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Showing posts from November, 2019

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?"�…

Waiting to be noticed

Many of us expect God to "appear" one way (the way we imagine in our minds), but is the way we 'expect' he will appear in our lives accurate? Do we expect him to "perform" in a certain manner (with the plans we have so carefully calculated), but then get disillusioned when he seems to perform a different way? When he doesn't "appear" or "perform" as we imagined, how do we handle it? For some of us, we get mad at God for a while and go silent on him - because he did not "fit" our "mold" of how he should act. The Jewish religious leaders of Christ's time probably had this same kind of "mental argument" with Jesus as he walked this earth - simply because he didn't "fit the mold" of how they envisioned the arrival or actions of their Messiah! They missed out on so much of what Jesus wanted to do in and through them simply because they refused to believe Jesus could "operate" …

You need a personal invitation?

When I seemed to loggy-gag along, not really paying much attention when I'd hear dinner was ready, or some such thing, my brother used to say was "Do you need a personal invitation?" The truth of the matter was that "yes" sometimes I did! There are many forms of invitations - both spoken and written. There are even "unspoken" invitations - simply expressed by a simple gesture, a simple look, or a nod of the head. When my grandsons were younger, my daughter would plan for their annual birthday bash about six or eight months in advance of his birthday! She'd pick a theme, begin to pick up things throughout the year, all the while working out a "theme" for the party. She is much more creative than I am - making absolutely beautiful decorations, cleverly displayed snack items, and treasures for each child who would be in attendance. It amazed me how she prepared. One of the "tasks" was the custom invitations she prepared. Yep…

Right place - Right time

Are there times when you feel like someone has you right where they want you? You are probably not being paranoid! In fact, scripture declares God has us right where he wants us - in the place where he is free to shower grace and kindness upon our lives. If you stop to consider the potential in those words you might just stand in awe and wonder how a great big God could care enough about one small human in the scheme of millions upon millions upon millions of humans. You might not fully comprehend the depth of his love, or how far it will go to see a life touched just as it needs to be touched, but that doesn't keep him from showering grace and kindness in immeasurable amounts day after day in your life!

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the ma…

Cured or Carried?

Good people die from bad stuff. Disease ravages a body. Senseless massacres take tons of innocent lives. Crazy warfare blows homes to bits, leaving children without parents. A car ride to work suddenly ends when a distracted driver runs a red light. I have been asked many times why God allows a believer to die from their disease or accident. Just what was the purpose in his taking the person from those who cared so deeply for them? In moments of silence and deep thought, I honestly could not come up with a good answer for the agony and pain they endured, or the pain now very evident in their loved one's heart. I just don't always understand how God moves all the time, what he plans within the long fights with debilitating disease, or how the sudden loss of a loved one will affect the lives of those who have trusted him for their protection. One thing I can hold onto - God is NEVER untrue to his word! His purposes may be far beyond my limited ability to understand them, bu…

More than just awake

At nearly 101, mom sometimes has moments when she gets a little concerned about the 'other people' in the house. In actuality, there are no others around at that time, but somehow she thinks others should be here and she wants to know where they are sleeping or why they aren't eating with us. It is understandable since she has my sister here some of the week to be with her while I am at work. I have to remain alert to these changes in mom because if not addressed calmly and quickly, she will become distressed and worried about 'the others'. She will get down on herself for 'being daft' and then she will be worried he mind is going. Usually a soft answer, reassuring her everyone made it home safely and will be safe and sound in their own beds tonight is enough to settle her spirit, but I must remain alert to these sudden changes. Alertness is the ability to be keenly aware of your circumstances - so in tune with what is going on around you that nothing misse…

Huh, what?

Do you ever have days when you wonder why you say what you say? I do! Days when the words just seem to "pop out" without any forethought or 'governor' over them! I guess we all have those days if were were to be totally honest with each other. There are other days when I seem to drift into some kind of "daydreaming" mode and just drift along, not really there, but aware I should be. When I look at the end of the day I wonder why I just did not accomplish much, why my interactions with others didn't amount to much, or why things just seem kind of 'blah' in my life. At other times, I am so productive and accomplish much, every interaction is solid, and I end on an upbeat. Most would consider this kind of "up and down" behavior as a little bit of inconsistency - the actions don't consistently match the words or the intentions. True that! If you have figured out a way to always, 100% of the time walk in consistency....patent it! …

What's that stench?

Have you ever been to one of the Hawaiian islands? I haven't, but I know one of their traditional welcoming gifts is the flowered lei they place around your neck. It is a beautiful arrangement of flower petals, rich with the aromatic beauty of the island from which they were taken, strung together to form this aromatic adornment. In a sense, these flowers are like "garland" - adorning the visitor with beauty and anointing them with the aroma of the beautiful flora of the region, bringing them a little closer to the "heaven" they are about to enjoy while on the island. God has a type of "garland" he would like us to adorn ourselves with - one which proves to adorn us in such a way we cannot help but be brought closer to him in the process.

"Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live! Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don't forget one word! Don't deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your lif…

Drink deep

On a hot summer's day, sun beating down incessantly, humidity climbing, trees silent as even the wind has found it too hot to work, aren't you thirsty and desirous of a large, cool drink? You can guzzle gallons of iced tea or lemonade, sweat beads cascading from the glass, ice cubes clanking to the bottom as you down the cooling liquid. Yet, you aren't satisfied, are you? You want more because the demands of the heat are telling your body it needs to keep up with these demands. I wonder if our spiritual heat were turned up a little if we'd find our spirits telling us to 'keep up' with the demands of getting deeper and deeper into the things God has designed for our lives? Maybe, just maybe, we all need the heat turned up a little more in that arena - so we'd drink deep of his grace and love - not just once, but over and over again!

Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinki…