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Cheryl Mendoza

How He speaks to me…..Or… can't He just call my cell when He wants to talk?

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Only time will tell…..

accurate alarm alarm clock analogue
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There is a song I’ve really liked since I was a teenager, “Only time will tell” by ASIA.  It came out in my MTV years, and I must have watched the video a hundred times or more. I hadn’t heard it in years, but out of nowhere it popped into my head.  Well not totally out of nowhere, as it seemed to sum up what I had been reading pretty nicely.

It’s something I started learning last year when I read about David. He was being run out of town, as his son was forcefully taking over.  As he is leaving, he is heckled by a certain man who was a relative of the previous king.  When David’s men wanted to kill the man for his words, David stops them.  He tells his men that what this guy is saying may be true.  God may even have told him to say it.  So who am I, says David, to do anything about it?

I was really struck by David’s attitude.  It was like he realized that God could have told this guy to say these things.  That maybe this guy could be speaking truth, and until David knew if it was true or not, then he was going to leave this guy alone.   We see later that when time had gone by, the man did get his comeuppance by David’s other son, Solomon.

It was like David understood that, “only time will tell.”   And David’s life is a prime example.  God says of David, “he is a man after my own heart.”  Really?   There would have been times where David, would have looked anything but that kind of man.  We only see what God is seeing when we look at David’s life as a whole.

So I had read that last year, and for some reason it really stuck with me. That sometimes you really have to wait to see the whole picture.  Sometimes the real truth or even the real personality only comes out through time.

Only time will tell.  I was glad to be pondering what God was saying to me. This seemed to be a lesson I needed to learn, although at the time I wasn’t sure why.  It did give me hope that truth will eventually be made known. It made me think though, what will happen in the “only time will tell” portion of the story?  How will that effect people?  It made me nervous.

God is in control, but sometimes His work seems slow in coming.   Really that “slowness” is His mercy.  Sometimes I am not obedient to what He is asking, and instead of dealing with it immediately, He gives me a little time to get my act together.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t.  When I do, it is pretty good.  I learn, grow and get closer to God.  If I don’t?  Well, then typically God has to do a bit of work in my life to bring me around to His way of thinking.  Many times it’s painful.  If something shouldn’t be in my life, and if I don’t let it go, well then God has a way of taking it out of my hands. It is for my own good, but it hurts when that happens.  Even more concerning, it has the potential of hurting others.

It is the potential harm to others that really made me wonder.  How can that be averted?  I have seen where God had to do this with people and depending on who it is and their position, it can be a confusing time.  I know, I’ve lived it.  By God’s grace, I was able to get through it by having someone whom I respected taking the time to walk through it with me.  We would talk, bringing me wisdom when all I felt was confusion. I don’t even remember what she said, but her willingness to be a sounding board is what kept me on track. One thing I know we did not do, well that was get into a session where we just blamed people.

The funny thing was, I didn’t know the whole story back then and I don’t even know it now.  One thing is for sure though, I made it through.  I still love Jesus, go to church and even still serve.  This did not make me turn sour on the church or the people involved or following God.

It really made me wonder why?

I am not sure, but I remember that it wasn’t long after this that I learned something very important to me.  It was a comment that I took to heart.  “Don’t be spoon fed the gospel.”

It really drove home to me that the responsibility for my spiritual growth, journey and beliefs was mine.  Oh….and God’s of course!  I wasn’t to sit back and let someone tell me what Jesus was saying, I needed to see for myself.  I needed to use the brain that God had given me to read, listen, study and seek the Holy Spirits guidance.    I can listen to others, but I was also to run what was said through the Holy Spirit to see if it made sense.  To use scripture as a means to know this God I follow, so that I can make decisions that would honor Him.

Without realizing it, I just kept looking up.  I started to learn things through God’s word.  Not by someone else teaching them to me, but by the Holy Spirit making me see things.  To hear truth in His word and see it reflected in His creation, people, and even in a song with a really bad music video.

While this post has been weeks in the making, I was not sure how to end. So it has sat for a bit.  I was able to get a bit of perspective on this when I was reading on Thursday.  It was just one line, but it gave me peace in the midst of questions.  “Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread…”  Acts 12:24a

 

Advent: Noel….

IMG_7016“Maybe I am a woman searching for a word?”  I love words, so when I heard the line from the movie Eat, Pray, Love….it obviously caught my attention!  So on my laptop, I just keep it open to notes, and when things catch my attention I write them down.  Sometimes I expand on them, and sometimes I don’t.

So it is early Christmas morning and I tried to get up before the whole household to write a post.   It didn’t work.  Ugh!  So after they were settled in with some coffee, I started writing about the fog again.  I guess I really do have it on the brain!  As I was trying to put some thoughts together, I read it again.  “Maybe I am a woman searching for a word?” and right below where I had written that, was a word.  I started laughing…. Really?  It had been there all the time, but it was like I had only just saw it.

IMG_7838The word was Noel.  For the past few weeks it had caught my eye in stores, and on cards.  As I was out, and when I was in.  I heard it on tv and in songs.  So being the word nerd I am, I had to look it up!

A noel is a Christmas carol, but if the word is capitalized, then it refers to Christmastime or the celebration of the birth of Christ.  There is a reverence to the word, and a spirit about it.  Maybe I think that because it is a French word?  Just sounds so cool!  Christmas is such a special time.  As someone who believes the whole “reason for the season” thing, I am struck by the spirit around Christmastime.  I know, I know….there is a lot of stress, sadness, and unmet expectations during this time.  But…there is a general sense of fun, wonder, and joy that surrounds Christmas.  I think that the spirit of God, just can’t be contained!  Just like the angels on the night of His birth.  Heaven could not contain the party, and I think it’s the same today.

So today, it you celebrate the birth of Christ….then CELEBRATE!  Don’t hold back!  The angels couldn’t contain themselves and we shouldn’t either.  So eat, drink and be merry!  Love today.  People you know, and those you don’t.  Be silly, fun, and give grace.  And did I say LOVE?  Because the bumper sticker on your car, the cross around your neck, the book in your hand and where you sit on a Sunday morning says nothing about God.  But when you love?  That is how the world will see Him!  The only way.

images-1 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

Advent: Outside looking in…..

So yesterday I was thinking about the shepherds.  You know the ones?  Those “In the fields by night” kind of guys.  I had to teach kids about them once and to help them appreciate the shepherds position in life we talked about how smelly they would be.  I know….not very spiritual….but true.  Think how you would smell if you were in the fields outside of town with just big fluffy sheep for companions?

 

ca9583de30e2e850b492eff0c494a42d--nativity-silhouette-silhouette-cameoNow some put shepherds in a category of outcasts from society, but others say they are just another group among the poor.    Either way, they give us a picture of separation from other people and the normal rhythms of life.  To have a big flock, you would need a big area of grass to feed them.  Have you ever seen sheep go through a field?  And when that field is done, you need to move them to another one.  The life of a shepherd was not a normal one of home and family.

 

So…Why do the angels tell these guys?  Was heaven so crazy with excitement that it could not contain the celebration?  The party was so wild that the heavens split and the craziness spilled out into the hills of Bethlehem.  I don’t know about that, but all I do know is that these were the men who first heard confirmation of this incredible birth.   On that night, the angels could not contain the joy of heaven and brought day into night.  And they brought it to these men.  The outsiders, the humble, the poor single guys who might not have smelled really good.

 

While my life is nothing like the shepherds, I like their story because sometimes I feel like I am on the outside looking in.   I used to hate that feeling, but now I see that it has its advantages.  Many times it gives me a different perspective, and I am grateful for that view.  Sometimes, like those shepherds I feel like heaven opens up and gives me a view of something other worldly.  Something beautiful! Those are the times I am grateful for who God has made me, but I still fight it.  It feels lonely sometimes, trying to find a place where you fit.  Now don’t get me wrong, I seem to be able to pass through many groups but while I can do that I am never totally comfortable where I am. I guess that seems to be the way God means for it to be, so I try to be content.  And when I feel out of sorts about it, I remember the shepherds and the amazing thing that happened to them that day.   It was to them that the angels brought the best news of all…..

 

But the angel reassured them.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”   Luke 2:10

To Love and Mourn…Together

So I am going to try and be concise….not too wordy.  No promises though!

Unknown 8.24.28 PMThis year was kind of funny because Lent started on Valentine’s day.  Not coming from a liturgical background, I have only started following this tradition.  (In my own made up way)  So a couple days ago, I was reading a blog written by a young Catholic woman, and she made the connection between Valentines day, the whole “love” thing, and Lent which prepares us for the remembrance of the greatest act of love ever.  I thought that was kinda cool.  Up to that point, the only connection I had made about the coincidence was to tease my friend that she may need to celebrate Valentines on Tuesday.  Continue reading “To Love and Mourn…Together”

Less politics, more Jesus

“Less politics and more scholarship!  And don’t give so much of yourself to this cause.  Yours is scholarship-and one can never know what the future may bring politically.  You understand me-my advice places me in your hands, I wish you well.”   I Will Bear Witness by Victor Klemperer.

The advice from this German professor was something that caught my eye as I read his diary today.  The gentle advice to this woman, whom he said was “an adherent to the new regime,” was daring.  It was advice that I think makes sense for many of us today.  As soon as I read it though, my mind changed it up a bit.

Maybe for us, we could change it to “Less politics, and more Jesus!  And don’t give so much of yourself to this cause.  Yours is Jesus-and one can never know what the future may bring politically.”

Have we spent too much time on politics and not Jesus?  Sadly, I just have to think yes.  How else do Nazi’s have such a strong presence right now?

(The fact that I wrote that sentence tells me that something is very wrong with the world but more importantly that something is wrong with us in the church)

“We are all infected impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”  Isaiah 64:6

Keeping it Real – Job

images-2Well I was spending some time with someone recently that I wasn’t particularly excited about.  You know…. It is one of those situations where you are going to have to hear their story again, and it is kind of heavy.  He had fallen on hard times, and had started questioning God.  Continue reading “Keeping it Real – Job”

What would a little love do?

images-6So every year I wind up writing scenes for VBA, or Vacation Bible Adventure.  I take bible stories and I adapt them to these vignettes that we do one a day during the week.

I have done this for years now, and it has been one of the best things I could have ever done.  God has used this writing to do some tremendous things in my life.  It has increased my love of storytelling, and even shown me that I could do it.  Above all though, most of my “bible knowledge” is not from Sunday sermons, or even bible studies, but from the reading and pondering that I have done while writing these stories.

Continue reading “What would a little love do?”

A little trust…..

images-1Sunday morning.  It is always interesting to see what happens on a Sunday, and as soon as I got to church, it started.  One of the songs we sang had something to do with the “power in His name”.  I actually don’t even remember what the song was, because I immediately started thinking.  I wondered, because that is what I do, if I really believed in that power?  I am still trying to wrap my mind around that whole “love your neighbor as yourself” thing again.  Just then it hit me.  The whole problem wasn’t with the loving, but with trusting.

 

Sovereignty.  Do I really believe that God is ruler over all?  Is He sovereign?

Continue reading “A little trust…..”

Only one thing gonna set you free…

I feel like God has really been trying to convince me how important images-6His love is.  I know that seems really silly, of course His love is important.  I mean really, He so loved the world.  This is Jesus 101.  Where the problem lies is not if I “get it” or not, but if I really choose to accept it and just do it.

Now I was really encouraged by a song I heard on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I looked a little more into it.  The song?  Well it is not your typical “christian” song.  It is “Let My Love Open the Door” by Pete Townshend.  What I find so interesting in this song, is that he writes it from God’s viewpoint. Continue reading “Only one thing gonna set you free…”

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