Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Choices’

God Is Still Working

I have been enjoying my devotional time with Joyce Meyer Ministries.  The other day Joyce was teaching on “Asking God” – as taken from these scriptures:

Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 21:22 (NKJV)

22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

If you are like me you have heard these scriptures many times.  I had heard them but must admit that I was not really asking.  Somehow it did not seem polite to keep asking for things – like a spoiled child who never thinks about anybody else but themselves.  Me, me, ME!!!!  Mine, mine, MINE!!!  Whah, whah, WHAH!!!!  It just felt WRONG.

So my prayer and communication had taken on a different tone over the years.  Always respectful and thankful, bringing out confessions, my weaknesses and concerns for others, my family and friends.  Walking and talking with God.  But I believe I was missing one important aspect to prayer.  I wasn’t asking.

Not only does God say to ask – but we are told to do so boldly.

Hebrews 4:16

New King James Version (NKJV)

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So the other night in my prayer time – I took a bold step and just asked.  And because God already knows what I am thinking about I have to believe that the asking is partly for me.  A step of faith.  It helps me get things out and really deal with them.  Rather than shoving them aside – or pushing them down deep where I don’t have to think about them.

Another thing Joyce said was this:  Even if we don’t see the answer to prayer after asking – we need to tell ourselves that God is still working.  That clear statement of faith with drive doubt and negativity from our minds and hearts when the waiting for answers seems long and hard.  To think that when I boldly ask – and then leave it with Him to work it out in His timing behind the scenes – leaves me feeling peaceful and reassured.

For some circumstances it is easy to believe and have faith in the process of God’s timing.  It is maybe even easy to ask.  But there are situations where it is very difficult to ask.  I have one right now – that has actually made me feel guilty about even asking.  But the other night I asked anyway.  I gave it away, and though I’m sure it won’t automatically just go away from my mind and heart – I took the steps to begin that great ‘behind the scenes’ work that only God can provide.

Have you an issue right now that you’re afraid to even ask about?  You can be reassured that God wants you to ask.  He will work out the details.  He is trustworthy to bring only good for your life, peace for your soul and health for your mind and body.

Ask Him today.  And know that He is still working.

God Bless

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

God Bless

 

 

Walking In My Pastor’s Shoes

The following article was written by my good friend, Deanna Morauski.  Deanna and I go way back – have known each other for 15 years now, served on a church staff for about 5 of those years – and then recently reconnected through facebook in the 2 years.  She is an excellent writer, counselor, wife, mother and friend to many.  She and her husband run a beautiful little place called ‘The Old Hen Bed and Breakfast’ located in North Bend Washington – and my husband and I have been out there numerous times to share friendship, food and laughter with them.  I hope you will be encouraged by her writing today!  God Bless!

Walking in My Pastor’s Shoes

Every time that I write, I make 100% sure that I am not writing about current feelings and observations when it comes to ministry before I type a single word. Tonight I am breaking my own rule because I feel that being honest and real about where I am today is the best thing to share. Usually I pull from my past so that others can learn from my stories and experiences. Today I am pulling my past together with my present… from both sides of ministry.

I have been in ministry of various kinds of roles from youth group vice president, class president, writer, teacher and counselor, deacon, speaker, pastor and pastor’s wife. I have been a follower, a leader, a follower that didn’t realize that she was leading and a leader who looked back to find that no one was following. In the last five years I have dedicated my skills to supporting my husband often behind the scenes in a church plant, the most difficult role of all.

Although I have had only three pastors of my own in my life: one as a child, one when I moved out on my own and my husband, I have found plenty of time to judge many. I have come to a new place of repentance today. I have had to repent for every pastor that I have ever judged…

I have sat under the leadership of a pastor that was boring, one that talked about his little kids too often, and the one who played favorites. The pastor down the road with a sweet little family of his own who had an affair with a teenager and got her pregnant, the one who had an affair with a church member, and the one who was so evangelistic that he couldn’t remember my name even though I was a part of his church for 10 years. Oh, and did I mention that his favorite hymn didn’t make sense to me and his wife sang alto which isn’t pretty to you when you are only 12 years old?

Then I remembered today the one who I admired that had an emotional affair with someone in his church and the one who joked poorly about his wife. Better yet, there was the pastor who seemed to be prideful when he won awards for his church giving so much money to missions and then I even judged another one because he was being so judgmental about the pastor who seemed prideful over his missions giving!

How about that pastor who told me I would work well with children when the only kids I had ever babysat were my two cousins because I didn’t enjoy being around kids? How out of touch was he? And that pastor who didn’t do anything about his congregation smoking in the parking lot right after church, how could he ignore such a thing? I mean, after all, it was a Sunday!

Then there was the guy who was verbally mean to his wife in front of others and was out of control angry when he went to his kid’s sports games. Some friends of mine judged his wife too. They left the church because they didn’t like it that she sang the song “I am the God That Healeth Thee,” (a song written in 1986) because it seemed to them that she was singing about how SHE was claiming to be God. Then there were all the youth pastors in training that took wearing ties to church to the utmost level of importance along with the one who annoyingly declared, “God is good…” waiting for someone to finish his sentence with the words, “all the time” as he trotted through the hallways.

I remember the pastor who spiraled into depression because someone told him he was selfish… how weak of him. No, wait, how HUMAN of him. The very men and women who are teaching us about God’s grace and have showed us grace need the very same grace that we do.

Lord, please forgive me for judging my pastors as well as my friends and family member’s pastors. Please forgive me for every phrase of theirs that I twisted and then repeated. Please forgive my attitude of pride. Please have grace on my husband and me now we are in their shoes.

I remember learning about giving grace from these men and women, learning about reaching out to others, how to worship you, how to talk with you in the private moments I have alone with you… and most of all thank you for giving me the guidance from those much wiser than I to apply your word not only to my head but allowing your truth to touch my heart and change me each step of the way.

Thank you for using the pastor’s wife who sang alto to teach me how to serve others gracefully and how to make my home warm and comfortable for others. Thank you for teaching me endurance from the pastor’s wife who endured criticism when her husband strayed from her. Thank you for teaching me the needs of missionaries that I cannot see and would easily forget about if it weren’t for my award winning pastor and evangelistic pastor who could not remember my name.

Thank you for developing my love for children through the anger I had to face when my pastor was out of touch with my discomfort around children. Thank you so much for reminding me that you are the God that healeth me through my pastor’s wife who obviously was just relaying your words to me through song.

Thank you for the nod of fatherly approval from my very first pastor before he passed away last year, even though he still didn’t get my name right. I know that he loved me and he had a bigger picture of life than I had because he saw the world through your calling.

Please forgive me for judging these lovers of people and servants of yours. Had they been perfect, I would have judged them for that too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pastor Deanna Morauski, CMHC – Deanna’s love for baking and cooking began as she sat upon a baker’s stool as a little girl. Her love for people grew in the midst of church potlucks. Deanna has been a pastor’s wife since 1997. She expresses her loves today creatively through photography and writing for her foodie blog, tastehope.com, as well as hosting guests at her inn, The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast in Snoqualmie Valley, Washington.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
I Corinthians 13:4-7

Speed Bumps

Speed bump made of rubber

Image via Wikipedia

Every journey has them.  Every life encounters them.  They are speed bumps.

I’m keenly aware of the ones in my life.  Even long after they have happened.  It’s interesting that the speed bump appears just as I’ve hit my stride and I’m feeling great –  when sailing along at top speed – doing what I always do.

I don’t like speed bumps.  I never have.  I don’t like slowing down.  Sometimes I have not slowed down and made proper allowances for the speed bump – only to hear a very loud noise as my car plows over it – and it makes me cringe.  Speed bumps are put there for one purpose:  to MAKE us slow down.  Slow down – or ELSE.

There are events in my life that have also made me slow down.  Just when I thought I had it all together.  All the people important to me and my world in their proper place.  Something happens.  Causing my world to not only slow down – but come to a complete stop.  Oh I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t even want to slow down and call it a ‘speed bump’ – but in retrospect – that’s exactly what it was.  Something that shook me down to my foundation – made me take inventory and readjust.  I didn’t want to.  It hurt.

Ever feel like this?  Things happen that make you slow down and sometimes come to a complete stop?  Dead in your tracks?  You’re not alone.

I believe that God knows and understands this.  If I didn’t believe this – there would be no hope for me. He listens and understands without judgment – without condemnation.  He knows I am guilty – of so many things – of not slowing down and showing more caution  and much more. But He is in the restoring business – and He pursues me with a love like no other.  Lavish and full.  Complete in forgiveness and grace.  And I weep.  For no one understands my heart like He does.  No one loves me like this.  I weep for the loss.  I weep because I cannot fix things.  I weep because I am sad. And He knows and whispers to me that it’s only temporary – only a speed bump along my journey.

Those speed bumps have taught me something valuable that I can hang onto.  I am still me - and they don’t keep me from being who I am – but instead teach me an important lesson about slowing down – and recognizing danger – before I get there and plow recklessly into it.  And I have His promise that He will journey with me – no matter how bad the speed bump is in the future.

He is much more concerned with my heart than any external circumstances and I believe He will allow anything – even those speed bumps along the way in order for me to be more sensitive and bring me closer to understanding His heart.

I am praying for you

 

God Bless

I Belong

It’s so nice to know.

God Bless

The Remains Of The Day

”]Cover of "The Remains of the Day [Region ...

Last night I watched a brilliant story called ‘The remains of the day‘ with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

As I was watching it – and getting involved in the story and the characters – I was keenly aware of the passage of time and events in our lives that slip by too fast.  Things and people in our lives that are here one day and gone another – or those that we feel will always be there – and then they’re not.  Choices that we make and things that we don’t think too much about – until they are gone.

In this story a man who is a butler of a huge household in England – hires a woman to be the head housekeeper.  They work together for years and have a very tragic and unrequited love story – because he cannot risk his own heart.  And eventually – she leaves and marries someone else.

It is 20 years before they see each other again – and she talks about her regret and the lost years – and what might have been – but realizes that it is too late – and though she cries when leaving him at the end – you have the sense that she does not love him anymore and that she has chosen her husband and the life they built together.

It is brilliantly acted – and you can actually feel the remorse and regret from both of them in their later years – though no love between them is ever mentioned. All because his life is very structured and safe and he cannot allow himself to fall in love.  I wanted to say – all through the movie, ‘you KNOW you love her – tell her!!!’  But he would not.  And he is alone.

Loving someone – giving your heart away is always a risk.

C. S. Lewis addressed the issue of protecting the heart back in the 1950’s: “If you want to make sure of keeping (your heart) intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to…the risk of a (broken heart) is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the danger (of a broken heart) is Hell.”

No friend will break your heart in Hell. No loved ones will disappoint you there. Why? Because there are no friends in hell. There is only the love of the self in hell. Hell is the place where the idolatry of the self comes to its logical, final conclusion.

I can tell you how to guarantee your heart will never be broken. The price, however, is astronomical. It will create for you the closest thing I know of to a “hell on earth.” Never give your heart to anyone – a friend, a child, a brother/sister, a sweetheart. Never give your heart and you consign yourself to living out your life in self-imposed loneliness.

My counsel is “Give your heart,” but give it wisely. Give it only to those who are capable of appreciating and treasuring it. The Biblical way of expressing this caution is “Don’t throw your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). But even if you are successful in only giving your heart to those who will treasure your gift, your heart will be broken.

When your heart is broken, and sooner or later it will be, seek its healing in the presence of others. When you have allowed others to help you with the healing process, you will affirm the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson to be true: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Water Your Own Lawn

Manicured lawns

Image by Mary Anne Mohanraj via Flickr

Marriage is like lawn. The grass is not greener on the other side. It is greener where it is watered, weeded, and fertilized. Take care of your lawn my friends.                    John Morauski

Oh – people laugh about ‘The grass is always greener”  but it’s true – that nice plush green grass also NEEDS to be mowed.

It is built-in to our DNA to be curious.  To want things.  To see with our eyes and taste with our emotions – things that look lovely and feel so good.  To pursue ‘uncharted’ territory.  To obtain – gather and to conquer.

It is also built into our character to be loyal, stable, and comfortable.  To build a home with someone – to ‘nest’ and stay committed.

Sometimes the two of these seem to be at cross purposes.  The divorce rate is high – the highest it has ever been.  But I think the problem dates back as far back as the origins of man – and original sin.    I’m sure even WAAAAAAY back there – someone saw someone else (other than their spouse) and thought they looked pretty nice – and found out that they had things in common and ‘chemistry‘ with them.  And wondered….’hmmmm – where have you been all my life’  Ahhhh – the ultimate seduction.

This is a complicated situation – especially if there are ‘problems’ and ‘issues’ with the one you are living with.  It’s hard work to stay ‘fresh’ and ‘fun’ – year after year.  Anyone else can seem so uncomplicated and easier – have all the right things to say – even be thoughtful and kind  and feel like a little bit of freedom – especially if you are unhappy at home.

It is the ultimate trap of emotions.  It is what was said in Tyler Perry‘s movie “Why did I get married” – ‘you end up leaving the 80% for the 20% – only to find out that once you left – you now have only 20% – and you should have stayed and tried to work on that 80%’

That is the ultimate test.  That 20% still needs maintenance – and much more work.  Ugh.  More work???? And those nasty feelings of  regret.  How many times have you or I heard someone say, “I should have worked harder on my first marriage”

This is how it happens:  You can have great chemistry with your spouse – at least to start out.  You decide to get married.  It seems like you can’t live without each other.  You just know it will be okay and life will be wonderful – you won’t even have to work that hard – things seem to click and work really well.  But even in the most ideal of relationships – something happens.  Children, age, stress, loss of a job or a career, problems with family, loss of attraction for each other. You stop watering your lawn.

So things look better somewhere else. After all – their grass is much greener – looks well cared for – they even use fertilizer on theirs and take special care that it is mowed and always looks inviting and lovely.

It is a trap.  It leaves you empty.  And remember – their grass seems greener.  You didn’t have to work on it with them. It is only green until you step over to their lawn – and then you can see that it needs to be mowed.  From a distance it looked great.

But your grass looks green and plush to someone from afar too.  Always remember that.  It is only when someone comes in close – that the flaws in your lawn begin to show.

Keep your grass-green to your spouse.

How?

Marriage needs special attention – especially as we age.  You need to ‘tune in’ much more as life happens and things happen to change us along the way.  Watering and fertilizing is as simple as just paying attention. Make sure that you are the one investing valuable time and energy in the relationship – not someone else.

This is important for women as well as the men.  Divorce rate is up – more and more women are leaving the relationship – it used to be that just men left for a pretty ‘young thing’ at the office.  Not anymore.  Women who are unhappy and unsatisfied in a marriage will leave for someone who notices them and makes them feel special again – and they can be easy prey for men who are willing and able to ‘fill in’ emotionally.  And men will leave for someone who understands and admires them again.

If you think you are safe – think again.

Are you putting emotional and physical energy into your relationship with your spouse?  Do you take them for granted and say to yourself, ‘they will always be here – I don’t have to do anything special’.  That’s what everyone has said and thought – only to have their spouse walk out on them.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Don’t be caught unaware.

Water your lawn.  Care for it daily.  Apply fertilizer to help it grow plush and green.  Use your words and your gestures to make things green and healthy in your relationship.  Make it your first priority.  Don’t leave it to chance.  Don’t leave it to someone else – who can seem to do the job better than you. Make sure you have  heathy green grass to romp around in – with your spouse. And only for your spouse.

Take care of your lawn my friends’ – is the best advice you’ll ever hear.

God Bless



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