Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Humbleness of Joseph

"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."  Matthew 1:24 (NIV)

Welcome to the second Sunday in Advent.  As we continue our series of Christmas Humbleness, we move to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father.  Joseph is someone who truly amazed me.  There is little written of Joseph in the Bible past the Christmas story.  Yet, here we learn much about this truly humble man.

Throughout the Christmas story, Joseph had to deal with many "curve balls".  Mary becomes pregnant prior to their marriage.  Joseph makes a decision to quietly divorce her (humble decision?).  In those days it was.  He didn't want to disgrace her, which was typical in these types of situations.  Joseph refuses pride and humbles himself to protect Mary.

Then there was the dream when the angel tells Joseph that he needs to continue with the marriage, that the son of Mary is Immanuel.  Joseph humbles himself and obeys God's word, taking Mary as his wife.  Joseph's life probably would have been easier if he had gone through with the decision to divorce her - he would have been free from the public humility he endured.  Yet, he knew that wasn't God's plan, so he obediently followed.

Joseph also obeys as they go to Bethlehem to be registered, and is at Mary's side as she takes that journey with him.  He doesn't abandon Mary and leave her behind.  Through all of this, Joseph stands up in humility and does the right thing - by Mary and by God.  

Later, Joseph wonders what he would actually teach Jesus - the son of God.  After all, Joseph was a simple carpenter and wasn't, in actuality, Jesus' father.  Joseph could have left at any time.  Joseph could have moved on.  Yet, that wasn't Joseph.  He brought to this world a picture of humility that stays with us today.

In Joseph, we see the humility of helping others, although the position we take may not be a popular one.  In Joseph, we see the humility of obeying, although obeying God's word may not be the popular one.  In Joseph, we see the humility of commitment, staying with Mary and Jesus long past the birth.  In Joseph, we see the humble man that God chose to be Jesus' earthly father.  

What can we learn from Joseph?  Being humble means obeying God's word through a commitment of helping others.  Joseph is our ultimate example of doing this.  In our every day lives, our opportunity to do this may be greater than we think.  Read God's word - see what He shares about us living out His word.   Find those that need to feel God's love and may we move forward in this love, even if it isn't the most "popular" thing to do.  Our opportunities are endless, as is God's love.  Through God, we are able to live a life of humbleness.  The most important thing to remember is that in all actions, the glory goes to God, not to ourselves.  At any time, Joseph could have proclaimed himself as Jesus' father, "Look at me, the father of the Savior of the World".  Yet, Joseph didn't do this.  Through his humbleness, he did so much more - he provided the image of humbleness to God.  May we do the same.

Dearest Jesus:  Your earthly father, Joseph, is a wonderful picture of humbleness.  Through his obedience to God, he lived this out through his actions that we read in the Christmas Story.  May we also show that level of humbleness in our daily actions - ensuring that all glory goes to you.  In your blessed name we pray, Amen. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Humbleness of the Wise Men

"On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."  Matthew 2:11 (NIV)

We are upon another Advent season.  Each year, they seem to come sooner and sooner.  There are an abundant amount of reasons why Advent is a favorite time of year for me.  The greatest is that it is time for us to slow down and focus - focus on what is truly important.  As we light our first advent candle, the candle of Hope, this Advent season I will be focusing on the humbleness of those in the Christmas Story.  Today, I begin with the wise men.

There are many conflicting stories of who these three men were.  Kings?  Intellects?  Scientists?  Regardless of their particular background, it is safe to say that they were important men of their time.  Men who weren't of a servant nature.  Men who had living arrangements that were above average.  Men who were revered by others.  They were definitely a higher social stature.  As they set out on their journey, little did they know what they would find - and where they would find it.

As the wise men searched for the newborn king, as they followed the star, I can only imagine what was going through their minds.  They were looking for a newborn king.  Although the star was their guiding path, I would assume they would think there were also looking for a place where a newborn king would reside.  Weren't they surprised.  Yet, with all that they had, and all that they were, when they saw the newborn king, Jesus, they "bowed down and worshiped him."  Imagine, for a moment, kings of our nations today possibly bowing down in a lowly place for a newborn king.  Doesn't seem possible, does it?  Yet, these three wise men did just that.  They humbled themselves to the glory of our newborn king, Jesus.  They forgot about their intellect, their high social stature, the people who revered them, and they got down on bended knee to worship a child.  That picture of humbleness is beautiful.

During this Advent season, may we learn from those that were humble that first Christmas.  From the wise men we can learn much.  It didn't matter to them what their place was in the world, it was more important to be humble and bow down before Jesus.  The same is so true for us.  Regardless of our particular background, it is our time to bow down before Jesus.  May the pride that we might have in our lives for our intellect, our material items and our social stature be released to humble ourselves for the true king.  May we "bow down and worship him", and help others to see the awesomeness of the newborn king this Christmas season.  Take time to find ways to worship the True King this Advent Season.  I hope to start by reading and re-reading the Christmas story.  I always find something new and amazing each time I read it.  Let's remember to leave our "wealth" to the side and humble ourselves to Jesus and to each other.  When we look at the world through humble eyes, we see such great gifts - like the unconditional love of our Savior.  Blessings to all on this first Advent Sunday.

Dearest Jesus, help us to be humbled to you and to each other as the wise men humbled themselves that first Christmas.  Let us leave the pride of everyday life behind and may we rest our hearts close to yours as we bow down before you in the manger.  Help us, Jesus, to be more like the wise men as we approach each day.  In your heavenly Christmas name we pray, Amen.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Saying Goodbye

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."  Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

Just like that, as fast as the children all joined us for the holiday, the house is now quiet again.  All the work and preparation, all the anticipation, and within a few short days, it is all over.  Is it just me or is the house even MORE quiet when all the children leave than what it was before they got there?  We were blessed to have all four children rejoin the household during Thanksgiving.  With everyone living their separate lives, it was truly a blessing.  I can still hear the laughter as they sat at the kitchen table Thanksgiving evening playing cards.  Truly made this mama's heart swell with joy.

It started Saturday - the exodus.  The first one took off mid-morning.  Close to 1PM on Sunday, they had all left.  Goodbyes can be hard, especially when you know it will be some time before we will all be together again.  How about you?  Did you spend these past few days with family and friends?  Are you also feeling the sense of loss as they say goodbye and leave the driveway?  It's hard to watch people leave us.  In trying to find a way to fill my heart again, I turned to scripture.

This wonderful blessing that our Lord bestows upon us is one I shared in my heart with my children today.  As they head off to a life outside of their childhood home, I have comfort knowing that our Lord is with them.  God doesn't disappoint.  He may not always give us what WE want WHEN we want it, but He always has a greater plan.  He has my children in His hands.  How do I know this?  

Because, in the verse above, I replace the word YOU with my children's names. When I do this, the verse becomes very personal to each and every one of them.  That is how I know God has their best intentions for them, that He will bless them with what they need.  He will love them - as I love them.  When I can't be there for my children, He will always be with them.  With that, I can be assured that they will receive great blessings from our Lord.  With that, I have peace.  

As you sent off family and friends this past weekend, pray the blessing above upon them.  Know that God is with them and will hold them in His hands.  Have peace in God's word, and that peace will pass all understanding.  

Advent begins next Sunday.  This year we will explore those who were humble during that first Christmas.  I pray you are blessed this Advent season.

"Heavenly Father, as family and friends leave our homes after the holidays, it can be tough to watch them leave.  Our homes may be going from lots of chatter to a sense of quiet.  Although we may feel a bit of longing for those who have returned home, we know that you will bless them and bring us peace.  Help us to be reminded of this.  In your name we pray, Amen."

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving in Despair

". . . always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name o four Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20 

So hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here.  It seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter.  Yet, here we are with a joyous focus on giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings we have been afforded.  Yes, I love Thanksgiving for all the wonders of the day - the gathering of family, the reminiscing of the goodness of God, and yes, the food and football!  This year, though, my thoughts have taken me to people and a world who don't seem to have much to be thankful for.

This past year, albeit gone so quickly, saw many tragedies.  Horrible natural disasters from earthquakes, to floods, to fires.  Dissension among people.  Destructive mass shootings.  It is hard to say "Happy Thanksgiving" when we think of all of those horrific events that have taken place during 2017.  Alongside of all of those events, we have the despair of our own lives - relationships that have been broken, health concerns, and economic difficulties.  So here we are - at Thanksgiving.  What is there to be thankful for?

Throughout all of the news footage of those that have been so drastically effected by the areas listed above, I find that there are people who are saying, "Thank you, Jesus."  Thank you, really?  Thank you for what?  As I listen to these folks speak, I am in awe and admiration of their faith.  For it is their faith that brings them to the table of thanksgiving in despair.  To have that level of faith in God is something I aspire to.  

Having faith when things are good, and thanking Jesus for all the good things, seems to make sense.  Yet, as our verse for today shares, we are to give thanks to Jesus ALWAYS.  Not just when things are great, but when things are tough.  What are we supposed to thank Jesus for during despair?

We thank Him for life and for death, as we never know when death occurs what life would have been like for that person.  We thank Him for difficulties, as it is our opportunity to get closer to God, in prayer and petition.  We thank Him for losing everything, as we know that what we have is truly His anyhow, and He will always provide.  We thank Him that through the despair, our faith in Him is truly most important.  Thanksgiving in Despair always takes me to Job.  Now there was a man with despair.  Yet His faith was there, deeply rooted, for all of us to see.

Do you have someone who you know is dealing with difficulty?  Maybe you are having tough times?  Now is the time, dear brother and sister, to give thanks.  Give thanks to God who listens to your prayers and provides you a blanket of love.  Give thanks to God who blesses you in small ways each moment of the day.  Give thanks to God that He never lets go of you, no matter how bleak - NEVER.  During this Thanksgiving, may we give thanks under all circumstances, even in despair.

"Dearest Jesus, help us to remember to give thanksgiving in despair.  When life seems so difficult, may we remember your love for us and the way you continue to bless us when life is dark.  Help us to go to you, in faith, and know that you have all situations covered.  Thank you Jesus, that your love is eternal and your help is forever.   In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Grumbling to Gratefulness

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.""  Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

It started early in the day.  I went to get a cup of coffee, and there it was - two people complaining that the line was too long.  I got my coffee, went back to my car, and began the drive to work.  Along the way, I noticed the car next to me was distracted at a red light.  The car behind them began beeping like crazy.  All I could think to myself was "I can't wait to get to work (how often do we say that)!"  Once at work, though, it didn't stop.  It seemed as if the entire day was filled with people complaining.  I heard complaints ranging from something not being done fast enough to being done too fast.  I heard grumbling about the weather, the food, the way people were being treated, etc.  It seemed no matter which way I turned, the grumbling words were gaining momentum.

Have you ever had a day like that?  What I found was that by the end of the day, guess who felt like joining the crowd?  Yes, sorry to say, me.  It seemed that if everyone else was miserable, I might as well be miserable too.  At that moment, three words came to my mind - STOP, CHECK AND ACT!  
     STOP - stop the grumbling.  Just stop the words and thoughts that were coming to me.
     CHECK - check to see if what I was grumbling about needed attention or was I chiming in with the people around me
     ACT - take action and accountability for what I was feeling and saying.

Sure enough, after I stopped, checked and acted, the words and complaints stopped.  I realized that I should be full of gratefulness for all I had - grateful for a good job with great people; grateful for my health; grateful for a wonderful family; most importantly - grateful for my heavenly Father.  It was amazing that the three or four minutes I took to stop, check and act, put a completely different perspective on my day.  As the great Billy Graham said, "Grumbling and gratitude, for the children of God, are in conflict.  Be grateful and you won't grumble.  Grumble and you won't be grateful."

Life can be difficult!  Our days can be filled with so much to be frustrated about, angry about, and we may believe we have every right to complain.  Add into the equation social media and gossip corners and before you know, we have a full-fledged grumbling session going on.  What we need to remember, what "I" need to remember, is that if we changed our perspective - just a little bit - we will see so much that we have to be grateful for.  If we change our grumbling to gratefulness, God will take center stage!  Isn't that a far better way to live our lives?  It certainly will prove healthier for our minds, our hearts and our souls.  The next time there is a grumbling session being started, why not "stop, check and act"!  Change your words, your thoughts and your deeds to ones of gratefulness.

Heavenly Father, so many times during my day I can hear words of grumbling.  It is easy to get caught up in the complaining and join in with those around me.  I ask that the Holy Spirit moves me to Stop, Check and Act.  Change my mindset from one of grumbling to one of gratefulness.  Help me to find those one or two items that I should be grateful for - beginning with you!  My sins are forgiven and I'm going to paradise - that is the greatest thing to be grateful for!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Turn Back Time

"'I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.'  So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down."  Isaiah 38:8 (NIV)

Today marked another year that we turned back the clocks.  Of course, there is much debate about "why" we do it, but nevertheless, most of us turned our clocks back.  Doing so always make me wonder, "What if we could turn back time?  What if we could go back in time and undo things that we had done?"

As I sat on my front porch this morning, it was a reflective type of day.  There was a bit of chill in the air and many of the trees have begun the process of shedding their leaves.  Days like today make me ask, "What would I undo if I could turn back time?"  I know, many people say that they have no regrets.  I'm not stating that my life is full of regrets, but there are certainly times when I said something that I wish I hadn't; as the words came out of my mouth - for a split second - I wished I could have turned back time.  There are also times when I should have said something that I didn't - again, wishing I could have turned back time.  Last, but not least, are those times that I did something that I wish I hadn't.  Well, you have the picture by now.  All of these times I wish I could have taken back - turned back the hands of time ever so briefly so that I made a different choice.

Today's verse truly took me back.  I had no idea until I was researching for today's post that there was a reference of turning back time.  Although it was in a very different context, it helped me to reflect. Turning back time on earth doesn't happen.  Yet, what we do have, is God's grace and forgiveness when we would like to turn back time to make different choices.  God is there for us to help us realize that although time cannot be turned back ten steps in the sun, God is there to help bring me forgiveness.

God's grace is so great.  He is there for us in every situation.  Yes, even the situations when we would like to go back in time.  The next time a word comes out of my mouth that I would like to take back, I will reflect on the Good Lord who is always there to provide me the forgiveness I very deeply need.

Dear Lord, your love, grace and mercy can bring me forgiveness when I would like to turn back time and reverse choices.  Please help me to quickly see those situations and immediately ask forgiveness - from those here on earth as well as with you. May I learn from those moments for my future.  Please bring me reflection always.  Amen!"


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Winds

"He  got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet!  Be Still!"  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm."  Mark 4:39  (NIV)

Lying in my bed with the window slightly cracked, I heard the wind.  It was the wind of autumn.  The wind seems different in autumn to me.  Maybe it includes a bit of a chill as compared to the wind of summer.  Maybe it includes a smell of the leaves.  Yet, it even seems to sound different.  Almost like a calling of, "It's time".  It's time to slow down a little, and actually listen to the wind.  It's time to enjoy all that autumn brings.  

Winds can bring so many things into our lives.  Many times, we see the "winds of life" as being the activities that come into our lives that can turn our worlds upside down.  Maybe it is the wind of a health concern.  Maybe it is the wind of job issues.  Maybe it is the wind of relationships.  So many times, the winds that comes into our lives create anxiousness and anxiety.  

This was the case of the disciples while they were on the water with Jesus.  All in a boat heading out across the water.  Jesus rested.  I'm sure with all the teaching, healing, preaching, etc., that Jesus did, there probably wasn't a lot of time for that.  Yet, He rested.  While on the water, a storm began brewing and the winds were coming into the disciples lives.  They called upon their teacher, their friend, their Lord, and He rebuked the winds, told them to "be still", and it became completely calm.

I love this Bible story as it teaches us so much:
  • As believers, the winds of life will stir up our lives.  We are not immune to difficult times.
  • As believers, we don't have to endure the winds of life alone.  
  • As believers, our first call should be to The One who can calm our winds.  This is an area I consistently need to work on.
  • As believers, we need to have simple faith that Jesus will calm our winds, when it is time.  So often, I want Him to calm my winds during MY time - we certainly know better!
  • As believers, we need to respond to Him calming our winds with thanks and praise.
The winds of life will blow.  They may knock us off our feet.  Yet, we have One who will not only stand beside us during these times, but will calm the winds.  We need to go to Jesus during these times and watch the goodness He can bring to us.  Have faith, simple faith, that Jesus can calm our storms.

Dearest Jesus, how often we forget when the wind rolls into our lives that the One who can truly calm our storms is a prayer away.  May we reach out to you, Jesus.  Fill  our hearts and our heads with the simple faith that you are waiting to hear from us, and that you will making "everything still".  Jesus, I ask that you calm the winds of those that are facing fierce winds in their lives.  Help them to reach out to you so that you may help them.  In your wondrous name I pray, Amen!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Reaffirmation


"I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him."  2 Corinthians 2:8  (NIV)

To reaffirm - state again as a fact, assert again strongly.  That is autumn for me.  Waiting every year for October to arrive is a reaffirmation for me.  Reaffirming what you may ask?  Reaffirming God's presence.  I see God in so many wonderful every day events year round.  Yet, for some reason, during Autumn, it seems as if He says, "I'm Back!"  The brilliant trees, the cooling weather, the gathering of family through apple picking or pumpkin carving, all remind me that God is present and close to me.  This time, it made me think of our own reaffirmations.

You believe you have heard a calling.  You follow your dream.  Head on.  You work hard, make plans, evaluate the plan, execute on the plan and then Satan comes in - with DOUBT.  Not just the kind that makes you "wonder" if this was really your calling, your plan, but the kind that says, "Are you kidding?  What were you thinking?"

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has had this happen.  Maybe it was the dream job.  Maybe it was the ultimate project.  Maybe it was __________  (you can fill in the blank).  All I know is that the certainty of the path has turned into the uncertainty of tomorrow.   It can feel as if the balloon you blew up had a pin poked into it.  All the air comes pouring out.  It can all come to a halt and we can feel paralyzed.

This has happened, on more than one occasion to me.  It can be defeating.  Then God comes in - and reaffirms His presence (just like the Autumn leaves).  How so?  Through an encouraging word of a friend who, all of the sudden shares with you that what you are doing is making a difference.  A kind note from a coworker who let's you know you are headed down the right path.  Warmth fills your being and you experience the glow of reaffirmation.  I was blessed to have this happen during the past couple of weeks.  It changed my perspective - it helped me to continue down the path I have chosen.

Please, let us all take the time to reaffirm someone close to us - a family member's love, a friend's dream, a co worker's efforts.  Reaffirmation fills us up when the air is out of the balloon and turns our uncertainty of tomorrow back to the certainty of the path.  It doesn't take much - a quick chat, a few words in a note, maybe even a small drawing on a post-it note.  The few minutes can restore some one's faith, and God will be shining through YOU to another.  Here is to the reaffirmation of Autumn, and of others!!

Dearest Jesus, help us to take the few minutes to reaffirm someone today.  Help us to see who needs to see YOU in their dream.  May we be the one to reaffirm their journey so that they can see you, Jesus, on the path.  In your heavenly name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Simplest of Faith


"So, as I sit on my special rock, I pray for many things:
  • for healing; physically, mentally, and spiritually
  • for love; love of family, friends and others
  • for hope; the hope I'll never have to do this again
  • for peace; the peace that truly passes all understanding"
The above was taken from a journal I wrote 18 years ago - a journal that I kept as I went through my journey with cancer.  Eighteen years ago this past weekend, I was diagnosed with cancer.  It certainly was not expected - no history of cancer in my family.  Yet, it was my journey to take.  So it began.  That journey is an entire blog series all in its own.  There were many things I learned on that journey.  I believe that is when I started learning about simple faith.

During this time of my life, I took to writing in a journal.  Who would have known all these years later that I would find inspiration from that journal in many ways.  At this time every year, I make it a point to read that journal and remind myself of something - that when times get hard, having the simplest of faith creates a journey of hope.  For those of you who are reading this and have gone through a struggle similar to this, you know that you come out the other side a different person.  I believe that has happened to me.  Throughout the surgeries, the chemo treatments, the loss of hair, the radiation, the burns associated with that, and then the recovery, something became increasingly clear.  

I knew that God was with me.  In anxious-filled thoughts, in moments of despair, in anger and frustration, in sadness of what life would never be like again, and in hope for moving forward, God was with me.  Sometimes, I would do as the entry above shares, I would sit and pray.  Other times, I felt like I had no more prayer in me.  To God, either situation was okay - He was always there for me.  

I look back at that time and realized that many of the God-filled moments in my life had been put aside - teaching Sunday School became infrequent, going to church was built around moments when I felt well, there weren't any Bible Studies, I rarely picked up my Bible, and my prayer life was inconsistent.  Yet, God didn't give up on me.  I talked to Him, He talked back.  Through people who graciously helped me during this time.  Through cards and letters.  Through hugs and kind words.  God was talking to me - and I was listening.

God knows us, He understands us, and above all, he loves us.  When we believe and have the faith that He is in control, He fills us with hope, joy, and peace.  He doesn't just "sprinkle" those things on us, He fills us up - to the brim!  Yes, that even happens during times of struggle and despair.  Remember, just have faith that He will provide.  Go to Him with your thoughts.  Live your life in His light.  The rest is an incredible journey that brings us to the other side - a different person - one that is embraced with God's love.

Heavenly Father, we know that by living our lives with the simplest of faith, your blessings will adorn us.  Help us to always remember that - even when life gets hard.  May we come to you with our faith, that you may see our struggles and bring us to the other side - one that is filled with your grace, mercy, peace and love.  In your gracious name we pray.  Amen."



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Changing Colors

"For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."  Psalm 107:9 (KJV)

Many of you know how much I love autumn.  It is truly a season that I wait for all year.  Once the last days of August hit, I'm ready to bring out all of the autumn candles and decorations and try to wait, patiently, for the beautiful colors to surround me.  I believe it is one of the main reasons I live in New England.  I can't imagine October without the colors of autumn.

This year, I waited.  And waited.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed that leaves seemed to have a different hue to them, but I wasn't seeing the radiant colors of autumn.  So I waited.  And waited.  To be honest, there was even a slight sadness to my demeanor.  Was autumn going to pass us by this year?  Were the leaves going to move from green to brown without the beautiful autumn colors of red, orange and yellow?

It reminded me of many times in my life when I have waited for something - truly longing for something, as our verse for today shares.  It could have been a time when I longed for our family to be all together - for a meal or just to talk.  Other times, it was when I was struggling with health issues and longed to feel better - desperately wanting the pain and discomfort to be lifted.  Whatever the wait was, it seemed to feel like it was going to take a lifetime.

Then enters God!  As He always has, He comes into my longing world and fills it up!  Maybe it is a quick family dinner when everyone is available - time cherished around the table with lively conversation.  This always fills my soul with goodness.  Maybe it was finally having a day when I felt good after many months of chemo.  That certainly filled my soul with goodness and provided the hope needed that better days were coming.  

God fills our longing souls.  As always, it is in His time, but He always delivers!  Whatever we may be longing for, God will share with us what is good and right just for us.  Although our times of longing may seem like an eternity, God will provide.  God's love for us promises us the goodness that He wants for his children.  When He provides, we are satisfied - our souls are filled to the brim!  Alleluia!

So what about autumn?  As always, God delivered.  What seemed like overnight, the trees changed from brown to beautiful colors of red, yellow and orange.  This has certainly filled my soul!  I am in awe every autumn at the beauty God provides for me, for us!  He takes that broad paintbrush and covers us with autumn hues.  My hungry soul is filled with goodness.  What does it take?  Just a little simple faith that my God will always deliver!  Praise be to Him!!

"Heavenly Father, thank you for filling my soul - just at the right time.  May all of us who may be longing for something so dear to us have simple faith that you will fill our souls.  On those days, may we give thanks to you, God, for remembering us, your children.  In your name we pray, Amen."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Laser Focus

"Then Jesus declared, "I am the one speaking to you - I am he."  John 4:26 (NIV)

I have many areas of self improvement, but one that I struggle with the most is thought racing.  Let me explain.  I will be speaking about one topic and then my mind will quickly shift to something as a thought races into my mind.  Or I may be listening to a person and thinking about other things that need to get done.  I tend to be better at focus when I am at work than when I'm at home.  You can ask my husband.  We will be driving in the car having a conversation about something and within five minutes I will have changed the subject three times.  Yep - just a bit frustrating for the person I am with (again, just ask my husband!).

I'm not sure when this struggle started.  If I look back, I think it was when I became a mom.  Mothers out there - you know the struggle.  You have fifteen things that need to get done so thinking about them all at the same time makes it more efficient - right?  Yea, probably not!  I used to think that was the case, but in all reality, I know it isn't so.  When I lack focus, I usually disappoint the person I am with.  They thought that they had my full attention, and they deserve my full attention.  Yet, when my mind races, they truly don't have my full attention.

Let's shift to Jesus for a moment.  If there was a person on this earth who had a lot on His mind, I would say that Jesus gets to top that list.  He certainly knew his mission and He went about teaching, healing and modeling behaviors that all of us aspire to.  Of the many characteristics that Jesus portrays, the one that I really admire was His focus.  Whenever he speaks to a person or listens to a person, He focuses just on them.  There is no "changing of the subject' or lack of listening skills with Jesus.  

Whenever I read excerpts from the Bible where Jesus is speaking to someone or listening to someone, you truly sense that He is there just with that person.  Whether there is a crowd of people around or not, that person He is speaking to is the only one that matters at that time.  Wouldn't you like to be on the receiving end of a conversation like that?  To truly have some one's laser focus, laser attention?  My friends, let me share with you.

You DO have some one's laser focus.  Just as Jesus focused on each person when He was on earth, He does that for each of us today.  When we go to Jesus in thought and prayer, He is listening just to YOU.  When we go to Jesus and ask Him to talk with us - He does, just to YOU.  Jesus' focus with those he traveled with many years ago is the same focus He provides for us today.  By going to Jesus in thought, word, and deed, He will provide us with the attention that we are looking for - each and every time.  Yes, even with all that Jesus concerns himself with, YOU become his number one focus.  Please, remember this as you seek His counsel.  He will always be focused on you.

Dearest Jesus, we thank you for your laser focus in our lives.  As we go to you, we know that you are listening and speaking just to us.  Your mind doesn't race or wander with random thoughts, but hears our every words and speaks to us with love.  Help us to have that same focus as we speak and listen to others.  In your gracious name we pray.  Amen.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Why God, Why??



In times of trouble and turmoil, as much as I would like to admit that I have never questioned God, I have.  Yes, in the beginning of the difficulty, I typically try to handle it on my own - no need to bother God on THIS one!  Yet, as the situation becomes more and more difficult, I begin praying.  For those times when it was grave, I would pray and pray and pray.  When those prayers weren't immediately answered, I would begin to question.  "Why God, Why?  Why are you letting this happen?  Why aren't you answering my prayers?"  As we all know, God answers our prayers in His way and in His time - always to our needs.

The other day I was on my way to work.  The air was crisp (always makes me happy).  I thought about my family and realized that for this moment in time, things were good.  Everyone was working.  Those who were physically challenged were getting better.  In that one moment, there was peace.  It was a really nice feeling.  It made me think.  Why do we question God when things are tough, but never ask that same question when things are good?  When was the last time, when things were going well, we raised our voice to God saying, "Why God, Why?"  It certainly had never happened to me before.

Yet, I did.  I raised my voice and said, "God, I know things are going well for my family, while others are suffering.  Why God, Why?"  Then I was quiet.  I listened for God's answer.  As always, it wasn't right away.  This thought continued with me throughout most of the day.  It was positive, yet inquisitive.  This thought helped to bring me to today's verse.

God's with us, in every step of our lives.  He doesn't leave us when things go "south", and, even more so, He is with us when we are blessed.  When we ask, "Why God" when things are tough, the answers are usually very clear.  We need to go through those trials and tribulations to fully appreciate God's awesomeness.  We need to experience the pain to fully rely on Jesus and give our problems to Him.  With that level of faith, God is happy.  It isn't a bother to go to God when things are difficult.  He WANTS us to approach His throne with our worries and burdens.

He also wants us to approach His throne with our praises of thanksgiving.  Not just when our prayers are answered, but in everyday living.  God allows for the tough days to strengthen our faith.  God also allows for the good days to ALSO strengthen our faith.  For God is there for it all, for all things in all times.  How blessed we are to have such an awesome God!  

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your presence - in trials and goodness.  Many times, I ask "why is this happening to me" when I am in difficult times.  Yet, I typically don't say, "why is this happening to me" when things are great.  What I DO know is that you are there for it all, because you love us, care for us, and guide us with each step.  Thank you God for walking with me on this earthly journey.  I look forward to the heavenly journey!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

No, No, No

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

I am sure we have all been around a two-year old who, in a moment of independence, screams, "No, No, No".  Of course, these times always seem to happen in the middle of a grocery store or during a church sermon.  It's always difficult to navigate through these situations, but eventually, the independence moves on and the sweet child returns.

Move forward 13 years and the independence returns.  Now, our child is a teenager and those words seem to return back to their vocabulary.  Maybe we are asking them to clean their rooms.  Maybe it is to attend a family function versus going out with friends.  Whatever the situation, the words of, "No, No, No" return, now in greater defiance.  Yes, we manage to navigate through these situations as well.

Funny, though, as we grow older, how those words become more difficult to say.  What was once so easy to come out of our mouths, even at a young age, becomes difficult.  Work asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Friends ask for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Family asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  Church asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"!  We are supposed to do good, correct?  We are supposed to help others, correct?  Yet, what happens when, by saying yes, we find ourselves over-extended, stressed to exhaustion, and feeling resentment each time the word "Yes" comes out of our mouths?

I have been in this situation multiple times.  I am certain that all of you may have found yourselves in these times as well.  It is so hard to rationalize saying No.  People come to us for a reason - because they need something, they need help.  That is why I love this verse so much.  We are tempted for many reasons to say yes in all situations.  Helping others makes US feel good.  There is a sense of pride that comes with "doing it all".  These are all common reactions.  Yet, when the"yes" overcomes us, we can fall into many negative behaviors that are not Christlike.

When I get overextended:
  • Sleep evades me
  • Happiness turns into constant seriousness
  • Worry takes over 
  • Resentment sets in
  • The tone of my voice can be bitter
God will never give us more than we can handle.  Many times, especially during times of trial, it feels like He does - but He always provides a way out - a light that shines on us.  The same happens when we get to the "no" point.  What am I supposed to say "NO" to Jesus?  Talk to our Jesus, let Him know your anguish and pain.  HE will tell you, He will provide you with the words.

  • "I wish I could, but my plate is a bit full right now.  I wouldn't do your request justice.  Maybe there is someone else on the church council that can assist."
  • "I would love to take on this work project.  Maybe you can assist me in prioritizing my work so I can ensure a quality job."
  • "Gee sis, I just can't get together this weekend - but let's make a date for next Wednesday".
Saying "no" can be difficult, especially for us "yes" people.  Yet, in can be freeing.  In saying no to certain things, we will be able to do the "yes" things with our full attention.  God doesn't want worry and resentment in our lives.  He will guide us to a less-stressed life with His power to say no!

Heavenly Father, I don't find it easy to say, "no".  I want to help others and be of aid.  Yet, when I over-extend myself, I know the stress of the situation can become unbearable.  Help me and guide me to go to you FIRST before saying YES.  Guide me to situations where I can say "no" with greater confidence and in love to all.  In your gracious name I pray, Amen.




Sunday, September 10, 2017

No Secrets

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

We were sitting around the kitchen table with all the kids, now young adults.  We reminisced about days gone by and how those "teenage years" weren't exactly moments of heaven, for them or for us!  As each child shared things that were done "against the rules", there was a bit of a pride factor they has that us,  as parents, never found out about their secrets.  They had actually gotten away with going against the rules and us parents were not aware.

It made me think of my teenage years.  Certainly as a teenager, I as well, did things that I would be less than proud of and also didn't tell my parents (statute of limitations is up Mom!).  I guess, down deep, there was also a sense of pride that I had when I got away with breaking some rules.  Of course, there were plenty of times that I didn't get away with breaking the rules!  

Fast forward a few years (okay, quite a few years), to my life today.  Even today, there are thoughts that I have or sins I have committed that I think, "well, at least nobody is aware of those sins."  I breathe a sigh of relief and move on.  Yet, I don't move too far.  For I realize very quickly that there is someone that knows about those sins.  As in our verse for today, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight".  He knows everything that I do, everything that I say, and everything that I think.  Therefore, with God, there are no secrets!

No Secrets?  Don't we all wish that there were some secrets that don't need to be shared?  Maybe, but with God, there are No Secrets!  There is no ability to run and hide, no ability to think that I got away with something, not ability for someone not to find out.  I have to share, that verse has come into my mind many times when I was thinking thoughts that may not be desirable or about to say something that I shouldn't.  Knowing that God is watching my every move and knows my every thought does make me stop in my tracks.  It has stopped me from doing or thinking something that was of a sinful nature.  I sin; I know that!  God certainly knows that even better than I do. 

So, if God knows everything and I sin all the time, then what is it worth to not sin and not try to be a good person?  Why don't I just live in sin all the time?  Because, with God, there is forgiveness.  No matter how bad my "secrets" are, God knows them and forgives them.  "For God so loved the world that he fave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16.   Although I might want to have secrets in my life, the Dear Lord sees it all - there are no secrets.  Better yet, though, there is forgiveness!  

Heavenly Father, help us to remember that there are no secrets in our lives.  You know all of our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Help to guide us to do as you direct, Jesus.  When we fall from your path, please help us to remember that you provide us unconditional love and forgiveness so we may get up the next day to do your will.  In your name we pray.  Amen

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Missing You

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."  Isaiah 66:13 (NIV)

It's that time of year when children go back to school.  Some are entering grade school, others heading back to high school; still others are off to college.  When the children headed off to school, there was always a piece of my heart that went with them.  I have to say, when they went off to school through high school, it wasn't too bad - I knew they were coming home at the end of the day.   

College was a bit different.  When we dropped off our children at college, it would be days/weeks before we would see them again.  Yes, it is different now compared to when I was a kid.  Through modern technology, we can "see" our kids (when they choose to answer our Skype)!  Yet, again, we knew that at the end of the semester, they would be home again.  Although those times, as they entered adulthood, were harder to navigate, I still knew they were coming home.

These days, our goodbyes are more difficult for this mama's heart.  As we move our children from our home into their new homes as they begin their adult lives, I know that they are moving on with their lives.  Yes, I still long for the days that they would be coming home.  Bottom line?  I miss them!  I miss the rowdy conversations around the dinner table.  I miss the picking on each other.  I miss the laughter.  I even miss taking care of their needs, cooking meals for them, and hearing about their heartaches.

I thought about my role as a mom this weekend, and how that role is changing.  Will my children still need me?  Will they still find time to talk to me, tell me about their days, the good stuff and the tough stuff?  I pray for each of them and hope that their lives find time to come home and chat~~  When they call or stop by, I am certainly comforted.

This reminds me of our Dear Lord.  Does He miss me?  Am I coming home to Him each day?  Does He get to "see" me?  I am certain that Jesus' heart longs for us, just as a parent longs for their child.   When we 'move away' and are not coming home to Jesus like we should, I am very certain that His heart pains for us.   Life today can be busy - very busy.  Much can interfere with our time of devotion and worship.  Yet, we need to remember how much Jesus gives to us; everything we have is a blessing from Him.  Going home to Jesus, talking with Him, telling Him how your day went, sharing the good and the difficult, gives us the comfort that we need.  

During these days, as our children head off to the next chapter in their lives, whether kindergarten or adulthood, may we be reminded of the days when we say grace together, have devotions together, and pray together.  We need to have simple faith that our Dear Lord is there with them, when we can't be.  We need to have simple faith that Jesus will be their "go to" person if we aren't available.  We need to have simple faith that God is with them, and in them, as they head off to their days.  We may miss them, but God's got them!!

Dear Jesus, as our children head off too school or work, we ask that you be with them.  We may miss them, but we know that you have them Jesus, in the palm of your hand.  Walk beside them as they go through their days and let them always know that we are a phone call or visit away.  May we, as parents, have simple faith that you will guide us all on this journey.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Faith Through Disasters

Image result for hurricane harvey
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

It is horrifying to see the pictures coming out of Texas.  As the days continue, we begin to see more and more of the destruction from Hurricane Harvey.  Roads have been washed away.  Homes have been washed away.  Cars and belongings, all washed away.  At the writing of this blog post, the rain continues to come down over Texas.   As I watch the news and see the devastation, it's hard to understand the magnitude of what this hurricane has actually caused.  My heart goes out to all that are dealing with this.

Over the years, all over the world, there has been devastation like this.  Whether it comes in the form of wind and rain, or tornadoes, or fires, or snow, or drought or other weather phenomenons, disasters occur.  We tend to look at natural disasters as difficult to control.  How do you control Mother Nature?  Obviously, we can't.  

There are other disasters in our lives that aren't produced by nature that can be just as devastating.  They can come in the form of a broken relationship, someone who leaves earth far too soon, financial difficulties, health hardships, etc.  Disasters can come in so many forms, predicted or unforeseen.  How do we respond to these types of disasters?

These are the times when our Dear Lord shouts and says, "Here I am, Lean on Me!"  He knows, better than all of us do, that hardships and disasters will come into our lives.  Yet it is how we deal with these hardships that help us get to the other side - with hope.  As our verse for this week shares, "...we are not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed."  Why?  

Because our Jesus is with us every step of the way.  He is there as our belongings move with the water.  He is there when our loved one is taken from us.  He is there when we hear a diagnosis of cancer.  He is there when we are lonely.  He is there - every moment of every day.  We will face difficult times as Christians.  Our paths are not paved with gold and always full of sunshine.  What makes our hard times different?  We have a Savior who has been through pain.  He knows what our pain is like and He will guide us through it.  With our faith as a cornerstone, our lives will move forward - in hope.

As we go through the disasters of our life, it is hard to see "the other side".  Yet, when we have faith  through these disasters, we know that better days are ahead of us.  There is a rainbow of hope.  There is Jesus waiting to help us.  Let Him help you!!

"Heavenly Father, we ask that you be with those that are going through personal disasters right now.  Our greatest thoughts are with those in Texas.  Help them, Jesus, to have faith through all of this.  Please put your loving arms around them, let them know you are there with them, and provide the hope that they desperately need.  We also ask that you be with all that are in the midst of difficult times.  Help them to reach out to you, and please respond to them with love.  In your gracious name we pray, Amen." 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Well Running Dry

"...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  John 4:14 (NIV)

Summer can certainly be a time of dryness.  Our other three seasons provide ways for our lawns and gardens to receive water, but the summer can be difficult for constant water.  I noticed this about a week ago when parts of our lawn were getting a bit parched.  The green was turning to brown and was very dry.  I even noticed the sign on a local fire department sharing that there was a high risk of fire.  Sure enough, a few days later, black clouds formed overhead and the heavens opened, providing some much needed relief and lots of rain.

The same thing happened to me, personally, last week.  The days were getting more and more difficult with many different situations.  By last Friday, I was parched.  I felt as if I didn't have an ounce of energy left in me.  I woke up dragging and couldn't seem to gain any relief as the day continued.  I was picturing myself in a desert with no water in sight.  To say I was frustrated was an understatement.

This can happen to all of us.  We get so caught up on getting things done, running through our chore list, making sure all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted that we forget that we need to stop to quench our thirst.  We find the items that need to get accomplished take precedent over what is truly important and what truly needs to get done - replenishing our souls.  I am very guilty of this when times get tough - I put aside what needs to get done for my soul for what needs to get done on a list.

I prayed to my Lord, looking for relief.  Just as he provided the black clouds overhead, He also provided for me.  There, in front of me, was our verse for today - one that I keep written on a small piece of paper for "just when I need some help".  God guided my eyes to this verse, helping to remind me that I will never thirst, as long as I go to God's Word for relief.  With that Word, my "today" life was restored and I was reminded that my "eternal" life was in good hands, God's hands.

I encourage all of us to focus on our souls just as much as we focus on the "list" of this world.  In doing so, the words of our Lord will fill our hearts, our minds and our souls - providing the relief we so deeply need.  God wants our eyes to be focused on Him for restoration, not the items of this world.  When we do that, we understand with more clarity that Simple Faith brings us the peace we need in this world, the peace that calms our souls and re-energizes our lives.  

Please, spend time each day in the living water of Jesus.  Let's commit to sharing time with Him who so graciously gave of Himself for us.  When we fill ourselves up with this living water, we will never be parched, and our faith will grow just as a plant who receives water during the summer.

Dearest Jesus, just as you were there for the woman at the well, I ask that you continue to be here for me.  Help me to never be thirsty as long as I immerse myself in Your Word.  Grant me the peace for my soul and the energy of your love to help grow not only me, but those around me.  In your loving name I pray.  Amen!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sweetness on the Inside

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine cloths.  Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4

The simple task of husking corn.  Nothing elegant.  Just sitting on the back stoop and making sure I get all the silk off of the ear of corn before cooking them.  Yet, as I was doing that, it struck a thought with me.  On the outside, corn is pretty much the same.  Taller stalks, silk coming out of the top.  If you look at the outside of corn, you would say they are all very similar.  As you begin husking the corn, the individuality of the corn starts to shine through.  Some may be all yellow with large kernels.  Some may be yellow and white with smaller kernels.  Typically, regardless of what you see as you peel the husk back, you find great sweetness.  As you bite into an ear of corn, it's hard not to smile with delight as those kernels pop in your mouth, so sweet.  Sure, sometimes we see an ear that is not mature or has been chewed by insects, but most of the time, it is good.

It made me think, if we were to peel back the husk of our neighbors, friends, and families, what would we find?  Do we find people who are full of kindness and sweetness?  Do we find people that are fully mature or haven't fully matured yet?  Do we find people who may have been chewed up by the bitterness of their situations?  What is on the outside of people may not be what is on the inside of people.  The elaborate lifestyles or personas may not mirror what is on the inside of people.  As when we open up an ear of corn that is not "sweet", we are disappointed.  When we get to know the "inside of people" and realize they may not be "sweet", we are also disappointed.  Can we change them?  You know the answer to that.

As always, it is important to start with the sole person that you can change, YOURSELF!  As you peel back your own husk, what are people finding?  What are you finding?  Is there a person who is mature and full of sweetness and delight?  Or is there a person who is not mature, eaten up by the bitterness of past mistakes and not forgiving others.  We may share with others that we work hard to live the life that Jesus has asked us to live.  I know I try to do that.  Yet, if I'm going to be truthful, I often fall short.

On the inside, I am not always sweet (hey, just ask my family!).  I may try to be mature, but often my responses, both inside and outside, aren't always that of a mature woman.  I can get cranky and bitter and the anxiousness that I feel can many times be revealed in my emotions - the inside stuff.!  Can you relate?  I try to ensure that the sweetness and goodness that God wants me to share is there every day.  Yet, there are some days when that just doesn't happen.  So what's a girl to do?

We go to the word of God.  There, and only there, can I find true redemption for the behavior that may not be the sweetness I want on the inside.  When I ask my Savior for forgiveness and begin the healing, peace enters my heart and sweetness returns.  The simple faith of knowing God can make me sweet is such a rich blessing.  Through His goodness and His love, I know that peace and happiness will return.  That is a guarantee.  

I challenge us.  What are people seeing when they "husk" us?  Are they seeing the sweet love of Jesus or a person that has been chewing on bitterness?  We can change ourselves to grow more sweet on the inside.  We can live in the words of Jesus and have simple faith that through his love our sweetness will grow.  The next time you husk that ear of corn, take a look on the inside for the sweetness that we know only Jesus can give us.

Dearest Jesus, we ask that you help us to self-reflect what is in our hearts.  May we find the sweetness and goodness that we can share with others.  If we find bitterness Lord, we ask that you change our hearts and fill us up with the words of saving grace that only YOU can provide.  In your saving name we pray.  Amen."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Test of Patience

Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?  Isaiah 7:13

I want to believe that in my old age I have gotten wiser and my ability to be patient has gotten better.  To be honest, I'm not sure I'm succeeding in either!  This past weekend brought to life the part of the verse above "...try the patience of men".  It started off well,;I had a half day on Friday and I was going to get my car inspected.  

I went.  It failed.  I was appalled.  The car is in great condition.  Yet, the paint was chipping off my plates, so they needed to be replaced.  Oh, and I need two tires in the rear of the car.  WOW - not what I was expecting.  Well, I had the 1/2 day off, so off to Town Hall I went for new plates.  Yep, wrong spot, needed to go to Dept of Motor Vehicles (a 1/2 hour away).  I'm not sure how your Dept of Motor Vehicles works.  Let's just say that ours is a test of patience.  I was glad that my husband joined me for some "quality" time and off we went.  Two hours later, I had two new plates.

Off to the tire store we go.  Got there just as it was closing.  They didn't have my tires in stock.  All could be resolved on Saturday, though.  Saturday at 10:30, the car was dropped off.  By that time I had already completed the normal Saturday chores, so, after making some meatballs and doing a couple of other things, I thought I deserved a pedicure.  I called for a 12:15 appointment.  By 12:17 my toes had dipped in the water.  Someone didn't come over to start my pedicure until 12:55.  Yep - another test of patience.  Didn't they already know what kind of weekend I was having?  I did finally get my toes painted and just in time, my husband called to tell me my car was ready.

Yea, pick up the car, go back to where I had it inspected for a "re-inspect".  I get there, they can't take me for 1.5 hours.  Really?  Are you kidding?  I did what they asked and all they have to do is put on an inspection sticker.  Nope, that was the deal.  Fine.  I went home, did a few more things around the house, and was off to get my sticker 1.5 hours later.  Got there and the guy came out.  "Not sure we will be able to do it today?"  Are you kidding?  While I was gone, two other people came and dropped off their cars, so they got a "spot" in front of me.  

That was it!  My patience, that I tried so hard to keep all day long, was gone.  This was going to be a relaxing, filled with family time, type of weekend.  No, we didn't have any specific plans, just to "be" with each other.  It had turned into a test of patience.  I don't lose my patience often, but when I do, I can be a bit indignant.  My voice was raising and I needed to talk to the technician, the asst. manager and the manager.  Yes, EVERYONE needed to hear my pain.  I was mad.  They can see I have new plates, and the tires are new!!!

That went well for me, until the manager checked and said, "Yes, you have two new tires, but they are on the FRONT!!  The back ones are still bad."  Are you kidding me?  Really?  After a "wonderful"call to my husband, I was on my way back to the tire place.  Meanwhile he called there and found out they had closed.  Done.  All this work and I still won't have my car inspected this weekend.  

As I was driving to dinner with my family, in a car that had yet to be inspected, I started chatting with my best friend, God.  "Really God, all of this and nothing?  My patience is being tested beyond belief.  What are you trying to tell me?"  I realized, He was sharing much with me.  
  • Maybe my patience wasn't as good as I thought.  I obviously have some work to do in this area and ensuring I don't take out my frustrations on others.
  • Check and re-check.  There are many times throughout this scenario I could have checked something to ensure it would be smooth - like checking to make sure the new tires were on the back!
  • Be in the moment.  As my husband and I left the Dept of Motor Vehicles on Friday, we laughed that although we waited two hours, we were together.  We laughed and chatted during that time.  Maybe God wanted that for us.  While I waited for my toes, I was sitting in a wonderful massage chair.  
  • Deal with the deck.  Just deal with the cards you have been given.  Maybe the "cards" I had this weekend weren't a winning hand, but I got to play.  I was here, among family, enjoying some rainy days with them.
Yet, all of this made me think of how patient God has to be with me.  With all the sins I commit, the lack of initiative to share His word, the times when I don't do HIS will, He is still patient with me.  He still loves me.  He still embraces me in His wonderful arms.  He NEVER takes away my eternal life.  Now THAT is patience.  For as much as we try to endure in situations that don't go perfectly (a crying child in a grocery store, a friend/family member who lashes out, best laid plans going array), our Heavenly Father has endured so much more, and we still come out on the winning side.  

So, the next time our patience is tested, remember.  God's patience is tested every day, and He still loves us.  When our patience is being tested, let's check and re-check our behavior.  Be in the moment, is there something good that can come of this?  After all that, we just need to deal the cards we've been given.  With God on our side we will always come out with a winning hand!!

Dearest Lord, how our patience runs thin sometimes!  With the day to day frustrations, our patience to handle situations can be difficult.  Let us remember that when those times arise, you are there with us.  Provide us with the patience we need and may we show our Christian hearts in the process.  Your patience of us is immeasurable.  Thank you for always loving us and never leaving us.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.