Saturday, May 31, 2014

Prayerfully Seeking....

Recently I felt as if the Lord was leading me to read through the bible from beginning to end.  For a few weeks I prayed and delayed.  I had attempted to do this before and found that half way through Exodus I lost that willingness to read.  This time I prayed it would be different.  I began to read and seek prayerfully Genesis and next Exodus and today I am almost through the Chronicles.  

Each chapter of the Bible has given me a greater perspective of who I am in Him.In Genesis my story began.  I was created in His image. Exodus, what a journey.  Even as His chosen one, at times, manna just wasn't good enough.  My selfish and gluttonous heart was revealed. Leviticus was full of His unconditional love. I discovered His desire to wipe away my debt in the Year of Jubilee!  I laugh when I think about how I complained as I read through the book of Numbers. I would say, "Lord, who on this planet likes this book?"  And then one night He directed me to that one individual.  It was 2 am. I was wide awake and feeling drawn to the sofa downstairs.  So, I grabbed my Kindle and went down stairs to continue the journey through Numbers. Only to realize that my Kindle need a charge. So I grabbed a bible off the shelf and opened it up to numbers.  And much to my surprise there were notes written on the pages.  I began to cry and smile at the same time. Of course, Joseph Mallon, he would be that person I had been asking God about.  So I sat there and continued reading Numbers. And by the the end of Numbers I was able to see the importance. Every intricate detail that He has laid out before us. I am blessed by God's faithfulness to care for His people. What I though as not important clearly became relevant. And this is where my attitude got adjusted.  Deuteronomy is where God's gives the law.  Ten commandments that were laid out as guidelines. I saw clearly how I truly need a Savior.  I think I have broken each one of those ten laws a time or two. In Joshua He gave incite on conflict and victory. I marched around plenty of Jericho's prayerfully waiting for the wall to come tumbling down. In Judges He had me reflecting on my own disobedient heart.  Increased unfaithfulness forcing me to realize that my iniquities require discipline. Then, through Ruth, He opened my eyes to His grace in the midst of evil. And Samuel 1 and 2 made it clear that even the chosen aren't perfect.  Then Kings 1 and 2 allowed me to see how His sovereign grace is manifested. And I began to understand His blessings when I am faithful. And here I am this morning searching through 1 and 2 Chronicles. I know that God has great plans for this generation.  His love for His people is overwhelming and free.  Once again I reflect on 2 Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land." As I continue to seek who I am, in the image of God, I am thankful for His word. I pray that I will humbly seek Him as my journey continues.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Revivalation Revolution Resolution

Maybe I am a little delayed in actually putting my resolutions into play.  Here we are Saturday morning May 24.  Only 143 days into 2014 and I am feeling like today is the day.  We all begin to ponder about what our "New Year's Resolutions" will be every year in December. And I, like most, drop the resolution ball before the end of January.

I am the queen of excuses.  I have one for every minute of the day and most are very selfish. The past few months have been packed with family issues, job issues, life issues and me issues.  Yep, issue after issue after issue.  With all these issues it's hard to get anything done.  Anyone who knows me knows that I can relate to and at times be a total Martha.  Tending to all the issues and forgetting about why I resolve to do the things I do.  I started this year off with really good intentions.  I wanted to be more concentrated, single-hearted and a wistful listener. My goal was to be a little less absorbed and less preoccupied with things. I just wanted to serve without distraction. I developed a plan so that I would have intimate quiet time with the One who calls me His own.  My plan would allocate time to seek His face every morning and every minute of the day.  I would walk upright and would make choices that would propel me in my walk.  It all looked good on paper and sounded easy when I said it out loud.  But, remember those issues, they became my stumbling blocks.  And I sure did trip over them daily.

The past few weeks I have been reflecting on 2 Chronicles 7:14."If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land."  God knows my heart and He knows how wayward I can be.  He is perfect and wants nothing more than my love.  He calls my name.  Sometimes it's a soft whisper and others a thunderous roar.  He calls me His precious child.  And when I humble myself and and choose to meet all of God's conditions in 2 Chronicles 7:14 there will be a great revival. 

The dictionary defines revival as an improvement in the condition or strength of something; an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again.  I believe that I have been called according to God's purpose.  As one of  His people  I need to gather together with others and turn this joint upside down.  I may even need to flip a few tables in the process.  The world around around me seems to be inaugurating itself into the hearts and minds of this generation.  Often, I find myself surrendering to the unprincipled ways of society.  Walking around like a zombie or worldly programmed robot.  I have become complacent in my daily life forgetting that I was made to be different. I have become a member of an arrogant generation people.  Everyone is out for themselves and there is the sense of entitlement.  When did I stop humbling myself?  I think about how great it is when I put others before me. The blessing is two fold.  The recipient is overwhelmed with joy and I in turn am blessed by the joy given.  Therefore, if I humble myself I will have taken the first step in this revivalation revolution resolution.

What next?  How do I continue on this path? When I stand before the world and pass judgement, calling myself a  follower of Christ, how do those who don't know Him now see Him?  Our God is the definition of love.  And I am supposed to be a reflection of this great love. It is not my place to negatively pass judgement on how another person lives.  I need to clean my house before picking up the trash in my neighbors yard.  I am commanded to love and respect my neighbor.  I don't recall anywhere in the sixth through tenth commandments God stating that I should judge my neighbor and tell them He doesn't want people like them in His kingdom.  James 4:12 reminds me that God is the judge and lawgiver.   "There is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and destroy.  But who are you to judge your neighbor?"   I am made aware that prayer is the next condition of a revival.  I must humbly seek Him and pray.  My prayer is that God would continue to open my heart to do His will and not my own.  That I would become a reflection of His love and grace. 

Throughout scripture there are many passages on seeking God.  And the results of seeking Him are pretty amazing. When I seek God He is there.  Even when I am not seeking He is still there.  Imagine that you are in a room. You are too absorbed with reading, texting, facebooking etc. to even notice that your Dad is in the room with you.  He is sitting on the chair patiently waiting for you to notice that he is there longing to have a conversation with you.  He just wants to see your face. This is how God is.  Always there waiting and wanting us to seek Him. I believe the word seek appears 368 times in the bible. Zephaniah 2:3, Psalm 27:8, 1 Chronicles 16:11, and Deuteronomy 4:29 are just a few.  When I seek God my journey seems easier and my "issues" become much lighter.   

As I continue seeking God's conditions for a revivalation revolution in my own heart I read once again in 2 Chronicles 7: 14 that I must turn from MY wicked ways. A few weeks ago one of my pastor shared a story that made me think about my own sin nature.  John Lavendar, author of "Why Prayers are Unanswered", shared a story about a pastor named Norman Vincent Peale.  When Peale was a boy, he found a big cigar and slipped into an alley to smoke it.  It didn't taste good, but it made him feel grown up...until he saw his father coming.  He quickly put the cigar behind his back and tried to act casual. Desperate to divert his father's attention, Norman pointed to a billboard advertising a circus.  "Can I go, dad? Please, let's go when it comes to town." His father's reply taught Norman a lesson he never forgot " Son" he answered quietly but firmly, "never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience." I am totally guilty of trying to divert God's attention to my sin. I do a great job hiding my smoldering disobedience to the world around me. However, He will gently and firmly remind me that He knows my heart and my every move.  Nothing is hidden from His eye. I can no longer seek justification for my poor choices.  No more excuses for my sins.  I need to deal decisively and intentionally with my own sinful nature. Time to stop making light of my poor decisions by point at, what I believe to be, another persons grander sins than my own. In God's eye sin is sin.  He won't compare mine to another's.  

Now, today is the day! God promises that when I humble myself, pray, seek and relinquish my selfishness and incorrigible behavior, He will forgive and heal the land. My request is this.....if you have read this entry and care to see a revival in this land that you would join with me by praying for our country, our future generations and the generation at hand.  I know that if we all search our own hearts and have a desire to seek God's will He will bless each of us and revive this land. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What one man can do

Today is the anniversary of my Dad's birth. Dad went home to be with the Lord three and a half years ago.   I think about him every day and miss his encouraging and uplifting wisdom. I would do just about anything for the sound of his laughter, his hugs and just to see his smiling eyes.  He was not just a husband to his wife, brother to his siblings, father to his children, grandfather to the grands, and friend to his friends. He was the glue that held us together so to speak.  The leader of the tribe. There is a song that occasionally lingers in my head.  John Denver's "What One Man Can Do." We played this at the memorial service as pictures danced gracefully through each verse.  Pictures of a husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend.  One man who changed to life of a multitude of people.  A leader to the "Mallon" tribe. He taught his family that is was okay to dream, love, make change and stay young. He tried to stay positive in the craziness of the world around him.  Always seeking truth and pushing his loved ones to do the same.  He was a brilliant teacher.  He saw beauty is some of the darkest places.  He loved his tribe deeply.

Family can surly be a funny thing. You can't select members that fit the "Norman Rockwell" idea of family.  It's not like a dodge ball game where the parents are the captains and they take turns picking the players. Family is a tribe.  And, the members of the tribe can, at times, be your biggest supporters.  And sometimes they can be the people who unintentionally hurt you the most. But at the end of the day we gather together and remain a tribe.

Since the leader of our tribe is no longer with us life in my tribe seems discombobulated.  Everyone seems to have either gathered their tee-pees and pitched them in distant locations.  Other, like myself,  have just pulled the zipper up and only come out to hunt and gather. Life seems to be playing out in slow motion.  And I am frustrated with the progress.  I often want to hit the rewind button.  And go back to the days when family meant more than the occasional text messages. Or a quick poke on Facebook.  Family gatherings don't seem to be a priority anymore.  I honestly can't remember the last time the tribe, as a whole, gathered together.  Maybe this is just another cycle in life.  After all scripture does tell us that a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. And they shall become one. ~Matthew 19:5  However, they will still be a part of the tribe. Right?

I am certain that the Lord desires us to lean and depend on our family, our tribe.  The greatest gift for me is, and always has been, my family. Even though Dad is no longer physically here we have a piece of him woven into each of us.  And I guess, perhaps when we are all gathered together, that is when I get the warmth of his hugs in Maria's embrace.  To hear his laughter in Thomas' belly laugh. And see his smiling eyes on Christina's face.  I see so much of him in my Mom, my children, nieces, and nephews too. This is why, for me, I long for the tribal gatherings. God is faithful.  He has called each one of us according to His purpose.  As I reflect, on the life of my Dad, I pray that today will be the beginning of a year of jubilee. And that my tribe will once again celebrate and dance around the fire.  And that we will praise God for His foundation and His faithfulness.

"It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family."~ Numbers 2:34

I suppose that there are those who'll say he had it easy
Had it made in fact before he'd ever begun
But they don't know the things I know, I was always with him
It may sound strange, we were more than friends
It's hard to tell the truth, when no one wants to listen
When no one really cares what's going on
And it's hard to stand alone, when you need someone beside you
Your spirit, your faith must be strong
What one man can do is dream, what one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world and make it young again
Here you see what one man can do
As shaded as his eyes might be, that's how bright his mind is
That's how strong his love for you and me
A friend to all the universe, grandfather of the future
Everything that I would like to be
What one man can do is dream, what one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world and make it new again
Here you see what one man can do
What one man can do is dream, what one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world and make it work again
Here you see what one man can do.

"Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family."~Genesis 31:13

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to ALL the "real" Moms!!

Happy Mother's Day.  This is a day that Moms around the country are to be celebrated.  Doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, expecting, brand new, biological, adoptive, inherited or honorary.  We are all to be celebrated!

My kids are abundantly blessed.  They have two moms.  A "natural" one and an inherited one.  And I have to admit I am pretty blessed as well to share my role as mom with such wonderful women.

I share my precious biological children with a true gift.  Her name is Denise.  She married my previous husband a few years ago.  And she instantly became a "real" mom to three crazy and very different kids.  The kids were never afraid to love Denise.  And she constantly shows them love.  From the first time I met her, at karaoke many years ago, I knew she was perfect for Chris.  And in turn she is perfect for the three kids too. I am forever thankful for her friendship and unconditional love. I am thrilled to share the mom role with such a genuine person.  And share it equally. I know that she will always be on the same level as me when it come to our kids.  We will walk down the isle as mom's on their wedding days.  We will dance and rejoice as our girls give birth.  I know this because the kids have and will always consider her happiness. Sometime they consider it more. And that is exactly how I would want it.

I am not just a mom but an inherited mom as well aka step-mom.  I have learned a lot during my journey as a step-parent.  There were many moments that I felt rejected, loved, excluded, overjoyed, cut off, liked, reluctant, and embraced. Yes, a roller coaster of emotions.  And what I can say is I am truly a blessed "real" mom.  I am thankful that my husband's previous wife, Colleen, has accepted me for the crazy person I am.  And that, even though it has been a bumpy road, I can say now, with joy in my heart, that I am honored to be a co-mom to my beautiful inherited daughters. And I am abundantly blessed to be a co-grandma with Colleen.

I have learned to accept what a lot of women would have difficulty accepting.  Jealousy could have reared it's ugly head and made our path a very ugly one to travel.  But God had bigger and better plans.  He commands me to love.  Even if it seems unnatural.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved Denise from the instant we were introduced. And I had that same agape for Colleen.   And that is only because God taught me about grace.  But to most people my relationship with Denise and Colleen is strange.  And that is okay by me.  After all I believe I am one of the strangest.  So it is only fitting. 

 My hearts desire has always been to show God's amazing grace and ever present love.  I thought that one day I would wind up with the perfect bunch.  But instead I am a part of the most imperfect perfect bunch that teaches me perfect love every day.

So, Happy Mother's Day to ALL the "real" Moms!!

Proverbs 22:6

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.