To Much of a Good Thing…

This dog of mine seems to know how to push my buttons. Most of the time she is a good dog. She minds pretty well. She loves big. She tends toward hardheadedness. Thus, this morning is my beef with her. Annie, the dog, is my rescue dog. She came to our family and fit right in. As she is currently the only dog in our household, so she is very spoiled (my fault, I know). Not long after she came on board, she developed parvo which affected her digestive system. She came very close to dying, but with some quick vet meds and waiting it out she did recover. The illness did leave behind a very sensitive stomach. I have to be very careful that she doesn’t over eat because it will make her sick every time. Yesterday, she got into a new bag of dog food. It went everywhere while I made an effort to get most of the excess up it was more than she usually has access too. I even told her don’t overeat. This morning I woke up to the smell and sounds of a dog tossing her cookies. Yuk! We have hardwood floors in our home. However, her favorite place to do the aforementioned is on the end of the long rug in our hallway.  She forgets, She’s a dog, and She can’t help herself.

Unfortunately, I am like that at times too. My life will get out of balance when I let to many things capture my attention. The fact of the matter is these things are not bad things. They are good things to do. I find myself taking on more and more things, then I find I am stretched to thin and not effective at any of them. I am learning that I am not super woman. I really cannot do it all. We all may struggle with finding balance in our daily lives. Because in all fairness, most of us are more busy than we have ever been. Juggling family, work, church, and friendships can lead to a three-ring circus. I have learned when things begin to feel out of control, I go to Father God who is in control of it all. I take Him my unbalanced, crazy life and we work together on it. In the quietness of our time together, I find a peace and contentment that comes only spending time with Him alone. He knows me so well. He knows everything about me. He shows me what is best for me and what is not. The time spent in God’s presence is time well spent. It is something that I need everyday. Most days, I find a run to Him all through my day. It is in those days that I feel the most centered and the most balanced.

Some may say that having to much of a good thing is the only way, but I disagree. The only way to live it to have all that God wants me to have for that day. God is the one person you can never have to much of. It is indeed the best way to live.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Wanting It All…

In my quest to get ready to leave town for a few days, I called a good friend and asked her to feed my cats. Being the good pet owner that I am (hehe), I bought a large, brand new bag of cat food to make sure Marshmallow, Mocha, and Tom had all that they needed and would not run out of food. I put it up on the barbecue grill to await my friend who will be stopping by tomorrow. I finished my packing and “hit the hay”. Much to my chagrin, this morning I walked out on my  porch to find a large, brand new bag of cat food on the floor. They still had food in their bowl yet they had managed to knock it off the grill and eat a hole not only in the bag, but also all the way through it. When I held the bag up for a look, I saw my neighbors through the hole in the bag. Crazy Cats!

I think sometimes I find myself in the same predicament. I want what I want when I want it, not being content with what I already have at my disposal.  I can’t help but wonder if I am alone in this. All throughout the Bible there is verse upon verse on contentment. This could be because the Lord knew this would be a weakness in us. After all, didn’t Adam and Eve have the Garden of Eden at their finger tips to use and consume? They chose however to go after the one thing that they could not have, “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. (Genesis 3) In His Word, God gives us several powerful verses for us to use to combat discontentment.

Paul said it best in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: but I have learned that whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul knew what it was like to want something. I think of the ailment he experienced with his eyesight, and how he asked the Lord to remove it three times. When God did not, Paul chose with God’s help to be content. He speaks of contentment as something that he had to learn to do. The state of being content is just like anything else; we have to work at it daily. When we constantly focus on the things that we do not have or own rather than the things that we have, we can grow discontent in our lives. It is a daily decision to be thankful and content.

In I Timothy 6:6-8, we read, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing in this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I think the second thing we need to realize is that nothing that we have is ours to being with. Our possessions are blessings from God. All that we have in this life is given to us by God. How often have you seen someone accumulate so much and it is lost to a fire or flood? To cultivate contentment we need to realize our things are just things, and all things belong to God. In Psalm 8 and 24, we read how “earth is the Lord’s and all that dwell therein”. When we begin to look at what we have from God’s point of view, we see how our focus will change from “the things we possess” to the “God of all possessions”.

Thirdly, Contentment can be achieved because of who we have, Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 13:5 reads, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” We should not sit around and talk over our possessions. Such as, “This person has this and this, wouldn’t that be nice to have.” Too much of this can lead to coveting what someone else has. I think in this verse Christ is saying to us, “You are not alone. You have me. The wealth of my kingdom is for your use. Let me give to you the things that you need, and be content with what I choose to give you. No matter what I choose for you, I will be with you through it all. I will be your constant companion.”

To many times we fall in the trap of discontentment. May we all rely on the one who began us in this life and will be with us no matter what we have. May we all trust Him to know what is best for us. Remember, When we have Christ, we truly have it all.

The Wall

As we look through history there are many famous walls or barriers.  The Great wall of China is an awesome sight to behold from all the pictures I have seen. It also has been featured in many movies and documentaries. It is a wall of beauty and magnificence. One of the wonders of the world that is amazing in its construction and ingenuity.

Yet, there are other walls that stir in us a feeling of anger or sorrow. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to those who were separated at the time of the building of the Berlin wall. Families upon countless families were separated by every brick. I can almost hear the cries and even screams of those who were pulled away from loved ones not to be able to have any contact with them and knowing deep within your heart you may never see them again. It was a joy to witness the documentary and news footage of the barrier covered in graffiti  being broken down.  It was wonderful to see this wall that was once impregnable now removed and new hope springing forth.

How often in our own life do we construct barriers of our own? and What causes us to build walls to separate us from those who we love and love us? It could be fear of being hurt or our own past failures. Or perhaps, it could be a lack of confidence or fear of new failure.  Several factors come to mind as I ponder why we build walls of self protection around ourselves.  In Ephesians chapter 3, God’s Word tells us how Christ has quickened us and that he loved us so much that he made a way for us to have a new life through his Son, Jesus Christ. He has made a way for us by faith in him. We do not work for it, but believe it by faith. 

So often I see people who do not know who they are in Christ. They have accepted his gift of salvation by faith, but they live defeated, unhappy lives. Due to fear and failure the walls around them are built higher and higher. Maybe you find yourself in this situation.  How do we stop the cycle? 

In Ephesians 2:13-14, we read, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ, For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Just as Jesus broke down the wall so we would be able to reach to God through what he did on the cross, he can also break down the walls of our own making.  Do you have fear? These verses tell us that he is our peace. Do you feel hurt or failure in your life? Jesus is near ready to draw us close and be our strength and our success.  We all are nothing outside of the grace of God.  Jesus chose the road of suffering and anguish so we could be free.  If he can break down the wall between us and a holy, righteous God,  He surely can break down our walls of hurt, fear or failures!

The next question is “Will we let Him?”

The Big Deal

One of the new shows that my boys and I have been enamored with is “Deal or No Deal?”. It airs on Monday Nights at 8:00 p.m.. It is very exciting to be watching something with them that we both enjoy. You can only watch so many animated films before you begin to dream of “Bambi and Thumper” bounding through the woods, or  “Cars-Lightning McQueen and Mater” on the race track. So on Monday Nights we sit and cheer as people open cases at the number of their choice and do the crazy things people do on their way to winning fame and fortune. My youngest even does a happy dance, which he holds his hands over his head and jumps in a circular fashion, when the deal is accepted and money is awarded.

The other night a man was having a great run.  He worked his way up to being offered the highest amount of money I had seen in the short time I had been watching the show. It was $198,000. Gordon, the boys and I  were watching in anticipation as he was asked by Howie, “Deal or No Deal”. My youngest hollered, “He’s going to take it!”  The man looked at his family, he listened to the roar of the crowd, he looked at the board where he viewed the $1,000,000 and said,”No Deal”.  What made this man turn down that much money?

Now I don’t know about you, but I think I might be able to do a lot with $198,000.  I could tithe first, of course.  I could pay off some things. I could put away some money for my kids college fund. OK, who am I kidding. I would also go and by a couple of new outfits including shoes.:)

What caused this man to keep going when all of that was at stake?  He got greedy. Needless to say after turning down this offer, he began a downward spiral until he finally agreed to a considerably lower sum than before. 

 Life lessons come at some surprising times.

I was able to show my boys what happens when we fail to be content.  Greed can show itself when we least expect it. The Bible says that whatsoever state I am in I need to be content.  Living a life of contentment lowers our stress level. It keeps us from comparing ourselves and being jealous of the neighbors next door. I also think it makes God smile when we are happy with what he has chosen to give to us.

I examined my own heart. How often am I truly content? Well, I wish I could say that every time I was faced with the issue of contentment verses greed I chose contentment, but  that would not be accurate. I want to be content. I think if more people were content with what they have, the crime rate would probably go down considerably.

Are you listening to your family, the crowd, or anyone else? or Are you listening to the still small voice who gives us what we need for each day?

“Deal or No Deal?” It’s all up to you!