negative patterns.  Expecting someone else to swoop in and ‘fix’ your troubled mind and heart is not realistic.  And you cannot ‘fix’ theirs either.  The longer that you are married – the more you realize this truth – and accept it.

There are people in whom we have chemistry with and are very compatible. There’s no denying this fact.  Those that have a better chance of making it in love and marriage are those from a similar background with many things in common.  But this does not guarantee – it just makes it easier.  Choose someone who is easy to be with – and that you can picture yourself growing old with. Someone who doesn’t require so much work.

Say to yourself, “Can I be happy with this person for many years to come?  Can I accept them – flaws and all?  Without them changing?  Is there anything I cannot live with?”

These are important questions.  They are simple – yet revealing.  If we take the emphasis off of them – and any expectations we may feel – then we can concentrate on the really important thing: ourselves.

Imagine what a great world this would be – and what healthy growing marriages there would be if everyone accepted this fact – and stepped up – saying, “I’m going to take personal responsibility for me”.  And leave it there.

I challenge you today:  God is the only one who can change hearts.  He is in the business of deep healing – from the inside out.  Allow Him to do His job with you and others.  Don’t depend on others (even your spouse) to complete you and fill you up.  That’s God’s job.  And His alone.  He will not fail or disappoint you.  He is the one who will help you to be all you can be in a relationship – and to be the right person. You can count on it.

I am praying for you

God Bless

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