A Handful of Quietness


 

Today I picked up a little giggle. I held it for a moment and then tossed it to my 6-year-old granddaughter. She looked at it for a little while and then tossed it high into the air. It grew into a laugh. We tossed it around and around the room, its sweet sound echoing off the walls. It became a big belly laugh, and it was too big to toss. We plopped down onto the floor and let it settle down on us. We laughed and laughed and laughed until we were too tired to laugh any more. The laugh turned back into a giggle and lay softly beside us. After a few moments, the giggle became a smile. I had one and my granddaughter had one, so we shared.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the swing set was calling our names.  We went outside and took our smiles with us.  It wasn’t long before our smiles became giggles! They even morphed into belly laughs at times, so we had to hold on tight to our swings.  Our laughter sat on the bare tree branches, it floated on the gentle breeze, and bounced off the sunbeams.  It filled our hearts with joy.

After she went home, I was tired.  I sat down and put my feet up, and I noticed a handful of quietness beside me.  I picked it up.  It was soft like a dandelion puff, and it had the sweet aroma of lavender.  I wanted to share my quietness, so I got down on my knees and gave it to God.

Psalm 46:10  “Be still and know that I am God…”  I closed my eyes and held my little puff of quietness.  I felt the sweet spirit of God settle over me.  His gentle spirit calmed the rivers of my life so that no ripples remained.  I felt complete in His presence for I am His and He is mine.  Forever.

Matthew 28:11 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Here is a link to a beautiful song by Kari Jobe.  I pray it will give you rest.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35WOSrfT7Cw

Heavenly Sonlight


Scripture for the day:  Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”
My pastor gave an excellent sermon Sunday about our thought life.  It was very relevant for me.  Sometimes in my mind I am critical of something someone does or says, but I just smile and say nothing.  Sometimes those little thoughts take over my mind and multiply.  It’s pretty obvious they don’t come from God but from satan.  They are poisonous to me, but too often I don’t run from them.  I tolerate them.

They start innocently enough, small, seemingly harmless but quite deadly.  From that little thought comes a decision to act on the thought or not.  I usually don’t act on them, but the poison is there.  The problem is they can grow, become a habit.  Once they are habitual, they have a home.  I become comfortable with them, hardly notice them, and they settle in.

I spent some time in prayer and decided it was time to clean!  I took out my broom and dust pan and got busy .  I not only swept the main hallways of my heart, but I checked the nooks and crannies.  There were several nasty thoughts hidden there, and I caught them off guard.  I swept them into my dust pan and tossed them into the trash.

I took a look at the windows of my heart.  They were a little cloudy from negativity, so I started cleaning and polishing the windows.  Soon, they were clean and glistening, and the heavenly sunlight was flooding in.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6 it says “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Negative thoughts are sneaky little critters, though.  They’ll climb out of the trash and try to sneak back into my mind.  They will cover my windows with a gray film and block the light.  I’m armed now, though, standing on God’s Word.  Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  I want God’s peace in my life, and I want to think on His things.  My cleaning today was good.  I will keep my Bible handy, though, just in case any of those negative critters try to make a comeback.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”  A stronghold is simply a devilish idea and I must attack it with the sword of the Spirit and fight. It is an ongoing battle, but I will be victorious in Him.

Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  I will win.  I will bring my mind, heart and soul under the control of God.  Those little dust bunnies can just stay in the trash.

Song for the day:  “Heavenly Sunlight”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzyQBkatt-c

God’s Will or My Will?


Scripture for the day: Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”

I strive to do God’s will, but I sometimes struggle with His call on my life. Is it His will or my own? Am I listening to the voice of God or the crowd? Am I being obedient or self-serving?

I have learned through experience that I am happier when I am in God’s will than when I am not. I tried life without Him after my father died, and I was miserable. I was happy at times, but the deep abiding joy that only comes from a relationship with the Father was missing. I returned to Him on my knees and will never leave again.

Through my cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery God has given me a special purpose. I am able to understand, at least partially, what cancer patients are dealing with. Some patients have it much worse than I did, but I have a better idea than someone who has never been diagnosed with cancer. I thank Him daily for my restored health and the ministry He has given me.

Sometimes, though, His will for my life is vague. I don’t have a clear sense of direction or purpose. It is at those times that I remember this scripture and go to His Word. On a daily basis, I am to love the Lord my God. I am also supposed to love my neighbor. Not just the neighbors I like, but all of them. He also threw enemies in the mix, although I’m not aware of many of those in my life. I’m to be generous with my time and my talents, my money. I’m to let the Holy Spirit work in me, control me.

Goodness. Maybe I don’t need a specific task! I think I have enough to do just from His Word. Maybe I just need to study my Bible more and be obedient to what I find on those pages.  It seems like a good place to start.

Song for the day:  “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SooFL-X7vnk

The Pencil


A few weeks ago, I read a blog that touched my heart.  The author was anonymous, so I am unable to give credit.  I would like to share the thoughts and expand on them a bit.

A pencil maker told a new pencil there were five things he needed to know before he was sent out into the world.  If he never forgot them, he would become the best pencil he could be.

1.  You will be able to do great things but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.

2.  You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time but you will need it to become a better pencil.

3.  You will be able to correct any mistakes you make.

4.  The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

5.  On every surface you are used on, you will leave your mark.

Now, let’s replace the pencil with you.  Remember these five things and you will become the person God designed you to be.

1.  You will be able to do great things but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand.

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”

God has a plan for each of us, and He will guide us in the right direction if we allow Him to hold us.  He has given each of us special gifts, and it is His desire that we use those gifts.  If He is holding us in His hand, we will develop those gifts and use them to His glory.

2.  You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time by going through various problems and difficulties, but you’ll become a stronger, better person because of it.

Proverbs 3:12 “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”

Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

We learn and profit from the hard times in our lives.  God uses difficulties to sharpen us, make us better, stronger.

3.  You will be able to correct any mistakes you make.

Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

We all make mistakes.  We stumble at times, perhaps even fall, but through His grace we can stand up and start again.  When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our lives, we can go to the throne of grace, confess and be forgiven.  God doesn’t remember our mistakes and neither should we.  Learn from the mistake but don’t dwell on it.  Move forward in God’s grace.

4.  The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Focus on what is inside you because that is what matters.  Charm, beauty, outward appearances are all fleeting. What remains is the heart, and that is what God sees.

5.  On every surface you walk through, you will leave your mark.

John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 I will make my mark every where I go today.  Will my mark be one of love or disdain?  I am a disciple every day, not just when I feel like it or want to show His love.  Everywhere I go, I either show I am a follower of Christ and honor Him with my life or I don’t.  Do I take the time to share the gospel with others?  Do I witness, share my testimony, tell people what Jesus has done for me or do I stand still, quiet, uninvolved?

I will make a mark today.  It is my prayer that He will hold me in His hand, show me the path to take.  If I need to be sharpened, I pray that I will take it graciously and learn from it.  When I stumble, I pray that I will recognize my sin and give it to Jesus.  I will make my mark on everything I touch today.  I pray it is for Jesus.

Song for the day:  “Living for Jesus”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChnJ15-mj0

My Rights or His Will


Scripture for the day:  Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

I read an interesting post today about measuring sticks.  They are most often used as weapons to beat ourselves or someone else.  It is easy to measure ourselves against others, but what is the point?  We will be better in some ways, worse in others, but does it matter?

I’m thinking today about what Jesus was willing to give up for me.  Jesus was and will always be God, but He gave that up willingly for a season to come to save me.  What “rights”, “privileges” am I clinging to today?  What is more important than my relationship to Jesus?

For me, true joy comes from complete surrender.  I must empty myself of “my rights”, “my privileges” and give myself wholly to what Jesus wants from my life.  It is only in surrender that I will find happiness.  But that thinking runs so counter to the world.  From a worldly view, it’s all about me.  What do I want?  What do I need?  I’ve tried finding happiness on my own and failed miserably because I was using the wrong measuring stick.  Someone will always be prettier than I am, smarter, more glib.

So today I want to try to do it God’s way.  I want to be obedient to His call on my life and deny self.  I fall to my knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life.  No measuring sticks today.  Just the blood of the Lamb that washed me white as snow.

Song for the day:  “Crucified with Christ” by Phillips, Craig & Dean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0_1jazh454  

He Carries Me


Scripture for the day:  Isaiah 46:4 “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you!  I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

I love the promise of this scripture.  He will carry me until I die and go to my home in glory.

I can think of so many times in my life when He carried me, but my bout with cancer is probably the most significant.  When I got the diagnosis, I immediately gave it to Him.  I was too sick to care, too scared to worry.  Cancer had brought me to my knees, and God had brought me to the end of myself.  I no longer had any fight in me, but I was filled with surrender.  I surrendered everything to the Lord.

He carried me through diagnosis.  He carried me through surgery, guiding the surgeon’s hand and comforting my family.  He held me close during every chemo treatment, every procedure.  He was always there to comfort me.  Night or day, he was there.  He carried me.

I am in remission now and able to function, but I will never let go of His hand.  I may be able to stand for the moment, but it only because of His grace, His strength, His mercy.

And so I give this day to Him.  I ask Him to guide me around the sand traps of despair and doubt.  With His help, may I guard my words and my thoughts so that I don’t hurt another or make my mind a haven for satan’s evil ploys.  May I be a light in a world of darkness, a ray of hope for someone needing a beam of light to help them find their way.  May I be a reflection of Him in all I say and do today.

Song for the day:  “Carry Me” by Josh Wilson

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jZmBQn_018

The Paradox of Our Time


Another great post. Thanks, Kenny!

Morning Story and Dilbert

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been…

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