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My Thoughts on Cleaning

February 28th, 2008

 

I’m taking a break from my mini-reviews on the book A New Earth. My head spins every time I read it…..

So tonight I decided to share a little bit about something much more near and dear to my heart…..HOUSEWORK!! Seriously, two of my sons are heading to Mexico for a mission trip in a couple of weeks and one of their fundraisers is a yard sale, which has inspired me to start my spring cleaning a little early and purge my house at the same time!

Whew!

As I dumped out 8 drawers in one of the boy’s rooms and then went through every piece of clothing in his closet, I found myself in the middle of a spiritual journey! There are so many comparisons to cleaning out our houses and cleaning up our lives.

First, we have to KNOW that cleaning is necessary before we are motivated to begin doing anything about the problem! Often times I get comfortable in my house. I stuff things under beds, in drawers and closets, and I really don’t seem to mind. Suddenly, something happens (like I can’t find my keys) and I realize that my house is out of control! Life is just like this. So many times I get comfortable with where I am spiritually. I stuff my worries, my irritations, my sins down inside of me and I don’t seem to really mind. Suddenly, something happens (like I snap at one of my kids or I honk at an elderly person who hesitates at a green light-okay, I don’t really have roadrage-but you never know!) and I realize that my life is out of control! Becoming aware of our problem is the first step to fixing it!

Second, you have to make a mess before you can get organized. If I didn’t dump out every drawer and remove every shirt, I couldn’t truly start over with an organized dresser or closet. Life is like this. In order to really get reconnected with God, it is often messy. Sometimes, a meltdown is the only way up. Sometimes, pouring out every little thing that is eating at you or holding you back is the only way to fill yourself back up with what matters!

Third, many times when you begin evaluating what you have, you realize that so much of what you are holding on to is worthless. Shirts are stained, full of holes, don’t fit, aren’t your style. Life is just like this. Many times when you sit down and look at where you’re at in life, you discover that so much of what you’re holding on to is worthless. Habits, places you go, things you watch on TV, things you talk about are anything but attractive and definitely not your style if you are trying to live for Christ. It feels so good to just LET THEM GO!

Fourth, at the same time that you are discovering these things that are worthless you often rediscover things that are treasures! A favorite pair of pants, a shirt that brings back a memory of a vacation or sporting event. Life is just like this too! When we strip down our lives and reevaluate our priorities, we often find that things we use to love to do or memories that we cherish have been squashed by the rat race of life. Maybe you use to love to paint, take photographs, write, draw, take walks…….rediscover yourself!!

Fifth, when your mission is accomplished there is such a feeling of satisfaction! You can open a drawer and not cringe! You can open a closet and say TA DA!!! No more embarrassing moments…….no more guilt….no more missing keys! Isn’t life just like this too! Oh, to have a clean heart everyday! Oh, to let go of the things that hold me back from being everything God wants me to be!

I hope that as you begin your spring cleaning you will think about not only your house but also your heart!

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord! And a clean closet!

I love you all!

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As I continue to read A New Earth, a book being promoted daily by Oprah as a life-changing experience, I am amazed at how the author loves to quote Jesus periodically right along with Buddha and other ancient philosophers. He seems to treat Jesus as if he were a man who had some good deep thoughts but who was not quite understood in His time. The author even states at one point that the teachings of Jesus as well as Buddha and others “like them” were “largely misunderstood and often greatly distorted.” He goes on to say they “certainly did not transform human behavior except in a small minority of people.” WOW! This is scary stuff. Scary if you do not have a firm foundation in God’s Word.

Jesus could not be a “rare and precious being” as stated by the author if He claimed to be the Son of God and really wasn’t. He would simply be either a liar or insane. There is no way to take Jesus half way. You either accept His Words as true – totally or not at all. If you do not accept that He is the Son of God and the Savior of this world than you cannot take His teachings and apply them to your life. Who would embrace the teachings of someone who was crazy or lying? Noone! So how can the author of this book refer to teachings of Jesus as foundations of his philosophies without accepting that Jesus was so much more than a wise teacher? How can he lump Jesus’ teachings into a list with those of Hinduism or Buddhism?

I am about halfway through Mr. Tolle’s book, and I have to say that so far I have not seen any proclamations about Jesus being anything more than a great teacher. Mr. Tolle does refer to God from time to time, although He does not credit God with the creation of the world as He tells the story of the beginning of our planet. I am still not sure how he fits God into his belief system.

The scariest part of this book is that the author tosses in a Bible verse often enough to keep you hanging and hoping that somehow he is going to proclaim the Bible as something more than a “good book” with some “good ideas.”

If you are reading A New Earth, PLEASE be a deep thinker!

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A New Earth?

February 25th, 2008

Uncategorized

 

Okay, maybe I’m a sucker. I went to a bookstore and bought the book Oprah is pushing like a madwoman everyday on her show. The reason I broke down and made the purchase had to do more with wanting to know what in the world was in this book that made Oprah so ignited, so convinced that it was going to change EVERYONE who read it than it did with thinking that it might in some way change me! After hearing testimony after testimony on her show from men and women who had read the book and then felt “enlightened, awakened, alive, etc.” I thought to myself and actually said to a friend, “every Christian needs to know what this book is about.” Well, after reading 120 pages of this book “A New Earth” I am convinced that ministers, teachers, Christians in general need to be well-informed and confident in their faith before trying to discuss this book with someone who is sold out on it.

The author does a good job of slipping in Scripture from time to time and even referring to God enough to keep you thinking “maybe this isn’t so bad,” but I have to tell you that what he is teaching seems to be in every essence of the phrase “new age.” Not that I am an expert on “new age” philosophy, but I do think that trying to convince myself that “I Am” is “me” is rather scary. I only know one “I Am” and He created me. He is the Truth, not me. He is life, not me.

I will write more when I have read more, but I felt compelled to share a little note now in case some of you are reading this book too.

What do you think?

God Bless you all! Tammy

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What is it about the beach?

February 19th, 2008

 

Tomorrow morning Nick and I get the opportunity to travel to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, for a little winter getaway with a dear friend from church! I feel guilty, because everyone I talk to wants to go too! I wish I could load up everyone I know and take them to enjoy the sand and sun and ocean waves with us!

It makes me wonder, “Why do we all long to go the beach?” It won’t be that warm this time of year, and yet everyone seems to want to be there as much as I do!

Is it the sand? I don’t think so……at least not for me. Even though, if I think of God talking to Abraham about his descendants outnumbering the grains of sand, I do feel a special connection to our Christian heritage when standing barefoot on an open beach!

Is it the palm trees? Well, I do love them! They represent something for me. They stand almost as if they are inviting me to something special, something I don’t want to miss! The invitation I long for is just beyond the palm trees and the sand…..

It’s the ocean! The ocean waves! The tide coming in and going out. Faithfully! Never missing a beat! Never growing tired or weary. The power of the ocean makes my hands tremble as I sit here tonight imagining a darkness filled with only the roaring sound of ocean waves. But oh, the beauty of the ocean! The endless horizon! It’s as if I can see eternity.

When our daughter died in 1992, friends urged us to go to the beach with them that following summer. A vacation was the last thing I wanted to do, but for the sake of our boys, I said, “yes.” I have to say that standing on the beach that summer was the most therapeutic time in my life! Realizing that the Creator of a faithful tide that never changed was also the Creator of my precious daughter. Accepting the fact that even though my life had changed drastically, God had not changed at all was critical for me. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The ocean is such a picture of God! As surely as the next wave would come up and brush across my feet, God promised to be there for me FOREVER to never forsake me. Just like the ocean’s depth and width are immeasurable, no one can measure God’s power, His love, His patience, His glory! Just as eternity has no end and sits as a longing in each of our hearts, the horizon beckons us to look and squint and wonder what’s out there where the sky attempts to reach down and meet the water.

Oh, I think God placed a longing for the beach in each of us just as He placed a longing for Him in each of us! When people hear that I am heading to the beach and they jokingly say, “Can I go with you?” I want to say, “Oh, I have an even better place I want you to go someday!”

Eternity in Heaven! Now there’s a real vacation!

heartBG2

Uncategorized

 

What is it about snow-covered hills dotted with evergreens that are drooping under the weight of heavy white branches? I often look at nature after a snow and am amazed at the pure beauty, the innocence of snow not yet trod by any footprints. I love to see a bird hopping from tree to tree in search of food after a night of snowfall. The simple trust of a bird….she doesn’t seem to be fretting as she hops and looks. She actually seems quite certain that eventually she will find just what she needs! And the roads! I love our road before any tires have reminded me that life must go on as usual…..I love when I know that everyone is tucked away in their homes, safe and snug, warm and toasty!

I’m not sure what my favorite part of a snowy morning is, but I do know that our Creator knew just what He was doing when He created all four seasons! What fun He must have had coming up with such a great plan! I can just hear the angels as He shared with them His idea about snow! White innocence falling from the sky, stopping major cities in their tracks, making the most driven of men somewhat immobilized, causing children to have a chance to sleep in and then spend the afternoon riding on sleds!

I love snow! It reminds me that Perfection did once come to this earth. It also reminds me that sin made perfection impossible for all of us. We dirty up the most beautiful of snows with not only our footprints and tires but also with our actions and tongues. The good news is that new snow falls from the sky every year bringing the promise of Perfection back to earth!

As God’s people, we must do all we can to show people how they can have a relationship with the Creator of this beautiful snow. We must show them how they can be made white and clean again through the blood of Jesus Christ!

The next time you get to experience a beautiful snowfall I hope you will think of God and His love for you! As beautiful as a snow-covered lawn may be, you are much more beautiful in the eyes of your Creator! He knew you before you were born! Psalm 139 Isn’t that great! And I’ll bet the angels loved hearing all about God’s plans for you too! Have a happy Valentine’s Day! You are loved!

heartBG2

The Biggest Loser

February 6th, 2008

 

As I sit here tonight in my kitchen, I hear voices on the TV in the living room saying, “Bye, bye, mommy loves you,” as a mom says bye to her children and heads back to compete in the TV series “The Biggest Loser.” I like this show a lot. This reality show takes people who are struggling to find their inner selves and teaches them how to be all they can be……but it takes a lot of work, sweat, and tears to accomplish this daunting task.

In the end, the person who loses the most weight not only wins the personal satisfaction of having pushed themselves the hardest but they also win $100,000! It is amazing how different the contestants look when the show begins and when it ends. I am always sitting with my jaw dropped wide open in shock! It is truly inspiring to watch people win more than money…they win a life they have always longed for!

However, as I sit here tonight I can’t help but think of the Scripture in Matthew 16 that says, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”

Wow! Our society puts so much emphasis on the losing of weight and the gaining of self-esteem, but I believe that the true “biggest loser” is the person who knows that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and yet does not accept Him as their Lord and Savior. My goal as a mom is to make sure my children are NOT the biggest loser!! My goal as a Christian is to make sure I do everything I can to help everyone I meet learn how to not become the “biggest loser.”

Remember, in the end our success will not be measured by what we have gained……but it will be measured by what we have not lost! Do you know where your soul is right now? Please don’t lose it.