Although, I don’t consider myself a fancier of big words, I find that this one describes some things going on in my life that other words fall far short of in describing. Coined back in the early 1800s, it was to have a fun way to describe a person’s reactions of confusion. For me, a simple definition is when God takes those carefully thought out plans or beliefs of mine, (that I thought He was a part of), puts them in His giant blender, and pushes the “High” button.
A truth of life. What goes in the blender, never comes out the same. Something new is created. Sometimes, tasty. Sometimes, not.
In my half-awake, prayerful, state of mind early yesterday morning, trying to find some order in all that was suddenly happening in my life, the still small voice of God, that can far outweigh the loudest claps of thunder in intensity, said to me, “Jeanie, don’t you think I have a plan for all this?”
And, I knew deep within, that once again, it was time to turn it all over to His all-mighty hands and His marvelous work. Not mine to fret or fix. But, to follow. And, I can joyfully make that decision. For, the Master Shepherd, who loves me deeply, has a plan. My part/duty/response? To listen and follow step by step, s x s.
The Shepherd Psalm, describes His care of me so well. Will I submit to this loving care? Yes.
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. (Yea! What abundance!)
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a 6-course dinner right in front of my enemies. (I love this boldness)
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. (Abundance plus!)
6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. Psalms 23; Msg.
Have a blessed week!
Spiritual Director Jeanie Hershey
Created/Called to live with Joy
Can you believe that? That among all the things that happen in our lives, many that seem quite difficult, we are called to JOY. Not “poor me”, or “how can that be happening?”or “I’ll never make it” but JOY.
At this time of preparing for our TD weekends and all the tasks that go with that, it is easy to feel pressured, wonder if we, or others, are doing what should be done. But, that is not what the weekend is about. The Joy that I experienced my first TD weekend still causes me to smile. And, I count on that every year.
Malachi 4:2 (NIV) “ But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” What a delightful picture of how we are to live and do our work.
As I hear the word JOY, there are a number of songs, especially ones sung by children, that come to mind: “I’ve got the Joy, Joy down in my heart”, “The Joy of the Lord is my strength”
As we prepare for our TD weekends, living with Joy is especially crucial. It is so easy to begin to feel overwhelmed with the tasks and questions but we are called to rejoice. I love the picture created in Zephaniah 3:17 TLB, “You have come to live among us. You have been mighty to save me. You have given me the victory! You rejoice over me with gladness! You love me and don’t accuse me. Is this a choir I hear? No, it is You exulting over me with a happy song.”
Psalms 5:11 TLB “Because I have put my trust in You, You have made me to rejoice. I keep shouting for joy because You defend me. Because I love You, You have filled me with happiness.”
As I began this meditation, I focused on my/our choosing to live with Joy. And that is important, but how exciting to be reminded that God has Joy in us, in our lives.
We cannot do this on our own, not even live our life on our own, let alone prepare for the great TD weekends. But, He will bring wonderful things to pass as we look to Him—let Him work in our lives and bring rejoicing. Whatever your task, do it with JOY.
JOY is a choice. It does not depend on what is going on but what I focus on. JOY can be the oil that lubricates our interactions with each other as well as help our body and mind be healthy. It is a healing tool.
Blessings to you,
Jeanie Hershey, TVTD Spiritual Director
FRET? FIX? or FOLLOW?
It just happened again! I hit the wrong button on my computer, inadvertently (of course), and what I had written for this meditation, (and it was almost done) disappeared!
And so, I get a choice. Which of the above will I choose? Which way will I use my energy? Energy is a precious gift. It is like a bank account, can only spend it once.
Fret about it, be upset, worry, et cetra? Maybe even be angry! How could that person do that or that situation happen? Fretting uses a tremendous amount of energy—with often disastrous results.
Or, will I spend energy trying to fix- thinking I should be able to fix the situation or the person? Again, often disastrous results because on our own we really can’t fix most situations or persons.
Or, will I follow? Place the situation in God’s hand---seek Holy Spirit guidance and help for the situation. And, then, trustingly follow that direction. Remember the Scripture used in an earlier meditation—2 Chronicles 20. “Stand still and see the incredible rescue operation I have for you.”
We can stop fretting, trying to figure it out and/or try to fix it. OR, we can follow--place it in God’s hand and follow His guidance and see the “goodies” He has for us—far above what we can do on our own.
Note: “follow” is really “trust”. But, follow starts with an F to go with Fret and Fix!
Google says we make 35,000 choices per day, 227 of them about food! So, life gives us lots of practice about choosing a default to follow when life happens. Will I/will you fret, fix, or follow??
Category : Community Tips, Newsletter
by Mark Hill
But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
I Peter 3:15
Before I can invite anyone on Tres Dias, there are a couple of things that I need to know and do. I need to pray that God would show me how to make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend into a closer relationship with Christ. That may or may not happen through Tres Dias. Remember: no one needs Tres Dias, but everyone needs Christ!
Next, I ask myself several questions. First, can others see the hope I have in Christ? Am I prepared to tell them what Christ has done in my life? Then, can others see my passion and love in participating in Tres Dias? Can I explain to others what the Tres Dias weekend has meant in my life?
Before I went on a Tres Dias weekend, I was living my life for myself. I was a Mechanical Mike in my worship and a Phony Phil outside my church group.
My weekend showed me how passionate Christ was for me, how I wasn’t passionate for Christ. I saw that I was taking God for granted and not living a life as an Ambassador for Christ. I had not fully understood and accepted God’s grace and love.
So now I am passionate for people who were like me and my generation, and those are the people I like to invite. I don’t want anybody in my church, family and friends to be like I was — lost in a phony world made of masks. I want them to know Christ and know him intimately.
So whom do I ask? Well, hopefully, prayerfully and through the power of the Holy Spirit, people can see Christ in me and ask me why I believe. When they do ask, I have an opportunity to invite them to Tres Dias. But I will invite most anybody who has a basic belief and understanding of Christ, no matter how mature or immature their walk may be. However, one must remember, Tres Dias is not a cure all for emotional, marital, mental or monetary problems. Only Christ is!
My approach varies, but it is always casual and natural, and based on the principle: Wear your love for Christ on your sleeve and be an Ambassador for Christ through Tres Dias.
Last evening, before going to bed, we heard news that totally changed some “really good” plans we had. And, to all human eyes, things really couldn’t be changed to fix the situation. What sadness! It wasn’t at all what we had wanted/anticipated happening. Can I/will I say “Okay, thank you, Father God”?
When I awoke during the night and spend some time in quiet meditation, I had to face the fact that often/at least sometimes, I don’t follow through with plans. I find other options. I went back to bed with renewed commitment to be more persistent in follow through.
Debating with myself if I should set the alarm to get up early for my writing, as on my schedule, I decided to not do that. “Lord, you just wake me up when you want me to get up.” So, can you guess what happened in the morning? I awoke at the time I had earlier committed to getting up so I could write. However, in the morning that seemed pretty early and I found myself saying, “I think I will just turn over and get some more sleep.”
In the midst of turning over—not a very long time—I was reminded of my commitment to get up when I was awakened. Would I now say “Okay” and do it? Or do the roll-over act?
It pains me deeply to recognize that at times, many if I am honest about it, I decide my way is actually probably better than God’s way. Instead of seeing Spirit Guidance as the great gift it is, I choose my own boulder-strewn path and stumble along.
The writer of Romans talks to us about this. In chapter 12, he encourages us to place our life before God.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
One of my first questions when reading this passage: Does God really care about these everyday activities? Doesn’t He have more important things to do? But yes, I am reminded that not only does He care, He wants to be involved in all areas of my life. This is the God who knows the number of hairs on my head. Pretty involved!
WOW! OUCH! Can I get an “OKAY”? What is going on in your/my life that God wants you/me to turn over to Him so He can bring out the best in us?
In our everyday life, we face numerous decisions—some minute by minute. And now with TD weekends coming up soon, we have even more to make. Oftentimes, there does not seem to be any criteria for making the decision—let alone see the future. It is so easy to get focused on the decisions to be made that we get frustrated rather than looking with joy and thankfulness at all that God is doing for us to make these wonderful weekends.
It is easy to focus on the busyness rather than God’s promises of being there for us. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.
An Old Testament story that I have relied on over the years when facing any difficult situation is: 2 Chronicles 20:1-26. The Israelites are facing a situation that could wipe them out. Jehoshaphat, the King, is shaken. He goes to God for help and orders a nationwide fast.
Then, Jehoshaphat calls on God to deliver them. He acknowledges God’s power and work and affirms his belief that God will listen and give victory—because of who He is. The King goes on to acknowledge that they are helpless, don’t know what to do, and are looking to Him.
Jahaziel, an ordinary person in the crowd, was moved by the Spirit of God to speak. He encourages them: Don’t be afraid; …this is God’s war, not yours. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you. (Does this mean that we have nothing to do—just get to lazy around? No.) Jahaziel adds, Believe firmly in God, your God, and your lives will be firm! 21 I It is delightful to me that their first order was to sing, Give thanks to God, His love never quits.
Look what happens--As soon as they started shouting and praising, God takes over and wins the victory. YEA! A victory with added blessings that they could not even imagine.
Think of that for us with Tres Dias activities. We are not on our own for any part of TD—no matter your assignment. As we come to Him in prayer, He goes before and wins the battles and gives amazing blessings. What would you like to see happen?
From the beginning of time, God has desired to be there with us, loves us dearly, and has plans for us—far beyond what we can see.
Today we can still claim those promises—lean on God rather than our own understanding and also know that the battle is not ours— Because of the New Covenant, and our receiving that, Christ paying the price for us to have a new life, He also gave us the Holy Spirit for our life.
The Holy Spirit wants to be an active participant in our life—not just when we are in trouble or need something special, but as an on-going part of our life. He gives us the New Life—transforms us into God’s plan for us—what we could not do on our own. He goes before, beside, behind us and brings the victory.
Letting the Spirit of God guide us means that we give it over to Him and let Him do the work that needs to be done. We take our hands off except as He directs us. God created us for, and delights in, our communication with Him. And, just maybe, we need to sing! How do you feel?
How do we know His voice, His answer? He gives us a sense of amazing Peace.
Blessings to you,
Spiritual Director Jeanie Hershey,