Have you ever stopped to think that some of the stuff GOD puts you through may not ACTUALLY be about or even FOR you? Seriously, I took a couple of days away from the laptop and the phone..to THINK. I've got much to write about, it'll take FOREVER to relay it all to you. But, here's the first thing that struck a real chord in my heart.
24 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
04 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
I’m usually a nice person but, since I brand myself as REAL, I say usually to be true. Self centered people, young or old, who think that the world revolves around what they want-really IRK me sometimes. Therefore, Proverbs 26:17 is a mandatory memory verse for-fix it or I’ll do it for you-personalities like mine. A person who is passing by & meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears.
Yesterday, my Chipper & I headed to the bargain barn for a veggie steamer. Few patrons were shopping so the queues were minimal. Steamer and a bathmat in hand, we took a spot behind an elderly farmer buying a cart load of garden soil. He was about to share the secret to growing perfect tomatoes when Old Lady Grump had to go and spoil it for us all with one gruff hiss. Sir. She sounded like the gangster in the video Kevin used to fend off Harry & Marv, in Home Alone. Yeah, you! Ya filthy animal! I glanced to the next checkout & watched the blood rush up through the target’s neck, blistering his cheeks. She practically rammed her nearly full cart into his side to push her point. I’m in line here.
Poor guy. He was wearing a generic uniform, perhaps an electrician or plumber; from the dirt on his shirt, he’d already put in a few hours & it was only 1:30. ALL he had was a diet coke. I’m sure he wheeled in for a drink before heading to his next job & didn’t intentionally break in front of Miss GRUMP. In times like these, I try to heed the wisdom of the Proverbs . Sometimes I’m successful. Other times…not so much.
My Bon Qui Qui took over suddenly. If you don’t know BON QUi Qui, by all means when you read the post, give the girl a holla! http://youtu.be/jZkdcYlOn5M
My tongue was fired up, but seeing as how she’d ripped his man card to shreds, my rushing to defend would’ve only added insult to injury. For whatever reason, he decided to just let it go. Timely Ecclesiastes 3 verses surfaced as I watched him mutter, I’m sorry.
I imagined that this man may have listened to his wife read some posters on Pinterest while they drank their morning coffee. Perhaps BE KIND TO ALL YOU MEET, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT KIND OF BATTLE THEY MAY BE FIGHTING.
Albeit reluctantly, I managed to keep my hands off of the dog’s ears this time.
As I made eye contact with the guy standing quietly behind Miss Grump, another scripture crossed my mind. Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head & the LORD will reward you. I’m not making this tale up. From that moment on, it unfolded like a comedy. Mister Green Jeans puttered on his way as we put our 2 items on the counter. *wink*
Guess who was NOW stuck behind the retired parents of a daughter who’d gone up North to visit someone’s sister? They’d driven from a neighboring town to house sit and take care of the cats and they were shocked that daughter still uses a can opener she took from their house when she moved out! It wasn’t any good back then & how did she expect them to stay a week & feed the cats using a rusty manual can opener? Dad has arthritis in his fingers & Mom’s in a sling because of carpel tunnel. According to them, it’s a painful surgery & the hospital food in their town tastes like it’s dumped from a can. There wasn’t a soul back there to assist customers and this can opener didn’t have a price on it. With nothing in their cart but a broom, Pine Sol & a can opener, Miss Grump’s call between line #1 and #2 had suddenly taken a turn for the worse! All I’ll say is; there was no casual conversation with our clerk but-How fast can we make this happen so the man with the diet coke can change lanes?
Apparently, GOD chose to refresh Miss Grump’s memory about the GOLDEN rule, which applies to everything from parenting to shopping. But, I won’t judge her too harshly since at one time or another everyone, including ME-forgets the most basic rule of getting along with each other. Matthew 7:12 DO unto others as you would have them do UNTO you.
GOLD STAR material, indeed.
28 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
When we married, we knew that if I had a chance of becoming pregnant, it had to happen quickly. Joshua was born 17 months later. A difficult nine months; I developed gestational diabetes & severe edema. I gained just 23 lbs., but at five feet & normally 110 pounds, by all appearance, I was carrying multi-uplets! I'm not the least bit tempted to get BOTOX lips.
27 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
23 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
We’re proactive if a rabid animal is on the loose in the neighborhood, but if a potentially deadly poison threatens to infect our congregation, we hesitate to put up a defense, let alone launch an attack. Churches teeter on collapse weekly-not because of money woes, demographics or controversial issues like abortion or homosexuality. Most travesties happen when EVIL is allowed to thrive after penetrating the hearts of those we consider brothers & sisters. JESUS had the utmost tolerance for the lost outside of the church but HE rebuked easily-hypocrites in the church. CHRIST had no patience with those using HIS FATHER’S NAME for their own propaganda.
We quote verses on judging to justify an unwillingness to combat uncomfortable situations. Well, we’re also told to use spiritual DISCERNMENT. It’s heartbreaking to realize how many of GOD’S children aren’t students of the BIBLE so they rely on the misguided, self serving interpretation from others. Often, the same ones secretly devising their wicked plans are the very ones being depended upon to provide holy guidance.
James 3:8-10 no human can tame the tongue. It’s restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord & Father & with it we curse people made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes blessings & cursings. Brothers, these things ought not be so.
Observe the church people who worship with you. Who prays more over the situation than talks about it? Who shows respect for every member, regardless of their personal views? Who frequents hallways complaining and campaigning? Who uses Facebook to conspire or backbite? RUN from those people as you would from a RABID dog! Brave & trustworthy Spirit Warriors are the backbone of your church so strive to be one who serves on the front line!
2nd Timothy 3:1-17 1But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!
6For among them are those who worm their way into households & capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes & Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also.
10But you’ve followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love & endurance, 11 along with the persecutions & sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13Evil people & impostors will become worse, deceiving & being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you 15and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
14 Mar 2013 1 Comment
Yesterday I did my bi-annual closet strip. A rather strange ritual since my closet is the size of a hobbit’s. I don’t fancy shopping unless, of course, it’s for The Ladybug. In my younger days I felt compelled to keep up with trends, but now that I’m in my fifties, my clothes qualify as retro/vintage-which is great since I buy most at Goodwill or recycle shops. I wear them for a season, then wash and return the lot so that someone else can enjoy them, too. The mainstays of my closet are things with sentimental value like the black floral dress Mama sent to New Zealand for my 40th birthday. When I put it on all these years later, I still remember how special it was to receive that beautiful dress in the mail. I look forward to sliding into my army khakis each spring. 1999. VINTAGE indeed.
May I recommend a book by Jen Hatmaker? If you lean to the excessive, it may put perspective on what you need & what you don’t. If you lean to the lean, it will help to reinforce a decision to simplify.
By my thirties, I considered myself non materialistic despite a large home, Suburban, dogs, cats, bunnies, fish, pool, two refrigerators & extra freezer. Running shoes, walking shoes, open toe sandals, closed toe sandals, flat flip flops, wedged heel flip flops, 3″ heels, 5″ heels, black boots, brown boots, cowboy boots, snow boots, light jackets, heavy coats, vests, sweaters, pencil skirts, peasant skirts, church dresses, casual dresses, 3/4 sleeve blouses, long sleeved blouses, scoop neck tees, round neck tees, v neck tees, stonewashed jeans, black jeans, mom jeans, sexy jeans, colored hair shampoo, swimmers’ shampoo, everyday shampoo, wake up facial wash, bedtime calming cleanser, nighttime moisturizer, daytime sunscreen, am eye cream, pm eye gel, heavy foundation, light foundation, pink powder blush, coral gel blush, lipgloss, lipstick, lipbalm, lipstain. Shall I itemize every nook & cranny? Non materialistic alright.
THEN the CALL came to MOVE to the OTHER SIDE of the WORLD.
New Zealand certainly isn’t a poor country, but according to the standards I was accustomed to, stuff was sparse. People rarely used clothes dryers-why pay for something the SUN & a washing line did free? 2 refrigerators? Ha! We searched to find one taller & wider than me. We couldn’t store enough food for more than a few days in these over-sized coolers, how we’d survive the apocalypse was troubling. *wink* ONE car per family? Ya kidding? Back home, the hubby had a truck, me an SUV, kids had their wheels. It wasn’t a luxury; our hectic lifestyle demanded everyone have their own transportation. But, only rich kids got new ones, regular folks could only afford used.
House hunting. A three bedroom house & 1 bath? Is this a joke? Setting up the house. 6 cabinets in an entire kitchen? Closets? YES! I am SO excited about the DOUBLE Barbie townhouse closet in the master bedroom. Mail is delivered to the letterbox at the house, but I must take a single piece of mail to the local post shop to send? But, we only have one car over here. No worries, the bus stop’s around the corner. Me? Ride a bus? UGH! We aren’t poor! I was so FULL of myself; it’s a wonder I made any friends at all. I had MUCH to learn about being materialistically minded.
So, I began my journey to minimalism out of necessity when we rented our first home. It was a lovely cottage overlooking a pasture. We had lemon trees & mandarin orange trees outside-but no dishwasher inside. I didn’t buy everyday dishes and Sunday dishes but we were troopers & somehow suffered through it now that we were roughing it.
In Jen’s book I found a defining confession-Getting rid of clutter is an amazing way to simplify, but how pious was I to be so incredibly proud of myself for being so “sacrificial”? That was me. I relished the attention from friends and family when I moaned about the conditions we were having to adapt to. I welcomed the praises about all I was giving up in order to serve the LORD. *sigh*
I’m ashamed that I was so spiritually immature to believe-I deserved credit for washing dishes & using the same glasses to drink out of on Sunday that we did on Tuesday. As if having to wait an extra 5 minutes to brush my teeth was something to merit a high five for enduring. I was embarrassed to be seen getting on the bus or hanging out clothes. I was materialistic; I’d just been too wrapped up in my stuff to realize it. I’d been filled with pride about what I had, what I drove, what I wore and what I gave.
Giving something to someone because I no longer WANT it-is hardly a sacrificial offering so why do we think that? I’ve confessed so many of my faults, it’s easier to spill my guts than it used to be. Prior to moving to New Zealand, money wasn’t as tight as it had been. After ten years of making do with a second hand bedroom set, we purchased a new one. We put an ad in the paper to sell our old one for $175. We’d already bought the new furniture, but weren’t spiritually mature enough to discern that it made more sense to GIVE away the one we no longer wanted-as opposed to charging a little something because it was too good to GIVE IT AWAY. What kind of self centered, crazy nonsense have we talked ourselves into believing? We gave ourselves credit for being overly generous when a family came & we LET THEM HAVE it for $125 because it appeared from the jalopy truck and worn out shoes they needed a break. We weren’t kind and we weren’t a blessing. We were selfish. S.E.L.F.I.S.H.
Hindsight is a great teacher. I thought I NEEDED that beautiful comforter set that I’d seen at Belk while we were bedroom shopping. That’s how I priced the used set-just enough to cover what I needed. But you know, something? I really didn’t NEED new bed linens, I simply wanted them. Not only that, but when we later fell on hard times, I realized what that family likely SACRIFICED in order for me to have an expensive set and it broke my heart.
I can’t undo that foolish decision, but because of it I genuinely see needs more readily. I pray GOD repaid them for me.
13 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
On the journey with CHRIST, MapQuest isn’t part of the deal. People refer to the BIBLE as a map, but in my opinion, a more befitting view of GOD’S WORD is-divine compass, spiritual warfare army fatigues, healing balm, joy-meter, hope floater, problem solver, dictionary, unlimited text messages It’s an ultimate travel manual full of essential, vital information on the Highway to Holiness, but you’re not going to get precise destinations spelled out nor can you pinpoint a preferred route. Well, you could-but chances are VERY likely that you’ll stay L.O.S.T. You better pack plenty of BLIND FAITH if you expect to cross the finish line because you aren’t going to know where you are or why you are there half of the time!
One of the most relevant scriptures for my personal journey is, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you aren’t able to hear them right now“. In other words, Lis, if you want to make this leg of the race easier, trust me on this. Don’t stress out trying to map out where this road leads. Don’t ask for details because if I tell you in advance, you’ll be afraid to go any further.What I’ve learned is; don’t waste energy mapping out the destinations; when I’ve done so, it didn’t end well. There are roads that GOD led me down eons ago that to this day, I don’t understand. Detours that HE’S chosen lately have baffled me silly, still I’m confident that what HE does in my life, no matter how HE does it-will always be what HE has determined BEST for me. Blind faith enables me to keep moving whether I see the road clearly or not & in the rubble of the confusing places- dark & painful as they may have been, it’s not the suffering that lingers in my memory so vividly as the indescribable, unique intimacy that evolved when I had no other source but HIM to place my hope.
When on scary terrain, places where the fog is so thick it sucks the breath from us, it’s natural to cower in fear, to vacillate from trust to doubt. While the two often cross paths simultaneously, we must choose which is to be our companion. Trust and doubt don’t travel easily together and progress comes to a halt when our soul wrestles between the two. A GOD guided tour of duty is difficult. HE instructs us to count the cost before we start. But, there’s no greater honor in life than to serve CHRIST with steadfast surety that no matter how tumultuous the sea, steep a climb, deep the cavern, barren a valley, you are going to conquer the challenge because HE created this path exclusively for you. SO, when you are in the desert, being shot at by a sniper after you’ve being swallowed by a great white shark, you’ll survive it! Yep, I’d say this photo just about sums up the blind faith bit!
You can’t follow CHRIST and expect to avoid sorrow & suffering; the most likely reason why HE mercifully didn’t provide a complimentary map for the trip. Think about it. Have you ever gone to MapQuest to request the hardest, most difficult route? Of course not! We want the fastest, easiest, arrow straight way. We can’t help but think it’s all about me whether we want to think it or not. That’s not me talking, PAUL said it first!.
If you don’t mind me saying so-what’s in YOUR wallet-doesn’t impress GOD. From what I read, HE isn’t prone to delving out first class tickets to HIS children. Count on WALKING in areas not hospitable for humans, but never lose sight of WHO you’re walking with as you’re passing through those places. I guarantee, HE rewards every hard trek with a vacation! *Smiles*
11 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
In 1955, English author, Hannah Hurnard, penned my absolute favorite allegorical novel, Hinds’ Feet in High Places. If you’ve never read it, you must, even if you aren’t typically a book worm. You can finish it in a day, but I recommend that you take your time so you won’t miss any portion of a beautiful treasure.
We lived in New Zealand when a friend and I were talking about favorite books. Knowing I was an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she was shocked that I hadn’t read this one, so the following morning she dropped by her copy. From the moment I began, I couldn’t put it down. It was the story of my life; since that first read, it’s been a-go to-when I need comfort food.
It narrates a young woman’s journey away from her FEARING family, to the High Places of the Shepherd. Naive & vulnerable, Much Afraid is accompanied by two-let’s say-most unpleasant companions. She determines bravery while on her quest to meet the Shepherd, but quickly discovers that the mysterious path towards the High Places changes continuously, the landscape grows more treacherous & unpredictable and each time she makes any headway, it’s overshadowed by setback. You never know what will befall her & question if she can remain strong enough to take another step. The first time I read it, I was practically begging her to end the excruciating pain for both of our sakes, abandon this dream and turn around! It’s spellbinding!
The title’s derived from Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD GOD is my strength, and HE will make my feet like hinds’ feet and HE will make me to walk upon mine high places. If you venture with Much Afraid, expect this verse to be tattooed on your heart forever.
11 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
Alright, so here is the scenario: Moses just finished talking to God through a burning bush. In case you missed that or, like me, unfortunately your amazement of that fact has become numb due to the number of times you've heard this story, God was talking through a burning bush. The Lord gave Moses instructions to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt.
06 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
Surely, I’m not the only CHRISTian who has gotten so completely exasperated trying to master something, that I shoved it at GOD begging-please help me with this one more time. We shouldn’t berate ourselves when this happens because it takes a lot of courage to admit an EPIC FAIL, especially if the task is one that we’ve been at for a while and we’re convinced it should be easy by now. Honestly, I believe GOD smiles when we acknowledge our dependence on HIM and admit, I still need YOU to help me with this one.
During The Ladybug’s last visit, I don’t know how many times she handed over something with a frown & disgruntled huff, unable to carry out a task she’d been working on a day, two weeks, a month. She struggled to unlock the crayon case & was too short to grasp toys from the bottom of her toy bucket without it tipping. But, Miss Independent would’ve pushed us away had we stepped in to help too soon. Our smarty pull-ups has memorized pictures on her DVD cases and knows which videos she likes. After watching us load them over & over, she’s identified which device spins them; she just hasn’t quite figured out how to get from A to C yet. But once she voices her need for assistance-HELP is here, baby girl!
GOD is incredibly patient as we attempt to do things that HE knows we aren’t going to be able to do-maybe only for now-but is gracious enough to let us try anyhow. Just as I allow Annalise to take on challenges that are too advanced for her at this stage, I don’t step in until she decides for herself that she needs my help. But as soon as she gives me the green light, I’m there!
I grow weary of repetition; I’m not good at sitting still, but there’s no denying that the mundane things HE requires me to practice over AND over, do indeed make me a stronger, more usable instrument in HIS hand. GOD is in no hurry to RUSH to my aid if I’m not in danger but HE is always RIGHT there.
As Annalise opened a CD case, pulled out a disc, stared at the blu ray player before pushing a button to see if the tray would pop out this time, I only intervened when I foresaw damage to her or the player. See, I know something that she doesn’t yet. One day soon, it’ll be second nature for her to use the TV and everything that goes with it; in time she won’t need me to help her with the very things that for now seem impossible so-I’m perfectly happy to let it happen when it happens.
Training is never in vain if I am willing to go the distance & learning never stops if I’m willing to muddle through trivial motions to reach triumphant moments. HE knows that I’ll get there so I’m going to try and relax, whether I comprehend HIS ways or not.
Stiffen up those upper lips little soldiers..our time IS coming!