After thirty-eight years of authoring books about vampires and darkness, Anne Rice grew up in a devoted Catholic family, knowing the importance of God and obtaining something in life beyond materialistic things. Still, she felt unshakably confined within the parameters of religion. At the age of eighteen, she walked away from it all and chose to live a life believing that ,”In order for me to grow up, I have to put God aside.”
Though her professional career was very successful as an author of Vampire tales, she was a Christ-haunted person. “I knew that as long as I denied Him, I wouldn’t know rest or peace. You must know that you can’t save yourself through art of music. You can’t do it through travel or wealth. Your attempts to achieve salvation alone ultimately amounts to nothing.” She found herself very ready to go back to God.
Anne had to stop. “Writing about vampires were no longer relevant in my life because they were stories about a person in a godless world. They were stories about me.” That, however, is no longer the case. Now, I have to write for Him.
Jesus Loves Me..Umm..yes, I know This. But what does this really mean?
Well, I've heard it said that if Jesus really loved us then he would have totally eliminated hunger, or disease, or sin when he came to earth. But he didn't so how can someone who "picked and choose" who he helped really love us all?
Well, the thing is, yes he could have done all that. And then I believe as a people we would have been in awe - but not enough to change our ways. See, Jesus came to save everyone. But the key here is that we must believe in Him. If you read the Old Testament you will see over and over again that God did save his people..but yet they returned to their broken ways. And so finally God sent his son Jesus so that we might have an intimate, personal relationship with Him. Ever notice in life that you are moved to help those you know and you tend to get more involved because it's an intimate relationship, but when it's a mass of people you do a little but then let someone else step up. Well, here Jesus is asking for that one on one relationship with you.
The thing is - He can get rid of the "ugliness" in your life. As you begin to really cultivate your relationship with Him, you will see that He will meet YOUR needs exactly as you need them to be met. But not exactly as you want them to be met. You are loved by Him because He made you - He wants to know you. You just have to let Him.
Wise words being many benefits and hard work brings rewards. Proverbs 12:14
We all have asked the question at some point in my life - "What is my purpose in life?"
Yesterday I wrote about life as a race. And if you think about it..I think life goes by so quickly....too quickly.. like a race. And one day I will be gone. So, to me, the question we might want to be asking is not "What is my purpose in the here and now?" (because the here and now is such a short time) but rather "What legacy do I want to leave behind?" because that is for eternity.
Will people remember what I said or wrote? Most likely not. But will it inspire a person to take action and affect another person's life? I could only hope so! And so I want us to think about how our actions have such long-lasting effects and is what we are doing today making an impact on the tomorrow. And I don't mean changing the world type of impact. But I am a FIRM believer in changing one life at a time. Because that one life will affect another and another and so on.
What is your legacy going to be? Don't know..well figure it out!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
Hmm..what are those things that hinder and entangle us? For those with an addiction, hurt, hang-up etc, at first glance it's a quick easy answer, right? I mean it's alcohol, or drugs, or pornography, or over-eating or spending too much or always having to be right. Sure, those things do hinder us. But, they are not the true reason. There is a reason we do these things. There is a reason we pick up the bottle at 8 in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school. There is a reason we shoot up in the middle of the work day. There is a reason we allow ourselves to be used by people over and over again. I can't pretend to know what your issue is because it's your's to figure out. One of the best things I ever did was to take "inventory" in my life and truly figure out why I do the things I do. It is one of the steps in a traditional 12 step or Celebrate Recovery program - but you don't have to be part of a program to do this. It takes time to reflect and think about all aspects of our lives...and decide what changes we need to make. Dig deep and figure out the root causes of our addictions. I like to race and am a competitive person. And I learned that I need to make healthy choices in order to fuel my body. But I also learned that I can't carry extra food, water and supplies - they will weigh me down. And so just as I learned how to shed this "extra" stuff to be able to race effectively we must do the same in our lives - to be healthy beings not hindered down by our addictions. Have you shed anything lately that is hindering you? Perhaps it's time.
Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Yesterday, my children and I returned home from a trip visiting my parents. And to keep peace (and my stress level down too) in the car they watched a video that we got at the library before we left. It was called "The Little Red Wagon". In this movie the young boy (age 9 or 10) saw that towns affected by hurricanes had been destroyed - complete loss. And this young boy named Zach took his wagon and started collecting supplies. When he went to visit the Red Cross shelter he met kids there and quickly realized that these kids now had no homes, no toys, no food - nothing! And so he realized the problem was bigger than just a hurricane and fixing up a house. And so he took his red wagon and started to collect for the homeless. And his crusade led to a walk across the United States collected over $100,000 in money and much more in donations. And so I'm driving, and in the mirrors I'm sneaking peaks of my kids watching this movie. As many of you know I have a special needs son who is very intense. As I am driving, my son asks if we have homeless in our town. And I said yes. Then about 5 minutes later he asks if we have shelters or food banks and I answered yes. Well, we no sooner get home from our trip and we finish unpacking and I crash in a chair. He comes out of his room with a paper with all sorts of things written on it. So I asked him what it was. And he responded that it's a flyer to collect food for our shelter. He told me that we have people who need food and we have lots so he wanted to go collect food like the boy did. And so within an hour of being home he was already out in the neighborhood collecting for our food bank. Now I know it's a long story but it got me to thinking. How simple was that?!? He saw a need and went about fixing it. Why do we as adults make things so complicated? Why do we make all sorts of excuses? I think part of it lies that life has molded us to think a certain way. Children see things so black and white and we see too many shades and variations. Addictions are nothing but an excuse. I'm sorry - and I'm in the same boat. Using a hurt or hang-up or habit -- we do it because it makes US feel better. But children see life differently. And I think that's part of what Jesus is talking about in the verse when he says we must become like children in order to enter heaven. We must see things more clearly and when we see a problem - fix it and not wait for some one else to come along. And so, this movie has inspired my son to pick a new neighborhood each week to get donations so that no one has to go hungry. I learn from my children each and every day! I hope you can learn from the little children too!
This is a different type of Musical Devo. This piece is not a worship song in the sense of pop music but rather one where you listen to it and take time to come to God. Enjoy ~ and may you be blessed today!
Our church family was excited to see work begin on our new sanctuary. Each Sunday we eagerly looked at the big hole in the ground. But progress seemed slow.
It all came down to water. Too much in one place and not enough in another. An underground spring was one problem. Construction could not continue until inspectors were satisfied that water was being directed away from the site. At the same time, city officials said we didn’t have enough water coming into the building for a sprinkler system—so new lines for water had to be added. None of us wanted the project to be slowed down by these rulings, but we realized that if codes weren’t followed, we would face serious problems in the future.
Sometimes we grumble about government and other officials. But a proper respect for authority honors God. Paul, who had his own problems with those in charge, wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). And later, “Do what is good, and you will have praise from [the authorities]” (v.3).
As we let God’s Spirit teach us, we can have a healthy attitude toward government. It’s for our good, the testimony of our faith, and most of all for God’s honor.
Thank You, Lord, for people who are willing to serve in
our local, state, and national governments. We pray that
they will seek righteousness and justice and that You
will help us to respect those You have placed over us.