Thursday, November 19, 2009

Place of Remembrance

Often in the Old Testament the Isralites were told to build a monument in remembrance of what God had done for them. He instructed them to set it up so they would never forget what He had done. God wants us to have places of remembrance that we revisit to remember His love, His provision, His mercy, His healing, His deliverance, etc. Those places don't have to be built of stone, but built in our hearts and shared with others. I have so many "remembrance monuments" that I have shared over the years with my children and others to acknowledge Father God's work in my life. I remember a year when my husband needed a new pair of dress pants. It was his birthday, I had seven dollars and a determination to find a pair of pants! I asked God to direct me and to provide the pants before I went shopping. I came home many hours later with empty hands! No pants could be found for seven dollars. A friend called a short time later and wanted to bring over some clothes for my husband - clothes that would no longer be needed by another friend who had recently died. I wasn't sure I wanted them since God hadn't met my request earlier and I was sulking over that dilemna. My husband was willing to receive them and as he was going through them later that evening, the last item of clothing in the bag was a pair of dress pants in his exact waist and length, the color he needed, with the price tags still attached! Wow! What a Father! He was providing exactly what my husband needed without my seven bucks. That was really the beginning of my faith walk with my Extraordinary Father that has produced years of remembrance monuments for me and my family. What are some of your remembrance monuments? Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to get them out and to remember what He has done for you! You've got a week to remember and to be so filled up with gratitude that it spills over onto everyone you touch on Thanksgiving Day! Start piling up those rocks on some new ones you might have passed over as well. It will reveal how dearly our Extraordinary God loves His ordinary children!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Building Distinguished Churches

I drive past a new church building on my way to work every day. It has an attractive design and color and appears to have a great deal of square footage. A sign at the site reads, "A Builder of Distinguished Churches". Having the mind I do, I started thinking about what that implies and would I want it. The dictionary defines "distinguished" as being marked by eminence, distinction or excellence; benefitting an eminent person; or dignified in appearance or conduct. I believe there are ways to make the definition fit into the Biblical call of the Church such as the call for excellence in all we do and being distinct in our function. Unfortunately, I see the adjective as being an inadequate representation of the function of the Church. Now, I know, that is not what the actual builders or the church itself is trying to convey - but, this is my mind, again! Is the Church in America too concerned about her "image" and desire for distinction that we spend way too much money and effort on attaining them and few too little time on building a Bride for the Bridegroom? The American Church has become distinguished by being seen as biased, bigoted and unloving places instead of places of refuge, healing and hope for a dying world and a wounded family of God. What does the average church have to offer someone who has been beaten up and knocked around by the world or other believers? I read a quote some time ago that stated, "The Church is the only army that shoots its' wounded." What a horrible indictment and yet, probably pretty accurate. We're told over and over again in scripture that we're to love one another, that without that love we won't see God. Yet, our churches can be some of the loneliest, most unlovable and unforgiving places around. Why would the world want to be like us or accept what we have to offer? Please don't misunderstand me, I am not against the Church in America, I love the Church. I am against the lack of acceptance of other parts of the same Body, the "showmanship" of religious activity and the absence of love for one another. We were told that our love for one another in the Church, would let the world know that we belong to Him and would draw them to Him! I think we've missed it! Rather than seeking to be distinguished for worldly ideals, let's get moving towards becoming distinguished by our love and our following of Christ's call! Oh, my, what one sign can do in the life of this ordinary woman!