Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do I really need to go out of my way?

When I was a child all the way through my teen years, I was taught to be friendly and go out of my way to include people, welcome people and be sure that those in my circle were being loved and cared for.

I was taught this, but I didn't always do it.  I know this about me, sometimes I can be highly focused on my few friends and doing only what is pleasing to me.  My youthful years are far behind me now, still I wonder how much I've really changed.

Do I leave the path of comfort and security to venture out to include others?  Do I choose only what makes me comfortable not thinking of those around me?  Do I preach one thing and live another?

I recently read the story of the Good Samaritan.  It's 12 short verses in Luke 10:25-37.  The question that provoked Jesus to tell this story was this, "Whose my neighbor?"

In this story, it was the Samaritan who went out of his way to help the wounded traveler on the road--not the priest (pastor) or the Levite (religious leader).

I think the saddest line in this story is when Jesus says this about the Samaritan man who helped the wounded traveler.  "When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him."  

Why weren't the heart's of the two religious guys touched by what they saw?

In this story the Samaritan man's heart didn't just go out to the wounded man, he went into action and did something to help.   

At the end of this story, Jesus asked another question.  "Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

The religious scholar responded, “The one who treated him kindly.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Do I really need to go out of my way? 

According to Jesus...I do!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Give it Power

I have an Apple Watch.  It was a present from my gift-giving husband.  He wanted to show me how proud he was of my accomplishments.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like carrying around a high powered computer on my wrist, but to be perfectly honest...I'm loving it...BUT...the one fault with the watch has been that it needs to be charged nightly or every other night. 

The other night I got in bed and I pressed the little nob on the side of the watch to display the amount of battery life.  It was less than 20%.  I knew the watch would be powerless by morning.  I looked at the charger across the room and realized I had a decision to make right that moment. I could Give it Power or not.

There is truth in these four simple words...I Give it Power. Of course you know I have a story to drive this point home.

Years ago, I shared a personal story with someone who was struggling.  I thought I was being soooo helpful, and in my endeavor to comfort her with my wisdom, I shared a tender, personal story of something the Lord helped me through.  A bit later, the person turned and pointed at me and said to another...and I quote, "Then she started lecturing me."

My head snapped in her direction, and I echoed the word to my accuser with a questioning tone, "Lecturing...?"

Her words stung.  I had opened myself up and shared with her a very personal story.   I'm ashamed to admit that right that moment something inside of me 'turned off' towards that person.

The truth was she was hurting, and I should have shown her grace.  But I gave her words the power to divide us.

Time for a little I Corinthians 13...

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

This week, I'm guessing we all are going to have choices to make when something or someone offends us...Will we give it power?

I really hate it when I act badly, say mean things, harbor resentment or bitterness in my heart towards another.   That's not how love acts.

Remember this:  You can give it power or you can choose to be patient, kind, not jealous, not a praise seeker, not arrogant, not rude, not proud, not irritable, not a record keeper of wrongs, not rejoicing in wrong, but happy with the truth.

You choose what you will give power.

I choose LOVE.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Through The Storm

Have you ever met someone who's afraid of storms?  I have.  If a tornado was reported in a state to the south, this person could calculate the hour within minutes the storm would demolish their house.

I'm the opposite...I find storms interesting.  I want to stand on the porch and watch them pass by.  The power of the storm isn't scary, as long as I'm sheltered.  Sometimes I take the grand-kids out on the covered porch to do chalk art--through the storm.  I want to teach them to have a healthy fear for things that are dangerous, but I don't want them to be fearful. 

I had to go into the archives for this photo--they don't look afraid! 
In the Bible there are stories of God removing people from the path of storms and occasions where He is with them as they pass through the storm.

Combining phases like be not afraid, fear not, and do not be afraid--the bible instructs us over 350 times...not to fear things like... 
  • the future
  • enemies
  • eternal destruction
  • sickness
  • death

In  2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) it says this, "Our God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  

Jesus has defeated fear with His perfect love and has given us weapons in our arsenal to do the same.  He has given us a spirit of love and he has given us a sound mind.  

You may be in a storm--right now, if you are it doesn't matter if it's at the beginning, the middle or the end--God has not given you a spirit of Fear.  You are not alone--your are not powerless.  Even when the winds blow, the thunder booms and the lighting flashes--God is with you through the storm.  

So Fear Not!  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Opposite Game

 My husband loves to play this game he calls, The Opposite Game.  He has driven many a young person to frustration as he lures them in with his first question.  It goes something like this.

Husband:  "Do you want to play The Opposite Game.

Victim:  How do you play?

Husband:  I'll ask you a question, and your answer will be the opposite.  Do you have a boyfriend?"

Victim:  Fear present as she ponders how to answer.  She timidly replies, "Yes."

Husband:  "Oh....we weren't playing youuuu have a boyfriend.  You said, Yes."

Victim:  "No.  NO!  I don't!"  Blushing she hangs her head.

Husband:  "Ohhh...we're playing now.  You said, No, so that means yes.  You have a boyfriend."

Victim:  "Yes?  No?  Are we play The Opposite Game right now?"

The Opposite Game can get pretty confusing and frustrating as the victim tries to figure out what in the world is going on.

Come to think of it, my husband wasn't the first one to play The Opposite Game--God was.  

He said this, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.  Matthew 5:43-45 (GW)

God has a way of pulling all of us into His own version of The Opposite Game.  His Word tells us to love our enemies...even to pray for them.  To the world, this concept is the most opposite thing they've ever heard of.

Who would love an enemy and who would be crazy enough to pray for someone who wants to do them harm?

Oh, wait...I know this one--Christians.

It's Christians who are suppose to act like that...and I'm not playing The Opposite Game

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"Your Shoe's Untied."

Each morning as I begin my day, I tie my shoes.  You could even say, it's a second nature to me.  No one has to tell me to do this.  I know this action will insure my physical safety throughout the day.  

I really hate seeing shoestrings flopping around someone’s ankle.  I know the danger that awaits that person and I'm compelled to warn them,  “Your shoe's untied."

Rarely, does a person who’s been warned ignore the words.  They stop and tie their shoe because they also know the danger of an untied shoe.

But what about my spiritual shoes?  What can I do to insure they are properly tied?  Meet with God!

O God, my God! How I search for you! How I thirst for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. How I long to find you! How I wish I could go into your sanctuary to see your strength and glory, for your love and kindness are better to me than life itself. How I praise you! I will bless you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. At last I shall be fully satisfied; I will praise you with great joy.   Psalm 63:1-5 (TLB)

Yup! Meet with God. 

When we choose to go about our day with our spiritual shoes untied, we set ourselves up for a fall.  If you've ever taken a physical fall from untied shoes, you are careful to never repeat that experience.

The same holds true for those floppy spiritual shoestrings.  They are a spiritual hazard.  Do you really want to run the risk of falling? 

Before you leave the house today, make sure your shoes are tied.  Then tie up those spiritual shoe strings by meeting with God.

Book Release

    The Journals of Tori Drake Click on the book cover to order on Amazon. Book Review: I consumed this book in three days. Although it was ...