“Triple T”

You know how so many of the Old Testament books
of the Bible seem to be filled with gloom & doom?
But there’s actually SO much more.

Here’s a quick example:

God was pointing out how so many of His people
had stopped tithing,
stopped obeying,
stopped caring about God altogether.

Then He says this…

Malachi 3:16 (another great “3:16” verse)
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other,
and the LORD listened to what they said.
In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written
to record the names of those who feared him
and always thought about the honor of his name.”

Did you notice that?

1. God was listening to the conversations between
people who served Him.
He was LISTENING! And they weren’t even praying!

2. They purposely kept a record of the people who
obeyed God and always THOUGHT about honoring
His name.

So I need to remember…

A. God is listening!
Stop complaining!

B. Think thoughts that honor Him!
He makes note of it.

C. Thinking about God will quickly make me thankful.

So… this little verse tucked away in the last book
of the Old Testament tells me to
THINK THANKFUL THOUGHTS!

Those are three “T’s” that I need to write on some sticky
notes and post them everywhere in my face,
and phone,
and mirror
and heart!

THINK THANKFUL THOUGHTS!

Pride Makes a Great Ear Plug

We know the scripture…
When pride comes, then comes disgrace.”

But remember the second part?
But with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

The problem is that you cannot have both at the same time.
If we want to have wisdom we have to repent of pride.
If we want to hear God’s voice we have to stop listening to
the “what if’s” in our own heads!

Pride makes a horribly effective ear plug that keeps us
from truly knowing what God is whispering in our hearts,
because our heads are busy playing out all the possible
scenerios of peoples’ reactions to us… and how everything
we affect us!
ick

Pull out the earplugs of pride.
Repent.
Obey… it’s brings such joy!
Be free from what other people think.
We don’t have to stand before them someday and
give an account of our decisions.
We’ll stand in front JESUS!
And I certainly would NOT want to see His face as
He speaks to me and then have to say, “Huh?”

Simultaneously Sad AND Happy

happy sad

I’m not Whacked out.
Sad AND Happy live side-by-side in me.
It’s sound like a bit of a “condition,
but quite honestly,
this combo of emotions screams,
“Healthy!”

Here’s why…

God has directed my husband to transition from the role
as founding/lead pastor of Courage Church to
joining the team of Mount Hope Church in Lansing , Michigan
full-time. ( More details are here)
To say that my emotions are zipping around from one
extreme to the other is stating it rather lightly.

Feeling sad & nostalgic …
– Over 10 years ago God directed us to start
this wonderful Church in Detroit.
– Was here when she, Courage Church, was born
– Have been involved in its growth & maturity
– Love & adore the people of Courage Church
– Now… it’s time to let her continue without us
– So much history with our Courage Family
– Saying goodbye to the hardcore, super cool, come-back city
– two of our children were born here
– our gorgeous old historic home must now be sold
– we raised our oldest girls in this city
– those two girls will not be making to move with us
– personally growing in a zillion ways & making huge memories
– there is nothing quite like this amazing church & city

And just like that… My eyes are spilling all over the place!

But at the same time a happy, bubbling dances inside my heart.
God has asked us to be a part of something new…

– Falling in love with another church family
– Experiencing new areas & ways of ministry
– Knowing God will develop unused parts of my life
– Making new friends to share our lives with
– Becoming part of a new city
– Hunting for a home
– Establishing new patterns
– Making new memories

And… just like that… I’m all gitty and jumpy inside!

I’m not pschyo … it’s supposed to be this way!
If I was ONLY sad, then I’d be hanging on too tightly,
and now allowing God to do His work in my heart.

If I was ONLY happy then I’d be running from something
and not allowing God to do His work in my heart.

See…. These roller coaster emotions prove HEALTH.
They only FEEL whacky…
Maybe that’s because I’m living in a condition of the heart
that is only about a sentence and a half away from tears
at any moment.
But I’m OK with it all.
I know the One who is directing our steps and
He’s the same One who created my heart!
As long as this heart of mine is following diligently
after Him, then sad AND happy will be just fine with me.

Normal, Common, Regular

“How was your day, today?”

“Regular.”

This conversation used to happen between
my daughter and her friend, Satina.
We always got a kick out of her
use of the work, “regular.”
Other people usually say words like,
“fine” or “good.” Her day was usually
just, “regular!” (I love that girl!)

Honesty, that word describes most of my
days, too. As a stay-home-mom I do nearly
the exact same tasks every day/week.
Not much changes. And since my five kids
range from ages 7 to 22
(only four are still at home), I’ve been
doing these daily jobs for 22 years with MANY
more years to come! Many!
The real kicker is that these
jobs are never, ever “completed.” NEVER!

As soon as I clear & scrub the sink,
someone eats again!
(how dare they?)

No sooner do I sweep our gorgeous wooden
floors & the dog saunters through the room &
disperses his hair to every corner.
(What does he have against me?)

Laundry is put away just about the time
someone dumps dinner on their clothing!
(Seriously?)

You know exactly what I’m saying!

Very few areas of my life offer that
wonderful satisfaction of “a job well done”
because nothing is ever DONE!
This reflects the “stay-at-home-mom” life.

Unrelated side note:
Recently when I called myself a stay-home-mom
a lady said to me,
“Oh, you shouldn’t feel bad that you
live with your Mom.”
WHAT? Come on!!
(but this is another topic altogether!
)

Regular. Common. Normal.
That’s my daily life.

All throughout the Old Testament the Bible
refers to the “Holy and the Unholy,”
the “Sacred and the Common.”
My daily life feels like it belongs in
the later of each of these comparisons.
And yet… it does NOT!

Everything my hand finds to do is
for God’s glory.
It’s all for Him.
It feels “regular,” but my feelings lie.
Whatever I do, I do it all for the
glory of God!
This makes the common task HOLY!
(Scripture references are from 1 Cor. 10:31 and
Col. 3:17)

Take heart, my fellow moms!
Chin up, faithful employee
with “menial tasks.”
Our attitude of praise & glory to God
converts our “normal regular stuff”
into holy, God-glorifying
jobs of great importance!

Yes, I’m a “stay-home-mom” but I’m far from common!

Hidden Agendas

Ick. Hidden agendas just make me wanna barf. And so many times
people will ask one thing but really be “fishing” for something
else… and think that no one notices. Again… ICK!

But that’s not what I’m referring to in this blog.
The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth that
sincere love speaks for itself.

“We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding,
our patience, our kindness,
by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.”
2 Corinthians 6:6

In this text the word for “sincere” means
not fake, free from hidden agendas.

“Well, that’s me for sure,” we all say smugly to ourselves.
But, maaaaaaaybe not!

What about the times we’ve gone out of our way for our
neighbor and they politely said, “Thanks,” and shut the door?
(I guess we were expecting a little more, right?)

Or when we sacrificed some serious sleep to bless our family
and they not only didn’t say thank you, but they actually
complained about our kindness?
(Certainly we could have expected a smidgen of praise
or at least a tiny bit of affirmation for our undying sacrifice!)

Or the time we so freely gave up our Saturday afternoon
to help out a stressed friend, but she seemed just as
uptight when we left as when we arrived.
(Surely our most blessed gift of time should’ve brought
about a peaceful gratitude!)

See what I mean?
Proudly we can declare that we give love without expecting
anything in return, but if we’re honest with ourselves
we have to admit that we have expectations…
hidden agendas.

Doing things to merely get my expected response (and warm fuzzy affirmations)
is like posting a selfie… only for SELF!
I must answer to God for MY love…
So, I’m learning to regularly ask myself, “Do I love without hidden agendas?”
Do you?

Not spoken

It’s often what we stop short of saying that speaks the loudest.

NOT saying something IS saying something.

Be purposeful.
Say those encouraging words.
Don’t assume they got the “gist of what you were saying.”
Be specific.

In order to speak encouragement to others we have to notice them.
Noticing requires listening.
Listening works best with looking.
Looking happens when stop.

Stop thinking about ourselves.
Stop moving.
Stop doing what is self-serving.

Self-serving does NOT encourage.
Purposeful kindness does.

Say those words.
They may be exactly what they needed to hear.

Hebrews 3:13
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today…”

That Word – Humility

When you think of words that make your tummy turn a
little flip and your heart utter a little prayer of
forgiveness, one of those words would most certainly
be HUMILITY. Am I right?

This difficult quality will not grow in us as long
as we are thinking about ourselves.
“How do I look?”
“Did I do that right? Are they noticing?”
“How will this affect me?”
“Why are they doing that? That’s not even right!”
“They’re so insensitive!”

Insecurity kills humility.
Cuz thinking about ourselves all the time
is pride… the enemy of humility.

A purposeful effort must be made to
NOT be full of self-thoughts.

Make an effort to…
– be gentle (deciding to be kind)
– be patient (cuz impatience is selfishness!)
– work without a title
– not depend on others’ affirmation
– choose the “invisible” jobs
– recognize others when you’re craving recognition
– be alone without being lonely (quote from our mentor Jeannie)
– stop rating other people
– remember Who you serve & why

Humility is the inside-out virtue that’s produced
by comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than to others.

“Always be humble and gentle.
Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults
because of your love.”

Ephesians 4:2

Soak in The Water

Dishes!
We have LOTS of dishes!
My hands know the kitchen sink all too well.
This weekend I was washing a stack of dishes & grabbed
a pan coated in yucky, dried grossness. (How is it possible
that this icky mess was once tasty food?)

As I filled that pot with water I said to myself,
“Soaking in water does wonders. It chips away the
crusty grossness.”
And then the Holy Spirit cleared His throat.
“Ehh Hem.”

What, Lord?

“If you’d sit more quietly in my presence I could
chip away at the crusty stuff in your life; the
attitudes that are old, dried, itchy & really
bothering you.”

Oh.

Yes… indeed.
The next morning when I was reading The Word I forced
my mind to shush up, to be still, to soak in the Words
I was reading. Then quietly He whispered to my heart,
proving that He sees me better than I see myself;
showing me the yucky junk that has attached itself to
my thoughts; pointing out how those thoughts lead
to patterns that look nothing like Him. Things I
truly had not even realized were there!

Water does do wonders!
Sitting in His presence;
allowing His wonderfulness wash over me:
soften my heart;

letting my tears be a relief instead of
a frustrated outcry;
loving Him because I’m suddenly awe-struck
by His graciousness to me!

Thank you, Jesus, for speaking to me anytime,
anywhere, through any situation…
every situation…
even the kitchen sink!

John 4:14
But those who drink the water I give will
never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh,
bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Ezekiel 36:25
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away…”

Savvy?

When I was growing up my Dad would often explain
something to me and then ask, “Savvy?” This means,
“Get it? Do you understand the whole of it?”

Psalm 55:22 says, “Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”

God promises to TAKE CARE of us when we fling
our
assignments back onto Him.
(In previous posts I discussed these Words.) In this case,
TAKE CARE implies that God will sustain, provide or to
comprehend. COMPREHEND?

YES! God not only provides, but He provides
in a way that keeps the whole picture in mind.
He gets it! I certainly do NOT!
He sees the future. I only see the now.
He understands what is unseen. I can’t even
understand what’s smack in my face.

Jesus asks me to stop trying to “handle” my life…
He most certainly is “savvy!”
Me… not so much…um, not AT ALL!

Your comments are welcome

Meat Platters on the Floor

If you thought yesterday had some unusual analogies in it,
this post will probably leaving you thinking more of the same.

“Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”

Psalm 55:22 NLT

The word “GIVE” was yesterday.
Today… “BURDENS.”

BURDENS in this case means “a lot” or “what is assigned or given,”
Wait! WHAT? God has assigned burdens for me? Not the bright
encouragement I’d hoped to find. Hmm, then God gave me the mind
picture of a child & parent situation. (I’ve experienced a few
of those situations before.. ha!) If I, the parent, asked a toddler
to help me put dinner on the table I’d certainly have EVERY inte
ntion
of helping that little one complete this assignment! I would not
want my child to grab the heavy platter of meat and zip around
towards the table. That meat would splat right on the floor and the
child would be crying because I gave him a super hard job.

So, if I’d assign the job to the toddler & as he reaches for the platter
I’d say, “Give it back to me now. Let me help you. Give it back to me!”
If he lets me help he’ll find excitement, joy and satisfaction
from his assigned “burden.”

Uh… ouch, Lord!
How many times does God place an assignment in front of me,
totally wanting me to give it right back to you. He’s saying,
“Give it back. Give it back.” But I often
scoop it up & attempt it alone. I need to work on my “giving
back” skills. Flinging it back to JESUS.

“Oh, Lord, I’m so sorry for grabbing the meat platters you’ve
assigned to me and failing to wait for your help. Then I’ve
become frustrated & angry that “You did that to me!” (Sigh)
Please help me to quickly fling my thoughts onto you
and wait for your assistance!”

(the next part of this verse is here)