Saturday, June 30, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
So sad to hear about Nora Ephron's passing yesterday.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The other day, for the first time in my life, I saw a, entire rainbow. It wasn’t a bit of one, one end of one; it was the entire arched thing! Most of us know rainbows are connected to Noah and the Arc. It was God’s Promise to Him of how never again, would He allow a flood to wipeout humankind. And since then, rainbows have sprouted up everywhere. They’re a part of art, interior design and pop culture (remember the character, “Rainbow Brite,” anyone?) Anyway, rainbows, literal or otherwise, are here to stay. And, if we pay attention, can remind us of a powerful Truth: covenant with God. Could we view rainbows then as a manifestation of wonderful promises in our lives? Can we see beyond the pretty colors, to look deeply at the relevance of an active God showering us with blessings? A rainbow is a promise. And, if we take the perspective of wonderful, God-given promises, our lives look miraculous and spectacular… “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:20 What’s more, these promises aren’t just limited to what we could dream or think up for ourselves. Hence, the scripture… “But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’” 1 Corinthians 2:9 And I had a smidge of a tangible encounter with that scripture, concerning the very rainbow I mentioned earlier. For, just as I thought I couldn’t see the rainbow as any more brilliant or beautiful, suddenly, I witnessed a double rainbow!!!! What double rainbows could God give to you in your life? Ever think of asking Him? There’s more promise, more beauty, more brilliance for your life than you know! Promise! More specifically, God promises!
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I love this image and sentiment. It struck me as a beautiful depiction, not just of the love issue, but also concerning the balance issue as well. And, as humanity seems to constantly be grappling for that experience and attitude involving both, I find it helpful to visual those bird wings. Yes, it’s important to be loved. How many addictions, issues and problems can be traced back to that unmet love issue? I am certainly challenged by it, within my own childhood and life experiences. Many of us view love incorrectly. We can equate it with abuse, disease, dysfunction and chaos. And, often, because of those estimations, we have shame, guilt and fear when it comes to love. We can tell ourselves it’s bad to need love, it hurts too much and it only causes trouble. We often feel unworthy of it because we don’t attain some harsh standard, qualifying us. But God is love (1 John 4:16). That’s Who He is. There’s no qualifier, no standard, no exception. He loves. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’” Jeremiah 31:3 He loves us first, often before we ever get around to loving, or even thinking, about Him! “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 He loves constantly and passionately. So, if that’s Who God is and we’re made in that same image (Genesis 1:26), why wouldn’t we desire to be loved also? Wanting to be loved is not a sin. Turning that into a harmful black hole of an idol, in which we seek love at all costs, however, may be. And this is where we get to the tricky issue of balance. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 Ah, yes, order. How many of us are a mess when it comes to this little matter? Guilty, here! Yep, being consumed or addicted to anything, love included, can turn us into a walking, talking pile of disorder, at least, according to our desperate actions. Again, it’s not love that’s the problem. We’re love-created, love-inspired, love-infused beings. We’ll find a way to love someone out there, even if it’s an animal. It’s in us. But as we’re all in process of learning and living a healthy love-filled life, we need to keep balance in mind. For some of us, our struggle may be to love too much. This can involve such behaviors as enmeshment, having no personal boundaries and stalking. See yourself anywhere in that grouping. Yeah, me, too. But there’s another component in the love balance issue. Some of us- okay, all of us- (from time to time, anyway)- love too little. Meaning, we’re too caught up in me, me, me land. I am way guilty of this principle. Call it being an only child, call it being insecure, call it being sheltered, the result is still the same: I don’t love as I should. Ouch! That stings! Doesn’t paint me as a warm a fuzzy, loving child of God picture. But God does desire us to love one another, in a healthy way. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7 That means balancing acquiring love for ourselves, via relationship with both God and ourselves, which means accepting, but not stagnating forever, in our imperfections (we can change, contrary to our feelings), and then, of course, give love to others,God included. Whew! Does anyone else, besides me, need a nap? Sound impossible. If it was just us, you bet. But… “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Nope. We ain’t gonna get out of this balancing act of love that easily! Left wing and right wing of the bird. Both are important. Both are needed to fly. Are you having trouble taking flight in your life? Check your wings. Are both important to you or is one more important than the other? Let’s all look differently at the wings God has given us. We’re created to soar with them!! Ask God to help you fly today!!! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
When I came across this image the other day, I saw my ridiculous self too often reacting this way in my life. I vowed this kind of revenge or that kind of revenge. And, like these little green guys here, I looked just as laughable in my intense rage! Ah, wrath! Do we realize how dopey we look when we’re a-plotting our revenge? C’mon, you know you have your revenge fantasies. It’s those little indulgent moments when we take back our injured power, when we pulverize our notorious enemy. And it’s usually involving some triumphant moment, I guess, when we stand on a mountain somewhere, with the glorious heavens parting to revealing an angel choir supplying our victory soundtrack. Am I the ONLY one who’s delved into this stuff? C’mon, now, be real! Yes, it’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” alright- and not the John Steinbeck novel stuff, either! So, what are we supposed to do with our human selves? After all, anger’s a human emotion, right? “Be ye angry…” Ephesians 4:26 Oooh, yeah! We can get behind that little nugget. Be angry? Got it, Lord! I’ll obey ya, no problem. But wait. There’s more to that directive; put away that flame thrower… “…and sin not…” Ah, c’mon! It was good up to that point. I’d really like to do something about this situation, show it/him/her who’s boss! So we read a little further… “…let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” But I want that wrath to carry over into the next day, Lord! It’s about momentum. Surely, You want me to be focused in my efforts, right? This is usually where I’m pitching a temper tantrum. And I wish I could look only as silly as these grapes here. And just when I think I’ve had all I can stand, more advice… “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19 Really, God? You gotta be kidding me? What gives? I know, it feels like, in our boiling emotions, God’s taken away all of our satisfaction. We want whoever has wronged us to PAY, don’t we? Why is God denying us that happiness? It’s not denial; it’s loving protection. If we go off the deep end, there will be consequences- and not good ones, either… “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment...” Proverbs 19:19 Furthermore, if we do it our way once, we’ll get a go around the same frustrating mountain again. Fun. “…if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.” And who wants that? But you and I still while and fuss about our wounds, the injustices and the hurt caused by others? Does that mean they’re getting away scot-free? No. God has this under control; He’s taking care of it. Maybe not to our preferences or specifications, but He’s working it out, because He- not any of us- is qualified to do so! “Vengeance is Mine… I will repay.” Romans 12:19-20 Plus, there’s the whole issue of judgment which we royally get screwed up on a regular basis. After all, how often is this scripture quoted? “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2 Eh, yikes! It doesn’t look so hot if we’re judged, does it? Being on the other end of that wrath stick isn’t nearly as enjoyable as doling out our own punishment. And again, God’s not trying to take away our rewards, our joy and our satisfaction. But those things are never found in revenge. Never. Ever. We were created for a much higher purpose: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:9 That’s slightly more difficult to do if we’re crushing a skull or two, now isn’t it? I know. The feelings still want revenge though. But remember feelings are temporary. And think back to a time when your feeling got you in a hot mess! Yeah. Still trust those suckers? Nope, it’s not easy holding back our grapes of wrath; it’s not always fun, either. But remember God’s bigger picture of reward: "Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." Isaiah 40:10 Trust that strong hang over some flaky, temporary grapes of wrath. You’ll look a lot better doing so!
Friday, June 8, 2012
Have you given much thought about how much God thinks about you? Do you believe He’s far removed from you, apathetic to your life and circumstances? Scripture tells us the following: “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalms 40:5 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” Psalms 139:17 How does that jive with you? Still feel like a misfit, like the dullest crayon color in the box? Unremarkable? Are you the one lone soul God does not love and care about? Did you ever encounter someone who had a lot of photo of their children and/or grandchildren in their wallet? They uncoil the plastic windows, depicting babies smiling, a graduation photo and one of those cheesy posed family portraits in front of a fake sunset, just for starters. Yes, they love to show everyone off, but there’s more to it than that. They love to have those photos constantly with them (and, let’s face it, our wallets are with us pretty much wherever we go in life) so that they can think of their loved ones often Bingo! Just like God! “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:16 He may not carry a wallet, but again, scripture tells us: So, I guess that means God got the first tattoo? Whatever the case may be, it still shows us how He’s constantly thinking of us. And yes, I refer, again, to Jeremiah 29:11… “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Thoughts. God has plenty of them concerning you, even in spite of you. You don’t need to be perfect and sin-free to get God thinking of you. He’s doing it right now. He’s thinking extraordinary thought about you, at that! So why not think some extraordinary thoughts about yourself? You’re an incredible being, with an incredible destiny, even in spite of a less than ideal life situation now. Here and now is NOT the end of the story; there’s MORE!!! So, think more, more extraordinary thoughts about yourself and your relationship with God! He is thinking of you right now! Don’t give up hope! Embrace your extraordinary!!!! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse