Fridays with Beulah

 So we can better seek, share, and serve with God.

September 15, 2017

Behold! I Do a New Thing
 

Behold, I, the Lord God of Israel, will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:15-19

 

BEHOLD I do a New thing! That was the declarative word spoken by God to His people in Isaiah 43. He spoke a faith-path out of their seventy-year captivity into liberation and redemption. God was calling His people out from the old and into the new. He was calling things that were not as though they had already happened. As far as God was concerned, it was already a done deal.

 

Behold- actually means to stand in awe and be amazed – WOW! Why did God say this? His announcement was a statement of His character- Redeemer. In fact, in the same breath, God was also announcing hope for humanity through Jesus Christ, and the grace of the Gospel.

 

Today, I believe the Lord would say to His people, “BEHOLD! I am doing a new thing.” He is calling us to come up and out of the ordinary and rise above our limits. He is asking us to SEE and RESPOND to His hand of preparation and purpose in our lives and in the Church – His Bride. To behold what He has done, is doing and will continue to do as we live righteously, according to the Word of God and with a vision to see His kingdom come here on earth.

 

Are you expecting God to do a new thing in your life? That may seem overwhelming when you consider your present circumstances but take courage – the Bible declares that God has made a way, carved a road to lead you and positioned rivers of provision to refresh you.

 

Prayer: Father God, thank You for going ahead of me to plan the path for my life. Help me to expect something new and I ask for the wisdom to respond rather than react to Your guidance. I choose to acknowledge and be thankful for Your rivers of provision along the way. (adapted from Brian C Houston’s devotion: “Behold, I do a new thing!”)

September 8, 2017
Update from the Colemans
 

As Hurricane Irma and Jose travel through the Caribbean, we remember our friends in mission located in Haiti. Chris Colemans, his family, and the Konbit ministry are in our prayers. We heard from them this morning. Rachel, wrote saying they had wind and rain but nothing crazy.  They are ok. For this weeks devotion we would like to share her writing from the day before the storm.

 

Hurricane

 

How Do You Test a Foundation?

 
How do you test a foundation?  I am not a builder.  I have no idea what actually goes into foundation building, specs, amount of concrete, depth needed.  I know you dig down, further than seems necessary, and you place concrete, a thick slab that shores up and protects the house from destruction.  I wonder though if they can be tested?  How do you know if you went deep enough, if the right mixture of concrete was used?  Did we come to what we know about foundations through trial and error?  In some way I am sure we did.  When houses we thought were safe, fell away, engineers put their minds to make making it safer, going deeper, doing math (bleh) and figuring out what is needed.  The only real test, in my simple mind, is an attack on that foundation.  Then you know. Well, it held or it didn’t.
 
The last 9 months have been a testing of my foundation as a person.  Read what Matthew said about our foundation, Matthew 7:24-27  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” In this passage it is clear that CHRIST himself is the solid rock foundation our lives are to be built on.  What a relief because if I had to dig deep enough or make sure I put enough rebar in the right places spiritually, I would fail for sure.   I love reading the word and I desperately seek to obey Him but I fail at times to remember whose I am and I fail to lean into Him the way I should, in prayer.  I am not God and the solid rock of my faith is not based on my performance.  (Sometimes my ability to carry on feels based on coffee consumption, but I digress).  CHRIST is the solid rock and that foundation does not fail.  He is an anchor that holds when the winds are trying to carry us away.  Hebrews 6:19  “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”
 
Praise!
 
If I could paint a picture for you of what my life has felt like the last 9 months it would be of a house stripped to its foundation over and over again.  Wall up, wall down, structure in place, structure destroyed, like a tornado swirling over my life, roof pieces and security flying away from reach.  In my mind’s eye though, I see a foundation that stands.  Steady, un-moving, while my life continues in chaos that feels beyond my control, my foundation is steady.  My anchor holds.
 
I had a chance this week to finish going through emails that have been piling up.  Over 3,000 to be precise.  It was an annoying task that caused my computer and phone to glitch and freeze.  Some emails were deleted, some kept so I can apologize and respond, but every 100 emails or so, something would glitch (probably Haiti internet) and 30 of the emails and sometimes more would return.  In this aggravating process I was wondering when this spiraled out of control.  It was easy to find the culprit.  I stayed pretty on top of email correspondence until October 4, 2016.  When hurricane Matthew
hit.  While our belongings were safe my life was launched into a season of spinning that has just ceased.  We went from Hurricane recovery, to KONBIT launch, to an unexpected house move, and through 8 teams.  Here we sit staring down hurricane Irma with a pit in out stomach, as we prepare our house and try to prepare for a response after.  It appears Irma will be off the northern coast but can we agree we DO NOT want this lady hitting anyone???  It is difficult to know what we can do to get ready as we have no idea how much damage will be done, if any.  We try anyway.
 
Can I tell you that I worry the house is lifting up again in my life like a tornado has hurled it into chaos.  I am standing, in the center of my home, arms lifted, on a rock that does not move.   I am anchored in His truth that the most wonderful place to be is in God’s will.  Here we are positioned to love and serve on the other side of whatever this storm brings.  God is not moved by what throws my life into chaos and HE is my anchor.  I am not moved…because HE IS NOT MOVED. So as we prepare.  I feel his presence reminding me that while everything around me moves and shifts, feels unsure, my foundation is deep, has been tested, and it holds every time.

9/01/17

Search Party

 


 

What a lovely, spring like day. Someone reminded me, just this week, that “we better enjoy these summer days because soon, with snow shovel in hand, we will be remembering these days with fondness and longing for them again.”   Longing is an interesting word; don’t you think?  Have you ever really longed for something?  My mother often tells me that she is “lonesome” for her children and grandchildren.  She is saying that she is lonely for, longing to see, her family.  I think that this is a very southern word; I haven’t heard it used much elsewhere.

 

I began reading a new book last week, Vertical Church by James MacDonald, that speaks to our, humanity’s, longing. We, as created in God’s image, are hardwired with a longing to see and know God’s glory.  However, sin and the rat race of our everyday lives, suppress this innate longing and quickly allow for substitutes which are often directed by our own “self.”   These “self-directed substitutes” take control of the whole of our lives and, even though we profess to be “disciples of Christ-Christians,” our true longing for God’s glory, even in Church, is lost and often forgotten.

 

James Mac Donald states:“The problem in the church today is that we treat God’s glory as a by-product and the missional activities of the church as the primary thing when the opposite is what Scripture demands. We don’t proclaim the gospel and feed the poor and shepherd the flock in hopes that God’s glory will be the by-product of those activities. We seek the revealing of the glory of God through the methods He prescribes so that His glory is revealed in the church. When that happens, the lost are converted, the poor are fed, the saints live in unity, and much more, all as by-products of God’s manifest presence in the church.”

 

It is true that there is much “going on or happening” at Beulah UMC and often at an overwhelming pace.   However, I do not want to be a part of something that is a semblance of God’s glory, I want to experience God’s glory!  I want to see all the amazing things that can and will happen, not because we expect them to be an outflow or by-product of what we are doing, however because God’s glory has been displayed!   I want to find that innate longing for God’s glory again; do you?  Let’s form a search party; join me- won’t you?

08/25/17 
Captivated
 

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Psalm 19:1

 

Last night, during the 11 o’clock news, a local meteorologist marveled at the many photos sent in by viewers; photos of the recent eclipse in all its glory. There were photos from our local area and as far away a Utah.  The phots were incredible!   The meteorologist gushed about the beauty of creation, particularly the solar system, and  that the world offers opportunities to “glory in its beauty” on a daily basis.   I thought for a moment that he, the meteorologist, was going to begin to sing of the glories of God, however he didn’t.  How important is it that we sing of God’s glory?   David, the psalmist, reminds us that all that God has created sings of God’s glory.  Creation never “comes up short” in singing God’s glory.  Creation never sells God short however, we do.

 

Just as the meteorologist was captivated by the beauty of the eclipse, I want to be captivated by the glory of God.   I long to be so captivated that I can do nothing but sing of God’s glory!  I was reminded of this recently in a book that I am reading: Vertical Church, by James MacDonald.    He writes, “If you don’t tell your kids/grandkids what God has done for you, don’t expect their hearts to be captured by God!” Don’t we want others to be captivated and captured by the glory of God?  God offers us incredible opportunities, daily, to sing of His Glory, to point God out to others, to lead them to praise Him.  Look around, we can’t help but praise God; to glory in the beauty of His creation and to proclaim the works of His hands!

 

August 11, 2017

Tangible
 
I had an opportunity to walk around the soccer fields at Ukrops /Stratton park this week; the County does such a great job maintaining the walking paths, fields, border plants, etc.. As I was walking, following a well beaten path, I was reminded of our journey in discipleship. Just like the path I was traveling, eventually back to my car, many before me have traveled the road of discipleship. I am reminded of the story of Martha and Mary in the book of Luke: 10-38- 42.
 
Mary, against the demands of her sister to join in the work of preparing for a guest, decided to sit at the feet of Jesus. It seems that Mary had a desire to know Jesus better and to understand what it meant to not only believe but follow. One of the ways personal transformation takes place is through spending time with the person we wish to be like; Mary had a sense of this. The disciples spent actual time with Jesus. They walked with him. They talked him. They shared meals together. They had an actual, “tangible” relationship with Jesus.
 
So, I ask you, “what does your (my) actual tangible relationship with Jesus look like?” I do believe — as we see with Mary — that a personal relationship is the solid foundation of discipleship. I invite you to investigate your relationship with Christ; perhaps even pause to sit at his feet today.
 

August 4, 2017

Family

 

familylife

 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:

just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

 

Hello all, blessings, and Happy August!

There has been a flurry of good activity around the church these past few weeks resulting in a stronger family of faith at Beulah. The family of faith, the body of Christ, at Beulah UMC is strong and growing. What a strong and wonderful word- family. What does family look like to you? Family can be understood in many ways but certainly any understanding of “family” always involves people and love. We are reminded, in the scripture offered above, that as people, created in the image of God, we are commanded to “love one another” which is the only-true representation of our Creator. We are understood, and so is God in us, by how we love. We as a family are invited to have a love for one another that both identifies us as God’s creation, as His disciples and family; God’s children. Isn’t that what family is-or should be? I invite you to celebrate with me the incredible gift of family; by this they will know that we are all disciples of Jesus Christ!

July 28, 2017

Peace

 

butterfly

 

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.
Not as the world gives, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

 

Peace (pēs) n. [[ME pais]]
1 freedom from war
2 a treaty or agreement to end war
3 freedom from public disturbance or disorder
4 freedom from disagreement or quarrels; harmony
5 an undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict;

6 serenity; calm, quiet; tranquility

 

In 2011, Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women:  Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, activist Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.  All three have been strong activists in their homelands for peace, democracy, and the rights of women.  Upon hearing of her award, Ms. Karman stated: “We cannot build our country, or any country in the world, without peace.”

 

Peace is a very rare commodity to find in this world.  There is always another demonstration, gang violence, crime, civil disturbance, terrorist attack, or war.  Fifty-four countries are currently embroiled in 463 separate armed conflicts, against other nations and against 209 militia/guerrillas and separatist groups.  In many areas of our world, peace has not existed for decades.

 

I believe that within the human heart, peace is one of the most important aspects of a healthy life.  Without the absence of mental conflict, there is stress, anger, hostility, and fear.  If the world cannot provide the peace we need, what options do we have?  Jesus promises a different kind of peace – unlike anything the world has to offer.  His peace is complete and eternal – offered to us in the midst of the conflict that will always be a part of the human experience.  Knowing that He is in control and that our lives have been placed in His hands brings a serenity that is heaven-borne and life-centered.

July 21, 2017

Trusting

house

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

A few years ago, my three daughters and I took off on an adventure to New England for the Thanksgiving weekend. Our destination was the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The journey there was peaceful and relatively uneventful until Mother (that would be me) began to argue with the GPS of the driver.    It was not a wise move, and much lively–if agitated–conversation ensued.  In the end, my driver daughter and her GPS were correct, and I needed to chill out.

There was a lesson to be learned there.  Trusting my daughter to do the job she was obviously doing quite well was difficult for me somehow.  Her careful driving and her GPS had brought us safely and accurately for seven hours.  All of a sudden, she and it were wrong?  It was a classic case of foot-in-mouth disease, and I was clearly out of line.

At times I have the same difficulty trusting my heavenly Father.  I am so sure that my way is correct, and so very often I am entirely wrong.  Learning to trust is an on-going process for me.  Thankfully, the Lord (and my daughter) have not given up on me yet!

July 14, 2014

Sing a New Song

nightingale-on-grass

 

How have you seen God today? In the rising sun, a gentle breeze, a sturdy and strong tree, the voice of a loved one, the purring of a beloved pet? All these things are ways of watching for and seeing God! As Disciples of Christ we are to be continually watching for and seeing God. Looking for God in the ordinary things of life is what prepares us for corporate worship – our gathering together on Sundays, Fridays, or Wednesday evenings. Sadly, if we wait until corporate worship to fill our spiritual tanks, to experience the power and presence of God, we will find that we may leave with tanks half full. We should prepare throughout the week, watching for and seeing God, and then, as a response, gather to respond by offering God our worship.

 

 

In Psalm 96:1-3, David reminds us of this incredible opportunity:

 

“Sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;

Proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

 

If we do so, we come to corporate worship filled with the wonder of God’s goodness and we can then celebrate together; it is in this celebration that the Holy Spirit of God moves! I pray that you are looking for and seeing God in this day!