Friday, May 29, 2009

Ordinary to Extraordinary

A true friend is such a treasure. In the last 2 days I've connected with 2 dear friends each day. Each of them had a trial they were working through but as we "played" the day away wonderful life came into both of us.

Somehow it was the leading of the Holy Spirit that led me to invite them to join me in my process of catching my breath and relaxing after a hard three months of intense work. Each of them has been battling more serious challenges than my hard work schedule, but on each day we two women were blessed by one another's presence, listening, laughter and sometimes tears.

Oh, shall I ever learn that God works in His children in ways we never fully understand....He just calls us to listen and obey His callings. When we do, He will use the most ordinary parts of life to do extraordinary wonderful things in our lives.

Rest in the Lord always.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Listen To My Life

Reading an old book today (Now and Then) and I ran across this line:

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and the heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace." (Now and Then, p. 87)

Frederick Bruechner wrote this in his Book Now and Then. Thriving in the abundant life Jesus died to give each of us can only be received and lived out when we embrace the whole of life as "good." Pleasant fun days are important, but the challenging days that may hold tears will make sense to us when we are with our Heavenly Father.
A few years ago in my greatest tragedy I sensed God calling me to "thrive." There was nothing going on around me that would encourage living, much less thriving. The economic changes in our world are pressing in on most of us. The pressure is evident everywhere I go. Nerves are on edge and people are quick to snap at one another. But to those of you who "Know" the Lord Jesus Christ as your foundation and hope in life ... this is your time to show the world your Source of life.

Laughter and seeing the light side of life is my new pursuit. I'm working on ways to write humorously, but that's not a laughing matter. In my everyday life I laugh quickly and I see the funny spin on most things quickly. But learning the skill to communicate humor in written language is challenging for me. I thank God for calling me to write and speak humorously. As I listen to life around me I sense a need for joy and laughter...especially in Church.

Back to the beginning of this post........listen to your life. Bruechner worded a truth that is powerful in living the abundant life of a Christian. Dare to embrace all of life without rationalizing the bad things to seem pleasant to you. Some stuff hurts, angers, disappoints, or threatens us. I'm finding that Truth does indeed set me free. Truth about me, Truth about my family present and in the past, Truth about the world around me, Truth about my church. As I dare to look with eyes wide open and ears keenly alert I dare to know the Truth as I see and hear all through the filter of the Word of God: His Holy Bible.

Life...I'm listening.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Balance in Life

Bloggers, thank you for your advice in winding down. Yesterday was my first "calm" day. I'm on a "sane" schedule and will be for a couple of weeks and then the project is complete. My housework will fill my hours with much work, but I am soooooooooo looking forward to reconnecting to friends and family. A little rest will be a welcome treat.

I took a couple of hours to just walk in the sun and pray yesterday. I've been praying for urgent needs for weeks. But yesterday I just strolled and thanked God for all He is to me. As a widow I have the capacity to love the Lord in ways I've never known before. To any of you fearing having to be alone let me assure you the Bible is not speaking figuratively...He will never forsake us, His own.

I love to read; so as David of Red Letter Believers said...
Wow...looks like you got a gift. Ice Tea. A good book. and a long nap. Enjoy!

Now, this is where you can help me out. What is a great book you've read lately? Name a decent movie I can rent or go to that you enjoyed.

Letting go of the time structure needed for this intense project is beginning to feel great. Oh, to find God's ideal balance of tension, rest; concern, joy; up, down....the good life in Christ.

Remember I'm looking for titles of books and movies.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Winding Down How to's

Juggling a hundred balls in the air at once is coming
to a screeching halt. I think I'm ready, but.....

My temporary fast paced pressure packed supervisory job is ending. That's great news, but I'm like a tightly wound spring that must unwind and relax. BUT I'm now used to every minute is accounted for and now I must come down to normal living.

HELP...I feel it now. I've been here before and I know I will have difficulty making the transition. All of you wise readers must have some clues to make this easier. Blogging offers me this awesome community of wise counsel.

How do I progress from fever pitch to tranquility?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

BIG Things Crowd Out the MAIN Thing

Rush....Pressure....Deadlines....Important Matters: all of these can crowd out the most important part of living: respecting those around us. This new job has me back in the place of responsibility and pressure. Long ago the Lord showed me everyone is significant to Him; so they are to me. I've been living with this truth in my heart for a long time; so it comes natural to me.

But we don't live in a time where my philosophy of respect is commonplace. In the workplace, church ministry, or family projects the challenge to always be respectful becomes great as the pressure from time and resources tightens. BUT that is the place where the sacrifice of self needs lays down the opportunity for great things in relationships to occur.

Jesus shows us over and over in the Bible what to do when the pressure rises: He laid down everything for His friends and all of us who would receive Him as Savior and Lord of our lives.

In John 15:13 He said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

I'd love to hear what you say on giving respect and honor to others when the pressue is on.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hear Me, Please

For a few months I've been working in a supervisory position in the marketplace. I make this distinction because much of my work as been in church work or non-profit community work. Last night one of my strong faithful smart leaders told me she was resigning. Her reasons were over issues above my authority.

My heart sunk because I respect and depend on this woman regularly. Suddenly I realized how much work would land on my shoulders with no good person in mind to take her place. I resigned myself to the situation and I just sat and talked with this woman. We talked about what life would be like for her without this job.

I truly had accepted losing her and compassionately I listened to her situation. She still needed her paycheck and we explored what she could hope for in this job market.

AS I listened to her intently I realized I had assumed one thing was her last straw, but as I heard her I saw I had been mistaken in her main gripe. Once I "got it," I offered to change some things I do have authority to change. "Can you do that?" she asked. "I am doing it; and I might have to explain it. But you are so valuable to this operation I can argue your worth with persuasive enthusiasm. I'll take the heat if you'll stay on," I assured her.

The smile on her face was beautiful. The sigh coming from me let her know her value to me. We laughed and planned our next few days on our upcoming projects. Truly the Lord gave me the capacity to forget my burden to invest myself in this employee that I thought was losing. That compassion opened dialogue that uncovered her main gripe.

Some days I suspect God is using me more in this secular position for His Kingdom work than I ever had opportunity to do within the church. May I never forget the power of heart felt listening. I want to HEAR when people speak.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Give Me Jesus

Anne Graham Lotz wrote a beautiful book several years ago titled, Just Give Me Jesus. Her great insight comes to me today. My last post here came from my inspiration after hearing a message on the Kingdom of God by Pastor Miles Monroe. I thought I wanted to write on this DEEP message for a few posts.

Umm...Monday morning gives me hesitation to dare to dig in this deep mystery on the worldwide web in this blog. I'm always astonished at the arguments Christians have fallen into for centuries over theology. appears where the Church, Jesus Christ's Bride, and the Kingdom of Heaven (God) which Jesus Christ is the King of, is one of those BIG MYSTERIES that my limited study shows the arguments and "wrangling" over words are still at fever pitch.

I was a champion debater in high school and college. One of the great life lessons the Lord got across to me early after my conversion was NOT TO WRANGLE over WORDS!!!

So, I sigh with Lotz, "Just give me Jesus..." He is the Head of the Church, so I pray to Him to know my place in His body. I honor Him as King of Kings and the Lord and ruler over the Kingdom of Heaven; the Kingdom of God. That settles it for me....I lift up Jesus Christ!!! He will draw all men unto Himself.

After reading all the "wrangling" over words I end this post today with a little help on that ongoing sin of debating "mysteries" of God.

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes (battles) about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless (NASB: Lockman)
A little greek may help us know how serious Ap. Paul saw this problem. He uses the word 3544"s periistaso for avoid.

Amplified: But avoid stupid and foolish controversies and genealogies and dissensions and wrangling about the Law, for they are unprofitable and futile. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Phillips: but mind you steer clear of stupid arguments, genealogies, controversies and quarrels over the Law. They settle nothing and lead nowhere. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But stupid questionings and genealogies and wranglings and contentions about laws turn away from and shun, for they are without profit and in vain.

Ap. Paul used periistemi figuratively in his command to Timothy to...
Avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness (see note 2 Timothy 2:16).

In both Titus 3:8 and 2 Timothy 2:16 periistemi is a command in the present imperative which calls for a continual action on the part of Titus and Timothy.
The charge is to shun these things, deliberately and habitually avoiding them. "Turn yourself about so that you will avoid these things". "Continually place yourself at a distance from these and stand aloof from them."
The middle voice speaks of a reflexive action, one in which the subject initiates the action and participates in effect of the action. The idea of "reflexive" is that it expresses action directed on oneself......... You yourself do this is the idea.

Charles Spurgeon's devotional on Titus 3:9...

Our days are few, and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions.

After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field. Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials, are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.

Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these:

  • Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

  • Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?

  • Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?

  • Am I growing in grace?

  • Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour?

  • Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master?

  • What more can I do for Jesus?

Such enquiries as these urgently demand our attention; and if we have been at all given to cavilling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peace-makers, and endeavour to lead others both by our precept and example, to "avoid foolish questions." (Morning and evening)

Today, I say.....Just Give Me His presence all comes together and I live in peace and joy!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kingdom or Church?

Last evening Myles Monroe of the Bahamas spoke to 5000+ at my church expounding on the Kingdom of God. Jesus told us that He came to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth.

What are your thoughts on the beginning and end of church within the Kingdom of God?

Ever thought about the differences?

Oh, celebrate because of the King.........we are in the Kingdom of God!!! Oh, the wonder of the Kingdom of God and the King chose me...He chose you!!!

...Thy Kingdom Come...Thy will be done!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

People Matter

Yesterday was my first meeting with the supervisors I now supervise. I prayed for the word to begin this new 6-8 week project. The Lord faithfully gave me the word: people first, project second.

I know the pressures and complications of these supervisors' jobs. I just left their role to assume this one. My crew accomplished more in less time than others in the state. Legally I couldn't say "The Lord did this..." but He did. He had to flip my priorities. I started off the planning for this role with the mission and vision first! I am an intentional goal oriented person. I love people; but I can get caught up in the mission and put people second.

This time the Lord caught my attention early and I made sure each of the 20 people under me knew I had listened to them; I knew some of their main needs; I had observed their strengths and I praised them often for their accomplishments. When necessary I quietly and privately suggested ways to improve their work. But I made sure I let them know they were the power that was needed to accomplish the important work.

Last night I shared with these committed conscientious leaders to take a breath on the mammoth task before them. Regroup and flip their priorities and focus on the people. We took the majority of our time together to identify what mattered most to the workers and we developed strategies to keep those issues running smoothly. I know the lagging numbers of production are going to turn into soaring numbers of great work.

When any of us know we
  • are noticed as important
  • belong to the group
  • appreciated for our contributions
  • are backed up by leadership
  • our work is significant
  • our voice is heard

we will work hard and carefully. Then we want the team to succeed and we hope our leaders look good to management.

Attending this meeting were some experts from a regional office. One of them told me later that everything I mentioned and focused on have been found to be the most significant motivators for this agency's workers. She mentioned no one had ever "packaged" it the way I did, but she thought this focus I chose for my leaders: people matter; then they will own the mission and see to it that it is accomplished....was easily understood and should work well.

The Lord is showing me how Jesus Christ poured Himself into 12 disciples. He could have poured Himself into 100; a thousand or more. He is God! But He listened and worked with 12. He knew those men better than anyone else knew any one of them. Are we not to look to Him and then emulate His work?

I've missed the main thing many times by putting community work for the poor; church work for the Kingdom of God; etc. as the first priority. Oh, to have known that the people embracing the vision were the main thing for me as a leader to show them:

They mattered to me

They belonged to our group

I would always have time to listen to them

Their input was key to accomplishing the goals.

People Matter

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What About Me? Dangerous question when angry

Righteous wrath or selfish tantrum? May we continue our dialogue on anger by looking at healthy anger versus irresponsible immature acting out.

The Bible seems to discuss the folly of selfish anger more than ways God means for us to express anger.

"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." (Col. 3:8).

"Fits of rage" is listed as one of the deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5:20. "An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins."
(Prov . 29:22) ". . . a quick-tempered man displays folly." (Prov. 14:29)

As I look at myself and others close to me I sense that the anger that is totally self consumed is usually on a wrong track. When I see it's all about "me" I need to get alone with God and fall on my face for His rescue.

When I'm convinced I'm grabbing self protection I need to look at my heart. "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. "(Lk. 6:45).This verse shows me that what I'm saying is directly connected to what fills my heart. If my heart has an evil treasure the overflow will be evil.

Self protection is a farce to me at this stage of my life. I have so totally surrendered to God, He is my Hope in all things. So when I get into "me" I must repent. First I must cry out as King David did in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

When God searches my heart He always shows me where I've missed the truth I need. Once I see where I've missed His best I confess and repent.

Then in His mercy He cleans me up from my heart out to my mouth!!!

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one an other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (I Jn. 1:7,9).

You'd think I'd have this down pat at my age. Oh no. I'm bone tired from this new job ... I just received a promotion so it's even more time consuming. A good friend called last night and we discussed theology. That's not a good idea when I'm in H.A.L.T (hungry, angry, lonely or tired): I was hungry and tired and suddenly I was frustrated with his viewpoint being so far from mine. I shot back to him with opposite Biblical understanding. I didn't wrangle but a few minutes. But I shouldn't have argued with him. Neither of us moved, but I was frustrated and we both knew we ended the conversation without peace.

What was that about? It was all about me and my right to be right! HOW UTTERLY IMMATURE AND DUMB. I was hotly angry, but what is usually a great interchange with this dear friend was a disconnect in our spirits.
This morning I'm rested and at peace. I see the absurdity of either of us tugging on our interpretation of a spiritual concept. God's in control and He is running His Kingdom perfectly and our little minds can never completely embrace what He is doing. He never called me to understand all He's doing. He called me to hear Him and obey; trusting Him in everything.

Anger is powerful. I pray to learn what God wants me to do with this gift He placed it in me for His purposes. I pray not to use it to protect and elevate me; He perfectly protects and raises me up for His Kingdom purposes. May Jesus be lifted up above all.

I need to know I'm not alone on needing to understand anger. Dare you to open up on your viewpoint on anger?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blog Surprises

Blogging has been a wonderful new experience in my life this year. I wrote daily for months and that brought it's own wonder. My new job gives me little time to write blog post. With only one or two posts a week, I am being surprised by your faithful reading and your great responses.

Your comments to my sudden anger last week were great learning opportunities for me. In my Christian journey I have felt at times some of my temptations and trials were mine alone. Blogging blesses me with your responses showing me I am not alone.


Anger has baffled me much of my life. My folks had some serious issues and anger was never understood in a healthy way. So, as a little girl I must have felt that it was uncontrollable. I must have concluded that the only way I could live well and please God was to never get angry.

I study the Bible daily because I love the Word and also in obedience to the Lord's command to "eat of the Bread of Life" daily. I dig deep into the Bible for my life answers. My attempt to suppress anger due to my fear of my misuse of anger runs counter to the wisdom in the Bible regarding anger.

Thrive Christians will focus on Christians and anger for a few posts. I sense in myself and in your comments that we are needing to "know" how God desires us to use His gift of anger.

As I listen and look at the world around me I wonder if sex would be the no. 1 marketing approach to sell any and every thing if Christians knew how to use anger. Would marriages be healthier if Christians knew God's design for spouses' anger? Parenting would empower children to their destiny if mothers and fathers operated in healthy anger and discipline as they oversee their children....maybe? Business managers could lead employees to execute greatness if they knew how to use anger or frustration on unmet goals and needs...maybe?

Could the confusion of God's purpose in placing anger emotions within us be a piece of the answer why our culture has eroded so far from God's ideal for us?

I'm studying many great writers' viewpoints on anger. You have this forum to express your thoughts and layout your questions on anger. Please keep the comments coming.

Anger: what is the good of it?
There has to be good because God never designs anything unless it is good.

Surprise me again............please.

What do you say about anger?

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Ticked Off and Angry!!!

I'm what?

The post: Be Angry but Sin Not!!! fired you readers up with great responses.
I have benefited from my anger release last week and I'm ready to see the saints free and healthy. I am daring to rip off the denial blanket on anger among Christians. God gave us the emotion of anger and I fear I've been afraid to "feel" and walk in my anger.

How about you?

Like David at Red Letter Believers ...
"I am not one to get angry -- at least externally. Instead, I keep it inside and build resentment. that healthy!I've stuffed anger inside."

Anger suppressed can become depression and illness.

I live to please God and I fear I''ve pretended I really wasn't angry, when I was.

I've observed myself and others to realize that no one blows off steam of suppressed anger except on folks perceived as "safe." Example: Husband is furious at work and swings open the door at home grouchy to wife and kids. Mom is furious with her husband but has no patience with her children. So, I've concluded we can control anger enough to be sure we pass it down the line to people we believe cannot fire or greatly hurt us.

I'm staying on this subject for as long as it takes for us to see God's truth. I am sensing from my own recent experience that God's original design for anger in us is key to freedom to be His children in strength and purpose.

I can hear some of you, "Kay, anger is bad. Christians are kind and gentle at all times. We cannot be angry and holy at the same time."

Ummm....the Bible says:

"Be angry..." (Eph . 4:26,NKJV). But that is often where people stop. They ignore the next part that says, "and do not sin."

Some Christians have the first part of the command down pat; but no working knowledge of the second half.

There are other verses that can be interpreted to allow anger. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." Again, that indicates that if you just don't fly off the handle, that's okay.

But again, the following phrase adds some light to the subject.

"For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19,20).

It's no mystery in this angry culture we're puzzled on how to live holy lives and express normal anger in ways that please God.

As I look to God's Word I sense:

I can be angry if:

1. I do not sin

2. I don't go to sleep with it

3. It is anger from God and not man's anger

4. It achieves righteousness

5. It comes slowly.

If we were more sophisticated, we could say that psychologically it is better to release our anger. Pent up anger may well give us ulcers. Of course, if we release our anger, others may get ulcers. It rarely occurs to people that there may be a third option: taking our anger to God.

Can we get real? Dare we admit to God that we are angry, that if it is not going to achieve His righteousness, we do not want it? With this confession, our anger is removed from us, we may continue our life in the joy of the Lord and nobody gets ulcers.

" A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." (Proverbs 29:11, NIV)

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. "(Romans 12:12, NIV)

What do you say about your anger?

Someone near you gets angry and you're hurt by it....I truly want to hear from you on this touchy subject.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.