Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2021

Consider this....not that

What kind of things are you willing to overlook in life? Someone cuts me off in traffic and I tend to just gasp a little, let my blood pressure get back to normal, and then move on. I don't find it necessary to speed up, tail them, and/or flip them a certain finger while shouting expletives my momma would have washed my mouth out for back in the day. Someone eats that last brownie you were counting on having when you settled in to watch your favorite evening show and I tend to get a little bummed because I was 'counting on it', but I don't have a hissy-fit. In all truthfulness, I will probably scour the cupboards and fridge to find an 'alternative' to that chewy, chocolate goodness. We can choose to overlook offenses or we can choose to hold onto them like our last nickel. Which do you choose most of the time? Does the 'severity' of the offense come into question? Let's be truthful here - someone eats your brownie and you can forgive pretty quickly -

Who's better?

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life. (Psalm 51:4-6) We probably all have a close friend - someone who seems to know most of the "dirt" in our lives - hopefully it is someone you can call your BFF. To be totally transparent here, these "besties", "BFFs", and "best buds" only know us "most of the way", though. There are always some parts of "us" that we honestly believe are kept hidden away from everyone - those really secret things we just hope no one ever learns about us because if they do, we wonder if they will ever be able to love us, much less like us! The only one who really knows us "all the way&quo

What is your 'else'

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? (Romans 8:38) Is there anything ELSE he wouldn't GLADLY and FREELY do for us? Sometimes I think we expect God is somehow 'finished' with us at some point, but let me be the first one to admit he is far from finished with me! God didn't stop redeeming me at the moment I said 'yes' to Jesus - in fact, he is still in the process of changing a hard heart and sinful nature into one that will respond with obedience. My 'redemption' - a really big word for having my sins forgiven and my life transformed by the power of Jesus' grace - only began the work of 'creating me anew'. Yes, we are totally 'redeemed' at the point we say 'yes' to Jesus, but there is a lifetime of work being done within us to help us reject the desires of our

You can use this?

I think it was Norman Vincent Peale who reminded us it is always too soon to quit. There are a lot of things we chase after in life, sometimes quitting just short of ever achieving whatever it is we are chasing after. We chase after a lot of things in life, but I have come to the conclusion not all of them are really worth chasing. Sometimes we chase stuff which brings us grief and disappointment - not exactly the best outcome, huh? This chasin g is a part of a much deeper issue - we lack satisfaction or contentment, so we 'chase' and 'chase' and 'chase'. Contentment is a state of being "at ease" in our mind, soul, and spirit. We don't need activity because we are already at rest. Sometimes ceasing is the best remedy to chasing! Satisfaction really is that deeper sense of being grateful - fulfilled in what we have and who we are. Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.

I get it, I get it....no, not really

These days we are on information overload. The media is one thing, add to that social media and all manner of internet searches and we just can get inundated with info, but is it all 'right', 'true', or 'correct'. We can be 'data rich' and 'action poor', if you know what I mean. It is one thing to "know" something - quite another to "do" it. I know how to eat well - to choose the right thing to eat continually is a different matter! We know rewards of eating right always outweigh the short-lived enjoyment of the wrong choices! So, why do we act surprised when we get on the scale and see a few extra pounds? We made the choices - now we see the consequences. The truth is both the knowledge and the action must connect in order to get the results we desire in life. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, is it not? Keep and live out the entire commandment that I'm commanding you today so that you'll live and

Spring Training

It is almost spring again and time to begin to turn the beds so we can plant some veggies and flowers.  Have you ever observed just how easily weeds grow in those beds and how terribly much work tending a garden seems to require all the time? It just does not seem fair at how easily the weeds sprout up all over the place, while coaxing one rose bush to bloom requires dead-heading, careful watering, and regular fertilizing. A typical lawn may require hundreds of dollars a year just in "weed-preventer" chemicals! The soil has to be turned, nourished, and readied before I can plant one single seed. What is up with all these weeds? God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, "He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out." This most generous

Heed and Act - they go hand in hand

  “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35) I was always taught to pay attention to things that are repeated in scripture because they are important. If we just pass over something because it seems 'rote' or like we have heard it a million times, we may miss one of the most vital lessons we need to learn in our lives. I can drive by the 'speed checked by radar' time and time again, all the while ignoring it until one day I see those bright red and blue lights flashing for me to pull over to the side of the road. The sign was always there, but I didn't heed it and therefore, the consequences are deserved. If we heed the warnings in scripture, we do well. If we obey the commands in scripture, we do even better. Love one another - seems easy, doesn't it? Ever try doing it? You know

But why? How come? When will it be?

 Someone once said they didn't know all the answers, but they enjoyed taking on the questions. I am kind of like that individual. I like the questions - they challenge my mind. I like to see what will come out of pondering an idea - if it will 'fly' or fail doesn't really matter - I just like exploring the idea until I can see it fully. It doesn't escape my attention that each child comes into this world with a 'blank slate' of a mind and before long that mind is exploring all matters of immediate interest. You remember those days if you are a parent - those endless minutes of question after question that seemed so unnecessary - but oh how necessary they were to that little one! As a parent, we might have been a little frustrated by the endless questions, interrupting our 'workflow' and challenging us with slightly odd things like why goats poop nuggets and horses poop 'clods'. Yup, those questions may not make a whole lot of sense, but it wa

Fired Up

Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish. (Jean de La Fontaine) Imagine all the impossibilities you envision before you today and then begin to see them vanishing right before your eyes. That huge pile of laundry that awaits your attention - poof, gone. The gigantic undertaking of cleaning out all the closets and drawers where everything just seems to get jumbled - poof, done. The deadline looming for this tough project at work - poof, finished. Impossibilities - we all seem to have them and we all seem to view them just a bit differently, don't we? How we 'view' our impossibilities actually is a result of the condition of our soul - where it is we have placed our trust to overcome those staggering hurdles in front of us. For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37) Imagine being barren - unable to bear a child in a culture where children were the crown upon a father's head and the delight of every mother. Imagine the turmoil deep w

On the hunt

Have you ever been on the hunt for something and just not be able to locate it? I have heard how insanely hard it is to find new appliances these days because of the pandemic slowing down the manufacturing and shipment of the appliances to stores. One friend shared that her fridge absolutely conked out and she had to shop everywhere just to find a replacement. When she finally found one, it was still going to be a week before it would be in stock and delivered! Even when she was 'on the hunt' and knew what she needed, it was insanely hard to find. For me, it is finding clothes that fit the way I like them to fit, in a style that is practical, and at a price point that won't break the bank. We all have those things that we are 'on the hunt' for from time to time, but it is the thing that we are on the hunt for each and every day that will either make us or break us. If the 'hunt' is right, the results are bound to be fruitful! Whoever goes hunting for what is

Never look back

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. (I Cor

You bring that out in me

Carl Jung told us 'everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.' He was spot on with that one! In a sense, all of us have experienced the best and worst at times, attitudes, and what I shall call 'heart moments'. Moments when it just seems you will burst with excitement leave you feeling totally encouraged. Then almost without notice, another heart moment comes, bringing weight seemingly beyond your ability to carry it. I have no idea why life has to be so much like a "pendulum" swinging this way and then the other at times. With the highs and lows come opportunities - within relationship, ourselves, and our circumstances. We are given new insights into the tremendous blessings we have been afforded in life. We are also given insights into the "old habits" we "count on" to get us through - some of these "old habits" are more of a hindrance than a benefit. No wonder 'others'

Roots of Good Character

A wise person gets known for insight; gracious words add to one's reputation. (Proverbs 16:21 MSG) Boy, it has been a rocky year we have come through and most are glad to see it in their rearview mirror! Between the pandemic, political climate change, and the constant struggles with just 'getting along with each other', this has been a hard year indeed. Things will stand out in your memory that describe this year in some way. I would like to ask what makes you stand out from another in a crowd - especially the crowds that scream the loudest, protest the most, or seek the most prominent positions? Lately, I have been observing all kinds of things that make folks stand out. More than just multiple body piercings - loops dangling here and there, chains connecting this to that, and studs outlining their facial features like eyeliner. I am referring to the ways people act, speak, and especially the way they treat others. This seems to be the thing that intrigues me so much rig

Moments, not minutes

Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.  (Charles Dickens)  I don't know if I need to remind anyone else, but I will take this opportunity today to remind myself that these three things matter very much - the heart, our temper, and our touch. Our heart because it is the seat of all our emotion - guard it well and it will stay on an even-keel; neglect it or allow it to run hog wild and you will know many a misery in life. The heart is capable of being very hardened because it faces all manner of anger, hatred, and malicious intent in this world, or it can remain malleable in the hands of God even in the face of great adversity and resistance.  A temper that never tires might just be likened to an attitude that never forgets how to forgive, extending mercy even when it is least deserved. We all might just benefit from having such a temper, my friends. I know how many times I have been on the receiving end of that type of temper an

Stirred and Spoiled

Even if you have never been "in love" with that special man or woman in your life, you likely understand this statement - where the heart is, there is your focus. If you have ever been in love, you might understand what I am about to say - no one else captivates your attention quite the same as the one you hold in that place of closeness deep within your heart. Over the past several days, I have felt God directing me to focus on my heart. As most may recognize, to teach, one has to be taught. Therefore, if you are picking up on anything in my blog, you are likely to know God is continually dealing with my heart, attitude, and commitment. In turn, he is dealing with my focus. How about your focus? Is he dealing with yours, too? Your profile turns all heads, commanding attention. The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges—stirrings of desire, longings for the heights—remind me of you, and I'm spoiled for anyone else! (Song of Solomon 5:7) I love this pass

Whew, I am tuckered!

I am not a 'runner' like some are - simply because my knees cannot take that stress. I do enjoy a good brisk walk, though. In a spiritual sense, we all 'run' a race, so to speak - just as in the natural sense of running, we need to learn the spiritual principles that help us to run so as not to hurt ourselves. Some of us will run in a direction all of our own choosing, but when we do, we run alone. As a believer in Christ, we run in a race alongside the greatest runner of all times - Christ himself. If having his example (pace-setting) before us is not enough, he left us with a huge crowd of "models" who also ran the race and won. We can learn much by considering how they ran. Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this

You said what?

Am I the only one who has those awkward silent moments when you just stunned somebody with what you just said, then you have this shuddering feeling sweep over you that says, "I am going to regret having said that"? If you have ever found yourself thinking, "I wish I hadn't said that", you are probably in good company - you are right there with me. Most of us have experienced some moment of remorse over poorly chosen words. We just had no idea of the impact they'd make when they were actually spoken, because we didn't consider them well, nor did we consider the audience who would take those words in and sometimes even take them to heart. Irresponsible talk makes a real mess of things, but a reliable reporter is a healing presence. (Proverbs 13:17 MSG) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if

Yes. Yes. Yes.

There are some days when a certain online shopping place gets my money and then there are others when I only browse the sales. I oftentimes find good bargains and cannot resist getting something that will help me around the house, or just to give as a little gift to someone I love. We all have our favorite 'hangouts' for shopping, don't we? Some of us like to browse the mall store fronts, while others of us have adapted quite well to shopping online during this pandemic. One thing always remains the same - it is more blessed to give than to receive. We all like to receive, don't we? How about giving? Are we as excited about giving? God is quite extravagant in what he gives our way - how extravagant are we with giving out of that same generous spirit? Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart en

Oh, talk less, walk more?

Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong. (Romans 14:22-23 MSG) Most days I am just happy to end the day feeling like my behavior came reasonably close to my beliefs! I set out with lofty goals, but over the course of the day, I veer a little (and sometimes a lot) from how I hoped to act, wished to respond, or chose to think about a matter. In the end, I find myself evaluating my actions, seeing those which just did not match my beliefs, and then find myself in dialogue with God (once again) seeking his grace and forgiveness. Now, carry that a step further and you

A suitcase of dirty clothes

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! (Deuteronomy 6:5) I know this passage seems like it is a 'simple' one, but the loving of ANYTHING or ANYONE with ALL that's in you is kind of hard because your own self gets in the way from time to time, doesn't it? As much as we say we are 'all in' relationally, we have those moments when we 'hold out'. Some are quite intentional, while others just happen because we aren't really paying all that close of attention to the relationship. There is just one relationship that requires our all-out attention and intentionality - the one we have with Christ Jesus. All other relationships grow or decline depending upon how 'all in' we are with the relationship we have with Christ.  Our whole heart - try measuring that one for a moment and you will certainly begin to realize just how hard it is to get our 'whole' heart into any relationship

Small, but consistent

Bend an ear, God; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant—I’m depending on you! You’re my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer. (Psalm 86:5) How many mornings do you start out well, but when you actually stop sometime later that day and look at a recap of your day, you honestly feel like you have made a mess of just about everything you put your hands to that day? I have those days, too. The meal didn't turn out well because I took my eyes off it for a bit and it scorched the pan. The laundry was put into the dryer without realizing the Chapstick in your pocket wasn't removed before you threw the trousers into the laundr