family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

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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?

Gifts, Holidays, Rest, Uncategorized

Sabbath Still…

Noooo… I’m not going to do it! I will not rush ahead! Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing!

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Everything moves so fast these days. We live in a society where moving on to the next thing is prized even if we are not quite through with the last thing. We see it in restaurants: no longer can you casually linger over dinner enjoying good conversation, instead we have the servers continually asking the question, “can I take your plate”? Sometimes you have to hold on with both hands in order to enjoy that last tasty morsel.

When watching a riveting television program, you can hardly catch the ending because of the split screen that pops up: one side with the credits scrolling quickly up the page, and the other side of the screen displaying a commercial advertisement.

Holidays Anyone?!?

However, what really blew me away while shopping this week was the fact that while I was at home putting away my summer purses, ridding them from sand gathered at the beach earlier this month,  most retail stores have been putting Christmas decorations on display! The local shopping channel  was actually showing pre-lit Christmas trees on sale in September!

Just when I’ve gotten used to seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in the summer and early September, they pushed the envelope a little bit further, giving you one more thing to crowd into the month of September. As if back to school shopping isn’t stressful enough enough. (for those of you who are in that phase of life :).

I love Christmas. I have even been known to enjoy the holiday movies during the “Christmas in July” programming sponsored by some of my favorite networks. But this hyper marketing is just too much! As much as I tried to savor my beach moments by continuing to slather on sun screen so I continue to smell like the ocean air, I am bombarded by things that seek to indicate that my Sabbath is over.  There is a constant message that if you don’t hurry and move to the next thing, you are going to miss out.

Well I’m not gonna do it! I am in protest! Although I have purchased my fall Mums and placed them in my garden, I refuse to buy anything related to Christmas until at least November! You’ll not rush me you Marketing Beasts!!! Sabbath is too important.

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Living the Sabbath Life

Sabbath is a lifestyle modeled by our Savior. Luke 6:5 says that he is The Lord of the Sabbath.

When the Pharisees tried to manipulate Jesus into saying that certain things could or could not be done on certain days, he made it plain that he is Lord of all, including the Sabbath.

Jesus is my all time hero in every way; however, I really love how he continually modeled the importance of getting away to rest. Hebrews chapter 4 says that there is a special rest for the people of God and we must do our best to enter that rest. I love special gifts that were planned just for me. It shows me that the person had me on their mind when purchasing the gift.

As the cool evenings and mornings of the Fall season are upon us, don’t ignore the sunny, beautiful afternoon hours. Put on your favorite sweater and press into your Sabbath. Take a leisurely walk at lunch time. Take deep, long, cleansing breaths and enjoy all that your Heavenly Father created just for you.

SUN PROTECTION 1

journey, trust, worship

As I Lay Dying…

Dying things are most beautiful …
 
The fall season is a wonderful time of year. The air is crisp and refreshing. We can finally turn off the air conditioners and allow the cool breezes to flow throughout the house. My favorite part if this season is the beautiful vibrant colors of the leaves. 
 
During a recent road trip, I was engulfed with the beautiful landscape of deep reds, yellow, and orange on trees of many different shapes and sizes. 
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While enjoying the scenery, a strange thought invaded my mind… The leaves on the trees are most beautiful as they are dying. I shared my thought with my husband and he said, “it’s the same way with people – people who have relationship with Christ”.
 
I immediately thought of what Paul the apostle said, “for me to live in Christ, to die is gain”. (Phillipians 1:21) Nature seems to flow with this easily. The leaves seem to know that it’s ok to die to make room for a new season. We as humans struggle to stay alive. 
 
Maybe we fear the winter season that quickly emerges after the leaves die. It’s often cold and lonely. It may even feel like the winter season of our lives will never end. But just as sure as the earth turns on its  axis, the seasons will always change. Spring time always emerges at just he right time, bringing with it a beauty  unique to its time.
 
Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit. If a seed remains in tact, it is just one seed. (John 12:24)  There are times when we  become so self protective of the seed we call ourselves and determined to preserve what we have come to know as our lives, that we have difficulty imagining that there could be something greater for us on the other side of death.
 
Many of us are ok with physical death and have the faith to believe that we will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. However there is a great resistance to the death of our will and personal preferences for a life yielded to the Spirit of God.
 
Jesus said, he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Luke17:33)  He came to give us life more abundant. (John 10:10) Exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine.
 
In light of these truths, it seems that we too can be beautiful in the dying process. Instead of stress and grief, peace and joy can make our countenances radiant. We can rest and embrace the colors that emerge from our lives.
 
The prayer of my heart is that when people are traveling on the road of life and pass by me, that they too would be overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s spirit radiant in me.

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