Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that our dog had been sprayed by a skunk. 

This is not the kind of news you want to hear when you’re an hour and half away from home caring for 12 elementary girls.  I was helpless to render any useful assistance, but I did lay down the law.  I ended the call with this statement, "When I get home that house better be clean."

Yet, I knew in my heart this kind of clean-up was going to take time...and true enough, when I returned home and opened the door, I was greeted by an overwhelming stench.  That's when my husband told me the rest of the story. 

The morning of the incident, my husband let the dog outside, and as he was holding the glass sliding door open, he saw the skunk.  He tried to call the dog back into the house, but alas, it was too late for the dog and too late for my husband to shut the sliding door. 

After the skunk did her deed, the dog bolted past my husband into the house and ran up to our bed and proceeded to roll her stinky, dog fur all over our bedspread, pillows and sheets.  My husband shooed the dog out of the bedroom, and she ran to the sofa to roll her stinky body all over that piece of furniture.  He yelled at her again, and she jumped down on the carpet and proceed to roll all over until my husband was able to quarantine her to the bathtub.   By this time, our whole house was affected by the skunk's spray.

My husband made a few more phone calls to reach out for help.  He tried all the  remedies he could on our stinky dog to no avail.  The deed was done, and no tomato paste, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide was going to right this wrong.

If anyone has ever had to deal with a dog that's been sprayed by a skunk, you can identify with this story. 

The spray of the skunk didn’t just affect our dog.  It affected everyone that came in contact with our house or dog for quite a while.

Our actions can also have far reaching consequences.  As much as I tried to clean up the odor that lingered in our house, it was months before it was gone.  

Sometimes it just takes time to right wrongs.  There are no quick fixes or formulas to follow--just time.

The skunk spray was meant for our dog, but we were all affected by it.  And only time helped remove the stain.

If you are hurting today from the spray of words from someone remember this; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their woundsPsalm 147:3

When you’ve been sprayed, remember who you are in Christ.  You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you. Isaiah 43:4

After a skunk attack, surround yourself with people who speak encouragement into your life.  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

And remember, try not to spread the stink around.  A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites furyProverbs 15:1

If you've been hurt by the words of another, it takes time, but eventually, all will be good again.  Hang in there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

National Day of Prayer

It was an honor to be asked to pray this year at the National Day of Prayer in Flint, Michigan.  The area I was asked to pray over was families and education. 

I heard a song recently by Josh Baldwin from Bethel Music called, This is how I fight my battles.   The next line said this, It may look like I'm surround, but I'm surrounded by You.   These two lines are the only words in the entire song.  A few words, yet they say so much.

The whole time I was singing this song, my thoughts do I fight my battles?  The answer was crystal clear, through prayer.  This is how Christians fight their battles--they pray. 

For my devotional today, I'm sharing the prayer I prayed at the National Day of Prayer.  As you read it...pray it!  Because...this is how we fight our battles!

National Day of Prayer 
Families & Education 

Father, it is with humble hearts; we enter your presence with the assurance that you hear our cries.  We come, asking for Your divine intervention in every family and educational institution of these United States of America.  

We pray for the marriages across this nation.  Lord, only You can raise up a standard that will stop the erosion of the American family.  Shore up the crumbling foundations of broken homes with Your transforming and life changing power in our own community and around this great country.    

 We ask for Your protection over mothers and fathers.  Protect them from the fiery darts of the enemy and allow children to have both parents to teach and guide them through their formative years. May it be the privilege of every parent to know the joy of pointing their children to that straight and narrow path, that leads to eternal life.  

And Lord, we pray for the educational system in our country.  This is a battleground, where the enemy of our souls has worked feverishly to silence Your Name, but today, we as a nation, stand in the gap.  We lift our voices in unison asking that you would raise up teachers and students who would boldly call on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for help and guidance.  

Lord, prepare the hearts and minds of teachers and students to pray, to speak, and to be ready to give everyone who ask a reason for the hope that is within them.  

Give this generation, the tears and brokenness of the prophet Jeremiah who cried out a message of repentance.  Give them Daniel like courage to stand up against the pressures to conform.  Give them the boldness and faith of a David who stood face to face against his enemy, yet he knew His God, Our God, You—Father God would deliver him from the hand of his enemy.

Lord, we pray for the teachers in our country, whose voices have been silenced.   Make a way for the flood gates of your Truth to pour out of every Bible believing teacher.  We invite your Holy Spirit to be present in the classrooms of America.  We come against the spirit of apathy, discouragement, fear, violence and lack of purpose.  

And we ask that You, Lord Jesus would empower each grandparent, parent, child, student, administrator and teacher regardless of age, occupation, or education to use our allotted days to do Your Will.

Father, I ask these things, as we agree together, in the powerful name of Jesus--Our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

If you'd like to hear the song I mentioned above, this is the link. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Choose Something Wonderful

This is the only picture I could find with me and my mom
together.  I am the baby in this picture.
Mother's Day can be the best or toughest day of the year.  On this special day, words of appreciation will be shared, cards bought, candy given, and the restaurants will be filled with families who don't want to attempt cooking a meal for the best cook in their world--Mom!

For many, Mother's Day can be a sad day too.  Maybe you never experienced the joy...and sorrow (yes, there is plenty of sorrow that comes with the job) of motherhood or maybe you have recently said your final good-bye to your own mother.

Whether you are in joy or pain...Mother's Day is coming, and this year you get to choose what you will remember.  So, here is your challenge...choose something wonderful. 

Here's my memory.

When I was in the 11th grade, I had a new friend at school, and the first time I went to her house she walked in, grabbed her mom and lifted her off the floor with a hug.  I could see by their relationship that this was not a one time occurrence.  My friend had cultivated this type of relationship with her mother.  And, it warmed my heart to see this expression of love.  Her actions inspired me to do something special with my mom.

Seeing I'm not a lift your mom off the floor with a hug kind of person, I moved on to Plan B.

I chose to greet my mom when she came home each day from work and follow her to her bedroom.  I'd lay on her bed while she changed her clothes into something comfy.  I'd ask her anything that was on my mind or ask her how her day had been.   I don't remember receiving any life changing advice or spiritual counsel in those few moments together, but it was a purposeful time for me to be with her and her to be with me.

It was sometime in the 11th grade that I made the decision to take that five minutes with my mother when she came home from work.   I'm sure she wasn't thrilled to have an audience while she changed her clothes, but she never once discouraged me from being with her.  I cherish that time, and I had no idea how short lived it would be.  In February of my senior year in high school, my mom died unexpectedly.  I was 18 years old.

I don't have decades of memories about my mother to pull from, but I cherish the time we did have and especially those days of just being with her.

In Isaiah 66:12-13 The Message Bible describes a mother as one who brings comfort with the sweet promise that God will comfort us in the same way.
“...You’ll nurse at her breasts,
    nestle in her bosom,
    and be bounced on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
    so I’ll comfort you...”
What is your good memory of your mother?

Choose something wonderful.

A recent photo of me with my first born!  
My second born son and a very young me!

One of my favorite pictures of me and my daughter (3rd born).

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Looking Ahead

I work part-time at my church and part of my job is planning big events for the over 50's crowd.  The past few weeks, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a bus trip for the fall to the Ark and Creation Museum in Kentucky, and I'm pricing out a group Bible Study Cruise for February 2021.  

I've been flipping the pages of my calendar ahead by the days, weeks, months and even years as I make plans for the future.  Sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, I forget what day of the week it actually is because I'm looking ahead to the next big event.

The discussion about these future activities are exciting even though they can be months or years away, but as I review the details and make plans for these events before I know it, they have arrived.  They really aren't that far away after all. 

There was a time in my life, when Believers looked ahead far more than we do now.  There was a time when we talked about the coming of the Lord with excitement and expectation.  There was a day when we tagged this phrase at the end of every future event.  

"... if the Lord tarries."  

Once the normal conversation of a Christian sounded a lot like this:

“I’ll be there on Friday, if the Lord tarries.

“Next month is our vacation to Lake Michigan, if the Lord tarries.

“My wedding is in four months, if the Lord tarries.

Do you remember saying that?  

We were looking, planning, expecting for His coming.  How exciting that was--looking ahead!

The Bible tells us to occupy until He comes--to make ourselves useful for the cause of Christ, but in Philippians 3:20 it also reminds us of this very thing...F
or our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And in Titus 2:13 we cling to this promise--
looking forward to that wonderful time we’ve been expecting, when his glory shall be seen—the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  (TLB)

I've had my share of looking ahead for the next big events, but there is none more exciting nor more annticipated than this one—His return!

...come Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Look What You Did!

Have you ever said this to someone?

"Look What You Did!" 

Depending on your voice inflection, the meaning of this statement could be either affirming or disparaging.    

If I used a tone that expressed a 'shame on you' then the "Look What You Did!" phrase would show that somebody did something that upset me.  

But, if i used a tone that expresses pride in an accomplishment the meaning would be much different even though the words remain the same.

In the story of the healing at the Gate Beautiful, a similar expression is used.  When the crowd saw the healing of the crippled man, they said with awe and wonder, (paraphrasing here) "Hey, Everybody!  Look What Peter and John Did!"  

Then later in Acts 3:11-21, Peter sets the record straight by giving Christ the credit, but not before he takes a jab at the same people who crucified Christ.  Peter gave them a "Look What You Did!" with a tone of shame on you.

This Easter season, we all have an opportunity to express our gratitude, awe and wonder when we say to Jesus, "Look What You Did!" 

In 1 John 3:1 (CEV) it says, "Think how much the Father loves us.  He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are..."

Because of what Christ has done for us, death has been defeated.  His act of love was for us.  We have been set free from the sin that had us bound.  This is the kind of love that the Father has given us.

With much gratitude and awe, I say to Jesus again, "Look What You Did...for me!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Worth It

Our son tapped one of the maple trees in our yard a few weeks ago.  He was able to collect about three gallons of sap in a matter of hours.

The whole process was labor intencive.  First, he collected the sap, then he boiled it for a long time on an open fire in the back yard.   (He's old school.  No indoor, electric stove cooking for him.)  Then he filtered the liquid.

The longest part of the process was boiling the sap over the open fire to refine it.  After the fire process, the maple syrup was still dark and cloudy from the open fire, but once the sticky substance dripped through the filter, out came an amber colored syrup that was pure and clear.

All the debris and impurities were gone.  The only thing left was pure, sweet, maple syrup.

In the spring, nature tells the maple tree to release its sap.  If someone takes the time to tap the tree, and put in the labor, the return will be great.   Our life'a journey is a little bit like this.

The Lord wants to refine each of us--if we let Him.  He's willing to put the time in on each one of us, if we're willing to go through the refining process.

Here we are, bursting with potential and possibilities, but we must submit to a spiritual refining just like the sap from the maple tree.   Endurance, fire, and filtering must all take place in our lives to produce the best product.

As we surrender our lives to the refining fire of God and the filtering of the Spirit, the necessary purging of all impurities will make us refined like silver.

Psalm 66:10 in the NET Bible says, For you, O God, tested us; you purified us like refined silver.

Our son was pretty proud of that syrup, and I saw all the work he put into making it.  The weather was cold and the fire needed wood and the sap needed to be stirred.  And he was steadfast as he patiently put in the effort for the finished product.

Why?  Because it was worth it!

This is how God looks at us even during the refining process, his eyes of love are always on us.

For you are a people holy to the LORD you're GOD.
He has chosen you to be His people,
prized above all others on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 14:2 (NET BIBLE) 

Whatever stage of the refining process you're in today, hang in there, because you're Worth It!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Missing Pieces

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter who is 7 yrs old was trying her best to communicate with me but we had come to an impasse.

What I saw and heard was disrespectful behavior.  So, I did what any good grandma would do...I tattled on her.  I felt the behavior needed to be dealt with by a parent.  That's the beauty of being the grandma--we don't have to do the disciplining anymore!

The mom stepped in and punishment was doled out for the offense.

A bit later, her father sat down with her to follow up on what had happened.  Enough time had passed to give my granddaughter the ability to tell the whole story and that's when her mom and I got the missing pieces in the story.

My granddaughter had been warned by her mother that there was an area in her brother's bedroom that was dangerous.  (a fireplace from 1883) When her younger brother was getting too close to the area of concern, my granddaughter attempted to protect him by repeatedly hitting him.  (It seemed logical to her.  After all, she was saving his life.)

And that's when grandma stepped into the situation.  I saw only one part of the picture, and when I asked her to stop hitting her brother, she yelled at me, "NO!" multiple times.  When I asked her to leave the room, she again responded, "NO!" more than once.

That's when the tattling took place and the punishment was given.

When her father spoke with her a bit later, he helped my granddaughter understand how she could have handled the situation without being disrespectful to her grandma or hurtful to her brother.

The punishment was adjusted once all the pieces were in place.

This experience with my granddaughter caused me to think how easily a person can react wrongly...when they don't have all the information.  (Oh, how I've...been there and done that!)

Proverbs 18:13 (NET) gives us all a great reminder.

The one who gives an answer before he listens--that is his folly and his shame.

Okay,  I'm not the only guilty party in this story.  Let's just say, we were all a bit at fault...well...except the father.


That's so like our Heavenly Father.  He is quick to listen, and with Him there are no Missing Pieces.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

In like a lion and out like a lamb.

In a few more days, March will be history for another year.  I have heard this saying about the month of March all my life, "In like a lion and out like a lamb."

March can be pretty fickle when it comes to weather.  It can be 70 degrees and sunny one day and a foot of snow the next. (At least here in Michigan.)  One proven fact about a Michigan March is that it doesn't matter if one day is sun and another is snow...eventually spring is coming and with it the promise of more pleasant days than unpleasant ones.

Life can be a bit like the month of March.  We have to remember that when difficulties come our way that it is only for a season.  

It's a proven fact that eventually spring is coming and winter is ending.  

Ecclesiastes 3 reminders us that no matter what season we presently are in-- change will come.

For everything there is an appointed time,
and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to rip, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

In this scripture, you may have identified the season of life you are in right now, but don't dwell on the cold and negative days of winter because a season change is coming. 

Just as March turns to April and April turns to May...get ready...because what came into your life like a lion is about to go out like a lamb.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Where's the mirror?

A few weeks ago, I visited my daughter, son-in-law and four amazing grandkids in Indiana.  I was excited to see all of them, but I was also anxious to scope out their new home built in 1883.  Well, not actually new, but new to them!

They haven't been living there very long, and during my visit I noticed an important (to me) missing piece.  

The empty wall in front of the bathroom sink was clearly missing something.  With wet hair and no make-up, I asked my daughter, "Where's the mirror?"     

As I gazed at the non-reflective bathroom wall, the lack of a mirror reminded me that I was about to go out in public without doing any self-examination.  

In James 1:22-25 (NIV) the Bible tells us that the Word is like a mirror that tells us the truth about ourselves.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

When I looked at that empty bathroom wall hoping to see my refection, all I could think was, Where's the mirror?  I needed it.  I wanted it.  I knew without it things weren't going to be as they should.  I didn't want to leave the house with messed up hair, a smudge on my face or messy make-up.

The same is true with our spiritual appearance.  We need to take a fresh look in the mirror of His Word daily to do some much needed self-examination before we mix with other people.  

So, Where is your mirror? Have you looked in it lately?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Wages

"Are you paying me?"

I've heard this phrase a hundred times in my life, and I too, have asked this question.

"Are you going to pay me?"

This question has become a favorite from two of the grandchildren who are temporarily living with us.

This question usually follows this question from me, "Do you wanna help me in the yard?"

The grandkids have learned that their labor is worth something because I've paid them before.  If I need sticks picked up or leaves raked, it's going to cost me.  Their past payment for yard work has been a few dollars, a trip to the thrift store or the best wage of all...a grandma hug.

However, they never pick the hug.  I may be doling those out a bit too freely.

When it comes to yard work, I have one worker who usually works a bit harder than the other.  I won't name names, but it's the girl.  She really has the whole "workman is worthy of his hire" thing all figured out.

If she works for it, she expects to be paid for it.  She is very mindful of the concept; how hard you work should equal how much you are paid.  She may have lived more of her life overseas than in America, but she's a capitalist at heart.

In the Bible, we are reminded of this principle of wages being paid for services.  Nope, I'm not going to tell you the parable of the laborer, but that's a good one.

In Roman 6:23 we read about another promise of wages.  "For the wages of sin is death..."

This is payment that all of us would like to reject, but that's not how the wages of sin works.  You do the sin--you're gonna get paid with death which equals eternal separation from God!

The great news of Roman 6:23 is found in the second part of the verse.  This part gives us a reprieve, a renegotiation of the pervious set wages.

"...but the gift of God is eternal life 
through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now that's a wage that no one should argue with, yet many still walk away from the negotiation table leaving that gift unopened.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Who are you talking to?

At the grocery story,  I saw a woman carrying on a full blown one-sided conversation with a box of cereal.   As I watched from a safe distance, her conversation became animated and one hand began gesturing.

From my place of safety about half a row behind her, I wondered if I should proceed with caution or backup-on-outa there.

I waited for a few seconds and then decided to push my cart forward, as far as I could around her, passing on the left.  I glanced back over my shoulder as the woman continued her one sided conversation.

She seemed so absorbed with the cereal box that I thought I was totally oblivious to her.

Then, ever so slightly, the woman turned her head and pointed at her ear.

That's when I realized I was a gawker, and she was on a bluetooth ear piece talking to someone on the phone.

Well, that was embarrassing!  Yet, it did cause me to ask this question...

Whose voice are you listening too and whose counsel are you taking?

In the Bible, Psalm 1 is an excellent chapter to put to memory.  It gives us a step by step warning about the slow progression into bad counsel.  First you walk, then stand, then sit and once you take a seat, you've made a comfortable place for the ungodly, the sinners and the scornful to whisper into your ear.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
When taking counsel from others, remember these things.

Look for people...
  • with a proven track record of integrity
  • of like faith
  • who share your vision
  • who know how to keep a confidence
These types of advisers will give you the best chance of success.

And most importantly, seek the Lord on your own account.

In Isaiah 30:21 it says, "whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

At the grocery store that day, I watched the woman talking to the cereal box, I believed one thing but in reality what I saw was not true.

In this life, we need to be sure we know who we are talking to, and who we are listening to!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Your Enemy

A few weeks ago, I was watching a program on TV, and a pastor was discussing with a few married couples, issues they were having in their relationships.  

The pastor made this comment, "Attack the thing that comes into your marriage that causes problems as if it were an enemy."

The pastor's comment got me thinking.  If I changed the marriage scenario to my Christian walk, the same statement would apply.  

"Attack the thing that comes into your Christian walk that causes problems as if it were an enemy." 

What enemies have you knowingly or unknowingly given a comfortable place to take up residence in your life?  

Could it be the enemy of old wounds that when properly fertilized breeds bitterness? 

So, what are the things in your spiritual walk that need to be identify as an enemy?  

In Roman 8:12-18 in the Living Bible it says... 

So, dear brothers, you have no obligations whatever 
to your old sinful nature 
to do what it begs you to do.
For if you keep on following it 
you are lost and will perish, 
but if through the power of the Holy Spirit 
you crush it and its evil deeds, 
you shall live.

Once you identify your enemy, deal with it accordingly.   Kill your sin before it kills you—it’s your enemy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Happy Birthday To You

A few weeks ago, grandchild #8 had a birthday.  He turned five and we couldn't be with him for his special day.  So, we did the best we could by calling him through FaceTime.

After spending a few minutes talking about what he hoped to get for his birthday, I said, "We're going to sing Happy Birthday to you."

His face brightened up like a 1,000 watt bulb.

As my husband and I sang,  Happy Birthday, our grandson's smile grew bigger and brighter with each word of the song.

He could not contain his joy as we sang directly to him. He was overwhelmed that he was singled out in recognition of this amazing day.  January 29th is the celebration of his birth, and he knew he was the man of honor.

In Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) it is God who sings over us on our amazing rebirth day.

"The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The image of my grandson's smiling face is burned in my memory today, as I write this.  I don't believe he could have expressed an ounce more joy.

It may not be your birthday today, and you probably aren't turning five either, but the joy my grandson expressed as we sang to him, I won't soon forget.

I hope my gratitude to my Heavenly Father, as He sings over me, is equally obvious--to Him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The warm side of the door.

Our church's Bible Study cruise to the Caribbean is ending tomorrow.  The weather here has been warm and toasty--just beautiful.  However, I have not forgotten that less than two weeks ago we were in record breaking freezing cold Michigan.

According to news reports, Michigan hadn't experienced weather this cold for over 25 years.   During the cold, fringed days of January 2019, my family choose to stay inside as much as possible.  We choose the warm side of the door.

On most of those subzero days, I was curled up by the fire place with the heat pumped up to 70, wrapped in a blanket, with fuzzy socks on my feet.  On days like this, I am very mindful that the other side of the door isn't necessarily a warm and friendly place.

However, too often when I shut the door on the world and enter my comfortable home, I to easily forget that not everyone knows about, the warm side of the door.

There is a verse in John 10:9 (ESV) that says this...

"I am the door. 
If anyone enters by me, 
he will be saved 
and will go in and out 
and find pasture."

 I'm out of the country right now, and it's an easy thing for me, with my passport, to go in and out.   When I am in Christ, I have that same freedom.

The warm side of the door is awesome, no question about that, but if we don't go in and out, we'll never find pastures.

Another verse that comes to mind when I think of pastures is...look unto the fields for they are ripe for harvest.

If we stay inside where it is warm and comfortable, we will miss all opportunities that are NOT on the warm side of the door.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Best Place

The Best Place

     My kitchen on any given morning is an obstacle course of "me first."

     My son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren have been living with us for the past 20 months, and many mornings, we all are in the kitchen at the same time.  Oh, and let's not forget the dog.  She loves the kitchen in the morning too.
    Most of the time mornings in my kitchen are a skillful dance of toaster, stove, sink, fridge, coffeemaker, cupboard, table, dishwasher and out the door.  
     But there has been days when there is bumping, pushing, arms snaking around another person to get that coveted item just beyond reach, lots of 'excuse me's,' and pulling out a drawer ever so slowly until the person standing in front of it finally moves.  
     Mornings in my kitchen should be a reminder of the scripture in Mark 9:35 from the Message Bible.
     He sat down and summoned the Twelve. 
“So you want first place? 
Then take the last place. 
Be the servant of all.”
     Jesus reminds all of us in this verse that when we push for our own agenda, it isn't always the best thing to do.  When I push my way through the crowded kitchen, am I being a servant or trying to take first place?
     This whole idea is foreign to the 'me first' American mindset.  How can last place be first place?  Since when, did a servant become better than the master?
     But to the Christian, the words of Jesus should be our motivation.  His actions should guide us.  
     I wonder how Jesus would act in my kitchen on any given morning.  He'd probably stand back and wait His turn without pushing in for first place at the coffee maker, stove or sink.  He'd probably ask, "What can I do to help?"
     And in so doing, He'd have chosen, The Best Place.

*** On Wednesday, February 13th, I won't be able to post on Facebook because I'll be on a cruise in the Caribbean.  Yippee!  I will have a devotional that will be emailed to those who are following me through my website. If you haven't signed up for my weekly devotionals, you can do so by entering your email address at the right-hand side of the screen just above the books for sale. (If you are on a cell phone--scroll to the bottom and choose view web version to see the whole screen.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Slap Down

I'm not the type of person that enjoys or looks for a reason to debate with anyone about anything.  I'm not interested in getting into a verbal slap down--ever.

Don't get me wrong.  I have an opinion, and for the most part, I think that my opinion is the right one.  (Don't we all!)

What I take issue with is...when someone baits me into an uncomfortable exchange after they ask me this question, "What do you think?"  

My mind desperately tries to communicate to my mouth, "Don't answer!"  "Don't give your opinion!"  "Don't share your ideas!" "Don't engage!"  "It's futile!"

Because in reality, the person doesn't really want to know what I think, unless I am in total agreement with them.  

I fall into this trap ALL-THE-TIME!  

But there is someone who is interested in what I'm interested in and who isn't waiting to pounce on me with a verbal slap down.
The Lord is concerned with every issue that we take issue with.  He actually does want to know our opinion.  He wants to know what's on our mind.

I read this scripture today in James 1:5 (NLT) and it rang true in my heart.
 "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking."

Maneuvering through the murky waters of what to say and when to say it or when it's best to say nothing, can be a challenge, but I have some great news for those seeking wisdom.  

When you ask the Lord for help, there isn't going to be a slap down.   

It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that o...