Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

My dad's oldest brother, Lawrence, was (and still is) my favorite uncle! And while growing up, I was never ashamed to admit that I was his favorite niece! :) Uncle Lawrence's job frequently took him out of the country to live in other parts of the world for months at a time. Even though he was gone quite a bit, there are still several fond memories I have of Uncle Lawrence and our time spent together...there were gifts from far off places, such as a silver coin never touched by human hands, bags of foreign money, opal necklaces, perfume from London, etc.

There are many other special memories I have, aside from the gifts he gave...I remember the first time I saw him cry on our way to my Uncle Arlie's funeral back in 1994 as he and I rode alone together in his car. There were George Strait concerts when my cousin worked for MCA records, dinners at Chili's, shopping trips to the Galleria...and there are many more that I don't have room for here.

His sense of humor is unlike any other I've ever known...once while our family was staying in a hotel when we were visiting my aunt and uncle out of town, he called my sister and me from the next room, while we were next door alone. He kept speaking to us in foreign languages, scaring us to death!! Once while eating out at a Mexican food restaurant, he and my dad got up and danced along with the waiters who were singing Happy Birthday to another just never knew quite what to expect! :)

But the memories that have burned themselves into my mind the most are simply of his presence in my life-especially at Easter! In our home, Easter wasn't Easter without Uncle Lawrence! It didn't matter if he was living in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Liberia or New Orleans-year after year, he went out of his way (literally) to ensure that he was at home with us on that day.

On Easter morning, we would have to sit in my brother's room to keep us from peeking out the back door while Uncle Lawrence helped my parents hide the eggs. Then the hunt began...the most exciting part of it was trying to find the one "Prize egg" that Uncle Lawrence had stuffed money into, and we all wanted to be the first to find it! I would always wind up being disappointed and frustrated that I never once found the special "Prize egg" (somehow, my oldest brother, Clay, seemed to find it every year)! Like all kids do, there were times when one of us would continually pass up the obviously "hidden" egg lying in the grass. Uncle Lawrence would have to point us in the right direction in search of it. And if that didn't work, he would then take us by the hand and lead us to the right place (One of my favorite pictures is of Ericson holding his Easter basket when he was about 2 1/2 and Uncle Lawrence is there right beside him, bending over and pointing to an egg in my parent's front yard). Then when the hunt was over, my brothers, sister and I would sit on the back porch peeling and eating the boiled eggs, while opening the plastic ones and devouring the candy inside.

As much as I truly love my Uncle Lawrence, and as much as I know he loves me, my heart is troubled because he doesn't know the true meaning of Easter. He's never personally met the Jesus who went out of His way to point us and lead us to Heaven. Easter has always been my favorite holiday-mainly because of the special memories associated with it because of the close relationship I share with my uncle. But more importantly, it's about another close relationship I share...the relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ who willingly laid down his life for you and for me. Then three days later, rising again so that we might live forever with him. Unlike the "Prize egg" that my uncle would hide in the back yard, Jesus is not available only for the first lucky few who find Him. In John 3:16 it says, "...that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."

Please don't let the real meaning of Easter pass you by this year! Ask God to soften your heart and open your show you the miracle of Easter in fresh, new ways; ways you might never have seen before.

You might just be surprised at what you find!

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

I would also covet your prayers tomorrow...due to my Aunt Maria's cancer, this is the first year that my Uncle Lawrence won't be here to celebrate with me and my family!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Believing God!

I sat down to read my Beth Moore Bible Study, "Believing God" earlier this morning after dropping the kid's off at school. As much as I want my children to see me reading God's word and studying the Scriptures, sometimes you just can't absorb it very well while you have paper airplanes zooming across the room from every direction, a recorder playing "Hot Cross Buns" in your right ear, a child's planner being thrust in your face for you to sign, etc. :)

There were a couple of things she says in Week 8, Day 2 that I wanted to share with you (Today is really Day 3, but see above as to why I'm playing catch-up today).

"When we find our callings, let's persist in them, not attempting to do a thousand things well but fanning our gifts to a flame and pursuing excellence in the few. If we do, Beloved, we will reap! The harvest may not become obvious in our lifetime, but it will surely come. Never, never forget this biblical promise: "if we sow the things of the Spirit, we will reap the things of the Spirit (see Gal. 6:8-9). Every time. God is faithful. Thank Him in advance for the harvest each time you sow. The flood may not fall on those seeds until after you see Jesus, but the rain will surely come. Believe God! Tirelessly plant the things of the Spirit in the soil of earth. Let nothing make you quit. Though the harvest tarry, it shall come!"

There are 2 specific prayer requests that I've been praying for for many years now (although I don't want to disclose the details here in Cyber-space for all the world to see...maybe one day when they've been answered). Although I haven't seen the harvest yet, God has given me an assurance in my spirit, and has confirmed it in several different ways that I will receive what I have asked for! It's encouraging me to keep on seeking Him in prayer until the flood has come and watered the seeds.

The verses below caught my eye while I was cleaning out my Bible a moment ago, and I felt God telling me to pray them over my requests...When we pray God's word, we know we're praying in accordance with God's will (we don't always know the outcome because God will answer in His way at just the right time). But I know He's still at work and is going to come through. I can hardly wait to see how He moves!!

"Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:5-6

Is there something you're believing God for in prayer but haven't seen the fruits of your labor yet? Don't quit! Be encouraged with this verse:

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

When you know God has laid something on your heart, then believe He will answer. Don't be persuaded by others who try to question or doubt your faith. Keep believing God!!