Thursday, August 22, 2013
Don't you love those moments where God speaks to you when you least expect it? It happened to me just a few days before the kids started back to school -- we were watching a movie together, taking advantage of those dwindling nights without an early bedtime! I had redboxed (I hear that's the cool new term) the movie "Life of Pi," expecting it to be a family friendly, feel-good story. Secretly, I wondered how much I would enjoy 2 hours of a boy and a tiger on a boat! Little was I prepared for what I would experience. Not only was the movie visually beautiful, but it brilliantly set the stage for some deep exploration of faith. The Holy Spirit quickened me to research the popular response to the movie, and I was blown away by the comments that viewers were making about the movie. I wanted to jump into my computer screen and preach to them!! The response to "Life of Pi" exposed where many in this generation stand when it comes to matters of faith. We must enter the debate. We have to be willing to join the conversation. It is vital that we realize we have ALL of life's answers in Christ, and that our society desperately needs answers! Thus, "Finding God at the Movies" -- our new Wednesday night series -- was solidified in my spirit as our fall Bible study! And, boy, am I excited about it!! After our first couple of studies, I am so thankful for the input and excitement; there is a real buzz about Wednesday nights! So, if you love movies -- and love when the movies prompt God-moments -- come visit us on Wednesday nights at 7 PM all this fall! Starting in September: "Les Miserables" -- I can't wait!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
I love to read and study my Bible at home when no one else is around. When is that? Well, when I was working as a school principal up until about 7 years ago, I had my devotionals from 4:00 - 5 or 5:30 am every day before I went to work. Then after I retired, I settled into a routine of starting them whenever I got up, usually around 9:00 am. That worked so well for me! Alone all day.... Mmmmm... It was so peaceful and I was totally in charge of my time. But, nowadays, it's a challenge. First, my husband Mike is retired now, too, so he is at home a lot and likes to get up early. One thing that is to my advantage, though, is Mike is a pastor, too, so he likes to go to his downstairs office to read the Word, study, and pray several times a day. Me? I like to sit on the recliner side of my den couch, spread out my journals, Bibles, and other resources, and read/study while our little 3 year old girl "Prissy" sits beside me on my left and a good cup of coffee sits on the end table to my right. Over the past three years, I've had some additional challenges to my time and to my life. From Dec. 2010 - Dec. 2012, I battled stage 3 breast cancer. I'm cancer-free now and I give God all the glory and all the praise for healing my body and for giving me a BRAND NEW PERSPECTIVE about what is really important in life. The next big challenge came ten months later when Mike and I both were blessed to be able to bring my 90 year old mom home to live with us. What a huge blessing! Also, what a huge lifestyle change and challenge to my time! Finding ALONE TIME to pray, read, and study became a greater challenge now than ever before. This past week seems to have been "peak season" for tugs on my time. My dear husband and his brother have been spending a lot of time together over the past couple of weeks... a blessing and an answer to prayer for which we are both very grateful! Sometimes Mike and his brother are out of town tonight (like right now). Of course, the more Mike is away, the more challenged I am to keep "the main thing the main thing...," i.e., to keep a regular and significant devotional time. This morning, Mike wasn't home and my mom was still asleep, so it would have been the perfect time for me to get up early and enjoy an extended quiet time/devotions. But, I was lazy. Instead, I woke up and stayed in bed thinking about how wonderful my pillow-top mattress felt. Then after my brain woke up a little more and the gears started turning, I began to think about everything I wanted to accomplish today... and yes, "quiet time with The Lord" was on that mental list. However, what did I choose to do? I decided to keep enjoying my comfortable bed, pick up my phone, and check communications to me via texts, emails, and FaceBook. After about an hour of that, I decided to get up and spend what time was "left over" before my mom got up. Bad, right? Just wait... I knew Pastor Morris' sermon tomorrow was going to be based on Proverbs 6, so after getting settled on the couch with my Bible and my big cup of coffee, I started reading. I got a spiritual "wake up call" when I got to verse 9 which reads: "How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?" Wow... I stopped and focused on that verse for a while, obviously thinking about how long I laid around in bed this morning during the perfect "primetime" for daily devotionals. Boy, was I surprised! But, why? Don't I ALWAYS expect to hear from God every single time I pray, read His Word, etc.? Ouch... My first "emotion" was guilt, but I quickly kicked it away and got excited. Weird? Not for me... I got excited because I know that The Lord disciplines those He loves (Deut. 8:5; Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:6). Guilt is from Satan; CONVICTION is from The Lord. I want conviction... and I need His discipline. I thought back to an important lesson I learned from a dear pastor friend of mine years ago: your priorities are not what you SAY they are OR what you THINK they are... Your priorities are what you DO. In other words, at the beginning of each day, you may say, "My priorities are A, B, and C"... but at the end of the day, if you DID "X, Y, and Z," then THOSE THINGS --X, Y, and Z-- WERE YOUR PRIORITIES. You CHOSE to do those things in light of everything. I've had the wonderful opportunity to spend some beautiful quality time with The Lord both this morning and this afternoon while my mom rested. I'm just like all of us... I'm human... and that means I'm challenged, regardless of my circumstances and daily responsibilities, to TAKE TIME to spend quiet time with The Lord. Notice I said TAKE time and not MAKE time. I can't MAKE time... Only God makes time, and He made 24 hours in my day which is the same amount of time He made in each of our days. But even thought I can't MAKE time to do what is truly important, I can certainly decide, plan, and TAKE TIME to do those things. After all, at the end of each day, when I reflect back on what I actually DID, then and only then will I know my true priorities. Then and only then, will I truly know whether or not the day was truly well spent... And whether or not I am putting FIRST THINGS FIRST. Blog written by Kay Dillard