Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for January 2010

What is changing in me

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As you know we have a lot of stressors in our life right now… finanicial insolvency, insecure employment, and now a parent living with us while she waits for her home to sell in an economy that is all but dried up to the housing market. All I really need is for my work world to begin to go south and I think i will melt down completely.

But how much do I trust God?

So the world is unraveling around me, and around the life I once knew. Our budget has reduced us to bringing budget canned soup for lunch, and refusing to eat out until the debt is resolved. New clothes? what are you, crazy? Buy that needed pair of glasses for the prescription that the doctor gave you 6 months ago – not right now. Everything is on hold to cover and pay our bills . and try to return our life to some sort of normalicy.

And on the insecure job front, an offer comes for a job that is perfect, he is the only canidate and the pay is comparable to current income… all good. Resume in, hopes high, and the board of directors of that company decides to slow the process down a month or two. Sure, they dont know the stress this added to our plate.

but how much do i trust God?

How Much?

Am I able to look beyond all of these factors and begin to ask God to sort them out, give me his wisdom and enlighten me on how to move. I am afraid to make any move before it is clear that the Lord is moving me. I trust him. It is myself, my emotions, my mind, my thinking that I cannot ever trust because many times my perspective is very skewed.

I am changing. I am becomming willing to look for God’s hand and wait until he is there. Probably because I have run ahead of him far too many times.

Lord, keep me at the centerof your will, not moving ahead or lagging behind. I yield every thought and deed and every breath of life to you. May you take this ash heap and turn it to your glory as you mold me to the image of your precious son and my savior, Jesus Christ. Amen


Written by Barbara Bloom

January 29, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Living for a Cause Greater than Yourself

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OK, another inbox message in email that I just had to respond to. This was from Os Hillman at Marketplace Leaders. His daily devotional is always challenging and certainly gives room for tough self reflection and soul searching. Here is today’s:

Living for a Cause Greater than Yourself
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, January 13 2010

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked (Ps 82:3-4).
God raises up leaders to take on causes that are much greater than themselves. However, these causes are often first birthed as a result of a personal crisis or conviction; then this leads to a larger cause.

Martin Luther King had a personal conviction that racial discrimination was wrong. He sought to change this through preaching and nonviolent demonstrations. It wasn’t long before this became the conviction of others and it became a movement larger than any one person.

William Wilberforce was a political statesman in England. He came to Christ when he was twenty-eight years old. He began to have personal convictions about slavery in England and he committed his life to the goal of destroying slavery. He finally achieved his goal after fifty years of work. His work also resulted in sixty-four world changing initiatives before he died.

William Wallace was burdened about the persecution his country received from the wicked English king named Edward the Longshanks. Born in 1272, Wallace grew up under the persecution from the wicked king. When he was older, he led a rebellion against England that resulted in the freedom for the nation of Scotland. The popular movie, Braveheart, was the story of William Wallace.

My own ministry to those in the workplace first began as a personal crisis. This developed later into a call to serve believers in the marketplace.

Has God allowed a crisis in your life? God often raises leaders and begins movements as a result of a personal crisis in a leader’s life.

What can I say except “AMEN!”

Lord, life has been challenging this past year, and I realize that some of my struggles come with accepting changes to my life, but I also ask you to show me how I can take these changes and push them toward advancing a cause greater than myself. Show me what you want my life to bear fruit of and lead me in clear steps toward following your plan. May my life and the ash heap that it often feels like yield a peacable fruit of righteousness. May you have a voice through me to this dark and sin scarred world. Amen”

Encouragement in a dark sin scarred world.

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My email box is faithfully receiving a daily email with a verse of the day. Sometimes the verse jumps right off the page and speak to the current situation, and other times the eternal truth of God’s word transcends the here and now, and speaks clear truth to my heart and mind about how I should constantly refocus the lense of my thoughts. Today’s verse is one of the verses that floods my soul with hope, and promise in spite of what the here and now tells me is true.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. – Psalm 32:10

The first thing I love about this verse is the contrast. There are clearly two groups – the wicked and those who trust in the Lord. There is a second contrast that affects each group. The wicked will have many sorrows and the god trusters will have god’s mercy compass them.

What I know the verse is not saying is that those who trust in god will not have sorrow. Certainly in this life we will have sorrows that are difficult and sometimes will break our hearts, but as a truster of God we have resources to get through them. Life is complex. Even Job told us that like the sparks of a fire fly upward to the sky, so is trouble a part of man’s life. But we are not left there because we are compassed about with the Lord’s mercy. We have that hope.

Mercy, defined by Merriam Webster, is “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion” An old bible teacher told me years ago that grace and mercy are twins. Grace is god’s unmerited favor, and mercy is God’s holding back wrath from me. They go together as bookends or two pieces of bread in a sandwich and I am the filling.

Another interesting word in this verse is the word “compass“. In this context the meaning appears to be “to surround, or wrap around the person who trusts the Lord.” In our modern english we could also say encompass. In fact the modern english translation of that verse reads “The sinner will be full of trouble; but mercy will be round the man who has faith in the Lord.” I love that. I am very visual and all I could invision in myself (mind, body, soul, spirit) with a big protective padding surrounding me wherever I go.

So it seems that literally by trusting God we have His compassion bestowed upon us. And t his is not something he grants to the wicked.

Instant application – In my professional work life there is a woman that I periodically have to work with on projects. She is always harsh, critical, difficult, and it almost seems like she makes efforts to thwart productive communications and productive activity. I don;t believe I ever did anything to cause her to treat me wrongly, and I know I can only do the right thing in my life, and treat her above reproach. Today in a meeting with her as Psalm 32:10 rang through my head and I realized how sad and most unfortunate she is to not trust the Lord because she does not have HIS mercy compassing her about. She has verbalized her hostility to God, to the concept of faith, or even of religion. And it is clear that life is filled with more that the warm joys of a hallmark card in her life. She is experiencing stressors as the only breadwinner, with her husband now out of work, a big mortgage payment, 2 car payments, and a small child. So life is challenging, and for the first time I clearly see that she does not have the mercy I know in my life. I have always been kind to her, but it just occurred to me that I have not prayed for her, asked God to give her ears to hear, and a mind to trust HIm.

Prescious and mercy giving Lord, I thank you that you promise to compass us about with your mercy. Today I think of this one who does not believe, who seems to have no faith or hope. May you speak to her deep in those places of her mind and her soul, and draw her with cords of love to your salvation. Open now the flood gates of heaven upon her as she struggles under the weight of economics, family dynamics, the pressures to pay all the bills, and to be a good wife and mother in addition to her professional life. And remind me that at one point in my life I did not trust you. Remind me that I have a responsibility to pray. Amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 13, 2010 at 1:13 AM

Creation and beginnings

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Our church began a new sermon series on the book of Genesis yesterday and one of the most amazing thoughts I have not given real thought to was that in the christian world we tend to begin the story with Genesis 3 and the sin, the fall, and the punishment. We forget Genesis 1 in which God created all things. And said they are good. Then he created man, and said it is very good. We are very good. We are created by the amazing wonder of an all knowning and all powerful god, and he looked at his work and said we are good. We are children of the most high god, and we are good. Wrap your brain around that thought for a few moments and every other thought seems small and inconsequential.

I want to journal more, but at this moment I don;t have my notes in front of me.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 11, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Great Society comes from investment

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit in.”

— Greek Proverb
Quoted in Mentor Like Jesus
by Regi Campbell

I have thought long and hard about this idea, but never was able to distill it to such a concise word. We benefit or fall on the generosity and selflessness of previous generations. My parents, people of the “greatest generation” knew sacrifice, struggle and selflessness through financial lean times, and times of world war. They gave of themselves, probably never were paid what their work was worth, but society was stong, solid, and they were supportive of the growth, willing to shed their self-ishness for the greater good of the whole society.

The quote strikes a cord in me that cannot be silenced. If we choose to live selfishly, looking only at our own interests one day we will come to a place where there is nothing for the greater society. Life the ecology movement, there is something essential and necessary in our soul that we sould give without reaping the benefits of what is given. The seeds of our gift will one day grow into a harvest of a forest if, and only if, we begin to pay forward the goodness that we have been blessed to know.

So here I am Lord, benefiting from the freedom of our nation, and the toil and sweat and lives that have paid a price for me to be free. Here I am able to say just about anything I want to anyone, and the freedom to believe whatever I wish, and practice that believe openly thanks to those courageous generations that are now with you in eternity. and I am saddened by my generation and our total lack of insight into the idea of building for the future. I yearn to live in a way that brings growth, and change to the world around me. This new year, 2010, I commit myself back to you and ask you to take this heart and mind, hands and feet and show me how you want me to be used for your glory, to plant trees I may never see the shade of. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 3, 2010 at 1:03 AM

The Lord is nigh

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I love page a day calander – especially when they are verse a day. Today the verse is an old favorite I have strived to memorize:

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
– Psalm 145:18-19 (King James Version)

Years ago as a new believer someone challenged me to break down verses of the bible by asking questions. So lets break this one down:

* Who is this verse referring to? The Lord
* What does this verse tell us about him: He is near us, he hears us, he will fulfil desires, He will save us.
* What does he require of us? Call to him truthfully, with fear

Application – if we call to the Lord with honesty, and a sincere fear of him he will answer us, he will save us, and beyond simple salvation the Lord will work to bring the desires we have within us to life.

But then again, he is the author of our salvation, and I truely believe he will put into our hearts the desires that will bring us to him, and bring glory to his name. He has put eternity in our hearts!

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 2, 2010 at 1:02 AM

Fabulous quote on success/failure

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

— Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

I read this on Michael Hyatt’s blog and could not resist passing it on. Thank you Michael for this inspiring word.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 2, 2010 at 12:17 AM