Archive | November 2013

My lot

Psalm 16:5,6 – “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

It is an unusually dreary day here at my house. It is drizzling and very overcast with the forecast looking this way all day. Yet, my to do list is incredibly long as I prepare for Thanksgiving day. Time to start cooking. I love cooking.

I look out and see the dreariness but I also see the beauty. The bark of trees takes on an amazing color scheme in the rain. They dance in the wind that is moving the clouds along. I see wild turkeys making their way through my yard. Enjoying the bugs that have come out for the rain.

You know, sometimes we get dissatisfied with our circumstances. “The house is too much to clean.” “We live too far away from school.” “I can’t get cell phone coverage all the way out here.” On and on.

But this is the lot God has provided for us. This is what He has decided is best for us. This is our portion. This is where our boundary lines have fallen. And they surely are in a pleasant place.

Today, princess, I would ask that you look around and appreciate what you have. See the good in your circumstances and praise God for your lot. He knows what is best for you. So make the best of it. Enjoy where you are at right now and let tomorrow worry about itself.

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I can’t quit.

Colossians 2:6,7 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as your were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Are you consistent? Do you serve The Lord to the every single to day to the absolute best of your ability? Truthfully, I would have to answer no. I do better some days than I do others. Some days I am more focused on me and my wants rather than Christ and His will. I wish that every day I would wake up and trust and serve and do exactly what I am supposed to do.

But one thing that I can’t do – give up. I can’t quit. I have chosen to follow Christ. That means that I need to remember all that I have been taught. And since I was saved at a young age and have grown up going to church, well, let’s just say I have a lot to remember. I have been rooted and built up in Him.

I can’t give up. I have to stay connected to the Root. I have to have my faith strengthened every day according to His word. I need to make sure that I am getting fed in every way possible. I need to listen to Christian music. I need to read The Word. I need to fill my mind with only what is true and holy so to strengthen my resolve in my Savior.

I can’t quit. I have to be thankful. I have to choose to see Him at work in my life and praise Him for it. I really want to encourage you, princess, to start a thankful journal next year. I have done one this year and it has made me acutely aware of the blessings I receive every day. I write in it every day. No big long entry. Sometimes just a line or two. But I do it every day. If I skip a day, I go back and remember that day and write something I am thankful for on that day. It helps me to overflow with thankfulness.

Princess, this weekend you will be getting ready for Thanksgiving in one way or another. Please, don’t allow Satan the opportunity to booger up your thankful heart. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep on in the faith that you already know.

Words

Matthew 12:36,37 – “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.”

I know I have used this verse before. But yesterday, I had to use this verse with my daughter to teach her the importance of words.

We habitually spew words out of our mouths like it is nobody’s business. Most of the time we don’t even think about what we are going to say or how it will affect our listeners. If it comes into our head, we let it out our mouth.

Technology these days is a blessing and a curse. It allows me to keep in contact with old friends and talk with my loved ones. It allows me instant information in pretty much whatever I am curious about. But it also can hurt. We can damage people’s heart and reputation with the push of a button. We can make unwise decisions about how much information we allow the world to know about us. So many pitfalls are out there.

I was teaching my daughter, yesterday, the importance of words. I reminded her of that song “Words” by Hawk Nelson. He did an amazing job with this song. It gently reminds us that words can build up or tear down; they can start a fire or put it out. Words are powerful. They can make you feel like a princess or a dirtbag. And once a word is let loose, there is no tethering it to bring it back in to you. It is free. Free to harm. Free to encourage.

Technology coupled with words makes for a tricky situation. I warned her that you have to be careful. You cannot let the words of others harm you or make you feel bad about yourself. And if anyone is ever making you feel this way, you have to tell me. Because God has entrusted me to take care of her. She is on loan from the Father to teach and to grow in His light and His word. It is my job to take care of her. And I can’t do my job if I don’t have all the information I need.

Princess, we will be held accountable one day for every careless word, every encouraging word and every hateful word we have ever said or written that has not been redeemed by asking forgiveness, if necessary. Thankfully time will be gone by that point because it will be looooong day. So my encouragement to you today is this: think. Think about what you are going to say. Don’t let careless words fall out of your mouth. Make them sweet and savory to the ears of those hearing. But be truthful. Don’t let satan convince you to be someone you are not. It is tricky. Life is complicated. But hold on. Jesus will gladly hold your hand and walk with you all the way home.

I will trust

Psalm 9:10 – “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Yesterday after my son’s soccer game, we had to rush home; my daughter had to change clothes; and we had to grab a cup of soup. All this so that we could get back on the road to dance practice. Now, this only happens once a week, but still. To top it all off, we got behind the slowest line of cars in the universe! Forty-five in a 60 zone! For lands sake! Needless to say, my daughter was late to class. Not too late, but I hate being late to anything!

So, the reason for this rambling. I was reminded by that still small voice that all things happen for a reason. And although I was not anxious during this insanity, I was frustrated. And there was no need for that frustration. What difference does it really make if you have to eat soup in the car? At least we had a warm, homemade meal – thank you crock pot! Does it matter that we were a couple of minutes late to recreational dance class? In the scope of eternity, nope. Does it matter that we got behind the slowest line of cars in the universe? No, God was probably protecting us from an accident or something.

Trust. Trusting in everyday life. Trusting when you want to get frustrated. Trusting when you feel like you left part of your self behind somewhere. Trusting when you don’t know how it is all going to work out. Trusting when it just doesn’t seem fair. Trusting when the sun is shining and you have laughter in your ears. Trusting.

We all could stand a hefty dose of trusting. We are taught to trust in so many other things beside Jesus. Jesus is like a last resort to some people. He needs to be our first line of defense. He needs to be our only line of defense. Jesus + you = victory. No two ways about it. Although, you don’t need to do anything to win. You just need to trust Him.

So when you find yourself chasing your tail today, princess, remember this: “He’s got the whole world in His hands!” Are you singing yet? I know I am. What a great truth in that children’s song! Trust Him. He knows what He is doing.

Togetherness

Psalm 34:1-3 – “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”

It is coming upon Thanksgiving. A time where we remember to count our blessings. But society would have it to be a time of food, football and eager anticipation for the shopping season. We have strayed so far from God that a family bowing around a table full of a bountiful feast is antiquated. It is not cool.

Well, at my house, we have that scene exactly. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it sometimes stresses me out but it is a good stress. The excitement and anticipation of smelling the food and then getting to eat it is the best!

But we also take time to remember our blessings. We have been blessed to live in a country where we can freely worship our Savior and speak our mind and to freely travel about. In my family, we have been blessed with good jobs, health and a good solid place to worship.

You know, the holidays are often a time of depression as well. I know I’m not the only one who has lost family members around the holidays. My grandmother died on Thanksgiving day in 1999. But you know what, she died cooking dinner. She died happy. My dad’s birthday is this Saturday. He would have been 62. Thankfully, it is a short list. I know that many people have a very long list.

Hence the reason for this group of verses. We have to change our perspective. I can’t dwell on what is missing or who is missing. I have way too much to bless The Lord for. David is encouraging us to be a light to those around us. A light of hope. A light of joy. A light of peace. We have to praise Him for all He has done for us. And we need to do it collectively. We need to join together and praise His name. Join with your brothers and sisters in your local church and reach out to your community. Bless The Lord by blessing others. Show them the love of God. Verse 3 says “let us exalt his name together”. You don’t have to do it on your own. Bless The Lord together.

Standing in the need of prayer

Psalm 4:1 – “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”

When my kids were little, they had a Veggietale CD that they loved to listen to. And although they don’t remember listening to it, those songs are ingrained in my brain. Yesterday, while sitting in the choir at church, listening to prayer requests, our pastor said that we should faithful pray for one another. That we are all “standing in the need of prayer.” Well, that just so happens to be the line to one of the Veggietale songs that Junior Asparagus sings. So now, I have stuck in my head that little voice singing – “it’s me! it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

Prayer is a vital part of our life. It is the tether that keeps us from floating away. Without a direct line to the Throne, we would be lost. What a privilege it is to know that Jesus made the sacrifice for us to have that opportunity. It is a shame that we take it for granted.

When I read this verse, I thought, my goodness. David is being awfully bold. I mean, he is talking to the Creator of the universe here! But then I remembered this: Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in your time of need.” Hmm, “receive mercy and find grace”. This comes from approaching the throne with confidence or boldness. You mean to tell me that if I go to God with confidence that He will provide for me exactly what I need when I need it and that I just may get exactly what I don’t deserve – grace? Yep! Now, don’t get me wrong, God is not the genie in the lamp. He doesn’t grant wishes.

The point I am trying to make here is this: don’t take prayer for granted. We are all “standing in the need of prayer”. Go with it. Pray for one another. And pray for yourself. Prayer can move mountains if you truly believe. Now, will the Alps move if you believe? Well, yes, I think they could. But we all have mountains in your life. We all have valleys in our life. We all need Someone to walk with us through them all.

This week princess, focus on your prayer life. Start a journal of prayer. Keep up with it everyday and then go back and see how God has answered your prayers. Whatever you choose to do, do it more. Do it better. Do it diligently. Just do it.

Friends and enemies

James 4:4 – “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Yowza!

Friends and enemies. They are out there. Folk lore and history are full of them. The Bible is filled with them as well. Typically, it is this – friend of God versus enemy of God.

What does it take to be an enemy of God? What does choosing to be a friend of the world look like? Well, you love your friends, right? So being a friend of the world looks like loving the world, right? Well the Bible has this to say about that: 1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Well now, that is a mouth full. Ever had the desire to brag about something you have or have done? Loving the world. Hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? No one wants to think that at that moment they are living in the part of being an enemy of God. Especially as a follower of Christ, we don’t want to admit that we have walked that path. But we have. Every last one of us. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to get us back on the right path. We have Him to encourage us in the way we are supposed to go.

We want to be God’s friend. James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” Abraham followed God. Abraham did what God told him to do when He told him to do it. Abraham didn’t fuss with God. He didn’t question Him or His motives. He may not have always understood, but he never made a big deal out of it. Jesus said this – John 15:14 – “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Plain and simple. No big plan or strict rules to follow. No complicated ordeal. Just do what I tell you to do.

So today, princess, are you a friend of God or an enemy of God? Do you find yourself on the path of friendship or of being an enemy? Sometimes those paths are close together. We look at the sinful path and want to walk on it for just a bit. But that bit never gets us anywhere near where we are supposed to be. It just leads us father from Him. So choose to be a friend of God. Choose to reject the desires to want the things of the world and to brag. It is tough. We are bombarded every day with the opportunity to walk that path. But choose today to be different. Choose to be separate. Choose to walk the good path with Him.