Monday, January 28, 2008

Unhealthy Relationship

I admit it. My relationship with my laptop computers has moved beyond healthy. Together, my laptop and I, carry on a co-dependent relationship with each other. Sadly, I am emotionally attached to my computer. For my laptop, it just feeds into the unhealthiness of my dependency.

When I am away from “laptop dearest” anxious thoughts arise. Unable to check my email, my mind drifts from the tasks at hand. And the comfort that flows when I finally sit down to type, promotes a sigh of contentment.

However, I am not the only one who seems attached to their computer. I fly around the country, a lot. I wait in airports for hours. Here is what I have noticed. At least fifty percent of people now fly with their laptops. Of course, this phenomenon slows down security for everyone, especially the person traveling with the computer. But that doesn’t seem to deter anyone. Men used to be the primary people lugging a computer through the airport, but not anymore.

Now it seems as if more women travel with their computers. I watch them place them on the security belt, hoist them back over their shoulders and hurry to the nearest electrical outlet to plug them in.

I wonder what programs and sites these women are connecting to as they sit in hard plastic chairs or on the dirty airport carpet. Are they as anxious about emails as I am? Are they visiting chat rooms, are they working, or are they just needing the comfort of their computers. Who knows? Maybe all these things apply. But, I do know that I am one of thousands of people who feel the need to be with their computer.

Strange isn’t it how electronics have changed our world within the last ten years.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Brrrr . . .

I am in Minnesota and its cold. It has been as low as 13 degrees below zero. I thought my nose had been frostbitten, but my son said, “It’s frost-nipped.” Whatever! My nose is sore, red, and scaly. It feels frostbitten to me, a girl from the deserts of Nevada.

Nevertheless, it’s worth the frigid temperatures to visit my son, daughter-in-love, and my granddaughters. Emily is 21 months and Brianne is eight months. They keep me blessed and busy.

It is interesting to watch them mature and become electronics savvy. Most of their toys are replicas of computers, cell phones, and MP3 players. Amazingly, they owned an I-pod before I did. My husband just brought home an early Valentine’s gift for me, a darling blue I-pod that I am attempting to learn to use.

Stay tuned. More thoughts on the tsunami wave of electronics that have bombarded our daily lives. However, for now, I need to shut down my laptop and head to bed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In Praise of a Prayer Shield

“I can do this on my own!”

So began my ministry as the Women’s Ministry Director at our church plant years ago. I believed erringly that if I diligently nurtured my own walk with the Lord, ministry would just fall into its proper place. I was mistaken. Ministry became misery.

I struggled to find time to spend with God. Yes, I loved him. However, now that I worked vocationally for him, the prayer time I longed for eluded me. My personal devotions became drudgery. They seemed to be just another chore crowded into an already busy day. I discovered the tasks of ministry and the needs of people exhausted me. I swung back and forth with the desire to resign or to be obedient to what the Lord had called me to do— lead a women’s ministry program.

For months, the indecision tormented me. It was my personal Garden of Gethsemane. Should I quit? Or would I obey his will? Just when I felt I could not continue, a handful of our people went to a prayer conference. They came back fired-up with new ideas. What did they want to implement first? A “prayer shield” for the pastoral staff.

Oh great! Just another thing to do, I thought.

As they explained the prayer shield to me, I relaxed. It didn’t sound like anymore work for me. Instead, it was designed to support and protect the pastoral staff at our church. In order to begin a prayer shield, each pastor needed seven people committed to pray one day a week for his or her needs. On a weekly basis, one designated person of each of the pastor’s prayer shield would agree to call for the prayer requests, and then dispatch them to the rest of the shield for prayer during the upcoming week.

They explained that all I needed to do was to decide whom I would like to pray for me, and then give the point person of my prayer shield updated requests each week. After six months, a new prayer shield would be formed for me, so the shield would remain fresh and active. They noted, “Even the Apostle Paul asked for prayer, “Brothers, pray for us.” I Thessalonians 5:25.

“Ok, ok.” The prayer shield appealed to me, and it sounded doable.

Within just a couple of weeks of my prayer shield forming, I found myself with a lighter heart. My private devotional time revived with a fresh breath of the Spirit. Things didn’t seem so overwhelming. Ministry moved from misery to manageable.

Could it be the prayer shield? I wondered to myself.

Two years later my ministry suddenly changed directions. Although, I began to serve God in a new capacity, I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I still wanted a prayer shield. I asked a few close friends if they would be part of my new prayer shield. They agreed readily. I email them updated prayer requests. Often my requests reflect ministry needs, but just as often, they represent personal cares and concerns.

Now after more than three years of unceasing and powerful prayer shield protection I no longer wonder if it assists my ministry. I know my prayer shield provides the necessary support and balance I require in ministry. James 5:16 states, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Oh, so true! Can ministry still wear me out? Are there more tasks than time? Yes, but with my prayer shield standing in the gap for me, I can manage ministry, instead of ministry managing me.

What experiences have you experienced with prayer and ministry?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Beginnings

I just came home from speaking in Phoenix on the topic of new beginnings. Here's my thoughts for new beginnings in our lives.

God's mercies begin anew each morning. There is a new beginning each day. Isn't that amazing to think that each morning when we open our groggy eyes a new beginning awaits us?

A new beginning with relationships. Each morning we can wake up and have a new beginning with the people we love. Let's learn how to cultivate our friendships in a new way every day.

Myself--each moment I have a chance to begin a deeper relationship with Jesus. It's never too late. He is waiting with wide open arms for me to jump into His lap and begin again to develop intimacy with my Savior--every day.

I like new beginnings? What's your take on new beginnings?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Interview on TLN

A busy morning! I was interviewed about my study, Perplexing Proverbs. At the last minute, they switched from the network studio to our local Lemstone Bookstore.

It is always a blessing to be able to share about God's goodness in our lives.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ready, Set, Seek!

Ready, Set, Seek!

The blah-bug has dissipated. And I am ready for the New Year.

¬After a very hectic seven months in 2007, the end of the year brought a restful hiatus. With manuscripts sent to editors, speaking events winding down, and my new house feeling like home, I relaxed. I read a few great books. I enjoyed precious time with my family. I reflected on the birth of our Savior and the priceless gift of my relationship with Immanuel—God with us—Jesus.
Now with enthusiasm and renewed energy, I am excited about what the Lord Jesus will bring about in 2008. How about you?

“Hear my voice when I call, O Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:7-8 NIV