“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20
As my feet hurriedly slapped down the stairs after work last night I was thinking about where to go. I had destinations in mind. Birthday business. Tomorrow is the Birthday of my very best friend, and as all best friends, I wish I could give her the moon. I know how tough this past year has been for her. There are so many things I wish I could do for her, so many things I wish I could give her……And she would deserve every one.
I thought…….She deserves a roomful of Royalty. A party to end all parties, a true celebration of her. Then I remembered that there will be a very special guest indeed. He is already making plans to attend. How could I have forgotten?…….Oh, Lord. I never want to forget you, please forgive me. The Holy Spirit, ever a gentleman, stands back and waits until I remember that He is the highest court in the land. Who else do we need?
It’s gonna be quite a party indeed.
Invite Him today, into whatever you are doing. He is there in the midst of it, my friend. He is the third person at your table for three, you business meeting, your commute, your life…….
Thank you Lord, for everyday with you is a celebration.
I scooped them up and stacked them in a little pile, my Birthday cards from August. I had them all sitting on the top of my dresser, face out. It was like being smiled at each day. Finally I decided it was time to dust, so afterwards I went to store them away. Instead I read them again……
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put them away just yet. Not when I read the words and felt the love behind them all. I wasn’t quite ready to let them go…..
I get cards every year and every year I treasure them. But his year, they meant more. Maybe because I needed them more. Maybe because when I stack myself up against the fruits of the Spirit, like I did this morning, I see where I am lacking.
I see how far I have to go……But when I read the words in these cards, the lives and the love behind them lurch at my heart. I read:
“You are the best sister a brother could ask for and I think of you everyday.” My brother was sweet to me when I was small. He held my hand, walked me to school and didn’t let me out of his sight….but then adolesence came and well, let’s just say, he was in the cool crowd and I was not. Now as we get older we are recapturing time lost. He has remembered what we had. That he has a sister that loves him, has always loved him.
And from my Mom…..”You are my special present in life, thank you for always being there for me.” Yet, so many moments I worry that I am 12 hours away and not there nearly enough. I worry about all those times I am not there. But she makes me feel like I am.
And from my Aunt, I would recognize her perfectly slanted penmanship anywhere. Even though she is suffering right now the sadness of a husband in the latter stages of dementia and is now rattling around in a lonely house….she writes a hearlfelt paragraph…….she has kept her postive attitude and healthy sense of humor intact.
And from Diane…..she writes with love that God has placed me in her life, thanking me for being the friend and sister she never had.
And I know my Dad went to the store and hand picked this card out, it’s a pink bicycle with a verse from Deuteronomy 14:2…..”The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.” He chose the bike because one of the memories he treasures in his heart is when he taught me to ride a bike. All those hours running along behind me in case I fell….and me looking back to make sure he was still there. He says: “Now you have become the strong anchor or faith and stability for Mom and I.”
……..and I guess it means so much because too many times, all I see is how I am lacking and how I miss the mark.
But these people I love and who love me, see the fruit of the Spirit in me somehow. This amazes me. How could I feel anything other than impossibly wealthy?
I will tuck the cards away another day, probably soon, just not today.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22, 23
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3
A pilot friend of mine once said that there was nothing in the world more relaxing than flying. Something about being above it all makes your problems seem smaller. Every now and then I have flying dreams, and it’s wonderful. I soar around skyscrapers and sometimes I just hover and float. Don’t you wish we could just order up our dreams?
There is a way however, that we can lift ourselves above it all, where Christ is. That is by setting our minds on things above. Scripture is the best and most immediate way to do this. Since the Bible is a living book, it has the power to transform our very thought process! This is not Harry Potter magic, where you wave a wand and presto, all your problems go away (darn) This is actually way better, because though circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, God never does!
When we read the Bible with an open heart, we are tapping into the very source of Life itself.
The Word was there from the very beginning………”In the beginning was the Word…….” Not only that, the Bible says the Word and God are one and the same! It is timeless, ageless, and all sufficient. It is wisdom, it is power, it is the bread of life, it is the manna that came down from Heaven! It is the best way I know to keep my thoughts going in the right direction.
If you are living with someone who constantly sees the negative in every situation, it is hard not to find yourself going right down that road with them. To stop being who you are, and become them. But you don’t have to. You can be determined to set your mind above, where God is.
Find some life…..
Go outside, take a walk.
Go to the Mall and watch people.
Get around someone who can show you yourself again.
Do like my best friend who has been known to break into song and dance everytime Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” comes on. And if she can still sing and dance after everything she has been through this year, anyone can….like she is fond of saying:
Sometimes you just gotta give it a little dance.
Happy Birthday Elaine, best of friends…….you continually inspire me to see the good in everything…….
I know that full well. 13,14
Lord, I stand before you today so very grateful to have had fifty one years of life. I think of all You have brought me through and I can only stand in awe of how You have loved me. It brings me to tears in quiet times of contemplation when I think of the many times I have turned away from You…..
You remained steadfast, and knew that I would come back. How can I contemplate such a love? A love that does not move, does not budge even with all the meanderings of my heart.
With every passing year, I pray that I bring you more and more of myself and cling to less of everything else.
Lord Jesus, we are silly sheep who have dared stand before You and try to bribe You with our preposterous portfolios. Suddenly we have come to our senses. We are sorry and ask You to forgive us. Give us the grace to admit we are ragamuffins, to embrace our brokenness, to celebrate Your mercy when we are at our weakest, to rely on Your mercy no matter what we may do.
Dear Jesus, gift us to stop grandstanding and trying to get attention, to do the truth quietly without display, to let the dishonesties in our lives fade away, to accept our limitations, to cling to the gospel of grace, and to delight in Your love. Amen
Brennan Manning “The Ragamuffin Gospel
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
“Friends, they cherish one another’s hopes, they are kind to one another’s dreams.” Henry D. Thoreau
Since I don’t have a picture of myself anywhere on this blog I thought I would post this one. In it is the wonderful lady I talked about yesterday, Pat. (In red) Sorry, couldn’t find one of both of us looking into the camera! My best friend and I are heading to California today bright and early to surprise my folks with a visit to celebrate my Birthday. I am sure I will see Pat too because as soon as she hears I am in town she will want to come see me and give me one of her lingering hugs. When she hugs you, she is never the first to let go!
It’s always good to touch bases with family and friends, and sometimes you just have to do something spontaneous! I am not really a spontaneous person, I like things planned and scheduled. That is where I am comfortable. But this will be great fun and I can’t wait to see the shock and surprise on their faces when we walk up the driveway.
Aren’t we a jolly bunch? Best friend Elaine on left, another dear friend Diane, and myself at my Mom’s 80th! I picked this one because even though my eyes are closed, this photo makes me smile. We all had a great time that day…..
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
What a great looking lady!
I said a Birthday prayer for you today Mom, I wish I could be with you in person to hug you and tell you again how much you mean to me! I know that you will be surrounded with well-wishers today and I pray that you will be able to enjoy a measure of peace and reflection in the midst of all your regular activity and know that I treasure you, and miss you, and thank God for your influence in my life everyday.
We would all be going in circles without you to give us our marching orders and be our motivation and positive reinforcement. You are my inspiration Mom, you always find strength to lift others up, even when your own strength is tapped to the limit. That is because you know where your real strength lies, in Him.
You always said that there was only one thing you wanted for me most of all, and that is for me to know and love the Lord. You built your life around that one goal, and for that I will be eternally grateful. After all, what could be more important than that?
I wonder if you remember this…..You gave her to me in 1995
I have her in my bathroom so I can see her when I get ready for work and I always think of you then and say a prayer for you, though it makes me a little sad because I miss you! Below here she is again from a distance, I love that the stars are gathered in her little dress.
You always said that you would give me the stars if you could, and the most wonderful thing about it is, I know you would…..
So thank you Mom, for everything. All those long talks through tears, prayers shared together, the heartache of letting me go out the door. All those shopping trips when I was 14 and so small I could find nothing to wear in the Jr section; I know you went without many years so that I could have something new. Do you remember me calling you panicked from the bathroom? “Mom, can you do the back of my hair? I’m late!”
All those prayers paid off Mom……and God and I talk about you all the time! I hope the flowers I send are half as beautiful as you….They come with love.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15