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Revisit РGood Monday Morning 

This was posted July 27, 2015. It made me chuckle because it is as true today as it was then. Enjoy. 

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Good Monday morning. 
I just returned home from visiting family this last week. We had a long drive yesterday and I really didn’t get much sleep while traveling. So, this morning I was stumbling around my kitchen trying to remember how to make coffee and put away a few things, when I dropped a can of root beer. It goes to spewing all over their floor. I tried to put my finger over the hole enough to get it to the sink. This worked somewhat but not enough to save me from having to spot mop the floor. 
Good Monday morning. 
What does this have to do with walking through the shadow of death you might ask? Perspective and attitude. Surprisingly, I handled the situation quite well. No harsh words uttered. No bad thoughts passing through my brain. Just “well, I have to clean this up.” Maybe it’s because I’m so tired that I can’t muster up the energy to get mad. Maybe though, God used this moment to remind me that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how I choose to respond to it. And I feel like I chose well. “Very good, young patawon!” (I told you I’m not quite all here this morning!)
Good Monday morning. 
Let me encourage you today to let it roll. Let perspective and attitude be what keeps you afloat today. Don’t let Satan drag you down with mishaps and upsets. Show him that God is on your side by choosing to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear. 

Oh, middle school…

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Middle school girls. Know any? With all the hormones and sudden interest in boys, it can be a terrifying and heart wrenching and just plain stupid experience. It is all drama, drama, drama. 

Right now, my thirteen year old daughter is experiencing friend troubles over a boy – an eighth grade boy. Now, I have had an eighth grade boy, so I can say this – rarely is a female friendship is worth destroying over an eighth grade boy. But this is something these girls are going to have to figure out. My advice seems futile and until someone gives, they are all at a stalemate. It is sad. 

But one thing this whole bit of drama is doing for our precious girls is teaching them valuable life lessons. They probably don’t understand, but they are sharpening one another. They are teaching one another. They are learning how to live in a world where things don’t always go your way and people don’t always behave like you think they should. They are learning that they are going to have to put on their big girl panties and deal with things instead of turning away from the situation. 

Friends are beautiful treasures that can decorate your life like nothing else but can also weigh heavy on your heart at times. But a true friend is one that walks with you through all the heartaches you face – even when that heartache is from another friend. 

Friends sharpen one another. 

So, let me encourage you to be a friend. Be a friend that walks the walk and talks the talk. Be a friend that is life long and precious no matter the situation. 

Forgiveness 

Matthew 6:14,15 – “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Forgiveness. 

How many times as a kid did your mom say to you, “Now, say your sorry”? You begrudgingly say the words but mean none of them. Or maybe you just blow over the whole idea of asking forgiveness whenever you KNOW you are wrong. I think we have all been in one or both of these boats more often than we care to admit. 

But in these verses in Matthew we are commanded to forgive. Forgiveness means letting go and not picking it up again. It means giving up your right to retaliate. It means not reminding someone again and again of the wrong that they have committed against you. 

It’s a tough business, this forgiveness. But God never promised us an easy life once we accept Him as our Savior. In fact, in Matthew 18:21,22, Jesus told Peter this lovely gem- “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Ok, so that means….490 times. Four hundred ninety! I don’t want to count anything up that high. The point is this- there should be no limit to the amount of forgiveness we should offer those around us. 

God is not sparing on His forgiveness of our trespasses. We need to follow in His steps and do the same. Forgive. 

This week, you will be wrongly accused. You will be offended. You will do something that causes grief in someone else’s life. You will need to give out forgiveness and you will need some yourself. Whatever the case, whatever the cause – don’t be stingy with it. Forgive and be forgiven. 

The Encourager

Deuteronomy 3:28 – “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”

Encouragement. We all need a good, hefty dose now and then. We need someone to come alongside of us, wrap their arm around our shoulder and hear those words, “It’s okay. You got this.”

Too often, however, sometimes I find myself looking at that encourager and laughing at them. I want to say, “Seriously? Do you SEE what I’m up against?”  I don’t allow the one trying to lift me up to do so. Whatever good they are trying to build up within me, I’m tearing down just as fast as they build. 

Why? Why is that? Why do we reject emotional and spiritual and, sometimes, physical encouragement? 

Pride. “I don’t need no body’s help!” (Yes, I know it’s horrible grammar but it paints a more realistic picture. Work with me here!)

Pride is a horrible, ugly monster that creeps out of us at the most yucky of times. Here we are, wallowing in the mud and someone offers a hand to help and we push it away by trying to convince them it’s a spa treatment and we like it. When in truth, we are bawling our eyes out on the inside. We want their help but pride keeps us from accepting it. 

In these verses, God is telling Moses to go and have a few words with Joshua to build him up. He needs to be encouraged. He’s about to take over as leader of the children of Israel. I underlined “children” because that’s how they acted most of the time. You know, kinda like us…..

Joshua needed all the encouragement he could get. And know what? He took it. He gobbled it up like a Thanksgiving turkey! He knew he needed all the wisdom and encouragement Moses was willing to offer. 

We can learn a lot for Joshua. When someone tries to encourage you, take it. Gobble it up! Don’t be stubborn about it. Don’t try to be all cool about it. Take it in! God knows something you don’t know and He is using that encourager to get to you and build you up. 

Listen. Listen well. God is speaking. He wants you to hear. 

Stuff

Luke 12:15 – “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

We all like our stuff. We have so much, yet we want more. We work all day for stuff. We save and scrounge just so that we can have a certain kind of stuff. We want our stuff to look nice. We want our stuff to be new. We want our stuff to be full and ready at a moments notice.  We like our stuff. 

But this verse warns us about “stuff”. Stuff can overtake our thoughts and desires. Stuff can actually become a god to us. We look after it and focus on it more than we do our Heavenly Father. That’s where the problem comes in. 

Anything we put before God is an idol. We have idols in our family, in our job, in our stuff – oh yeah, it’s there! Our love of stuff is the part of the problem. Our desire to have more goes right along with it. 

You see, stuff, in and of itself, is not bad. Stuff can sometimes be good. But it is our attitude toward it that is important. 

“I just need to work during a few church services and then I can pay off that new thing I got.” “That movie kept me up so late, I’m just too tired to get up and read my Bible this morning.” Sound familiar? 

I’m just as guilty as the next person about putting other stuff in front of God. It’s a challenge. I know. 

Our greatest possession should not be something we have worked for – it should be our relationship with Jesus Christ. “Stuff” will not get you to Heaven. Only Jesus Christ can do that. He’s the One you need to get to know better. He is the One we need to invest our time in. He’s the One we need to make a priority in our life. 

So as you enjoy all your stuff this weekend, make sure that your attitude toward them is correct. You could wake up one morning and it could all be gone. But you will never wake up and find Jesus gone once you have accepted Him as your Savior. That’s a possession you will never lose. That’s the “stuff” life is made of!

Revisiting – A thousand years from now…

Revisit – It has been a busy week and sometimes flashbacks are good. I have no recollection as to what was going on in my life at this time, but I must have felt like I was taking on God head to head. I still want my life’s story to be a page turner. And I still want it to be a mystery, drama and, especially, a comedy. Life without comedy is just sad.

John 11:11-14 – “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well. Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

Do you ever read God’s Word and think, man, these guys were ignorant? It is so easy for us, a thousand and some odd years later, to read about these people’s thoughts, words and actions and pass judgement upon them. I mean, for land’s sake, they just finished arguing with Jesus about going somewhere dangerous! Duh, this is God you are dealing with!

But aren’t we just as guilty? We argue with Him still. We question His instructions. We ignore His urgings. We think we have it all figured out. And then in comes the monkey wrench and we look like idiots. Oh my, if I had a nickel for every time I felt like an idiot because I just didn’t listen.

As I was reading my devotional this morning about these very verses, it made me think how glad I am that someone isn’t writing down my life for others to read in a thousand years. But what if they were? What would my story look like? Would it be a drama, a mystery or a comedy? Truthfully, I want my story to be one that people read and are encouraged by it and can learn from it. I want it to be a bit of all three genres listed above with a heavy dose of learning experience.

I want others to see me walking with Jesus. I want them to see me trusting Him. I want them to see me content with my current situation but always searching that I am in the right place at the right time. My husband always says that a person works best when they are on the right seat on the bus. That’s where I want to be.

So today princess, I want to encourage you to live your life like someone is going to read your story a thousand years from now. Do you want them to read it and say, “man, she was an idiot”? Or do you want them to read it and say, “I want to be just like her”? Sprinkle your story with a bit of mystery, drama and, please don’t forget, comedy. Dance a little, cry a little and live life with gusto.

Numbering the days

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Well, it’s official – I now have a child in high school. I’m not lamenting, I’m just sayin’….

As I dropped the kids off for their last day of seventh and eighth grade yesterday, I have to admit, I was a little sad. It seems only yesterday, we were going to preschool and wondering if they would ever learn to read. Now, algebra is their main concern – their mixing letters AND numbers together. 

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are great kids. They are loving kids. They are obedient and respectful. 

However, I can also remember the days when I was younger. I remember planning what I would do and expect from my spouse. I remember dreaming about the man I would marry. All the dreams of a young girl’s heart were mine. And that was yesterday, wasn’t it?

My point is – time is flying. Some days it flies out the window and some days it flies down the toilet – depends on the day. Most of my days are out the window, which is a good thing. 

Yet, here we have Moses asking God to teach us to number our days so that we can seek out and apply wisdom. The other night in Discovery, we talked about wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is knowing information. Understanding is learning a lesson from the knowledge. Wisdom is applying knowledge and understanding to an outside situation. 

Think of all those years you have spent learning knowledge and understanding. Now that you have some years under your belt, you should have some wisdom to mete out. Notice I said “should”. Some people can live a really long time without an ounce of wisdom. It’s sad. Now, I’m not saying we should be a bunch of old owls looking down on everyone. Goodness no! I want to be the crazy, fun lady that every one wants to talk to because she has a way of applying things that just makes sense. No hidden messages. No confusion. Just good, down to earth advice that makes you stop and say, “oh, yeah..” while you scratch your head. You know what I mean. 

Number your days. I’m trying not to lament and be sad. Instead, I want to rejoice and be glad at the growth physically, emotionally and spiritually of my children. I want to help them reflect and learn from this year. And when they think of me and our car rides to and from school, I want them to smile and remember the crazy way that mom had of making them see things. I want to beautifully number my days.