Friday, January 25, 2008

P.S. to Saving the World

As I went on my walk this morning, I kept praying, "Make me a Daniel.....Make me a Daniel." And as I think on Daniel, he did his part in saving the world --- only he did it the right way. There is a way we can do our part to, figuratively speaking, "save the world." We can stand up for our convictions without being obnoxious - we can do it in our homes and in our personal lives - we don't have to force it on others. We can do our job to the best of our ability, our job, our job - not try to help everyone else do their job the way we think it should be done! We can give advise only when it's asked for. (Ouch!) We can keep up our holy practices of reading and studying the Bible and praying without acting superior.

We can...with the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit, if we will yield to Him. If we're honest there are times when we wonder what to do, and there's a "feeling" in our gut, but we don't follow it. Many times when I don't listen to that feeling, I get in trouble. Surely they need me! When the reality is, no they do not!

Daniel stood up for what was right and did not waver in his beliefs; he gave advice - not just advice, the truth when asked; he studied his Bible and asked the Lord for enlightenment; he prayed - not just for himself, for others and for his people and nation. And you know what else? He was loyal to his leaders. As far as we know, he did not ask that they convert to his way of thinking, to stop their unfair practices, to give up their idols, to change their way of life. But in the way Daniel lived his life, he was an example and did his part in "saving the world."

As I walked in the house from my walk, Matt Lauer was talking about how we can go "green." He was interviewing an A&P Grocery associate about their reuseable bags-how if we use these bags instead of plastic grocery bags, we can save energy. Ann Curry (I love her!) lifted her hands in the air and said, "Save the world!" Yet another way we can do our part - recycling, using the new florescent light bulbs, carrying our own grocery bags, car pooling, ....

So, as I rethink this "saving the world" thing - we can play a part. We can be a Daniel, we can treat the Earth (at least our part of it) with respect, we can be kind to others, humble in spirit, and yet strong in our personal convictions. We can - only as God goes "with" us. May we never lose His presence as we transform into Daniels!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saving the World

I did it again this week --- stuck my nose in something I probably didn't need to get involved in . How do you know? You're really trying to help, but it turns out wrong, and there you are again! Today it hit me --- I think we're really trying to save the world, starting with our little corner. Problem is - it doesn't need saving. Everything is going just fine, we just complicate things!

But how do you really know? The times I need to speak up, I keep quiet; and the times I need to be quiet, I open mouth, insert foot. Not sure I wil ever learn. If I could just be a Daniel - do what I'm called to do in my corner and leave the world to God.

That's my goal - to be a Daniel. I pray for strength in faith, commitment with work and unwavering convictions. I think I'll leave the saving the world thing to the One who's already done that!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Awesome Weekend

It's almost 10 pm, and I can hardly believe I'm still up! I'm exhausted, but it's a good exhausted --- like when you really accomplish something. The NFC playoff has a minute 26 seconds to go, and it's all tied up. My hubby is taking his evening nap in his chair before getting up and going to bed, and my baby (who's not a baby anymore) is moving between IM and the playoffs.

It's been a GREAT weekend spent with 11 wonderful women. We went to Folly Beach to Re... Relax, Refresh and Reenergize. And we did! We had a relaxing Friday evening of emptying out and letting go. Saturday morning saw us learning how to refresh and fill up with God's Spirit. After a filling supper, we talked about our passions and re-energizing. Learning to leave with a different spirit - like Caleb - entering our promised land. We know it will be hard work, but oh, so fulfilling. We shared where we wanted to go - what our passion truly is - following our hearts and the Spirit. Then this morning we viewed an absolutely awesome sermon which brought it all back to the cross - where it always needs to return.

Then our wonderful Mt. Horeb youth...I just don't know what else to say. Katie does such a great job with them, and they truly love and respect her.

Well....I've rambled enough. The power on my laptop is almost gone and the Giants are going to the Super Bowl. Yep. It's been a great weekend. But you know what? I can hardly wait to see what the next year brings as we 12 women take our Re... and Realize our dreams!

Night night!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For Sale...

Good early morning, Sistas!

I was able to drag this lazy bag of bones out of bed early this morning and thought of something I wanted to blog. Then realized what I had ready to wear to work just was NOT going to work. Part of it was a turtleneck, and yes, I know it's going to be COLD today, but this 50 year old woman can't hardly handle turtlenecks anymore. So I'll probably be rushing to finish this.

We watched American Idol last night. I love to watch the true singers transform. But I think this countdown is all about how weird some people can be. Kim said that he wondered if they paid people to act so silly, but I think people just want the opportunity to be in the spotlight - their 15 minutes of fame(?) if you will. I think people are voluntarily weird! Then they think the world (or at least Simon) is against them when they are not chosen. If you caught the show last night you know what I mean. On a side note, I think we're seeing a "kinder, gentler" group of judges this year.

What caught my eye last night between all the try-outs on Idol was a commercial for a new reality game show where they hook people up to a lie detector and ask them difficult, embarrasing questions. They have to answer correctly, and it appears, in front of loved-ones. It seems to me, the producers are looking for the most intimate (and I don't mean just sexual) thoughts and feelings. Now all I've seen are the commercials because the show has not started yet. But everytime they advertise it I think, "How awful!" This only seems to have the potential to hurt peoples feelings and damage relationships. And, oh yeah, earn the participants money. Will we do ANYTHING for money (or fame)? Why would anyone want to tell their deepest, darkest, most embarassing secrets? Why would anyone want to admit that they truly "don't care about the starving people in Africa?" (An actual question shown on the commercial)

God's Word says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12) God has removed our most embarrasing moments and even thoughts - why would we want to go back? Why would we risk our most valuable relationships? Why would we tell millions of people our most intimate faults? I think we've put our very selves up for sale. How much money will it take to hurt the ones we ruin our reputation? I don't think it's worth it. Could I use $100,000+? YEEEESSSS. But it's not worth my family, friends or even my self-esteem.

What's so sad is that it seems that we will do anything for money. Then when/if we get the money, was it worth it? I don't think so.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Time Flies

The saying goes, "Time flies when you're having fun." My feeling is that time flies whether you're having fun or not. It hit me full in the face in church yesterday when my child of 14 dismissed us in peace. And he did it right after singing one of my most favorite hymns, but one I can NEVER sing without crying - Borning Cry. I knew it was coming, and I could barely sing even the first verse. When it was time for him to go up front, Drew said he looked at me and my eyes were red with tears. I feel them welling up in me now. Sheryl told me in Sunday school that I no longer had a little boy - my baby has grown up. Many of you are experiencing the same thing....time flying.

I have also been contemplating the arrival of yet another birthday. I survived the big 50 - and am fast approaching 51. Do I feel older? YES! Do I feel wiser? I don't know. What I do know is that every day is precious. Heck, every moment is precious. Am I living that? No, not as I should. Life tends to weigh us down with troubles, and we have such a difficult time seeing over them. That hymn that I have such a hard time singing, reminds us that God is there with us through it all - birth, baptism, childhood, waywardness, wonders, praising, marriage, middle ages and the evening time of our lives. Do I recognize His presence in my life?

For my New Year's Day devotion, I randomly opened my Bible to Ecclesiastes 11:1, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." Two of my study Bibles say that this verse is all about taking risks, living life, seizing opportunities - we can't wait for everything to be perfect before we step out because that time will NEVER come. I think that's what living life to the full is all about - hearing God's voice, feeling His presence and "casting your bread" as He directs you. I encourage you (and myself at the same time) to look for God's presence in your life TODAY and live it to the full TODAY. Cast your bread upon the waters! There's no time like today because time is flying.

Love in Christ,


Wednesday, January 9, 2008


It has been so long since I've written. What happened after my initial excitement? The daily "To Do" list got longer and longer. The opportunity to write got more and more difficult to find, and the months flew by. Well, my boys gave me a laptop for Christmas which has made it much easier to find a place and a time for reflection and writing. Don't know how long it will last, but at least I'm starting again!

A theme that's been coming at me lately is to make this life in Christ relevant to to make it to "prove" that it really does work. Especially in working with youth. Relevance, many times I think that's what others see missing in our Christianity today. Maybe the Christian life was important years ago, but not in our world today. How do we show others that it really does work, that it really does have an impact on our lives everyday not just on Sundays - at home as well as at church.

Just yesterday, I watched a DVD of a powerful sermon from a local church's youth Sunday. As I reflected back on it today, I considered how this pastor was able to get his message across so strongly. Granted, he had a drama that grabbed you right away. However, one thing that hit me is that he did not back down from the difficult issues...teen sex, illness, life problems. We sometimes skirt the tough issues. I think a lot of times it's because we don't know what to say - how to address them. We fear that we will say the wrong thing. Maybe it's because we don't like to admit that as Christians we have these problems or at times get our own selves into such problems.

But I guess as much an impact as his honesty made, even more so was his genuine emotion. You had no doubt what he believed. You had no doubt how much his Savior meant to him. You had no doubt that it was real in his life. You had no doubt that it had changed his life. If you did, he gave rock solid examples of how Christ had impacted his life. And that takes courage. Most of us feel very private about our faith - especially the emotion of it. Oh yeah, we don't want to look too vulnerable or want others to think we are silly.

In talking with someone the other day about making Christianity relevant to youth, they said, "That's why it's important we include an opportunity for them to do service work." Now don't get me wrong, it is very important for us all to reach out and serve others - especially those who don't have the things, money or opportunities that many of us have. However, I think this person didn't understand where I was coming from. I want CHRIST to be relevant to them - a relationship with CHRIST to be important to them. If we get that - we can't help but serve. But, and maybe I'm wrong, I think you can serve your fingers to the bone and still not have Christ. Yes, that's living a "good" life and making an impact on others' lives, but you've missed the most important part - Jesus. If you've never known Him, you can't understand it. If you truly know Him, you can't imagine life without Him.

So after all these words - what's my conclusion? I hear an inner voice whispering, "Make Jesus relevant in your life and it will show to others." We can't control anybody else's life - but we can try to live our Christianity "out loud" in our own lives. Have the courage to tell your story - the difficult parts as well as the good. We don't have to get graphic or go into any more detail than we feel is necessary. But we don't have to act like we never made wrong turns or have never experienced family or relationship problems. Be real - tell others what Jesus means to you - tell about the impact He has had on your life - tell how He is there for everyone. Maybe if people can see the impact of Christ in our lives, they will be able to see how He can truly make a difference in their lives. Making a difference in every life - right now - that's relevance!

Love to you all,

Susan B.