Really Relating

LIFE, LOVE, AND THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MAKE IT ALL MATTER

Come to Jesus 05/27/2010

Filed under: Come to Jesus,Prayer,Rest — Vickey Banks @ 11:49 am
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
Come to Jesus and get some good rest. Sounds great, but what does this verse really mean? Obviously Jesus didn’t mean that He’d put us to sleep if we came to Him! So, what did He mean?
The word “[1]rest” here comes from an action verb meaning Jesus would cause us to recover and collect our strength. He would refresh us. He would keep us quiet, giving us a calm and patient expectation.
Anybody out there in need of a little rest? Some refreshment? Some calm and patient expectation? Yeah, I thought so. The harried mom of young children, the grieving daughter, the depressed teenager, the worried parent, the overworked and overburdened…from what I hear from those around me, I’m not alone in needing this kind of rest that Jesus alone can give. So…if Jesus promised us rest, why aren’t we experiencing it? Why are our hearts and minds and bodies like hamsters running round and round on a wheel that doesn’t get us anywhere, exhausted but unable to get off the blasted thing?! Ah yes, the promised rest is contingent on our doing one very simple thing…
Come to Jesus.
[2]Come hither. Come here. Come! Come now! That’s what the word “come” means here. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so many exclamation marks in a dictionary! Clearly this is an urgent command. Scripture’s engraved invitation sent for you and I. We must come to Jesus and we must do it now!
Regardless of what else God ever asks us to do, this is where it all begins and ends. Coming to Jesus. We’re not to passively pray to God before we eat a meal or start to read His Word. We’re to urgently come to Jesus all the time. When life is full, as well as when it seems painfully empty. When there’s no more space on our To Do lists and when our wandering minds are keeping us up at night. We need to learn from His example, receive His Comforter, hang on to His wisdom, and receive this refreshing calm and patient expectation. The expectation of receiving not only His rest, but of receiving Him.
Oh God, we come to You now. Help us to keep coming.
REALLY RELATING
How do you come to Jesus throughout your day? Do you have any practical tips you’d care to share?


[1]Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Anapauo”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999.
[2]As above.
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HOPE in the LORD 05/20/2010

Filed under: Hope,Weary and Worn — Vickey Banks @ 10:20 am
Feeling weary? Looking for HOPE in all the wrong places?
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29Hegives strengthto the weary and increases the powerof the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those whohopein the LORDwill renew their strength. They will soaron wings like eagles; theywill run and not grow weary, theywill walkand not be faint.

 *HOPEis a verb here that means to wait, look for, hope, expect waiting to wait or look eagerly forto lie in wait forto wait for, linger for to collect, bind together to be collected.
God understands us far better than we understand ourselves. He knows that on our own we are weary and worn slick from life. We are overwhelmed and embarrassed to be so. Where can we find the HOPE we so desperately need to maneuver through the mess that we are? Ah, from Him, of course! He has all the strength and power we need! He is the Everlasting God! The Creator of the ends of the earth – those ends that include you and me! His resources are inexhaustible! He never wearies and His understanding is infinitely beyond our understanding.
The secret to our soaring vs. sinking is to draw from HIS inexhaustible resources, not ours. We don’t have to muster up enough strength or hope to make it. If we have accepted and placed personal faith in His Son, we have GOD Himself living and breathing inside of us! If we HOPE in Him, He WILL give us everything we need for life and godliness. We have HIS Word on it! Our strength WILL BE RENEWED! We WILL soar!
Oh God, help us place our HOPE in YOU, not in shaky circumstances. You are more than what we need. Help us look at YOU, to You, and for You. Help us look and wait for the sights and sounds of Your Presence with the kind of eager expectation that expects to find You. Oh God, be obvious to and in us. YOU ARE our HOPE.
REALLY RELATING
Are you weary from the circumstances or pace of your life? How can you place your HOPE in God that you might be renewed?

*The NAS Old Testament Hebrew LexiconBrown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius.
 

Land of the Living, Part 2 05/13/2010

Filed under: Take courage,Wait,Wait for the LORD — Vickey Banks @ 12:18 am
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
 in the land of the living! 
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong,
and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
       Psalm 27:13-14
It’s been a rocky road finding my way back to the Land of the Living.
In Part 1 of this Land of the Living post, I wrote of God beautifully bringing me to the hope-infused verses of Psalm 27:13-14. Smack dab in the messy middle of grief, He reminded me that there is goodness to be seen this side of Heaven. I shared the meanings behind the words in verse 13, so I’ll focus here on verse 14. May these words encourage you today.
Wait for
: to look for, hope, expect; to look eagerly for, to lie in wait for, to linger for.
While you and I will have weeks like my last one where the heartbreaking hits kept coming, God has promised us a more and better life than we ever dreamed of. Psalm 27:14 reminds me that life isn’t going to be all bad from here to Heaven. Some days, I need to hang around and look for the sights and sounds of His presence a little harder. I need to look and listen with the eager expectation due Him.
The LORD
: Jehovah = “the existing One”; the proper name of the one true God.
We’re not to wait because it’s nicer than throwing a fit. We’re to wait because He is the One True God. He really and truly is! The sights and sounds of His presence are worth waiting on. The LORD is with us in every situation of our lives. We are never alone. Somehow, someway, He will make Himself apparent.
Be strong
: to strengthen, prevail, become strong, be firm, grow firm, be resolute; to make strong, restore to strength, to strengthen oneself.
We’re not just told to be strong, but to grow in this area. We’re to actively strengthen ourselves and become stronger. The best way I’ve found to do that is to do what I’m doing here: run to God’s Word for truth, take it apart for understanding, claim it, and hang onto it for dear life!
Let your heart
Heart: inner man; as seat of appetites, emotions, passions, and courage.
We must do all that it takes to feed our heart – our appetites, emotions, and courage – with God’s truth. Among other reasons, we must do this to fight the thoughts and emotions that want to take us down a deep dark hopeless hole. I know that hole and trust me, you do not want to go there.
Take courage
Take: be determined, persist in.
Courage: to be strong, brave, bold, solid; assure; to exhibit strength.
Don’t give up or in, these words admonish us. We’re to stand firm when all around us is shaking.
Wait for the LORD
Again with the waiting for the LORD! Apparently God thought we needed to hear this twice. Surely that means it’s extra important that we do. So…that’s where you find me now…
Still waiting.
With eager expectation.
For the One Existing LORD.
Letting my heart take courage.
Yeah…waiting.
Join me, won’t you?
Really Relating
What helps you to wait on God? Favorite verse or activity???
Do you have a verse that you hang onto when life gets tough?
 

The Land of the Living, Part 1 of 2 04/27/2010

Filed under: Believe,Believing God,Goodness of the Lord,To Do List — Vickey Banks @ 10:39 am


Seriously God, where do I begin?
Feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to tackle all the To Dos weighing upon you? Those were my exact feelings the morning after my father’s funeral. However, I’m finding some solid, practical, much needed hope in Psalm 27:13-14,
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
 in the land of the living! 
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong,
and let your heart take courage;
 wait for the LORD!
Let’s look at verse 13 today, and then we’ll tackle verse 14 later this week.
Believe
We must nourish and foster our trust in God. Immerse ourselves in what’s true – God’s Word. Stand on it. Be carried by it. Regardless.
See
Observe and cause to observe. Don’t just know how life with God is supposed to be, but actually look for the sights and sounds of His presence…causing others to see them as well.
Goodness of the Lord
Life is not all mystery, and it shouldn’t go down just like bad tasting medicine. Goodness means there IS fairness, beauty and joy. We’ve just got to open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to see God’s goodness! Sorting through my parents things, I’m finding God’s goodness on sticky notes they’ve left to guide me, a note my Dad left assuring me of his love, a sister who is by my side, a helpful husband with the mind for business that I don’t have, friends remembering to pray for me, and a God who reminds me often that He will never leave me.
Land of the Living
This hope-filled phrase means the whole earth or ends of the earth. It originally meant reviving, sustenance, revival, renewal, and community. Picture Spring – nature coming out in all it’s glory with a profusion of green leaves, pink blossoms on Redbud trees, and yellow daffodils sprouting up everywhere. As long as we’re here on Earth, God has life for us to live! Warmth for us to feel. Work for us to do. Community for us to enjoy!
No matter how many things are on our To Do list today, believing God has got to top them all. We must believe that we will see His goodness here in The Land of the Living.
“I do believe; help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24
Really Relating
Where and how are you seeing the goodness of the Lord?


 

Honoring Dad 04/16/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vickey Banks @ 11:23 am

Most people don’t say good-bye to one parent on the anniversary of the exact same day that their other parent died. However…nothing could seem more fitting for us. For although our Dad was many things:
·      a shy boy
·      ornery young man
·      loving son and brother
·      brave marine
·      skilled carpenter
·      trusted realtor
·      loyal friend
·      humble, good man and an
·      exceedingly proud father and granddad
He was first and foremost:
            A head over heels,
                        Openly adoring,
                                    Deeply devoted,
                                                And actively loving husband.
He was crazy about our mother!
Although Dad was a quiet man, we grew up hearing him often tell us that our mother had everything from the perfect nose to the perfect toes. His words and actions repeatedly told us that he believed she was the best thing that ever happened to him.
If Dad was in the Living Room watching TV and Mom was in the kitchen, he would call out, “Shirley Ann, where are you? I can’t see you! Come in here.” He always wanted her by his side.
Grieving our Mom, living life, and fighting terminal cancer all with Dad these past several years has been the most difficult gift we both NEVER wanted, BUT feel PRIVILEGED to have received.
Because Mom was gone, we got to experience a concentrated amount of time with Dad. Side by side, we got to do all the Dr’s visits, chemo treatments, scans, etc. We’ve shared more meals, tears, hugs and “I love you”s in these past 4 years with him than we had in our entire lives up to that point. And, every single day we were with Dad, he reminded us of that he truly, deeply loved our Mother and us.
This has been the silver lining in our cloud of cancer.
This has been our gift.
Our time together also reminded us of a truth that we are infinitely proud of,                                   
Although our Dad was small in stature,
He was colossal in character.
We are blessed to have had a father who showed us how to live and how to die with integrity, dignity, loyalty and honor.
Because of all this, we genuinely want to thank you for honoring our Dad today. We know that many of you have known and loved our parents for decades. They treasured the memories you shared and spoke of you all. May your memories of their lives and their love continue to encourage and inspire you…as it does us.
With deepest gratitude for your love and support,
Vickey and Stacey
(Clem & Shirley’s girls)
This is the letter that was read at my Dad’s celebration service yesterday, April 15th. He died the same day as my mom and was buried on the same day as her.

 

Living In Transition 04/06/2010

Filed under: Change,Transition — Vickey Banks @ 11:18 pm


We are all in transition.


Think about it…

Seasons of Life.
Jobs/Careers.
Relationships.
Education.
Location.


We’re either moving toward or away from some thing. Some one. Some place.
Some transitions are welcomed. Even sought. Others are fought with a frenzied vengeance. Avoided like a life-sucking plague. Regardless of how we feel about them…transitions are inevitable.
Do you feel lost in transition?
If so, I know exactly how you feel. I am in the middle of the single biggest transition of my life. I feel like one of those people you see in a snow globe, at the mercy of someone constantly shaking up their little world. Honestly, I sometimes feel dizzy. And, well, I don’t like snow.
But you and I…we’re not plastic figures trapped in a cheap glass globe. We are handmade, one-of-a-kind creations, crafted by a God who has promised us a future and a hope. We weren’t created to be lost, but to live, even in transition. God is doing a work IN US, and I’m confident He wants our cooperation!  
We are in process. Which, interestingly, is what transition really means: a process of change, a linking.
Today’s process is part of our journey – our linking from one thing to the next. How we respond to these transitional times will undeniably affect our ability to embrace what’s ahead. Will we merely begrudge what we’ve lost or graduated from? Will we stay locked in a world of memory – of what would of/should of/could of been? Will we so long for what’s been taken that we look right past what we now have? So fear what’s potentially ahead that we don’t fully live today?
How do we embrace this journey of transition?
That’s my question. Got any ideas? I’m listening…
Really Relating
Where are you in transition? How are you embracing your time in transition?
 

Cell Phone Messages From God 04/01/2010

Filed under: Cell Phone,God's Word,Messages from God,Scripture — Vickey Banks @ 3:57 pm

Have you ever had a cell phone message from God?

This past Monday, I received two very upsetting phone calls from my Dad’s Hospice nurse. Among the things she said was that she felt He would probably plummet at any time. And, I was stuck about 25 states away in the middle of a Spring Break littered with sold-out flights clear across the country.
I opened my eyes the next morning and begged God to please get my son and I home to my Dad. Then, I checked the messages on my cell phone. In the midst of the mayhem, I saw an email that I get from a website called the daily verse. This was my unedited cell phone message from God:
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.
Then you shall know that I am he LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.
        Ezekiel 37:14
Let us be encouraged by this passage from the story of the dry bones being brought to life.
Be reminded of God’s willingness to fill us with His Spirit, put us where we need to be
and finish what He has started in us.”
Really, God? You will place me in my own land? You will put me where I need to be? You have spoken and You will do it?
Then…God gave me the next two and a half days to ponder whether or not I would believe what the Spirit within me so strongly proclaimed would indeed happen. The most hair-raising rental car return I have had in thirteen years of concentrated traveling. Two separate sets of cancelled flights. An extra night added vs. the hoped-for flying home early.
But…here I am, a week later, sitting next to my Daddy and still thanking God for placing me in own land and for once again showing me that He will do what He says He will do.
Even when absolutely everything else tells me otherwise.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
– Hebrews 4:12 NAS
REALLY RELATING
How has God used His Word to speak to you lately?