Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Truth of God's Love

This year has started with chaos for many folks - several to whom I am close.  Sickness, relationship woes, financial worries, and more have bred discouragement into their hearts and mine.

Some question, "Why is God allowing this to happen to me?"  or "What did I do to deserve this?"  or "Where's God???"

I love this quote from Loves Comes Softly and think it sums it up best - "The truth of God's love is not that he allows bad things to happen.  It's His promise that He'll be here with us when they do."

Nothing that ever happens in our lives catches God off guard or by surprise.  He's authored the story of our lives from beginning to the end and promises that His plans are to give us hope and a future.  He tells us in Matthew 6 that He even feeds the birds of the air.  You and I are worth far more to Him than the birds.  Your concerns are His concerns.  He cares for you.

Instead of allowing the devil to use these situations to defeat you, allow them to drive you closer to God.  He promises that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.  In every situation we face, may it "lead us to the Rock" which is Christ Jesus.

From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2 

Whatever you are facing today, be encouraged.  God has a grand design for your life.  He has a purpose for you.  Run to Him.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Get a Life!

In years past as the days of the year dwindled down, I spent time in prayer and meditation asking God what He wanted to show me going into the next year.  Usually He answered my prayers by laying a specific verse on my heart.  That verse served as my anthem going into the next phase of life.  I learned from it and grew from it, and because of this tradition have become more deeply rooted in the things of Christ.  

This year in all of the busy-ness of life, I forgot my yearly ritual.  Thankfully my Heavenly Father did not.  As I laid in bed a couple of nights before New Year's trying to fall asleep, God whispered two verses to my heart.  I immediately knew what they were for and why they'd been given to me.  

The first is found in John 10:10.  It says, 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

God did not send His one and only Son into the world so that we could merely exist.  He sent Jesus so that we may have life and live it to the full!  

Considering how this verse applies to me personally, I was immediately convicted about how I spend my time.  How we spend our time is ultimately how we spend our life.  I want to spend my life in a bigger and better way than napping, surfing Facebook and the internet, and watching television.  

I don't want to be a spectator.  I want to be a participant.  I don't want to just exist.  I want to make a lasting difference on the world.

My routine is generally the same:  Get up, go to work, go home, watch tv while playing online, and go to bed.  Sure in the middle of all of that I brush my teeth, eat, write a blog, take random photos, but what of that matters?  What of that has eternal value?  What of that dictates who I am?  The more I've chewed on this truth, the more I have come to realization that I am wasting a lot of my time and therefore am also wasting a lot of my life.  

The second verse that God laid on my heart is from Colossians 3:23 and 24.  It says,

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

I believe that these two verses tie in well together.  If you are spending your time/life doing all that you do as unto the Lord, then nothing you do will ever be in vain. 

Did you get that?  Did you let it sink in?  Let me say it again:

If you are spending your time/life doing all that you do as unto the Lord, then nothing you do will ever be in vain. 

The most mundane tasks can become a ministry when we do it with the right attitude and a heart for God.  Whether it is sitting at my desk waiting for the next phone call or next computer entry, washing dishes and laundry, or feeding the dogs, my attitude determines its worth.  And only I can determine my attitude.

Another way to look at it is by considering the choices.  In Elizabeth George's book, "A Woman After God's Own Heart" she makes the distinction between the choices we make as being good, better, or best.  (Not that one way we'd choose to spend time is necessarily bad, but rather is it the best use of our time.)  For instance, I can wait during Dacey's weekly dance lessons and pass time playing Bejeweled Blitz on my phone or I can wait during Dacey's weekly dance lessons and read the Word of God from my phone thanks to today's technological advances!  Not that playing games is bad, but what is it growing in me?  What changes is it making in my life?  Is it just a "waste of time"?  Then I choose the best option - Bible reading - and sow into my life while drawing closer to God.  Just like everything else in life, it comes down to the choices we make.  

I refuse to let the devil steal any more of my time - any more of my life - by wasting it on things that do not matter.  If it isn't investing in my family, others, or me, it needs to be gone.  

There are many other things God is telling me to sweep up and get rid of.  I'll be sharing that along the way too.  For now, it is almost time for Dacey's weekly dance class or as I prefer to think of it now - two hours for reading and reflection.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 - Off to a Good Start?

I had intended to do a 2013 year in review post the days leading up to New Year's Day.  It didn't happen.  I've always said the irony of blogging is that the more there is to blog about, the less time there is to blog about it.  So, let me just say in case you missed any of my 2013 posts - it was a grand and wonderful year that brought with it the most beautiful day of my life.

Our year ended with a fabulous Christmas in which we spent family time together carolling to friends and neighbors, near and far, and our new year began with meaningful family time spent in reflection and anticipation while playing board games together.

And in case you missed the chance to hear the kids carol, you can view them below!

And then for all of my beginnings of 2014 glory?  Well, the first day went well.  We had meatloaf, cabbage, and black-eyed peas per Southern tradition.

Friday and Saturday were spent at the church for a youth conference.  It certainly "sparked" a fire in my kids and I'm sure in all who attended.  During the course of events, the evangelist and I realized we'd served on a missions trip to Venezuela together twenty years ago.  Neither of us recognized the other, and I wasn't able to place him until I found pictures from the trip.  Then it all came back to me.  Though I am the short one in the clown suit, I distinctly remember Josh as being the "class clown" of the trip.

 Efforts were under way to start back on a structured, daily Bible reading plan; my Facebook fast; meal and bedtime devotions with the family; as well as my no sugar or white carbs; water only; and daily exercise health kick, but then on day five my plans took a dive - the flu hit.  Or what I'm guessing is the flu.  Fever, chills, aches and pains, tummy aches, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, and fatigue have bamboozled my first full week of the new year.  I've missed an entire week of work and all of my "resolutions" (or goals as I prefer to call them) have gone down the drain.  But thank God, I'm on the mend, and each new day brings the hope of a new start.

God has given me two scriptures to focus on this New Year, and I look forward to sharing them with you in my next post.  For now, I need another nap.