Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Be careful what you tune into!


Galatians 5:7-9
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for He is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!”


We pay attention to what we’re tuned in to.

It’s funny… my mom, who is on the East Coast, emailed me and said she was praying about the earthquakes. My response? 


"What earthquakes ???" 

I apparently missed when that chipper news was being announced. I’ve had a few deadlines to complete some books I was asked to read and review, so I’ve had my head buried in those. As a result, I was clueless about quakes and focused more on how not to come “Unglued” when you hear of such things. (small plug for Lysa Terkeurst's book “Unglued” that I was reviewing ;)

You know how when you’re driving along, listening to that Christian Station on the radio, when suddenly it starts going to that other station where they sing about kickin’ the dog and leaving your spouse?  (Sorry Country Music lovers, I know they’re not ‘ALL’ about that ;)

Any hoo…

do you ever feel like that in life? One minute you’re tuned into a positive station, and before long, another station is competing for your affection. And the further down the road you drive, the louder and clearer that station tunes in. Eventually you’re tempted to just switch completely over to that station, just to avoid the static.

Be careful what you tune into just because it’s loud and clear. (It doesn’t make it good and right.)

Just because the squeaky wheel gets the grease…doesn’t mean the clearer station should have our attention.

There are many messages being shouted at us through the megaphones of life…don’t let the ‘clarity’ persuade you or the pervasiveness.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7
“You’re flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing”, but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast.”

What are a few things you have been tuned into lately that may have been a result of driving too far down the road and your connection isn’t as strong? The radio station may not seem life altering, but it’s those other things that can do damage that starts out pretty subtle. The staticky station is a warning sign as you continue to go down that road... keep alert.





Monday, December 8, 2014

Buffet Style Faith


Jeremiah 15:16
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts."

My dog Faith wasn’t feeling good this morning and threw up a few times.




When she came back inside, I fed her some dog food. It’s the kind with several different colors and flavors.

Just watching her cracked me up as she picked out the pieces she didn’t like and chucked them out of the bowl and across the floor. Those were probably the pieces that were good for her, she just liked the other ones more.


I was thinking about my Pastor’s Sermon on the book of Jude. He asked us, “Are you a cut and paste type of person? Do you pick and choose?”

We tend to be just like my dog. We take the stuff we don’t like in the bible and chuck it across the floor, and we choose the stuff we like. Possibly the reason we’re sick (like poor Faithy) is because we’re not ingesting those hard things that will bring health to our soul. Of course we prefer grace and forgiveness and love, especially when we’re blowing it. But how about sacrifice and discipline and surrender – THOSE pieces aren’t as ‘yummy’.

Do you have a ‘Buffet Style’ faith, where you carefully pick out only the things that go down easy, and please your palate? Or are you seated at God’s table and eating everything that He has put on your plate, even if it happens to smell like asparagus and might actually have some nutritional value?





Remember, we need all the food groups to live a healthy physical life, just as we need balance to live a healthy spiritual life as well. Some don’t go down as easy, but produce healthy results. Others, like Cotton Candy (is that a food group?!), disappear magically as soon as you ingest it and only end up making you sick if you have a steady diet of it. Plus it will never give you the energy to go the distance. You will just crash and burn from the sugar coma. 

Choose well.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'm constantly needing a Routine Perspective Check-up

Perspective.

Who doesn’t need a healthy dose of that?!? 

It doesn’t change your reality, yet it pulls you away from the impact it’s having on you. 

It diffuses its effect.
It waters down its potency.

If you’re crammed in that small place, wishing you had more ‘room’ (physically or figuratively speaking)…then I think of my Robbie who just got released from a tiny hospital room after 117 days! That’s 4 months!!!

Day in. 

Day out. 

Her Aortic Stenosis, her pneumonia, her UTI’s, her ventilator and trying to wean her off, her muscles  starting  to atrophy because she wasn’t breathing on her own. Her having to get a new trache, then getting an infection in that area. Yeast infections in her mouth, and heart valve issues. 

She is finally home, sitting on the deck in the sunshine with a great big smile! I don’t know about you, but that gives me perspective. One big helping of it! My ant problem becomes laughable. The car with no air conditioning that makes me cranky…yeah, so what! The broken washing machine that sends me to the Laundromat and ‘inconveniences’ my comfortable little life…get over it.

Perspective.

It’s a gift we receive by taking a look around. It comes freely when we aren’t so introspective, but by observing outside of ourselves. You may need to go looking for it, whether it be found in a Cancer Ward or a Soup Kitchen…but chances are you don’t have to go far. You won’t even need a Passport. It could be next door as your neighbor is carrying a huge load. Something unbearable.

Philippians 4:11-13 says, “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy, whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

My brother’s fiancĂ© Robbie, who I mentioned above, has since passed away. She went to her forever home in Heaven on December 20th of last year. (The ache in our hearts still remain.) With all of the difficulties she endured in her earthly body (ones I would never pretend to even come close to fathoming), she did it with such grace and humility. She was a visual reminder to “have no confidence in the flesh” as Philippians 3:4 instructs. I thank God for the privilege of learning from such a selfless soul…lessons I will continue to try and apply in my own human weakness. She was a gift, and with her favorite Christmas Holiday coming up, I will continue to unwrap all of the lessons she has given me since she entered my life. Can’t wait to see you again my sweet sister!  In the blink of an eye!





 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is your hope restless?

Matthew 8:24
"Suddenly, a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat began to be swamped by the waves.  Yet Jesus kept sleeping."
 
My dog Hope is a restless soul. She takes forever to get comfortable. Literally. The conditions have to be perfect for her to rest. There can’t be any bumps, or she has to get up and keep moving around until every little uncomfortable spot is smoothed out.

Exhibit A



Does this remind you of yourself? Do conditions need to be perfect in order for you to rest? Really rest? Do you need no bumps in the road in order for you to be okay? Does life need to be smooth sailing so that you can be civil towards others?

Jesus was able to sleep soundly on a boat ‘in the midst of’ the storm, while the waves crashed around Him. (I’m sure there were plenty of bumps too, Hope! ;) We don’t read about Him tossing and turning, or pacing, or spinning around in circles like you…uh, errr…I mean Hope.

We too can be in the eye of the storm and rest…as long as our eye is on Him. Just as Peter kept his eye on Jesus, he was able to walk on water despite the waves around him. But when he chose to look around at the storm, he started to sink. His fear of the storm was greater than His faith in the Lord, which caused him to sink.

Is the fear of your current situation greater than your faith in the Lord? Is that causing you to ‘sink’ in despair? It’s not too late to shift your focus on the One who has the ability to either calm the storm around you or the one within you. He has the ability to stop the craziness around you, but all too often His goal is to calm you on the inside regardless of what is happening around you. His aim is to grow us up in Him. To not be like Hope who needs perfect sleeping arrangements. To not be like the newborn who cries incessantly til it gets their way. We grown adults shouldn’t need pacifiers and blankies to keep us content.

Let Hope serve as a reminder to how silly we must look when we are pacing and spinning when we are uncomfortable. What we must look like to an unsaved world when we are unable to be at rest because arrangements aren’t like a 5 Star Resort. God allows us to be uncomfortable in order to show a dying world what real rest looks like, despite bad conditions. This is the time we should shine.



What can you choose to do differently during your next uncomfortable situation?
It really is a choice.


(Poor Hope, she’s gettin’ some bad press on my Blog lately…she does have many redeemable qualities too, stay tuned! ;)

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is your head hanging low too?


1 Peter 2:2
“Desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.”

My friend brought me flowers yesterday…just because. (Aren’t those the best?!) There’s nothing obligatory about it when it doesn’t fall on a Holiday.


 

I was noticing that some of them were starting to droop, yet others were standing up straight all perky-like. (Wow, that actually IS a word…my spell check confirmed it!) It’s interesting that each of the flowers are in the same environment, with the same food. Yet some thrive, and others droop.

It reminded me of the Church. You could be receiving the same spiritual nutrition on a Sunday morning, yet some of you will grow and others will hang your head low like my sunflowers. 

I’ve heard it said that if you cut the bottom of the stem at an angle, it allows for more water to travel up to the flower to help it blossom. And cutting it every day allows it to flourish.

Maybe we need to dig down to our roots and cut back some of the things that are hindering our growth. Anything to allow God’s Word (nutrition) to help us blossom as God’s flower. We should be a display of His Beauty, not of a wilting flower that appears to be dying. And maybe cutting into those roots regularly… of where we came from (our Heritage), or how we’ve always done things. Trimming back can bring new life that allows progress. Beauty.

I was thinking my vase may be a bit too small for all the flowers she brought me, possibly being crammed into a small space can prevent further growth. Maybe you have felt squished in so tightly too, where it feels like it’s draining the life right out of you. You don’t have the space to allow room for your personal growth. You feel like you’re constricted and maybe there’s a kink in your hose preventing life giving water from reaching you. Get a bigger vase…allow for more room in your living environment.  (And no...that doesn't require a bigger house, peeps.)  A small animal left in a tiny cage or aquarium can only grow so much, yet when transferred to a larger cage will have a significant growth spurt. Maybe we all need to think outside of the box so we are not restricted in the growth that God would have for us. Sometimes ‘we’ are the biggest hindrance of all to our personal growth as people.

Think of some tangible ways that you can allow for more growth in your life. Don’t be a big fish in a small pond, step out into uncharted waters to risk and then experience a spiritual growth spurt. What can be trimmed back from the roots of your past to allow God’s Word to help you flourish and blossom in this very short life we have on this earth?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Time to make some serious Deposits!


Have you been making any deposits into your Spiritual Bank Account lately? The problem is we tend to make many withdrawals during our crisis modes and then our balance gets dangerously low. We might even get a reminder from the bank that we have fallen below a very low balance. (Not that it’s ever happened to me – but ‘theoretically’ I’ve heard that it can happen. ;)

The challenge is if we have an unexpected expense hit the account – there’s not enough cushion built in to cover it.

So many of us don’t leave enough of a buffer – wiggle room. Most of us don’t have an Emergency Fund set aside for ‘those’ things that happen in our life that weren’t planned into our schedule. The broken down car, the hospital visit, etc.

We need to anticipate ‘emergencies’ – and start putting deposits into our Spiritual Emergency Fund. So when that unexpected phone call comes or that dreaded Doctor’s report arrives, or that betrayal that wounds you deeply happens – you have an account to draw from that you have been consistently depositing into.

The deposits are made in the form of being in God’s Word – the Owner’s Manual for your life.

The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Now why would we leave THAT kind of power on the table? We need to be making regular deposits like that into our spiritual account so we can draw from that power when we need it most. We’ll need that kind of discernment during our next storm – trust me, it is coming!

John 16:33 says, “In the world you ‘will’ have tribulation.” (not you ‘might’, or you ‘possibly could’, or ‘maybe' if you’re rebellious…you 'WILL'!!!)

And sometimes that trial you’re going through will cost more than you planned on, and then your account gets overdrawn. As a result, you start getting overdraft fees that are hitting your account. They come in the form of added $stress$, $meltdowns$, $anxiety$, and simply $no peace$. That’s what happens when your ‘account’ is depleted, you have nothing to draw from to handle that next difficulty.

Make a plan today to schedule a regular time in the Word … an Automatic Withdrawal of sorts to start building up your Spiritual Emergency Fund.





Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hope is never satisfied.

So my 2 Yorkie's...Faith and Hope...have many quirky little habits.  They are somewhat predictable, to say the least.

But one that always amuses me is Hope wants what Faith has.  (and spiritually speaking, Hebrews 11:1 says that 'Faith is the substance [dog food ;)] of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.") 

The amazing thing is that I was listening to Joyce Meyer in the background and her message was exactly what was occurring with my crazy Hope. (listen closely).  Talk about timing!  I fill both of their bowls with the same amount of food -- but inevitably she takes a few bites then moseys on over to glance at Faith's bowl.  (Not sure exactly what's going on in her furry little head, but it seem like she's evaluating if the distribution was 'fair'.)

Did she get cheated?
Did her master fill Faith's bowl more than hers?
(Sometimes she'll even go over and start taking Faith's food while her bowl is still not even empty.  The nerve!)




The similarity between my canines and us humans is pretty comical, and yet sad at the same time. 

We're not always content with what we've been given.  We think we've been dealt a bad hand and we start looking around at what others have.  We might be somewhat subtle (like Hope) and just glance over, but quickly run back to our own 'bowl'.  Or on a bad day, Hope has even taken what doesn't belong to her and she and Faith break out into a huge fight -- with their teeth showing!  (The few that they have left ;)  Thus the reason they don't eat right next to each other.

"The grass is always greener" syndrome seems to affect the animal kingdom as well as us selfish humans.  We need to be content, no matter the situation or what we've been given.  Paul learned in Philippians 4:12..."I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

So lets not worry about if our Master fills our bowl with less than someone else's...what business is that of ours?!

"God allows it to rain upon the just as well as the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

We all go though different season's.  Lets learn to be content like Paul, regardless of our situation.  If he could be content in Prison, we can choose to be content even 'in the midst of' circumstances that can tend to make us feel 'imprisoned'.

He's given us each different amounts of talents (again, that's His business)...but our business is to use what talents He has given us, and use them for His purposes.  That's what we're here for.

So learn from my yorkie Faith...and keep your eye on your own bowl.  And give grace to Hope, she's still a work in progress.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting ripped...in more ways than one!


Romans 8:18
“I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”


Being broke can make you richer.
(Now don’t be running to check your account balance…it’s still the same.)

But richer in insight.
It causes you to look around and notice more things.
Things you flew by before, on the way to your next vacation…
not noticing.

Although you’re lacking in the “funds” department…
you are wealthy in the “letting go”. (of all the perks of what having $ in the bank can allow.)
Instead of just being comfortable – be expectant.

The security you thought came from a secure paycheck --
actually comes from a secure God.
More reliable than a paycheck.
More consistent.

Now I’m not against making $ and providing a great lifestyle for your family --
but what I wish more for you is the “opportunity” to struggle.

To stretch.
To question.
To feel ripped apart.

Just as in working out your muscles, you actually rip the muscle before it builds…
the feeling ‘ripped apart’ is a necessary step in building your faith muscle.

That’s when real growth happens.
Results.

The pain involved is a sign that actual growth is happening.

So don’t look at the pain of your circumstances as a sign of failure,
but a hint that there’s real progress happening. (Even though the muscle isn’t quite to the surface yet.)

It’s cominggggg.

Wait…
(The infamous 4 letter word…W.A.I.T.)


Is there something you have been waiting for?  Do you feel God is absent?  Or could He possibly be working behind the scenes without allowing you to see the actual growth happening...for a reason?


 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is it time to call Pest Control (cuz you have no self control?)


I’ve been antsy lately…
literally!

They’re everywhere. Marching across my kitchen counter, probably hiding in the coffee grinds and camouflaged for no one to detect. (Sneaky little critters.)

So I got my gloves on and took that hefty size commercial Raid with the gun and the holster --
yup –I had my game face on.
All business. (I can slay bodies with the best of ‘em. Step aside Arnold.)
The Terminator ain’t got nothin’ on me!

I machine gunned…I mean sprayed the perimeter of the house. Even at the end of the driveway (In every crack and crevice where they could sneak their pesky selves in.)

The nerve.
Uninvited guests by squeezing their way into our home. Even through the outlets they showed up. (And apparently they’ve Evited and Facebooked all of their friends -- because they’re coming too!) 

They’re small…but they’re mighty --
and their army has outnumbered me big time.

It’s funny how harmless this critter is when you’re stomping on them during your morning hike (barely noticing them under your sneakers),
yet when they infiltrate your home, they are suddenly in control.

I’m left to wonder what other ‘seemingly’ innocent things are entering my home…
uninvited.
Could also be through the outlets that our TV’s and our computers are plugged into.


The shows.
The images.


Not just the programs --
possibly the programming!
Subtly infecting our thinking.

Now I’m not one who thinks you have to throw your TV’s out and not use technology --
just don’t let it use you

Don’t be so passive that you don’t even notice when the corruption sneaks in unaware. Don’t wait until your home is crawling with this stuff --
spray your perimeters so they don’t get in. It’s much easier to block these things from entering…than doing damage control after they’ve broken in. Just like an addiction is easier to prevent from happening as opposed to dealing with it once it’s gotten a hold of you.


One isolated ant…or thought…may not be such a threat.

But when it comes with a host of their friends…
then you’re in trouble.

Matthew 26:41 says:

“All of you must keep awake (give strict attention; be cautious and active), and watch and pray that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Take an honest assessment of what you’ve allowed to infiltrate your home. Maybe it’s time to break out that old bottle of Raid!



                  (How to kill an ant AND make a fashion statement! ;)

P.S.  Noooo, that's not meee!


 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Gravity is invisible too!


Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Just because I don’t see the seed that was planted in the ground, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The growth is happening beyond my capacity to see, and ready to sprout through the surface of the ground. Doesn’t make it any more alive or real just because I can finally see it with my limited vision.

So when you’re tempted to feel like nothing is happening in your life, and that God isn’t really growing you…remember that seed.

That invisible growth.
The hiddenness of it all.
A lot of beautiful masterpieces happen in secret. Behind the scenes. In the dark.

That sweet baby in the new mama’s belly is only reality based on her word. (Until we ‘see’ that baby bump.)
And sometimes our reality is just based on God’s Word. Because to the naked eye, we’re just not seeing it! That’s where faith comes in. Trusting in His promises, confident that it’s under the surface to keep us trusting in spite of not seeing.

We tend to bow down to our feelings and what we see…as if they are our God! A golden calf of sorts. An idol. Since when did they become the ultimate dictator of our life?

Write down a list of things in scripture that are promises. Then make a note of the ones you just aren’t seeing right now. Let that be a reminder that regardless if you’re seeing it or feeling it, doesn’t take away from its reality. You can’t see gravity, but don’t try and argue the fact! It would be fatal.





















































































































































































Friday, September 12, 2014

A life of faith includes ?Question Marks?

Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times, I’ve been trusted to make the game winning shot…and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed!”
–Michael Jordan

“If you’re not failing, you’re not learning!”-Derek Sivers



And because of our ‘perfectionism’…we don’t risk growing more.
We choose safe.
What we know.

I sit here grappling with how many things I ‘could’ accomplish…
if only I was willing to ‘fail’.

It’s amazing how I have been hearing this message for weeks! “It’s not failure…everything is just an experiment.”-Matthew Ferry and Derek Sivers

It’s safer to sit back and be an arm chair quarterback…yelling at the screen on how the player shoulda done it, or the call the ref coulda made…but get in there and get dirty?

Nah!
Too much of a risk.
Now others critique us.

We prefer to be judge and jury.

Safe.

God doesn’t call us to a life of safety…He calls us out.

Out of our hiding place.
Away from comfort.
To go to a place He will ‘eventually’ show us.


He doesn’t hand us the blue print so we can study it and decide.
Use our ‘brilliant’ human reasoning.


No.  He just says...

Go!

Started in the very beginning. Genesis 12:1 clearly says…

“Go to the land that ‘I will show you’.” (Not the one I already told you about to alleviate all your fears, so you have a safe assessment of whether this is a good decision or not.)


As if we know better than the God of the Universe.

Good luck with that.

Name something on your chicken list that you believe God is calling you to do, but if you’re being honest…you are holding back because of fear. As Joyce Meyer says, ‘why don’t you step out and find out?’ He might just part that Red Sea once you put your toe in it! ;)









Friday, August 22, 2014

Are you in the Carpool Lane or flying solo?


Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

So I was on my way to Santa Monica to meet up with my friend Annie for lunch yesterday. I wish I had factored in the traffic when I was planning on what time I should head to the Restaurant. With all the different options of lanes, does it ever feel like you choose the one that is not moving, while cars all around you are flying by? Then when I glanced over at the carpool lane, they were cruising the fastest with seemingly smooth travels. 




I notice as we navigate the lane lines of life, the people who are ‘in community’ (the carpool lane) tend to do better as they face whatever life brings.  When you are ‘doing life together’, you tend to have a smoother ride. Others are there with you if you happen to break down on the freeway…as well as if you are breaking down in your relationships. ("Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) 


Living in isolation is more of a struggle. You tend to feel like you have to handle all of your difficulties alone.

Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
Be self-sufficient.
I do it myself!!

Just like it’s better for the environment to carpool together because less emissions are let into the atmosphere, the environment is better off overall when we are in community with like-minded people who can help carry our loads.  (They make room for our baggage in their trunks :)  People are healthier. Less negativity is emitted into the air around them.

I actually just stopped to look up the ‘Benefits of Carpooling’, to see if there are additional comparisons. It said when you carpool there are fewer accidents, shorter commute times, better air quality and it's a safer drive for everybody.  

In life I feel you actually have fewer accidents when you are surrounded by people who hold you accountable…when you’re going off the rails (morally speaking). They speak truth into your life when you start to fall by the wayside. They can be real enough with you to warn you of upcoming dangers you might be too blind to see. 


As far as the shorter commute time, it seems as if you get to your destinations quicker when you have people rallying around you and encouraging your goals and dreams. 

Air quality is better and you seem to breathe easier when you have people in your life who are checking in on you asking how you’re ‘really’ doing. 

And at the end of the day, you are safer with wise people in your life that can give you direction when things get a bit cloudy in your life. (“In the multitude of counselors there is wisdom.”-Proverbs 11:14) 

Evaluate your social circle, and write down the people you are ‘doing life with’. If the list is short, you may consider taking the initiative and being intentional about pursuing healthy relationships with more people.  Ones that you can be transparent with.  (And when you carpool with them, make sure their trunk is big enough for all of your baggage...cuz chances are they got plenty of their own! ;O)








Friday, August 15, 2014

What is mysteriously filling up your storage & draining your batteries?

So my cell phone has been quite sluggish lately.  It moves at a snails pace, and I almost have no storage left (to the point where I can’t even take anymore pictures unless I start deleting some to make more room.)  I assumed it was the pictures and videos taking up most of the space.  Then I went into my settings to get to the bottom of this dilemma.  And there it was…staring me right in the face!  The truth!!

  

You go into General Settings, then click on Usage and it breaks it down for you in bold print.  It lets you know what is draining your battery and filling up your phone.  It was actually my old text messages that I have held onto for several years…I just neglected to hit the delete button for some unknown reason. (Laziness? Perhaps. You caught me!  I already confessed I'm a hoarder of texts, whaddya want from me? ;)



Don’t you wish you had a pie chart for your life that broke it down for you blow by blow?  To discover what exactly was draining your life away and filling up every space of storage to the point where you can’t allow new things (like the new pictures)…because you’re still holding on to the ‘old’. 

Ask God where you can free up some space in your life.  What things are draining your emotional and spiritual battery to the point where you can’t even allow newer and possibly 'better' things, because you are clinging to old habits and old things that are not even serving you any longer.   

What about our ‘mental’ files that we just leave open?  We seem to have so many of our old files laying open in our head so we can keep ‘going back’ and reviewing our past.  Meanwhile, it’s slowing us down.  Just like on my iphone, when I have a ton of files that just remain open (which is most of the time, I’m guilty!)…it actually slows down my phones performance.  

Maybe the same is true of you.  Could it be that if you are constantly opening up your past and reviewing it as if studying for an exam…maybe that is what could be slowing down your performance?     

Could it be making you feel sluggish? 

Taking up storage in your head?

There’s an actual  app called CCleaner that allows you, at the click of a button, to clean up your memory.  It clears out inactive files so that you can allow for more free space. 
Oh if we could only download these apps into our crazy little brains!

Today, make your own personal pie chart of things that could be taking up a lot of space in your life, filling up your storage, draining your battery, slowing down your performance and preventing you from making new memories (taking pictures).  Then mentally click that ‘Clean-up Memory’ button so you can get more free space and freedom in your life.  Then just as I had to delete old texts, try deleting old ‘conversations’ you have been storing in your head for far too long!
  

P.S.  They don’t even have to be negative things that you are deleting…I just deleted texts from up to 3 years ago from my sweet mommy (and transferred all her photos and videos she sent me onto my computer)…and guess what?!  I freed up 2 gigabytes (that’s 2000 megabytes) of more available space!! (my hubby loves it when I talk techy ;)  Sorry mom, it had to be done.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A compelling reason not to let your 'Buddy' panic!


Isaiah 41:10
"Don't panic.  I'm with you.  There's no need to fear for I'm your God.  I'll give you strength.  I'll help you.  I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."

My mom's dog Buddy literally flips out during thunderstorms.

He PANICS!

They've even tried buying him a thunder shirt, which apparently wraps around him tightly to make him feel secure despite the elements.

Exhibit A


But to no avail...he's smarter than that!  Can't fool this dog!!

So this is how he behaves in the storm.

Exhibit B



Do you think God looks down at us during our 'storms' of life --
and sees us behaving the same way?

Panicking!

Stressed out.

Whimpering?

Maybe not literally spinning around in circles --
but our mind spinning, trying to escape this current storm.

Not calmly 'enduring' the pain of it --
trusting Him to carry us through.

But constantly out of breath in high alert.
911.

It shouldn't take the clear blue skies to help us rest --
like Buddy here.

Exhibit C



We should be able to sleep ON the boat (like Jesus).

Right
in
the
midst
of

the storm.

Ride the current.
Relax.
HE IS WITH YOU!

He promises to never leave or forsake you!

Plus, what do you plan to accomplish pacing around like that, chasing your proverbial tail?  The end result is sheer exhaustion! (plus, you look silly!)

And all your 'activity' hasn't solved a thing.

We tend to laugh at poor Buddy, or in my case feel so sorry for him I could barely watch.  Yet we probably look a whole lot like him...just as pitiful at times.

Then we peek out the window wondering when the next storm is coming...bless our sweet predictable souls! ;0)

Exhibit D


Remind yourself and the buddies in your life not to panic...we all need that reminder every so often when we're about to lose our mind! ;)




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are you out of alignment?


2 Peter 3:17
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”

My car is out of alignment, which apparently caused my tires to wear out and need to be replaced. (oh goody!)


And so it is with us, if we are out of alignment (out of balance)…we will wear out. Just like the car, we will pull in a certain direction when we are out of balance. We may tend to steer in a certain direction automatically. Whether we are too focused on work, and then we naturally gravitate towards working, and our life continues to lean that way. Or maybe if we’re too focused on self, our life leans in that direction. Our mantra becomes me, myself and I.

Meanwhile, other parts of our life end up getting neglected. Whether the result is bald spots on our tires…or worse yet, bald spots on our head from the stress of it all…your car (and you) need a tune up. Don’t put it off, you could be headed for a crash and burn if you’re not careful!

Be honest with yourself and write down a typical day. Then measure that up with scripture to see if you are out of alignment, always being pulled in a certain direction which is out of balance. Ask Him to help you realign your spiritual tires to get you back on track and help you travel many more miles down the road that He has for you.

Happy travels! :)

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

He CAN handle the truth!


Psalm 139:1-4
“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.”


Do you ever walk thru life and feel like you have this ‘Internal Editor’ saying,

“Don’t say that.

Phrase it this way.

Delete.”

Are we really speaking from the heart – or do we sift it thru the strainer named “What’s Appropriate”. Now I’m not against being civil and courteous, but there is a time for real, raw, straight forward communicating. We do it with God too, as we pray, “Oh blesseth Godeth.”

Time to be authentic.

“Lord, I feel lousy, and I don’t see this feeling fading anytime soon!”

HOW UNSPIRITUAL!

To think we try and fool the God who sees our very nature… who designed us and knows our every thought!



Now set an Appointment with your Creator, take off the mask, and lose the flowery speech…He can handle the truth!






 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quit yer whining


Ecclesiastes 7:14
“On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.”


It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? The things at our disposal, we walk on by.

Hardly noticing,

seldom appreciating.

But have it break down for 1 day, and suddenly it’s got your attention. 

Whether it’s something like my toilet which just broke down and is suddenly out of commission – or maybe for you it could be a relationship broke down, and now suddenly you take notice.

You start investigating it a little closer,

get 2nd opinions,

do your own research.

Try and evaluate the source of the leak. Was it a slow leak that didn’t set off the alarm in your head because it was subtle? Was it under the carpet so it was carefully covered up, not a sign of mold in sight? 

Well, over time the erosion tends to come to the surface and eventually a major waterline may burst wide open flooding different rooms in your life. 

Patch up the leak – deal with it 911! But then don’t forget to go back and find the root of the problem. Don’t just put a band aid on the ‘symptom’…fix the ‘source’.

Today, take a look around your house at the people AND the things you have been blessed to have…and rather than focusing on just what is broken, appreciate all that is not!  Do the hard work also in finding what the root issues are, but thank God for all He has blessed you with.  (oh, and quit yer whining!  Or was that me? ;)  



 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Suntan turnover time!


2 Corinthians 5:7
“We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Was just moved to tears over a Blog Post that my friend’s daughter wrote. A young girl in her 20’s with conviction! (imagine that?!)

That never gets old.

Her frustration with the state of the Church, the ones led astray. The ones looking for that ‘high’ in place of the relationship. ‘Relationship’ implies highs and lows. Ebbs and flows.

If you’re depending on that buzz…then when it’s not there, you’ll be heading for the hills during your next crisis! Just like your relationship with your friend or spouse, what happens when you’re just not feelin’ it on any given day?

A genuine faith is especially evident when there’s no signs of joy inducing circumstances going on around you. It’s an internal steadiness when the world around you is crumbling. It’s when the bill collectors are calling, and you keep working and trusting in Him.

Our culture is unfortunately addicted to feeling good.

Instant gratification.
Microwave faith.

Just like a good tan…it takes a little bit at a time. If you try to do it all in one day, you just get burned and it ends up peeling off.





Invest time in your ‘relationship’. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Can’t pick it up through the Drive Thru. (I know, you want your Everlasting Gobstopper nowwwww!)  Don’t we all?! Invest the time… that way it doesn’t just peel off like a bad sunburn, because you tried to rush it!




If you’re not already doing it, set aside a certain time that you can dedicate to getting in the Word each day to refuel. Be consistent. Watch and see the difference it makes in your reaction to things and crazy people. Trust me, they’re out there people!! ;) (they might even be living in your home!)  No comment hubby!
















Monday, June 2, 2014

Mama knows best...and so does your Father

Recently, I was sitting outside in my back yard when I heard some 'movement' in my shed.
 
Ut ohhhhh!!!!

Because it had a lock on the door, I felt 'somewhat' comfortable that it wasn't a homeless man with a machete.  But then I noticed this tiny little window opening...

Exhibit A

Now WHAT could possibly enter this tiny little square?

Then I proceeded to hear not only movement, but a little purring and some chattering sounds.  It started to sound more like a family living in my shed...(family of what is the question???)  Of course I got on Google to look up raccoons (not believing it could be possible), but to my surprise learned that they could squeeze into a 4 inch square!  WHAT THE...???

So of course I needed proof and a brave sucker (I mean soul) who would put their hand in the square and get pictures as evidence.  So I called in the big guns...the hubby.

Exhibit B


Mama was resting nicely, nursing her babies...until he turned on his flash!

I think she knew her days were numbered, assuming that THAT was her Eviction Notice...and within 2 days she closed up shop! 

We came home to this activity in the middle of broad daylight on Memorial Day...

Exhibit C



 

We weren't sure if she was just heading back to the shed after hunting for food.  Mama raccoon had spotted Sierrah out back with our dogs when she left...and returned pretty quickly.  Sierrah had a feeling she'd be back soon, so she propped herself up by our back window.  Minutes later Mama coon climbed back into the shed, then came back out with this:

Exhibit D

 

Then one by one she transported each of her babies (until she saw Kevin outside and got spooked).  As a result, this overprotective mama took a lonnnnnng time to come back for her last crying baby.  (Looking much more cautious and aware of her surroundings.)
 

A mama's job is never done!

So precious to see her cautiously looking around and sensing danger that could put her babies in harms way.  And then how she tirelessly scoops them up to find a safer place to protect them. 

As I watched the last video of Mama shimmying down the rod iron fence with baby coon dangling(and being totally impressed with her flexibility and mad skills), I could only think of how our Mama's try and keep us safe.  But more so how our 'Ultimate' Father in heaven is watching over us.  He sometimes has to transport us to different surroundings to keep us protected, but we may feel uncomfortable and scared like that baby raccoon dangling...wondering, "What the heck is goin' on here ?" 

Those are the times we have to trust that He knows best...even if it's very painful during the transition.  Change is never easy.  But necessary.

Are you grumbling about your current situation, possibly in the process of a transition that is in uncharted territory?  Trust that where He is taking you is for your own good, and that He has already scouted out the territory before taking you there.  Hang on, even though your feet are dangling off the ground, it won't kill ya!

2 Thessalonians 3:3
"But the Lord is faithful, He will establish you and guard you against the evil one."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't give people carte blanche (full discretionary power) to have access to your life

I'm big into the verse, "If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men."-Romans 12:18.  But there does come a time where people refuse to change, and their character is revealed over time.  We can't change them.  God can...but only if they are willing

Excerpts from a book called, "Necessary Endings" by Dr. Henry Cloud:

"The strategy for foolish people is simple:  Quit talking about the problem and clearly communicate that because talking is not helping, you are going to take steps to protect what is important to you, the mission, or other people.  Give limits that stop the collateral damage of their refusal to change, and where appropriate, give consequences that will cause them to feel the pain of their choice to not listen.

The necessary ending that you have to initiate with people caught in their own foolishness is to end the pattern.  You cannot control them or get them to change.  What you can do is create an ending to the effects their refusal to take responsibility is having on you or others.  By so doing, you have accomplished two things that nagging did not do.  You have limited the effects of their behavior on you and others, thus quarantining their ownership disease from further infecting your life, the team, or the mission, and you may have done the one thing that can influence them to change.  Talking will not help, but doing something that causes them to feel the consequences of their behavior may be what finally turns them around. 

Do not hope for the evil persons to change.  It could happen, and it does, but it does not happen by giving into them, reasoning with them, or giving them another chance to hurt you.  It happens when they finally are subject to limits that force them to change. 

Whereas you talk to wise people about problems and you talk to fools about consequences,  do not talk to evil people at all, period."

I know the above doesn't typically apply to the minor disagreements we all have dealing with imperfect people like ourselves, who live in a fallen world, but there is a time to be strong enough to lay down some boundaries with people who are sapping the life out of you.  Pruning is always a good thing to do to allow for further growth in plants as well as relationships. 

As in everything, we should pray for wisdom in how to handle these relationships going forward.  Yes, we are called to be longsuffering, but when some people are set out to destroy...you're not helping them in the long run by 'allowing' them to continue.  You don't need to give everyone access to try and poison or even ruin your life...no need to hand them the key.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Don't curse the speed bumps in your life!

Psalm 46:10
Cease striving [let go, relax] and know that I am God.”


Hurry up and wait. 


The stuff of life. 

Rush to get to the appointment only to wait in the ‘waiting room’.
Rushing down the freeway just to ‘wait’ in traffic.
Our foot alternating between the accelerator and the brake, back and forth.

And so it is with our life --
accelerating through one thing after another, and then a whole lotta waiting in between.

Waiting for that deal to go through.
For the check to show up.
For the graduation.
The career break.
The Book Deal.

The 'speed bumps' of life are helpful along our journey, they help us slow down long enough to take a glance around...to notice…to  actually ‘see’ our surroundings.





As opposed to flying past them, wind in our hair...only to catch a glimpse of them through our rear view mirror.






Name a speed bump you’ve recently gone over that helped you slow down long enough to appreciate some things (or people) you’ve been flying by on a regular basis. Thank Him for that blessing that ‘appeared’ as just an inconvenience at first glance.





Monday, April 14, 2014

Tick Tock

James 4:14
“Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].”


Flickering flames in my fireplace, dog by my feet, and the clock ticks louder than I’ve ever noticed before. Is it because I’m listening now? It’s always been there, hasn’t it? Yet sitting here quietly ‘in tune to’ this room I’ve spent almost every day in for the past 11 years!



Amazing what you hear.
Surprising what you see…
‘reallllly’ see.

The pictures on the mantle representing a moment -- a snapshot.

The dash that lies between birth - death.
The in-between.
Representative of time.

Back to that loud clock again…that reminder. It’s still ticking. It never takes a break. Even if the battery dies, the other clocks demand that it catch up. They aren’t waiting for it.

 

Time doesn’t wait.
It’s not patient.
It doesn’t slow down as you breathlessly try to make up for lost time.
It just forges ahead despite how desperately you may need it to just pause, just for a moment.
It’s not in its nature, it wasn’t built for that.

So knowing that is NOT a characteristic of time…to ‘wait’ that is…why are we putting that requirement on it? One that will never be.

It’s like a wave, it keeps going. You can ride it, make the most of it, capitalize on what it was made for, but don’t treat a wave like a wall. It wasn’t built that way. And don’t treat time like a monument, it’s still moving like that wave.

Enjoy it.
Surf in it.
Revel in the beauty that it creates, but don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t fulfill what it was never designed to do.

Speaking of that, don’t be disappointed when people don’t accomplish what they were never designed to do…fulfill you. God can do that, fully.  

‘People’ never will.
‘Things’ certainly won’t.
‘Careers’ will fall short.

Let the fact that they weren’t designed to fulfill or ‘complete’ you (as Jerry McGuire so lovingly exclaimed) direct you back to the One who can. You value that relationship so much more as you recognize how He never fails, never disappoints and doesn’t fall short.

Recall how a person, a thing, or a career let you down this week. Then study God’s character and realize how consistent and faithful He is.  Let Him fulfill you as He was designed to do...it sure takes the pressure off of everyone else to keep you happy on any given day, phew!  That's a tough job for anyone ;)






Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Are you in sync? (No, not the boy band! ;-/

Revelation 21:5
“Behold, I make all things new.”


Was syncing my iphone to my computer today because I had to ‘reset’ all my settings. (Because of a problem with my camera not focusing properly.) Hubby said it would erase all of my original settings, so I needed to back them up.

Once I transferred all of the data from my phone onto the computer, it literally wiped out my wallpaper – my photo that is on my lock screen and home screen.

I was visualizing how when we ‘plug into God’ and download all the stuff going on inside of us – he can literally wipe out mental pictures of how we viewed things before. The ‘lock screen’ in our head. 

He can wipe the slate clean!

And we can replace the old pictures with newer and better ones.
Ones that are beneficial, not harmful.
Ones that contribute to my life, not subtract.
Pictures of healing – not injury.

And He helps us edit the pictures to make them brighter and not so dreary and dismal.

I’m thankful for a God who lets us transfer our old photos --
our old patterns of thinking, and allows us to trade them in to get a whole new view.  Pretty cool exchange! (Of course we sometimes battle trying to go back and retrieve the old snapshots...to dwell on the past!)

I know, I know…easier said than done.

But possible.

Misery IS an option…if we so choose.

What pictures would you like to wipe out of your memory? Consider downloading them to God and then press delete.



 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sorry God, I'm just too busy for You (is what we are implying)

Hebrews 11:6
“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”


I woke up the other morning…still groggy, and a verse out of nowhere just popped into my head:

“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

What??  Where'd THAT come from?! It was strange, I literally was just waking up so I’m not even sure what prompted the thought.  (especially before my cup of coffee)  I mean it would make more sense after hearing a Sunday sermon.  I don’t even remember the last time I’ve even read that verse OR heard it mentioned. 

Then this morning I opened up my devotional and there it was again:

“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

So I camped out on the verse for a while thinking about it.
It kinda seemed selfish to want to be rewarded for spending time with Him, as if I’m looking for a handout.  A payment for services rendered.  Or maybe having an ulterior motive for wanting to ‘do my time’ as if it were a duty... and expecting to be compensated in return for my grand efforts.

But then I thought of the benefits I just naturally receive by spending time in His Word.

I get that ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’. (Boy is that needed when life throws you a curve ball.)

I get verses that I can recollect in my mind because I’ve gone over and over them time and again.  

I get reminded of all that He went through: 

Betrayed by some of those closest to Him.
Misunderstood.
Accused of things not even true.
Mocked.
Abused.
Abandoned.


(to name just a few...not to mention crucified.)

Then I think of whatever I may be facing or have to face in the future and I’m comforted knowing all that He has endured. I can face whatever comes my way, by His strength that He has imparted to me.



Those are pretty amazing ‘rewards’ I’d say!



I looked up Diligent: 

-constant in effort to accomplish something;
-attentive and persistent in doing anything;
-done or pursued with persevering attention;
-painstaking.

Then I asked myself…”Am I constantly, attentively, persistently pursuing with persevering attention and painstakingly seeking God?”

“Or no???”

Those ‘rewards’ He is talking about don’t come by accident…if I just ‘casually’ check in with Him on Sunday morning. Not by a half-hearted, check off the ‘To Do List’ bible reading. It takes a lot of intentional pursuing…some down-right ‘diligent’ seeking! A passionate pursuit.

There are NOT a lot of things we can hold on to that are…

steady and sure,
reliable always,
and very consistent. 

But His Word is! 

Talkin’ about the greatest stabilizer!  When life has you spinning out of control, His assurances are sometimes the ONLY thing holding you together. That’s definitely a reward worth pursuing, because we are gonna need it
if not now, soon.



What is one activity you could give up, to make time this week to ‘diligently’ seek Him?   (Maybe giving up 'sleeping in'??  Uhhhh, or not ;)






Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Birthday girl!

So my youngest, Sierrah, turned 14 today.



What you may not know is that when I was pregnant with her, her Grandpa Harry died 3 times and was revived during that pregnancy.  I just HAD to name her after him.  (but she definitely didn't look like a 'Harry' ;)

So we wrote it backwards. 
Then added a Hebrew middle name, Kaelyn, which means 'Beautiful Sweetheart'... and she became:

Sierrah Kaelyn :  Grandpa Harry's Beautiful Sweetheart...and THAT she was!

It seemed fitting.

She does have a 'sweet heart' that girl.
She is fiercely loyal when it comes to her friends. 
She sees the best in them, and has extreme empathy when they struggle.

During our last earthquake, she was more scared for her bunnies than she was for herself.

She is the biggest hugger I know, and always ready to give one. (Ask any member of our family ;)

She's had over 10 animals...I've lost count!  But she has loved them all well.

She has quite the social calendar because I think she is fun and loveable and quite amusing to be around.   I actually used to write down the funny things she would say because they cracked me up!

Although it's hard to see her growing up and becoming less dependent on me as a mom, it's every mom's wish for their child to spread their wings and fly.  Right?  (sorry, still trying to convince myself!)

To become independent. 
But more importantly...to become God dependent!

I'm grateful that she has a personal relationship with the God who made her. 
That she makes it a priority to spend time with Him.
And that we don't have to drag her to Youth Group...she's more upset at the thought she might NOT be able to go.

Here's a little ditty I just read that sums it all up:

 
I love all the unique ways God has made my Sierrah Kaelyn ... celebrate the unique ways he has made you AND your little ones!