Thursday, May 27, 2010

Too Busy For Jesus?

Life is so busy.  It can really sweep you up into it's whirlwind.  And that's where I have the whirlwind.  I've been very busy with so many good things, I haven't made time for the best things.  I really don't have any excuse.   My life reminds me of the story of Jesus' visit to Mary and Martha found in Luke 10:38-41.

"Now as they (the disciples and Jesus) were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” NAS
I, like Martha, am concerned with why no one else seems to be helping.  Martha had the nerve to ask Jesus if he cared that Mary was not helping and proceeds to tell Him to tell Mary to help.  Martha put her will upon God, the creator of the universe.  She demanded that He do what she wanted...give me some help! My attitude has been like Martha in so many ways. 

In the Luke 10 passage, it doesn't tell us if Martha sits down to listen or if she fusses with Mary after Jesus leaves.  What we do learn; however, is that  Mary chose what "shall not be taken away" (listening and learning from Jesus = a relationship with God and spiritual growth).  And that's a mouthful spoken in few words. 

All of the other things that keep us busy shall be taken away in time...children leave the nest, work deadlines pass, retirement will come, practice schedules cease, house work, church work, yard work, etc. etc. etc. won't last.   Only what we do for Christ will last.

The best thing is to spend time with God listening for his direction and learning from the wisdom found in the Scripture.  We still have tasks to do but when we choose to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary did, we choose the good part and we approach the rest of it with proper perspective.  I must admit, I am more like Martha at times...being consumed by the tasks that need to be done.  I spend time doing things while losing sight of why or for whom I am doing them.   What a shame...I am ashamed.

Are you choosing what shall not be taken away from you?  Do you have time sitting at Jesus' feet?  Please share with us how you fit your "quiet time" into your schedule?  Has God been teaching you something to teach us?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Walk This Way!

This morning in my quiet time, the Father directed me to Ephesians 5, one of my favorite passages. As I read the passage reflectively, read it again in another version, and yet again in another version, I found myself chuckling at how hard we make living the way He desires.

Two things right at the starting gate are:
  1. Emulate the Father
  2. Live in love
I have a friend, Ashley, who is the full example of this to me. Ashley lives her life looking for people to love. She was in church one Sunday and a family sat next to her that was having trouble following the service because English was not their first language and the church had no interpretation. Though she could understand them, nor could they understand her - she handed them a piece of paper with her number and told them to call if there was anything that they needed. After several weeks she got a call from a person who said that his friend had her number in his hand and needed help. Ashley headed over to this apartment that was not furnished with anything and found that the family was living there and that the husband was having trouble finding work. Here is love in action: Ashley got on the phone called local friends that she knew were hiring and set up interviews for the husband, Ashley called her friends and gathered their clothes for the family, Ashley called more friends and told them to cancel those garage sales and bring the gently used furniture to her. At the end of a few days the family had jobs, clothing, furniture, food, and the kids were in school. And as an added bonus - she got someone to teach them ESL in their home. OH!! Did I mention that Ashley is married, a mother of 4 children (2 of which are special needs). Yes -- she had much to do. But not so much that she could not take the time to show this family a tangible picture of the love of God.
There are so many books and tapes out there telling us how to live the life of Christ in the world, the Father reminded me yet again that He has giving us all we need for life and living. He says to us all - I have showed you the way to do it -- now do it just the way I did. In other words pour your life out for the sake of others. Your time? Your talent? Your treasure? Yours ---- really?? Remember who owns you, who you owe your life too and then steward all He has given you well by giving yourself away and count it gain!

Ask the Father to teach your heart to love. Not just to love, but to love the way that He has intended. In the words of the song by William McDowell - give yourself away so He can use you. Admit that your life is not your own - develop a heart that longs to see God's desire for us fulfilled.
Here is the way - walk ye in it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Extravagant Love - Undeserved Grace

I have a son, he’s 15. He loves smoothies, grilled food, Japanese food and for his mom to do anything that resembles him being considered her baby boy. So – it was Friday morning quite early and after my two mile walk and my morning devotional time I got in the kitchen and made him a nice tropical fruit smoothie. I failed to mention to you that on Thursday I made sure I had his favorite sandwich bread and sandwich meat in the house so that I could coax his dad into fixing his lunch for him – on this same Friday morning. I drove him to school and went home to begin my day, but alas – he forgot something important at home so I cheerfully took it to him at the school. I got back home and began to start my day, and caught a glimpse of his bedroom – and since it was Friday, I cleaned it up for him. Now cleaning his room is not a daily practice – but today, I cleaned it. While I was cleaning it – I discovered many clothes that needed laundering so what the heck, I did the laundry too. Before I knew it 2pm so I ran downstairs to tidy up before going to pick him up from school. He forgot to tell me that he had something after school – so he was a little late coming out, no need to waste gas so I just waited in the car. When we got home he was starving so I fixed him a nice snack and ordered pizza from his favorite pizza place for dinner. What a Friday! Saturday morning I got up and fixed Hash Brown Stacks – he loves those! Hash browns topped with egg, Canadian bacon and cheese. While he ate breakfast I ran over to a nearby store and picked up coals so that I could grill him a nice lunch – he loves grilled food! Later I took him to the movies because there was a film he really wanted to see – we ate junk food – he loves that! And then finally sleep on Saturday night. Not once did my son say THANKS - HMM?

Sunday morning I woke up and went downstairs and while looking in the fridge I feel arms encompassing my waist – well, it’s my 15 year old and he says “I love you mama!” It has been 48 hours since that Friday morning, not one ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘you da bomb’ – but those four words did it for me. I know I love my son with an extravagant love, not because he has earned it – but because it is my charge, my calling, my privilege to reflect Christ to him, in spite of him.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving; and that in Hebrews 4:16 we are reminded that God’s throne is a place where we can find grace. Unmerited favor, unwarranted love and undeserved forgiveness – extend it to others just as you have received it.

Now - think about your Friday mornings – you know when the Father provides your food, health, clothing, shelter, transportation, comfort, joy, peace, etc. and you too don’t think about a thank you until Sunday morning and sometimes not even then. I want to challenge you to transform your relationships with your children. Determine to love them extravagantly despite their attitudes, faults and failings. Determine to love them extravagantly whether they are babies or adults. Determine to extend grace to them and reflect the character of God in their lives.

Extravagant love – you have received it, now give it away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You a Teacher?

A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams

Ladies, we have an assignment.

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine….guide women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at you, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior.

 Titus 2:1-5 The Message

"You" was added for emphasis.

When this word was written, a woman's responsibility was to keep a home and the goal was to be married and have children.  These responsibilities and goals have given way to many other aspirations for the modern woman.  We all know that times have changed.

It is still important today that we honor God.  We honor God by keeping first things first.  If you are married with children...then that is the first thing.  Pour into your family as your ministry. If you are not married or have no children, then serve where ever God has placed you.  Do all things as unto the Lord.

No matter the season of life or station in life, we are to lead a life of reverence to God. We should be teaching others to reverence God, too. 

Reverence means to honor, respect, admire and obey.

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are You Building or Tearing Down?

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Are you tearing down your home?

Have you ever stop to consider how your words affect those around you? Are you using your words to help or encourage someone? Or are your words harsh and spiteful; maybe even inconsiderate? Sarcasm is not funny if the object of the sarcasm is not playing along with your game.

We often take for granted that what we say jokingly is understood to be a joke. If we use what has been shared with us in private to humiliate someone in public, can we be trusted with private information ever again?

I witnessed someone being treated as a joke and taken for granted as a person. The smile this "victim" wore was all but sincere. They just grinned and accepted the comments which were not flattering at all.

A family member experienced ridicule for a goal that someone else deemed to be "a shame". They felt crushed because someone used words to berate what they thought was an excellent idea. The flippant comment made this person cry.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 18:12

So, on to the building up business...Are your words affirming to those who hear them? If so, then you are building. Do you use your words to make the people in your home feel they can conquer the world? If so, you are building. Do the people in your home know how you really feel about them? If not, then it's time to go and build some more?

Are you building your home emotionally not structurally? If you are not building yet, go start laying some bricks today. The first brick is asking for forgiveness for tearing your house down. Begin building as soon as you can for one day it may be too late to repair the rubble you have made.

I sincerely hope that you are a wise person and not a foolish person. Build your home...don't tear it down.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Love Being At Home...Do You?

It dawned upon me today that I really enjoy being at home.  Maybe, it's because we have a mountain of snow around us.'s not really a mountain.

There is something about coming home to a warm, inviting place where you can relax and enjoy family.  I like to cuddle up with a hot camomille tea and my comfy sweats.  I don't always look like a bag lady in my sweats, nor should you :).  So, find something comfy and cute to cuddle up in.

My home is a place of refuge, love and peace.

My other job (the one outside of my home) requires lots of human interaction.  Many times those interactions are good but sometimes they are not.    My job at home requires just as much interaction; but,  those interactions are the perks of being a homemaker.  I enjoy all of the jobs assigned to me no matter what challenges they bring.   I love the jobs of Mom and Wife the most.  Who knew I was this domestic?

What do you love about your home?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Different Kind of Fashion Makeover

I have the challenge of speaking to some wonderful women about "fashion and beauty". Now, this is a hoot to me, because I have no idea about "fashion" from the worldly, red carpet perspective. I watch TLC's What Not to Wear and read magazines about the latest trends. Each promising a "changed life or outlook" when you have a fashion makeover. These claims might be true but for how long? The fashion makeover I'm suggestion is different.

In my opinion, beauty and fashion are very elusive and deceptive. Open your closets right now. You probably have at least one outfit that was really "nice and fashionable" at one time, but is now just junk:) (Please, put it in the giveaway bag right now.)

Why would I call beauty and fashion elusive and deceptive? I say this because as soon as you feel you have it all together, like you did when you purchased that old outfit, someone else comes along with the next great fashion trend or product. Then, you run out to buy it and love it until something else comes along. It's marketing genius.

Our pursuit of what's being sold is like running on a tread mill....lots of moving and no progress. This pattern might work for you if you love to shop and can afford it. This doesn't work for everyone.

My "fashion and beauty" discussion will be about the beauty of the inner man or should I say woman. The beauty of the inner woman is not trendy but permanent. It is the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit...qualities of great worth in God's sight. These qualities are not likely to go out of style or be improved upon by anyone.

Gentleness comes from being filled with the Spirit of God. A quiet spirit comes from being at peace with God and with mankind. These two qualities alone are guaranteed to change your life and outlook. They are my recommended inner "beauty treatments."

How can you obtain these "beauty treatments?" Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Galatians 5:22-26 and John 3:16. Abide in the Word of God....Jesus Christ, God's son. Trust Christ, learn about Him and you will become beautiful in God's sight. Your inner person will be transformed.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment.....instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Write it On Your Door Post....

The Danielson Designs Studio

This is a fabulous company offering gifts and decor for your home.
Check it out.

Why am I telling you this.....because you can add scripture to your selections. We should remind our families what the Lord has said by any means necessary.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NASB)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spending Time

One way to show someone you love them is by spending time with them. Tonight, I am watching the Dallas Cowboys with my husband. They are whipping the Eagles. Go team!!!

I have been a Cowboys fan since I was in the fifth grade. Can't say how long ago it was when I was in the fifth grade, but real (old) fans will remember Tony Dorsett and Danny White.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, try to find something both you and your loved ones enjoy. There are so many things to draw families apart. Find a common thread to hold it together.

Set aside some time this week to do something together that is relaxing, enjoyable and perhaps free. Family time is not an event. It should be a way of life.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let It Snow

We recently moved from Texas to Ohio. From one “small town” which is relatively new and shiny to another “small town” which is old and rusty. One of my biggest adjustments, since being in Ohio is the winter weather. I am a southerner to the core.

This town is an old steel town with the remnants of an era gone by and the scenic landscape of an economy which needs a stimulus package. It could also use a few transplants to occupy all of the vacant, abandoned homes. I am surprised to say that I am enjoying the beauty that a covering of snow can add to a place like where we live. When it’s covered in snow, it all seems remarkably new and shiny.

It all looks the same…beautiful. So let it snow. This is yet another one of God's spectacular works.

“He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Friendship Project

Luke 10:33-34, 36-37, "But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds…and took care of him… 'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'" (NIV)

Proverbs 31 Ministry is conveying the thought I was thinking today. Check them out. This is one of my favorite ministries to us ladies.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Your City Walls

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28 NLT”

In ancient days, a city wall was used to keep the enemy out, to provide safety and protection from harm. The wall was of utmost importance. Guards were set to watch the wall and to stop intruders who were approaching. Their kingdom might be at stake.

Is your kingdom at stake? Do you and your family have walls built to protect from the enemy? I am not speaking of your alarm system or gated community. Have you made time for quality time with your kids as well as your spouse? Did you plan some down time just for you? Are you watching what you eat and what enters into your mind by radio and TV?

If you made a resolution for the new year, keep in mind; ”A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls”.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I threw away my 2009 calendar today! So many times we save things as a means of reflecting on what was…a time gone by. Personally, I am looking forward to this new year. I am not the kind of person who makes a resolution, because by January 5th it is usually broken. This year my desire is to show the people I love that I really love them. My method…using their love languages. Study the people in your family to find out what makes them feel loved. It will be an experiment with great benefits. I can’t wait to see the results. Again, Happy New Year! Go show someone YOU love them!