My prayer is that you will realize that Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit is ALWAYS, with you. And with Him all things are possible!
My prayer is that you will realize that Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit is ALWAYS, with you. And with Him all things are possible!
In 1965, the first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson, was instrumental in the passing of the Beautification Act. This act called for a control of outdoor advertising as well as scenic enhancement and roadside development along the interstates of America. We experience the beauty of wildflowers along the interstates because of seeds that were planted decades ago!
This morning in my quiet time I read this verse:
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
The Apostle Paul in this verse is specifically talking about finances but the principle applies to all that we sow. The seed sown could be time, talent, influence, etc. – anything that we possess that we can give away. In this sowing not only will those we sown into be blessed but we also have an increase in the “seed.” Personally, I have experienced this with my time as well as my skills and most recently I experienced this with my finances.
I was blessed to be able to purchase a major appliance for a friend and it was $750. Of course, she gave thanks to me but also to our God for the provision. But what is so cool in that in the next 10 days, the following happened:
Total increase? $4,423!!!
Now I am giving thanks to God for His faithfulness! As verse 12 promises, the results will be thanksgiving to God.
What can you sow today – not to get the increase – but so that God will be glorified and thanked?
The birds are whistling as the sun is coming up.
The palm trees are singing as the wind blows through their fronds.
The lake is ripping as the breeze moves gently across the waters.
It is peaceful place.
It is a serene time.
It is a tangible feeling.
This is my patio. This is my refuge. This is my “settling my soul” place.
But as the rush of the traffic is off in the distance and the to-do list Siren is calling my name, I am reminded of the following story:
The yuppie was taking his annual 5-day vacation at a tropical resort that was isolated but not so remote that his iPhone didn’t work. Each morning, he watched a local fisherman walk to the port, board his boat and push out to fish. Upon returning to port, he would sell the fish at the market and then after lunch take a nap in his hammock while his children played in the yard. He would then finish off his day watching the sunset with his wife from the front porch of his hut.
After two days of this, the businessman decided to not waste his vacation but rather help this uneducated fisherman out. He devised a strategic plan and on day 4 of his vacation he met the fisherman as he walked to his hammock.
“Look here, sir, I have a great plan to share with you that will change your life!” This of course intrigued the fisherman and he stopped to listen.
“Here is the plan…if instead of working just three hours a day you worked eight (or maybe 10), you could purchase a car within six (or maybe 9) months so that you don’t have to walk to the port. After ten (or maybe 18) months, you could purchase a second boat and hire your buddies to work for you. After five (or maybe 9) years, you could have a fleet of boats and would be managing the entire operation from your office. Then after 10 (or maybe 14) years with, of course, proper investment, you could sell the business and retire. And I would be happy to come once a year to help you make this happen. So what do you think?”
The fisherman pondered a moment and said, “If I purchase a car, then how will I let my mind ponder? If I hire my buddies to work for me, how will that affect our relationships? If I managed the fleet from my office, how can I feel the wind on my face and the sun on my back?”
“Those our all good questions,” the businessman said but in his mind he was thinking, “This guy is really a fool!”
“But it is all worth it, sir, because you will be able to retire!!”
“Retire…what is that?”
“Well, when you retire you can take long afternoon naps, play with your grandchildren whenever you want and sit on the porch and watch the sunset every evening.”
Who is the wise one now? May we fish less and retire more!
These feelings are swirling around me these past few weeks. In my close circle of friends there are so many crises and struggles that I sense I can do nothing about. Fixing a marriage that is not only on the rocks but is beaten by the waves is not in my power. Stopping the ravages of cancer that are destroying two of my friends is not in my skill set. Providing the money to meet significant financial needs is not in my bank account. Relieving the stress of a huge workload that appears to only grow larger by the moment is not in my ability. And then when the eight character text, pls pray, comes across my iPhone screen my heart is gripped and my stomach is in knots because I feel so helpless because prayer is all I can do.
So with reluctance and not much faith, I cry out to my God. I don’t know what to say…I can’t give Him a plan to fix it…so I pray in the Spirit. I beg for relief. I intercede and slowly God does a work on my heart. It is true I can’t fix, stop, provide or relieve but He can.
He is the Restorer of broken walls.
He is the Healer of our bodies.
He is the Provision for all our needs.
He is the Way Maker when there seems no way.
So my helplessness is really a gift to my friends and to myself. In my helplessness, I turn to the only One who can make a difference. I lean into the One who is made strong in my weaknesses. I cry out to the One whose ears are inclined to me.
And then the peace comes, the Prince of Peace, and I realize the best “fixing” I can do for my friends is praying.
What about you? Are you turning to Him? Are you leaning in to Him? Are you crying out? May we not think that prayer is the last resort but know that it is the first and only resort.
Recently, my iPad needed to be charging overnight and since I didn’t want to arise to go plug it in across the room after I finished reading a few chapters on my Kindle app, I just unplugged my bedside lamp and plugged in the charger there. So now all I needed to do was place my iPad on the bedside table and rollover when done. After a few minutes, my eyelids were getting pretty heavy so I closed the iPad, placed it on the bedside table and reached up to turn off the unplugged and dark lamp!!!
Why did I do this? Habit! For decades now I have read before going to bed and the steps taken after eyelids have started drooping is to place book on table and turn off light. So, despite the darkened room, I still reached up to “turn off” the light.
This riddle, that I originally read in Hyrum Smith’s book, 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management, most aptly describes the power of a habit.
I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command.
Half the things I do you might as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great individuals and, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am Habit.
Habits can be our friends and they can so be our foes. What habits do you need to stop doing or start doing? The answers to this question can change ours lives!
I was going to do a Part 2 of how to form new habits but in the process of searching for a “habit” image (which I never found) I ran across this blog that is better than what I would have written. Check it out if you are ready to form new habits!
I see the post that she exercised for the fourth time this week and I feel guilty.
I see the photo about her girl’s trip to the beach and I feel alone.
I see the text “read receipt” is an hour old and feel angry because they haven’t answered my question.
I see that he has checked out my profile (yes, I have been known to do online dating) but never replied and I feel rejected.
I see the new sofa pinned on her board and I feel covetous.
Maybe it is just me that reacts that why and if so, please send in the biblical counselors!! But if not help me work out the balance in all of this. You see, as I considered this post, I was reminded of a comment from David Platt’s book, Radical. As he was sharing his concern about all the money the Church spends on buildings he was sitting in a multi-million dollar facility. He saw the problem but he don’t know all the solutions.
I have accounts on multiple (5 just off the top of my head) social media sites. I have an iPhone, iPad mini and MacBook Air. I have wifi at all of my homes and offices and if I am on the road, the iPhone has a hotspot and the mini has cellular connectivity. Talk about being plugged in!! Now, my excuse can be my job as a self-employed consultant who travels a lot. And I can also use the excuse that because I am single I need multiple lines of connectivity.
But there has to be boundaries in there somewhere, right? My problem is that I am an all or nothing girl! My boundaries usually include deactivating my accounts and getting a stupid phone. Is this really the solution?
Would welcome your thoughts on this situation and you now that you can always find me plugged in somewhere!
Oh my goodness, can I just be real with y’all? This so describes me! Not that this describes who I was or used to be a long time ago but this often describes me on any given day! Well, actually until I heard Big Daddy Weaver’s song, Redeemed, two weeks ago it was my daily mantra.
With that kind of daily mantra, I would do some crazy things to earn my worth. Before Christ it included lots of immoral stuff, trying to feel worthy. Then after Christ, despite knowledge of the Word and great counseling, I would often believe I was unworthy and so then I had to earn my worthiness. Work harder, faster. Produce more. Please everyone around you. Manipulate here. Exaggerate there. Anything to silence that voice…
Then a friend who knows me so well, sent me Redeemed (now that is a true friend!) And when I heard this line in the middle of the song, the lightbulb – no, it was a flood light – went off. Here is the entire line:
“All my life I have been called unworthy…named by the voice of my shame and regret.”
It wasn’t a parent or a teacher or a coach or a friend who had called me unworthy but it came from the voice of my shame and regret!! I could silence the voice not by performing better or pleasing more people. I could silence the voice by walking in the fact that I am redeemed and that my shame was paid for on the cross and my regrets can be released to Him who cares for me.
Is the voice always silent? No…I am still living in a fallen world and in a body of flesh that is so prone to sin. However, when the voice calls out, “Unworthy! Unworthy!” I can respond, “Redeemed!! Redeemed!!” and the voice goes silent.
How about you? What’s your daily mantra? Do you hear the voice? Can you cry out, “Redeemed!”?
There I was…just minding my own business at the AutoZone on Election Day 2012 when I heard the man at the register next to me say to the cashier, “You know if Romney wins he won’t let you have an abortion if you get raped.” “Oh Lord,” I thought, “I only have a few minutes before my next appointment and I just wanted to get this wiper. Surely he will not turn to me and tell me that, will he?”
“Ma’am, can I ask you a question? Do you know that if Romney wins…” I think you get the picture. Despite what might be racing through your mind if you know me well it was a VERY good experience. We were both vocal (read loud) but civil. We were passionate but appropriate. We were discussing but not arguing. We didn’t interrupt and we listened to both sides.
Here are just a few snippets of the debate:
Me: Well, sir, it doesn’t matter to me what Romney does…if I am raped, I would not have an abortion. Just because a baby’s daddy is a jerk doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t live.”
AutoZone Customer: Really. But it is not a baby.
Me: If it is not a baby, what is it?
AutoZone Customer: Well, just not fully formed.
Me: I am 47 years old and I am not fully formed – emotionally, mentally, physically – I will change.
AutoZone Customer: Right, but it is still not really a human.
Me: Really? Unique DNA at conception. Heartbeat detectable by 20 days. At 10 weeks gestation all vital organs and systems have been created. If it is not a baby, what is it?
AutoZone Customer: Well, maybe it is a baby. But I think a woman should have the choice.
Me: The choice to end the life of her unborn baby?
AutoZone Customer: But if my daughter was raped and she thinks she couldn’t handle the stress of carrying the baby, I think she should be allowed to have an abortion.
Me: When the baby is 6 months old, there will be times she thinks she couldn’t handle the stress of being a mom. Is it okay then to kill the baby?
AutoZone Customer: Of course not!
And the debate goes on! What I loved about the entire time with my friend at AutoZone was that we were having a discussion about abortion. We were not protesting…yelling..belittling..ridiculing. He thanked me for the discussion and said, “You showed me some things I hadn’t thought about. Still think I’d let my daughter have an abortion.”
Oh Lord, may I never be to quick to run from a situation – even an uncomfortable one – but stay and choose to speak in Love.
What in the world does Josh Hamilton and cereal have in common? As many of you know, last week it was reported and later confirmed by Josh that he relapsed and drank alcohol. (Side Note: So impressed at how the body of Christ has responded to Josh. Check out this article and this one as well as this one to see.) Josh has struggled with addiction for many years and had even lost everything until he cried out to Jesus. Check out his testimony.
So back to the original question….what does Josh and cereal have in common? I have an addiction, too, and it is cereal! Well, really, it could be just about any carb but when I am at the Jenkins home cereal seems to call my name. I made Bowdie and Andrea crack up the other night when I texted them while babysitting the boys, “I am going to bed early partly because I am tired but also so that I will quit eating.” Just like Josh it is a daily struggle for me to not feed my addiction. Pun intended.
However, unlike Josh I cannot “cold turkey” or simply quit going to grocery stores. I have to eat to live….the problem is too often I live to eat. Another difference is that if I give into the addiction I am usually only hurting myself unlike Josh who may hurt others if he chooses to get behind the wheel of a car.
The verse that has really rolled around in my head lately is 2 Corinthians 10:4 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. God has not chosen to just deliver me instantaneously from this addiction but I do have at my disposal weapons that can destroy strongholds – anything that has a strong hold on me.
Unfortunately, I do not always use the weapons available which takes me back to the cereal…Tuesday afternoon I was watching the boys because Andrea was helping with the funeral of an amazing man of God. I wanted (read lusted for) a bowl of cereal but was not hungry (this would be sin for me.) I had just poured the milk over the frosted shredded wheat and there was a knock on the door. “Aunt Becky, Blaine needs you! He is hurt.” I run out the door and see Blaine crying on the trampoline. I carried him into the house and laid him on the sofa to get an icepack on the (now we know) broken foot. As I sat with him, my cereal was growing soggier and soggier. By the time he was calmed down enough for me to get up, my cereal was yucky! I am grateful that 1 Corinthians 10:13 is true as well!
So I am throwing no stones at Josh but rather rejoicing that as quickly as he fell off the wagon he is back on again and praying that when I make unhealthy food choices or choose to over eat that I get back on track just as quickly.
What about you? Do you have any addictions that you struggle with? By the way, I had cereal yesterday morning for breakfast and only ate one cup!
Discipline. A word many of us both love and hate. I love the discipline of the airline pilot as he goes through his pre-flight procedures….not to fond of it when the TSA agent is doing her job and throws away a brand new can of hair spray. Love the discipline of the civil engineers who designed the overpasses on Intestate 4…not excited about the discipline of the Florida Highway Patrolman and his radar gun. Love watching the results of the discipline of premiere athletes…really hate the discipline of exercise.
This weekend I was blessed to watch the discipline of 1,000s of people played out. I participated in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon as a spectator – see last sentence in paragraph above. Over 27,000 people ran, walked, jogged and/or slogged (slow jog) their way from Epcot Center, through the Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot – a distance of 13.1 miles. And there were also quite a few wheelchair racers who blew through that course – several of them multi-amputees. Still brings tears to my eyes and can cause me some level of shame! Check this out to “feel my pain.”
What is amazing is that 99% of the athletes did it just to do it. Now they did get a medal – and since this is a Disney event it was a VERY nice medal….suitable for mounting, for sure. And I would say 90% of these folks spent LOTS of time preparing for this single event. It took much discipline to go from the couch to the treadmill or to the street and get moving. Well, the first time it might have been based on some emotional decision but later as the going got rougher – whether that was rainy weather or achy knees or the finances to purchase new shoes – discipline is what kept them going. Self-discipline. I am reminded of the verse from I Corinthian 9:27 – I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (New Living Translation)
Discipline is setting your mind to doing something and then buffeting your body to do what your Spirit, soul or mind want to do. And many ways, it is not punishment because we are WAY more than just flesh and blood. We can believe, desire and think about doing something all we want but if our body doesn’t engage it is not happening.
So what is your “something?” Run a half marathon – or a FULL? Lose 20 pounds? Clean out the garage? Have a daily quiet time? Get out of debt? Write a book?
Over the next couple of days, I am going to spend time determining what my “somethings” are for 2012 and then I am going to go about disciplining my body to make it happen.
What about you? Would love to hear what your somethings will be in 2012. Let’s embrace what we LOVE about discipline – the results and not focus on the part we HATE – the pain of getting the results!