Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Evangelism’

Treasures In Heaven

Last weekend and this have been a fun time for Greg and me as we are sorting through all of years of “stuff”.  Having a garage sale is the best remedy to hoarding and having too much of that stuff.  I’ve seen those “hoarding” programs and I’m sure you have too – you maybe even know a friend or two who has WAY too much – and you wish they would give some of it away – or take it away yourself!  A big problem we have in this country is the accumulation of TOO MUCH.  I mean – how many pencils, pens, pictures, purses, folders, shoes, jackets, plates, cups, clothes, electronics and other things does one really need?  Good grief – we even have FOUR TVs!!  (At least until our garage sale last week)  Um yeah.  There are TWO of us who live here.  The dogs don’t watch TV.  It’s pretty crazy.  I’m selling or giving away purses – I don’t really use them – so WHY would I have so many?  And what we don’t sell this weekend we are going to give away – no one needs so much.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the “stuff” I posses in the last few months.  In an effort to downsize it just is not practical to take too much – so – what do I really need?  Can I be just as happy with 3 less bookcases?  Do I really need that cabinet sitting under the window in my office?  Why?  So many pillows?  So many shoes, clothes, jackets??  REALLY???  No.  We are stopping the madness.

And we may not get it right – but at least we are moving in a direction that will allow us to lighten the load – not become too dependent on material things.  Reminds me of that passage of scripture which reminds us to keep in simple.

But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.    Matthew 6:20  Holman Christian Standard Bible

My Precious Jewel

My Precious Jewel (Photo credit: cammy♥claudia)


 

And I believe the whole purpose behind this particular scripture is to gently remind us – that while having material things is not in itself wrong or bad – if our focus and only source of happiness comes from having them – GET RID OF THEM.

What does it mean to “collect treasures in heaven”?  I know what it means down here on earth and for me personally.  It means the things I love and hold onto in my heart.  The things I dwell on and think about.  The things that overwhelm my thoughts.  They are desires, people, pets, things that bring comfort and much, much more.  To “collect treasures in heaven” must mean that God wants my thoughts and desires to be focused daily first and foremost on Him and what is important to Him.  His words of love in the written word tell over and over again how he loves so much that He sacrificed everything – not withholding His only son to save us.  He is concerned for lost people.  He is concerned with showing love and compassion because it is what he provided as an example for each of us.  When we love, show compassion, are kind, gentle, generous and forgiving – we model the very behavior that He came to earth to show.

I don’t know about you – but I am “collecting treasures in heaven” by showing love.  By dwelling on thoughts of being an encouragement and by being kind and generous.  I want others to see what Jesus looks like – by seeing me.  I want others to collect those treasures for themselves too.   And in heaven you don’t have to have a garage sale to lighten the load – up there it will be THE MORE TREASURES THE BETTER!!  I want my treasures to be the people I have influenced and loved.  I want to see them all represented – all the years and investment like shining jewels sparkling and bragging about me!  And I want you to have just as many if not MORE than I will have!

 

God Bless

 

 

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The Happy Uncertainty

Happy Smiley Face from Urine Samples

Happy Smiley Face from Urine Samples (Photo credit: epSos.de)

If you have ever been in a state of flux, that precarious place between certainty and doubt – then you will understand where we are at right now.

The older I get, the more comfortable I become.  Comfortable with myself, my husband, friendships and my surroundings.  Having a home and “things” have provided a feeling of being settled and being safe.  But the things I own  –  do not own me.  I am thankful for that.  I have watched many beloved things come and go throughout our life in ministry together.  Whole households of furniture bought and sold – filled up then emptied again.  Many times.  And it does not define me to be with or without.

We are right back to that place between not knowing and knowing.  I don’t much like this place.  But as with any pain and testing – it is also a great place to grow and learn many valuable life lessons.  Here are a few things I’m learning along the way:

 

#1 – Let God be God – He will lead and direct if we will listen and are open to it

#2 – Keep a loose grasp on material things that are here today and gone tomorrow

#3 – Be happy as you Live in the moment

#4 – Be grateful and thankful for the little things

#5 – Embrace each new experience as an opportunity to learn

 

There are many more things I’m bound to learn along this ever changing journey I am on.  So for now I will say that I am still learning, still open to new possibilities and still becoming.

And so as things are walking out of our home once again – I’m finding myself back at this same place.  Uncertain, struggling to make things work, trying to be okay with an unresolved future and place to land.  And strangely – it’s all right.

I am uncertain about the future – but I am happy and confident that He will lead us…Ever been there?  Are you still here?

 

God Bless

 

 

 

 

A Life Worth Watching

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown

At the end of the day – when no one else is watching, that is where truth and honesty shake hands and become good friends.  Forced together in the privacy of my own heart – this is where I find myself,  facing my own life and my own truth.

It is not what I do in public, or even with good friends – it is what happens to me in private that really matters.

I can “put it on” – and shine for people – light up a stage, cause people to laugh, or even brighten someone’s day.  But it is in that secret place that only I know about, where my life begins and ends.

My good deeds will indeed be remembered by many, and my encouragement and willingness to lend a hand to those in need, my gifts of service to others and even things I write about, be note worthy and even may be talked about at the end of my time here on earth.

But it is in my heart – the place where no one sees that is of worth to God alone.  He takes special interest – enough to make a permanent dwelling place there.  It is there that I cannot hide my attitude, my motives and my desires.  I am forced to be real, honest, flawed, imperfect, disheartened, confused, depressed, even rebellious and questioning.  Most of these things I can easily hide from you.  But I cannot hide it from myself or God.

So for me to be a success – it is not in the outward, the things I have accomplished in my work, with friends or family – it is in the private moments and in the state of my own heart.  The place that I am reduced to each day when I am alone with my own thoughts.  Where God remains with no signs of bolting.  He stays through the toughest storms in my mind – the confusion of hurt, and even when I’m not being honest with myself.  He stays to be a gentle reminder of what my life can be.  A buffer to still the messiness and clutter that I take on myself.  He alone knows the real me – what my life is really like away from the eyes of people I know.

And though I am well aware that I have not arrived – I would like my private life – that only God and I know about to be His vision for me.

One where I have learned through experience, time and patience that kindness, gentleness, meekness and graciousness have won and are becoming more evident, more real, each new year – as I strain forward to be more loving and more understanding and compassionate, regardless of circumstances around me, or reactions of events or from people who have come and gone.  It will be that steady, unwavering conviction that love always wins, gentleness heals, and showing mercy is always the best way.

This is what I hold as a true value in my life – and the true test whether I have been a success at the end of my life.

What about you?  Will your life be a life worth watching?

God Bless

Being Left Alone

English: An anxious person

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes things just happen.  Sometimes it’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s bad.    There are things and people added to our plans – and sometimes things and people are taken away.  There are times of happiness, comfort and safety – But  then there is a time of desolation, hurt and loss.

No one wants to feel abandoned, isolated and left behind.  While it may not happen so much when we’re young – sooner or later it does as we get older.  The same comforts, circumstances and even people in our lives, that are with us when we begin our journey, or part way through our journey – sometimes do not continue with us the rest of the way.  It is the feeling of being “left alone”.  It is difficult to understand.  But it is called life.

This week we’ve been training our 14 week old puppy, Daisy to stay home alone – without anyone here.  Training her to wait – be patient – that we will come back again – therefore reassuring her, by our return that she is not being left permanently.  It is a training for us too as we do not want her to feel lonely, brush her aside like she is not important – but at the same time we want to reduce her anxiety by the fact that we will return.  It is difficult to explain that to a puppy.

In the same way – I wonder how much our earthly anxiety is a mixture of “unnecessary worry” and “childlike anxiety” simply because we do not understand our situation and circumstances like God does.  We don’t have the ability to wait and trust that God sees the bigger picture – and that it is only for a “season” and not “forever”.  I’m sure that God must say, “I know best.  I can see everything all at once.  Trust me”  But we miss it – because we’re too busy being uncomfortable at our own perceived feeling of “being left”.  And more than that – that God doesn’t hear us or understand.

There are some lessons that can only be learned without anyone with me.  Feeling that isolation is good for me.  In anxiety I learn trust.  In feeling abandoned by my overwhelming circumstance – I learn faith.  And I also want to remain hopeful that God has all the answers to the questions I have.  That there will be a time when I understand.

And until then – I must learn the same painful lesson that our puppy must.  Being left alone is sometimes how God speaks His most powerful insights to me.  It is in that lesson, that I am stronger, more compassionate to others, and ready for God to use me again.

When was the last time you feel completely alone?  When you lost something you thought you would always have?  Did you hear God speak to you?

 

God Bless

My Truth

A father and his daughter, 1923

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been watching the reality show about Ryan and Tatum O’Neil on the OWN station – the tumultuous father and daughter relationship resulting in a separation and silence for the past 25 years.  They both agreed it was time to put the past behind them and try to begin again to rebuild their lost relationship – through this series on cable.

It has been very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  To get a glimpse into someone’s pain is never easy – to feel hope for them as they talk and uncover much of their difficulties – and why things went so bad for them.  Through counseling, alone and together, they are getting to the deep issues which caused their separation in the first place.

But what I’ve noticed is this:  We all have our own truth.  It is ours.  

Truth cannot be negotiated or argued.  It is different for everyone.  It is something that we believe about ourselves, others and our situation.

In having my truth – I am not saying that you do not have yours as well – but my truth – is my truth.  It is my version of the story – it is what I believe in my heart of hearts.

We do damage to ourselves and others when we try to rewrite their truth for them.

When two people have different “truths” – and will not validate the other for having their own unique truth – there can be no settling of accounts – no matter how much counseling they have.  And at the end of the day – their personal truth will be all they have.

I really believe with all my heart – that all people just want to be recognized and validated for having their own truth.  No matter how weird it may sound.  Even if you think you know better and think they are ALL MESSED UP.  We want someone to say to us, “I understand.  I get how you could feel that way.  I see you”  So often we never get that response that we are seeking.

All Ryan needs from his daughter, Tatum is this:  “I see you Dad – I’m just as much to blame as you are”  And Tatum needs to hear Ryan say, “I take ownership in my part of our separation.  I made many mistakes and I’m sorry you felt abandoned”  Isn’t it too bad – they will probably never be able to really say those things to each other – too much history – too much blame – too much sadness.

I am glad to know this:   The only solid place for me to go when regarding the “truth” is Jesus. The Bible tells me that He IS the Truth and the Life.  And with so many personal “truths” out there – varying with every person on the planet – He is the only constant who never changes.  I can run to Him – feel that acknowledgment and validation from the source – the creator – who holds My past with all of its regret – the present with all of its unanswered questions – and the future with all of its secrets, not yet revealed to us.  When others shun, devalue and withhold from us – He is there holding out loving arms of truth to me.

Do you allow others to have their personal truth?  Do you feel validated from others?  Have you acknowledged Jesus to be the only real truth in your life?

God Bless

Do you want to be Right? Or Be Restored?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago and thought I would repost it today.  It is still applicable in my life today – as I am still learning and on a journey of self discovery.

Be kind to one another with a brother’s love, putting others before yourselves in honor    Romans 12:10

That is indeed the question.  Have you ever known anyone like this in your life?  As long as they’re right – and have the last word they are happy.  Well at least they feel like they’re happy.

You see “being right” does not necessarily bring closure and restoration to an unresolved issue.  It can just create a wedge between people.  I’ve had to back down on things myself over the years – even when I knew I was right.  Relationships with people in our lives are way more important than arguing over the finer points – the “he said – she said” games could go on forever – if we allow it.

Being right is an “attitude”.  And when you are in the people restoring business – you sometimes have to put this “attitude” aside.  It can blind you and cause everything from a past or present situation to have a certain “slant” – as you can only see things one way.  The right way.  Your way.

I would submit to you – that there are ALWAYS two sides to a story and situation in life.  Because people are different and rarely look at things the same way.

It comes down to this:  how much do you value relationships in your life?  Do people mean something to you – even if they mess up?  Do you say, “They hurt me – they messed up – I am so disillusioned and can’t forgive them – I know I am RIGHT”  I know I have.  Why?  Because I love to be right.  And so do you.  People hurt me – have hurt me – will continue to hurt me in the future.  What do I do with this???  Bristle and pull in – never allow anyone near me again??  Argue and argue??  Even bring in a few other people to hear my point of view – so they can tell me how right I am too?  That would be silly.  But people do this.  I have been guilty of doing this myself.  It IS easier to be right.  Way easier.   But NO.  I love people.  I have decided that I will not do this anymore.  It means holding my tongue.  It means submitting.  It means MY story may never be told.  And just how “right” I am – will never be known.  My friends are more valuable to me than being “right”.

Being restored is the right thing to do – it’s also the hardest.  Why?  Because we have to humble ourselves – admit that we are not always right.  We have to face the truth about ourselves.  We have to face the ones that hurt us.  We have to come to grips with the “eye ball – to eye ball” encounter from the one that hurt us most.  No burying it under the carpet – no running and hiding – no refusing to revisit it – but really facing it.  Accept that we are not perfect either.  Ouch!!!  Facing something head on that’s very hard – takes a real Man or Woman.

My husband just recently had to face a situation where he could have taken the position of “being right” or “being restored” and he chose the later.  He chose wisely.  And I know that God will bless his life because of this.  He is free because of it.  It’s caused us to really have great discussion.  Being right – or being restored.

Which one are you?  Do you stubbornly “hold on” to your opinion – a never ending “blame game”?  Stunted and bound up by your own “principles” and “ideals” about people?  Is being “right” more important than anything else or anyone else?  Or are you a lover of people?  Do you have grace for people in your life to “mess up”?  Do you “allow” for others to “mess up” – do you have the capacity to understand it?  Do you constantly “cite” examples of how you are so right – and they are so wrong?  Are you free of sin in your own life?  Can you honestly see things from another perspective?  Reach and restore – forgive and don’t care who’s right or wrong?  Can you put your own feelings aside – and prefer other people?  Are you Christ like?  Do you just ooze with love and mercy.  Are your friends that important to you?

Jesus is the great “restorer”.  He desires health and happiness for you today.  He is the only one that can truly bring people together – melt the heart – bring you to your knees and do the deep work in your life.  If you are in a “situation” now that is unresolved – ask the Lord to “melt your heart” – help you to see things another way – ask Him to help you forgive and love the ones that have hurt you so deeply.  Make that step toward reconciliation – don’t wait for them.  Believe that He has a testimony in this “situation” for you some day – health, encouragement and healing for someone else.

Be restored.  Love people.  You will be a more blessed and happier person.

In what ways would you rather be right, then be restored?  Is being right more important than having relationship with others?  Do you know anyone like this?

Praying for you today.

God Bless

In His Presence

Our pastor has been speaking the last few weeks on the subject of forgiveness and yesterday on the subject of grace.  Something he said at the end of that message really spoke to me.  He said that when we are in the presence of Jesus – something happens to us.  His presence draws and changes.  We basically do nothing without Him and should receive no credit when there is a changed life.  I thought to myself, “how true this is”.  If we could only get ourselves out-of-the-way and let those around us really see HIM – His contagious and transforming love would radically change people.

There is example after example of this in scripture – the transforming, life altering encounter with Jesus – forever changing the broken, cynical and desperate into new creations of wholeness, optimism and health – boldly going forth with new purpose and determination.  All things different forever because of that extraordinary brush with deity.  The woman at the well – Paul on his way to Damascus – knocked off his horse – both of these had an encounter and a moment with the almighty – that forever changed them.

There are many stories in the Bible of how Jesus changed lives just simply by walking among the people – and being in their presence.  It is something that we have access to all the time – a life that is saturated with the love and presence of Jesus – made evident in our daily walk and talk.  It is also something that I need to be aware of – and I need to get out-of-the-way and let others see Him in me – so that they too can be changed.  He is the great beautifier – He is the one who changes hearts – He is the one capable of restoring and bringing new life and purpose to people – not me.

Lord – help me to remember to point those around me to you.  Help me to be sensitive enough to get out-of-the-way and let your love and grace shine through my life.  Help them to see you.  Help them feel and experience the transforming love of your presence.

If you are struggling today – my prayer for you is that you come back into His presence – find renewed strength for what you are going through and a fresh perspective on situations that you alone cannot carry.  All things that are possible – in His presence.

God Bless

In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there’s never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

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