Tag Archives: change

Change? Depends

 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)

If you asked Mark how to get home, he’d say he didn’t know. When we married and moved to the Bay Area in California, I’d been living there for almost 40 years and knew every back road so that I rarely went the same way twice. Yet, I’m not one to change the furniture arrangement in my house, but, I seasonally change out all the decorations.

You might say, I’m a bit conflicted about change. Some is good and some I’d like to reject. It seems that the older I get, change happens more often.

We had the wonderful opportunity to hear Sandi Patty at her Forever Grateful Farewell Tour concert this week. Sandi’s music is embedded in my heart and soul after listening to her for 40 years. From the opening note, tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks because something wonderful was ending.

We changed churches this year — never an easy task — and I’ve struggled to find my place, meet new friends, and serve with the gifts God has given me. Our church is expanding and in the middle of a building project. The sermon series for the year is all about change and the pastor noted that some people will like it and some won’t. We haven’t been involved long enough to have feelings about the changes, yet, I feel like God has brought us here for “such a time as this.”

Our women’s Bible study finished “entrusted” by Beth Moore last week. Paul’s second letter to Timothy was the theme and its focus was to encourage us to be mighty women of God — to share the Gospel with the gifting God has given to each of us. And often that means we have to change how we reach out.

I’m pretty set in my ways but nothing makes me see red faster than for someone to give the answer “but we’ve always done it this way” to a particular problem or situation. How do we share the Gospel in a way that connects with our neighbor in this ever escalating all-about-me and my needs world if we are not willing to speak in a way that is heard?

We fix our eyes on Jesus and shine the light He gives us to those we meet. People are looking for answers — and we have the answer. Discouragement, fear, apathy, and frustration swirl about in every arena. A change in President, home, marriage, or job is not going to solve the hole in our hearts. In the end, it’s not about us — it’s about Jesus.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

 

 

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Light or Shadow

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

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A nine-year-old girl joined her mother and aunt for a week of camp at Forest Home Christian Conference Center, a first for all of them. One evening, during the course of the week, the young girl was introduced to Christ as her Savior by her counselor and as she prayed, she began to cry. The counselor shooed the rest of the girls into another room, hoping to find the cause for the tears. With a limited vocabulary, the young girl could only say that the story had gone deep into her heart and that she was so happy. That young girl was me and the story took place during one summer day, sixty years ago.

Some things may change but the story of my redemption is steadfast and sure. I was pondering changes of things that I miss—singing with the Blackhawk Chorus in California, singing in the 4th of July concert, Let Freedom Sing, here in Tucson, perfect vision with no thought of it ever being otherwise, moving away from family and friends to live in the Arizona desert. We can never go back but we can grow and change, step back and walk forward.

I love that God, our Father, never changes as a shifting shadow does. A shadow is defined as “an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something.” But, we don’t need to worry that God will turn away from us creating a shadow of uncertainty or fear. He won’t do that because He is light and in Him there is never any darkness. Remember — He doesn’t change. We can trust that His good and perfect gifts will flood our hearts with the light of His presence, hope for tomorrow, assurance of salvation, and peace in a stress-filled world.

Change? Embrace it. You’re not alone.

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Change It Up

 

Talking things over, they went on into the house, where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. Acts 10:27-29 (The Message)

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Personality? Temperament? Nature? Nurture? Birth Order? I’m never quite sure why I react or respond like I do. There are some things in my life that once they are set, I don’t want to change — moving furniture around in a room, as an example. But don’t ask me about hair dressers.

Mark could wear and buy the same blue shirt every time. I’m all about color, style, comfort, uniqueness — never the same thing twice. Ask him about learning to drive the streets in California after he first moved there. He never knew which was was home because I never drove home the same way. (Now there is only one way in and one way out.)

I like to change it up. Variety adds spice to my life. Yet, I was raised in a very rigid home and church. Rules were the rules. And as a firstborn, I followed them all.

The apostle, Peter, was also used to following rules but God had other plans for him. It took three times, with the same vision, for Peter to understand that God had something important for him to do, different from his usual. He listened and obeyed with great results for the Kingdom.

The Christian community in Charleston is suffering and mourning as a result of one man being rigid and hateful. Isn’t it interesting that God’s name, grace, forgiveness, love and mercy are all over the TV right now?

Tolerance has been redefined to mean that we leave God out of our lexicon or a lawsuit is on the horizon. Forgiveness? Not! On our own, it’s impossible. We want justice—or maybe revenge. Love doesn’t even enter our minds. But in this time of tragedy, God is the source of comfort and, more importantly, forgiveness.

Commentators and pundits are amazed at the forgiveness offered by the Christian families of those lost. What they don’t understand is that it’s God’s love within a person that allows and offers forgiveness. Have you discovered God’s unfailing love for you?

As believers, let’s change it up and show our neighbor what this God-love is all about.

I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (The Message)

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To-Do List

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

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To-Do List:

Dump dirty clothes into the bin in the closet, move clothes to the washer or transfer to the dryer, empty the dishwasher, wipe down the kitchen counters, grab the pitcher of iced tea from the top shelf of the refrigerator, snag Parker’s treat from deep inside the pantry, make the bed. 

I used to jump up and get these done quickly, but sitting in a wheelchair demands a new way and accommodation — sometimes awkward and often more time-consuming.

We do so many of things on auto-pilot, never evaluating whether a change might be a good idea. I like routine and there is safety in familiarity, but am I missing options that I never even considered and now have to invent?

One of the phrases that makes me see red is, “But, we’ve always done it this way.”  I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker but I like to try new things, whether it is a different route home, a foreign cuisine, or a new “techie” gadget. I change the decorations in my house, the flowers in my pots, the clothes in my closet seasonally. I like change.

However, change can be daunting yet manageable, even empowering, when done with courage and determination. God promises to be there when life takes a different turn and we suddenly have to be creative. It is His power that enables us, His love that encourages us, and the mind of Christ that enlightens us.

Ready to try something new?

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Change, Really?

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:13 (The Message)

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We had a grand time last weekend visiting all the grandgirlies in California. It was my birthday and I would much rather celebrate birthday “month” so this was a perfect way to extend the “day.”

The five girls now range in age from 13 years to 3 months which keeps one Nana on her toes. We did all the favorites: lattes and sweets at Sideboard and the Beanery (you can never get too much coffee), family dinner on the patio in Danville, picnic with special goodies in Berkeley, Kate’s semi-final softball game, cheer showcase with Tori and Allie, church with Eleanor and her family—to name a few. And then a real birthday party with friends joining our families for dinner.

Yet, there was one conversation that generated lots of comments by all participants. A bedroom rearranging was in the offing. As a firstborn, I must admit that having my own room seems to be one of the rules of the game, but it had been suggested that maybe it would be good for the middle-born to have a stint with her own room and the oldest and youngest would share.

When I first heard about it, all I could think of was “why?” But as the prospect of the change was discussed, I began to see the benefits and good things that would come as a result.

No one likes change and most of us fight it when it lands on our doorstep. The change can even be for good but the unknown still lurks out there, challenging us for acceptance.

The apostle, Paul, had his share of changes — both good and bad — but in the end he realized he made it through everything because Jesus was at his side.

I echo that sentiment because life around here has been especially challenging the last few months. Without my Savior holding on to my hand on some challenging paths, I would have stumbled and hurt myself. However, His presence gave me the peace and assurance to go one more step and the hope that tomorrow will bring all He promised for good and my future.

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