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A Busy Summer Indeed

Is anybody out there? Yoohoo? I know corny use of an opening. I bet you think I have forgotten about you, but that is not the case. My summer has been one that went into busy super drive. I pause to catch my breath. The good thing is I have been studying and writing. The bad thing is that it has not happened here. This Summer I have been leading a weekly ladies Bible study. I long for the moment when I will have my act together to such a degree that I can accomplish both. Until then… I will identify with Mary, “she has done what she could!”

I will say that of late that Psalm 46 is becoming more and more dear to me. I love verse 1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This verse fills me with comfort and hope to know that He is there when I need Him most. There is also beauty in the verse because He is there all the time even when I don’t think I need Him. His refuge and strength is not conditional on me. I know however in my heart I need Him all the time, in every situation. My head often is the problem. It sometimes wants to do what I think is best rather than what God thinks is best for me. So, I repent, and recognize, “God Is…” In the midst of all the busy, “God is my refuge.” God is “my strength.” God is “a very present help in trouble.” Our pastor issued a challenge to read Psalm 46 every day during the month of September and post what God is teaching us about Psalm 46 so I reckon you may be hearing from me quite a bit more as God teaches me. For now I rest in the God who is my refuge! Thanks for reading.

#psalm46challenge

Blessings to you all!

Ultimate Survivor

One of my favorite things to do at the mall is to find a place to sit and watch people.  This, of course, is done after I have exhausted myself shopping and I find one of those big, black chairs you put change into. The more I watch people the more I realize times may change, styles may change, but people are basically the same.

The basic drives of humanity were played out again in the 14th season of CBS television series Survivor: Fiji. I have only watched only the last two seasons, but it has been an eye opener in the people department. If you want a way to show your kids the craziness people will go to to win $1,000,000 dollars, Check out this show. 

I had been cheering all along for a 54 year old man named Yau-man.  Of all the ones who played the game this season. He kept his integrity through the entire 39 days.  He didn’t win the million dollars, but through every round he managed to stay afloat so to speak when you thought he would be sure to go.  He made it all the way to the final four.

As a watched, My favorite player was deceived, lied to etc.. The resounding answer when they were asked, “why did you lie, cheat, etc.? They would reply, “It’s just  a game.”  Unfortunately, with the same attitude, most people approach life the same way.  It is in human nature to be selfish, and any excuse can be thought of to justify wrong doing. The fact of the matter is it is so easy to offer excuses and/or blame others for our actions.  We live in a world that does not take personal responsibility for what they do and say.  All of us are capable of acting in the same way. When we fail to let the grace of God daily renew our mind, we can and will be caught in the trap of selfishness. 

Our guard must be in place against temptation.  David in the psalms was constantly praying  “guard my heart”, “keep a watch over my lips”, “keep me from the snare of the fowler…” etc.  We must also pray daily for help against temptation.  People have warred against it since the creation, and today we must fight against it as well. One of the amazing things about God is, He is there to help us in time of need. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  A promise from God is given to us. We can rely on it and rest upon it. God will help.  We can survive temptation. He will provide a way of escape if we will take it.

We don’t have to go to the other side of the world to be the ultimate Survivor. We can do the right thing at the right time because we have the right help available.

Grab the Broom 2

 Spiders and I have an understanding in our household. We do not co-exist. I have shouted out a warning in my home to all spiders. If you show your creepy, crawly little bodies, I am going to grab my broom, shoe, newspaper, or anything handy and whack the fire out of you. 

Hopefully we have all grabbed our brooms and have acknowledged “the spider”.  We  are now ready to continue the “Spring Cleaning” process of our hearts.

Step one was to acknowledge our sin. We are to look at it from God’s perspective, his point of view. We have identified the sin that it is against God. Now we need to confess it and forsake it as it says to do in  1 John 1:9.  Now here is the point where we might have the tendency to push the spider toward the front door rather then whack it over the head with our broom.  What I mean by this is we throw out a general prayer, “Lord, forgive me of all my sins.” Throughout the Bible, God is specific in naming sin. He tells us what it is, and not to do it. I think he wants us to be specific with Him as well. Why else would He go to all the trouble to name all of the sins he wants us to avoid?

Let me clarify, we do not need to go around aloud telling everyone we meet about each sin we have ever committed. Instead for our own benefit, We need to be specific with naming our sin to God.  This is not so He will know which sin we are talking about. He knows all things. Being specific is part of the acknowledging process.

It also causes us to be humble before God.  Pride can get in the way of our being specific with our sin.  We start to look at it saying, “This sin is really not as bad as I thought”, or “There are a lot more sins that are worse than this one.” In 2 Corinthians 10:12, we read, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” We must squash pride right away by telling God exactly what sin we have committed and ask for forgiveness.

God is always ready to forgive anyone who comes humbly to Him and follows his steps of cleansing.  He is faithful to forgive. We do not need to push our sin around or try to cover it up.

We need to grab the Broom and whack it on the head!

Grab The Broom

With the best of intentions a gentlemen in a week of revival services came to the alter. The first night he prayed out loud, “Lord, remove the cobwebs of sin in my life.” On the next night, he prayed again out loud, “Lord, remove the cobwebs of sin in my life.” On the third and fourth night, he prayed the same prayer. On the fifth night after his prayer, the pastor stood up and exclaimed, “Lord, forget the cobwebs! Grab a broom and kill the spider!”

When we begin the “spring cleaning” and “decluttering” process in our heart and life, we may come across unconfessed sin that we have failed to confess and forsake.   We often treat the sin in our life the same way this gentleman did? We try to find a way to treat the symptoms of our sin rather than to attack the sin itself.

We find numerous Scriptures in the Bible calling on us to “be holy as he is holy”. I know that I can not do this apart from Christ it is only through Him that I can accomplish anything, yet he calls me to be clean before him. This is something I can do. When I sin, he has shown me in his Word the steps I must take to be clean. 

The first step is to acknowledge the sin we have committed. Psalm 51:3 reads, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” David is at the point where the conviction of his sin is causing him to focus on it so much he can’t get away from it. Does our sin bother us like David’s sin bothered him?  If it doesn’t, this could be an indication that we are focusing on the symptoms rather than the sin. 

Do we really look at our sin the way that God does? To often we want to call our sin a mistake,a slip up, or even a lapse in judgment rather than a sin. We need to remember our sin is something that goes against the very nature of God.  Jesus came and suffered and died for the very sins we want to excuse or ignore in our life. It is time to call sin what it is and confess it and forsake it as we are told to do in  1 John 1:9. The Bible says in 1 John that if we do confess, “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I want to be clean before God. The first step is to see my sin the way God does. Grabbing the broom and doing housecleaning in my heart requires work and a willingness to get into all the corners, cracks and crevices. We will see how dirty we are when this happens, but God is faithful to clean us up if we ask. But first we must…

Grab the broom and kill the spider.

Mixed Messages

Are we sending Mixed Messages?

Frank and Barb were driving down the street when they saw a garbage truck ahead of them. Across the back was written in large letters: Jesus Died For You! The couple was impressed by the driver’s boldness to witness for his faith. As they drove closer to pass, they noticed another smaller sign posted on the truck above the gospel witness: “Stay back one hundred feet.”

How often in the Christian life do we say one thing and mean another?  We say that the word of God is for all, but would we walk across the street to witness or help someone if God prompted us to do so?

The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10 comes to mind as I ponder these questions. The priest in the story passes by without helping. A Levite came by and “looked on him”, then passed by on the other side also. Two men who would be considered religious by the world’s standards passed by him without giving to him what he needed the most. I wonder if either one of them went to their places of worship, and talked of how we should help others in time of need. Maybe, they prayed for the man that they saw on the side of the road. This is only speculation, of course. We know only of their actions as shared in the Scripture, but I wonder if their words coincided with their actions.

Christ is our true and perfect example of one whose words and actions backed each other up. If we want be like him, we must follow his leadership.  In 1 John 2:5-6, we find, “But whoso keepeth his word, in verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”  We are showing the love of Christ when we keep our word. We become more like him when we show that love in our actions.

Paul also challenges us in Ephesians 4:1 to “walk worthy of the vocation where with ye are called.”  I want to practice consistency where my words and actions are concerned. This is where we must ask the Holy Spirit to work through us.  The weaknesses of our flesh want us to “pass by on the other side”  like the priest and the Levite.  If you want to live this life with consistency, you must rely on Christ when you are weak.  We must make up our mind ahead of time that we are going to follow his example and his leadership in our life only then will our Sunday talk match our Monday walk.

A “1938” Excuse

As I made my trek at lunch time to find my favorite fish sandwich. I encountered a sight that was indeed not a laughing matter. I was in line waiting to approach the counter when a man, two people in front of me, proceeded to berate the cashier for failing to enter his coupon properly and give him the correct change. The problem was the computer not the cashier. This did not matter to the irate man who moved on to blast the cashier even to the point of cursing her.  The cashier entered the information again and apologized repeatedly for the mistake. This did not satisfy him and he told her, “YOU ARE NOT SORRY!” then he laughed at her as though he told a joke worthy of a stand up comedian.  He then moved to his seat to wait for his order.  A short time later, the cashier called his number. When he did not respond, she motioned to him to let him know that his food was ready.  To this he replied, “I don’t know anything about numbers; I was born in 1938.”

I was amazd.  My parents were both born in the early 1930’s, one in 1933 and one in 1934, and neither one of them were purposely rude and they were both good with numbers.  My father graduated from college with a degree in accounting. I also know several elderly people who are so sweet you think they were made from sugar. That just goes to show you people will use anything and everything for an excuse.

Whether you are born in the 1930’s, 1970’s or 1990’s, there is no excuse for rude behavior. I can’t believe what it will take to set people off on a frenzy of excuses to try to cover up rudeness. 

I got my sandwich to go and went to my car before I left the parking lot I checked it. It was not what I ordered. I went back in the restaurant with a smile on my face.  I told the girl what happened and waited for my sandwich to be corrected. I told her it was not a problem when she apologized and told her it was not her fault. (It wasn’t. It was the fault of the guy in the back 🙂 ) I left with a smile. My mother would be proud.

I want to make Jesus proud also. How could I reach out and befriend that girl if I had berated her as the other person did. In the world there is not much friendliness and kindness. They need to see that from those who profess the name of Christ. If you don’t think the people around you are watching what you do, think again.  Are our actions speaking so loud that they can’t hear what we are saying? It’s time to act right. Anyone can talk a good game. I want to be known as a person who takes responsibility for my own behavior.

To quote a very dear friend of mine,”God don’t like ugly!”