Low Battery

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We have one of those battery operated ride-on cars for the kids.  They love driving it around the yard and helping us do yard work, but when the battery starts to run low it loses power and get stuck much more frequently.  When we were out working in the yard this morning, I watched as my two children rode together.  If it got stuck in the leaves or grass my son would get out to push and my daughter would press the gas pedal down until they were moving again and then he would jump back in.

It made me realize that as Christians our batteries runs low sometimes.  Our fire, hope, confidence and security our Lord and Savior can diminish.  We run low and forget the power and benefits of a full battery or a heart that runs completely with Christ.  There are many reasons our battery can lose it charge: to busy to refuel, a challenging situation, an unanswered prayer, or maybe a stronghold that is blocking your efforts to recharge.

Thank goodness we have friends, family, church members and strangers God places in our path that can give us a push back to full speed.  Sometimes it is difficult to accept help when you need it and sometimes we think we are to busy to offer help to someone who needs it, but alone we can be defeated.  Don’t build up walls, for he who builds a high gate invites destruction (Proverbs 17:19). Hop out of your comfort zone and accept help from those who love you.  God has said from the beginning in Genesis 2:18,  “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.”

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:10-12

Do you know someone who could use a little help recharging?  Are you in need of some recharging, but haven’t been willing to accept the help?  Seek God in prayer today.

Gutterball

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A few weekends ago, our children were invited to a friend’s birthday party at the bowling alley.  The kids had so much fun and the parents got a kick out of watching the kids try to navigate the ball down the alley.  The bowling alley attendee assigned to our group was very attentive.  She put the bumpers in the gutter so the ball had no choice but to stay on the alley way and hit a pin or two.  They even used some sort of contraption that allows you to sit the bowling ball on top and roll it down if the ball is too heavy.  The kids were guaranteed a smile and the opportunity to knock down a few pins every time.

Our lives are just like that alley way.  We try to stay on God’s path – right down the center, but many times along the way we make a mistake or falter and end up in the gutter.   I am thankful that if we end up in the gutter with God we don’t have to stay there to the end.  When we repent, He will throw us right back out there on the right path again.  God forgives and forgives and He call us to do the same.  But how do we learn to stay out of the gutter?  The more we fill up our gutters with God’s word, prayer, and church, the less room there will be for us to miss step and fall into it.  
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:5-8

And just like that special contraption that helps roll the ball down the alley.  God is also there for us when things get to heavy and we feel like we don’t have the energy for one more day.  He lift us up, point us in the right direction and helps us get started, but we have to turn to Him.  We have to allow Him in; not turn Him away.  We have to be obedient to His direction.  It takes work, time and commitment, but the reward is great.  In this life and the next.
“Blessed be the Lord— day after day he carries us along. He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes! He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us. Lord God knows all death’s ins and outs.” Psalm 68:19 – The Message

Our God is for us – not against us!  He is standing at the door of your heart waiting for you to allow Him in.  Will you answer?

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Cling

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When my daughter was little, we lost her “meow”.  The “meow” that helped her sleep at night, comforted her when she was sad, and made nap time so much easier.  Oh, it was a rough few days until we finally discovered where we had left it. When we lose something we need or care about, we search high, low and in every drawer.  We will retrace our steps, call every store we have visited and double back to check every stop we made.

But, what if we lose something forever? Someone or something that can not be replaced: a marriage, a pet, a parent, a child or a dear friend.  We still search high and low and retrace every step we made along the way, but we aren’t looking for the person because we know they aren’t there.  We are searching for answers.

We are searching for an answer, someone to blame or someone to be angry with and a lot of times it is ourselves.  For some reason, it makes us feel better or more in control if we can determine why or how something happened.  We beg for answers: Why me, why them, why didn’t I do more, why didn’t I change, I should have . . ., I could have . . .

God promises that “testing will surely come.” (Ezekial 21:13). During times of loss or trials do not,  “harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:8) for we are told that we should “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-4)

For me, that is a little difficult to swallow.  Joy, really?  That is a tall order.  But, we have a choice.  We can shrivel up, hide, become bitter, consumed with guilt or we can cling to our Lord and Savior.

Webster’s defines cling: 1a : to hold together b : to adhere as if glued firmly c : to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously 2a: to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence  b : to remain or linger as if resisting complete dissipation or dispersal.

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:7-8

This is exactly what I mean when I say cling to our Father in Heaven.  We can not survive loss without him.  We have to glue ourselves to Him because He will hold you up.  Emotionally attach yourself to Him and claim His promises, His peace, and His word.  Do not let go!  Remain with Him, for He is the only one who can stop our pain.  The only one who can stop the “why” conversation in your head  and the only one who can offer you complete peace.

“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” Luke 8:1

Infomercial

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My daughter came into the bathroom this morning to tell me all about a new cleaning product.  She had even taken notes and I quote, “hot, cool, nise (nice), stems (steams) floor, you can use it again and again.  carpit glider.”  “Mommy, you would love this.  It cleans germs off the floor.” she expressed with delight.  Ten minutes later, she was back in the bathroom telling me about a new exercise program. “I did these leg lifts about 30 times and look at how big my muscles already are!”  she exclaimed.  (No, we don’t normally let our kids watch infomercials!).

Our children have innocent minds that believe what they hear and see.  Although, as adults, we aren’t so different from them.  Like an infomercial, sin is waiting for us around every corner.  Just hoping we will have a weak moment, let our guard down & believe those lies inside our head.  You aren’t thin enough, you have earned it, you could do more, you aren’t successful enough, they deserve it . . . Satan can fill our head with lies that we will begin to believe if we aren’t filling up our hearts & minds with God’s word and truths.

“Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”  Genesis 4:6-7 – The Message

How do we master our sin?  How do we seal up the cracks around our hearts and minds so that sin can not creep in and crush us?

“this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.” Isaiah 30:13

Fill your life with His Word, accept His blessings, Praise Him in the storm, accept His direction, follow His path, allow His forgiveness to penetrate your heart and share His love with others.  Jesus has to be our gatekeeper.  The gatekeeper of our hearts and our minds.  Allow Him entry and let Him take control.

“He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'”  Psalm 89:26

The Bottom Line

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Since I started this blog the point has been to write what God teaches me through my life, circumstances and study.  My hope is that by sharing how and what God teaches me you will begin to notice Him at work in your life.

You know, God never changes.  His lessons and messages have remained the same & He keeps His promises.

The bottom line is, the only thing that changes about God’s Word is the people who teach or write about Him. Learning and studying the Word is imperative.  What are the ways you continue to fill your mind and heart with His word?  Bible study, church, Sunday school, small group, blog, devotional, conversations with friends or something else? All of these are great, but If you don’t already take time alone with God and His word – I encourage you to do so.  By only listening to others and not to Him you are limiting what He can accomplish in and through you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Take a scripture and pour over it, soak it in, pray over it, absorb it into your soul and ask God to reveal Himself to you. He will not let you down.  When we are obedient and study His word – God is thrilled!!!  He will bless you and show off for you in ways you never imagined.  He will open your mind to things you never considered because when you serve God, you win!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

So, today. I urge you to sit down with God’s Word and listen for His whisper as He leads, reassures and encourages you through his words.  Today, for just 30 minutes, choose God over laundry, Grey’s Anatomy, chatting on the phone or running that one extra errand.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

 

Aliens Among Us

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“Cross your fingers!”, he said.  “Oh,I’ll do more than that”, I explained, “I’ll pray about it.”  Silence and an awkward laugh lead the way to the next topic.

Sometimes, I forget I am a foreigner in this world.  A resident of another place with only a temporary address on this planet.  I get the “look” more often than not.   All I have to do is drive up in GODCHICK, mention church, bible study, prayer, etc. and there it is.  It can be like telling someone you just got over the swine flu!  They slowly back away.

In 1 Peter 2:11, it even calls us, “aliens and strangers in this world.”  God knew we would feel like this.  He created us to long for Him.  This is not our home.  Our place is with Him.  We will only find satisfaction and contentment when we are with our Father in Heaven.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13-16

Do you feel like an alien when: you find peace in a stressful situation? Love where there was once resentment? Comfort where there should be pain? Trust during trails or pray instead of crossing your fingers?  We may not have green skin or computer chips in our heads, but all these things can make you feel or seem foreign to others. Be proud of your foreign/heavenly heritage.  Take rest in knowing we will never be satisfied here.  God has “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecc. 3:11).

Our hearts will always long for Heaven while we are here, but we have a loving God.  I believe He offers us glimpses of eternal life.  Wouldn’t you agree that we get a little taste of Heaven when we hold a newborn baby, see the delight in a child’s eyes, a beautiful sunset or a hug from someone we love?

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. Ecclesiastes 3:11-12

Please Pass the Salt

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Now that my children are older, I have learned you can’t say anything “off the radar”.  Somehow, those little ears always hear it.  It is a lot of work to raise children to be Christians in this self-centered world, but even more work for us to consistently model it for them!

“Mommy, you know that little boy who always calls me a baby at school? Well, I saw him today and he stuck his tongue out at me.  He DOES NOT have God in his heart.”

My child’s last comment diffused my irritation and reminded me of what the appropriate response should be to his comment.  “Well, I guess we better add him to our prayer list tonight and pray that God finds His way into his heart.”

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

I’ll be honest, my tongue can my greatest enemy if I am not careful.  I guess I need a little more salt or seasoning (like the scripture suggests) in my diet!  I have spent many days reading the book of James because he has a lot to say about taming the tongue.  I have learned that “no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. “James 3:8  We have to rely on the strength and direction of our Lord to fill us with grace and His Word to season us so that our conversations and words are used to build up and not destroy.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. James 1:26

James 1:26 changed my view on words and the tongue more than anything else.  In The Message, this scripture reads, “Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

I don’t want this to be me!  I don’t want to be full of hot air!   “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.” James 3:5 I realize that just writing this blog and putting my thoughts, feelings, lessons learned and encouragement out there may bring judgement from many people. Everything I do, don’t do, say, or don’t say can and will be used against me.  “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1 You don’t have to teach a bible study, share the message of God with others, teach Sunday school, write a blog, or volunteer at church to be judged.  If you call yourself a Christian; you too, will be judged more strictly.

As true Christians we can not,  “repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:9-11

Words can hurt!  We have all been the victim of an unruly or angry tongue.  Like a forest fire that starts out with a small spark – hurtful words can fuel a fire within us that leads to more evil and insults.  Our job, is to turn the evil or insult into a blessing. The dictionary says salt (verb) is used: “to cure, preserve, or treat with salt.”  Let Our Father in Heaven season you, cure you, preserve you and treat you through His scriptures so that your tongue does not overcome you.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6