Sunday, June 24, 2007

Laughter Doeth Good....

When I was about 10 or 11, my Mom bought me a Life Application Study Bible. That was the first Bible I enjoyed reading. For a few years, it was my Bible translation of choice (sorry, little pink NIV), but in recent years, I've been more of an Amplified or NIV enthusiast. Tonight I was doing a little study and decided to look a verse up in the LASB. That's when I found this BEAUT of a verse:

Psalm 119:73
You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.



Tuesday, June 19, 2007

5 Questions

So today I bought something for someone. I'd been thinking about buying it for a while and when I gave it to this person, she was like, "Wow, praise the Lord!" It was very cool, and I was happy I'd given it to her. But her response started me wondering if God had wanted me to buy this certain something for her. And that train of thought got going and expanded to something bigger.

I decided to give everyone a peek into the mind of Sam and pose some questions. This is basically how my train of thought went:

1) When you do something nice for someone, does God count that as sowing into someone's life?
I'm thinking yes. But no scriptural basis springs to mind to support it; this is just Sammieology

2) If yes, does God look at everything parents do for their kids and count it as sowing?
Again, I'm thinking yes. I've heard pastors and teachers at parenting conferences talk about sowing into the lives of children. Again, no immediate scriptural basis at the front of my mind.

3) If, in fact, it is sowing, what kind of harvest can you expect from that?

4) Does it work both ways? If kids do positive things to bless their parents, will they reap a harvest?

5) Can you reap a spiritual harvest off of something that you enjoyed doing? Or isn't the enjoyment itself a harvest of sorts?

All this pondering got me thinking about Donald Trump. I understand that when he sells one of his buildings, he has it rigged up that he gets paid when he sells it, AND he gets paid again every time the building changes owners. That seemed blasted greedy, audacious, and bold... But this guy asks and he receives. He gets out there and does things that most people would be too mousy to try. I'm sure God is pleased with some of that boldness.

What would happen if we went to God with that kind of boldness? Asked for the sun, moon, and the stars AND the rights to 98% of the profit off of every film, picture, story, or ad they were in? Haha, now I'm just cracking myself up!

God's just too good to be true. If the answers questions 1, 2, 4, and 5 are "yes", that's honestly mind-blowing to me.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Listen, Live, and Rest

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near..." Isaiah 55:1-6

The Lord keeps leading me back to this passage. Again and again, I open my Bible and this is the first scripture I see.

I've always felt that my life was meant for something special. For years, I felt that on the inside and didn't really share it with anyone (for various reasons). I got muddled up along the way, but in the last two or three years, the Lord has brought some wonderful fruit out of my life and I can only praise Him for His never ending faithfulness.

A week ago, I challenged everyone to give God fifteen minutes a day of unstructured, unplanned, unreligious time. I didn't imagine that God would use that time the way He has! I can't tell you all that the He's working on in me, because I'm still in the middle of the lesson, but I can give you some highlights.

~Shutting out all the mental noise and learning to listen quietly for God is a POWERFUL skill. It can't be overdeveloped.
~Sometimes the best, most obedient thing to do is to do NOTHING! Wait on God.
~Serving God because of love and passion for Him is the best motivator!

One more thing. Jesus said,

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt. 11:28-30

When serving Him doesn't come easily, naturally, I'm learning to check whose load it is I'm yoked to. There should be a rest inside that isn't disturbed by natural disruptions. Go back to that place of rest.

I hope this helps!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Rant About A Movie

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is Sam, and I’m venting. Against my better judgment, I began watching movies again. Tonight, the movie is “The Holiday”. It has Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, and that squinty-eyed fellow from…ummm “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”. Perhaps you’d know him better from “Cold Mountain”? Oh well.

Anyway, I’m in the middle of it right now. No, I’m not recommending the movie. Even though it has its cute parts and sweet parts, overall, so far, this movie is poison.

I like movies that have a certain feel to them. Give me a movie with a good sound track, the sound of strong breezes at just the right moments, and a green, open-feeling setting for all the scenes and I’m a fairly content girl. I’ll usually watch movies like that all the way to the end, even if I don’t like the story. I also like foreign films, since the ones I’ve seen haven’t had such contrived plots and one dimensional actors.

The problem with this movie isn’t its sound track, or background noises, or scenery. The main problem is that for most of the movie (again, so far) Kate Winslet’s character has been plagued with one of the worst problems known to woman. An inability to stop herself from going insane over a completely gross, insensitive, selfish, boor.

Why do movies do this? Why do writers create this tripe? Who wants to see yet another female with no intention of controlling her actions or emotions? Not me!!

I’m going back to the movie now. I’ll be back later with more, and let’s hope they save this train wreck. Maybe, she'll wise up in these last ten minutes and stop acting like a complete ninny.

Okay. I was wrong. This movie has a fair amount of poison……BUT, I should have known that those BLESSED Brits wouldn’t allow a film to end with the leading lady being completely spineless and gutless. Kate ends up with Jack and everything is fine. *happy sigh*

But back to my earlier point; why is it that we have so many movies showing men as insensitive, selfish, greedy, stupid brutes and we, oh, so much smarter women are just too dumb and lovesick to ask for something better. So basically, when you boil down our plot lines: men bad, women dumb, when love grows cold (as it so often does, since love is a fickle weed that grows, blooms, and dies, mauling both people in the process…or so these movies would tell you) the men get fat, and the women get bitter, sharp, and naggy.

Dang. Bleak.

Thank goodness, Hollywood has no clue about describing true love. True love is a choice. It can be easy at first, but at some point, you have to choose to keep going. You have to choose to tend that love, focusing on the good, doing what you can to make sure the other person feels loved in their own love language.

It’s like, I was born to a family of four kids. We are all extremely close, but through the years, we have definitely had to take the time and do maintenance. As many things I have in common with my sister Danielle (chocolate, peanut butter, Calvin and Hobbes, Newsboys, yakking our heads off late at night, and crazy, wicked humor!), we still have to sit down and spend time together. Otherwise, since we are both quality time people, we’ll both have to fight feelings of neglect and abandonment. It’s natural for us to care deeply about each other and have soul ties to each other, but to love each other in a way that shows up in our actions is a choice.

Getting off track here. Back to topic. While love is a choice, we need to start encouraging our girls to choose NOT to love “fixer-upper men”. “The Holiday” has the typical cheating, conniving male sucking the life and breath out of Kate Winslet’s character. At the end, even though she tosses him over, they drag out her struggle to escape his claws for waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. This could have been a movie about her tentative, fresh explorations after forcing herself to stop pinning for a garbage heap. That would have been something to cheer about!!

What kind of example is this to our girls? A pretty lame one in my opinion. I am a fully red blooded female, and yet, I seem to be able to control myself fairly well. I've become adept at denying myself things that are unhealthy and likely to scar me. Let's try encouraging our young women along those lines, yes?

So girls, grow up strong, bold, and don't be in a hurry to fall in love. Do what the Bible says and don’t awaken love before its time. If you mess up and get attached to a trashy bit of baggage, toss it over as soon as you can, and spend some time around mature, healthy people. Listen to your mom. Listen to your dad. If they don’t like him (and they don’t like him, no matter what they say), throw him back and wait until you find a guy who has more evidence of maturity than just shaving and driving. They ARE out there, no matter what the mainstream media may say. I have the pleasure of knowing several!!

(A note to the males: I'm not saying that all guys are bad. My main point was that being in a relationship with a person, male or female, who is unhealthy and poisonous is a really dumb idea. So guys, please don't bombard me with hate mail. =D Shanks!! )

Ok. I'm done now. Night!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Challenge

My brother is in India right now. I'm getting ready to go to bed, and his day is just beginning.

I'm floored by the fruit coming out of his life. It's not that it was unexpected (I always knew that he was meant for something big); it's more like staring at a really bright light. You aren't startled by it's brightness, but it dazzles you all the same.

My family is close-knit and extremely loyal. It has been difficult for us to let someone who was not related to us into that "inner circle" of familial closeness. We're friendly and outgoing, but there is a wall that family friends can run up against without even realizing it.

My brother is particularly dedicated to us. He's always been focused on making a better life for us all. But right now, he's in India! At this moment, he's pouring himself out on behalf of people he's never met before!

Let me tell you, this isn't the brother I've grown up with. I've never heard him speak of caring about folks across the street, much less half a world away! And yet, his emails home are filled with stories and descriptions of things over there. He talks about the people, and he's warning us that he wants to go back as soon as possible. He's so filled with love and compassion and fire for the people in India, I'm blown away.

What happened to him? How did this heart change come about?

He got to know God.

You can't spend time with God without changing on the inside. You can't have a relationship with Him without being transformed from the very foundations of who you are. It's the best, most amazing thing anyone could ever experience.

Why don't you test it out? We could do it together. For one week, starting tomorrow, we'll spend fifteen minutes with God. At the beginning of the fifteen minutes we'll tell Him, "Father, this next fifteen minutes is for you. Do what you want with them; I'm listening." If you feel like you should turn some worship music on, do that. If you feel like you should just sit and listen, do that. If you feel like you should draw a picture, do that.

And next Sunday, I'll post and tell you what happened to me. Feel free to comment and tell me about your week. If you come in on this late, no biggie! If you want to join in, just start when you're ready, then comment about your seven days.

I'm excited to see what happens!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More Pictures....

Ok, ok, so this is getting crazy. I know I promised pictures,, I need to learn how to post a slide show or some such something. So. I hate to tease you all and make you wait, but them's the breaks.

This is a shot from a lookout above Lake Mead. Pretty, huh?

This is a lizard that chased us around in Fire Valley. *Shivers*

And this is the sunset just outside of Boulder, Nevada.

Again, sorry about the wait on the pics. Hopefully, I'll figure something out soon!