Monday, April 30, 2012

The Weak Christian

Have you ever thought that there is absolutely no way that you can do it?  That there is no way you can get through another day?  You wake up to the alarm clock, one more sunrise, or pain and you say, “No way, Lord.  Not again.  I don’t have it in me to do this anymore.”   I have been there.
When I find myself at this point, I turn my eyes to Jesus.  He reminds me that I am not alone. 

2Cor 12:9  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I realize that being weak is not such a terrible thing.  I pray and begin to feel His power seep into my bones.   The fatigue vibrates in my toes but soon it gets replaced by energy from my soul.  Christ works a miracle! 
Oh, I repeat this prayer monthly, weekly, and sometimes, at the end of my work schedule, daily but God is faithful.  He answers it, lifts me up, and rests His power upon me to see me through the day.
I love the Lord with all my heart and am so thankful for all He does for me.  I am not ashamed to admit that I am a weak Christian.  I need the power and strength of Christ to get through each day.  Praise God, He gives it to me!

Your turn.

In Christ,

Renee
Photo courtesy of © Lisafx and Stock Free Images

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Severed Saint


Have you ever heard a fellow believer say the following:  “I love God but I hate church?”  I have.  In fact, those words have left my lips.  Why?  Why would a Christian hate the Bride of Christ?
Here are some “reasons” I have heard:

I will never go back there until he leaves.  Don’t you remember what he said about you?
I don’t worship that way.
God is everywhere.  I don’t need a building to worship him.
I can’t find a church like my old one. 

I just don’t fit in.


Have you heard any of these before?  I am sure you can add many more to the list.   My heart breaks to think of how many believers miss out on the joy of a church home.

To start with, let me address the third “reason” on the list above.  I agree that God is found everywhere on His planet and indeed, we do not need a building to worship him.  In fact, the last church I attended in Wyoming did not even have a building.  However, the Church is not a building.  God refers to His Church as us, His children.  We are compared more intimately in scripture to a bride, hence the term:  Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23).  We may not need a building, but God is specific in His direction that we come together as believers to worship, learn, and go forth to spread the news of our Lord.

Now, I will stop my preaching.  Let’s go back to the first excuse…oops, “reason.”  I am sure that everyone has been there a time or two in some place in their life.  Someone has said something derogatory about them or someone they love and look out!  It hits the fan!  Multiply that by about one hundred and that is the result you get in church.  I believe it is the expectations that you place on a person the minute they walk through the door.  Church is like shedding the reality of the outside world and being cloaked in a white robe.  When the imperfections eventually surface, it hurts so much more.   Jesus said a lot about forgiveness.  Have you checked it out lately?  (Matthew 6:15)

“I”…”I”…”I”…  Have you noticed that all of these “reasons” have the same issue?  When I took my eyes off myself and placed them on God, I realized my walk was missing something.  Fellowship, worship, preaching, teaching, prayer…  No, the church we attend now is not perfect.  The music is a little loud at times.  It is not like my old one and I don’t fit in as much as I would like but you know what?  I love the Lord and I love His Bride.   I will not forsake it or Him.

I hope every Christian has found a church home.  If you haven’t, ask yourself why.  You may be surprised with the answer you receive.  

In Christ,
Renee

Picture courtesy of Pattom @ StockFree Images

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Suffering


What does it mean to suffer?  Webster’s Dictionary states it as the following:  1a: to submit to or be forced to endure <suffer martyrdom>   b: to feel keenly : labor under <suffer thirst> 2: Undergo, experience 3: to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable 4: to allow especially by reason of indifference.  So what does that mean anyway and how does it apply to me?

Suffering is a dilemma I struggle with daily.  Watching the struggles of those I love is hard to do, knowing I can do nothing physically to alleviate their pain.  The emotional toll that suffering takes on a human being is enormous.  I relate it to a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, good days and bad, depending on which loop it is on at the moment.

Before my husband’s last surgery, I thought I would scream!  Would it ever end?   The man is tough but he is not invincible and he is suffering.   Why?  He loves the Lord with all his heart.  What could he have possibly done to deserve this?

It was a little ironic that his thirty-fifth surgery hit on Easter weekend.   I was asking myself that question right when I was remembering Jesus Christ’s suffering and sacrifice.  It is truly amazing how God works, isn’t it?

The Holy Spirit gave me this scripture to give suffering a little context.

Romans 5:3-5:  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Oh, I still hate the roller coaster ride but I know I am not alone.  I have an almighty God on my side and He will give us the strength to get through whatever lies ahead. 

Thank You, Father God.

In Christ,



Renee

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To My Baby

This poem was written to my little boy, still in my womb, five days before his birth.  After weeks on bedrest and praying for a miracle, the day was fast approaching that he would be born.  I wrote these words to the new life I felt moving within me.

Oh, my sweet, tiny baby
Who's in this belly so grand.
Are you a little lady
Or a bouncing, tiny man?

Will you have the dark, brown eyes
That twinkle like your daddy's?
What about those nightly cries
That signal when you're crabby?

I pray that I will become
A perfect mother for you,
But if I'm not, I promise,
I'll do the best I can do!

During times I know I'll fail,
I hope you see I love you.
I will try to protect us,
To keep, love and guide you too.

With God's help, I'll always be
One who you can always turn
To in times of bitter need,
Who can teach as well as learn.


7-4-91
Renee Blare

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Blast from the Past

I had a little setback this week.  Instead of leaving the blog empty for the week, I decided a little blast from the past was in order.  I will post a poem or two of mine until I can get my feet under me and get my blog in order to get it posted, hopefully in a few days.
The first one is a poem I wrote when I first met my husband-to-be.  I hope you like it!

Together


You stand by me, left and right,
In both good times and in bad.
You wake me when I am tired
And cheer me when I am sad.

You stand beside me, first and last,
To keep me standing tall.
You hold me when I cry
And catch me when I fall.

You stand behind me, present and past,
To love me more than life.
We brace ourselves 'gainst the world
Withstanding its toil and strife.

I love you with all my heart,
For always and forever.
To be with you is my prayer,
Walking through life together.


After 24 years together, the Lord is still answering my prayer.  Thank you, Lord! 

In Christ,
Renee


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Praying With an Agenda

     Prayer is wonderful.  I love to talk to my God.  I remember learning the Lord’s prayer as a child and after becoming a Christian, using it in my own prayer life.  The joy I that I experience in fellowship with Him cannot be found any other way.  A flow of intense prayer and fellowship is how I walk daily now but I did not start that way.  I had a rough period or two…
     After I became a Christian, excitement filled my soul.  God was awesome!  He was moving in my life and doing such wonders that prayer was almost an afterthought.  I spent most of my time alternating between praising his almighty Name and thanking Him.  Experiencing the real and true power of God for the first time in my church life of eighteen years sent me reeling and I was on cloud nine. 
     Rough period number one arrives… Dutifully, I hit my knees.  In tears, I turn everything over to God but He doesn’t answer my prayer!  Oh, I am mad!  Why, Lord?  Why won’t you answer me?  I quit going to that church and go to another.  I stop reading that study and start this one.  My answer is somewhere I know it is.  Eventually, things smooth over or maybe they get tucked away.
     Rough period number two…SLAM!  This time, I am knocked off my feet.  Again, I fall on my face before God.  I wait and wait.  No answer.  I think I am not being patient, so I wait a little longer and still no answer.  The devastation I feel at this time is hard to describe.  I honestly feel abandoned by my Lord.  I petition fellow Christians and am told that it is a “lack of faith” or that I am not praying “hard enough.”  I know both of these to be false.  So, I wait with a little anger at God deep inside my heart.

Eph 6:18  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.

     Studying prayer through the years, I have realized that it is so much more than a list of demands that I rattle off to God when I need Him.  The agenda I take to God is not His but mine.  The answers I seek are my solution to whatever problem I face.  It is no wonder that I have been met with silence.  Oh, I still find myself going to God with an agenda or two and the quiet is deafening!  Instead of getting angry, I examine the prayer I just uttered.  What do I want God to do?  Why? After evaluating my own hidden desires, I try it again.  I leave it in the almighty Lord’s capable hands and trust Him to handle it.

In Christ,
Renee

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter with a Little Dye - It Lives On

Easter is my favorite holiday. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of my savior but Easter is when I rejoice in my deliverance from this meager existence.
I remember his horrific walk down the Via Dolorosa or the "Way of Suffering" and cry, knowing that my sin contributed to every stripe upon his back. I listen while the story is recited of the nails driven in his feet and hands at Calvary or "Golgotha" and how he hung for several hours until he died. I hear about the soldier piercing his side with water and blood pouring out and the tomb they placed him in to seal him away from the world.
While I listen in the sanctuary, the children are busy in children's church having fun! They are hearing the story of Jesus and his sacrifice, minus the trauma and gore for such tender ears, amidst giggles and laughter as fingers dip into purple, blue and green. They are dyeing eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt after the service.
These colored ovals will be hidden in the church yard later in the afternoon. A stampede of children will go forth to find them, running to and fro and peeking in every nook and cranny to find as many as possible. A little game started many years ago that has turned into a tradition for some, a habit for many.
As I watch the kids run around looking for those hidden eggs, the joy that lights up their faces at each new discovery serves to remind me of how this whole story in Jerusalem ended so long ago. Jesus Christ no longer resides in that tomb in which they sealed Him on that horrible day. He rose and walked away! Yes, HE LIVES!
The joy that fills my heart is like finding a hidden treasure each and everyday. I love you, Lord.

In Christ,
Renee