October 31st, 2011
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes.
All such boasting is evil.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
When I was a little girl, there was an elderly lady in our church who finished every sentence she spoke of upcoming plans by using the phrase,
I remember being fascinated by this lady’s words.
I remember listening to her talk and then thinking to myself,
“Why would the Lord not be willing for her to go to the store?
Why would the Lord not be willing for her to be at church next Sunday?”
It was as if she was leaving everything in her life up to God’s will.
And as a little girl, I found that very strange.
Until I became an adult.
Everything changes when you see life from a higher perspective.
Mrs. Willow knew something I didn’t know.
She knew that whether or not she would be going to the store or coming to church next week was in God’s hands not hers.
She understood the frailty and uncertainty of life, and she knew only God KNOWS for sure what our tomorrow’s and even the rest of our today’s hold…
because He holds them.
Today, you may have big plans.
Today, you may think you know exactly what is going to happen.
But truthfully, you don’t.
And neither do I.
That can be a scary thought until we remember this.
Scriptures say that He goes before us making the rough places smooth which means that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS,
He’s already there!
This reminds me of my friend Kim’s favorite phrase, “Fear not tomorrow, God’s already there!” (I hope I got that right!)
He’s behind us, with us, and before us.
He is omnipotent and omniscient.
All-powerful and all-knowing.
And He loves us!
Knowing and believing and trusting in Him means that we can freely and confidently say,
“Today, I am going to ____________, Lord willing.”
I pray your day is filled with reasons to celebrate this powerful phrase!
Have a wonderful Monday!
October 29th, 2011
One option my students had for presenting their book reports was to create a memory box in which they placed five items that represented key moments in the book they had read. I was so impressed with their work! As I listened to them explain the items in their boxes, it occurred to me that our lives are stories…….
Full of special moments.
If you were to fill a box with special things from your life story, what would they be?? Friends, family, places, things?????
Praying your weekend is full of special moments!
May your memory box overflow!
October 28th, 2011
October 27th, 2011
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God,
you will find him if you seek him
with all your heart and with all your soul.”
I don’t know where your “from there” is this morning, but wherever it is,
I pray you will seek God with all of your heart and soul “from there.”
Whether it is Australia, Malaysia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Brazil, America, Romania, Spain, or anywhere else in this big world………..
“From there” seek Him.
And guess what????
You’ll find Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because He is there!
I love you all so much!
October 26th, 2011
I remember the day a boy threw a pencil across my room right before the bell rang……..
I remember going to pick it up and finding a penny right beside it.
My sweet little “hello” from Nick right next to a pencil that shouldn’t have been thrown.
I took a chance and told my class the story of how pennies are so special to our family; and I told this specific boy that because of that penny, right next to his thrown pencil, I was reminded that we all need grace.
It covers everything.
It covers the darkest sin.
And it covers pencils that are tossed through the air.
Ever since that day a couple months ago, this particular class has become my penny class.
They enter my room with palms open almost every day…handing me pennies they have found on the bus, in a crack on the sidewalk, on the track around the football field.
I’m filling my drawer with their pennies.
I’m filling my life with God’s grace.
I started using Twitter so I could follow Evan’s new adventures in California, and my name is “ilovepennies.”
And the reason I love pennies is because they remind me of God’s love, Nick’s presence even in his absence, and most of all………….
Praying your day is filled with both pennies and grace,
October 25th, 2011
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The earth seems to be quaking more, or at least the news is reporting more……
Children disappear and parents become the first suspects……
Life is stressful.
The news is troubling on every channel.
Where do we turn?
Doctors can medicate.
Counselors can listen.
Friends can comfort.
Family can love.
But only God can calm us to the very core, because He holds everything in His hands.
He works through all of this.
The quakes, the fear, the stress, the loss……..
He understands our anxiety.
He provides a way to cope.
He speaks. Storms stop.
How does He speak?
Through His Word.
Today, my heart is filled with many different kinds of emotions but HIS WORD remains the same……
steadfast and sure.
He is the Lord Almighty.
And He is with Us.
October 24th, 2011
I want to see clearly..I really do.
I want to see God in everything around me.
I want to hear His voice.
I want to know His will.
I want to feel His peace.
I really do.
But it’s been a struggle lately.
My vision’s been a little upside down…
So Saturday, I knew I needed some quiet time to think.
I took my Bible, my glasses, my coffee….and headed to the backyard.
Holding on to Hope.
That’s how I’ve been living.
I know God cares. His Word says,
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7
So I sat and began to case all my cares upon Him, holding on with the grip of a fisherman pulling in a prized catch.
I took some time to talk to Mom on Facetime while sitting outside, but I couldn’t hide the depth of my clinging.
She could hear it in my voice. She could see it in the wiping of my tears as we spoke.
She knew I was struggling, and she cared deeply.
Seeing her face kept me from hiding my pain.
Maybe that’s why the Bible says to “seek His face.”
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Saturday’s searching gives me the strength to face tomorrow.
I’m thankful for the tears.
If you’re feeling like your view of life is a little upside down, step away from everything and do some deep soul searching.
Cast your cares.
Hold on to hope.
See His face.
The search may lead to tears, but I promise that through the washing of your eyes you will see Jesus a little more clearly!
And isn’t that what life is all about.
Seeing and knowing Him.
October 21st, 2011
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?
It’s easy to get caught up in the things of this world.
Small town gossip, big city excitement
It’s doesn’t matter where you live, the devil is working to pull you away from the ONE THING that matters………HIM.
James 4 begins with the heading, “Submit to God,” and somehow in our culture I believe the word “submit” has become a negative verb, a verb of weakness.
I love the definition for “submit” that says this:
to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application.
When I think about submitting to God, I think of the idea of presenting for approval the things I do, the the things I say, the way I feel about people………….
I want God to consider my thoughts and my actions. Are they pleasing to Him?
Not always, but thank goodness, “He jealously longs for the Spirit He has caused to dwell in me.”
Because of this, James says He gives us more grace.
So when I think about life, I think about a seesaw.
On one end is me trying to stay focused on God.
On the other end is God’s never-ending grace.
When my focus becomes blurry and I begin to fall, God’s grace becomes stronger and He lifts me up.
I love the feeling of being balanced in God’s eyes.
His grace suspending me freely as I focus directly on Him.
That’s when my feet dangle and I don’t have to work anymore at my faith.
I want to be lifted by God’s grace and in an ironic, “God’s way is higher than my way,” style,
submitting means being lifted higher than we ever could be by trying to live alone.
When I submit to God, He pours out His grace and I begin to rise above all the things this world pulls me towards…….
I love the old song,
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up…….Higher and Higher…….and He will lift you up.”
Today, forget the arguments, the distractions, the earthly gain……..
look to Jesus as your Peacemaker, Savior, and one and only need.
Oh, the freedom that comes from knowing Christ.
I’m reminded of another song as I write,
In the secret
in the quiet place
in the stillness You are there
in the secret
in the quiet hour I wait
only for You
‘cuz I want to know you more
I want to know you
I want to hear your vioce
I want to know you more
I want to touch you
I want to see your face
I want to know you more
I am reaching for the highest goal
that i might receive the prize
pushing every hindrance aside
out of my way
‘cuz I want to know you more
I want to know you
I want to hear your voice
I want to know you more
I want to touch you
I want to see your face
I want to know you more
Today, let’s live with this song in our heart and enjoy the freedom that comes from focusing on His face.
(Push pause on my blog music to the right just below my Facebook friends listing before clicking “play” on the song below.)
October 20th, 2011
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
According to www.dictionary.com, this is the definition of “harbor” when used as a verb:
to give shelter to; offer refuge to: They harbored therefugees who streamed across the borders.
to conceal; hide: to harbor fugitives.
to keep or hold in the mind; maintain; entertain: to harborsuspicion.
to house or contain.
to shelter (a vessel), as in a harbor.
When I think of “harboring” bitter envy and selfish ambition in my heart, my first reaction is “I don’t do that.”
But as I read the definitions for the word “harbor,” I know that in many ways I am guilty.
There are aspects of my life that I long to change.
There are dreams I long to fulfill.
There are prayers that weren’t answered the way I pleaded.
When I am honest, and don’t “deny the truth,” I am very aware of the reality that I have got to “let go” of these feelings, releasing them from my “spiritual harbor.”
God has a plan, and I have to keep on keeping on (as Joyce Meyer says), allowing Him to work His good work in me and in those I love.
I want to live a life focused on these attributes mentioned above:
full of mercy and good fruit
impartial and sincere
When I am able to let go of the things I harbor and cling to the things God loves, I feel so free!
Free to be whatever it is that He is calling me to be.
Free to do His will today.
It may be a student who is having a bad day and needs to talk for a minute.
It may be another teacher who needs a word of encouragement.
It may be the time of cuddling with Olivia that makes all the difference in the world this evening.
I don’t know.
I just know this:
God longs for me and you to live a life focused on Him not ourselves.
When I look up instead of around (or down), I see the Hope, the Peace, the Joy, the Comfort that comes from being His.
Let go and look up today!
October 19th, 2011
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
I love people.
I love visiting with people, meeting new people, hugging people, sharing life with people………
But oddly enough, I love being alone too.
I love quiet.
I love the stillness of an empty room with a candle burning and the lights low.
If I had to choose, I would be very drawn to the solitude of an empty room.
But, I know I can’t stay there.
I need fellowship to survive.
I need interaction with others.
I need the laughter that comes from being with friends and family.
At the same time, I realize that with every opportunity to fellowship comes the responsibility of controlling a part of me that the Bible says “no human can tame.”
That frightens me.
To know that within me lies a “restless evil.”
I don’t want to be guilty of praising God one moment and cursing man the next, but I know there are times when I complain, I judge, I fail.
So, do I opt for continual solitude so that I am safe from this “salt water” flow that tries to blend with my “fresh water” spirit?
I don’t think we were given that option.
No, God calls us to be IN the world just not OF the world.
He wants us “out there.”
He wants us living fully for Him in the midst of those who are not.
Whispered prayers of strength.
Constant Scripture quoting in my head.
That’s what it takes to try to control this “spark” that can set a forest on fire.
I must blow out the candle in my quiet place and control the flame within me as I step out into the hustle and bustle of this world where the devil “roams like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”
“Be strong and courageous,” God says.
“Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged.I am with you wherever you go.”
Praying that today you are so full of His presence that the thought of uttering even one wrong word seems impossible.
Maybe God is calling us to be the “quiet place” for the world around us.
A porch swing with a friend where you simply sit and soak in the sunset.
A visit over a cup of coffee where the words are few but meaningful.
A walk with a friend where the conversation may be short but the miles are long.
When the world draws near to us, maybe just maybe the “slow to speak” part of us will be just what they need to experience in order to hear His voice in a busy and often crazy society.
Let God speak as you live for Him,