Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Instrument Do You Play?

I was watching an amazing praise DVD from Australia the other night. The music was so powerful that the worship team seem to take you to a place where you could become more in tune with your Spirit being than your physical one.
 My attention eventually went to the drummer, as I love the sound of the drums. He was so into the worship that when the song ended he literally fell forward and laid his head on the drum. He had given all he had; you could tell he played from his very soul.
I was so filled with the Spirit as I watched this huge crowd praising the Lord with their voices as their hands were reaching toward the sky as if they expected the very hand of God to reach down and touch them. I had goose bumps.  I knew how it made me feel just watching it on a DVD I could only imagine how it must have felt being there live.
I got to thinking about how much it must have pleased God to have so many children praising Him, how He must have looked forward to that night knowing He would be seeing His kids in worship.
Did He get goose bumps too? Was He focusing in on them one person at a time taking in each expression and emotion? Was He being touched as much by their praise as they were by His presence?

Have you ever really looked forward to seeing someone you had special feelings for? You know the whole nervous butterfly in the stomach feeling. I remember in High School my first love, his name was Jimmy, and I would run to my English class early because I knew he had to walk by my class to get to his. I would stand outside the door when the bell rang searching for him down the crowded hall of people and as soon as I saw him I would look away pretending I didn’t see him. Great plan hu? Could explain why I’m still single.
There was a method to my madness. I knew if he thought I didn’t see him he would touch my arm or better yet my face as he went by and say hello. Just that little touch sent my heart fluttering. It was the only reason I went to English.
I wondered if God felt like that when He knew we were getting ready to worship Him. Does he search for us anticipating the moment?
My mind went to that drummer and I envied him, that he could put his whole soul into playing for the King. I thought to myself, I wish I sang or played an instrument so I could praise God like that.

As always the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said,” you do play an instrument it’s just not a musical one.” He reminded me that I write and Gena’s Jewels is my instrument to give praise to the Lord. I never thought about it that way. I started thinking about other people and the instruments they play like making drapes or jewelry. Selling homes or feeding the homeless. Speaking encouraging words or teaching small children. Anything that we do for God is our instrument, it’s just a matter of do we “play” it to honor Him. Do we give Him the praise for the talent we were given.

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. It doesn’t specify how you praise just that you do it.

I was in Wal-Mart today with my friend Cathy, the woman in front of us didn’t speak English, the cashier didn’t speak Spanish, and there was some confusion with the customer’s gift card. The problem was they could not communicate and you could feel the frustration level rising. Out of nowhere my friend translated for them as she speaks both languages. I heard the Lord say, “She’s playing her instrument.”

Are you playing yours?

What instrument do you play
Do you honor God with it everyday
Do you look for places you two will meet
Do you give him thanks, do you keep his beat
Does your heart sing out
Do you make it a goal
To share with another
The song in your soul
Allow God to shine through all that you do
Search for the Lord He’s crazy bout you
So strike up the band
Let’s start the show
Tune up your instrument
And let your music flow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How Big Is Your But?

When you start to dream about what you want in your life how big do you go? A few years ago my oldest son walked in my house and I knew by his body language he was not happy. I was standing in the kitchen and he slammed his hands down on the counter in front of me and said, and I quote “I am really pissed off at you mom!” I was caught off guard that I was the object of his anger. I didn’t remember us having any kind of argument recently so I had no idea what he was talking about. I replied “why?” He told me that I didn’t dream big enough. He felt I could be so much further in my life had I dreamed bigger. I was speechless for a moment, hard to believe I know but true. As a mom I have always encouraged my kids to dream big and not limit God but I realized I didn’t always follow my own advice. I can give you all the reasons/excuses why like, I could have gone farther but I married young, I should have had better jobs but I didn’t go to college. I had all my “buts” ready to throw at him but the truth is I just plain didn’t dream big. I let my “BUT” get bigger than my God.
If it comforts you any there were people in the bible with big buts too. Abraham and Sara wanted a baby but they were too old. God made Abraham the father of many nations. Moses wanted to be a leader but he stuttered. God sent Aaron to work along side him and they led the whole Israel nation out of Egypt. Joseph wanted to be a great ruler but he was in prison for over ten years for a crime he didn’t commit and God made him the second most powerful man in the Kingdom. The Jews were praying for a Messiah but they got a baby in a manger. We all know how that story ended :)
If it weren’t for that conversation with my son chances are I would have continued to limit God and my dreams. Once I changed my thinking to “I” can’t do this but God can, not only did I open myself up to more things in my life it opened God up to use me more.
I know my children are going to accomplish way more in this life than I did at a much younger age and I think it’s supposed to be that way. I try to download all the things the Lord has taught me so they can be where I am at half the age. I think it’s important for you to journal your experiences or at least share them with your family. Don’t assume they know what God is doing with you just because you happen to live in the same house. Our loved ones need to be constantly reminded about how big our God is.
How big is your but and is it bigger than God? What are you believing God for? What secret dreams do you have in your heart? You may think it’s impossible for you and you may be right but Jesus said “with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26 Don’t let your but get in the way, dream big!

Gena’s Jewels

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Work Out

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I want you to notice this verse says “all things” not just the good things but all things. We wonder sometimes how that’s possible. When I’m in the middle of something awful it’s hard for me to see how it can be working out for my good, I’ll give you an example. You may or may not know that I was out of work for quite a while. As you can imagine things got tough and long story short I ended up losing my investment property, my home and most of my personal belongings. At 48, I found myself a homeless single parent. Not quite what I expected for myself. I looked for an apartment two times during the foreclosure process and each time the Lord closed the door. He told me all would be provided where I was going next. I knew the Lord promised me this but after my home officially foreclosed I once again looked for a place to live and the Lord said quite clearly “Gena, you can pick the place or I can, it’s up to you.” I decided to let Him pick. I also felt like I was supposed to get Gena’s Jewels published and had no idea how that was going to happen. As you can imagine this was a very difficult time for me. I knew I was where I was supposed to be with the Lord and I kept thinking any minute everything was going to go back to normal but it didn‘t. I seemed to be getting separated from my church family and the friends I had grown to love over the past ten years and no one seemed to notice.

A couple of months ago the Lord sent me to Tampa to visit some new found friends. While I was visiting the Lord told me I was going to move there and since my new friends really were new friends I asked the Lord to tell them too, thinking I got it wrong and this would all go away. Moving was not part of my plan, as a matter of fact I can distinctly remember saying one time I would never live in Tampa. Well guess what? My new friends told me they felt like I was supposed to move in with them! Lucky for me all of my clothes just happened to be in the back of my car :) So here I was homeless, jobless and staying with people I hardly knew. One particular day I had a very devastating thing happen to me. It was at Good Will. Now listen I can handle losing my job, my house, my personal belongings even buying clothes at Good Will what I couldn’t handle was the lady behind the counter of Good Will asking if I qualified for a senior discount! If I was suicidal that could have been it for me. Wasn’t it bad enough no one from my church was calling to see where I was and my closest friends seemed to be yanked right out of my hands? I would be 2 hours away from three of my children AND my grandsons. I asked my older children if they thought I should move thinking they would say no but they thought it was a good idea. What was wrong with all this? I wanted my children to beg me not to go. I wanted people devastated that I was leaving. I wanted wailing and mourning and got none of it. As you can imagine I did not see how all these things were working out for my good.
One of the first things I did when I arrived in Tampa, besides look for a job, was find a church and a ministry to be involved in. I decided to start with the soup kitchen and feeding the homeless as they were now officially my people. Each week my daughter and I drove in the church van with a group of wonderful people to serve the Lord through this ministry.
I mentioned to my new roommates Fritz and Cathy that I was interested in getting Gena’s Jewels published and they told me there was a guy at the church who owned a publishing company. I tried for weeks to figure out who it was then one day I asked Fritz to point him out to me and he said, “you see him every Tuesday night at the soup kitchen, he drives the van.” I had no idea he was right in front of me the whole time. I made an appointment with him for the following week to meet at his office. As I was driving there I started to pray and asked the Lord how I was going to pay him for printing the books. I prayed that maybe I could do some kind of bartering like cleaning his office in return for the publishing. After we discussed printing the book I asked him if I could pray for him and he said yes. As soon as I was finished praying he looked me right in the eye and said “you wouldn’t happen to be looking for a job would you?”

Later the Lord showed me that He had a plan for me in Tampa and if my children didn’t want me to move and my church family and friends were calling it would have been very difficult for me to leave. What appeared to be really hurtful at the time was the very thing I needed in order to make the move and the Lord knew that. The Lord knew a job was waiting for me that would also get the book published with a Godly man He had already assigned the job to.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 God said a place would be provided and it was. We are staying in a beautiful home with 2 of the most precious Christians I have ever met. I told Him I need friends and He provides more and more each day. He asked me to write the book and He sent me a publisher AND a job!

I don’t know what your going through right now and you may be saying just like I did, how can this situation possibly work out for my good when everything seems to be falling apart. You may be going through the loss of a loved one or a failed relationship or health issues. You may feel scared or lonely or just plain ticked off. You may think there is no way this situation can be good for anyone but this my gem is where faith comes in. You have to remember what Romans 8:28 says because now you’re living it. This is where the rubber meets the road. I don’t have the answer for your situation but I can tell you from personal experience God is in control. He may not do things they way you and I would have planned but it ALWAYS works out for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.

Gena’s jewels