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Showing posts from November, 2019

Get a little Biblical - why don't ya!

Contributions vary depending upon talent, time, or treasure - or at least that is what we'd like to think.
I have heard many a person hopelessly announce with a finality to their declaration, "I don't have anything to contribute." In considering what they "have" in the light of how they may compare to another, they see their own talents or treasures as "deficient". This is totally not true of any of us - we all have something to contribute! I believe scripture plainly addresses the issue. Each of us is given a measure of talent - NEEDED talent. It has a purpose - even if it is a small one 'compared' to someone else's. Look at the widow with the one tiny mite (not even a single penny). She gave it all - nothing compared to the "sizable" monetary offerings of the others who came to the temple that day, but it was EVERYTHING to her. Faithful hands and a yielded heart is all God ever wants. He isn't going to turn anyon…

The Battle is On!

There are days when I feel ever so grateful and aware of each breath, each rhythmic thump of my heart, and each wisp of air as it gently passes through my hair. The moments don't pass me by unnoticed - keenly aware of the people surrounding me, the challenges ahead of each of them, and the enjoyment we find in just being together. Perhaps we get too caught up in life at times to even realize the type of fight we all are really in with each new step we take. In the specific moments we take to actually pause long enough to look around, we often discover we are in the fight of our lifetime - not alone in this fight, because others are right there, dukes raised, readying themselves for their own fights!

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk awa…

Recall override

Cynical people are continually worried - finding it very hard to find anything at all positive in any of life's circumstances. They are also very determined that everyone else in life is after their own interest and have ulterior motives behind everything they do. Their belief that only selfishness motivates human actions significantly limits how they interact with others. Their disbelief in or minimizing of any selfless acts or disinterested points of view usually sets them at odds with others in life. I thought a cynic was perhaps just a nay-sayer - one who just opposed things because they had a genuinely "sour" disposition! Maybe it could be they were just people who had been "burnt" so many times they no longer believed good things to be possible in life. Regardless of their frame of mind at the moment, the cynic cannot see much good in life. It truly would be miserable to face life as a cynic because they have a hard time ever seeing life from the perspe…

Are you resourceful?

There are moments as I am reading through scripture when I have to ask, "What were they thinking?" It is though the actions someone took were clearly not right, but they chose them anyway. Sound familiar to anyone else besides me? Do you ever think God is maybe just a little comical in what he records in scripture? Sometimes you come across something you know is really not "comical", but when you see it, you cannot help yourself - you laugh! When I came across the portion of scripture which described a billy goat as a "solemn dignitary", I had to ask if God was actually being just a little sarcastic in that description! God nails it, though, because there are times when we put 'goats' in positions of power and forget who really 'owns' the barnyard! We get so focused on the one thing in our path that makes the most noise, or just simply elevates itself to some position 'over us' that we cannot see God is really still the one who c…

Here's a little, but wait, there is more...

My frequent and ongoing struggle to keep weight off my body has me investigating how to keep my metabolism moving right along so I can burn the calories I put in. I have discovered fasting from a meal or two a day on occasion actually helps me to keep weight off. It isn't that I am starving myself, as I have reserves! I am just asking my body to use what it already has and not to demand what it doesn't actually need! The term "fast" has a couple of meanings, but when we use it to describe a condition of heart, mind, and soul which abstains from something in order to focus on another, we call it "fasting". There are all kinds of fasts - some from food, others from input of various forms of media, or perhaps from a special treat we enjoy. The season just before Easter is called Lent and is considered by some churches to be a season of temporary "fasting" - giving up something in order to get a little closer to God during that season. I wonder if …

Setting up a landmark

Have you ever started out on a journey and found yourself there, almost unaware of the twists and turns you took to get there? It is though your car moved you on auto-pilot, but it was really your brain that did it! There are just some places our brain shouldn't take us on 'auto-pilot', but are destinations we all travel at times. We all have 'mental' roads we travel so frequently, we could drift into a state of total absent-mindedness and still get to our destination without even noticing how we got there! The ability of reaching the destination time and time again is really based on how frequently we "travel" the same path. The more we travel it, the more every twist and turn becomes something we maneuver through with ease. Have you ever considered the paths you travel with God (and he with you) in this same, familiar manner? I hope there are more of those paths than the 'mental paths' we shouldn't have been traveling in the first place!

I didn't get what I expected out of that....

I am going to ask some 'telling' questions, but unless you post a comment in this blog, I will never know your answer. God will, but I won't! Ever pass a little gas in public, only to quickly walk away, looking as nonchalant and "innocent" as possible? Or maybe hit the snooze button one too many times, then blame your tardiness on being "caught in traffic"? Or perhaps a deadline passes without your work being finished and you excuse it away with just how "busy" you have been? It is silly how we try to "cover up" our little "misgivings" with all kinds of make-shift "screens", isn't it? As I was reading the story of Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden this morning, I had the revelation of this "cover up" concept being a pretty OLD way of dealing with our short-comings! Covering things up has been around a long, long time! We continue to rely upon cover-ups as a means of …

Do you feel it?

I like to watch the cop shows and then try to figure out the "who done it" of the show. One of the things we see repeatedly in these shows is the cops questioning individuals who have witnessed the crimes - they want to capture as accurate of a description of the suspect as possible. Have you ever been asked to describe God - to give an accurate description of who he is? It is harder than you might think! We take a deep breath, then launch out into some kind of lengthy explanation of what God does, how he moves among us, what he has created, but these are his actions, not necessarily a description of HIM. All the while we are describing his actions, we are really struggling with getting anything "concrete" in our answer of who we know him to be in our lives. Try it! It is hard! David had a really good way of describing God - simple and to the point - light, space, and zest!

Light, space, zest— that's God! So, with him on my side I'm fearless, afraid of no o…

What's that I see?

I am not much of a recipe follower, but when I am interested in finding new ways to enjoy whatever it is I desire, I sometimes seek out a different type of preparation in order to experience the same ingredients in a different way. Have you ever followed a recipe so closely so as not to miss one important ingredient and then wondered why your "finished product" did not appear just as the beautifully adorned photograph in the picture, or as you imagined it would taste? I have! No one told me I'd need a sprig of parsley, a lemon wedge, and a fancy drizzling device to make my plate appear EXACTLY as the picture! I had the SAME ingredients for the main dish, but lacked something else. The dish was similar, but not the same. Sometimes we have all the right ingredients, but we lack something in the presentation of what we have right there in front of us.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and inti…

Oh, I am dirty again!

What are some of the ways you get the 'dirtiest' in life? For me, I am tinkering with learning to work with wood. All that type of work can leave you incredibly 'dusty', 'stained' with this or that, and kind of 'stinky' by the end of the project. Clean hands and a pure heart - two conditions we often find eluding us or hard to maintain. Our hands get "dirtied" by the things we do - the actions we take - like the times I am working out in the shop. Our hearts reveal their "soiled" condition by the words we speak, the thoughts we entertain, and the ways we respond to life around us. There are clearly benefits to maintaining both clean hands and a pure heart, but I wonder just how often we focus on one and not the other?

Who may go up the mountain of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. He who has not lifted up his soul to what is not true, and has not made false promises. He will rec…

Are you downloading or offloading?

Most of us love a bargain find of some sort garage sale find, that sale rack at the mall, or the older models being phased out to make way for the new! Whenever we come across the item marked down to something less than its original price don't we just get a little excited about the 'find'? If not outwardly, you are probably celebrating, emotions dancing on the inside. Bargains are awesome. The problem is - some "bargains" are merely "made up" to appear as bargains! They end up not really being much of a "bargain" in the end. You know what I mean - those "treasures" you thought you could not live without that now just clutter your cabinets, drawers, or provide 'dust bunny collection spots' in your home. There are lots of things that present themselves in our lives as "bargains" - things we absolutely need - but are in reality going to provide nothing more than a fleeting moment of enjoyment.

Don't for a minute…

Oh, so I am the enemy

Did you ever stop to think how much your 'enemy' can tell you about yourself? Your true self, that is. Some of us find ourselves making excuses for our enemy's attacks - blaming them - all the while missing what that 'enemy' is telling us about ourselves. Some of us think this enemy is strutting around, just gloating because we aren't able to be free of whatever it is that is attacking us. Maybe if we'd stop long enough to consider the 'enemy' we face, we might just find we have been beaten by ourselves! I wonder how many times we find ourselves experiencing this "beaten down" state simply because of the subtle, but consistent, compromises we have made - allowing the 'enemy' inside of us without a single thought as to how it will affect us.

She played fast and loose with life, she never considered tomorrow, and now she's crashed royally, with no one to hold her hand: "Look at my pain, O God! And how the enemy cruelly str…

It is hampering my growth

One thing is said, another is meant. One thing is done, but the intention behind it is completely contrary to the "appearance". At times, we are presented with individuals who seem to have an "ulterior motive" in their actions. In other words, what is presented is really a "mask" for something being done to deceive the individual on the receiving end of the action. This is very dangerous ground for us - simply because we really don't know what to expect, or when to trust. When expectations are not clear, or trust is not fully established, we can get ourselves into all kinds of pickles!

Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road. (Proverbs 21:8)

We would probably call an "ulterior" motive a "second motive" - one which is usually a little selfish or self-centered in nature. These motives result in a life that ends in a tangled mess! Not my idea of where I want to be living, but I have known…

Noticed by grace

Stop and notice life around you from time to time - you might just be surprised by what you observe!
Sometimes we miss the "little things" in life. I guess I am as guilty of "glossing over" stuff as the next person. I wonder how much I really miss out on because I never stop long enough, listen close enough, or draw close enough to really "catch" what is happening? There are times when life passes us by at break-neck speed, or perhaps we are passing it by at that insane speed! Slow down, listen a little, get in touch with things and people around you. Notice stuff - it might just blow your mind!

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came fro…

Icing? Yes, please!

Have you ever blamed someone else for something you did wrong? If you lived in a house with more than one sibling growing up, you might have tried to blame a sibling, or the infamous person referred to a "I dunno". Most of the time mom or dad knew perfectly well that one of their 'charming children' was to blame for the broken glass, empty cookie jar, or missing remote! There are times we "blame" God for the ignorant stuff we do. We venture into stuff without clearly thinking it through - just plunging right ahead and never considering the end before we take the first step. In the end, we look back, wondering where God let us down! Proverbs reminds us people ruin their own lives by their own foolishness (Proverbs 19:3). God is seldom to "blame" for our missteps. In fact, when we come right down to it, the steps were miscalculated on our part - plain and simple.

Grow a wise heart—you'll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you'll find a…

Is any of that for real?

I have a observed this trend to get eyelash extensions, lip puff ups, and other types of augmentation. If you have them don't be mad at me right now, but why on earth do some of these gals get those eyelashes almost an inch long? It is like they almost need to work at opening their eyes! Those lashes are so long and with all the mascara on them to boot, they must catch the focus of their eye a whole lot. I also notice the lip enhancements with some form of stuff that is meant to puff them up, the eyeliner that goes on forever, and the six inch heels with the pointy toes. Mom had always taught me to leave the house "presentable". This does not mean I dress up, or 'super-enhance' what I have, but simply that I don't go out in my PJs or with hair every which way! Silly, isn't it, how much we focus on the external as our "view" of being presentable or beautiful to those around us?

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, int…

I'm too tough to cry!

There is a saying goes something like, "If I didn't laugh right now, I'd probably be crying!" Golda Meir said, "Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh either." One of the most popular columns in the Reader's Digest when I was growing up was the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" feature. Why is it we enjoy laughter more than tears? Might it be that we equate tears with melancholy and tears with joy? Could it be that tears leave us drained, while laughter seems to build us up? Maybe it is because the more we cry, the deeper the worries set in and the more we laugh the worries seem to lift for even just a while.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. (Proverbs 17:22)

A cheerful disposition is good for our health! Sadness leaves us feeling like we have been wrung out and left to dry out like a used washrag. Ever see a dried, used washrag? It is brittle,…

More than a friend

Whenever someone or something forces you to continually direct your attention and energy to whatever it is you are doing is said to be 'keeping you on your toes'. Staying on your toes is a term used to describe being prepared for whatever could happen - the potential or eventuality is in the forefront of our thoughts. In simplest terms, it means to be ready for action - ready to jump in and to take whatever action is required. In another sense, we can describe this as alertness or awareness of what is going on around us. Either way, there is attentiveness, intentional preparedness, and an investment of ourselves. To be 'on the watch out' for something or someone is a very similar term. It means we are aware as a result of being challenged!

So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on …

Oh, that is what you said!

Have you ever just chased your tail round and round? The harder you seem to work at solving something, the more difficult it seems to become to solve it. You never seem to "catch up", never seem to fully "grasp" the goal - the solution seems to evade you and you try repeatedly to solve whatever it is that stands before you. In the end, you just sit there in total frustration, more in a muddle than you were when you first began, wondering if there are any 'untried solutions' to the issue. Just as quickly as we started, we find ourselves out of energy to continue to journey! We stop short of the goal - never really crossing the finish line. What a waste to have started and then to not finish it. We are reminded of the importance of staying focused. We are also reminded of the senselessness of relying on anything other than Jesus to give us prominence or importance in the Kingdom of God.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I hav…

Say What?

One day, Paul was writing a letter to the Roman church. He is quite clear about his intention in writing – he wants only the best for his readers. He goes one step further in explaining his intention – he wants their salvation. His real “heart feelings” are summed up in the words of Romans 10:3 when he says, “After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.” He goes on to outline the receiving of grace by faith - not a system of "works" - in the heart action of believing we are saved, not in the doing of 'actions' to get our salvation. Then he asks a question he says has been asked for years by almost every prophet or preacher along the way, "Is what I am saying really making any difference?" I think there are times we all ask this question - especially when it comes to sharing our faith. The very next thing he said caught my attention this morning: Have yo…

Where'd I put that thing?

I used to enjoy watching the re-runs of the TV series, "The Waltons". The simpler times of 'pioneer life' have their intrigue - if not immediately, at least when you are in the midst of a traffic jam on the highway or a huge delay at the airport! The struggles to remain true to their convictions when times were quickly changing around them is a reminder to me of the speed of change demanding our attention today - change happens at the speed of light these days, or so it seems. What touches me the most in these shows about pioneer life is their simple trust - in their neighbors, in their family, and in their God. One of the characters on the show, Ike Godsey, is the store owner and local postmaster. His store is never really seen as what we'd call "impressive" by today's standards, but it always seemed he could get his hands on whatever anyone was looking to obtain - even if he had to special order it. Sometimes we forget we have a great big God …

More than "feeling" it

The gist of the entirety of scripture is the concept of taking what we come to know or discover there, and then applying it to our lives so our lives are affected by whatever it is we are discovering. Isn't this the basis of all learning? Application being the basis of all change because without application there really is no advantage to knowledge - it is nice to have, but if not applied, it is 'trivia'.  It is only when knowledge is applied that we can say we are truly developing "wisdom".  As we explore scripture each day, I think God is wanting to tell us something more than, "This is a nice little tidbit of knowledge for you." In fact, he likely is saying something closer to, "Take this, use it, learn to live within it, and be blessed beyond your wildest dreams."

Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees got on him. "Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?"�…