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Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category

Christmas Busy


img_1244I have been Christmas busy all weekend. This year my whole family will be here for Christmas and there are many things to prepare. I want to share something my mother used to do for us with my grandchildren this year. I am making what we called a “cookie crib”. It is the manager scene with Christmas cookies. My mom used to make the sugar cookies and all of us kids would paint them then she would bake them. When they were done they were stored until it was time to make the crib.

She would build the building out of sugar cubes using powdered sugar and water as the mortar. I have never built one of them but I watched her build them every year. I am finding out how tedious a job this is. You can only put three layers of sugar cubes in a day and then you have to let it dry over night before you can add any more layers. It is very time consuming. When the walls are all the way up you have to put a roof on.

Some years she would put mints on cardboard for the roof and later on I remember her using shredded wheat and drizzling icing to make it look like snow. (This was before frosted mini-wheats.) Shredded wheat would go on the floor of the manger scene. I have made it six layers up on the sugar cubes and have found that I am not a brick mason. I realized when I was on the fourth or fifth level that I had not tied the walls together and one started to fall off…so I had to improvise and begin to add some cardboard on the corners to help hold the walls together. It is not unlike what brick masons do to tie walls together.

One of the most tedious things that I have done is cutting sugar cubes in half so my walls are even. According to my sister my mom did not do that but I like straight ends so I am doing it. The ends are not turning out straight but I like them.

While I think about the intricate work that it takes to build this reminder of what Christmas is all about I begin to think about Jesus and His life on this earth. Usually I like to take the easiest path through life but Jesus never did that. He worked long hours helping people and teaching God’s word to people. He set an example for all of us to follow. He showed us how to live a life that is pleasing to God.

I will finish the cookie crib even though some of the walls tried to fall apart. I will also continue working on follow Jesus’ example in my everyday life. Will you join me this week in following in His steps as we make our way to the Christmas celebration? Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Draw Near to God


james 4 8

On that sunny day I walked on the sidewalk next to the cemetery. I loved the cemetery because it was peaceful and had lots of trees. When I could I would spend time just sitting in the valley that ran through the cemetery because it was so beautiful. As I walked alongside the fence I saw something moving ahead of me on the sidewalk. I wasn’t sure what it was until I got closer. There was a bird that was hurt, hopping on the sidewalk unable to fly.

It was a small bird and I wanted to help it. I tried to get closer but fear took over. I had never touched a live bird. I wondered what it would feel like but could not get close. I reasoned with myself that I touched dogs and they were alive, so why not a bird. I became so afraid that I had to walk out in the street to get away from it. My heart wanted to help it but my fear of the unknown made me walk away. I wondered if anyone would help it and was upset with myself that I could not be that person.

I still have some of that same reaction when I go fishing. I love to fish as long as my husband is there to bait the line—if it is live bait, and help take the fish off the hook. I even bought myself gloves to wear so I could hold the fish without fear of being hurt by the scales, but I could not do it because the fish would always move and I would scream and let go. I am working on overcoming this fear.

I think there is the same kind of fear inside of us that sometimes keeps us from approaching God. We know that He is alive and we know that He is powerful which makes it difficult to wrap our thoughts around approaching Him. But James tells us in

 James 4:8 (NKJV)

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Our fear of approaching God has more to do with our sinful nature than anything else. But the rewards of drawing near to Him are so much greater than the momentary embarrassment and guilt we feel on the way to Him. If we overcome our fear of punishment and shame we can receive grace and mercy. So the question becomes do we enjoy the embarrassment and guilt, the fear of punishment and shame so much that we would not trade them in for grace and mercy?

I say it is time to embrace the changes God has for us, shed the embarrassment, guilt, fear of punishment and shame so we can draw nearer to God. He will gently guide us on the right path, show us grace and mercy and forgive our transgressions.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

My goal in life is to bring God glory, but I can’t do that if I am not close to Him. Would you join me this week in drawing nearer to God so He can work in our lives and gain the Glory that is due Him? Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

I Want it My Way


footsteps not shoesIt seems that life rarely goes “my way”. Lately more often than not I am finding that the way it used to be, the way I liked it to be, are not the same as the way it is now. Life changes daily and I get frustrated with the changes. Here is an example. I used to be able to wear fashionable shoes that matched my outfits. Though I am not a “fashionista” I do want to look coordinated in what I wear.  Due to my ankle and foot issue I can only wear athletic shoes. Do you know how frustrating it is to feel like you look stupid everywhere you go? It is a challenge to try to figure out what I can put on that will look business like and still wear the athletic or walking shoes. 

Do you ever wonder if Jesus wanted to do things differently than He did? I think He showed great restraint in personal preferences by following the lead of His Father God.

John 5:19 (AMPLIFIED BIBLE)

19 So Jesus answered them by saying, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself [of His own accord], unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever things the Father does, the Son [in His turn] also does in the same way.

But there was a time when Jesus did try to get out of something and do it a different way, right before going to the cross. In his anguish He asked God for an out, but He did not get one.

Matthew 26:39 (AMPLIFIED BIBLE)

39 And after going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible [that is, consistent with Your will], let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

As I sit and write this blog I realize that my fashion problem is nothing compare to what Jesus had to do. My worry about other people thinking I just don’t know how to dress properly is wrong. All the little things that have caused me frustration are nothing in the big scheme of things and I need to learn how to expect them to happen and deal with them and move on. This is just like bad news, I need to understand and prepare myself for the worst case scenario while doing all I can to change the situation. It helps to get a HIGHER PERSPECTIVE on life by reading the Bible.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

The Way in the Storm


1 peter 5 6 to 7The wind swirled round and round and the rain fell in sheets. Everything was spinning out of control and being thrown as a tornado took its toll on the countryside. Though she was in a safer place than where the tornado touched down, inside her head the same spinning was happening. Some of the mistakes of her past were spinning out of control in her head.

As this horrifying movie ran in her mind, she could hardly catch her breath. One bad decision after another kept bombarding her mind.  She would grab onto the decision and hold it while it spun around and around.  All the while she was being battered and bruised by the storm.  Once she released her grip she had some relief. But then she would see another bad decision and grab a hold of it and the spinning would begin all over again. This continued throughout the night because she thought that if she grabbed them and held on she could fix them and change what had happened.

The storm outside raged but it wasn’t as bad as the storm inside her mind. She prayed for God to stop it. And for a brief period, while she read her bible it stopped. She did not understand that what she had to do was to release her grip on the problems and let God take control.

Life presents many challenges. No matter what the challenge we have to figure out the right way to deal with it. Once we have the way, the challenge can be conquered. Letting go of controlling our own destiny is very difficult.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 

It is a humbling thing to understand that you are not in control of everything in your life. And you must reach that point before you can cast those cares unto God.

John 14:1-6 (NASB)

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going.”  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Too many times in my life I have asked God to show me the way, but did not understand that it was right in front of me. Jesus says “I am the way”.  My translation of that line goes like this: Focus on Me and what I have done and am doing. That is the way. You cannot get to the Father unless you go through Jesus.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus is the way to perfect peace. This is easier said, than done. It is a challenge but the rewards make the challenge worth conquering. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Desires of Your Heart


As I sit down to write my blog I usually do not know what I am going to write and spend time writing and erasing.  Today is no different. But God brought me this scripture and it opened up to me as I was writing.

Proverbs 37:1-4

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

I have always focused on the fourth verse, but clearly verses 1-3 are more important.

proverbs 37 1 2Verse one is key. God does not fret because of evildoers. To quote Veggie Tales: “God is bigger than the boogie man.” We have to clean up our thoughts. People who do evil things should not cause us stress because we know our God.

Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. It is hard to look at those who are not playing by the rules and prospering. But we cannot let ourselves focus on their cheats to win or we will follow their ways.

Verse two tells us what will happen to the evil people. Their reign is temporary just like grass in Texas, here today and gone tomorrow. If we bring our focus back on God’s eternal reign we will we will not allow them to affect our well being.

proverbs 37 3 4Verse three tells us first to trust in the Lord.  If we focus on the evil people we are trusting in what we believe they will do more than what God will do.

And do good—this is the harder part with our natural tendencies. Our trust is always translated into actions. These actions prove our faith. If our real faith is in God then our actions will be good and God like. But if our trust is in evil then our actions will not be good and God like.

Dwell in the land—God put us here to live. We have to pass this test of time by the way we live. He did not just save us to take us out. He saved us to show us how to really live.

Feeding on His faithfulness is trusting whole heartedly in the Lord and not circumstances or evil. It is having a clear path of thought and focus and a clear purpose in life. God is faithful and if we look around we will see His faithfulness every moment.

Now take it to the next level and delight yourself in the Lord. This is more than mere living and Godly life. This is being joyful about serving the one true God. Delighting yourself in the Lord means all walls are down and you share His love with everyone and you worship Him. You praise Him openly and with a full heart of joy.

Now He will give you the desires of your heart because now your heart and His heart are one. It is a natural flow from God through His people.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Christmas Present


IMG_2200At this time of year there are always the questions of “What do you want for Christmas?” And every year I scan my memory banks and try to figure out what I need and/or want. Every year it is difficult because I don’t think about those things too much I just go along and do what I need to do day in and day out. It is almost a burden to answer those questions. Every year my family manages to give me things that are appreciated no matter what I tell them or don’t tell them. They understand that I have trouble with the question and have learned to adapt to my quirkiness.

This year I think that I will give myself a present. Because of something I read online recently I had some questions. What if all my life I would have spent a little time at the end of each day thinking about the best thing that happened that day? What would my life have been like? Would I have had a more positive attitude? Would it have made a difference in the lives of my children and family?

I can’t change what I have done in the past but I am in control of how I live my present. So I am giving myself a present that will last the whole year long. At the end of every day instead of complaining about the bad things that happened I will think on the good things that happened. I realize that some days the good things are harder to find, but that will be the challenge in it.

My plan is to not just do this with myself alone but with those around me. As I establish this as a daily process I am also going to establish another thing. In the past when I have struggled to get along with some people I have added them to my prayer list as a way to help. This is a great thing to do, but I believe it is time to step it up a notch and begin to think about and when possible speak to them about the good things I see in their lives. The more positive things I think about them the better the relationship should become and the easier it will be to love them as God loves them

God sees who He has made us to be and not all the faults. It is time for me to see myself and others from God’s perspective.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If I can use this scripture for myself then I should use it for the others around me too. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Who Do I Follow?


leading or followingAfter a long week of trials and tribulations I realized that one of my points from last week should be addressed.  I spoke about loving the unlovely and getting involved in their lives. Throughout this week God showed me the challenge of experiencing ungodly behavior in someone’s life and not allowing it to be shown in my life. As a Christian I am called to be a leader in this world and not a follower of the world.

I was taken on a trip through the scriptures early yesterday morning.

Psalm 1:1-3

Psalm 26:5

Proverbs 1:15

Proverbs 4:14-17

Proverbs 22:24-25

Proverbs 24:1-2

 

2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV)

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

All of these scriptures address the same issue: the influence of our friends.  Even as I type I realize what God has shown me. If I am to lead the world from sin to salvation I must lead and not follow them. My personality gives way to easily following examples that are set in front of me. This can be good because it makes new tasks easy to learn but it can be bad if I unconsciously follow bad examples.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

And then Romans 12:2 came along and made me realize that I was unconsciously changing who I was following. I follow easily but what I need to do is to remind myself who to follow. I know I am to follow God and His word. I realize know that I must actively watch my life so that I don’t follow the ways of the world.

I don’t know about you but I just learned something that I needed to know. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

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