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.   









Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Knot

I have a problem.  I freely admit, it drives me nuts!  It's knotted shoestrings.  There...I said it.  

"Knotted shoestrings drive me crazy!"

I cringe when I see a child wedge his foot into a shoe that is pinched shut with a knotted shoestring.  Instead of asking for help from someone more capable, the child forces his foot into the shoe and with laces dangling--hobbles away.   

Children have an uncanny ability to ignore a knotted shoestring.  They will go about their business--WITH A KNOT IN THEIR SHOESTRING! 

Not too long ago, my grandson had a knot in his shoestring and when I asked to help him get the knot out, he resisted.  I grabbed the shoe right off his foot, quickly used a fork to loosen the knot and worked it out in a matter of seconds.  I handed the shoe back to my grandson feeling PRETTY proud of my skills.  

There may have been a "Ta-Da" with arms extended.  That part's a bit foggy, but it sounds like me.

I was shocked when my grandson wasn't impressed with my abilities to annihilate knots!  

You know what?  He had grown accustom to having the knot in his shoelace.  He liked it that way.  He had learned to manage quite well with the knot

I couldn't believe it!  Is there anything better than a snug, newly tied, unknotted shoestring?  I think not.

Life's spiritual knots are something like shoestring knots.  Sometimes we are unable to get the knot out by ourselves.  We need the skillful hand of someone bigger and wiser to apply His knowledge to the mess.  

At times, like my grandson's knotted shoestrings, I too have tried to maneuver through life with spiritual knots that I thought were unnoticeable to anyone else.  I had learned to manage quite well with the spiritual knots...here, there and everywhere.  

My grandson taught me this about knots.  The longer we ignore them, the easier they are to live with and soon we manage our lives around the knots.

I needed help getting rid of my spiritual knots, just like my grandson needed help getting rid of his shoestring knots.   He couldn't get those knots out alone and spiritually speaking neither can we.

Lamentations 1:20 (MSG) tells us what life is like when we choose to live with spiritual knots.  

"O God, look at the trouble I'm in!  
My stomach is knots, 
my heart wrecked by a life of rebellion..."

When we hand our knotted, messed-up lives over to the Lord, this is what we have to look forward to.  Lamentations 3:20-25 (NLT) says this...

I will never forget this awful time...
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

You don't have to live with knotted shoestrings, and you don't have to live with Spiritual Knots either!  

Are you ready to ask for help with your knots?  

His mercies begin afresh each morning! 





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fast-Forward

In 2006, there was a movie released that was called Click.  It was about a husband and father who had a one-of-kind TV remote.  

This special remote could be used to fast-forward, rewind or pause things in real life.  

I saw this movie, when it first came out, but never wanted to watch it a second time.  It was funny the first time the man fast-forwarded through some everyday things that we'd all love to speed past in life, but quickly the premise of the movie became painful to watch and sad.  

The main character of the movie missed out on many treasured-life experiences because he rushed past everything that was unpleasant or time consuming in his life.   He missed, by choice, the good and bad experiences of life that help form us. 

There have been a few experiences in my life, if I had the ability to hit the fast-forward button at that moment, I would have.  But looking back, I'm able to see that even in the struggles and outright failures, God was using these things for good in my life.  

God has allowed difficult times in my life to develop His character in me.  

The easy thing to do would be to fast-forward my way out of every mess, but God's plan for my life has never included a fast-forward button.

·      His plan says, when we walk through difficult times that He will be with us.
·      His plan says, this mess you are in isn't going to destroy you.
·      His plan says, don't panic call on Me. 
·      His plan says, trust Me.

Next time you are in the middle of a difficult situation and you wish you could  fast-forward your way out of it,  remember God knows.  

In Psalm 13, David was at one of the lowest points in his life.  If the fast-forward button would have been an option for him, he may have taken it.  

Instead of fast-forwarding, David poured out all his woes to the Lord, then He chose to trust.  
Psalm 13 (NET)
How long, Lord, will you continue to ignore me?
How long will you pay no attention to me?
How long must I worry,
and suffer in broad daylight?
How long will my enemy gloat over me?
Look at me! Answer me, O Lord my God!
Revive me, or else I will die!
Then my enemy will say, “I have defeated him!”
Then my foes will rejoice because I am upended.
But I trust in your faithfulness.
May I rejoice because of your deliverance!
I will sing praises to the Lord...

Life is short enough without the fast-forward--so step away from the remote and talk to the Lord!











Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Waiting Room

"Wait!"

"Have a seat, I’ll be with you in a minute."

"It's going to be a 45 minute wait to be seen."

We have all heard these phrases.  Even as I write this, I’m reminded of the cold, hard reality that if I’m left too long in the waiting room...it doesn't bring out my best qualities.

Waiting has never been my strength and while we’re at it...neither is sharing space or taking turns.

A few months ago, I found out that our family is getting new health insurance.  I was not excited about this.   It’s not that I’m overly loyalty to any insurance brand, but my family doctor for the past eight years, has won me over with her promptness in seeing patients within minutes of their appointment time and sometimes even before the scheduled appointment.  I will go so far as to say that she has a “zero” wait time in her office.

Now, I'm sure you think I’m exaggerating…and I may be just a bit, but there has been many times in my years with this doctor that I’ve walked from the check-in counter, choose my seat in the waiting room, place my coat on the chair, and walked over to an end table to pick reading material.

Literally, with the magazine in my hand, the nurse would call my name before I could even sit down.

Let’s face it, nobody likes the waiting room.  I loved the “no-wait” policy at my doctors office, and I can't help but believe if all of life’s waiting rooms could run with such excellent procession, then life would be grand.

In the waiting room of life, we don’t have a choice in the amount of time we spent there, but we all have a choice in how we wait.  I know this all to well.  I have not been good at the waiting game, and I freely admit that I’m still a work in progress.

I don’t like the waiting room.

Now, here’s the zinger, sometimes God’s wants us to linger in His waiting room.  I’m sorry to say, He did not consult with me on this, or I would have shared my excellent time management skills.

I’m guessing God's plan and purpose for my life my exceed the herd'm through mentality.  For each second, minute, hour, day or year that I squirm in His waiting room chair--He is fully aware and allowing it.

Here’s a truth I learned in God's waiting room.   When God puts you there, you’re not getting out any faster with a bad attitude.

...The Apostle Paul was in God's waiting room--also known as a jail cell.  In this prison, he waited and used his time to worship.  When Paul's chains dropped to the prison floor, he walked out, and lead his guards to Christ.

...Joseph knew all about God's waiting room.  He spent more than 30 years there if you count the time from the day he dreamed his dream to the day his brothers bowed down before him and Joseph saw the fulfillment of the dream God had given him.  That's a lot of waiting!

...Queen Esther also was familiar with waiting.  She waited in the wings for one year before being chosen queen.  She waited again for God's timing to be fulfilled so she would be where she needed to be to save the Jewish people from annihilation.  These famous words of her uncle, "you are here for such a time as this," give meaning to the waiting room.

I'm not sure where you are in the waiting process, but if you are sitting in God's waiting room--that's great news.   We have this hope found in Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; 
and they shall walk, and not faint. 

Maybe the waiting room isn't as bad as I thought.  I just need to remember to use my time wisely while there.







Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Endless Possiblities

It's a new year with endless possibilities.  Right now, on day two, my slate is clean!  Nothing is holding me back for sweet success in every area of my life--because it's JANUARY 2nd of a brand-new year.  

I can dream big, believe, and yes, it could happen.  

What will I accomplish this year? 

Will I write another book?  (Maybe!)

Will I finally clean out that closet?  (It's the one I'm afraid to open.)

Will I read my Bible through? (Well, let's not go crazy!)

Will I be a better manager of my time? (I have a new amazing planner!)

Will I be willing to step out of the boat?  (With a life jacket on of course!)

Will I journal every day? (I do have a lot to say...)

Oh, the pure joy of a brand-new journal with its clean white pages.  That new journal is just waiting for all my thoughts to spill out and cover the pages.  

Yes, it's a new year with endless possibilities.  

I wonder what the Lord has in store for me in 2019.

I read this verse today in Isaiah 43:19-20(NLT), it was like the Lord saying, here ya go.  It's your new beginning.  And you know what, I liked it!   

“...I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness...
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
so my chosen people can be refreshed."

Wow!  Yes, Lord.  I want 2019 to be just as Your Word says--make pathways when the roads are impassable.  When everything around me seems parched and dry, I say, yes to Your refreshing rivers.  Thank you Lord for the promises in Your Word.   

What’s your verse for 2019? 

Lay claim to it, and fill the blank pages of 2019 with good things from the Lord.  

He gives us endless possiblities!


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...