Archive | September 2016

Clean up!

Psalm 51:1,2 – “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

Last night, I took some time and cleaned an area upstairs that hadn’t been touched in a while. I removed THREE garbage bags full of trash – papers, notebooks, pens and broken stuff. Junk. Plain and simple. When I told my kids what I had done, my daughter, bless her heart, said, “Mom, did you throw away everything we own?”

You know, sometimes we let stuff pile up in our life. We let troubles, anxiety and stress take their toll on our heart and then we wonder why we are such a mess. Sometimes it is just easier to stuff things into the recess of our heart and think that we will tackle it another day. 

Sometimes we need to just go through things. We need to clean up, toss out and re-evaluate things. 

That is where prayer comes in. 

When was the last time you took time to ask God to clean out your heart? When was the last time you poured out all your junk and left it for Him to sort through? He is the One that knows the sin in your life. He is the One that can remove it. But He won’t remove it until you ask Him to. And you need Him to point it out to you so that you can ask forgiveness. 

Let’s face it – you cannot clean up on your own. He is the One that MUST do the cleaning. But He won’t clean out or toss out anything you don’t ask Him to. 

It’s Friday. That means Sunday is coming. You have today and tomorrow to ask and get the ball rolling. Sunday is a great day to finish the task. Worship Him with a clean spirit this week. And then share what has changed in your heart with someone. You know how good it feels to get things cleaned up, tell someone else!

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Breathe

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Have you heard the song by Jonny Diaz called, “Breathe”? Lately, that song has been the story of my life. It is about stopping and resting in the chaos of life. It is about listening for that still,small voice to talk you off the ledge. It’s about remembering what life is really all about. 

I know I write about this often, but I feel that it is an area that we all need improvement in. Every one of us is busy. I visit elderly people in their homes for therapy and they tell me they are too busy for therapy or to do their exercises. It takes all I am not to look at them bug-eyed and say, “What? You can’t take time out of watching television to do your exercises so that you don’t have to go to the hospital?”

And sometimes we are the same way. We perceive ourself as busy when really we are just busy being lazy. 

But any way…

Jesus didn’t leave us here after we are saved to cause us chaos and trouble. He left us here to serve Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth and to joyfully share His love with others. You can’t properly do that stuff when you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off. 

Sometimes you need to stop and breathe. You (and I) need to be at peace for a bit and remember why we are here. It isn’t for the chaos. It isn’t for the busyness of life. It is to love, worship and serve the Creator of Heaven and the Master of our soul – Jesus Christ. 

So let me encourage you today to breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. Close your eyes, thank Him and remember why you are really here. 

The Mirror on the Wall

Ephesians 4:17-24 – “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

It’s Monday. I am guessing that each and every one of you have already looked in the mirror this day. Did you see wild and crazy hair? Did you see bags under your eyes from not enough sleep? Did you see someone well rested and refreshed?

When we look in the mirror, we tend to see only the physical aspects of ourself. We don’t look at who we really are as we look in the mirror. But maybe we should. 

We will stand in front of the mirror and point out every flaw and every wrinkle and every misplaced hair but when it comes to seeing the flaws, wrinkles and misplaced attitudes, well, we don’t have time to look at those. That’s just part of living in this sinful, old word, right? 

We will look into the mirror and tell ourself that everything is ok, that I’m going to be fine on my own. We will ignore the warning signs and keep on going because we can handle things. 

That’s the old way. Those thoughts and plans should be a thing of the past when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We don’t have to face it alone. 

Mirrors always show truth. And the truth is – we NEED Jesus. We need to be renewed in Him each and every day. That means spending time with Him. That means reading His word. That means praying. That means listening when He speaks. That’s what the mirror is trying to get across to us – we NEED Jesus. 

So today, look closely in the mirror. Don’t just see the physical attributes you have. Look deeper. See who you really are. Look at your intentions and desires. See why you really go on each and every day. It may not be pretty, but we all need a good, hard look into the mirror on the wall. 

Heartbreak

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Wednesday was a tough day. And I’m not talking about all the running that I had to do. No, I’m talking about a conversation I had with a patient I see. 

God had set it all up. I had received a random text from my mom about my aunt’s email address. And my patient wanted to know if everything was okay, seeing that I checked the text from my mom. Well, that opened the door for me to tell someone about Jesus by using my blog. 

Here’s where it gets tough – she told me she was agnostic and proceeded to very sweetly tell me what she believed and why. It was clear through the discussion that she had already made up her mind about Jesus. She had rejected Him. And it broke my heart. When I left, I cried. I called my husband. I called my mom. I was heartbroken that this dear lady, whom I care about, had made the choice to die and go to Hell, even though she doesn’t believe in it. 

How do you go on after that?

It is tough. I have to work with this lady. I have to help her achieve her physical goals while knowing that her eternal future is in jeopardy. 

All I can do is pray for her. I will keep living differently in front of her and keep interjecting Christ whenever I can. I need to know in my heart that I pricked her heart every time I had the opportunity. 

I can’t save her. I can’t make her believe in Jesus Christ. I can’t change her mind. But I can love her. I can show her Jesus in my thoughts, my actions and my words. I can tell my brothers and sisters in Christ about her need and have them pray with me. That’s all I can do. And if the opportunity presents itself again, I will pounce on it…again. I just need to be listening and be aware of what God is laying before me. 

Promises, promises

Genesis 9:22-16 – “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

As I was driving and driving and driving last night, a usual sight in the land of perpetual evening showers made its appearance – a rainbow. I love rainbows. I think of leprechauns. I think of science (I know, I’m a weirdo). But mostly, when I see a rainbow, I see a promise. 

God used the rainbow to reassure Noah that He would never again destroy the entire earth with water. Now, He has destroyed parts of the earth but not the entire thing. And there’s something to be said in that. 

God keeps His promises. 

In a world and time when promises are as cheap as anything, God’s promises are….priceless. We need them. We desire them. We must have them to feel secure. Too many things in this world are uncertain and shifty. God’s promises are a bedrock that we can build our life upon. 

The Bible is full of promises. There are books written that will direct you to Scripture that reveal promise after promise. There are promises that He will never leave you. Promises that ensure wisdom. Promises that nothing is too big. So many promises. 

And each and every one is rock solid. You can take it to the bank. If God said it, He WILL do it. 

Bonus – we have promises yet to be fulfilled. How exciting is that?! Presents that you know are coming and you can hardly wait to open them! The best promise of all – He will come again to receive us unto Himself. Oh that gets me excited! Like preacher says – If that don’t light your fire, your wood is wet!

His return. That is a promise I’m excited to see fulfilled. And that amazing partial rainbow that I saw in the sky last night reminded me of that wonderful, blessed hope. I’m only here for a little while, so I better make it count. 

Don’t let it slip!

Hebrews 2:1 – “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

This was our verse for worship service yesterday. It really made me pause. I had obviously thought about this verse before because it was underlined in my Bible. But I hadn’t thought about it in some time. 

We have let it slip. Oh, it’s not a surprise party that we have accidentally told someone about. No, we have let our guard slip. We have let our passion slip. We have let our sold out desire for Christ slip. 

Although the picture is far from reality, we are sticking our head in the sand like an ostrich. If we don’t acknowledge it, it’s not really there. We don’t want to offend, therefore, we ignore. We don’t want to not be liked, so we don’t stand up. 

We have let IT slip. 

The writer of Hebrews warned his readers “lest at any time we should let them slip.” What is he talking about? What is the “them”? It is what we have heard, what we have learned, what we know is true – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the “them”.

As a follower of Christ, we get into His word and we read and we learn and we take it all in. And then we let it slip. We let it fall through our fingers like sand at the beach. Easy come. Easy go. 

Brothers and sisters, this ought not be! 

We can longer sit by and watch it all slip away. What do we have to fear? Rejection? Who cares! There are millions of people out there that need to hear the Good News! They aren’t rejecting you personally. They are rejecting Jesus. Well, what about the people I work with? I have to see them and work with them every day. Yes, yes you do. And how are you living out what you take in? Do they know the difference in your heart or are you a hypocrite? Harsh, I know. But WE ARE LETTING IT SLIP AWAY! 

It is so easy to make excuses. And hey, I’m the chief leader of the group! I have more excuses than you can shake a stick at! (I really don’t understand that expression but it totally fits!) I am letting it slip away. 

I’m telling you, every time I go to the gas pump, I’m convicted. Someone there needs Jesus. I have a tugging on my heart. Sometimes I listen to it and sometimes I stuff it down. I make it slip away. Ouch. 

We need to decide to accept the challenge. Each of us need to decide that “I will NOT let it slip away. Not on my watch!” 

Here is your challenge for the week. Be aware. Be aware of the times that you let “it” slip away. Be aware when you choose to let a moment go by. Be aware when you choose not to tell someone about Jesus. Be aware of the times when you stuff your beliefs to the back of the box. And then change. DON’T let it slip away. 

Judging

Romans 14:10-13 – “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

I’m having a tough time with this lately. I’m finding it harder and harder not to judge others I see. 

I see people driving around with bumper stickers on their cars for political candidates and I think, “Are they crazy? How could they possibly vote for that person?” I see people driving around smoking in their car and think, “Don’t they know what they are doing to their health?” I see overweight people at the grocery store buying a cart full of soda and junk food and high fat frozen food and think, “How sad that they don’t make better choices.” I see people posting on Sunday afternoon about their recreational adventure Sunday morning and just shake my head. 

And through all of this, I shouldn’t judge. I have enough problems and shortcomings on my plate. How is that supposed to happen? How am I supposed to go through the day seeing all of this and not judge? I don’t get it. 

I’m a very opinionated person. Every one who knows me knows this. I can be very passionate about some things. And it is hard not to judge. 

Yet, Jesus has called me to walk like Him. One day we will all be standing before Him giving an account of our life. Why do I continually add judging others to that list? There are times when I will see something and think, “Don’t judge. Don’t judge.” And before the fourth word fully forms in my brain, I’m judging. Deep sigh. 

It. Is. Tough. 

But when I judge, I’m putting a stumbling block between me and that person. That stumbling block can keep me reaching out to them the way He wants me to. It can bias my objective and make me choose a different path. Judging others can sometimes be very cruel. And that’s not something Jesus would have wanted said about any of us who choose Him as our Savior. 

What to do, what to do. 

This is something I cannot handle on my own. This is something that requires way more strength than I have. I have to let Jesus lead me in this. I just have to. I have to give Him the reign of my heart and mind and allow Him full creative authority to do whatever is necessary to keep me from judging others. Hand it over. Give it up. (Wait for it…) Let it go. (Sorry. I had to do that.)

So let me encourage you this weekend to take a look at your heart. Where do you stand when you see something you want to judge? Do you let Jesus filter it first or does your brain take over and let it fly in your head? It’s tough. I know. But remember, one day we will all have to stand before the Judgement seat and give an account – all of us.