Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I learned at Kids Camp

I've been missing my time at the lake.  Between the scorching heat and a full schedule, there hasn't been much time or motivation to leave the safety of air conditioned buildings and commune with God outside.  But that doesn't mean I haven't learned from Him.  It doesn't mean we stopped talking.  Instead, He's been teaching me through the simplicity of a children's program. 

This week is Kids Camp at our church...you may know it as Vacation Bible School or VBS.  Ours is 3 and half hours of Bible stories, games, food, skits and fun.  The overall theme of the week is "God is Wild About You".  There's a different point that each activity reinforces each night...God made you; God listens to you; God watches over you; God loves you, no matter what; and God gives good gifts.

They all seem like such simple concepts, but they are so incredibly deep and rich with meaning not just for children, but for adults as well.  God has been using these concepts to reinforce so much that I know about Him, but don't contemplate often enough.

God made you.  The whole of Psalm 139 goes into such detail about His relationship with us, but let's take a look at just a few verses.  Verses 13 - 16 state..."For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."  God created us from the inside out.  From BEFORE conception to our last day, God has seen us and knows us intimately.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Think about it the next time you feel all alone or think no one knows or cares about you.  Personally, I'm trying to memorize the whole of Psalm 139, but it took me several days to get beyond the overwhelming concept just in verse 1..."O Lord, you have searched me and you know me."

God listens to you.  So often people ask me about my prayer life. " How do you keep it from getting stale?" "How do you not make it a laundry list?"  "You get so many answers - I don't think God hears my prayers."  I'm no one special...I'm not "super spiritual" - whatever that is.  But I talk to God often.  Everywhere.  At all times of the day or night.  In every day plain language.  Isn't that what you do with a close friend or loved one?  When you are privileged to find another human being who cares about you, loves you, desires to spend time with you and wants to hear what you have to say as well as share their loving thoughts about you...does that get stale?  Of course not.  So why would you treat a relationship with God - who loves you and cares for you more perfectly than anyone on this earth - differently?  Of course, YOU need to listen too...it's what makes it a real conversation.  I could write so much more on this subject, but I think I'll make it a separate blog post or you'll never get through this one!

God watches over you.  There's a prayer you probably said as a child..."Now I lay me down to sleep...I pray the Lord my soul to keep."  In Psalm 4, that very promise exists.  Verse 8 says "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord make me dwell in safety."  I've mentioned in an earlier post that I'm divorced and that being alone for the first time in my life was a real fear.  So much so that for the first 6 months after my husband left, I was afraid to sleep upstairs where I couldn't hear if someone tried to come in.  I'm not sure what I thought I could actually DO if someone broke in, but I slept on the couch - and not very well.  Then one night, I had a picture in my mind of huge, 10 foot angels, bright and brandishing swords standing around the perimeter of my home, guarding against evil.  Later, I found Psalm 4:8.  Getting a good night's sleep is no longer an issue.  I know God watches over me - at night, in the day, when I come and go.  Going back to Psalm 139, it says in verse 5 "You hem me in -behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me."  You can't get any more 'watched over' than that!

God loves you, no matter what.  Romans 8:38 - 39 says "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Nothing can keep us from God's love...no matter who or what comes along.  No matter what we have or haven't done.  Once again, that's a concept that sounds simple, but is mind blowing when you really consider it.  We've all had friendships end, experienced family rifts and the like.  Usually it's because someone did or said something we found offensive, hurtful, unforgivable.  Even if we are able to extend forgiveness, continuing to love or care for them is quite another matter.  Do you think you've ever hurt God that deeply?  If you think not, you're kidding yourself.  You curse Him, deny Him, ignore Him, blame Him unjustly, break His laws.  And you do it in one way or another every day.  But the Bible says in Lamentations 3:22 & 23 "The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."  Bottom line...God love you, no matter what.

God gives good gifts.  Ever experience a 'coincidence'?  You meet just the right person to help you.  You get an unexpected check in the mail that's just the right amount of money to pay a bill.  I don't call them coincidences...I call them God-incidences.  And of course, He still answers prayers...I've filled a book with the stories, so I know this first hand.  God gives good gifts.  Some are big, life-changing, WOWs!  Some benefit you in ways you might not even immediately see.  But any way you slice it, God gives gifts to us...and they are good.  Matthew 7:11 says "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." 

God made you.  God listens to you.  God watches over you.  God loves you, no matter what.  God gives good  gifts.  God is wild about you.  At Kids Camp the response to each of these 'points' is "Thank You God!!"  Such a small token in acknowledgement of so much.  Thank you God indeed.

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely wonderfully profound. And beautiful. I adore the way your write, Toni and I'm so grateful for not only our friendship, but for how God speaks to me through you and your lessons. I cried reading this today. Thank you, my dear. And THANK YOU GOD!!!! <3

    Love,
    Pam

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