January 28, 2016

When We Blow It Again

After listening to someone share how they blew it by losing their patience over a very small matter when their sincere intention was to keep calm in a disagreeable situation, I was reminded how recently a similar thing had happened to me. 

Just when I think I am making progress in an area, I turn around and blow it again. I wasn’t looking to lose my control and say things I didn’t mean to say. And yet a simple conversation and small disagreement with my husband spiraled into heated words and I definitely blew it with my tongue. It was so trivial and stupid of me. I blew it again…

I was madder at myself than my husband was. For him it blew over very quickly but I continued to punish myself with the question, why did I do it? I didn’t want to do it! But I did it.

Why am I so prone to sin? Does that sound familiar?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15

Why can’t I do a better job of reigning myself in? Why did I do something I didn’t even want to do?

Do you hear the condemnation ringing loud in this battle raging within me?

There is an answer. There is now no condemnation. 

There– is – now – no-condemnation.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

When I blow it again, there is no condemnation because Jesus took care of that for me. I am so thankful for this truth. I need to accept this beautiful gift of no condemnation. It is part of my inheritance as a born again believer and child of God. 

I don’t want to blow it again. But I probably will. 

January 25, 2016

In The Checkout Line

I try to be friendly to the checkout clerks at the grocery store, at Target, at Walmart, at Walgreens and so on. I may not get around to directly sharing the Lord with them, but I can be a smile and a friendly voice and maybe the light of Jesus will shine through me. I hope.

I tend to ramble and have probably made a few people in line behind me wish I would be quiet. If there is a substantial line, I try to reign myself in.
But, it is important to me to be friendly.

Sometimes, I am so awkward at it, I try to be more graceful and sometimes I do better than others.

For example, don’t ask me how one time I went down this rabbit trail, but while this young man was scanning my items at the grocery store, I mentioned making tuna sandwiches for lunch for my husband. It was a Saturday in the summer and I often make tuna, or salmon sandwiches for lunch. I was thinking, I need to shut up. I sound really silly. I am rambling too much… again.

But he stopped and looked directly at me with a very serious look.

He said, “I wish I had someone who would make tuna sandwiches for me.”

I saw loneliness.

I saw an ache and longing.

In that look on his young face I knew why I do this.
I may not have just shared the gospel of Christ, but in talking to him and being friendly, I shared the love of Christ, in the checkout line.

I think it is better said this way. You can shine the light of Christ in the checkout line.

His response reminded me to keep doing this.

As I walked away I realized that it’s not necessarily about what you say, but that it is about saying something. People are lonely, hurting, longing…

They want to be noticed and heard. They want to be engaged. Even in a brief conversation in the checkout line.

We can do that.  We are salt and light in this world.

Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

photo from Google images

January 21, 2016

Lunch With A Friend

If you and I met for lunch, I’d probably invite you to meet me at La Madeleine’s or the Olive Garden, or maybe my favorite Mexican restaurant. We’d linger long after we finished our meal and continue talking and catching up on our lives.  I think most of us realize how important it is to have these long visits with friends.

I have a friend that I lost track of for a while, she moved away, moved back, but far across town….eventually after many delays we finally successfully managed to meet for lunch at a halfway point between our homes so that each one of us only had to drive about thirty minutes. 

After we were seated and were sipping our iced tea, I asked “How are you doing?” and her “fine” didn’t sound fine at all.

When her voice started to tremble and tears welled up in her eyes I knew something was wrong. When she began to spell out a difficult situation in their family, she also shared that she hadn’t told anyone because she was afraid of what others would think.

She admitted though that holding it in and not talking to anyone seemed to just make the stress harder to bear. She finally realized she needed to be open and we talked about the fact that when we don’t share our burdens we end up adding burden to burden. 

What do I mean by adding burden to burden?  

The best way I know to describe it is that when we have difficulty sharing our burden with others because we think it is too much for them to handle, we are adding a new burden to our already existing burden. This happens when we are reluctant to open up with people and talk about what we are going through, not wanting to impose our problems on others.

God made His family to have that desire to come alongside hurting people and help them through the hard times. It is part of His plan to carry us through those difficult times and out of the valley. God goes with you and brings others to walk the journey with you.  Our friends can help us carry life’s burdens so that we don’t have to walk through them alone. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

January 19, 2016

What If?

When you woke up this morning, what was your first thought? What was your first awareness as the fog of sleep began to lift?

Was it a troubled and worrisome thought, the one you fell asleep with and caused you to toss and turn throughout the night? Was it a to-do list you wish was already done? Was it guilt over what you didn’t finish yesterday?

Were you thinking about the dozens of emails in your inbox, many still unread and far too many still unanswered?

Did a hundred thoughts scramble for your attention before your feet even touched the floor?

What if you pushed all of that aside and as hard as that can be…what if before all of those thoughts take over your morning…

What if you turn your thoughts to the Lord?

What if the next words you utter are, “Good Morning” to Him?

What if you stop and think about His presence ever near you?

What if you remember you are not alone?

Would you thank Him for this day and tell Him you are grateful He is near?

When your feet hit the floor and already you have had this early morning conversation with Him, will you feel His strength surging deep inside your heart?

You will, because this is who He is.

He is the Lord who waits to be invited into your day, and as soon as you awaken He is there waiting for you, holding out His beckoning hand.

What if when you wake up each morning, you reach out your hand to His and call upon His name?

Psalm 5:3
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. 

Photo of Galveston Island, Texas courtesy of my good friend, Judy B. Thank you!

January 17, 2016

Coast Or Thrive

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page where you will find the subjects by category for my posts, the biggest ones are Relationship, Spiritual Growth, and Trust. Which means this is what I write about most often. There is a reason for that.

When I write these words:

  ~ Draw near to the Lord

  ~ Make your relationship with Him of utmost importance

  ~ Sit at His feet

  ~ Start your day in conversation with Him

  ~ Have that quiet time

  ~ Read your Bible

They are not cliché platitudes and they are not empty words. They are choices that make the difference between coasting and thriving.

I have learned and it is my experience that as a result of these choices, this is where He daily pours into me…

Strength and Faith

Courage and Hope

Joy and Peace

Patience and

Deep Satisfaction

Grace, Mercy, and Love

He fills me up with all of this and more and I am the grateful recipient of God's abundant blessings every day.

John 10:10b I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.