Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Robert's message from Sunday

Hi Everyone!
Robert's message will be posted on The Gathering blog very soon. Bobby was two weeks behind in his posting since he has been in the middle of two moves! One was his office and the other was his home! He now has both of his last two messages posted and his dad's (Robert's) will be up soon. The address is: ocgathering.blogspot.com God is blessing you, Donna

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Pain?

It's Monday morning and I am just getting around to writing! It's been a very busy last week! Yesterday our youngest daughter Christina and I threw a bridal shower for her best friend. Like most important celebrations, it took days to prepare everything and in what feels like an instant, it is behind us! What an honor to assist Christina in such a fun day for her best friend!

Another great thing took place yesterday. My husband Robert was the guest speaker in Bobby's church and it was the first time he had preached in the United States since last fall. The topic of his sermon was pain; an experience very familiar to him over the past year. As people on planet earth we cannot avoid pain: physical, mental, spiritual. The Bible and our faith doesn't' promise the absence of pain, in fact it teaches us just the opposite. Reading through the Sermon on The Mount Robert reminded us of Jesus' very important message regarding "the poor in spirit, those who morn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted." Many of the experiences that Jesus mentions in his most significant words ever shared refer to things that are painful to go through. His assurances of what happens to us as a result of getting through these rough times are what we need to focus on. During the reading of the scripture yesterday I pulled out the small pocket Bible that I carry in my purse. I admit that it was hard to follow along as the translation I carry with me is "The Message". Later in the day I read aloud to Robert the explanation that The Message translation gives the words in the Sermon On The Mount. I found them quite helpful in understanding in the vernacular what Jesus was saying in his day and to his culture. Here they are:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One who is most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are-no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full" you find yourself being cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that-count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer-even! for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble." Matthew 5:3-11 (The Message)
Yes, two thousand years ago Jesus shared with us that pain and suffering is unavoidable. I guess the real issue is "what are we going to do with our pain?" Feel free to share and start some conversation here on this blog. Also, check with The Gathering blog in the next few days and you will be able to see Robert's sermon. Hopefully it will help you as you deal with the real and sometimes very painful experiences we all face in this life on earth. Here is his blog website: Ocgathering.blogspot.com
Until next time. God is blessing you! Donna

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Transformed and Renewed

Last week you saw me in the American Legion Hall; a building which is transformed into a beautiful, spiritual setting each Sunday by a group of volunteers. Each helper knows the goal and can clearly see the changes as the sights, smells, and symbols of The Gathering come alive by the time the service starts at eleven o'clock. How beautiful to witness this physical transformation and the fruits of the labor involved! Although this physical change in form and appearance takes a lot of work it brings to my mind an even greater and more difficult kind of change. It is a change which can not be physically seen.
The Bible teaches us to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind". I believe this self-transformation requires time spent in self-reflection and the willingness to grow and develop into all we can be with God's help. The heart of this kind of change has little to do with what's on the outside but everything to do with what's on the inside. Even mentioning this is a frightening thought for some because most of us don't want to change anything we're doing but we do want to change others!
If you've read my profile or if you know me at all you will recognize that I am an energetic person who prefers outside activities over sitting down with a book, reading a devotional, or spending much time in self-reflection. To me I would rather work it all out in the gym, on the volleyball court, the hiking trail, or the tennis court. I share this with you because sitting down quietly and searching for answers in solitude does not come naturally for me. I know this about myself and it has taken a daily morning routine to help me connect with God in a peaceful and meaningful way. I find it necessary for my mental and spiritual well-being to begin each day with a thirty minute quiet time outside in my backyard. I read and I enjoy the sights and sounds of nature before I face whatever the day has in store for me. This ritual has helped me stay centered and focused on the message God has for me regarding myself and others and I am committed to it.
I read and answer a lot of emails and letters and I have prayed for the many physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that people face. Some are very stress-filled, hopeless, and filled with discouragement. For those of you facing these daily trials my hope and prayer for you is that as you begin your day you would remember to ask God for new life and strength as you face each situation. Take time to wait and listen to God's answers as you pray for personal transformation and renewal. Find a trusted friend to help you if you find this too difficult a task. You might even need to seek professional counseling.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen in eternal." 2 Cor 4:16-18 NIV

Remember to keep your eyes focused on what is unseen including all of your hopes and dreams for a great future.
Until next week, remember that God IS blessing you!