Thursday, January 26, 2017

Living Life in Full Color



Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk!” Acts 3:1-6


I love this passage of scripture.  I have read and written about it many times but today I saw it a little differently.  Yes the physical healing is still the miracle of the story but something different stood out different to me today. In verse 6 Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have.”


Today we see people begging for money every day.  Money may help their problem for the short term but what if we were to give them what we have that would last forever?  What if every time someone asked us for something, that we gave them all what we have, Jesus.  Jesus is the ultimate solution.  We have been given this amazing gift of salvation and relationship with Jesus.  Shouldn’t we share Jesus? 


I see people who are so excited about their make-up or the latest weight loss supplement and they can’t seem to talk about anything else and they want to share this love of theirs with the world.  I see people who cannot seem to focus on anything except for politics and they literally cannot talk about anything else without relating it to the latest political temperature.  If we have Jesus, shouldn’t we desire to share him with as much passion as a political meme, a patch, or a tube of mascara? If we were to stop and truly examine the troubles of this world, we would see the need of Jesus, our Savior, the Redeemer, Restorer, Healer, Provider, and our only Hope.


If you don’t have hope or know Jesus, can I share Him with you?  He really is real and He loves you so very much.  A relationship with Him doesn’t cost money; He has already paid your lifetime membership. Don’t you get tired of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?  Let Him carry your burdens for you.


If you are a Christian already, may I challenge you to reconsider your focus, your Band-Aid approach to today’s epidemic?  You should filter everything through Christ.  Listen to what you “preach” into the world by your words or actions.  Do you season your words with grace and love?  Listen (or read) to what you say, can you take the “red face” test and pass?  Who are you representing with your passion? Are you being a good representative of Jesus or are you leaving a bitter taste in people’s mouths?  Maybe it is time for a refresher or realignment in life! It is never too late.  You will find that when you change your focus to Jesus, everything in life is a little sweeter.  It is like going from a black and white film to a Technicolor production! 


Living every moment of my life in living color!


Shanin


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rewriting Your Story


This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,6 and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, 7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, 8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, 9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. 12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, 15 Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1:1-16 NIV
This is the story about redemption. God is the God of second chances. Normally I would just skim or hurry past my readings in the bible where it lists genealogy. Today when I was reading I took my time and even though I know that God is the Redeemer, this time it hit a little closer to my heart.

Tamar, out of desperation, became pregnant by posing as a prostitute and slept with her father-in-law, in order to conceive, to continue the family line. Rahab was the harlot in Jericho who hid the two spies from Joshua’s camp. Then there was Ruth, another “outsider” who honored her mother-in-law, by following her back to her home country after both of their husbands’ death. She stayed close to Naomi instead and worked to provide for her. Solomon’s mom, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah, had slept with King David while married to Uriah. After Uriah was killed in battle, she married King David but there was already a history of a child conceived out of the affair and then lost to a miscarriage. Then last but not least, Mary, the young girl, who was betrothed to marry Joseph, who was still a virgin yet became pregnant with Jesus, the son of God.  Joseph stepped up when he could have discarded her, after all if your fiancĂ© got pregnant and you hadn’t slept with her that would be a deal breaker! Yet he obeyed God (and he loved Mary), and became the step-dad to Jesus. What do these women all have in common?
They were all “outsiders or outcasts” and yet they are all listed in the genealogy of Jesus, son of God. Some of these women would be labeled as damaged goods or throw always, even today, they would be whispered about or plastered on Facebook, because of a few bad decisions or even perhaps just because of a bad family situation. Did they have a history? Absolutely. Did that part of their history just go away? No, but instead their stories of tragedy were turned into stories of redemption and grace.

You see, God wants us to know that there is no one excluded in His offer of salvation and grace. He didn’t just accept these women as a package deal, in dying for everyone on the cross, but He gave them a place of honor. Jesus wants to do the same thing for you. Do you have a history? Everyone has a history. Have you ever made a bad decision? Everyone has made a bad decision at some time in their life. Perhaps you are a victim of circumstance like Tamar or Bathsheba, it doesn’t matter who your family is or what they have done that won’t discount you in God’s eyes.
I have great news for you! Jesus’s offer of salvation, mercy and grace is available for anyone and everyone! Jesus is the Restorer! He can take prostitutes, harlots, the lost, broken and anyone who has made a bad decision or decisions and make their story a story of redemption. The first step is telling him your story, your mess-ups and saying you are sorry, making Him, Lord of your life. Then your story of Redemption has begun! One day you can tell others of your history and how Jesus took a tragedy and turned it into an amazing story of restoration and your story will give them hope for their situation and future.

I'm thankful that my story was rewritten and I now have a happy ending because of Jesus.

Shanin

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vision Check


Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:1-6 NIV
Clearly Jesus had been performing miracles on a regular basis because the Pharisees were stalking Jesus so that they could “catch him in the act” of healing someone on the Sabbath. Jesus knew that He was being watched. It says in verse 5 that Jesus looked around at them in anger and distressed at their stubborn hearts. He then healed the man with a shriveled hand, on the Sabbath, in front of everyone including the very people who were looking for a reason to destroy Jesus.

I have read and reread this passage. It makes me so very sad because the Pharisees were so intent on “catching Jesus” breaking the rules that they missed the whole event! They were blinded to the fact that He was there to heal and save! He even tried to reveal it to them when He asked in verse 4, Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” He was there healing someone on the Sabbath while they were there plotting, on the Sabbath, out an evil plan to kill Jesus. They were blind! They were so obsessed with trying to find fault in Jesus that they missed witnessing another miracle of Jesus! He healed someone right before their very eyes and all they could see him doing was “violating the Sabbath” when in all reality they were doing the very thing they were accusing him of doing.

Recently, I think of all of the times I hear people quote “judge not lest you be judged!” when in all reality they are guilty of doing the very thing that they are accusing others of doing, just like that day when Jesus was there to heal the man with the shriveled hand in the synagogue. I think how sad it must make Jesus when people are missing the whole point of Him coming to heal and save everyone.

Today, it seems as though people, are so busy looking for offensive behaviors that they become blinded to the million examples of kindness and love that surround them each day. Sometimes we need to do a vision check! You don’t want to become so focused or jaded on one thing that you become blinded to so many other wonderful things! When you become driven by one event in your life then not only are you cheating yourself of many blessings but you are cheating others of the blessings that you can to be to them.

So today I challenge you to do a vision check! Are you focusing on one small field of vision or are you looking beyond the small picture in your immediate world? You see, Jesus came to heal, save and reach the lost and wounded. He didn’t come for just the pretty, the rich or royal people. He came for the very Pharisees, who were watching Him just so they could catch Him healing a man on the Sabbath. Jesus died for everyone. His desire is not that one person would perish but that everyone would choose everlasting life through Him.

I want to love how Jesus loves. He loves everyone, unconditionally, beyond their flaws or shortcomings.

Shanin

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Balanced


Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Zech. 7:9 NIV
This scripture stood out to me today when I was doing my reading. If we administer true justice with mercy and compassion then it is balanced.

It becomes unbalanced when we do one without the other. For example if you are a mercy driven person but you enable someone by just being merciful all of the time, and not wanting to “be mean and tell them the truth” in fear of alienating them, then it is totally unbalanced and you are not really helping the person. If you bring justice without truth, mercy or compassion then aren’t you just issuing a punishment and not a correction? It is when you bring about “true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another” that it truly helps one another. When you bring about the whole package in love then it truly helps someone and then the responsibility of what they do with it lies at their feet.
Think about it. Are you being a balanced friend in life? God calls us to be balanced.

Shanin

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Connected


40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Luke 8:40-56
I love this passage. Perhaps it is because it happened near Capernaum and I loved that part of Israel, but I don’t think so because I loved this passage before traveling to Israel. I have always read this passage as two separate stories but really it is one story because today when I read it, the first part had to impact the second part. Let me explain. Jairus had already collapsed at Jesus’s feet begging him to come to his house because his daughter was dying. Jairus was desperate. It makes me cry when I think of how he would have felt, his baby girl was dying and this was his only hope of saving her. There were so many people. They probably all wanted something from Jesus! But the desperation of a Daddy of a dying girl…then someone touched Jesus.
It is very clear that there were many pressing in on Jesus but yet He knew that someone touched him? Another desperate person, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, touched the edge of his cloak. He knew that someone touched him because he felt the power go out from him. Then the woman came forward, once knowing that He knew that she touched him, and told him (in front of everybody) that she was instantly healed! He responded in love and told her that her faith had made her healed and to go in peace (without guilt.)
Today I realized that this was not two separate storied but one! Jairus had witnessed this whole event! He was there and witnessed the miracle and the compassionate response of Jesus. And while Jairus was taking this all in, the bad report came of his daughter dying and the messenger telling him not to bother Jesus. Jesus heard this! Jesus, once again, responded with compassion, “Don’t be afraid; just believe and she will be healed. “
What Jairus just witnessed had to boost his faith a bit, after all, if Jesus had healed another woman who was in a dire situation why couldn’t He heal his only daughter?  He heard her say that she had been bleeding for 12 years! And all she did was touch his garment? Jesus told him to don’t be afraid, believe and she was going to be healed! Out of desperation and he had nothing to left to lose. Jesus was kind and loving to this woman (who was unclean in the Jewish culture) and healed her and then He told him that to believe…don’t be afraid and believe (Jairus’spart) and then Jesus would do his part (heal her.)
Jesus went to Jairus’s home. He only let Peter, James and John go into the room with him. He put out all of the mourners. Jesus told them to stop wailing. The people who were wailing laughed at Jesus in disbelief. (BTW Jairus lived very close to Peter’s house so I am pretty sure that Peter knew Jairus and that means that Jairus probably knew Jesus. Jesus had been to Peter’s home, after all.) Jesus healed the little girl and then told them to feed her.
While I have always loved these accounts of healing separately today I connected them together. When you are desperate, it is okay for others to know you are hurting as long as you reach for Jesus in faith knowing that He is the source that can answer your need. Don’t flail about and be all drama, reach for Jesus, even if all that is in your reach is just the hem of his garment. Reach for Him! He will respond to you with love and compassion when you are seeking him as the answer to your need.
Don’t think that he is so busy with other desperate situations that he can’t take time for you! He is BIG! He is big enough to handle every situation even in the midst of a sea people, He knows when you are reaching for him. You might not even have eye contact with him, but he knows when you are grasping at the hem of his garment!
If you are Jairus’s situation, and you find out that something precious to you is dead and you are told not to bother him with a hopeless situation, don’t be afraid and have faith! He will respond to you with love and compassion! You are not a bother! He will take time for you. Now he might have you “put out some mourners and wailers” that are surrounding the situation! But he will go right in to where your problem is and heal it!
Even after the little girl was healed, he had them feed her! There are times when Jesus heals an area of your life but you have a responsibility to continue practical and healthy practices, like feeding the little girl. But he will direct you! Isn’t God good? He is so big that he can meet your need and cover all of the bases!
So today I am reminded that even though not everything seems connected that Jesus can use your situation to help others. You might feel that your situation is so unrelated to anyone else’s situation but God can use your need and miracle to help someone else and you might not even be aware of it! He is that big!
So continue to reach for Jesus! No matter how desperate you feel that your situation is remember this: Your part is to reach for Jesus, don’t be afraid and believe and He will be faithful to respond to you with love and compassion.

Reaching for Him,

Shanin

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shiny Blessings Part Three


This past weekend we had a church family campout. We had a great time!
So here we are camping in Porcupine Springs Campground Loop C. It really is in the forest and just beautiful.Before everyone got there, I cut across this one spot and I was watching where I was walking so that I wouldn't trip, I first saw a penny, it was dusty but there it laid and then I looked a little more and I found a quarter!

I have started keeping a journal on where and when I find money on the ground now! It was a short while ago on August 5th that I found five dollars! A short time before that I found 23 cents on the ground just outside of the grocery store, several people walking right over it and by it! I have found over five dimes starting back in March on the pebble beach at Cape May, New Jersey, one in Minneapolis in the airport, one in Boise (right after I finished my dime story). One in front of my church, early on Sunday morning before everyone got there and one in the parking lot in front of the Tacoria....I am going to start saving this money in a special jar! I am excited!

The Lord gave me a dream a few years ago. I was walking and looking down on this path and I found a few pennies, then there were a lot of pennies, then soon it started turning to silver and then big silver and lots of it! I remember asking God what did that mean and He told me that it was the blessings of God. To look for them everywhere! I remember Him telling me to look for the opportunities to minister and small blessings everywhere and soon I would see the bigger blessings multiplying:) So I did! I started to look for opportunity to pray for people everywhere! I started being thankful in the little things that many people just don't even think about as blessings from God. Soon He was giving me the desires of my heart! Big and small! I just love God. He is so multi-dimensional! My mind cannot wrap around how big God really is and how many levels and different ways He speaks to me. He can speak one thing to me and then I will see it take effect in many different ways and places...ways I could never fathom or imagine. It is funny... sometimes I think, "Oh that is what God meant!" and then I turn the corner and I see it even in another different way or perhaps just another level deeper?

Now I know there will be those that shake their head and laugh at me saying that everyone just throws their change down on the ground and I just happen to find it but I look at it as bigger than that! I think that my God is soooo loving that He arranges for the change to be lying on the ground and I actually see it! (If you know me then you know that you have to practically jump in front of me while waving your arms for me to be able to see you!) He arranges it just for me, to bless me! He is just THAT big! He cares for me! God is good and even when it is just a simple gesture of letting me see a piece of change lying on the ground; I know that it is just something that blesses me and my heart.

I think of it like a sweet love note from God letting me know I am where I am supposed to be and He will carry out His promises.
 
God is that good,
 
Shanin

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shiny Blessings Part Two

In the fall of 2013 we had a dear friend come speak at our church. After service, I was visiting with Dick and I had asked why his sweet wife couldn't come. He shared with me that she was home getting ready for their annual trip to speak on the East Coast. I whispered in my heart, "Jesus, I want to speak on the East Coast." Then I kind of forgot about it for a while not telling anyone what I had just told Jesus.

Fast forward a few months and a pw friend of mine, posted on our pw site, sharing that God had laid on her heart that she was to do a women's conference and one of her deaconesses was excited to help but they just needed a speaker and she asked us to pray about it. I kind of got excited about it because she lives on the East Coast and I thought to myself, "I will just pray about it but if I am to say something have her mention it again." Sure enough another week goes by and she mentions it again. I saw the post and responded, " I would come and speak for expenses." And then I left it in the hands of the Lord. All of a sudden I got a phone call from Marg!

"Are you serious?" She asks as soon as I picked up the phone. I laughed and told her yes. She then goes on to say that when she was planning the conference, my name came to mind but she asked the Lord  if I was the one to speak, then let me volunteer to do so. Isn't God good? Of course, I was excited!

We had a grand time in New Jersey. A few of the pws from our pw site all met at Marg's house. We connected like we had been personal friends for years. Now we were personal friends, but we had just never met each other in the flesh! It was wonderful to put names on faces! First of all I met Marg and Ken because they picked me up at the airport. I got to hug my friend, Marg's neck in person! I also had the honor of meeting Rev. Ken Scovell. Please do not let the Reverend title fool you, he is an absolute hoot to hang with.  I met Carolyn and Larissa (what a joy!), then the bonuses happened! I met Violet, Larissa's mom and I got to meet Johannah, Carolyn's daughter! I was also blessed with a little one on one time with Larissa to share and pray for her a miracle, which God answered and that miracle will be coming soon at a hospital near her;) God is good.

While preparing for the conference I was studying the story of Joseph in Genesis. The scripture talks of being six dreams total, and they appeared in increments of two. Joseph had two dreams, The Baker and Butler had two dreams between them and then Pharaoh had two dreams. I was talking to the Lord about that there were two dreams at a time. I found that interesting. When Pharaoh had two dreams, the bible said that, "And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." Now this really excited me! I had seen something that I never saw before but just decided to ponder it for a while.

The conference was wonderful! I spoke on Healthy Boundaries and God moved. I met so many new friends. After the conference I got to stay a week with Marg and Ken and they treated me like a queen. We drove to see Chris and Liz in Pennsylvania (YAY!) and we drove to Philadelphia one day and saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. And on another day they took me to Cape May in search of sea glass.

I had a friend in Oregon, who designs jewelry, tell me that if I found East Coast sea glass that she would make me a necklace. So I was on a mission to find sea glass. We first went to the ocean and nearly froze our fingers off but was unsuccessful in finding sea glass. We then went shopping in the beach stores going store to store asking for sea glass and finally someone pointed me to this beautiful beach shop. When we entered, you could tell it was a store of quality just not a tourist trap. I asked about sea glass and the woman at the counter told me that it was hard to find and very expensive. I said, "Okay, do you have any for sale?" She replied no. She then took out two small pieces of sea glass and showed them to me a long with some rough Cape May Diamonds. She told me that I could find some Cape May Diamonds at the point of Cape May. She then asked me if I wanted the sea glass and I asked her how much as I was watching her put the glass and a few Cape May Diamonds in a plastic pouch. She told me that it would cost nothing, she was giving me the precious pieces of glass and stones! I was so blessed and excited! God had given me favor. Marg just laughed and shook her head in amazement. We were both giggling!

The next stop was the tip of Cape May Beach! It was a beautiful pebble beach. Everywhere you step your foot would sink deep into the pebbles. I was standing alone on the beach (Because of the freezing temperatures Marg opted to stay in the car. Ken was standing a ways back but graciously taking me touring!) and I looked down at my feet (yes I was barefoot) and saw a shiny dime sitting on top of the pebbles. I smiled and said, "God, I don't know why you are giving me this dime but thank You for having it stay on the surface for me!"  I picked it up and looked at it for a minute or two and then safely placed it in my pocket. I grabbed a bag of Cape May Diamonds and off we went in search of lunch, having a grand day of memory making together.

The time seemed to have passed by quickly and before I knew it, it was departure day. I had a 3 hour layover in Minneapolis. When I landed in Minneapolis I looked for a charging station for my electronics. I found an totally empty terminal which seemed strange but very nice because I didn't have to constantly watch who was near by me. I sat down by the charging station and looked down and sitting on the floor, all shiny was a bright dime, right by my foot. I felt in my pocket for the beach dime to make sure that I didn't drop it but it was still safe in my pocket! I picked it up and said, "Thanks God! That makes two dimes that You have gifted me!" Remembering the increments of two dreams. I knew that this was God's way of blessing me.

I finally arrived to Boise and my sweet husband was waiting to pick me up. We had planned to spend one night in a hotel and then one night with friends before returning to Boise. The next night while we were with our friends, I was telling my friend Darla, all about the conference and what God had spoken to me. We had to run to the store before dinner to pick up a few items and while we were shopping I told her about my dimes. We both talked about it being cool and I thought that it was more than a coincidence but it was God blessing me. As soon as we walked outside I went to get in on my side of the SUV and looked down and what was there? A bright shiny dime! I felt in my pocket and my two dimes were still safe inside. I called to Darla to come and look at what I found and we both laughed! I picked up my new dime and we hurried home. When we got back to the house I shared with Jason and Rick about the dimes and my new found dime. Darla then asked, "What do you think that it means?"

I told her that I thought it was God confirming a few things to me. Jason then said, "I know what it means." I looked at him and asked him what? He replied, "It means that God is going to bring about what He has promised you!" I smiled because I had never shared with him what God had told me the year before. I had shared with him my ponderings about Joseph and the dreams while studying. This excited me!

Come back tomorrow for Shiny Blessings Part Three:)

Until then,

Shanin