Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who You're Ropin' With

My husband, Kevin, is a team roper. If you have always lived in Oklahoma you probably know what that means, but just in case you haven't I'll explain. It is a rodeo event that is a timed competition. Another roper ropes the horns of a steer and then my husband ropes the heels. You compete against other teams doing the same thing. Whoever has the best time wins. At least that is how it works in theory.

I am not a competitive person. I watch or read a book.

My husband has a favorite saying about ropin'. "You rope as good as the people you rope with." In the ropin' world, that means that if you only go to easy ropins' where there is not much competition you can win, but you won't improve. Any dedicated athlete pushes himself to be better, and then again better. My husband who has been ropin for 30 years could go to an arena with a bunch of 12 years olds every week and win, but there would be no challenge. And it would be a discouragement to the 12 year olds.

In my time with the Lord today I was reminded of that verse. I could see how spending all my time with people can have me feeling pretty good about myself sometimes. It can also be easy to justify my actions comparing myself to other human beings. It is only when I spend time with the One who is perfect that I see myself as I really am. Spending time with the One who is full of compassion, full of mercy and full of love raises the bar for me. I don't just want to take the easy way, I want to take it up a notch. Spending time with Jesus transforms me.

It is the same way with the people we choose to be close too. They can challenge us to be all we can be, or they can encourage us to sink to a new low. My boss, Leslie, and my pastor's wife, Paula, are very intelligent women. They inspire me to gain knowledge. My friend Kerri has the best sense of humor. She inspires me to enjoy my life. My husband is a hard worker. He inspires me to keep going till the job is finished.

I don't want to get to heaven and God ask me why I only went to 'punkin pullin's' (easy ropins). I want to be challenged. I want to use up everything the Lord gave me. I want to be someone who challenges those around her. Lord, let it be so!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Division is Multiplying

For the last year or so I have noticed a trend in the church I attend. Offense. Hurt feelings. Division.

People that I have gone to church with for years are gone from Sunday morning worship. Even relatives, whom I would have never believed would leave the church are gone. I hear that this family has gone here, or that family gone there, but many have not permanently found a church home.

This morning my pastor's wife came to the Prayer Room and we cried and prayed for those we no longer see. The sorrow was heavy. How can you spend years with a family, go through births and marriages and deaths, and one day look over and they are gone. How do you find peace in that situation?

I searched my Bible this afternoon and a verse hit me square in the face. 1 Corinthians 11:19 says: "But, of course there must be divisions among you so that you who have God's approval will be recognized!" Wow. My desire to be right and your desire to be right is what brings division. How sad that what we each want becomes more important than what God wants, which is for His children to love one another. To prefer the other above ourself. God promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, but that probably won't be necessary because we will destroy the church from within.

Several years ago I read a book called 'The Bait of Satan.' It was a book about how Christians fall for offense and let it seperate them from the church. I hear people teel me every week how they don't need to go to church to be saved. You are right, only the blood of Jesus does that. But Christ Himself instituted the church. It is His body on this earth. That is not something a man thought of, but a concept brought into existance by a Holy God. Argue with Him about the church. Or ignore what He says. We still have free will. It doesn't mean it is always right, though.

The thing is, division, which divides, seems to be multiplying. Those concepts do not go together. What is going on church? Why are we accepting this believers? Let's do what God tells us to do, pray. Pray for that family that you have been missing. Pray for believers who are hurt to be restored to the body of Christ. Pray that no offense overtakes me or you. Pray that it will be more important to us to do what God says than what we feel.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Right Note

This morning I was sitting on my front porch reading my Bible selection for the day and enjoying the extra day off this week. Kevin, my husband came outside and and planned on doing the same thing. Our daughter, Kalynn, was inside, and planning on doing some much needed cleaning in her bedroom.

Kalynn's room is inside where I sit outside on the porch. I didn't hear the stereo come on, but I did hear Kalynn begin singing for all she was worth. Kevin and I both laughed. Kalynn inherited her singing ability from my side of the family: we love to sing, but we are not that good at it.

As I sat there for a few minutes listening, God showed me a truth. Everyone who lifts up thier voice to sing occaisionally hits a right note. It is the joy that is in our heart that prompts us to sing. It is the worship that is created that makes the Father smile. Whatever the Spirit of God inside us leads us to do is the right thing to do. We always hit the right note when we make a joyful noise unto the Lord.