family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

2013-02-06-sne-snow-map-02-08

In the middle of the latest snow storm which brought us 14 inches of snow, I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought about a few of my former blog posts. In September I wrote about how the marketing moguls attempt to rush us through the months, initiating Christmas in September.

Last month I wrote about how various advertisers continue this process by telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to lose the pounds when we’ve eaten too much. One way or the other, there are grand plans to get us to buy bathing suits in February and to go on diets so that we can fit into the bathing suits during the upcoming summer. Just when they thought they had us hyped and ready to buy…God de-planned their plan!

With this winter already bringing us over 53 inches of snow (with more to come…), the retailers were forced to go back into their warehouses to find more winter hats and gloves, and other winter accessories to accommodate the demand of the consumer. Despite all of the best laid plans of mice and men, it is God’s purpose that prevails. (Prov. 19:21) I love to see God shows up people who think they have it all figured out! (myself included…:))

Let it Snow…Let it Snow…Let it Snow!almaty-intro-snowscape-1-1

Wait!!!! Don’t stop reading!!! I know that some of you may feel like I just cursed you or used some other form of illicit language!:) Now it is true, I happen to love Snow. I know that it can be a pain in the neck on a lot of different levels. It can greatly alter our schedules, it causes great damage to our roads.

Potholes are are the worst! I have first hand evidence to this fact because of two tires that were destroyed by a snow caused pothole to the tune of $350.00! I know that the elderly and others who have trouble navigating ice and snow, get tired of being homebound. But stay with me a moment while I explain why I love snow.

11403265-running-people-vector-illustrationAlways on the Run…

We live in a time when schedules, jobs and other activities drive our lives and make us become driven people. Although there is nothing inherently wrong about having drive and ambition, being a driven person is something different altogether. Driven people often miss the little  nuances of life.

We run from one task to the next and miss opportunities to connect with one another. Connecting affords us time to really listen to whats going on deep down inside. We tend to listen more closely to the hopes and dreams that often go unspoken when we pass like ships in the night. The other reason that I like it is because it reminds me that we (humans) are not in control! It forces us to slow down and reflect. The grocery stores are swamped with people buying food that will be eaten together as we all hunker down and wait for the roads to be cleared. Meals that may have been eaten on the run if the weather was more favorable to travel.

Many of us see being busy and on the go as a sign that we are productive and successful. When we are constantly on the go, doing what society dictates as important, we often miss the still small voice inside of us; the voice that has to do with our Ephesians 2:10 purpose. We forget that we are each an individual masterpiece, created for a very unique and special purpose. We just need to learn that it is ok to be still. In other words…Chill...

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

The next time the snow falls over night (and it is coming :)), take time to notice the stillness of the morning. The hustle and bustle of cars and people are in submission to the freshly fallen snow. I wonder if we can learn the same submission to the God who made the snow?

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Evangelism, Gifts, Holidays, Love

Something Special (Just for you)

Have you ever heard someone say, “for me?! Oh, you shouldn’t have..” as an excited response to a gift they had been given? The response sounds like they hadn’t expected the gift or that the gift was not necessary, when in reality, they were jubilant that someone had taken the time to think about them and put together a gift that was designed specifically for them. When someone takes the time to give us a gift, it affirms the fact that someone sees us, that they have been thinking about us, and that they value us.
The holiday season can be difficult for many because it stirs up deep loneliness. In a time where all about them is bustling and preparing for times of connection with friends and family, they feel barren and empty, longing for someone to have thoughts of them while planning for that special gift to be given.
My heart goes out to people that struggle with loneliness because many of them have stopped hoping. They stopped believing that there would be anything special prepared just for them.
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I imagine that was how the Samaritan woman felt in John 4. The scriptures tell us in verse 4 that Jesus had to go through Samaria. In a time when Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, Jesus made it a priority. To the casual reader, it may appear that Jesus sat down at the well simply because he was tired. Yet Jesus sat down with intentionality. He had a special gift to deliver to a special person.
Sometimes we are not prepared for the gift because we feel unworthy. We are afraid to be vulnerable to the familiar rejection we may have experienced in the past. That was how the Samaritan woman felt when Jesus asked her for a drink.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
Jesus answered her,
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:9-10)
 
As the holiday season winds down, let’s think about the gifts we can give with the same intentionality as Jesus had with the Samaritan woman.Just because the holiday season is ending it doesn’t mean we can’t continue to give gifts.
 Jesus told the Samaritan woman that he would give her living water so that she would never thirst again. We can give this same gift not just to our family and friends, but to all whom we encounter: The persons we meet while standing in line, The grocery store clerk, The senior citizen whose family and friends may have all passed away…
I pray that as we approach a new year we will have the same urgency as Jesus did, saying,
“I must go… I must tell everyone I meet that there is a special gift waiting just for them.”
Gift giving season is not ending. In fact, a new one is just beginning.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.