Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer 2017

The unofficial start of summer is days away. I am behind on memorizing Bible verses for the year, I am behind on weight loss, I am behind on purging excess items from our home...Ugh!

I have clothes which are too big and many items we do not need I should have donated weeks ago. I need to pretend I am moving, it helps me be brutal with purging and galvanizes me into action, giving books to friends, donating clothes and items to charity, pitching what needs to be trashed. Maybe Saturday will be the day I box up clothes and books, toss expired makeup, make sure we don't have a growing collection of shopping bags, etc. Weird how too much stuff creeps into our house when we are not paying attention. It seems to pile up and affect our everyday life if we let it go too long.

In a spiritual sense, "stuff" can creep in and pile up as well. What may be lurking at our doors, waiting to enter if we are not paying attention?

In my case - to name a few things (in no particular order):

Procrastination - Doing the Bare Minimum
Being Ungrateful
Overscheduling
Being Stingy with My Time
Not Seeking God 1st
Time to Read Scripture or Pray but Not Both

You get the drift. We must be diligent and on guard. We must take the words from I Peter 5:8, seriously: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. John 10:10 tells us: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

When we let sin creep in, we are not living an abundant life, we are living a miserable life even if we don't acknowledge it. We must seek God 1st and abide in Him. John, Chapter 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Jesus tells us about the importance of abiding in Him:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

Ladies, to live victoriously we must abide in Him and remain vigilant. God bless you and stay in the Word!












Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ups & Downs

Life as a caretaker certainly has its ups and downs, sometimes you feel as if you are on a kiddy ride, other times you feel as if you are on the world's largest roller coaster, your car reaches the top of an incline and you are about to plummet straight down for a few hundred feet before you reach a loop and are hanging upside down. Ultimately, the track levels and you climb out of your car, ride over. As a caretaker, there are times it seems as if the ride will never end.

Thankfully as we experience bumps in the road of life which continues to change, the Lord never changes. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful, His grace and mercy are new each day and more than sufficient.

Late last week, I lost my focus on Him, as a result, my thoughts were anything but godly at times and I spoke rudely to the AT&T man who upgraded my mother's modem and switched the service from cable TV to satellite and then told her to drop off her old equipment at a UPS Store to ship it back to AT&T, if she didn't, AT&T would continue to charge her for it. I did not yell at him, I told him I realized it was not his policy, but let him know in my opinion that was a stupid policy and a waste of customers' time (My opinion was a waste of his time.). My thoughts became more intense as the afternoon wore on, I complained about it to a friend and my husband, and before you knew it, my mood was shot until the next day. Over a cup of coffee, I thought woman, you need to repent and pray which I did.

So the desire of my heart is to stay focused on Him, in prayer, in the Word, and in worship this week. If my roller coaster car plummets down a steep incline so be it, He is with me.

The following Scriptures are a soothing balm to my weary mind:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”





Saturday, April 1, 2017

Distracted

I seem to be in a season of distraction. For several days, I've been distracted, pulled away from what I started and need to finish. Some of it cannot be helped. I can coexist with it when my attention is diverted from mopping, however, when I do not know what I read 30 seconds ago in a Bible passage because simultaneously the dogs are barking, the phone is ringing, someone is knocking on my door hawking windows and siding, I cannot coexist with distraction.

What can I do to alleviate the problem? Rise from my bed early whether I feel like it or not? Turn off the phone for 30 minutes to an hour? Become a hermit or would that be a hermette? The obvious solution is to get out of bed earlier, drink my coffee, spend time in the Word and in prayer. (Though the hermit idea has merit.) Quiet, peaceful time, the only noise is as the time draws to a close, the birds are chirping as they begin their day.

I almost forgot, today is April 1, it is time for another SSMT verse, I chose Psalm 73: 28 (ESV)

But for me it is good to be near God, I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

So as we go about our Saturdays, I will make an effort to close the door on distractions, dwell in God's presence and peace. I will remember Paul's words:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let us remain in prayer for people, ourselves, and situations in our own backyard as well as around the world. Discern what is important and what is a distraction...Keeping our focus on the Lord.





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Those People

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to put down other people, those people if we watch or read too much news? I am not suggesting we go through life uninformed, I am suggesting too much is too much. It takes our focus off the Lord and what we need to change in our own lives and may cause us to point our fingers and say what is wrong with those people? We see the speck in their eye and miss the log jammed (think telephone pole) in our own eye.

In Matthew 7:2-4, we have the words of Jesus:

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

Sometimes we forget social media posts are far from expressing an opinion and are in fact judgment of other people. What if each member of the Body of Christ prays for our own relationship with Christ to flourish, for our loved ones, politicians, leaders, gang members, members of drug cartels, the orphans, widows, and disenfranchised...you know, those people instead of spending hours a day talking about it on social media? What if we serve the underserved in our communities? What if we check in on the widow down the street? What if we mow the lawn for the neighbors' whose child is in ICU? There are so many things we can do with our time on earth besides judging those people on social media.

Seriously, how can we exhibit and spread the love of Christ if we are murmuring and complaining on social media? We can spread the love of Christ with social media, but we also need to step away from the device, computer, phone...and be the hands and feet of Christ in our homes and outside our homes.

We need to endeavor to live out Matthew 22:36-40, a life of prayer and love, serving Him:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Easier said than done, but with His grace and love, it is possible to pray with love for those people.







Friday, March 17, 2017

Schedules and Tap Roots

I dislike the time change each spring. I am astounded each year, how moving the clock forward 1 measly hour causes havoc with my schedule. I try to go to bed early unless I am at the rodeo (The time change always occurs during the Houston rodeo.), I try to wake up by 5:30 a.m. but many times I fail just as I did this morning. I woke up, it was pitch black, I shuffled into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot, I look at the clock, surprise it is after 7:00 a.m.

No prayer time this morning, no time in the Word this morning, and frankly I am not in the work mode yet, though I signed into my e-mail at 7:30 a.m. to respond to clients. It is now 7:51 a.m. - my thoughts are maybe I can take a 15-minute nap after work, maybe I can turn off my phone and pray at lunch, maybe I should walk around the block a couple of times at lunch and skip the nap after work...Coffee please jolt my system with caffeine! (And logical thoughts)

A small example of how easily our plans can be derailed. How we react when our plans are upset is very important. We have to be flexible, move with the ebbs and flows of life. The foundation of heaven was not shaken by my slumber, I need to move on through the day. Get over myself so to speak.

I like schedules, I no longer make them as tight or detailed as I did years ago. That pretty much ended when I scheduled 45 minutes to remove a tree stump from my front yard and could not accomplish my goal because it never occurred to me there was a 7-foot tap root running horizontally underground! It took my husband, a chain, and his truck to remove the stump, my schedule was blown and I was distressed. I could not get back on track, my day off work was a bust. I did not see what I had accomplished that day, yards of dirt and mulch shoveled into flower beds, hedges trimmed, flowers planted. All I saw, was I could not finish every item on my list because I was not on the schedule. Pride much? Self much?

So for anyone else that feels off schedule, off-kilter this week, a little bummed by massive snowfall, out of sorts for any reason, let these words from Psalm 19 (ESV) sooth you:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.