Monday, September 28, 2009

Not an Introvert

I won a ticket to the Beth Moore"Living Proof" Conference. I was so fired up! Then I was asked to volunteer...I said "yes, put me where you need me." They said, "In prayer."

The first evening was fantastic. It was so fulfilling to hear nearly 7,000 women raising their voices in worship together with Travis Cottrell and his worship team! Beth framed her talk around Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." She is an excellent Bible teacher, and has a real gift for relating to a crowd as intimately as if she were having coffee in a small group.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we were excited to return for the second half of the program. "Do it Lord, that your glory may be seen...In these days that we're living now, let your Kingdom come, may your will be done," we sang with great hope. Beth covered every emotion known to women (and as we know, they are many!) and opened scripture in a way that shored up our faith.

She called women to come forward if they wished to pray with someone. As a prayer volunteer, I prayed with several women with varying burdens and cried with one of them, wishing and willing to let the Spirit flow through me and minister to these hurting women.

Hey...wait a minute. I had always thought I was an introvert. I wouldn't be comfortable in a close personal space with someone I just met! I'm not good with words...I wouldn't know what to pray with someone...on the spot!

But the Holy Spirit had obviously made it possible when I yielded to let Him lead. I let go of my inhibitions and did what He asked me to do. It's amazing that I did not think again about inhibitions. I was not conscious of being uncomfortable or stretched in any way.

Whenever I look back on the event I am so fulfilled. I know God had planned for me to be there (He gave me a ticket!). My energy level has soared ever since. "I am not an introvert," I realized, "when I get my energy from the Holy Spirit!"

Of course, I still have introverted tendencies. But I realized that if I am willing, the Holy Spirit can overcome those limitations and use me anyway. Oh, what a feeling!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gracefully Aging

Gray hair is a crown of splender; it is attained by a righteous life... The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. (Prov. 16:31 and 20:29).

But if gray hair is splendor, why are people "dying" to cover it up?

Today's culture makes us believe we should cover, hide or even lie about our age. When we celebrate our birthdays, we joke about being 39 again...or risk being called "over the hill." Our lives are bombarded with products to help us look younger or slow down the aging process.

I found it so refreshing at a recent Christian conference that many of the speakers and artists shared their ages willingly, both men and women: "I'll soon be turning 60"..."When I turned 50"..."I'm 48 and a half." (Remember when we were kids and we added every quarter or half?!)

It impressed me that these people were not only honest and open about their ages, but unapologetic...and very comfortable about where they were in life. What a good example they set for me, since I'm approaching one of those "significant" birthdays!

It made me eager to be like them, to anticipate being their age, to have attained the wisdom they possess, to see the world through their eyes.

Instead of being molded by the world, with all its reminders of getting older and all our ways of denying age, why not remember that while we live in the world, we are not of the world, and embrace each year, aging with grace?

I made up my mind to try to model for others what those wonderfully wise speakers and artists modeled for me. Since the Bible associates wisdom and splendor and respect with maturity, I will attempt to look at age as God does, and not as the world does.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Highest Authority

I was feeling stressed over a project I'd been working on. It was a day when I felt no one listened to my input.

I recalled some of the details as I talked to my friend Mary, who had picked me up for a walk. "It feels like I have no influence, no expertise and no authority!"

She immediately said, "I'm sure that's how Jesus felt at times!"

Yes... I remembered. We had just read about that in the book of John. Though Jesus performed MIRACLES, the most religious group of the day -- the Pharisees -- didn't even believe Him! Jesus was the HIGHEST authority and His own received Him not (John 1:10-12).

And God sent Mary as my little angel to remind me not to be discouraged.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Turning to the Light

As we were driving through western Wisconsin, we came upon field after field of sunflowers, their heads turned all in the same direction. My husband and I were reminded of that amazing little detail in creation -- how flowers turn toward the light, every one!

...but wait, it had been raining all morning and the sun had not shown its face. How did the sunflowers know to turn to the east if not drawn by the sun?

"That is a picture of faith," I said. Ted said it was "hope with confidence."

Just as the sun had risen in the east so many times before, it would appear again in the east, if it would appear at all.

We also have hope with confidence. We have God's Word and His promise that He will come again. We have the confidence from reading the scriptures. We are so blessed that God gave us the Bible and we don't have to rely on just oral tradition that could become distorted or lose its power over the years.

No, we have confidence and we keep our faces turned to Him while we wait in hope until He comes again.