Simplify, and three other words

Several Days ago I knew that Jesus clearly asked me to SIMPLIFY things in my life.  I often say that I have a knack for doing the opposite of that. Sometimes I laugh & say, “Why do anything the easy way when I can make it more complicated!”  Honestly, I’m pretty good at creating several steps out of one tiny job.

Then, on New Year’s morning God spoke through Genesis chapters 1 & 2. Everything that God created had ORDER, PURPOSE and BEAUTY.

So, this is my plan…

 

ORDER – Each week clean/organize two small spaces, like a drawer, section of a closet, corner of the    basement, etc (I already started this. Two shelves in a small cupboard are cleaned out & decluttered. It took about 10 minutes & it feels so wonderful!)

 

PURPOSE – When rearranging & weeding out, I will keep only things that serve a purpose in our lives.

This must apply to the choices I make with my time and priorities.

 

BEAUTY- Carefully add at least one thing a month to our decor that adds beauty, starting with the items that are lurking around in boxes & storage spaces. I’ll use what we already have; repurpose it. Or dig out a project I’ve already started; complete it.

 

Simple things. But they’re gunna make a big difference.

 

 

 

I Want a Star!

 

The “Christmas Star” was a sign, a miracle, a guide, an answer to the questions. Could you even count the number of times you’ve asked Jesus for same thing; “Lord, I really need a sign, a miracle, your guidence & some answers! Please!” Yesterday morning as I was saying similar words I realized some things about that special star and how it was similar to the “miracles” that I’m seeking.

 

 

THE STAR (miracle) is…

Normal, yet extraordinary– Many people see stars, but not everyone looks closely enough to notice it’s magnificence or it’s power. They look right at it but never recognize that it’s a direct act of God.

 

THE STAR (miracle) is…

Something only God can do– No one else makes stars. Committees don’t. Influencial people cannot do it. Only JESUS!

 

THE STAR (miracle)…

Was expected – The wisemen noticed the star because they kept their eyes up; they knew the scriptures and they realized when it actually happened. NOTE: This does NOT mean that it appeared as they’d expected nor does it mean that they totally understand what it meant.

 

THE STAR (miracle)…

Prompted Action– When the miracle/star appeared, the wiseman acted. They left the normal & travel into the unknown. But the result was seeing the Savior’s face and the joy of being compelled to worship Him.

 

I don’t want to ask for a miracle if I’m not willing to see it, whatever it looks like, and and to do whatever it’s reality requires of me.

 

(Another Christmas-ish article that I wrote last year was featured on a Nat’l Church Planters website.  Click here)

 

 

 

Busted out the Old One

Wednesday morning while I was spending time with Jesus

I grabbed the “old” Bible that my parents had given me for

Christmas when I was  junior in high school. I was just

looking up something in that particular version (I’d already been

reading The Message that morning.)   A couple things screamed

at me! (not literally, but close!)

 

I’ve always tried to

write the date next to a

verse if I highlight it,

but for some reason this

really grabbed my attention.

This verse, pictured left,

from Psalm 26 is about

loving the house where God lives. It’s dated 12-29-85…

that’s Christmas time my Senior year. In the margin I’d written,

“His glory dwells in me!”

This was the beginning of my understanding that because JESUS lives in

me & has possession of my life, I can like myself… and that I’m worthwhile.

HE loves me… so confidence and courage can fill me & spill out of me.

I cried tears of joy & gratefulness to my Savior, Jesus! I prayed this

truth for my children… and that they’d understand it much quicker

than I did… I think they do already!

 

A few verses later in

Psalm 27 I’d

written similar notes…

and it was dated 4/20/86.

That’s exactly 25 years ago

this month! That was springtime of my senior year. God was driving that truth deeper into my heart.

I cried again. Thankful tears. Thinking of how my life has changed since

then… rejoicing that the insecurities of an 18 year old from Colorado are

not holding on to the heart of a lady who lives in Detroit… pondering

how huge & wonderful JESUS is… and for the joy of knowing

Him better each day!

I’m so grateful that I busted out the “old” Bible.

HIS WORD is alive & always relevant.

 

 

16 days & counting

 

It’s wearin’ me down.

This dumb cold.

I woke up with it 16 mornings ago, and just when I think it’s gone, it gets yuckier. Grr.

The bummer is that when I’m not feeling well it makes all the other things in my life

seem out-a-wack… even when they’re not…

and it makes little things seems bigger than they really are.

cuz I’m worn down.

It’s like life… our spiritual life.

When we’re going through something difficult that’s zapping our energy

it makes reality a little fuzzy.

It makes small challenges seem bigger and little annoyances grow large.

In both situations I have to recognize what’s really happening:

I’m a little worn now. Things are NOT as horrible as they feel.

Focus on the truth. THE TRUTH!  JESUS!

Keep His Word in my heart, in my thoughts and remember that

situations are a little blown out a context when I’m tired/sick/going-through-a-difficult-time.

[box]”Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9[/box]

It’s NOT multiple choice










Yesterday I shared how worry & prayer don’t mix.
Here’s another thing Jesus has been speaking to me… 
and changing in me.







Praying specifically” isn’t about giving God several
specific ways to answer a prayer.
It’s presenting specific needs to God. Period.
And letting Him do the answering.




Phil. 4:6
Don’t worry about anything; 
instead, pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need
and thank him for all he has done.


If we get it into our heads that we must come up
with ways for Him to answer…


– it’ll keep us from praying cuz when
we “don’t know what to ask for”… 
– keeps us frustrated
– keeps us from experiencing miracles
– causes worry


Don’t worry… INSTEAD… pray.
Tell God what you NEED…. and thank Him.


My prayers have turned from “not knowing what to
ask for” into something like this…


“Lord Jesus, we have _____ need and only you
can help us.”
and
“Jesus, this ____ is so difficult! Please Help!”




Does this lesson from Philippians ring a bell with you?





It Can’t Be Both

This entire month many of us
at Real Church have chosen to read
through Philippians over & over
again in our personal Bible
reading time… and it’s so cool.

One of the many things Jesus
has spoken to me through
this book is this..

“Don’t Worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.”
(Phil 4:6)

It’s an “either/or” situation.

You can’t worry AND pray.
You do one or the other!

Worry kills prayer.
Prayer kills worry.

Which one do you do most often?
Why?

(Jesus also spoke more to me about why I tend to NOT pray
as much as I think… check tomorrow’s post for more.)


(Above photo was taken years ago of my daughter, Mariah)

God Spoke Through My Iron

Jesus speaks to me in a language I understand.

This week He spoke through my iron… more or less.
(and I hardly used it all week.. hee hee)

Paul said…
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the 
heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Phil. 3:14


PRESS 
The greek word means “aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch” 


I don’t relate to hunting. Nor do I usually chase after anything too aggressively.
(unless my kids are hurt, then I may bust into a sprint… don’t laugh!)


But thankfully I speak the language of the other kind of press

      IRONING!



1. Ironing – takes what’s already washed & improves it
Yes, Jesus washed away my sin, but He’s always wanting
to change me & make me better.


2. Ironing – flattens puffiness… pride


3. Ironing – smoothes the bumps & creases…
the inconsistencies in my life & character


4. Ironing- requires heat that is “ouchy” but totally

necessary.  Painful times are needed.



5. Ironed Garment- reflects the one who is inside of it… 
JESUS! 


I will not fight against difficult times, but walk through them
knowing that Jesus is ironing me into a reflection of Him.




(Now, take one of these points and insert it into the verse above
in place of the word press.  For example, #2, 
“I will flatten my pride so that I will reach the end of the race…”)

Has God spoken to you through anything usual lately?





Get Smart with Action Verbs

I love English Grammar.
(You’d never know it from the weird way that I often blog.)
When reading God’s Word, it’s fun to take note of the
action verbs … and ponder (and apply) their meaning.
Today’s Proverb (it’s June 2 so I read Prov. 2) gave us
some great “action verbs” to put into play. I didn’t dig
into the original language or use tons of Bible Study methods…
I simply took some time to ponder each verb at face value.
(These words are taken from the NLT)
Here’s my thoughts from Prov. 2 on how to
take ACTION so you can “Get Smart!”
1. LISTEN (vs. 1)
must be quiet, stop talking, drop pre-conceived ideas,
pay attention to God’s voice & Word
2. TREASURE (vs. 1)
hold His Word valuable, store it up (read & memorize),
look for truth
3. TUNE (vs. 2)
shut out other things, pay specific attention to Him,
shut out lies & that horrible “self-talk” that we do)
4. CONCENTRATE (vs. 2)
concentrate, think hard, focus, look at repeatedly from
many angles
5. CRY (vs. 3)
don’t be ashamed to ask for help, be desperate for Him,
let others know you desire insight
6. ASK (vs. 3)
be specific about your need (but don’t tell Him how to answer),
requires humility, must admit that wisdom comes from God!
7. SEEK (vs. 4)
a quest, a goal with a plan, a focus that rearranges everything
else in our lives
What “action” do you need to take to acquire His wisdom?