Midday Connection

A safe place to process your story.

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Guest blog: It’s Still in There!

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” Genesis 19:1-2

If Lot were your nephew, or son, or husband, would you have long given up on him? He had made a series of foolish decisions while in relationship with you. The last one took him to Sodom to flirt with a culture that was hostile to your God. As a family member, wouldn’t you be grieving for his spiritual condition? Yet, two men arrive, danger is imminent, and Lot’s courage and faith spring into action.

He is not dead to faith. His sojourn into spiritually dangerous territory has not killed every righteous seed God had planted in his heart.

The calendar months move slowly when I’m waiting for the spiritual return of one I love. I envision the bleeding effects of their environment on their love for Christ. How could fidelity not waste away by the day? How will any vestige of faith be preserved for the day God comes calling?

Seeds of faith are preserved when loved ones pray for the one who strays. All is not dead in his heart. Though the culture of lawlessness has surely influenced him and, by all appearances, he seems to have completely caved to its pressures, we underestimate the strength of a God who stirs the embers of faith in places no one sees. He even does spiritual surgery in the subconscious while someone sleeps to keep words and memories alive.

Over whom are you crying today? Over whom are you tempted to stop praying? Don’t do it! Weep, certainly, but not without hope. If any of us sow our prayers in heartfelt tears, we will reap a harvest with joy. God would tell many, and perhaps you are one of the many, that the faith you long to see evidence of ~ is still in there.

Even in Sodom, you can keep the embers of faith alive. I remember that and fight on my knees for their return. Amen

ChristineWyrtzen

Christine Wyrtzen is a recording artist; author, speaker, and host of the nationally syndicated radio program Daughters of Promise, heard daily on many stations. She is also co-host, along with her daughter Jaime, of Daughters of Promise Nighttime.

She has been known for 37 years as a musician and writer with 15 albums and 4 books to her credit. She has been nominated for a Dove Award and long admired for her ability to communicate to an audience. An artist with words, her poetic bent is evident in whatever she creates.

She has been married for 40 years to Ron Wyrtzen. They have two adult children, Jaime – married to Todd, and Ryan. Jaime and Todd gave them two beautiful grandsons, Gabriel and Andrew.

To learn more, please visit her website. 

Midday blog: Transition

This time of year, like many people, I begin to think more about transitions.  I see transitions happening around me as the leaves change and eventually fall.  The beauty and the loss.  The beautiful change in the color of the leaves also signals some death.  It seems that most (all?) change contains some loss.  We may lose a negative pattern, a healthy pattern, a friendship, a toxic relationship, warmth, coolness.  Whether we perceive the loss as positive or negative, it’s still a loss.  A change.

I think about transitions in relationships as I’ve grown and learned more about God and myself over the years.  Beauty and loss as I navigate those relationships with honesty.   I think about transitions in different jobs I’ve had over the years.  Beauty and loss as I say good-bye to familiar work and join new work.  I think about transitions in moving to different homes.  Beauty and loss as I meet new neighbors, hear new sounds in my home, say good-bye to a place where memories were made.  With every change there is a mix of beauty and loss.  So, what good does it do to think about the beauty and the loss?  For me, it helps to face reality and understand some of the internal tension I’m vaguely feeling.  By facing the truth, I can more fully move into the present.  By grieving and acknowledging the losses, I can more fully embrace the beauty of the change.

Right now, I’m in a transitional place in a relationship.  We are relating differently.  The changes are all good – even something we’ve both wanted.  But, I’m also saying good-bye to how things have always been done, how I have defaulted in relating.  As we renegotiate this relationship, I’ll make mistakes, take tentative steps, over-think things and try to trust the mutual love and respect.

What about you?  What change are you experiencing?  Do you see both the beauty and the loss in that change?

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Midday blog: When “Suddenlys” Come

When crisis crashes down on us we can become, in the words of Ray Kane, reflective or reactive.  To be honest, last week crisis hit our family and I struggled with my response.  Actually trouble hit my family of origin and my Midday Connection family, so it felt like a double whammy.

Melinda and I share an office and we found mold in our office.  We had to vacate and we were shuffled around for a few days until a suitable space for us was located.  Feeling a bit like a vagabond, I was unable to get all the work done that I would have liked, I had trouble concentrating, and I was generally irritable. I wasn’t very happy with how I responded.

My dad was admitted to the hospital for a week. His situation caught the family off guard. He need some help because depression had gone untreated for a while.  I remember thinking, how did we not know this? What could I have done differently?  All those worthwhile and yet condemning questions start racing through your mind.

Then Melinda received a call that her mom, who has had Dementia for 7 or 8 years, was not doing well and possibly near death.  Melinda flew to California and while she was flying last Friday, her mother passed away.

My mind, after I’d grumbled and groused and cried and questioned, went to the program we did on October 8 with Gordon and Gail MacDonald.  It is worth listening again, or for the first time, by the way.  They talked about the ‘suddenlys’ in scripture. What happens when things happen to us suddenly? Things we didn’t expect.  Has our walk with Chris prepared us for those moments? Do we have a relationship with him that helps us navigate the darker passages of life? I’d like to think I do, but I struggled this week.  Where did I turn?  Toward grumbling or toward a conversation with Jesus.  It was about 50/50 and I wish I could say it was a better split toward time talking with Jesus. How do you do with the ‘suddenlys’ in your life?

If you missed the program on October 8, then you didn’t hear Gordon talk about his own ‘suddenly’. He will be having surgery on Oct. 25 to remove a brain tumor.  It is believed to be benign.  But surgery of this kind is always difficult and can be tricky.  Please pray for our dear friends the MacDonald’s in the coming days, and for Gordon and the surgeons especially this Friday.

Anita Lustrea
Anita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Listener blog: Holding My Father’s Hand

Today, we’re bringing you an “encore” blog from a Midday Connection listener…

~~~

In 1982, when my sister, Peggy disappeared, never to be seen again, I had questions; questions that never got answered. Eight years ago, I sat in her murder trial where I was to testify. I would be identifying her husband, the suspect, by pointing him out. I didn’t want to even look in that direction.

Led to a quiet room to wait my turn, I was thankful I was alone. While my flesh was scared to death, my spirit reached out to God and I began softly singing. My body might have been in that waiting room, but I saw myself in God’s throne room, sitting on his lap, singing to him. When my turn came, God took me by the hand and went with me.

And when I pointed across that courtroom, and identified her little boys in photographs of long ago, God steadied my shaking hands.

All of us experience hard times. Maybe you are sitting by a loved one’s bedside, watching as cancer strips him of his healthy cells. When we are overwhelmed we have to trust in what is true instead of how we feel.

I do not understand my life

it’s difficult for me,

some questions have no answers

at least that I can see

and yet, with every year I’ve grown,

there is a truth that God makes known

I do not have to understand,

but simply hold my Father’s hand.
Sometimes when trials come into our lives we scratch our finite heads, look up and ask  “why?”

Our questions are often met with deafening silence. God wants us to trust him. To look past the raging waves and howling winds and focus on him.

We may not know what is around the corner, but we do know God will be there.


Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author of 42 Bible studies with Christianity Today as well as the author of numerous articles. Anne’s poetry is sold through Christian Book stores throughout the United States and in 23 countries. Originally from Chicago, Anne resides in Peoria, Illinois with her husband of 36 years, Michael. If you see Anne smiling, it’s probably because she is thinking about her two grandsons, Jude and Charlie. To find out more information about Anne, go to  www.annepeterson.com.

Midday blog: Am I Willing to Be Disturbed?

Yesterday, while researching a topic for Midday Connection on Youtube, I watched a ten minute piece of a longer National Geographic documentary on child brides. On the right hand side of the page was a multitude of other pieces on the topic. “Wow, there’s tons of stuff on Youtube alone about the needs of the world!” There’s plenty of current bad news available through daily news outlets, but how many times do I watch it or read it with a reason to do it? Learning about the chilling practice of child marriages was viewing with a reason.

Developing our minds includes becoming aware of what’s going on around us, open hearted in our observations and conclusions. This is in complete contrast to – well, I will speak for myself here – a tendency toward judgmentalism. Having an open heart toward documentaries about the plight of child brides, or Op/Ed pieces on food deserts in our cities or ongoing racial/class tensions means we move from, “They need to get over it,” to “I wonder, what is their story?”

I’m not a fan of blood and violence, but years ago I made it through most of District 9 (Alert: blood and violence!). Disturbing as this movie was to watch I realized God’s Spirit opened my eyes to the crushing emotion and experience of segregation and racism. We may feel as though we just want to insulate ourselves from the “blood and violence” of life, but sometimes, God may have a reason for us watching, reading, thinking about our weighted world. Am I willing to take ten minutes a week to let God speak to me about the needs of the world through His eyes – in a newspaper, Youtube, documentary, movie or novel, and do it with an open heart?

Melinda Schmidt

Melinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner. Twitter: @melindaschmidt

Midday blog: Art Reflection

Pierce_Strawberry JamAs you look at this painting by Bethany Pierce, think through these questions using your sacred imagination:

1) What do you notice first in this painting?
2) How do the drops of jam on the table make you feel?
3) What’s the setting? What else is going on in the room?
4) What do you smell, taste, and hear?
5) What might God be saying to you through this painting?

Midday blog: A Thoroughly Unexpected Conversation

“To take the train you have to be a people person”

I overheard these words while riding the elevated train system in Chicago (affectionately known simply as the El). The speaker of these words continued on to talk about how the train was “her car.” It got her everywhere she needed to go. Somehow the conversation quickly morphed into tithing. This lady and her friend were going on about how crazy it was that some people in church don’t tithe.

“It’s 10 cents out of every dollar, it’s not that much!”

What I then heard was these two ladies discussing how God had been faithful in their lives. Neither one has a lot of money, but they do what they can to support themselves, and give faithfully to God. In return they have seen His faithfulness to them…once again though the conversation took an unexpected turn, at least for me.

They started talking about God’s faithfulness in providing for medical expenses. One of the ladies expressed how thankful she was for the “Affordable Care Act” (also often referred to as Obamacare) which from her perspective was God being faithful in taking care of her. Suddenly I was experiencing a communications concept called “perspective taking.” I was seeing a controversial issue through a different perspective, and I could understand that perspective.

It made me slow down and wonder, how many issues, or more importantly people, do I think I understand and yet there are important perspectives I have yet to consider. I may not change my stance on an issue, but then again maybe I will. It makes me more prayerful as I consider what I think I know. Lord, may I have the humility to hold my positions loosely and be willing to be wrong.

What about you? Has anything happened recently to make you reconsider a position that you hold?

Josh Klos is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Radio Communications, he has served as the engineer for Midday Connection since 2010. He is also a part of the volunteer College & 20’s group staff at his church and enjoys spending time outside, as well as at libraries, bookstores and various coffee shops. He’s busy these days with graduate school, where he studying communication and culture.

To learn more about Josh and read his blog, please visit his website.

Midday blog: Poem reflection

On September 23, 2013, Janet Davis read a poem by Nicola Slee called “Fiat”. This poem is in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus:
Fiat

I uttered myself
I claimed my voice
I was not afraid to question
I held my ground
I made my yes
looking straight into the angel’s eyes
(any slave girl could have been beaten or raped for less)
There was no mastery here
Nothing was taken from me
Everything was given
Here I am:
See me
Listen
As you read this poem, reflect:
How do you feel as you read this poem?
What most stood out in the poem?
Why do you suppose this poem is called “Fiat”?
Are you being shown a different perspective? If so, how do you respond to it?
Can you relate to this poem, personally?

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