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 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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 - SSMT # 6

My memory verse is Ps 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (ESV)

At times, it is hard to admit my flesh is weak, my heart may fail. Today it not hard to admit I failed! I received a letter from a client disputing work I submitted to them. My heart pounded, fear tried to overcome me, then I prayed. I called my vendor rep, asked for the date the work was requested and returned. It was requested and submitted in June 2013. I sent accurate information. November 2016, the subject of the report had her record expunged and reported to my customer I made an error. I almost let fear consume me. In 2013, the work was accurate, it would not be today because her record has been removed from public access, only law enforcement, the District Attorney's Office, and the County Clerk have access to the record.

I picked out the memory verse last month, how appropriate it is today and every day. All news is not good, all phone calls are not good, all relationships are not healthy - they are comprised of people, imperfect people, they are comprised of me and you. None of us has it all together, none of us are perfect, we all need a Savior, a God Who is our strength. He never changes, as James reminds us:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV)

Paul tells us in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)

We can count on our Heavenly Father and our Lord. We rely on them because our heart and flesh will fail.

Remain in prayer, stay in the Word, and hang out with your Christian Sisters AKA Siestas. Jesus loves you.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Good Fight or Judging Others?

I read I Timothy 6 the other day as a part of my daily reading. The chapter leaped off the page at me. The vitriol from the election has not waned, harsh words on all sides are still splattered on Facebook. Christians berating each other on social media and in person, another way to phrase is - Judgment Much!

Of course, people have opinions which they wish to share, but the judgment, the self-righteous attitude, the name-calling must stop, that is not sharing your opinion. If you feel the need to post 75 pro-Trump statements a day, you need to find a hobby. If you feel the need to post 75 statements a day bashing Trump, you need to find a hobby. Suggestions include but are not limited to: gardening, fishing, knitting, bicycling, reading, running, sewing, glass blowing, woodworking, and bird watching.

Judgment is judgment not discernment, anger is not righteous indignation, profanity is not passion (increase your vocabulary to make your point if need be), and hate is not debate.

The following Bible verses are meant to guide us through life, to teach us how to respond and love out the Gospel:

I Tim 6:11-12 (ESV)

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Do we see anything in the above verses about self-righteousness, name-calling, or anger?

II Tim 2:23 (ESV) Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Does anything in the above verse tell us to argue? II Tim 2:24 does tell us how we are to act: And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

What does the Bible say about pride? Proverbs 16:8 states: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. In fact, I can still hear it in King James: Pride goeth before destruction..Goeth somehow emphasizes something major followeth pride.

I Peter 3:15-16 (ESV) again mentions respect: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Lastly Eph 4:25-27 (ESV) tells us: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

So instead of judging and letting the sun go down on our anger, reduce your amount of time watching and reading the news, disengage from social media, and pray. Pray for revival, to begin with you. Look at your own life not everyone else's. Seek first the Kingdom of God not the media. Don't be concerned if others do not share your opinion. Focus on the Lord's will, you will find life if better that way.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1st SSMT Verse # 5

2017 seems to be speeding along at a brisk pace. I cannot believe it is time for another memory verse! My verse is Psalm 73:25 ESV:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire but You.

I battle earthly desires. In our age of buying, consuming, catering to self, it is hard at times to focus on what I should - our Father, the Kingdom, the Gospel, Heaven - not self.

Do you ever tire of the be a little selfish, you deserve it ads in print and on television? Many evenings, I watch movies or TV shows via my Amazon Fire TV device. No commercials, an hour television show averages 39 to 45 minutes. It is jarring when I watch broadcast TV, not to mention the content in some ads.

I want to feel the same reaction when I am looking to self instead of heaven. I want to be jarred awake, I want to turn away from self. I want to truly set my heart on the Lord.

Lent begins today, a good time to reset, rethink, and to refocus on the Lord if we are off track in any area of our lives. I've seen wonderful suggestions on Facebook for Lent. One that grabbed me, is putting at least one item a day in a bag or box to donate to charity the week after Easter. You will donate at least 40 items to someone who can use them. I've also decided to limit myself to 2 hours of TV a day. Some days that will be relatively easy, other days (such as a rainy afternoon), I think it will be hard. Time will tell.

I am currently on a sugar-free/sweetener free, no grain, no legume, no dairy eating plan until the end of March, giving up chocolate is a moot point. However, donating almost new business clothes, sweaters, purses, and other items is a great way to help me refocus. Clearing out the physical house helps declutter the spiritual house.

Ladies, if you celebrate Lent, I hope you grow in Christ and the things of the world dim in your view. God bless you.