Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Baby Gate

My house is loaded with baby gates.  These gates are at every staircase and dangerous doorway in our house.  These baby gates have an important function.  They are there to protect the baby from harm.

The reason our house is loaded with baby gates is because we have house guests for a year and one of  our guests is a new walker.  (The picture is of our actual house guest.)  At the writing of this devotion, I'm proud to say that we have not had any tumbles down the stairs.

There is a problem with the baby gates.  I have seen a number of funny Facebook videos of toddlers scaling baby gates like soldiers readying for war.  I have also seen babies capable of pushing down a baby gate, as well as the brilliant little ones whose tiny hands figure out how to unlatch a locked gate.

There is a scripture that speaks to an adult situation that is similar to these baby gate escape artists.  It's found in Psalm 141:3 (GW)

O Lord, set a guard at my mouth.  Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Every time I read this scripture, I'm reminded of the times I've shoved pass the guard at the door of my mouth and allowed my words to fly without restraint.  I ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit and did as I pleased.  I don't know about you, but for me when this happens, it never ends well.  If only babies would heeded the gate that is there to protect them, but they don't.

And neither do we.

Maybe someone reading this has had a recent experience pushing down the gate or possibly, you were the recipient of someone's stinging words.  Whatever the case, the guard has a purpose just like the baby gate.  It's there to protect.

The Lord is willing to be the guard at the door of your mouth, if you let Him.  Don't push down the Baby Gate.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dirty Filter


It's that time again.  The changing of the furnace filter.  I've known for over a month that the filter needed to be changed, but I couldn't remember the size.  So day after day, week after week, the dirt would get thicker and thicker hindering the filter from doing its job.

Finally, I put the size in my phone so I'd have it with me at all times.  Still, I have not bought a new filter.  You may wonder why.  The truth is having the correct information and acting on it are two different things.

This whole furnace filter debacle caused me to think of my own life.  It was years ago in a counseling format that I first heard the word "filter."  It was used to describe how people hear things.  If the information comes to them through a dirty filter, usually due to life experiences, then it's anybody's guess what the person may actually hear.  Even if every word you are saying to help them is awesome, wisdom from on high and amazing, they simple can't hear a word because of a clogged up dirty filter.

So, that said, I found this Pinterest worthy filter cleaning miracle in Ezekiel 36:25-28 (TLB).  

"Then it will be as though I had sprinkled clean water on you, for you will be clean—your filthiness will be washed away...And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.  And I will put my Spirit within you so that you will obey my laws and do whatever I command...And you shall be my people, and I will be your God."

I'm pinning that one.  (For all non Pinterest users you won't get the humor in that last remark.)  That verse is a miraculous filter cleaning promise; new heart, right desires, new spirit, heart of love, indwelling of the spirit,  What more could a person ask for?  Oh, yes, one more thing, filters need to be maintained. So you may want to revisit Ezekiel 36:25-28 on a regular basis.

Gotta go.

I have a dirty filter that needs to be replaced with a new one--clean and fresh, ready to filter out the dirt.  I think I'll buy a bunch of filters because filters need to be changed often!



  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Mine!"

When children first learn to talk, the parents are overjoyed with each sweet word that is uttered by their protege.  

"Dada!"  "Mama!"  "Bye Bye!"

Then other words begin to appear, and these words can be underwhelming. 

"No!"  "Shut-up!"  "Poop." (A personal favorite of my grandsons.)

As a toddler's vocabulary increases, so do the words we don't want our sweet babies to say.  Then the parents must adjust their conversation to protect the child's budding vocabulary.   Remember the spelling years!  I-C-E  C-R-E-A-M! 

Even with all we do to protect our brilliant off-springs, they will still pick up some unapproved words.   A word in our house that seeped into our young children's vocabulary was "MINE!"  

I have no idea where my children could have heard such a selfish word...she lied.

MINE, when spoken in a possessive way, reeks of selfishness.  I understand selfishness all too well.  I'm in a continuous battle with this ugly word, "MINE!" 

It's my time.
It's my money.
It's my car.
It's my phone.
It's my desk.
It's my IPad.
It's mine, mine, MINE!

I've heard my husband teach many times on tithing.  In an attempt to help people understand what is actually theirs and what belongs to God.  He says that when we ask this question, "How much of my money belongs to God?"  We have the wrong premise because in actuality everything we have is 100% God's and that 100% isn't taking only about money.

I have one of those Bible apps on my phone that gives me the scripture of the day and a few weeks ago this was the scripture that popped up on my screen.

"Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves. You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body."    
1 Corinthians 6:19-20. (GW)

Time, money, cars, and phones seem small in comparison to my very being.  This scripture sets the record straight.  I don't even belong to myself let alone own all my worldly possessions.

Next time I get in a tug-of-war over ownership, I need to remember what's really "MINE!" 


The only time that word sounds good, and can even bring peace, is when God looks at me and says, "MINE."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hold Fast

Our youngest grandchild recently turned one.  For being a little guy, he has the grip of a grown man.  Once he gets hold of something, and he doesn't want to let go, there is only one way to break his grip.  If you guessed pry back his fingers, you'd be correct.

The boy knows what he wants and he will hold fast to whatever that may be.  You probably wouldn't notice this in the family photo I posted, but #10 is holding a stick much to his mama's dismay and his daddy's giggles.  He wouldn't let go and as you can see...it's in the family picture as a forever memory.

Speaking of holding on and not letting go, today is our 42nd wedding anniversary.  We married young, but we knew what we wanted.  We wouldn’t be dissuaded.  On September 6, 1975 we took hold of each other and have held on tightly.  Forty-two years ago, we made this forever promise one to another.


To have and to hold from this day forward, 
for better for worse, for richer for poorer, 
in sickness and in health, to love, and to cherish
 till death us do part.   

Over the past four decades, plus two years, we have known blissful bounty and traumatic hardships. We have been blessed with three healthy children, and I had a miscarriage  37 years ago.  We've lived in 16 houses.  Traveled thousands of miles to serve as missionaries in the Philippines.   We've had highs, and we've had lows.  We've had laughing, and we've had tears.  We've known sickness and we've known health.  We've added to our family and we've lost some to death.  In all these years, we've Held Fast to each other and the commitment we made 42 years ago.  

Today, I recall another vow, promise, commitment I made.  I was a mere child, but once I make up my mind (just ask my husband about this) for me there was no turning back.  Just as my grandson held tightly to his stick in the family photo, and my husband and I took hold of each other for life, I also made my decision for Christ and when I took hold of Him, there was no way I was letting go.  

Verse 23 of Hebrews 10 says it way better than I ever could.  "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

Today is my wedding anniversary, and it's a special reminder to continue to Hold Fast.  I'd also like to use this day to challenge you to hold fast to the ones you love and equally stay true to the commitment you made to the Lord.

Grandkid #10 may have dropped from another apple tree, but I think this little guy rolled under mine. You gotta love those strong willed kids because when they take hold of Jesus...they Hold Fast.    





I believe!

Having been raised in the church and choosing to dedicate my life to serving the church, I have seen many things change.  Some for the g...