Monday, February 27, 2012

Silver and gold I do not have...

I finally found my notes from Beth Moore's Living Proof conference from last November, in Casper, Wyoming. I want to share some highlights from the notes I took - her messages never fail to open my eyes to new, "wonderful things" in God's Word.

Beth's message was on Acts 3:1-10, when Peter and John saw  the lame man begging at the temple gate.

The beggar doesn't have a name, so it easy to put ourselves in his place. We may not be lame of foot and unable to walk, but we are all begging for something, whether it is love, security, strength, success, etc.

I most frequently find myself longing for friendship and validation; also for freedom from my blue or grumpy moods (which at times even sink into depression).  I have a loving family which provides 90% of the friendship and validation I need, but that last 10% still leaves me longing.

Which is just proof to me that human beings are never completely satisfied. No matter how much we have, we always want more. Beth's point is that when we try to rely on other humans (or material things) for our fulfillment, we never will stop begging. We must look to God to fill that hole that no one else or no thing can fill. 

Beth's next point was that sometimes we beg for the lesser thing we need. The beggar needed to walk, but he'd been lame his whole life, so he didn't think to ask for that. He was begging for food or money. We learn to support ourselves in our infirmity rather than asking for freedom from infirmity.

"Fixing his eyes on him, Peter said, 'Look at us.' So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

Part of our own healing involves helping others. Beth asked us to rephrase Peter's declaration in our own words:
"I do not have much money. But what I do have, I can give. I have a tender heart brimming with compassion for those who are hurting. I have a heart to teach young children (and my children) about all the wonderful things in God's Word. I long more than anything to share the wonderful things God has done for me and taught me, and I think He has gifted me to share them through telling or writing stories."

Beth pointed out that a "fixed, intent gaze" is used 10 different times in Acts. Instead of focusing on our needs, we  fix it on someone else in need.

This is what I want to learn: to see when a hand is needed (or a listening ear) - to be fully present for another person who is in need. To be able to push past my own comfort zone (e.g. selfish zone), to find a common ground, and not miss opportunities to listen, help, and possibly share my stories of God's grace. 

God can use our healing to make others want to find their healing through Him, but we cannot ever force healing on others, or expect them to be healed in the same way we were. 

Near the end of the conference, there were prayer volunteers available. I have never done this before at other conferences, but this time I went down and asked for prayer for Joy who is fighting cancer and for my dad who has Parkinson's. The lady put her hands on my shoulders and prayed for Joy and Dad and prayed for me, too. Afterwards I thanked her, and then asked, "is there anything I can pray for you?" She admitted that she was still struggling with the death of her adult son, two years ago. I was stunned. She has suffered a devastating loss, and yet she was there volunteering to pray for others, even strangers.

She was "living proof" that part of the healing process is reaching out to help others.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

1000 gifts: dark wings shedding light

Continuing my list of gifts, blessings that I write down to remember all the wonderful things that God gives me along life's journey (from Ann Voskamp's book and her blog, A Holy Experience).

396. Eclipsed by glory
Heather shared these lyrics "These afflictions eclipsed by glory" from How He Loves Us by the David Crowder Band - when her son Kelton had to spend 2 weeks at Children's hospital with an uncertain diagnosis of  Gullain barre. (see lyrics to this amazing song posted below).

397. Wings streaming light
While praying for Heather and Kelton, I saw an image of a dark bird streaming light - hope - from its wings (God-sent, or merely active imagination?) Heather and her family are going through a dark time, but their faith is light shining out of darkness - not just for them, but as a testimony to the rest of us.

This picture is close to what I pictured, except it was a bird, not a deer, and the bird itself was dark - shedding light from its wings. The light was more like star dust rather than a solid stream.

Including several other beautiful images I found while browsing DeviantArt for something similar to what I'd seen in my mind's eyes.

398. Long drive = time to talk
Long drive back from Denver airport after picking up Stars from her Christmas break gave us a great chance to talk

399. Beating hearts
Mom starting having heart pains again but doctors said her heart is in great shape for having had open heart surgery 20 years ago, only one stent necessary.

400. Things that really matter
Stars wrote some beautiful poems for her English class. One was written about the things that really matter to her, and it tugged at my heart. Another more light-hearted one was about unicorns - (smile!) (she now has two purple unicorn pillow pets)

401. Hope in Me
"Hope in Me and you will be protected from depression and self-pity. " (from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young). Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven. Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. I have studied faith and love, I think it is time to study hope. Three great hope verses: Romans 15:4 and 15:13 and Titus 1:2

402. There's a hole in my sidewalk
Beth Moore shared this poem in her To Live is Christ video series - with reference to overcoming sin. 

403. Invest trust 
This concept of investing trust in God's "bank" (where interest compounds daily) came from the devotional I'm doing this year, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

404. Babysitting Bella
Bella is the darling 11-month-old baby that Heather and Chris are foster-parenting, along with her 5 year old sister Tiffany. On Wednesday, my day off, the twins and I got to babysit Bella, and the twins were absolutely fascinated with her. They took turns giving her a bottle and feeding her, and loaded all their toys into her car seat. I just loved having a baby around!

405. Marks of spiritual maturity
What are the marks of spiritual maturity? Hebrews 5:14 "the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" and 1 Peter 2:2 "long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation"

406. Road map to life
"My abiding presence Presence is the best road map available" (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young) I have so much to say about this... I think it will need a whole post of its own (after all I'm a geographer and a lover of maps)

 407. Easiest is not best
"Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day." - another nugget from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. After reading this, I saw a fitting quote plaque along the same vein, "Don't give up what you want most for what you want now". This is exactly what I am guilty of doing most days.

408. Discovering lost things while cleaning
Found my notes from Beth Moore's conference (missing since early December) when I moved the sofa to clean under it! Re-read them - what a great reminder (again, I have so much to share, will need to save for another post)

409. Being fully understood
"Rejoice in the relief of being fully understood. Talk with Me about your struggles and feelings of inadequacy." (also from Jesus Calling devotional). I have always struggled with feeling there was no one who could fully understand me. Now I realize everyone feels this way, because we are all so wonderful complex and unique, only our Maker can fully know us. This was a revelation to me. There is, finally, someone who does fully understand me, every mood, every dream....

410. lyrics to "How He Loves Us" 
by David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all