Catch Up

October 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Heather Arbuckle  –

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If you grew up in the 80’s like me, you probably recall the wisdom of our young hero Ferris as he addressed his audience, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”

Indeed, life seems to be spinning faster these days. A sense of urgency has gripped our world as never before.  In its wake we sometimes feel the necessity to be innovative in our communication methods. It’s tough to catch up with friends in our overscheduled days.

Twitter. Facebook. Texting. No doubt, our modes of communication are changing radically. I confess, up until recently, I was a self-proclaimed Facebook junkie. It was exciting to reconnect with long lost “friends”, convenient to keep up with current acquaintances, and fun to entertain my “peeps” online. However, life isn’t just about entertainment and convenience. Our relationships with fellow believers must be deeper than a Facebook  status update or a “tweet” on Twitter.

Communication is a priority in God’s Kingdom. God has used angels, prophets, the Bible,and His one and only Son to communicate His desires for His children. Likewise, it must be a priority for God’s people to “communicate the hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Effective communication begins with time alone with God. It is imperative as God’s children that we learn to sit at His feet and quietly listen each day. As we read His word and meditate on His truth, our minds are renewed and our hearts transformed to be more like Christ. It is only then that we are truly ready to engage a lost and confused world. For it is in communion with our Heavenly Father that we train our heart to encourage and endure.

Likewise, we are challenged to make time to meet with our sisters in Christ face to face. After all, communication is more than words and emoticons. Expressions and tones can be lost in the translation of a text message, leaving us confused about the motives and actions of our loved ones. Without the clarity of open communication, we are likely to be deceived into making assumptions that damage a relationship unnecessarily. In short, we must allow ourselves to be available to those whom God has placed in our circle of influence. God has placed a number of folks in our midst today. Some are there so that they might be influenced. And some are placed there to be an influence. Either way, influence is greatly marginalized when we limit our interactions to social networking.

Today,  make some time to talk…really talk. Accountability and honesty must remain in a free transaction between active participants if we are to truly continue to grow in Christ. We must commit to make ourselves vulnerable with trusted sisters in Christ, who can speak truth with love into our lives when the time is deemed necessary. Otherwise, we are likely to be deceived by our enemy who “prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

Let us never become so busy that we forget to check on a friend. May we never become so distracted that we fail to nurture loving friendships. As our methods of communication evolve, we are challenged in this fast-paced world to speak wisely, not in haste but in love. Don’t miss the chance to catch up.

Hidden

August 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Heather Arbuckle –

An over-scheduled weekend was behind us and bedtime was fast approaching. With Marty at a business dinner, I was outnumbered 3 to 1, and in the middle of my best delivery of zone defense. Hoping to clean the kitchen and still maintain our regular bedtime routine, I sent the kids into the den to watch a little TV.

Moments later, my middle daughter, Lily, emerged with a perplexed look on her sweet face. Immediately, I stopped what I was doing as tears began to fill her big brown eyes. As I listened to her heart, I realized bedtime was going to have to be briefly postponed. A teachable moment was upon me, and the world would not wait.

Rather than the “innocent” programming I anticipated on a children’s network we watch regularly, my children had come upon a show about the world’s differing religious views. “How can they not know Jesus, Mommy? How do they not see?” Lily asked in pained bewilderment. As her words penetrated my heart, I was gently reminded that “your eye is the lamp of your body.” (Luke 11:34) Lily’s faith-filled eyes see her beautiful Savior so easily. How I wish it were so for us all. Sadly, that is not the case.

By now my two other gifts from Heaven had joined us, and all eyes were on me. I took my children into my arms, grateful that God had chosen me to be the one to lead them to the Cross. Each of them accepted Christ as their Savior at an early age. None of my precious children can recall a time when Jesus wasn’t a trusted friend on whom they could call. His love has never been hidden from their lives.

Hoping to speak some perspective into my troubled child’s heart, I spoke gently and prayed for wisdom. “Lily, sweetheart. This is a family who believes and truth is all around you. Scripture teaches us that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, and that the gift of grace is ours to receive freely.” I continued, “Never forget that even when Jesus walked among us, there were few who could truly see their Savior in their midst. Sometimes life gets too dark for some to see.”

For some, the truth is hidden. It was true then. It is still true today. The Bible teaches us “When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35-36) Jesus Christ, alone, is the light that leads the way to salvation. Still, many do not see.

Today, our world is growing ever darker as all of creation groans in the fallout of sin. This world is broken. By poverty. Injustice. Greed. Pride. It is a world gripped by the consequences of sin. As Christ followers, we must have eyes to see the world as it is. But, then we must have courage to share the love of Christ with those whom the truth remains hidden. For “blessed are your eyes because they see.” (Matthew 13:16)

Heavenly Father,
We praise You for the gift of eyes that see truth. Because of Christ alone, we are free to approach you boldly, as your adopted sons and daughters. Let us have compassion and patience with those who are blind to the Son. Give us courage to share the truth about who Christ is, so that others may see.
-Amen

Reflection: Is there someone in your midst from whom the truth is hidden?

These are the Days

July 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Heather Arbuckle –

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NIV).

I am not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time. It’s probably because I am not exactly what you would call “a morning person.” Somehow, with the time change, morning seems earlier. Waking up to a dark house and stumbling over to the coffee pot makes me long for a bit more time underneath my covers. At least enough time for the sun to catch up with my day.

Finally, the coffee is done brewing and I sit down to take a few moments before my kids wake up to begin their morning rituals. The sky is still dark, but the birds are singing. The house is still. And it is like God is whispering, “These are the days. Rejoice. Don’t miss it!”

So I think it over and I understand. These ARE the days…

When my daughters bring me “flowers” that resemble weeds, but are presented with great joy and love.

When my son is still shorter than me and will allow me to hug him in front of his friends.

When my husband kisses me on the cheek gently before he leaves for his job, even earlier than the birds are willing to awaken.

These are the days…

Today, I get to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Speak words of affirmation and encouragement. Show my family how lucky they make me feel. Thank God for His many blessings.

Now, my kids are stirring and my quiet house is filled with the sounds of them  getting dressed and packing their lunches for school. I rejoice for our day together has begun. And I remember to embrace this moment.

For these are the days…

Of my daughter singing to Jesus while she ties her shoes.

Of my son assisting his sister with a glass of milk, while I get a glimpse of the man he will one day become.

Of kisses good-bye and big, bright smiles as my girls ride off to school on their scooters.

Of stolen moments with my teenage man-child, as he shares his thoughts and it is just him and me.

Of phone calls from my busy husband, who calls just to hear my voice.

These are the days. So wake up slowly if you must. Grab some coffee and take a moment to listen to the birds. But then rejoice, for you will never get today back again. And even when you are walking in darkness, there are reasons to embrace the beautiful gift of today.

Rock Eternal

June 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Heather Arbuckle-

The past two days we have been homebound due to an ice storm that hit the area on Monday night. While the first day at home was a welcome break from the hectic demands of suburban life in North Texas, the past day has seemed to drag on considerably. Cold, bored, and at times without power, I began looking through old photos.

Not long into my walk down memory lane, I stumbled upon summer vacation pics from Okaloosa Island, Florida. Our family loves everything about the beach and this former Iowa girl never tires of the wonders of the sea. The dolphins. The sunsets. The surf. We love it all. Perhaps our favorite thing to do as a family is play in the sand. For several hours each day, my three children took delight in creating their very own architectural masterpieces in the soft, white sand. And every morning, as we strolled the beach, my kids found the tide had washed their sand castles away.

Some of us never outgrow our desire to build castles in the sand. As we strive to meet life’s demands, we erect our very own creations based on worldly desires and human principles. And it seems like the right thing to do. Still, over time we watch helplessly as it all falls away. For, “unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Truly, the LORD will not allow anything to stand that takes His place in our hearts. We are told “everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:26-27).

We are not to place our hope in wealth, humanity, or infrastructure. All of these things, though reassuring, are temporary. To the contrary, we are told to place our hope in eternal things. Our efforts and investments must be in those things close to the heart of God. Reading God’s prayer and regular prayer give us a strong foundation of faith. It is the state of our union with the LORD that most concerns Him, and God does not take kindly to second place. Once we truly understand the heart of God, we are free to build for Him. Only then will our efforts stand up over time and bring Him glory.

The Bible teaches us that “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). Truly, as God’s children, we have a moral line in the sand. It’s called the Bible and it’s truths endure time and culture.

We are His people. God’s ambassadors to a broken world. And as such, we must be mindful that “there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2). It is time for us to build on His promises and invest in those things our Heavenly Father holds dear. For the LORD is building His church on Christ, the Rock Eternal.

Rich

June 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Heather Arbuckle –

We hear a lot of talk about wealth these days. Who has it? Who wants it? Who squanders it? It doesn’t take more than a few moments of current events before someone is screaming about it. And while the world may not know it, I feel I must proclaim…

I’m Rich.

Not according to my bank account.
Not because of my social standing.
Not due to the neighborhood in which I dwell.
Not because of my car, my clothes, or anything I now possess.
In all the areas of wealth measured in society, my standing is quite ordinary.

But I will say it again…I am rich.

I am rich in love…
I have been married to my college sweetheart for over 18 years, and I still adore him. While time has changed us both, I still get butterflies when my honey walks through the door each night.

I am rich in laughter…
Three rambunctious and comical children fill the rooms of my home with games, giggling, jokes, and fun. There is never a day that we don’t laugh together. NEVER.

I am rich in friendship…
My circle is small and strong. A handful of sensational, Godly women stand as my hedge when the world around me gets crazy. They accept me for who I am today, and encourage me to grow into who God created me to be. With love and support, these women fill my life with a sense of belonging.

I am rich in family…
Though I reside hundred of miles away from nearly all of my extended family, I have found they are never more than a phone call or text message away. Whether in celebration and triumph or grief and fear, my family is never far from my heart.

And most of all, I am rich in faith…
I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father that I treasure above all others in my life. He is my Hiding Place, my Redeemer, My Savior, my Comforter, my Rock, and my Friend. Over the years, I have learned to walk with Him through all of life’s adventures. He quiets my fears, hears my prayers, speaks into my circumstances, and brings light into my darkness.

We are warned in Ecclesiastes, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). In short, wealth will never be enough to satisfy our need for riches. To the contrary, true riches are not measured in dollar signs, real estate deals, or social justice. Indeed, real treasure is stored in the deepest places of the heart.

I look around my simple life which consists of fiscal responsibility and a very tight budget and my heart swells with gratitude for all that God has lavished on me in this life. Once more,  I am reminded of this simple truth that “a faithful person will be richly blessed” (Proverbs 28:20).

I am rich.

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