Do you even know what you want?

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I hear myself say things like:

  • I want to eat healthy, exercise, and lose some weight.
  • I want to have close relationships with my children and grandchildren.
  • I want to be a speaker at Christian women’s events.
  • I want to have a clean organized home.
  • I want to enjoy time with my husband.
  • I want to encourage my friends.
  • I want to rest.

And so on and so on…..

When I look at my complete list of what I want to do (and no, the list above is not a complete list), it doesn’t take me long to figure out I can’t do everything I want to do.  If I did everything, there is no way I would ever feel rested  and I want that, too. LOL

I am in a time of transition.  It is causing me to redefine my priorities and expectations.  It is causing me to let go of some things and reach for new things.  It is unsettling and exciting at the same time.

Life constantly changes. If we are not intentionally mindful, we end up being carried along with the rushing flow of life – doing way too much and being unsure of where we are even going.

Let me encourage you to take time for reflection.  Are you directing your days or are the days directing you?  Better yet, are you allowing God to direct your days?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do  not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

When God Takes It Away

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So God took the thing you most loved and you’re never going to get it back.

Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died; and she was left with her two sons.  Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.  Ruth 1:3-5

Bereft goes beyond grief-stricken. Bereft includes a deep sense of deprivation and irreparable loss.  (Paraphrased from vocabulary.com)

I started playing the piano in third grade and fell in love with it. It was soul-satisfying.  It became part of me.  As opportunities came my way, playing the piano became my God-given ministry. It was a way I loved God and gave of myself to encourage others to love God.  I felt God’s pleasure as I played.

But then God took it away.  I was bereft.

Seven years later, I still don’t understand why God allowed this to happen. It has been a long difficult journey for me as I have grieved this loss and come to accept it as from the hand of God. But God has been with me every step of the journey.  And because of the journey, I am more in love with God today than I ever have been. I enjoy Him more deeply. Perhaps this alone is reason enough.

If you are grieving, seek refuge under the wings of God Almighty. He will love you through your grief.  Ruth 2:12  Do not lose hope. God is with you. God is for you. Nothing can separate you from His love.  Romans 8:31-39

We cannot see the end of our journey but we can see the end of Naomi’s journey. God gave Naomi a son.  Ruth 4:17  He may give me another opportunity to play the piano for His glory and only He knows what He has planned for you!

 

 

 

Men are Hungry for Respect!

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offer-442903_640Men hunger for respect like women hunger for love. But what exactly is respect? I’ve been married 40 years and I’m still trying to figure it out.

I asked my husband, Dan, and both of my sons to explain respect to me.  I kid you not, they all had the same instantaneous answer, “Just do what I tell you.”  They all chuckled a little as they said it.  I don’t know if that is because they were embarrassed by the candor of it or they were partly joking about it.  Either way, I wasn’t crazy about their response.

God gave us a great behavioral definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13.  It explains how love acts and does not act.  It’s fairly easy to check our behavior against that list to see how we are doing.

But nowhere in the Bible is there a great behavioral definition of respect. It simply states that wives are to respect their own husbands.  So what does respect look like? How does it behave?  What does it do?  What doesn’t it do?

One thing I am sure of is that men sometimes view respect differently than women.  More than once Dan has felt disrespected by something I said or did when I actually had no disrespect in my heart at all.  Talk about frustrating!

Learning how to respect our husband is definitely a life-time learning process. It involves taking the time to see life from our husband’s point of view.  What matters to our husband needs to matter to us.  When your husband feels disrespected and you have no idea why, grab the opportunity to learn more about your man.

After all, I’m pretty sure eye-rolling, sighs and stomping out of a room aren’t respectful!  LOL

If you’ve never read it, I recommend the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

 

 

 

Screaming Hunger!

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A newborn baby knows when she is hungry! She knows what she needs and nothing will stop her screaming until she gets her milk!

We have much to learn from babies.

Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to your salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.  I Peter 2:2-3

Like babies, we, too, are hungry. But sadly, we don’t recognize our hunger for what it really is. We reach for things that fail to satisfy.

Only God Himself can satisfy our deepest hunger.  People will disappoint.  Things will disappoint.  But God will never disappoint! I Peter 2:6

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

  1. Do you know you are hungry?  What void are you trying to fill?  What emptiness are you feeling?
  2. What are you doing to satisfy your hunger?  Are you filling it with activity? food? drugs? alcohol? work? things? kids? spouse? friends? fun? busyness?

Let me encourage you to start satisfying your heart hunger in a real way.

  1. Tell God you are hungry.  Tell him what you lack.  What do you need?
  2. Taste the kindness of the Lord.  Spend time reading His Word.  Don’t read for the sake or reading, but as you read ask God to show you truths that will satisfy your innermost needs.

I guarantee you that once you taste God’s kindness, you will keep going back to Him for more!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Matthew 5:6

 

Uggs & Chocolate

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My friend gave me and my husband some special chocolate with crushed pretzels in it. She gave it to us in December and I saved it.  But when my husband started eating it, I wasn’t about to let him get ahead of me.  So we ate it last week and it was delightful!

My husband bought me a pair of Uggs for my birthday early in December.  They make me feel rich.  I still have yet to wear them outside.

I don’t save ordinary every day things.

But special things are another story. I saved our chocolate because I knew that once we ate it, it would be gone.  I haven’t worn my Uggs because I don’t want to get them dirty. I want them to stay like new.

But the best thing being saved for me is not what I am saving!  It is what God is saving for me!

It is my inheritance in Christ! It can never be depleted. It will never be ruined. It will never get dirty. It will never fade. It will always be like new, full of God’s glory!  I Peter 1 :4

And perhaps even more importantly, God is protecting me by His power until I reach heaven.  He will see to it that I receive my inheritance in Him!  I Peter 1:5

And that is just one reason why I love Him, believe in Him and rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory! I Peter 1:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Bridges – Not Walls!

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Being a third person in a conversation often provides a unique opportunity for building.  A friend calls to talk because she has been hurt by someone else you both know. How will you respond?  Will you help build a bridge or help construct a wall?

Paul helped build a bridge between Philemon and Onesimus.  Onesimus, a run away slave, had clearly wronged Philemon, his master.  Yet, Paul stepped in to help the two reconcile.

Building a bridge:

  • Reconciliation acknowledges the problem.
  • Reconciliation offers a solution.
  • Reconciliation involves forgiveness.
  • Reconciliation involves being willing to change your mind about someone.
  • Reconciliation is a choice.

Building a wall:

  • Separation replays the problem.
  • Separation offers no solution.
  • Separation refuses to forgive.
  • Separation permanently nails the offense to the other person.
  • Separation is a choice.

God chose reconciliation.  He built a bridge between Himself and you.  That bridge is Christ.

Choose reconciliation.  Bridges will take your further!

Philemon, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

 

 

 

 

I want more for my friend!

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I want more for my friend than she wants for herself. I want her to be happy.  I want her to be all that God designed her to be.  I want her to live an abundant joy-filled life.

But her own choices are preventing her from becoming all that God hopes for her to be.

Why can’t she see that God’s plan is always the best?

Why can’t she see that His plan is not some religious mandate to be obeyed just for the sake of obedience but that His plan is the way for her to have richness of life?

And then I think about my own life…  Why do I sometimes refuse to do life God’s way? Why can’t I see that God’s plan is always the best for me?

The answer is the same for all of us. In these situations, we think we know more than God.  We think we know best.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.  Proverbs 3:5-8

If you want your best life, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Am I being deceived by sin and my own fleshly desires?
  • Am I being proud, stubborn and self-willed?
  • Do I believe God really knows what is best for me?
  • Am I willing to do life God’s way?

Trust Him and choose wisely!

Become rooted and grounded in His love and watch Him do abundantly above all you can ask or even think in your own life!  Ephesians 3

 

 

 

Are you kidding me?!?!

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Sometimes I am so bewildered by the things other people do.  I just don’t get why they do the things they do!  And I don’t understand why they make such stupid choices!  And to top it all off, these things have a huge impact on MY life! And I wonder if these people ever even thought about how their decisions might impact those around them, especially ME!

When these times come, they are hurtful!

When these times comes, they are scary!

When these times come, they are discouraging!

When these times come, what then?

  1. First, tell it ALL to Jesus (as often as you need to).
  2. Second, choose to forgive and pray for those ‘stupid’ people (even if you don’t feel like it).
  3. Third, keep on trusting God:
    1. Trust that He is ultimately in control of all things (even if it doesn’t seem like it).
    2. Trust that He has your best interest at heart (even if others’ don’t).
    3. Trust that He is at work and He will work this for your good (even if you can’t possibly see how).
  4. Fourth, keep your eyes on Jesus (not on those around you).
  5. Fifth, keep on doing what God has called you to do (and forget about all the other stuff).

But in all these things, we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us!  Romans 8:37

Philippians 2:12-14, Romans 8:18-39

Too Good to be True? Not This Time

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I was so happy I couldn’t even fall asleep. I had just shared the message of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone with my friend. As I watched her amazement at such a message, I was reminded of the first time I really heard the gospel message. It was shocking!

How can it be that all I have to do is believe in the redeeming work of Christ? How can it be that simple?  Yet, it is. Christ has been God’s plan from the very beginning, even before creation.

The message is simple, yet astounding!

  • God is holy and just, unable to overlook your sin. He is also Love so He provided a way for you.
  • You are sinful, never able to meet God’s standard of holiness, guilty, unable to save yourself.
  • Christ,the sinless Son of God, the only One who could meet God’s standard of holiness, was willing to pay the penalty for your sins by his death on the cross. His sacrifice once and for all removed the sin barrier between you and God.

There is no debt for you to pay.  Christ already paid it.

There is nothing you must do to earn your salvation.  Christ already provided it.

The only requirement for you to be saved is to believe. You must rely on the fact that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross took care of your sin problem in the eyes of God. The moment you believe, Christ’s righteousness will be credited to your account!

Believe in Christ today! It matters not if you are a good person or a bad person.  No one is good enough to save themself and no one is too bad for Christ to save!  Christ alone is the hope of salvation!

John 3:16-17, Ephesians 2;4-9, Galatians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

 

 

 

 

What is that smell??

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Did you know a bad smell can wake you up out of a sound sleep?  I can tell you from personal experience that it can.  One night our entire family had gone to bed and everyone was sound asleep.  Suddenly, all of us – but one-  found ourselves in the hallway asking each other, “Ugh!  What is that disgusting smell?”  Our family still laughs about that night to this day. But we weren’t laughing that night!  LOL

Just as a bad smell can send you running, a good smell can draw you in.  The smell of freshly baked cookies, the smell of lilacs, the smell of homemade bread, the smell of a roast in the oven, the smell of a freshly cut tree…

How about the ‘smell of Christ’?  Are you spreading the fragrant aroma of Christ everywhere you go?  Does your smell draw people to Christ or send them running in the opposite direction?  Is your smell sweet? Is your smell inviting?

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  2 Corinthians 2:14-16, 3:5-12

When I think about being a fragrant aroma for Christ, I feel inadequate.  Paul felt that way, too.  He actually asked, “And who is adequate for these things?”  Thankfully, our adequacy is from God.  He has made us new.  He has placed us in Christ.  He has given us His Spirit.

Be a fragrance of Christ today – everywhere you go!