Ever have a one-sided friendship? You give and give and give. You accept, and you tolerate. You turn the other cheek. You go the second and third mile. Then one day you discover that all you gave was never enough and you never will be enough.
Your efforts to comfort, to encourage, to uplift and edify is met with ho-hum yawns of disinterest. Your energy is spent. You wonder if all this time you've lived amidst a lie. There really was no friendship. You failed to meet expectations. You ran out of yourself. The will you once had to befriend evaporates. You stop writing. Texting. Commenting. Calling. Because you stop, you never hear from your "friend" again. It's like you never existed.
Yet, you know you did. You know you do.
Your "friend" moves on down the tracks of life. Yet, memories linger. You stand between two iron rails and realize that you are like those tracks. Either way you look, you are just a speck on the horizon of another's life. The largest part-- of who you are-- rests beneath your feet. An arm's length outstretched to touch those within your reach. You look behind you and see the speck of what you were, you look ahead and focus on the steps needed to keep moving on down the line...to the next stop, the next encounter, and perhaps...the next friendship, a longer lasting friendship.
Each friendship we have, each relationship we build, creates a bond with life we are purposed to live. When we learn within a relationship, it fuels us to be kinder, more sensitive, more empathetic, and more loving. We reach a point of understanding how to be more accepting. Of others and ourselves.
Our Heavenly Father created us. He longs for a relationship with us, more than what we seek in others. Sometimes He leaves us to ourselves, to wander off and waste away the time we could share with Him. He does not force Himself upon us anymore than we force ourselves upon the friend who no longer wants to spend time with us.
Some people wonder why God doesn't intervene in lives.
I wonder, since He knows what we do not...that even if He intervened, His presence would be no more welcome than before He met a need.
Like nine lepers who did not stop long enough to thank Him? Like the thousands he fed lunch? Or would they be like the blind and crippled who went back? Would they rejoice and tell everyone around them? Would they follow Him? Like the woman at the well? Would they sit at His feet and hang on every word? Or would they busy themselves with other chores?
I think we all can be a bit one-sided in our relationships. I think we can all have a need and once the need is met, whether we are grateful or not, sometimes we go back to doing what we were doing before. And we neglect those we care about.
Today I am grateful that my Savior is not like me. I'm glad He continues to be with me in every way. I'm glad His Spirit rests within me and nudges me, and prods me, and whispers comfort in my ear when I feel lost. I'm glad He does not neglect to show me He is present in my life. I'm glad He always listens when I need to talk and bear my soul. I'm so glad that when I find myself in a one-sided relationship with others, that it is God I always find on the each side of the tracks. Alpha Omega, and everything in between. For all eternity. Are you? selahV
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
I chatted with a friend long distance and rattled on about something that was really, really bugging me. Even as I unloaded my dump truck into her ear, I kept getting this niggling prod in my spirit, "Enough". Fortunately for me, the phone beeped and signaled that I had another call (ah, rescued from myself). You'd think that would be enough to remind me to still my tongue and dwell on that which is pure, and good.
However, another friend contacted me by email and I repeated my annoying story all over again. Long about the third paragraph, I stopped and sent the email as it was. She's my friend. She cares what bothers me. (That's what I told myself.) Any excuse is better than none, now isn't it? I'd almost forgotten about the day until a few minutes ago. I was going through my emails and saw one from Elaine, who compiles the prayer list for our Sunday School Department. I opened it up and before I downloaded the list of requests, I read the Bible verse Elaine always adds before the attachment:
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col.3:17
Let's see; I managed to write some uplifting thoughts on a blogpost and sent out some encouraging words in a couple of other emails. I struggled to see how "whatever" I did and said was in the name of the Lord. I remember thanking God for the wonderful rain we're having in Oklahoma. I went shopping to pick up a hot-pink chair I'd seen the other day; my great granddaughter turned one. I didn't get huffy when a lady nearly knocked some of the store display on my head. I did a bit of Christmas shopping and made a couple of purchases I thought would make my family happy. When I got to the check-out, I even let some go in front of me in line. I did a lot of smiling. This afternoon I made a chicken-broccoli and rice casserole for my husband's supper. But nothing stands out in my mind of any eternal significance that I said or did.
It wasn't till I read this verse that I even gave much thought to my words or deeds today. Now I am thinking. Thinking about the significance of a day. My life. What I did, and said. I cannot lay claim to doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus, indeed, I can't blame Him for my murmurring tongue. Any good that was accomplished, any person who was blessed as a result of me being in their space, is because God's grace allows it and supplies it. In Christ I am one with God. Apart from Jesus I can do nothing. Yet, I can do all things through Him. For that I can give thanks to God, even as I rejoice in His mercies.
May I ask you a question? Do you ever look back on a day and think you've done nothing worthy of notation? Yet, for some reason the Lord gives you a wonderful blessing, anyway? Do you think, as I do, that God bears fruit through the branches of our lives as He flows through the Vine? selahV
Brenda Crim is a missionary in Alaska. She shared the video below with her Facebook friends. It's a tragic story of one Alaskan. Yet, in the ashes, the Lord brought forth a shoot of life. Life in Him. Pray for Alaskans. Pray for the work going on in Alaska.
That's what prolific author of 20 books, Gary Smailes, said. I receive this writer's blog in my email via subscription. He blogs about writing because he knows how to get published. He shares his insights with wannabe authors and bloggers to help them reach their writing goals. He's the man! When I opened his email yesterday, I felt my face warm. My heart skipped a beat at his blog-title:
Friends, let me tell you something; it was like Gary could hear my argumentative rant. He wrote:
"The golden rule for thinking up blog post ideas is to remember that everyone is selfish. People want to read blog posts that entertain and add value to their lives. The brutal reality is that they don’t want to hear about your thoughts and everyday problems. Instead, they want to know what you know that will help them reach their goals."
Great day in the morning. I'm toast! Where was Gary when I first started blogging? Over 2,000 posts under the bridge and I am just finding out I shouldn't write about me? Imagine how I felt. No, don't. If you do, you'll be buying into my ruse of blogging about myself, my thoughts, my feelings, my perspective. I guess Gary is right.
You see, yesterday morning I got one of those "unsubscribe" messages in my email inbox. Someone who "was" subscribing and reading my blog, (or at least allowing Feedburner to send a copy of my blog and to be opened in their email box-- no telling if they opened it or not), decided they no longer wanted me in their inbox.) Sigh....what's a person to do? Gary warned me.
I have a decent following for a person who writes about herself, her woes, her struggles, her triumphs, her questions, her pet peeves, her opinions, her relationships with others, her faith and her grandchildren. However, I really have no super duper clear understanding who reads me. I only know "some" who read me. It's only when someone "UN-subscribes" to my blog, that Feedburner sends me a message to let me know. For what, I do not know. It kinda feels like a slap in the face, a bucket of cold water, a rude wake-up call. If the person who unsubscribes never connects with us, we may not ever know how to connect with them. If they subscribed at one point, they must have liked something we wrote.
Of course, I don't just write about the mouse in the house, the snake attack, the gangs who vandalized my car, or the car accident that turned my world upside down. Something must be wrong with me. I tend to write about how God breaks down His truth to me...how He teaches me, guides me, and feeds me. I share how I blow it, and how He lifts me up from the miry pit I slip into. I don't know, folks; I have always loved to read devotionals. Especially those that included a tidbit about the author's life.
Slices of another's life fill my life. I like them. I learn lessons and receive a message from just about anyone's story. People are the most interesting topics I can think of. Character, virtue, discipline, quirks, challenges, solutions. People reveal so much. People give us wisdom, accumulated experience, corporate understanding and a multiplicity of ideas, tips, and assistance. I like reading blogs about folks who talk about themselves and what they did that day. I can't help myself.
I like Gary Smaile's ideas and I like his Bubble Cow blog. However, I have to disagree a tad, that personal chatter is unsuccessful to the world-wide-web of conversation. People like people. We can all google information sites, encyclopedia references. We have explanations, definitions and geneology at our fingertips. We have You-tube instructional videos, and personal photos to browse on Flickr and make us say, "Aaaawh". We follow one another's short-brain waves on Twitter, Linked In, Buzz, Facebook and other social media venues and live in a virtual world of pleasantries, updates, and connections. We share all kinds of stuff as we seek to be less lonely and better informed. Just because a blog does not teach one to fly a jet plane, sew a jean-purse, paint a portrait, write a book, or build a treehouse, doesn't mean that blog is insignificant and a failure. We "disclosers" may not be linked to Huffington Post, Farmer's Almanac, or famous publishers. But we who give TMI (too much information), and write silly entries about our mistakes, stupidity, and ignorance still, if you please, have a space to fill in someone's life. We are not failures because we do not succeed like others succeed.
I know I will never win an award for what I do. I'm just a "common matters" kind of writer. I slice off a chunk of my life and place it on your proverbial window until you have time or inclination to peek at what I've cooked up. You have the choice to read me, save me, forward me, like me, or delete me. Let's face it. Even the most prolific writer has folks who "unsubscribe" for lack of interest. So, I guess I'll keep tip-tapping away--telling you what's going on in my little splice of life.
May God take my insignificance and help you see His and yours. May He show you the extra-ordinary from my ordinary. May you gain insight and foresight from my hindsight. If not, may you find someplace, somewhere and someone who does better than I in explaining how great He is. selahV Oh...and....
I wrote a post last week about Unwelcomed Intruders. Occasionally I write a post about an experience I have and I use the experience as an anecdotal thought to a Biblical principle. I rarely have one that has been so clearly confirmed and illustrated as I have today. You see, I'd just posted on Facebook, that the "Intruder" I'd written about in my post last week had not been seen since Saturday. I claimed that most likely he'd fallen prey to the poison-laced tidbits my husband had placed beneath the stove, the refrigerator and the sofa. I was happy that the problem was most likely solved. I have never really been super frightened when I see a mouse. Usually I'm startled, but never frightened. You see, when I was a little girl, I captured a little mouse in my bedroom and kept him in a jar and fed him bread until my step-mother found him. Then she took him out and ended his little life.
Spiders frighten me. Some bees frighten me. Scorpians, snakes and snarling dogs frighten me. But mice are basically nasty little creatures that spread diseases. You need to get rid of them, but I'm not frightened of them. In my "intruder" post I shared how we need to get rid of unwelcome intruders and things that enter our lives uninvited. We need to do this because, over time, one evil opens the door for another. As was the case for my mouse. Let me say I never dreamed that my mouse would attract much more than another mouse. Kinda like ants. The scouts go out and find the sugar granules and the scout goes back and tells the others what they've found.
Today, I smelled something akin to a gas leak. Since we'd just turned our heat on last week, I wondered if we had a problem and my nose led me to the stench. It was my dead mouse, lying on the top of a mattress in my granddaughter's bedroom. The mattress was on the floor because I gave the beds away to my other granddaughters. I was about to scoop up that nasty dead vermin with a dustpan when I saw something move. It bugged me because, like I said in my Common Matters column last week, I've been seeing things. Light flashes and floaters. Only, this time I had a gut feeling it may be another mouse. So I pulled back the giant Scooby Doo that lay on the same mattress with the dead mouse. When I pulled on Scooby, I uncovered a snake that curled up and then struck towards me. I was more than startled. Fear gripped my gut and twisted. I jumped back.
Immediately I called my husband. He'd come by for a bathroom break on his way to his next appointment. I thought he hadn't been gone that long and I wondered if he was just down the street checking on one of the empty rentals the realty company had listed. Unfortunately he was nearly thirty minutes away. He told me to go see my neighbor Joe across the street. I went outside but Joe's truck wasnt' there. I called my grandson because he was the only one I knew who might be close enough to come help me. NO...I was NOT going to attempt to capture that snake by myself. NO WAY, NO HOW! I understand quite well that God's curse on Eve was alive and well in my life. Serpents give me the creeps. I'll probably have nightmares for days, now.
Long story, short: Jordy didn't answer. I called my daughter (who'd had her own share of snake battles recently); she was quite empathetic. Within 3 minutes, Jordy was on his way to my house with his dad riding shotgun (metaphorically so). They came into the house and I got them a bucket and gave Jordy my broom which he unscrewed so he'd just have the handle. His dad hadn't found the snake by the time we'd returned; he'd already pulled Scooby completely off the bed. With my broom handle in hand, he flipped through the clothing I'd piled on the mattress for my coming yardsale. I told him to try and push back the pillows lying against the wall and sure enough, that sneaky little snake had crawled up under the pillows so he could be near that dead mouse. When my son-in-law went after the head of that snake with the tip of my broom handle so he could scoop it into the bucket that Jordy was holding, that snake reared up and his head spewed apart flat like a doggone cobra does when it's about to strike. And yes, he struck, just like he did when I'd uncovered him earlier. Needless to say, the snake got scooped into the bucket. Jordy bent down and my son-in-law pushed the mouse onto the dustpan and Jordy dumped it into the bucket with the snake. He covered his nose with his tee-shirt because that mouse stunk. They killed the snake when they got it outside and put them into our garbage. May the two vermin rest in agony forevermore.
Okay...so there ya have it. Evidence and proof that when you allow any room for anything negative or suspect to wander about in your house, your office, your church, your life or faith, you invite more of the same and worse to join in to attack, destroy, and wiggle their way into every crevice you allow to remain vulnerable. You must purge. You must clean house. You must not allow the least bit of leaven. You must stand in the gap or find someone who is brave enough to stand in the gaps. Divisive spirits breed unwelcome thoughts and fissures. Undisclosed motives and motivations create greater suspicions. Tolerance with one ill, opens the door to tolerance of all ills. May God's mercy forgive us for allowing His Bride to face the snakes and vermin without our intervention, without our prayers, our vigilance. Sometimes when you "think" you are seeing things crawl beneath the covers, the thing you "think" is there, really is there. It's not your imagination--nor is it a harmless floater; it's a warning to get out the sticks. We need to do a bit of screaming before the "snake" strikes and bites the hands that feed it.
I know some folks think the human race is totally and completely depraved, but I don't. I believe if I were totally and completely depraved, then I would never entertain a single thought of praise, or acknowledge the Hallowed Holiness of the Most High God. A depraved soul does not hear the convicting voice of the Shepherd. A depraved soul is a soul without kindness, without goodness, without mercy, love, or peace. I have those things. I exhibit those things...and to be clear, it's not because I am some goody-two-shoes who walks around toting my bag of benevolence and purity, either. It's not because I wear a cross, or get dressed up on Sunday morning and go to church while others mow lawns, pack golf-bags in their trunks, or snooze till they feel like getting up and beat me to Cracker Barrel to have their breakfast while I order lunch.
I have virtuous characteristics and exhibit them because Jesus saved me from myself and gave me new life in Him. In Him I am not depraved; I am holy. In Him I am pure and complete. In Him I am righteous. Yet I do get a bit weary looking in my mirror and seeing a chubby face staring back at me. She's a feeble-minded ding-dong at times. She disappoints me to no end. But, still, there's hope. She's sanctified, set aside, blood-bought and worthy to stand in the sight of God, and bow before the King of Kings. Her life is secure...her destiny certain. And for that I am so very grateful.
However...I get tired of seeing her fleshly carnality rear its ugly head.
Yesterday a salesman (actually he looked about 18), came to my door. He smiled great big and handed me a pretty hot-pink laminated card that described what he was, uh, not selling. Kirby vacuums. He said he wasn't selling them; he just wanted to demonstrate it on one of my carpeted rooms. I explained I had no carpets to clean and I was moving anyway, and would only have concrete floors. He continued. I interrupted. He broke in and continued his rehearsed spiel. After telling him I wasn't interested for the umpteenth time, I asked him if he understood what the word no meant. He got this really defeated look on his face that pierced my heart, but pressed on with a "but..I...".
I broke in, "I don't think you do, but you'd do well to find out before you go to another house. At least then you wouldn't waste your time or theirs."
It was one of those "gotcha" moments when I didn't need a mirror to see the ugly image coated in soot. I saw her in his undeserved chastened woeful expression. Whatever that young fella felt from my rebuke was immediately reflected back into the eye of my soul. Hardly in keeping with "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
I closed the door and returned to writing checks and paying bills. The moment my husband came in the door that evening I blurted, "I made a jerk of myself today." I related the story and confessed the unkindness, the rudeness, and spiteful attitude I exhibited. I'd already told my heavenly Father I was sorry.
That poor young man was only doing what a lot of people wouldn't do today. Instead of protesting and occupying Wall Street, he was doing the best he could. He was going door-to-door, trying to sell a reputable product in a astronomically depressed economy. It occurred to me that he would probably have received some kind of stipend for demonstrating the vacuum, even if I never purchased it. I'd have a clean carpet, and he'd make a little money. So what would I be out? An hour of my time. And to be honest, that time is not mine. It belongs to God.
After the young man left, I let my mind play out the what ifs:
What if I was his last straw?
What if I was the person who could make his day?
What if my "yes" was the blessing God wanted to give him in a discouraging day?
What if I were the answer to a prayer he'd uttered?
What if...what if he were an angel?
What if he wasn't, and during the demonstration, I had shared Jesus with him?
I know God knows what I did. He knew before that young man came to my door what I'd do. And at this moment, I share my ugly truth with you in hopes to help you avoid a similar event. Just think if you don't do what I did, and you are the one who shows the fruit of the Spirit God so liberally gives you. Just think what He could do with that. Like I said earlier, I am glad God loves me. He still has a plan for my life. He's not finished with me yet. It's not easy to admit the ugly part of myself. But I am more than my flesh and blood. I am a child of God. He is my Heavenly Father and He loves me so very much. I won't dwell any longer on my haughty-taughty attitude and the smut that skewed the Life of Christ within me. I will commit my way unto the Lord and do my best to heed the Spirit within me, this day. Hopefully, my confession helps you in some way...to help another in some way...today. selahV
You'd think he'd get tired. Then again, maybe he is tired. I know if I kept running circles around someone, over and over again, I'd get tired. Or, at the very least I'd get dizzy. This guy seems to be enjoying his trek. I wonder if he even knows I'm watching him. He doesn't seem to. I've been having some trouble with my eyes lately, so at first glance, I thought I was seeing things. If you read that account, you'll discover how relief comes to those whose thoughts are confirmed and validated. Even when those thoughts reveal unwelcome situations, a kind of assuring calm fills a space of anxiety. No one wants an intruder in the house. Especially a field-mouse. Experts say if you see one, there are untold numbers you do not see.
I was thinking about intrusions on Monday when I wrote about my intruder for my Thursday newspaper column. Some wouldn't be bothered at all by a mouse in the house. They just set a trap or put out poison. Others go ballistic. What disturbs one man's peace, barely raises another's eyebrow. Some wink, others get bug-eyed.
This happens in a Christian's life when dealing with various things we tolerate in our lives. Like curse-words on television, sexual exploitation in commercials, and romantic scenes during television programs. Certain sins bother some people, while others barely seem to notice. Sin enters their lives, just like my intruder entered my home. Sneaky, unannounced, uninvited. After a while, repetition breeds habit and habit become norm. We may be a bit taken aback with the first intrusion, but the second and third begin to pale in significance. Our awareness dulls, our shock-factor yawns, even as our spirit cringes and sighs. We get use to the intruder passing across our line of vision, coming within earshot, or squeezing into our mind through some crack or crevice we've failed to baracade or plug-up.
Complacency reset my brain each time my little mouse scooted across the floor since I noticed him on Saturday. When I posted on Facebook about the little guy, a friend commented, "the only good mouse is a dead mouse". Likewise, the only sin worth tolerating is a past and forgiven sin. A few moments ago, I noticed something else about the little intruder I so easily dismissed. As he scooted across the floor between the television and my sofa, another intruder followed him within seconds. Yep. One intruder allowed to wander about my house uncontrolled, attracted another to enter unthreatened. This reminded me of an even greater truth, when we allow our spirit to harden itself against sin, it's harder for the Holy Spirit to penetrate our calloused conscience and acts of disobedience. I didn't invite my first mouse into my abode. But I didn't rush to eliminate him or show him the door, either. So he found himself a haven in which he and his buddy could inhabit without consequence.
Christians need to be vigilant of the thief that breaks in, seeking to steal and destroy. Sometimes we can do a few corrections, and the intruders quickly vacate our heart's home. Other times it takes an outside exterminator's help to rid ourselves of the intruder. Whether it's simply tolerating sin, or an addiction to sin...it's best to grab the broom and chase that "mouse" out of your mind, before apathy invites companions to set up housekeeping in your spirit and soul. In my case, outside assistance is in order for one mouse. And I'm gonna wait for my husband. selahV
Only a few folks have the advantage (or disadvantage), of knowing when their days on earth are coming to a close. I watched snippets of a movie on television a few months ago about a couple of men who wrote their "bucket list"-- things they wanted to do, or see, or accomplish before they "kicked the bucket". Some of it was sad, some humorous, some quite poignant. It made me wonder what I would put on my bucket list, should I be given forewarning.
As it is, I decided to put down a few ideas floating around in my brain.
Travel: I'd love to visit England and Ireland. I'd like to stay in some quaint little village in some sweet lady's bed and breakfast. However, all things being "real", I could easily settle for a little bed and breakfast in Jonesboro, Tennessee in May on my way to visit some friends I have in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. I'd also settle for New England in Autumn to visit another friend and my brother, then Maine in Summer.
My fondest dream is to go stand beneath those gigantic Redwood trees in California and take a picture looking up. Have I told you this before? Deja vu moment here.
I'd like to get back into a size 10...but a 12 would suffice.
I'd like to take my granddaughters to tour Washington, D.C. and New York City...just to see the expressions on their faces. I'd settle for someone else taking them and seeing a video of them as they discover new things.
I'd love to start a tea-party/Bible study/prayer time in my house for ladies on Tuesdays.
I want to make two quilts and I really think that is do-able. Plan to begin this coming January. Lord willing, I'll finish my book before then.
I'd like to get all my pictures scrapbooked. And all my advice thoughts compiled for posterity so I can leave them to my granddaughters...not that they'd read them till they are my age, anyway. Ha..that's an amusing thought.
I'd like to get all the blog-posts I've written (which pass my editing muster), printed out on paper.
I want to plant a small garden in my backyard with roses and cosmos next Spring. If life is kind, I want a little greenhouse/art studio outside my little efficiency space where I can grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and herbs year-round. I want to start painting classes again, too...and paint some of my favorite things.
I'd like to record my last words for my own funeral. Gotta live up to my daughter's expectation of me to have the last word, you know.
I'd like to have one more slow dance with my husband in the light of the silvery full moon. And well, it seems as I write out these thoughts that I can't possibly get everything done if I don't begin right away. After all, there is no promise of tomorrow, is there?
Wall Street Occupiers are protesting rich people. They want the Billionaires and Millionaires ("Fat Cats" as President Obama calls them), to give them their money. That's in part because Warren Buffet (billionaire), says the rich need to pay more taxes. "Spread the wealth around."
the Billionaires and Wall Street CEO's all move to the Cayman Islands and take their money with them? Then what are the "Occupiers" gonna have to protest? Oh...they can protest more unemployment. Momma use to say, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Drum-roll please..."dum de dum de DUMB..."
Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr. to the rescue!!
JJ-Jr. wants President Obama to use his executive powers to declare a national emergency (do an end-run around Congress), and hire all 15 million unemployed at 40-thousand a year.* It will only cost 800 billion of tax-payer money the first year. And somehow these unemployed workers are going to return a profit? What are the jobs these occupiers going to do? well, I imagine they will:
help stand guard at the voting polls next November so the AFL-CIO can intimidate voters.
or maybe they will stand around hugging trees so loggers can't cut down trees.
or they could stand on Texas borders and greet the illegal aliens as they come into the country.
or maybe they could just hand out more AK-47s to the drug-cartels in Mexico.
or they could help send out more checks to Obama's cronies to fund his re-election.
or perhaps they could drive the President's golf cart.
orthey could take turns washing Obama's mult-million dollar campaign bus.
or maybe they could form a human chain around more companies that are hiring illegal foreigners from taking away our poor-people's jobs.
or maybe they could pick up cigarette butts and trash they've left on Wall Street.
or maybe they could make some more solar-panels that won't sell in America.
or maybe they could infiltrate school cafeterias and investigate how much of that nutritional food is being dumped in the trash-cans.
or they could go door to door with bathroom scales and make obese people weigh-in, and then issue citations to anyone 25 pounds over-weight.
Wall Street want 500 Billion dollars (that is one half of one TRILLION dollars, folks) to pay off their student loans. What ever happened to WORKING YOUR WAY through college? OH...YEAH...I forgot, protesters are working. In Los Angeles someone is paying $11.40 an hour to protest.
And they're probably getting unemployment checks ta-boot. Ah, the benefits of being an American. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.
*hubby is thinking about quitting his full-time courier job with a local realtor and applying for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s 40-thousand a year job. HOT DOG!!!
when folks do not speak well of us for doing good. After all, Jesus said the world would hate us if we profess to know Him and then go on to proclaim His name. It doesn't surprise me that folks come under attack from the world when they denounce those who distort the Word of God. Nor am I shocked when a hailstorm of critcism falls upon the head of one who brings to light some dark deed or action of those in high places. It's Biblical. Your sins will find you out. When you sow thistles, thistles come up...even if it is in the middle of a perfectly tilled bed of roses.
However, I am a bit taken aback when others spread unsubstantiated rumors. I tend to get a bit more than irritated when some folks get in a hurry to share negativity just because they can. Just because they know some tantalizing info. For the record? I don't want to know. Sometimes, the best of intentions is still not good enough reason, or cause, to divulge something we know. I've kept more information to myself that could hurt another's feelings if they knew. Why would I want to tell something hurtful to another? Wisdom trumps knowledge. Wisdom discerns when to share and when not to share.
If the truth is not necessary to my well-being, don't share it.
If the truth is helpful, edifying, and cloaked in pure and honest prayer, then okay...tell me. But I don't want to hear the rubbish some folks dig out of another's trash can.
A few months ago, someone shared some things others said about someone near and dear to me and it so colored my opinion of those "others" that I couldn't speak to them anymore. I could no longer trust their greetings to me. I could no longer be in their presence without suspicion. I no longer felt free to talk. In fact, it affected how I shared with everyone. I held back. I had trouble accepting folks at face-value.
Why? Why do people find such pleasure in criticizing others? Why rush to tell bad news and withhold "good news"? Why spread around the negative? I wonder.
If we all would share the good things we hear about others, the edifying, the compliments, the appreciation, would we be better for it? Would another?
Why must bloggers spend the majority of cyberspace nitpicking and opining destructive flaws and failures? Why don't we see more affirming posts that point out the good in another's life, the hope we witness, the faith we see displayed, the goodness and success and achievements? No, we're not to boast of ourselves, but we could dwell on that which is good and share some of that...don't you think? A little bit, once in a while? If we found a bit of sugar sprinkled into the brew of bitterness in life, it shouldn't surprise us, should it? Don't know about you, but it sure pokes my happy button. selahV
The world is a big fat mess. We allow the media to tell us who is the best person to lead us. We allow society to direct our culture and redirect our values and principles. We allow government to control our thoughts, our words, our spiritual lives. It's ridiculous. Especially for Christians. We live in liberty, under grace given to us by the sacrificial, submission of Christ to the cross of redemption for our very lives. We have everything we need to live an abundant life:
filled with peace,
consumed with love,
permeated with goodness,
saturated with hope,
assured of mercy. Everything.
Yet, we cower. We get all antsy and look to elections for hope instead of a Sovereign God. We place our faith in our choices rather than the God who allows those choices. We trust in pundits and reporters to stand as watchmen over our lives rather than being the watchman over the souls of men. I cannot control the "voices" that rattle on, day after day, nor those minds bent on force-feeding the world negativity, evil, and deceit to achieve an end that justifies their means. However...
I can control:
what I allow to pierce my heart with discouragement.
what I allow my ears to hear.
what I allow my eyes to devour.
Yes...I can control my time and where I spend it. I choose to look to the Triune God to direct my life by the inerrant Word He gave us. I choose to rely upon the Holy Spirit to keep in line with God's will and purpose for my life. I choose to rest in the promises of my Redeemer, Savior, and Lord to give me hope. I choose to resist the temptation to dwell on the mantra of gloom and doom and set my mind and heart on the blessings of God and the history of success through the Victor of the world. No longer is my life directed by laws written on stone. My life is directed by the Word dwelling within my heart and soul.
If only we Christians would each let God's Word dominate our lives rather than society's foolishness, we'd really be better off. No, I cannot control the world, I can only control how I respond to the world. And through the Holy Spirit I've been given fruit of self-control. That encompasses what I hear, how I react, what I do. I will not shudder, nor will I quake as the world gets messier and messier. The Word of God told us this is the way the world would go. The world would be a pathetic mess. People would be stubborn and not heed His Word-- would fall-away from faith they'd been taught. Children would rise up against parents. Decadence and debauchery would rule the hearts of man. Faithful doers would lose their First Love. Yes, the world is a mess. But folks, we have more than the world. We have everything we need to live a Christ-filled, Spirit-fueled life in God.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
God is in control. No one else. I can trust Him over everything, with everything, and in everything. Can you? Will you? selahV
I am downsizing and finding that 80 to 90 percent or what I have is not necessary. Clothes, shoes, cooking utensils, linens, books, decorative items, furniture. So much is unnecessary. What a yardsale I'm going to have!
I was thinking about how that applies to blogging. How much of our yada yada is necessary? How much of what we write is needed? I looked in my mirror and wondered. In the scheme of things, just how necessary is my blog? Other than me...who does it benefit? Thousands and thousands of people write blogs. Millions actually. Thousands upon thousands write Christian blogs. How necessary is my voice in it all? How needed am I in the mix of conversations?
I don't know. I really don't. Sometimes I read another blogger's post and think, what good is this to me? What does it benefit me? Do I really need this in my life? I read my own stuff and wonder the same thing. If I disappeared from the Land of Blog, I doubt that anyone would notice or send out a search party for my words of wit and wisdom. I tried this idea out on a blog I use to contribute to...not a soul has missed my voice. None. Wasted time. Wasted thoughts. Wasted emotions.
Life is getting shorter and shorter. Weeks seem to fly by. I take a breath and a year is over. All that matters is what is eternal...where rust, nor moth, nor decay can destroy. So, what really matters? What is necessary in my life? What is not? What can I eliminate from my life that will afford me more room, more energy, more time for what is eternal?
I think my computer is necessary, especially in this day and age. I love to read Scripture because I can enlarge it for my fading eyesight...I know that is going with me on my move to smaller quarters. But I certainly don't need checkbook registers from ten years ago. 250 different channels on television are not necessary, either. There's something to be said for foxes that have lairs, yet our Savior not having a place to lay His head.
I think less is more necessary than more. And the more I think about it, the less I find necessary to live as He did. A heart full of love, a mind willed to obey, a soul at peace, and a body to house His Holy Spirit. Yes...I think that's about all that's necessary. What do you think? selahV