Archives for November 2012

Heading South for the Weekend

Happy Friday, Friends!

This post is headed out late this morning… it’s just been one of those weeks. I had the opportunity to speak to a college group yesterday and am headed off to a middle school this morning after which I will swiftly begin packing! Tonight we will load up the car with toothbrushes, The Jesus Storybook Bible, and medical supplies and leave for Mexico around 3:45am. I think I need to go to sleep right now. ;)

As always, we would love your prayers for safe crossing, smooth travels, and a great clinic in the morning. Here’s where we’re headed

 

 

Rocky Point Medical Clinics, a ministry of Family of God Fellowship in Puerto Penasco, sees hundreds of patients each month, providing much-needed health care as well as the Gospel. Begun by two amazing people whom we have come to love, the clinics are staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and other health care workers to provide patient care and health screenings. The clinics attempt to provide care when no other resources are available to people desperately hurt by the changing economic conditions of the area. In addition, funds channeled through the ministry help to provide surgeries and procedures which could not be afforded by the local people.

 

Obviously I’m not part of that medical staff. (Nor should anyone want me to be!) I will be bringing crayons, hundreds of coloring sheets (Thanks to Girl Scout Troop 634!), and multiple copies of The Jesus Storybook Bible in Spanish. “Este libro es muy importante.” I’m a kid wrangler for the day while the families wait to be seen by one of the doctors. It’s an amazing privilege to watch the medical staff work, no matter the conditions presented. I’ll be honest, it’s a special window into the life and heart of my husband that I don’t get to see on a daily basis. It might be slightly uncomfortable for his patients if I just trailed around all day, so I definitely take the time to glance over and watch during the clinics.

 

This is going to be a fast trip. Four hours south, a six-hour clinic, and then four hours back home. All that to say: bring on the prayers! I’ll post a few pics on my Facebook page this weekend if you care to see some of the images from this journey.

Blessings on your weekend, wherever the road takes you!

Following,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: Hurt Feelings

Dear Ginger,
School hasn’t been going very well. I have a teacher who treats me differently from all the other kids in my class. My mom, dad and others have talked to her. I just wish Jesus would come in her heart and show her the right way to treat me. What should I do to help me be stronger around her when my teacher hurts my feelings? –A

Dear A,

I am so, so sorry about the situation with your teacher. My heart hurts for you. It sounds like you and your parents have done everything in your power to fix the situation… and yet, it’s still broken.

What do we do when we are being treated poorly or unfairly? Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4, NLT

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9, NLT

Over and over the Bible calls us to love others even when the situation isn’t fair.

“Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” Luke 6:28-29, NLT

Praying for people who hurt our feelings is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want something good happen to them. The prayer Jesus has in mind here is always for their good. He is not talking about us praying that those people would be run over by a truck. He’s not talking about praying for lightening to take them out. We are to pray that their hearts and ours be softened, be changed, be reconciled. He wants us to head to the root of the problem, not just the symptoms.

For example, if I stay up late and don’t get enough sleep I end up getting a headache around one in the afternoon and I can be irritable for the rest of the day. But if all I do is take painkillers or drink caffeine, I’m only dealing with the symptoms. What I really need to do is get off Facebook and go to bed earlier, because that will eliminate my tiredness. That’s what prayer does to whatever problem we are having with someone. The best thing we can do is pray for the people who have hurt us. Praying for your them will actually keep you from being destroyed by bitterness and anger.

Jesus is calling us not just to do good things for those rough relationships, like greeting them and opening the door for them; He is also calling us to WANT their best, and to express those wants in prayers when the enemy is nowhere around. We are to love them, bless them, and pray for them.

I don’t know why your teacher is being hurtful. But I do know that God loves you both so much. Perhaps God has put you in the situation just to show her love. Have you tried praying for her? Maybe pray each morning before you go to school that God would give you the strength to love her, and that God would open her eyes and heart. I know it seems like a tall order, but I know the freedom that prayer can bring from personal experience.

I’ll be praying for your situation, A… that God would give you courage, peace, and comfort each day.

Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12, NIV

Question: What advice would you give to A?

Following,
Ginger

Earpiece

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8, ESV

I love spy movies. I can’t handle shoot-em-up, horror, or scary movies, but I do enjoy a good intellectual thriller. When my family gets together we watch movies. This week I saw “Skyfall” (James Bond), “Lincoln,” and “Brave” – finally. One theme stands out in all three films: LISTEN.

There’s a particular scene in Skyfall that I’ve been thinking about all week. James Bond is on a mission and has an earpiece in place so that he can communicate with backup. However, at one point he chooses to take out his one point of contact, that earpiece, and drop it in a glass of champagne. He’s going forward alone and doesn’t want any other point of view along for the ride. Aren’t we impressed with his rogue spirit?

I’m James Bond.

Ok, terribly cheesy metaphor, but track with me for a second. This time of year I can get so caught up in my schedule, lists, parties, and plans that I literally just drop my earpiece of connection with the Lord. Instead of heeding His wisdom, I want to listen at my convenience and in my timing. But I’m missing out, because He has valuable words for me every hour of the day.

I’m committing for the season of Advent to listen first each day. Before I post, tweet, eat, write, run… I want to listen.

 

“When your words came, I ate them;
    they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
    Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16, NIV

 

Care to join me?

Following,
Ginger

Oh Give Thanks!

Forgive the silent blog this week. My family is visiting from Texas and I haven’t wanted to spend a moment in front of a computer screen. We’ve been planning the big meal, playing games, enjoying the Phoenix weather, and just loving being together. I am so thankful for this week.

I hope and pray that you find joy in giving thanks this week with a table for two or a table of twenty. May stress fall to the wayside and be replaced with laughter. (After all, when you stop up your drain with potato peels and you have to clean your turkey in the bathtub, what is there to do but laugh?!) 

May your heart be filled with the fullness of joy!

“Oh Give Thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for his mercy endures for ever.” Psalm 136:1

With Thanks,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Seventy-One

I’ve mentioned my love for Lois A. Cheney’s poetry before, but today I wanted to share one of my favorites from her book “God is No Fool.” She reminds me to persevere AND rest in prayer.

seventy-one by Lois A. Cheney

Once, I prayed,
Who am I?
 
If only I knew who I was.
If only I knew what I could do.
 
And I prayed more earnestly,
Who am I?
 
If only I knew, faith would come.
If only I knew, strength would spread.
If only I knew, I could
work and serve and grow.
 
And I demanded in prayer
Who am I?
 
And he smiled,
And said,
“It is enough that I know,
Follow me.”
 
And I did
____________________________________
 
It is enough that He knows – it must be enough! I am, plain and simply, a child of God. How refreshing. How encouraging.  How challenging. I hope and pray that your spiritual journey, wherever it is, might be rooted in Him.
 
Happy Friday!
Ginger

The Mountain

Lots of things have influenced my prayer life: books, people, liturgy, teaching, and experiences. But a teaching and experience combo on the top of a mountain in Israel stands out above the rest.

Mount Arbel is a mountain in lower Galilee with high cliffs and views in every direction. On a clear day you can see across the Sea of Galilee, to the heights of Mount Hermon and into the Golan Heights.

The journey to the top was intense. We fought our way up Mt. Arbel, removing layers of clothes as we entered the low-lying clouds. The hike kept us panting, but the scenery took my breath away. I chatted with my fellow hikers in between gasps, totally unaware of where our journey was taking us. But eventually we reached the top. If I close my eyes I can picture that first look: windy, chilly, rolling dark clouds, the Sea of Galilee, and tiny villages dotting the entire landscape.

We bundled back up and sat down. (I love that… went up on a mountain and sat down… to pray. Sounds familiar.)

We were reminded of the strenuous hike taken to reach this quiet place, and the journey that Jesus would have taken to get away from the crowds.

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

eremos topos – solitary/quiet place – in Hebrew: desolate or deserted.

“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles…” (Mark 3:13-14)

Jesus quite possibly spent the night on this solitary mountain top and then called His disciples. I found myself straining to grasp the lesson our trip leader was trying to communicate. It felt as though the rain and wind were doing everything in their power to keep me cold and miserable, but then something happened to change my entire attitude and perspective. It’s something so simple, and yet it’s a picture that will help me in my times of prayer for the rest of my life.

PERSPECTIVE

Our trip leader called out to a guy in our group. “Kyle, will you join me up front?”

Kyle, a tall twenty-something with red hair, obliged. Kyle was encouraged to name someone he looked up to or a celebrity he would like to meet. He chose the author J.R. Tolkien. Our leader, Matt, then took on the persona of J.R. Tolkien carrying a basket of bread for the illustration. “Kyle,” he said, “I want you to ask me for one of my loaves of bread. And by the way, you are homeless and very hungry.”

Kyle grovelled a bit reminding Mr. Tolkien just how much he loves all of his books. He went on to pay his respects, to mention favorite books, and then to gently ask, saying please several times, if he could have some bread.

Tolkien eventually relented and handed Kyle an imaginary piece of bread.

End scene.

Except then our trip leader did something else a bit unexpected. You see, Kyle’s father was also on our trip. He was called to the front and asked to stand next to Kyle.

“Kyle, ask your dad for some bread.”

Kyle put his arm around his father and asked simply and without hesitation, “Dad, may I please have some bread?”

I’ll admit, I became a little choked up as father and son hugged and shared a moment on the top of the mountain of prayer. I lost it when our guide turned to us and said, “Just ask. You aren’t speaking to the CEO of a company or an angry dictator. You are talking to your Father. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask. And He Gives. Gives. Gives. Gives. Gives.”

Mt. Arbel has changed they way that I pray because I have a better picture of my Heavenly Father, a reminder that He invites us to connect with Him, to seek Him, and to simply ask of Him.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this:

‘Father:
    May your holy name be honored;
    may your Kingdom come.
Give us day by day the food we need.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we forgive everyone who does us wrong.
    And do not bring us to hard testing.’”

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you should go to a friend’s house at midnight and say, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine who is on a trip has just come to my house, and I don’t have any food for him!’ And suppose your friend should answer from inside, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, yet he will get up and give you everything you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking. And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.For those who ask will receive, and those who seek will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks. Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13, GNT)

Just Ask.

Following,
Ginger

Chazaq – Prayer

“And there is none that calleth upon thy name that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee…” (Isaiah 64:7, KJV)

Isaiah 64:7 – “How to Pray”

(Hebrew) Chazaq;

To fasten upon; seize; be strong; courageous; obstinate; to bind; restrain; conquer; catch; cleave to; be constant; continue; force; lay hold on; maintain; play the man; wax mighty; prevail; retain; be urgent; wax strong.

All these meaning can be understood in connection with prayer. If one would stir himself up in this manner, refusing to be denied, and if he would appropriate every benefit of the promises and covenants of God which have been freely and abundantly given to men – all men, then such a person would experience answers to prayer for body. soul. and spirit. for both himself and others.

From the Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Dake

“Then Abraham prayed…
Isaac prayed…
Jacob prayed…
Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed…
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD…
Then Samson prayed…
So David prayed…
Elijah stepped forward and prayed…
And Elisha prayed, “O, LORD”…
After Job had prayed for his friends…
And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD…
Daniel gt down on His knees and prayed…
From inside the fish Jonah prayed…
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed…
Going a little farther, He fell with his face to the ground and prayed.”

(Uses of the word pray in its various forms from Genesis to Revelation.)

Recently I have been thinking, praying, discovering, and learning what prayer does and could look like in my life. I’m looking forward to learning together this week.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Slow To Post

 

Today’s Thursday Tip covers commonalities for all of us: Social media and Thanksgiving. Learning to live on mission with our words this month… and always. Check out the new video below:

Slow to Post from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

A November Challenge: Think before we post. May our words (typed or spoken) bring joy and encouragement to anyone listening or following…

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:19-20, MSG

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29, MSG

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14, NIV

Following,
Ginger

Melodramatic

I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic.  My journals are covered with sketches, photos, and attempts at prose and poetry.  I recognize it’s not very good, but I keep at it.  I started consistently writing in my journal after reading Anne Frank in the 5th grade.  I was sure that if I ever died at a young age my journal would also be placed in paperback and shipped out to school children the world over.  Although not as important to history and literature as the Diary of Anne Frank, I was sure that my entries combined with sketches, photos, and poetry would make for a thrilling read.

My first entry dated 6/23/94 is an original poem entitled “Life” – I was 12 years old at the time.

Through storms of unkind words
We live without a light.
Past memories full of swords,
We balance with all our might.
Though society binds us down,
And values make us sick,
We set aside our frowns,
For together we must stick,
Or apart we will drown.

Apparently life was very hard in the suburbia of North Dallas.  I fittingly entitled my first journal as “My Link to the Past.”  Here’s a link to the 18th of July that same year.

Dearest Sonnet, (Don’t ask, I have no idea.)
Today we traveled from Trinidad to Euray, Colorado.  Euray is beautiful.  The mountain air is refreshing!  We saw a lot of beautiful scenery.  Tomorrow we aren’t going jeeping.  Instead, I have no clue as to what we are doing.  The town is so small and quaint. Last night I was burning hot.  Tonight I will be hot. Well, gotta get some sleep.  I’m extra tired.  By for now my sonnet, Ginger.  9:25pm

As I read through the many journals I have filled in the past 18 years, I can’t help but wonder why I continue to fill them, and why, even now, I am transposing them for others to read.  But perhaps the dream to be a part of a 5th grade reading list still remains.  Publish them now and one day children in classrooms will take tests on the trip I took to Colorado or my plight as Anne of Green Gables in love with the young man playing the role of Gilbert Blythe in the school play.

Maybe the world will never know… then again… maybe so.

Anyone else have some ridiculous fabulous entries written by their pre-teen selves? ;)

Happy Wednesday, Friends.

-Ginger

Flying

I chose this image to fill my kitchen chalkboard for the next few weeks after a little Pinterest inspiration. At first glance it’s not terribly seasonal. I wondered after hanging the board back up if I should have chosen a Psalm of thankfulness and a giant pumpkin instead. But I know that this is my lesson in gratitude.

I want the reminder each and every day to see forgiveness as freedom: forgiving others, forgiving myself, and living in the grace of God’s forgiveness. For far too long I’ve let the fear of failure keep me from embracing the life I was created to live.

“This fear of rejection drives me hard, eating away at my courage. And so I am cautious in my love. I am timid in my faith. My life tells a small story. I long to be seen, but I feel safe when I’m invisible. So I stay a good girl. And I hide…

I hide behind my mask of performance so people will think I am smart, capable, and put together. I hide behind the reputation I have established rather than trusting an unpredictable Jesus. I hide behind my positive emotions rather than let you see my reality. I hide behind my list of rules so I can check off each one, as if I’m another step closer to God because I’ve followed them. I hide behind my mask of strength because I’m ashamed of my weakness.” – Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

Slowly and surely those thoughts are transforming. I’m claiming truth even when it doesn’t feel true. His grace is enough. I am enough because of Him.

I am so thankful for the freedom that is beginning to seep into my heart and mind each day. It is freedom that keeps my eyes off of maintaining a perfect image and instead fixed on the One saying, “Follow and be free.”

Which side of the cage are you on?

Following,
Ginger